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General

Poor Execution – Why we lag in doing quality work in India?

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India is a predominantly a “services” rather than a “goods” economy.  57% of our GDP comes from Services.

So, why do we see so much poor execution of services all around us, everyday?This is across Industries – Examples and problems unique to India never seen anywhere else:

  • “Sir change nahin hai” – This is so common from shops to supermarkets. Why have you opened the shop if you do not have a good cashier or a till that has change?
  • The inability of a person behind the counter to finish dealing with one customer properly before trying to service or talk to another customer
  • The Ola /Uber cab driver who does not know how to read GPS in order to reach your location;
  • The barista behind the counter who can not make a perfect cup of coffee even at high-street branded cafes charging Rs 150/- for a cup.

Whether you see Retail experience, Financial Services, Media or high-end IT work, these are five issues that plague most companies:

  1. No benchmarking of “good” standards: The staff doing the work does not know and is never shown/told what a “good” standard and “excellent” finished work looks like. Does your cleaner at office know that after he cleans the office toilet, where to store that bucket and mop? If not, the standards are not clear.
  2. Poor skills: Most workers in today’s India – from entry level freshers to mid level staff have poor skills in the job they are asked to do. The Job description does not cite the 3 skills that the person MUST have to perform the job at a “good” standard. And subsequently there is no check or exam whether the person meets the skill requirement on those 3 critical skills. Our education system is hopeless in preparing our kids for jobs.
  3. Poor preparation and lack of tools: Indian bosses do not stress that before starting on the job, the staff should pause, breathe and plan first. Keep all the required tools in front of you (physical and virtual tools). Estimate the time taken and do it slowly. Therefore, you see the non-sensical frenzy of ad-hoc action around offices with people running around like headless chickens. Meetings with clients are done without preparing. Even internal meetings are poorly managed.
  4. No checklist or feedback on “Finish” line: A confirmation from end-user whether work was done to her satisfaction, a checklist to tick upon finishing a day’s work, making follow-up notes for next time – these are things never practiced or taught.
  5. Wrong notion of Service: In India, Service is often thought of as “servility”. Bending to customers, being sugary sweet, bowing and scraping in front of the customer is not “good service” or “client-centric”. If you are good at what you provide, talk to the customer as an equal not as an inferior person. Deliver to customer what is promised. Simple. Rest is drama.

Our market growth hides the fact that we are very inefficient in execution and a culture of world-class execution and attention to detail has not yet developed in our minds.

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