Monday, August 30, 2010

I.T. doesn't matter – Bhavin Gandhi’s Review

"IT Doesn't Matter" is the article published in the May 2003 edition of the Harvard Business Review (Carr, 2003). It examines the evolution of information technology in the business world and demonstrates how IT is built into the infrastructure of today's world. But as its availability increases and its cost decreases, IT will become a commodity input. And like any other commodity in the history, IT will not allow a business to create a competitive advantage. Hence, the author proposes not to invest heavily on IT projects.

The author makes several good points in his article such as - businesses have over-invested in underutilized technologies without analyzing its strategic advantage. For example, few years back I wanted to buy a new laptop. So, I bought a new MacBook Pro with Photoshop CS4. As a MBA student, I hardly use high processing applications. There was no need, whatsoever, for me to buy a Laptop with 2.6GHz of processor and 4GB of RAM. But I might have felt the need to be on the bleeding edge of the technology, and may be most of the IT enthusiast managers feel the same way.

While the author has many convincing arguments regarding his stand, I still believe that - IT matters more than ever in today's world. The author seems to confuse IT with computing. Cars, Trains and Air Lines could be considered commodities. Transportation isn't. I agree that major elements of computing have been turning into commodities, like CPU, RAM, Disks, etc. But IT is more than that (Freund, 2007).

Dr. Harold contradicts the author’s stand in his paper about technology and e-government. He suggests that without IT, effective and competitive organization is impossible and nothing gets efficiently done (Wesso, July 2004). He goes further by saying that - if IT is not being procured and deployed effectively and efficiently, then that matters very much. Appropriate IT use may not enable an organization or society to ‘get ahead’, but it is very vital just to ‘keep up’.

This article is based on the assumption that businesses have overestimated the strategic value of IT. I agree that businesses should manage the tangible aspects of IT as a commodity because the opportunities for ‘strategic differentiation’ with IT have become scarce. But I do not agree with the author's stand on this topic. I believe that the author's opinion might have been biased due to the 'dot com' bubble burst, as this article was written during that time.

I believe that the author has over-stated the fact that IT holds no strategic value at all. On the contrary, I believe that IT has become an irreplaceable part of the business. For example, I used to work in a company named Book of Odds, Inc. ( Being a small sized company, this company didn’t have a big budget to spend on their marketing efforts. So, they utilized tools of social media to market themselves. This approach gave them more visibility than they would have got through other means of marketing. For this ‘social media marketing’ initiative, the company didn’t have to invest much in its IT infrastructure. But the benefits got from this initiative were way more than the investment. Thus, IT certainly provided strategic advantage for Book of Odds, Inc.

In today’s world, we are overloaded with information. And IT can help us analyze this information for our benefit. Thus, if use right – IT can differentiate your business as compared to your competitors. And IT matters more than ever, in this fastest changing world.


  1. Carr, N. G. (2003, May 01). IT Doesn't Matter. Retrieved Aug 24, 2010, from Harvard Business Review:

  2. Freund, G. (2007, Jan 03). IT doesn't matter, part 1. Retrieved Aug 24, 2010, from Rough Type:

  3. Wesso, D. H. (July 2004). Technology, e-government & economic development. Centre for e-Innovation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lead your brand, in the world of social media

Lot of people might argue, but I feel that we are currently on the verge of a major paradigm shift. With the help of the Internet and new communication tools like - Facebook, Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn – we are changing the way, how we communicate with each other. Social media is completely changing the way we used to interact with each other. Maybe that’s the only reason why, we trust product’s reviews on - Facebook, Twitter and Yelp - more than on an advertisement seen on TV.

[caption id="attachment_89" align="alignleft" width="102" caption="Twitter"]Twiiter's Logo[/caption]

One might ask - What if our communication ways are changing? What does that have to do with Leadership? In fact that has to do with only - Leadership. After all, what is Leadership? Isn’t Leadership – leading changes? Isn’t leadership about envisioning the future? If you are not yet convinced, then let me ask you one question – “Do you think that your customers are not talking about your products on these social media platforms?” In fact, YouTube became the second largest search engine after Google, and approximately 25% of YouTube videos contain product reviews.

[caption id="attachment_93" align="alignright" width="150" caption="YouTube"]YouTube Logo[/caption]

So, the question is – how can we lead this change? How can we use social media as a tool to improve our business? The answer is very simple. Just do what you would do in a normal situation. You just need to expand your horizon. I agree that social media is the fastest growing communication platform out there, but it’s just a platform. You still need to stick to your basics, and if your basics are strong enough then you can leverage this platform in favor of your business. Following are few tactics that will help you create “positive brand awareness” through social media:

1.       Be Present: For monitoring any kind of customer feedback through social media, you need to be on social media. So, create your account on few biggest social media platforms like - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

2.       Be vigilant: Continuously monitor social media. And find out what people are talking about your company/organization. With lot of free tools available out there like – “Google Alert”, it is not that difficult to be vigilant.

3.       Be quick in your response: In platforms like Twitter and Facebook, information is growing faster than ever. Thus, you need to be quick in responding to your customer’s positive/negative feedback. I would recommend you to have dedicated resources for this.

4.       Have your blog: This is the key element. Most of the times, your customers don’t find ways to tell about your products to the world. And that’s why they talk about your products on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. If you would have given them some kind of platform to raise their voice, then they would rather blog on that website. The beauty of this idea is – you can control your feedback.

I hope this information proves to be helpful in some way. I am always eager to know your ideas too. So, feel free to comment on my blog.

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is Management more important than Leadership?

[caption id="attachment_77" align="alignleft" width="122" caption="Leadership"]Leadership[/caption]

First of all, I would like to thank you for reading my blogs. Lot of people have e-mailed me regarding my blogs. Ironically, most of them asked me the same question - "Is your blog about Leadership OR Management"? And I tell people - “My blog is about Leadership AND Management”. But people don’t seem to understand that.

I guess, it became fashionable now days to separate "leaders" from "managers". Some people may define Leaders as - "those who do the right things" and Managers as - "those who do things right". I used to define Management and Leadership in the same way, before I realized that I might be missing the big picture. Most of the Leaders don’t define management as a part of Leadership anymore. And that’s where they are going in the wrong direction. With this mentality of differentiation between Leadership and Management, many leaders are detaching themselves from the messy process of managing. Thus, most of the times they don't know what's going on.

[caption id="attachment_78" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Management"]Management[/caption]

The truth is, many of the strategies in today’s world are built in isolation at the "top". If this wouldn’t be the reason then we wouldn’t have seen major financial and automobile companies failing. Today, most of the Managers are told to meet their targets, or they will let go. This approach shapes-up Manager’s thinking. Instead of taking risks to create new opportunities, they become busy in meeting their targets. Besides, with so many of their colleagues gone in downsizing, they feel like, they have less and less time to think. This approach induces a big gap between Management and Leadership. Instead of thinking about the long-term vision (right thing), Managers become busy in looking good for the next quarter and "doing things right".

[caption id="attachment_79" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Leadership and Management"]Leadership and Management[/caption]

Leaders/Managers of today don't understand the fact that - Leadership and Management, both are interlocking competencies. One can't exist without the other. I see leadership within the positional powers of managership. I understand that Managers are focused on serving the short term bottom-line numbers, to serve their own survival; while Leaders are suppose to live by the values in serving the larger and long term interest of stakeholders. But if Leaders start to manage within their organization, instead of impressing outsiders, then the organization can be efficient and successful. As far as my question is concerned - “Is Management more important than Leadership?”, I think that they both are really important. And if we can somehow create a tight bond between Leadership and Management then we can avoid companies from failing.

I hope my blog helped you in understanding yet another perspective of Management. If you have any other opinions then feel free to share with me on my blog.

Thanks. - Bhavin Gandhi

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Purpose – Leadership and Management for 21st Century

The last thing the world needs right now is another management and leadership blog. Believe me, I have read a ton of them over the years too. But I have always struggled to find a single blog that would make me aware of the changes I needed to make to become a better leader or manager, in the rapidly progressing 21st century. In today’s world, it is becoming more difficult to run a business/company – not just because of the current economic crisis but due to the mere nature of the business itself. It is common to see growing number of leaders and managers find themselves working with people from different locations, different cultures, different generations, and different backgrounds. This changes everything from how to lead the organization to how to manage different projects. Thus, with this blog I will try to help people – better manage, lead and organize their businesses and lives, in the 21st century.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to know some great mentors over the years, and I have always been a believer in the mantra – “Smart people learn from their mistakes, but smarter people learn from their own mistakes as well as other people’s mistakes”. So, I have always viewed things from that perspective. With that approach and 8+ years of business experience with two Master degrees – I have collected a number of the best practices for leadership and management. I will try to relate these experiences in my blogs so that they can help you become a better leader or manager.

You can visit my blog at:

I hope you like my blog, and it proves helpful to you in resolving Leadership and Management challenges.

Thanks - Bhavin Gandhi

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Motivate your employees with “Why”

Have you ever wonder about how Apple and Google makes itself the best place for employment than other organizations. They have the same pool of talent, technology, and resources as any other organization in the world. So, how are they able to attract motivated people than other organizations? Do you think its their lucrative salary package? You may be completely wrong, if you think that money can motivate people to perform their best. I am not denying that money can’t motivate you, I am saying that  money can’t be the only thing that can motivate you to do your best. Don’t you agree?

Leadership Image

Those days are long gone, where people were working in labor intensive jobs (production jobs). In the 21st century, with latest technological equipments, most of the employees use tools/machines to get their work done. You can certainly motivate your production employees by providing money as an incentive, but you can’t motive your other employees through the same technique. In fact in one research by Dan Pink, he talks about - how money does not motivates us to do our best.

I personally believe that - its not “what you do” that motivates your employees. But its “why you do it” that motivates your employees. Lets put this concept in to your life. I am sure that you must have come across some situations in your lives, when you must have had an employee, who was not motivated. The most common technique that you might have adopted must be “fear”. You must have communicated something like - “You need to finish this, otherwise....”. Do you realized, what did you do? You communicated - what he/she needs to do. Lets consider an another scenario. Lets assume that  you communicated to him personally and said something like - “Your work is important, and this is how it helps the team, and this is why we do it”. Don’t you think this approach would have worked better?

Take Linux for an example. Linux is an open source software, which is used as a corporate server in 1 out of 5 organizations. And surprisingly enough, it is free. Why would someone make something, if he/she doesn’t get any benefits out of it? The answer lies in my headline - “motivation through why”. Lot of people believe in open source platforms, they believe in the “why”, and that’s why they are willing to create these kind of software for free. So, next time if you see a poor performer in your team, then don’t directly jump in to “how to fix it”, instead help him understand “why you are doing the work that you do”. I guarantee that - you will see some positive result at the end of that discussion.

I hope my blog helped you understand Leadership from a different perspective. Let me know your opinion through your comments. Thanks. - Bhavin Gandhi

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Best MBA Program in the World - UNR’s MBA

[caption id="attachment_69" align="alignleft" width="206" caption="UNR Logo"]UNR Logo[/caption]

Today, I was attending my last summer class in the UNR’s MBA program. During the last presentation of the class, I was lost in my own thoughts. I was thinking about - how much I learned from UNR’s MBA program. But before I talk about my amazing learning experience at UNR, I would like to ask you few questions. What exactly do you look for in an MBA program? Top notch education? Rate of return on your investment? Experienced classmates? Over all experience? Whatever may be the case, UNR will exceed all of your expectations.

The niche of this program is - its innovative courses, which helps them in creating the “Leaders of Tomorrow”. Courses like Entrepreneurship in today’s world, social media, personal branding, etc. are one of the best courses that I would recommend. For example: Dr. Bret teaches the course on Personal Branding. UNR is one of the fewest schools, offering this type of the course. In this course, we learn how to market ourselves. Especially in today’s world, it is becoming really important to have your Personal Brand, if you want to end up with good career options after graduation. No matter how much talented you are, if you can not put yourself out there, your knowledge will not be useful for your professional growth.

Overall, this program is outstanding. It is very challenging but extremely rewarding at the same time. Balancing school, work, and family has been one of the most difficult things for me to do in my life. But the rewards have been tremendous, the knowledge that I have gained here at University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) is priceless. Especially, the instructors were great business professionals, well-respected in their fields. I really enjoyed the fact that some of the professors were adjuncts and could bring in real-life experiences and their connections and networks to the school. It was incredibly interesting. Having access to such varied faculty members, who were always available by phone, e-mail, or in person - was a great help.

[caption id="attachment_72" align="alignleft" width="97" caption="Business Week Ranking"]Business Week Ranking[/caption]

UNR's MBA is a phenomenal program and an investment. I'm tremendously glad that I made the decision to attend and recommend it highly to everyone who has considered it. I am a strong ambassador for the program because of its flexibility for working adults, strong core classwork, quality peers and diverse population. After all, Business Week and Princeton Review must have done some good research before naming this AACSB Accredited school, UNR’s College of Business, as one of the best Business School in the world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Reinvent Large Organizations

Most of you may be thinking that smaller organizations and start-ups can change them easily, and their smart and smarter strategic moves don’t apply to your older, established business. That assumption is completely wrong. I agree that established businesses take time to change. But if done right, they can leverage their knowledge and experiences, and prove that smart strategy knows no age limit.

It may seem obvious to solve problems by applying knowledge extracted from elsewhere, but doing so takes discipline. It is not uncommon for us to forget our past experiences, even though we know that history has a way of repeating itself. But our tendency to compartmentalize issues leads us to overlook lessons learned in one context even when the problem at hand is remarkably similar. Fortunately, some of the major organizations learn from their past experiences and apply them to present challenges.

I am not an expert on organizational change, but from my experiences and observations, here are my few recommendations:

  • The leader should develop a clear vision for his/her company. And he/she needs to incorporate feedback from his/her peers in this vision building process. This will give his/her 360 degree view on all the historical experiences.

  • The leader should believe in his/her vision. This sounds very simple, but it is really hard to put into practice. For example: if a salesman doesn't believe in his product, then how will he convince customers to buy that product?

  • The leader, who is making change in the company’s strategy, must know which assets can be leveraged and which need protecting. Knowing that Apple’s primary strength was its innovation, it needed to come up with new ground breaking technology to remain competitive. And they came with something we call as - iPod.

  • Reinvention of the Organization won’t be simple, but the process can be simplified if you know where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there.

We live in a time of innovation and expansion, a world of smart and smarter strategic options. And there’s no reason why you and your organization cannot be among them.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. Bhavin Gandhi.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Businesses in the 21st Century - "Change or Die"

Organizations need to be different in the 21st century, otherwise they won't survive. Instead of traditional rules, routines and structures; organizations need to have capabilities to change quickly, pool of talented employees, good relationships with stakeholders, and strategic unity regarding their future goals. Seeing what other organizations don't, will give a competitive edge to your organization. By sharpening organization's vision, one can achieve phenomenal growth rates blown past their competitors.

Let me give you an example. In 2007, I used to be an I.T. consult for a local business in the Boston area. They wanted to design one informational page for their website. Being a small business like them, I recommended that they should include tools from social media on their website to improve their sales through new tools. But they didn't agree with my suggestions and ended up having only an informational website. Their competition used Facebook and Twitter to publicize their business and got the major part of the market share. Unfortunately, the company had to go out of business during tough economic times of 2008. Today those who fail to adapt to new business attitude, face extinction in a much shorter time frame than ever before. Just a few short years ago, who would have named Brazil, China, India, and Russia as among the brightest stars in today’s economic world? Yet in recent years, the so - called advanced economies have struggled to keep up with the astonishing rise of these economic powerhouses.

Certainly, there is no shortage of powerful new business practices in today's hyper competitive business world. I have learned a few things from my experiences: whatever works right now is not always the right thing to do. Moreover, I am convinced that the very best management ideas come not from the old style managers whose track records and egos make them resistant to change, but from the people like me, who do the real work inside companies, people who are challenged on a daily basis and who not only survive but thrive in today’s complex, volatile, and demanding global marketplace. Thus, today's leaders need to be visionaries and should have strong will to change. If they think - "what they are doing works; therefore, what they are doing is right" and concentrates heavily on current processes instead of changing them to more efficient ways, then your organizations will fail in this fastest changing world.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. Bhavin Gandhi.

Managing Major Failures in Your Business

Those days are gone when businesses were small and local. In today’s world, businesses are becoming more and more complex. And brands are becoming bigger than ever. So, what happens when you encounter a failure in your business? What would you have done as a CEO of Toyota, during the tough times in 2010? What would you do as a spokesperson of BP, when you realize that there is a major leak in your new plant? I might not have an ideal answer for what you can do during situations like those, but from my personal experiences and observations, I have few suggestions to deal with situations like those.

First thing that you want to do in these kind of situations is to be accountable for your failures. Everyone remembers the gulf oil spill by BP. In today’s business world, accepting the failure isn’t the sole decision of the CEO. By accepting the failure like this big, they might be ruining their brand image. Whatever may be the case, I recommend you to take responsibilities of your actions. Remember the famous case of Tylenol? It was company’s quick acceptance of the problem, which saved the image of Johnson and Johnson.

In any major failures, you need to be transparent with your stakeholders, no matter who they are. A good example of this is - Toyota’s gas peddle fiasco. On July 29 of 2010, Toyota recalled approximately 400,000 cars for their problems in the gas peddle. Before this incident, Toyota was perceived to be the safest automobile maker in the world. Guess what Toyota did? They utilized lot of 21st century’s media tools like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to reach to their customers and admit their mistakes as a part of their immediate response. They also had a lot of TV and radio commercials within a month to communicate with their customers about what they are doing regarding this issue. This effort from Toyota helped them to keep their “brand value” intact by communicating their efforts to their customers.

I think that businesses might be becoming complex and failures might be becoming very difficult to handle, but if we can accept our failures and act on them quickly then we can minimize the impact of those failures.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. Bhavin Gandhi.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cooperative Work Ethic and its Positive Implications within Leadership and Management

A lot of people believe that Leadership and Management are completely different aspects of a business that can’t work together.  Maybe that’s the reason there are endless blogs addressing the issue of “Leadership versus Management”. In many companies, leadership and management operate on a different echelon, wherein they don’t often interact with each other except in mandatory situations. An unfortunate result of this is a stitch in company productivity, and as a result of that, customer dissatisfaction. Even then, the relationship between leadership and management is awkward at best, most often riddled with contradictions of interest.

We have seen with many companies in recent history (i.e. Google and Apple) that cooperative work ethic pays off. For example, as a result of Google’s innovation and cooperative work ethics, Google Inc. was featured on such prominent media sources as NBC’s Today Show as one of the “Best Places to Work For”. Thus, the over all experience with employee-employer relationships were both favorable on an interpersonal level as well as beneficial to the company as a whole. The result of this boost in productivity trickles down to the customer/user, and the market value. Using cooperative work ethics as a strategy for mitigating the awkward playing field between leadership and management is a winning move for any company.

The example of Google is an especially poignant one, given that in today’s business world they rank as one of the top influential players. If google doesn’t endorse something, it usually takes a big hit. If google does, that particular product immediately benefits from the relationship. An example of this would be the iPhone versus Android phones. The iPhone uses the safari browser, does not allow flash and disallowed google voice for fear that it would taint the iPhone monopoly. It received quite a public backlash for the latter. iPhone does have one key app, “Youtube”, which is owned by Google. If not for that app installed by default onto the iPhone operating system, Apple would have lost a good deal of its market share of users. As far as the Android phones are concerned, they are slowly gaining a noticeable place in the smart phone market.

You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with cooperative work ethic? Android uses an “open source” operating system, another manifestation of cooperative work ethic. Google essentially opened the floodgates, for better or for worse, to amateur developers to create new applications, software and even fix issues or improve issues within the existing operating system. Although Apple has the edge as far as “out of the box quality” is concerned, Google is gaining significance due to its flexibility by involving end users in the development and quality control processes, thereby bypassing any static quality Apple offers. Management and Leadership can learn from this technical albeit relevant example, by encouraging a parlay between each other.  Communication, after all, is key.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. Bhavin Gandhi.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tips to Manage Teams of the Future

In my last blog, I talked about how we can communicate effectively in a Virtual Team. But I realized that I didn’t answer the most basic questions of virtual team management - how can we better manage Virtual Teams? Where should we start? What do we need to know to be successful?

There are many blog posts which addresses this issue, but none of them explicitly say what I am going to say now. I personally think that 80% of your problems comes up in a virtual team are due to people problems, and only 20% of problems concern with utilization of technology. Thus, I will address people issues first. In my past experiences, I had an opportunity to work with remote teams on various occasions. Trust me, it was very challenging at first. Time zones and languages were only few barriers that I had to face. But somehow, I figured a way out to manage remote teams efficiently. I will share those experiences through this blog post.

One of the most important thing that you want to do is to set up your communication plan. This can be an outline for what needs to be communicated, how it will be communicated, who needs the information, when do they need it, and what happens if communication breaks down. This sounds very easy at first. One would say - you can just use e-mails. But trust me, without a communication plan, you will be lost. If you don't have this plan defined properly, it will take more than 2-3 days just to find out what are you going to accomplish this week. And before you know, there comes a weekend. Thus, this plan is the "key piece" for managing virtual teams. The communication plan should also outline meeting structure, such as - when are they needed, what will be their purpose, in what format will they be held (chat, video conference, teleconference, etc), who will be in control of the meeting, who will be responsible for taking the notes and publishing the outcome.

Second most important thing that can help you is to have an outline of the decision making process. How, as a group, will you make decisions? What is your back up plan to make a decision? What escalation processes do you have to resolve issues, if team doesn't agree on one idea? Also, having conflict resolution strategies help a lot. We used to talk to each other personally (on video chat), and that was our conflict resolution strategy. But you can use whatever strategy fits for your team. After you have defined and documented these information, you want to distribute your goals, roles and responsibilities equally - by taking buy-ins from each and every member in the team. So, there is no confusion at the end. If you want to go further then you can also ensure fair work distribution and define different leadership levels. We used to use an arrangement where we would rotate the roles of meeting facilitator and meeting leaders. That gave me the opportunity to empower other team members. But again, you can use your own style for defining different leadership roles.

I hope this information have helped you. Let me know your feedback regarding my idea. Thanks for reading my blog. Bhavin Gandhi

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Communicate Effectively in Virtual Teams

In today’s world, 1 out of 10 employees might have worked in a virtual team in one form or another.  With the current trend of globalization and outsourcing, the pressures associated with getting new products and services to worldwide markets is increasing tremendously. For any business to remain competitive, they have to choose the best people for their projects, regardless of their location. This rapid development in the business world has completely changed the dynamics of the business within past two decades. Have you ever wondered - how big companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google are leading their remote branches in India, China, Russia and Brazil?

Couple of years ago, I worked in a company that had its branch in India. I was one of the fortunate person, who got an opportunity to lead a newly formed team in India. During those times, economy was good but company's project budget was slightly tight, the only way I could interact with that team was - video or voice conferences, e-mails, phone calls, etc. During that experience, I created my own best practices to effectively communicate with the virtual teams. In this blog, I am going to share those ideas with you.

For a virtual team to function efficiently and efficiently, it requires rich and synchronous communication. But majority of times, the distance and time differences between team members makes it very difficult. To overcome this barrier we can make an arrangement of meeting once a week, for 60-90 minutes on a video conference to identify and review the team’s purpose and key result areas, modify objectives, understand breaking issues, examine possibilities, make decisions, and assign actions. Due to the nature of this team and different time zones, this meeting might not happen during working hours. But you can still make it a painless experience. In the process of leading my team, I used to create raw proposals before our meeting and distribute them in advance to team members. We also used to have rotating roles for listeners, who would synthesize team member’s feedbacks and incorporate those into written team documents that can be accessible to all team members. This will not only provide a single point of reference for roles and responsibilities of each team members but also build-up team spirit that most of the virtual teams might be missing otherwise.

I hope this blog helps you build efficient teams of the future (Virtual Teams). - Bhavin Gandhi

Reminder: Business Challenges in the 21st Century

Doing business in 20th Century was comparatively easy. Rules were simple and complexities were very few. In today's world, its not easy to do business. With new technologies and changing dynamics of the businesses, it is becoming more and more challenging to do business. In this blog post I will discuss about some of the new business challenges that many organizations are facing right now.

Globalization has really changed the entire world, with new markets - offering new challenges and opportunities,  especially in China, India, Brazil, and Russia. Therefore, global issues — including trade barriers, exchange rates, tariffs, and distribution — will become important elements of managerial choice.

Rapidly growing technology is another challenge that businesses in 21st century needs to face. Technology has increased accessibility, visibility, and connection. The connected world is smaller and rapidly changing, and has open information. For example: during the time of Web 1.0, companies used to broadcast their information and consumer had only one channel to know about various products and services that company offers. Thanks to Web 2.0, consumers can now connect to other consumers and get feedback of your product through their social connections. Managing your brand's image in social media is one of the biggest challenge that businesses of 21st century has to face.

One of the other challenge that businesses of 21st century needs to face is - talent acquisition and retention. In today's world, employees represent diverse demographic backgrounds not only race and gender but also personal preferences and cultural backgrounds. Also, employee expectations are constantly rising as they gain education and skills.

Other major challenges are increasingly segmented markets, increasingly attuned investors, and innovative and global competitors. With my blog posts, I will try to address these issues and provide some recommendations to resolve those challenges.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. - Bhavin Gandhi.

Monday, August 2, 2010

How to get Gen X employees to use Gen Y's technology? (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my last blog post, if given an opportunity, Gen X employees can learn new technologies and improve productivity of your business. In this blog I will talk about the practical approach of how to better train Gen X employees. But before I talk about that, let me ask you one question. As a Manager or as a Leader, what do you think when it comes to training Gen X employees of your company? Let me help you. Most of you might be thinking of the following:

* Gen X employees are technophobic.

* They’re resistant to almost any changes in how they work.

* They require too much hand-holding and training compared to Gen Y team members.

* They insist on doing things “old school.”

Before you say that Gen X employees are old school or technophobic, remember that they are the people who put a man on the moon and gave us a computer at every desk. Most of the Gen X people are not afraid of technology, they just don’t have the same relationship with it that Gen Y people do. Gen Y people are "technological people" - if you will. Some of them hardly even write anything anymore as most of them use computers to describe their thoughts.

Let me tell you one real story. In my last job, I used to work under a Gen X Manager. She was very talented and intelligent individual. People used to take tips from her all over the organization for her Management style. But she had one problem. She was used to using Excel for Project Management instead of other technological advanced tools, made for Project Management. During that time, I was given an opportunity to lead a team of 5 and finish one project. I had to provide my Project Plan for the same purpose. Guess what happened? Being from Gen Y, I created my Project Plan in Microsoft Project. She was very surprised at first, as no one else had used this tool before in her group. She insisted on using Excel for the reporting of the weekly status. But instead of doing that I talked her in to providing a basic training program for Microsoft Project. The deal was simple, I got a chance to present the new technology in front of the entire team, if they don’t like it they don’t use it. I knew that if I get her team’s approval then I might stand a good chance. Guess what happened next? After that training, she was really excited about this tool. It was not me who changed her working style other than convincing her to let me give the training. I think those advantages that came with this new tool convinced her to change her working style. Now, she uses Microsoft Project as her primary tool for Project Management.

Thus, if you are serious about training your Gen X employees to adopt to new technologies, you should show them actual, practical examples of people who use these tools and the results they get. If you want to teach them how to use skype for talking to your remote employees, then don't just give them skype installer, show them how to use it, and let them have some feel for it. Trust me, they will get used to it. This doesn't mean that we have to spoon feed them. With availability of new tools like "Google", they can learn lot of stuff by themselves. In fact, Gen X people tend to learn on their own and prefer to learn from live people as opposed to recorded tutorials, like Gen Y.

Don't just put "learning new tools" as a performance measurement criteria. Give them a good reason to change their methods, show them how to use the new tool, give them time to practice, give plenty of encouraging feedback and reward the change. When you do all these, you’ll be amazed how well Gen X and Gen Y employees will use these tools and make your business even more efficient.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. - Bhavin Gandhi.