Career
Corporate illiteracy that is scary

Corporate training is appallingly bad in India. Most training programs are taken for granted rather than as an opportunity to impart valuable skills to promising managers.

I am aghast with the poor general awareness in many corporate training or education programs. I am equally scared of such companies being run by incompetent managers. Most of them do not read anything worthwhile; they do not seem to read any business magazine or newspaper. The normal explanation is on the lines of “I have no time to read due to work and family pressures”. Here’s another: “Sir, I tried reading but do not understand anything!”
 

According to me, both can be overcome, but requires a lot of patience. So, as long as, one can invest time and effort in reading and seeking information that cannot be understood, understanding will come gradually. Many employees risk being labeled “failures”, if they are not up to the mark. Some of them maybe good in their present roles, but when they move up the ladder, they might get exposed if their knowledge is found to be lacking.
 

I also believe that companies themselves are also responsible for this state of affairs, and employee development and training. They do precious little to make sure that their managers, who going forward will be in line for promotions and will be in decision making positions, are well informed. The inability to understand and comprehend the business environment that is dynamic is a basic problem.  Yet, making decisions on perceived notions is a sure shot way of destroying an organization. It is pertinent to note that all this happens in the so-called age of information and knowledge! A good training programme will abolish preconceived notions and enable managers to think logically and rationally by analysing data in a proper way.
 

Most managers do not even look at their own company’s financial statements and have no idea of the financial performance! If this is the case, how will they possibly analyse markets and competition? How will they possess the required skill to analyse data, not just financial statements?
 

Shareholders of such companies, with incompetent managers, need to be worried. After all, their money is at stake. Do not get fooled when companies say that they spend so much on training and development. The skill sets of the employees are not known and neither is it known as to what they gain out of such corporate training and programs. Barring few companies like L&T and Hindustan Unilever, whose training programs evoke seriousness, most programs that I have seen indulge in training as a ritual, where employees treat it as though it is a paid holiday and for fun! They rarely treat such programs as an opportunity to upgrade their skill sets.
 

Stock market analysts should actually interview managers at middle-level to find out the awareness levels. They will have a fair idea of what to expect from companies they cover in future, when managers they interviewed get promoted. Sadly, analysts themselves are not interested in the long term view and the details of what makes companies tick (i.e. the managers and employees). They are busy giving tips for short term trading. They are only interested in the next quarter performance which, according to them, is the long term view! So, most of them do not really know how competent middle-level managers are!
 

Surprisingly, in corporate education programs you will have managers who have not even heard of Jack Welch or Warren Buffet. They have a vague idea about Porter and they interpret him wrongly most times! They have no idea who AM Naik or YC Deveshwar or Nitin Paranjape is! This is true, even when they are competing with these very companies in the market place.
 

The tribe of “educated illiterates” in India seems to be ever growing and it’s a big worry. It must be tackled soon. It’s not just the government, politicians and bureaucracy that are responsible for the sorry state of our economic affairs. But, it is we, who largely contribute to the mess in our way!
 

(Prof Anil Agashe teaches at Symbiosis and other management schools in Pune)

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COMMENTS

kamil

2 years ago

is there any demand for ca- inter passed? (without articleship)?????

Simple Indian

3 years ago

I have experienced corporate sector long enough to know that most, if not all, "training" programs are 'forced' on employees, and very often to help HR meet its training targets, rather than to help employees meet their actual training needs (as decided during appraisals). It's just one of the you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours arrangement line managers have with HR for mutual benefit.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

Sharu Ragnekar's "Wonderland of Indian Managers" penned ages back, still holds good even today. The Chapter on 'How to promote without promoting' with an apt cartoon by the redoubtable RK Laxman is worth a reread.
For current reading on this subject suggest "Bullshit Quotient:Decoding India's Corporate Social and Legal fine print" by Rajeev C. Dubey, a longtime mainstream corporate lawyer. Hachette India, 248p. Rs.350.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

Sharu Ragnekar's "Wonderland of Indian Managers" penned ages back, still holds good even today. The Chapter on 'How to promote without promoting' with an apt cartoon by the redoubtable RK Laxman is worth a reread.
For current reading on this subject suggest "Bullshit Quotient:Decoding India's Corporate Social and Legal fine print" by Rajeev C. Dubey, a longtime mainstream corporate lawyer. Hachette India, 248p. Rs.350.

pushkar kulkarni

3 years ago

sir you have hit the nail on head.

i read the book"in the wondeland of indian managers" by Mr Sharu rangnekar when i was young and beautiful or handsome...!!

i read it as PG Woodhouse style humour book and kept aside..

whan I started working , i realised each and every page is true. we all use the tactics ... it is a classic and everybody must read it , to get feet on ground. country / industry- manufacturing or retail or software does not matter. it is human nature, does not change globally.

todays MBA expect things to happen by sitting in office and "strategising" without gettingv feet dirty. their long term is 2 years in a job.. so what do you expect?

pushkar kulkarni

3 years ago

sir you have hit the nail on head.

i read the book"in the wondeland of indian managers" by Mr Sharu rangnekar when i was young and beautiful or handsome...!!

i read it as PG Woodhouse style humour book and kept aside..

whan I started working , i realised each and every page is true. we all use the tactics ... it is a classic and everybody must read it , to get feet on ground. country / industry- manufacturing or retail or software does not matter. it is human nature, does not change globally.

todays MBA expect things to happen by sitting in office and "strategising" without gettingv feet dirty. their long term is 2 years in a job.. so what do you expect?

RBI asks banks to collect EMIs through ECS

RBI has asked banks not to accept fresh or additional post-dated cheques or EMI cheques at places where ECS facility is available

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks not to collect any post-dated cheques for loan repayment as equated monthly instalment (EMI) at places where electronic clearance service (ECS) is available.

 

In a notification, the central bank said, banks should not accept fresh or additional post-dated cheques (PDC) or EMI cheques at locations where ECS facility is available.

 

The move is aimed at cutting usage of cheques and promoting electronic transfer. It will also save borrowers the efforts of going to branch for collection of chequebooks.

 

“The existing cheques in such locations may be converted into ECS by obtaining fresh ECS (Debit) mandates,” it said.

 

The notification also said that ECS also accords the same rights and remedies to the payee against dishonour of electronic funds transfer instructions under insufficiency of funds that are available under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

 

“Considering the protection available, there is no need for banks to take additional cheques, if any, from customers in addition to ECS (Debit) mandates,” it said.

 

Cheques complying with CTS—2010 standard formats shall alone be obtained in locations, where the facility of ECS is not available, it added.

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Charu Deshpande suicide: Mumbai police interrogate Tata Steel officials

The investigating team from Mumbai is questioning several officials, including some in the vice-president rank, in connection with the alleged suicide of Charu Deshpande

A six-member team of Mumbai police has interrogated five officials of Tata Steel in connection with the alleged suicide of Charudutta (Charu) Deshpande, the steelmaker's former chief of corporate communication.

 

Deputy Superintendent of police Deepak Devraj has said that the team grilled five officials and verified some documents related with the case. He said, “We are trying to match the recorded statements of the officials and employees. Interrogation is on”.

 

The interrogation began on Monday and the investigating team questioned several officials of corporate communication department from Jamshedpur, Odisha and Kolkata.

 

They had even questioned officials in the rank of vice-president for hours on Tuesday.

 

57-year-old Deshpande, was found hanging at his Vasai home on 28th June. No suicide note was found. His friends and former colleagues alleged that he had been harassed.

 

There were allegations that Deshpande killed himself following harassment by the employees of Tata Steel, where he had worked.

 

A departmental inquiry has been ordered by Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry into the circumstances leading to Deshpande’s death.

 

Earlier, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil had ordered Mumbai Crime Branch chief Himanshu Roy to probe the alleged suicide of Deshpande following which the team has begun a parallel investigation into the case.

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