I, The Absolute

Term Break and Three Books

Posted by itheabsolute on July 25, 2005

Term break was as hectic as the last term was. Thanks to our procrastination, we ended up spending three full days on completing our strategy project. A movie, an evening at a pub and visit to parents and friends filled the rest of time.

Tried best to catch up with reading – Confidence by Rosabeth Moss Kanter; Mind of the strategist by Kenichi Ohmae (ex-Director of Mckinsey, Japan) ; the Goal by Goldratt (prescribed reading for our Term III. Had missed out reading this book before). All good books to read.

Rosabeth is a Harvard Professor. She says that self-confidence is not a personality trait. It is a response to a situation. Example, a not-so-good team can win against a mighty opponent if it is on a winning streaks; a good team can lose against a weak team if it is on a losing streak. This happens with Indian cricket team all the time. Its ‘wins’ are more a reflection of its confidence than the ability of its members. The book is a good read and the tips can be used to improve performance, both personal and organizational.

The Mind of the Strategist by Ohmae) writes about his view on the formulation of strategy – (mental) processes involved in developing strategies; he talks about strategic triangle – “company, customers and competition”, and how focus on each of these can influence strategies one can develop; and he talks about environmental forces, which influence strategic/business thinking.

The Goal, I write at the risk of sounding prehistoric, is a brilliant book on theory of Constraints. Much of what is given in the book is known today. But when it was written in early 80s, these concepts were not well known. Simply put, the book says that we can only be “as efficient as the bottle-necks” in our processes; or our strength is “as strong as the weakest link” in the chain. The book talks about how to manage the work flow to manage the bottle-necks and improve operations at a manufacturing facility; about defining goals as the starting point of any analysis on improving efficiency or productivity. Once goals are defined, the rest of the process can be attuned to meet the goals. The learnings from the book can be applied at individual level too.

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