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