Serve or Receive, But be aggressive.

I had a chance during the weekend to squeeze out some time to watch tennis. Apart from the obvious thrill of watching the sport, I did have an ulterior motive. Who has an ulterior motive for watching tennis, you ask? And what could that motive possibly be? Maybe it was the concoction of a few sleepless nights with this new brand of coffee I’ve been having; but to me, the match seemed like a competitive arena of recruitment. Now before you start blaming my coffee and lifestyle, give me a chance to explain myself. The match was between the renowned Nadal and the new chap Almagro. Initially Almagro, surprisingly, turned out to be a force to be reckoned with – but then he lost. Reason? Almagro got beaten by the patience of Nadal. The match remained tied for both the players, who won on their serves but neither of them tried to capitalize on the opponent’s serve. Once it was 6-6 down, Nadal broke Almagro’s serve to win the set and changed the score to 7-6. The rest was all Nadal’s show, as Almagro was psychologically beaten. In the remainder of the match, Almagro failed to capitalize on the Nadal’s serves while Nadal continued to tap into his psychological warfare with great success. To add insult to injury, the poor new lad got injured too.
The analogy between the game and recruitment was clear in my almost-coffee-induced-coma head. Just as Almagro failed to aggressively respond to the opponent’s serve, we as recruiters have become so passive during the recession and are literally hoping for things to fall into our laps. Any recruiter can have his share of the pie in the hiring frenzy, but the art is to perform even in bad economic times. The recruiters in recession wait for the clients to come to them and become passive in vigorously seeking applicants due to lack of business in the market. I personally believe that recruiters should become even more aggressive during recession and steal the show. This is the time to pounce; to set you apart from everyone else. This is exactly how Nadal won the game; by being aggressive even at the receiving end. The only way to win the game is to respond at times when its least expected. Economic conditions will only be a hindrance unless people don’t make a move to get rid of it. The economic situation has been further worsened by the people who are a part of it. Blaming the economy is nothing more than an excuse for being passive.
To sum it up, all recruiters need to do is to change their attitude and respond in a better, more aggressive manner, especially now. How? By hiring reliable ATS and talent assessment service providers to create a difference; by seeking candidates to benefit the existing clients; and by looking for more and more clients in this huge market filled with numerous industries

Flying High – Air Blue

The air travel industry in Pakistan hasn’t really thrived in Pakistan.  Many names have come and gone, only to reinforce the perception that the air travel industry doesn’t hold much potential in Pakistan.  Air Blue, however, is a worthy exception.  Since it started it’s operations, Air Blue hasn’t only grown but has maintained a strong brand presence in the country.  It hasn’t been easy for Air Blue by any stretch of imagination.  They have had to rethink and redesign their positioning.  Initially establishing itself as a premium brand, now Air Blue treads the waters of cost effectiveness and follows a value-for-price positioning strategy.  When they first started serving meals, they had five-star cuisine with fine cutlery. Now they have reduced their meals to a light sandwich or a chicken roll with a serving of drink.  Earlier they had large leather seats in their Business Class that were far more comfortable than what PIA was offering.  Today, Air Blue doesn’t even have Business Class and they have increased their seating capacity by changing their flights to all Economy-Class seating.

With these transformational changes, Air Blue has not only survived in Pakistan but has very aggressive plans to grow their international network.  Their business strategy is a case study in favor of the age-old phase, ‘the only thing certain in business is Change.’  While their counterpart, PIA, struggles to survive on the government subsidy and carries the burden of a large workforce of over 350 people per aircraft, a fundamental measure in the airline industry of how lean the organization is, Air Blue has proved that with professional management, flexible business strategy and able workforce, organizations can survive the toughest of challenges.

Some facts about to Air Blue:

  1. Air Blue is in the process of enhancing their fleet size but purchasing new aircrafts from Airbus
  2. Air Blue is planning to enhance their network in the Middle East by adding new destinations and increasing the frequency of their flights to existing destinations in the region
  3. Air Blue is in the process of providing top-of-the-line in-flight entertainment and connectivity services to it’s passengers through its new aircrafts inductions
  4. Air Blue’s top management remotely manages its operations through the use of high-tech MIS and reporting tools.
  5. Air Blue has received the endorsement of the world’s top multilateral funding organization for its expansion plans
  6. The reservation system that Air Blue uses is a proprietary system and has been designed under the close guidance of one of its founding members.

Live Blog @ MAP Convention 2008, Karachi-Part 6 of 6

Charles Wilson – CEO, The Consultancy

Presentation Title: “The Advancement of Competitive Advantage through People”

§ First thought – fear that if you invest in people, they will go somewhere else

§ Becoming employer of choice

§ Strategy questions

o Value chain – looking at human factor, the value your staff bring to the organization but it has to be measured in terms of contribution to the bottom line

o Are you the employer of choice?

§ We are all development managers

o Systems – policies and how they contribute to the performance

o Values and individual need

§ Advice to business leaders

o Put people in the middle and use them well

o Use MAP to become a strong government lobby – break into various functions such as accountancy, marketing, sales and HR

Chris Kinsville-Heyne – MD, C3i Strategic Solutions

Presentation Article: “London Bombings” – Crisis communication analysis and lessons for business

§ Learning lessons from London bombing in 2005

o In one hour, the London police came out with a holding statement suggesting it was a train collision, or power failure or something else

§ That doesn’t assure anyone

§ Lesson: If you don’t know what happened tell the people so – don’t lie

o London bombings – that’s when the concept of Citizen Journalism really picked up in the world

o During the first two hours – all have made statements but Tony Blair

§ Lesson – if the CEO doesn’t know then he shouldn’t come out and look like an idiot – he should let his deputies do the speaking

o Lessons

§ “Never believe anything you hear and only believe 50% of what you see”

When in a crisis situation “think slow and act fast”

Live Blog @ MAP Convention 2008, Karachi-Part 5 of 6

Farrokh K. Captain – Chairman MIT Enterprise Forum of Pakistan

Presentation Title: “Philanthropy, CSR an the New Paradigm”

  • Philanthropy and CSR – the difference the similarities
    • Both are meant to pay back to the community – the more you received the more you should pay
    • Philanthropy – unaccounted for – charity
    • CSR – a type of philanthropy designed for companies, meeting their requirement of accountability and getting some benefit out of their charity. So CSR is done within the line of business to help grow the market or the industry or both
  • The results of the CSR programs
    • Existing paradigm has failed as the poor is getting poorer and the rich is getting richer
  • The New Paradigm
    • Creating entrepreneurs and empowering the poor to lead small businesses
    • MIT EFP and OPEN initiative
    • Establishing and developing Angel finance
      • Finance for new ventures – seed capital – currently doesn’t exist in Pakistan
    • Acumen Fund – VC concept for the social sector

Roundtable Discussion – Doing Business in Paksitan

Participants – MD, Salman Burney, GSK; Sajjad Syed, MD SAP; Mir Ibrahim Rehman, CEO Geo TV; Arslan Nayeem, Commercial Director, Barclays; Peter Enzer, CEO G4S

Key Ideas and Themes

  • Is Pakistan ready to become the gateway of the region? – Challenges and Opportunities
    • Not yet – but with more emphasis in education and technical skills
    • Two countries that have become leading countries in export of products and services by investing in education
      • Ireland and South Korea
    • Skilled workforce are available in some selective sectors like technology and banking
    • Government doesn’t have a plan for education and without education you can not develop a leadership of integrity and ethics
    • We need corporate governance to lead the way. Companies in Pakistan need to follow the standards to deliver the results
    • Skilled workforce is more important than advanced education
    • Branding Pakistan – a serious issue
      • This would require serious intent and contribution by the government
      • www.pakistanshining.com – promoting positive news about Pakistan
      • Organizations other than the government need to work together to build and promote a business friendly image of Pakistan
    • How to deal with the security situation in the country?
      • This is out of the hands of the business community
    • The environment in the IMF-monitored period
      • It will be painful but Pakistan must bear this pain and learn through better governance practices
      • Business strategies in the automobile industry will react to the elimination of the oil subsidies
      • In the technology industry, there are positives in the IMF regime.
    • Last words by each panelist
      • Customer centricity – need to develop customer-centric and service-oriented culture
      • Waste management – need to develop a proper know-how to do away with wastages in all of our business processes
      • Be more positive and having an optimistic view of the country and its potential
      • Need to find solutions to the problems within the country and not import models that may not fit the local problems
      • Development of skilled workforce