Thursday, August 28, 2008

Desire to Excel

A gentleman once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, "Do you need two statues of the same idol?" "No," said the sculptor without looking up, "We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage." The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage.. "Where is the damage?" he asked. "There is a scratch on the nose of the idol." said the sculptor, still busy with his work. "Where are you going to install the idol?" The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet high. "If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?" the gentleman asked. The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, "I know it and God knows it!"

Moral of the story

The desire to excel should be exclusive of the fact whether someone appreciates it or not. Excellence is a drive from inside, not outside. Excel at a task today - not necessarily for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction.

Contributed By:
Vivek Kejriwal
(Senior Executive- Marketing, Media Worldwide Private Limited)
GBS Alum

Monday, August 25, 2008

A new look at HR

The acronym HR refers to Human Resources. This is distinct from Material Resources as it involves Intellectual Capital. Prof. Dave Ulrich has interpreted Intellectual Capital as a Product of Competence multiplied by Commitment. Competence represents the can-dopotential of an individual while commitment indicates the will-do-potential. It therefore, behoves on an HR Manager to optimize between these two.In essence, the purpose of Human Resource Management is to achieve organizational effectiveness through individual effectiveness. HRM strives to create an enabling work environment in an organization which facilitates employees to achieve organizational effectiveness through individual effectiveness. Thus, HRM helps to reconcile between organizational goals and individual goals. This is precisely what HRM should strive to achieve.

While all the resources at the command of an organization can be shrewdly and blindly imitated by the competitor to have an edge over the rivals, it is the Human Resource which eludes duplication due to its uniqueness.HR is not a number game, it is the sum total of the inherited intelligence,acquired knowledge, learned skill and accumulated experience over the years.According to J. Pfeffer, the significance of HR as the greatest asset of an organization assumes highest importance since it constitutes the organization’s intangible, irreplaceable and unimitable resource.

The above observations notwithstanding, HR is often criticized by it’s detractors. The premise on which the HRM concept is denigrated is that HR practitioners are perceived to operate sitting in ivory towers and off-load ornamental and flashy jargons which either are not relevant or simply do not apply in the work place. To this extent, the HR person becomes a fallen hero who is considered to be a drone at the mercy of other functional specialists (such as Sales, Finance, etc.) who are regarded to bring in tangible results more related to the bottomline concerning sales, profits. For obvious reasons, people in HR would be immensely let down at this slanderous allegation. However,the situation need to be analysed dispassionately before a suitable rebuttal can be contemplated. This calls for discerning the specific roles of HR as mentioned here under.
Basically, four HR roles exist. These include: Strategic Partner, Administrative Expert, Employee Champion,and Change Agent. These four roles need to be integrated into a coherent whole and that too, in a sequential manner which would sound logical. Let us suppose, an individual takes up an assignment as an HR Manager. It is futile for the incumbent to talk about change unless the rank and file believe about the veracity andsanctity of such a prophecy. Therefore, a sensible approach would be to start working shoulder-to-shoulder with people. This is where the concept of Strategic Partner comes in. The HR practitioner has to transcend from a thinker to a doer. Once done, people would look up to the incumbent for problem-redressal/technical advice. Here lies the importance of an Administrative Expert. The HR person then has to win confidence of one and all. He/she can do this once he/she emerges as the darling of the team. This can be realized if the role of Employee Champion is displayed. Here the HR guy acts as an emissary of the people to top management. Once accomplished,it is only then that the HR person can profess change. The role of Change Agent therefore comes eventually. In this capacity,the HR person acts as a facilitator who catalyses metamorphosis and ushers in the change process. Needless to mention,such a dovetailed approach will help elevate HR’s esteem to others. Regrettably, the crux of the problem lies elsewhere as enumerated below.

People tend to make an excess of each role. Instead of being a true Strategic Partner, HR individuals overdo such a role to an extent that they become intelligent tool-kit. In lieu of serving as an administrative expert, the HR person becomes a boffin. The employeechampion activities overstretch to those of a butler. Finally, the person in his/her endeavour to serve as a change-agent in abundance lands as a dreamer. None of these excess-oriented roles are well taken by others in the organization and in the final analysis, HR makes as mockery of the position.

Foregoing considerations therefore bring us to the panacea of all ills. The HR practitioner, as mentioned in the earlier paragraphs has to integrate the distinct four roles: Strategic Partner, Administrative Expert, Employee Champion, and Change Agent instead of being exceedingly pre-occupied with any particular role. Once this preponderance of one role over the others is eliminated, undue obsession with a given role disappears and the person becomes effective, efficient in his/her day-to-day operations. Others come to realize that the role is tangibly contributive to the organization in terms of say, reducing attrition,minimize absenteeism and lateness, decreasing accidents and scrap. The denouement is an unequivocal increased QWL (Quality of WorkLife) - definitely a goal to which not only HR looks ahead but the entire organization fervently aspires for.

Contributed By:
Prof. D. P. Chattopadhyay
(Globsyn Business School)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When your hut is on fire

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, "God! How could you do this to me?" Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! "How did you know I was here? " asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

The Moral of This Story:

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

Contributed By:
Mary Verghese
(Manager HR - Globsyn)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chetan Bhagat's Speech - Keep the Spark Alive

Keep the Spark Alive

Inaugural Speech for the new batch at the Symbiosis BBA program, Pune

23rd June, 2008

By Chetan Bhagat

Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in human life when one is truly elated. The first day in college is one of them. When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be like, who are my new classmates - there is so much to be curious about. I call this excitement, the spark within you that makes you feel truly alive today. Today I am going to talk about keeping the spark shining. Or to put it another way, how to be happy most, if not all the time.

Where do these sparks start? I think we are born with them. My 3-year old twin boys have a million sparks. A little Spiderman toy can make them jump on the bed. They get thrills from creaky swings in the park. A story from daddy gets them excited. They do a daily countdown for birthday party – several months in advance – just for the day they will cut their own birthday cake.

I see students like you, and I still see some sparks. But when I see older people, the spark is difficult to find. That means as we age, the spark fades. People whose spark has faded too much are dull, dejected, aimless and bitter. Remember Kareena in the first half of Jab We Met vs the second half? That is what happens when the spark is lost. So how to save the spark?
Imagine the spark to be a lamp's flame. The first aspect is nurturing - to give your spark the fuel, continuously. The second is to guard against storms.

To nurture, always have goals. It is human nature to strive, improve and achieve full potential. In fact, that is success. It is what is possible for you. It isn't any external measure - a certain cost to company pay package, a particular car or house.

Most of us are from middle class families. To us, having material landmarks is success and rightly so. When you have grown up where money constraints force everyday choices, financial freedom is a big achievement. But it isn't the purpose of life. If that was the case, Mr. Ambani would not show up for work. Shah Rukh Khan would stay at home and not dance anymore. Steve Jobs won't be working hard to make a better iPhone, as he sold Pixar for billions of dollars already. Why do they do it? What makes them come to work everyday? They do it because it makes them happy. They do it because it makes them feel alive. Just getting better from current levels feels good. If you study hard, you can improve your rank. If you make an effort to interact with people, you will do better in interviews. If you practice, your cricket will get better. You may also know that you cannot become Tendulkar, yet. But you can get to the next level. Striving for that next level is important.

Nature designed with a random set of genes and circumstances in which we were born. To be happy, we have to accept it and make the most of nature's design. Are you? Goals will help you do that.

I must add, don't just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

You must have read some quotes - Life is a tough race, it is a marathon or whatever. No, from what I have seen so far, life is one of those races in nursery school, where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same with life, where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die.

One last thing about nurturing the spark - don't take life seriously. One of my yoga teachers used to make students laugh during classes. One student asked him if these jokes would take away something from the yoga practice. The teacher said - don't be serious, be sincere. This quote has defined my work ever since. Whether its my writing, my job, my relationships or any of my goals. I get thousands of opinions on my writing everyday. There is heaps of praise, there is intense criticism. If I take it all seriously, how will I write? Or rather, how will I live? Life is not to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? It's ok, bunk a few classes, goof up a few interviews, fall in love. We are people, not programmed devices.

I've told you three things - reasonable goals, balance and not taking it too seriously that will nurture the spark. However, there are four storms in life that will threaten to completely put out the flame. These must be guarded against. These are disappointment, frustration, unfairness and loneliness of purpose.

Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don't go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But it's life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember - if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that's where you want to be.

Disappointment's cousin is frustration, the second storm. Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don't know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved – movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly, seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result – at least I was learning how to write scripts, having a side plan – I had my third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable distractions in your life - friends, food, travel can help you overcome it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.

Unfairness - this is hardest to deal with, but unfortunately that is how our country works. People with connections, rich dads, beautiful faces, pedigree find it easier to make it – not just in Bollywood, but everywhere. And sometimes it is just plain luck. There are so few opportunities in India, so many stars need to be aligned for you to make it happen. Merit and hard work is not always linked to achievement in the short term, but the long term correlation is high, and ultimately things do work out. But realize, there will be some people luckier than you. In fact, to have an opportunity to go to college and understand this speech in English means you are pretty damm lucky by Indian standards. Let's be grateful for what we have and get the strength to accept what we don't. I have so much love from my readers that other writers cannot even imagine it. However, I don't get literary praise. It's ok. I don't look like Aishwarya Rai, but I have two boys who I think are more beautiful than her. It's ok. Don't let unfairness kill your spark.

Finally, the last point that can kill your spark is isolation. As you grow older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want Ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different from even the people closest to you. This can create conflict as your goals may not match with others. . And you may drop some of them. Basketball captains in college invariably stop playing basketball by the time they have their second child. They give up something that meant so much to them. They do it for their family. But in doing that, the spark dies. Never, ever make that compromise. Love yourself first, and then others.

There you go. I've told you the four thunderstorms - disappointment, frustration, unfairness and isolation. You cannot avoid them, as like the monsoon they will come into your life at regular intervals. You just need to keep the raincoat handy to not let the spark die.

I welcome you again to the most wonderful years of your life. If someone gave me the choice to go back in time, I will surely choose college. But I also hope that ten years later as well, your eyes will shine the same way as they do today. That you will Keep the Spark alive, not only through college, but through the next 2,500 weekends. And I hope not just you, but my whole country will keep that spark alive, as we really need it now more than any moment in history. And there is something cool about saying - I come from the land of a billion sparks.

Thank You!

Contributed By:
Anjali Mishra
(Globsyn Business School)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Appraisal Letter

There was a contest in TCS comp. To write a fictional story for 500 words max which would start with the line "On a dark and foggy night, a small figure lay huddled on the railway tracks leading to the Chennai station..."

This is what a guy wrote for the contest....... and surprisingly, it was judged the best short story!

On a dark and foggy night, a small figure lay huddled on the railway tracks leading to the Chennai station. At once I was held back to see someone in that position during midnight with no one around. With curiosity taking the front seat, I went near the body and tried to investigate it. There was blood all over the body which was lying face down. It seemed that a ruthless blow by the last train could have caused the end of this body which seemed to be that of a guy of around my age. Amidst the gory blood flow, I could see a folded white envelope which was fluttering in the midnight wind. Carefully I took the blood stained envelope and was surprised to see the phrase "appraisal letter" on it. With curiosity rising every moment, I wasted no time in opening the envelope to see if I can find some details about the dead guy. The tag around the body's neck and the jazzy appraisal cover gave me the hint that he might be a software engineer.

I opened the envelope to find a shining paper on which the appraisal details where typed in flying colors. Thunders broke into my ears and lightening struck my heart when I saw the appraisal amount of the dead guy!!!!! My God, it was not even, as much as the cost of the letter on which the appraisal details were printed.... My heart poured out for the guy and huge calls were heard inside my mind saying "no wonder, this guy died such a miserable death"... As a fellow worker in the same industry, I thought I should mourn for him for the sake of respect and stood there with a heavy heart thinking of the shock that he would have experienced when his manager had placed the appraisal letter in his hand. I am sure his heart would have stopped and eyes would have gone blank for few seconds looking at the near to nothing increment in his salary.

While I mourned for him, for a second my hands froze to see the employee's name in the appraisal letter...hey, what a strange co-incidence, this guy's name is same as mine, including the initials. This was interesting. With some mental strength, I turned the body upside down and found myself fainted for a second. The guy not only had my name, but also looked exactly like me. Same looks, same built, same name.... it was me who was dead there!!!!!!!! While I was lost in that shock, I felt someone patting on my shoulders. My heart stopped completely, I could not breathe and sprung in fear to see who was behind......... Splash!!! Went the glass of water on my laptop screen as I came out of my wild dream to see my manager standing behind my chair patting on my shoulder saying, "Wake up man! Come to meeting room number two. I have your appraisal letter ready".

Contributed By:
Debasree Chattopadhyay
(HR Executive - Kotak Securities Limited.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Car Manufacturing Industry is in Danger !!

Macro phenomena as stated below are expected to be the largest subscribers for the slowing down of car manufacturing industry.
  • Increase of price of crude oil worldwide.
  • Increase of price of steel worldwide.
  • Profit of Car Manufacturing industry will go down & in turn will reduce the share price of those companies involved in car manufacturing.
  • Banks vis-a-vis Financial Institutions will not be able to deploy its resources (i.e., Deposit) for purchasing cars (expected to be availed of by the borrowers for purchasing cars) due to reduction of demand in the market.
  • There will be a very big jolt for the transport industry as a whole.
  • A good news for Car Manufacturers using CNG Technology and can expect a sizeable increase in sale of their cars.
  • Two-wheeler manufacturers are now in an advantageous position.
  • It is a hey day for "Nanos" of Tata.

But think about the road space available for movement of cars in the cities especially in metro cities & State Capitals. A real enigma indeed!

Prof. B. K. Bhattacharya
(Globsyn Business School - Ahmedabad)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Learning Organization

Dear Students,

As you get more into HR principles & practices, you will hear more about Learning Organization.

This was postulated by Peter Senge and has since gained overwhelming acceptance.

What, then, is a learning organization & how does it differ from a traditional organization?
  • A traditional organization focuses on assets whereas a learning organization focuses on capabilities.
  • A traditional organization emphasizes on volumes whereas a learning organization stresses on values.
  • A traditional organization is hierarchical whereas a learning organization is networked.
  • A traditional organization is independent whereas a learning organization is interdependent.
  • A traditional organization is reactive whereas a learning organization is proactive.
  • A traditional organization gives importance to command & control whereas a learning organization gives importance to delegation & empowerment.
  • A traditional organization is myopic & short-term whereas a learning organization is far-sighted & long-term.
  • A traditional organization is judgmental whereas a learning organization is developmental.
  • A traditional organization is business-driven whereas a learning organization is customer-driven.
  • A traditional organization is parochial whereas a learning organization is eclectic.

You will realize, the above characteristics make a traditional organization ‘soulless’ whereas the above qualities make a learning organization ‘spirited’.

With best wishes,

Prof. D. P. Chattopadhyay
(Globsyn Business School)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ethics in Corporate Parlance

We talk about Ethics and Ethical practices in Corporate but some of the fundamental questions which are relevant to understand its meaning and scope are as follows:

Why ethics is not morality?
Why ethics is not just code of conduct?
Why ethics is not just corporate governance?

Some of the basic facts and figures about ethics which helps to learn its scope are:

  • Ethics need to involve others
  • Ethics is teamwork (It is all about how you handle stakeholders)
  • Ethics begins at home
  • Ethics is all about raising the bar constanty

The very fact that the 70% of frauds in Corporate are brought to notice by the stakeholders and 30% through Internal Audit is quite encouraging to have well defined ethical standards and guidelines for all Organizations

When we talk about business ethics the following steps are being talked about:

  • Agreement on norms
  • Which in turn define policies
  • Which would further help the Organization to attain the desired goals

Three principles for defining good ethical policies in the Organization are:

  • To standardize the same
  • To make them workable and practical
  • Have commitment of the Top Management

Contrubuted By:

Mr.Ranjan Sarkar
(Associate Vice President-HR)
Acclaris Limited