Friday, September 30, 2005

Nimmy's Enlightening Statements...ha ha ha (Part I)

Knowledge sharing is so tough to promote and make it happen because of 2 primary reasons - greed and fear.

We are all greedy for more. More money. More love. More that. More this. Apropos, some are greedy for more information and knowledge than others. They would love to take. But they don't want to give. Even if they give, they give the useless or maybe what they perceive to be useless. No knowledge.

We all fear certain things. Some fear animals. Some fear fire. Some fear death. Blah. Blah. Apropos, some fear that people will take away what's 'their's'; some fear they will not get what they give; some fear they will be taken advantage of; some fear being 'used'. So, they don't give knowledge.

Advertisements/Selling and EQ Vs IQ

From Zig Ziglair’s newsletter:

People buy emotionally first and logically second!But sales people often (maybe most often) attempt to sell logically first and emotionally second (if at all). People won't buy in reverse order.You can explain why your product (or service, or your point, when talking to a colleague or family member) makes sense, or why your price is affordable, or your product is the best on the market, or your decision is best for everyone involved . . . but until the customer experiences the emotional desire to buy, you're not going to make your sale.Don't put the cart before the horse by trying to sell the logic first. Get people excited about what you're selling and they'll come up with the logic on their own! It's true. Think about a significant or unusual purchase that you recently made for yourself, your business, or your family. It might have been a new computer, a new car, a new set of golf clubs, an expensive vacation, or a special gift. Think about your buying process. Did you sit down and figure out how the purchase made sense before you got excited about making the purchase? Or was it the other way around?Yes, people get excited about what they want to buy, and then they figure out how to justify buying it. That's not always the best way to make a purchase because oftentimes we buy things we really don't need, or can't afford. But nonetheless, it's the way people buy.If you're selling something that people really do need, if you'll help them get excited first, you'll get more sales.Now that you understand why people buy, take a look at the five reasons why people won't buy from you:1. No need.2. No money.3. No hurry.4. No desire.5. No trust.It doesn't matter how good your product is, or how fairly it's priced. Where these reasons occur, a sale doesn't.


Well, well – how true! That’s why we need advertising. Don’t we? Ironically, but not surprisingly, one of the fundamental concepts in advertising - AIDA – acknowledges the above-mentioned ‘logic’. AIDA stands for Attract, Interest, Desire, and Action. Thus, it proves beyond doubt that advertising has got to grab the prospect customer’s emotions first and only then (but not in all situations) present a logical case. But it would be unethical to emotionally trick people into buying just because you want to make money! That does bother me a bit. If you don’t see a need for the customer to buy it, in my world, it would be unethical to ‘trick’ the customer emotionally just so you can sell and make yourself wealthier. If you do it you would be a politician – a demagogue. Influencing the customer to ponder over the need and see if it would resolve a problem he is facing is, of course, all right. If it is a competitive pitch, you need to first differentiate yourself from your competitors and then use the differentiating factor in your emotional pitch. If certain segments of the market can relate to your pitch and thereby ‘fall’ for it, that’s absolutely fine. You deserve the attention because you are ‘different’ and are catering to particular emotions and requirements. I find myself convinced that the very concept of advertising is about emotional pitches rather than logical selling except in a few rare cases. Even if you were to point out some advertisements based on logic alone, I would ask you to go back to it and examine it closely for you will see a clear emotional terrain therein. The problem arises when the advertisements lie/manipulate rather than influence. Advertisements ought to be ethical emotional projects but they ought to speak on the basis of sound logical reasoning that will deliver to the customer what he needs! This is an interesting and controversial topic, I must say…can you think of any interesting advertisements that prove a point or two?

Sania, India

Sania mania – "Now, Tennis is Sania (in India)" says, my friend, Ashwini. True. Sania is 'everywhere'...not just on Indian tennis fans' minds and on the tennis court but also looking at us from out of billboards and talking to us from out of the Idiot box, asking us to trust a certain oil and petroleum major, a jeweller et al. Celebrity marketing in India is most certainly not going to take a break. As I sat thinking about the craze and madness, I saw the opportunities that are arising out of this case and before long, I was sort of proven right by a fact-based article on the same lines in a leading daily. There are opportunities amidst the madness….more people are, as I imagined, taking to tennis - which is good in my opinion. More people are choosing tennis as their career and life, more people are getting into the ‘business’ of tennis. At least in Hyderabad, where Sania comes from. What we need is, if there can be such a thing, a controlled mania (an oxymoron, I agree) once in a while….we need more leaders and trend setters in each area that is 'important' to us. For example, a charismatic person leading the initiative of ‘Save the tiger’ (Talwar, for example, is one passionate ‘tiger’ himself). The green revolution (Dr. Swaminathan) and operation flood (Dr. Kurien) are fitting examples. What needs to go with such phenomena is the media. Media can shape today’s youth by understanding the need of the hour and ‘blowing up’ the ‘right’ things in the ‘right’ manner. I think editors, columnist thought-leaders, journalists, television anchors, (and not to forget, authors) etc have a fantastic opportunity to shape the country’s youth. The responsibility that they carry on their shoulders is perhaps many times more than some people realize. They can slowly but surely make or break moulds and opinions and careers. The governing forces of the country need to get this clan of people on their side (or maybe vice versa :)) and collaborate with them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

LIGHTROOM | architecture and new media

LIGHTROOM | architecture and new media

Got this reference from another blog....nice site indeed!


Good Psychic Hygiene: Finally, some answers....

Amazing! Check this post out if you're interested in spiritual chases...

Managing Google's Idea Factory

Managing Google's Idea Factory
Cool! Innovation through KM. Come on, I can't take off my KM go(o)ggles, can I. It has become an extension of much as the glasses I wear for short-sight. :)

And........talking of Google and Innovation, here's another thing I was thinking about.....

Let’s take one or more of India’s top IT organizations. They earn a little more than a billion dollars a year (as of 2004). On the other hand, let’s take - one of my favourite organizations – Google. Note: If Google isn’t an innovator, then I don’t know an innovator when I ‘see’ one. They (Google) make more than three times the money that any of the IT organization’s I refer to makes, with as little as one tenth of the workforce of the latter! Add to that the fact that the end-users of Google products/services don’t even have to ‘buy’ it from the organization!! That, to me, is the power of innovation.

The Real Reasons You're Working So Hard...

The Real Reasons You're Working So Hard...

I love this article. Not only for its work-life balance theme but also because it points out KM as a sure-fire way to bring about work-life balance....with some caveats! :)

Teaching the Benefits of Balance

Teaching the Benefits of Balance

Methinks the root cause for most problems, not just this one, is our inability to see beyond the obvious/tangible and think long-term (what one of my colleagues might call 'myopic thinking' :))

It hits me hard...

A Thought for the Day From Sri Eknath Easwaran

September 26

A human being fashions his consequences as surely as he fashions his goods or his dwelling. Nothing that he says, thinks or does is without consequences. - Norman Cousins

The Hindu and Buddhist scriptures give us this same truth in what is called the law of karma, which is the psychological equivalent to the physical law that every action has a reaction equal and opposite to it. The Buddha says we can fly higher than the heavens or hide in the bowels of the earth, but we will not be able to escape the consequences of our actions. Though we drive to another city or fly to another country, though we change our job or our name, our mistakes will pursue us wherever we go.

Paradoxically, the only way we can begin to escape from the consequences of our actions is to stop running from them and to face them with fortitude. In this sense, every difficult situation is a precious opportunity. When we find ourselves in some situation where we always make the same mistake, if we can manage not to make that mistake, the chain can be broken. Often, if we face it squarely, that situation will not come up again.


Which reminds me of something I saw yesterday - a dog chasing another dog in what looked like a "this-is-my-territory" fight. The dog that was running away suddenly seemed to get a brainwave and simply turned around and bared his teeth at the other and came out a victor as the other backed off. Mmm!? Any such success stories that you wanna report :)?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Advertisements and Paradox Thinking...

It is time for me to go back to talking about one of my favourite topics - paradox thinking. The new advertisement for Mentos (mint/breath freshener) involves some cool paradox thinking. It shows a college-going boy walk into the class late only to be kicked out. The next day, he pops in a Mentos and, lo and behold, he starts thinking fresh/better :). He takes a few steps in the backward direction into the class and motions as if going out (puts his hands and legs out in the opposite direction) just when the lecturer who is busy scribbling something on the blackboard turns around to see what’s happening. This time around, as expected by the ad-hero, the lecturer asks him where he thinks he is going and asks him to sit down. Mission accomplished. All it took was ‘simple’ paradox thinking.

Another advertisement that illustrates paradox thinking is LG. A boy watches a monk struggle to fetch a bucket of water on an extremely rainy day. The rain and wind tugs hard at the umbrella that the monk is holding and the pail of water drops and spills all over. The solution that the boy thinks of? A double-umbrella – a regular umbrella that has another umbrella which is turned upside down - minus the stick - on top of it. This takes care of the balancing, as well as rain water ‘harvesting’. :) Brilliant, eh?!

Another advt. that I like is, again, somewhat paradoxical in its thinking - the ‘Bajaj Avenger – I feel like God’ advt. A mobike (Bajaj Avenger) rider, as he rides through a beautiful-looking highway, recalls all those who have ‘wronged’ him and soliloquizes. He says he forgives them all, one by one till he finally says “I feel like God” - Just a second before he concludes that he feels like God, a localite collecting flowers (or whatever that is) from plants planted on the side of the road stretches up in pain but bends down immediately to get back to work as if it was the mobike rider’s blessings that relieved him of the pain. Impressive! The paradoxical aspects of the advt., to my mind, include forgiveness that is a rare virtue in today’s impatient and aggressive youngsters, and the name of the bike - ‘Avenger’ - has a ‘lot’ to do with forgiveness, ain’t it?! ;) Paradox thinking is no doubt attention-grabbing…at least; it is immensely appealing to me.

Monday, September 26, 2005

8 tax rules a salaried individual must know


While on Blogs....

I think it’s time organizations started using blogs effectively to tap into public minds for Ideas on how to run their company. Let’s take a TV channel – it makes absolute sense for them to tap into the general public on what kind of products to introduce and how to introduce them et al. I am sure they are in touch with their customers and prospect customers and are feeling their pulse to design their offerings. It’s just that Blogs are a great and easy-to-use tool to do this. Reading blogs that talk about TV channels are a good place to start with for the TV channel to capture the audience’s pulse. Blogs are a good way for them to pick up ideas, areas of disgruntlement etc. Much better than painstaking surveys that anyways lead to distilled crisp and quantitative outputs. There are many examples of companies like Braintrust that use the public intelligence in a systematic manner to gain business and deliver to their customers…

Only time can tell which organizations will make use of new tools to do old things in a new way. After all, the product is only as good as the process, in the long run.

'Blogs'? What 'Blogs'?

In the context of corporate blogging, somebody was asking - Blogs just provide opinions, so why the big fuss…why read them? That is like questioning the value that people bring to the table! At the end of the day, Corporates run not just on hi-fi statistical surveys and studies but on opinions as well.

If the subject of discussion is ‘general’ internet blogs by people just wanting to rant and rave about nothing in particular…I don’t know if they’ll help in anyway. (But there are some internet blogs where one gets a lot of the material that one wants on a given topic)

But coming to the corporate scenario, blogs can make a huge difference even if they are not technical in nature. For example, if it is a team-member’s blog, the reader willing, the extent to which one can understand the blogger can be amazing. The catch is that the blogger ought to be honest and forthcoming. Trust, which is the foundation on which relationships are built – both professional as well as personal – is something that blogs can help create. Blogs can reveal the filters that the blogger wears while he looks at the world and can therefore bring out his original intentions – once again, provided the blogger is honest and forthcoming. Assuming that each of us is a good human being and most often than not, relationships go sour due to misunderstandings is where I come from. If the blog is a technical one and if you trust the blogger in some way or the other, it saves you the time that it takes people to run through varied sources of information and then form a vetted opinion. If you trust the blogger(s),that is.

An eye for talent...

I think the task of identifying children that have a lot of potential but don’t have the resources to carve out a career for themselves and giving them the means (education, training) they deserve is a very honourable and laudable mission. It would give one the joy that comes with identifying a diamond in the dustbin and bringing it to a place it deserves. How do some people identify the children that have the potential? I am always fascinated by people (gurus) that identify potential prodigies by taking one look at them. Isn’t that a rare gift! Be it in the movies (directors identify potential superstars), cricket (coaches identify master batsmen), business (CEOs identify their successors), music (maestros identify future composers and singers), religion (religious leaders identify their successors – e.g: Dalai Lama, Pope, Mahant etc) et al. I know of some people who were identified this way – they are the lucky ones – unlike many people who had the potential but weren’t recognized for it by anyone and either had to struggle their way up or go for it single-handedly and create their own empire or, sadly, finally give up in frustration. Rajnikanth is a case in point. He had nothing tangible to prove he would click, but it was K.B (Balachandar) who saw the spark in him. Do you know of any such interesting stories?

Business Strategies...from HBS

There was a seminar on business strategy by a professor from HBS, a few weeks ago, in my organization. It was a busy week but I decided to attend the seminar as it is not often that you get to listen to people from one of the best business schools in the world. Let’s refer to the professor as Prof. DU for I don’t fully understand the implications of referring to his real name on my blog and especially so in the context of discussing my interpretations of the ‘class’ at length. Before I go on to share with you what I learned and what the food for thought that I am still chewing on is, I want to place in front of you an observation that I’ve made. In many a session that I’ve been to, the speaker seems to miss the ‘target’ by miles. It is indeed a disappointing thing for people who walk into the session only because of the topic and not necessarily for any sort of ‘intellectual break’. That way, the session that I attended was quite off target. The topic announced was “Aligning IT with business strategy in Manufacturing’ and what Prof. DU dwelt upon was a new business strategy model. It had nothing much to do with IT alignment or for that matter the world of manufacturing. (Let me help you get this straight - I personally have nothing to complain about as I enjoyed the session immensely :)) So, what happens in such situations? Is it about communication gaps or about speakers who commit something but decide to get away with discussing something else because they figure out that they are not after all interested in dwelling upon the area under question? Anyways, I want to make it extremely clear that I enjoyed the session for its humor and, of course, for its ideas.

Prof. DU started off by talking about the traditional business strategy model which starts off with the Ends and ends with the means. That is, Ends -> Ways -> Means. Ways refers to business decisions while means refers to the resources to get there. He went on to detail out the traditional business strategy formulation and how it originated from the military way of strategizing. The very word strategy apparently originated from the Greek word strateos, meaning General (as in the army). Prof. DU peppered the session with interesting thoughts and humor and finally proposed that the model be turned on its head….upside down. He asked the audience to consider starting off with the ways…starting off with the capabilities, building it gradually to grab opportunities in the area. (During the session I was sort of completely taken in by excitement and thought it was fun to turn ideas upside down.) So, you start with capabilities, go on to opportunities, and then set your vision. But later, I started considering the idea seriously- from the perspective of implementing it - and ‘am grappling with some thoughts that do not seem to particularly like the idea… What about the concept of setting high-flying visions? What about dreaming? What if it becomes a limiting factor? Wont it be a solution looking for a problem? …Unless you believe in destiny and a certain purpose in life? These are some ambiguities that I did not bother to get it cleared at the time of the session. Meanwhile, the Prof did indicate that he seemed to have a problem with numerical goals (ow, yeah! :-)). He said something which I think is the clear truth to my mind as well – when there are two goals – quantitative and qualitative – the former will always dominate. Well said! Well said! Encore! (The implications? Does this mean that it will be numerical targets all the way in any given organization? I am reminded of an interesting example here – I read in an article that Jeff Immelt is changing the way GE is managed – he is emphasizing on qualitative aspects rather than quantitative….mmmm…well! What would Welch have to say about that?) And….PS: What a coincidence – I came across this quote recently – If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties. -
Sir Francis Bacon. I leave this to your interpretation.

Prof. DU touched upon some topics that I always ponder over – there is no strategy where there is no long-term ownership! CEOs stay but for 5 or more years. What will they think about true strategy? They are bound to look at short-term gains and move on to greener pastures. Acquisitions take them to the headlines – they make an appearance on page 1 of leading dailies in black/grey suits and become ‘poster boys’. And, that’s what many CEOs want. Reminds me of something I read long back – the true success of a leader is not in what happens while she is at the helm but what happens a few years after she’s left….sustainable systems is the name of the game. So, the suggested idea was that there ought not to be 5-year plans in the corporate world! There was a counter argument from someone in the audience that one can’t see beyond 5 years anyways, so, what could the way out? The answer - that’s why we need to look at rolling forecasts – and remember that we can’t predict everything.

Prof. also spoke about incremental improvements – rather than the big bang approach. Sometimes, he added, both are needed but the alignment was clearly more towards the former.

(There was a little bit of M-bashing, CF-bashing, and I thought, Japan-embracing through the session. )

The Prof also shared with us a very interesting study conducted by HBS on the implications of IS – IT systems implementations. It starts off with a dip in productivity as employees are brought into it from various functions and departments. Then things lead to bug discoveries and eventually the evolution of the system happens, to serve some purposes. Before we realize it, technology and/or requirements will then have changed! It is interesting to see how we take to IT despite the need to evolve so fast when you are on to IT. For example, the mobile phone I have now is way below today’s standard. But it serves my basic purpose and I don’t feel the need to splurge on one of today’s gizmos though the temptation is quite strong. Anyways, the HBS research was a nice one, I thought. And another thing - Prof. DU called IT systems ‘liquid concrete’ – hmmm, interesting description!

Another interesting comparison that was discussed was that between qualitative and quantitative approaches to business –

Reduction in costs – qualitative does not work, quantitative does
Revenue generation – only qualitative approaches works
Options in business - value generation – innovation - only qualitative approaches work

Methinks when entrepreneurs start off, they actually start qualitative – based on their passions - and then get converted into quantitatively-oriented people somewhere down the line.

Some other interesting thoughts that came through to me were:
- The basic idea of turning the business strategy method on its head – it reminded me of paradoxical approaches.
- Another aspect that was brought out was that of the network effect and its role in strategy. Forecasts may not work, may be way away from reality as they do not and perhaps cannot consider all human factors that bring about something like the network effect. So, why forecast at all? :)

Whew! Forgive me for this extremely long-winding and convoluted deliberation…but it has led me to a little bit of re-organization; my own contribution; nothing but another alternative that we are bound to have with three parameters – vision, ways and means. Why not start with opportunities and move on to the ways and then the vision??? That means nothing but being street-smart and getting the moolah quickly. What?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

One day in the Year of the Ox - Opinion - Express Computer India

Good review of the HBR article "IT Doesn't Matter".

My immediate take - IT is but the cloth that envelopes the body-the organization. It will either take the shape of the organization if flexible enough or force the organization into its own shape thus leaving it gasping for breath or loose and floating. It per se will never be a competitive advantage except speeden up processes and improve efficiency. It will certainly force reviews of business processes if the product under question is an evolved one. To what extent it is tailored matters a lot. An organization that invests the intellectual capital, money and time in the customization exercise will deliver and gain a lot. The way an organization puts IT to use can give it an advantage, and IT cannot be replicated easily and quickly unless and until all organizations are using IT as it is....

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Time O Time

For a few weeks now, I’ve been feeling a little under pressure due to the sheer number of things I am into. I strongly suspect that the feeling has accentuated after I got into blogging and blog-surfing. Blogging actually happens without any effort most of the time as I write on the fly or spend some extra time during the weekends to write up some of my lengthier essays. At times, I do end up spending 1 hour on some of my posts, but I think it is more than worth it. But it is blog-surfing that has presented to me the enormity of the challenge I am trying to tackle. Reading almost 100 blogs on a weekly basis, leave alone on a daily basis, is not a joke. This, despite RSS subscriptions. I have been concentrating on work and a couple of other things and have not read many of the blogs that I’ve bookmarked, for 3 weeks now. Not to forget, the deluge of informative emails that one gets. Email is like a never-drying ocean of information. Anyways, I decided to put pen to paper and come up with a mind map of things I am into. Next, for a lowdown on time-management, I approached an expert and asked her for suggestions on what I could do to make my life less of a clutter. I am already feeling slightly better. Hopefully, as I start working on her suggestions in this new situation of improved awareness, things will look less formidable. Here are the ideas I’ll be working on:

- a daily/weekly/monthly timetable/planner that takes into consideration everything I want to do
- a clear demarcation between what’s urgent and what’s important and getting rid of the urgent and unavoidable things. understanding the implications of not doing or doing each task and prioritizing based on desired outcomes
- setting aside one day a week (that’s relatively free) at work (mon thru fri) for catching up with a few non-core-work related tasks (reading business magazines, catching up with business material on the net etc)
- look up for ideas and tools
- read and use Steven Covey’s book and planning tools respectively
- using the 80:20 rule to understand what those critical 20% tasks are that make up my life
- maintain a daily time log to note where my time’s ‘going’ and act on it if it is undesirable
- ask myself what I really want to do and prioritize based on that

Here’s the mind map I drew.

There is an interesting coincidence associated with this exercise of mine. When I began drawing this map, I saw a coffee cup in front of me and the cup had this etched on it – “In life, it is more important to participate than to win. To enjoy the journey than to rush towards a destination”. Well, that will be the guiding light in this endeavour of mine. We can’t forget the pleasures of life (read: journey). We can't always look at the ends and forget the means. Can we?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blogs for Retailers - Passing Thoughts

I have had this thought for some time now – in the case of service-oriented companies such as retailers, blogs by customer-facing employees who make it a point to talk about their good and bad experiences from which the rest of the organization can learn lessons on customer satisfaction and complaints will be truly useful. Ultimately, a well-defined and designed system will even lead to effective business analytics. Such blogs can of course be subscribed to by employees across the organization and smart subscriptions and tags will help filter the more useful of the posts. Looking at these blogs from the other angle, if these blogs are on the public network and are visited by customers and prospect customers who care to leave their comments and thoughts behind, it will make a huge difference, provided the organization is ready to pick up subtle messages and obvious complaints. The network effect as known in the marketing world can also be put to good work here!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I gotta learn!!!!!!

A Thought for the Day From Sri Eknath Easwaran

September 12

Each day is a little life; every waking and rising a little birth; every fresh morning a little youth; every going to rest and sleep a little death. - Arthur Schopenhauer

My grandmother, my spiritual teacher, used to tell me that the pain we associate with the great change called death arises from our innumerable selfish attachments. One day she illustrated this in a simple way by asking me to sit in a chair and hold tight to the arms. Then she tried to pull me out of the chair. She tugged and pulled at me, and I held on tight.

It was painful. She was a strong person, and even though I held on with all my strength, she pulled me out. Then she told me to sit down again, but this time not to hold on anywhere just to get up and come to her when she called. With ease I got out of the chair and went to her. This, she told me, is how to overcome the fear and pain of death. When we hold onto things -- houses, cars, books, guitars, our antique silver teapot -- we get attached and tied down.


I need to learn...esp. when it comes to books....I seem to be obsessed with them and will not even allow members of the insectopedia/reptilia family to trespass into the area in which my book shelf is located...let alone homo sapiens

Knowledge-at-work: KM - good practices

Knowledge-at-work: KM - good practices

One more interesting link....

Knowledge-at-work: Conversation power

Knowledge-at-work: Conversation power

Check this out....and go talk!


I've got almost 6-7 posts that are waiting to be completed....whew! My days are packed! : Not finding the time to sit down and finish is chugging along but the ideas are getting 'stored' in a word, there's perhaps no worry of losing the train of thoughts...or is there? Mmmmm? :)

Anyways, here's something (some pictures and a quote) that I had put together last year (and simply loved the final outcome). This one’s just to compensate for the lack of ‘activity’ on my blog; even as I realized that the blog is beginning to look a tad boring without pictures. Good thing I recalled that this one is a great picture to share...what say?

PS: In the next few days, I should be able to hopefully put up a longish article on strategizing and the like, based on a seminar that I attended in office!

UPDATE: The cartoon you see in this post is of course, our lovable, Hobbes...Calvin's pet, best friend and alter ego! The actual context is one where Calvin tries out various goggles and asks Hobbes for his opinion. Hobbes responds with so many different expressions when calvin tries out the goggles... :) I pulled out the various expressions, put them up in one box and thought the quote below (which is my own quote) suits the picture amazingly well. :), Thanks to Bill Watterson for the inspiration! Those who know me also know that I can never stop thanking Bill for the wonderful Calvin n Hobbes stories... :). Thanks to neha for helping me put this post in the right perspective and add this bit to make it a complete one...! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My friend says....The Blog:

Blog(Glob)ing for posers!: "Its the best place to please both your ego and your conscience by giving them a stage to fight :)"


Well said, Sari! :)

Monday, September 12, 2005

lessons learned how to build a successful blog

lessons learned how to build a successful blog

A great page to check out what's happening in the world of corporate blogging...

Leadership - Jim Via Zig

Zig Ziglar Full Newsletter: "The Qualities Of Skillful Leadership
By Jim Rohn

If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills, and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. I call leadership the great challenge of life.

What's important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Here are some specifics:

1. Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It's not even a good substitute.

2. Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn't weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.

3. Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you've got to walk in front of your group. You've got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble.

4. You've got to learn to be humble, but not timid. You can't get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense of wonder. An awareness of the human soul and spirit. An understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we're part of the stars. So humility is a virtue; but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.

5. Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride in community. It takes pride in cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant. In fact, I believe the worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It's when you don't know that you don't know. Now that kind of arrogance is intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that's just too much to take.

6. Develop humor without folly. That's important for a leader. In leadership, we learn that it's okay to be witty, but not silly. It's okay to be fun, but not foolish.

7. Lastly, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some people call it tragic, but I'd like to think it's unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It's fascinating. And I've found that the skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community, and at home.


No wonder being a leader is not particulary easy! :-)

Some financial advice for women... - News, 9 money tips for a smart woman - TAX, Personal Finance, Money, Income Tax, mutual funds, insurance, debt, loans

Pretty obvious....but the obvious as they say is often overlooked...

Nice stuff from Eknath!

A Thought for the Day From Sri Eknath Easwaran

Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs, the wise can draw in their senses at will. - Bhagavad Gita

The Gita says a free person can draw in his senses just as a tortoise draws in its legs. What a marvelous simile! Just imagine a tortoise being approached by a group of school children with sticks in their hands. He sees the children coming, and the command is given to the limbs, "Retire!"

Immediately, the head, the tail, and the four legs withdraw into the shell. The children come; they beat out a rhythm on the shell with their sticks. They toss the tortoise in the air, but they can't harm him. After the children leave and all is quiet, the tortoise ventures to stick his neck out, then his tail and legs. He continues his journey, unconcerned. He goes where he likes.

If we want to live in freedom, Krishna says, we must train our senses. We learn when to welcome an experience, and when to withdraw for our own safety. We become masters of our lives. Then we will be like the giant tortoise I saw at the zoo - wandering freely while all the other animals were in cages. A notice on his back read: "I am free. Don't report me to the management."

:-) Lots to learn from all the living beings that we co-exist with!

Best Practices! Are they Quick Wins?


In the context of a large organization, sharing best practices is believed to be a quick win in any KM initiative. True. But has anyone thought about how easy or difficult the whole thing is? Is it sufficient if one finds out who is doing something well and share it with people who are in similar situations and grappling with similar objectives? What are the challenges? Do the organizations that attempt to leverage on best practices consider these challenges and spend enough time overcoming or even better preventing them? Does the knowledge shared with a team (which someone else (read: KM champion/business leader) thought would help them) finish the job and achieve those beautiful results for the receiving team and the organization? What about looking into how best practices should be shared and whether the department/team/person with whom it is shared is indeed using it or not? Some of the challenges that need to be considered are as follows:

- the source of knowledge and its (the source’s) reputation – most people will not pick up best practices from a team they consider their rival/a team they don’t respect/a team they don’t technically trust/that has been ‘transferred’ by a middleman they don’t honor etc. thus, a lot depends on the relationship between the person/team giving it and taking it as well as the middle men involved

- the second aspect that will make a difference is the method of knowledge/best practice transfer – something like storytelling would probably have the best results while a dry declaration of something as a best practice minus even the minimum rhetoric, proof, results etc will perhaps not drive home the message. Even worse would be a ‘you do it this way because I say so and I know better’ approach.

- another aspect to consider will be the applicability of the best practice in the new environment. Differences (business, cultural, procedural, technical) in the situations will have to be taken into consideration and may call for customization/change/tweaking of the ‘best’ practice

- lastly, another very important factor to be considered would be the probable presence of the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome! If it does exist, then leadership will play a crucial role in combating it.

What do you think?

Discovery of India- The Times of India

Read Article

Hmm?!! Food for thought....
My pick - "...Diversity leads to innovation" :-)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Do you fit life's bill?

When life goes uphill
Just chill chill, just chill !
And, when it goes downhill,
Remember that it is but a sweet pill !
Life can never ever kill...
If you fit its bill !
And that’s to be still...
Come sorrow, come thrill !
One never ought to (mentally) feel ill ,
For, giving in can, in the heart, bore a drill !
If only one strives to till...
And bring up an iron will,
Adverse effects on one is simply NIL !

(c) Nimmy :) (inspired by one of these lines - just chill chill, just chill - that appears in a recent Hindi movie song)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Blog Checking...1,2,3...

Okay. It’s time I did this. A reality check. Courtesy: Raj. I was running through Raj’s blog and read this post where he says he decided to remove one of the topics mentioned under his blog title that he had initially thought he might harp about but eventually ended up sort of ignoring. When I created my blog more than a year ago, I decided that I’d mention all the subjects that I am interested in because I knew I’d be inclined to talk about them at one time or the other. Even though there were previous occasions when I had looked at my blog and felt that I’d mentioned so many areas of interest that it would have been practically difficult for anyone, let alone me, to do justice to all of them. I’ve touched upon all the topics that I’ve mentioned under my blog title, but then, that’s in no way good enough to warrant a subscription by a person obsessed with, say, an area that is “almost-ignored”/”less-spoken-about” by me.

Okay…so, what did I say I’d be talking about on my blog?

The Subjects - Life, Spirituality, Knowledge Management (KM), Creativity, Innovation, Leadership, Branding & Advertising, Books, People, Learning, Music, Poetry, Animals, Birds, Philosophy, Mysticism, Paradoxes, Comics, Change Management, Culture, Travel, and Cartoons

And what do I really talk about more often than not? Under-promise and over-deliver is the mantra these days. [Which reminds me….I watched a recent interview of CNBC with Narayan Murthy and Nandan Nilekani - hosted by Shreen Bhan (smart lady, this one…right?). And while on the topic of ethics, and organizations following a passion/ideal rather than making money, I’d like to recount what Nandan said in this interview….”….we followed our passion and just happened to make some money on the way….”. I don’t know if it was a put on, but assuming it was 100% real, I love that attitude.]

Okay…..rewind… going by the under-promise mantra, let me see what I talk about more often than the rest….maybe I should actually leverage on the situation and also use it to narrow down my focus to a few areas…[Will someone stand up and knock some sense into my head please? How do I concentrate on a maximum of one/two things? Sigh!]

Going by my current ‘phase’ - I often talk about the following:

- life, spirituality, KM, philosophy

I occasionally talk about:

- creativity, innovation, leadership, branding, paradoxes, books, people

I don’t so often talk about:

- poetry, change management, culture, travel, cartoons, learning, music, animals, birds, mysticism, comics etc

Reality check done! Roger out! Blog subtitles shall be corrected for now! :)
And…..this exercise has prompted me to do another reality check exercise of sorts. That of stock-taking of my life! What do I want to do? What am I doing? What do I need to change to get on to the right track/walk faster? But that’s another post….

I would have digressed too much had I spoken about this while recounting Nandan’s statement. Now that I’ve said everything I wanted to about my original post, let me also talk about another Infy philosophy which if followed in reality will be a great thing– “Debate, Ideate and Implement”. I thought it was a very nice and simple philosophy that reflects KM in its heart (head?) as regards the first step – that of debating…

Dancing to the tune of iTunes

I happened to come across iTunes – the music player from Apple; the counterpart of Windows Media player - and downloaded it just to get a feel of an Apple product. Ummm, there are almost similar in terms of the features, but of course, have very different looking UIs. But, the thing to note is that while the new windows media player is pretty smart when minimized (there is a quick access bar that embeds itself in the regular windows task bar – the benefits of being a vendor with multiple products), iTunes does no such special thing…..

But, here’s my core message - I am completely enthralled by the iTunes’ visualization. It is absolutely cool! It seems to have an almost infinite number of permutations and combinations and is soothing to one’s eyes and can get one’s creative juices flowing! (Whereas the windows media player has a finite and limited, and boring I ought to add, number of options when it comes to visualization…)