Thursday, July 28, 2011

Professional vs Lala company

I got asked a question, what is the difference between a professional company and a Lala company (typically used for a promoter led company). I had not come across any clear definition so went on to google and searched for Lala company. Was surprised to know that there are/have been companies which proudly call themselves Lala company, they of-course do not know the derogatory implication in the Indian context of that name. People have asked questions like what is the difference in salary between Private, limited and LALA company, I am wondering what would be the definition in the mind of the person who asked that question around the word Lala company.

Having not found any satisfactory definition for the term on Google, I can safely assume there is no definition, so I have my first opportunity of a Newton moment to define something in my name. The moment was as momentous in my life as an apple falling on my head and me discovering gravity or finding an unknown star and give it my name. The discovery is also important because of my lineage carrying a standard definition of the Lala community.

Let me put down my thoughts around what could be the difference between the two. There will obviously be some variance from the stated principles, but in general, I think most of them will fit the general situations and the way we filter between the two. This of-course is work in progress and can use some refinement, so if you have some opinions to refine and make this better, please provide your inputs and I will share credit for the definition.

  • If you work for a company where the promoter, who has the maximum stake and started the company, worked really hard to get the business established, put money at risk, learned the business from scratch, he/she also manages the company, then you work for a lala company. If some random person manages the business, who has otherwise no interest in the company, may or may not have a clue about the business, understands that the company sells soap, or is a BPO or some such stuff, has to ensure multiple times valuation so that he/she can make a lot of money, networks with the potential investors over golf, has read Blue ocean strategy, Good to Great, Strategy focused organisation, seven habits and many such great books, then you work for a professional company.
  • If your company is staffed by promoters relatives who he/she can trust, friends who have stood by him/her through bad times, people who have been loyal to him/her because of who he/she is and the company has taken care of them even in bad times, then you work for a Lala company. If you work for a company where the company is staffed by people who shift jobs with the CEO, every time he/she moves company, never worked for a company for a long time, nobody trusts anyone in the environment, and most of these guys will get fired in the next downturn, then you work for a professional company.
  • If you work for a company where the top management team abuses you in Hindi or other regional language you work for a Lala company. If the top management team abuses you in English or fashionable Hinglish, then you work for a professional organisation.
  • If you work for company where the CEO decides everyone's pay and performance without the inputs of all managers, you work for a Lala company. If you work for a company where you fill forms, give ratings, give suggestions, which go up a complete chain of managers, gets reviewed, moderated and then the CEO throws the data in the dustbin, decides on everyone's salary and ratings, in discussion with the HR manager who has been with him/her for the last 5 jobs, then you work for a professional company. 
  • If you work for a company where the CEO takes all the decisions, you don't know what the decisions are and work on what has been given to you, you work for a Lala company. If you work for a company where the Vision, Mission, Quality / Security / Toilet etc etc policies, have been put up everywhere in the office, you rarely look at them, the business has no connection to what has been written on those walls, the CEO seems to be changing business strategy everytime he/she reads a new book, you remember all the funny posters (put up as part of the Fun at work initiatives last year) but not the vision, mission, when asked you mention your last company's vision and mission and you still come out correct, you are definitely working for a professional company.
Disclaimer / Warning / Notice : I know from my previous experience at sarcasm, that some of you, especially if you work for a professional company, will feel offended by the content, please understand that this content is for adults and you should not have been reading this in the first place, you should have been working and not using the internet, as defined by the policy with reference to the policy hanging above the urinal in the washroom, duly notified and signed by the CEO.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Meeting Menace

Recently one of my friend was complaining about how meetings keep getting dragged without any outcome from the meetings. I was in a workshop with some people around how to write job descriptions and many of them wanted to write one of the key responsibilities of their job was "to attend meetings".

Most managers that I have spoken to have always complained about too many meetings in their jobs across various kinds of organisations. To me having too many meetings are indication of not enough work in the system for the people or not enough clarity on who is responsible for what.

One of the things we did in our organisation to cut down on the wasted time was to do a simple thing. We would ask ourselves two simple questions, did we achieve anything out of the meeting ? Could we have done this better any other way ? Over a period of time we realised that we could have dropped many of our meetings that we were doing on a regular basis and get more work done from the same time.

So all you people who suffer the meeting menace, force people to answer these two questions after every meeting and you will suddenly find that the number of meetings would have to go down as most of them were not serving any purpose.