Attending meetings with bosses

In every meeting, you will find some bosses sitting with their subordinates. Many times, bosses have no clue about ground reality. They have to rely on subordinate for detailing. If meeting held between “n” number of departments/functions , expect “2n+” participant in meetings. Each boss will have atleast one subordinate to support him.

Some of them come with 3-4 subordinates just to remain secure. If they don’t have answer of technical query, immediate subordinate has to be ready with data and process input.

Many smart bosses use management jargons to hide the fact that they don’t know much. Instead on talking to point, technical jargon or exceptions is best tool to defend.

I had two bosses who use to start a remembered transcript on transformation, process improvements, and need of robust system. We need to listen along with operation managers. These jargons create curiosity without delivering concrete result.
Many times, I attended the meeting to download management’s mandate. These meetings had something else other than what had been said to deliver.

Managing productive meeting is big task. One man writes down minutes which hardly gets distributed or reviewed.
Meetings are best time pass for many. Operation manager has tough task to explain the same process to multiple Transformation executives.

Transaction Intensity reduction vs Lean

I am working on transaction intensity reduction. It amused me as it is different from other quality methodologies. In six-sigma, we focus more on defect reduction. Lean focuses more on reduction of cycle time. In my current project, vendor keeps sending invoices against each transaction. Lean supports single peace flow. But, it is making transaction intensity very high and unmanageable at payable end.

Someone suggested single invoice single vendor per month. However, it will create batch processing. In all this, I feel it makes sense to have optimal batch sizes than single piece flow mindlessly.  Overall cost and lead time implications should be seen.

In BPO, many calls may be automated or self-answered in FAQ format which may reduce transaction intensity. Sending bus for each passenger may not serve purpose. Batching has its own advantage. It reduces change over time in continuous process.

Six sigma experts may question need for multiple purchase order, invoices, HR training sessions, or any other voluminous activity and may plan strategy to reduce the transactions itself to make them more manageable.

Banks reduced transaction through diverting them from branch to ATM, internet or mobile. Ticket window in Indian rail has been diverted to internet, cash coupon, or monthly ticket etc.

Shared Service

Objective, Definition, and benefits

This is new management jargon. We can compare it with centralizing the transaction activities. However, is slightly different as it is customers orientated with service mind-set. In highly competitive environment, Shared service may become a competitive tool for cost advantage. Bringing all mindless jobs under one roof make sense. It may help in thinning the processes at optimal level.

Its effectiveness may vary from company to company. It is tough tool to implement and get meat out of it. It also needs some tough decisions. People management and realignment mistakes may cost the organization.

 Types of Terms

Centralization: Bringing decentred operations from various locations to one place

Shared service: Bringing all transactions activities at same place.  

POE (Pocket of excellence) : It is highly specialised work conducted by highly specialised professionals like legal, litigations, or R&D.  


Make project plan

List down activity list

Identify Transactions and specialised activities through defined format/framework

Propose model of working for both worlds (Transaction and left-out one)

Collect SOPs or Make SOP – Swim lanes from process owners

Define Escalation matrix / Define governance model

Performance Management – HR Joke

I went through this exercise yesterday. A long round of discussion on my strength and weakness (area of improvement) happened with my boss. I am lucky one I got a discussion. In most of the companies in India, it is just face value. Perceptions rule it. In the end, you need to align with boss’s goal and objective and have to make his chair secure.

It is very seasonal. It comes once in a year. It drives alertness and rumour mills in management circle. Some managers have tough role to tell his subordinate where he is lacking or what can him more productive.

Like many, I am weak in boss management. Boss has extra need of information feed. It is natural in a human. Top managers are most insecure lot.

I am against yearly appraisal. It is very difficult to judge a person on yearly basis. It should be project/task specific. People have short memory and have to rate subordinate based on last three month’s performance. At the last 50’s managers can’t think beyond three months in past. In future, they are trained to see beyond 20-30 years. But past memory erased quickly for them. Poor subordinate has to pay for it.

Even if management has to give time based performance incentive, duration should be four or six months. One year is too long. HR managers don’t like frequent query handling. Yearly performance measurement supports them.

Same managers offer double salary when you leave. It shows weakness in system to identify true performers.