Saturday, December 26, 2020

Let's welcome the year 2021 with an inspiring experience of the year 2020

Year 2020 has given us a unique experience. It started with an uncertain and unpredictable situation resulting in fear, triggered emotional threat. Everybody was not sure what to do? Leaders were disoriented. People were at stress. Nobody expected what life would be. It was a human crisis, economic crisis, medical crisis and you name it, the world was in all types of crisis. However, we learn to deal with the crisis. We overcame all fear, uncertainties, ambiguities. Millions lost their job, but they started something different to earn their livelihood. This pandemic also surfaced the good side of humanity. People came together without any leadership to support the needy people. This is the beauty of humanhood in India. Few organizations rightsized the organization and laid off employees, but many organizations took care of their employees, paid their salaries on time and supported employees and their families during this crucial period. Employees reciprocated by volunteering for salary reduction and supported organizations. People learnt new skills, worked in a different environment, stretched themselves and proved that human beings can overcome any odds in life.
There is a famous statement Dag Hammerskjold, “Never measure the height of a mountain until you reach the top. Then you will see how low it was.'' When we reflect and see the pandemic attack, it is the same. Pandemic was like a mountain and when it started, we never thought how strong it would be. When we entered, we realised it was a really life threatening year. But when we look back, we see that there is a silver lining. 2020 was a great teacher, mentor and coach, a difficult year but gave us a unique experience.
What we learnt? We learnt that traditional thinking has to be challenged. We never thought that remote working is possible fully. We never thought that in spite of all odds, people come together and collaborate very well.  We realised that everything is possible, what we used to think was impossible.
There is great learning for everybody, government organizations, private organizations, education institutions etc. However, the Government has to work on creating a meaningful ecosystem for different strata in society. Different departments need to work in sync and collaborate for delivering services. It should be for Awareness and Education, Medical, Incentives, Assistance Programme etc. The central government has done it at some extent; however, politicians have seen the opportunity to run their agenda. We need matured society, matured citizens and sensible politicians to make democracy strong.
Private organizations are more successful in collaboration and bringing new ideas to bounce back. Organizations came with such ecosystems like task force, crisis management team, etc.
Scenario planning is another area where our government has planned the medical facilities; however they could have done better on an economic side. Private organizations have done exceptionally good on this front.
During the pandemic, we learnt many things,
We learnt to push our boundaries,
We learnt to think out of the box,
We learnt that we have minimum needs,
We learnt that wealth and money is not everything,
We learnt that relationships always matter; we learnt who are ours.
We learnt sometimes we need “me time”
We learnt that if we try something, we can get it done, 
We learnt that we can’t fully predict the future and all plans may not work,
We learnt that life is on hopes and hopes keep us surviving,
We learnt to learn which we had stopped in the past.
We learnt so many things during just one year. We should keep this spirit of reinventing ourselves and take this journey forward even in 2021. Let’s welcome in 2021 in true spirit. 
I would like to quote of author, Har Borland, “Year end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on with all the wisdom, that experience can instill in us.”
The year 2020 has given that moments and experience which will inspire us to live and perform better in 2021. Wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Stay safe and stay healthy.  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkart and BookGanga 
(Income from books is donated to the Janseva foundation which works for orphans, street children & abandoned elders)

Sunday, December 20, 2020

To be or not to be...

In life we have to make different decisions. We have to decide on different alternatives and choices. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes difficult. Dilemma is a situation where you have difficult choices and you are not sure which you want to choose. Sometimes there are different possibilities that will have consequences which you don’t wish for. Most of the time, it is a conflict with two possible solutions. As a professional you are encountered in such situations regularly.  At leadership positions such situations are common.

We encountered situations related to values, ethics, morale and we have different choices. For example, you see the small kid begging at the signal. You become emotional and compassionate to see her, however you also believe that there is a beggars’ racket active. It is possible that if you give the money to beggars, it will encourage beggars’ racket. It is also creating the habit of begging and that kid will never learn to work hard. Here is a moral dilemma, to give the money or not?

Sometimes while solving the problem we focus on the correlation and not the causation. This mainly happens when there is a lot of data. Sometimes you see the correlations between different variables and solve the problem only focusing on co-relations. We miss the causation. Such types of situations also create a dilemma when you don’t see the link between correlation and causation. 

There are different dilemmas we face during our personal and professional life. Ethical, moral, values, legal and so on. In any case there is a conflict and you are not sure about the possible outcomes.

Dilemmas are good. It shows the character and traits of the person while resolving dilemmas. Generally, during interviews, few managers ask questions explaining a hypothetical situation and check the response. It is crucial how the person responds and resolves the dilemma. One of the simple examples is, “Your department is understaffed and there is a lot of pressure on performance. Your few employees are on leave and one employee to whom you expect in the office, calls you and requests the leave as his kid is sick. What and how will you act in such a situation?” Response may vary depending upon the person and you can get the clue about the personality from such responses, and his body language. The question is how you resolve dilemmas in your life. Sometimes something is legal but beyond your values.

We behave differently while dilemma resolution. In our life we have different values, some values are very strong where you would never compromise, some values are flexible and changing in nature depending upon the situation. 

On the 15th Day of Mahabharata war, Guru Dronacharya killed Virat and Drupada. This was a big setback to Pandavas. Arjuna was not able to defeat Guru Dronacharya. As far as Dronacharya held a weapon in hand, he was undefeatable. Lord Krishna knows this. To make him unarmed, he makes a plan, where Bhima kills one of the tuskers named Ashwatthama. Ashwaththama was a beloved son of Guru Drona. Bhima kills tusker and proclaims that he killed Ashwaththama. The news spreads like a fire and when Guru Drona hears this and thinks. “Could it be true?” He could not see his son and he got worried. To confirm this, he goes to the Yudhisthira, who was known for truthfulness and asks, “Has Bhim killed Ashwaththamma?” Now Yudhisthira is in a dilemma. His values were strong, how can he tell a lie. He replied, “Yes.” However, Yudhisthira had also uttered, "Naro va kunjaro va," to absolve himself of the sin of lying. Either a man or an elephant. He had chosen to broaden the zone of truthfulness and to blur the distinction between nobility and ignoble dishonesty. Somebody may say that it was unethical, but finally you have to think what is better for the larger and own group.

While resolving such dilemmas, you can follow the process in personal and professional life.

Understanding values and principles, challenging your inner self, inner conscience mind and your Intellectual intelligence. It is called “the principle of moral idealism”. It says that there is a clear distinction between good and bad, between what is acceptable and what is not and that the same is true for all situations. It therefore asks to abide by the rule of law without any exception. Another theory is there is a very thin line between good and bad. It totally depends upon the situation. What may be acceptable in a certain situation can be unacceptable at some other place. Some believe that the authority is competent to take the decision and they will use their intuition to understand what is good and what is bad.

Discuss and debate: Whenever you are in a dilemma, it is good to discuss and debate on different alternatives and consequences of the outcomes. You can use the 6 thinking hats process to investigate different aspects of the problem.

Engage different stakeholders in the organization if this is at organizational level. In personal life, engage with family members, spouse, parents and elders. They will give you a different perspective.

In the VUCA world, dilemmas are at every corner and step of life. It is bad, not to think and take decisions blindly. Dilemmas will test your inner strength and it is up to you what you want to be. Finally, you have to satisfy your inner conscience.   

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkart and BookGanga

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Journey VUCA to VUCA

We always use the term “VUCA” to explain how life is difficult to survive and how business is difficult to run. In the past we used to speak a lot about it, little experienced, however during pandemic, we experienced what “VUCA” means.

We all know, VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. 

Volatility: We are aware that everything in this world is liable to change, but what we need to understand is that the speed of the change is so fast that you can’t predict what will happen next. Sometimes the situation may get worse and extreme. The situation demands you to respond speedily so that it doesn’t go out of control. 

The best way to deal with it is to create the future based on certain assumptions, find out the purpose in life and create the vision. And be agile in everything. 

Uncertainty: In uncertain situations we get disoriented. We get a lot of information from different media but are unable to make the right decision. You are not sure what is there in the future for you. 

In such circumstances, you need to take the action without hesitation. If required take a pause, look around and try to understand what’s happening in the world

Complexity: With huge data around, different opinions and perceptions, it is difficult to take the right decision. There may be a lot of factors which are interdependent on each other. What you see, may not be the reality. 

You can't avoid the complexity but you can translate it. Find out some sense from the situation, understand patterns, take a decision and act.   

Ambiguity: Lots of situations and circumstances have different and difficult meanings and more than one interpretation. Perhaps you will get different answers from different people. The situation may be confusing. You get a lot of questions out of the syllabus in the exam of life. 

To deal with it, you have to navigate easily to get the right information. Understand who can help you and build the credibility within the organization so that people trust you. 

That's the key, replacing VUCA to another VUCA (Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility).

If you want to engage with VUCA, then following capabilities are crucial,

Sense Making: Sense making is the ability to determine the deeper meaning of what is expressed, said and listened. It is reading between the line and interpreting the suitable but relevant meanings. This is also an ability to filter the right and relevant information and understand how to maximise cognitive function using different tools and techniques.

Complexity translator: This is the ability to translate vast amount of data and information into abstract concepts and understand data-based reasoning.

Social Intelligence: Social intelligence is the ability to connect easily to others in a direct way to sense and stimulate the desired response and outcome from the networking.  

Novel Thinking: Ability to think differently and come up with novel solutions which are out of the box.

Design mindset: It is the ability to represent and develop task and work processes for desired outcome.  

If you are open to new ideas and willing to unlearn, learn and relearn, managing VUCA is the fun.

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkart and BookGanga

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Peel the onion

Today to her (wife’s) surprise, I volunteered to cook dinner. I am not that expert in cooking; however, the easy recipe is of course Khichdi, easy and fast to cook. You only need rice, dal, spices, tomato, chili powder, salt, onion etc. You can add ginger, curry leaves, coriander and garlic to make it tasty. Finally, I could cook the Khichdi. My wife and son enjoyed eating that. While preparing for the Khichdi, thought came to my mind, that isn’t in our life everything is like Khichdi and onion? The same taste as Khichdi and different layers like onion? When you peel one scale, you get another in onion and we have a lot of ingredients in life like Khichdi. Our life is full of emotions like different spices.   

When we go in deep, we have different meanings in life. Such layers are everywhere in life. While communicating and understanding human beings you can use the metaphor of onion. Outer layer sometimes is fragile, sometimes rigid, sometimes dirty, but as you peel the layer, you get different insights.

Human beings are made up of upbringings, culture, value systems etc. overall surrounding and society has an impact on our lives. In emotional intelligence, we always use the word, “empathy, understanding the perspective of another person”. However, it is interesting to understand how those perspectives are built over a period of times. Sometimes, it is necessary to build trust by tearing layers and self-disclosing and sometimes just being curious and making another person included to understand him/her.       

Different researchers and authors have come up with different theories around the onion and that is very cool to understand. Few are related to the culture; few are related to change management but underlined philosophy is the same.     

In case of organizations, organizations also have their own personalities, i.e. culture of the organizations. The outer layers are composed of the patterns of behaviour observed while interacting with employees and managers. The next layer encompasses the beliefs, norms and attitudes of that culture. The middle of the onion represents the underlying cultural assumptions and values. As the most hidden layer, these aspects of culture are much harder to recognise and understand, but all of the other layers are built upon the center of the culture onion. Therefore, careful analysis and a better understanding of the different layers as well as how they interact and influence each other is necessary.

You can very much analyse those behavioural patterns of human beings and also employees in the organization by applying this model. Sometimes the underlying reason of behaviour may be totally different than what we assume. Even though we say that values and upbringing decide the behaviour, it is also the experience a person has in the specific situation in past and recent. Responses are always interpreted and manipulated differently. The question is how we are accurate in understanding those. You can be closed to accurate by peeling the onion.  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Break that idiot psychological space.

We all have that idiot psychological space which keeps us away from the progress. It restricted human beings to be adventurous and kept them where they are. People who broke that space became successful and rich. Few of them built their career. 

That psychological space that we don’t want to leave is our comfort zone. We all know that when we are out of our comfort zone, we learn a lot. Just observe your day, what you do? We always sit at the same place; we always take lunch with known people in the office; we always use the same route while driving. Why is this so? We don’t want to break the routine because of the comfort zone which we create. Because when you use the different route, then you have to think and have to take the risk. When we sit with different people, you have to stretch further to interact with them. If in such small things we become so comfortable, then imagine when somebody asks you to take the risk to do something you never tried.   

During one of the internal conferences, one of the senior leaders attended the first day morning in a short and t-shirt. Everybody was wearing a formal dress, but he was with the clothes like he is in a picnic. He mentioned in his speech that he just wants to make a point that he wanted to stretch himself and come out of the comfort zone. That was a simple symbolic message given to the participants. Most of the time, we worry about what people will say. 

Once a wise man was just screaming and walking around in search of somebody. One of his disciples asked him, “Oh great master, to whom you are searching for?”

“I am searching for those 4 people.” He replied.

“4 people? Who are they? And why?” asked the disciple.

“My parents and elders always asked me to think about those 4 people, to whom I had never seen?”

Disciple got confused. Looking at the confusion on the face of the disciple, the master said,” See, whenever I used to do something different, my parents and elders used to interrupt me saying, “If you do that, what those 4 people will say or think.”   

Those 4 people have almost ruined our life. We never gave justice to our dreams only because of those 4 people who are representative of the society. We have the capability and potential but we never challenged ourselves to go out of the comfort zone.

Over time, we have created that psychological space called, comfort zone.

Along with those 4 people (society), we have 2 more villains in our life. Those are your assumptions based on your own experience or somebody’s experience and fear of unknown things.   

Our mind is conditioned to use the known paths and not to create a new one. Human beings normally follow the crowd. Good news is that if you think, you can come out of your comfort zone by creating a little bit of anxiety. Leaving the comfort zone will increase productivity when you are experiencing the healthy amount of anxiety.

You can break your comfort zone just by starting something. For example, if you want to start the exercise, just start doing it; if you want to wake up early in the morning, just start waking up early in the morning.

Another measure you can take to break the comfort zone, is just change the routine, like take a lunch with different people on different days in the office, just speak to somebody to whom you think he is difficult, just break the routine and regular habits and start a new one. This looks simple, but very difficult to follow.

It is about the intention and creating habits, once you create habits you can think something big. It starts with one step.  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)         

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Me time, we time, our time

My son was just sitting idle doing nothing. He was totally in himself, in trance, just ignoring what’s happening around.

“Is anything wrong Sona?” my wife asked him the question. He is a grown-up child now, in his 12th class. Being in 12th he also may have a lot of stress which we understand. I also got attentive and asked him, “What’s happened, all well na?”

He just smiled and said, “Nothing wrong mom, just wanted to have “me time”. I am bored with all online classes, weekly tests and all this stuff.”

I put down my phone. Wife sat with him and our conversation started. We discussed his fears, his role model, his friends, books, art, except study. We shared our stories. He shared his feelings. Believe me that conversation was a heart to heart dialogue among us. We still continue doing this regularly. This gives energy to us.

This is the power of just speaking and conversing. I remember, I was in school, I had limited resources and ample time, no gazettes, no television and a lot of books in the library. I used to spend (or invest?) a lot of time with my patents, my teachers and friends. Sometimes it was just asking questions, getting scolded, reading children magazines and most of the time just sitting idle outside the home and watching everything, people, sky etc, sometimes just dreaming and sometimes just doing nothing.     

Free internet, social media, serials, web series, different shows and news channels are spoiling the society. Imagine the time spent by people on such platforms. After college, I always wanted to be updated about the events happening in the world. The intention was to improve the general knowledge. It was fine when there was limited broadcast news, however when the multiple news channels were introduced, it was too much. It was fun watching those shows initially, but then I realised that it was a total waste of time. We don’t gain much from watching those channels. For the last 4 years, I totally stopped watching news channels. I watch it just when I think I should know something and that’s also for getting updates. Anyways, all journalists are biased nowadays and they run their own narrative. They are like spokespersons for the political parties, so why to worry what they say. By doing this, I have not lost anything.

Today, the explosion of information is huge. We really need to filter that information. Our jobs are becoming demanding, so work times are stressful. Screen time is impacting our lives and we started believing that if we are not in the race, we will be behind. But the good thing is the world is full of abundance, there is no scarcity. The question is how you find it. There is abundant time available, you have to find it. There are abundant opportunities if you find it. Fortunately, the generation, which my son belongs to, believes in this.

Today, I am happy that we, in the family, have stopped watching weird news channels, senseless serials and reality shows. We control what we want to watch for just entertainment and education. Social media also should be used only for the advantage. We should not get carried away with the newsfeed, likes, and comments.   

Good organizations don’t focus on work life balance, but they focus on work life integration by giving flexibility to their employees. This includes flexi time, work from home, enough freedom to do the job. In such an arrangement, you get time to spend with your family and also yourself. Fortunately, my organization gives that flexibility to me and this also helps me to have some time for me and family. 

So, I have ‘me time’, ‘we time’ and that’s our time to enjoy the meaningful & enriched life.    

Whenever, you feel that you don’t have enough time for your family, yourself, your hobbies, just pause and reflect. There is abundant time you will find. 

In summary

  • Believe in abundance.
  • Stop watching news channels, senseless serials and TV shows.
  • Limit your time on social media, control your newsfeed.,
  • Think about ‘work life integration’ instead of ‘work life balance’ by being flexible.  
  • Engage in Conversation, Communication with Curiosity.  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)     

Friday, November 13, 2020

Wish you all a Happy Diwali !

Diwali is the festival of light and inspiration. It is the celebration of overcoming on all odds in the life. Indian economy is mainly dependent on agriculture and as it occurs at the end of a cropping season, people get money to spend to buy new clothes, gifts for family & friends. They also get the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of buying bigger possessions like cars, bikes, jewellery and houses. Hence Diwali has the larger purpose to celebrate, keep moving the economy, bring some changes in the life of others. Diwali is also a metaphor of celebrating the success of small things in life.  Everybody, from rich to poor enjoy the Diwali religiously. When it comes to Diwali celebrations, there is a spark in the eyes of each and every person. Everybody feels excited at the thought of adorning their sweet homes with various kinds of decorative items like candles and small clay lamps.

People take time out for family, come together and do the fun during these days. The spirit of Diwali is in spreading the light of knowledge. It teaches us to leave the path of enmity and resort to friendship. Amidst the hustle bustle of city life, this is one time when people come together to spend some quality time together.

Diwali is a time to turn inward and light the lamps of knowledge and truth in our hearts and minds so that we can dispel the forces of darkness and ignorance within us and allow our innate brilliance and goodness to shine forth. Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is the principle deity associated with this festival. During Diwali we ask her for assistance in cultivating and accumulating spiritual wealth (along with prosperity), such as compassion, forgiveness, and loving-kindness.

(Eco-friendly Lantern made by Dhanashri
 visit her blog at

It is also a time to reflect on and evaluate our thoughts, words, and actions over the past year. It is a time to acknowledge and better understand our prejudices, negative behaviors, and bad habits so that we may begin the process of transforming ourselves. It is a time to discover how we can be more loving, kind, respectful, and skillful towards ourselves and others. And since all wealth, be it material or spiritual, should be shared with others who are less fortunate, Diwali is also a time to reflect on the various ways we can assist others and shine our light out into the world.

This year, we are fighting with the human crisis, e.g. corona pandemic. This pandemic is itself a great learning for all of us. Let’s pray to God and the almighty to give us the strength to fight and defeat the common enemy, novel coronavirus and bring back our life in action. It is also a time to take care and follow the guidelines of health and safety to protect from Covid19. It is a time now to bounce back, create some hope and follow the new normal routine.

On this auspicious festival of lights, may the glow of joy, prosperity & happiness illuminate your days in the year ahead...

Happy Diwali…

Vinod, Dhanashri and Atharva Bidwaik

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Difficult boss

We always believe that managers who inspire and empower their teams are good bosses. Working with them is fun. They also focus on the development of the team. High performance is expected easily while working with such inspirational leaders. However, working with a difficult manager is always challenging. Generally, you can’t choose your manager. You have to work with the manager who is assigned to you and you can’t complain or change the manager unless you change the job. Changing the job frequently is also not a good sign. Sometimes organizations are good, and your role is super, but the challenge may be the manager. What you do if you get a difficult boss. There are different types of difficult bosses. Perhaps you may not be willing to work with the toxic boss who is political, takes the credit, micromanages or bullying. It is good to be strong with such bosses. 

However difficult bosses are not always bad. We may perceive managers as difficult if they are demanding, result oriented, perfectionist and with a lot of expectations. They are always on your head. So first it is very important to understand the personality of the boss. Ironically, a bad boss can motivate members of a team to bond with each other and provide encouragement and assistance since they know that they won’t be receiving positive attention from their superior. 

One of the facts is that executives get developed while working with the difficult boss also. Of course, your development chances are more when you work with a highly competent and talented boss. But not necessarily, you will always get the inspiring boss. Sometimes you will have those managers in your life. If you find out the silver lining, you can convert the situation into an opportunity for learning. 

Jay A. Conger and Allan H Church have written a book, “The High Potential’s Advantage.” These two gentlemen have written this book after a lot of research of high potentials who are in leadership positions. This book mentions one of the traits of high potential is “Situation Sensing: means observing and responding to the task priorities, work styles, habits and behaviours that your boss values most.” In the case of a difficult boss, it is tricky. If the values of the boss don't match then it is a big conflict. However, it is good to identify the traits and behaviours of a difficult boss and decide the strategy to deal with. If you think that the value system, code of conduct and business principles are compromised, then you can take the appropriate call to escalate it at appropriate forums including whistle-blower. If your boss is just difficult because of his strong work habits, his behaviour is aggressive and certain traits are different than yours or inspirational boss to whom you role model, then it is good to have the discussion and learn from him. He may have his own perspective, he may not be aware, he may lack insight and you can help him to understand that.  

While dealing with a difficult boss, you get the opportunity to stretch yourself. You may learn:

  • Understanding human beings. You may get a different insight of the personality. 
  • Learning to deal with difficult people,
  • Communication skills while dealing with such people,
  • Conflict management as conflicts might be common,
  • Understanding the socio-political dimensions of the team and organization,

In the career you will not get only amiable peers, team and bosses. Sometimes you will have challenges and wise people learn to deal with that. It is always good to find the silver lining and adapt to the management style suitable to the difficult boss.

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)     

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Purpose 3: Make your job more meaningful, it is in your hands.

There are millions of people who go to the job daily. During covid19 they are still working; the office location might have changed to home. Among them millions of people lost their jobs because of the pandemic and economic turbulent. Are those organizations too fragile that they could not sustain and were unable to retain their employees? On the other side, organizations approached employees, communicated the consequences, took them in confidence. They exercised cost measures but not asked employees to leave.

That is the difference between “living with the purpose” and just “speaking about the purpose”.      

On the other side, who are those who lost their jobs? Were they bad? definitely not, but unfortunately, they might have chosen the wrong organization? For a few, it might have the right organization, but then why were they in the exit list?  Were they not fit?  Or were they fired because of just cost issues? There are a lot of questions. 

Once people get the job, they look for the compensation and then they look for more compensation. They compare with their peers and friends and then they change jobs. Sometimes they make excellent progress, sometimes not. During this process few people get the insight and find their purpose. However, most of us just perceive our work as a job. This is called a “Job Mindset” where employees perform all types of transactional duties for getting the compensation. You attend duties for a particular time and you get paid.

There is another set of people who have a wider spectrum of their visions and they focus on the career. This is a “Career Mindset” where they focus on expanding their career by advancing salary, title, power, team size, and/or span of control. They become managers, few of them also become business leaders.

Third mindset is employees who find purpose in their career. They ask why? Why am I doing this? For money, for career or for making the impact and bringing the difference in the organization, life of the people and surrounding? They are creative, passionate, innovative and committed to a meaningful job and engaging workplace that benefits all stakeholders. This is called the “Purposeful Mindset”. When we find the purpose, then it is easy for us to decide the next course of action.   

When you focus on the job and career. Sometimes you as an employee are aligned with the organization, sometimes not. But imagine where you find the role and organization which is totally aligned with your purpose. Working for the cause about which you are passionate makes life enriching and happy. Further results will be amazing.

We all think about the job and then career, but very few reflect on the purpose. If you are able to find out the purpose in a day to day job to make it more interesting, more meaningful and having a positive impact on others, then you are excelling towards finding your purpose. By doing this you are insulating yourself from redundancies and insecurities, but to do this, you need courage, curiosity and conviction.  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)     

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Purpose 2: Do you align your purpose to the larger purpose?

We understood the personal dharma (purpose). At the individual level it is very easy to follow if values are strong. However, when you are dealing with different people in the society, colleagues in office, it is very difficult to live with values. Every human being has a different value system. Their foundation may not be that rock strong. There are compromises and adjustments, however questions remain to whom and with? And to what extent.

Now imagine the situation, where your purpose is not aligned with those you are dealing with in your day to day life; you will be in an ethical dilemma.  

There are people who personally are very strong on their values, like being vegetarian, or following non-violence and not hurting anybody. They follow all rituals and are very religious. According to them they follow the Dharma, but they are in the business which is the total opposite of their values. The same person may have the business of gutkha manufacturing or meat processing. We have seen businessmen who have spoiled the whole generation by selling gutkha in India. People justify this by arguing that personal values are different and business values are different. Some may say that I am clean in my personal life, but my business is not clean because that is for my survival. Now imagine you working with them, what impact you will have in your personal life. The question is not about the alignment here. I call this hypocrisy. There is no meaning to the individual values in such hypocrisy.    

Research says that when there is a positive correlation and intersection of purpose between our lives and our work, the results are beneficial for both and society at large. It means when we align our individual purpose with our job purpose, or work, then there is a positive impact on both & the society at large. Millennial or Z generations are looking more towards the purpose nowadays and they strongly believe that they care for the community and society at large, including the way profits are made, the impact on the people and planet.

I believe that the business should not be viewed simply as a medium of earning or generating wealth. If work is to make a life, as famed management guru Peter Drucker once suggested, the purpose of the organization needs to shift to include a greater degree of meaning. Thus, purpose ought to be felt and achieved at work as it is in the rest of our lives.

So, corporate leaders, political leaders need to work on creating such a purpose driven ecosystem. (I may sound dreamer when I include political leaders here, but when citizens, mainly youth, become more aware, they force political leaders to change.) If this occurs, individuals’ work roles can contribute to their ability to truly then make a life.

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Sunday, October 11, 2020

What is your Dharma?

The Purpose

The purpose of human existence is always debated. When we are frustrated, in dilemma, in struggles, we tend to think more about the purpose and meaning in life.   

In Hindu philosophy, the purpose of human being is nicely explained. Purpose of life is to achieve four aims in life. Those are Dharma (moral values), Kama (pleasure, love), Artha (prosperity) and Moksha (liberation). Hindu believe in leading a righteous life and achieve liberation finally. Every human being has their personal Dharma.  However, it also believes in pleasure and prosperity. These are different stages of life. Few find the purpose in early stages and work on spiritual liberation. It is always expected that humans should make morally right decisions in order to achieve good karma. Karma explains the impact on the personal life of different deeds human beings do. Sometimes it has positive and sometimes negative consequences on life. It believes that every action has the reaction; You get back what you do with others. So, the purpose in different stages may differ but the final purpose is to be happy. Once your full potential is achieved, your life is fulfilled, and you are happy. 

Greek philosopher Aristotle also believed and taught that human beings were driven by purpose, autonomy, and the natural desire to seek out and understand the truth. A person’s ideals manifest when they are pursuing and then attaining a life of purpose, ultimately the end state of human well-being. This end state is sometimes referred to as eudaemonia, the Greek word for human flourishing. 

As per the priority we work and satisfy our different needs. Maslow in his theory explained different human needs and finally explained “self-actualization” which is higher human need. Everybody needs to ask, “What is my Dharma & purpose in life?”

Lot of research explains that human need is to find purpose and if the purpose is found, life is easy and enriched. The team of Harvard School of Public Health researchers finds that if you feel, you have a higher sense of purpose in life, defined as having meaning, a sense of direction and goals — you are more likely to remain healthy and physically strong as you grow older. (Eric S. Kim). Similar researches are conducted by different researchers globally and findings are similar. If you have the purpose, you are more successful, you are happy and fulfilled and live long. 

In human history, every generation had their own struggles, but they adapted to the situation very well. They found the purpose. Today we can live an easy life because of great inventions by scientists, we have witnessed great artists and leaders. All those made the difference in the world by finding their purpose. They have done this for human beings, but they also lived their own accomplished life. However, sometimes human beings are too emotionally connected with certain materialistic things and relations where the person ignores the purpose. In such conditions, internal conflicts are inevitable which finally impact the peace of mind.  

Finding the meaning in life will help you fulfill the purpose and goals in life. We can’t live the life as it comes. There should be the reasons you get up in the morning. If you have a purpose, it can guide life decisions, influence behaviour, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning in life. 

So? What is your Dharma - The purpose?  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Think before quitting the job

Vishakha has her aspirations, her manager was supporting her in her development. She was also nominated for the global development programme. However, she was missing something, and she thought it was not enough. She was expecting quick promotion. She decided to quit the job. She thought that she has required competencies and will get the better position in the market. No doubt she got that, but she realized that the job is not what she was looking for. She was missing the company culture, manager’s support, the progressive mindset of peers and development opportunities. She quit that job also.

Sometimes impulsive decisions about job change harm the career. It is always good to take the proactive approach before the frustration is built.

Pranay was a performing employee and his manager was happy with him.  However, his salary increase was not what he was expecting for the last 2 years. He thought that the company didn't care about him. He got a good salary hike and joined another company. Within 2-3 months, he realized that he got a good salary hike, but the culture and development opportunities were missing. There were few benefits which he assumed were there, but it was totally a bureaucratic organization.       

It is observed that while quitting the job and joining another organization, we may get the sense of achieving more and getting something extra which is missing in the current organization. However, by doing this, we may get a few extra but may miss few vital which you were enjoying. For example, you get a salary increase, but then realize the culture is the problem or manager is difficult. Of course, totally depend upon your priorities.       

If you are stuck up, if you are totally frustrated and if you think that you have reached a glass ceiling in your current role and organization, then you can think of exploring new opportunities. Changing jobs and getting something new is always good. This also required the courage. You really need to be a risk taker. 

Adventures are good but then decide those adventures are worth trying. Before taking such decision, 

  • Evaluate your company culture, people around the organization and your relationship with the team and peers.
  • Also evaluate your company’s financial situation, movement of key people in the organization, impact of regular turbulences (recession, covid19 etc) on the organization and the behaviour of the organization (leadership team) during such crucial periods.  
  • Your role in the organization and future opportunities.
  • Learning & development opportunities provided by your manager. Sometimes employees need some time before taking the next step. 
  • In the following circumstance be sure that your manager and company are investing in you for your future and they are developing you for the next role.
    • If you are nominated different local and global development programmes. 
    • If you are assigned for different cross functional projects. 
    • If you get visibility during leadership meetings,
    • If you get the opportunity to speak with HR or leadership team members time to time. 
  • And finally ask the question, is the organization is purpose driven and performance focused with people orientation.

In spite of having this all, if you are frustrated deep dive why you are frustrated in the current job. Sometimes it is just the lack of reflection and insight.       

You may also want to read, Decide your exit strategy

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Motivational speakers don’t change your life.

"Motivational speeches are like drugs. We listen and get intoxicated in the atmosphere and illusion created for a few hours." 

Long back, one of the friends took me to the event citing that there is a great motivational speaker who is going to change our life. When I asked him how exactly he will do that? He told me that it is good to listen to the speaker. Of course, there was a ticket.

Those days were very hard, struggle was immense. What I wanted was good advice to do something different in life. So, I decided to join. The event was organised in a big hotel. When we entered the hall, the atmosphere was energetic and everybody was excited to listen to the speaker. Few people were roaming around and cheering the audience. They were asking to clap, to cheer. Yes, it was exciting. After half an hour, the anchor announced that the speaker was entering on the stage. He requested to stand up and clap for the speaker. It was a mesmerizing atmosphere there.

Speaker arrived on the stage. He shouted, “Hey guys, do you want to make the change in your life?

Audience responded, “Yesssssssssss”

Speaker started the speech. It was like one act play, moving and running from one corner of the stage to another corner. He was jumping and hollering while telling a few known stories. In between asking the response from the audience. Speech was full of inspirational stories, citations, Hindi Shayari, jokes and a lot of words like, extra mile, discipline, focus, conviction and so on.  No doubt, it was a great speech.

Eventually, when we came out of the session, we were happy and everybody was speaking about the speaker, his style, his stories. After 2-3 days, my friend and I totally forgot his speech. For us, it was another entertaining event. I had attended a few more sessions of few more motivational speakers and it was not different from what I attended the earlier one.

There are 4 types of motivational speakers,

  • Speakers who have achieved something in their life and they become motivational speakers, like Arunima Sinha or similar.
  • Some CEOs, CXOs or great business leaders who are invited regularly on different forums after their retirement.  
  • Professionals who practiced hard to become speaker and became motivational speakers
  • Professionals who were in sales of some insurance, FMCG or some multi-level marketing (MLM) company.  

I like listening to the first 2 categories. They are authentic, genuine and they have their own experience to share.

However, we should understand that motivational speakers don’t change our life. It is upto us what message we take from them. If you follow everything they speak, you may get in trouble. Most of the time, they don’t motivate people to change the behaviour. Otherwise the world would have been different. We have a lot of speakers, spiritual leaders, mentors who deliver messages and still people have their own issues. It is pertinent to note that you have to fight your battles and face your own struggles. What others say may not be relevant to you. Inspirational speeches did not equal motivation to create real change for the audience hearing.  It did not mean that three days after the event, when people were back in the office, that it had any impact on their behaviour one little bit. 

Motivational speeches are like drugs. We listen and get intoxicated in the atmosphere and illusion created for a few hours. After that we are back to the normal and forget everything. 

I am not against listening to motivational speakers; however, it is important to believe in your own competencies and ability to undertake tasks and achieve your goals. This is also called “Self-Efficacy”. Hearing one of these speakers does not build self-efficacy and belief that you can achieve something more – it may in fact do the opposite. Same is applicable to LinkedIn stories.   

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

What is there in the future?

Staying ahead of the game to be able to stay in it: Top trends to follow.

“The future is already here; it's just unevenly distributed.” ~ William Gibson

I am always saying that Covid19 has just accelerated the transformation in areas like digital transformation, new ways of working and different areas of business. In view of different global, technological, workplace and workforce trends, the total narrative will change. If you want to distinguish between high performing organizations and average organizations following are the focus areas, high performing organizations have. It is just not for their corporate presentations, but they have strategic intent which is very much weaved in their corporate strategy.

I have spoken with different leaders/CHROs during pandemic, participated in different webinars and studied different research done by top consultants like McKinsey, PwC etc. and I have interesting findings. Following are those imperatives & trends if followed, chances of being successful is more.  

“People First” Focused Strategy

Speaking about “People First” strategy is very good. Most of the organizations are already speaking about it, but very few organizations are working on this. It is very sad that organizations are laying off employees who are working with them for long. However high performing organizations are now consolidating on talent strategy. They have already incorporated 3P (People, Planet and Profit) elements in the strategy.

People: I have read and listened to a lot of CEOs quoting that people are their asset. The statements of those CEOs like, “We can’t be successful in the society which fails”. Or “Business can't succeed in a failing society” are popular in the media. However, very few organizations have pragmatic policies on this and integrated with their purpose and mission statement. Organizations which have integrated are doing great today. Taking care of people who are working with you and people around you in society is novel thought. It is not just about employees but society at large.

Sustainability & Planet

Sustainability is a long term. It is avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Lot of organizations are working to reduce their carbon footprint and trying to maintain the ecological balance by manufacturing clean products and focusing on 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). It is very important to understand which planet we want to transfer to new generations.

Profit with ethical standards 

We are grown listening that earning profit is bad. So-called leftist ideology and trade unions associated the business as a bad evil and conditioned the mind of people negatively like capitalism is there to exploit employees and society. But they totally failed to understand that you can’t survive on their principle and hence big communist countries themselves are capitalist mind exploiting the society.

High performing organizations have views that ethical profitability is far more than merely operating within the boundaries of the law. The true test of ethical profitability is whether or not the company is a positive example to its employees, to its customers and even to other companies. Such companies practice the truest form of leadership-by-example.     

Digital Transformation to Digital Integration

We have discussed a lot about digital transformation. We all know that Covid19 has accelerated the digital agenda in organizations. High performing organizations are not now speaking about the transformation but digital integration. It is about creating a habit of using and integrating digital platforms in our day to day life. You need to develop people on how to use those, how to present, how to sell and how to collaborate. It is about different behaviours than digital technology itself.   

Gen Z Will Take Over, (born between 1997 to 2016)

Organizations always struggle when there is an addition of the next generation in the workforce. Youth born between 1997 to 2000 are ready to join the workforce. We have seen a lot of challenges of generation X while managing the millennial generation. All generations are different and unique. Their style is different, and their ambition is different. Organizations have to work on inclusion and diversity and making the life easy of all generations. It includes training them on managing people, bringing the diverse view in talent management and talent development initiatives. Your talent management process which you used to work 10 years back will not work today. You need an action -based talent management system instead of just mapping the people in the talent grid and then forgetting them. Organizations also have to change their views on the definition of talent.   

The Gig Economy is the New Economy

We have seen gig workers in e-commerce, food delivery, travel aggregators like Amazon, Swiggy, Uber, Ola etc. Indian industry has been working with contract labour for the last 2 decades. The gig economy is now prominent in blue collar jobs. After covid19, it will still be popular. However, I am expecting this in white collar jobs also. The Younger generation will be more interested to find the joy and more income from different jobs with different companies with different skills. Free lancers, consultants and retainers will be more. Organizations have to frame policies on how to manage and engage those workforces. There will be social security and information security issues which have to be handled carefully in future.  

Innovation in Business Models

Business needs to be more innovative. They need to reinvent themselves and different business models driven by the technology. Companies also have to think about what those new models are. We have some examples improving the business with the help of technology. Disruptive innovations are changing the rule of the game and you really need to think differently if you want to be in this game.

Customer experience is in the focus,

It is not just selling your product or service. It is more about the customer experience. In the market where your product becomes a commodity over a period of time, you don’t have an option to differentiate it with the value and solution selling. Your customers will come back only when they are happy, satisfied and delighted with your services. It is not about the price and product itself but how it is sold, delivered and serviced further without any problems to the customer.  

Instant Reviews

Online reviews are a double-edged sword. Small mistakes can cost huge loss in reputation and revenue. We have a lot of examples in recent years. If customers are treated with respect and service well, they will be your brand ambassadors. Company CEOs and celebrity brand ambassadors need to be very cautious on what they communicate, write and speak on social and public forums. Instant reviews about your product and services will decide the future of your business.    

Meaningful career and not only jobs

Meaningful career is where you connect with the purpose of the organization and your job. You feel satisfied and happy by doing that in a stress-free, enriched, and ethical way. To do this you understand your interest values and skills. You identify your preferred style and find the community to help you to grow in the organization or outside the organisation. In short, a meaningful career is one where we feel an authentic connection between the work we do and a broader life purpose beyond the self.  Millennials and Z generation is more motivated by the purpose of the organization, career development, empowerment, and openness. They will continue and will be more demanding in this.

Few organizations have already started prioritising talent management agenda. Lot of organizations have to follow it to be competitive in the market.       

From skills to Human skills, Innovations in creating those skills.

To do all above we need talent. With the technology changes and new way of working, employees will have to work on human skills instead of just technical and functional skills. With AI, ML, Sensors, IoT, Additive Printing etc people will need skills where they will manage the automation speedily but also people around them.

Organizations will become more flatter; Organizations will move to project/product-based work groups without any formal reporting lines. Employees will have to work in a web and matrix environment where networking and influencing, collaborating on a virtual platform will be crucial. To do this every employee will have to learn fast. Hence if you want to stay in the course develop your people on human skills along with functional skills.   

A wise person said that only one thing is constant in this world is change. There are external forces which are forcing us to change. There are some indications we are already getting, and we need to take a clue from that.

Finally, I would like to quote Darwin, (researchers say that Darwin never said it) “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle,  Vitality in Human Resource, Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

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