Thursday, February 23, 2006


Rajdeep Sardesai now stares out of huge Billboards across Bangalore at passers-by and has an extremely determined look on his face. Can’t help wondering if the determination comes from wanting to prove himself right to someone in particular. The CNN IBN ads are everywhere. Or are these ads for Rajdeep himself? Things seem to be happening to him and CNN IBN ever since he walked out of NDTV. The tagline “Whatever it takes to stand up and ask why?” is pretty creative and so is CNN IBN’s effort to do things different – Citizen Journalism etc. But the icing on the cake was a recent mailer that said CNN IBN has beat NDTV as the most viewed News Channel. What’s it all about? The words battle, ego, subtle, wash, dirty linen, and public come to one’s mind. I may be wrong. But then, I may even be right!


To add on to the CNN IBN positioning, the news channel does project itself as a channel with a conscience and responsibilities that go beyond just reporting. That may have a political connotation to it, but it is something that I think will appeal enormously to the involved and passionate viewer…

Music Musings

I have immensely enjoyed watching the Zee TV Musical Programme, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa for the past few months. (It is now drawing to a close.) So much so, that it is this programme that ushers in my weekend much before it actually comes. The weekend starts on Thursday for me. The music never fails to keep me awake and excited. For the uninitiated, this is a singing contest involving a few music directors as the mentors of the wanna-be Sonu Nigams and Shreya Goshals.


Apart from the interest that the music itself creates, there are a few other things that I have been intrigued by as well. Himesh Reshamaiah who is one of the music directors, who mentors, has been doing an awesome job of branding one of his students that he clearly wants to win the contest. Going by his flawless strategy, he could actually put a self-respecting brand director to shame. It is interesting to analyze his methods. As a caveat, let me say that he may have probably been naturally-inclined to do whatever he did and may not have done it by design. But the way he sold his product – a singer called Vinit – is uncanny. Perfect branding strategy, I would say.  He has used emotions, logic, drama, and body language to appeal to the subconscious mind et al.  Anyone who has been watching the programme continuously would know what I am talking about…


I am a great fan of Shaan, the programme host. He is a great host and an even greater human being. I’d actually go around asking people to vote for him rather than any of the wanna-be singers. ;) He is the epitome of humility and maybe a tough competitor to the Big B, a good blend of dignity Vs innocence.  Only a really humble and yet confident singer can call another peer singer as the ‘singer of today’.  Shaan referred to Sonu Nigam as the singer of today but interestingly enough, Sonu, however much I like him as a singer, has loads of arrogance and attitude. He may pass off for a self-proclaimed GOD to an Alien from Mars or whichever planet.


Here’s the most painful thing though. Today’s the grand finale of the programme (starts in another 30 minutes I guess) I’ve been watching for ages and I am not in a place where I can see the programme! :( If there’s anyone out there watching today’s episode, could you please leave your comments on this post and let me know who won the contest and what exactly transpired? Thanks a ton in advance!


Update on this post – I need to mention this...actually, it is already late in coming. After ranting about the issues I was having with Corporation Bank on my blog, I shot off an email to the CMD of the bank on the same topic and guess what? Three days later, the branch manager called up and apologized for the shabby service and also ensured that my card arrived. The card was actually lying around in the bank and no one had even thought about despatching it till I blew my head off! Wow! I really don’t have anything to complain about now. Things certainly seem to have changed for the better. And I’ve practiced what I preach. I have promptly sent out a mail to the CMD thanking him for the quick action. So, sometimes you need to climb up to the roof and scream your head off? Silent tolerance and hope doesn’t work….what? Sad!


Life is a Puzzle....

I probably have begun to understand the concept outlined in this poster and use it for my benefit (to be more patient and optimistic and by looking forward to continuous learning).
Experience has taught me a lot...but I probably couldn’t have put it better than how the poster reads. These guys (Pravsworld) are doing a great job...! :)

KM - Why does it fail?

Have been reminiscing about some of the possible reasons for the failure of KM initiatives and have some off the cuff thoughts:


-          Who’s got the authority and empowerment for the KM initiative? Does the KM manager have what it takes? Who ultimately runs it and champions it – owns it? Is that someone who sells? Is that someone who belongs to the men-who-matter class of people?

-          Is the KM initiative a half-hearted effort? Are there full-time resources? Do the investments reflect commitment - Charles Hammer says “The finest of ideas will not get implemented unless there is an organizational framework for shepherding it from concept to reality.”

-          Is everyone being involved? – What if everyone’s busy with something else and those who are free are not the appropriate resources?

-          Will these things happen only when organizations are pushed to a corner?

-          Is the way out to go for one pilot after another till the tipping point is reached?


On the other hand, how can something like KM and its principles, needs and benefits be communicated effectively to the employee force if people are not open to anything new? The best bet would be to not position oneself as a KM evangelist but simply say that you are there to solve problems using certain techniques and methods and go ahead and do so! KM be damned! What?

Fits the Bill? - Indian Billiards' Ayn Rand?

My blogging activities have taken the back-seat for some time now. Feeling pretty conscious about, decided to finish at least a few of the incomplete posts that have been waiting in my temporary blog storage area (word document) on my desktop and polish them a bit and keep my blog alive lest to give readers a feeling I am gone forever. So, here’s one that I wrote a few months ago but never got around to finishing till a few minutes ago.


Success Vs Joy, the book by Geet Sethi and Sunil Agarwal which I have spoken about before on my blog is a Wonderful Book. The book has an endorsement by the Big B on its cover. For once, I think that Amitabh’s dialogue delivery is a tad below mark. His remarks could have been worded better. He says the book will have a significant impact on its readers...I’d perhaps search for better adjectives like enormous/awesome etc. Sethi reminds me of Ayn Rand and her philosophy. One place though where Sethi gives in to Success rather than Joy is when he talks about wanting to win a medal for India in the Olympic Games and also about the relief of winning the medal to satisfy the expectations of millions of Indians. Exceptions allowed, eh? Overall, it’s a wonderful book if you are a person looking for Joy rather than Success or if you’re feeling weighed down by materialistic desires, society’s expectations, rules and regulations etc and obviously a cool book if you’re a sportsperson.  I am going to read it again very soon. And mind you, it doesn’t taken more than a few hours even if you want to pause and savour some of the messages…

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Sorry folks! Me has been quite quiet for Enjoy the silence for some more time. I have plenty of half-written posts waiting to see the light of the blog....if only i find some time. Hopefully, I'll be back in a few days from long until then.....!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

People see the moon only when it goes up the sky

Listened to a recorded interview with Shamsad Begum on Radio a few days ago. It was so cool, absolutely genuine, no pretensions whatsoever, an interview that smacked of a spade-ought-to-be-called-a-spade attitude. I actually tuned in only when the interview was close to being done but got to listen to one of the great singer’s principles – “People see the moon only when it goes up the sky.”  True, eh? It’s also because it is so unreachable that people aspire to ‘grasp’ it?  

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Corporation (Un)Bank(able)

This post has been brewing for quite sometime now. Glad it has finally seen the light of the d(i)a(r)y (read blog) now.

I am absolutely frustrated by the (lack of) customer service provided by Corporation Bank. I’ve seen many bloggers rant about the services of companies that they have dealings with and have somehow believed that I’d probably not be so quick to throw mud on a company. I’ve believed that sometimes a little patience helps and that it is unfair on the customer’s part to be expected to be treated royally (at least not each and every time). I’ve also supposed that it would be incorrect to defame companies on such a wide-reaching system as a blog at the drop of a hat. Make that a straw hat. I am going to break the wall that I’ve constructed around myself and talk about the horrendous experience I am having with Corporation Bank. Because the last straw in the hat has been dropped. No more of the hat is left.

I repent the day I opened an account with the Corporation Bank Branch in Ashok Nagar, Chennai. The pointlessmore ranting starts here:

- I go all the way from Bangalore to Chennai to settle a few things with the branch there and ‘am made to wait no less that 2 hours for a 10-minute job despite there being only one person ahead of me in the queue to meet the Manager

- I get into the manager’s cabin and start explaining to him as to what I am there for and he interrupts me approximately 10-15 times in the next 1.5 hours to take phone calls and also invite other people who’ve come (later) to meet him. No concept of first come first serve is followed whatsoever. Also, most of the calls taken by the manager are personal in nature and he goes on to discuss personal matters while making his clients wait indefinitely.

- Even before he gets to listen to me about why I am there, the bank manager starts enquiring about an acquaintance of mine who has not repaid his loan with the bank. Despite my telling him that the loan defaulter is someone I do not know anything about except that I’d contacted him for some information earlier, the manager goes on to question me again and again about the former.

- I finally get frustrated and tell him that I am there for just one day and need to catch up with other things as well in response to which he says he can’t let go of other ‘important’ things for a client! He finally gets down to providing the information I need but stops in between and asks me to collect the rest of the information from one of the bank executives.

- The executive that I am to meet has equally pathetic listening skills and tells me to cut short my question and simply tells me to do what she thinks I should be doing. She has no time to find out what happened and why I was not able to find a solution to my problem in their Bangalore branch. Overall, this lady’s behaviour is just what one would call snappy.

- In response to another simple request that would not take more than 10 minutes she asks me to come back in the afternoon to pick up the document and I go back in the evening after calling her up to check whether the document is ready and find that she has prepared it incorrectly - true to her listening skills. Also, when I call her on the phone to check if the document is ready, she shows her inherent snappy behaviour and says “You come!” in a tone that sounded unjustly intimidating. When I tell her that she has not prepared the document the way I asked it to be, she realizes her mistake and grudgingly asks me to wait and gives the correct document after about 10 minutes. Wonderful! Unbelievable!

- I finally come off without completing 1 other task as I have almost made up my mind to transfer the account to some other bank.

- One of the requests I had was an ATM card which for some reason was not a default provision.

- I come back to Bangalore and get the ATM Pin by courier after 10 days or so.

- It’s 20 days since the first mail arrived but the card has not yet arrived. I call up the branch and all they have to say is “It will come”. No assurance of follow-up, no verification of what the issue is, no apparent concern about the card being delayed.

I’ve avowed to myself that this is the last time I shall (as far as it is under my control) have anything to do with Corporation Bank. Whew! That makes me feel slightly better…

Friday, February 03, 2006

Kelley on Innovation...Do you get the Ideo?


Coloring and underlining by this blogger.

David Kelley - Founder and chairman, Ideo, Palo Alto, California

"Let's say you have an idea. In a traditional company, given the chance to present the idea to a senior vice president, you're going to knock yourself out to dot all the "I's" and cross all the "T's." The goal is to make it perfect. There's a focus on one solution. We say the better approach is to go and see that person with nine half-baked ideas. Design thinking is iterative. It's okay to be approximate in the beginning and then narrow and narrow. But in companies today the present way of thinking doesn't really allow that to happen. Design thinking is also empathic. Being sensitive and responsive to people at different levels and disciplines will lead to a different kind of thinking. It embraces being intuitive. No self-respecting business thinker takes a creative leap of faith. Everything has to be evidenced based. That's not a bad idea, but creative leaps of faith are part of how innovation happens. So design thinking is fundamentally optimistic. Instead of pulling things down, it challenges everybody to rise up and break through barriers."

In 1991, Kelley launched Ideo, the groundbreaking design shop, to help change the way companies like Apple and Cisco innovate. Now, as head of Stanford University's new, he's helping to shape the next generation of designers -- as well as thinkers from other disciplines.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Thinking Cycle - A Paradox

Read a fascinating article where the author (HBR again) analyses the evolution of the Utilities Business and says there came a stage when the entire industry developed a blind spot. It stopped challenging a fundamental assumption. (The fact that one cannot go beyond a point in turbine sizes for power generation. The industry tried to increase the size of turbines in order to generate more power and failed miserably as it became difficult to maintain these turbines. The assumption was that turbine manufacturers were capable of producing larger turbines every few months and this would lead to improved productivity and power generation without taking into account that it would not be practical beyond a point). The author goes on to say that the only way to get out of such a situation is to sit down and question fundamental assumptions and analyze the condition. It triggered off my thoughts on the topic and helped me draw a parallel to the world of KM.


We Think – we learn – we do – it becomes a habit – we internalize it – we stop thinking. :D (What a Paradox!!)

Then what?

How about attempting to write all about the goings on? (in an unbiased manner, as if an outsider)

Which means to say – analyze thoroughly.

It makes one Think….

And thus triggers off the second thinking cycle leading to new learning and so forth.


What Ho? :)

Ready to Lead? Alan Price

Have my hands on no less than 6 books now. All unfinished! Blame it on the temptation to read all books all at once. But picked up one more book - this one fortunately a quick-read - at the library and breezed through it in a few hours. Feel good about having finished at least one book the way it should be.

The book - Ready to lead? By Alan Price (Harvard Univ.) Alan passes on his knowledge of leadership through a story. Context and all. (KM way of passing on knowledge…eh?) What else one would expect someone from Harvard to do, eh? (Aside remark: Lots of such books coming up now though the Indian Epics got the message ages ago!) ;)

Here’s what I would like to remember. This is my rendering (and interpretation) of the information in the book and not a verbatim reproduction of what the book says except when explicitly indicated to be so.

If one wants to be a leader, one ought to do the following things:

1. Ask oneself if one is ready to lead

2. Then, take some time till one is able to satisfactorily define what leadership in her own thoughts and words

3. (Bring the above into action, of course). Mentor others on leadership – develop other leaders. The development of leadership in others would have to be a customized individual-based process designed so as to suit individual needs

4. When you are capable of deciding what you want to do, it reflects is a higher level of leadership. If it’s not a problem solving situation that is - In such a situation, it is more about doing everything to directly resolve the problem. In other (fresh) situations, you set your own vision and then a vision for others

Some other tidbits:

þ Ask for advice before you do anything you are unsure of

þ The CEO of the organization for whom the central character in the book works, asks him to write down what he’s learned from the leadership building endeavour and share it with others (now, isn’t that too about KM?) J

Some nice definitions of leadership defined by the characters in the book: Verbatim

ñ Leadership is unleashing of human passion toward a goal. Management is the organizing of skills and resources toward a goal.

ñ Leadership is to develop a community of purpose. Management is to develop a community capable of purpose.