How Cyrus Mistry was Fired as Tata Chairman

On 24 October 2016, Cyrus was in his Bombay House 4th floor office examining what seemed like a routine agenda for the Tata Sons board meeting that was scheduled to start in five minutes at 14:00 hours. Through the grapevine, Cyrus had heard that some of the board members had an unscheduled informal meeting earlier…

Does Parenting Matter?

Fifteen years ago, with the arrival of Maya, I became a father. As all parents feel, it was a transformational event. Sometimes, as new parents, we forget that becoming a parent is something that has happened billions of times before. Yes, it is a unique event, but only for us as individuals, not for humanity.

Must Power Corrupt? The Hubris Syndrome

The hubris syndrome has been defined as “a disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years and with minimal constraint on the leader.”[i] From a longer list, reproduced here are four symptoms that I have frequently observed in such leaders:

How Power Affects Individuals?

Power of “A” party over “B” is related to the dependence of B on A. This dependence happens because A controls some resources, such as rewards, punishments, or expertise, that can be bestowed on B, and B does not have attractive alternatives to A. My early research career was devoted to investigating power and I…

Does Experience Matter?

Over the next few weeks, I am working on finishing my book so will not be sending weekend reads and you may have already noticed their absence. Perhaps once every two weeks you may receive an older one which has been revised and improved. The executive lunch room at Bombay House led to interesting conversations….

Insiders and Outsiders in Organizations

A learning from my corporate experience has been the fascinating differences between “insiders” and “outsiders”. Insiders are those who have been with the organization for a long time, often their entire career has been with a single firm. Outsiders are those who have been hired to bring fresh ideas, competences, and blood into the organization.

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…