Tuesday, 31 March 2015

One Question & The Real King

I am a great fan of Akbar-Birbal stories and I find great leadership lessons from these simple folk lores. 

The following are two of my favourite stories. Enjoy .....

The Real King

The King of Iran had heard that Birbal was one of the wisest men in the East and desirous of meeting him sent him an invitation to visit his country. 

In due course, Birbal arrived in Iran. 

When he entered the palace he was flabbergasted to find not one but six kings seated there. 

All looked alike. All were dressed in kingly robes. Who was the real king? 

The very next moment he got his answer. Confidently, he approached the king and bowed to him. 

"But how did you identify me?" the king asked, puzzled. 

Birbal smiled and explained: "The false kings were all looking at you, while you yourself looked straight ahead. Even in regal robes, the common people will always look to their king for support." 

Overjoyed, the king embraced Birbal and showered him with gifts. 

Leadership lesson :  Open your eyes and spot the leader.


One Question 

One Day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was. 

He asked Birbal: "Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?" 

Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficult day and were impatient to leave. 

"Ask me one difficult question," sad Birbal. 

"Well, then, tell me," said the man, "which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?" 

"The chicken," replied Birbal. 

"How do you know?" asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice. 

"We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it" said Birbal and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping. 

Leadership lesson : Tact and wit are important to win the game


Raja Birbal, was an advisor in the court of the Mughal EmperorAkbar. He is mostly known in the Indian subcontinent for the folk tales which focus on his wit. Birbal was appointed by Akbar as a poet and singer in around 1556–1562. He had a close association with the Emperor, being part of his group of courtiers called the navaratna or nine jewels. In 1586, Birbal led an army to crush an unrest in the north-west Indian subcontinent, which failed tragically when he was killed along with many troops, in an ambush by the rebel tribe. 
By the end of Akbar's reign, local folk tales emerged involving his interactions with Akbar, portraying him as being extremely clever and witty. As the tales gained popularity in India, he became even more of a legendary figure across India and neighbouring countries surrounding it. These tales involve him outsmarting rival courtiers and sometimes even Akbar, using only his intelligence and cunning, often with giving witty and humorous responses and impressing Akbar. By the twentieth century onwards, plays, films and books based on these folk tales were made, some of these are in children's comics and school textbooks. [Source : Wikipedia]

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Trust me ...Trust them !

Anne was perplexed and confused.   

She had joined Softmicro two months back. Softmicro was a big software solutions provider and it has offices all across the globe.  Anne had joined the Technology team as a Senior Project Manager - five Project Managers reported to her and her total team size was about 250 people.  

Anne's experience was in managing large enterprise project development , implementation and delivery. She was a part of the Quality Circle where she had implemented lots of innovative ideas in the organization.  In her 18 years of work experience, she had well rounded knowledge about most of the  aspects of corporate functions.  She was a great team player and the most sought after Manager in her previous organizations. 

After a year of sabbatical, she joined Softmicro with great zeal and renewed vigour.  At the first meeting , Neena - her boss told her "Anne, beware of the people under you ... they are all work shirkers .  Deal with them with a strict hand.  They have a tendency to spin stories and waste time...". 

Anne had tried to follow Neena's advise.  But after a few weeks , her experienced eyes sensed something amiss.  She could feel an atmosphere of  "They vs. Us". Her direct reports did not open up with her.  There was an important project delivery two weeks back , but her team missed the deadline. The risk of schedule variance was evident, but it was not brought to her not brought to her notice.  Neena was upset.  And so was Anne.  
Her job was at stake. 

A heavy layer of "distrust" pervaded in the air.....

Anne went to the cafe below and ordered a cup of Indian lassi . The sweet, frothy drink made from whisking yogurt and water , with a cube of ice on it seemed to soothe her senses. 

She pulled out her mobile and called up her mentor - Bala. 

Bala answered within two rings .

"Anne... ! I knew you would call me today..." Bala's nasal South Indian accent made Anne cheerful in a jiffy. 

"Bala ! Ok ... If you are a clairvoyant, then tell me why I have called you up ..?"  She egged him

"Well , well ... problems at work ... what else .... ha , ha...  " Bala's trademark full throated laughter resounded on the phone. 

After a minutes silence , Anne said "Bala ... need your guidance ... desperately.."

Anne narrated her story. 

"Hmmm ... the same problem prevalent everywhere ... of trust... Anne, let us meet today, at 7 pm". 

In the evening , Bala gave the  following sermon to Anne. 

Trust is an essential part in managing people and building a high-performance organisation. It's the foundation upon which all relationships are built. As in any relationship, trust is central to stable and productive workplace relations and successful team building initiatives. High trust environments correlate positively with high degree of employee involvement, performance management, commitment and organizational success. If trust is present in the workplace, the organization gets maximum effort and commitment, and the employees receive security and know they are appreciated.
Trust is strongly linked to attributes such as caring for colleagues, actively involving them in the company's vision, mentoring, role modeling and inspirational motivation
 The more high tech, impersonal and sophisticated organizations become, the greater the need for leaders who can build a culture of trust in the organization.
Smaller organizations consistently rated higher on job satisfaction, commitment, trust, loyalty and respect
Creating smaller business units, flattening the management structure, involving staff in decision making and opening up timely and transparent channels of communication is central to creating trust in organizations.
"Anne, create trust ... else you will fail.  The Triangle of Trust is the buzzword now "
The three sides of the triangle are these :
Self-Trust - Inner Trust
Self-trust is based on acceptance of yourself and your own inner intuition and wisdom. It is that deep, intuitive sense or gut feeling about something. If you follow your inner intuition, your self-trust is high. Trust comes out of the experience of pursuing what is true. What is true lies within each of us. 
Self-trust is at the core of trusting others and being trustworthy.
"Anne, do you trust yourself ?"
Trustworthiness - Being Worthy of Trust
Usually when we think of trust, we think in terms of trusting others. But how trustworthy are you in others eyes? 
  • Do you follow through on your promises? 
  • Do you act with integrity? 
  • Are you honest, caring and reliable? 
  • Do you have the competence or skills to carry out the task at hand? 
  • Do you fulfill others' expectations of you? 
  • You are worthy of others trust if you score high in these areas.
"Anne, how do you score on these questions ?"

Trusting others
Trusting others is based on expectations. It is like a bank where we deposit goodwill. We typically trust someone if we know they will fulfill our expectations. We each have a set of characteristics, known only to us, of someone who we deem worthy of trust. Our degree of comfort with trust is also based on whether we see the world as a friendly, safe place or a hostile, unsafe place. The more we see the world as basically friendly and safe, the more open we will be to trusting others. The reverse is true if we see the world as unsafe and unfriendly.
"Bala... I knew I could trust you to help me " Anne smiled.
"Any time, my dear lady ... and good luck with Trust .... "

Thursday, 12 March 2015

9 ways to eliminate Stress at Workplace

Nowadays all of us are stressed. Either our organization is going thru a major restructuring and we face uncertainty or we are doing so much of multitasking that we are spread out very thinly.  We are interrupted and distracted and our mind wanders.  We are unable to concentrate and focus.  All these lead to too much stress at work. Everybody seems to be overtly busy with no time for leisure or fun with family. 
1. Do not React but Act

When we feel stressed, we should sit back and see what are the conditions on which we have control upon and what are the ones on which we don’t have control.  Usually it is 50-50.  So , proactively we should try to control the 50% on which we have control upon and Act on them

2. Breathe
This is an age old trick . Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. As soon as the oxygen increases in the blood level,  you feel better.
3. Create a To-do list  and Focus
Most of us go through the day using a “push, push, push” approach, thinking if we work the full eight to 10 hours, we’ll get more done. Instead, productivity goes down, stress levels go up and we have very little energy left over for our family. Creating a to-do list will help us focus.
4. Cut the Interruption
Most of us are bombarded during the day -  emails, phone calls, pop ins, instant messages and sudden, urgent deadlines distracts us. . While we do not have control over the interrupters, we can control our response. Either agree to be interrupted or Accept the interruption, cut it off, or just disconnects or make a plan for response.  One of the way which I employ is to set a timer of my email that the emails will be delivered  at the interval of 30 minutes . I have time boxed myself  for checking emails at particular intervals. I have also set a particular ring tone in my phone which enables me to distinguish which calls to answer immediately and which I should ignore and return the call later.
5. Identify Self-Imposed Stress
Learn to stop self  imposing stress by building your own self-confidence rather than seeking other’s approval.  If you’re too caught up in others’ perceptions of you, which you can’t control, you become stressed out .  Once you shift your focus from others’ perception of your work to the work itself, you’re more likely to impress them.
6. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
It is important  to define what’s truly important and why.  It’s important to understand your role in the organization, the company’s strategic priorities, and your personal goals and strengths. Cull your to-do list by focusing on those projects that will have the most impact and are best aligned with your goals.
7. Take short breaks, Eat Right And Sleep Well
When we not sleeping well, we  are not getting the rejuvenating effects.  According to the CDC, an estimated 60 million Americans do not get sufficient sleep, which is a critical recovery period for the body. During work, try taking short breaks – preferably every one hour . Get up from your seat and walk to get a cup of tea. Eat a low sugar high protein diet .  And sleep at least 6-8 hours a day.  Try soft music, a nice story book which will relax your mind. 
8. Be positive and encourage yourself
Internal negativity is bad.  Instead of being harsh and critical of yourself, try pumping yourself up.  Encouraging thoughts will help motivate you to achieve and ultimately train you to inspire others.
9. Hobbies Help
Cultivate a new hobby. Learn a language.  Practice Soduku. Enjoy Crosswords.  Remember, work is important but not everything in life.  Stress can eat into perfectly happy lives and we can go down the spiral, having a detrimental effect on our work as well as our personal lives. 
So take stress by the horns and deal with it with strength and perseverance
Cheers !

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Teeny Weeny : 24th February

Again it was the 24th of February.

Mellow rays of the sunlight flooded Aditi's small one bedroom apartment.    The nip in the air, the fragrance of February filled up her senses.  Her first class was at 10.30 am. ,

But it was the 24th of February.

Like every year, she had to be in the Physics laboratory by 7.30 am.

She opened her cupboard and opened a small card which had pink rose motifs . The ends were frayed now.  The words written with blue ink had faded .

"Always smile like these roses ! " - A silent admirer.  I will tell you how much I need you tomorrow  - 24th February, at 7.30 am , Physics laboratory

25 years ago,  same day , Aditi had smiled just like she was smiling now.  She looked at herself before leaving for the college.  She was still pretty and petite. The pink cotton sari suited her fair skin. She put on a light pink lip gloss and combed her short hair which had started graying near the temples.  She pulled the off-white shawl around herself  . She started to leave but as an afterthought she came back and put on a black bindi on her forehead. Yes, she looked nice , Aditi thought.

As she stepped inside the campus of Science College, her Alma Mater and now  her work place,  she saw young students laughing and talking in groups . Their face shone in the sunlight.

Aditi hurried towards the lab.

As she reached there, she saw her class mate and now her colleague Sagar standing near the lab door.

"Hmm... so... your annual rendezvous ... eh ... !" he winked.

Aditi blushed .

"Yes.... How stupid of me isn't it ? And more so because I had confided in you .... "

She looked searchingly at Sagar's eyes.

"Well ... see , I too make it a point to come on this date and time ... just to give you company ... " Sagar laughed.

They went inside the lab. It was still the same as it was 25 years back. They sat there and laughed and joked for about an hour.

"Aditi, My students are waiting ... I will leave now ... See you later ... "

Aditi  looked up.  She waited for him to say something.

Please .... please ....come on Sagar .... I have waited for 20 years .... My heart is parched ... I want to hear what you have not been able to tell me .... I know it is you ... don't you know that I know ?

"Ok... I too will leave .... "

"Until the next 24th Feb ? " Sagar winked

Yes.  I will wait . Wait for you to tell me how much you need me .....

Aditi walked slowly out of the Physics laboratory towards class room no 404 .

Maybe next year .....

She adjusted her glasses and went inside to face her young students. ....


Teeny-Weenies will spice up the monotony of the leadership posts . Hope you like them.     Looking forward to your comments.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Leadership lessons from Eagles !

The Eagle, reflects the behaviour and traits of brilliant strategic leaders.

One leadership lesson drawn from the eagle is that of vision. It is said that the eagle soars or flies high when it is hunting. From the way of the eagle, the leader can learn the need to have a high vantage point, giving vision to the people.

Eagles spend much of their time at a great height surveying the big picture but then they spot something of interest and with their great eyesight are able to hone in and look at the detail. 

Based on this detail, they are very decisive and swift to strike before stepping back again and looking at the big picture. Eagles are also very protective of their young while encouraging independence from an early age. 

You need to have a view of the big picture while being able to selectively drill down and look at the detail. Brilliant leaders certainly need to be very decisive and often, swift to act. The idea of encouraging the independence of your staff based on effective coaching is also very positive leadership behavior. 

From the eagles, one can also learn about resilient or tough leadership.

 Leaders need to be tough and resort to positive thinking, changing the “I can’t” to “I can!” and the “I’ll try to do” to “I’ll do it!” 

When eagles are 30 years old, they go through a process of renewal. 

Finding a hidden place high in the mountains, the old eagle with curved beak begins to claw at its face, and tear out the old feathers that by now become less airborne. As a result, it bleeds badly. But this is vital for the eagle in order to renew its strength. If the eagle did not do this, it would not be able to live to its normal 40 years. 

They allow self disruption to survive. and this  builds the eagle’s resilience. 

Let us all learn from the eagle and soar high ! 

Friday, 6 February 2015

To Be or Not To Be a Lenient Manager

I have often been blamed to be a lenient manager

"Ananya,  You are too lenient !  Your team is very independent. In the town hall meetings , they always raise some point or the other ... "

"Well ... "

"They take advantage of your liberal attitude.  They always seem to be so happy and confident . They are hardly seen working late hours..... "

"But my teams have achieved the best performance awards !"  I said

"See... that is why .... you have been too lenient in giving them good appraisal ratings .  We are quite strict and do not mince words in the appraisal discussions."

In such conversations, I do not continue further. 

But the fact is that , my teams always performed the best, always met their target and contributed well in the overall organizational growth. They were cohesive lots who fought and argued in the team meetings, but once they went out of the meeting, they always spoke the same thing . Sometimes they agreed to disagree.  

They were a happy lot, really enjoying their work.

Everybody has their own leadership style. 

There is no "Good" or "Bad" leadership style. The style has to meet the situation, the audience and the organization. I personally do not believe in typecasting a style as "lenient" or "strict".  

The leader has to lead the team to success. 

Any manager will tell you that his or her ideal staff is self-sufficient, conscientious, and trustworthy. With only the lightest supervision, they can essentially manage themselves. Sometimes, you will stumble upon employees like this by blind luck. More often, managers who are able to take a hands-off approach have invested a great deal of effort at the start of the employment relationship training, mentoring, and establishing clear performance and conduct guidelines.

It is almost like bringing up kids. 

The manager has to trust the team and treat them like adults , capable of managing themselves.  They should be taken towards being a "self-managed " team.  This happens gradually, but the leader must constantly drive their team towards this goal. 

Once the manager senses that the team can handle the freedom, only then, slowly and steadily the team becomes independent . 

I have seen the team taking ownership and pride when they feel that they are the decision makers. It is not true that they  do not put in extra effort, but fact is that there is so much of teamwork that the workload gets shared.  I have observed my team members staying late nights to solve a problem in spite  of my telling them to go home and complete the work next day. 

As a general rule, it is a bad idea for supervisors to become overly friendly with their employees, but the leader has to know how to be empathetic and where to draw the line . 

Even as you demonstrate genuine caring, you must preserve some professional distance. Otherwise, you will risk insubordination and the appearance of impropriety. 

The leader should endeavor to set appropriate boundaries at the workplace so that s/he does not compromise  on the capacity to be the boss when the needs be.

S/he should shift the focus from winning the love of the employees to managing a successful business. At the same time, the team should feel one with the manager, ready to take up challenges and achieve goals happily and efficiently.  The leader should be capable of changing his style at the right time and at the right situation. 

I don't know whether I am "lenient" or not , but when some team member , who had worked with me years ago, calls me up and says  "Ananya, I remember you saying this ......and I have tried to follow the same", I know I have succeeded.

The feeling is really exhilarating and satisfying. 

I feel that somehow, somewhere I have managed to touch their lives. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Who is a leader ?

This is a poem which inspires me.  Written by an Anonymous Poet. 

A Leader

Patient and steady with all he must bear,

Ready to meet every challenge with care

Easy in manner, yet solid at steel, 

String in his faith, refreshingly real, 

Isn’t afraid to propose what is bold, 

Doesn’t conform to the usual mould, 

Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won’t do

Never backs down when he sees what is true, 

Tells it all 
straight and means it all too, 

Going forward and knowing he’s right, 

Even when doubted for why he would fight

Over and over he makes his case 

Reaching to touch the ones who won’t hear, 

Growing in strength, he would not be unnerved, 

Ever assuring he’ll stand by his word. 

Wanting the world to join his firm stand, 

Bracing for war, but praying for peace, 

Using his power so evil will cease : 

So much a leader and worthy of trust, 

Here stands 
a man who will do what he must. 

Monday, 19 January 2015

The Bizarre Case of my Defective Geyser

I was really frustrated.  

Last month I installed the third geyser in my bathroom . Brand new ones. But somehow the water would just not heat up ! 

I had shifted to this house a few months back. So, when the already installed geyser did not heat the water, I thought that maybe the geyser was old and I should replace it. So , I bought a locally made geyser.  But even after keeping it on for 2 hours , the water was lukewarm .

"Ok..." I thought . "Maybe the geyser is defective. It is locally made without any quality standards....".

 After a few more days of futile trials, I bought another geyser from a standard company . It also had a warranty of two years. The installation engineers came and installed the same.  It was working perfectly.  "Ahh ..." I thought. "Finally I will have nice hot showers ... "

I enjoyed my bath the next day and the day after .  After the 4th day, again the water was lukewarm. The next day I kept the geyser on for a few more minutes. The result was good . Steaming hot water. Two days it was fine. Again the fourth day the water was lukewarm ! Even after keeping the Geyser on for 15 more minutes, it was not even lukewarm ! 

The next day I called up the service centre. The service engineers came and tested the geyser.  It was working just fine.  I did not know what to say. I told them that the Geyser was behaving erratically and they should take my word for it .  

"We understand Madam... ", they said "whenever you face any problem, just give us a call and we will come the next day and fix it.... today it is working fine .... !". 

The engineers were trained to be polite . 

The end result was that even in this freezing cold, I was really nervous of taking a bath ... I did not know whether I will get warm water or not ... ! I took resort to heating water on my gas oven for my bath. 

I called up the service center again.  After 5-6  repeated calls,  the Geyser company was kind enough to replace the Geyser and install another brand new one.  But to my utter frustration, it did not solve the problem at all !  Some day it worked excellently , the next day it did not .  

I just did not know what to do ! 


About 10 days back, I went to visit an ailing relative who was suffering from acute back pain.

"You know Ananya ... " She said . "All these years I suffered , thinking that something is wrong with my bones .  But this time when the pain was really acute, I had a thorough checkup and the investigation report and further discussion with my doctor made me realize that all these years my perspective was wrong.  I was taking care of my bones, taking Calcium supplements , having probiotic food , but actually the root cause was Ergonomics !  My work involved a lot of twisting and working at a particular angle for prolonged periods of time. This was the root cause.  As soon as I took corrective action about my posture, things improved drastically "

"Really ? " I said 

"Yes ! See, I was looking at the problem with a preconceived idea about the solution ... the problem was somewhere else ..... !"

Something clicked in my mind . 


The next day, I started with a fresh mind. 

I logged the days when the Geyser worked fine and the days it did not.   I tried to link all the activities before and after I turned on the Geyser in the bathroom . The study gave a strange result.  

It showed that on the days the maid cleaned the bathtub, the Geyser did not work properly.

I investigated further. 

And the investigation result was an eye opener for me

I found out that the pipes leading to the bathtub was linked with the Geyser pipe leading to the shower. And since the pipe to the Bathtub was at a lower height , there was a backflow of water into the geyser tank if the tap to the bathtub was not closed.  When the maid cleaned the bathtub, she invariably did not close the tap of the hot water , instead she closed the main tap. 

So what was happenening is  that the Cold water tap of the bath tub was open and water from it flowed back into the pipe which led o the shower and the cold water mixed with the hot water and the temperature of the water from the shower became lukewarm !

From the next day, when I switched on the Geyser, I closed the cold water inlet tap of the bathtub and I got steaming hot water from my shower - everyday, everytime !

So, the problem was not in the Geysers , but somewhere else !


Don't we make similar mistakes at workplace and also in our lives ? 

Sometimes, we just have to make a paradigm shift in the way we look at problems. 

The solutions lie infront of our eyes, but maybe due to the dreary habit of looking at the problems with the same angle and in the same way, we fail to find solutions to them ! Sometimes, "our clear stream of reason loses its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit". 

I have learnt my lesson. 

I will always try to keep my mind open when I try to solve problems. 

Have you ever faced such situations ? Do write your comments.

Monday, 12 January 2015

My Weight Loss Resolution Fiasco

Like every New Year, this year too I made resolutions.  The top one was to lose weight. As I wrote my resolution in my personal diary,  to my dismay , I found the same resolution written dated a year back !  

Folks,  I am sorry to say that I had failed to keep up my resolution.In fact , instead of losing, I have managed to put on weight . I kept my pen down and thought really hard. Where did I go wrong ?  I did start with a bang , but what happened after a few weeks  ?  Well ... there are always some festivities , ceremonies and get-togethers where we tend to overeat and these situations are bound to happen always.  So does it mean that I will never succeed ?  I became despondent .  But again , I thought harder.

I always like to go to the root of the matter and as I went deeper, I realized that there were two major flaws in my execution of the resolutions.  

1. I did not measure my progress
2. I did not keep it visual. 

Measurements are the keystone of tracking.  If we don't measure, we will never know how we are doing, which way we are heading and when we should come back on track for making progress.  

The basic point is that "the things that gets measured are the things that get done" !

We measure our academic success and try to do better. We measure the time taken to complete assignments and set benchmarks for estimation for completion of tasks.Measurements of schedule variance, defects found in the finished products,  number of complaints lodged , effort variance etc. all are measurements which help us to take informed decisions for the growth of the organization. 

In fact , I remembered that I had written the following verse for the in house magazine in one of my previous organization : 

I wonder…..
How far is the sky ?
Is the threshold large enough to keep it blue ?                          
Scale in one hand and magnifying glass in the other,
I wonder ……
What should we measure so that we can see a problem through ?

Measure , measure, measure,
Take a scale in your hand –
What is the life expectancy of a bug ?
How many defects were introduced ?
How long are we working ?                                       
What can we measure to get a clue ?
How are we doing on effort ?
Is the variance too large ?
Are we varying in schedule ?
How do we know we have reviewed ?

All measurements but no improvements ?
Hey ! This  does not sound correct !
Let us do an ISHIKAWA to get an essence.
Let us  measure our measurements ,
We should not measure what does not make sense.

Measure , measure, measure,
We will continuously  improve !
We have to monitor our thresholds
I am sure our  customers will approve !

So , the root cause of not being able to keep up  my resolution  was that I did not measure what I was eating, how much exercise I was doing and most importantly,  I did not weigh myself  periodically .

I have got myself a new diary and written "My weight loss program" .   I will now write every meal which I eat , all the workout which I do and a weekly log of  my weight

And most importantly, I will create a trend chart of my weight measurements and make it the wall paper of  my laptop.   This will serve as a visual dashboard and act as a motivator for me to be on track. 
If we use measurements to improve the organization, don't you think it will help me improve my life? 

Do write your comments.

Friday, 2 January 2015

The Factory which Converts Failure into Success

In one of my earlier blogs, I had written about Failure .  Read :  Why Do we fail ?

We all know that failure teaches us to persevere, to become stronger , learn lessons and move on

But have you heard of someone who picks up failures or drop-outs and makes a success out of them and in turn mints money for himself as well as for others ?  

Well, he is by far the smartest unknown  Indian IT entrepreneur - Sridhar Vembu  - the co-founder of ZOHO Corporation - the company behind the ZOHO Suit of online applications. Zoho.com offers a comprehensive suite of award-winning online business, productivity & collaboration applications.  It gives competition to giants like Microsoft.  It has a CRM product which gives Salesforce.com a run for money.  

Vembu, a graduate from IIT Chennai and holds a Ph.D from Princeton University in Electrical engineering is a humble, down to earth and low profile person , usually dresses in traditional Indian attire - Dhoti and Kurta has set up the most profitable product organization in India. 

Zoho has sales offices in the Silicon Valley as well as in other parts of the world, but 90% of his workforce in in the Chennai office in India. That makes it very very profitable . And ... ZOHO is Bootstrapped - never accepted a single dollar from Venture Capitalists !

But having development centre in India is not a new concept . 

What is unique about ZOHO are its hiring and people practices. 

Apart from the founders, none of the developers are from premier institutes like IIT. ZOHO believes that coding is an art and not science. It is also emotion and not just logic. 

Their unique idea is to hire drop outs - 12th graders or the students who have not been able to complete their graduation due to economic or family constraints.  The society feels that these drop-outs are failures so much so that the individuals too start feeling the same when they get rejected in admissions and marks are deducted due to their drop out year or status.

For example, a 10th grade pass out joined ZOHO as a Security Guard . But he showed lots of interest in computers and took the initiative to learn a few things by himself. He was noticed and  put through the year long training and now he works as a developer in ZOHO !

Zoho takes rounds of the Government run schools , scouting for 12th graders . These trainees start earning from day one so that they can support themselves as well as their families with some contribution.

The "failures" - the rejected people from big organizations like TCS, Infosys , who are labelled as unemployable graduates are put through a three month paid incubation programme.

According to Vembu, there is no co-relation between academic credentials and job performance. Unlike other IT organizations, employees of ZOHO do not require to produce their Academic certificates or past credentials.  After the three month incubation , ZOHO's hit rate is 60% !

ZOHO has a small HR team - less than 10 people.  The HR team mainly looks after the employees welfare .

Understandably so,  ZOHO enjoys a very low attrition rate. The employees have loads of trust on the company and its management.

Trust is the glue which keeps them together. Loyalty is the oxygen on which ZOHO survives.

 ZOHO is expanding.

Not in big cities of Metro's. But in small towns. Where ZOHO will generate employment as well as grow its business.

ZOHO factory converts Failures into Success !

May we have many more Vembu's and many more ZOHO's