At-Ti-Tu-Dine!

A disclaimer right away for this post:

Might have an inherent bias!

If you are wondering what am referring to,

Let me throw few names at you:

Ajeet Singh Kushwaha, Shweta Dasgupta, Saurabh Saxena, Anirudh Syal, Tushar Garg, Vivek Joshi, Jitendra Singh;

What do you think they have in common?

Successful in life, Yes!

Founders, VPs, Directors etc. Yes!

Worked hard at one point of time to become IITians, Yes!

Let me also throw few other names at you:

Ritu Ashar, Atul Satija, Sarita Raichura, Sangeeta Beri, Buta Singh, Parvati Matkate, Zaheer Adenwala, Rahul Varma,

Successful in life, Yes!

Founders, VPs, Directors etc. Yes!

IITians or not,

IIMians or not,

ISBians or not,

Harvardians or not,

Stanfordians or not,

or

Whatever IANS or not,

If you want to emulate the journey and derive inspiration,

or

Somewhat be like the folks similar to the ones mentioned above,

What matters in life is to have the right kind of ATTITUDE towards:

The very concept of success to begin with,

The near and dear ones in life,

A cause that draws you to put all in and work hard,

That routine that you follow day-in-day out to accomplish that very thing,

and

That dire need and responsibility to make a contribution in and give back to the society,

Which, by the way, has contributed immensely in making us who we are today!

Source for the image: https://forbesbooks.com/can-one-bad-attitude-destroy-your-team/, https://www.purewow.com/wellness/positive-mental-attitude

Waah Taj Waah!

Came across a social media post yesterday by thebetterindia,

Which spoke about how Taj group of hotels has been able to imbibe “atithi devo bhava” as one of its core value.

Must admit that I have had wonderful experiences while staying with Taj in different cities.

But my first impression was certainly a disaster.

Year 2003,

Us, a group of badminton team mates representing IIT Kanpur had gone to play inter IIT sports meet in IIT Bombay,

Most of us were visiting Mumbai for the first time in our lives,

And guess what, Gateway of India was on our list of places to visit,

Right opposite stood the Taj Mahal Palace, a beautiful architecture matching the grace that Gateway of India had to offer,

Afternoon, we all felt hungry and decided to have a rendezvous with The Taj.

Considering, it was a first for most of us who had been to a 5-star hotel,

We were really looking forward to it,

I still remember, it was 1:30 pm,

Having heard so much about the hotel from who’s who of society,

When the four of us decided to have a walk-in,

By the way, we were wearing casual sports t-shirts on the day,

Might have looked a bit shabby as well!

As we approached the entrance,

The big man, durbaan (doorman), a sardar ji,

Waved his hand,

As if ordering us to move aside and give way to a guy who had just stepped out of a beautiful BMW, to let him enter first,

In his same rude mannerism, he asked,

What’s the purpose of your visit?”

Oh, we are students and have heard so much about Taj that we thought we will give a visit”, one of my friends spoke in an excited tone.

You cannot enter like this”, he spoke back.

“How can we enter then if not like this?“, all of us wondered what kind of privilege would require us to enter the hotel.

Let me do my work, you cannot enter”, he seemed to have no reason for what so ever for not letting us enter.

We all thought there was no point arguing and we left.

They say, first impressions are the last impressions.

Well, not so, at least in my case,

Because every time I visited thereafter, I was impressed by the hospitality,

Though would certainly want to speak about few lessons that I learnt on the day,

Whether it’s a good thing or a bad one,

Limited in her ways, society perceives you by the way you dress on most occasions,

Some of us might say, that we don’t care,

It’s a choice, to each their own, how one wants to dress,

yet

Society will have her own means of developing her perception.

At the same time, don’t judge a book by its cover!

and

A customer never forgets his/her first experience.

Two,

I know Taj is extremely proud of its core values,

Yet, a failure to be able to percolate these same values to each and every employee results in such bad customer experiences,

Which surely affects brand loyalty to begin with,

and

A bad word of mouth for the concerned.

Hence, extremely important, how and what each and everyone in a company communicates to her stakeholders,

Which in turn means having a fantastic mechanism of hiring and acculturation.

Third,

Nothing is so called perfect in this world,

As a startup founder or as CEO of a big company, if one gets entangled in the fame and adulation,

One tends to drift away from his/her core purpose,

As, there is always scope for improvement.

Considering Taj and the likes of Marriott, Leela etc. are the go to hotels for who’s who of our society in any case,

The General Managers and the senior leaders of their properties may want to take a cue,

When it comes to ensuring wonderful experiences for their clients and customers.

Source for the image: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g304554-d302179-Reviews-The_Taj_Mahal_Palace-Mumbai_Maharashtra.html, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dont-judge-book-its-cover-eliot-clarke

HRs!

Well, let me put a disclaimer right away, it’s not a take on human resources departments around the world, 

For those who don’t believe me, wouldn’t take that chance ever, for my dear wife is herself an HR, dangerous territory to tread upon.

Jokes apart, 

Simply put its the Horse Sense that am referring to, going by the famous folklore that seems to have inspired generations

Paraphrasing what it is: 

Few centuries back, there was this horse who had this sense, 

Come on, it cannot be as lame as this! 

So, the master wanted to take the horse to the field, 

Though the horse which loved to graze, wasn’t up for the same, even after being pulled from all sides.

A maid in the household who happened to be watching this, came up to the horse, put her maternal finger in its mouth and slowly took it to the place where the master wanted it to be, 

As always, moral of the story: if you want someone to do something you got to make that someone want to do that something! 

Coming back to the human resource departments around the world, they say the biggest challenge is to keep the employees engaged and bring out the best in them.

Why, what and how, guess you are smart enough to figure out how to arouse that eager want and motivation to accomplish that very something!

Source for the Image: https://thehorse.com/112472/too-much-pasture-can-lead-to-laminitis/, https://www.lucidchart.com/blog/what-does-hr-do

Being D!

The world is a market and companies and professionals are here to serve the much sought after consumer. Really?

Well majority might say so, but what about the few who don’t really agree to this line of thought?

They are the ones who score least in courses they take in their MBA batch. 

They are the ones who don’t get the coveted jobs after graduating.

They are the ones who are labelled philosophers or outliers.

They are the ones who don’t get the limelight.

Yet, they are the ones who work towards becoming the best version of them. 

They are the ones who slowly but surely crawl towards greatness.

They are the ones who find innovative and novel ways to attract the so called consumers (pulling them towards their offerings rather than pushing and forcing their offerings on them)

They are the ones who would be found in the much sought after Forbes 30 under 30 or 40 under 40.

The choice is yours.

Whether you want to grow up into becoming agreeable beings meeting the norms and benchmarks of the society. 

Or

You want to think and act different not for the sake of it, but because you see value in being different. 

Source for the Image: https://www.pexels.com/search/different/, https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/different-from-or-different-than

Much Much!

Too much!

is what you get to hear more often than not, from the employees or your colleagues,

when you ask them how much work they have in the day.

Most have a tendency of making sounds, “uff, fooh” and so on every now and then,

As if they are having the most torment times of their lives 😉

Either coming from the lack of work ethics that they have been conditioned to,

or

Simply because of the time pass mentality, that one has got into a habit of doing something for no other reason but to spend sometime somewhere,

Takes a no brainer to understand, that there is something not right,

May be as a company culture we are not hitting the right chords,

The next obvious is to ask,

what that might be,

from where are such tendencies evolving,

and

how can it be resolved?

much-vs-many

First thing first, you go back to the drawing board from where it all started.

You soon realize that the very process of hiring has to have those in-built ingredients.

At a practical level, no matter how good the HR or psychological counselor you hire,

There would be certain aspects which will only evolve with time,

No matter how much a candidate convinces you that he/she is motivated enough,

It will soon get reflected in the work ethics on demo in due course of time,

Always a good thing to keep oneself open and flexible as a leader to accepting, realizing and acting upon new aspects of this dynamics,

The biggest and key challenge for a leader is to make sure that each one in his/her team is constantly excited about the vision,

Creating enough tasks to keep reinforcing the thought regarding the fruition of the vision,

Giving clear cut responsibilities to each and everyone,

Making sure that the most irresponsible in the team is given responsibility for them to mature and get mentored in the scheme of things,

It’s easy to let go and very tough to make something work,

Which requires constant endeavor, immense amount of patience and a grit and determination that goes beyond every other thing that matters to a leader,

To handle that much much that ensues in this beautiful journey of achieving one’s vision in life 🙂

Source for the Image: https://keydifferences.com/difference-between-much-and-many.html

2017 App World!

Came across an article (http://zeenews.india.com/apps/top-5-superstar-apps-of-2016-that-will-continue-to-rule-2017_1966067.html), where in the apps that are supposed to rule (don’t really understand the term and would have preferred serve well instead of rule, but kudos to who so ever thought about the same 😉) the App World in 2017, were mentioned.

Happy to get into the names, Paytm, Big Basket, UrbanClap, Netmeds & Roposo and would begin by congratulating the wonderful work being done by the respective teams.

While I was about to close the link, sought of an after thought, wondered what it was all about. Let’s look at each app individually and see why they are supposed to rule. 

Paytm, well, understandable, especially because of the latest demonetization move by our PM, Narendra Modi and people at times choosing and more so being forced to move towards a digital era when it comes to transactions.

Also, because of the recent permission of a payment bank that they have got, which would propel their customer acquisition in a significant manner.

Big Basket, at a customer level, more so because of convenience and freshness, which ideally should have been a top priority, in many a cases, have become a second priority. Also, demonetization adding to the woes of mom and pop stores in the short term.

UrbanClap, had to be one, isn’t it? Considering the non-availability of qualified service providers, just a click away, and scope for getting professional services, on top of that, someone to look into the feedback and get resolution for things such as bad behavior and service.

images

Netmeds, again because of convenience and availability of medicines. Though good for the companies, I just wonder what this means for our society as a whole.

More the sales, more the  number of people, who end up falling sick, speaks a lot about our consumerist lifestyle that we have got so habitual to living. Food for thought for us all!

Roposo, haven’t we all, at some point of time in our lives, tried to emulate what our idols, or Bollywood stars tend to do? Have we not wanted to connect with them in one way or the other?

Probably, all the key words that come out of the above (Money, Food, Consumers, Health & Fashion) make up what we mortals do on a day-to-day basis. 

Are you a little surprised not to see any travel app in the top 5, meant to give you happiness in the arms of nature and let’s say a wellness app or a preventive app in the healthcare sector, meant to keep you healthy and in a pleasant state of mind.

What I see above is a reflection of what’s to come, just wonder, whether the way we are heading is the way we are supposed to go?

Source for the Image: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204266

TGISUP: Thank God it is a Start-Up!

This one is indeed a futuristic post, indeed one of those which comes out of the blue and is depicting what we might come across in say 5-10 years down the line

Just Imagine:

The buzz word in today’s World is start-up. If you happen to be doing a start-up then you are considered to be a cool chap, waiting in line for your turn to become that billion dollar boy/girl. If we were to go by what media has depicted, the day is not so far when a start-up rookie would be valued more than a civil servant or a doctor/engineer in let’s say Bihar or UP and going by the ever so prevalent dowry norms in such states, a start-up boy’s valuation would come no less than Rs. 1.5 crore; enough for the father-in-law to become that angel investor for the couple.

After all, parents want the best for their daughters and the best is a guy who is about to hit the jackpot courtesy him being doing or having joined a start-up and has plethora of ESOPs or a share of equity. Though these pieces of paper might not hold any value at the moment, yet the immense amount of potential that can be seen by the investors and other market players might be enough for the guy to bring about the wonderful valuation when it comes to getting married to a girl, more importantly a stinking rich father-in-law.

I wonder whether parents, instead of encouraging their folks to go for higher education would ask them to drop-out of schools or colleges and ask them to get on to the entrepreneur bandwagon. The demand from parents’ end would still remain the same: precisely to do something which will make them feel proud about their son/daughter.

Probably the norms in the society will be governed by what the entrepreneurs would speak when invited on different platforms, be it a motivational session in any college/school or be it an invitation floated by the administration struggling to find answers to the perennial issues/problems that have become a talking point of every political manifesto.images

On every nook and corner of the lanes and by-lanes of Kolkata, the thing that would be discussed would be “who funded whom” rather than the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and the prevalent communist agenda. The entrepreneur would be the boss and would rule every little aspect of our society.

Whether this would be a reality, probably no; but whether more and more entrepreneurs would hit the road; in all possibilities yes.

It is a fact that money chases money; similar to investors chasing other investors’ investments and so does an entrepreneur who wants to end up doing what is in vogue rather than focusing on that one issue they feel really passionate about to find a solution for.

Yes, loha garam hai! Yes, there is enough money and takers for good ideas! Yes, there is more possibility of getting funded! But trust me, it’s not so easy. What leads to one becoming an overnight billionaire is the hard work and motivation coupled with patience that goes behind giving in your 110% every day for a period of not less than 3-4 years for most entrepreneurs.

For all those who want to end up choosing the path of entrepreneurship, figure out that one particular problem or issue that you would be passionate enough to provide a solution for. And thereafter go for it, without giving it a second thought. The investors and the success will soon follow if not in the first instance then surely in subsequent ones.

Source for Image: http://www.igyaan.in/98125/10-apps-startup-download/

The Inevitable Change!

Change is the ultimate truth of life. Whether we wish for it or not, every situation is a bit different from the other, every time is not the same, every place has its own ethos and culture, every organization treats its employees differently and every team needs to cope up with people coming in and out of the same pot, some drawing from it and some contributing to the same.

How does a leader or a manager cope with the same is the billion dollar question that seems to have no ready made recipe as an answer. Some are able to think beyond what others can see or visualize, few among them have the guts to take that risk, though at times it might back fire, yet they eventually end up making the first move, few among these emerge successful and few are left to bite the dust. images

No matter whether the leader has the guts or not, what keeps the team going is a positive frame of mind and an ability to rise to the occasion with their favourable attitudes and a passion to succeed. On the other hand, what ruins a team party so to say is ego, over-confidence and complacency that tends to hit the team who get into a habit of winning.

In that case, it is extremely important to have your feet on the the ground and always keep striving for that extra bit when it comes to setting goals and timelines and eventually going on to achieve the same.

This includes not only analyzing your failure to understand what’s not to be done but also scrutinizing your victories to see what worked and whether what worked was because of things that were done in the right manner or because some things happened to fall in the right place at the right time.

This would ensure that one develops a habit and a culture for learning and continuous improvement, which is per say the only thing that can keep afloat a team or an organization for that matter, in these times of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Source for Image: http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

The Winning Mindset!

Have you ever wondered why teams who have developed a habit of winning continue to do so? Why is it that more often than not teams look up to them to the extent of treating them as class apart and losing all hope of competing against them?

Look at the Chinese Table-Tennis or Badminton players who have dominated the scene for quite sometime now. Look at the likes of Australian cricket team which after winning the World cup have once again demonstrated their class and excellence.

Do these teams and individuals do things differently? Of course it cannot be pure luck. It has to do something with the kind of effort and dedication these players are putting on and off the field.

What is it that makes them stand out of the crowd? What is it that keeps them going day after day? Is it inherent in the system that they have managed to establish over a period of time? Is it the work culture and team spirit coupled with an effective leadership program that they have managed to adhere to over all these years?

Do these teams have a habit of stretching their goals and striving to achieve the same? Have they made it a habit to excel, after all what we repeatedly do is who we are and excellence is a habit (according to Aristotle)?

Probably all of the above. Possibly, they have got into a habit of winning. Possibly they believe that they can achieve the goals that are set by them on a day-to-day basis. Possibly they have learnt the art of not giving up and striving to give their 100 percent.images

Management and business are no different than sports when it comes to leadership, teamwork, goals etc. In some companies, you would find emphasis being given upon the nitty-gritties, those 1 or 2 percent of things that tend to be ignored by most. And these are the companies which tend to excel.

The individuals in these companies are imbibed into a culture of thinking that things can be accomplished with passion and hard work. It is the attitude that matters the most. A classic example of attitude, coupled with ability and passion is Rahul Dravid.

Who would have imagined that a guy who hardly managed to find gaps in the field would one day end up becoming India’s one of the most successful finishers. It was sheer hard work and passion more than the ability that led to him becoming one of the greats of Indian cricket.

Hard work and passion can do wonders. And there have been numerous examples in the field of sports as well as management where people have gone on to achieve unimaginable feats.

What is important is to have that winning mindset which keeps telling you that “You can do it“. So, hold on to that winning mindset till you get what you want.

Source for the Image: http://www.emdocs.net/em-mindset-rob-orman-the-successful-ed-mindset/

The Budding Leaders!

Guys who belong to the decade that has just gone by and whose careers were shaped during the same, especially folks belonging to the same batch as mine, some of whom have indeed been able to carve a wonderful professional life for themselves and their family, and are now looking forward to entering the very important leadership/mentor role cannot help but think, “how I can become an effective/successful leader?”

From implementing things to now getting things implemented is a totally different ball-game. From being the listener to being the speaker, there is a transition that needs to be accomplished purposefully. From being the follower to developing new followers, not because of authority or merit, but because of the persona is an art and skill that needs to be honed.

Many a times, guys who have just entered the arena of senior management, tend to find themselves  perplexed by the complexity of the situation at hand. The time perspective that one needs to think about changes from say, 2-5 years to 10 years down the line. One, often doesn’t have the bandwidth to be able to instill such a long perspective.

Consequently, the job at hand starts looking very dicey and a feeling of disappointment tends to creep in, not being able to find a solution to the problem that the situation and expectations from the job tend to pose.

As a result, the potential leader tends to quit his/her job to find another leadership role in another company, which tend to offer the same set of challenges and the person starts doubting his/her own potential.

Why is it so that the transition that was supposed to be smooth and natural doesn’t turn out to be the same? Why is it that the person is not able to develop a long perspective over a period of time when he was an implementer? Does it have to do with something that is very much a core part of most of the organizations? Does it have to do with a lack of mentor ship program in the organization?

Probably all of the above would be able to explain why such a thing happens on a regular basis and only a few are able to evolve successfully, some credit for which goes to the mental strength of the individual and the ability to cope up in a complex environment.

Thus, for any organization, it is a must to have a leader/mentor program in place, where the selected few should be prepared in a manner to whom the bait can be passed and a smooth transition can be made.

And the onus for this lies on the HR department in any organization. Many a times, I have heard from the operations team that HR does nothing. Considering the importance of Human Resources to an organization and considering that the present and future of any organization lies on the shoulders of this very HR department, I guess it’s time people start thinking about the department in a much higher regard.download

Another aspect that lies at the heart of success for any organization is the constant change with respect to which any organization needs to adjust and evolve. When we say adjust, it’s more of a reactionary nature, so I would prefer to use the term evolve, as it involves being able to think about what’s going to be the situation in let’s say 5 years down the line.

Being able to vision the same, some say, comes with loads of experience, though there has to be minimal amount of mental acumen that a person needs to possess. This leads to the controversial concept of “Requisite Organization” proposed by Elliot Jacques where he goes on to say that the right person for the job is one who possess the right ability to be able to think about different time perspectives associated with different roles in an organization.

If one were to go by what this theory has to offer, one would have to believe that man is limited in his thinking and abilities and there is a fixed path on which he/she will tread. If the same person is forced to occupy positions which are not meant to justify the kind of ability, attitude and temperament one has, then it would not only result in failure of the person as a professional but would also lead to organizational failure.

Thus, the identification of the right potential for the right job is a must, if an organization and hence an individual has to succeed in what he/she does, the onus for identification for which again comes on to none other than our HR folks.

So, all leaders out there, if you want your organization to grow and evolve in coming times, start building a platoon of budding leaders who will be ready by the time, you guys are happily preparing to find solace on a beautiful island some place in Thailand.

Source for Image: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2013/jan/31/university-leader-career-progression-training