19 12, 2019

PoS Dec 2019 | Year-end round-up of Perspectives on Strategy

By |December 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

As this tumultous year draws to a close, here is a consolidated edition of my Perspectives on Strategy during 2019.

They cover an eclectic range of topics: sales strategies, CEO incentives, preparing for the long term, risk under uncertainty and high stakes, commentary on flawed government policies, and Game Theory influenced politicking. You can catch […]

20 11, 2019

PoS Nov 2019 | Brinkmanship in Maharashtra: A Game Theory Perspective

By |November 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

When Maharashtra Assembly election results were declared on October 24, 2019 it was a foregone conclusion that BJP would form the government with their ally Shiv Sena. With 161 seats between them (BJP 105, Shiv Sena 56) they had clear majority in the 288-member House. That it was not be is an interesting application […]

24 09, 2019

PoS Sept 2019 | New Traffic Rules: High Penalties Just Do Not Work

By |September 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Effective September 1, 2019, the new traffic rules in India imposed large fines for violations. On the average penalties have been increased 4 to 5 times. The premise? Drivers will be fearful and will follow the rules. Indian roads will become safer and will save many lives.

The policy has received support in many quarters: […]

26 08, 2019

PoS Aug 2019 | Stop Bribing Your Managers

By |August 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

There is hardly a company today that does not have an incentive program for managers. For CEOs and senior managers bonuses are hefty. Large bonuses are especially pernicious. In spite of overwhelming evidence that monetary rewards do not work, the practice continues unabated.

The most significant aspect of senior managers’ work concerns the future. It […]

6 07, 2019

PoS June 2019 | Just How Risky Is Risk?

By |July 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How accurately do we measure the real risk in risks we take in our personal and professional lives? Often we do not do it well enough. It came through to me vividly last month.

In May 2019 I completed a trek to Bali Pass in the Himalayas. Situated at 4950 metres (16260 feet) the 6-day, […]

20 06, 2019

PoS Mar 2019 | Taking The Long View

By |June 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

On a chance visit to the Swaminarayan Temple in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta, India) recently I heard an interesting anecdote on the importance of taking the long view, a really long view.

The temple is beautiful and large, set in nearly 33 acres. It has a serene atmosphere and offers expansive areas for visitors and devotees […]

4 03, 2019

PoS Feb 2019 | Venkat’s Plan Part 2: The Game Theory Trap

By |March 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

My January post appears to have touched a chord. Many readers wrote to share their opinion. The overwhelming majority felt Venkat’s incentive scheme would fail. Sales report submissions would not improve.

Views were diverse but there were a few recurring themes. Some objections were ideological: should sales people be paid an incentive to do their jobs? Well, […]

29 01, 2019

PoS Jan 2019 | Will Venkat’s Plan Work?

By |January 29th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Venkataraman Aravind is an experienced sales manager. Venkat, as he is known in the industry, has made a successful career for himself in B2B firms. As the Head of Sales of a mid-sized firm that deals in construction materials, he is battling a problem: his sales executives do not submit daily report of activities […]

27 12, 2018

PoS Dec 2018 | Are assumptions hurting your brand?

By |December 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

I was enjoying lunch with friends on a pleasant December afternoon, when my phone rang. The caller, an ICICI Bank Card representative, asked if I had paid the bill that had fallen due a few days ago. I apologised and said how sorry I was that I had forgotten to. I assured the young […]

27 12, 2018

PoS Nov 2018 | Jet Airways: The end or a new beginning?

By |December 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

In November 2018 the Indian business press announced that Tata Sons, an Indian business conglomerate with revenues in excess of $100 Billion, were in talks to acquire majority stake in Jet Airways. In previous months, Jet had defaulted on salary payments to at least some sections of employees. The Airline had recently asked employees […]

1 08, 2018

PoS Jul 2018 | NARCOS and the game beyond the game

By |August 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A critical aspect of strategic thinking is the ability to determine one’s strategy in the game at hand by anticipating games in the future. It is especially important to foresee games that may be spawned by playing the game one is offered now.

Such anticipation can be a very smart move. Inability to do so […]

30 06, 2018

PoS June 2018 | Is doing nothing a strategy?

By |June 30th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sometime in 2012, a small company in Tamil Nadu (India) developed manure containing natural plant growth hormones, from seaweed. The gel had to be diluted with appropriate quantity of water before being applied to the soil. Quite quickly the company established a niche with a volume of approximately 10 MT per month.

Lure of profits
Soon, […]

31 05, 2018

PoS May 2018 | Karnataka Election through the Lens of Game Theory

By |May 31st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The May 2018 state legislative assembly election in Karnataka (India) reveals interesting applications of Game Theory. The drama that unfolded offers insightful lessons for strategists.

Setting up the game 

A week before the election, Sonia Gandhi anticipated that Congress might not win an outright victory. She requested Sitaram Yechury, the Communist Leader, to reach out to […]

1 05, 2018

PoS Apr 2018 | Intuitive mind and business shipwrecks

By |May 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A number of my readers had responded to my March piece (Anticipation – A Special Skill of the Astute Strategist) by asking HOW. How can one develop the capacity and skill to foresee possible consequences of how the game is played? How does the astute strategist anticipate future games?

A good way to explore that question is […]

20 03, 2018

PoS Mar 2018 | Anticipation – A Special Skill of The Astute Strategist

By |March 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|2 Comments

A very important quality of the strategic mind is the ability to foresee a sequence of events one’s actions or strategies can trigger. Their consequences may be quite unacceptable yet wholly avoidable, if we could just anticipate how things might turn out. Here’s an instance.

A homeless man in McDonald’s
A gentleman had brought a homeless […]

3 02, 2018

PoS Feb 2018 | Resolving Mr. Sharma’s Problem

By |February 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A strategist’s mind examines a problem from the point of view of other players that compete with, buy from, or supply to us. Inability to do so can cause serious errors of judgement.

A window to our minds
To explore how experienced managers handle issues of this nature, I wrote about Mr. Sharma’s problem in December […]

30 12, 2017

PoS Dec 2017 | Mr. Sharma has a problem!

By |December 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Competitive bidding is a fascinating subject; it is as much about business as about the workings of the human mind. The desire to achieve results prompts individuals to adopt strategies that reveal lessons from Game Theory. This issue relates to one such story.

Standard Metals, a large and reputed producer of steel, has bid to […]

30 11, 2017

PoS 29 Nov 2017 | Is it okay to manipulate people’s preferences?

By |November 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The extraordinary power of the spoken or written word, to persuade, is undisputed. Leaders routinely rely upon them to convince stakeholders to adopt the preferred direction or option. But rarely do they use the principles of Behavioural Economics to shape their narratives.

In his Nobel Prize winning work on Prospect Theory, Daniel Kahneman, the father of […]

16 11, 2017

PoS Nov 17 | Is Jet Airways ready to take advantage of Indigo’s slip?

By |November 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lately there have been a number of unpleasant incidents with airlines. In India,the ground staff of Indigo Airlines manhandled a flyer on the tarmac. Another Indian Airline, Air Asia, was in a spot when a woman flyer lodged a police complaint against three staff for harassing and one of them for inappropriate behaviour. The […]

29 09, 2017

PoS Sept 17 | Finding the RIGHT doctor: A Case in Strategic Decision Making

By |September 29th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Most people, especially managers, associate decision-making with work. This is a narrow view. Many of our most important decisions are about our health, wealth, and happiness. Consider the need to find the RIGHT doctor if you or a family member has a life threatening or debilitating condition that requires major surgery.

In such situations, we […]