Equilibrium

as a child I had learned while studying science the importance of ‘equilibrium’. I do not clearly remember its definition. It meant to me the natural ability for a thing to stand up on its own – to maintain its stability. It was taught that if the center of gravity is closer to the ground, it increases the stability of anything in adverse circumstances. Like extreme push or pull, a jump or a fall etc.

Today, I find that equilibrium is equally important for human beings. What is means to me is the ability to retain our feet on the ground. Extreme emotions may tend to shake the feet but adequate control of the mind helps us develop the ability to remain on the ground.

Habits Die Hard

Habits die hard is commonly known. But forming new habits is equally hard. In the fast changing world that we are in today, we need ‘change’ more than anything else. Change in attitude and change in habits need to be priorities. Someone told me that if you do something at the same time daily, it becomes your habit. I have motivated some of my students, but the results are far from satisfactory. To form a new habit or to ward of the old one needs the following:

                                i.            Develop a strong desire to bring in the change.

                              ii.            Set a valid reminder system.

                            iii.            Define the milestones and the timeline.

Appraisals

On 8th of this month I had to conduct a training programme for a small organization of less than 100 people.

Appraisals are difficult to conduct, by are necessary for the organisation. This is when you sit in judgment on people you have to deal on day-to-day basis. This is when you, as a manager have to perform this arduous task. You naturally become extra careful. You don’t want to annoy a person who is an integral member of your small team.

The biggest problem is whatever you do on that day of judgment sits as a permanent mark in the file of the person appraised.

In 50s & 60s there used to be large families in our country. It was not uncommon to find 6 and 7 and 8 children in a house. Parents were expected to treat them alike but could they ever do. Here, children were also expected to contribute to the growth and development of the family. But were they treated alike?  Same love and affection of father and of mother? Not really! Some would become favorite of their mother, others of their father. Often the father would hardly have the time to make any favorites.

In an organization, too, personal bias is bound to creep in. An Appraisal is expected to bring in differentiation. But in order that the objective of the appraisal is achieved, the Manager needs to rise above the personal likes and dislikes. The more arduous problem is the hesitation of the Manager. Hesitation to articulate what he/she objectively considers the correct comments on the person being appraised.

Magnifying Glass

Except for the watch maker, palmist or others who use it professionally, a magnifying glass reminds you of your childhood. I was particularly fond off burning paper or creating heat on a summer day.We friends would compete on the duration of time one could tolerate the focused energy produced by sun rays on hand.

But today, the name magnifying glass symbolizes far greater importance in an individual’s life. It signifies ‘focus’. Focus that we often miss. Focus that can kindle a fire of desire in our minds. Desire when converted into a passion can bring about a total change in one’s life and its purpose. Success is bound to follow in anything that you do!

Well & You Know

I did my masters in English Literature long ago from Government College, Ludhiana. My friend Ajit Prasad Jain and I shared the same bench in the class – in the last row. One of our lecturers who taught us kept us engaged in a rather unusual manner. He had a habit of repeating two words – ‘well’ and ‘you know’, almost in every sentence.

We did not have a counter at that time. Nor did we have a stop watch. But we gave ourselves a task of keeping track of how many times the lecturer would repeat the word ‘well’ and ‘you know’ during the period of 45 minutes. The wager was simple. If the professor repeated ‘well’ more than ‘you know’ Ajit would pay for our tea and samosa in the tuck-shop (college canteen) and in case ‘well’ left ‘you know’ behind, I would have to foot the bill.

It appeared to be a never ending game; and it kept our interest high in the prose lecture of our dear Professor. None of us or any other student in the class had the guts to point out and say to him, “Sir, 15-20 % of what you speak in class comprises just of two words – ‘well’ and ‘you know’.

These days too I find that a lot of professionals who come to me for improving their communication skills have similar habits. Filler words, are intruders who reduce the efficacy of speech. I still encounter, ‘You know’, though ‘well’ is not commonly used these days. But the most repetitively used words these days are – ‘like’, ‘basically’, ‘actually’ etc. Besides, other common intruders are – and, eh, uh, etc. In the first session itself I ask my students to remove these intruders (filler words and sounds) from their speech.

Confidence

As a child, I always felt that I lacked confidence. Even now, in some situations I find that I do not measure up to my expectations. Yet, I have always admired ‘confident people’ and I continue to do.

Considering that Confidence is a very importance part of our lives, I often contemplate about it.

This happened at the Delhi Airport. I had checked-in well in advance, as per my habit. I was waiting to board the flight to Mumbai. As usual I was looking around to find ‘confident people’. There were many men and women – well dressed, upright and looking satisfied with their lives. But there was one gentleman who appeared exceptional. He was immaculately dressed in a dark grey suit. His broad shoulders and with his ‘chin-up’ added to his confident look. As I was brooding the flight was announced and we all boarded the plane.

It was a comfortable smooth flight. All the usual things – the in flight safety demonstrations, service of snacks, tea and coffee went off very well. Soon it was the time to reach Mumbai. The air-hostess announced that the plane would land at Mumbai airport in a few minutes. Then something happened. Instead of descending the plane went up and started going round in circles. After about ten minutes everyone got restless. People were looking around and trying to understand what was happening. I closed my eyes and started praying. Still, the plane continued to hover in mid-air.

Suddenly, I thought of this very confident tall man I saw at the Delhi airport. Looking around I found that he was perhaps the most restless soul on the flight at that moment. He was holding his handkerchief in one hand furiously wiping the perspiration, sometimes from the forehead and sometimes from his cheeks. With closed eyes he was looking up and down. At times he would put his hand in the pocket, as if he were trying to search for something. I could see all this because he occupied an aisle seat on the opposite side just two rows behind. In my futile endeavor of observing him, I had somehow forgotten my fears.

And then the Pilot came out of his cabin, walked to the middle of gangway, and stopped there. He did something and then went back. Shortly thereafter another landing announcement was made. The plane landed safely and all of us got down.

I realized that the ‘confidence’ of a person is not only about posture, looks, and dress.  dressed, and the way he behavior, it is something more. In fact, a lot more. Real confidence is tested when there is a crisis how you remain cools at the time.

I realized that the confidence of a person is not only about posture, looks, dress and behavior, but it is something more. In fact, a lot more! Real confidence is tested when there is a crisis. How you remain cool at the time of crisis shows how confident you are.

Seat Belts

Wearing Seat Belts in cars became compulsory on 31st January, 1983. I do not know of any country where seat belts was prescribed as legal requirements before 1983. It is not that the concept of Seat Belt was new. Seat Belts had earlier been used for flights ever since commercial aviation began. However, when the manufacturers of the aircrafts were confident that once in the air the seat belts could be removed, flight instructions were accordingly modified.

Nowadays, once again, it is recommended that during the flights passengers should continue to keep Seat Belts fastened. A Seat Belt to me is a symbol of caution and care you need to take while doing anything which is not devoid of risk.

But there is nothing worthwhile that can be achieve without taking some risks. In fact not talking any risks in life is the biggest risk.

So, to grow and progress in life and experience happiness of success, you need to take some risks. But always wear Seat Belts. Ensure that you take all possible precautions – that is wear Seat Belts and go right ahead.

Nationalism

On this day that is 26th January it is just right to think of nationalism. How nationalistic are we? Do we reckon that the patriotism which our freedom fighters had shown is still present in our lives? If not what are the reasons? Is that fast pace of today’s life where everybody has to compete with others has an impact? Is our education system at fault? Or does it have anything to do with our distancing ourselves from our ancient culture? Unless we apply our mind, we will remember our freedom fighter ancestors only on two days in a year – that is, on independence day and on 26th January, that is Republic Day.
The situation is far from satisfactory. It is for the activists, the NGOs, the educationists, and the State itself, who have to take adequate steps to reverse the rather sad state of affairs so far as our national character is concerned.

The good news is that the media today particularly social media gives an opportunity to all thinking people to contribute. It could be an awakening call for those in control to take necessary measures to bring back the patriotic spirit that earned us freedom from the British yoke.

Change Management

“People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I do not believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they don’t find them, they make them!”

These words of George Bearnard Shaw are more relevant today than ever before. In the continuous changing society, it is imperative to rely on knowledge, process and technology – all three to keep pace with the change. Leaders must keep in mind the following aspects for effectively ensuring and properly implementing change in the organisations they lead. These are:

1. Innovation: The leader should have the the ability to innovate. This requires imagination, knowledge and perspective, and a thorough understanding of the organisation he leads.

2. Personal Involvement: It is necessary for the leader to be personally involved for the efficacy of the strategy to bring about change. He can not carry out the same by proxy.

3. The Leader should know what needs to be done in general, though not in detail. This should be true at every stage of change management.

4. The Leader must be able to deal with ambiguity and be willing to take the required risks. Not taking any risks is the biggest risk.

5. Above all, the leader must understand and correctly assess how much the organisation can change and at what speed.

Satish Kakri, Director – Satish Kakri Management & Educational Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

Stay hungry! Stay foolish!!

Steve Jobs apart from being a technical wizard, was a great human being. He knew that human ego hinders the progress of an individual. He know that knowledge is never bound by any limits. His continuous quest for knowledge, his ability to assimilate the same and to yearn for more, were the reasons for his phenomenal growth and progress.

He would often say “Stay hungry, stay foolish!”, and this would sum up his personality.