Monday, 25 April 2016

Your Greatest gift to the next generation !

Yesterday I saw a very thought provoking play and in today's blog post I am going to write about it.  The name of the play is "Yudhisthir Babu". Yudhishthir is a famous character in the Indian Mythology "Mahabharat". 

Yudhisthir (Wiki Link) never lied. The main protagonist of the play, named Yadav Chandra too never lied .

The storygoes like this ....

Yadav Chandra - will call him YC evoked wrath from his colleagues, wife and even his children because he never ever lied. His wife had cajoled him to apply for transfer by putting up a fake certificate of her  illness ,a police officer had instigated him to own up some jewelry which he had found during a raid and a middleman had tried to entice him about getting a cut in a contract which he was inspecting. 

But under no circumstances YC complied . He held his head high and refused to give in to the provocations. He was a man of principles. For him there was no compromise on truthfulness , honesty and integrity. 

After his retirement, YC spent his time by teaching the poor and underprivileged children of his colony.  He turned down several offers of highly paid tuitions. His dedication and method of teaching changed the outlook of these children and they began to shine. They became curious, thoughtful and bubbled with ideas and enthusiasm. They loved to study. Thanks to YC. The people in the colony worshiped him. The police officer and the middle man later became his greatest fans. Such is the power of principles !

The colony club invited him for felicitation . For his Honesty , integrity, service and truthfulness.

"But this does not need any felicitation !" YC had exclaimed. "These are the basic qualities which any human being should possess !"

"No Sir... please do not turn us down. We want to felicitate you ..."

"I don't know ... let me think ....!" YC said.

One day he was checking the answer book of one of his students. He was engrossed in reading the Geography answers. 

The little boy had flunked in Geography the previous year ( class 6th)

He asked YC "Sir , what marks did you get when you were in class 7th "

YC absent mindedly said "91%"

The boy was motivated . He touched YC's feet and said "Sir ! I too will get no less than 91% in my exams ..."

The boy left. 

But YC sat there paralysed. 

What had he done ! How could he ??

As if in a dream he saw the scenes flitting in front of his eyes . 

He standing infront of the teacher wtih bowed head, tears in his eyes. 

"YC ! You have got 17% in Geography ! I cannot promote you to class 8th "

"Sir... ! I don't know what happened. I knew everything ... but while writing somehow everything was jumbled up ... Sir .. please promote me ... else my father will not let me study further ... please sir ..."

The teacher stood there with an expressionless face. 

"Sir... another thing ... from today , I promise to myself that I will NEVER lie ..."

His sir had promoted him. There was something in YC's voice which had made him change his mind. 

And after that there was no looking back. 

But ....

Today .... YC broke his promise ! He lied to the kid !

YC was broken. It seemed as if his life was shattered.  His wife and son could not understand the big deal. 

YC refused to be felicitated. 

"I have lied . I do not deserve the felicitation..." he kept on repeating, much to the distress of the function organizers. 

"Sir... all the arrangements have been done ! The political leaders have been invited.. If you don't go , we will land in a soup ... it is just a small thing sir... please ..."

But he did not budge.

His family tried to cajole him, force him and even threaten him. But nothing worked. 

Then YC's son had a brilliant idea. 

He went to the kid's house and had a heart to heart discussion with him. He bribed him with toys, chocolates, books etc. 

"You just have to say that your sir did not say that he had got 91%... That is all..."

So, when the club organizers were trying to persuade him for the last time, YC's son said " Father ... you did not lie ! I talked to the kid ... he said that you said that you had told him that you had obtained 17% and not 91% !"

"But ... It cannot be ... I remember clearly... I cannot be mistaken ... "

"Father ... you are also human, you are mistaken ... see the kid is here ... he will tell you ... come on son ... talk ... say that your sir had told you that he had obtained 17% and not 91% ... talk kid ... "

The child sat on the chair , looking at the floor. He did not utter a word . 

YC came closer to the kid.  He stood up. 

YC said " Son ! Look at my eyes and without fear tell the truth ... !" 

The child looked at YC. He was silent for a few seconds. 

Slowly he said  "Uncle gave me toys , chocolate etc to tell you a lie. But looking at your eyes, I just cannot say those untruthful words.  ... Sir, You told me that you had got 91%  .... "

YC was silent. 

The kid spoke again 

"Sir ... ! Another thing ... I promise that from today I will NEVER lie ...." Tears flowed down his  cheeks

YC had a beatific smile on his face. 

He looked at his wife . 

"Give me formal clothes, I will get ready for the felicitation ...!"

Everybody was stunned. 

YC smiled... his eyes brimming with tears ... 

"Yes... I will go to the function ... my job is done ... I have passed the baton to the next generation ... ! "


You will be remembered for your values and principles. Money and  fame come and go. But the values stay with you forever... ever after you are long gone from the earth... 

We have to lead...

And pass the baton to the next generation ! 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

For God's sake... Just Shut up !

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find it very very hard to keep my mouth shut. There have been many occasions when this bad habit of mine has put me in a soup.  And invariably, after a few minutes of my blurting out, I have regretted it. 

But now that I have burnt my fingers several times, I have become cautious.  But still it takes a lot of effort to restrain myself

Take the incident which happened a few days back . A backstabber sent an email to the senior management complaining about some fictitious thing. In fact, in the email , he had called the other person/s liars and non co-operative. It so happened that the reply from the boss was marked a copy to all the relevant people.  The person who had been called names had the instant reaction to retort to that email. Thankfully he came up to me to discuss before doing so. 

He was very upset 

"Pack of lies against me ! How dare he call me names ? I too can call him names and complain . I am writing a reply to this email where I will give proof in my defense and call spade a  spade ....

"Shhhh... Just close your email box , have a glass of water and relax for 15 min, then come and talk to me "  I cooled him down. 

Since he held me in high regards, he complied with my suggestion. 

After 15 min, he was much better composed. 

"Ok" I said "Is the email by the boss directed to you ?"


"Rule no. 1 - If an email is not directed towards you, you should not reply to it"

"But he has called me names ... I want to justify ... "

"Hmm.. you should ... but this is not the right time. For now you should just ignore it ..."

"Ignore it  ???!!!!!??"

"Yes.  Just keep your mouth shut. If you reply to that email, call him names etc. what is it that will differentiate you from him ? And anyways most of us know that he is a whiner and a gossip monger. If he really wanted to solve the problem, he would have talked about his inconveniences with you before complaining to the boss !  In his heart of heart he knows that he is wrong and that is why he did not mark copies of the communication to you or the relevant people".

"But ... "

"Understand the  power of shutting up ! This way , you will score a point over him and at the same time , your silence will be a good snub on him !"

"But I need to explain !"

"Yes, right.... But email is not the best way to put forth your explanation. You should ask for a face to face meeting with the boss and discuss. And definitely you should show your displeasure . You should be well prepared with your points and put it forth with data and facts ! "

"When ?"

"Good question . If the boss calls for a meeting then that is it, else wait for 2 days and then ask for a meeting. That way the other person will be very discomfited . He would be itching to know your reaction . And your stoic face and silence will perturb him even more ... ! That is the beauty of silence !"

He went away and two days later, came out of the boss's room with a smiling face. 

Remember why God has given us two ears and one mouth ? So that we can listen more than  we speak. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Never Ever lose a deal - 3 tips

All of us have gone through it sometimes or the other. At work, at play , at home ... everywhere.  

We are always encountered with negotiations.  

Here are three amazingly cool tips to help you win a deal. Here you go : 

  • Boogie-boogie : You are in a middle of a deal. Start pushing for a particular item which is really not so important for you. Almost at the end of the negotiation, you when some trading is happening, you agree to give it up ! This will surprise the other party and they will feel that they have scored a point. As a trade-off for that that point, you can then push for the thing which is really important to you !

  • The last nip :  This has to be done right at the end of finalizing the deal. Just when the deal is being signed, ask for a bit extra. This generally generally gets granted since the other party is busy looking at the bigger picture and is eager to complete the negotiation .

  • The invisible man : Suppose you want to halt the negotiation and want some time . Then the favourite "I will have to talk to my boss and get back to you on this " works really well. Afterwards, you can say that you have had your discussion and only a 5% discount instead of the 15%,  which was being discussed earlier. The other party has an invisible "boss" to deal with !

Cheers !

Monday, 28 March 2016

9 things a Great Leader should do

Here are the 9 Rules all great leaders follow :

1.    Talk less, listen more.  The leader’s job is to pay attention to what other people say, especially those who think their views don’t count. Show you’re listening by acting on what people tell you, and gain their trust by giving them the credit.

2.    Don’t give a solution too soon :. No- one learns anything new if you keep doing what you already know how to do, and don’t allow others to try. Anyway, they may find a different, or better way, and if not… you always learn from your mistakes.

3.    Be Passionate :  about what you believe in.  Share your vision , live your values and walk the talk. The personality  is more inspiring, than the process.

4.    Have faith : . Believe  that everyone is doing the best they can, then look for ways to support and encourage them . If you keep on finding fault,  no one will believe you after some time.

5.    It is OK to not know everything :  Being a leader does not mean knowing more than anyone else. Recognise, encourage and promote others as experts. Give them the trust and autonomy to be creative and do excellent work.. Admit that you do not know everything. That will make them respect you even more.

6.    Instill a sense of purpose. Your team knows what they do and how to do it, but you can make a big difference by sharing a strong sense of why they’re doing it and where it’s heading, by providing them the vision and the big picture. Everyone in the team is important.

7.       Convince them  A great idea is of no consequence unless you can convince others to believe it too, and then persuade them to help you make your idea a reality. The best way to do this is to make the idea theirs.

8.       Focus on the critical few : Focus on the things that really matter and where you can make a difference. There may be a hundred different distractions and demands on your time and a hundred ways you could respond, but it’s a handful of  chosen actions that deliver the results.

9.      30 minutes of walking around everyday: , It’s hard to retain that sense of what the job’s really about when you are sitting in your office. You’ll see what people actually do, rather than what people tell you they do. And you’ll see their commitment, effort and achievements first hand, and feel proud to be part of the same team. Always inspiring, and informative, and better than any meeting!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

5 traits that Men should learn from Females

Yesterday was 8th March - International Women's Day. Personally speaking, I do not find much relevance in these "so-called-days" , but maybe it is a nice way to remind us about gender equality, equal opportunity and women empowerment that is needed. 

It is not a thing that women should fight for. 

I say so because in any "fight", there is an opponent. But here,  the females themselves not convinced about themselves. I agree that times have changed, women are coming into diverse fields , more and more women are coming into the workforce, there is much more acceptance of females in every step of life, in decision making, financial independence, but I feel we have a looooong way to go !

But that is not what I want to talk about in this blog post. I want to write about some qualities which are inherently there in females which are much in demand nowadays. The idea of leadership is fast changing.  We are moving away from "Hot power leadership" towards "cool power leadership". And it has been proved through research that women are more suited for such leadership.  More and more organizations want their leaders to acquire certain qualities which are quite inherently there in most of the females

  • Empathizing with the team : This comes naturally to the females. We can easily get into the shoes of the other person and share his /her state of mind. 

  • Emotions :  A couple of years back, it was thought that is a big divide between the professional and personal lives of an employee. At work one is supposed to keep emotions at bay and talk only profession. But with social media , constant connectivity with whatsapp, facebook where people change their status always, this divide has almost vanished. So, it is a farce to believe that we can leave our personal face at home and bring the professional one to work. The senior male managers  find this a bit difficult to digest,  but on the contrary, the females deal with this very elegantly.

  • Multi Tasking  : Women are born multi-taskers. They are naturally prone to managing multiple things together, putting on several hats competing with several simultaneous deadlines. Their balancing act helps them to remain cool and composed in dealing with several concurrent assignments.

  • Asking for help :  We are not super humans. We need help more than often to get things done.  The male ego sometimes becomes a big barrier when they have to ask for help. Not so with females !

  • Co-operation and collaboration :  Business moves quicker than it ever has before, and it’s increasingly specialized. Women embrace this concept more readily. They are better at co-operation and collaboration . Again this comes naturally to us. 

It is a separate matter that sometimes some of these qualities also act as hindrance, but that is for another post  !

So, womenfolk, let us exalt in our glory and make the most of the above natural abilities to excel at work! And it goes without saying that we need the support of the men and the larger society to succeed !

Cheers and a happy women's day to all !

Sunday, 21 February 2016

How is your knee, John ?

This is a story of grit. 

This is a story of determination . 

This is a story of going till the end, come what may ... !

Story of  John Steven Akhwari . 

The basic facts don't tell the story. John Stephen Akhwari was a marathon runner who represented Tanzania in the marathon in 1968. He didn't win a medal. In fact, he came nowhere near. But, in defeat and in pain, he came to represent something much more profound and enduring than many sportsmen achieve in illustrious careers.

Akhwari was never likely to win the marathon, but his chances were wrecked when, perhaps because of the effects of the high altitude, he succumbed to cramps that slowed his progress. If that was painful, then worse was to come after he was involved in a melee of athletes jockeying for position.

Akhwari fell to the ground, gashing his knee and also causing a dislocation. He also smashed his shoulder against the pavement. Most observers, seeing his injuries, assumed he would pull out and go to hospital. Instead, he received medical attention and returned to the track to continue his race.

His pace, of course, was now much lower, but his resolve to complete the event remained intact. Eighteen of the 75 starters had pulled out; he did now wish to add to that number.

And so, more than an hour after the winner, Akhwari crossed the line in last place, cheered home by a few thousand spectators who had remained in the stadium after the sun went down. 

By the time he reached the stadium, he was limping and the bandage around his leg was flapping in the breeze

He was asked why he'd carried on, and his response has gone down in sporting history. 

“My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race,” he said. “They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

Akhwari recovered from his injuries and continued running long-distance races. 

He finished fifth in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and also ran the 10,000m at the same championships. He was a good runner, but his performance, courage and dedication in the face of adversity is what history will remember him for.

It is very very  easy to give up.  

And it is that much hard to go to the end and become a task completer.  

Organizations need more task completers. These people are are the leaders. 

Whenever I see my team and my managers getting tired and they just want to give up,  I ask them ....

"John, How is your knee ?"

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Most Common Problem at the Top

Ronny , the CEO of Company XYZ, was really disgusted as he came out of the meeting room.  He desperately needed a smoke. He bumped into me in the cafeteria. 
"Hey ! You look peaked ! All well ?"
"Hi Ananya ! God has sent you to me. I have to pour my woes ... and there cannot be a better person than you ..."
"Well ... here is my cup ... pour ... " I joked. 
He did not smile. 
"Ananya, there is constant back biting between the different function heads. The Operations managers tries to pull down the IT head, the IT head has differences with the HR Head, the Finance Head has problems with the Operations ... and it goes on ... No one loses a single chance to send out caustic remarks about each other. Sometimes it is subtle and sometimes it is blunt.  I am really pissed off ! 
Why can't the heads go along with each other ?  Will I be able to run my company like this? What will be the outcome ?
"Hmmm.. It is common in most of the organizations. And  yes, the outcome is grave .... I am reminded of a tale from Panchatantra which will elucidate the point.  "
"Panchatantra ?
"Yeah ...Panchantantra stories are  ancient Indian fables, composed in the 3rd century BC, by Pandit Vishnu Sharma. They are stories on human behaviors, portrayed by animal characters.
"This is the story of a bird with two heads ... Just like your IT head, Finance Head and so on ... " I smiled.
Long, long ago, there lived a strange bird in a huge banyan tree. The tree stood beside a river. The strange bird had two heads, but only one stomach.
Once, while the bird was flying high in the sky, he saw an apple shaped fruit lying on the bank of the river. The bird swooped down, picked up the fruit and began to eat it. This was the most delicious fruit the bird had ever eaten.
As the bird had two heads, the other head protested, "I'm your brother head. Why don't you let me also eat this tasty fruit?"
The first head of the bird replied, "Shut up.You know that we've only one stomach. Whichever head eats, the fruit will go to the same stomach. So it doesn't matter as to which head eats it. Moreover, I'm the one who found this fruit. So I've the first right to eat it."
Hearing this, the other head became silent. But this kind of selfishness on the part of the first head pinched him very much. One day, while flying, the other head spotted a tree bearing poisonous fruits. 
The other head immediately descended upon the tree and plucked a fruit from it.
"Please don't eat this poisonous fruit," cried the first head. "If you eat it, both of us will die, because we've a common stomach to digest it."

"Shut up!" shouted the other head. "Since I've plucked this fruit, I've every right to eat it."
The first head began to weep, but the other head didn't care. He wanted to take revenge. He ate the poisonous fruit. As a result both of them died.

"Hmm ... " Ronnie was thoughtful. "All the Heads in my company also have one stomach... and if I  cannot control them , then all of us will die ... I have to do something ... !"

"Yes Ronnie ... Think of something fast so that you can save everybody ... !"

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Teeny Weeny : Paradise Lost

It was 12 am.  She lay awake . Waiting eagerly . At least one wish ... one sms ... one whatsapp or one hug from the person sleeping beside her ?  After all the day was special,  she waited and waited .... till slumber conquered her senses.

As usual in the morning, she prepared tea for everybody. They took their cups and continued reading the newspaper.

Another year of her life passed by.



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

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

8 Rules of Brainstorming

2016 has arrived .  New resolutions, new goals , renewed enthusiasm. 

This is the time of the year when we make resolutions .  This is the time of the year when we look back to learn from our mistakes and look ahead with a wider vision.  

In most of the organizations, this is the time when strategies are made and yearly goals are set.  And the first step towards goal making are the brainstorming sessions. 

Now, the brainstorming sessions can be tricky. Sometimes they are very effective where the collective ideas and energy of the team can go into a frenzy, unleashing brilliant, innovative,  out of the world ideas . And sometimes it can be boring and drag, people bickering, mocking each other or discussions  going into tangents and lengthy arguments. 

The foremost condition for conducting good brainstorming session is to have a facilitator.  The main role of the facilitator is to see that the participants remain focused, the time is maintained and the rules of the brainstorming session are followed.  

Following are the  8 rules , which , if followed will ensure very effective brainstorming sessions.

1. No Distractions, stay focused

No laptops, cell phones please. Distractions can hamper free flow of ideas. Give 5 min breaks at the appropriate frequency.  If some high level organizational goals have been provided, these should be put up on the whiteboard so that people are focused. 

2.  No Judgement 

All ideas are valid at this stage.  As ideas begin to flow, you must do everything in your power to let them flow. Every idea is welcome, even dumb or crazy onesNo one should be allowed to offer any judgment of any idea. The idea generation phase is about generating ideas, not ranking them. Think about what’s good or bad later.

3. Give chance to All

Take turns talking. Listen when you’re not talking. To be an effective brainstorming leader, you must see that all the participants get equal chance to speak.  If someone is too quiet, encourage her to speak and if someone is hogging the full limelight, put him off for a while. 

4. Do not discourage

No negativity. No analysis or criticism or comparing or editing of other people’s ideas. Be positive about every contribution. Even if the person next to you throws out the stupidest idea (according to you), , let the process continue. Any criticism will change the atmosphere of the  group and the people will clam up. Every person and every idea are of equal worth.

5. Resist tangents 

Resist tangents like storytelling and joking. Brainstorming can become quite a party sometimes, and the temptation to start joking about what comes up can be hard to resist. Nevertheless, resist it. Check the group if they start going off into tangents - like a side discussion , talking about something which is not in the agenda or any other day to day matters. The facilitator should quickly bring the group back on track.

6. Do not flog a dead horse

During the brainstorming or  during prioritization/ selection of ideas, people tend to become sentimental or attached to their own ideas. They keep on harping about or sulking if their ideas are not voted for.  As a result, the discussion about one single idea becomes too lengthy without any conclusion and valuable time is lost. The facilitator should set this ground rule about limiting the argument and move on.

7. Build on others ideas

You may combine ideas during the brainstorm, or save idea combinations for a second brainstorming session. We should be able to adapt and improve other people's ideas as it is to generate the initial idea that sets off new trains of thought. Tell your colleagues that every idea matters and that the whole point of the exercise is to get a lot of ideas on the board. Together. Everybody should feel comfortable taking risks and has no fear of embarrassment or negative consequences.  Remind them that this is team work.  The ideas are not of any individual , but have emanated from the team.

8. Punctuality, logistics , agenda etc.

Last, but not at all the least, being on time , having a clearly drawn agenda with time boxes,  logistical arrangements like projector, white boards, markers , tea , coffee etc will boost the productivity and efficiency of the brainstorming.  And again , the most important part ... have fun ... enjoy!

So folks , forget the past and think about the future. Figure out if ideas fit with your corporate values and traditions .  Remember, while brainstorming, you’re not making a commitment to the ideas yet – you’re just sharing them. 

After brainstorming, there are a couple of steps . In the context of creation of function/department level goals , they are :

1. Selection of the ideas
2. Prioritization of the ideas
3. Assigning owners
4. Schedule of completion
5. Measurement criteria. 

But these are fodder for my next future posts !

Hope you find the brainstorming tips useful.  

Would love to hear from you any other points on this . Do use the remarks section to comment !

Cheers !

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Inspiring Myself

Dear Readers, 

2016 has arrived.  As I had written last year in January, I repeat again.  

There is something in the month of January.

The feeling of "newness" ! 

Just like reading a new book or writing on the first page of a brand new exercise book.  Or like wearing a dress the very first time. 

I don't know about you but I sure do get this feeling .  Every January.  

But this January, the feeling was a bit weak,  What happened ? It has got me a bit worried. 

So , I thought of  inspiring myself  with some good thoughts.  Hope you too like them. 

1. Success cannot be pursued, Success ensues. It flows as the unintended byproduct of efforts concentrated in the direction of a worthy cause. 

2. Nothing so destroys the heart as the knowledge that you had the chance to manifest the gorgeous potential within you and you refused to accept the call !

3. People who feel superb about themselves generate superb results. Self respect is a beautiful thing. 

4. Your life is a treasure and you are so much more than you know.  The life you live today does not have to be the life you lead tomorrow. Make a choice.  Take a leap.  Rise above your circumstances to your next level of greatness. 

5. It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for the rest of your life. 

6. Saying that you don't have the time to improve your thoughts and your life is like saying you don't have time to stop for fuel because you are too busy driving!

7. Your thoughts form your world. And what you focus on shapes your destiny.

8. All extraordinary acts begin with a dream !

9. Most people give up just before they reach their dreams.  Most people quit only steps away from getting everything they wanted. Don't let that happen to you. 

10. Your timing may not be life's timing. 

11. From today onwards,  take complete control of your life. Decide, once for all , to be the master of your fate.  Run your own race. Discover your calling and you will start to experience the ecstasy of an inspired life.

I am already feeling good  !!

A very happy new 2016 to all my readers. 

Stay healthy, busy and happy !