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.