Archive for December, 2014

Winning is not merely a desirable thing, it’s everything

When business is looking for the secret of success, it should turn to sport
Rosabeth Kanter

For many years I have observed the ups and downs of organisations as well as countries and also life. During up-times it’s clear that confidence swells and people feel they can do anything, which motivates feats of high performance, because confidence is just an expectation of a positive outcome. When I have confidence, I believe that success is possible, and so those with confidence put in the effort to do the work. It’s really the work that produces success.

During downtimes, confidence ebbs. People, organisations and whole countries get depressed, defeatist and they stop trying. The task of leaders is to produce confidence, to motivate performance, and that requires an organisational culture with certain underpinnings and foundations in place that produce a culture of confidence not just for individuals but confidence in the team, confidence in the system and confidence by investors, stakeholders and the public that the organisation will deliver on its promises.

I have studied the difference between sustained success, or what I call “winning streaks”, just like in sports, and perpetual mediocrity or decline, or as I call them, “losing streaks”, again like sports. I have studied this in businesses such as Gillette, Siemens, Seagate Technology, General Electric, Continental Airlines, the BBC. I have studied this in community and government organisations and in whole countries. I have looked at this phenomenon in microcosm in sports teams, where we can draw many lessons that are applicable to business.

First, winning is a whole lot better than losing. Think about it a moment: it’s not just, of course, the obvious, that we all want success in our organisations and all of our endeavours, but it’s also that the very fact that winning, succeeding, produces better behaviour. It produces better behaviour that will help the team or the organisation perform better in the future.

First of all, people are in a better mood and when people are in a good mood they’re attracted to one another, they want to gather, they want to talk over the past performance. Therefore, they get all of the advantages of learning because they are comparing notes: on how did we win that big sale, how did we make the acquisition, how did we accomplish that incredible conference? When they do that, they have the advantage of learning, whereas losers slink off into the corner, don’t want to talk about it and, therefore, have no opportunity to learn. It only reinforces them in their depression.

Winning brings greater resources, investment by external people. It brings better press. Winning provides more opportunities to be part of better networks, to get better deals. Those who are seen as successful often get bigger discounts. They get sponsorship opportunities. They get first crack at the best people. They get invited to receptions or parties or events where they’re going to meet other people, gain business intelligence and, therefore, have an advantage for the next race.

A second lesson about the difference between sustained success and mediocrity or perpetual failure is that winning is boring. That is, winning can lull people into false complacency or overconfidence. Instead of building their confidence that they can go on to the next victory, they become arrogant and, therefore, stop trying, and that’s one of the reasons that winning streaks end or that success comes to an end.
Also, I say that winning is boring because it’s really hard work. It’s not a matter of doing things that are flashy or dramatic. It’s a matter of constant discipline and professionalism all of the time. It was interesting when I talked to some leaders of sports teams. In teams that had sustained high performance, very long winning streaks, including one team that had a record for the only undefeated season in its sport, when we asked the coach “How did you feel about that undefeated season?”, he said: “The interesting thing about that season was that there was nothing interesting about it. All the players did was get up every day, practise hard, then come to work and win games”. They practised all the time and they held themselves accountable for performance. Leaders have to model this.

A third lesson about the difference is that it’s not the talent; it’s the talent in the team. There’s an obsession in organisations today with talent, with individuals. But most people who meet the threshold of talent will either play above their game or below their game, depending on the culture that surrounds them. On winning teams it’s the team, not the talent. Losing teams and declining organisations often have stars but the stars are out for themselves. They’re looking at their own résumés. They’re trying to promote their own careers rather than promoting the team as a whole.

The fourth difference between sustained success and mediocrity is that winners think small as well as thinking big. Of course you want some big goals, but you also need a constant series of small wins in an organisation. You need many people in unexpected places developing ideas that you didn’t even know were there.

The BBC needed a bit of a turnaround in the early 2000s because in the late 1990s it had been losing audience share and there were concerns about its creativity. A new chief executive set in motion a system of brainstorming meetings and other ways to empower people. Under this new environment, a relatively new trainee was given a budget to create a training film for a new orientation programme. Part of the goal in that era was to create one BBC instead of a set of fragmented divisions: radio versus television news versus sport, and so on. So his job was to create a film that would tell people about life in the organisation. He took that budget and made a film that turned out to be the pilot for The Office, the BBC’s biggest hit comedy since John Cleese in Fawlty Towers. Unexpected, and a small win that turned into a big victory.

The fifth difference between winners and losers is that the secret of winning is how you handle losing. What organisations need most is resilience. Every person is subject to what I call Kanter’s law. Kanter’s law says that nearly everything, especially if it’s new and different, can look like a failure in the middle. If we stop, then by definition it’s a failure. If we have the confidence of winners and the culture of the organisation or our team behind us, we can often convert near-misses or near-disasters into opportunities for improvement, and that’s what winners do.

About the Author
–– Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
–– She specialises in strategy, innovation and leadership for change
–– She was Editor of the Harvard Business Review between 1989 and 1992
–– She has written and co-written 16 books, including Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End; Men & Women of the Corporation and The Change Masters
–– She co-founded the consulting group Goodmeasure in 1977. It specialises in organisational change and innovation She received the Academy of Management’s Distinguished Career Award in 2001
–– She taught at Yale University and Brandeis University before joining Harvard Business School.

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Full time MBA vs. Executive MBA

MBA or Masters of Business Administration is graduate level degree that covers wide range of business studies like marketing, sales, finance, human resources, operations etc. Students who are looking to enter the corporate world, and get knack of how businesses are dealt – MBA is custom made for them.

Students who are applying for an MBA need to have an undergraduate degree in any field. You don’t need to be a business undergraduate to go for an MBA degree.

The curriculum of an MBA degree covers a wide range of subjects – that help the students to understand every single aspect of how to run a business. The students are even given an option to choose a specialization from a variety of fields; depending on their interest.

MBA also gives you the advantage of a better pay package – According to Forbes; you would almost get a 50% hike on your salary post your MBA degree as compared to pre-MBA degree. If you pass out from the big leagues like the IIM’s – They have seen a 28.38% hike on international salaries than last year and 10% on domestic salaries. Most of the companies come in for campus placements and they pay a lot to get the crème dela crème, the highest average salary that was offered in 2014 was 41 Lakh.

There are many types of MBA programs, but two of the most sought after are a full-time MBA and an Executive MBA – These are the difference between the two.

If you are in a confused state and you do not know which one to go for, here is a brief glance of what makes both full time MBA and an executive MBA different.

Pre-requisites

  • Full-Time MBA
    • Completed an undergraduate degree or you are in the final year – when you are applying.
    • Cleared the entrance exams like CAT, MAT, XAT, GMAT etc.
    • Got the required pass percentage. Most colleges range between 50% – 60%
    • If you want to study abroad, then you might require work experience depending on the college to apply to.
  • Executive MBA
    • You should have an undergraduate degree plus an additional 5 year plus work experience if required
    • This degree is specifically made for working executives.
    • Some colleges have a minimum age group. Like IIM has a minimum age of 27 and there is no upper limit
    • GMAT scores that is obtained between 4 years of the commencement of the program (optional – depending on the college)
  • Time
    • Full Time MBA: This is 2 year course – which is divided systematically into seminars, lectures, projects etc.
    • Executive MBA: This is a 1 year diploma – which has a similar course structure to a full-time MBA – but it is more compact than a full time degree
  • Purpose
    • Full Time MBA:Undergraduates who want to get into the business field, or else is people what to shift their field of work – this degree is well suited for them.
    • Executive MBA:Though it has a similar sort of structure as a full time degree, it is custom made for working professionals – people who have been in the corporate industry; or have worked for long and want to come into the business world – this diploma would suit their purpose.
  • Money
    • Full Time MBA:This course is slightly cheaper than an executive one. For example it would range between 10 Lakh and could go up depending on the prestige and the caliber of the college.
    • Executive MBA:This is slightly more expensive than full time. It could range between 20 Lakh to 33 Lakh approx. depending on the college. For example IIM A fees are almost 22Lakh and ISB is 34 Lakh.

Most of the time students make the decision based on the money or the time factor. But you have to realize both of the programs are equally good and worth it. Just make an informed decision and be sure of which ever program you choose for. Best of luck for your future.

Trishna MukherjeeAuthor Bio: Trisha is a professional writer and adviser on education and career. She is an ardent reader, a traveler and a passionate photographer. She wants to explore the world and write about whatever comes across her way.

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