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Fear, Greed and the Management

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The change world has witnessed in 20th century is for more predominant than in 5 centuries earlier. But 21st century is generating a far more visible variance. With the change happening so fast, every organization has to keep pace surviving. Till the last century any enterprise would be satisfied by a certain percentage of incremental growth every year in production, sales or profits. That was a linear growth. But in the current century entrepreneurs are hungry for exponential growth. So the game of the business has undergone a drastic change. Accordingly the enterprise owners have changed their HR policy and motivation techniques.

downloadEmployee motivation till now:

Motivation has always been recognized as essential driver for management. In order to ensure that the workforce move ahead as a team and contribute to the organization’s objectives. The business leaders recognized and carried out the certain procedures for enhancing productivity and keep to the staff motivated. These were positive initiatives which can be summarized as under:

i) First on the list is that the employees must have the feeling that the management recognizes that they are significant part of the organization. They contribute productively to the company’s mission.

ii) A person who is made to feel important applies his/her mind while performing any task. Further, application of mind results in the person enjoying the work which in turn motivates.

iii) Listening to the juniors promotes real participative conversation. The manger is able to understand their team. They know what to communicate and how to communicate to move the wheel of progress.

iv) A policy of systematic engagement encourages staff to take help of seniors at the time when it is needed. The efficiency increases and so also the satisfaction of the staff members.

v) In traditionally managed family organization the owners would make their children to start from the bottom. If it is an engineering organization, working at the shop floor would be the first step for induction in the enterprise, and then gradually upwards. This helped workers to have a positive attitude towards the organization.

vi) An experienced senior was given the responsibility of mentoring. The mentor would ensure that the newcomer is exposed to each department. Doing the work is the best way to understand how to perform it. This would be considered as personalized training. All newcomers would be exposed to it irrespective of who they are.

vii) Positive feedback helped to keep anyone motivated. But appropriate criticism when necessary formed a part of training. This too ensured that person did not lose direction.

viii) Proper compensation and reasonable periodic enhancement too were taken care of. If a person is not able to meet family expenses, there would be some kind of pressure which dissociates and breaks the bond.

ix) All organizations need to outsource some of their activities. In times gone by the owners would allow the senior managers to start such small ancillary units and use the services or products. It would provide additional income. This also served to strengthen the bonds.

In the competitive business environment today, organizations which are hungry for growth have to adopt aggressive policies. Performance, sales and the bottom line are the chief parameters for appraisals. Generally, the CEO is engaged with clear understanding of producing some specific results. His/her compensation is fixed as per the promised results. So, it becomes their duty to live up to the promise. Fat compensation command fat results. Here, starts the story of Greed and Fear. For many organizations these two tools work as the chief motivators.

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Fear and Greed

Fear and greed are two primal emotions which have been used as strong motivators for people to act. Normally insurance business relies on fear, stock market on greed. But today every CEO tends to use these.

The CEO who is hired the by the management using the above two tools, he/she uses the same for their subordinates.  How else they would achieve some deadly targets? Due to fierce competition in the industry CEO and all have to slog and work like automatons 24×7. The good packages become just enough to meet the growing needs of the upscale lifestyle fear of losing the job becomes rampant. The situation has its heavy toll on the working people. Meeting impossible deadlines become deadly and people suffer. The story doesn’t end here. It only begins.

Most people engaged in the enterprise work under constant pressure and become stressed. Whenever genuine results are possible, it happens, but where the situation looks impossible, window dressing is employed. Manipulative reports and figures resembling mirage are displayed. An illusion of reality is created, which may last for a short time or at times even for a longer duration. But how long can illusory, self satisfying techniques last? The best known example of deceptive reporting is the story of subprime loan sanctioned in USA due to which some of the biggest banks fell.

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Five Steps to turn Failure in to success

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Failure is one necessary step towards achieving anything which is significant. Failure needs to be accepted, as fear of failure never allows you to take any risks. It pushes you into inaction which is the bane of life. Inaction is worse than procrastination. In any one’s life, procrastination is the enemy of a strong personality. It fills you with guilt which goes on increasing. Though failure has many negative effects, there are also some positive outcomes. In this essay, I would like to discuss both the negative and positive attributes of the failure. More importantly, I will put forth some suggestions on how we can leverage the positive aspects of failure and use it as a tool to propel us towards achieving our mission.

Negative aspects of failure are listed below:

i) It discourages you. Sometimes you get into depression as you feel you are good for nothing.

ii) It affects our positivity. It tends to weaken our hope and brings in a streak of pessimism in our life.

iii) We start avoiding company of our successful peers which dampens our spirits. This in turn weakens our personality.

iv) Sometimes, it may make you feel that life is good for nothing. It is not worth living. You want to escape. In worst cases, it pushes people to try to commit suicide.

v) In order to cover the loss due to failure, it may make the victim reckless. Trying to cover losses without proper thinking, the person plunges into bigger problems, debts etc.

vi) Often, failure leads to addiction. In a bid to escape facing the realities of life the ‘failed person’ resorts to drinking, drugs etc.

vii) Failure brings social stigma whereby people look down upon you. No one likes to be in the company of someone who has failed. Failure is not accepted as a part of struggle for success is some societies.

viii) It is sad but the victim is often ridiculed to make matters worse. Instead of helping to pull the person out of trouble those who had harbored some kind of grudge enjoy putting spanner in the wheel. The victim suffers even more.

ix) Extreme anxiety attacks the mind and the victim starts doubting everything. Suspicion brings further misery to the life of the victim.

x) Besides, failure may result in sleeplessness. It aggravates the difficulties and problems. It also affects health and weakens the mind.

So much for the negative impact of failure. Positive results of failure are also many, if the failure is viewed in the proper perspective. How the failure impacts a person or an organization depends on your immediate response after the failure takes place. If you own the failure and analyze the reasons, failure turns a teacher. Best lessons are drawn only from failures. But if you start the blame game and assign reasons of your failure to some people, sabotage or even the circumstances to give yourself a clean chit the failure snowballs into worse failure.

These are many reasons why failure should be viewed positively. I will list 5 which are most important according to some psychologists. These are:

i) As said above, failure acts as a teacher. Follow the lessons learned in a failed attempt and don’t repeat the same. Lessons learnt during failed projects, when put to practice and adopted suitably, shape the character.

ii) Failure inspires you to innovate. If one thing does not work, you try another. All scientific inventions are based on this aspect a failure. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. But I have found out 10,000 ways in which things don’t work”.

iii) Failure is used for quality enhancement. For any product, the quality department will try to find out the circumstances in which the product fails. But for software programmers this is just a necessary tool.

iv) Failure enables individuals to face facts of life. It helps you to understand that struggle in life is necessary. This is the only way you can come up.

v) The worst factor in anyone’s life is fear. Failure helps you to overcome your inherent fear and makes you courageous. Further, you develop courage to take calculated risks in life. This is necessary as the dictum – no risk no gains.

Having talked about the negative and positive aspects of failure, let us deal with the question, “How negative effects of failure can be countered and how can we turn failure into success? I give below the answer as 5 steps that we must take to achieve the desired results.

Step I. Be prepared to accept failure. For any venture which poses some risks you must be prepared for the worst at the beginning itself.  In this case you will be able to handle the situation because you are not taken by surprise.

Step II. Create a strong desire in your mind to succeed in spite of the grave difficulties on the way. Become prepared to face the difficulties and work hard. Don’t expect the task to be easy. You strong desire will help you to adopt this attitude.

Step III. Open your mind to embrace any change that you may have to make in your plan of action. World is changing fast and there is no science to inform you what changes will take place and when. Your open mindedness will come to your rescue.

Step IV. Develop your mind power. Comfort or discomfort resides only in mind. While a heavy traffic cannot deter someone from enjoying listening to the music in cool comfort of an air-conditioned car, it can be a harrowing experience for another soul who is not prepared to adopt the change.

Step V) Last but not the least, choose a role model. There are many great world leaders who have embraced many failures before coming out as great winners. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela or Steve Jobs- who was turned out the company he started, are just a few examples.

Therefore, choose your role model. Read and understand his/her life. Draw your own lessons and go ahead with your projects.

When we focus only on the positive attributes of failure during the journey of the work involved, we will be rid of the harmful impact of so many of the negative attributes of failure. So our attitude and choice of actions make all the difference.

Thanks for reading.

All About Talent

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Erica Jong

Everyone is endowed with one talent or another. It’s important for us to discover the hidden talent. In fact the main purpose of education should be to identify the talent of an individual. However in our education system the students at school rarely identify what they have to do in life. Except for a few of them who become clear about what they have to do after the school well in time. In such happy cases, some of them are helped by their parents and some close relatives and a few of them by the teachers.

Desiderius Eramus

 

If the inherent talent is recognized and the child is encouraged to pursue a career in line with the inherent talent, he/she is bound to do very well in life. When you pick up a career where you enjoy your job, you are likely to excel in the profession.

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Cicero, the great philosopher had said 2000 years ago:

“Natural ability without education has more often attained to glory and virtue than education without natural ability”

It is true even today. Success of persons like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates confirm the veracity of the statement. Whatever you are by nature keep it; your line of talent lies in what the nature has intended you to be.

It is often said that you cannot come out of mediocrity if you are or have to pursue a career which is not to your liking. There is one school of thought that says “if you so desire you can start liking anything that you may be doing”. I don’t entirely deny the truth of the statement. But it is easier said than done. It may be possible, in rare cases, only with consistent efforts and training under a mentor. So, do what you can to discover your talent sooner than later, and leverage it.

Seneca

Thanks for reading.

4 Faces of Persistence

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Persistence is perhaps the most important reason of anyone’s success in life. The 4 faces of persistence that I have chosen to discuss are:

  1. What is persistence? Its definition.
  2. The road blocks or the difficulties faced for persistence.
  3. How to develop persistence if it is not the part of your personality?
  4. Last but not the least, how does persistence help you to achieve your goals? This discussion will contain examples of the leaders who are the shining stars in this respect. Let us deal with each of this 4 faces in detail.

Face 1: How do we recognize the ability to persevere in anyone’s personality? What have the leaders and thinkers in the past stated about persistence? The review will enable us not only to understand but also to assimilate the virtues of persistence. Following are the famous quotes of great leaders and thinkers from different fields

  1. Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never, never give up!”
  2. Buddha: “A jug fills drop by drop”
  3. Samuel Johnson: “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance”
  4. Napoleon Hill: “Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop”
  5. Albert Einstein: “It is not that I’m so smart, it is just that I stay with problems longer”
  6. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little, you gain the great.
  7. Unknown: “It is when things get tough and you don’t quit that success comes”
  8. Unknown: “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”

In fact your persistence in following your project measures your faith in yourself.

Face 2: The moot question is persistence if understood to be so important for progress; then why it is missing in almost 90% of the educated working class. It is difficult to find one common answer for all those who lack perseverance. A study of the human behavior assigns the following reasons why perseverance is missing in most of the people.

i) Accepting life as it comes. The habit of living life in a certain way which does not require to stretch out of your comfort zone does not allow one to think beyond.

ii) Sometimes, the problem starts during our formal education. The education system does not emphasize the important of simplicity in dissemination of the knowledge. Complex instruction affects the student’s ability to understand and assimilate. As a result there is a tendency of the mind to go somewhere else. Important of persistence does not come in to the picture.

iii) Lack of patience, inability to take risk and inadequate courage also act as deterrents.

  1. iv) Goals of life should be specified and written down by each individual. Our goals inspire us to persevere in order to achieve them. When there are no goals there is no inspiration.

Face 3: How to develop persistence

i We must specify our goals and they should be written down. The goals can be according to your priorities. The subject of our goals can be: health goals, career and financial goals, and family goals etc. You may add any other goal as per your liking. But, these should be time bound. These will inspire you to persist in your efforts for achieving these.

ii) Meditation is very useful. It enables you to review that you are moving forward in the right direction. When you meditate on any subject, the mind will keep on wandering and providing inputs on the subjects. This means that in the back of your mind you will keep on thinking about your goals. Meditation is not related to any particular faith. You may sit down and meditate on your breath or any other object. But make background thoughts hover around your goals.

iii) A detailed plan of action in pursuance of your daily tasks as well as weekly will be very helpful.

iv) And, above all the most important action that you can take, to bring persistence in your personality is to love your job. When you enjoy your work you are encouraged to continue doing what needs to be done.

Face 4: The benefits of persistence. These are immense. Progress in any project that you may undertake will become easier than you may imagine. Big difficult projects will not frighten you. You will gladly undertake these knowing fully well that these will require your consistent hard work. Your commitment to your mission becomes impeccable. The lives of great leaders of the world tell us innumerable success stories of those who failed many times before achieving success. Some of the well known examples are: Abraham Lincoln who failed repeatedly before becoming successful, Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and our own Mahatma Gandhi. You may find any number of examples that you may like when you go through the pages of world history.

Thanks for reading.

 

6 Steps to pursue leadership excellence

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Aristotle

What is leadership excellence? What are the important features? How is it supposed to be pursued? These are the questions that we will consider. There are 6 steps, which I think, that a leader needs to take in order to pursue excellence. These are:

The leader’s attitude is very important. Self awareness too is very significant. But more importantly, proper implementation of any idea in great detail is critical. Other 3 important aspects  are- accepting responsibility, realizing that pursuing  excellence is your own choice and determination, and finally the leader must be  must ensure that the team members are in a position to live up to the leader’s expectations. Having said that, let us now deal with each of these 6 steps one by one.

Step 1. Any idea or plan must be executed/implemented with great precision. In fact the quality of implementation of an idea is even more important than the idea itself. Leading management Gurus advocate that ‘A’ quality implementation of     ‘B’ quality plan is more productive then ‘B’ quality implementation of ‘A’ quality plan. When we look through the finer details of any task, we are able to follow its original objectives. But it doesn’t happen if we overlook the details. Excellence is a continuous process. It is not just an event. It is not just an accident. But it is your choice which you follow step by step, always. This becomes easier if you love every moment of your life and therefore if you love everything that your do from moment to moment.

Step 2. Your attitude is extremely important. Excellence is not just a skill like those skills you require for doing anything correctly and nicely. Excellence is your attitude to do every job with at most care and while enjoy at the same time. Precision and enjoyment may appear to be incompatible but they are not. There is no doubt  that you have to follow this practice of using eye for detail and getting satisfaction for following the finer details at the same time.

Step 3. The good news is that there is no preparation required to pursue excellence for the leader. It depends entirely on their choice- decision and determination to follow the decision. One may decide just now that henceforth from the next moment onwards he/she will do everything while pursuing excellence. Sometimes there may be time constraints and other such difficulties. But the pursuit of excellence teaches  you make best use of the available resources. Some people talk of discipline. Excellence is not discipline. It does not ensure quality of work which can be classified in the required category. Discipline is defined as that you must do something at a time when it needs to be done even when you don’t like to do. In a way it cages you while the ‘excellence’ knows no such restrictions. It emerges from the application of your mind and the joy that your draw out of doing something that you like to do.

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Step 4. The 4th important step that leader must take is to accept responsibility for excellence in a group life. The leader does not teach his follower to achieve perfection. Perfection is unattainable. But when you chase perfection you catch up with excellence. The leader ensures that his/her followers understand it very well. Such leaders have the ability to motivate the followers to such an extent that the commitment of the followers becomes as strong as that of their leader. This is particularly true in respect of the political leaders. Dr. Martin Luther King is one such example. But for him Barak Obama would not have become the President of USA.

Step 5. Self awareness is something that the leader must practice. It trains him/her to observe their actions from moment to moment. They develop the ability to change their action as per the requirement of changed circumstances. Their decision making process does not suffer a jolt even if most unexpected event take place. In our sacred book, ‘The Bhagwat Gita’ such a person is known as ‘Stith Pragya Purush’. It depicts not only the alertness of the mind but also the coordination between the mind and the reaction which lead to necessary speech and or action.

Step 6. Last but not the least the leader has to be realistic. They can pursue excellence only if their expectations are reasonable. Any unachievable task if set before the team is bound to de-motivate them.  This does not mean that the team member can take things easy. Life is such that for achieving any significant result you have to stretch yourself. It’s the leaders job that he practices not only himself but also ensures that the team member follow suit.

When the leader undertakes their journey as per the steps enumerated above, it is then that the leadership excellence is pursued.

life's journey

Thanks for reading.

All about the Greatest Singer of Indian Films

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Yesterday, Mohammad Rafi was remembered by the entire music industry on his 26th death anniversary. It was on 31st July 1980 that he died. The day saw an unusually intense rain.  It appeared that the the Sky in India was weeping to mourn the great loss to the music treasure of our country. In spite of very heavy rains,  a mammoth  crowd followed the funeral procession. That was the story of a very simple man, a family man but a very profound singer in the film industry of our country.

There are lots of anecdotes regarding his compassion, simplicity and devotion to his work.

Once he was traveling in his car to a recording studio. It was extremely hot. He saw that a beggar at the crossing was standing on one leg and then changing the foot because the road was extremely hot. Rafi asked his driver to stop the car, took out his own shoes and told the driver to give the shoes to the beggar. He said that beggar’s need was greater than his own.

It is said that whenever he would go for recording, he would take tea from home in a thermos flask. His wife would make a special tea for him. She put various dry fruits like cashew walnuts, almonds etc. He would never share his tea with anyone. He was thoroughly a family man devoted to his wife and family. The couple was fond of each other so much that after completion of the work Mohammad Rafi wood straight come home. He would hardly ever attend get together and parties of the film industry.

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Rafi sang many songs for the famous music director OP Nayyar. Once, Nayyar asked him, “you have worked with so many music directors; who is your most favorite music director?” Simple but quick witted Rafi said, “yoon to Humne lakh music directors dekhe hain,tumsa nahi dekha” meaning that I have seen lots of music directors but you are unique. OP Nayyar was equally fond of him and would always engage him unless the actor or the situation demanded some other voice

Another very interesting anecdote of his depicts his uncanny simplicity. Once, he had to record a song At All India Radio, Mumbai. Singer Mohinder Kapoor was his fan as well as his friend. Rafi asked Mohinder Kapoor what was he doing? Come with me, “I have to go to recording in All India Radio. Both went to the All India Radio studio and recorded the song. When they were going back they found lots of boys and girls asking Mohammad Rafi to give autograph rafi who did not understand English and did not understand what it would mean to give autograph. Rafi asked Mohinder in Punjabi what they were saying. Mahendra Kapoor said that they were asking his autographs. Simple Rafi said, “tun yo kar de yaar.” (you only do it for me) That was his simplicity.

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Laxmikant Pyarelal who became famous music directors were the children of a trumpet player. He was always short of money. He would often go to Rafi for help. Once Mohammed Rafi gave him 500 rupees which was a lot of money in those days. But that the magnanimity of Mohammad Rafi. When Laxmikant Pyarelal got their first film for music direction, the producer put a condition that they must bring Mohammed Rafi to sing all the male songs. Further that only Rs2000/= fee would be paid for each song. At that time the fee for Rafi Rs.10000/=. After the recording was over the producer did not have courage to give an envelop containing the paltry fee. He asked Pyarelal  to do it. Mohammad Rafi noticed and he said to Pyarelal to distribute the money between two of them. “I will be very happy”, he said. These are some of the interesting anecdotes from the life of the great singer Mohammad Rafi, who has been one of the greatest singers of his time, possibly for all times to come.

Thanks for reading.

Language

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Hi,

 

Today, I’ll talk to you about ‘language’. Language is the only difference between animals on one side and by humans on the other. Its importance therefore can hardly be exaggerated. Great leaders and great thinkers have talked about language and its importance differently.

Karl Kraus, the German philosopher said that the language is the mother of thought. How true? Imagine if we did not have the facility of language, how we would think. It’s just not possible. Another thinker, Samuel Johnson said that the language is the dress of thought. Both are right. Indeed the language is the mother of thought and it is also the way the thoughts are dressed and presented.

Grammar is helpful in creating the sentences. But the speakers don’t have to worry about technical details of the grammar. In any case, the spoken language is different from the written language. The written language has to be correct grammatically as far as possible. But the spoken language essentially has to convey the idea that the person wants to express. Technical details of the grammar may have to be compromised for the sake of brevity. If you tend to be verbose, the objective of communication may be lost. Most listeners cannot pay attention to the speaker who is verbose and who uses too many words to say something which can be effectively conveyed in a few words.

The word of a man/woman is the most durable of all materials. It lasts longer than one can think. Some time ago, when I was conducting a program for the lecturers of a college, one of the participants said “the tongue is one of the strongest organs in the human body. The tongue does not fall sick normally. And if it does, it heals itself quickly. But the wound that the tongue may create sometimes are not healed in the lifetime. It is indeed true. So, one must use the tongue with great care and discretion. And, it’s not only the words but it’s also how you speak these. Your tone is extremely important. If the same words are said in an inappropriate these create undesirable effect.

Like everything else, language also has its own limitations. It can describe all the situations that you may have gone through vividly; it may create the leaves of the book of your life neatly, but it cannot describe one’s character. Character can be recognized by the person’s behavior, his conduct and so many other personality traits. It is said that one should never react. He/she should only apply mind to face whatever be the situation; whatever be the circumstances. Likewise if any person behaves in an uncivil manner you should not react. Use your mind. Application of mind will guide you how you have to face the situation. Here again, the most appropriate language with proper modulation (tone) will be found very useful.

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But there are some languages which everyone understands. These are universal. Language of smile is the same throughout the world. Language of kindness will be understood by the deaf as well as by the blind. So let’s use the universal language of kindness and let’s always wear a smile.

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Thanks you for reading.