Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wish you and your family a joyful, successful and wonderful new year!!!

In my college days I use to make the big list of resolution to be followed in New Year. I achieved few of them; however most of them remained on paper only. The most broken resolution was to take the morning walk every day and do some exercise. I never achieved this.

Then I realized that the resolution will remain on paper only. So why not call them personal objectives. Resolution has some funny connotation. Everybody will laugh if you say that I did some resolutions.

Now I do not call them resolutions. I call them goals and try to achieve these goals. Most of them are achieved. Sense of achievement gives you a great satisfaction. Just try this.

We should be grateful to year 2009, which taught is how to be touch during recessions, how to be successful during pressures. 2009 also show us the path towards solutions.

2010 will be a great year. I wish you and your family a joyful, successful and happy new year!!!

Best luck and take care……..

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Performance Rating or Quota System

That was first Monday of May. I just finalized the list of officers and engineers who were selected for 2-year Executive Management Development Programme (EMDP) which was suppose to commence from Jun end. EMDP was sponsored by the company and was affiliated with renowned management institute.

Let me tell about the course.

Criteria for selection were as under:

1) Employee must complete minimum five years with the company.
2) He should be rated minimum “Meets Expectations (ME)” during last three years Performance Appraisal.
3) He should complete other training programmes related to the managerial and executive effectiveness. (These programmes are residential programmes from 3-8 days)

Methodology for selection was as under

a) Every year the list of the officers who fulfils above criteria is declared,
b) Management Institutes carries Entrance Test (Written, GD, Presentations and Interview)
c) The participants are assessed thoroughly.
d) Final list of successful employees is declared for the course

Employees who are selected for the course have to sign three years Bond with the company. During the course every participant has to give the presentation on the progress and he has to take one developmental project in a month. This course has to be done after officer hours. Management Institute has designed the programme, which suits the requirement of the company and its business.

30 Employees were selected for the course and I sent the list to my VP for his final approval.
I relaxed as I completed one task. The whole process was smooth. VP called me on phone and told that the list is fine with him. I just made a circular with details plan for communication. I save the file and was suppose to fire the print.

I saw Mr. Pradeep Jani coming towards me. Pradeep is a Sr. Manager and a very good Automobile Engineer who was handling the team of 10 engineers and around 150 blue-collar workmen on assembly line. He was known for his short temperament and for his reactive personality among all the employees.

“Come on Pradeep. How are you?” I asked
“You people are not making me fine” he responded
“What’s happened yaar, we are here for you, tell me what’s happened?
“Tell me what the criteria for the selection for EMDP?” he asked. I explained him whole process.
“If your process is so through why I was not called for the entrance test? I am an old employee, competed almost 11 years in the company, I am good engineer. My performance is good. Then why I was not called. Raman who is junior to me, new in the company got the opportunity?” He blasted on me.
“Cool down Pradeep. Let me check the case, will you take a coffee?” I got two cups from vending machine.
Pradeep was furious on me and was holding me responsible for not calling him for appearing for the test.
I check the personal history of Pradeep and told “Pradeep, I am sorry, but you are not consistent during last three appraisals”
“How? How you can say this?
I explained him about that data which was available on HRIS. Data shows that Pradeep was rated ME two times and one time RME, i.e. “Reasonably meets expectations”. It means he meets expectations, but need more consistent in his work. He agreed with the data available.
“Oh, Vinod, I was not knowing this fact that my rating will be linked everywhere. Otherwise I had not agreed with…..” He left the sentence in between.
“Yaa, tell me” I asked him
He was reluctant to tell. I decided to go in detail.


“When last time, our Performance Appraisal was done, I had a long discussion with Mr. Ramchandran (Pradeep’s immediate boss). He was fully agreed with the achievements I had done. However he told me that he had to rate the employees in different tiers (i.e. Performance classification). I was rated “ME’’ for last two years. He told that there would no effect on payouts (i.e. Performance Bonus) though the overall rating is “RME” This year he will rate me “RME” because he had decided to rate other and everybody should get the opportunity.”

Every department head has to follow the performance bell and during every appraisal, the employees would be classified in different tiers. The department head decided to classify the employees not on Performance but just on quota system. The purpose of the performance appraisal and classification is not at all achieved.

This may happened in most of the organizations. The line managers are responsible to break the system. Managers are for planning, organizing, assessing, for everything. It is a democratic way to rate the people in different performance tiers.

But then if something goes wrong the employees and even his line managers will first blame HR. I don’t know when the line managers will be responsible and accountable for the performance of their team?

(This story is reproduced. I had already published this story 2-1/2 years back on different forums.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let me check your horoscope.....

I was negotiating the package with the candidate. After discussion, I agreed on specific amount. He did some calculations, and finally requested me to add Rs. 98 in the gross salary. I asked him the reason, “My lucky number is 9 and with this addition, I will get the same number.” He replied.

Every human being is superstitious, level varies. Few years back, few companies started to check horoscopes during recruitment process. Once we were seating in the board room. Top boss of the company was explaining his expectations from HR. He mentioned that “We should have the system of checking horoscope of candidates.” Somebody asked, “How authentic it is? If any bright candidate’s horoscope does not match, will you reject him on that ground?”
“No, if there are two candidates, both are bright and fit in the role and you have to shortlist only one, then you can use the horoscope to match with the company.” He replied, “After all your psychometric tests do the same job.”

Once my colleague came to me and told, the candidate is asking her to arrange an interview on Friday after 11.30 am sharp. He was insisting on this specially. We called this candidate and I took him in my office at sharp 11.30 am. During the interview, I asked him the reason. “Sir, my father is amateur astrologer, he insisted me to give this interview after 11.30 am. I have to respect him.” The candidate could not get shortlisted not due to this reasons.

Once we decided to perform the Pooja in office. I got the reference of one Guruji, who performs the Pooja. He came to see me in my office. I was not surprised when he presented his visiting card, but I surprised when I saw the details on the card. He was working as “Chief Poojari” for one organization. I asked him more about this. “The Managing Director of the company is very religious person. He believed vastu shatra and all other rituals. He introduces new product on the dates recommended by the Guruji. They had the members on panel like Guruji, Vastu shatra expert and they get monthly remuneration from the company.

I think most of us believe some small rituals like Pooja and following certain customs. But above examples can be the height of belief in itself.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You will kill us....

I was discussing with union committee members about unnecessary breaks, workers were taking for tea and breakfast. It was a practice for last 20 years in the company. If it is a long practice, then it is a custom and you can not break the customs.

It was affecting the productivity. The breaks would last almost 15-25 minutes. They were taking their breakfast and snacks in canteen. The newly formed joint venture management was very concern about the cost and productivity. They gave the mandate to stop the breaks and continue the operations during breaks also. But as usual union was not ready for this. What’s about our hunger? Million dollar question!

“You want to kill us by not allowing to take breaks.” One of the committee members blasted on me. “Cool, we don’t want to kill you. You take your breakfast and snacks, but not in canteen. I will arrange to supply it on shop floor.” Have you seen in the world, where union members easily agreed on the proposal of management? They also didn’t. The discussion went on and on.

I again called them for the discussion. They also recognized that they can’t pull it long time. “Ok, agreed, then, give us this all free.”

I reported it to my CEO. He was very good human being and humble man. He told,”Ok, we will supply it free of cost. How much they will eat?”

“Sir, don’t do it, we will face another issue. Let’s not give anything free.” I explained why we should not give it free. At last I suggested, “Sir at least we will supply limited snacks and tea”. “Don’t worry, how much the person can eat? They will be bored with unlimited food.”

Next day, as per the agreement with union, I put the notice of stopping breaks for snacks and tea. “Workmen will not go to the canteen for their snacks; the same will be supplied to the shop floor. The operations of the machine should not be affected and production should continue uninterrupted.”

Next morning, Shetty, our canteen contractor was waiting for me. He was worried. “Sir, they are not human beings.”
“What’s happened?” I asked.
“They are neither ghost, ghosts don’t eat so much”. Shetty replied.
I understood the problem.

“One missal with four Paav, 2 Idalis, 4 eggs, one plate Farsan, 4 biscuits, 2 teas, sir all this per workman.”

From that day workmen stopped taking lunch or their regular meal. We all were worried not only due to the additional cost of snacks, but for their health.

After six months we concluded it will not work, no it should not work. Again one round of discussion with union members started. This time the discussion was for supplying limited snacks on shop floor.

"Nothing comes free in this world. Before taking any decision, understand your workforce better."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

More about Vision and Mission

Lot of readers responded through comments, mails and phone that they would like to know more about vision and mission and the difference between two. I am putting some explanation for the benefits of readers.

Mission: A mission is a general expression of the overall purpose of the organization. It is in line with the values and expectations of major stakeholders and concerned with the scope and boundaries of the organization. It is sometimes refereed to in terms of the apparently simple, but challenging question: What business are we in?

Vision: Vision is the desired future state of the organization. It is aspiration around which a strategist (may be MD or CEO) might seek to focus the attention and energies of employees and other stakeholders and even shareholders.

Goal: It usually means a general target in line with the mission. It should be quantitative in nature.

Objective: It is more likely to be quantified, or at least more precise target, aim in line with the goal.

It is the director and scope of an organization over the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its alignment of resources and competences with the aim of fulfilling the expectations of stakeholders

Strategic thinking is nothing but the differential thinking in the market. It should be different than others and it should be original.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Vision and Mission - Do I need it?

Fresh graduates from good management institutes have good understanding about concepts. I had one management trainee in my team. She was good in concept and was vocal about the issues. Once she met one senior person of the management team and asked him the question, “What is our vision and mission?” He replied, “I don’t know the vision and mission of the company, but I am working with this company for last 20 years, and we are making good profit. Company is running for last 75 years and doing well without so called vision and mission. So making profit can be our mission. Your concepts are just jargons. Do we need it?” The person de-motivated my girl by such unprofessional answer.

She came to me and briefed me about the incident, “How the company can run for 75 years without any concrete vision and mission statement?” She asked me, “The Company is running, but then what’s about the growth? We should know our destination and the way to destination” She asked.

This is a unique example. There are lot many people in Industries who do not work on vision and mission statement. They say that this is a new fashion came from the consultants. I am not a consultant and still believe on Vision and Mission statement. Especially a leader has to be very careful while discussing the growth of an organization. Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. It shows where we want to be. Every organization and thereby the people working in the organization has the right to know what is the destination of the organization and their career. By giving the vision to the people you motivate them to be more energized. People don’t dislike work; help them to understand mutual objectives and they will drive themselves to unbelievable excellence. You will do this by giving the vision. You show them the larger picture.

Our parents expected from us to be a successful person by being doctor, engineer, or manager. Our expectations from our kids are same. They have shown us the vision. We show the vision to our kids. The same is applicable in the organization. Mission is the purpose. It is what you will be in the competition. If you clearly communicate the vision i.e. “destination” and mission i.e. “being what you will achieve the vision.”

Both are derived from values. In personal life we have values. Values shape and give significance to our lives. They are reflected in the priorities that we choose, the decisions we make and the actions we take. Values describe what the organization is about and give meaning to stake holders.

Just imagine this all in your personal life. You have your vision of becoming Vice President by 2012. You have your mission statement in place. And you have your values in place. Here you know you have to be Vice-President by 2010. Vision is log term goal and you will decide your short term goals. The same thing is applicable in the organizations. People who decided this all are successful.

One senior person in management team once told me, “Vinod, I never planned my career, still I am on this position.” I replied, “If you had planned your career, you would have different person.” He did not like my statement. But life is not simple. You can not be lucky always. If you are an employee, ask management what is their vision and mission. Asked them what are the values they would like to place before employees. Ask them, what they expect from the employees.

If you would like to make change in your life, make & work on your vision and mission. Work on your values for that. ‘Success is yours'’.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Meeting Mania

If you want to kill the time, call meeting, is the famous saying. There are millions of meetings held every hour in corporate world. Even attending meeting is the status symbol. It is also an excuse for intentionally avoiding somebody. If you don’t call somebody for the meeting, the person interprets that he has been sidelined.

It is observed that most of the meetings conducted by companies have little positive impact on the performance of the company. Too many meetings and too long meetings have negative impact and can be detrimental to the interest of the company.

Most of the times bosses or seniors are responsible for this. They don’t care about the other’s time schedule. The issues are discussed without action plans and action responsibilities. Some meetings are the platform for others to show their talent and expertise on each and every subject. Some meetings are just like the classroom, where seniors just speak.

We can classify these meetings as under:

1) Meeting Class or lecture meeting: Such meetings are called by the people who have never performed in their career. They are in the organization just because owners like them. These are senior people designated as directors of special functions. It can be new projects, new initiatives, planning or any two-three alphabets. Employees always surprised about their role in the organization. Even they also don’t know their role in the organization. But they have their presence everywhere. As they are successful to create the impression that they are close to the management, employees pretend to respect them. Most of the times these people are kicked out as they tried to involve in everything and don’t permit others to do the work. They are very social people. They always call the meetings on small issues. The meetings are like classroom or training hall or sometimes philosophy class. Employees attend these meetings just to show the respect to the person. At the end of the meeting, employees get more confused and frustrated. If these meetings are continuously held, the employee may decide to quit the organization.

2) Meetings for enjoyment: Nobody bothers who called such meeting. Snacks are the attractions in these meetings. Participants attend theses meeting to listen poor jokes. Employees have to laugh on the jokes otherwise this can go against the person.

3) Waahaa Waahaa meetings: These meetings are called for just doing the waahaa waahaa of bosses and seniors. Employee sends sms to their bosses after his presentation. Everyday speaks well about everything. It is good to invite new employees for such meetings.

4) Concentration Camp meetings: These are typically review meetings. The employee who is stronger wins such meetings. The blame game is the only agenda of the meeting.

However it is upto the person who calls the meeting. Above meetings can be avoided. The willpower of the person is important for good meetings.

In my early career, there were two senior managers. When first manager was calling the meeting, it would last hours and hours without any fruitful result. Another manager’s meeting would last for 30 minutes, maximum 1 hour sometimes. But very effective. Once I asked the second person, how he manages meetings.

He replied, “Everybody prepares minutes of meeting after the meeting. I do it differently. I prepare minutes of meeting in my mind before entering the meeting hall. It works.”

Friday, November 20, 2009

I know but I won’t write. I won’t write because I don’t want to commit.

I encountered with the new marketing head of one of the new business verticals, “We need to finalize the KRAs of your team.” I suggested him.

“We don’t need KRAs. If we design the KRAs, they will not do other work. They will focus only on KRAs and not routine work which we need to do everyday” He replied.

“What? You don’t need KRAs, then how your team members will be aware about their deliverable.” I told him. He preferred to keep silent.

“KRAs are the end result of your job/activities you performed, they comes from your job itself my dear friend.” I told him.

Most of the time, people are careless about setting the goals for their team members. They said it is already there but not willing to write on the paper.

Once I asked to one advertisement manager about his department targets. He told me the sales figure. I asked, “What about receivables?” He was unable to reply. I asked if he had any written target. "No It is on our mind", he replied.

Then I asked about the team targets. “We don’t have the targets for team.” How can the organization run without defining deliverables?

I asked to write the goals on paper. “No, we don’t do this” was the answer.

Then I realized that though he was doing well, he was not willing to write because when you write something, then you give the commitment of the written goals and nobody wants to give the commitment.

It was very hard to push them for writing KRAs and targets, Managers were not happy, but team was happy with this. They shared, “Boss was just asking us to generate the business daily, monthly, but our life was depend upon him. We did not know what is our destination at the end of year.”

After six months when we sat to review the process, I realized that team members were more happy as they were aware about clear-cut expectations from the bosses.

“Earlier, we did not know where to go; today at least we know what the basis of our evaluation is”, they responded.

The people were more focused and committed to their goals.

People don’t achieve what they wish because they don’t commit themselves. If you don’t write your goals, the goals will be dreams only.

Write down your goals. Write down daily, monthly, yearly objectives. Writing means committing something yourself. If you commit, you achieve. It is applicable in your personal life also.

Friday, November 13, 2009


When I took the responsibility of HR function in my earlier organization, one person entered into my office. He started, “Great, you join here. You are the only person who can bring the change in this organization.” I surprised to learn my influencing power. I though, oh I am so famous in this world that this guy knows about me and is so confident about me?

After few days, lot of people visited me and the interaction was moreover same. Everybody was signing in same tune. Then I realized that those people were not my well wishers, they had their own agenda and definitely those people were not productive in the organization. Those all were cheerleaders. These cheerleaders know everything about you, your likes, dislikes, your habits, everything about you. They will not forget to wish you everyday and praise your shirt and your style. They will laugh on your poor jokes and also praise you always in public and private. They will appreciate your sense of humour and also they will give you the gift if they receive increment.

You can find the breed of cheerleaders everywhere. They will always appreciate you. They will never speak about their goals, objectives and results. They are the first who smell the change in authority and power in organization and you will not surprise to know that the person appreciating you yesterday will speak against you today.

As a leader/manager, you should be always aware and careful of this breed. If you are surrounded by such people you will never know the reality.

One of my senior in my earlier organization was always surrounded by such guys. He was working in the organization for more than 20 years and he himself perceived that he is expert in everything. It was his luck that he was there for so many years without any professional qualities. The only suitable profession for him was a teacher in philosophy or history classes. He used to give the example of history of the organization always.

Once I was travelling with him and he was sharing his experiences, how the people in organization respect (!) him. The examples were of typical cheerleaders who were always in touch with this guy. They were communicating everything to him like if somebody buys the cell phone, they use to give him a call, like, I just bought new cell phone, I though to speak with you first from this new cell etc etc.

Most of the cheerleaders managed to get good positions and salary raise in his regime. However they were not the right fit. After few days, recession started and business started to collapse. If everything is good nobody will ask you, but when business gets affected, then everybody questions you. At the end of the day, he was given the responsibility of another function which had no existence in the organization and was created to accommodate him.

This person was put aside by the organization; nobody was willing to see him. The dimensions changed, the trust also changed. Once his office was full with cheerleaders, people were waiting outside his office only to say, hi and hallo to him. When he was nobody, he had only designation, nobody was in his office. The tragedy was he uses to call the people and speak with them.

Identify the cheerleaders, make their list and be aware. Most of the cheerleaders are non productive. They should be managed properly.

PS: After writing this article, I heard the news that the above person has taken an early retirement. It is a still question whether it is retirement or forced retirement. However people celebrated his exit and cheerleaders also participated in celebrations.

Monday, November 09, 2009

My Shanghai Visit

I was in Shaghai in first week of November, full week and enjoyed a lot except food. It was a business trip for one week.

We landed on 2nd Nov on Pudong airport. The security is very good and Chinese government is still scare about swine flue.

My company had already booked a hotel for us. Ibis has the worldwide chain of economy hotel. I realised that it so economy that even they do not bother about basic requirements. The hotel is close to our office as compare to other hotels. As it is chain of worldwide hotels, we were expecting good services. We enter into the hotel at 8.00 am. Front office staff was so busy in their work; they had not time for us. We interrupted them. The girl just saw us and told, wait for ½ hours. After ½ hour we asked about the room offered to us. “Oh, we don’t have the housekeeping staff available, they come at 9.00 am, you will get the rooms at 9.30 am.” the girl told us in her broken English.

We tried to speak their manager, but in vain. At last we got the rooms at 9.30 am. They even don’t know the basics of hospitality industry. May be our experience is unique, but Ibis must have train their staff. They don’t understand the English, they can’t speak proper English, and besides this they do not have proper training to handle the customers.

With taxi driver, first day, we moved a lot and got the taxi, while going back, oh, they are same as in our Pune, at least 5 taxi drivers refused to drop us at Hotel. The reasons were same as our Pune, Mumbai taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers give.

First two days, we were charged 36 rmb, on one day one driver charged us 29 rmb and another day 49 rmb, off course they give the bills. Same as our Indian drivers do. We can fight with our drivers, but here we can not even communicate. One driver was speaking with me about whether in his own language. Very funny.

The Shanghai is very beautifully developed city. We can only think to convert the Mumbai into Shanghai. When I compare, the China and India, one thing is sure, the people are same everywhere. They have same emotions. They work for money and they are greedy. The attitude is moreover same. When I was discussing few people about the governing system, they seem to be not happy. They do not speak or they follow the rules & orders do not mean that they are satisfied with the system there. In India, we have a democracy. They say, every system has some advantage and disadvantage. No system is perfect. But the result can be made perfect. This is shown by China. They are far ahead from us. Good roads, systems, transports, facilities, areas for leisure everything. But they do not have many news channels.

Indian political parties need to think really badly.

Friday, October 23, 2009

“Our performance can’t be measured”

I had taken the responsibility to establish the HR department in Sakaal Media Group. I left Mahindra & Mahindra and decided to join this company. This company was traditional managed company and HR department was not in place. Establishing HR department in this company was a big challenge and when I told this to my friends and relatives, they were surprised. “You are leaving M&M, So great company and joining media company? Are you mad?” was the first reaction. I saw the challenges and decided to go ahead.

Sakaal has almost 2600 employees all over India, mainly in Maharashtra. 60% of population is comprised of journalists. I always enjoyed a good relationship with all journalists. During my college period, I was working as an honorary sub editor for one local newspaper, Deshdoot in Nashik. I was also writing columns in different newspapers that time. I have lot many friends who are journalist. So I could easily connect with the issues, journalists have.

One of the main responsibilities was to implement the Performance Management System in the organization. I designed the system based on Balanced Scorecard. I also designed the Key Performance Indicators which can be used in editorial function. My plan was 100% error free implementation. The system was based on qualitative and qualitative measures. In editorial function, KPI can be linked with ABC figures (Certified circulation, sale of the product), IRS, NRS (Readership profiles & product read by each profiles certified by agencies) or even the readership satisfaction mapped through specific readership surveys. Typically to start with it can be stories filed, exclusive and special reports carried etc. However it must be the combination of qualitative and quantitative KPIs. I prepared a blue print for implementation. The main task was to communicate what the performance management system means. The people were not aware about such crazy concepts like KRA, KPI, measures, targets, goals, objectives etc.

I made it very simple in layman’s language. It was a big challenge to explain, convince them and make them ready to fill the objectives. It was extensive experience and I was traveling almost two months, taking intensive workshops all over the offices.

During journalist’s workshop, one common question was always used, they used to ask me “Our work is related to mind, how our performance can be measured? The performance of journalist can’t be measured.”

My answer was simple, “We had examination is our 10th and 12th. We had language subjects and we had to write essays and answers of the questions, which were purely qualitative, still we were rated, our examiner had given us marks base upon our answers, something out of 10,100 etc. We accepted this and passed our examinations. We made our careers in different professions after passing these examinations. Now how one can say that performance is not measured.” I replied, “The only change is, we should make the measurable more objectives and linked to the customer (readers’) expectations”.

Off course, the system got introduced and people accepted the fact.

“Every performance can be measured, only Indicator should be clear and absolute.”

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wish you all happy Dipawali

The Young Man and the Starfish

A wise man was taking a sunrise walk along the beach. In the distance he caught sight of a young man who seemed to be dancing along the waves. As he got closer he saw that the young man was picking up starfish from the sand and tossing them gently back into the ocean.

“What are you doing?” the wise man asked.

“The sun is coming up and the tide is going out; if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”

“But young man, there are miles and miles of beach with starfish all along it – you can’t possibly make a difference.”

The young man bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it lovingly back into the ocean, past the breaking waves. “It made a difference for that one,” he replied.

The Young Man and the Starfish – a story inspired by Loren Eiseley

Let’s make a resolution to make a small contribution to make the life of others happy and spread the lights in their life on this Dipawali – occasion- Festivals of Lights.

Wish you all Happy Dipawali!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Joy of giving

Two years ago, I use to take my son to bus stop for his KG school in the morning. There was lot of fun on bus stop with his friends.

One day, we saw a mid aged man sleeping at the corner of the street, just back of the bus stop. Nobody notices the poor man. After few days, the man made a little shelter with the help of some plastics material.

After few days, we saw the man cleaning the area outside his little shelter. The man was settled there.

One fine morning, my son asked me, “Pappa, why this man is staying here?”

“Beta, he must be alone in this world and he is poor, he can not afford to buy a house in the city.” I replied. “Ok, it must be very hard for him to survive during such winter” he spoke looking towards that man. “Yes” I replied.

“Then papa, why don’t we give him one rug which we are not using at all?” he innocently asked me.

I replied,”Yes, we will do?”

Next day, Dhanashri, my wife handed over the rug to poor man. The man was very happy and gave his blessings to my son.

After few days, I saw one old lady beggar who pulled the same rug. I asked the poor man, “It seems that you have given that rug to that old lady.”

“Saab, I saw that lady last month and she needed it more than me in such cold winter this year. I can manage myself.” He smiled.

I was surprised by the attitude of that person. He has easily given the thing which probably he also needed.

That day I realized the richness of the poor and the importance of “Joy of giving”.
I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at in association with

Friday, October 02, 2009

Ramrao & Astrologer

I was born in a remote village in Vidarbha, near Amaravati district. The village was typical as shown in Marathi movies, beautiful, but backward. The transport and communication facilities were limited and we had only one black and white TV set in the village own by Patil of the village.

I studied there upto my 10th standard and then I shifted at Nashik for higher education.

In our village, notorious dada, name Ramrao was staying with his family. He was involved in organized and unorganized crime like smuggling of cotton to nearest State, Madhya Pradesh. He uses to fight with everybody. Villagers were scared to him.

One day, one astrologer, who was a regular visitor in our village came and put his shop under the banyan tree near our school. Ramrao was coming from nearby Taluka place on cycle. He saw the astrologer and decided to make a fun of him. He stopped there and asked the astrologer, “Hey, if you are astrologer and knows the fate of people, why you are here, don’t you know your fate?”

“I know my fate and I have to stay with that, but I can tell your fate” astrologer replied.

“Tell me, where I will be after one month” Asked Ramrao.

“Come here, I will tell you, just sit down”, astrologer asked him to sit.

Astrologer saw his palm; he asked him date of birth, asked all details and finally draw Kundali on the paper.

“Believe me or not, you will not see the sun in next month’s first Monday” astrologer told Ramrao. Ramrao got shocked and asked once again, “What? Are you kidding?”

“No my boy, I am not kidding, I don’t know, it will happened or not, but the calculations, I made say you will not see the sun of Monday in next month in this village”.

Ramrao thought a while and gave eleven rupees to astrologer and left the place.

He went home, gave Rs. 10 to his 5 year son and 8 year daughter and asked them to get chocolates for them. Both kids were surprised by the gesture of their father. He went into the kitchen and asked her how she is. Wife also got surprised, because Ramarao never care before his wife and children.

From that day the life of Ramrao’s wife and children changed. Ramrao understood his fate. He stopped fighting. He started to give the respect to elders. As a result people also started to reciprocate the gesture.

Remarkable change in Ramrao’s behavior changed the life of villagers.

After one month, he saw the same astrologer in nearby village. He went to him.
“How do you feel?” Astrologer asked.
“You told me that I will die on first Monday of next month, this is Monday and I am alive””
“First tell me how is life now?””

“It is good and really good, I am happy, people think me now as a good person” Ramrao replied. “The death was on my head. I was just planning to do something may family and decided to be good with people to earn some “Punya”. I was thinking only my death. It made me change”

“Ramraobhau, see how the life is good. Now continue this good life” said astrologer, “But that day I didn’t tell you that you will die, I told you that you will not see the sun of first Monday in next month in your village. What does it mean? Today is the Monday, and you are here in different village” Astrologer and Ramrao laughed loudly.

Think, you will die in next month and do good deeds.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Don’t underestimate small customer

One of my earlier employers shared his story with us.

This incident happened in 1975.

My employer, that time, was struggling to set up his career after his education. Being from middleclass family, he was trying different options including to work with some company to gain the experience. After working with one company he left the job and decided to start his own business. Being an engineer, he decided to start the trading in electronic circuit breakers.

He opened one bank account with big national bank in city with depositing Rs. 200/-. Incidentally, one fine morning his friend came to meet him and requested some money on loan for business purpose.

He gave the cheque of Rs. 2,000/- to the friend and requested him to deposit it only after 10 days as the amount is account was only Rs. 200/-. However the friend deposited the cheque before. He must be in dire need of money and must be forgotten to ask before depositing. The cheque got bounced because of insufficient funds.

Next day, he got a call from bank asking him to visit the bank and meet the bank manager. When he visited the bank, the clerk sitting on a counter started to scold him. “You people, do not have knowledge to operate bank account. If you do not have money in account, why you gave the cheque?” etc. etc. After big lecture by clerk, he was called by bank manager and he also gave the big lecture on credibility, trust, money management etc. Employer told that his friend did not asked before depositing the cheque and requested to consider the case.

I think during 1975, the bank managers must have enough time to discuss such issues with customers. Now a day, they just send back the bounced cheque. Anyway, after these two lectures, my employer got back at home. He felt so embarrassed that he could not speak with anybody. He though a lot and decided to close the account.

Next day, he went to bank and met the bank manager; he told bank manager, “Bank and customer relations are based on trust and if bank has lost this trust, I don’t see the point to continue with your bank and hence I would like to close the bank account.”

Bank manager gave careless look and asked him to give the application.

Next day, he went in another bank and opened the bank account with Rs. 150/-.

Today the same account has the transaction of almost Rs. 600 crores annually.

So Morale:

1. One may not be responsible for some mistakes.
2. Do not underestimate any customer.

I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at in association with

Monday, September 21, 2009

Follow what you preach (at least during crisis)

Everybody was scared when this so-called recession (and behind that some companies) started to decide the fate of their employees.

Everybody was advising on cost control, cost cutting. Though few organizations were telling that the lay off would be the last option, they were also firing the employees.

In such scenario the role of senior management is very important and the right communication is required.

In one company, such communication meeting was organized. Everybody was eager to know the views of the management. One of the directors, typical bureaucratic, was the key person to deliver the message. He, as usual, preached on cost cutting measures, travel restrictions, discipline etc etc.

All the employees and managers were asked not to use taxis for travel, come on time in the office, not to drink tea at the cost of company, not to use light and air conditioners. (It was switched off upto 12.00 noon!) etc. etc. He also threatened that the salary cuts would be enforced in coming days.

However the same person was using company car with driver and traveling by air for short distance, staying in the hotel as per his eligibility and spending his time in travel for preaching on cost cutting.

Employees, however, were very sarcastic and started to discuss that top management has not sacrifice their any benefit including performance bonus and how they could preach on cost cutting. The impact was very negative and created the dissatisfaction among the employees.

As a result, few employees left the job, few employees started to pretend to work.

The business was at stake. Management had to take the decision to stop few operations.

Employees always follow the role model and it is the responsibility of top management to be a role model to the employees. We have also to take a call on cost cutting. Just stopping paper napkins in toilet and asking employees not to take tea at company will not save the money.

So morale

1. Top management should be the role model

2. The strategic cost control is the key.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Want To

"Want to!",

I remember the night in Igatpuri, near Nashik when our son, Atharva, was just two & Half years old. We were staying in Mahindra Colony and it was his bedtime. When I looked at the living room floor, I knew we had a problem. Toys, mainly cars were all over the place. "Sonu," as we call him, I said, "you need to pick up all those toys before you go to bed." "Pappa," he said, "I'm too tired to pick up my toys." My immediate inclination was to force him to clean up the room. Instead, I went into the bedroom, laid down, and said, "Sonu, come here. Let?s play Gugusha, Magusha." He climbed up on my knees and I said, "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." And he fell. He laughed and said, "Let's do it again." Well, after the third "fall," I said, "Okay, but first go pick up those toys." Without thinking, he ran into the living room and in ninety seconds he finished a job that could have taken half an hour. Then he jumped back on my knees and repeated, "Pappa, lets do it again." "'sonu, I thought you were too tired to pick up those toys." He answered, "I was, pappa, but I just wanted to do this!"

We can finish any job when we have the "Want to!"

I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at in association with

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