Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How our moms beat even McKinsey!

So just a couple of days ago my 2 year MBA program got concluded and I ventured into a rather eternal contemplation and introspection on all that I had learned. In the process, I came across a rather startling realization. While we all MBAs are full of hubris and conceit about all the managerial acumen we're now equipped with, our moms have actually been practicing all those principles and techniques right in front of us, almost all the time! In fact maybe our moms became so erudite at the application of all these core managerial skills, that they applied them in a rather seamless and tacit  fashion without anyone as much as getting a whiff on how their profound dexterity was always at work. Moreover, while these management techniques have been devised, evolved and documented only over the past century or so, our moms have been practicing them since time immemorial and a rather deep delving into their elixir of knowledge might reveal certain other techniques that were still a century away!. So with my morsel of management skills I have in front of my mom, I still tried to categorize her repertoire and I found these 5 things on which she can beat even McKinsey! 

Sensing trouble in the present(Operational Excellence)


Our moms are experts when it comes to seeing what otherwise doesn't meet the eye. Whether you've flunked pretty badly in some subject at school, or you got into a brawl with a truculent bully, she'll immediately sense what you've been up to and she's got her own set of corrective measures to bring you back on track. This can include both punitive(And at times painful!) action being taken against you, and almost always she'll tell you why you had to bear the brunt of her wrath. No matter how much you try to hide the answer sheet or the diary your teacher asked you to get signed from your parents after you scored lesser than Kamaal Khan scores on acting, your mom shall find out that absurd speck of fear on your face and your lie shall vanquish in no time at all, and all for your own good!

I still remember how once when I was in my 8th standard, Geometry became my only entourage when it came to sailing in the vortex of mathematics, and my scores were a little too towards the lower side. I myself was full of regret and contrition, but all too afraid to let my mom down because my mathematics was supposed to be my strength till now, and now even that was withering away. But mom sensed the anomaly in my countenance and pinned me down with her interrogation post which I broke. I tried to prevaricate but she's all too clever to get bogged down. Then she took it upon her to bring me and my grades back on track and boy did she move heaven and hell to make sure that I was guided rightly and that I was going to come back in right stead again! I can never thank her enough for pulling me back from the dungeons of dereliction like that. 

Foreseeing the future(Predictive Analytics)

And then comes this rather rare quality that only our sibylline moms have. This unique ability to predict the future with such accuracy and precision is something that could've been attributed only to Paul the octopus, apart from our moms who actually take it even a notch higher. Be it their deeply entrenched insights about which player is going to perform in a random cricket match which she started watching just because you were watching it and you left her no option, to predicting who is going to be the real antagonist in a movie she would've watched only for like 5 minutes. And while you've followed the game for long, or while you've watched whole of the movie but for the climax, you're still going to get trounced by her judgment more often than not because she is the epitome of clairvoyance. Her immaculate intuition on movies can be ascribed to her life skills,but I still have no idea how she always beats me in predicting the outcome of those random cricket and football matches.

Mom, money and magic(Working Capital Management)

This is something which probably flummoxes every other member of the house. While accountants may be having their own ways of managing the books and financial managers might be having their own ways of controlling cash and fund flows, moms beat everyone to their game when it comes to managing the finances of the home(Despite a colossal miscellaneous component!) with supreme perfection. While budgeting of a regular household may seem an ordinary job, I could never, not even for one single month, work up a budget for myself and then could execute as per the plan. Moms have got this rather surreal ability to prognosticate future expenses and you have to follow their instincts just because that's the only thing you've seen working in this regard. Moreover, our moms are magicians when it comes to maintaining secret cash reserves with which they can befuddle us with surprises like a lavish family dinner, from time to time. In fact now that I'd start earning, I'm feeling like I can't get a better fund manager than my very mom. She's a sure shot expert at that!

Household hacks(Disruptive Innovation)

Okay, so this is one of those buzzwords in the world of business right now. It's said that only the corporations that embrace new ways of doing things shall survive, and everyone else shall be winnowed away. Management gurus are earning hefty sums by taking seminars on these, using esoteric terminology and complex logic, which no one might get in the end. But moms! They've been incorporating this element in their ways since forever. In fact they might just be the most ultimate authority on this subject. Be it their own secret remedies which can help you bid good riddance to cold and cough in less than a day, or be it their unique ways in which they work up their magic on furniture, on gadgets, in the living room and what not. They can always come up with some of the most innovative of all the solutions. 

So here was a hot summery day a couple of years ago and the cooler of my room went awry with its pumping motor gone defunct. I couldn't even stand the thought of sleeping in those sweltering conditions and my mother comes up with this unique idea of using a long hose pipe from the tap to supply water to the mats, with all the excess overflowing water now moving to fill the 7 or 8 tubs she lined up on the sides of the cooler. It was like she had this plan ready for that contingency and I've seen her do that for so many times that I always consider myself in for a surprise when I'm in a fix like that. 

True Vision(Strategy Formulation)
And here comes the fifth and the foremost skill. While everyone in the family shall babble and haggle on what the latest lad in the family is gonna do, a mother always has a vision for what she'd want him or her to eventually become. And the best part is that she doesn't narrow it down to a profession or a domain which otherwise is done by almost everyone else. She doesn't see a doctor or an engineer in the latest fledgling,but she sees the boy or girl turning into a person of value, strength and beliefs. I can't recall on how many occasions my mom entertained my unnervingly circuitous philosophical questions on life and future, and how easily and effortlessly she allayed my concerns and continues to do so every single time. She has this real panache and it's something which all moms have aplenty. They all know that a generic framework has to be set for a child do develop skills and to progress through the same. Moms always know that while someone may choose any specific path or profession later on, a core set of basic dictums and caveats shall always stand to guide their child towards the path of ultimate nirvana. 



So while someone from McKinsey would cringe in pain and agony and would tend to repudiate all that I've said because they put in hours on what our moms could do in a snap, this is that sole truth that I realized post doing my MBA. Maybe I gotta do another management course just witnessing her adeptness as she solves the biggest of life's problems, while other minion members like me just blench and cower. So as McKinsey is working on Management 3.0, I guess our moms might have mastered Management 5.0 already. Too slow, McKinsey, too slow! 

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