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.

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