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Theory of Constraints

Eliyahu Goldratt’s theory of constraints offers a powerful way of resolving business issues. The fact that you can indeed resolve one constraint at a time to effect dramatic improvement is a powerful thought even if counter-intuitive. Application of ToC requires one to identify the one critical constraint at that point in time that is restricting achievement of the objective. Subsequent steps…read more

3 Good Reasons To Hire Consultants

Very often at social gatherings I get asked why do companies hire consultants? There are many schools of thought, for and against hiring external consultants. Some wonder if hiring management consultants is a reflection on their lack of ability, paucity of internal talent or just plain lack of smarts. Yet another view is that consultants help sell or drive ideas that the ownership or top…read more

Testing A Marketing Program

In our assignments we are often challenged by clients to establish proof-of-concept for any changes we recommend. Over the years we have learnt that client buy-in is critical to success of our projects. No matter what the level of rigour or analysis is we apply, the ultimate test is when the rubber meets the road. We have found ‘piloting’ programs a fairly useful way to both establish this PoC and…read more

What Is The Role Of The Channel?

We have had this debate before – many times over. One of the most misunderstood or poorly understood aspects of marketing is the role of the channel. This leads to marketing managers and businesses expecting their channels to do their job for them. This leads to marketing managers assigning ‘targets’ and goals to their channel partners and expecting them to develop the market for their products to…read more

Multiple Brands

We come across situations where companies introduce multiple brands into the market with a variety of justifications ranging from the need to service alternate channels to the need to address competition at varying price points. Having more than one brand or multiple brands is not an issue per-se. However, what is important is that we are clear that these address different customer segments with…read more

Business Schools In India

B-schools in India recruit a disproportionate number of engineering grads. A lot of this has to do with the highly competitive entrance exams that lay emphasis on numerical skills. The B-schools find this an objective way to guarantee selection. At least some Professors that I spoke with at IIMs pleaded helplessness in reforming the intake criteria given the need to ensure transparency and also…read more

Focus In Consulting

Now as a consulting firm we are a boutique. This means we do not offer ‘full’ services and we prefer to concentrate in the area of business and marketing strategy. I have had well-meaning friends telling me that this is a very narrow area and we ought to add to our offerings. To this my answer has always been that a) we want to do what we love doing most and b) there are always others that could…read more

How To Guard Against Biases

When we come up against problems, we are sometimes tempted to jump to conclusions and make quick suggestions without careful thought. We are as guilty as anyone of harboring biases. As I have grown older and perhaps wiser, I have realized that I need to guard against a tendency to let my pre-conceived notions and predilections overrule reason. One rule that I have employed is to expose myself to…read more

Porter’s Five Forces

Among the most widely used frameworks in business management that has also been widely criticized is the Porter’s five forces model. Generations of MBA students have grown up reading his books, applying his framework and they continue to do so. Porter was a micro economist and his theories were based on his views of how markets work. I would consider his contribution to management thinking to be…read more

How Do Develop A View Of A Business?

When called into an assignment, we have many challenges. The first is getting us up to speed on the industry vertical. Then we need to get a hang of the current business situation at the client and are usually tasked with having to develop an engagement that will result in clear deliverables with definite value to the client. What we have found useful is to try and get answers to some key…read more

What Qualities Do We Need To Hire For?

Sometime ago I was chatting with some B-school grads and they talked of a consulting/ analytics firm that hired exclusively for Excel skills. Their selection process comprised putting applicants through a test on Excel. This seemed to me just, so wrong. Let me explain this a bit. As a consulting firm we do use Excel a lot. It does make life easy and no doubt it is a very useful tool. However, it…read more