Schooled for Business by StephenDonald


									                                                                                                                                       Cover Story | Management Skills

                                                                    for Business
                                                                               Why an MBA can bring out the business leader
                                                                               your company needs you to be. By John LamB

                                                                                                  After four dAys                                         of potholing,
                                                                                                  moving barrels across imaginary ravines and trying to map-read their way
                                                                                                  around the Herefordshire countryside, the pressure on the group of trainees
                                                                                                  was beginning to tell.
                                                                                                    The military-style program was designed to foster leadership skills

                                                                                                                                                                                               Ph otoS By SrIVAtSA ShAn dIlyA
     After earning his MBA, R.K. Upadhyay,                              Reader ROI:               and demonstrate the dynamics involved in group working. “Form, storm,
     Deputy GM (IT & BD), BSNL, helped zero                               The importance of       reform, perform,” the instructors explained.

                                                                                                                                                                                               IMAgIn g By AnIl t
                 in on business opportunities.                            CIO development for
                                                                          organizations             The group seemed to have got stuck in the storming stage, or that is how it
                                                                          How an MBA program      seemed when one member, a local authority IT manager, tipped over a table
                                                                          can help
                                                                                                  in frustration during a particularly tense discussion and was led from the
                                                                          Why the CIO is a
                                                                          cross-functional role   room by the course leader, an ex-SAS officer.

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Cover Story | Management Skills

Courses on leadership are more popular               and deliver IT benefits to the business.       When IT management organization CIO               But the survey went on to reveal an alarming gap between
than ever as organizations seek to equip             But no matter how inventive the training       Connect asked 28 of its blue-chip company         these good intentions and the reality of training in these firms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the Acolyte
their IT bosses with the skills to cope in           courses on offer, many CIOs, like the          members about the importance of training          Nearly half the CIOs polled did not think their existing plans
an increasingly complex environment.                 unfortunate delegate in Herefordshire,         and development, they all said it was critical    were good, and 14 percent considered them inadequate.
   Personal development is about helping             are struggling to apply them to the            to have plans in place for both themselves            For CIO Connect members, the priorities for personal
individuals become effective leaders able            practical problems of running an               and their teams. About two-thirds said that       development were influencing boardroom colleagues
to set direction, persuade others to follow          IT department.                                 they had benefited from such programs.            and building commitment to IT across the organization,
                                                                                                                                                      although, worryingly, respondents did not give their                Although he doesn’t hold a formal management
                                                                                                                                                      own needs a high priority.                                          degree, Anil Punjwani, It head, Philips Innovation
                                                                           used reports to create comparative graphs for these managers.                  “Training is not a strength,” of some economies agrees
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Campus, upholds the teachings of an MBA course.

the MBA
                                                                           Soon, those at the bottom end of the scale got uncomfortable               Alistair Russell, development director at CIO Connect. “It
                                                                           enough to identify problems within each of their divisions and look        is an important lever to effect change but, unfortunately,

                                                                           for remedies. “And when we gave access from home,” he continues,           it is not always accepted as a significant one. There is an                 oday, professionals from diverse backgrounds are taking charge
                                                                           “we found a lot of people logging in after-hours to find out where         opportunity for us to do more.”                                             of It. they aren’t necessarily tech geeks with engineering
Why BSnl’s deputy gM of It and business                                    they were not doing well. It was a management act, completely                  Russell runs CIO Connect’s program for training the                     degrees tucked under their belt. the new-age enterprise is a
                                                                           transparent, and it helped performance.”                                   CIOs of the future. “Personal development only has an               synergistically integrated business unit where growth is fuelled by all
development thanks his management
                                                                               having a management education also allows CIos meet that               impact if it changes the way an organization works,” he             key drivers — including It.
education for his ability to see business and                              ever-important directive: make the business’ customers, your               says. “There is no use in building a CV with qualifications            Which is why It cannot work in isolation; it is a co-creator of
cost-cutting opportunities.                                                customers. In Upadhyay’s case, getting an MBA bolstered his                just for the sake of it.”                                           business. As the head of It, the CIo is a strategic partner and is
                                                                           ability to work with data mining tools and understand BSnl’s                   His program is a mixture of one-to-one coaching                 integral to delivering business objectives. hence a CIo is required

          efore he enrolled himself for an MBA at IIM Bangalore, r.K.      customers better. normally, between an It leader who knows                 and group working on real problems. “Leadership                     to consistently devise winning strategies to align It’s competitive
          Upadhyay, deputy gM (It & Bd), BSnl, — an IIt roorkee            his way around a BI tool and the business which recognizes data            is situational: You don’t get to be there by being like             advantages to business objectives. Achieving this feat is hard when
          product — was a self-confessed technoholic.                      relationships that have hidden treasures, much can be lost. With           someone you worked with,” he says.                                  you are conducting business in a dynamic environment. you need to
     But that was also before many of his It initiatives, like scrambled   Upadhyay there’s much less chance of that happening with                       “Different circumstances call for different kinds of            appreciate business fundamentals and know the leverage points of
                                jigsaw pieces, refused to form a           BSnl’s two-lakh-plus subscriber database, as he tries to figure, for       people. Talking in the abstract is only partially helpful:          your industry, the market’s challenges and it’s opportunities.
                                      picture he wanted: to use It to      example, why some customers are moving out from BSnl.                      You also need feedback in the heat of the moment.”                     CIos cannot merely be technology experts. they are executives with
                                           run a successful business           Upadhyay says that his education has also helped him cut cost              Russell thinks that around five percent of a CIO’s time         wide-ranging It knowledge, with the savvy to apply it to a business’
                                             at BSnl. “A management        prudently and in line with the telecommunication giant’s strategy.         should be spent thinking about how he or she is doing               strategic objectives and the communication skills to sell their ideas. A
                                             degree changed that,”         “If I am required to do cost-cutting, I need to learn to measure cost      their job. He himself spends around an hour each week               CIo’s role touches four distinct areas: leadership, management, people
                                            he says. I could look over     first. I also need to be clear on the relation cost has with strategy.     going over issues in his own working life.                          and strategy. A CIo has to deftly juggle all these areas.
                                            an entire process and          It has access to this information and it is best if a CIo plans cost-          “At a senior level you are very pushed for time so                 A CIo should also have the business acumen to enhance
                                          re-engineer it to get the best   cutting strategies,” Upadhyay says.                                        development is about making choices about how you                   the competitive posture of his organization. hence acquiring a
                                          business advantage. now              Upadhyay’s interest in strategy led him to pursue a doctorate in       spend what free time you have.                                      management degree has become a prerequisite for CIos. Management
                                         I have all the perspectives:      corporate strategy, which he is currently engaged in. “Business is like        “There is a difference between a one-shot course and            training is a critical additional skill for a CIo who wants to drive growth.
                                       finance, marketing, and even        war — even when the fight is unequal, you can still win if you have a      development sustained over a period of time,” he says.                                  Vision is a core competency for a CIo. he must
                                     the human view."                      better strategy,” he says. According to him, subjects like branding —          Chris White, CIO at international corporate law                                      be a proactive change agent who can deliver a
                                those perspectives have come               which forms part of his research — stand a CIo in good stead.              firm Ashurst, agrees. He is putting his team leaders                                        transformational change. As a change manager
                                   handy, especially the human ones.           “It is important how services, even if they aren’t very good, are      through a program called One Team, designed to foster                                         who leads It-driven business initiatives, a CIo has
                                           When Upadhyay decided           positioned in the market. take the numerous telecom plans for              better communication in his department. The program                                           to possess persuasive communication skills.
                                                to enhance employee        example. When we noticed that 83 percent of our mobile services            involves three or four residential sessions. “Often,                                           A management qualification enhances this
                                                  productivity, he         were used within the state (Karnataka) and only 17 percent were            people come back from a session enthused but then fall                                         capacity and hones the skill to decode resistance
                                                   designed a matrix       going outside, we decided to reduce Std tariffs and increase the           back into their old ways. One Team is a way of keeping                                        effectively. A CIo equipped with an MBA is more
                                                     for seven of BSnl’s   local tariff by 10 percent. It was a net gain and the customer only        the initiative going,” he says.                                                                              likely to be able to compellingly
                                                      area managers and    perceived a reduction in prices. By and large, these ideas will only           The program, which is driven by attendees, has paid
                                                                           come to a CIo if he has some idea of how brand management                  off by breaking down communications barriers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             (Continued on Page 30)
                                                                           works,” he says.                                                           that had built up because the department is
                                                                               It’s important to note how, in many enterprises, similar data          split between two sites. It also enabled the law
                                                                           runs past the CIo, but opportunities are lost because business             firm to implement a document and e-mail
                                                                           isn’t aware of them or is too busy, and It doesn't know how to take        system with far less hiccups than might
                                                                           it forward — like build a business case around it. If that misfortune      otherwise have been the case.
                                                                           hasn't hit BSnl, it’s because Upadhyay is qualified to take action
                                                                           on the data he sees. And business trusts him to run with it.               Out and About
                                                                                                                                — Kanika goswami      Communication skills are
                                                                                                                                                      important to Richard Snooks.                                        (Continued on Page 16)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Cover Story | Management Skills

(Continue from Page 29)                        When he revamped the IT department at           Today, as CIO at property investment             communications, empowering others and             younger Carayol completely lacked business      Carayol knew he needed to learn fast. He
                                               advertising agency WWAV Rapp Collins, he        company Capital & Regional, Snooks               delegating responsibility. Don’t waste your       knowledge and leadership skills.                found a business mentor called Donald
articulate corporate strategy. Being           adopted the organization’s creative approach    went out and formed relationships                time on 150 e-mails. More people should              So when he joined the board of Pepsi         Harris, who was 30 years his senior, and the
a transformation agent, he has to              to business. “The skill a technologist really   with his contemporaries — even those             be out of their chairs, moving and shaking;       after a 10-year stint at Marks and Spencer,     pair met each month to discuss Carayol’s
have an executive level perspective.           needs to acquire is how to communicate,” he     who worked for competitors. He also              talking and influencing people.”                  he knew nothing about business and              career and the insight he needed. One thing
An MBA education offers that broad             explains. “I have always been quite confident   developed close relationships with                                                                 couldn’t even read a balance sheet. His         Carayol learnt was that while he was good at
perspective. this ensures that a CIo’s         as a communicator.”                             two people in his own firm — a human             Business-IT Bridge                                first board meeting was a fiery one as the      the big picture he was not so hot on detail.
change initiatives deliver maximum                Instead of looking for technically           resources manager and the chief                  René Carayol is one person who could              soft drinks company discussed splitting            Leadership, he says, is about finding
business value.                                qualified individuals, Snooks sought out        executive of another division of the             never be accused of sitting behind a desk.        off from a joint venture with Whitbread.        your strengths and weaknesses and
    A management education also                bright communicators. Many of those he          company who had “made considerable               The dynamic CIO turned management                    “I was intoxicated, but I never said a       building on the strengths.
broadens the business insights of a            hired had little or no IT background, and       progress in how he communicated with             guru fills his time writing, broadcasting         word,” he admits. At the end of the meeting,       “Don taught me how to be a board
CIo and familiarizes him with business         one had just gained a PhD in music.             people and took them along with him”.            and teaching. He acts as a mentor to some         the chief executive drew Carayol aside          director. Everywhere I went after that I
fundamentals like accounting, hr,                 “People coming through university on             Personal development has convinced           50 people involved in IT.                         and demanded to know why he had not             found a mentor. These people are flattered
corporate strategy, risk assessment            a computer science course are often least       Snooks that ‘managing by walking around’            His early career followed a classic path       contributed. “I explained that no one had       to be asked. They will become your critical
and cost-benefit analyzes. It makes            equipped to make a good contribution in         is the best way to do things.                    from analyst programmer to CIO and                mentioned IT. He told me that I was not         friend: someone who sits inside your tent
him financially astute. Understanding          the IT world,” Snooks says. “The strategy       “It is important to make sure you spend          finally chief executive of a dot-com company.     responsible for IT; I was responsible for the   and says the things to you that other people
the ground rules of finance is an              showed in the attitude that the business        the biggest part of your time focusing on        Although he was technically skilled, the          day-to-day running of the company.”             won’t,” he explains.
absolute given for a CIo today. there is       had to the IT function. We were seen as an
no way you can sell an It project if you       integral part of the business. A lot of good
are not articulating it in financial lingo.    IT teams are now thinking this way.”
Financial incisiveness helps a CIo                Snooks now sets aside a day every four                                                                           Alaganandan Balaraman, VP hr & Process Architect at Britannia

                                                                                                  the Strate gist
make more accurate roI calculations.           months or so to meet other CIOs who are                                                                             Industries says that CIos are part of the C-suite and must
this ensures that he gets business             members of a network that he belongs to,                                                                            therefore work across functions — which is hard to do without an
buy-in with less difficulty. And if a CIo      set up by a training firm called IT Leaders.                                                                        understanding of management.
maintains a keen eye on the financial          They spend time exchanging experiences
engine of his organization, he inspires        and exploring management tools and

trust in his executive peers.                  techniques. “The more senior you are in a                          s a CIo, I should already     But if CIos are to contribute to this level, if they are supposed to       leave someone like a CIo running back
    CIos who possess solid                     role, the more lonely it is, and the more you                      understand business,          work across functions, they must have a thorough understanding             and forth between departments, wasting
management credentials are                     need people to talk to,” he says.                                  otherwise I’m a wrong         of the business.                                                           precious time. “Each department has its
recognized by their executive peers               On a recent away-day he and his group           hire or promotion,” says Alaganandan             take for example, the challenge Britannia faced with its                own perspective, and someone
as someone who is exposed to the               looked at neuro-linguistic programing,             Balaraman, VP hr & process architect          promotions. like many other business processes, creating a                 needs to synthesize those
economics of the enterprise and the            a method of making emotional and                   at Britannia Industries.                      promotion requires many departments to pull together quickly. In           views — and it helps a
brass tacks of finance. this boosts            behavioral changes in yourself and in other            he says that having management            Britannia’s case a promotion could require a change in packaging           great deal if you have an
their acceptance in the boardroom.             people. However, Snooks acknowledges               perspective is what differentiates CIos       with an additional label if something came free with a packet of           understanding of all their
It acquaints them with the intricacies         that some employers may see personal               from Ctos. But wait, there’s more.            biscuits. the free product itself would need to be sourced, involving      problems,” he says.
of internal collaboration, business            development as a luxury. That is a mistake,            At Britannia, everyone who forms          the purchase department. It would require knowing where and at                Without an MBA,
processes, market dynamics, the                he maintains, since there is always a              part of the executive committee is            who the promotion was being targeted, engaging marketing. then             the process he created
competitive landscape and customer             balance to be struck between doing the job         expected to help with any business            sales would have to figure the promotion’s impact on the market.           could have taken much
behavior. they learn to analyze                and learning how to do it better.                  decision. the idea, he says, is to bring      And inputs from the planning department would ascertain which              longer, just like learning
a problem from multiple angles.                   “Personal development is something              everyone’s experience and knowledge           factory would be used and where the bundling of the two products           management from the
Acquiring this understanding helps             that’s been neglected in the past,” Snooks         to bear — not necessarily their               could take place.                                                          school of hardknocks
them generate business solutions.              says. “A lot of management is based on             functional expertise. this is different          to do this more smoothly, Balaraman was tasked with creating            takes longer than formal
It also fosters the development of a           intuition, but being an effective leader is        from everyone stating how a certain           a process that cut across departments, something he says                   training. “Sure you could
shared vision for business.                    about psychology: understanding people.”           move would affect their department.           happens a lot in business: “If you are in the C-suite, running a           jump into the water,
    despite all of this, I don’t think it is      In his early days, Snooks read self-help            that cross-functional responsibility      business is about integrating different parts; it's about synthesis.”      paddle around and over
mandatory for a CIo to have a formal           books like Kenneth Blanchard’s The One             should extend to any CXo anywhere                Balaraman says he could have approached the challenge purely            years pick up swimming
MBA. Informal business activities              Minute Manager, designed to help people            — including CIos. the CIo, he says “is        as a facilitator who knows how to handle people. But then he says          — or you could go to a
like training sessions, seminars and           like him improve their management skills,          a leadership role. It’s about business,       that he wouldn’t be able to know if he was pushing enough. “Say            swimming coach,”
workshops can also inculcate a strong          but he knew he needed more. “As I became           it's about growth, it’s about improving       sales claims ‘we can’t give you this information three weeks in            he says.
business sense within CIos.                    more senior, I realized I needed to get            quality of operations, providing better       advance, only one week.’ to which purchase could say, ‘I need this                     —By Sunil Shah
                                               away from the office to get a better sense         customer satisfaction, these are roles        much lead time. If you can't give it to me, then I can’t supply.’”
                  —As told to Sneha Jha        of objectivity about my work,” he says. “I         that anyone in the C-suite has to worry          It’s a practical problem and a lack of understanding of how
                                               wanted to discuss issues with like-minded          about,” he says.                              each function works — a lack of management training — could
                                               people in a training environment.”

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Cover Story | Management Skills                                                                                                                                                                                                         Cover Story | Management Skills

The Teaching                                    McKean has had his successes. One CIO,         the idea of changing the way IT behaved.
David McKean, 10 years a CIO and now head       who was keen to exert more influence           “IT reported to finance and we were seen
of IT Leaders, says leadership development      in his organization, recognized that           as the people with the screwdrivers at the

                                                                                                                                                 the Guru
may be a status thing, particularly when it     his problem lay in being physically too        other end of the phone. I said it was time
                                                                                                                                                                                                         rishikesha Krishnan, Professor, Corporate Strategy
comes to qualifications like MBAs, but in       remote from other executives. After            the IT profession changed and my boss
reality it’s about developing existing skills   three or four weeks of discussing his          Neil Slater said ‘come and do it for me’.”                                                                & Policy Area, IIM-B, tells you the importance of
and pooling knowledge.                          predicament with his trainers, he spotted         In 2005, Unilever was undergoing a                                                                     management — and why you really don’t need an MBA.
   IT Leaders is at the sharper end of the      an opportunity to move his desk to the         re-organization and the future of the IT
development business. McKean teaches            top floor.                                     department was under discussion. The
project management methodologies                   “It’s about confidence,” says McKean.       company’s senior management in Europe             What important change can a management degree create in                   soon that you need to understand the business well. I think
such as the Information Technology              “You need to look for small victories          wanted to create a group of internal              a leader like a CIO?                                                      that is what is really pushing CIo interest in management. For
Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Projects      that will build your confidence. It is still   consultants with specialist skills. “You              to be a good management person in addition to being a                 instance, if a CIo wants to introduce a new system, there are
in Controlled Environments 2 (Prince2).         as political as ever and there are still       could say they already existed in the             good technology person, CIos essentially need to develop the              change management issues that creep in and unless CIos
“We spend about 20 percent of our time on       the same number of places in the inner         organization, but they were doing other           understanding that organizations are not machines. they don’t run         can overcome these, they will not be able to implement that
these tools. They are important, but they       sanctum. If IT is in there, someone else       things. We needed to define this role.”           like machines and cannot be treated like one. organizations consist       system effectively. Clearly, most CIos realize that It is a small
are more about training than development.       is out.”                                          Beck devised a strategy that would turn        of human beings with all their feelings and emotions, and therefore       part of their job. they are beginning to see that organizations
                                                                                               out people who were capable of managing           all changes require understanding human behavior well. I think, in        will change and getting people to change their behavior and
                                                                                               relationships, who had IT consulting skills       a sort of practical manner, they know this, but to know it and realize    practices, becomes the bigger obstacle to effectiveness.
      Some CIOs acknowledge that employers see                                                 and who were confident in their abilities.        it and do something about it, are two different things. Also, thinking       As a means to further their career — I am not sure
                                                                                               “It was not a course but a change program,”       like a strategist is an important takeaway.                               about that. generally, if you look at the specialized functions
        personal development as a luxury. That is                                              he declares.                                                                                                                in any organization, there are not too many who will get a
                                                                                                  With the help of three commercial              Do you see a growing number of CIOs opting for a                          higher opportunity.
       a mistake since there is always a balance to                                            training companies, Beck created a program        management degree?
      be struck between doing A job And                                                        consisting of four modules. The 800 IT               I don’t see a big number. But they do show a strong interest           Are management degrees required for CIOs? Can’t they pick
                                                                                               leaders taking part were to start on personal     in management. If you look at any CIo event, you will see a lot           management up on the job?
         leArning how to do it better.                                                         development and relationship management,          of interest in management subjects, and most say they want                   they probably can. Many CIos should be able to pick up some
                                                                                               before moving on to IT consulting skills.         to learn more about management, rather than technology                    kind of information and meet ‘the need to know’ without any kind
                                                                                               The third module would tackle account             because they believe they know that subject fairly well.                  of a formal education. While they may not need a full-fledged
However, there are still a lot of people who    The Power of Development                       management, with the final part focused                                         It’s also interesting to note the           management degree, a short, focused course could be useful. I
don’t know about them — about 60 percent        When Unilever wanted to improve how            on business process reengineering.                                               number of CIos who have not                think even an e-learning platform would suffice.
of those who attend.”                           its 3,000-strong IT department was                “The very first thing we do is personal                                         necessarily become CIo through
   Broader-based leadership skills are          viewed by the rest of the business, the        development,” says Dominic Turnbull,                                                 the technology route. there            As a professor, if you had to create a short module, what
also on the agenda. McKean introduces           firm embarked on a massive personal            managing director of the McLane Group,                                               are MBAs — who may not have            would it focus on?
delegates to scenarios involving teams,         development program aimed at changing          which worked with Beck on that portion                                                started with a technology                In the top-three most-important subjects for any module, I
co-workers, innovation and change,              how its technical people behaved.              of the program. “You are dragged onto the                                             background — who have                 would rate understanding individual and team behavior within
crises, corporate governance and strategy.         The problem for Unilever was that           pitch and invited to expose yourself. We                                             become CIos.                           the organization — what is conventionally called organizational
Trainees are instructed in emotional            IT specialists tended to act as technical      ask people to reflect on situations when                                                                                    behavior — as the first. that’s the most important thing. the
intelligence and corporate politics and are     flunkies, doing the bidding of the             they were at their best, and three or four                                       What drives their interest? CXO            second and third, which are probably equally important, are
introduced to management techniques             company’s business managers even when          disappointments.”                                                                   pressure or the chance to               finance and marketing. Finance would help CIos make a
such as the balanced scorecard and the          those managers were not best equipped             So far around half of those taking part                                                move beyond CIO-dom?              convincing case for roI and marketing would be important in
McKinsey 7-S model.                             to make decisions about IT. Unilever           have undergone the first module and                                                             In any job, if you          selling their ideas to other stakeholders and getting the buy-in from
   “Very few people have the skill of           wanted an IT function that acted more as       Unilever will begin rolling out the second                                                      want to have more           other CXos.
developing strategy in a step-by-step           a business partner to the departments it       module next year.                                                                                impact, you will
way,” says McKean. “You have to align           served, understanding their problems and          The price tag for the program has been                                                         realize very                                                                      —Kanika goswami
your IT strategy with the business. We          making suggestions about how IT could          relatively low at under £500,000 (about Rs
tell people what they should be asking          solve them.                                    40 crore), because Unilever has done a lot
from the business.”                                “We wanted to change the IT mindset,        of the training itself. In Europe, groups of
   One of those requests is for the CIO to      to create IT relationship managers or          20 or so trainees have attended Unilever’s
have a seat at the top table. “The reason       IT liaison managers,” says Daryl Beck,         management development centre in                                                                         “In pockets it has been better than         to me the business is starting to realize
IT should be on the board is that constant      who devised the change program and             Surrey. The program has also been run                                                                     expected,” says Beck. “In pockets it       you can’t go ahead without IT so let’s invite
alignment needs to be made between IT           has the title of director of IT excellence     in Brazil, North America, Singapore and                                                                   has been disappointing. Success is         them into our conversation.” CIO
and the business. IT’s role is not to lead,     at Unilever.                                   South Africa.                                                                                             when we get invited to talk about
but we teach CIOs the interaction points           It was while he was running Unilever’s         What results has the transformation                                                                    functional strategies and we have
along the way,” he adds.                        IT operations in Arabia that Beck conceived    program achieved so far?                                                                                  seen that in some areas, which says        Send feedback on this feature to

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