August 24, 2014

My innocent learning from TEDx IIM Calcutta!

"Quit the 'Rat Race'  as at the end of the rat race there are either 'Winner Rats' or 'Looser Rats' but they all remain as  'Rats'. You are 'Human' and you deserve much better"-Pratik Poddar

Pratik who was one of the inspiring speakers during the TEDxIIMC, encapsulated the genesis of an entrepreneurial dream in a well articulated manner. Found honesty and refreshing unpretentiousness in his talk where he spoke about his learning as an Entrepreneur & a  mentor to many budding entrepreneurs.

While his talk was not essentially about the theme 'Entrepreneurial Innovation' but it did serve the purpose of getting the 'Entrepreneurial' bit right in a  riveting manner.

His focus on 'Happiness' as one of the key qualities for Entrepreneurial Success did strike a chord with me. It was a befitting end of an interesting day when he said "No one has created anything beautiful by being 'Unhappy' ".

Blame it on the effect of recency or maybe genuine connect, this last talk from Pratik made a lot of sense to me.

The start of the event was equally inspiring or rather quite moving. Fahim Vora, the co-founder of 'Be the Local Tours'  spoke about the transformational  employment opportunities he brought into one of the largest slums in Asia called 'Dharavi' through his visionary idea of offering tourists across the globe an inside view of the world within Dharavi which is beyond poverty or dirt or disease; its about the fascinating world within Dharavi where its residents have created opportunities of multiple small but sustainable industries.

Fahim has failed his B Com exam multiple times but these failures are small due to the scale of his vision. I am sure he would clear his B Com exam this year and I am much surer that he alongwith his partner Tauseef would also actualize their dream of providing jobs to the students of Dharavi  to support their education while bringing the inside view of Dharavi to the world with a positive perceptual change.

Please watch this fabulous video powered by Intel or rather powered by Fahim & Tauseef :-)

Sumit Gandhi was definitely the most 'impressive' of all speakers in terms of his oratorical skills & showed how 'technology' & 'heart' can juxtapose in perfect sync complimenting each other.

Sumit left his well paying job from one of the world's most admired companies & forged ahead in his vision of creating hundreds of white collared chat based BPO jobs for Hearing Impaired people through the simple technology of 'SMS' & a typing course certified from an University of Global Repute.

Sumit with his empowering vision spoke about the 'Thinking inside the box' theory as against the popular 'Thinking out of the box'. He emphasized that no matter how occupied the box is, there is always scope for more. Just a little more space...just a little more 'heart'...a little more contextual use of 'technology'...

Krutika Karat, the founder of Oo Womaniya was the only woman entrepreneur in the event who brought up a 'seemingly' uncomfortable topic by conservative standards on Women Health & Wellness in the most convincing & relevant manner.

Krutika spoke about her personal experience which further motivated her to architect an online network on Women's health & wellness which empowers women to access  credible information on emotional & physical well being. Definitely the most persuasive yet effortless talk that urged women to be absolutely uninhibited in their pursuit of  well being they truly deserve and urged the men like me to be more supportive towards our women friends than ever before.

Indeed a great day infused with inspiring thoughts. I wish all these inspiring speakers paramount success in their endeavor.

  PS: We also watched the awe inspiring pre recorded TED videos of Sugata Mitra, Arvind Gupta, Pamela Meyer & Apollo Robbins

June 16, 2014

The Blue Tie & The Scarf

Someone recently asked me about my innocent thoughts on identifying, developing and nurturing high potential talent. This led me to think about the reward & recognition in my school days at 'Delhi Public School R K Puram' from where I passed out 10 years back.

Every student who passed their academic year with 80% & above were awarded a scholar badge which they could proudly display on their green colored school blazer. Winning 3 scholar badges or more meant we did not have to go to our parents to ask for a blazer as the school awarded us with a Blue Blazer. Few more years of academic excellence meant a Blue Tie and then came Gold Medal.

Going by the above Reward & Recognition model, there were three categories of students by class 12th:

1. Those who waited for Winter: These were students who wore the Scholar Badge on their Blazers or received the Blue Blazers from School. Essentially they had to wait for the winter for the same so that they could proudly display their reward.

2. Those who did not have to wait for any season: These were the students who wore the Blue Tie and Gold Medal. They could wear the same (Not the Gold medal though!) throughout the year and some of us like me aspired to be like them.

3. Those who kept waiting: These were students like me who did not achieve the academic excellence which they desired as they did not go the extra mile to achieve it.

Let me make an attempt to find two key features of this R & R model:

1.     Focus on right behavior: It focused not only on ‘excellence’ in academics but it focused on the right behavior which is ‘Consistency’, ‘Focus’ &  ‘Patience’ as the reward got better with sustained  excellence. Two consecutive years of academic excellence meant another Scholar Badge and not anything better which lead to the student to imbibe the value of ‘patience’ along with excellence to achieve better rewards like Blue Blazer/Blue Tie/Gold Medal. In this age where there is a hunger for ‘visibility’, there is a need for sustained excellence along with ‘patience’. Those who missed out on these rewards got help from School in terms of remidial classes and students could seek help from teachers to which teachers were always willing to help.
2.     Clear Criteria: The criteria were clear and specific for the rewards ie 80% & beyond. Let the criteria for superior performance be clear so that its aspiring in nature driving right behavior & not be ambiguous leading to inaction & cynicism. While we secretly desired to earn the Blue Tie but we never had any ill & jealous feeling towards the ones who wore it. The blue tie did not elude us from them, it rather brought us closer to them as inspirations who could help us in improving our academic performance. 

Identification of High Potential employees can be a futile exercise. An organization should rather focus on creating a credible & transparent Reward & Recognition model.

The High Potential employees should get drawn towards the R&R model of the organization and it would become very easy to filter the High Potential employees from the High Performing employees. High Performing associates needs to get rewarded and the High Potential associates need to get recognized.

The above bit which has been posted is about ‘Identifying’ High Potential talent ( Being better known as HIPO).

Now lets focus on the ‘Developing’ & ‘Nurturing’ bit of High Potential talent. While I worked for close to 4 years in HR and had experienced the same with depth, I am very new to Learning & Development profession so I would reserve my thoughts on ‘Development’ & ‘Nurturing’ for a future course of time.

However, I will leave you with a question.

Is there a need to ‘develop’ a talent when you can ‘nurture’ them?

A leader in my organization introduced me to a theory called ‘SCARF’ model by David Rock. Seek the help of professor google and ‘figure it out yourself’. It might help you to frame a ‘Nurturing’ model for the organization.

Also can your organization create a story which can inspire you even after 10 years the way my school inspired me?

September 22, 2013

'LUNCHBOX'-Virtues of error

A taciturn man who is about to retire from his professional life but hopes against hope to get inducted into a new fulfilling phase of life....

A married woman whose culinary skills opens the floodgates of her emotions  to a pen friend....

A Lunchbox....

"If we dont find the right person in life to share our memories with then the memories itself fade away". While Irfan Khan renders this line in the movie Lunchbox, you feel struck by the layers of emotions cocooned in it. 

Lunchbox is a movie which spells its magic on the audience with its sincere storyline, the magical realism of the two leads played by Irfan Khan & Nirmat Kaur along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s unbridled yet subtle acting prowess  and the under celebrated virtues of love & simplicity in modern times.

Its a movie that stands tall and makes you feel humbled. It’s a movie which must not be reviewed but only experienced. 

Its heart warming how Nawazuddin Siddiqui tells Irfan Khan "A wrong train can lead a person to the right destination”.

The movie deals with how a remote mistake by the much famed Dabbawalas leads to the 'right Lunchbox' being delivered to the 'wrong destination' but to the 'right person'.

While you get geared up to watch this movie, please make an attempt to recognize the’virtues’ made possible due to the error of an innocent Dabbawala.

This time it’s virtues of an error being celebrated and thankfully not comedy of errors.

December 15, 2012

Lessons from Prof. Pi

The first movie I watched with Sayantika post our marriage was 'Life of Pi'. Not the typical 'romantic' movie which one would ideally watch with their special one. Yet I cant stop romanticizing about this epic movie. Lets have a keen look at the lessons from Prof. Pi:

1. Sometimes your greatest fear can serve as the greatest purpose- Pi was lost in the middle of the ocean with the Tiger named 'Richard Parker'. Pi was scared of Tigers since childhood but his only living companion in the boat was his greatest fear 'Richard Parker'. Not only did he survive but he also made 'Richard Parker' his friend. He ensured that he put his constant effort to keep 'Richard Parker' alive.Taking care of 'Richard Parker' gave him the meaning to survive. It gave him purpose. Hence, dont let your greatest fear control you, allow yourself to control it and it will ensure you survive the biggest storms in your life.

2. Make sure you say 'Good Bye'- At times saying 'Good Bye' can be very difficult but if you indeed have to leave your dear ones, please look back and say 'Good Bye'. Pi was potrayed as a very strong human but the only time we found him in tears while narrating his story was when he spoke about how 'Richard Parker' left him alone in the shores and never looked back.

3. Above all, keep your hopes alive- Pi had a survival book which contained survival tips. One phrase in the book said "Above all, keep your hopes alive". This phrase deeply influenced him in all crisis moments. Had he lost all hopes even few minutes before reaching the Mexican shores, he would not have been alive to narrate his inspiring story to others.

4. Replace 'Worry' with 'Work'- At every stage of Pi's crisis moments, he did the 'right' actions in the 'right' way without wasting time. The depressing moments did not get him an inch closer to his purpose. Only focusing on the 'right' actions helped him to progress further.

5. You are not as lonely as you think- While you watch the movie, it might appear that Pi was extremely lonely in his journey. However, at every step he received support in various forms. Even in the worst times, we might feel that we are treading a lonely journey, but if our actions are righteous we would most likely receive support from unexpected corners.

6. Make that journey from Head to Heart- Towards the end of Pi’s journey in the ocean, Pi and Richard Parker felt extremely fragile and starved. This was a point where intelligence alone would not have helped. Inspite of Pi’s childhood fear for Tigers, he showed utmost compassion towards Richard Parker. At the final leg of the journey, it was not only Pi’s intelligence which kept him going, it was Pi’s compassion for Richard Parker which helped both of them to remain alive. Sometimes we have to make that journey from Head to Heart. You must know when to start that journey.

7. Be Grateful- Inspite of all the challenges, Pi never appeared to be cynical. At every step of his journey he thanked his parents, uncle and Richard Parker. As much as his strength and courage, he also appears to be endearing because of his gratefulness. Being grateful makes us happy and makes the journey tread so far really worthwhile.  Thank someone special in a special way today.