Breakthrough management: mind over mantra

Dr Shoji Shiba, Japanese quality expert who taught at Sloan School of Management, MIT, from 1990 till his retirement last year, tells Indian CEOs that 'breakthrough' management, rather than core competencies and TQM, is the key to winning in the great new globalised world. Venkatachari Jagannathan reports.

Dr Shoji ShibaIt's a radically new paradigm to achieve exponential growth. To even undertand it, CEOs of established companies need to think laterally; even forget concepts like core competency and cost cutting.

"In a globalised business environment, one should think radically and be willing to take risks," says 72-year-old Japanese management guru Dr Shoji Shiba, a staunch advocate of the breakthrough management concept.

Dr Shiba will assist seven Indian companies — Brakes India, Ucal, TVS Motor Company, Lucas TVS, Technova Imaging Systems, SRF and Sona Koyo Steering Systems — in pursuit of breakthrough management.

These companies were selected by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as they were conversant with concepts like total quality management (TQM). For CII, this is a logical extension of the cluster approach it initiated years ago, among the vendors of Maruti Udyog. At the time, Japanese gurus had introduced those companies to operational aspects of concepts like TQM. This time, CII felt that Indian manufacturing companies should embrace breakthrough management. Earlier, Japanese gurus looked at the operational side of business. Now, Dr Shiba will help company CEOs to chart a strategic vision.

This guru, however, does not like to call his group a cluster. He says it's a learning community. Nor does he say he is advising them. "I will think along with them, give my ideas and try to transfer my skills to help them see the future and chart out a breakthrough strategy. Then, I will visit their companies, listen to their strategy and give feedback," he explains.