‘Amazing life’ is a regular thread about little things that make us happy. Today’s weird little thing is A little game called life
Me: ‘Man you are dead – I will make sure you fall.’
My best friend : ‘We will see when that happens but for now I will kill you’
No, it’s not a fight, it’s not a misunderstanding and it is definitely no ‘Getting back at each other’ session. It is a part of life at school when in between periods and sometimes even during them there was nothing much to do, and we managed to use our writing instruments for a worthy cause.
It was ‘PEN WAR’, this simple game has some simple rules and many names – ‘Pen-Ne, Pen Fight, Pen battle and if we ever had a full day free in the school (which we unfortunately rarely did) it could even be a world war or maybe a world cup.
Playing was the fun part and a loss or to win was merely a way to the next game. For the first time we were keen on buying pens and our folks looked on in astonishment. We were looking for bigger, better, heavier, edgier and preferably free.
All this game needed was two weapons (pens), two warriors (We), one arena ( The top of a desk or the teachers table), A referee ( Cricket team captain) and without fail this game gathered an audience. The rules were simple:
But as it is – this game had a lot of ‘Happyness’ to spread. It taught us to compete without jealousy, fight with ferocity and fall without fear. That is when we learnt about ‘Fairplay’ and that made us happy.
Upon wonder I find these elements to have left our system as we came of age. ‘Fairplay’ is obsolete and we play now only to win and earn and never to ‘lose and learn.’ Where did that ‘happyness’ go? Go find!
A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call ASAP, changed his clothes & went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father pacing in the hall waiting for the doctor.
On seeing him, the dad yelled: “Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have any sense of responsibility?”
The doctor smiled & said: “I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital & I came as fast as I could, after receiving the call…… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”
What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do?” said the father angrily
The doctor smiled again & replied: “I will say most books of religion say “From dust we came & to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go & pray for your son, we will do our best , I can assure you that much”
“Giving advises when we’re not concerned is so easy” Murmured the father.
The surgery took some hours after which the doctor went out happy, “Thank goodness!, your son is saved!” And without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any question, ask the nurse!!”
“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state”
Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.
The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was at his funeral when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s funeral.”
Moral: Never judge anyone,because you never know how their life is & what they’re going through.
Judgement creates perception and it kills openness and acceptance. All of this leads to doubt and doubt creates deceit.
It starts a vicious cycle that works even while we sleep. A discerning smile and a patient ear is all it takes to counter this.
Be sure to know and to judge.
Source: Post on Facebook
‘Amazing life’ is a regular thread about such little things that make us happy. Today’s weird little thing is Finding Stuff
It mostly starts with a realization ‘What am I missing?’ develops into a feeling ‘I am missing something’ and grows into a frenzie with a mad rush and a constant question ‘Where is it?’
We have all lost things, some important and some not so important, some deliberately and some accidentally and yet the sorrow of loosing is not even half as strong as the joy of finding.
Keys top the list as the most lost object, its ironical as there is only and only one hole where it can aptly fit. I mostly realize that that I don’t have them 30 seconds before leaving for work. And then I turn the house upside down in order to find them.
I most cases I either find them safely tucked in my office bag, on the key rack or in my jacket pocket. When did I keep it there?
But the fact that ‘I found them’, is a great positive start to the day. Success!
Other ‘Happyness’ causing lost and found objects are :
This list can can go on forever and feel free to add your own thing on a comment; but remember; every time you loose something – its only a step towards the joy of finding it!
Long time ago, there was a tortoise and a hare who had an argument about who the faster runner was. They finally decided to take on one another on a race.
As the race started, the hare sprinted ahead briskly for some time. Realizing that it will take some time for the tortoise to catch up with him, he decided to seek shelter from the sun under a tree before continuing the race. As he sat under the tree, he gradually fell asleep. The tortoise, crawling at a steady pace, eventually overtook him and won the race. The hare woke up and realized that his complacency cost him the trophy.
Moral: The determined, hardworking and steady paced people will eventually overtake the fast but complacent. We are all familiar with this story.
The hare realized that he was over confident, complacent and took things too easily. He decided to have a re-match with the tortoise. The tortoise accepted his challenge.
This time, the hare ran with all his might and didn’t stop until he crossed the finish line.
Moral: Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady.
But the story doesn’t end here.
This time, it was the tortoise that did the soul searching and he realized that if the hare didn’t stop, there is no way he will beat him. He thought hard and decided on a different course and he challenged the hare to another re-match. The hare, of course, agreed.
With the lessons learnt from his previous failure in mind, the hare kept on running once the race started and didn’t stop until the route leads him to the bank of a river. He was taken by surprise and he did not know what to do, since he could not swim. There were no bridges in sight and no one to ask for directions. As he was cracking his head, thinking of ways to cross the river, the tortoise strolled slowly along, dived into the river, swam across it and ultimately, finished the race before the hare.
Moral: Know your strengths and take on your competitors in areas of your core competency.
The story still hasn’t ended.
With the hare and the tortoise spending so much time together racing, they have become rather good friends, they have also developed mutual respect for one another as they realized that they are both different and they have different strengths. They decided to race again, but this time, as a team.
As the race started, the hare carried the tortoise and they sped to the river bank. There, they switched positions and the tortoise ferried the hare across the river. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they crossed the finishing line together. They completed the race in a record time that both of them can never achieve if they were to do it alone. They also felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they’d felt earlier.
Moral: It’s good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies but unless you’re able to work in a team and harness each other’s core competencies, you’ll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you’ll do poorly and someone else does well.
Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could, but was not doing as well as he wished.
Imagine how long it will take the hare to learn how to swim! Or for the tortoise to learn to run fast. In this day and age when the environment changes at lightning speed, we have to learnt to work with people who have strengths in areas that we do not have.
It is the same in business, if we can collaborate with people who are experts in areas that we are not familiar with, we will realize that our market suddenly becomes bigger. Maybe that is what globalization is after all.
Source: Compiled from various sources. Author: Unknown.
End-note: Abhinandan Chatterjee
A shepherd was tending his flock in a field, when a new sports car screeched to a stop on the road nearby in a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in expensive designer clothes and sunglasses, leans out of the window and shouts over to the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have here, can I take one?”
The shepherd looks up slowly up at the young man, then looks at his peaceful flock, and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”
The young man steps out of his car holding a state-of-the-art palmtop pda, with which he proceeds to connects to a series of websites, first calling up satellite navigation system to pinpoint his location, then keying in the location to generate an ultra-high resolution picture of the field. After emailing the photo to an image processing facility, the processed data is returned, which he then feeds into an online database, and enters the parameters for a report. Within another few seconds a miniature printer in the car produces a full colour report containing several pages of analysis and results. The young man studies the data for a few more seconds and returns to the shepherd.
“You have exactly one-thousand five-hundred and eighty-six sheep, including three rams, and seven-hundred and twenty-two lambs.”
“That’s right,” says the shepherd, mildly impressed. “Well, I guess that means you get to take one of my sheep.”
The young man makes his choice and loads the animal onto the back seat of his car, at which the shepherd says, almost as an afterthought, “Hey there, if I can tell you what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?”
The young man, feeling confident, agrees.
“You’re a consultant,” says the shepherd.
“Wow, that’s right,” says the young man, taken aback, “How did you guess that?”
“No guessing required,” answers the shepherd, “You showed up here even though nobody called you. You took a fee for giving me an answer that already know, to a question I never asked, and you know nothing about my business. Now give me back my dog.”
When I joined I Train as a Corporate Trainer, I did not now where will it lead to. Then I became a Sr.Trainer, then a consultant and now I am a Senior Consultant. I was told this story by a friend on the first day of my job as a consultant. I have always remembered this and laugh.
Just thought of sharing the fun !
This is a true story. Some years ago the following exchange was broadcast on an Open University sociology TV programme.
An interviewer was talking to a female production-line worker in a biscuit factory. The dialogue went like this:
Interviewer: How long have you worked here?
Production Lady: Since I left school (probably about 15 years).
Interviewer: What do you do?
Production Lady: I take packets of biscuits off the conveyor belt and put them into cardboard boxes.
Interviewer: Have you always done the same job?
Production Lady: Yes.
Interviewer: Do you enjoy it?
Production Lady: Oooh Yes, it’s great, everyone is so nice and friendly, we have a good laugh.
Interviewer (with a hint of disbelief): Really? Don’t you find it a bit boring?
Production Lady: Oh no, sometimes they change the biscuits…
Thanks to Shirley Moon for this lovely story, who also points out the following lessons within it:
I believe some things are just not meant to be. Impossible means ‘I am possible’ I like the tagline, but it is just always a tagline. I am a conformist, I have been a conformist all my life.
I care about what is possible and I have a problem when people get too ambitious. It’s okay to get ambitious but some things are possible, some are not. That is a well established fact..Who doesn’t think so ?
But I dream, I dream about a BMW in the next 3 years and a big 4 bedroom house with 5-star like interiors, a study, play area and even parking ,and here is the biggest one ‘all in Gurgaon’ in the next 5 years. Dreaming has taught me to dream more and dream big – correction, day-dream more and day-dream big, Day-dream on!
To daydream is to think and to think is to learn. Now learning is not compulsory, neither is survival. W.Edwards Deming said that.
Today, lets learn to- day dream !
Since I was a kid, I have known what to do, when. Mostly I was told, with examples and valid references and an explanation that was designed to convince me that it’s either this way or no way at all!
Whether to take commerce or Science, whether to wear full pant or half. Whether to eat now or later ( It is a standard ‘now’ for me to this always!)But I fixed the way it works. Or so I thought, while all I fixed, were just limitations for myself. Beliefs about how things can and can’t be done.
I even tried to fix the society, the systems and cultures – I never asked questions before because I knew, ‘kool’ people don’t ask too many questions, Amitabh Bacchan didn’t, neither did superman – they always just have the answers.
Then I came to work and realized I need to be accountable – how would I look like if I ask for help, which big guy at work ever did that? …and I never escalated, even the things that I should have.
Then I got married, and I hated shopping, I told everyone so while I spent 3 hours picking the right suit to wear today. But don’t tell anyone that, because we Men, don’t like shopping!
I did these things because either someone told me to or it looked socially acceptable or at least logically possible! It’s funny how this is not just an issue with people.
Even large organizations do this. A leading camera film maker with over a century of business experience, almost ran out of business because they stuck on to the cash cow of film photography products in spite of having developed the digital tech. Clingy!
Such thought has a definition – RTP ( Rational thinking perspective) , now we all know rational is right. Don’t we?
Rational thinking perspectives are good because they educate us about our possibilities.
A man with a body on which nothing moves. Stuck to a bed for all his life. The only RTP I could think of is ‘Mercy Killing. Stephen Hawking.
Another man contracted polio as a child, and he used a wheelchair for a while. He devised his own exercises to strengthen his legs. The only RTP I could think would be to learn typing and shorthand. He went on to become one of the most successful Olympic athletes of all time, winning 10 gold medals. In the years 1900, 1904 and 1908. With about 1 % of the means and methods of today, none of the modern medicine and no google for instant advice or Facebook for popularity. Ray Ewry. How many did we as a country win in the last Olympics?
There is a another side of this coin, it is called Generative thinking perspective (GTP), which is governed by intuition, faith and conviction. You do what you feel right.
Hey I have an idea, how about I leave everything and start a new website where all people can connect online, maybe we can call it FACEBOOK. Oops, that’s taken, by a Harvard student who dropped out to pursue a website and left what could have been an amazing job in the silicon valley which would have paid millions, in dollar. That’s Zuckerberg and think of the Steve Jobs if you will.
Another man who did not make so much money but taught me most about GTP was my father. I learnt this later, and I will get to it in a bit.
I am sure some of us could have answered these questions about rationale or gut, but when I was 16, I never could. It was so tough to get all this sorted because I had never seen anyone ask these questions before, there was no guidance available. To be logical or to day-dream was as tough as answering shakespere’s ‘to be or not to be’?
Dream = 1,600,000,000 (160 Crores) ,references on Google. If so many people talk about this must me something good.
What do we learn out of day-dreaming. One dream that lasts long enough and is desired bad enough gives birth to faith.
Faith leads to only two things, We learn to Regret or we learn to Perform.
When I was 13, I lost my father to a heart attack, his 13th – 4 major and 9 minor. The last one was minor. Even on his last day he was in a client meeting after 1 very successful job, 5 failed businesses and 1 somewhat livable construction venture. Bed rest was the only rational thing but he pushed because he had immovable faith that he can.
So, when I went home, saw his dead body and had absolutely no clue of what to do. Maybe stupid, but I was still thinking about what to do? I had an idea, I wanted to get a live wire and give him an electric shock. In our movies they do it to anyone who is unconscious. Maybe that will work!
So I went and told my mother this, who smiled and continued crying. I never got to do that. But even today, every time I think of my father, I regret not doing that. What if he stood up?
‘What if’ is a big question. Is there anyone, anyone at all in this gathering who has not asked themselves a question starting with ‘what if’ ?
To do is better than to regret. Haven’t we all had those days when we thought, ‘I should have said something to that girl, I should have bought that thing, I should have learnt that art and last but not the least, I should have paid attention.’
Thousands of people with ideas as brilliant as nano, brail, chocolate and algebra.(Cut algebra out, wasn’t a brilliant idea) go to work, come back home and push it to tomorrow and years later they ask themselves ‘what if’.
It is really easy to confirm to things, we believe them to be true, mostly blindly.
While you read this in the last 7 minutes and 30 seconds based on the number of words, 810 people confirmed to death with all their ideas which will never be heard again. Ideas but not dreams!
All I wish is that, before I die, I could leave this world with one idea that continues to live even after I die.Dreaming is non conformity, some us do it because we are allowed to.Some of us do it because we have to. And even death cannot make a dream confirm to it.
This article was titled dreams, faith and a beer belly. We spoke about dreams and faith. Here is the Beer belly, and I believe, I look better with it than without it, I am comfortable with it. Because 1 more tablespoon of belief is the only thing missing from our lives.
P.S. I wrote this article primarily for the speech at a TED Event. Though it was changed eventually these thoughts have had my minds occupied. What would you consider yourself; A conformist or a non-conformist?
You can even view the my TED talk at this link : http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxGurgaon-Abhinandan-Chatterj
This short and amusing illustration of how to manage stress really hits home for me. There’s nothing like a good story to help us get the point, so check out the Glass of Water theory of stress management here:
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 ounces to 20 ounces.
The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance.
“In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” He continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.
“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.
“So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can.
“Relax; pick them up later after you’ve rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!”
This is allegedly a true story. Engineers at a major aerospace company were instructed to test the effects of bird-strikes (notably geese) on the windshields of airliners and military jets. To simulate the effect of a goose colliding with an aircraft travelling at high speed, the test engineers built a powerful gun, with which they fired dead chickens at the windshields. The simulations using the gun and the dead chickens worked extremely effectively, happily proving the suitability of the windshields, and several articles about the project appeared in the testing industry press.
It so happened that another test laboratory in a different part of the world was involved in assessing bird-strikes – in this case on the windshields and drivers’ cabs of new very high speed trains. The train test engineers had read about the pioneering test developed by the aerospace team, and so they approached them to ask for specifications of the gun and the testing methods. The aerospace engineers duly gave them details, and the train engineers set about building their own simulation.
The simulated bird-strike tests on the train windshields and cabs produced shocking results. The supposed state-of-the-art shatter-proof high speed train windshields offered little resistance to the high-speed chickens; in fact every single windshield that was submitted for testing was smashed to pieces, along with a number of train cabs and much of the test booth itself.
The horrified train engineers were concerned that the new high speed trains required a safety technology that was beyond their experience, so they contacted the aerospace team for advice and suggestions, sending them an extensive report of the tests and failures.
The brief reply came back from the aero-engineers: “You need to defrost the chickens….”
A few years ago, Chris Oster’s unit at General Motors got so fed up with traditional reviews that it abolished them. “There were so many problems – for managers and for people being appraised,” explains Oster, director of organizational development for the GM Powertrain Group. “We had ‘rater error.’ We had the ‘contrast effect.’ We had the ‘halo effect.’ But the biggest problem was that feedback wasn’t leading to changes in behavior.”
Darcy Hitchcock, president of AXIS Performance Advisors, helps companies create high-performance work systems, including feedback systems. She says that one of her most painful professional moments came from a performance review early in her career: Her boss rated her a four on a five-point scale. Though most people would consider that a decent score, Hitchcock agonized over why she didn’t get a five. She confronted her boss: What steps could she take to get a perfect score? He had no answer. Angry and confused, she left the office and spent the day in a nearby park. “In the space of a one-hour meeting,” she says, “my boss took a highly motivated employee and made her highly unmotivated.”
Many years ago, top executives at Glenroy Inc., a privately held manufacturer of packaging materials outside of Milwaukee, held an off-site at which they reviewed key company policies. A week later, Glenroy held a rally in the company parking lot at which employees built a bonfire and burned its policy manuals.
The company’s well-established approach to reviews literally went up in smoke. But unlike other policies, which Glenroy refined or reinvented, reviews were never reinstated. “When people find out that we don’t have formal reviews, it drives them crazy,” says Michael Dean, Glenroy’s executive vice president. “They don’t understand how we can run the business. Leaders here provide people with feedback. But the way for it to be effective is on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis – not twice a year.”
Feedback matters. The only way for people to get better at what they do is for the people they work for to provide candid, timely performance evaluations. “In today’s environment, you have to evaluate what’s changing and what’s staying the same, what’s working and what’s no longer working,” says Bruce Tulgan, author of FAST Feedback (1998, HRD Press) and founder of Rainmaker Thinking, a consulting firm based in New Haven, Connecticut. “Feedback plays that role.” Anne Saunier, a principal at Sibson & Co., a consulting firm based in Princeton, New Jersey, puts it this way: “If you have ideas and information that will help someone perform better, it’s hostile not to share them.”
So why are reviews still the most painful ritual in business? A 1997 survey by Aon Consulting and the Society for Human Resource Management reported that only 5% of HR professionals were “very satisfied” with their performance-management systems. In 1995, William M. Mercer Inc., based in New York City, polled executives about reviews. Only 7% said their systems were “excellent”; more than 70% had revamped them or were planning to.
Part of the problem with reviews is that human nature hasn’t changed – few of us enjoy hearing about our shortcomings, and few of our bosses and colleagues look forward to describing them. Part of the problem is that work itself has changed – it’s more team- oriented, less individualistic. The tougher it is to measure individual performance, the tougher it is to evaluate it.
But the biggest problem with reviews is how little they’ve changed. Too many leaders still treat feedback as a once-a-year event, rather than an ongoing discipline. “Doing annual appraisals is like dieting only on your birthday and wondering why you’re not losing weight,” cracks Saunier. Too many leaders confuse feedback with paperwork. “Filling out a form is inspection, not feedback,” says Kelly Allan, senior associate of Kelly Allan Associates Ltd., a consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio whose clients have included Boeing, Paramount Pictures, and IBM. “History has taught us that relying on inspections is costly, improves nothing for very long, and makes the organization less competitive.”
We can’t teach you the one right way to provide – or receive – feedback. But our program does offer five action-oriented principles to improve your performance with performance reviews. Be sure to let us know how you think we performed. . .
Mention the term “performance review,” and the first image that comes to mind is paper: checklists, ratings, all-too-familiar reports that invite all-too-predictable answers. That’s a problem. Anyone who equates delivering feedback with filling out forms has lost the battle for smart appraisal before it’s begun. “If you use forms as the basis for meetings about performance,” argues Allan, “you change only one thing – what might have been a natural, helpful conversation into an awkward, anxious inspection.”
Yes, there are reasons to document the appraisal process. But most of them involve administrative neatness or legal nervousness, not sound thinking about feedback. That’s why more and more companies that are serious about reviews use forms only to confirm that a review has taken place – not as a tool for the review itself.
Consider the example of Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado. For years, the hospital’s leaders have been importing new ideas about quality and service into their 286-bed facility. Early on, administrators and executives looked at ways to improve how the hospital evaluated its employees. They began by exploring how best to modify the hospital’s existing checklist-based reviews: Which ratings made the most sense? Which scoring systems worked best? But no amount of tinkering satisfied Parkview’s leaders.
Dorothy Gill, vice president of human resources, and a team of her colleagues explained their dilemma to the CEO: “He said, ‘If there isn’t a better way to do reviews, let’s just stop doing them.’ So we did. We had no idea what we were going to do instead.”
Gill and her colleagues eventually came up with an idea. It’s called APOP, for Annual Piece of Paper. The most valuable kinds of feedback, they concluded, are the daily interactions between leaders and their people – interactions that can’t be captured on paper. The hospital still requires that managers do annual reviews. But instead of being top-down appraisals, the reviews are bottom-up requests for assistance: What can the leader do to make the employee’s job easier? What gets in the way of accomplishing the job?
And the medium for those reviews is conversation, not written evaluation. There is a form – the APOP. But its only role is to confirm that the conversations took place. There are no scores, no written goals for the next year. It’s literally a piece of paper, signed by the employee and the director, that records the date, place, and agenda of the meeting. The APOP process “takes performance reviews and turns them upside down,” Gill says. “Directors don’t tell employees how they’re doing. They ask open-ended questions to see what will help employees do a better job.”
You know the old joke about airline food. First passenger: “This food is terrible!” Second passenger: “And the portions are so small!” Most of us feel the same way about performance reviews. The only thing worse than how unsatisfying they are is how seldom they take place.
Bruce Tulgan interviewed hundreds of managers and employees for his book, FAST Feedback (the acronym stands for “frequent, accurate, specific, timely”). One of the most common complaints, he says, is that reviews take place too long after the performance being critiqued has occurred. “We don’t work in a year-by-year, pay-your-dues, climb-the-ladder environment anymore,” he says. “The once- or twice-a-year evaluation is a creature from the workplace of the past. Today’s business leaders expect workers to be project-driven, results-oriented. That doesn’t fit with the old model of reviewing performance every 6 or 12 months.”
Why do smart companies and leaders stick with such an obsolete practice? Because, Tulgan argues, they have well-established systems for conducting annual or semiannual reviews. “There are no systems for day-to-day engagement with workers,” he says.
That’s where “FAST feedback” comes in. Tulgan offers lots of techniques for accelerating how people deliver and process feedback. Managers, he says, can build feedback into routine meetings and memos. They can learn to deliver feedback through email and voice mail. They can use short notes. Ideally, they should set aside a designated chunk of time each day, just for giving their people feedback. “If we really want a just-in-time workforce,” he argues, “we have to create just-in-time feedback.”
One caution: There’s a difference between timely feedback and rushed feedback. Rick Maurer, author of Feedback Toolkit (Productivity Press, 1994), argues that a few old-fashioned principles of human behavior still apply, even in fast-paced work environments. If you’re providing feedback around an emotionally charged event, wait a day or two (but never more than a week). “Sometimes you’re so emotional that it makes sense to wait,” he says. “Let your gut be your guide.” And if your feedback involves a big issue, something the person you’re working with really needs to take seriously, then find an appropriate time and place – even if it delays the session. “Schedule an appointment and have a meeting,” Maurer urges. “Don’t give important feedback in the hallway.”
It’s a mistake to blame all the problems with performance reviews on the people who deliver them. Feedback is no different from any other business process – you get out of it only what you put into it. If you’re not getting enough useful feedback, don’t look at your boss; start by looking at yourself. “Ultimately,” says Sibson & Co.’s Saunier, “managers aren’t responsible for their people’s performance. People are responsible for their own performance. There’s feedback all around you – if you pay attention. If you’re not getting enough feedback, ask for it.”
Saunier offers an example from her own experience. She heard from a unit coach that a new employee, who’d been on the job three months and had been working with Saunier on a project, complained that he wasn’t receiving enough feedback. “I couldn’t believe it,” Saunier says. “We walked back together from the client’s office every day. And every day we discussed what we could do better. Just because I didn’t sit him down in my office doesn’t mean I wasn’t providing feedback. The next time we walked back from the client’s, I began our discussion by saying, ‘Now, here’s some feedback.'”
LeRoy Pingho, a vice president at Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant, never complains that he’s not getting enough feedback. Since the mid-1980s, he’s organized annual 360-degree reviews. This is not an official company program; it’s his personal program. He selects a cross-section of colleagues – a boss, a subordinate, a customer – and asks them each to assess his performance. “Some things are ‘flat spots’ for me,” he says. “I can struggle with them alone or get help.”
Last year, Pingho took his review process a step further. He wrote an assessment based on the feedback he received, and then distributed copies to 50 people: bosses, peers, direct reports, his wife. He sent everyone the same message: “You work with me, so you should know my strengths and weaknesses. Also, I’m going to ask four of you to help me work on the things I’m not good at.”
Pingho dubbed those four people his “spotters.” He chose two at his level, one above him, and one below him. He met with each of the spotters to review the “flat spots” he’d identified. Then he told them that he wanted to focus on getting better at two of those weaknesses. (He didn’t think he could tackle five at once.) One was active listening: “When I’m in meetings, I’m already through the presentation before the presenter has gotten to the first page.” The second was empowerment: “I want to use the input I get from people instead of disregarding it.”
He asked his spotters to alert him when they saw behavior that related to those improvement goals: “I said, ‘You don’t have to do this in a formal way. But if you see something, tell me.’ It’s like being on the high bar. Just knowing that there’s somebody to make sure you don’t fall helps you become more self-confident.”
At GM Powertrain Group, a new approach to feedback is helping salaried employees gain more self-confidence. The group, which designs and manufactures castings, engines, and transmissions, began redesigning its appraisal processes in July 1996. The new system, called Individual Growth Strategy, revolves around a few simple principles: People want to do their best. The people who improve are those who have the most control over their development. So it’s up to employees – not managers – to decide what kind of feedback is most useful and from whom it should come.
GM offers training in ideas, techniques, and tools for soliciting feedback. But it’s up to the people who want feedback to seek it out. “If I buy something, I’m more committed to using it than if someone gives it to me,” explains Chris Oster. “The same goes for feedback. If I solicit feedback, I’m more inclined to use it.”
It’s hard to argue with the principle that the better you do, the more money you should get. But most performance gurus say that explicitly linking reviews and raises has unintended consequences.
“A raise is a transaction about how much money you or I can get,” explains Kelly Allan. “Feedback is a conversation about how much meaning you and I can create. Feedback is about success for your people and your customers. Pay is about marketplace economics and skills. Pay and feedback are not related.”
Allan practices what he preaches. At his company, discussions about money are tangible and statistical. People play a big role in setting their own pay. Associates research market rates for talent in their peer group, based on skills and experience. People who want a raise can present evidence that they’ve acquired a new skill or had an experience that the market would reward with a salary increase.
Conversations about performance, on the other hand, are informal and collegial. Associates meet weekly with a colleague to discuss their current project. The firm schedules formal sessions monthly, quarterly, or every six months (depending on the associate’s tenure) to discuss the past, present, and future of each person’s work. “We have conversations, not appraisals,” Allan says. “And these conversations never include discussions of pay. Period.”
Glenroy Inc., the Wisconsin manufacturer that burned its employee manuals, has experimented with a more radical approach to pay. Several weeks after the bonfire, it was time for annual performance appraisals and salary reviews. Management was clear: Reviews were on the ash heap of history. But Glenroy did need to figure out what kinds of raises its employees would get. The improved approach? Employees decided their own raises.
Glenroy divided its workforce into peer groups based on job classifications. It was up to those peer groups to set their raises. In most cases, executive vice president Michael Dean reports, the peer groups were tougher than management would have been; the company later had to adjust many of the raises upward. “We treat people like adults,” says Dean. “That’s the essence of leadership.”
One reason candid feedback is so important is that most people are great at self-delusion. It’s easy to think we’re better at writing software, creating marketing campaigns, or evaluating business plans than we really are. That same talent for self-delusion applies to the art of giving feedback. Bruce Tulgan puts it this way: “There’s such a disconnect between managers’ impressions of the feedback they give and their employees’ impressions of the feedback they get. Most managers need a reality check.”
Tulgan has devised a simple technique for creating such a check. He suggests that managers think about the three most recent times they offered feedback to one of their employees. Then, they should write down brief answers to questions about those sessions: What prompted you to give feedback on that matter at that time? Did you check your facts first? What was the substance of the feedback? Was there any concrete action as a result? Next the manager should ask the employee to write down brief answers to the same questions. The comparisons, Tulgan says, make for interesting reading.
“Think of the people who work for you as ‘customers’ for your feedback,” he argues. “Find out whether the feedback you’re providing is working for them. If it’s not, what’s the point?”
Source: This is an article from my collection of inspiring online articles. Author – Unknown.
A man in the Middle East was owner of seventeen camels. He divided the camels between his three sons stating that the eldest son would get half of them, the second one would get one-third of them and the youngest son would get one- ninth of them. The sons sat down to negotiate, but unable to figure out a solution they approached an old wise lady in the village.
The lady patiently heard their problem and said that she doesn’t know if she can solve their problem but she can offer them one camel . This would make the count eighteen and they can divide the camels easily.
The sons came back and divided eighteen camels conveniently .The eldest son got nine camels, the second one got six camels and the youngest son got two camels.
They were surprised to see that the three of them actually had seventeen camels in total ,so they returned the one extra to the old lady.
Many times faced with a difficult situation we do not step back to look at it from a third party perspective. The trick lies in finding the 18th camel .
Aren’t we mostly looking and fighting for the 18th Camel when its not even needed.
Source: William Ury
True Story |
This is the story of a man who started out as a shopkeeper, had a small electronic store in the suburbs of a small suburban town.
He got married, had a kid and his needs multiplied. The shop couldn’t fulfill them anymore, so, he took up a job – as medical sales executive.
He worked his way up the ladder in his company, it took years, but just like most of us he was getting there too!
He bought a house and a car and put his sons into a good school.
Like most of us, he had dreams too. He wanted a happy family, status, luxury and he worked his way through the thick and thin of things to get it.
Like most of us, he was proud of the way things were going.
Since nothing lasts forever, that is when unlike most of us, he had a heart attack. His dream was now shuffling between life support, expensive pills and medical bills.
Deserted by his friends and relatives, he lost his house as he couldn’t pay the loan, sold his car because there was a need to get food for the wife and kids – burned all his life’s savings in an attempt to live!
Just when he was about done, modern medicine gave him a second chance. He was going to live a little longer than he expected.
That led to questions about sustaining his family, which he couldn’t do by being on the bed rest the doctor summoned him to. Perhaps death was easier but it wasn’t meant to be so.
He left the bed, stopped the rest and went back to work; nobody wanted to hire him as they feared he would die on them. He was either honest or foolish, but he never lied.
He did get a job at last and soon another seizure of the heart followed. This was a big one too and he was left hollowed.
They were practically on the streets and then the mother took it on her to work. His son was still in the ‘good-school’ where the fee wasn’t paid for 7 months now. They let him study out of love for a smart kid, some courtesy and a bit of pity. For us it is a small world, for them it was a big city.
The mother worked, taught tuitions to run the family.
After his medical vacation even the father stood up against the ruling of the world – to work. God knows what drove him through this, but he said, “We will celebrate your next birthday son, this time we are not doing it because the doctor wants us not to.” It was just a lame excuse for the little kid that kept him content.
As his father started his own business, he was struggling with poor finances, health, security and his own dreams. Astonishingly, the dreams were not dead.
He worked hard for the next few years and bought back his car, paid his son’s school fee and had food on the table, regularly.
Meanwhile, he had 10 minor and one major heart attack before he passed away leaving a wife and two kids behind. He did not leave them much money but he worked till the last day of his life to achieve the RESULT he dreamt of.
He left his family with the courage to move on, the persistence to fight and the mindset to win.
Moral: Every goal needs the right mindset to ensure its achievement. It depends only on how badly you want something which decides how soon you could get it
A wealthy man requested an old scholar to wean his son away from his bad habits.
The scholar took the youth for a stroll through a garden. Stopping suddenly he asked the boy to pull out a tiny plant growing there. The youth held the plant between his thumb and forefinger and pulled it out. The old man then asked him to pull out a slightly bigger plant. The youth pulled hard and the plant came out, roots and all.
“Now pull out that one,” said the old man pointing to a bush. The boy had to use all his strength to pull it out.
“Now take this one out,” said the old man, indicating a guava tree. The youth grasped the trunk and tried to pull it o
ut. But it would not budge.
“I – It’s impossible,” said the boy, panting with the effort.
“So it is with bad habits,” said the sage. “When they are young it is easy to pull them out but when they take hold they cannot be uprooted.
The longer a bad habit stays the harder it will be to get over it…
In Washington DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing.
He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.
At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32. After one hour: He finished playing and silence took over.
No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music. This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions: In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made… How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?”
Source: Social Experiment Abridged from Washington Post.
Video available at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myq8upzJDJc (2.52 Min)
The Background: The Biriyani Junkie Award is a personal intiative (Eating rights – Me) where I went around from ‘Hand Thela’s’ to 5 star hotels in search of the best biriyani.
I collated my top 10 and visited them again to pick my top 3 and visited them again to pick my best. I always have felt for Biriyani like nothing else. Next year I am planning to take this to a next level by including made to order, personal chefs, and chef’s special biriyani’s along with their recepies and make you jealous – though you won’t most likely be able to eat it as they are not on sale, but you can cook it.
The Connect: I have always passionately believed myself to have been born to consume and be enthralled by the clever flavors making riot in a Biriyani.
Here is a little bit of history (Source: Wikipedia) for those interested.
“Biryani, biriani, or beriani is a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word beryā(n) (بریان) which means “fried” or “roasted”.
Biryani was originated in Iran (Persia) and it was brought to South Asia by Iranian travelers and merchants. Local variants of this dish are popular not only in South Asia but also in Arabia and within various South Asian communities in Western countries.” Read more on Wiki.
There are so many types and forms of this heavenly concoction that it is almost alcoholic to be lost in its aroma.
Just like we as people should never discriminate between other people based on their color, creed, religion or weight, I have not even once discriminated between Biriyani from two different places. There were a total of 72 places where in the year of 2011 I had Biriyani and as a result of that meticulous research work the following results have been collated.
The Analysis: In my book atleast, Biriyani in India can be divided into three key groups, not entirely unique though.
1. The Bengal Biriyani Gharana
Preparation: Its chunky and mostly yellow in color due to the turmeric rich spicing. The key distinction of any Biriyani is the balance between being spiced and being flavored. This one is spiced and cooked to mouth-watering and melt-in-mouth perfection. The succulent pieces of any meat you like and the best of all – Potato pieces make magic. It is served with Papad, Chutney, Salan, Chaanch, Raita and if you get lucky Murabba. Not all of it is served at any one place though.
Some Popular Hangouts – Park Street, Burrabazar Kolkata. You do not get this in NCR.
My Pick – Aminia Hotel Burra bazar Kolkata
2.The Hyderabad Biriyani Gharana
Preparation: This is the traditinal biriyani, aromatic flavoury of Zaffran and the very rice its made of. The meat is subtle and raw flavoured while the salan and raita complete the dish. Being coocked in ‘DUM’ steam or ‘HANDI’ earthen pot, it has a certain earthiness to its belly.
While it is hard to get the real thing unless you Nizam’s guest,however the 5 star hotels are are doing a pretty good job at this. You can also find a pretty satisfying Hyderabadi Biriyani around Eid in your friends homes who celebrate it.
Some Popular Hangouts: Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk Delhi, Aminabad Lucknow, Charminar Area,Flee Market, Hyderabad
My Pick – Paradise Secunderabad, The Oberoi, Gurgaon, Trident Gurgaon, Swissotel Salt Lake , Kolkata,
3. The Desi Biriyani Gharana
Preparation: Anywhere, anytime, anyhow rice is cooked together with any meat and labeled ‘Biriyani’- that’s desi. It can have any ingredient in it and is a depart from the traditional style. I have seen many very interesting ingredients added to chicken desi style biriyani, e.g. Baby corn, peas, onion rings, pre cooked tandoori chicken and readymade masala and even ready to eat served with pudina chutney. All in hotels not in homes.
These are mostly the fearless crusaders willing to experiment. This section also includes the amazingly delicious regional adaptations of the Biriyani like that from Mumbai, Kodaikanal and Kerela. Its just too wide to classify and my humble tastebuds are too insignificant to be able to evaluate them. But they are 100 % Desi.
Some Popular Hangouts: Park Street Thela’s, Jamia Area, New Delhi, Some corners of Chakkarpur – Gurgaon, Ammus – Chakkarpur Gurgaon.
My Pick – NJP, Not just parathas, Gurgaon
The Verdict : My list of top 10 , not in order.
A. Swissotel Kolkata
B.Not Just Parathas, Gurgaon
C.Woodfire Grill (Now Closed) Gurgaon
D.Aminia Hotel, Burra bazar, Kolkata
F. The Ashoka, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi
G.Samodh Bagh, Near Jaipur
H. The Amer Palace Hotel, Jaipur
I. Arsalan, Kolkata
J. The Oberoi, Gurgaon
And the award goes to…
# 1 – Aminia Hotel, Burra bazar, Kolkata for the Bengali Style Biriyani
‘Its like your stomach can be full but your heart can never have enough’
# 2 – Paradise, Secundrabad for the Hyderabad Style Biriyani
‘I can not be audacious enough to say much, its like pilgrimage’
# 3 – Not Just Paranthas, Gurgaon, For Desi Style Biriyani
‘Its just Delhi Estyle, you cant quite compare but its worth a treat
Hope you get some useful info from here. Go pamper your tastebuds!
|This is what some of the participants had to say after attending my workshops through I Train Consultants (I) Pvt.Ltd:
|Abhinandan’s strength lies in his ability to get people to participate, think and act! “Learning is not compulsory, neither is change, nor is survival”, is his idea to introduce learning by relating to the audience & making them comfortable to step out of moulds and benefit by sharing their perspectives. He says ‘ to change the world, change yourself first’Abhinandan joined I Train Consultants (I) Pvt. Ltd. bringing with him over seven years of experience in the training and development function. He passed out of the prestigious Army School GRC and moved on to do his Bachelors in Business Administration followed by an advanced diploma in Organizational Psychology from The University of Stonebridge, UK.
Apart from being a FIRO-B® Certified practitioner, he also comes with an excellent understanding of participant behavior and adult learning best-practices. His background helps him design and deliver a wide range of programs, across levels, with a strong focus on participants’ development through the use of innovative tools and methodologies.
His humble beginnings and experience in other spheres such as counseling, sales, hospitality and advertising allow him to offer a wide variety of perspectives during his workshops. With his uncanny sense of humor and energy which is always contagious; his workshops are ever ‘Alive’, creating an environment where every participant feels empowered and included.
His regular interventions , workshops and keynotes include Leadership, Managerial Effectiveness, Creativity, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Analytical skills, Influencing and Negotiation Skills, Assertiveness, Communication, Sales & Collections, Conflict Management, Planning & Organizing, Stress management, Motivation, Coaching & Feedback, Achievement orientation, , Team building and Interviewing Skills across audiences with 0-35 years of work experience.
Abhinandan’s clientele is spread across industries with clients like Mc Kinsey & Company, Wipro Consulting, Right Management & Book Supply Bureau in the business consulting domain. Maruti Suzuki India Limited, JCB, Motherson Sumi Group & Valvoline Cummins in the automobile sector. Canon, HP, Benetton, Dish TV, ESPN-Star Sports, UCB, Shree Cement & ACC cement in the Manufacturing and Consumer products sector. RBS, Religare, American Express, XL Capital and AA Insurance in the financial services domain, Embassy of the United States of America and IFCI in the public sector And Indus Towers, SAP, Sapient, Toluna , Aircom, Avaya, Adobe, Navisite, Serco Global, Quatrro and Huawei in the IT/ITES and Telecom Sector. Amongst others.
He is based out of gurgaon, India where he lives with his wife, Prerna. He is an author, adventure sports enthusiast; a black belt holder in Karate, also loves blogging at www.abhinandanchatterjee.com , tweeting, poetry, photography, painting, while enjoying socializing, good food and soccer.
Why Learn, Why bother ?…
A 6 year old girl once went to her elder sister who was in the kitchen.
She saw her frying fish (I have every right to start with fish , I am a bengali !) and in astonishment, asked her , ‘Dee, why did you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it?’
Her sister took a while and said, ‘Why?, I dont know, but mom does it this way so I do it this way too.’
Hearing this the little girl ran to her mother and asked, ‘ Maa, why do you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it? Dee told me’
Her mother too, took a while to think and said, ‘Why?, I never thought about , I don’t know, but your Granny does it this way so I do it this way too.’
The little girl became more inquisitive than ever, she really wanted to find the answer to this question. In this quest, she ran towards her granny, found her and asked, ‘ Dadi, why do you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it? Dee and Maa do it too , they told me’
Of her old age, her granny took a while but finally figured it out with a gleaming smile; ‘I don’t know why they cut it , but I did it because my frying pan was very small.’
…In our world of make-belief
Every time I hear this story, apart from becoming hungry, I also am forced to ask my self, ‘ Am I doing the same thing? Cutting the head and tail off the fish without knowing why?’ In fact, think about it , are you doing the same thing ?
When was the last time you decided to learn something new and actually used it with a bit of compassion?
If it wasn’t yesterday, are we doing even close to what we are capable of doing as people? If no, why not so ?
These are some questions that keep coming back to me, every time someone says something about ‘How they are forced to, supposed to,told to,taught to, made to or confined to do something?’ How in the hands of fate they are simply stuck? or in extreme cases infected by depressing movies, like ‘Ram Gopal Verma ki AAG’ , find themselves almost at the world’s end.”
People complaint about boredom, about monotony and about that ‘something’ missing from life.It is just the ignorance for what is available and what can be done in most cases.
We start treating our philosophy as facts and live in that world of make-belief. A world that says, after you are 40, you are done with most of your life and learning is not your ball game anymore. You can sprinkle some emotions by saying ‘ You cannot teach an old dog new tricks. What is to prove?’
Funny thing, it is not only a challenge with people, even organizations face this music. I’ll give you an example, Kodak first developed the digital camera, maybe too soon and that did not gel with the business plans of the worlds No.1 film manufacturer. They put it in the cold bag and went conservative, 3 years later , they were almost out of business. And they were not, the only big fish with a million business forecasters, that went really wrong.
There is always a right way, a right strategy, right age, a right time, a right direction. Most of our actions are governed by what we are supposed to or not supposed to do based on things which are supposed to or not supposed to work. Who decides that, moreover, why is it more of a law than just a suggestion?
These suppositions spoil our freedom and cloud our judgement, crippling our ability to learn. This lack of comfort, peace and openness is called conformity.
Sometimes its with systems, sometimes with society, sometimes with values and mostly with our own mindset.
And the very few people who dare to stand out, are thrown out, mostly to be appreciated later. Look at Einstein, Jobs, Gates, Bacchan and the list is endless.
…Find your way to evolve
Those who argue, will argue that non-conformity is chaos. It’s random, unpredictable and hence not social enough to fit into our lives. But let’s look at it from the other side of the greenfield; what is not chaos is boring like our college lectures, what is not random is often to too structured like our education system, what is not unpredictable is just around average like our political reforms; and all because we are suppose to do things a certain, pre-defined way. Where is the room to breathe and experiment? Where is the room to learn?
Every invention was, is and always will be an example of non-conformity. Buddha was non-conformity, so was your special short cut to your girlfriends house, so was your signature style at college, so was your special strength area at work,so was that situation when you had no clue what to do , yet ‘Jugaad’oed’ your way through. In other words, you did things differently and experimented because that was the only way to evolve! Wise decision. P.S.( I didn’t say so, Darwin did.)
That was the real learning that happened, the question for you to answer is, how often do you manage that kind of stuff.
That 6 year old girl I was talking to you about earlier,asked a lot of questions, most of us don’t even dare or bother doing so. How much do we learn? How much have you evolved? Dont answer it, just find the answer, only if you feel like!
Learning is surely not necessary, its not in the rule book but neither is survival.
Here is what a non-conformist would say his philosophy of life is; Be open to listen, Be curious to learn and Be yourself to live at peace. That is true non-conformity. But, only if you like!