Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Dilemma : The Curious Case of the Unwilling Emailer

The Dilemma : The Curious Case of the Unwilling Emailer

There is a very popular story in Indian Mythology called  Vikram aur Vetaal. Vikramaditya was a very powerful , popular and just King.  The legend says that the King,  in order to fulfil  a vow, had to carry a corpse (betaal) on his shoulder to another plac -  in absolute silence. Enroute, the Betaal would narrate a story and pose a question to the King . If the king knew the answer , he had to reply. Else ,his head would  be split into a thousand pieces.

I present this series of episodes based on real life scenarios. At the end of the incident, there will be a question which you will have to answer. The correct answer will be rewarded with a surprise prize J.

Once upon a time,, in the peaceful land of Project “Eutopia”, a team member named “Disruptus”  arrived. Disruptus was moderately good at his work. He was part of an important module and did his work satisfactorily. Sometimes the peace was disrupted, but the leader managed the situation by talking to Disruptus.  He needed regular doses of feedback. One day, there came a need for a team leader for his module and since he was the senior most in his team , he was chosen for the role.  This role required him to check his emails from home and respond to them as appropriate. 

Manager :  Congratulations ! You have been assigned the role of the Team leader. You have wanted this role for a long time. So I hope you will make the most of it and do your best !
Disruptus : Thank You ! I will try my best !

 M  : You have bigger responsibilities now.  So it is inevitable that you will have to check your emails regularly from home and see that the  project work goes on smoothly.
 D : But I do not have internet connectivity at home !
 M : Not a problem. The organization has a policy where it will reimburse you certain amount of money for your connectivity.
 D : But the reimbursable amount won't be enough!
 M : The difference is negligible . I assume that you will do your personal work also which you will have to pay for yourself.
 D : I don't want to spend on the down payment of Rs. 2000. I would like the organization to pay for it.
 M : Our policy doesn't cover this payment and we cannot make  an exception for you since this will set a precedent!
 D : I have spent 3 years with the organization.  Don’t I deserve to get a small thing like this from the organization ?

What should the Manager do ?  Please post your reply in the comment section below.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The "Echo Effect"

The “Echo Effect”

Remember the time when we were kids and went vacationing to a hill station or some historical place? One of the most fascinating thing we experienced was how we could hear our own voice which reflected back as an “echo” .  

While dealing with people ,  I experienced  the same effect with equal fascination.  The more I gave , the more I received . In multiples! The more I trusted , I got their trust in abundance. I gave unconditional respect and I was amazed to see  the “echo”  reflected towards me !  I have experienced fierce loyalty, amazing love and lasting relationships.   Unlike the echo experienced on mountain tops and old monument,  this echo is endless.   

Most of  us  are a bit wary about giving away.  “What is it in for me? “ is the common thinking.  Give it a try.  You will be as surprised as a kid to see the effect.  Great leaders discover this trick and create magic.

So can you.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Being Nice

Being Nice 

Do you think that being nice to your team or peers or customers is not necessary ? Or are you of the opinion that if you are nice (specially to your subordinates), you will be termed as a "weak" leader ? I absolutely disagree with that . On the contrary, I think that being extraordinarily nice is the way to be !  You will attract undivided  trust,extreme loyalty exceptional customer satisfaction and above all you yourself will feel damn good about it. Believe me. It is contagious ! I have experienced it !

And "being nice" is not limited to anyone. Anyone can be nice. I recollect an incident which I experienced about 12-14 years back. I had gone on an assignment to London - for doing the requirement study for a large MNC.  I  had and still have an intense desire to explore new places and I was thrilled to bits about being able to see Big Ben, Thames, Buckingham palace, Harrods, Hyde Park and so on .. With very limited money and very very limited time (only on weekends), I tried to make the most of it. On one fine evening , I was very hungry and wanted to eat Indian food. Lots of Indian joints . The problem was that if I wanted to  have an extra serving of rice with the delicious prawn curry, I would have had to forego visiting the Oxford University and Avon. I decided on the latter and ordered the most frugal Indian meal . Somehow the Bangadeshi waiter understood and after a few minutes, brought a steaming plate of rice and said that this is free - from his own share ! He was being astoundingly nice.  I was so touched that whenever I went to London, I always visited that joint. And then I did not need free servings. Instead , I could  take gifts for him and gave very good  feedback about him . Guess what ? After a few years , he opened his own Indian food restaurant which is stupendously popular !

I have experienced the results of  "Being Nice" with so many people with whom I have interacted at my workplace. "Being Nice" and " being assertive" are not mutually exclusive.  You can be both. And  you exude power by Being Nice. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

The 365 list

The 365 things to do ...
I am travelling back from Kolkata to Delhi. My co-passengers  are a family of three. Husband , wife and their 13 year old son who studies in class 9 in Alwar. After dinner , the lady started some small talk with me and casually mentioned that they are returning after visiting their brother-in-law who has met with a terrible accident . He is a state of coma for the last 3 weeks and the doctors have not given any hope. Multiple organ failure has started. But they  have to return. The summer vacation is over, the husband does not have any leave , son's tuition is waiting . 

As she was describing the condition to me , I was struck with a strange feeling . Nothing very new, but somehow I felt the impact of how life will go on for them as well as the brother-in-laws family.  A grieved daughter studying Engineering and his wife are slowly coming to terms with the situation. No one really is indispensable.  

I thought about the person who is lying in a coma ... on his death bed, the people surrounding him praying for his peaceful death.  He must have had plans for tomorrow, for vacations with his family. Plans and worries regarding his daughter's education, marriage and retirement planning. While leaving for office at 8 am in the morning and coming back at 9 pm, thoughts of leisure and "adda" with friends must have come to his mind which he must have postponed for a later tomorrow . That tomorrow never came. 

All of us plan for tomorrow. Small things like talking to our parents, laughing with our kids, going for hike are planned. Some of the things do not need postponing - but we feel that these are small things which can be planned for and done anytime. " I will do it tomorrow". A very dangerous 5word sentence ! Our parents and child  might be waiting to hear just a few words from us which will make their day joyful. In our stressfull day to day life, we forget that  small things make a big difference.

Most of us usually plan our finances meticulously and we know exactly how much money we will get and plan for spending it. Why can't we the same with the priceless things in our lives ? Why don't we make a list of 365 things to be done before we die  ? Not 10 or 101. I want 365  things . At least one year of my life to do the things which really matter to me rather than living in daily transactions. I do not want to postpone buying the long awaited  gift for my childhood nanny and take my parents for a five-star vacation. 

I pray to God that the ailing person can live so that he can enjoy the simple pleasures of life and can complete his 365 things which he might have wanted to do before his final goodbye from this earth. 

I will start the 365 list today and make sure that I complete at least a couple of them every month. 

June 14, 2012