Monday, December 31, 2007

A Star is born!

Taare Zameen Par (Stars on earth)! What an absolutely amazing and awesome movie! I was thoroughly moved and touched by it and indulged in every bit of it. The boy (Darsheel) who plays the central character, Ishaan, is undoubtedly a star. I would be utterly surprised if this boy's portrayal of the central character hasn't completely engaged everyone who has seen the movie - children and adults alike. If there's a movie that's made me cry even after stepping out of the theatre, then this is the one. A must-watch. If you don't watch this movie, you've missed something that ought not to be missed. I will not even try explaining my emotional response to the theme and the content of the movie, because a) I think this is a movie that one should experience personally and b) I might not do justice to my feelings!
PS: It will go into my all-time favourites list as one of the favouritest ;)

Friday, December 28, 2007

There's nothing like a....

There's nothing like a Mind Map - to sort out and collate one's thoughts - when one's brimming with information and ideas...

Nice Links

Dale - via Jack - points to a very very interesting article on the Human Mind/Psychology! I love the food that it gives for..err...thought! ;)

The Future of Management - KM and Web 2.0 as Key Enablers...

Bill's review of 'The Future of Management' inspires me to read it. So, I shall do so.

Are you smart 'when' it's important?

Eugene McCarthy - "Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important."

I like this quote...though I don't quite agree with the idea that football is not important :) By saying I like this quote, I am indicating that I don't like politics (the profession, in this context) because all most people in politics want is fame/power/money. Eh?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Gurteen packages one of the discussions triggered off by me in an online community - a long time ago. Some bitter and unavoidable truths about politics in life....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Longing for Longevity?

Some random thoughts that beg to be transformed into words on the www. Nothing radically new. Nothing revolutionary. Don't know if there's any organization that's given this serious thought and translated it into hard core business parameters. Don't know if any Management thought-leaders have preached this above everything else.

What would happen if Businesses start focusing on Longevity more than on Revenue, Profits, Cash Flow, EPS, OM, Quarterly Growth etc? And if they are (wow!) kicked about Longevity, what would be the parameters that would reflect the same? Today, business leaders hardly talk about anything beyond the usual quarterly and annual numbers. That's what matters to them, the shareholders and the board of directors. Thanks to some business activists with a social dimension to them, there is some talk about corporate social responsibility, contribution to society, charity etc. But, who cares whether the goose that lays the golden eggs is being killed because of short-term greed?

How many people across the organization do something even when they realize that what they're doing will give the company a benefit in the short-term but kill it in the long-run? How many people are forced to do something just to show the results....NOW! How many people live under a perpetual fear that if they don't prove something now, they will not have an opportunity to prove anything at all. How many people gallop up the ladder because they ruthlessly achieve something in the short-term at an invisible and immeasurable cost in the long-term? How many people are anyways bothered about whether the company will exist 20 years later? How many people are bothered about whether the 'death' or 'disease' of a company will result in the world at large (or at least the various people associated with the company) to suffer? Anyways, what matters most in today's world is the money that gets credited to their bank accounts on the last day of the month. As long as that is happening, very few other things matter. Jumping from one organization to another organization is one of the easiest ways to create a positive difference to the amount that gets credited to one's account. So much so, that even people who are genuinely interested in things other than monetary benefits are not believed when they jump from one place to another for a meagre raise.

If somebody at all is likely to be bothered about the longevity of an organization, it definitely ought to be the founder. So, why don't founders put their foot down and remove the focus from short-term money making and concentrate on other more important parameters? Is it because they believe they wont be alive anyway to see too much of the progress and they'd rather make waves in the first 30-35 years and leave the rest to the future guardians? If a founder were to be genuinely interested in longevity what would be the parameters that would reflect contribution to longevity?

Adapting to change?
Employee and Customer Satisfaction?
Activities outside of making profits - in contribution to bigger entities? - And for reasons outside of creating a favourable reputation from the business perspective...

Reputation and Brand Image?
Parameters considered in the decision-making process?
Business Strategy Planning process?
Recruitment practices?
Corporate jargon and buzzwords? -
Does the term quarterly profits and growth get heard more often or words like vision and learning get heard more often?

What else? Is there any index that reflects such parameters and get consolidated into something that reflects longevity?

I genuinely feel that an organization that focuses on longevity will not make many mistakes. I'll perhaps come back to this post sometime....and make it a point of reflection for the new year :)

The Baghavad Gita

Just finished reading Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Baghavad Gita. Very nice read! To be honest, I've never ever found it so easy to read and understand a book on the Baghavad Gita before this one. (Whole lot of such unread/half-read books on my shelf). Stephen uses lovely language to pass on Krishna's message. Nothing less, nothing more. I really am so thrilled that I finally managed to read the full 'poem' and need not complain about not having read it despite the fact that it is considered one of the most valued spiritual writings on earth. The book has a nice supplementary chapter on the views of some great personalities on the Gita wherein Stephen brings out some of the inconsistencies in the Gita as well....questions that are bound to arise in many people's minds. The book's last chapter is an essay on the Gita by Mahatma Gandhi.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who's not been so 'successful' in digesting other - more complex - versions of the Gita.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Free! Free! Free!

Thanks to Kishore! This is a fantastic list! Everyone wants freedom....but it's just that some people live under the mistaken impression that not being told (by others) what to do - not being *controlled* by others - is what freedom is all about. This list can be an eye-opener as it takes you to the aspects that point to real freedom...inner freedom....! :) Here are some of my favourites....things I am hopefully beginning to get a hang of.... :)
  • You step over setbacks without stopping or looking back.
  • You meet and do what's true without fear of the consequences.
  • You really don't want anything from anyone.
  • You start spending more time alone and enjoying it more.
  • You lose all interest in trying to win mental arguments.
  • You dress for comfort, not for compliments.
  • You don't blame anyone else for the way you feel.
  • You see where you're wrong sooner than later, and stop defending yourself faster.
  • You're not afraid of having nothing to say or do, if that's your true condition.
  • You have no concern for what others may think of you.
  • You enjoy the sound of silence as much or more than the sound of your own voice.
  • You see society is destroying itself and that the only solution is in self-change.
  • You know that forgiveness of others is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

To BEA or not to BEA? ;)

For those of you who haven't yet discovered the new suite of KM-Collaboration-Enterprise 2.0 products from
BEA, here is some dough and some links. I spent some time and went through the overview of the three products positioned in this category and found them to be interesting if not exhaustive. These three products belong to BEA's AcquaLogic basket and are called Pages, Ensemble and Pathways respectively.

Pages is perhaps the equivalent of MS Sharepoint TeamSites...but to be fair to BEA, Pages seems to be better in terms of its user-friendliness and some other additional options. pages has ready-to-use blog and wiki features. Ensemble is somewhat like a portal for the developer community and goes beyond the basics in allowing for quick mashups as well.

Pathways is a typical combination of web 2.0 features like tags, tag clouds, bookmarking and search. BEA claims that the Search is excellent but - of course - only user experience can help validate that. Additionally, BEA talks about a particular style of calculating the Search Rank as a new concept/approach that they've introduced. BEA allows free it must be possible to experience these products and compare them with other products.

Will they beat the others - MS/IBM/EMC - to it? Will Google come out with a nice suite of products (positioned under the KM umbrella) that replicates the corresponding Internet versions? Will there ever be an almost perfect KM-Collaboration product in the KM landscape? What about components for Social Networking, Idea Generation, Brainstorming etc? I don't have any answers as of now....but here are the links...

Pages Ensemble Pathways

Update: Here's a good article that compares BEA's offerings with IBM Lotus and a couple of other similar products from startups.

HBR Again...

Went back to this month's HBR for some insights and thought-provoking stuff. The article on storytelling was not as enchanting as I'd hoped it would be. The core message is that a story needs to be true (from both the teller's and audience's perspectives), and true to the moment and mission.

Read another article on Simplicity-Minded Management and came across something that appealed to me. ConAgra's CEO apparently announced a particular year's goals to be simplicity, accountability and collaboration and made these three constitute 50% of the criteria for managerial performance. Maybe my experience is limited but I've rarely seen or heard of such aspects being given importance. And even if there are some such parameters, the number-targets normally override those. Finally, even in organizations where there is an effort to focus on softer aspects, subjectivity (largely unfair in today's Dilbert world) never deserts the performance appraisal scene. Wonder how ConAgra handled it....the article, unfortunately, doesn't go into the details....

KM, Innovation & Family! ;)

Discovered this via Techaid. Cool stuff, I think! (What else if we're talking about Google?) Google Sets is another manifestation of Web 2.0....i.e. collective thinking/perception....

I typed in Knowledge Management and Innovation and see what Google Sets returned! :)
Was pretty glad to find leadership, organizational learning, strategy, change management and human resources in the list. Goes a long way to show that these aspects are perceived to have a strong association with KM and Innovation! Yeah! Thank you, Google!!

knowledge management





intellectual capital



mind map

organizational learning




change management

human resources

I then played around a bit and typed Knowledge Management and Collaboration and got a slightly different set.....interesting 'game'! Now, tell me what you discovered! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Social Networking in Organizations

I've not - so far - had the opportunity to experience or see Social Networking being implemented in the context of business (organizations), but I am keen to find out how exactly it would make a difference to an organization and whether it will cut across barriers like reluctance in the workforce (as they've to expose their mail transactions for such a software to be effective). Anyways, I've prepared a quick mind-map of the basics in case you're interested. If you've had the opportunity to work on/use SNA tools, please do leave your comments and experiences here.

New KM Tools...

CIO mentions three tools that could go into an organization's KM tools kitty. As expected, the focus on web 2.0 tools and the search for something more intuitive in the world of KM - in the recent past - has led to the entrepreneurial KM crowd developing tools based on social network analysis, blogging and web-based work-spaces & intelligent tagging (the following the order mentioned).

Tacit Software’s Illumio: Web-based information broker matches end user information requests with users in the company who might know the answer. Standard search tools (Google’s or Microsoft’s) help make it work with a minimum of fuss for end users.

iUpload’s Customer Conversation System: Blogging platform helps enterprise customers bring knowledge to light via grassroots participation. Includes enterprise security, workflow and regulatory compliance tools.

Koral: Web-based document collaboration and sharing tool also categorizes documents automatically. Notifies users of updates and new documents published by authors or topics to which they’ve "subscribed."

Note: This was published last year. I've been clearing some of my old feeds and 'am randomly barging into blogs for all sorts of KM sorry if I end up posting stuff I should have ideally posted many months ago! :-

Monday, December 10, 2007

Want to be/Have you been hit with a Blunt Instrument?

Just glanced through the latest HBR-South Asia magazine (Dec 2007) and saw something thought-provoking - but not so pleasing - on KM. A survey amongst business executives about Management Tools has yielded some expected (and some surprising) results. HBR has explored the perception of various Management tools in terms of usage and satisfaction. The scale moves from Rudimentary Tools to Speciality Tools (X axis) to denote Low to High Satisfaction and Rudimentary Tools to Blunt Instruments (Y axis) to denote Low to High Usage. Power Tools fall on the RHS Top Corner (High Usage and Satisfaction).

Guess where KM falls? (Yes, KM has thankfully been categorized as a Management Tool. One war won, eh?!) No, not under Rudimentary least not any longer. It is perceived to be a Blunt Instrument and a classic one at that - one that is used widely but doesn't score too much on satisfaction. In HBR's square, it lies a bit to the left of the middle of the square and closer to the top of it. (I'd suggest you see the magazine if my write-up hasn't helped you visualize where the 'KM point' lies ;)) The article points out that KM technology is too complex for it to provide satisfying results. What's a bit annoying for me is that Collaborative Innovation and Corporate Blogs are plotted as separate tools and not apparently considered to be part of KM. But both these are plotted as Rudimentary Tools (Low Usage and Satisfaction!) and fall behind "KM" as HBR sees it.

The Power Tools include Strategic Planning, Customer Segmentation, CRM etc. Speciality Tools include M&A.

The intriguing part is - Why is KM high on Usage despite being low on Satisfaction? Apart from being good/bad news for KM evangelists (depending on the way you look at it and what you predict for the future), maybe this proves that KM is seen as logically essential and therefore something to be implemented irrespective of whether the outcome is tangible and/or visible.

What do you think?

PS: This issue of HBR has something on Storytelling as well...will have to read it some time!

Friday, December 07, 2007

PR, HR etc

Bette Davis - "It has been my experience that one cannot, in any shape or form, depend on human relations for lasting reward. It is only work that truly satisfies."

Those of you who feed on spiritual and self-help books and generally belong to the moderation-balance school of thought may, of course, tell me that "it's always about balance". But what I am getting at here is something different. ;) Interestingly enough, human relations at work determines whether the work will be satisfying enough or not to a significant extent. Agree?

Focusing on human relations gets work done for some people. Focusing on work overrides human relations for some and messes things up for some others. Some rare characters are blessed with a wonderful knack for handling people as well as work.

So Sensible!

"Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it - what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone." - Carlos Castaneda

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Being Different...!

Thoughts that popped into my mind this morning. Interesting....

Most of us have heard about the eagle that grew up with hens and therefore believed that it wouldn't be able to fly like the eagles while at the same time wishing that it could - not knowing that it very well could if only it attempted to. Nice story. Made an impact on me. It just occurred to me that the situation in many organizations are no different. When a person gets into an organization and aligns with its culture, she probably forgets her natural ways and follows the bigger entities (division/region/organization). If only she looks inward and introspects on her own strengths and what she is capable of/what she can change in the organization for the better/how she can contribute to the organization for its betterment etc, things may be quite different in many organizations. But this involves a struggle and the employee needs to be ready to do what it takes - stand alone at times, be confident, have faith and be patient. Easier said than done. Reminds me of Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull. What a fabulous and inspiring story of one bird that knew its true potential!

Here's a related post of mine.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ready, Steady, Start!!

A new start is just what you need
If you want to learn something about speed
Covering the new path from start to finish
Involves not letting past learnings diminish
And yet thinking of creative ways to accomplish
All that needs to be done....with relish

A new world means new dreams, oh! swell
And yes, revival of some old ones as well
New challenges strengthen your qualities
And hopefully reduce your oddities
It brings a powerful lesson in adaptation
And the blessing of proving yourself on one more occasion

A new start is just what you need
If you want to sow many a new seed
And also embrace change indeed

Monday, November 26, 2007

Crossing the Road

Children never cease to amaze me. So much so that I'd rather remain 'invisible' in their presence and enjoy their intelligence, wit, and sense of humor and also step out of their way at times lest they express themselves in their inimitable, nonchalant and sometimes unintentionally insulting ways. ;) Anyways, this is a story I'll never be bored of sharing with people who share my thoughts.

A nephew (10-year old) and I were on our way to his library (in Hyderabad) and had to cross an amazingly busy road to get there. We had to wait quite a while before we got to the other end of the, when we made it, I sighed in relief and looked at him and said with a smile "Yeah! We made it!". In response, he started giggling and I decided to ask him why he found it so funny. If you're not a kid yourself, you'll probably never guess what his response was unless I tell you. :) He said "Remember, we'll have to cross this road again to get back home!". I was too zapped to even laugh my natural laugh. I probably sounded like a member of a chorus laughter team.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Read and Regret! ;)

It's been a long time since I posted something silly and (hopefully) humorous. The urge is quite intense. But I am not getting any good (sensible) ideas as of now. So, I am going to give in to my impatience and throw your life in peril. I am posting something utterly crazy but will leave you with the option of skipping this post if you want to fool yourself into thinking that you are dealing with a normal human being. So, here goes....

I went on a short trip to a place called Kaveri Nisargadama and spotted so many Egrets on the way that I decided to cook up a story based on them due to lack of any better ideas. So, there were these two Egrets on a nice green field and they were chatting amidst some worm-munching and this is what I overheard.

Egret #1: Nimmy! Nimmy!
Egret #2: (Astonished look) Who the hell do you think you're calling? Why the hell are you calling her? Don't you want to continue to have a peaceful and happy day? Why do you want to do something that you'll regret later?
Egret #1: (Confused look) Eh? Ya, I guess I don't know what I am doing these days...
Egret #2: (Stern look) Earlier, one of our community members did something similar and regretted it so much that our entire community came to be known as Regrets. Thankfully, one of our smarter members who attended the previous World Birds Council meeting convinced everyone that R was silent in the name Regrets and it would be better for us to be called Egrets rather than Regrets. So, we somehow escaped the embarrassment of being called Regrets for the rest of our lives. Learn from the past! Cut it out and concentrate on your worm. Look, there comes a buffalo.....let's fly over and perch on his back. He is known to sport many worms....

I did not stay on to listen to any more words of advice that Egret #2 may have given Egret #1. Whether they like it or not, one thing common between me and Egrets is that even I like to avoid embarrassments.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Bird in the Cage

The bird woke up and saw the bars
And remembered where it was
The cage was large and had a nice image
But it was nevertheless a cage
The bird was not itself behind the steel
It could not realize its full potential
So, it fluttered and muttered often
...And tried improving the comfort levels within
But there was no change whatsoever
In spite of being large the cage was as small as ever
The bird decided it was finally time to move it
…To break free and fly away and enjoy every bit
Birds are meant to be free and fly high
Cages can only crave for birds that they can’t buy

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What's your passion?

Here's the second article that I promised I'd write about. From the HBR series on Finding and Retaining the Best People. By James Waldroop and Timothy Butler again. Here, the authors write about 8 key innate passions that people tend to have and how organizations can work on job sculpting and match these passions, thus keeping employees happy and in good spirits apart from leveraging on their inherent skills. The 8 innate passions that the authors believe people would normally have are:

- Application of Technology
- Quantitative Analysis
- Theory and Conceptual Thinking
- Creative Production
- Enterprise Control
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Managing People and Relationships
- Influence through Language and Ideas

If people could be put in roles that match one or more of their inherent passions as per the classification above, there is bound to be 'good'. Moreover, the authors say that even already-assigned jobs can be sculpted and tailored to cater to the innate passion(s). I am able to relate very well to these categories. I really think anyone who loves his/her profession ought to fall under one or more of these categories. How useful it would be for managers to understand where their team members are in this spectrum and then do some things that would keep them happy...and get them to realize their full potential. Realizing one's potential, after all, is about tapping into one's natural talents, eh?

I, personally, would be thrilled with Theory and Conceptual Thinking, Creative Production and Influence through Language and Ideas. A day with opportunities in these three areas, for example, would seem like a perfect day to me! Bliss! :) :D

Think about it.....I like this categorization and think many people would be able to understand their strengths and what kind of jobs they would fit into based on this research....

Back after a break!

I looked north, south, east and west
I did not really look for the best
I just looked for something simple
I perhaps looked for one with a matching dimple
I came back dejected and lost in thought
Because I returned with nothing but nought
And understood how – for sometime now - things have been
Straightforwardness has vanished and in its place is a new character, Mean
Sigh…the genuine smile that I went looking for was nowhere to be seen!

Back after a week+ break! I have just moved out of my current organization and that's the reason why I've been silent for some time...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Paradox-thinking to the RESCUE! :)

I'm not much of a movie-watcher......prefer to mostly watch movies that are from directors I admire and movies that stand the test of time and are recommended by people whose taste I trust. So, I don't really end up posting things on movies...but this one's cool and you'll soon know why.....! ;)

Watched a good movie for the second time this evening and realized something interesting. I like the movie (that's why I watched it again) overall but there's one particular scene that I enjoyed immensely when I saw it for the first time. At that time I did not realize it but today I suddenly understood why the scene is so appealing to me.

Scene: Hero is in the process of helping a girl (the heroine) escape from the villain who plans to marry the latter without her consent. Despite some superhuman feats and all, the hero and the heroine end up bumping into the villain when they just begin to think they're safe. The situation is quite an annoying one for people who tend to sympathize with heroes and heroines. :). The situation is one which looks like it would be next to impossible even for a typical Indian Movie Hero to escape from.....there are hundreds (actually, truckloads) of armed people with the villain and the hero is alone with one small hidden knife.

When you start thinking that the director will either conveniently 'make' the hero perform yet another superhuman feat and escape unhurt or handle it realistically and show the hero being overpowered....the movie springs a nice surprise. The hero adopts paradox thinking to escape from the situation! :) He doesn't really know the girl that he is helping and makes very good use of this.

When the villain nears them, the hero whips out his knife and holds it against the girl's throat and tells the villain that he'd rather save his own life than lose it while trying to save someone he does not even know. Now, the villain falls for it and because he wants the girl alive,gives into the hero's threats and listens to whatever the hero says. The hero smartly gets the weapons of the villain's army packed and asks for the air to be let out of the tires of all the vehicles but one and then makes his escape with the girl in the vehicle that's intact. He switches the knife from the girl's throat to the villain's just before getting into the van and pulls off a trick that most of the audience wouldn't have thought of.

I love the idea.....paradoxical that it is. It literally is a case of paradox-thinking coming to the "rescue". ;) Seriously, paradox thinking can turn around a situation completely!! Try it....and do share your story with me... :)

PS: For those who are curious to know where I am coming from, I am talking about a tamil movie called Gilli - starring Vijay and Trisha....the movie has got some cute family humor too. :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Talented but not so successful...!?

Just been reading HBR’s collection of articles on Finding and Keeping the Best People. A couple of good articles that I’ll talk about in this post and the next one.

The first one – Managing away bad habits - is about helping talented people who unfortunately have ‘bad’ habits that prevent them from doing well despite being talented and brilliant. The authors, James Waldroop and Timothy Butler, bring out the fact that there can never be perfect employees and it is up to the organization to help talented people perform well by spending enough time and effort in helping them overcome their ‘problems’. The six types of people identified by the authors - based on their ‘bad’ habits - are quite interesting and would be easy to relate to for people who have been in an organizational environment for some time.

- Hero (The woman who pushes her people to be superhuman and therefore has a team that soon runs out of steam)

- Meritocrat (The guy who expects everything to be ideal and objective and therefore gets frustrated when things aren’t the way they ought to be)

- Bulldozer (The person who doesn’t mind a few dead bodies on the way to achieving things)

- Pessimist (The person who means well but is always expecting the worst and therefore prevents anything new from happening)

- Rebel (The girl who is against all the rules because it is in her nature to behave so….independent and hard-headed)

- Home Run Hitter (The guy who spreads himself too thin and tries to do too many things)

The authors go on to provide some tips on how to help such people cope with reality. Useful article, overall.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Leader is a Follower

I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. - Ralph Nader

What a wonderful statement, this. Ironically, most people in today's organizations would never ever want to be a leader if this is what real leaders will be held accountable for. They'd rather be control freaks who get to be the ultimate authority on things that matter...and of course, grab as much fame as possible! Sad! :(

Friday, November 02, 2007

So, What do I do?

"The things we know best are the things we haven't been taught." - Marquis de Vauvenargues

“Whatever you are from nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.” - Syndey Smith

Combine these two and you start to think how important it is to listen to your heart rather than be influenced by the world at large – steer away from herd mentality. Now, balance this with the one below.....

“Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcolm Forbes

....And you know that it is not about being blind to everything external but simply having the maturity and the natural intelligence to decide for oneself about what to absorb from the external world and what not to.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Two awesome quotes that I want to share with everyone who's interested:

In the beginner's mind there are many possiblilities, but in the expert's there are few.- Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't. – Mark Twain

Amazing ones...don't you think? The first one may be obvious for anyone into KM. And I love the second one....maybe because it is paradoxical :)


When I am with my Sagittarian friends, I am almost always listening. When I am with my Scorpio friends, I am always talking.

So, shall we say that the Saggi’s loss is the Scorp’s gain? What? Hee Hee. :D Sorry. Really sorry.

You shall not hear of this again…..err….if you’re a Saggi, that is. ;)

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Elusive Search....Can Google Help?

There may be no such thing as perfection!
But does that really stop one from looking for it?
Something….that is an ultimate combination…!
Something - A relationship - that is….

As bright and powerful as the sun
That can lend life to anyone
As tall and strong as the mountains
That can support millions of lives
As deep and introspective as the sea
That can connect one ‘world’ to another
As fresh and bright as the grass
That can make one feel like a new-born
As cool and embracing as the rain
That can oust a raging fire
As colourful and creative as the rainbow
That can erase the gloom of a whole era
As free and inspiring as the birds
That can make one’s spirit soar

As endless and protective as the sky
That can safeguard one and all
As beautiful and caring as the trees
That can change the world

The soul refuses to give up on the search for a single window to life. A perfect something....
The truth is that it cheats itself by wanting to live in a such an integrated make-believe world. Why can’t it take each of these in bits and pieces - independantly - and use its own imagination to create a single entity that may not be true in the actual sense but still can fill in the gap? Can Google help in this elusive search? I heard you. Time out. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Politics - Poli-ticks?...A Poll-itics!

Politics is considered a ‘value’ in most organizations! Or would you disagree and say it is considered a necessary evil and not necessarily a ‘value’? Sigh! Whatever! And, what’s more, I am afraid it precedes all other ‘values’! Honesty, truthfulness, justice, kindness, genuineness et al. If you don’t particularly like politics and want to avoid it and concentrate on your work and do something constructive, you’re labeled as a maverick of sorts - idealistic, impractical and unreal! Come to think of it, what *is* corporate politics after all? A plain and simple case of people trying to save their own skins and lead life the way they want to (get what they want)? And many a time this comes at the cost of others’ lives and careers? So, why can’t organizations invest money, time and effort in avoiding the consequences of politics? (Note that I did not say ‘avoid politics’ because that will definitely be an unrealistic expectation). There are a lot of thoughts that are crisscrossing my mind on this topic…..but I am not able to articulate it right now. The key point for me is this:

Organizations ought to identify employees who love their jobs and are true to their organization and either protect them and help them follow their natural growth path or train them to deal with the politics so it doesn’t affect them or the company at large. Those who are too engrossed with their work but are unlucky to not be blessed with appropriate managers are either trampled all over or at best, get a raw deal in terms of organizational reciprocation. Would love to know your thoughts and comments. Enlighten me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Leaders Wanted...!

Haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to, of late. :(

So, it felt mighty good to peep into a few of my pending newsletters this morning.

Not disappointed. Found something good on Leadership here.

In a nutshell, the author says employees who are not motivated blame lack of inspiring leadership (I agree wholeheartedly. What’s more, I think even those who are motivated gradually get pushed in the other direction when they consistently suffer from ‘leaders’ who aren’t inspiring). The author says Leaders that can be inspiring are those who are enthusiastic, optimistic and encouraging, sell the benefits, tell stories that make an impact, and actively engage their team in everything that they do (participative management).

PS: Enthusiastic, Optimistic and Encouraging? – That certainly sounds like the fire signs - Leos, Aries and Saggis - would make good leaders. ;)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sure Sign of the Sun Sign!

A few of my friends are drawing me into conversations on Sun Signs and people behaviour….and I’ve been contributing a bit to discussions on specific Sun Signs because of my familiarity with them (Scorp, Saggi, Taurus, Aries, Leos). It’s amazing how accurate these analyses turn out to be most of the time. I, for one, certainly believe that there is a strong association between one’s month of birth and personality. Here’s something really amusing in case you too love to analyze Sun Signs! :D


:( to :)

A friend was lost in thought and was complaining about the state of affiars in her life for what seemed like forever. Sensing that it was not doing any good to her, I changed the topic and this is how the conversation went.

Me: “Okay, stop it. Let’s change the topic. Did you go get that blouse this afternoon?” (Blouse: Worn with Sarees)

She: “Yeah. I picked it up”

Me: “What is it for? Is it for the Puja that you’re going to have this weekend” (Puja: Prayer to God involving typical Indian rituals. Performed in traditional Indian attires like the Saree)

She: “Mmmm? Huh….aaaaaaa…..Ya…what….mmm…no….I got it for the Saree…..”

I laughed my lungs out and the poor thing joined in after a while.

Fantastic Forces!

I wrote this for a friend…..but later realized that it would be good to present it on my blog for it could invite some potentially enlightening comments. :)

Love and faith are two of the greatest and strongest forces in life. If you find either of these decreasing in intensity in your life, do everything it takes to bring them back into your life. Life is nothing without these two forces! I don’t know if this makes sense, but I believe that if one of these goes down, it can be ‘treated’ with the other! What I mean is that these two are directly proportional. ;) I could give examples to explain what I am trying to get at but, on second thoughts, it would be wonderful (more effective) if you let it sink in and discover – by yourself - what I mean.

I love blue...

Something I clicked last month....(The digicam seems to have a problem with the date though...)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mad about Music

My music player, eh? The beautiful tooth that you see keeps moving with the song...and the left eye reflects the joy in music. ;)
The skin's aptly called "Toothy". I'd however think "Blue Toothy" is more like it ;). You'll find Mr.Blue Toothy here

Sunday, October 14, 2007

K(M)others! :)

Many a time, when I attempt to convey what embedding knowledge in processes means, I end up not being so satisfied with the conversation/debate/discussion. For some strange reason, I almost always come away feeling that my partner(s) in conversation was(were) not exactly on the same wavelength. Only perhaps a person with a good process-orientation and an exposure to process improvements/enhancements/design/re-engineering would get the message in the way it might be intended? So, I was quite excited by what I came across this morning. I came across an example that I think is worth a mention in order to understand what KM professionals mean when they say knowledge needs to be embedded in processes rather than be a separate ‘activity’ altogether. The example popped out at me from a programme on TV. As far as I am concerned, it was an Aa..ha! moment. :).

The anchor of the programme was pointing out that while in the western culture, people celebrated “Mother’s Day” as an exclusive event to honor and celebrate one’s relationship with one’s mother and used it to demonstrate one’s love and affection for one’s mother, in the Indian context this is rather a value that is ingrained in the culture in multiple ways. We have mythological stories that bring out the beauty of motherhood, communicate the value of a mother-son/daughter relationship, instill respect and love for mothers etc. We also have regular rituals and practices that involve paying obeisance to our mothers, specific festivals that celebrate motherhood etc. Moreover, we have plenty of maxims related to the importance and value of a mother that get handed down from one generation to another by default. Now, isn’t this a clear example of ‘knowledge’ as an exclusive/stand-alone event versus knowledge ingrained and embedded in processes??? I think so....!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Good resource on Swami Vivekananda....

Project - Knowledge - Management

Another question from Hari...

From what I understand, most organizations will have some computerized way of managing projects and its artifacts. A KM system will have to consume this content... right?Ex. - Suppose a task has been assigned to some employee within a project management system. The employee has some questions and poses this on a discussion board attached to the task. The manager responds to these questions. All of this has to be 'searchable' from the KM system. So my question is, how should the relationship between the KM system and the PM system be envisaged? Will the KM system consist of a full fledged PM system within it? (I think not).Hari


This, I think, is a very important and interesting question. I certainly believe that project management and Knowledge Management applications/tools need to lead a hand-in-glove existence. As expected, we have PM product vendors cater to some of the fundamental KM requirements and vice versa. I’ve come across quite a few PM products that have a knowledge repository, tips and tricks databases, learning boards, best practices repository etc. Similarly, products that are positioned exclusively in the area of KM actually have features and components that cater to the needs of project management. For example, Microsoft’s KM and Collaboration product - SharePoint - has team spaces that house discussion boards, task lists, meeting spaces, calendar management and the like.

In my perception too, a KM system, going by the current trends, cannot possibly cater to all the requirements of project management. But, from what I have seen and experienced so far, I believe that one of the efficient ways of handling the relationship between PM and KM would be to build in the fundamental KM features into the PM product and then integrate the output of the same with the organizational KM system. It ought to work the other way around as well – The output of the KM system needs to be made available at the appropriate places in the PM product. Example – Best Practices and Learnings from the PM product should be linked to the KM system based on an appropriate workflow. Similar projects from the organizational project database in the KM system should be linked to the PM product in order to help project managers extract such data at the time of project initiation etc.

Some of the thumb rules/pointers for the integration of the PM and KM products could be as follows:

1. What are the organizational knowledge artifacts that project managers need at the time of project initiation, during the course of the project and at the time of project closure?

2. What are the knowledge artifacts and people information needed by the organizational KM system from projects during its initiation, execution and closure?

3. What are the Knowledge Management and collaboration features required by a project team? These need to be incorporated either in the PM product or KM product (at a level lower than the organizational level) depending on the existing products and other requirements of the organization. For example, if the PM product being used is a simple one with features revolving around metrics and overall project health-checks, it makes better sense to leverage on the KM system for KM and collaboration requirements within the project and simply drop a link to the PM product (reports, dashboards, overview etc) within such a space. On the other hand, if the organization is using a sophisticated PM product that has room for KM and collaboration, then only the knowledge output needs to be linked to the KM system.

4. Analyze PM processes and activities to understand the knowledge generation and utilization aspects and this will lead to a lot of worthwhile discoveries that will answer the questions related to the link between PM and KM.

Does this answer your question? Helpful? :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Knowledge Management Tools/Applications


For a person who has been working on KM for more than 8 years, answering this question ought to be an easy and simple matter. So, forgive me for the seemingly unreasonable delay. It’s been hectic because I’ve just dived into a phase of major transition. It will continue to be this way for one more month. I am hoping that I find the time to post a few things, however silly, on my blog to keep it alive. I ought to thank you for giving me an option to post something good (read on KM) and give my readers the feeling there is at least an ounce of sanity in me (I guess my posts on most of the other topics leave no room for confusion about my original/real state of mind). OK. Now, let me get straight to the answer.

Excellent list you have here. Nothing to be removed in my perception. But here are some things that could be added to your list to make it more exhaustive. Before you run through the list, let me also tell you that I don’t believe the approach should be to stuff a KM system with all the applications and tools that could possibly be added. The approach should be to build only those applications that are required to meet the immediate business objectives and challenges to start with. This not only makes the whole thing easier to handle but also gives one the room to customize the applications that are built later so as to be integrated into the existing ones. The point to be noted is that the integration requirements of the various applications will, more often than not, be unclear in the beginning. With that caveat, here’s the rest of the stuff in my list of KM tools/applications…

- Blogs for individuals, SMEs, senior managers
- Wikis for project teams, communities
- Workspaces and meeting spaces for teams
- Tips and Tricks database; and FAQs based on the tips and tricks
- Knowledge maps to depict the ladder of knowledge based on domains/functions/technology
- Concept maps or mind maps for knowledge generation
- Reusable components repository
- Best practices and lessons learned repository
- Instant messaging for knowledge exchange
- White boards for collective thinking
- Idea management system

Further, I’d suggest that you categorize this into different themes based on the business environment you are in. Makes it easy for you to focus on something in particular – march towards a specific business benefit.
Hope this helps. And yes, if not for the genuine reasons that prevented me from blogging, I ought to be ashamed of the delay in responding to your query. :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Before and After

Just wondering. What would After Mint be referred to as if you happen to have it before your meal? Before After Mint or just Before Mint? Relax! And takes all sorts of people to make the world. ;) :P Heehehe

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Power of Us

Collective thinking. Collaboration. Terms used loosely more often than not. Produces best results only when people understand that everyone who participates could potentially contribute to a significant extent. How effective each participant's contribution is in reality often depends on the people dynamics within the team. It is up to each person in the team to make it possible for the others to do their best. Appreciation, encouragement, acknowledgement, sincere effort to understand counter points, absence of blame games, absence of self-promotion, absence of demeaning others' efforts & intentions.....these are what will make a collaborative effort worth it. An effort to educate participants about the power of collective effort followed by a true attempt to make it easy for everyone to participate and contribute can make a lot of difference to the outcome. We need people who are not just passionate and dedicated but also make an effort to understand the big picture, strive for mutual benefits and are true to their conscience.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Zing in Consulting

I don't think there are many things that equal the joy that one experiences when one gets to apply one's knowledge and creativity (in one's area of interest and expertise) to overcome a challenge or solve a problem faced by another entity (individual or organization) and the latter genuinely wants to crack it. :) Cool. The joy that one gets when solving one's own problems are definitely on this map-of-joy, but it still is a different ball-game altogether as the emotions vary in such a circumstance and emotions can sometimes create roadblocks and change perceptions and capabilities. Ya?

The Fox

The fox was mean and green
It's true colour was not seen
And it never rained at home
So the fox always got to roam
But one day it left home, not so bold
And the skies, predictably, just poured
The fox was now no longer green in color
Oh! What a bother!
The world now knew the fox well
And that was the fox's death knell

PS: Babbling....under the pretext of poetry. ;)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Inspiring thoughts

Let your thoughts, actions and words flow from the centre of your Being...the source of love, compassion, peace and joy. Everything takes on a special charm if you are able to tap this infinite potential in you.- Zenyasi

All of us may be ordinary, but there is a great potential in us waiting to be tapped. It is triggered off when one develops a goal and becomes dedicated to it. The higher, greater, and nobler the goal that man is inspired by, to that extent man is able to break through his limitations and achieve things beyond comprehension. - Swami Swaroopananda

I believe that I have somewhat experienced both these situations. When one is truly filled with love and compassion, I have no doubts that one appears endearing and spiritually attractive. When one is genuinely praying and working for the greater good, things actually happen the way one wants them to. The zeal for a noble goal pushes one beyond unimaginably difficult limits. Yes.

Expect the Expected!

It was a new place. But the problem was not that it was new. The problem was that it did not seem to be a great place to be in. Everything had happened in a hurry. Most of it was ad-hoc. The maxim "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" was laughed at by the system. As expected. Some people said it was about having the faith that everything would be fine. Though she saw some merit in that approach, she knew that was not the way things ought to be. Idealism never let go of her. It could be just a dream and 'oh so unrealistic' for many but for her that was what life was about. Life was full of pleasant and unpleasant surprises; The question was whether one ought to let them happen on their own or be personally responsible for them.

As she took another spoon of cornflakes, she looked around and, with a slight shudder, thought there were some strange/not-so-human characters around. Was it her imagination or intuition? She struggled to shake off the thought over the next few days. She had almost deprived herself of the thought when one day she was joined by two women in the lift and one of them said "Thanks for not being a creepy man!". After the laughter had subsided, she had responded "Does that mean you saw one of late?" and the lady had said "No, I am scared I'd see one!". The thought which she had so struggled to discard jumped back and clung to her.

The next day, as she had the same old cornflakes, she observed some of the faces yet again and found herself jumping to the same old conclusion about them being eerie characters. Then, a sarcastic voice from nowhere said "Maybe that's what they're thinking about you!". Everything that she had tried to shake off fell like a ton of bricks. She did not have to struggle. Far from it. A new voice said "The world's great! Everybody is so sweet and kind in this beautiful world!"

The next day, she heard the person at the desk talking to an apparently concerned customer. One of the hotel rooms had been broken into.

PS: Sometimes, fiction is disguised as the truth. At other times, it is truth's turn to be disguised as fiction. Life is an amusing blend of the bitter truth, sweet truth, bitter fiction and sweet fiction. The beauty is that one can make up for lack of the elements of truth with that of fiction because one can be disguised as the other quite easily. With me? ;)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Equation of Love; Love = Love1+Love2

W. Somerset Maugham - "There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved."

For some unarticulateable reason, this quote strikes a nice chord in me. Come to think of it, is it possible to love someone who does not want to be loved? If so, will such a love last long?

God, it is said, responds only to love and nothing else. The power of love, truly, is such that it can melt a rock, move a mountain, transform the world....provided it is unconditional. When one receives true love well, I assume that there's bound to be more love coming one's way....I am convinced that's the way God 'operates'...when you trust Him and receive His love, He gives you more...!
It works the other way around too...when someone receives your love well, you're bound to dole out more...


Consulting is all about asking the right questions and then listening carefully to the explicit and 'unstated' responses....including the body language and underlying people dynamics. To ask the right questions requires deep thought and reflection and a good understanding of fundamental concepts. Listening requires patience, humility and the like. Then isn't it surprising that one finds so much arrogance in the field?!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

(Free Will*Decisions)/Fate = Life

Life is composed of a series of experiences. How we react to these - how we exercise what some refer to as free everything; The choices we make within the boundaries of the twists of fate determines who we are.- John Perkins

Let that sink in....................... it a Gulp or a Whew in response? ;) Sometimes, I guess it is hard to digest that we can be held responsible - or, rather, face the not-so-pleasant consequences - for some decisions we make in this interdependent world full of ambiguity, uncertainty, things outside our control and what not. But sometimes, we realize that if we don't make our own decisions, someone else will anyway...and then, we may have more to complain about. Sigh. Life is an endless but intriguing puzzle.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Paradox Exercise

As I watched a small girl get on to a Travellator and walk against the direction in which it was moving, I suddenly jumped to thinking about Treadmills and then....immediately realized that Treadmills must have definitely been a result of paradox thinking! :). Get the floor to move....

PS: The small girl enjoyed some exercise and finally turned around and walked in the same direction as the Travellator. You walk with the Travellator to not exercise yourself....and you walk against it to get some exercise! ;)

Monday, September 17, 2007

On the move....

I'm traveling. Posting this from the Changi Airport at 5 AM IST. Zzzzz. Posts may be few and far between for the next two weeks unless I happen to be bursting with interesting stuff that can't wait. Excited about an upcoming engagement. Will perhaps be able to blog something on KM, change management et al in the next few weeks.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yawn Yarn

Just imagined something amusing. Hasn’t happened to me or to someone else in my presence, but I am sure it is something quite likely to happen. Why not? Imagine two people arguing seriously about something – the scene is that of a heated debate – and suddenly one of the entities yawns (like the dickens) due to lack of sleep or lack of oxygen or lack of whatever because of which yawns are believed to be generated/produced. What is your take on the likely consequences? “Fire extinguished by water” situation? “How dare you?” situation? “Hey, wait a minute. Why are we fighting?” situation? “Hahahaha” situation?

Strange post, I agree.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back to the Basics (of KM)

I think this post, by Doug, is lovely! It’s a bit lengthy but worth the read. It brought back memories of some of those good old days when I was engaged in initiating KM in the organizations that I’ve worked with. Full of passionate arguments about why KM is more about people, culture, HR policies et al. The post has got a very prominent HR flavour to it making it good for not just KM but HR consumption as well. Here are some statements and view-points/arguments I fell in love with:

And where there is no involvement, there may be compliance - but not commitment.

But even the best of these collaborative organizations are limited in their ability to adequately measure one’s ”knowledge contribution”. Organizations will generally get what they measure, but are they measuring what’s meaningful? Flawed performance management systems can’t really measure the value of a suggestion or the power of an idea.

If HR departments aren’t clear on how to measure, recognize and reward one’s contribution, can we really expect knowledge workers to fully participate?

The value proposition for the knowledge worker must then change to say, “It’s not what you know, but what you share that counts.”

Command and control management practices have extolled a high human cost on knowledge workers. And we must realize that technology can - and must -be an enabler, but it is not a panacea. To be effective, our systems and tools must be simple, effective and integrated with the knowledge worker’s work activities. Our attitudes towards each other must also change. We must believe we can learn from each other, and respect each person’s unique gifts and contributions.

Knowledge management then is creating a culture of high trust where ideas can be shared, and feedback is encouraged. It’s also recognizing that personal ideas and suggestions aren’t marketable all by themselves. These opinions must be scrutinized, challenged and adapted so that the collective knowledge that results can lead to innovation, process improvement and profits.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bob Sutton on Quality Vs Quantity in Business

Bob Sutton’s written a good post on quantitative versus qualitative evidence in the context of business.
As a KM professional, I naturally gravitate towards discussions on this topic ....

Reproducing the comment I left in response to his post here:

Thought-provoking post, Bob!
What about..."When you are dealing largely with an audience that can't count (for nuts..:))"

This maybe an irrelevant example....but it is something I can think of immediately. If we're dealing with Children, I guess we wouldn't achieve much if we were to be number-oriented. My humble 2-cents...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Conversation with God

A friend at work forwarded this and I think it is awesome! But don't know the original source... :(
God : Hello. Did you call me?
Me: Called you? No.. who is this?
God : This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.
Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something.
God : What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.
Me: Don't know. But I cant find free time. Life has become hectic. It's rush hour all the time.
God : Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.
Me: I understand. But I still can't figure out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.
God : Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.
Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?
God : Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.
Me: why are we then constantly unhappy?
God : Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.
Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?
God : Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.
Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty. .
God : Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?
God : Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don't suffer. With that experience their life become better not bitter.
Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?
God : Yes. In every terms, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.
Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why cant we be free from problems?
God : Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.
Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where we are heading..
God : If you look outside you will not know where you are heading.Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.
Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do?
God : Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.
Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?
God : Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.
Me: What surprises you about people?
God : when they suffer they ask, "why me?" When they prosper, they never ask "Why me" Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.
Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I cant get the answer.
God : Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.
Me: How can I get the best out of life?
God : Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.
Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.
God : There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.
Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat.
God : Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don't believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live. "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that took our breath away!"

Perhaps the only portion that I am not completely convinced about is the creation rather than the discovery of one's destiny. Wait. I am not saying that there is no such thing as creating one's destiny. I definitely believe that one ought to pursue one's passion and carve out a life for oneself....but I also believe that there is some such thing as inherent talent which one can *discover* and need not *create*. There are certain things I just happen to be good at....without having to train myself as much as the person next to me...playing a musical instrument for example....what say?