While discussing the comments on my slides ‘Create Moments’ , my son asked me ‘.. don’t you think you are more abstract in this one, it would have been much effective with real life connectivity.’
I agreed. The base was provided by my professional experience – though I have deliberately tried not to mix it with slideshows so far, but in this case I think I owe it to each of the viewers.
One of my old well wisher thought he needed my help for his foundry unit badly and we started working together.
Study of the Company’s balance sheets and performance for last couple of months and liquidity position, I convinced me about friend’s urgency – rather it was much late.
It was really bad situation; the Company had lost more than half of its equity during last one and half year, mounted supplier dues compelling cash and carry purchases, resultant poor capacity utilization aggravated the problems and excess bank borrowings due to depletion of securities.
I recall, after one and half month we started looking into the situation, when the preceding month’s performance was computed, to everybody’s surprise there was notable improvement. It went on like that progressively and within year I was connected with the activity, the foundry was out of the red.
One day in second month the receptionist told me, ‘there is surprise for me’. As receptionists go, I thought it was to help me to start another better day.
After the tea meeting next morning my friend beckoned me to stay back and asked me, ‘Prakash how you managed all this’ ‘ Manage what?’ ‘ Last month 2900 people visited you, in 26 working days.’ ‘And 10 hours a day’ I added. ‘Oh, that thing, you never expressed it to me, but situation demands it. Isn’t it?’ ( my friend certainly had resource accounting methods in place and working) ‘ Yes, you are right, it was badly required, but take care of your heart.’
There were 400 active suppliers and about 100 or so ex having stopped supplies due to payment problem. So I was meeting mind to mind to about 100+ persons every day and wrangling over only one issue – no not the money problems, but the normalization of supplies.
With whatever people knew about me many had a confidence that I will have some solutions for the situation, and the others caught with it fast.
You need to understand that these suppliers; more than money they survive and grow on faith, money is just a expression and measure of faith. Having committed lakhs of rupees, either they need money to circulate or in exceptional conditions at the least certainty about it.
One who was engrossed, like my friend, in operational problems, customers ( who were also victims of erratic production ), quality, schedules, developments, workers ( the salaries were also erratic) and so on. In a medium scale industry rarely one takes the responsibility when nothing was clear to them.
When the past was diagnosed properly to provoke the relevant correction and materials were a major constraint, where in immediate past practically all suppliers were related to the problem, suppliers alone were having a solution – the consistent supply of materials. We needed just to convince them.
The suppliers which insisted on meeting me were taken into confidence and there was brief but frank discussion about the way out – different persons, different thinking and expectations, different language, tones, anguish and intensities; but yes we were having a positive access to their thoughts.
Gradually, to display the earnestness, I arranged to keep cheques ready ( so no more arguments over the amounts being paid). Within a week material flow started moving in, activities increased and things started improving.
Idle worker is a most demoralizing factor in the factory. Parkinson’s Law comes into operation victimizing the future due to habituated low productivity and disregard for the quality.
All suppliers were subjected to ABC analysis and sensitivity to operations. Every person coming in to see me was given a confidence that we mean whatever we say but we need their co operation badly.
Every meeting was planned, every word was created for desired impact, every rupee was judiciously leveraged, every promise was met, and through it every moment got created for us to provide an opportunity to unshackle the fate bound in ignorance and preoccupation of the people handling the situation.
Such homework, when it gives a positive and encouraging feedback, helps you create a scenario where a blend of commonalities and differences is brought into play. These scenarios then give you a strategies, solutions and success.
We did defer some payments where there was no reciprocation, but there was understanding but no ill will. If one can not help the process for reasons, one does not throw the spanner – it happens when minds are open and clear.
It was a turnaround and considering the magnitude of problem it was faster one. When we talked with the bankers, with this feedback and plans, the situation eased further.
When insight adds confidence and one sustains the positive change things go on being productive by themselves creating a virtuous cycle. In our own open mind we found keys to the mind of the other fellows.
These were post facto actions, but everything was done in the mind, without pencil or paper and without rush of intensities. Though it was not a question of life and death, our identities as managers of resources, security of hundreds people and our own fate was at the stake.
I have a belief and lived with it that, it is always beneficial and effective to do such exercise before hand preventing situation to go bad.
However, every person, like my friend in this case, has his defendable priorities where balanced approach and practicality was the casualty. May be people in their earnestness want see some tangible results just to feel themselves at command.
In business, where external services and planning are available, but who will find time, energy and commitment to ensure the desired outcome? Had all these already been therein the first place, the situation would not have been allowed to go beyond limits.
If this is the case in business organizations, just imagine who will help individuals in such and similar demanding situations? And we know as individuals we all do face such problems.
The classical human approach comes into picture – either people resign to the situation or keep on fighting with their own sense of relevance and priorities accepting such situations and struggles just as a part of life.
All the bookish knowledge and expertise is there but what can help disciplining the mind for practicable solutions, except for the mind of the people concerned.
I do not say the situation described above is something unique. So many people and numerous organizations have handled it successfully and come out of it and most of them have redefined their outlook towards business and life.
We need to learn from these successes and make such case studies available for people who – today or tomorrow - are expected to handle major business resources, take decisions and responsible for future of people dependent on it.
Managerial minds should be educated for identifying the deviations much earlier to prevent a built up which always calls for disproportionate and wasteful costs in the long run.
Organizations score over individuals as it has access to more minds, where the shared concerns and objectives can add real value better than that is added on machines, machining centers or assembly lines.
When one can visualize the vibrations in the situation, moments, substances, their force and directions nothing remains abstract. Every thing evolves in the mind first–and blooms in reality to be better than otherwise can.
This is an experience, oft repeated. Such way need not be restricted to just business finance. All fields product development, reengineering, marketing, human resources development .. All demand it. Pictures credit Thanks to SlideShare Flickr & WWW drishti~cone – a point of view The fiber optics pictures are intentionally selected as their behavior resembles to human mind. Thoughts being moved reflect only after action is taken, but the power is applied well before that. Each fiber in the bunch can manifest different colours and strength.
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