Startup Accelerator 2014: Finding, Managing for High Performance

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Amit Bhatia - Aspire

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Startup Accelerator 2014: Finding, Managing for High Performance

  1. 1. © 2012 ASPIRE. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concept and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to ASPIRE. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. Managing for Performance
  2. 2. Three Lessons at McKinsey Lesson # 1: There is no HR. Everybody is HR Lesson # 2: Hunger and Pride is a deadly combination Lesson # 3: Patience Pays
  3. 3. FreeMarkets Lesson # 1: Spend time building the team Lesson # 2: People may not tell you the truth (e.g. Sales) Lesson # 3: Patience Pays Lesson # 4: Lead from the front
  4. 4. WNS Lesson # 1: Spend time building the team Lesson # 2: Patience Pays Lesson # 3: Lead from the front Lesson # 4: Measurement matters (KPIs / KRAs)
  5. 5. www.wnsgs.com
  6. 6. Confidential & Proprietary © WNS Global Services 2005www.wnsgs.com 6 Put People First Vision & Values  Communicate management values across the organization  Encourage employees to contribute to company vision and help achieve it  Communicate vision through every critical path – from hiring process to customer service Rewards & Recognition  Ensure a benchmarking system that measures performance across the board  Ensure recognition and rewards for above average performance e.g. cash incentives  Encourage job rotation, internal promotions, skills upgradation, mentorship programmes Fun Calendar  Create social bonding e.g. annual ball, monthly beer bash, regular dinners  Hold offsite events - training, seminars, meets, roundtable talks Employee Satisfaction  Well defined career path, regular training programmes  Flexible work schedule, job enrichment  Open door policy, 360 degree quarterly performance appraisal Customer Orientation  Inculcate the “Extending Your Enterprise” vision e.g. create client teams with client IDs  Encourage, enhance direct interaction between team leaders and clients  Create clear understanding of client work, relevance of team role and quality work to be achieved during the whole process People Mix  Various age brackets, professional background and regional/cultural milieus Source: WNS Global Services
  7. 7. October 29th, 2005 Unleashing Your Enterprise Looking Back, Moving Forward
  8. 8. Money Can Buy Me Love We Did It Our Way . . . Flying Without Wings Hard Night's Day Key Messaging
  9. 9. Aspire Lesson # 1: Tradeoffs: Skills versus Behaviour Lesson # 2: Inspire. Inspire. Inspire Lesson # 3: Measurement matters (KPIs / KRAs) Lesson # 4: Mentorship versus Management
  10. 10. 6th Employee Conference Manesar, Haryana 3-6 June 2009 “No Looking Back, Just Moving Forward”: Three Months to Profitability
  11. 11. 11 ©2009 Aspire. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concepts and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to Aspire. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. Right Compensation Industry Leadership Intellectual Stimulation Learning & Success Superior HR Processes Fairness, Equity & Meritocracy Fast Industry Growth Training & Development Promotions & Growth Noble Mission Start-up Challenge Ownership & Stock Professional, MNC Environment  High Industry Growth Constant Touch & Support Social Acceptance Reward & Recognition Off-sites, Awards, Road Shows Personal R’ship w/CEO ATTRACT EXCITE RETAIN MOTIVATE Put People First (1 of 2)
  12. 12. Entrepreneurship
  13. 13. 13 © 2010 ASPIRE. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concept and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to ASPIRE. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. 17 November, 2011 1. Start Small, Think Big • We started Aspire as a national business (in 2007) from Day 1 with four academies in all four parts of India. Customers and Shareholders loved it. Big Mistake. Advance orders and investor herd mentality misled us. • Although successful, our “conversion rate” was wanting across the board, due to insufficient product validation •In 2008, with the global downturn reaching India, and job- freezes / layoffs being announced, we were sandwiched between aspiring candidates and customers reneging on contracts. Student anger was scary. • We had to shut down all academies, return fees and took a big financial write-off • Moral of the story: Never mind the advise. Start small, think big. Else, all VC/PE metaphors will come true: •Put the horse before the cart •Don’t shoot the elephant •Don’ t wear the Emperor’s new clothes •Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread •If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true
  14. 14. 14 © 2010 ASPIRE. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concept and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to ASPIRE. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. 2. Put People First 17 November, 2011 •Know who’s on the bus (in Jim Collins’ famous words) even if I can’t agree with his “Good to Great” tenet 100% •As things went wrong, we ran a very high attrition rate, often as high as 25% every quarter! I felt isolated as I lost founding team members, senior executives, etc. •It is ok to trade some capability with trust OR merit with commitment: It is important that the team not only has the right mix of energy & experience but even more importantly, there must be commitment and trust. •From Day 1, “Till IPO, us do part” maxim must apply
  15. 15. 15 © 2010 ASPIRE. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concept and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to ASPIRE. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. 3. Stick to the Knitting 17 November, 2011 TECHNOLOGY ILLUSTRATION •First Hire: Product Development Head. our ivory tower was built because we had Blind lead the Blind. We did not have an established business model, processes and requirements. Writing specifications for a business model which kept changing turned out to be our waterloo. •Caveat Emptor: We quickly bought “Rapid Application Development” using our vendor’s proprietary BPM (business process management) engine on .NET, assured that it will take a fraction of time and cost. •Diversify Risk: We decided to outsource development, hosting, administration, support and maintenance to one Firm to make it attractive for him to serve us. Despite being a management accountant, I forgot the basics of audit and put all our eggs in one basket. •Keep it simple; do not over-engineer: Several of our features like Video CVs, Online scheduling of assessments, Weekly candidate progress report inside Training Academies, etc. were never used by our customers, who preferred Excel spreadsheets. In six months, we had 20 pages of over-engineered specifications, never to be used in real life. Ignorance is bliss. TracHire: our Ivory Tower
  16. 16. 16 © 2010 ASPIRE. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concept and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to ASPIRE. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. 4. Stay Asset Light 17 November, 2011 • Aspire’s decision to build four large academies and tens of Career Centres for sourcing turned out to be disastrous within 12 months • On hindsight, a Services business must stay as Asset Light to be able to extend the life of each dollar • The writeoffs cast perpetual shadow on future financials and undermine ability to raise future money- for “Doubt” is sufficient to scare the investor
  17. 17. 17 © 2010 ASPIRE. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concept and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to ASPIRE. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. 5. Raise Professional Money 17 November, 2011 • Professional Money puts the right business pressure, Family & Friends money puts additional moral pressure; always raise professional money • Our success with Angel Round, including returning money, got into our heads • However, even if you are riding the wave (as Aspire did), never overvalue the company despite temptations. The disappointment of “future down-rounds” can overshadow the initial excitement of high valuations • Time both Angel and VC capital well • Remember, shareholders must always make money • Also remember, Investors, despite their pitch, will always be “fair weather friends”- they have a job to do, it is not their money. Boardrooms will be hot if business does not perform financially ! • Finally, despite everything, more money raised is better
  18. 18. 18 © 2010 ASPIRE. All rights reserved. Confidentiality: The concept and methodologies contained herein are proprietary to ASPIRE. Duplication, reproduction or disclosure of information in this document without the expressed written permission of Aspire is prohibited. 6. Keep the faith! Commit for Passion, not Wealth- If you just chase the pot of gold, chances are we won’t get there Choose Profits over Scale- Demonstrate to yourself and others that the business model works. Remember, investor views change over time Develop a thick skin. Keep a conscientious heart- Especially in social entrepreneurship, as you run into issues of for-profit companies- face issues head-on. Focus on improving outcomes for the disadvantaged customer- who need help Never Give Up- Thomas Edison said “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time” 31 May, 2012

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