Be the First….Be Unique….Doesn’t matter much whether you are the Best or Not….

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Be the best is what we are told right from our school days. How long can one continue to be the best forever ? The competition is stiff and maintaining the top spot is not easy and then it’s not a necessity that the one on top is actually the best , there are numerous other factors which may propel one to the top spot. The other day I was listening to Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba Group and he said aim to be the first not the best and it did make a lot of sense.

More than being the best what actually matters is being the first to grab an opportunity , being the first to get an idea , being the first to execute that idea . What will make you stand out is being unique , being different. Being first , being unique is what helps in beating the competition. When you are unique you don’t have to bother about others because the products or services they are offering are totally different from yours . You have your own Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

When you are first , you are ahead of the competition. Your uniqueness will always appeal to your target population. By the time others catch up with your idea or try to better it you have already made your mark and on way to diversifying and improving further. It is the first who is always remembered , who is always referred to or quoted. Whole world will know the name of first man or woman who climbed Mount Everest ,but hardly anyone will know the name of the person who was the fastest to climb . Same is the case of new products being launched . The first , sets the trend and the others are compared to it.

Being first doesn’t mean that you try and implement an idea without proper thought . An idea has to be reasonably analysed and then comes in your risk taking ability , your capacity to experiment and the strength to face the failure. Maintain your uniqueness , you may have got an idea from an existing product or product make it your own by infusing your mind into it .Your imprint , uniqueness should be clearly visible.

“Aim to do your best , be the first , be unique,

Doesn’t matter whether you are the best ,

Your uniqueness will carry you through”.

“Make your uniqueness your USP”

“Be ready to pay the price ….To realise a dream”

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We all set goals in life , what we want to achieve, where we want to see ourselves in a given time frame but then why most of us fail to achieve what we started with the aim of achieving.

One of the reason for the failures, I found, was that in most cases actually the goals set are not our own, we don’t actually own them. A child, from early years, is being generally directed by the parents, teachers / elders towards a set goal and the child mentally starts accepting that’s what he wants to achieve or that’s what he wants to be.
His own dream remains buried deep down in his thoughts not allowed to flourish for various reasons.

As the child grows and gets into the professional field he gets exposed to the world and realises that’s not what he was born to do, his heart and mind is somewhere else. But not many have the heart to take that decision or the risk to change over and continues trying to excel in something he / she never actually loved. They try to adjust to the environment they are not comfortable with, and the goal post changes.

Not many parents / teachers encourage the child to take decisions, whereas the main aim of education , formal / informal , should be to empower the child with decision making abilities .By the time he understands decision making , he thinks its too late to take the risk of change and generally compromises. You compromise and the dream will be dead.

It’s not an easy task to realise the purpose of one’s life, what one wants to be. Some may get the enlightenment very early in life while most may take years and there is nothing wrong in it. The day you realise it , start working for it . Have the heart to follow your dream . The inability to follow the heart, the dream , is solely the failure of the individual and no one else can be blamed for it.

The issue of financial safety and security is drilled deep in our brains as we grow up. We are generally risk averse .We are not ready to pay the price attached to realising the dream. The price may be in the form of money , time or extra effort.

A dream like having a ‘Startup” may include the price of losing the security of present job, if you already have one. The risk of failure and losing all money will always be attached to it. Your family may also have to struggle along with you . Are they ready for it or are you ready to make them go through it? The dream may be a non-starter for want of finances or inability to take risks.

A dream of being a good mountaineer, having a good body and the like will require sacrifices of having a strict time and diet regimens . Getting up early and putting in extra hours over and above as required for your daily routine commitments. Specialised training over a long period under expert supervision. Only a truly dedicated person will succeed where the majority are bound to fail or just give up.

Simple dreams of being a singer, musician a dancer will require hard training over a sustained period of time. Many may just back out for reasons of time.

For a dream to be realised the basic requirement is a strong mind and heart. You have to make your decision after a deliberate thought and analysis. Be ready to face the risk not caring about what others may think. Be ready to put in that extra effort or burn the midnight oil as you train hard. Stay focused , not wavering in the face of odds. Chart your own path when no one seems to be giving you company. You will fall not once but many times, have the ability to get up and move on.

A dream should never be solely linked to making money . A dream is more related to being happy, getting satisfaction, than just make money.

“Be ready to pay the price ….To realise a dream”

 

Employee …. Soul of any Organisation….

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Performance evaluations and counselling is a constant process in any organisation. The aim is to keep the organisation in good health by improving on the shortcomings, removing the non-performers or transplanting them where they suit better. One of the most important aspects on which depends the future of any organisation but at times not paid the attention it deserves. More than just firing the role of Performance Evaluation is for improving. Firing is always an option but not the only option.

Employees are the heart and soul of any organisation and on their health depends the health of the organisation. Everyone wants to hire the best , under the given circumstances, however, it has to be understood that no one can be perfect. An employer should not expect all employees to be as good in the performance as he himself is. No one can be expected to love the organisation as much as the owner. Given the prevalent circumstances in the job market where money / salary matters the most one cannot expect total dedication from an employee . The employee, in most cases, will take a plunge, whenever he gets a seemingly better opportunity, that is higher salary or better work culture. Only exceptions may be the government organisation where the employees generally works from joining till retirement and  enjoys the privilege of non performing and still getting the same salary as the performer and if he is smarter , manage the promotions too. This option is not available to the workers in ever growing private sector.

How does one then retain his people and keep them motivated to give their best always . A very difficult proposition for any business. One must understand that everyone cannot be same in performance. Expecting perfection is a Big No. The requirement is of the employees who give an above average performance constantly at the scale of 7 to 9 out of 10. Varied types of employees are required to sustain an organisation and outperform the competition. Having all ‘Perfect’ employees may be counter-productive because in most cases then not they will find it difficult to co-exist, being constantly under the impression that they know more than the others. Now that will certainly be harmful for the health any organisation.

Aim should not be to hire the best but to get the best out of people hired. How does one achieve this? Very early in my service career I had learnt a very simple principle of employees management from a boss of mine; Every man is good in something, develop the capability to see / understand goodness in people / things and use them for what they are good in. You cannot expect a fish to climb trees. Hire them and employ them for what they are good it. Do not keep trying to ‘Fit’ people where you want. The day a boss understands this, everyone and the organisation will be happy.

Understand the needs of your employees. They will have wants and desires too , but you focus at their needs. The first basic need is of self-respect and empowerment. Give them respect and appreciate the efforts they put in even when they have not been able to achieve the desired target. The shortcomings have to be boldly underlined and driven home but without humiliation or threat. Facilitate employees in

sharpening their skills and acquiring new ones which help them in their personal growth and the growth of organisation.

As a boss / Team leader , do not try to micro manage. Help people grow, by allowing them space for self-expression and encouraging new ideas. Do carry out analysis periodically and help them make corrections / rectifications but do not hover over their head 24 X 7 . Give them space to breathe and think. Remember what General George S Patton said ages back “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity”.

Try and understand the reasons for low performance by an employee. In most cases reasons are other than professional; a break up , an ailing family member and the like. Not withstanding the reason , the boss should be there to guide  , counsel or support them as the need be. More than firing , an understanding attitude of the bosses help in the growth of the organisation and helps in bringing out the best from the employees.

Ensure a good working environment. Do not keep breathing down the neck of the employees setting unrealistic targets which may only burn down the employees and finally the organisation / business. Do not keep changing the goal post / aim . If it has been realistically set then a change will be seldom required.

Take care of the physical, physiological and emotional needs of your people and they will give the best. A good work culture is a great motivator and the best facilitator for employee retention.

Employees are the heart and soul of any organisation, take care of them and they will take care of the business growth. 

“As a boss your aim should be to build a happy team where all members are always willing to facilitate each other’s growth thus leading to the overall growth of the organisation”.

Walking the Ramp…..

 

 

walk the ramp

The other day I had an opportunity of witnessing a fashion show . I am not very fond of such shows but an exception was made this time around on persistence of my wife and daughter.

Many young girls ( Models ) walked the ramp attired in outfits of two famous Indian designers . Well , the dresses did not impress me much but I will be truthful in accepting that the young ladies caught my attention and not just because they were beautiful ( I am a firm believer that any girl born in our great country is born beautiful and beauty is not skin deep ) but what impressed me most was the attitude of the models walking the ramp. The glare of lights , cameras and hundreds of eyes glued on their faces ( some on dresses too ) the ladies walked the ramp as if nothing existed . It was just between them and the ramp , the people ,and lights were non existent. Looking straight , carrying a lovely expression they walked across confidently not showing even an iota of nervousness. The fear of a rare dress malfunction or tripping over the sarees ( Indian dress) or the lovely long skirts ( Lehangas) not showing at all , but I am sure it must be playing on their mind as they walked. They were hardly getting just about a minute to change from one attire to another. They were so focused on the given task ( or may be to an extent on the camera ) and nothing else mattered . I would say it was a perfect display of a “Tunnel Vision” . Nothing / no one else existed, just the ramp , cameras and they. One understands the amount of hard work, preparations, rehearsals which would have gone into putting up the fashion show together. The young ladies specially must be going through a grilling regimen to qualify to walk on the ramp specially for big brands. They all walked tall that evening and am sure will walk tall in their life.

That’s what life is all about ; a dream, detailed preparations, focus , hard work , persistence and perseverance. It’s just like walking the ramp.There will be hundreds of distractions , competitors trying to way lay you and the fear of tripping over /  failure of the idea but you have to remain focused on your aim. Have the ability to get up if you fall or attempt again if you fail. No failure is final, till you actually give up. May be a ‘tunnel vision’ is a requirement to reach the end of the tunnel. Do not let the flame of passion get extinguished for any reason. What goes inside the mind should seldom be reflected on the face. Your team should always see a confident leader standing in front of them, who they are sure will lead them through hell.

“Be a model …a ‘Role Model’ for your team….Walk the Ramp with them …..lead them through the ups and down till the light at the end of the tunnel is reached….”

Responsible Parenting …….Happy Children….

It’parenting-responsibilities-200x200s very common to hear parents complaining that the kids , specially teenagers hardly like to spend time with them . The boys specially share very little , refuse to open their hearts in front of parents. Even the children have similar complaints about their parents- No Quality time.

Who or what is to be blamed for such a situation arising in a family? Well actually no one or should I say practically all the family members. We can blame the technology as well, the TV , cell phones or the internet.

The main reason is our lifestyle. We as parents forget our responsibilities or at times try to force our way which pushes the child not necessarily into a shell but certainly away. The parents have to spend quality time with the kids. No TV, No technology just quality time together. Talking, playing or discussing. It has to be part of the daily routine in the family where they all sit together and talk or play .This will get the child closer to the parent .

There should never be a fear syndrome. Child should respect the elders, never fear them . He should not hesitate to tell the truth. This will only happen when there is a bond of trust. Parents do not jump to conclusions and listen to the child and respect his views. Avoid admonishing the child publicly. But a mistake should always be pointed out and corrective measures taken. Also remember not to remind a child time and again of mistake he / she had done.

Today’s kids are well aware of the environment and the happenings. They will always have lots of questions. Ans the questions honestly. Do not ever try to enforce your will on the kids. It may work for some time but sooner than later it will push the kid away from the parents.

Life is not just studies and competitions. Encourage the child to develop a hobby. This will help them grow and also help them to keep away from TV and internet.

Ensure that all meals are had together. If not all at least the dinner and that to in dining hall. No TV or other distractions. Having meals together is the best way of spending quality time together. Do not discuss studies at the dining table.

Be polite and if need be firm in dealing with kids . Avoid shouting and abusing. Parents quarreling in front of kids is a Big No. Kids learn from every action of parents. Anything they observe become part of their behaviour pattern.

Assist the kids with their school work . Just employing a tutor is not enough. Your kid requires you. Guide them in whatever you can.

As the kids grow up into teenagers develop friendship with them . Friends never hide anything from each other and do not hesitate to discuss the worst of the situation they are in.

Aim to empower the child, Do not make him dependent on anyone or anything.

Remember to give kids quality time, guide them , teach them , play with them…..Be a friend. Parents and kids both will be happy.

 

Stress …There are ways to Deal…..

stressStress will always there you like it or not, what matters is how one deals with it. Students are under stress because of studies and competitions , parents are under stress constantly worrying for future of their kids and then there is the work related stress ever on the increase. Number of lives are being lost because they were not able to handle the stress.

Why is the stress related incidents ever on the rise be it in studies or at work? The reasons are not difficult to find. Lets take the case of students first , most of them take up subjects in school or college not because they liked them but generally because they did not like the other subjects on offer or their parents / elders in family wanted them to pursue particular subjects. The choices are generally limited to subjects facilitating joining the field of Engineering , Medical , Chartered Accountant ,  or Law . Irrespective of the fact whether the child wants to take these subjects or not whether he has an aptitude/ love for these professions he has to pursue these subjects in school or college .The child is offered very little choice in most cases rather to be true he is hardly given an option. This is the first cause of stress .The child  tries to master a subject in which he may have no interest at all. To achieve that he will be made to cut down his leisure hours , give up love of sports / drama / music and may even stick to books during weekends or holidays. There are hardly any diversions or breaks , just study and study. Then there is the pressure of performing in competitive exams , the fear of not being able to make it in the merit which adds to the stress manifold.

Once the child is through the exams and the competitive exams he may end up in a profession he has no love or aptitude for. There again he will get into the cycle of long working hours , no breaks ,to meet the targets and deadlines. Very little time for family which may further add to stress . If both husband and wife are working in similar conditions then there is hardly any time for each other or relatives / friends/ social commitments. Most just wait for the weekend to unwind , but hardly get time to socialise. Money starts mattering the most . Success is counted in terms of salary not satisfaction or peace of mind. To earn more money more hours are dedicated to work leaving still lesser for anything else.jects in school or college .The child is offered very little choice in most cases rather to be true he is hardly given an option. This is the first cause of stress .The child  tries to master a subject in which he

How does one overcome this stress syndrome. The ans is love. Anything / anyone you love hardly ever causes stress. Just do what you love. Find your purpose , your passion and follow it. The passion will itself work as an inspiration or motivator . You won’t have to look outside for motivation . In school let the child make the selection of subjects he wants to study. Let him select his own future. Parents and elders may guide and give in their inputs based on experience but let the child make his own decision. Let the child follow his passion . Why try to make him a doctor or engineer when all that he wants to do is play a guitar or be an actor.

It is well understood that there is no substitute for hardwork in any field but then one must also understand that there is no substitute for socialising , interaction and networking. Balance your work life between these. Take breaks regularly to rejuvenate ,re-energise. Have a good hobby to divert your mind from the work stress.You will face any stress with a smile.he will get into the cycle of long working hours , no breaks ,to meet the targets and deadlines. Very little time for family which may further add to stress . If both husband and wife are working in similar conditions then there is hardly any time for each other or relatives / friends/ social commitments. Most just wait for the weekend to unwind , but hardly get time to socialise. Money starts mattering the most . Success is counted in terms of salary not satisfaction or peace of mind. To earn more money more hours are dedicated to work

 

No Setback is Permanent Unless You Want It To Be…..

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All of us have dreams , all of us fall in love and all of us face failures / rejections at some point of time in our life .

It is very common to find two students / co – workers falling madly in love at first sight . They appear to be totally inseparable till one day you find one of them gloomy , sulking in a corner , missing classes / neglecting work because the other has walked out of the relationship . Reason for break up can be any but it certainly leads to heart breaks , a period of feeling low follows in which nothing appeals or looks good.

The one who has supposedly walked out continues to live a normal life, maybe finds new love or a new passion ( human , material or career).But the one who feels let down , dumped or may be rejected normally gets into a shell , refuses to be part of the routine( for at least a reasonable period of time ). This just not adversely affects life in general but takes toll on the health and most of all affects the performance in the academics or work .The longer you continue to sulk the more unfair you are being to yourself. Your low mood doesn’t matter to the other person

( if it mattered he wouldn’t have done what he did) . Rather it doesn’t matter to anyone on this earth other than to you or your near and dear ones. You are ruining your life . Can you ruin your life for a person who doesn’t even care? No you can’t , heaven has not come crashing down , get up , collect yourself and get going again.

This is that time of life when good friends , hobbies and a resilient attitude comes in most handy. Yes, a break up / rejection will affect your mental condition but keep the period to minimal. It’s not difficult, that person did not deserve you , better things / better company awaits you . But you will only find it if you come out of your shell and cut down the period of self pity. Spend time with good friends who will alleviate your mood and support you in this hard time. This is where a hobby is most helpful. Whatever hobby you have , a creative one like writing , painting , music , cooking whatever , indulge in it .You will find yourself getting out of the lows in no time. Do not run away from the situation , face it , overcome it. Get back to your books or work . Do what you love. You were not born to start sulking and get into dumps at the first setback . You may face many such setbacks / rejections in life . Take them in your stride , analyse what probably went wrong and do not commit the same mistake again.

No setback is permanent , persevere , be resilient and you will overcome it…..