Work shop for increasing the PE Score

Professionals today face challenges from two fronts.
• Their output is highly valued when there is a direct and visible connection to the PRDUCT (source of revenue), PROCESSes (That enable the Product) and/or the Application/USE of the Product. We identify this kind of work with identifiable impact as Professional Work (A).
• Absent such deliberate emphasis the professionals slowly drift towards highly task driven information work (B) and endless physical tasks (C)

As a result the professional is required to constantly focus on increasing the Professional Effectiveness. The PE – Score can be measured as the ratio of the impactful work of professionals as a fraction of their total effort.

PE Score = A / (A + B + C)

Recently we conducted a 2- day work shop on System Thinking and Transformational Skills at a Fortune 100 company to train their professionals with tools and means to increase their PE Score. The work shop was conducted for a group of 40 senior engineers and managers. We are pleased to present the summary of the feedback as noted in the table below:
Category Rating        (%)
The facilitator was knowledgeable about the subject                                                   91%
The facilitator was prepared and organized                                                                   89%
Participants were encouraged to take part in course discussions                             90%
The facilitator was responsive to participants’ needs and questions                        90%
The facilitator’s energy and enthusiasm kept the participants actively engaged  84%
Work shop materials and content:
The material content was appropriate                                                                          81%
The objectives were clearly explained                                                                           83%
The course content/materials were sufficient to achieve course objectives          81%
The length of the course was appropriate for the course objectives                       76%
Learning Effectiveness
I learned new knowledge and skills from this course               85%
This course was relevant to my work                                           84%
Near Term Impact:
I will be able to apply the knowledge and skills learned in this course to do my job    83%
Business Impact:
This course will improve my job performance.                                                        82%
Overall Impression:
I would recommend this training to my colleagues and co-workers                    84%

The professionals who attended the work shop also offered the following summary comments on their learnings from this work shop:
• The methodology was good and easy to relate to my work
• Binary Economy, System approach, the concept of “Why?”
• Work shop contents helped me to correlate and think on the connection.
System thinking
Approach to system thinking
• Concepts like binary economy, PE – Score
• Understood about A,B,C concepts,- Professional work, Information work and Physical work – very new learning
• PE Score – New concept
• PE Score, need to focus constantly on delivering innovative solutions else we will become obsolete
System approach and tools for transformational thinking
Different perspective on my day to day activities
Thought process to identify value from customer perspective, improve productivity and achieve engaged employees through challenging work
This kind of training itself is a new concept for us
• Emphasis on core capability enhancement to sustain and survive
• System/complete solution approach and science involved in all the projects we work
• Out of the box thinking in a different perspective
New way of working to improve efficiency and effectiveness
• Good presenter (knowledgeable & proven experience)
• Examples and video shown are excellent

Can the economy continue to grow while creating fewer well paying jobs? – the answer is “YES”.

Growth with out jobsDuring a recent show on Hardball (MSNBC) by Chris Mathews, the TV Host asked his guest – Ms. Tanden: “Are we getting fewer well-paying jobs while the economy continues to grow?”  The answer is a resounding “YES”. The question was honest and sincere and the answer was also sincere. Beyond this and the despair, there was no logic to their discussion except for blaming the rich and the govt. !

For nearly four decades now, thanks to inventorship and entrepreneurialism of a few, we have seen the shift in the work into four distinct classes:

  • Finance – where people make money out of money (They gain non-wage income through stock price appreciation, trading and dividends)
  • Professional Work – where the wages are earned for  value added solution – something new and unique. Yourself, me and Ms. Tanden and people like us belong to this class of work force.
  • Information Work – where wages are earned for executing well defined tasks to collect, process and disseminate information (much of the work in call centers, BPOs, front end and back office work, etc. belong to this category)
  • Physical work – where wages are earned literally for well defined physical tasks (like flipping the burger or driving trucks from point A to B, driving Taxi cab, factory work in China and India, moving packages at FedEx distribution centers, etc.).

Of these four categories of work, those who work with the Finance get the bounty. They can put their money to work anywhere across the globe and make more money out of it. You and I gain here through global mutual funds and 401K investments!

Then comes the professional work (and to be part of this gold rush or mirage, is why everyone is pushing for higher education). There are not too many like the TV show host, who constantly keep adding value – through the TV show, road show, books, speaking engagements, expert commentary, etc.

Those who merely do what they are asked to do unwittingly fall into the  next two categories: The information work and physical labor intensive work. They will continue to be paid poorly (since their value addition is only that much – very low) as their work continues to be de-skilled, standardized and automated.

Till the 1970s these four classes of work were somewhat intermixed. One could migrate from one layer to the next (upward) and this created the large pool of middle class. Such mobility across the levels of jobs also created the American Dream: If you work hard and smart you can get ahead. This doctrine is no more valid. The four layers are nearly water tight and with a steady effort to push the work content and number of jobs to the lower paying information tasks and physical work tasks. The numbers of such low wage jobs created are increasing as we continue to bleed the professional work jobs to fewer and fewer in number.

Now there is also a constant effort to de-skill and standardize information work and physical labor. As a result their value addition will continue to decline and hence the wages for such jobs will also decline. Programmable automation, robotics and such will also take more out of the lower paying information work and physical work jobs as well. (e.g.): The octopod to deliver packages for Amazon will reduce more of the truck driver jobs. The number of professional jobs needed to create and implement the octopod will be far fewer than the professional jobs and lower paying jobs they will replace. This is the productivity gain and the JOBLESS RECOVERY! In the beginning there could be an appearance of job growth at some locations, but across the globe there will continue to be less of a need for human centered activities called work and the reward for them.

Hence the answer to the question: Can we continue to grow while creating fewer well paying jobs? – the answer is “YES”.  Digital Technology and Global Financing are the drivers for this development. It is not the outcome or ploy by a few.

The sad thing is that nobody recognizes this simple reality (neither the liberals nor the conservatives or the tea party or the burn everything down – angry folks). The heads of institutions and leaders in every function of the society also pay only lip service to this evolving fundamental issue.

When the agricultural industry evolved, 40% employment in agriculture shrunk to 1% of the population now working in it. Industry driven employment replaced agricultural employment. Now, we are headed in the similar direction with industrial employment where few workers are needed. But there is no replacement in sight.

Can there be a solution to this? – YES.

But, before to get there, we need to recognize the problem, first (i.e.) It is the Binary Economy! This requires an unwavering attention of all and at every level of leadership.

For more details please see:

2013 – Year In Review


STIMS Institute Inc., USA

(Science based Technology, Innovation and Management Solutions)

2013 – Year in Review

 Our sincere thanks to the many people for their professional support, encouragement and the opportunities for collaboration. The past two and a half years has been a time of an incredible journey, with many promising outcomes. Like a farmer who carefully tends to the seedlings to grow the orchard, we intend to build on many of the initiatives reported here in the coming years.

Our very best wisher to each of you and every one in your family for a Happy Holiday Season and the very best of health, happiness, peace and joy in the coming New Year! Sincerely

Dr. K. (Subbu) Subramanian, President, STIMS Institute Inc.

Dec. 27, 2013

Year End Update:

For a new start-up , our company is already 2.5 Years old! Our work and developments are focused on Knowledge Integration. Our outputs can be broadly grouped as follows:

  • Innovation in manufacturing processes (and their commercial exploitation)
  • Enhancing effectiveness of professional workers and organizational development for higher levels of Innovation.
  • Collaboration across diverse resources (linked through a common need) through System Thinking and Transformational Skills to foster eco-systems for physical technology driven innovation.

Following are a few highlights from the year 2013: 

1.     Restructured a small machine tool company, which is now poised for substantial growth in domestic and export markets.

 In this company

  1. Grinding process is no longer a “black box”
  2. Grinding process measurement and analysis tools are used as a means for customer problem solving :
    1. Reduce non-value added time:
  • Reduce load / Unload time
  • Reduce long spark out time
  • Utilize full capability of the machine tool
  • Re-balance the cycle and reduce cycle time

3. Reduce / Eliminate process problems:

  • Identify and correct wheel glazing issues
  • Eliminate “burn” on components
  • Identify and correct “chatter” problems
  • Identify motor tuning issues and correct for them
  • Reduce cycle time to keep up with single part production

4. Increased confidence to offer new value added products and solutions for customers based on total cost savings and to gain reward for the “value” delivered.

2.     Collaborative research program to develop Next Generation Precision Grinding Machines:

  1. This unique collaborative research imitative integrates the skills and resources across a diverse set of resources (Academic – IIT- Chennai, Industry – MGTL, industry Govt. collaborative resource: AMTTF and several user companies) to a common goal: Develop a methodology for next generation precision grinding solutions to achieve higher precision components.
  2. Students participating in this project are getting hands-on, real world experience, an important element of the three-fold education required for the 21st century jobs and careers.

3. Plans are in progress to initiate a similar collaborative project at IIT – Delhi and    a few industrial partners.

3. Workshop on System Approach for Precision Components Manufacturing: Grinding Processes:

  1. For the second year in row, this workshop has been offered to a group of senior engineers and managers from manufacturing industry.
  2. Few comments from the year 2013 batch of trainees:
  • We found the training course very useful. The System approach has given end to end understanding of the grinding process.
  • The whole learning curve has drastically come down. Otherwise it would have taken very long time to get this much knowledge or information through our experience.
  • Definitely, I find the course very useful for my job as it helps the sales person like me in many ways. I am using manufacturing process as a system as one of the important tool in my own way to show how important it is in selecting the machine tool. I explain to them that machine tool is very important whose basic characteristics can’t be changed like the process parameters as and when it is required. I noticed that this creates a new awareness in the customers mind about the machine tool and the care required in the selection and use.
  • The course was pretty useful, because of the Analytical approach adopted in learning to understand Grinding process & associated problems.

3. This course is offered as a collaborative program with resources from IMTMA – a trade association, MGTL – a machine tool company, Saint-Gobain Abrasives; Toyoda and Musashi – supplier/user companies) with a simultaneous and coordinated emphasis on Science/Engineering and Management issues pertinent to the manufacturing processes.

4.     Focus on the education to foster System Thinking and Transformational Skills has resulted in the following  outcome:

  1. A new book co-authored by Prof. Stinivasa Rangan has been released through the ASME Press:
  2. A series of lectures were delivered at MIT, IIT – Chennai, BBDIT, AKGCE, IIT – Delhi, ….. For highlights of these lectures:
  3. Several publications have highlighted the need for Transformational skills as part of the education for success in the 21st century economy:

5.     Through collaborations already in place, next year we have plans to expand our outreach through additional programs in USA, Ireland, China and Japan.

6.     Targeted support to clients through special projects:

  1. Collaboration with BBA
  2. Faculty team at MIT Short summer program on Tribology:
  3. An advanced course in Operations Management at SNHU. This course explored system thinking and project based learning for the application of OM tools.
  4. A course on System Approach for Engineers is now fully developed and offered as a regular course at TCE, Madurai, India. This course is taught by an industry/academic team.
  5. A two day work shop on System Thinking and Transformational Skills offered to a group of senior managers in a large company. The goal is to increase the PE-Score across the organization.
  6. Work is in progress through MassMEP, to develop capabilities for small and medium size manufacturers to re-focus their efforts for quantum innovation through New Products, New Processes and New Applications/USE. This should lead to their exploitation of core capabilities, rather than rely on incremental improvements through plug and play IT solutions alone.

As we look around for the resources available for training and development of individual professionals, they are generally provided by the organizational and leadership development consultants with expertise in Psychology and Social skills. Strategy and operations management consultants are largely focused on senior managers and corporate leadership. R&D projects and their support come largely from technical specialists. Then there are the innumerable consultants offering plug and play IT solutions. Yet the knowledge required for innovation has to be drawn from technical skills, managerial entrepreneurship as well as human centered inter-personal skills. The goal of the STIMS Institute is to create and foster models for Innovation and Knowledge Integration that also builds bridges across these different silos. We welcome any and all opportunities in this journey for progress.

Did anything go wrong?

Did anything go wrong?
Do we refuse to accept the reality of the Binary Economy?

In a recent TV Interview Mr. Greespan stated that he has been working on an ideology for more than forty years that “people behave in their own self-interest”. He has now come to the conclusion that this assumption is wrong or false.
Before rejecting the well-established principles of classical economics, it may be prudent to look at such conclusion in light of the rules of operation in the Global Economy. What happens when the playing field for the investors is across the globe (which includes capitalism, socialism, communism and dictatorship and everything in-between), while all the workers – wage earners – are constrained to the opportunities limited to the national boundaries and the rules and regulations pertaining to the country they live in? Have we come to a point, where the needs of the investors and the needs of the community or nation where the investors live are no longer congruent? Under these new rules what does self-interest really mean? May be there are two self-interests: of the investors (across the globe) and the wage earners in each country ? May be they are mutually exclusive? May be they are binary?
Mr. Green span correctly concluded that the “Income in-equality is very significant. There are two segments of the population: Those who earn their income through wages and salaries, who are also called as production and non-production workers. The income for the average worker in any category has been flat and extremely dampened; Then the second category of workers who gain their income from the value of the assets. The income for this category – the investors – have been climbing steadily”.
When asked what to do about this, Mr. Greenspan replied, “It is mostly the Government acting in a manner that is creating the uncertainty and the sluggish US economic growth. No simple Government program will change the income inequality”.
Somehow he believes that under right climate the investors will find their courage to invest aggressively to grow the economy in a way that creates prosperity for all. He fails to ask the questions: Why it is not in the self-interest of the investors to continue to reap more rewards? Why is it in their self-interest to do something to address the income in-equality? In the Global Economy, the investor’s self-interest to acquire more wealth across the globe and the prosperity through high wage workers in larger numbers may be in conflict with each other?
The reality is that we now live in a Binary Economy. In this economy there are four distinct classes of workers: The physical laborer (the worker in Walmart who stocks the shelves or the worker in FedEx distribution center who sorts the boxes or the worker in McDonald’s who flips the burgers); the Information worker (who works in call centers and those who follow the script given to him/her), the Professional who creates and implements something new all the time and gets paid for it and finally the Investor.

How is work changing

Of these four, the first two groups – physical labor and information worker – who are also generally the poor and low income workers will see stagnant wages since they bring no additional value in this new economy even through their years of experience. All their jobs will continue to be relentlessly de-skilled, standardized and automated (through programmable automation like the drones to deliver packages or self-guided robots). That is the power of the evolutions in Digital technology. The Genie is out of the bottle. There is no way to put it back in the bottle! Their chance of getting ahead in the economic ladder and growing into a middle class are less to none, as the statistics for the past few decades bears out. Increased minimum wages and social safety net may be their only way out. Only Government programs can change their economic lot.
The global finance, a version of Global Economy is also here to stay forever. Hence the investors will continue to do well, since their playing field and resources accessible to them are not limited to any one nation and its boundaries. This so called global capitalism is also enabled thanks to Digital Technology. Those with some non-wage income – through mutual funds, 401K investments, etc. – will do well as they chase the coat tails of the rich investors.
This brings us to the last group – the professionals. There were the days where the professional invented one new product or had the tricks up the sleeve for one process or some special know-how. Since it was in his/her head or in the private file folders, investors needed them for life time. Not anymore. As soon as they have documented their idea, it is available for everyone to use, across the globe, thanks to Digital Technology enabled capabilities. They need to start on the next one and continue this chase relentlessly. Their economic future will largely depend on: do they choose to be passionate to identify and create and implement a relentless stream of new solutions? We call this passion and the skills required for that as the Transformational Skills. If yes, they will be seen as valuable by the investors and hence may continue to climb the economic ladder. Or, do they choose to be a one trick pony and after that merely take orders and carry out assigned tasks? If yes, they will be mercilessly pushed into the category of low wage information workers, consistent with their low value addition. Investors will have no mercy for their economic wellbeing. It is only rational and consistent with the basic principle of classical economics: People behave in their own economic self-interest.
It will require Government to protect the self-interest of the workers whose income comes from salaries and wages. These are also the large body of the middle class as well as the consuming public in any nation. They are not the traditional unionized workers. They are everyone but the investors. They are the 99%
The Government can be the intervener creating programs that educates everyone on their self-interest to become “Transformational”. It is not a matter of more of the same education. Instead it has to be more and yet different education. Government can also start programs that create employment in areas where the investor’s self-interest may not be the driver. These include seed efforts for exploitation of new areas for economic activity, Research and Development investments to explore basic sciences – to expand advancements in the technology base beyond Digital technology, health and environmental sciences, infrastructure investments, etc..
It may not be the uncertainty of Government policies that is slowing the US economic growth. Investors always will know how to take risks, whatever the climate they face. It is in their economic self-interest to do so. The key question to address may be: Have the wage earning workers learned the rules of the new game?
We now live in a Binary Economy. Job-less recovery, high reward for investors from across the globe, high wages for a selected few – also from across the globe – who deliver a constant stream of new solutions, productivity growth through the work of these few that eliminates the need or lowers the wages for many more workers and resultant income in-equality are the basic features of this economy. In this new economy, growth in terms of GDP and low unemployment or decreasing the wage gap may not be congruent.

Critical issues facing Organizational Development

I came across this blog prost recently: December 10, 2013 regular script and Bold highlights are by the original author. I have underlined a few important passages.

The items in Italics  are my comments and links.

Best wishes

Dr. K. (Subbu) Subramanian, President, STIMS Institute Inc.

1) organizations are war zones in which people struggle not to join the ranks of the unemployed. Few people expect to have job satisfaction; “satisfaction” is having a job. Since market conditions favor the employer and not the employee, people are no longer all that important. People have become spare parts.

This severe economic crisis, “organizations at war” and “people have become spare parts” is the reality in most developed nations, which are suffering the severe impact of the Binary Economy. This may not yet be the case in some startup companies or across the board in emerging countries, but it will certainly be the case for most established companies or businesses across the globe (it is becoming more of a case for IT sector also).

The cornerstone of OD was to align the individual with the organization and focus on creating an environment which is good for the individual and for the organization. Thus, the relevance of OD’s value proposition appears bizarre at the present moment.

Today OD has to focus on making sure each professional has the highest effectiveness – PE Score – which in turn translates to identifiable business impact. In other words, OD has to become “bottom up” rather than “top down”.

2) Professions should have professional standards. These professional standards serve as a balance and complement the commercial criteria by which professions are evaluat

We recommend the PE Score as the standard for all professionals and System Thinking and Transformational skills as the means to increase the PE Score.

So, a chartered accountant who has a thriving business but violates accounting practices will find himself in deep water.

Any scientist or engineer who is successful today will be in deep water soon, if they do not continue to exploit the principles of Science or Engineer pertinence to their profession. This is part of the System Approach.

OD is a poorly defined profession with no borders. There are no agreed upon professional standards. Thus, commercial standards are totally dominating how OD is practiced. OD has become a commodity, sold by an OD vendor, and the OD practitioner must satisfy the client. If the client does not know what he needs, this is irrelevant because you “follow the money” and deliver what has been ordered.

In most cases the client as well as the OD vendor is unaware that the needs of 21st century are not the same. They are Binary now: An organization to create a stream of New Solutions, and in parallel with an organization that can replicate known solutions in larger quantities. The requirements of these two parallel organizations – technical skills, people skills, risk taking, aptitude, System Thinking and Transformational Skills – are substantially different.

OD requirements for the two parallel organizations in the Binary Economy


A cornerstone of OD was to “speak truth to power”. If one needs to “titillate” and please the “customer”, the ability of OD to deliver on one of its major principles is castrated.

The truth that needs to be spoken today is the emergence of the Binary Economy.  Requiring the above two parallel modes for OD. Customers are not aware of this or focused on this. The OD support providers are not aware of this or focused on this. This leads to the above conflict – need to titillate and inability to speak the truth – between OD Support provider and the clients.

3) OD was founded by White Western and European males, and the Western values of OD are in line with those of the founders: participation, openness, authenticity, delegation, team work. Organizations are now configured globally. In most of the world, there is more autocracy, more secretiveness, more discretion than is seen in the west; many of the values of OD are seen as parochial and irrelevant to the way people should operate, especially when they are threatened as people are in today’s economy.

These are not serious issues in the organizations focused on Replication Solutions (e.g): Large majority of Walmart workers or McDonald’s employees are not impacted by these issues of global cultures and management styles. But, this is true for professional workers (Scientists, engineers and managers, who work in global teams to create and implement New Solutions). The OD developmental requirements (see the Table above) for these professionals – engaged in New Solutions organizations – are nearly the same across the globe.

4) As OD “stands its ground” and waits for the economy to “recover”, other professions cannibalized OD. Change Management promises those in power that changes can be “managed” with a set of templates. HR is disguising itself as a “business partner”, has cast aside/betrays the lobbying for the human resource and often serves as management’s 5th column to “deal” and contain the human resource. Unions and organized labor may/will fill in the vacuum. Certainly in the country where I live, re-unionization is rampant.

This cannibalization is a reality in every profession. When the OD focus is largely for cost reduction, outplacement and out sourcing, then OD Providers serve this needs largely through Psychological counseling and rigorous training for effectiveness on standard tasks (such as speaking skills for call center employees). The Binary Economy requires structured and well executed OD development tools to growth the two parallel organizations at all levels in a diligent and sustained manner (and also in the right balance) unique to each company.

5) OD had a massive focus on communication. In organizations, people rarely talk too much anymore; they text and email and use portals. A major domain in which OD brought huge value is shrinking.

Knowledge (Academic, Sector/domain specific and Transformational), Experience and Inter-personal skills are the legs of any solution for OD. Of these, the Inter-personal skill requires effective communication. This small part of the skill development has been the major focus of OD, as mentioned above. But this view of the OD has to change. Instead OD has to become a system focused on a ladder of core capabilities, at the three levels: Individuals; Department/team; Enterprise/industry,  leading to an organization of T- shaped thinkers and problem solvers.


T – Shaped employees,
organization and enterprise development.