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?

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Last week was a bit busy. Could've blogged something yesterday and earlier today...but just wasn't in the right form, I guess. Attended a workshop on 'Influence & Change' and learned quite a bit. Will have to re-visit those tidbits and perhaps post something on it - would help me retain the learning in the long run apart from providing you some food for thought....

Meanwhile, here's a wonderful quote I am able to relate, I am certain, would be blissful for a person who knows how to put everything aside and love...

Never let anger, hatred, self-importance and ego cloud your ability to be a loving soul, being in the light and sharing your goodness with the world.- Zenyasi

Monday, September 03, 2007

Daffy Defective - A Biography

Parts of this poem just poured out of my mind but I had to wait quite a while for the whole thing to come together......end of the day, I feel so happy for Daffy! :)
I put pen to the paper and waited for the words to flow…
Because the story of Daffy I thought people ought to know!
There was a place called Boxes Limited in Timbuktu,
The fact that they made boxes with things in them was quite true!

The boxes were all very excited about their content,
For they thought the content led them to their life’s intent!
One by one they passed through the process of filling creation,
And spent their new life in excited celebration!
But there are exceptions for every rule in nature,
Amidst these was a box that came out empty and differed in stature!

Boxes Limited named the box Daffy Defective,
And about Daffy, the Boxes Limited CEO soon got reflective!
Daffy did not fit into the world of Boxes Limited
He was the odd one out and would surely be inhibited!
The other boxes did not accept Daffy as one of their own…
They mostly ignored him and left him all alone!

Daffy, meanwhile, wondered the reason why he was empty!
Was his fate pathetic obscurity or surprising celebrity?
Was he definitely defective or interestingly unique?
How was he to find out and his purpose in life, seek?
Daffy sometimes wanted to be just like the others were,
But sometimes felt it was good to be different and not care!

Slowly but surely, the other boxes found their so-called goal,
Some were gifted, some were stolen and some were sold.
Daffy stayed on and watched them from a secluded corner,
Feeling really happy for the boxes that received true honor.
The CEO though decided to show Daffy the way out,
So Daffy found himself abandoned, his life in doubt!

It was when Daffy lost all hopes and almost gave up…
That a little boy, passing by, casually picked him up!
And decided to put into Daffy, whatever was precious in his view,
So, Daffy’s life suddenly became eclectic and took on a different hue.
Variety became the spice of his new life…
And Daffy soon forgot his erstwhile strife!

Daffy protected exquisite sea-shells, colorful toys and what not…
He had nothing he could call his own and yet had a lot!
He became the box that could hold anything whatsoever…
And thus brought joy to a small boy who held him with fervor!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I love knowledge!

My book shelf....the portion wherein I stack books on KM & Innovation... :)

The paradox of camouflaging

I watched a cute story on white lions (the cubs were soooo cute!) on Animal Planet and discovered yet another paradox of nature! :) The program anchor mentioned the fact that white lions find it difficult to camouflage themselves because of their colour. The next second, it dawned on me that camouflaging is a paradoxical act. While some living beings need to have the ability to camouflage themselves to protect themselves from danger, some others actually need to camouflage themselves to make their kill! And yes, these two purposes aren’t mutually exclusive…..the camouflaging ability might serve both purposes for a given living being (think of us humans ;))

Saturday, September 01, 2007

'Creative' Cure for Congenital Chronic Chronological Confusion

Well, this post is calculated to put a smile on the reader’s face. But you have a choice – To either not take my word for it and continue to be the very same sane or insane person you are today, as the case maybe or take all my words herein and get transformed into an extremely insane person for sure. If you happen to have read at least a few of the posts on this blog, chances are that you don’t belong to the sane category any longer. All right. You are advised to consume this if your appetite for the great blogospheric-nonsense risk is good.

This story is akin to the flashback scenes in movies. All of it except the last part actually precedes
this one and this one and this one. If you’ve been following this blog for sometime, despite my attempts to introduce acute chronological confusion in you, you may be able to figure out the story in the right sequence. On the other hand, if you suffer from congenital chronic chronological confusion, this inappropriate sequencing may jolt you enough to actually help you recover. Why delay the story when I can be of such significant service to the society? So, here goes….

The doctor examined my ankle from all ankles…err...I mean…angles. After gently poking it in various areas and waiting for my response – which was either an ouch or a shake of the head – and getting a loud ouch when poked on the fibula (or is it tibula…or, wait….tibia….or, what the heck, maybe fibia??) nearabouts the ankle junction or whatever it is called, he furrowed his brow and suggested an x-ray. The ray of hope that I had till that moment about there being no serious problems with my ankle retraced its particles a bit. The x-ray arrived after a while only to turn my ray of hope into an ex-ray of hope. The doc declared a bone to be slightly broken (chipped) and a ligament underneath it somewhat licked. Plaster was what the doctor ordered. This was definitely not what I had expected. So, I tottered a bit. (Please note that this action is performed by an expert and you are advised not to imitate it especially when you happen to be relying on one foot that is temporarily subjected to infrastructural constraints resulting in below-par performance.)

The plaster was therefore wrapped around my feet and lower portion of the leg and I was let loose on the world. “Ruthless!”, some people I know may have declared without a moment’s hesitation. Of course, they would be referring to the world’s plight (on the introduction of a new monster) rather than mine. Anyways, the world has faced many such challenges before and I was sure it could brace itself for one more. I stepped out of the clinic on one leg and surveyed the landscape from the door to the vehicle while revolving around my right leg and almost crushing the physiotherapist who had unwittingly offered to provide me support till the vehicle. Mother earth seemed to be teasingly inviting me to pay my respects to her with both my feet whilst she very well knew my left leg had to be suspended in air for at least a few days.

Even as I wondered how my poor right leg would manage so much weight single-leggedly (err…to say ‘single-handedly’ would be such a gross misrepresentation of facts), the mobile rang. A sane person would have carried on regardless of whether mobiles were ringing or elephants were singing, in such a situation. You can’t of course expect that from yours truly. I promptly picked up the phone even as my right leg as well as the physiotherapist pleaded for liberation. On the other end of the telecommunication line was a very good friend, all the way from Europe. But I immediately realized my folly and knew I had no time for conversations and had to run…err…hop…to the vehicle as quickly as I could or I may end up hurting my other leg as well and not to forget, kill an innocent physiotherapist in the bargain. So, I settled for something equally dangerous – losing a good friend. I quickly babbled into the phone about ankles being fractured and put in casts and that I would not have any problems if she hung up and hanged herself or some such gibberish. Being a clever person, she knew what to do. She grabbed the opportunity to put the phone down without delay and I suspect I heard her thank her stars as she did so. (Latest update – Apparently, she has been enquiring about possible vacancies in erstwhile concentration camps on a ‘good’ friend’s behalf. I am fervently hoping that she didn’t mistake my usage of the word ‘cast’ for holocaust. Appropriately speaking, the very thought casts a hollow feeling)

The trek back home is an experience I’d rather not recount. Once I landed on my bed (whew!!), I knew I would have to stick to it as much as possible for three weeks or so. What a blow and that too when it was soon to be my birthday and a couple of cousins (and a niece and nephew) were to come down from other countries to pretend to celebrate the same! I suspect that one of my cousins, known for her practical thinking, grabbed the chance to get back at me for some fights that I had apparently won against her when we were children. She thrust some school books on my face and challenged me to do the holiday assignment that was given to her son. (Hey cousin, if you happen to read this, please note that I am just kidding! Not that you don’t know better than to ever rely on me again for any sort of school assignment ;)) Now, the son (and his sister) were complete darlings and did everything possible to help me protect my leg as well as keep me in high spirits. So, I gave in and ‘helped’ the nephew with the assignment. (If you want me alive, don’t worry. I plan to disappear for a few days once his school reopens. Don’t you think a few days would be sufficient for a teacher and a cousin and her family - just returned from treatment for mental shocks - cool down? And it is to my advantage that they live in a different country, far away from me)

Three weeks later, fast forwarding to the recent past, I came out of the clinic having cast off my cast and gotten a clean certificate from the doc. I celebrated the deprivation of the concrete attachment that had made me look like a penguin with a heavy left foot. A smile split my face. Hey, wait a minute. Split, my foot! (Please note the coma after the word split. I am very particular about punctuations.) Actually, I think I’ll retain just 60% of the original word. I’ll change split to lit. The sentence will thus read - ‘A smile lit my face’. But the occasional pain still lurks and getting back on my feet to the former extent will be no mean feat.

Important Note: This post is dedicated to PLUM who is a major influence in my life. His works inspire me to look at the lighter side of situations however challenging or difficult they may be. PLUM: I dread to imagine what the world would be like without your literary master-pieces at large! Toodle-oo! Pip-pip! :)