Is Money EVERYTHING?

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and any resemblance with any reality is purely coincidental. Any resemblance to any person, country, or incident is purely a matter of chance. The writer is not responsible for it.

Although, it is quite possible that many may identify with this write-up.

My name is John (although it could be Bob, Micheal, Arun, Jose or Platini). I am, thanks to my hard work and luck, now a CXO level officer in a large multi-national company. I started my career at the lowermost level in the organization and by sheer dint of my consistent performance reached the level I had always dreamed of.

A CXO level executive.

Today, working from home, my mind is torn between what I am asked to do and what I believe should be done….my conscious is killing me, the pain is written all over my face. Should I or Should I not…..the muddle in my mind is become deeper and deeper and deeper….more of that in a bit.

Here is what happened:

John’s phone rang. It was the companies CEO. He said we need to talk, is this a good time? One thing John had learnt in his working life was that when the CEO calls, it is always a good time.

As expected, he said “Yes Boss”.

“John, I will not waste my time in pleasantries because there is nothing pleasant about what I have to tell you. The Board has decided that to tackle the drop in business, due to corona, we have to lay off at least 25 % of our employees and cut the salaries of the remaining employees by 10 to 20 %”.

John was shocked into silence. His biggest fear was coming true. John always believed in the power of good employees. He always believed that the success of an organization depends on the quality of its employees. He believed, that he has been successful in his career because he always chose a great team to work for him. He clearly communicated the objectives to them, monitored regularly, provided mentoring and guidance whenever required and boom….the success happened.

This approach has worked for him, time and again. And now this. His mind went in overdrive.

John called the CFO of the company; he was keen to know the financial situation of the company. He could call the CFO because he and Bob (the CFO) were school friends.

He mentioned about the call he has received and asked Bob, “Are we in that bad a shape? I thought we were doing well. At least, that is what I have been reading in the press”.

Bob’s loud sigh could be heard over the phone.

Bob said in a quiet tone, “So it has started finally. Well, no we are not in a bad shape. We are sitting on enough cash to last out more than a year”.

John exclaimed, “then why”??

Bob responded in a de-moralised tone, “John, this debate has been going on in the Board for the last 3 days, all of us including the CEO have been trying their level best to convince the Board that we can and we must be more patient. Let’s at least sit tight for next 3 months and if we see Covid coming under control and if we see that a vaccine is around the corner then we may not need to take any drastic action otherwise we can pull out our swords at that time.

John “Makes sense, so then?”

Bob “We failed. As you know John, the Board is run and dominated by the owners of the company. From their perspective, waiting for 3 months is throwing cash away. They want the money NOW.

John, an employee-oriented CXO was disappointed, his mind’s whirl became even worst…

John, having worked in the industry for a long time, knew that sometimes the power and desire of money/ambition clashes with the requirements of being a good and sensible human being. And sometimes one has to do such things to save the jobs of other employees, ensure the longevity of the business and for the “larger” good of the other stakeholders….But should the same priorities apply in case of pandemics like this? Knowing that employees laid off will not be able to find jobs these days.

Companies spend a lot of money on Corporate Social Responsibility. In such a situation, should not the charity begin at home? Or CSR is only done because companies get tax exemption??

John’s mind went towards another issue, the average age of the company’s employee is 27 years (termed these days as “millennial”). For some reason, they don’t understand the seriousness of the situation. They are still working hard, they are upbeat about the company, they believe that they are working for a successful company which works in cutting edge technologies and they are proud of the work they do and the company they work for.

Hi, This is me Manoj Tandon; back again……

please look at the above situation from a distance and give you thoughts and opinions on the following questions:

1. How do you picture the Board’s decision? And what do you think they should have done?

2. What do you think about the reaction of the top leaders? What can they do or should do to make the situation better?

3. Read the above as if you are an employee of the company and tell what you think would be the right answer to this puzzle.

Here are my answers (due to shortage of space, I will try to be as succinct as possible):

1. Boards, for obvious reasons, tend to look at things in money, market, margins etc. kind of terms. Since they don’t have to meet the employees daily, share the pleasures of success and pains of failure with them they mostly tend to become impersonal in their decision making and behaviour.

2. Reactions of top leaders are more understandable, for two reasons. One, that since they are dealing with the human side of an organization (it tends to be almost 50 % of their daily work), they feel more the pain of the people who work for them (compared to a typical Board). In this case, however, there is one big weakness that is coming to the fore. If the young employees are not feeling the sense of trouble looming then it is the fault of top leaders. It is their job to communicate with the employees regularly. If the employees are living in their world, clearly the Top Management, while people-oriented, is not leading properly.

3. If I look at it from an employee perspective, I have all the reasons to be a bit upset. A bit, because while my company has been doing well but due to the prevalent situation across the world, I must have my antenna’s up to know that something like this can happen and I need to start thinking and preparing my Plan B.

Now, what should John do? Again my recommendation (would love to hear you):

On the Board and Senior Side:

1. Taking the matter to the board or seniors with just the human side will not help. They will all express sympathies but will not change their decision

2. If any change of decision is possible, John needs to build a business case out of it.

a. What is the impact on the company’s ability to deliver now and in the future if people are laid off?

b. Will some revenue remain unrealised? If there are less or demotivated people, once you lay off a substantial amount of people, whether one likes or justifies it whichever way, the morale does always go down.

c. Many companies (those who can afford it and this company seem to be able to), are using this time and availability of resources to create new IP, new Post Covid 19 offerings depending on how the market is expected to change. John has to ask himself this question that can the extra workforce be utilised for creating IP or a group of IP’s in a short period of time judiciously using the people. If yes, then make some very specific and focussed plan for it and present that to the board.

On the employee side:

1. Start orienting them towards the fact the business is down. Not because the company is not doing a good job but because of Covid 19. Draw parallels between other companies facing the same problem.

2. Urge them to think of ways they can contribute more

3. Maybe form task groups to come up with ideas about how they can contribute directly or indirectly to increase companies business.

Some more thoughts from my side:

1. Most specialists are reasonably confident that a solution will be found soon. Vaccines are under preparation and are being tested in various labs all around the world, and very competent doctors and scientists are working around the clock to find a solution.

2. Although overall the world is in a state of high alert, however lurking somewhere in everyone’s mind is confidence that given the amount of effort, energy and money being put in to find a cure/vaccine, the solution will inevitably be found. It may take some time, but it will happen sooner rather than later. Medical science has advanced too much to not be able to find the solution.

Will it take 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or more? No one knows.

You may be wondering why I have authored this article?

Simple:

· this situation is currently happening in many places

· is being thought about at many places and

· if you follow the news closely, it has already happened in many places all across the world. It is REAL.

So the question is — Is money EVERYTHING? Are their situations where “employee welfare” tops “money for the business”? Please do remember, as I had said before, there is enough cash in the company to last more than a year.

As always, please do like, share and comment below. More opinions, better thinking, better judgement.

Meanwhile, stay safe and God bless you.

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Big Brother in WATCHING — Employee monitoring during Work from Home…..

In these days of Corona and Work from Home, most of the businesses have declared Work from Home. However, while doing that they have also installed software which continuously monitor the employees which take continuous screenshots of employees’ computers, producing a video of everything they’re doing, they also monitor for specific keywords on employees’ screens, to check if they are looking for a job, mishandling confidential information etc.

It’s like the Big Brother is watching you, not only during the working hours but during non-working hours also if you happen to use the company laptop etc.

Is it all right to do so? Is it good? or it has terrible consequences in terms of employee morale and productivity?

Should it be done at all…..to know more about this topics, please click on the link below and read…

Link – http://simplysaid.in/should-employers-be-watching-over-the-shoulder-of-their-employees-during-work-from-home/

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ECONOMIC SPYING — NEED OF THE HOUR

…Is the heading sounding a bit odd to you?

…Are you wondering why suddenly this?

…Are you also a bit confused about what in this God’s earth is “economic” spying? And why is it so important or even relevant?

If the answer to even one of the questions is “Yes”, then you are the right person to read this article.

As always, let’s begin from the beginning…

You all must have been following the news lately, thanks to Covid 19, even the most uninterested people have started following the news.

You must have also noticed a lot of news items on various countries like Germany, Spain, US, India etc. have put various kinds of, for lack of a better word, embargos on allowing Chinese companies to operate / invest in their country “freely” without increasing the “watch” on them.

Countries, like the US, which were traditionally big buyers or who used to source from China have also decided to move their bases away from China to various other countries.

Let’s think, what has prompted them to do that. Here are some reasons:

1. Due to this pandemic, doubt has crept in the mind of Countries that:

a. This virus was lab-created and has been used to bring down the economies of many countries to their knees since that enables China to become the economic superpower that it wants to be.

b. What has angered Governments is that all this has been done at the expense of their countrymen by making them sick, seriously ill and even dead.

c. It has been done by pushing down their industry, making job losses happen and making their people suffer

2. As the leaders of the countries decided to take tough action and to that purpose dug deeper into what is going on in their own country they realised that, where ever possible, China has intruded silently either directly or indirectly in their countries (by investing in their companies, by becoming a part of their supply chains etc.).

3. The most dangerous of these intrusions has been the whole area of Information Technology, Hardware, Software and Mobile Technology.

a. In case of Hardware, Chips, which are at the core of any Hardware, are programmable. One can surreptitiously, put programs in the chip which can steal data from the machine or mobile and then quietly (without the user knowing) can transfer the data/information back to parent companies in China.

b. The other area where a lot of dangerous practices were discovered is this whole are of Apps used in cell phones and laptops etc. They were known to be transferring data back to the huge databases of the companies in China.

c. The third area which has come to the fore is 5 G Technology. While initially, the whole world was excited about this new development but soon people realised that one of the Chinese companies (a leading player) may be using this technology to capture countries complete mobile networks and via that the Financial and Defence Systems also.

d. All the above has set the alarm bells ringing in many countries all over the world.

e. Now, before going forward let me tell why is this capturing of data by a company so dangerous. The reason is that according to the Chinese system, all the data that a company has is accessible to the Chinese Govt. In other words, all of the countries, people data, Govt. data, Financial date and if one is not careful classified defence information is available to the Chinese Govt.

I am sure by now, you would have got the perspective on the topic of my article.

Now, let’s move to the topic…”Economic Spying — Need of the Hour”…

Whenever one thinks of spying (thanks to James Bond movies, Cold War, CIA, Mossad etc.) we think of fast cars, transmitters, bullets, assassinations etc. destroying the enemy resources, installations etc. While the usefulness of that cannot be denied in the low-intensity warfare, however, the time has now come to add one more branch and definition to the business of spying…for simplicities sake, we can call it Economic Spying.

What is Economic Spying?

· Identifying, understanding and destroying the path of Terror Finance. As we all know to carry out a terror attack, one needs Explosives, Men, Equipment etc. what is the common factor to do all the above, Money. Let’s think further, what do you need to run a terror organization like Al Qaida? Again, money. In other words, without money Terror cannot happen. Terror Organizations like any organizations need to raise money, move it to the right place, store it and spend it. They have to do all this without anything coming out in the open. To do all these things they use different methods, sources, tactics etc. It is so complex that it is not easy to make this happen.

· It is said that the third war will not be fought by weapons but by money or in other words, it will be Economic Warfare. What does this mean? Simple, read my preamble again, what China has done is that it has (thru its companies) invested heavily in other countries and thru its technology have dug itself deep inside countries the world over. How does it help China? It has access to data, information, ability to influence Government Policies, and impact the public opinion of the country from INSIDE. When someone attacks a country from OUTSIDE its borders, the whole country rises to the challenge, supports its armed forces, and develops a strong opinion against the aggressor country. But, what happens when a country quietly comes INSIDE the enemy country, starts controlling its resources, starts influencing public opinion using very effective but dumb tools like social media, and impacting its economic assets (if it is still not very clear, think termite, think virus…they eat from inside) then the DANGER is even bigger than straight-on warfare. Using Economic means, one could control the enemy countries economy and then when the right time comes, win the war against the enemy country by pulling the plug on the economy and using the traditional military at the same time. In military language, you could call it, the pincer movement.

While I could go on but, I am sure by now, you would have gotten a sense of what I mean by what I am calling as Economic Spying.

Every country, now, needs to have full-fledged organization (almost as big as CIA, Mossad, RAW etc. of the world) who eat, live Economic Spying.

The job of such organizations should be to chase money, money movement, money utilization, from outside the country, within the country, within organizations and also link them to the actions taken by organizations, directly, indirectly, openly, quietly, decipher patterns and judge the DANGERS and ELIMINATE them as quickly as spying agencies do.

It is now strongly believed that if we really want to end Terrorism, cutting the money source is THE MOST POTENT weapon. Turn the money tap off and the organised terror ends.

Similarly, prevent other countries to get inside your own country via Economic or Technical route for wrong reasons and you have effectively eliminated the risk of losing the third world war…the economic war.

Hence my topic….

Economic Spying — Need of the Hour

As always (and I must thank so many of you who have regularly started supporting my blog), please like, clap, share and comment.

Till next time….stay safe, stay blessed, stay happy and healthy.

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We live in a society which keeps scores

Sad but true….but let me first explain what I mean with that….

Recall any time you were sitting with your friends, relatives, close family members….also recall what was the main conversation around…..let me help you by giving thought prompters…

Do words/sentences like these ring a bell, his son has done………, her sister is doing very well she is…….., her uncle is a …….., they have gone to ……. for vacation, even at this young age he ………,

I can possible go on and on and the list will not end….

Have we ever wondered what effect this is having on the psyche of our people, kids, young ones, other human beings……!!

And then we crib about, how competitive getting admission into nursery, primary school, professional colleges has become, life has become too stressful (leading to diseases at young ages), people cutting corners behaving in a non-ethical manner to achieve what they want to achieve, youngsters are getting hooked on to drugs, students committing suicide, people working themselves off to buy a bigger car, more houses, trying to go on bigger and more money blowing vacations…..the list goes on and on and on….!!!

Bottom line……my SCORE must become bigger than yours, my son should do MORE……than others, my SISTER should be bigger than others, my family should go on a MORE ostentatious vacation than others, my son’s marriage should be even more flashy than others,

and this one is the most ridiculous one I have ever heard,

my husband got his piles surgery done in England (I don’t trust Indian hospitals…. :-))

…..and blah blah blah….

Do we need such a society? Do we need such people, do we really think we, the great Homo Sapiens, are the most intelligent of beings!!!!

DO WE REALLY WANT TO KEEP A SCORE…!!! ALWAYS….from the time we are born to the day we die…….

And even if we have to can we please keep scores like my son is happier than…….my brother is so satisfied with life that…..my sister is such a good person that she……..

Think about it…

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Can we make a difference??

Can we, become better business leaders of our small companies by leading thru example?

Like most of us (I am assuming this), I sometimes wonder that can I make a difference in the society that we live in…..is there something special about all the BIG people who have a direct impact on the society…..am I too small a fry to make a difference…

I got the answer thru a happenstance. Thought will share with you.

There is a small (almost insignificant) traffic light close to my house. Nobody (including myself) ever bothers to look at the color of its eyes…:-)

One Sunday, while I was going somewhere, my mind was busy contemplating on serious topics like Terrorism, War, Pollution, Ecology damage etc.

When I reached THE traffic light, I noticed that the light was red and since my mind was too busy thinking about the esoteric topic, I just braked and stopped the car….

after sometime I realized that some more cars had stopped around me….

Not bothering much, as the light turned green, I drove away….

For some reason the happening stayed with me…

Next day (the light falls on my regular office way), I again stopped at the same light (it was red again), again cars stopped around me…. I was amused and surprised at the same time.

I started doing that regularly and also told my driver to do this.

Guess what people started repeating their behavior (at least whenever my car stopped at the red light…)…

One day, I was walking past that traffic light and I noticed that some other car people had picked up that habit and looking at them stopped others had started following the traffic signal light.

It’s been many many months, my office route has changed but even now whenever I happen to go past that light I notice that people have started taking that light seriously.

Can we make a difference, can we apply this lesson in others walks of life.

I wonder? Do you?

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