Tag Archives: Quality

We seldom reap benefits of our real strengths, since we think in “Compartments”!

One of the major drawbacks, which we humans face, is our tendency to think in compartments. We constantly create virtual compartments or boxes for each set of our thoughts, ideas or perception of a given situation and keep struggling or dealing within that compartment. In this process, we rarely can get a wholesome view and deprive ourselves of using great synergy among these compartments or boxes! We have a false notion that things happen to us in isolation. As a matter of fact, these are inter-related; either we don’t see this or refuse to see. It is a scientific fact that everything that we observe are interconnected or entangled. If we understand this fact, our paradigm would shift and can comprehend and deal with various people or events far more effectively and with ease!

A glance of how we think in compartments in real life!

  1. Relationships with spouse and customer
    Our spontaneous reaction would be what relationship with spouse has got to do with customer! No, it has. The essential elements are same; only emotions differ.
    Don’t we need in both relationships – satisfying the requirements, to be nice and considerate, exhibit politeness and spontaneity in response, communication without gap and understanding where shoe pinches? Imagine, if we use these elements in both relationships, how sweet would these turn to be!
    Now, think it over, don’t you need same elements for your colleagues?
  2. Ownership of children and team
    We often flounder in understanding ownership on team, since we never relate that it is no different than how good we exhibit it on our children at home on our own!
    We need for both the same attributes – taking responsibility, feeling accountable, creating comfort levels…without anyone telling us to do that!
    Likewise, are attributes of safeguarding company asset is any different than that of family assets?
  3. One box for boss and another for sub-ordinates
    This is perennial! People show split behavior for higher and lower levels. For bosses, we would show respect, high degree of sensitivity, demonstrate good behavior and be least argumentative. When it comes to dealing with sub-ordinates, we dilute or even reverse these qualities, since what we do to our bosses, we like our deputies to follow same, when we are the bosses. This is hogwash! Our corporate world would change completely, if we use one box of qualities, when it comes to dealing with people. We need to add some roles as a boss – like lay direction, be decisive and give guidance and coaching.
  4. Contrasting thoughts to deal with customers and contractors
    Like it or not, this is driven by our perception that customer is a source of revenue and contractor is a drain on revenue. This makes nothing but a mess. Whole scenario could change for good, if we understand the reality that contractors actually help us earn revenue.
  5. Hard versus soft skills
    There is complete misconception about relevance of hard and soft skills. Most believe hard skills are a must; soft skills are optional and hence, treat them in 2 separate compartments! In real terms, both have to be applied simultaneously for your survival and success.
  6. Quality and Ethics
    General understanding is that these are meant for compliance and certification. Rarely people make these a part of their character and culture, work and life. Therefore, people, companies and societies are not able to accrue great fruits of quality and ethics.
  7. Mind, Intellect, Heart and Soul as 4 pieces of 1 puzzle!
    Neither medical science nor any philosophy or faith has been able to correctly fathom and define what exactly Mind, Intellect, Heart (emotional; not biological) and Soul of human beings are and where exactly are these located in the body! These terms are evoked frequently by us as we like, without having any clue of their exact meanings.
  8. Biggest challenge of science – highly compartmentalized!
    Thinking and working in compartments in most branches of science especially physics have deprived the best of Human brains like Einstein, Neil Bohr, Schrödinger etc. to discover unified theory of quantum and gravity, 4 natural forces or particles; leave alone relating these to human mind and life! Billions of Dollars are chasing unseen particles; but we fail to see simple realities right under our nose, since scientists fail to relate what they see and discover in different compartments!
  9. Compartmentalizing even God
    We stretch this way too far! Our piecemeal thoughts restrict God at the place of worship; but in terms of belief God is everywhere. Then, why we commit cruelty or crime at one place and seek shelter of God at another place? Our thoughts are so fragmented and fractured that what we perceive as clear is actually a confusion!

Toll taken by our thinking in compartments!

  • Our convictions getting fractured.
  • Our thoughts becoming fragmented.
  • Our beliefs bringing fallacies.
  • Our relations becoming fragile.
  • Fun and fantasy becoming foremost.
  • Values and morals becoming frivolous.
  • Our work–life getting imbalanced.
  • Behavior getting guided by whims and fancies of top.
  • Dual personalities becoming an accepted norm.
  • More shells and silos at work place than before.
  • Our confidence and courage becoming shallow.
  • Humans and science not getting grip of Realities.

Breaking “Compartment Syndrome”

  1. It is a fact that everything in our world or universe is interconnected. Nothing exists by itself or in isolation.
    In our rut of routine life, we do not realize or see this and therefore, we don’t believe it. If we can drop our preconceived notions and emotions, we will start to see this.
  2. We constantly create virtual compartments of thoughts, most of which are mix of positive and negative ideas or notions. Very few would be all positive or all negative.
    If we observe dispassionately, we would discover that positive ones work always; negative ones never. Superb semblance and synergy exist among big % of positive thoughts/ideas. On the other hand, negative ones would not even nail together.
  3. Shake off your inhibitions and shatter all compartments, pull all of above positive thoughts/ideas together in just one compartment or box, which would give you immense strength and motivation to deal with every situation very successfully and efficiently.
  4. To your sweet surprise:
    1. You would incrementally start to have holistic view of how things happen or don’t happen!
    2. You would find that rules for dealing with good or bad, simple or difficult, famous or fraud, rich or poor are no different!
    3. What others can achieve, you can also!!


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Cause of your main Confusions – your mind being mired with Myths & Mythologies!

It is myth to believe, a person however sane and sober he/she is, would not become or be seen as crook in the company of crook/s! The fall of Rajat Gupta, former Managing Director of Mckinsey and Board Member of Goldman Sachs USA, vindicates.

Look at long revered legend – Lance Armstrong. He believed that he can succeed and survive on doping and deception. Until few weeks back, he might have thought his belief as sacrosanct. It was a myth! He took number of years to build his reputation and respect and then, enjoyed the returns. These, now, lay in ruins and replaced in no time by pricks and pains!

Most influential and impressive leaders believe that they are not vulnerable and therefore, feel tempted to indulge in immoral acts, believing their power and persona would save them. History has shown that such beliefs always proved to be myths and messed up not only their private life; but also public image! To site some examples – former US president Bill Clinton, NASDAQ chairman Bernard Madoff, IMF president D. Strauss-Kahn etc.

When myths and mythologies mingle with mind and life, you would not be able to even comprehend how these could contribute to your dilemmas and damages.

Roots of Myths and Mythologies

Myths and Mythologies get mired with your mind and make their way into your life, generally when you are innocent, ignorant, indecisive or insecure. Following are very typical situations, when these tend to take roots:

  1. When you face crisis.
  2. When you lack confidence or conviction.
  3. When you are confused or at cross-roads.
  4. When all possible efforts by you do not yield results.
  5. When you carry guilt.
  6. When you are unaware.
  7. When some incident impacts you or an idea is drilled in your mind during tender age.

I know of 2 business men – one dealing in white goods and other one in shares and securities as broker. Both were facing issues of declining business and margins. When it became worst, one of their common friends suggested taking advice of Vastu Shashtra (analogues to Feng Shui) expert to help revive their business. The expert suggested in 1st case changing the entrance and layout of the business premise and for 2nd case, he pointed out the business premise is very ominous; the business man should abandon it and go for another, for which he would advise its layout. Both business men followed Vastu expert’s advices and incurred substantial expenses. 1st person gained lot of confidence after making the changes and started pursuing his business aggressively. Business improved and he became a strong advocate of Vastu! 2nd person ran in financial troubles due to heavy investment and hence had to scale down his business, only to add to his woes.

There is no answer why Vastu helped one and not another? Did the new found confidence and conviction help 1st business man and whether he could have got these even without Vastu? Or Vastu just kicked up his confidence…?

World’s most expensive house built in Mumbai few years back by one of top 20 world’s wealthiest persons ranked by Forbes as of date – Mukesh Ambani was reportedly lying vacant, because his belief that it would bring him bad luck!

So, in above 7 situations, most people have difficulty to hold the ground and become gullible to seek solace in myths.

Forms of Myths

These could exist in 3 forms:

  1. As part of perceptions
  2. As part of rituals
  3. As part of faith

Myths thru rituals and faith are not as damaging as perceptions with myths. The rituals and faith laced with myths do lead to spending unproductive time and hanging on hopes, until dragged in disappointments and dubious decisions!

Your perceptions, which are myths, are real problems, push you for pesky behavior or dicey decisions and put you into dire straits.

Common perceptions, which are myths

  1. You can compensate bad karmas with goods ones.
    This is not possible! You may become extra good; visit holy place or take a holy dip! But, you cannot escape paying a price for wrong karmas.
  2. Through punishment or punitive actions, people can be made to learn their lessons.
    People actually earn fear or rebellion; be it a child or adult.
  3. Offence is the best form of defense or defense can save you from offence!
    Either is a myth. You do not need offence or defense, if you are sincere and sacrosanct.
  4. You need power and position for employees to listen and respect you.
    This in bunk! You can never command or compel respect; respect needs to be earned through your character and credibility.
  5. Quality comes at a cost.
    Quality saves cost and improve productivity. If not, people have mistaken understanding and approach.
  6. Killing competition is a good business strategy.
    You would only kill yourself!
  7. By helping a customer, you do a favor.
    Actually, you do a favor to yourself; customer, in any case, needs to be helped.
  8. Hard skills are immediate necessities; soft skills can wait or treated optional.
    Hard skills are incomplete without soft ones.
  9. Performance of an organization depends on how it is driven from top.
    It actually depends on how top makes it bottom driven and how good middle order employees, who are most crucial, are made to perform!

How to master Myths and Mythologies

  • Ponder or prepare list of your perceptions and do 3 reality checks on which of these (a) make you happy, (b) do not hurt others and (c) help you to get what you aim at or match with realities which you experience, on a repetitive basis.
    Keep only those in your mind, which pass the above checks; push out all of the rest. It would not be easy, if you have lived too long with those; but do not throw your towel.
  • As regards your rituals and faith, retain only those, which give you peace for self and love for others. Relinquish those, which trigger your negative emotions and hatred; discard those ruthlessly, irrespective of your doctrine.
    This can also tackle terrorism and fundamentalism.
  • When you are at cross roads or crisis, never allow 1st set of reactions to set in your mind. Stay firmly on your feet, sit back and then steer forward by following principles of above 2 bullets.

If you can embed above 3 steps in your mind, Myths and Mythologies cannot mess up your life!!!

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What can bring you in Limelight?

Let me quote real life example of Peter M. (name changed), who started his engineering career 23 years back with a multinational company. He was ambitious, technically sound, sincere and diligent. His qualities saw him growing well in the organization for first 12 years. He was happy the way he was and with his accomplishments. He was put through leadership development programs. These did create impact; but limited. He used to be too busy with his routine duties and did not find time or could not fathom what he can do to bring incremental change in his qualities and character.

From 13th year, Peter’s growth started to taper down and 2 of his peers surpassed him to take up key management positions. He did not align well with his management assessment of these peers, though he knew that they are more visible, better respected by management and employees alike. He became very frustrated; however, determined to figure out how to come in the limelight and achieve a faster growth. But, his preference to focus more on his routine work brought him only limited results. Though he is now holding a management position; but his grouch is growing on being treated at par with rest of peer crowd and gap is widening with his earlier 2 peers.

Do you want to be like Peter M. or be Different and Distinguished?

Hopefully, you do not want to spend 9 to 5.00 p.m. stereo life and do desire, dare and dream to stand out. You do aspire to leave a legacy behind you, which generations would remember and revere?

10 myths and misconceptions to be discarded

  1. It is destiny, which determines my destination.
  2. I cannot influence others.
    Although we ignore how we are constantly getting influenced by others.
  3. I am not gifted like great people, who have/had God gifted talents.
  4. I cannot be very different than what my Zodiac sign suggests.
  5. I know enough; why should I break my head to know more.
  6. I have no choice, but to live with my limitations and inhibitions.
  7. If I am happy with what I am and I do; I do not need to change or take initiatives.
  8. It is more important to work for comfort than to work on constraints.
  9. It is impossible to solve all problems.
  10. I cannot drive my seniors.

10 point resolution

  1. I need to be in limelight not for popularity; but for a purpose.
    When you get it, popularity would come as an automatic consequence.
  2. If I want to be different than the crowd, then I ought to do things differently.
  3. Ideas should not remain merely in mind or as words on lips; but should become way of my life.
  4. I have immense possibilities to explore.
  5. I would have hopes for myself and heart for others.
  6. I would help; but not hurt anyone.
  7. I would not be judgmental or develop any prejudice against anyone.
  8. I would be positive.
  9. It all starts from me and ends with me.
    Hence, successes and failures are all mine.
  10. It is foolhardy to assume that my path would not be rough; but I would remain on course.

10 points to come in Limelight

  1. Be in limelight for right reasons and not for wrong ones.
    You may get tempted to be visible by raking or engaging in controversy, conflict, crisis or culpable acts; you would get thrill but troubles also!
  2. Be aware that whatever you do, it is always possible to do it differently and more efficiently. Keep exploring these possibilities; you would find one and share such info or knowledge with all stakeholders.
  3. Best differentiator for you is to innovate or create values in what you do!
    You may feel inertia or inhibition to do that; but push yourself and pursue till you get it. Set a goal for yourself that be it small or big, you would create at least one value in your work in one week. It can be as small as changing format of documentation partially for better clarity. Once you do this, you would automatically feel motivated to do more and more.
    It is important that you share and spread these with your seniors and colleagues. It is desirable that you reach wider audience through publication of these ideas and public speaking through media and other forums.
  4. Be consistent and credible in your behavior and care about comforts of your colleagues.
    It matters a lot and gets noticed.
  5. Be ethical by choice and not by fear.
  6. Bring elegance and élan in how you carry and present yourself every time!
  7. Be interactive and helpful to as many people as you can.
  8. Be composed, when you face conflicts or setbacks. Use your emotional intelligence and not emotions or ego to manage and learn from these.
  9. Be a problem solver; not a problem creator or narrator.
    People have natural tendency to do the later part; trash it.
  10. Be efficient by giving more for less – more output in less efforts or time, more meanings in less words, more love even if you get less and so on.

Believe it that if you wish to be different and distinguished, it is within your reach and realm! It is just 3×10 – 10 I’s to Ignore, 10 I’s to Imbibe and 10 B’s to Implement!!

This would be a sure shot to hog in and hug Limelight!

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Why the Best in you can potentially bring the Worst for you…

Are you surprised at the caption of this article? It is a bitter pill of our life. It is better to recognize that “the Best in you can often bring the Worst for you” and then, learn how to manage the Best in you. The best could be your quality or qualification, talent or trait, competence or compassion, beauty or personality.

Familiar living examples

  1. Tiger Woods
    He became legendary, popular and wealthy, during peak of his career in golf. These also made him far more out-going, overlooking social norms, which led to his down fall. History could have, otherwise, been written differently for him.
  2. Diego Maradona
    His rise and successes in soccer games was phenomenal and he became one of the most loved stars of his country – Argentina. He was not able to handle conflicts and fame, which had led him to drug abuse and serious health issues.
  3. Britney Spears
    She is a celebrated singing talent and iconic performer. Her successes and controversies have gone literally hand in hand. Her genius has made her different and difficult.
  4. Former US President Bill Clinton
    He came to White House for 2nd term with thumping victory. His power and persona made him vulnerable and fell into highly criticized affair with young intern. He failed to draw a line between sanctity and sensuality.
  5. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
    He is globally acclaimed economist and the most qualified Prime Minister of a country in world. He is noble and decent. These great qualities apparently have come in his way to become an effective and assertive leader. He is clean; yet he is not able to put his foot down, when people try to tarnish his image!

Famous past examples

  1. Albert Einstein
    He was the greatest genius of 20th Century. He was highly focused and determined for what he was pursuing in physics. This made him uncompromising. He produced ground breaking theories; but he could not prevent breaking of his married life, which did trouble him for years.
  2. Steve Jobs
    It is well known how brilliant and iconic technology business leader, he was. His ruthless passion for innovation and drive to market also made him egoistical, defiant and uncompromising. He was ferociously critical of anyone, whom he perceived as coming in the way of his mission, be it Bill Gates or Google founders. His very strong belief in “himself and his ideas” might have led to his late decision to treat his cancer with surgery.
  3. Cleopatra VII
    She was astonishingly beautiful and amazingly intelligent; but history shows those contributed to controversies and connivance, deceit and destruction.

There are hundreds of such examples of well-known people. But, it is very much true for ordinary and majority.

When you step into your “Best”, which “Worst” can trap you?

You aspire and work to acquire several qualities to become a better professional or individual or leader. Some or all of these may unleash the best in you. I would list below some of these qualities at their best and what worst, these can pull you into:

  • Your strong mission and/or passion would drive you to be uncompromising and unrelenting. This can invite trouble with your health and family life.
  • Your sharp focus and precision would make you inflexible and close minded.
  • Your power and/or persona would make you popular leader, attract people. This is when you become vulnerable to people and give sanctity a miss.
  • Your high confidence level could invariably bring in you arrogance.
  • Your high ownership on your functions would prompt you to work in a silo, be solo (not a team player) and defensive.
  • Your high communication skills could lend you love for your own voice and make you a poor listener.
  • If you enjoy great managerial courage, you may risk great conflicts.
  • If you are very strategic and shrewd, you would be tempted to play politics and games.
  • If you are compassionate and decent, you would be on edge of losing assertiveness and decisiveness.
  • If you are polite and lenient, it would be difficult for you to gather managerial courage.
  • If you are very bold and outspoken, you would be on verge of being rude and lack empathy.
  • If you are highly charged or fast action oriented, you would be on brink of tripping and making mistakes.
  • If you are too intelligent, you could be too difficult.
  • If you are a genius, probability runs high for you being insane.
  • Not the last; yet Best of Beauties bring Worst of Perils.

So, how to be the Best and avoid getting into Worst?

  1. Read again the above carefully, which would make you conscious of which Best in you can bring what Worst to you? This would help you a lot to manage when you are at your Best.
  2. Wait for my next Post next Week.
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Measures to improve quality of students

There was quite a media buzz after Infosys chairman emeritus N.R. Narayana Murthy’s recent observation on the quality of IIT students. One of main reasons cited for the downslide in quality is the shortage of faculty. Such a qualitative downslide over the years has been experienced by the industry even in colleges, which did nor face any such shortage of faculty. There are a number of reasons for this.

Efforts by students to secure high percentage have taken precedent over fundamental learning of the subjects. Competition and the desire to get a placement in major organisations have accentuated this tendency. Is the percentage of marks in examinations not an automatic consequence of fundamentally strong knowledge? Ultimately, what helps you succeed in the career is in-depth knowledge and some other qualities.

There is a crucial aspect that merits immediate attention. Even if a student is a topper and knows the discipline well, if s/he is weak in communication skills, s/he is most likely to be rated poor in quality by an interviewer. Do not be surprised, if 80 percent of the impact, which a student creates on interviewers, is by his/ her communication skills and how s/he presents self. Even interviewers often are not aware of how their own decisions are influenced by these qualities.

Barring some, most educational institutions do not do a good job to develop the communication qualities in students. A student may have all the knowledge about the discipline, s/he is qualified; but that by itself will have no meaning in practical life, unless s/he is able to demonstrate it effectively during the hiring process and then during actual employment. We may blame the faculty, external coaching classes and so on; however, what we need is to make learning of communication skills and personal grooming a part of college curriculum. The faculty members need to know this and they have to have these qualities to begin with.

Then there is a paramount need for students to imbibe ethics and quality. There is literally no emphasis in academia on these. Here quality means “doing it right the first time.” There is a false notion that a quality system is necessary only in industries and quality costs more efforts, time and money. Actually, it is exactly the opposite. If we can make faculty and students conscious of ethics and quality, in due time, we will have quality manpower needed by the industry.

Originally printed in www.SakaalTimes.com (November 16, 2011)

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