November 29, 2009

Thanks a lot :-)

It's been more than 2 years of blogging. In the process I have learnt quite a bit and made new friends who continue to inspire me. But the biggest propeller to continue blogging is something else.

I must admit that it feels humbling and empowering when friends start blogging and acknowledge that I had a little influence on them.

Two of my close friends, Arvind Srikantan and Ria Dua have started blogging. They both are brilliant, passionate and keen observers.

Check out their blogs!!!! [Click on their names appearing at the top to know more about their posts].

Now thats called 'employee engagement'!!!!!!!

A close friend of mine was narrating a fascinating incident which happened with him during an employee engagement survey he conducted in one of the most prominent hotel in India.

When he went to the Chief Chef to get his questionnaire filled, he found the Chef extremely occupied in his work. The Chef in a polite manner told him to sit and wait for a few minutes. He continued his work with lazor sharp focus. My friend witnessed the entire dish getting processed from it's raw state into a visually appealing appetizing dish. The smell of the alluring aroma filled the air, now teasing his nostrils. Little did he realize that it was beyond an hour since he was seated there.

Suddenly, good sense prevailed and he reminded the Chef to fill the questionnaire. The Chef offered him a few cookies saying that he must be hungry and left to wash his hand.

After he came back, he keenly went through the first few questions and told my friend to fill it himself.

My friend was puzzled.Well!!!! It was justified as he had wasted over an hour and now did not want to fill the questionnaire.

He was on the verge of getting riled up but then the Chef told him something that he still profoundly remembers even today.

The Chef said ' You have witnessed me working on this simple dish for over an hour. This is the amount of time, passion and energy I dedicate to a single customer. Now you have to decide my 'employee engagement' score and not me.'

Need I say more!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 26, 2009

26/11/2008- Memories have not faded....

On 26/11/2008 I was comfortably sitting in my house in Chennai and was a mere silent spectator of the News TV shows which were providing live coverage of the massacre that swept Mumbai.

Hundreds of innocent people were held hostage by terrorists having horrific purpose in their minds, some of the prominent and iconic buildings in Mumbai were burning in fire and so was the soul of many Indians.

Even days and months after the incident my local train journeys to college, occasional dinners in luxury hotels and even violent scenes in movies used to remind me of what the hostages went through in the Taj hotel or Trident hotel or the railway station etc. I must admit the feeling was scary and sad.

It was a tragic incident which we would like to forget but we better not. We better not forget it for the sake of the brave NSG commandos, Mumbai police and many more people like the staffs in the hotels who redefined professionalism and patriotism.

Along with rage, remorse and hope this incident gave birth to Indian heroes for whom we feel extremely proud. No matter how much we thank them, it will still not be enough.

It also brought together political parties to brainstorm beyond party agendas and forget inter party rivalries for a little while in order to deeply think about National cause and security.

Many promises by political leaders were made and I hope that at least some of those strategies to tackle terrorism have been executed well enough.

We Indians have shown immense courage to bounce back and progress but in the midst of all these developments I realize that the best thing which has ever happened to me is the fact that I am born as an INDIAN.

However I feel a little silly and very ashamed that why did it take an incident like 26/11/2008 to occur in order to have this wonderful realization in me?

I dont have an answer. I can only say 'Jai Hind' from the bottom of my heart.

November 15, 2009

Jai Ho Sachin!!!!!!

20 years of glorious cricket, prodigious feats, perseverance that matches only those of a few and a simplicity that is contagious. My understanding about Sachin is limited to this and I am equally sure that whatever little I understand about Sachin is worthy of being a huge reservoir of learning.

Let me share my learning from this great cricketer-

  • Humbleness: I recently read one of his quote 'Statistically, I have passed Don Bradman but I can't be compared with him.' This speaks volumes about this man. Did Don Bradman score most number of runs, most number of hundreds, did he play for 20 long years????? Well the answer is 'No'. But does Don Bradman deserve this much respect from Sachin???? The answer is 'Yes!! Certainly'. A lot of players won't give a monkey toss to such legends but Sachin is different. He is 'rightfully' different. He is as great as Sir Don Bradman if not more. [I hope Sreesanth is reading this post ;-)].
  • Dream with the right purposeful action: He has often been quoted saying that it was his dream to become an Indian Cricketer. One of his special moment still remains his debut match against Pakistan where even his opponents found him promising. Wearing the Indian cap was not the end. It was a beginning to a journey that still delights fans like me 20 glorious years later.
  • Team spirit: Sachin played some of his best knocks under the captaincy of cricketers who joined the team much later like Saurav [my favorite], Dravid, Dhoni etc. but he still played his game with great passion and tenacity. He rates his 98 runs scored against Pakistan during the World Cup that was very instrumental in India's win as one of his best knocks. His individual interest never superseded his team's success. Team always came first.
  • Focus: Consider this quote 'I hate losing and cricket being my first love, once I enter the ground it's a different zone altogether and that hunger for winning is always there.' I feel he lives this statement every time he comes on the field. I am sure he would not have lived this statement without lazor sharp focus.
  • Do your best and leave the rest to God: Now consider this statement ' I just keep it simple. I watch the ball and play it on merit. I want to give my six hours of serious cricket on the ground and then take whatever the result.' In any profession, it is important not to complicate oneself with too many thoughts. Success in flawless execution lies in simplicity in thoughts and great belief in translating those thoughts into action. Sachin personifies that.
  • Right amount of preparation is the key: I always felt that Sachin's confidence comes from his impeccable and sincere preparation. This quote sums it up again ' At least with me, the match starts much, much earlier than the actual match.'
  • Don't complain, rather work on the next opportunity: There are number of times Sachin has been declared out for no valid reasons [most of them being LBWs, a few run outs and that catch by Jonty Rhodes]. But he came back stronger in the next few matches. He did complain but through his bat.
I wholeheartedly salute Sachin for teaching us professionalism through the beautiful game of cricket. He made it look even more beautiful.

Jai Ho Sachin!!!!!!!!

Note: Quotes and the photo was obtained from and

November 14, 2009

Daily Performance Reviews [ Does that sound CRAZY???]

During a workshop conducted by Mr David Wittenberg , CEO, The Innovation Workgroup, Delhi on 'Innovation in HR', he gave us a case study to solve. We were required to come out with innovative ways of performance appraisal in a given context.

I suggested 'Daily performance reviews'. It was well appreciated by David Sir and others in the audience.

Let me explain the ' Daily Performance appraisal' in a brief and simple manner:

  • Before the employees leave for the day, they must take a few minutes to record their day's performance in a HR dashboard.
  • Every day must begin with a brief review of the employee's performance as recorded in the HR dashboard the last day.
  • The team must be included in the discussion along with a manager/ member of leadership team.
  • Discuss in great detail the cumulative performance records from the HR dashboard quarterly in a private manner with the boss [manger /leadership team member]
  • Identify performance gaps and establish the road map.
  • Execute the needful sincerely.
I am sure a lot of you might argue that this might be too time consuming. Face it guys: YOU ARE COMPLETELY WRONG [I CAN BET!!!!!]

This will save time and energy like never before. Give it a sincere thought. And in case you implement this in your organization, do give me the credit and beyond [You decide what's beyond ;-)]

November 13, 2009

A long awaited post on 'Tanthra 2009'

Well!!! I am back after my exams [exams are not over though as one is scheduled for 23rd November].

I was one of the student delegate in 'TANTHRA 2009' organised by D G Vaishnav College, Department of HRM. I have always learnt a great deal from eminent speakers. This was no exception either.

Let me share a snapshot of my learning from various speakers during 'Tanthra 2009':

1. Mr Anand Rangachary, Managing Director, South Asia & Middle east, Frost & Sullivan,
  • It is extremely important for Business Leaders to have experience of working in emerging markets.
  • Technology is increasingly going to be a value lever for business.
  • HR should ensure that employees are retained for the sweet spot period [2-5 years].
  • HR's priority should be to foster the right culture of leadership,entrepreneurial spirit[within the company :-)] , innovation and ownership.
2. Mr G Ravindran, Managing Director, SHRM India, Mumbai:

  • HR professionals have to be path breakers who understand people, enable self discovery and shape talent for tomorrow's enterprises.
3. Mr Naveen Narayan, India Lead-Rewards, HR Tech, GS CIO, HR; Accenture:

  • HR professionals have to get into the role of 'credible activist'[might sound like a paradox but thats the way it should be]
4. Mr K Ganesh, VP-HR, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Chennai

  • Legal knowledge in HR practitioners is going to be of prime importance in the current scenario.
  • HR professionals should stop complaining about 'Visibility' because if you have the right ability and can translate it into value driven performance then visibility would be certain. [Visibility = Visible +Ability :-)]
5. Mr Joseph John, VP -HR, India & Middle East IT Businesses, Wipro Ltd, Bangalore.

  • The HR levers in today's business are: Managing cost, enhancing performance, Employee Engagement, Agility & capability development, HR service delivery excellence.
  • Focus areas for HR: Globalization & Change agent, Diversity management, Leadership development
6. Mr Ramkumar Rammoorthy, VP, Corporate Marketing & Research and Communication, CTS,

  • There is a shift from Labour arbitrage model to Intellectual model in todays workforce management.
  • Business needs to be driven by metrics. HR needs to embrace this.
7. Mr Selvam George, Chairman, 5 E Serpraise, Bangalore.

  • The 3 Ps of HRM: Passion, Path Making, Public Interest.
8. Mr Srikant Srinivasan, Corporate HR, Ashok Leyland, Chennai.

  • Priority areas for HR: Being process champions and change agents, build capability of working across cultures, how to deal with constant learning and unlearning.
9. Naresh Kumar Pinisetti, Director- People & Culture, Vestas Wind Technology India, Chennai.

  • Employee value proposition in Vestas: Respectable, Sustainable, Driven, Global, Learning.
  • A lot of focus needs to be given on employer branding, mentoring and global mobility, managing generation Y employees properly.
10. Mr Dharmarajan, Head HR- Buildings and Factories Operating Company, Larsen & Toubro, Chennai.

  • 3 Ps of business: People, Planet, Profit.
11. Mr C Mohan Kumar, Executive Director- HR, Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd, Chennai.
  • 5 emerging tools in HR:
  1. Predictive workforce monitoring and strategic talent decision making.
  2. Flexible and anticipating talent sourcing.
  3. Customized and personalized records and communications.
  4. Distributed and distribution influenced leadership.
  5. Unified and compassionate culture.

12. Workshop on 'Innovation in HR practices' by David Wittenberg, CEO, Innovation Workgroup, Delhi

A few prerequisites to innovation :
  1. Assign people to innovate
  2. The customers know best, not the experts
  3. Test then build
  4. Validated benefits prior to launch.

November 7, 2009

'Unemployability' & not 'unemployment'.....

This article in Economics Times reveals that 75% Indian engineering students are unemployable. To me this news is both worrying as well as refreshing.

Worrying because there are engineering colleges mushrooming across the nation. I hope there is a purpose and direction to such endeavor. I am sure the 25% of the so called employable students would be good enough for corporate India's needs [taking into account it's youth population] but my concern lies in the fact that let the rest of the 75% wannabe engineers choose different career paths and not confuse their own future and the country's future . Or rather it's a strong message to Indian parents to look beyond engineering and giving the freedom to their kids to engineer their own career paths.

The article is refreshing because I have noticed that it focuses on 'unemployability' rather than 'unemployment' for a change....or rather 'genuine change'.......

PS: Have some informative posts pending because of exam time. Will blog regularly once exams are over [11th November if Chennai Monsoon takes a break]