Monday, May 30, 2005

Thinking Inside The Blog!

I almost forgot to post this...
I've been blogging (on Blogspot) for a year now! :)
Though I was introduced to the concept of blogging almost 2 years ago and had started off a blog somewhere sometime in 2003, I never got down to 'real' blogging. Don't even remember where I created it now...Then, in May 2004, blogging happened to me! (And...'am I glad that it did!) It's been a year of exciting, interesting, intriguing, revealing, friends-making and learning experience...through blogging! My blog isn't exactly my life...but it certainly comes very close! :)

Passing Thoughts...

Once you find your purpose in life and are convinced forever that, that is exactly what you were born to do, then everything else that seems important to the rest of the world/society ceases to be important to you! The passion that burns bright within you when you think of your 'purpose' is so intense and strong that everything else dissolves into thin air. You don't care if the world thinks you are a madman or if you are not getting your daily bread...the passion sustains your life! Blessed are those that have found what they were born to do...and are doing it!
- Nimmy (In a reflective mood)

"XYZ"sourcing....and "ABC"shoring

Definitions of outsourcing, insourcing, offshoring, near-shoring, and multishoring...

My version -

Outsourcing - Giving it to a third party
Offshoring - Outsourcing - on foreign soil
Insourcing - Shared resources inside company
Near-shoring - In a country that is close to the home country
Multishoring - Combination of home, far, very far...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I want to live life this way!

Q- What would be the right-way-of-life for a seeker?
A- Learn to live in the inner joy of a peaceful mind rather than in the excitements gained through sense-gratifications. Whatever we ''meet in life'' is ordered by our past, and ''how we meet them'' alone determines the future progress and growth of our inner personality. To be at peace with yourself, in a joyous sense of inner contentment and satisfaction, ever ready to face world as it is and act, is the way of a seeker.
- Adi Sankara

Thus Speaketh The Wise! :)

Think before speaking, it is a good idea to weigh before you speak. You are master of unspoken words but slave of spoken words. - Dada Vaswani

That reminds me of one more saying that is oft quoted - Think fast...but speak slowly and steadily...

The Taste of India...Utterly Butterly Delicious!

I just don’t believe it! I finally found the story I was looking for, for many years! The story of the AMUL Butter Girl! :) I just can’t hide my excitement and joy! Oh Boy O Boy! Or rather….Oh Girl O Girl! :)

The background - As an AMUL fan and a self-proclaimed student of advertising, I’ve many a time searched for the story of AMUL’s advertising on Google but did not find any on the lines that I wanted. I’ve to admit that I was scouting for this information more than 3 years ago. Searching for it today gives some great results! I’ve pried into all the information that AMUL has on its website, but though all the ads are available, I did not find the story of how the ads came into being and about the people behind the creativity that is reflected in the AMUL ads.


Yesterday afternoon, I went magazine-hunting to the office library after lunch and in the periphery of my vision appeared a magazine called USP Age. I was about to turn away when I realized that I was looking at the picture of one of my favourite pin-up caricatures - the AMUL Butter Girl – in one small portion of the cover page! I excitedly bumped into the reading table and quickly flipped through the pages to what the magazine had advertised on its cover as the AMUL advertising story or something to that effect…and voila….it was indeed the story of how the AMUL Butter Girl was created, who created it and an analysis of why AMUL’s advertising is considered such a huge success. Actually, the girl is referred to as the AMUL moppet in the article as it is indeed, however witty, a baby who is only around 4-6 years old.

The moppet was created by Sylvester da Cunha and Eustace Fernandes (the artist) of ASP (Advertising and Sales Promotion) when
Dr.Verghese Kurien went to them with the deal for building a brand for AMUL’s butter, in 1966. AMUL’s advertising campaign with the Butter Girl as the central character, BTW, is the longest ever (38 years old) advertising campaign (as per the article). At that time, along with Sylvester and Eustace, there were 3-4 other people in ASP handling the AMUL account. Then, Sylvester da Cunha moved out of ASP and created his own Ad company called da Cunha Communications in 1967 and the AMUL account moved with him. Now, the company is run by Sylvester’s son, Rahul da Cunha. Rahul and another independent advertising consultant - Manish Jhaveri - are the ones who conceive and create the AMUL advertisements that you see today, while, Jayant Rane is the artist.

The article also states that AMUL has 86% of the market share and the Butter market is worth Rs.--- crore (Need to check this out later). The reasons why the ads are so popular are stated to be their a) top of the mind awareness, b) involvement of the customer, c) humor, and d) the product taste itself. But, unbelievably so, the advertising agency believes that the ads don’t really sell but only remind people of AMUL. It believes that it is the product’s taste and price that add to the top-line while the ads simply make the brand stay on top of one’s mind.

PS: For the benefit of the uninitiated, AMUL is a company based out of Gujarat and is into the business of food/diary products. It is one of the most successful companies in India and perhaps the best known company (in India) in the diary products industry for its business model, simplicity, and amazing growth rates. It is run by the legendary Dr. Kurien who is an icon of sorts especially after his Operation Flood movement. The advertisements mentioned in this blog post are that for AMUL’s branded butter. The advertisements are in the outdoors category and are communicated through hoardings at busy junctions in all major cities across India. The ads have a central character – a cherubic, wide-eyed, dressed in a polka-dot frock, and blue-haired (!) girl/baby who is perhaps around 4-6 years old. A new ad is apparently created every week and these ads revolve around the latest happening thing (good/bad/ugly) in the country (or local states) and can be anything associated with politics/sports/movies/people/laws/general events etc. The ads are very creative, witty, humorous, whacky and sometimes controversial but invariably elicit a laugh, chuckle or at least a smile from almost everyone who understands the context. The ads relate butter to the topic of the ad in a very amazing & intriguing manner…primarily by playing with words. The words can be in plain English or Hinglish (combination of Hindi and English).

If you’re wondering what I am talking about or trying very hard to imagine what the ads might be like, stop fretting because you can
See all the ads that have been published, here!

Here is one more article on the ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ Moppet and her parents’.

PS:PS: What’s utterly (butterly) surprising is that I am not able to find the Da Cunha Communications website through Google Search! {:-}

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Of knowledge and the hemispheres of the brain

Read something interesting in an article/research in this month's MIT Sloan Review today. The authors/researchers say that while in the western culture/philosophy, knowledge is defined as something visible, one's analytical abilities and especially the ability to articulate one's analysis and thoughts in the written form, in eastern culture/philosophy, knowledge is tacit, invisible, and in the head and those that are expressed (verbal or written) is but at the periphery of one's knowledge!

OK! In other words, the west perhaps associates knowledge with the left brained whereas the east associates it with the right-brained. Explains the wisdom that our ancestors had...nothing written, but passed on in the form of, sometimes, incomprehensible practices (what we consider to be a superstition at times) from one generation to another....!

Update - 27th May - I forgot to mention - The article's purpose was to point out that KM strategies should take into consideration and account for the fact that knowledge itself is seen differently in different cultures and processes and tools used should thus cater to the difference in perceptions...

When Silence Isn't Golden

This one, for some reason, made me laugh....! But, even though I agree with the concept of facing conflict and standing up for what's right, I somehow found myself recalling something that one of my colleagues told me - "Don't fight with a pig. The pig enjoys it, while, you get dirty!". Well, Well.....there is no dearth of conflicting opinions on this very topic there?! :)

Specialization....and Change

Gautam Ghosh on Management: The scourge of specialization?

Just what I need...It sure convinces me that I've hopped on to the right train! :) I am now starting off on an exciting journey of unlearning, learning, and traveling (?) I am going to have to make use of analogies and metaphors to understand the new areas that I'll be exposed to...

Learning from an analogy - Business & Sports

Something that I came across in an article recently helped me expand on an analogy that I think is cool! For a long time now, I’ve been screaming from roof-tops that success of a business initiative depends most on people factors, followed by process factors and then by technology factors. I’ve been substantiating my argument with examples of people achieving their goals through manual mechanisms – in the absence of processes and tools. Processes help improve efficiency (doing things right) and cut down the time taken to perform something. It also prevents us from making the same mistakes more than once. Technology can improve efficiency by leaps and bounds and help do something in a completely different, cool and convenient way while it is the people factors that contribute to the effectiveness (doing the right thing) of any initiative.

Anyways, coming to the analogy that I referred to, let’s draw a parallel between business initiatives and sports. (Mmmmm. I love analogies. They give us that exciting element of discovery!) The field on which the game is played is the technology. The rules of the game, its techniques, and regulations are the equivalent of processes while the players are the people. It is obvious that the sports player are stars and can play their game irrespective of whether they have a ‘proper’ field or not. Similarly, the absence of rules in no way hampers the exhibition of their raw talent. While the presence of a great field and perfect rules and techniques don’t give us a game. The game comes only from the people. But, yes, the process determines the quality of the game as much as the players. And the technology provides for great and convenient viewing and playing. Once the games rules are frozen and understood by the players and their audience, it is difficult to understand the game minus the rules. Similarly, once the field has been created and used consistently, it is difficult to imagine the game being played on any other surface!

Words of strength…

Ignore incidents that teach nothing, digest those incidents that have an impact on you, learn from it and move on without letting the incident affect you so much that it dictates even the future (as in, limits the future). But fight for and correct things that are possible provided it’s not a wild goose chase…and don’t give up when you near the goal. Learn to read the situation and differentiate between ones that can be changed and ones that cannot. If things can be changed, study the cost-benefit graph. Is it worth your time, energy and mental reserves? At the same time, try and stay happy irrespective of whether you are being felicitated for whoever you are or are butchered for who you aren’t. Assume that everything that is not under your control and everything that has happened already is ‘fixed’ and as per destiny (karma) and that these things happen only for your own good. Assume that life can only be the best it can ever be. Assume that the world is with you and gives you what is best for you. Go on…enjoy every day of life. Enjoy every small nuance of life – the clouds, the insects, the birds, the music, the knowledge….this is the way to live! :)

Nimmy (Inspired by life)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I was off to Coimbatore on a short 3-day vacation last week. Took a private bus from Bangalore as train tickets were sold out. As I settled down in the bus and switched on my mobile radio and slipped into deep thought and waited for the bus to leave, I was suddenly jolted out of my reverie by a loud conversation (in Tamil) between 2 men (inside the bus). I heard the words ‘Coimbatore’ and ‘Trichy’ being uttered repeatedly. I was about to disengage myself from the conversation and get back to my thoughts, when another co-passenger sitting across my seat said (in Tamil) to one of the 2 conversing men – “You can call the travels office in Madivala (the next stop) and ask them to stop the vehicle”. It was then that I understood (based on an extended conversation) that one of the men had to take the bus to Trichy but had got off to buy a bottle of water after leaving his baggage in the bus, only to find that the bus had left when he came back from the shop. He had immediately hopped on to the Coimbatore bus in the hope of chasing the Trichy bus down as the two buses took the same route till a certain point.

The co-passenger who had suggested stopping the vehicle in Madivala pulled out his mobile and said “You can use this to call the office” and then got the travels office number on the ticket, called them up himself and asked them to get the Trichy bus to wait at the next stop thus extricating the person who’d missed the bus from his predicament.

Now, this is a simple incident that one may encounter as many times as one travels. But it made me think about the factors that converted a challenge into a non-issue. One man who was alert and listening to a conversation (unlike me), the same man being kind enough and applying thought to rescue the person with the problem, and finally (mobile) technology coming to the aid of the situation! Do you see the ubiquitous people-process-technology factors here? And all the three factors played an important role in resolving the problem :-)

The extent to which man goes...for money (and mangoes)

This is nothing new. Money (mis)rules the world. People do most of the ‘bad’ things they do, for money; For a quick buck. But the realization and acknowledgement of this doesn’t in anyway leave me insensitive to the things happening around us. I recently heard that mango growers and vendors are using a chemical, that’s harmful to human beings, to ripen mangoes faster than they otherwise would. Man wants to go….or shall we say…man goes…faster than God wants to go on those mangoes….eh?

I wonder if the world would have been a better place to live in had it not been for money! On second thoughts, if not money, the 'spotlight' may have been on various other things like material, land, fame, power, ego et al. Sigh! Man's most powerful instinct is survival and blind self-service....before which the good and the bad are undistinguishable. That's why spirituality focuses on forgetting the self and concentrating on the world around us, killing the ego, and about love and kindness. I guess it all boils down to 2 approaches. "I, Me, Mine" or "We, Us, Ours". And maybe there are others (lost in transition) who are torn between the two - the conscience against the first approach and practical-thinking (common sense?) against the second...whew! Life is simple yet complex...Actually, I am not sure if life is more complex than it appears.....or more simple than it appears... :)

Improving the objectivity of the appraisal process...

continuing from where I left earlier....

It is more or less a cliché, at least in the HR circles, that people don’t leave organizations; they leave their managers. Then it fails me as to why (the hell) do organizations (we) leave it only to the manager to appraise employees’ performance? Why do we leave it to the relationship between managers and employees to decide where the latter will be? Where is the objectivity? How can third parties (HR, bosses’ boss etc) do anything to increase the objectivity? Why can’t HR processes be smart enough to account for 'those' managers and accept that there is a better way to do these things? Why can’t we be radical? Why can’t we be unconventional? Why do we all have to do the same things that other organizations do and why do we believe that the same processes fit into all organizations irrespective of their cultures? (BTW, I should admit that reading Dilbert and recognizing Dilbert’s popularity across the globe leaves me with a growing feeling that cultures don’t really differ from company to company and country to country! ;)) Come back, Nimmy. So, why can’t we do away with appraisals by managers? Why can’t we have a customer and peer survey instead? Or why can’t we have a combination of the two? Why can’t we have appropriate numerical and qualitative feedback capturing mechanisms throughout the year to assess the performance of the employee? Methinks, we have to work on this and come up with a full-fledged process and propose it to people worth their appraisals…oops…worth their salt.

Of outsourcing and KM

A top executive from a very popular organization into ERP addressed a group of people in this blogger’s organization on the occasion of a conference. He spoke about outsourcing (of course). What he had to say about it was extremely appealing to me as a KM believer and evangelist. He opined that outsourcing is about leveraging on the strengths of varied cultures and people across the globe; and that it’s not about costs or even about time to market. Nice thoughts, don’t you think?!

Methinks – The challenge lies in learning to collaborate and integrate these very differing and exclusive strengths. It’s on the same lines but tougher than the effort and people-intelligence required to convince the members of a team that it is the combination of the skills and expertise of each of them that lends a team its reputation and results.

The same speaker also drew an analogy between cars and software development – but that would be mostly applicable for product-centric environments – he spoke about frameworks, reuse, concentrating on fringes and the outside body rather than the core (I’d like to add - ...Not to be followed if what one wants is radical innovation)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Getting those $

BusinessWeek talks about how women don't get as much moolah as their male counterparts and how they can use some negotiating skills to get their due!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dear Laptop

I've just given away my old laptop! Feeling :) and :(

It was an old old machine that did not support many a thing, but it nevertheless stood by me and helped me do my work at any time that I felt like. All those papers, blog posts and articles that I wrote in the middle of the night...all those songs that I listened to when I was on a low/high....all those documents that I downloaded (and forced the laptop to hold) but never read...I did try to get rid of it and get hold of a better one, but it never happened till now. Now...because I have moved into a new role (that of a business consultant) The new laptop, of course, doesn't look familiar...but is quite cool what with office 2003, desktop search, and wi-fi features. Hoping that I'll put it to good use and be found to deserve it! :) . I got working yesterday and sat up late into the night and installed almost everything that I've ever wanted to... ;). And...this is my very first blog post on the new machine!


Strange are the ways of the world
One can rarely, of things, get hold
On the wrong things we are sold
To come out and give is only for the bold
Consciences in a slumber
Those awake, few in number

Survival of the fittest said Darwin
Indeed, for us, survival over sin
Consciences in a slumber
Those awake, few in number

Short-term wins grip them all
Long-term losses make them fall
Consciences in a slumber
Those awake, few in number

The faith in friendships
The pain when it trips
Making use of people to gain
Leaving them in pain
Consciences in a slumber
Those awake, few in number

On the last journey ever
What one takes along is clear
Consciences in a slumber
Those awake, few in number

- Nimmy (Dedicated to those awake, few in number)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mastering "Takeaway Leadership"

Mastering "Takeaway Leadership"

Nice article on leadership...

Bill Gates on MS Blogs

It seems like the man doesn't really mind it. It means that a lot will be said and every employee becomes a spokesperson...but it's okay as it helps employees "work together on a better basis". (I like that)

And he himself hasn't been able to start blogging in a big way as yet. What's more, he'll be *allowed* to blog only if is more active... :()

Read the interview here...

Monday, May 16, 2005

HBS -The Zen of Management Maintenance: Leadership Starts with Self-Discovery

HBS Working Knowledge: Leadership: The Zen of Management Maintenance: Leadership Starts with Self-Discovery

Nice one this; ties in with what I learned in the Art of Living course a month and a half ago....


I've just discovered that I've been quoted in a presentation on Blogs by a rep. (Farida) from APQC (Americal Productivity and Quality Center) in the eGov Conference which was held in Washington DC (last month). My paper on Blogging (Bless the Bloggers) has been referred to for the role of Blogs in KM. :-)

The slide looks something like this -

Pros of Blogging in Knowledge Management

> Helps in fundamental communication, easy expression
> Tool for story telling
> Easy to give credit for original ideas based on blog entries
> A good introverts’ tool
> Helps capture more tacit knowledge (helps combat attrition to an extent)
> Managers’ blog (contributes as related to relationships and employee-motivation)
> Facilitates cross-pollination of ideas
> A tool for internal marketing and branding
> If open to the customer it can help improve customer relationships
> Builds trust
> Helps in personal knowledge management and learning
> Helps build a KM culture

Can't help pulling my own leg. The world seems to have gone crazy! What? ;)

Blog Image

Ever since I started surfing the blogosphere, I've cruised into all kinds of blogs, blogs by teenagers going through perhaps the most confusing phase of life, housewives talking about their cooking and knitting escapades, professionals speaking their smart minds out, MBAs analyzing business and industry better than some of the papers, emotional employees venting their anger and frustration, entrepreneurs envisioning the future, people with a great sense of humor entertaining the world, the what-happened-today blogs, methinks-this-and-that blogs, blogs that focus on a topic, blogs that touch upon everything....and lots more! Whew!

I have some questions - What maketh a blog (blogger) image? How do the nature of posts and the areas covered matter? Does a focused blog 'perform' better than a versatile one or vice versa? Do emotional posts attract or repel? Are emotional posts seen as a reflection of the EQ of the blogger? Do blogs that are extremely professional and those that stay away from treading on emotional areas and human psyche/behaviour seen as artificial or are they seen as strong blogs? Should a blogger show only his/her professional face on her blog? Or are occasional emotional outbursts - akin to newspaper editorials, sometimes - seen as okay/only human?

:( Phew!

"Be careful when you are fighting a monster, else you might become the monster" - Freidrich Nietzche

Spain Spin

Read in the papers that, in Spain, a company has come up with a washing machine called 'your turn'. The speciality of this machine is that it uses fingerprint recognition technology to ensure that spouses take turns in washing the clothes! This is, of course, a strategy to win over working wives! :-) What will they come up with next??!!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Caesar knew...!

I happened to tune into Discovery Channel this morning and stopped surfing channels on seeing what the programme was about. Unfortunately I missed the first part of the programme and only got to see the last 20 minutes. It was about a man in search of the truth.

This man was studying the life and death of Julius Caesar and trying to unravel and unearth some truths associated with the latter. When I tuned in, 'the man in search of the truth' was busy catching up with different versions of documented stories of Caesar. He then consulted a forensic psychiatrist who alluded to some of Caesar’s behaviour and said it seemed like he (Caesar) was suffering from epilepsy. But the programme was not about this but more about the likely mysteries behind Caesar’s death. The man in search of the truth goes on to study many documented episodes just before Caesar’s death and comes to realize that Caesar was well informed about the risks that he was subjecting himself to. He discovers that Caesar was well aware of the impending doom and knew of his enemies’ plans to kill him (Caesar). The programme anchor also discovers that there were enough signs of Caesar’s enemies targeting his life and one last sign was indeed a letter that was delivered to Caesar on his last journey to death. The programme anchor believes that evidence proves that Caesar did not even open the letter and was found dead with the unread letter in his hands. If there was one thing that took Caesar by surprise then it was Brutus’s involvement in the plot. Of course, we all know it as the unforgettable story of deceit and disbelief and the immortal line “You too, Brutus!?” Apparently it was in reality, “You too, my son!?” as Caesar considered Brutus to be his son. It is heart-rending to listen to a story of one man reposing so much faith in someone that he considered to be his son and the latter killing him ruthlessly. But the conclusion of the story in the programme is even more intriguing and perplexing.

The man in search of the truth goes on to conclude and declare that Caesar knew all along that he would be killed by his enemies and actually walked into their trap consciously. He says Caesar couldn’t have been a fool to present himself on a platter and be killed - therefore it must have been a voluntary submission. The programme pulls in a psychiatrist who says that “Caesar’s aim was immortality. He wanted to achieve it at any cost and he knew that there were two ways to do it. In life and in death! In life, he did it through his famous successes and in death he decided that he would have to be killed/assassinated to be remembered for ever by the world.” And so, he gave in to ‘suicide by enemies’! Isn’t this a hard-hitting revelation? How hard does it hit you? To me, the story brings to light the mysterious and baffling ways of the human mind. One person who killed his ‘father’ despite the latter’s unshakeable faith in him and another person who wanted to be killed to stay immortal! It sometimes scares me to think that human mind can be so devious and ‘unearthly’ and what’s more petrifying is that man (except for a few) hasn’t learned to control his mind as yet.

School Essay on Pets :)

I suddenly imagined that I was back in school and my english teacher had asked me to write an essay on 'your pets'. :) enjoyed writing this 8-)

I’ve had 2 doggies (Daschunds) for my best friends so far. To think of their contradicting characters and ways is very amusing and intriguing. Compare this.

One of them, who is no more, was, loving, affectionate, very expressive, demanding, friendly with outsiders and especially with children, a glutton of sorts, and one who gulped down food like everyday was his last day. Even the rustling of a plastic bag would bring him running, from whichever corner of the house he was in, for food. He’d eat anything from rice to vegetables to chocolates to passerby ants. He would never ever miss his walks and would ensure that we either took him for a walk or explained ourselves out of the neighborhood. Of course, we could not afford to do the latter which meant he got to walk around the area like he owned it. He had an extremely casual and lethargic attitude and had some trouble carrying himself around, what with a tummy that would not have given in to Newton’s law of gravity given that it anyways touched the ground. He hated to be disturbed while eating and sleeping. And, btw, it seems like those were the only two things he did. He loved my dad and would always want to listen to and decipher whatever my dad said. Thank God he did not get to watch Dr. Dolittle for he would have threatened my dad to learn animal language or face the consequences. The interesting thing was that if he was on one side of a door and my dad on the other side, to listen, he’d tilt his head at an angle > 45 degrees and keep increasing the angle incrementally to touch almost 90 degrees - first to the left and then to the right or vice versa, for the whole duration of the monologue. I’d always pester my dad to talk some gibberish and close the door and let my doggie friend listen to him from outside the door. The scene never ever failed to elicit uncontrollable glee from me. (I’d be watching from behind and guffawing away to glory and he’d once in a while turn around and fix his eyes on me as if threatening to chew me up starting from the head). He hated water and would run a minimum of 343489723 ½ miles to avoid water. He hated going to the vet and would almost scare the latter to death during the process of treatment (esp. injections). But he was a favorite with the children in the neighbourhood and had many a close friend amongst them. When it was time for him to leave the world, his loss was unbearable but it is fortunately true that we humans can get over anything.

Now, the second one whose presence adds ‘value’ to the entire colony is another story altogether. He is also as loving as doggie #1 (sounds like another of Govinda’s movies). He too is an attention-seeking guy and loves it when one spends time playing with him. He gets so excited that he sometimes bites into his fellow-players. But the similarities between the two stories stop here.

This guy is so thin that you could mistake him for a skeleton in a brown cover. He is non-expressive, undemanding, and a bad eater; extremely ferocious with outsiders and more so with children (he probably thinks children belong to his clan and are his competitors going by their sizes). He eats very little and is, over and above that, a very slow eater who ensures that he inspects his food from every angle before deciding to nibble at it one particle at a time. He doesn’t bark (demand) for anything at all. He doesn’t bark for food when he is hungry; bark for a walk when eager; or bark to be let into the house when it gets late or it rains. He doesn’t object to being tied! Or being made to wait for food - he patiently waits till it is transferred on to his plate. He doesn’t mind getting wet in the rain or being given a scrubby bath! He likes to lap-up some water once in a while. He is hyperactive and always chasing something or barking at other dogs/outsiders. Even after going to sleep, he is ready to wake up and be disturbed any number of times if it is for playing/chatting up on anything including India’s GDP and inflation rates, BPO and the recent tsunami. My aunt, btw, says that he is a tsunami of a dog. It may sound surprising but this guy bears with any sort of pain and can take an injection like a man. Vets can take it easy when treating him. But he isn’t loved by the children as he bares his teeth when he sees one.

What a diametrically opposite character from that of doggie #1 - but both of them equally lovable! Isn't that food for thought?

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Performance Appraisal Process

Here's Gautam's post on performance appraisals. (Gautam, btw, is my blog mentor) Hmmm. Interesting indeed (but not surprising). Suits me. Just when I was thinking of analyzing the process and making mince-meat out of it. (I shall still do that once I've collected my thoughts). Gautam points out that "Only 13 percent of employees and managers and 6 percent of CEOs think their organization's performance appraisal is useful. And 88 percent say their current performance appraisal negatively impacts their opinion of HR."

To start with, I am sure managers who belong to the 13% are thinking about themselves rather than their reportees. And the report left out 'managers' at the end of the last sentence in the above-mentioned quote.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Blog Jog

Blogging seems to be a great way to start the day as well as unwind at the end of the day (and if required, refresh oneself in the middle of the day as well). It helps jog one's mind and get all the grey cells working in the beginning of the day---it helps build up the potential energy (to think and analyze). At the end of the day, it once again is a great way to unwind and get into the kinetic mode and let go of the stress, document the lessons learned and take home some things to think about...

Oh! It's all about the culture

Earlier, I'd analyzed an article about Carly's ouster and therein had spoken about HR not being in the limelight and not making it to the corner office. This is what I'd recounted:
I once attended a training programme wherein the trainer asked us to think about who normally is at the helm of affairs in organizations. - Marketing/HR/Finance/Others. And I said that it was the marketing guys who normally take over the role of the CEO once it's time for the incumbent to step down and hang up his/her boots. The trainer nodded and said it was seldom that a HR person took over. The training programme was about Communication Skills and
Inter-personal Relationships. :-). The trainer went on to say that the trend was so because the marketing guys are the ones with a flair for communicating and building relationships! Now, isn't that ironical? Marketing guys do seem to be doing this, but only with outside entities. Once they become CEOs, isn't it essential for them to look inward - within the organization!? They need...

But here's what I came across recently in HBR which made me realize that I hadn't known about Japan's corporate culture (and neither did anybody else in the training prg.)! HBR says that given the fact that theoretically, the world prefers generalist CEOs rather than specialist ones, in Japan, one of the best sources of generalists is the HR department. This happens very rarely in the US of A. The article goes on to say that in Japan, the HR managers spend time in various other functions and are well-rounded. One-fifth of the directors in Japanese manufacturing firms and one-third of those from other industries claimed past stints in HR. The article sources its information from a book by Sanford Jacoby - The Embedded Corporation.

If it's true that the west has been learning some things from the far east and has later passed it on to the 'near' east, then our HR folks can perhaps look forward to a much more exciting future. :-)

We are No.1

I can bet my last rupee that folks in the advertising world would have got to hear about the famous famous Avis advt. (in the car rental industry) that said "We are No.2. So, we try harder!" in their competitive battle with Hertz. I saw something interesting and wacky, if not particularly intelligent, in yesterday's papers. This is a print advt. for the movie channel HBO and by Mudra. It went like this "We are No.1. So, we make others try harder!" :-)

Encouragement for AL(L)

Found in my mailbox (courtesy - LifeSupport): It's amazing to know that Lincoln needed encouragement. Doesn't make me feel guilty about wanting it once in a while if not all the time! :)

The need for sincere encouragement is basic among human beings. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., displays the personal effects found on President Abraham Lincoln the night he was shot. They include a small handkerchief embroidered "A. Lincoln," a pen knife, a
spectacle case repaired with cotton string, a Confederate five-dollar bill, and a worn-out newspaper clipping extolling his accomplishments as president. The article begins, "Abe Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen of all time...."

Why would one of the most highly regarded leaders of American history carry around such a document? Did he not know his own worth? The answer is found in the fact that Lincoln was not as popular during his lifetime as he became after death. His leadership was under constant
fire, he was frequently an object of ridicule in the press, and bitter critics dissected his every decision. He needed something to remind himself that, though battered by the disappointments of life and scorned by those he sought to lead, there were still also others who valued his contribution. There were still those, perhaps not as vocal, who believed in him. He, too, needed encouragement.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Carrots, Eggs and Coffee

Somebody once sent me a mail that had an intriguing story to tell. Especially for those who relate to food and the kitchen but have never approached the things mentioned in the story from the same angle. I recall this to help myself out of my current situation. I will not be able to tell the story the same way. I can only recall the gist of it. But that should suffice.

- Carrots when boiled in water become soft and edible.
- Eggs when boiled in water become hard.
- Coffee bean when boiled in water dissolves but changes the quality, taste and aroma of the water.

One has to learn to be like the coffee bean. Being a carrot would mean being eaten up - actually you've lost your strength and become a weakling. Being an egg would mean that you've lost your character and values. Coffee bean means you've dissolved yourself into the situation and changed it for the better. I want to learn to be like the coffee bean. I can't help thinking that even hard rocks when hit constantly by waves lose parts of themselves and become small stones in what would seem to be an overnight phenomenon. A rock that is hit with a hammer might be unmoved after the first few hits. But after a hundred such blows, it breaks up. People in the know say that GOD has apparently given human beings so much strength that they can bear any kind of blow and how many ever blows they are subjected to. GOD, I hope you know what you are doing... but yes, like someone said, I wish you wouldn't trust me so much though! :)

True Heros

I was watching the movie Ramayan on Cartoon Network on Sunday. The cartoons were extremely cute and well-drawn. :-) So was the animation. As I watched and absorbed the fact that Rama (the hero of the story/movie) lived in a forest for 14 years despite being eligible for the King's post without any qualms or airs, some things struck me hard. Even though Ramayan is a story that I've read and seen many a time, these new thoughts occurred to me because of the current context. Rama takes up the life of a nomad/recluse (in the forest) for his father. He adapts himself to the situation and converts himself nonchalantly from a to-be-king to an ascetic. The image that people have of him is not just for his kind words but equally kind deeds. Laxman’s (Rama’s brother) story is even more touching. Laxman leaves behind a prince’s life and follows Rama into the forest and if this isn’t the epitome of affection, I don’t know what is. Jatayuu the bird that tries to protect Sita from Ravan (the villain of the story) gives up his life for Rama/Sita and that is the epitome of sacrifice. I am not done with the whole story...but here are some thoughts inspired by Rama...

Methinks - A true hero isn't one who just goes about preaching indifference and leading a spiritual life. A true hero is one who not just speaks good but acts it out. A true hero is one who stands up and fights for the truth and for his loved ones. He is one who lives up to the fair expectations of people around him. Picture this - A person who talks about how beautiful life is (for himself) when he sees his kith and kin being sucked in by a quagmire can never mean to be of any help; he is obviously making it harder for people to deal with what they're going through. He isn't thinking about them. A hero would get down and pull his people out of the dirt at the cost of getting himself dirty. He would be outraged by injustice done to others. I can't imagine a hero telling people to put up with it with one half-stretched hand towards them while he himself receives a bouquet of flowers from the devil with the other. That would be a picture not worth the canvas it is drawn on.

Rama was a true hero. He lived for others. He’d rather die for them than be a petty king at their cost. No wonder he found so many people who wanted to sacrifice their lives for him. In today's world, it is difficult to be a true hero like Rama...and my sympathies are with you if you have created for yourself an image of a hero but are not able to adhere to the requirements. Unfortunately, living up to it can be a huge challenge. And if the image comes crashing, it might be heard across the world akin to an earthquake.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Sudden Realizations - Be warned - non-qualified definition of Branding follows: :-)

Branding is not about making one's presence felt. It is not about screaming from roof tops about one's products/services. It is not about making consumers believe that one's product or service is the best. It is not about blowing trumpets. It is not about sleazy and spiffy advertisements. It is not about claiming something that one knows isn't the truth. It's not about what one has to offer per se. It's not about a catchy tag line. It's not about the CEO of the organization...

Branding is about communicating with the customer. Consistently. From the heart. To reach the customers' hearts. Branding is not just about rhetoric. It is about actions. It is about deeds. It is about understanding what the customer wants and attempting to satisfy the need and saying so in a manner that is genuine but crisp and mind-trapping (have i invented a new word? ;)). Branding is about relating to the customer and her needs. Branding is about concern for the customer; not for self. Branding is not about the organization looking good - it is about making the customer look good.

The Chase; The Marathon; The Hurdles

May 12th - This post has been modified to correct some mistakes

I was listening to an advt. on Radio City this morning - for a marathon in the city. It's a nice one. It goes something like this - "Chased dreams, chased opportunities, chased clients, chased the bus, chased deadlines, chased promotion, chased perfection, chased knowledge, chased people, chased that, chased this.........running comes naturally". (They forgot to add "Chased money, chased fame, chased position...chased by dogs" ;-) ) But the advt. did not achieve its purpose with me. It back-fired. It took me into the reverse gear. I found myself thinking that I do chase somethings but are they what I really need? I chase knowledge. But is it the right kind of knowledge that I am chasing? When you are chasing something material, there's a million other people chasing the same thing. Some people fight a fair battle. Some people cheat. That signals sorrow, hatred, anger, greed, jealousy, attachment, et al. What if you chase spirituality? What if you chase great values? What if you chase yourself? No one can prevent you from attaining these unless you let them. You cannot fail if all you chase is yourself.

Turn a blind eye to the evil forces. Don't let yourself believe that it's going to affect you in anyway. But learn to be smart enough to see through and stay away from the evil forces. At the same time, these are some interesting questions - What am I chasing? Do I need it? If I need it, am I trampling on others and killing them on their tracks?

Monday, May 09, 2005


when the world turns black
and the demons are back
when that which seemed true
shatters into pieces of every hue
when the hand that fed
is handcuffed instead
when nectar is poison
and faith is shaken
when justice is denied
and reason is defied
the way the world works is a mystery
think of just one thing
you are but gradually learning

stick to your values
keep going
don’t lose your character
for these are god’s tests
to check if you’ll pass
or fail and become frail
sooner or later
everyone gets his due
and that’s surely not new(s)

By Nimmy (In a terrible shape)

Calvin's a lucky guy

This is a cool picture. It lures me away from this crooked world. Calvin is always wanting to be alone, all by himself, in his own world, doing his own thing. He's happy with his good friend and alter-ego, Hobbes. (No wonder Bill Watterson now lives the life of a near recluse.) I am contemplating going to my village with my alter-ego, books and CDs. I may, of course, get bored and come back after a few months but the trip to my village and a temporary life of quiet and peace is alluring. What's wrong if you lead your own life? As long as you're not harming anyone else. As long as you're not making life difficult for others. As long as you retain your values. I am going off on a tangent, but some one I was talking to recently, was telling me about retaining values come what may. I'd say 'yes' vehemently. Giving in to temporary anger, resentment and hate is human. Let it be. Let there be a vent. And then you bring in fresh air, start afresh. Do not be fooled any longer. Life's exciting only because of there being so many opportunities to start afresh. Actually, you get to decide how many times and how many things you want to change. Temporary breaks will do the job and help usher change.
PS: Calvin, you are lucky to have hobbes...and the cozy tree.

Utterly bitter paradox

Sometimes, the people who masquerade as the friendliest of all are the bitterest of enemies. They are the ones who take away things from you without you even realizing it. Be careful who you trust – Anonymous

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Another Paradox

It is one's absence, rather than presence, that is capable of making people realize one's value.

Friday, May 06, 2005

A Jungle of Thoughts...

At this moment, my mind's a vast, diverse and thick jungle of thoughts. In other words, it feels like my mind is a melting pot of thoughts & feelings right now. In other other words, there's actually a casatta of thoughts out there in my mind. You could slice it with a knife but would, wierdly enough, find it melting and slipping out of your hands the very next minute.

I guess that's the way it feels when one is leaving behind a life that one's been leading for more than 5 years and gets into the unknown; when one is leaving behind known faces and friends (and known and unknown foes ;)). I guess that's the way one feels when one leaves behind the future of the present and goes into a different present for what it has to offer in its future. (does that maketh any sense O blog-surfer?) I am finding it difficult to express myself. There's a sense of uncertainity but a sense of relief as well. Uncertainity because where I am going is not something I am familiar with; Relief that I am perhaps getting rid of some thorns in the flesh that may have pained me a little too much for comfort had I stayed on; Relief that I am perhaps getting away from the clutches of unknown demons that may have devoured me. There's a sense of security as well as a sense of insecurity. Security that there's more value in what I shall be doing and insecurity that I still don't know what exactly is in store - what would have happened had I stayed on? On the other hand, there is this resolve to not let evil forces force me to think that I am going astray. Learning is all that matters. If it's a mistake, I learn more. And, thanks to Paulo Coelho, the temptation to believe that the whole world conspires to give you what you want is very strong. There are some things I want and maybe I will get all of them in my new role. The passion that I have for KM can anyway never be taken away from me by anyone on earth! It's mine for ever. It's my asset and embedded in my heart, mind and soul - in my being. I will continue to use it wherever I am. And god bless one of my friends - something that she sent me made it very easy for me to digest the hardness of the situation. She sent me a poster that says "If you did not get what you want, sit tight. God has thought of something better to give you!". Somethings that I've picked up from people that I've been speaking to are (if you are in a similar situation, this may be of use to you as well)

- (believe that) you will do well. (your passion will make it happen)
- Nothing is impossible
- It (the new opportunity) sounds exciting
- You have to learn newer things sometime...
- One can't manage other people or situations. One can only manage oneself in a given situation.

And finally, one of my favorite quotes that puts things more or less in perspective - "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity" - Albert Einstein

Monday, May 02, 2005

Leadership - Lessons from Cartoons

The Popeye & spinach lesson of management

This article appealed to me soooo much! And why not? It is a combination of two of my favorite topics - Leadership and Cartoons.