Can You “Manufacture” Customer Service? Oh United!

Many of you must have seen the video of the United Airlines customer service fiasco, where a passenger was forcibly removed by the Chicago Police from the aircraft after being boarded. At the last moment, United required four seats for their own pilots who needed to get to the destination. So much for “flying the…

Is everyone trying to be someone they are not?

Two weeks ago, I concluded my blog with “everyone is trying to be someone they are not”. Some of you must have realized by now that I often take deliberately provocative positions. This helps unfreeze others as they feel compelled to stake an opposing view. It’s good to stir up the pot. So, as expected,…

In India, nothing is too much trouble

One of the remarkable things that strikes visitors, especially foreigners, about India is the warmth of the people one encounters. Individuals think nothing about dropping everything and going out of their way to help you without any expectation of reciprocity. They even get embarrassed if you so much as thank them for their generosity.

The Art of Seduction

Someone once told me that Machiavelli said the art of seduction is telling good looking people they are intelligent, and intelligent people they are good looking. I have no idea if Machiavelli expounded on this subject, but the advice is truly Machiavellian.

India: Demographic Dividend or Demographic Bomb?

This week, I closed my time in India as a resident and moved back to London. Those who know me well are aware of my deep love for my country of birth. I can never really leave India. My apartment in Calcutta will always be there as my home. Yet, as an academic I must…

Should Business School Faculty be Executives?

MBA students are often puzzled why faculty at top business schools are not either current or former executives with so-called “real world experience”. Instead, academics with PhDs teach the next generation of executives. The overwhelming majority of faculty members have never been entrepreneurs or executives with any meaningful business experience. The higher ranked the business…

Is Management a Noble Profession?

Last week I spoke of marketers as liars. This week’s blog post is to atone for that. One consequence of the 2008 financial crisis, the deleterious impact of which on employment and incomes still persist, is that it tarnished the image of bankers and managers. I would be hard pressed to defend bankers, even if…

Does IQ Matter?

This weekend blog started as a weekend email to the top leadership of the Tata Group. Once, I included an abbreviated intelligence (IQ) test available on the internet.  Some of my Tata colleagues sent their individual scores to me and the distribution was:

How to learn? Must you fail?

Many years ago, I shared a taxi from Singapore airport to the hotel with Chris Argyris. Chris was a business school professor, who ended his career at Harvard and unfortunately passed away in 2013. His research focussed on why organizations and people find it so hard to learn. His most approachable article is “Teaching Smart People How to Learn“ published…

How Do We Perceive Ourselves?

While professor at IMD in Switzerland, I was the co-director of the Program for Executive Development which targeted senior managers in their 40s and 50s who had been successful in their careers in a functional role. Overwhelmingly, they did not have an MBA. You must remember that the MBA was not a common degree in…

Au Revoir 2016

Welcome to the last blog of 2016. Since this weekend blog was set up, I have written 38 posts, which are aimed to be consumed in about 10 minutes. It is now emailed to more than 750 subscribers. But via postings on http://www.scroll.in and http://www.linkedin.com, another 10,000 to 100,000 views a week are garnered. Signing…

Should You Disagree with the Boss?

When teaching, I often used to observe that your boss works much harder than you do and, more often than not, is smarter than you. Nothing riled up the class more than this, but such provocations are extremely important. The role of a professor is not to tell students “what to think”, but instead “to…