Tag Archives: Growth

Welcome To Sociocracy – A Magic Wand For Ventures at Rapid Growth Stage!

Recently, I shared my opinion on problems faced by ventures @ growth stage @ Yourstory.com and how Sociocracy could well be the magic wand for organizations struggling to deal with rapid growth despite a great product line-up and overflowing funds.

Here are a few excerpts:

Let us look at a typical startup story. There is no doubt that to create a successful startup, one needs grit, determination and perseverance. Often, this is achieved by single-minded focus of usually one or sometimes more co-founders, with the support of a passionate and loyal team. This core group endures and transcends it all – long working days and nights, low salaries, deeply frustrating moments, multiple pivots and so on. Most of the members of this core group are superheroes who singlehandedly take on innumerable complex tasks and complete them with scarce resources. This persistent hustling leads to that first big moment of success – either a multi-million dollar purchase order or the first infusion of big funds or, simply, reaching the threshold revenue level that holds promise of no looking back.

Once celebrations are over, a new larger office space is taken and new hirings done, and a new reality starts dancing in the organisation. New features need to be designed, new products need to be launched, new customer segments need to be ‘acquired’, and, to achieve all this, new teams need to be built. The ‘new’ organisation needs new infrastructure, organisation structure, policies, and so on.

Despite these daunting tasks, there is excitement in the air, after all, with new deep pockets, everything will work out perfectly, and it often does. However, for most startups, it is not so smooth – rather, the beginning of a “rapid growth” period is often the beginning of a new “perplexing” reality. Perplexing, because, things start breaking randomly with nobody ever getting time to get to the root cause, customers complaining, employees leaving and a general sense of chaos that does not seem alarming, as it appears to be a natural side-effect of sudden growth.

This is a stage that almost every business faces when it rapidly moves from being a startup to a new formal organisation. Initially, it might simply appear to be a problem of team size.

However, my conclusion after closely observing a wide range of organisations is that most entrepreneurs and investors simply do not think about proactively building an organisational culture that is most suitable to the values of co-founders and the long-term vision of the organisation. What is often missed is an attempt to address this question: while building new infrastructure, policies and systems, should the venture try to retain its original culture, or, realising that the rapidly growing organisation is taking new shape, consciously consider new ways to work together and, perhaps, design an altogether new organisational culture?

In my opinion, the perplexing chaos happens because importance is not given to three fundamental issues:

  1. Defining the relationship between the employee and the organisation in an empowering and engaging way
  2. Defining how people communicate, share information, conduct meetings and take decisions
  3. Proactively providing forums to give opportunity to each and every employee to speak up

Now, this is the classic easier-said-than-done situation. In recent times, the software development industry has tried to deal with this problem by using agile and related methodologies like Scrum and Extreme (XP) – however, these have been found to be tricky to implement in large projects. Much earlier, during 1970s, Gerard Endenburg, after many years of experimentation and application, developed a dynamic governance system using consent decision-making and an organisational structure based on cybernetic principles (a closed loop system with a feedback mechanism). This resulted in a formal organisational method called the ‘Sociocratische Kringorganisatie Methode‘ (Sociocratic Circle Organising Method). By 1980s, Endenburg had founded the Sociocratisch Centrum (Sociocratic Center) in Rotterdam to help other organidations adopt the approach. Since then it has spread across the world with numerous success stories.

I am particularly finding sociocracy to be a near-perfect system for startups that are dealing with the ‘rapid growth’ phenomena. Sociocracy is just beginning to take roots in India. I have been part of sociocracy implementation at Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), New Delhi. John Buck and Shammi Nanda, along with many sociocracy leaners and practitioners, have formed a ‘Sociocracy South Asia Network’ in India to support organisations interested in implementing sociocracy.

As I see, sociocracy allows everyone in the organisation to have a say in decision-making without slowing down implementation – rather, many processes start moving faster. Any member of the organisation, at any hierarchical level, can propose new initiatives in their respective circles. Eventually, the organisation benefits from more participation and creativity, higher energy levels and enthusiasm, deeper commitment and happiness, longer retention and overall a much more adaptive, agile and effective organisation.

If your organisation is growing, then sociocracy might well be the magic wand you are looking for to achieve sustainable growth of your venture.

Read full article at Yourstory.com.

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Where India Went Wrong?

Where India Went Wrong
Where India Went Wrong

Few days ago I woke up to the last quarter growth figures, which have plummeted to unexpected 4.7 % in last quarter ending December 2013. As I write, latest news alerts say India’s exports fall by 3.67% in February 2014.

I got a feeling that this was coming and perhaps it will be difficult for India to come back to the growth trajectory it witnessed in last two decades. Market analysts are busy attributing this down fall to fiscal Deficit, high inflation, policy paralysis, bank rate and myriad of other reasons.

However, my humble submission is that India never looked at its growth impediments holistically. India’s Honourable finance minister is of the view that factors which have contributed to slow down have bottomed out, I beg to differ with him. I am of the view that “Era of high growth” for India is over, only a monumental repair work can bring back it to high growth trajectory, which it witnessed in last two decades.

There are numerous reasons, why this has happened and all of them are plausible but I don’t blame this to pure economics or structural problem, albeit root cause of the problem is somewhere else. I have tried to narrow down it to following three reasons why India have missed a great opportunity:

  1. Growth taken for granted: The perception amongst the policy makers, business people as well state apparatus was that of confidence or even over-confidence, it depicted a sense where all was hunky-dory and that the momentum of growth will remain unabated. Perhaps the basis of this confidence stemmed the way India remain insulated, when 2008 sub-prime crisis hit the world. Another aspect is the way India story was constructed, basis some reports, it gave a false belief in India that high growth is fait accompli. In the bargain, it overlooked the inherent problems in infrastructure, bureaucracy and polity.

  1. Lack of commensurate reforms: Reform was a new word in our lexicon, but the commensurate reforms I am talking about is not typical what we hear like Insurance sector, aviation or retail policy reforms. The two sets of reform which were not commensurate to India’s growth aspirations were Administrative and Political reforms. The way India was administered three decades back, same set of procedures are in vogue. With such an archaic administrative blanket, still one had ambition to become super power defeats logic. As far as the political reforms is concerned,barring some reforms in Election process, overall India polity has worsened.

  1. Over Reliance of Great Indian ‘Jugaad’: Shortcuts, manipulations and a short term view was still the way of life in India. It did some global acquisition, some of its corporations are in fortune 500 list but that ambition of setting up a global empire was conspicuous by its absence. The overall enabling atmosphere encouraged holding a short term view then a long term Nation building Vision.

The history of this world has missed a great opportunity when several million people could have been extracted from poverty. India, as a global power, given its history as nation state, would have been a great balancing power. Its not the misfortune of India, that it missed an opportunity but of world, as it could have been a great contributor to the world progress, if India would have leveraged this opportunity.

Author: Raju Moza has 14+ years of experience across various industries and domains like Telecom, Retail, Education, Electronic & Mobile Services, Travel & Hospitality and Manufacturing. He has been a turnaround leader with deep insights in understanding of diverse markets. He is regularly invited to speak at seminars and conferences. Besides the strong business pedigree, he is an ‘active writer’, has written some of the critically acclaimed pieces on diverse subjects namely Kashmir, Afghanistan, Political Islam, International Affairs, Political Economy and Short Stories. He recently shot a documentary as well.  He is an MBA in finance and has recently done a Venture Capital development program from ISB, Hyderabad, India.

ET: SMEs drive India’s growth to prosperity

Now that SMEs can raise funds through NSE/BSE, what more can be done to empower SMEs to drive India’s growth to prosperity?

According to ET Bureau, SEBI’s latest move “can be but one step
towards removing the panoply of constraints that they face on a daily basis.”

Some suggestions by ET Bureau:

  • Remove routine informational rigidities between SMEs and lenders and potential investors.
  • A more responsive policy mechanism to finance SMEs: what is necessary is an array of advisory and business development services focused on SMEs: the idea is to improve credit and business-performance information.
  • Innovative financial products to reduce credit risks for SMEs and boost investor comfort.
  • Address the problem of delayed payments and rationalise the tax regime for SMEs.

Finally we  enthusiastically agree with the assertion:

We need a thriving SME sector to boost entrepreneurship and risk-taking pan-India, and spur innovation and growth.

Read the full article here.