Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Ayodhya Verdict...Gandhi Jayanti

While studying Engg sciences,we were asked to design structures and carry out stress tests on them to check its stability. While analyzing companies, we carried out similar stress tests, to check their credit worthiness in extreme circumstances..their ability to service the debt….as a Nation, we underwent a similar stress test yesterday.

So what were the stressors, what did we shock? We shocked the cultural fabric, co-existence, tolerance, shocked the national integration, the humanity itself, taking it to a break point. The only difference was that unlike the routine stress tests which are conducted in a controlled environment, this was played out live into production.

The Ayodhya verdict, long standing one, looking into contentious question of who has the title and whom should the possession be handed over to was one of most speculated one's in recent times. Every one waited with bated breath. All over in offices, in residences, in neighbourhoods, hundreds of opinions were voiced. More importantly, the discussion also focused, what will this lead to? As the time arrived, you could see a sense of relief and fear. Very rarely you see both the emotions together. Relief that it will be finally off the back and fear that it will this lead to some sort of unrest. Indians made their intentions known but also played safe, just in case some mischievous elements.

But the message was loud and clear, both by the judiciary and the people of India, message of moving on, of sacrifice, of co-existence…both of them exhibited statesmanship making it clear that we can’t stay buried in the past, future beckons us and we need to seize the moment…

Forget recoverability from this extreme shock event, we came out in flying colours. India surprised itself, emerged stronger and more confident, making a new beginning in national integration build-up story. The foundation proved to be much more stable than it was imagined and the credit truly and only goes to citizens of India. For once, Gandhi Jayanti or the International Non-Violence Day, was celebrated in its true spirit.

Jai Ho.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pay-Forward Pledge on 64th Independence Day

Couple of weeks back I was confabbing with a colleague, Ms Anuja Kale and she spoke about a very interesting construct called ‘Pay-Forward’, which not only resonated with me but stirred me, as I felt connected with that concept instantaneously.

All of us in our lifes and careers have been helped by someone…souls who had no selfish interest in doing that…..but helped because they genuinely wanted to…. and in some cases they took flak for that but still had the courage and conviction to do so…and that act played an important role in our growth.

The question is, ‘How do we repay this debt back?’

This can be repaid by two means….one...by doing a similar deed, ie. helping someone out there achieve his/her career dreams….has the passion and fire but probably needs a similar push...and you are in a position to do that...helping altruistically…..without any gains or political purpose…larger the no…better it is…second….by participating and contributing to the cause of the necessitous. Though we are celebrating the 64th Independence day…we are far away from ‘wiping tears from every eye’, Gandhi's dream at the time of freedom. Therefore its almost incumbent on the privileged members to contribute in time and capital….and we should ...to the cause of the underprivileged.

And that’s ‘Paying-Forward’.

When you ask someone if he/she is willing to…the most common excuse you hear is that, ‘I don’t have time’. So this colleague of mine, who despite her extremely feverish work schedule, takes out time to share management and leadership lessons with the underprivileged section of the society ( they cannot afford to attend or hire someone of her caliber), at a school, almost every week. If she can, I am sure all of us can….

Even when looked selfishly, 'Paying-Forward' gives you immense peace, a commodity running severely short in these stressful days..

Let’s take a pledge today…that we will all start ‘Paying-Forward’, in some way and preferably both ways…and we in our own minute way would have contributed to the growth of the nation.

With Loud Cheers...Jai Hind

Monday, February 22, 2010

Morsels from my communication to the team

I thought I will aggressively blog all the way in 2009 and 2010. But after having joined DBOI (Deutsche Bank Group), my engagement with the team required to up my communication. In the trade-off my blogging suffered.

So this time, I have picked up some morsels from my communication, which I send to my team every month. They contain no reference to the organization. They are referenced to a context. Hence the liberty to publish.
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On Ownership and Empowerment

We are the leaders. One of the American Presidents, Harry Truman, had an inscription on his desk, "The buck stops here". It was his way of conveying that he takes decisions and he owns it. There are many processes where the expertise completely resides with us. In others, we will build. So feel confident and take decisions.

On Career Management

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, my earlier company, quipped, “Take charge of your destiny or someone else will”. This is also the time when you should think and plan not only short term but long term as well. It reminds me of a very memorable Para from Lewis Carroll's, Alice's adventure in Wonderland, we would have all read. The conversation between Alice and Cheshire cat as follows:

`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

On Why it makes sense to stick to a company

While talking of compensation, I would like to share a very powerful concept which I picked up in my conversation with Anshu Jain, the concept of slope vs intercept. Remember the line equation,

y = mx + b (where m is the slope and b is the intercept).

When you leave an organization for money, you probably gain from a one-time bump on the intercept but pay for it by winding up on a shallower slope, which over time, provides a lower total output. Staying back with a stronger firm, like ours, keeps you on a steeper slope.

On Work Life Balance

Yesterday night I was reading Kalpana Morparia’s interview in the latest issue (Nov 6) of Forbes India, where she comments on Work-Life Balance (WLB). She frequently gets asked, ‘How do you get your work-life equation right?’, to which she replies, ‘My work is my life, so where is the balance required’.

On Corporate Social Responsibility

We have become prisoners of our self-created comfort zones. So we need to open up, open up to the society we belong to, open up to the society which has given so much to us, open up to the society from where we draw all our resources. I hope we as a group can devote some time towards a noble cause. Can we as a team participate in at the least two CSR activities in 2010.

On practicing to believe and think the Impossible

To make most of it, think BIG and think the impossible, sought of 'Re-Imagine' as Tom Peter says. If you cannot, then please reach out to Alice! I quoted earlier from, Alice in Wonderland, now, let me take you through another piece which I love, from Lewis Carroll's "Through the looking glass".

"There is no use trying, " said Alice. " One can't believe in impossible things."
"I dare say you haven't had much of practice," said the Queen. "When I was of your age, I always did it for half an hour every day. Why, sometimes I 've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

If Alice can do it, can't we?

Continuing on the above....On the power of belief and how to begin the change

We have squared off the positions and start afresh. I think some of you tried chasing money.....why don't you think of turning the table....why don't you exponentially up your performance where 'money starts chasing you' ! This is an era of 'hypercompetition' and 'exponential' growth...so your performance also has to take an 'exponential' leap. Why don't you make a beginning in 2010 ! Each one of you has it in you....you have to believe it ...if you don't ...then you are not practicing to believe the impossible ! You think this is cliche, then let me take you to the 'Master' - Yoda, the Jedi Master of the Star War series....Here goes the conversation....

Luke : “I can't believe it”
Yoda: “That's why you fail”

So where do you make a start...well again the 'Master' guides us. In the " The Empire Strikes Back", probably the best in the Star War trilogy, where Luke really struggles hard and Yoda offers his words of wisdom.

"Unlearn what you have learnt "