Sunday, December 29, 2013

Feedback should not be like GSM

Feedback is crucial in development. Feedback improves your skills if given or taken properly.  It also helps us to make ourselves aware about our unknown self and reduce the blind spot. However feedback is always considered as critical. The person receiving the feedback does not like it, most of the times. However if it is given in proper way, it definitely helps to improve and can be taken as development area. During giving the feedback, you should not target the person, but his behavior. Receiver should get it as a support and help and he should sense your genuine interest in supporting the person. It should not be the criticism.      

It should not be like GSM. Yes. GSM

G: No generalized feedback.

Feedback should not be generalized. It should be specific and you should mentioned the event based on you would are giving the feedback. While receiving the feedback, insist on the event, occasion, based on feedback is being given.

S: No sensational feedback.

Feedback is for the improvement. You should not attach the sentiments to the feedback. If you do this, receiver may take it as a personal. While giving feedback, your intention should be clear. But it is upto the receiver how he takes. He should not feel offended and hence it should not be dramatic, however it can be sensitive.

M: No meaningless feedback.

Feedback should have some credibility. There are people who just give the feedback for the sake of giving feedback. Feedback should be supported with concrete examples. You should also see the benefits into it. If the behavior change doesn’t matter much to the person or the organization, why he would take it. Hence feedback should show some long term benefits to the person.
Person should think that feedback he received is reward for him and not his reproach.  

At the end of this year, take out this GSM from your mind and let’s make 2014 more positive, healthy and useful to the people, employees, relatives & friends by giving feedback as a reward.

Happy & wonderful New Year ahead…. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Husband’s love & the tiger's whisker

Once upon a time, a young wife named Rama Devi was at her wit's end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Rama Devi. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

As Rama Devi approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you. What's your problem?"

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?"

"Make me a potion!" cried the young wife. "Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be."

The old man turned around. "Young woman, your request doesn't exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection."

"I know", said she.

"It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then."

Three days later, Rama Devi returned to the hermit's hut. "Rama Devi", he greeted her with a smile, "I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger."

"What?" she gasped. "Such a thing is impossible!"

"I cannot make the potion without it!" he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. "There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I'm very busy."

That night Rama Devi tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger - and not a smaller mountain creature - had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she'd have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

"Actually", she thought, remembering its almost playful look as she set down a fresh bowl, "it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it." The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?" While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker!"

"You don't say?" he said, turning around. "From a live tiger?"

"Yes!" she said.

"Tell me", said the hermit, interested. "How did you do it?"

Rama Devi told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

"Rama", the hermit said softly, "you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?"

Rama Devi stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Power of appreciation

During my school days, Once, I was travelling with my teacher to the nearby district city for attending scholarship examination. It was almost 40-50 km travel by state transport (ST) bus. My teacher had taken the responsibility to guide us in preparations & to take us at the examination center. He took extra efforts on us for this exam.

Anyway, the bus was fully crowded. The conductor of the bus got irritated with people. This was his daily job to handle passengers mostly from villages, sometimes passengers without tickets. 
Conductor gets a sigh of relief after all passengers settle. My teachers leans towards the conductor and starts the conversation…

“It must be difficult to manage such crowd.”

“Yes, but what to do, this is the life for me.” Conductor responded.

“I must tell you; you are doing a great job, it is very difficult to handle this big crowd. It is very difficult job. After all, you also have to prepare the accurate account statement and reconcile your ticket sell. Though this is your routine job, you do it well. I appreciate you. ”

Conversation continued, however I decided to take a nap.

After getting down, I gave my unwarranted feedback to the teacher, “Sir, you were speaking with the conductor and I heard you were appreciating him. I thought, what he is doing is his job, what’s great in it?”

“Yes child, but you see the difference after that. He pull the bell to stop the bus at next stop, somebody at that stop must have needed to get in the bus to reach the office on time; he helped one old lady to get in the bus; next to that he was cool and cracking some jokes. His gestures has resulted into the chain of reaction, positive reactions. The person who needed to reach office on time will be on time in office, his boss would be happy. That old lady would be be happy. The atmosphere in the bus was happy. Further it must have positive impact on all. Just imagine the next positive reactions of people….”

“We should not forget the small gestures. I have not spend anything, only few words for appreciating that conductor, but I made his day, he made others’ day… see the difference” he continued.

In our traditional culture, we don’t appreciate frequently. Even in families and relations, we just ignore this appreciation. Our families do lot many things for us; they live for us, however we never say   “thanks you” to them. If you drop something on the floor and somebody helps you to get it back, we mechanically say, “thanks, thank you” to that somebody, who may be the stranger. 

However your wife daily makes food for you, give everything to you when you drop something, you would not say thanks to her. Parents give your everything, they work hard so that you get good education and be on your own in your future life, you don’t appreciate their efforts. Your children bring happiness in your life, still you don’t say, thanks to them.

We just assume that that is their duty. What’s the big deal in that. Not necessary you have to say it verbally, however do we recognize them through some gestures?

Appreciation has its own power. 

Appreciation has different meanings. Commonly it means recognition.

Dictionary meaning of appreciation is “recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” 

Another dictionary meaning of  appreciation means, “increase in monetary value.”

And both meanings are interrelated. By giving appreciation, you recognize good qualities, but you also increase value in relationship. It may not give the monetary benefits, but creates more value in relationships which has worth than monitory benefits.  

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and everyone values a simple ‘thank you,’. This doesn't happen enough in the workplace or in families, but showing simple forms of appreciation can really go a long way in motivating people to work harder and be more productive.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them”. JKF Kennedy. 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Students & their employability

Employability is the major issue in today’s world. There are (management & engineering) colleges which are below average quality. Students coming from those colleges have to struggle to get the jobs. If the student is struggler and has the fighting spirit, he may get the job. He then can build his career on this. However in those colleges, there are few students who really want to learn. Those few students are talented, good and really are in search of good opportunities. (Talented means, a recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied.  When they get the opportunity, they value the job.) Unfortunately Industries tend to pick candidates from reputed institutes which is not wrong, but there is no point hiring the candidate from reputed institute with big cost for shop floor routine job and keeping the guy for only doing the routine job. I personally feel that these students should be really challenged and should be rotated through different functions and finally put them result oriented high level tasks. You really come to know the capabilities of the candidate.

Students from Tier 1 schools, in particular, are definitely more prepared, but when you talk about value for the money, and you talk about value per unit of money spent on a particular candidate or the efficiency level per unit of the money spent on a candidate, there is no major difference if you compare it other schools. When a new MBA comes in from one of the top institutes, “he has bought some level of premium tag”, but that does not mean this candidate will have the most or best practical knowledge.

Jobs like supervisor,  regular maintenance, logistics, , QA, regular production etc. where, there are routine jobs as per the standard operating procedures do not demand high level intelligence. however, they do require greater frustration tolerance, personal discipline, organization, management, and interpersonal skills than were required two decades and more ago. These are precisely the skills that many of the young people, who are in business schools today, as opposed to two decades ago, lack. 

India’s school and university-based education system doesn’t equip you with skills that employers look for.  While Indian graduates know something about the theoretical aspects, they lack domain skills, communication and professional (employability) skills. (see the exhibit)  Curriculum and pedagogy at teaching institutions are increasingly being set by people who do not understand what companies want. Most of the times, teachers’ quality is the major issues. Those teachers are the people, who fail to get good industrial and professional jobs. As the last option the teaching profession is accepted. There is not such passion of teaching.

Even the attitude of students is different. They spend big money for getting the degree certificate, sometimes they even don’t know why they are doing the particular degree. Their expectations is if they are spending such amount they would get the highly paid job with air-conditioned office. Third class management institutes made this totally business case to earn the money without any value addition.

Institutes should focus on following areas while preparing their students for industries. Otherwise all those institutes will perish one day.  

Skills :  Skill is the how part of the task and job. It is also capabilities that can be transferred from one person to another. This can be actually done by aligning with industries. Institutes need to take efforts to reach out to industries, understand the expectations and prepare the curriculum accordingly.

Knowledge: It is ‘what you are aware of .. Factual ( things you know) Can & should be taught. Experiential (understandings you have picked up along the way). Less Tangible and therefor much harder to teach

Talent: Recurring patterns of thought feeling behavior, that carve individual minds. If someone does not have the talent as part of his filter , then very difficult for others to inject it.
Now just look how many candidates have above capabilities. I think there is a long way to reach the goal.   


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