Archive for August 2012

My Experiences -Last time (MELT) – 3412

August 25, 2012

The fact that I am taking this seriously is evidenced by two things – one I have created a specific blog site (wordpress.com), and two I have started hearing your voices and responding appropriately. I have made it a point to post this on a Saturday evening for people to have some time to reflect on Sunday and provide appropriate responses to this blog and also think about the way they want to lead their life in the coming days. Few people have asked me some questions and wanted my views on those and hence going forward I will touch up on that as well. As I have started a blog site, I look forward to your comments and questions on the wordpress.com (instead of just hitting a like button in FB) and I will be glad to answer the questions you may raise and for all you might know, you may get an answer from one of the readers as well. Make it interactive and as lively as you can.

Fish for Starters ( Vegetarians – do not skip this starter!!!)
I was walking in the streets of Boston and noticed a restaurant called ‘Legal Sea Foods ‘which made me wonder – “Why on earth would someone come up with such a strange name”. Like a typical accountant, my mind wandered to the thought that this presupposes that people could sell illegal sea food as well . But the difference is that they may not name that way. I quickly shifted from being an accountant to a researcher and discovered that the owner opened the restaurant, back in the 50’s, right next to the fish market. The fish was simply prepared, either broiled or fried, and served on paper plates. Despite the place where it was sold, the food was second to none and word quickly spread. This early success led to further expansion and now, resides this famous restaurant. I quizzed few people who have been to the restaurant and all of them have very high opinion about this place. The core value and philosophy of this restaurant is “If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal!,” What a powerful value for this restaurant. How many of us have the courage to pick a value similar to depict our mission (even though the name may sound a bit awkward). Like Honest Raj( sorry VijayKanth fans), Courageous Charlie or Discipline Daniel (sic) for instance! Does this sound funny? So be it as there is already precedence in India where people were named after the profession they pursue viz Nari Contractor, Vijay Merchant etc. It will be a real test if you ask your friend what value word they choose to describe you.

Pricing beauty – Food for thought
The first day of the week started with exploring Harvard campus and ending with a visit to an Indian restaurant called Tamarind Bay. Normally outside of India, I do not prefer to go to an Indian restaurant but took an exception on this (remember what I preached last time – do something different) as many of my office colleague recommended this place. It was reasonably sized with a seating capacity close to 80 and was reasonably crowded as well. The buffet spread was expansive in relation to the price tag of $9.90. Once I settled in the appointed table, the owner strongly encouraged me to have a buffet with a typical marketing slang “value for money’ and so saying reluctantly handed over the Menu card. Most items in the menu was priced not less than $16 and with a Bread or Rice it could shoot to some $19. A lesser mortal would have settled for the buffet without any further thought, but yours sincerely was not tuned to this simplistic thinking and wanted to test the water by ordering items from the menu. Honestly I was hoping that he would come back and say that particular item was not available but here the dictum expectation leads to disappointment proved to be right. The question that begs was why the owner was not keen to serve items from menu, although more profitable I thought, rather than trying to sell the buffet. Should I invoke Sherlock Holmes? Elementary Mr Watson- the item on the menu was just a decoy and purposely priced higher to lure people to go for buffet. Why? Given the restaurant was almost full and couple of waiters and a cook to support, what would have happened if everyone went for items from the menu? This would certainly mean delay in services so the owner took the easy choice of having a reasonably priced buffet which is all self serving mode. Smart move which is what most marketing companies do. They either plant a decoy or offer gift/ deep discounts in order to lure you to make a deal. This led me to do further thinking and spotted few for your consumption.
1. The best pricing strategies have three choices—low, medium, and high. Like in Starbucks tall( 12 ounce-which incidentally is small), Grande ( 16 ounce) and Venti ( 20 ounce). Let us say typically price of a Chai would be 3.05, 3.45 and 3.95 for Tall, Grande and Vent respectively. So would you mind paying 90 cents for getting 66% more?
2. Remember in my first blog, I spoke about buying a shirt at 70% discount. Now I realize that I was a victim of the pricing strategy. They jacked up the price and bringing it down to a level what I term as affordable to a typical consumer. So my reference was original price without even thinking whether it was worth the original price.
3. Bundled offer, buy a tooth paste with a brush free ( even though you may not need it)
4. Automobile companies offering free services ( ranging between 3 to 5) which in relation to the price of the car will be so small but at times makes us determine a choice which we otherwise would not have made.
We get tempted to pay a small price (that is what we think) by going for something incremental which we normally do not need or use. In some cases the incremental price which throws an optical illusion of getting more may be detrimental to your benefit. We some time land up stuffing our stomach with food as it appears cheap. We may land up buying cloths that we may not need. I too was a victim but I am more careful these days. By the way I drink a tall ( small) Chai latte and not get lured to pay additional 40 cents to throw more caffeine into my system. This is just one example. So my advice is to resist the temptations and make a rational decision on any purchase. It may sound simple and logical but reflect on all your recent purchases and you would realize what I am talking about. Let me comfort you by saying that you are not alone. Follow the old British saying ‘Caveat Emptor” which means buyers beware.

Rational Choice- professional Vs social relationship
Another aspect that clouds our mind is striking a right balance between professional and social relationship at the work place. The reason I bring this up is because one of the readers posed a question and asked my opinion on this. Like the pricing decision above, it can often be confusing. Before we try answering this question we need to find the typical human behavior under social and commercial norms for a similar situation. Let us imagine that your organization distributes sweets during a particular festival for free. A person from HR walks to your floor with plate/bowl full of sweets and offers you to take as much as you can without specifying any restriction. Typically we will be taking one or two sweets under the self imposed social norm discipline (of course there will be few people taking more than one or two) so that all employees get benefited. In other words, we do not want to be the reason for deprivation to other employees by picking more than one or two. In a similar example what if the company distributes sweets at subsidized rates say 10% of its original cost (almost free). Once we know we are paying for it, we would not hesitate to pick more and take some for our family members. See how our behaviors change under these norms. Similar to this, employee behavior might change depending on the type of relationship we encourage in the work place. If your subordinate takes you for Dinner invariably, they subconsciously expect leniency for a missing deadline. The association is more pronounced by recency factor. Same is true if boss takes subordinate for Dinner, then he/she might expect a favorable 360 degree feedback. At times helping an office colleague, say moving to a new house, may translate into expecting a return on the professional front. So we need to be cognizant of these behaviors.
It is absolutely acceptable, and in my opinion even desirable, to get to know more about your colleagues, bosses and subordinates so that it helps in furthering your professional relationship or teaming/bonding. In order to achieve this objective one may wine and dine but at the same time one needs to be wary of any impact it could create and dilute the relationship in one way or the other. It is largely dependent upon the culture in the work place and individuals who effectively communicate and set a clear expectation. Do not take things for granted. Many misunderstandings happen due to confusion in treating relationship appropriately
Is it a good idea to work with friends? Research suggests that there are limits (in business) to pairing up with a buddy. Looking at the venture capital industry, the researchers discovered that investment returns could be enhanced when people collaborated for ability-based characteristics, but that those returns were “dramatically reduced” when the bond was over affinity-based characteristics. So at times getting a close friend in a job may compromise efficiency. In this particular case the Industry was a determining factor and similarly some other case the roles people perform could be a determining factor.
So there is no one solution to the question posed as it is the art and science of managing the relationship. At the end of the day it all depends on how you, as an individual, can draw a good line between professional and social relationship. I want to share one practical tip to the readers. Often after any team dinner meeting, the following day, I would never miss an opportunity to pull people for any of their lapses, thus sending a clear message that social and professional relationships are different. I practiced this art very well in my last 25 years of my experience. How about you? In my next blog I will write about work life balance which is in some way connected to the questions raised.

To pee or not to pee
Some of you would have seen my photo in Facebook touching John Harvard’s foot. Lot of tourists come here and take pictures in front of this great man. When tourist after tourist rubs the famously shiny foot, it is almost as if he pays homage to the American Dream itself. I felt proud to be there and touch the famous man’s foot as a mark of respect to this great man ( a typical Indian tradition). People from other societies touch his foot as it is believed that it brings luck and gets admission to this great institution.
The dark side of the story is students at Harvard pee on him. I do not want to elaborate any further here but thankfully it rained in the morning before I went about touching his foot. If you go to Harvard blog site, you will see more stories about this but what surprises me is why the management is allowing this to happen. Why can’t they put some cover or stringent punishment for people doing this act? I walked away with mixed feelings about our future generation.
Floccinaucinihilipilification- to set aside or give little respect
Someone called me on Friday morning complaining that someone is bad mouthing or insulting him. My immediate response to that is to ignore completely. We can’t let someone spoil our day thinking about those insults. It is normally insecure people who try to insult others. By making you feel bad, causing you to react, and making you behave differently to how you otherwise would have – an insult is an easy way for somebody to gain control over you. By ignoring them, let the offenders see clearly that their strategy has failed.
On the lighter side
I was browsing in a few books shops recently (including Harvard Book shop) and found few amusing tittles
1. “I hate everything” by Matthew DiBenedetti. Some hate observations from the book “ I hate that I’m going bald” “I hate that I still make fun of bald people” “ I hate that sunrise happens so early “This book is full of hatred with some humor in it.
2. “I suck at girls” by Justin Halpern. The first chapter title made me squirm “ you could probably be happily married to a hundred and fifty million different women”
3. “Dear Asshole” by Jilian Madison. This book has 101 letters to people you encounter on daily life ( a neighbor, boss, a customer service agent etc)

Dessert
People often tell me that I am frank and transparent. Some tell me by way of compliment and others as a complaint. People who complain say that frankness often hurts people. I strongly feel that frankness is a virtue and it should not hurt people but the way we communicate our frankness often hurts people.
We often procrastinate and one of the tricks to overcome this is to make a public proclamation of our intention. Like last week in my post script I said I will be visiting Harvard which I was procrastinating for three weeks. That announcement pushed me to go on Sunday or else I would have put up a poor show in front of you all. Experience is a gift which gets you what you expected or at least gives you maturity to get what you want. With those words of wisdom I bid good bye with my usual signature “ Life is beautiful”

PS: Next week – Everything happens for a reason.

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My Experiences -Last time (MELT) – 3312

August 19, 2012

Let me start off by thanking all those who liked my previous blog and also to the few of you who gave me some suggestions to improve this blog. I have certainly factored those and will work on it in the coming days.I want to reiterate that this is about my experiences and the connected thoughts arising out of these experiences. Therefore, it may appear random but nevertheless, there are key learning arising out of all these experiences. I am learning and by sharing, I am confident, you are learning as well.

Starters

One of the restaurants in San Francisco takes away your mobile devices as you enter and give it back when you are finished with Dinner/Lunch. Of course, you can insist on taking the device with you but at a higher cost of some 10% which will be added to your bill.  They do this to in order to facilitate quality time with your near and dear ones.

Passengers on Air France Flight 562 were asked to open their wallets to check if they had enough cash to pay for more fuel when it had emergency landing in Syria. Will inform the travel desk either not to book my in Air France or ask finance to give me additional money in case I happen to be a victim.

Do you know what I know

This week started off in an interesting note when I went over to a restaurant. Two women, whom I would term as ‘knowledgeable’ were sitting some 10 yards away and were conversing in high decibels. I could not catch the whole conversation (It was not my intent to eavesdrop on what they were talking) but what stood out was that between every other word I could hear the phrase ‘You know’, which made me wonder “How much do these women really know?”.  Does this sound familiar?  The term is used when most times the listener can’t be expected to know. If I say to you all “You know I have been on a strict diet”. Did you really know that?  I can hear someone screaming at me -Oh god! – it is a  filler used by many. I know exactly what you are referring to so I focused on this little more in the business meetings I have been in this week and  spotted some more fillers such as ‘um’ ‘kind of’  ‘right?’ ‘uh’ etc. These are some of the common fillers that are found in most conversations. Even though it is quite alright to use these fillers once in a while during informal conversations but over a period of time they become a habit. Eventually becomes part and parcel of our speaking style and diction. In formal situations, they can become quite annoying to the listener. This normally occurs when our thoughts are not organized or our mind is working at a different speed than our verbal delivery. You have a cure for both. If you follow simple steps such as rehearsing  in your mind  before speaking, say the filler word only in your head ( you need to practice this),  pause when you are stuck or speaking too fast  and most importantly  keep the sentence short and sweet. This will make you a better communicator.  You know (sic) what I am talking about.

Running a victory lap

I am sure most of you would have followed in full or parts of London Olympics. I got to watch only selectively such as floor gymnasium, part of marathon and news clip of Usain Bolt. The most fascinating part is the victory lap which is the highest form of celebration. It is a message not only to the world that they have done it but to their inner conscious as well. Lot many sports psychologists’ advice athletes to practice mental imagery to enhance sports performance.  The way it works is that an athlete would start imagining that they have already won and visualize celebrating a victory lap. The reason visual imagery works lies in the fact that when you imagine yourself perform to perfection you are, in turn, physiologically creating neural patterns in your brain  just as if you had performed the action. Neural patterns created in our brain then instruct our muscles to do exactly what we want them to. As a cricket coach I have preached this to several people. This is true for any task/job/ activities that we undertake. If we program the celebration in whatever form and go ahead in passionately executing it, I assure you that we will see success. I formed a mental imagery  that I will create the largest accounting center in EY way back in 2005 and got this accomplished (there are living witness to this). So it has worked for me. What about you?

Oh my word

I was watching the closing ceremony of London Olympics when one of my friends interrupted me with a loud proclamation ‘India was decimated’, obvious reference to India’s hockey performance. I was very upset first at this intrusion and for distracting me and also for the fact that he was using a wrong terminology. Many times people use terminology which has the opposite or different meaning without realizing it. Decimation was a Roman punishment where one in ten men was killed. So when something is decimated, it implies that ten percent of it is destroyed. “Devastate” is certainly a better word and yet  next day I read this heading in one of the daily newspapers: “Corn crop decimated by drought”. It was a strange co-incidence.

Sometimes misused terms become prophetic. Let me tell you why. To many of us enormity means enormous but it actually means outrageous or extremely evil.  George Bush, after winning his election, said “Couldn’t believe the enormity of the situation.” But after 8 years, people tell me that they really discovered the right meaning.

Two days later another news paper headline used the word ‘instant ‘incorrectly. Nowadays, it’s almost universally assumed that “instant” actually means “quickly” .Obviously, it doesn’t. It actually refers to a precise moment in time. Like a Polaroid photo or digital photo where we can view the photo in the precise moment. On this count Maggie noodles do not qualify to be termed as Instant noodle it should be Quick noodle.  Similarly US postal authority promising ‘instant’ delivery is not only inappropriate usage but also misleading one.

FEDEX Story

I ordered a golf putting aid from a company in US called “ Practice Range” for some $ 18 and requested them to ship it to my hotel address through normal mode ( as against express mode). They promised that US postal would deliver this in 5 working days. On the 7th day I reached out to the vendor and asked them about the delivery and they said it could not be traced in US postal tracking system. I went through several frustrating, futile and frivolous communication with US postal authority without any concrete solution. In fact, they returned the package stating addressee not found. I complained to the vendor who was kind enough to resend the package by FEDEX.  Looks like all state postal departments irrespective of country it belongs has the same gene.  Give ‘Instant’ frustration.

At the end of the day it was FEDEX which rescued me.  This made me think what if FEDEX was not around?  FedEx didn’t seem to be a great idea when founder Fred Smith described the concept in a college term paper. Legend has it that Smith’s paper received a grade of “C.” and his business plan got rejected by two premier universities. Despite his professor’s criticism and rejection, Smith persevered. What was dismissively branded as an unworkable idea that would later transform the freight transportation industry and courier service.  “I’m not afraid to take a swing and miss,” is his famous quote and to me he did swing and it was not a miss but a home run (how could I miss baseball reference when I am in US).  If any of your idea(s) gets rejected, do not sulk, get inspiration from Fred Smith and pursue it to it’s logical conclusion.  Treat every rejection as a challenge.

Blind spots

Most rejection of ideas happen because people develop blind spots either on their own or through group think syndrome.  FEDEX was no different as people did not see beyond UPS. Another example is quartz which was invented by Swiss but they created a blind spot in not exploiting it for watch making but Japan took advantage of it. I have shared an article in knowledge group on how to avoid these blind spots. Most managers/leaders rank their skill higher than the reality leading to creating blind spots. Great companies create blind spot as they often value what they put in and not measure from customer angle. Peter Drucker once said” Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” I was sitting in vendor evaluation meetings and heard several times the phrase “we are putting lot of efforts” and every time the phrase was uttered I was asking this question in my head – so what?  Are you meeting the need or your audiences?

On the lighter side

1.        Talking about cuisine believe me I tried in a restaurant called “ Desi tadka Punabi- Udipi” restaurant.

2.        I was walking in a nearby mall and a beautiful young lady was standing outside a tea shop ( not to be confused with the “Indian tea shop” as this shop was selling various types of tea leaves) with small size cups with tea brew on it and was inviting people to taste.  Obviously they were in the sampling act and wanted people’s opinion. I went up to her and took the cup and uttered “ Milk and sugar” please. I could see bewilderment on her face and she looked inside the shop as if seeking some help to drive me out of the place. I took off from there and after few yards looked back to see that she had called one of her shop colleague and was laughing hilariously. I guess they liked my practical joke. I thanked god then and there for planting the idea in my head and bringing some joy to those people.

3.        After the shopping experience, I came back to my hotel, entered the lift and noticed that about 10 people (obviously in a group) in were engaged in a lively conversation but the moment I entered they stopped talking and there was dead silence until my floor arrived. My parting comment was “now you guys can talk”. I could hear giggles all around.

Dessert

I have seven key messages here and I hope you spotted them. Take few more steps ( I presume you have already taken the first few  steps) in transforming yourself into taking action  to get out of  your personal comfort zones. Discover something new in order to expand your horizons and shrink your blind spots. Take action-Wrong action is better than no action. Try different cuisines (not Indian Chinese food or ¾ Chinese but authentic Chinese) ,  talk to an office colleague you have not spoken to before , try a different sport, start practice writing other than your natural hand etc. Believe me all of this will help you to transform but at the same time it is not easy as you have to endure the pain of transformation.

No life will emerge if the pain of bearing a child is not endured by a mother. With those noble thoughts and salutation to every mother, I bid you good bye until next week. You know “Life is beautiful”

PS: Watch for my Harvard experience next week

My Experiences -Last time ( MELT) – 3212

August 19, 2012

Thanks for all your support and great comments.  This has encouraged me to take this more seriously and hence have not reduced the content. So I am going back on my promise to cut short the content but for a good cause. So the first learning from this blog is that you can break your promise as long as it is for a good cause. I am sure I would have removed the guilt of many people reading this.

Thank God!

My week started this Sunday with a routine morning jog and power walking. Normally I prefer not to jog or walk in the tread mill as it steals the opportunity to experience nature’s bliss.  In Boston Public Park, where I normally jog, found lot of people sleeping on benches and under trees and I suspect some of these people are homeless and some may have gotten drunk during Saturday night and did not have the mental focus to get home. I also noticed some brawl between a midlife lady and a gentleman. I also observed a healthy man standing outside Starbucks (they open at 5.30 AM in Boston) with a cup in hand  and begging.  I was tempted to be generous but I was not familiar with Massachusetts law and hence refrained from it. I heard that in Miami if you donate food to jobless, you will be fined ( I thought this was good way to make people work and earn rather than depending on dole).  I wondered irrespective of the economic categorization of a country (developed, developing and under developed) there are some common aspects you can see everywhere.  This made me reflect on how blessed I am to not be one among the  above, trying to find a meaning and purpose in life. I thank the super power, whether you call him God or something else,  for what I am today.

God Must be Crazy

Talking about God, I visited ISKCON temple at Boston.  It did not appear as a temple as the lord was housed in a house (sic). While I came out one stranger approached me and asked me whether Krishna is a god and if people worship him in India and I replied saying “I guess so”. He immediately went into an offensive mood and asked “How come you guys worship a person with some 16,000 wives(reference point was Gopikas). Also, most gods in India have two wives – Why is that?”  I did not pick up a fight but asked him gently whether he was married for which he answered in the affirmative. My next question was a bit personal and I asked him whether his wife was happy and satisfied with him. He was astonished initially but recovered to say in a humorous way stating that  no wife on Earth is happy with her husband. That gave me enough ammunition and I raised my voice and told him that we can’t satisfy even one wife and Krishna had 18,000 wives and all of them were happy and for this reason alone people in India worship him. He turned towards the direction of the temple and bowed and went away. Let me acknowledge that my response was not my original thinking as I had internalized it from hear say. How do I explain to a foreigner that Gods having two wives symbolizes two forms of universal energy and should not be seen in mere object form?

Culture and generalization

One evening I went to a nearby restaurant and ordered  my food. Soon,  I spotted an  office colleague from the glass window and waved at him. He came in and sat next to me and I invited him to join me for  dinner. He responded by saying he was waiting for his wife and kid to join him for dinner he got up and left in search of his near and dear ones. After some time I saw him enter the same restaurant with his family and sat in a different table totally ignoring me.  It was an awkward situation and when I left the place I tried not looking at their table. I thought hard as to what would drive such a behavior.  I was not expecting him and his family to have dinner with me but at least courtesy demanded introducing his family to me. When I shared this with someone, he immediately jumped to say that this was the American/western culture. I was not familiar with this culture  as I have not experienced the same with any of my other American friends. In fact when I once invited one of my American friends for dinner, he immediately asked whether he could bring his  spouse. Similarly once when I was invited for a dinner by another American, he encouraged me to bring my wife. Talking about culture we normally generalize, like stating that it is Indian culture or American culture, without necessarily understanding the true meaning of the term. Culture can’t be discovered or found through isolated observations.  Culture is a combination of group behavior, belief, and mindset. It constantly evolves and changes with time.  I often wonder how a nation’s mind -set is different from its culture. Precision – which nation comes to your mind? I can think of two. What about you?  Is precision not a culture- a provocative thought for your consideration?

Another generalization blue which I came across while reading  an accounting journal was asked with a teasing question “ Do you know your fraud IQ?”. Don’t jump to conclusion that I am contemplating committing any fraud, which I am not!!!!  . This is all about finding out whether accountants are equipped to detect fraud by reading criminal minds.  Amongst many questions, two questions which struck me are as follows:

1.        According to research conducted by Robert Feldman, how many times does the average person lie during a 10-minute conversation?

2.        How often can the average person correctly identify when someone is lying to him or her?

Don’t fall out of a chair reading the answers to this. The first revelation is that people lie 3 times in a ten minute conversation and the second is lies get detected only 54% of the time. How outrageous is this study …. I am not smart enough to lie three times in a ten minute conversation. Now after reading this, notice how judgmental we become if we start believing these studies. This is against basic foundation of my values which is to trust people until proven otherwise.  A lie per se is not bad and has to be put in context. Life saving lies and harmless lies (eg appease a child) are ok in my mind. So the lessons to be drawn from this is not to blindly follow these research studies as sometimes we could become victims

Mystic Communication

It took me a while to get into facebook and it is THE  happening place. This is one stop shop for all emotions, communications, networking and deliberations. Lot of inspiring stories, events, quotes, jokes, personal experiences, great photos are shared in this forum but what intrigues me are those  MMC’s in facebook. MMC stands for Monosyllables mystic communication. It appears to me that the purpose of the communicator is to cause confusion which makes people investigate,  invoke questions,  seek attention or communicate some strange code which only the receiver understands.  If it is none of this, please educate me. Here are some examples  

A-         ‘ hmmm’ ;  and then someone responds to that with ‘mmmmmmmmm’

B-         – So ?

C-        ‘…….. ‘ saw a smart response to that- “same here’

D-        I am 48% happy (apparently this a FB app) – Where did 52% go.. be 100% happy

 All above is not made up but based on what I read but no offence to anyone. I was reminded of an old definition of communication –  The exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.  Not sure where the above pattern fits in.

Way back in early 80’s I read a booked called “Maverick” by Ricardo Semler which inspired my leadership traits and style. This book is all about how to run an organization without hierarchical tyranny,  free from corporate rules and dogma.  I read an article testing the hypothesis of  “Going boss free”  as a future organization model.  I am sharing the jist of the article based on my interpretation. ( full article is posted in Knowledge group)

The Boss Is Dead, Long Live the Boss

In today’s complex world the relevance of boss from decision making perspective has been diluted as most critical decisions are committee oriented. There is lot of hype on boss less office. Hierarchy free not only enables participation but also inclusiveness. Everyone takes part in the decisions, particularly the people who  are close to the details (which in my opinion is the correct model). On the other hand, an office with no boss or manager can lead to disaster as observed in a case study where it translates to everyone become a boss. The author concludes by saying that bosses do provide one valuable attribute: “They are a common enemy. Workers know the opposition. When employees become self-managed, it’s hard to tell if you are all working together, or if everyone is working against you.” Maverick did not preach boss less office but a unique place where everybody understands their roles and responsibility.  

One day I am pretty sure I will replicate Maverick organization.

Oh those Ad’s

I was watching television one evening and one of the advertisements left an impression on me. The tag line read ‘America runs on Dunkin’ and I was intrigued by it and I was thinking to myself –  Is it so simple to run a country with donuts and coffee?.  What would be the Indian equivalent of this?  Can you think of something creative? This experience made me keep an eye on other tag lines. In a beauty shop: Dye now., ADIDAS (All day I Dream About Sports) inspire me all the time- Impossible is nothing.

Duck tours

To finish the week, I finally bit the bullet of undertaking an amphibious Duck tour of Boston. It was very creative as they have one vehicle which goes around the city on wheels and then the same vehicle launches itself into water by folding its tires like an aircraft after takeoff and converts itself into a boat. It was quite interesting to see this and was longing for India to create such tours ( Jaipur is the place which comes to my mind)

Could not resist- Weather, farewell and friends

I wanted to play golf and asked the Concierge about course nearest to the hotel. He did give directions and also gave a value added service by looking at the weather and saying “ Sir I would not advise tomorrow as there is thunder storm predicted”. I thanked him profusely for this service and went back. The weather prediction was immediately confirmed when two young people on the  lift were saying “tomorrow it is going rain the whole day and hence I am going to get drunk today”. Not sure what the correlation between rain and getting drunk was. Next day morning I woke up to a beautiful day and I cursed myself for trusting the weather prediction ( they are all same everywhere). I took the poor man’s choice of walking into a restaurant and watching a PGA tournament on a giant screen. Two couples ( I would not venture a guess as to whether they were husband and wife, friends or living together) sat next to my table and ordered drinks. Once they did that, they slipped into brief conversation and then the lady started reading a book, the man was switching between watching golf, mobile surfing and reading a book ( I admired his multi tasking ability with a beautiful lady in front of him). After every 10 minutes they got into brief conversation and then went back to their routine. This was going on for an hour and they finished their drinks and left the place. I watched with amazement and was amused to see the book in man’s hand was ‘Farewell”- Were they in their last leg of relationship? A conjecture!  When you are in a social meeting or family get together please please please commit your time to that.

Astrological Prediction

For several years I used to get astrology prediction for the coming week and I used to read with a lot of interest and get guided by it,  resulting in planned preventive action against any adverse comments there. Last week the prediction read something like this

“You might get an offer you can’t refuse when the Sun aspects Uranus and brings you an interesting proposition. It could be challenging as well as fun. The midweek Full Moon in your home zone makes this a good time for a party or get-together. If you have something to celebrate – even if you don’t – make this a reason for entertaining friends or family. You love having people over, so enjoy this opportunity. Thursday brings the chance for a lucrative deal” – Nothing happened on Thursday   I thought that in itself was great lucrative deal.  

Reflecting on this I realized none of the predictions had come true, not only this particular week but in general, and hence I asked myself why I remained foolish all these years and wasted my time by reading these predictions. So first step this week was to unsubscribe from the list and felt relieved that.  From now on, I will do what I feel is right and not get dictated by the views and random thought generation of an astrologer. I am sure this will have a big impact on the way I deal with life. Do you have any such aspect which you need to kick out- do it right now! One baby step you take now will become a giant leap in your march towards success.  I have transformed in one small way, have you?  In typical face book style please share with as many people you can. With those thoughts I sign off with a  good bye and with my usual saying “Life is beautiful”.  See you next week.

My Experiences -Last time ( MELT) – 3112

August 19, 2012

Sometime back Ramanan who is EY GSS leader on Learning and Development requested me to write a book on my experiences on leadership and I responded saying I am not ready yet but then he said why don’t you start a blog. I thought the idea was interesting and gave a serious consideration and wanted to experiment through FB. MELT is all about my experience and observation in the last seven days of my existence in this universe. Few explanations before I share my experiences. My week starts on Sunday (not Monday) as I don’t want any Monday morning blues on a week beginning. It is always nice to start a week in a relaxing note. Lot many people set their clock few minutes ahead in order to be punctual but I am taking an extreme step of setting my week start one day ahead. Nothing wrong I suppose. The number on top indicates the week number and the year.
Now the real sharing starts. The week started ( note it is a Sunday) with my return from a wonderful Darshan from Shirdi. However, I kept wondering why all these religious centers in India have become commercial and not devotee friendly. My exposure to religious centers outside of India is limited as I had the only opportunity to visit Notre Dame in April 2010 which was a positive one. We need “Save the Devotee” program to kick in to protect them.
Monday was mostly spent in the aircraft flying to Boston. Nowadays the most airlines inflate the travel time to show that they arrive on time. So a great lesson in expectation setting. Waiting in any airports is the same. My wait in JFK was not pleasant as it was chaotic with so many people and so little space to accommodate. The gate number in the boarding pass was different from the one I eventually boarded nothing unusual as it happens but strange thing was it was neither announced nor mentioned in the sign board. Near the boarding time I did not see my flight number coming up and went over the counter to be told that the gate changed. I was wondering as to how other passengers figured that out.
Read a great article “Why procrastination is good for you” felt happy as some of my thoughts and preaching were validated. It was a strange coincidence that some three weeks back when I conducted leadership program for PSS at EY, I said the same thing. I have shared this in the Group ‘Knowledge share and share alike’
I forgot to tell you that when I was in Boston last time, I bought a readymade shirt which fitted me perfectly and I got that at 70% discount and it was worth it. One good thing in US is that you get readymade garment of various sizes which eliminates the need for tailoring for most people. Shirt sizes come in combination from 14 to 18 inches collars and sleeve length from 30 to 36. So this time when I packed my luggage I did not take enough shirts with the intent of buying in Boston at 70% discount. But alas when I visited the same store the discount was gone and I cursed myself of not buying during my last visit. So I refrained from buying at exorbitant price and went back. Disaster struck as I discovered in my next day laundry that one of my (few) shirts was spoiled by launders and I gave it again for dry cleaning to find no change. More curse for not getting enough cloth. However, my hotel was kind enough to offer reimbursement for a new shirt. So I headed for a shop called Rochester and the moment I entered the shop the sales man uttered that this shop is not for ‘small’ people like you. I was momentarily shocked by that insult and before I could recover, he added saying this shop is meant for large people like him. I then understood what he meant and came out and read the name Rochester – Big and Large. So another lesson leant is to pay attention to details. By the way 5″ 11 in US is small. I unwillingly went to the same shop I went last time and discovered that that day they were offering one for one free. So I got two shirts for the price of one which was reimbursed by the hotel. Again another lesson learnt that things happen for a reason and life is a great leveler.
I need to tell you that Boston has some special air which motivates people to run as I see many people run on the road. I used to do power walking every morning for the last eight years. I stopped running or jogging few years back. However, it is strange some two weeks back when I was here suddenly something pushed me to started jogging. I started jogging for some 400 meters to start with and every day pushed myself to do more and eventually to complete 4 km in 22 minutes this Saturday. Not bad for a man of my age.
Thursday, John Ferraro broke the news that I am not short listed for the CVA which did not disappoint ( as I have already won once) me at all as I knew there were other deserving candidates. It was a great experience to get nominated again and have the greatest gratification of seeing some 100 people (who no longer report to me) writing good things about me. The whole process was a unique and beautiful experience. I read all comments and discovered true meaning of living the values and also tried interpreting the silence of many. Winning CVA is not like an Olympic race which you take lot of pains and preparation to win it… living values should come naturally to you. I am sure others who were nominated and eventually do not make it to the final list may feel disappointed. For those people who got nominated and did not make it and for those who live and do not get nominated, I am going to run for their cause. I will be running Boston 10K for them next year.
Finally to wind up this week, I watched Billy Elliott, a musical describing a boy’s struggle to become a ballet dancer under adverse circumstances. This musical is a great motivation to achieve one’s ambition and not give up and also a lesson for parents to let their children pursue the career of their choice.
This so called blog is an experiment and my continuance of this sharing is dependent upon your response and support. I know this is long but as this is the first sharing, I could not condense it. I promise to keep it short from my next sharing provided you want me to continue. Let me sign off by saying life is beautiful.

Hello world!

August 19, 2012

Sometime back one of my friend who is pursuing a Learning and Development career  requested me to write a book on my experiences on leadership and I responded saying I am not ready yet but then he said why don’t you start a blog. I thought the idea was interesting and gave a serious consideration and wanted to experiment through FB. MELT is all about my experience and observation in the last seven days of my existence in this universe. Few explanations before I share my experiences. My week starts on Sunday (not Monday) as I don’t want any Monday morning blues on a week beginning. It is always nice to start a week in a relaxing note. Lot many people set their clock few minutes ahead in order to be punctual but I am taking an extreme step of setting my week start one day ahead. Nothing wrong I suppose. The number on top indicates the week number and the year.


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