Saturday, August 31, 2013

Time to introspect

I realised something strange yesterday while flying from Mumbai to Jodhpur. 
For the two hours I was in the aircraft with no access to my I phone and blackberry for mails, messages and phone calls. During that period my emotions wavered from anxiety to restlessness to relaxation to introspection. It gave me moments to think of my life over the last few months, relations @ home with my parents and wife and the relations with the outer world
The point that I am trying to bring in here is the fact that we have become such slaves of technology that we really do not spend time away from them. While we are connected with the world we have restricted ourselves from connecting with ourselves. From my limited exposure to life the way we look in and search our core, defines the way we approach the outside world. The no of hours spent with ourselves impact our relations with the world exponentially. 
The biggest realisation that I had was that I am becoming more and more doer than  creating. After all we all are human beings and not human doings.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Line and Staff - The Origin

The term "Line Managers" is much used, but not understood fully or is understood differently by different people. Many people use the term "Line Managers" simply to mean their own immediate boss, or to mean the manager of any work group in any function - but these are not the original meanings.
One may refer to the book The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler for the origin of the terms "line" and "staff."

The early American railroad companies were the giants of their day. They were massive in terms of number of employees, capital employed and geographical spread. They created new forms of organization based on centralization of information and command. Employees were divided into two categories - Line and Staff. "Line" was concerned to the day to day operations of the rail road line. "Staff" was concerned with all the support work that was required to make this happen - accounting, marketing, legal and so forth.

So, "line managers" are concerned with the core activities of the organization.
"Staff" managers are in charge of the specialist support functions which make sure proper procedures are followed.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A lesson well learnt from a Sales Man

 We all learn different kind of lessons in life through our surroundings, the people we talk and the people we report into. Off late, based on my interactions with a lot of people from the sales force I have started to be impressed with a few traits of a typical sales man. And to my utter surprise, I find consistency in this behavior across the various hierarchical levels. This is an ode to the person call sales man who ensures I find the material I want on the shelf whenever I wish to make a purchase. He knows, in his own way, when will I actually need the same product or service again. While we scoff at the number of calls we receive in our phones or the representatives who ring the bell at the odd hour or who throngs on to you when you visit a departmental store with a new product , salesmen work inside out to ensure our needs are taken care. 

Negotiation gone right !!!!
The first thing that has intrigued me is the motivation and optimism levels these guys have. We go to many motivational gurus to get advice. I would suggest you spend a day with a sales man. You will get lessons on this topic like never before. I am sure you must have been approached by a salesman offering a product or service. I am equally sure that 99% of the time you would have shooed him off. Many-times not even bothering to look at him. This is been done not once to the person but time and again. Have you ever noticed what happens after the rejection? No, he doesn't sulk standing there. He takes that in his stride and approaches the next customer with the same rigger, zeal and enthusiasm , sometimes, even more. He doesn't hesitate to smile. To me that is motivation - an ability to continuously focus on the target without worrying of the road blocks in the way. He is also optimistic that if this day is not good, tomorrow will be better. 

Let us look at a better scenario and assume you have given him an order. He accepts it with a smile, thanks you and ... Well, if you ever noticed he doesn't just start celebrating the success or takes a break. He knows that he cannot take the success on to his head and this is just a momentary phase in the longer war that he is battling. Another lesson for all of us. Never loose sight of your ultimate goal. You will find success and failure during the course. 

Amazing ! Isn't it. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reaction versus Response

A lot of people quite often ask what is the difference between Response and Reaction. Here is a snapshot of the difference: 

Reaction is untrue action - behavior that arises from the damage and impoverishment of our personalities. We react according to our conditioning - and not to what is. Such reaction may sometimes be decisive, but ultimately can never be creative, because it does not come from a free place. 

Response, on the other hand, is always creative. Response is true action-behavaior free from personal agenda. It is the action of the inner child, and therefore genuinely open to good in the situation. It will cling on nothing,except tthat which is best.

Reaction is mechanical, response is spiritual, and it is not hard to distinguish between the two as we reflect on events. Most human personality is not response, but reaction - behavior arising out of false identifications. 

(Excerpts from The Enneagram , a book by Simon Parke)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Team Work

A long wait since I last wrote! Here is my take on team work -what should ideally make a good team bond and work together! No gyan just a reflection of a couple of observations

A very famous basketball player of his time, Magic Johnson, once when asked about what he thinks makes a good team work together, replied "Everybody on a championship team doesn’t get publicity, but everyone can say he’s a champion." If any team remembers this and works relentlesly towards the ultimate goal, I think it will make a hell lot of difference.

Let me quote this from my experience. Table-tennis is not a great team event like a football or a soccer or a basketball is. But it is still a team event! If the two players dont understand each other and work in unison, the championship will never be theirs. I and a good friend of mine played table tennis together. By the time we had graduated from college, we had won almost every tournament together - singles or doubles. While he won more single tournaments then I could and was the more flamboyant player than me that attracted more adulation than I could even think of, I even once didnt feel bad about it. I am not mentioning this to garner sentiment points or to show my greatness. What I am trying to emphasise here is pprecisely what Magic Johnson said. Today, I can proudly write that we were champions, I was a champion.
Another important fact that a good team should possess is respect and adulation towards each other. I am sure, if I am asked today who was a better player, I would not hesitate to mention that my partner was a better player. And I still remmeber, he always mentioned to everyone that I was a better player I dont apper to be one because my game was formulated on a defensive approach and his was an attacking game. Now thats what I call respect. We always knew and will always know, that on our days, each one could give the other a challenge and could win. But at no point did we thought that about"I" am a better player. This is something that gives a team its stability.

I have seen many teams having stars but loosing the wars. Even in corporate world, you may have a great team on paper from the best f the institutes but sometimes a smaller and lesser known team just throws you off guard and wins the battle. And believe me the team hat wins is the one that fights like one and let none take their position.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Identify Enneagram no!!

Please identify the enneagram number :

1 always wears bright color and has an agressive approach. 1 reacts first and then thinks. 1 always builds a process chart or diagram around any problem that is brought in. It can be assumed that he does not like to take people along with him and rather uses his power/influence/position to sell his views and imposes it. He is never satisfied with any one else's views. If after a lond discussion in which he is part of, you send the Minutes of Meeting , he will always have something to add to it. However, he doesnt appreciate if someone gives a suggestion to him.

1 is percieved to not forget things and is full of vengence. However, he is too disciplined. He rarely misses a deadline and becomes too stressed about someone else missing it too.

In team meetings, he enters and exits the meeting at his pleasure. He is always hungry for data and even people based decisions he takes based on facts and not on gut feeling. He presents himself as risk taking but to me, he is too scared of taking risks.

Ask for more information

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lesson in Management

For all those who believe that only leaders of corporate world or sports world can give us a lesson or two in leadersip or management, read on.

One of the skills that one need to aquire quickly (please read super quickly) is to learn the act of hiring an auto. Everyday I have to travel from my house to a T-junction to hire an auto. Believe me, its one of the toughest task I have handled so far. Its tougher than handling a few managers that one comes across. For a research inclined person, it will be a great exercise to evaluate the pattern of availability of autos or may be do an annova and find correlation between time and availability. Kidding !

For the last one week, I have observed that a person in mid fifties reaches the place from where I pick auto around the same time that I do. I saw him standing there and struggling with all of other co-sufferers in getting an auto. But for the last two days, I observed that he never stood at the junction but walked a little longer and tried to catch auto from there. Today, when i again observed the same "pattern", it brought a smile on my face.

What was this man doing? He was walking a little farther than his competition and catching auto. I was moved. What an insight into art of management? All you have to do is to continously succeed - learn to walk/strive/try a little longer, harder than your peers/competition and you will be a little closer to success. And you will be closer to success a little ahead of your competition.

Thank you Gentleman for teaching me this art!