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UNEDUCATED BUT PROFESSIONAL January 29, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Management, National Issues.
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Recently I had been to South Bastar, in Chhattisgarh, for a week long career guidance mission. I conducted career guidance camps for students from the tribal region schools at various locations. While the tour I stayed in a government rest house at one location.

As soon as I entered the rest house early morning, I was welcomed by a young boy who was dressed-up in typical tribal outfit. He was wearing a very peculiar smile to make his get-up all the more impressive. He came forward to help me with my luggage and made me comfortable in the room. He rushed to the kitchen and prepared a cup of tea for me.
I could bet he was a good host. His name was Ayatu.

I got ready and went out of the rest house to take a look around & familiarize with the place. Out there, up on a very high tree, I saw a wood cutter on job. He was cutting the tree branches with alacrity and collecting wood for fire. I was really astonished to see how swiftly this woodcutter boy climbed up & came down the very long tree. On close observation I found that this woodcutter was none other than the same young boy Ayatu, who had welcomed me to the rest house in the morning. Ayatu had many more skills to his credit, he was the single person managing the kitchen. He prepared delicious breakfast & dinner for me that day. He used to manage the laundry and housekeeping also. Though the rest house had only three rooms, it was really amazing to see this boy perform with so much of perfection on all fronts. The final blow came when the boy informed me that he was a school drop out and was planning to appear for class IXth examination this year as a private student! From reception to kitchen, from grocery to laundry, from worker to student…. this young boy was a real
multi skilled personality. I thought Ayatu was a real hero, an inspiration for many. Even after being located at such a remote place in Bastar he demonstrated versatile management capabilities.

Now here is another real life story. This is the story of a highly qualified professional working with a multinational company in a metro. He would be probably earning salary in lacs of rupees & sitting in an air-conditioned environment. I guess he would be wearing a tie and a well ironed dress. He is designated as assistant manager working with the “Human Resource” (HR) function. This HR manager had a MBA degree to decorate his academic portfolio.

While I was on my Bastar tour, I was expecting a payment from this MNC. As a matter of fact, for certain reasons, this check was very important for me at that time. It was promised to me by the HR professionals that the check would be couriered in a days time for sure. However when I returned to office after completing my tour, I found that the desired courier had not yet reached. I immediately called up the HR “professional” to query about the check. Here is what he had to reply : “Sir, your check is ready, but the dispatch clerk has been absent since last three days. As such I could not get the check tugged into a courier and send it to you. Now that this clerk is back today, you will surely get the check tomorrow, I am sorry for the inordinate delay!”

Both the above real life stories demonstrate a contrast in individuals behavior and work nature. While the real professional from remote tribal village scored hundred out of hundred in all aspects of execution in management, our highly qualified MBA from the MNC working in a fast running metro could not even stick one envelop!

I realized that professional literacy should not be defined just by a degree or a certificate. I also strongly felt that management should not be taught only in class rooms. In our professional life we come across many individuals who demonstrate extreme apathy to work. I see many of the highly qualified and (so called) professionals reach office only to spend more time on networking and less time on the work assigned to them. At best, they get so much restricted into working in the quantified zone of welldefined “key result area’s” that they miss out on many vital management aspects. They
not only fall short of customer expectations but also become a customer insulated professional. They lack initiative & are not at all sensitive in their inter personal behavior also.

Friends I bet you will also agree that Ayatu was a better professional. Our HR manager was so much dependent on the desk clerk that he could not manage to get an envelop and dispatch a courier for three days while Ayatu would not rest even if he has no wood to prepare food in the kitchen! One had demonstrated a lot of initiative and customer consciousness while the other was absolutely deaf on customer needs! The school dropout had far more management skills while the MBA manager was an educated illiterate!

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director,
FS Management (I) Pvt. Ltd.

The author can be contacted on : info@fsindia.in

Munni WINNER Hui …. January 23, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Career News And updates, Inspirational Story, Management, parenting, Social Casue.
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Munni Badnam Hui & the famous Sheela has been the talk of the town for quite some time now…. Both these numbers have been dominating the world of music and rhythm across the nation.

There is a real life story going behind this badnam munni which only a few would know. In the song lyrics, there is a stanza where the following words are used : mai Zandu Balm hui….” . The whole story evolves around the usage of word “zandu balm” in the song. Zandu is a brand owned by the Emami group which is a brand leader in over the counter (OTC) pain relief ointment segment. The bone of contention has been the use of the word Zandu Balm in the song.. rather the mis-use of the brand Zandu balm.

The owners of brand Zandu had an objection that their patented brand name was mis-represented in the song and used without prior permission. It is perceived widely that Zandu has not been mentioned with a positive connotation in the song though it does not get noticed so apparently. Why only Zandu balm, Munni could have as well said “mai Godrej hui, or mai Dettol hui etc. The owners of Zandu brand were hurt as they foresaw the probability of an impending profitability loss because of the dent the song would cause to the brand perception. Ultimately in September 2010 Emami served a legal notice to Arbaz Khan Productions, the producers of movie Dabang, citing copyright infringement.

The tussle went through a few rounds of to & fro exchange of views and finally what comes out over a period of time is that both the parties find an out of the court amicable solution. A win – win formulate was evolved where in Emami got the rights for the song ‘Munni Badnam hui’ from T-Series & in return they withdrew their charges in the court of law. The deal does not stop here, going ahead Mallika Arora Khan ( the munni girl in the song) would sign a two year contract with Emami group to promote the brand Zandu through commercial advertisement as a brand ambassador.

This is a classic case study where the two parties fighting over an issue join hands to evolve a win win solution. All of us are aware of the Hare and the Tortoise story where the tortoise wins the race because he went ahead in a consistent fashion toward its goal. The hare was over confidant and hence had to loose. There are new versions available for the same story. In the next race the hare learns the lesson and decides not to stop but to keep running till he hits the target and ultimately he wins. The tortoise again challenges the hare and this time it was decided to have the target across the river. Hare ran fast but could not swim across the river and lost to tortoise again. Finally both the hare and the tortoise decided to join hands; tortoise climbed on hares back to run and reach the river bank from where on they exchanged their seats! Both of them jointly achieved their target with a record performance!

In our society we come across so many situations where two parties with similar interests keep fighting over an issue. Similarity of interest is generally perceived as CLASH of interest and people keep fighting to secure their interest first! All such disputes ultimately end up cultivating huge losses to both the parties in terms of time, money and resources. A lot of opportunities for growth & positive development is lost in the process and actually goes unaccounted!

We have witnessed business tycoons and industrial houses fighting over issues for ages in our country. Just imagine if they had not fought but opted to co-operate and work together! Surely it would have delivered much profitable results for all.

From our childhood days we learn only about win lose games. Games children play have a winning team and a loosing team. In school and at home children should be taught to play games where there could be more than one winner. Why is it must that if one child wins, the other child has to loose! Earlier the lesson is learnt, better it will be for the society of tomorrow. Lets visualize a new generation with all winners and no loosers.

If we look at the Munni song from the angle of this lesson, surly we could bet Munni badnam nahi hui, but Munni WINNER hui! ( Munni did not get a bad name, actually she is a winner )!

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director
FS Management (I) Pvt. Ltd.
http://www.aglakadam.com

Author can be contacted for feedback on : info@fsindia.in

Ready for the warm, prepared for the cold January 15, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in aglakadam, Life and all, Management.
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Small things matter much, specially under extreme situations. I am sure all of us must have experienced at least one such situation in life & got a lesson out of it. Imagine that you are travelling in a train on a cold winter night and the window has a slit which allows the cool breeze rush inside! The kind of cold torture one will have to go through will chill you even in your imagination. True, minor actions (or inactions) can have major implications!

Its really the tough art of extrapolation to foresee extreme eventualities and be prepared for those. In cold countries houses are built in such a manner that the snow does not stay long on the roof, the cold breeze does not enter the rooms through pores or slits, the water supply is through conditioned pipelines so that the water temperature is maintained. Not so in India, because we rarely face these extremes.

Recently most of India has been in the grip of a cold wave. As per a news release, over a period of seven days at least eighteen deaths across the eastern India had been reported because of cold! India is a typical hot temperature land. Summers are mostly pretty hot in most of the regions. Winter is generally not so cold and that’s precisely the reason that many people are not really prepared to take on the extremes of winter season. Surely those who died out of cold would have been the poor ones who did not have enough to manage clothing and medicines to prevent from cold. However the point is that even the well to do and affluent houses are not really well equipped to manage the rare extremes of seasons in India.

We the people on earth are very good at managing inventory of our proactive preparedness. We prepare ourselves on a demand basis. We tend to be more prepared for what is most repetitive in nature and least prepared for what is less frequent, though may be devastating at times! For example earthquake! So much of building – construction is piling up across the states in India but very less of this infrastructure would be equipped to take on a rector scale of 6 plus points! Yes
earthquake does not happen every month, but how can we forget that when it happens, nothing remains the same there after!

What applies to India happens even in the other parts of the world. By the yardstick of infrastructural growth, London is one of the most advanced places in the world. However even in London there are so many lapses in preparedness. You will be
surprised to know that most of the metro rail services in London, even today, are not ready to take on extreme heat, because they do not have an inbuilt air-conditioning system! If the peak summer temperature reaches 35 degree centigrade plus in London, it becomes so uncomfortable and suffocating that people are forced to avoid the use of metro! Thanks to the global warming & climate changes, off late the administration authorities have ventured into replacing old air-condition less compartments with the new well equipped coaches!

One more example of the short sightedness & lack of preparedness is the fate of most of the railway platforms in India. Over years India has seen an ever increasing traffic demand and as such we were forced to add more and more number of bogies to every single train. Eventually at most of the railway stations in India, the last few rail coaches have to rest bare platform. Passengers go through a risky endeavor to alight & board the train in all such bogies!

The message which I intend to drive at is that we should be prepared for all kind of situations. As is said, we should hope for the best but be prepared for the extremes! This applies to every wake in life. While we get ready for the current challenges, we should also have an eye on the likely hood of probable extremes. Had we been better prepared, might be a few deaths out of cold would have been avoided, people in London would have been better off in metro even in hot summers, the pains of thousands of passengers alighting and boarding the last bogies of Indian Rail even at relatively smaller stations could have been ameliorated, some loss on account of earthquake could have been avoided. The only mandate is not to write-off the probability of extremes and be well prepared. Eventually it pays.

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director
FS Management (I) Pvt. Ltd.
http://www.aglakadam.com

Email for feedback : info@fsindia.in

Is your resolutions week after a weak? January 8, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in aglakadam, Life and all, Motivation.
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Its now a few days post the euphoria of new year 2011. Many of us did venture into getting into a fresh resolution or repeat of previous years resolution with a fresh enthocism!

On the eve of New Year many of us are tempted to think “seriously” on the new year resolutions! Whether you’re looking to make a big change, or just tweak a few little things, the new year gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on your behavior and resolve to do better going forward. To identify a “fresh” new year resolution is not a big deal but to make the new year resolutions stick for at least 365 days is a million dollar challenge for most of us!. With the holiday & festive spirit around our moral gets uplifted and we resolve to get rid of something that we rather would not have had in our lives otherwise; something we know in the heart of the heart that it is wrong but we still continue doing it!

As per one survey of all those people who make new year resolutions, only 76% try to keep those; rest are those who make New Year’s resolutions but won’t even make the first step toward achieving the goal. Clearly, according to these statistics making and keeping New Year’s resolutions is not as easy as it seems.

A friend of mine briefed that the previous year he read some articles and found some useful tips which made his resolution stay for a bit longer duration but eventually his old self took over and he broke the promise. He said the culprit was lack of willpower and the strong influence of a few of his friends on his decision making criterions!

Surely only a few people do stick to what they resolve as a new year resolution through out the year. If you are one of such lucky person who can manage to keep up to your words. Great!!! Kudos, to you. There are most of those who can not keep up with their new year commitments. There are a few of these people who are really sorry for not being able to keep up their resolutions for long and struggle to make their new year – new resolutions stay around for as long as possible.

In this write-up I intend to help all such people keep up with their resolution this year. I feel this could be a great holiday gift for them!.
Well friends, how did you set your new year resolution this year? I am sure you did a search on face book, twitter or just googled it! However before making a right resolutions search, it is more important to first, believe in yourself that you are going to make your new year resolution stick, no matter how many times you tried and failed in the past. No matter what your resolution is. Be it quit smoking, lose weight, make more money. A word of caution here is that your new year resolution should not be just a fantasy but a realistic architecture of your aspirations and dreams.

Here are some tips to make your resolutions stick (even if you may have lost the spirit ) :

Make your resolution realistic and achievable. If you feel it is too big to handle then brake it into small projects.

Keep your number of resolutions low. Just a few resolutions will be easier to keep – and to keep track of – than a long life-changing list.
Be specific about what you want. “Loose weight” is a good one, but exactly how many kg’s would be a better resolution to track
Be specific about how to achieve your goal. What to achieve has been arrived at, but the road map on how to go about it should also be read along with the resolutions.

Have a iron strong willpower. Without the will you will not be successful anyway.

Create a support group of likeminded people and work in a team. For example if you wish to learn car driving this year, search for a friend who has a similar wish. Work together. Join a driving school & pay the fees in advance, they will ensure that you achieve your goal!

At times it also works to have a mentor/coach or some one to hold you accountable for your success and failures. Give the mentor all the authority to poke you or punch you, whenever you deviate.

Daily affirmations and visualization : It is must. Write your goals on the mirror. When you see yourself in the mirror every morning, just re affirm, it works & is long lasting! Try it. A friend of mine used to write the new year resolutions on the roof above his bed! He wanted to be reminded before and after his sleep!

Today there is an application for almost everything, from losing weight to finding a job. One can use any such application as an help to keep on the New Year`s resolutions. Social media is one such tool and can be a great support in enabling you to keep up with your new year resolutions.

Please note that a small BREAK should not be construed as a full stop! If you have to stop for a while, don’t consider it failure; just start up again. There are times in life – for days or even weeks – when doing anything related to a goal or a resolution would take a back stage, work or family would come to the forefront. In such times just put your goals on hold till the time that you come back again & pick up your wish list where you had let it off

Are you ready to ensure that your new year resolution lasts a year round this time?

Ajit Varwandkar
FS Management (I) Pvt. Ltd.
Email : info@fsindia.in

The birth of Value Ideas January 1, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Inspirational Story, Management.
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Recently I was invited as a guest speaker at a social function. The programme was organized at a distant rural location called Sihawa in Dhamtari district of State of Chhattisgarh. I was addressing a gathering of 5000 students and parents. The subject on which I spoke was -career guidance.

Wherever I visit my endeavor is to try and capture something new to learn. This has been my attitude all through. What I noticed and learnt at a small place like Sihawa was really very interesting.

In the two days event, there were six speakers lined up. As I went up to the dais, I saw there were three low voltage light bulbs of different colors, smartly hidden at the corner of the podium. These color bulbs were placed in such a manner that only the speaker could see the bulbs and not the audience.

I enquired about the purpose of these bulbs and the secret revealed was very interesting. The green bulb was a welcome indication for the speaker to start delivering his/her lecture. The glow of orange bulb meant that only 5 minutes were left – an indication for the speaker to conclude his speech. Finally the red would mean that the time is over and the speaker should not speak any more! Wonderful mode of communication – isn’t it? No pinpointing involved, the speaker gets the message without any commotion on the stage. I asked the organiser’s, with a pun, what if the speaker doesn’t stop even after the red bulb is on! The organizer smiled at me and said : sir you have seen the three bulbs, but not the four corresponding switches in the hands of the event manager. If the speakers does not respect the red bulb, he looses his prestige .. the fourth switch is pushed down which powers off the mike!

How innovative? I had seen such a system for the first time. Even at larger forums and state / nation level events, the chairperson or the even co-ordinator has to send a “time-over” / “cut short” slip to the speaker while he is still in process of the speech. Worst, at times I witnessed the guest on the dais even got a rude shock when the organizer announced through mike in front of the audience that time was over and the speaker should conclude!

Lessons to be learnt :

While speaking on the stage and addressing an audience, managing the length of speech is very important. If you do not manage the speech time, either the organizers or the audience will ensure that you get humiliated!

Its must to plan your speech well in advance as per the time lines provided, lest you end up finishing without communicating certain key points of your presentations.

A time bound rehearsal will surely help to ensure that there is no such imbroglio at the time of actual performance.

Be innovative, it works wonders. Innovation is not necessarily a costly affair.

At times small innovations do serve major purposes. To arrive at such solutions the need is to think out of the box.

Placing three bulb’s on the podium with three different colors indicating different messages is surely a great concept. A “value idea” can be economic & easy to implement, but its results could be far reaching. One should always look for such value ideas in every wake of life.
Value Ideas are not the patent of the old and the seniors. The birth of a value idea can happen anywhere, from people of any age & any location. Valuable thoughts can come from children, friends, family members, colleagues, spouse, boss, nature etc. In fact value ideas are best delivered by those who can think freely like a child. Our mind is the chemical laboratory where the thoughts react to synthesize and deliver solutions! Some call this a chemical locha! As we grow up our thought process gets biased, whatever we think is an extrapolation of our past learning’s & experiences. Convictions are more dangerous enemies than lies. We tend to over apply the under intelligence and as such conclude even before experimenting with thoughts!

At work or at home it’s a good idea to explore solutions for any situation from the thoughts of people who may be distantly related to the subject. Such people can think without any restrictions in their thought process & contribute value ideas. Newton got his value idea when he saw the fall of an apple. The eureka of value idea is omnipresent and can come from anywhere.
Never stop thinking, do not conclude fast, keep your eyes & ears open, you may find a “value idea” falling from a tree!

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director
http://www.aglakadam.com

Author can be contacted on : info@fsindia.in