Monday, October 17, 2011

Putting your heart into it

People are uncomfortable when they encounter emotions from others because they associate an emotional response with having to give in, give up or give into something in dealing with that emotional response. They feel manipulated through these emotions. People try to cover-up and can their own emotions so as to stay away from inviting an emotional response which could place an unpleasant demand on them.

When we talk of acting out of love and of putting our heart into our work, we are not talking about this kind of emotional manipulation.

Acting out of love (and from your heart) is acting out of a deeper understanding. It is not to be confused with responding emotionally (especially with uncontrolled emotions) or using emotions as a means to manipulate. It comes from the understanding that giving in to emotions makes one unsteady, unpredictable and a slave to rising and falling emotions. It comes from the understanding that a caluculating mind become dry, dull, colorless, hard, ruthless. It is good at taking and grabbing things from others but it is incapable of creating. That it is incapable of giving. It comes from the understanding that these two are but our sensors and tools that help us live and work better.

Emotions are at best used as sensors (guides) and as a means to expression. Can you even think of poetry and music and art bereft of emotions? Can you even imagine anything beautiful ever being created or done without the doer having his or her heart into it?

How you really feel about work is an important indicator of how you are doing at work and the quality of work you are doing.

Are you feeling unhappy? Are you feeling frustrated? Are you are feeling happy? Are you are feeling exhilaration? If you are unhappy it's more likely that you are unable to do your work well. If you feel frustrated it is likely that the problems you encounter in your work keeps reappearing. If you are feeling happy probably you've been able to do a job well. If you are feeling exhilarated you've probably made a breakthrough at work.

Indeed reflecting on how you are feeling about your work can help you manage yourself better.

Acting out of love comes from an understanding that we are can hardly stand alone. That we are dependent on others for our well being. That we have much to be grateful to others for. And that in response, we must at least attempt to do our bit to pay it back and forward.

Here is how the great Einstien saw it -
A hundred times everyday I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received. - Albert Einstien

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Indian companies need lower cost IT

The per capita GDP of USA is 47,284 USD. That of India is 3500 USD or about 1/14th of of USA. Obviously, it has a bearing on what our companies earn per employees. E.g. the per employee earning for Citibank and the BPO in India that works for it are vastly different. It therefore stands reason that the BPO cannot afford to invest as much in its infrastructure as the American bank. These companies must therefore be looking for IT infrastructure that are far less expensive.

To start with, software now forms a larger and larger part of the IT budget and it can therefore also be the part that offers the greatest amount of cost savings. Open source software is increasing becoming a very credible alternative.

Secondly, not just the BPO, but most companies in India usually have to go through a large number of small value transactions. While, this means that there can be little compromise on provisioning for capacity, the hardware used to build the IT infrastructure can be less specialised and more generic and therefore lower in cost.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How to destress

First of all learn to forgive yourself. Sometimes, we are too hard on ourselves.

While life and living is about exerting yourself to bring out your best. Sometimes we are in too much of a hurry. Sometimes we define excellence and success and happiness too narrowly. Sometimes we lose sight of that which is special in us. In the process, subjecting ourselves to undertake things that we may not like the most or be the best at. Or do things that is out of tune with our rhythm and pace in life.

Forgive yourself, because even the most talented people fail. Even the most talented people have to try repeatedly. Even the most talented of people have to go through the grind.

Forgive yourself. Because you are more than your mistakes. You are more than your limitations. You are more than your failures. You are more than anything that can be said about you.

Forgive yourself and be happy. Forgive yourself and look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead. The past is dead and gone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The capitalist need the entrepreneur more

Despite all the raving and ranting by the capitalists, the truth is that it's the capitalist that needs the entrepreneur more.
Without an entrepreneur (which of course the capitalist can himself be) the capitalist cannot hope to grow his wealth.
There are an estimated 42 million entrepreneurs in India. Most of them survive (and grow) without help from the capitalists.
Many a young entrepreneurs get hooked on to the idea of raising capital, when a little modification a little scaling down of the plan can get them started without it.

It may come as a surprise to some to know that it was the entrepreneur who showed up first on earth.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Unifying Ideas

Everyday there is an endless assault of information, customer demands, breakdowns, absenteeism, insights, errors, exceptions, vendor meetings... that can easily drown us in activities and drain us of our energies. Worse still we risk losing our way and ending up nowhere.

What we need are unifying concepts, ideas and models that help us see all this in a unified way. We need to look for the 'one thing' that can explain many things or the 'one thing' we need to hold on to that helps us grip many things at once. Or we need to look for how can it all be arranged using a simple model.
Or better still what is a simple operating model that we can use to organize our response to these. Arriving at such a perspective is probably the starting point to being able to manage things better.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Most important resource wasted

People are one of the biggest cost for most business. People are the most important resource in a business. But people resource is also where the most waste occurs.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some notes on our People Philosophy

Here are some notes on our people philosophy that came-up in my recent conversations at work.

Firstly, No we are not really worried about people leaving. The negative impact of people leaving is exaggerated. It is mostly that we cannot take the rejection.

Mostly, it does not make a difference as to who comes or goes, our experience has been that it has never been that coming-in of someone or going-out of someone has had any transformational impact. In the end there is a lot of grind that even the most talented people have to go through to produce worthwhile results.

Mostly the importance of a person is exaggerated by us and more so by the person himself or herself. Mostly it's illusion.

But some people make more of a difference than others. You can see them as the Steve Jobbs, or Nandan Nilekani, or Ray Ozzie, or Warren Buffet for the company. They are hard to replace. Hard to replace by either other people, process or technology.

Incidentally these are people who work for the love of it.

We don't have to worry about retaining or driving people. Some people are better gone. Some people contribute more when they stay out of the office than when they are at work. We are not interested in monitoring the hours people clock in.

We don't mean to disrespect people. We don't mean to undervalue people. Neither do we intend to waste our time driving reluctant employees. We intend to understand how things work and who makes what difference. very very clearly. We intend to know what is best about a person and how we can bring that to the fore.

We have more to gain from improving our Knowledge, Brand, Production System, Ecosystem, Culture etc. than we have from adding or subtracting people.

Lastly when we work with people, we have to understand that we are working with lives, that we are working with manifestations of the divine. So we need to act with respect and discretion.

Quality & Meditation

Quality and meditation are one and the same thing. Qualtiy brings about meditation. Only those in mediation can bring about a quality outcome.
One of the ways to know a person in mediation, is the lack of hurry in him or her.
Big dramatic initiatives lack balance.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Karma Yog

One of the greatest lessons I have learnt in my life is to pay as much attention to the means of work as to its end. ..and it appears to me that all the secret of success is there; to pay as much attention to the means as to the end...With the means all right, the end must come.

-Swami Vivekanand

The more we work on our methods and systems the more likely we are to achieve our objectives and ideals, whether they are to provide opportunities to deserving young people, supporting entrepreneurs, contributing to the society, contributing to our own growth and that of our people, creating the capacity to build world class products, building a place of great learning and innovation or spreading prosperity around us.

I think this is the single most important thing of all that we do at work.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The CEO in a corner

The CEO must lead change. The CEO must lead the charge. The CEO must articulate the vision. The CEO must be the company's face to the world outside. The CEO must be available to his people. The CEO must know the numbers. Quality is number one job of the CEO. The CEO must go see for himself. The CEO must build future leaders. The CEO has to define the future for the company. The E in the CEO stands for execution. The CEO is the CMO (Chief Marketing officer)...

Management literature abound with such advice. But, even an idiot can tell you that taking all this advice seriously and together would be a sure recipe for failure. At best the CEO following such advice ends up inflating his sense of self worth to absurd levels. Making for some good entertainment for the rest of the team. At the worst, he ends up turning people around him into Pygmies. Making failure certain.

The CEO has to do what he has to do and leave the rest to others. Sometimes, this may mean confining oneself to a corner so that work can get done.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sometime for the love of it

Simplifying a business is the correct objective. It can make for faster growth, lower costs and greater peace of mind. But some businesses are complex. Tech businesses e.g. by their very nature are complex.
Likewise, establishing a business on enduring foundation is correct (it can simplify a lot of things). But there are rapid changes a tech business has to deal with.

The world cannot survive only on chewing gums and coke. Some not-so-simple things have to be done. Some not-so-profitable businesses have to be run. For the love of it, for the value it brings to society. And it has to be done in a business format, in a profitable way, so that it does not depend on charity (money from people who sell chewing gums at good margins) for survival.