Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 5: Reviewing The Priorities

Yesterday was interesting in terms of work, though I spent nearly seven hours on phone! I am sure I need to cut this down, because there will be times when I have to take stock of, and give estimates to other people, what I have done, and these seven hours of phone conversations will possibly come to appear as one or two points on a long list. Does not look too good, surely.

Interesting, that gives us a perspective on Taylorism - the system of measuring work by time spent. This is still the dominant management method among employers, who want to see whether they are getting value for money. However, this is less and less relevant in service industries when it is hard to put a benchmark - how much time a particular job should take - though the habit lives on. Consider this - I had an hour's phone call with a partner who was unhappy about a particular thing. What should I have done when the conversation crossed five minutes? I am sure in the call centre context, a flag would have gone up in my mind that this is a time of supervisor call. But I have no one to pass this on to. Besides, it is hard for me to measure the value of loss if I ended the call there - there may not have been a short term loss at all because the monies have already been paid, but this could have affected the relationship irreparably. By partner, I obviously mean a franchisee, someone we do business with on an ongoing basis, and have a six year contract with. So, this little hitch, possibly, could have lived on for another six years.

Now, I know many organizations measure work by time spent. That remains the dominant way of thinking, as SMEs hardly moved out of the management paradigms of the manufacturing age. On the list of work done, it will look a tiny item - placated X and addressed his complain about Y - and will not justify the big 60 minutes put against that. Is there a way to put the amount of time [and heartburn] saved over the partnership lifetime? Not that I know of.

In any case, I continue to work away the Master Partner propositions for India, which is going well so far. These are complex deals requiring a lot of involvement and personal time, but I guess I finally got a way to reduce my actual field-level involvement. This will eventually allow me to gain greater control over my lifestyle, or so I hope.

I am also readying myself mentally to embark on the journey back. It is hard to leave your own country and come somewhere else; it is sure harder to go back. But eventually, I have to go back. I came to Britain to learn; and I guess that objective was somewhat successful. I have a much wider perspective than I had before coming here. I sure want to spend another year formally at the university and seeing other parts of the world. But I am sure I want to go back to India, not later than December 2010, where I would put my learning in practise. How funny that I often said that I want to retire by 42: That, indeed, will be my retirement from wondering around.

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