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MBA through Stories

MBA through Stories

De Ravi e Gupta

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MBA through Stories

De Ravi e Gupta

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4 horas
Lançado em:
Jul 1, 2016


The Art of Effective Management Through 44 Enriching Tales

Understand complex management concepts through witty stories.
Think, strategize and act like a successful leader.
Make your organization a benchmark in the world of business!

MBA Through Stories provides simple yet practical solutions to the many complex scenarios of the modern-day business environment. Drawing upon his rich experience in management, Ravi Gupta offers a comprehensive look at:
• Essential managerial skills
• Handling adverse situations
• Entrepreneurial and unconventional thinking
• Managing expectations and concerns
• Ethical conduct
and much more...

Survive and thrive in today’s competitive world by remaining up-to-date about new ideas and techniques of management.

A must-read for aspiring MBAs and veteran leaders alike.

Ravi Gupta has over 30 years of experience in the corporate world. A certified behavioural-science trainer and author of the bestseller All You Want to Know About Investing, he has written extensively on management and self-help topics. An MBA(Finance), a fellow of the Insurance Institute of India and an associate of IIBF, Ravi is presently an AGM with the State Bank of India.
Lançado em:
Jul 1, 2016

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MBA through Stories - Ravi



Jamaal and the Lion

(A popular Urdu tale)

Jamaal went on a hunting spree with his friend Kamaal. In the excitement of the game, they ventured out deep inside the dense forest. Suddenly, they saw a big lion coming towards them. As soon as the lion saw them, it roared loudly and started pacing to pounce on them.

However, with great presence of mind, Jamaal picked up a handful of dirt from the ground and threw it into the eyes of the lion. The beast lost its sight temporarily and started moving around in a small circle in great pain.

When Jamaal saw that the lion was disoriented and temporarily disabled by his trick, he started running away. But Kamaal stood where he was. Seeing this, Jamaal called out to him, Run Kamaal, run away from the lion.

Why should I run away from the lion? asked Kamaal, it was you who put dirt in the eyes of the lion, not me.

Point of Learning: He who fails to see the obvious shall perish.


If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything will appear to the man as it is.

William Blake

Jamaal perceived the great threat inherent in the situation. But Kamaal's response was altogether different. He did not run away because his perception was that he was not responsible for what Jamaal did.

Perceptions are sometimes more influential than reality. People sometimes react to their past experiences and not to what they hear and see. They often hear something that is actually not said or don’t hear what is actually being said. That perhaps was the reason behind Kamaal’s eccentric behaviour.

Perceptions determine our response to a given situation. This is how it happens:

Our past experiences with others create certain distinct patterns in our mind

These patterns form our perceptions about others

Our perceptions make us interpret their behaviour in a particular manner

This interpreting in turn determines our response to the behaviour of that person

Perceptions are influenced by many factors such as our values, beliefs, personality, motivation, ideas, emotions, previous experiences, learning, expectations, etc. These factors are known as cognitive or psychological filters. But what exactly is perception? Perception is:

The process of choosing, organizing and interpreting inputs received from our senses

A function of our emotions as well as our senses such as sight or hearing

Responding to events or situations by sifting through our past experiences

Perceptions can be positive or negative. Perceptions of different people about the same situation may vary. Business organizations often face situations where perceptions differ from manager to manager. A fabulous example is used by marketing pundits to illustrate different perceptions. The perception of one marketing executive visiting a country was that no market existed for shoes there because nobody wore any kind of shoes. However, another marketing executive visiting the same country perceived that there was a large untapped market for exactly the same reason.

Management of perceptions is widely used in a variety of fields. One of its more prominent applications today is in politics and election campaigning. However, perceptions management is of greater importance in the world of business. It is invaluable in advertisement and brand management. Besides, it helps in:

Influencing consumer behaviour by creating the desired impact

Creating right perceptions about new products before their launch

Reinforcing perceptions about existing products through advertisement campaigns

Contesting campaigns by competitors to malign or undermine a product

Augmenting brand value by creating correct perceptions about products or services

Enhancing value proposition of a product by influencing consumer perceptions suitably

Creating a positive image among stakeholders by publicizing achievements

Handling incidents like scams, scandals, frauds, etc., threatening the company’s reputation

Management of perceptions is a vital yet complex process. The objective of managing perceptions is to create desired impressions through certain activities undertaken consciously. Understanding the perceptions of others well is a vital capability which managers need to be successful. Cultivating the ability to recognize and create desirable perceptions is what differentiates successful leaders from ordinary managers. It would be invaluable to managers in:

Improving their soft skills

Enhancing their effectiveness as leaders in dealing with people

Making them more open and trustworthy in the eyes of their team members

Creating positive perceptions about themselves in the minds of their subordinates

Understanding and managing perceptions of employees is vital in managing human resources. As leaders, managers have to influence the behaviour and actions of employees to achieve desired results. Effective management of employee perceptions is essential for an organization to:

Create a positive organizational culture

Introduce the right ethos, attitudes and work practices

Create a harmonious organizational climate and work environment

Prevent the incidence of conflict and controversy

Maintain cordial and harmonious industrial relations with employees unions

Handle negotiations between management and unions through building mutual trust and confidence

Negative perceptions are often more powerful than positive perceptions. Left uncontrolled and unmanaged, these may result in confusion and discord, causing havoc to an enterprise. Failure to manage negative perceptions properly may:

Become an impediment in achieving the objectives of an enterprise

Tarnish a manager’s reputation, as even her positive actions may be perceived negatively

Adversely affect employee morale by creating a work culture of mistrust

Result in rumours, hearsay and bad communication; detrimental to the interests of an organization.

In managing perceptions, managers must best avoid certain things. They should not:

Evaluate others by using abnormally high standards of behaviour

Become over-emotional in any situation

Attempt to manipulate the behaviour of others

React aggressively to a situation or a person

Act defensively to any remarks or feedback received

Appropriate use of reference points is central in managing perceptions. Reference points are values, beliefs and ideas used by people to decide what is right or wrong. Each employee has a unique set of reference points. Managers should not use their own reference points to judge others.

But now, the most critical question: How do we manage perceptions effectively? Management of perceptions is basically information management. Effective communication is the channel through which this process takes place. By using her communication skills appropriately, a manager can mould or manage the perceptions of her team members by:

Creating the right feelings and emotions in the team

Enhancing or negating certain perceptions according to the needs of a situation

Creating desirable experiences by supporting certain behaviours

Encouraging them to express their feelings and views

Creating an atmosphere of openness, giving feedback and inviting suggestions

Aligning their perceptions with hers by influencing their beliefs

Leaders must necessarily achieve a reasonable degree of convergence of the perceptions of their followers with their own. This is crucial to ensure that the entire team is on the same wave length and therefore, acts in perfect synchronization.

Point of Action: Discuss a decision of yours with a peer. Check if her perceptions regarding the issue match with yours.

Lukman’s Patient

(Hakim Lukman folklore)

Once, a patient visited Lukman in his clinic, with a complaint of severe stomach ache. Lukman asked the patient to proffer his hand to examine his pulse. Being an expert in his profession, Lukman could know everything about a patient just by examining the pulse. After Lukman examined the patient’s pulse, he asked, Did you have lentils and rotis for dinner last night?

Yes sir, the patient replied.

Were the rotis a little burnt?

Yes sir, was the reply.

Lukman instructed his assistant to put some eye-drops in the patient’s eyes. The patient objected, But sir, it is my stomach that is aching, not my eyes.

No, you have a problem with your eyes, not with your stomach, said Lukman. You saw the rotis while eating, yet you did not see that they were burnt. Had you seen properly and understood what you saw, you would not have eaten the burnt food and suffered with stomach ache. So the problem is only with your eyes. Therefore, your eyes need treatment.

Point of Learning: An ailment may be more deep rooted than it appears.Plutarch


"Everything in this world has beauty, but not everybody can see it. "


The Bible says, ‘Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing, they do not hear, nor do they understand.’

(The New Testament: New American Standard Bible, Matthew 13:13).

To discharge their roles effectively, managers must always be in the present moment. They must indeed, ‘see’ what they see to understand its possible consequences. Otherwise, they would fail to understand the subtle dynamics of what goes on around them.

Seeing is something altogether different from really comprehending what is seen. Some important facts about seeing and understanding are:

Being a function of our eyes, seeing takes place involuntarily

We see many things every moment, but ignore most of them

Many people have a tendency of not really 'seeing' the things they see

Understanding something requires seeing, but the reverse is not always true

Many people are unable to connect what they see with the implications thereof

Just like the patient in this story, some people:

Fail to understand that the consequences being faced by them are their own creation

Refuse to:

Take responsibility for their actions

Accept that it is their own actions that impact their mind, body and career

Fail to diagnose their problems themselves

Need a consultant or specialist to decipher their problems for them

But when a specialist diagnoses their problem correctly, they are often skeptical. They are ready with their objections.

To understand 'understanding', it must be realized that, understanding:

Comes only when we are aware of what we do or intend to do

Is not automatic or spontaneous

Is a deliberate choice made by us. It is a conscious and cognitive decision we make

By choosing to understand what we see, we become aware of its possible consequences

In many things we do, our behaviour is not exactly an 'aware' behaviour

We do many things absentmindedly, without paying attention to the same

For instance, many people don’t pay attention to what they eat. Try to recollect what you had for dinner the day before yesterday. If you cannot, don’t worry. Nearly 70 percent people usually fail to answer this question. They did ‘see’ what they ate, but by not being attentive, they forgot.

The problem actually lies with the basic human instincts. Our primitive ancestors relied upon their instincts for survival. Seeing and understanding therefore happened simultaneously to them. For example, if a caveman observed the footprints of a lion heading in a particular direction, he would not move in that direction to avoid confronting the lion. But today’s man is more rational than instinctual. He may see the lion’s footprints, but still move in that direction without understanding the consequences.

Managers must understand the following subtle relationships between cause and effect highlighted by this story:

Nothing happens without something having caused it

If there is an effect, there was certainly an identifiable cause for it

Our actions of today get manifested as an effect tomorrow

The manifested effects of today may in turn become the cause for another effect

What appears prima-facie on the surface maybe true, but not the whole truth

In order to be effective, managers must develop the ability to:

Understand a phenomenon or incident in its right context

Get to the bottom of an event to establish its true causes

Look behind the obvious to find out full facts before taking action

Discover real reasons for an event which could be hidden behind something else

But many a times, managers see things happening around them and yet they do not take cognizance or act. And before long, even small incidents may snowball into a major crisis, placing high demands on their time and energy in resolving it.

For instance, a manager may see a supervisor and a worker shouting at each other at the shop floor. But if she ignores this incident, she has seen and yet not ‘seen’. The incident may cause some heartburn among workers. Their discontent may keep on simmering. A single recurrence of such an incident and the manager could have a flash strike to deal with.

Many cases of flash industrial strikes or similar radical actions appear to have been spurred by trivial things. But:

There is always a history of small issues building up behind each such incident

Even small issues, when swept under the carpet, tend to bounce back as major incidents

Seeing, yet not 'seeing' a small problem is frequently the cause behind such incidents

In a recent case, workers of the manufacturing plant of an automobile company went on a rampage. They caused substantial damage to the company’s property. They even beat their supervisors. The immediate trigger for the event was the dismissal of some temporary employees. But the employee unrest had been simmering since long due to several other minor issues remaining unresolved.

For curing a chronic problem, a manager must understand that:

Causes for the problem may require a deeper probe

The problem should be attacked at its very roots

Curing just the symptoms of a problem will provide only a surface treatment

Surface treatment of a deep-rooted problem may not be:

Adequate to get rid of the problem

Enough to prevent its recurrence

For example, even minor problems like absenteeism may have causes deep-rooted in:

Poor employee morale

Uncongenial work environment

Conflict at the workplace

Lack of belongingness to the job/company

Mere enforcement of discipline may not be enough to resolve such simple problems. To discharge their roles successfully, managers must understand the real reasons behind an ailment. And they need to have a finger on the pulse of their organization to do so.

Point of Action: Refine your awareness. Think about five things you see daily, but don’t pay attention to.


Here and Now

(Mullah Nasruddin folklore)

Nasruddin was relaxing under a tree in the courtyard of his house when his childhood friend Akram visited him. Akram was settled in Canada as a businessman. He had visited his native place after several years. After a nice chit-chat, Akram invited Nasruddin to come and settle in Canada. He assured Nasruddin of providing all sort of help in settling down.

But, what will I do in Canada? Nasruddin asked.

I will give you a loan for setting up a retail store there. You will make a good deal of money in business. Within two-three years, you can repay my loan, said Akram.

And after that?

Then you will make more money and start another store, replied Akram.

And then?

Then you will continue making more and more money, and opening many more stores. Eventually, you shall own a chain of retail stores and become a rich man.

And, what happens after that?

Then you will make yet more money. When you have more than enough, you can sit back, relax, and live a happy and contented life.

And what do you think I am doing right now? Why do you want me to put myself through so much trouble by going to Canada when I am already living a relaxed, happy and contented life, right here and now? asked Nasruddin.

Point of Learning: Confining yourself to the present is the surest way to contentment. —Marcus Aurelius


The unhappy customers are your biggest source of learning.


Problems and complaints are a common affair in any business organization. Resolving various problems and complaints is an integral part of the day-to-day functioning of managers. Nasruddin’s thinking in this story highlights the message that the ‘here and now’ life is more important than grand plans for the future. Similarly, problems or complaints too must be attended to in the ‘here and now’.

The usual reasons or signs of problems and complaints are:

Problems faced may be related to:

Faulty work procedures

Erratic productivity and breakdowns, or inconsistent output quality

Delayed work schedules

Improper employee attitude

Rude or unbecoming behaviour by employees

Complaints made by customers may be related to:

Defective products or deficient services, malfunctioning of products, etc

Delayed delivery or non-delivery of promised services

Delayed response to servicing requests

Overcharging, misselling, wrongful business practices, etc

Let us take complaints first. Complaints:

May occur regardless of how well a business is run

Must be resolved promptly

May even result in a loss of relationship

Complaints not resolved within a reasonable time could increase customer dissatisfaction. Resolving complaints immediately, i.e., ‘here and now’ will not only satisfy the unsatisfied and unhappy customers, but may also generate a substantial amount of goodwill with them.

Managers must understand some important facts about complaints. Complaints:

Are feedback provided by our customers

Express our customers’ discontentment with our products or services

Don’t materialize unless there is an actual source of dissatisfaction

Are free coaching given to us by

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