OK, it’s been a while. With my head forged into challenging course work and assignments and exams, though lots of thoughts came to my mind to blog, they did not travel far. Had an interesting face to face classes last month. It was a usual jiffy mode but this time, in addition to the classes where we explored the business strategies of Netflix, Yahoo, FedEx Harley, Teva, we had some networking events – a Women entrepreneurial forum where most questions centered around how to juggle a personal life of being a mother and a professional life of being an Entrepreneur (there’s no easy and right answer for this, would be a million dollar question for ages and any answer can never be a satisfying answer), a get together event at one of my classmate’s place – the aerial view of Bay bridge from his place was magnificent. I really loved the walking to school conveyance which took 20 minutes from my classmate’s place where I stayed this time. This time I purposefully sat with folks with whom I have not talked much before or never mingled much. Brainstormed more about patents and if it is worthy enough to share an idea with others. You never know who is watching you – a Venture Capitalist could be watching you and may be interested in your idea (No spoiler alerts! ).
Time passed since the face to face classes and one is coming in few weeks. Though I felt anxious and nervous and struggled with my concentration power or focus in the beginning, I enjoy the B-school ride just not for the ROI it can give me, but for the lessons and knowledge and new things it is bestowing upon me. There’s one big hope that pervades in me – If I can join Babson after few (many?) years of rigorously following it and breathing the dream in and out, why not a startup and becoming a VC?
Ok, OK…I heard you..there’s no logical connection here and that’s why I am going to write about the ‘fruits’ of expectations.
Do you know what’s the most difficult thing in life? Meeting or managing expectations. It holds us through in all walks of life – be it a promotion or love or marriage or family or friends or colleagues or anyone or anything for that matter.
There are only 4 ways to tackle this (pun intended):
1. You cannot expect ‘Apples’ from a ‘Mango’ tree. You got to accept that Mangoes only can come from Mango tree and not Apple. You have to crush that expectation and start liking the Mangoes (could be your family or friends or spouse or kids)
2. Like the early age Tavasees (Not namma Kaptain ‘Thavasi’ and not namma guys’ current hearthrob ‘Tapasee’), you can meditate daily and believe ‘Miracles do happen’ and ‘One day I will get apple from this mango tree’. One day, you may, you will!
3. Be cool and take as it comes – if apples come from a mango tree, why question? You like Apple, so eat apple. If a mango comes from a Mango tree, eat Mango because you like Mango too
4. Be like Mahatma – ‘Be the change you want to see in this world’. Become a Scientist or engage a scientist and put efforts to bring Apple from a Mango tree. Perseverance pays rich dividends. If you really aim for apple from a mango tree, your aims could become fruitful through efforts
I hope you got something out of this and you’ll apply any of the 4 solutions to manage your own expectations and that of others.
We need not donate $100 to a charity everyday. But small acts of kindness and good deeds can make our day – Be it helping a blind person to cross the road, giving a bus seat for an old woman, holding the door for a pregnant woman to enter, giving way for a car trying to merge in the packed road, giving the ‘unused’ or ‘never to be used’ book to library etc.,
While we converse daily about very serious issues and concerns of the society, country and the world, we tend to forget or fail to appreciate the small inspirations that we see in our daily life. The small inspiration could come from a neighbor, a friend, a colleague, a family member, a classmate.
“We can do good from where we are, with what we have”. And here’s a life inspiration that truly depicts the above line. [The below narration is from one of the email forwards that I received recently from a friend (Thanks S for sending this)]
Narration of a unique auto-rickshaw ride by Suvendu Roy of Titan Industries, who shares his inspirational encounter with a rickshaw driver in Mumbai.
Last Sunday, my wife, kid, and I had to travel to Andheri from Bandra. When I waved at a passing auto rickshaw, little did I expect that this ride would be any different. As we set off, my eyes fell on a few magazines (kept in an aircraft style pouch) behind the driver’s back rest.
I looked in front and there was a small TV. The driver had put on the Doordarshan channel.
My wife and I looked at each other with disbelief and amusement. In front of me was a small first-aid box with cotton, Dettol and some medicines. This was enough for me to realize that I was in a special vehicle. Then I looked round again, and discovered more – there was a radio, fire extinguisher, wall clock, calendar, and pictures and symbols of all faiths – from Islam and Christianity to Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. There were also pictures of the heroes of 26/11- Kamte, Salaskar, Karkare and Unnikrishnan. I realized that not only my vehicle, but also my driver was special.
I started chatting with him and the initial sense of ridicule and disbelief gradually diminished.
I gathered that he had been driving an auto rickshaw for the past 8-9 years; he had lost his job when his employer’s plastic company was shut down. He had two school-going children, and he drove from 8 in the morning till 10 at night. No break unless he was unwell. ”Sahab, ghar mein baith ke T.V dekh kar kya faida? Do paisa income karega toh future mein kaam aayega.”
We realized that we had come across a man who represents Mumbai – the spirit of work, the spirit of travel and the spirit of excelling in life. I asked him whether he does anything else as I figured that he did not have too much spare time. He said that he goes to an old age home for women in Andheri once a week or whenever he has some extra income, where he donates tooth brushes, toothpastes, soap, hair oil, and other items of daily use. He pointed out to a painted message below the meter that read: “25 per cent discount on metered fare for the handicapped. Free rides for blind passengers up to Rs. 50.
My wife and I were struck with awe. The man was a HERO! A hero who deserves all our respect!!!
Our journey came to an end; 45 minutes of a lesson in humility, selflessness, and of a hero-worshiping Mumbai, my temporary home.
We disembarked, and all I could do was to pay him a tip that would hardly cover a free ride for a blind man.
I hope, one day, you too have a chance to meet Mr. Sandeep Bachhe in his auto rickshaw: MH-02-Z-8508.
Who is your inspiration today? Spend few minutes to draw it from your memory. Have a great inspiring day!
In the hustle bustle of life with juggling priorities and responsibilities, we often throw away or overlook the idea of investing in ourselves. The same routine, the same old menial work – we just live the way life takes us thinking ‘money’ and ‘peaceful or balanced life’ is all what we aim for.
How many of us wanted to change our jobs but never had spent time looking for it?
How many of us wanted to get promotions at work but did the same amount of work with the same level of commitment?
How many of us wanted to start a new thing but started and never pursued after a day or a week?
How many of us live in the opinion of others and never ventured out anything that we truly believed in?
How many us have unique potential that has never been utilized?
Almost most of us do. Why do people who have the same ability, same potential, same resources as many of us here became successful in what they wanted to do in life when we struggle to become one or not being able to become one? It’s because they invested in themselves before they invested in what they wanted to do, achieve and become successful.
Here’s a 5 min clipping from ‘MSN Today’ that caught my attention. A session of insightful questions & thoughtful answers from 4 self-made people in their own field. A must watch not only for the change makers/Entrepreneurs but for anyone who wants to excel in life: [Click on 'What brings success?' to watch the video]
My take-away is to continue introspecting 5 mins daily before going to bed and persist on investing in the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, goals that make me.
And, What’s your take-away?
T20: There are 2 T20s that I want to talk about: India Vs Pakistan. Became an ‘app’ woman – only checking updates from the notifications of the app. While you are busy working, these notifications do help – they do remind you that something else is also going on in this world other than work or school A win against Pakistan if not in hockey at least in the world of cricket draws some contentment. Second T20 is of Airtel Super Singer’s. It was legendary Kamalhaasan’s presence made the show special (DD maadhiri thirumba thirumba naan solla maeten ) I admire him not only for his acting and skills which is a very common justification of being a fan, but also for his pursuits, bold ventures and sincere efforts. If you have watched the show this week, you would have noticed how he enjoyed the music and singing (by nodding and tuning his head and hands to the tunes). That’s the beauty of an artist – enjoying his own as well as others work.
Movie time: Watched NEPV (Needhane En Pon Vasantham) and NKPK (Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom). Gautham Menon has disappointed me. I am a big fan of his Vinnaithandi Varuvaya and with huge expectations, I watched the movie but it pushed me to a point “Please padatha seekirama mudinga”. It was a totally opposite experience when I watched NKPK. I did not have any expectations other than few friends suggested to watch it. Though I felt the start was a bit boring, the fun part started from “Ennachu? Cricket Velayadinom…” till the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Vijay Sethupathy has acted very well and so as others. The “Ennachu” disease has stuck me and I keep saying
that word, though neither did I play cricket nor did my Medulla Oblongata is repaired. I would recommend any Tamil movie lovers to watch it – You will have fun, you will laugh a lot, you will feel relaxed and at the end you will feel contended that you spent few hours worthy relaxing and entertaining yourself.
Cash flows: Ha…I always took pride that I am good at Math. With my ‘Financial Reporting’ coursework in progress, my problem solving and analytical skills are being tested. Only with two courses completed in my school curriculum, I feel that being an Entrepreneur is the most challenging and difficult thing in this world. It’s not about focusing on one area, it’s about focusing on almost all areas – Investment, ideas, revenues, people, talent, time, market share, economy, structure, design, employment, opportunity and also a bit of luck and being at the right place at the right time. Though Entrepreneurship is a long way to go, my current focus is only on tackling cash flows, balance sheets and income statements [Hair stands like Einstein's when I do financial accounting assignments. I should at least get pass marks in this course is my goal ]
Innovation: Reading articles, watching shows like ‘Shark Tank’ and ideation does not do any good unless there’s some sort of action involved. Travel industry is the major market that’s being targeted for innovation. Though there are yoga studios and checking the menu and ordering via an iPad in the restaurant seems to be new ideas, I’ve always wondered why not a ‘Red box’ (I don’t own some movies that are recently released and while the flight is delayed, need some form of entertainment to pass time) rental or ‘Book rental’ (I don’t need to carry books or my Kindle or nook) or ‘Toys rental’ (distract or engage the kids while waiting) in the airport [though the ROI may not be that great is a reason behind not having these rentals]?
Innovation starts from observation. Startup mantra is:
1. Finding a problem that YOU currently have
2. Building something that solves the problem
3. Iterating and never stop improving
4. For every iteration, checking if the end meets the means
“Empty vessels make much noise”: SFO women’s startup pitching competition is in Feb 2013. I wish I had an idea, a business plan and a prototype to pitch there, even if it does not scale or win. There’s an Entrepreneurship teaching campaign in Africa led by Babson during Spring break for which I really wish to go and teach kids about Entrepreneurship. I want to take internship in my dream company IDEO. I wish to go to India and work with NGOs for my non-profit start up to have a beginning. Sometimes, it’s like I want to do too many things and end up doing nothing
1 more week of break time and I rather use it efficiently and effectively writing blogs, eating & sleeping, watching movies and listening to music ‘Study mode’ button will soon be pressed after New Year.
Have a fantabulous new year ahead!!!
I have not been consistent in blogging since school started, trying to juggle between work, team discussions, classes, meet-ups and assignments. I don’t remember if I started this year on a high note but definitely this is a year that’s ending with many sweet memories, new challenges, intrinsic learnings, futuristic visions, growing bucket lists and much more. I always take time to reflect and rewind to see how things scaled up and this is what exactly I told when my classmate asked “What do you want to achieve personally by doing an MBA?”. My reply was “There should be a difference between how I was when I joined and how I am when I leave. There should be a graphical representation that shows a giant leap of weaknesses that transformed into strengths” All these differences and transformations should align me to make a difference in this world. Pete Cashmore whose blogging turned into a site that is ‘mashable’
today attracting 23 million readers everyday. He considers his success as 1% of what Steves (Woz and Jobs) could do to put a dent in this universe from their garage. My view of life is similar to this – If I could do a 1% difference [subjective] in this world before I die, I would die happily having lived a worthy life. That difference is my dream. That difference is my vision.
Joy of Giving:
This year had been a great year filled with the ‘joy of giving’. Be it donations to ‘Give a book’, ‘CRY’, ‘Petral dhaan Pillaya?’ or buying cookies for seniors or adopting a family for giving Xmas gifts, nothing in this world can beat the feeling of giving a ray of hope, an arch of sunshine, days of happiness to those whom you can never expect or get anything in return. That’s when I decided that I will donate something for a noble cause for my best buddies and close relationships special days like birthdays and anniversaries. In a way, my materialistic gifting to all those people has dwindled but karmic goodness and blessings has reaped.
First trip of the year in NJ and MA spending time with family was delightful (Kids are the best part in life). Then a pleasure and sight-seeing trip to Vegas followed (No gambling but beautiful views of casinos esp. Bellagio’s). Trip to SFO for my friend’s baby shower and spending late nights decorating and enjoying the company of friends with laughter and joy was a memorable one (Did not realize that I may be visiting SFO often after that). Each one of us who long for, get excited about and end up with ‘don’t want to go back’ feeling – The India trip revealed a new me in me (lots of attitudinal shift for good). Trip to Seattle to meet the two tiny ones for their first Birthday – Had a blast mingling with people enjoying the fun times (Happy feeling). And the time with my best buddies for the B’day, roaming in MN, WI and IL (That’s special). Then the first foot at my dream school gave a feeling of pride (That awesome feeling cannot be equated to the words expressed). Later and now Silicon Valley has become my next stop
Started various things in this blog but most of those did not prevail – The Leadership Ladder, I read. I liked, One observation, one new thing, The starting point, Stanford’s online classes. ‘Time Management’ needs focus
Focused on many interpersonal skills, initiated new strategies to study, got new people whom I can look up to, thought about new ideas and approaches in my entrepreneurial readings this year. Had a huge smile while looking back and connecting the dots on how past experiences and initiatives has helped me to step into Babson. It has reiterated a point strongly – any skill, any knowledge, any effort can never go waste. It may not render immediate benefits but at some point in life, it would help – At that time, you would look back and smile.
2012 definitely had been a great year for me. And when I look forward for 2013, I can see many challenges, many new experiences on its way.
May the new year 2013 bring you
New avenues to accelerate your learning
Challenges to shape you better
Happiness to show the beauty of life
Prosperity to show you how to live and give
Good health to have fun
Wonderful times to accelerate the hopes
Blissful moments to show the purpose of life
Wishing you wonderful days in 2013 and have a great and happy New Year!
If I were Adi, I would have done the following:
1. Have a 1:1 with the newbie and detail him on his job responsibilities and the factors on how his performance will be measured – This will give the newbie an overall idea of what needs to be concentrated on
2. Give tasks to the newbie where he/she needs to collaborate with the team and bring in reports/results of the discussions – This will give him a chance to work with the other team members and listen to their ideas/thoughts to bring the results that’s expected of him
Employees should be made to feel responsible and have something meaningful for them to work on, with passion and enthusiasm. Empowering people to achieve the desired results lies in the hands of a leader which will make him/her successful and in turn the organization grow successfully
Robin Sharma says if we do one thing differently each day, we would have experimented and learned 365 things in a year. Creativity sprouts from observation. Observe one thing a day and let your thoughts flow free. Why are kids
more creative than us? Kids observe a lot where as our attention span is limited in this fast paced world. What am I trying to do with these two? Trying to fit this into my daily activity. Let’s see how far it goes
Observation: Why do ‘Knowledge Sharing/Training’ (KT) sessions always boring whether you give it or take it? I was asked to do a role play of a trainer after I have been ingested with some knowledge on a new system. The actual trainer played the devil’s advocate. It was fun and lots of additional knowledge and clarifications unfolded due to that and added value. Try it out in your next turn.
What’s new?: I started this blog post series today
P.S.: I’m not going to post this everyday, but once a week.
I like 2 specific columns on Economic Times – 1) Leadership Challenge 2) Management Mythos. If any of these topics interest you, please do check it out on economic times website.
Situation: Adi is facing a problem with a young member in his team. The 22-year-old employee is in his first job. He does not pay attention and ignores the instructions from his boss. He is bright, but an extremely poor listener.
Task: How should Adi train this youngster to be a better listener?
If you were Adi, what would you do? What action will you take? What result do you perceive from the action that you take? Put it in the comments section. I’ll put my response in the next 2 days.
There’s no one right way in leadership. Every leadership style is different and the success of leadership skills depends on the situation assessment and action.
Case study source: EconomicTimes
Its been a year since I had been to Boston. Had lots of excitement to meet my nephew R and to enter into Babson MBA community. I’m going to keep this post short and cover all the activities in a nutshell.
Day -1: Played with R for a while…his observations, puzzle solving capacity, talking abilities…there were more to catch up. I couldn’t compete with him in solving the large set of puzzles that he have. Loved when he says ‘Not like that Chitthi’ when I tried to connect the puzzle pieces wrongly Aha…his American accent…I’ve to learn from him, I told my sister. Picked up the rental car (Welcome my first solo driving in the people packed Boston). Did a bit of shopping for the Business casuals and dozed off early at night.
Day 0: Accounting Workshop – My first day @ Babson. Met Prof PW. I had difficulties in completing my pre course work accounting course and hence signed up for this workshop. When I got a hold of the basics of Accounting during the first few hours of the class, totally succeeded in solving the first set of problems that he gave to solve working with a group. Connected to those people in my group while solving the problem. None of us had finance or accounting background. Income Statements, Balance sheets have shifted from ‘Oh I don’t get it’ to ‘I like solving it’ type. A set of ‘Account statistics’ and ‘Company matching’ group solving activities followed. It was great to brainstorm with others and come up with solution and eagerly awaited to see the solution that Prof posted and explained in the class. Keeping in mind that the whole week is going to be a very intense and exhaustive week, caught sleep early after getting
Day 1: The Auditorium was filled with so many people connecting during breakfast. Orientation was started by Babson’s dean followed by our fast track chief and the President’s ‘Entrepreneurial Thinking’ session. He was brimmed with enthusiasm and energy moving across the Auditorium while delivering the content. During lunch, we were asked to pick up a token at the entrance and sit at the table with the number that was in the token. It was a way to connect to people from different industries. Went to bookstore with one of my classmates to pick up our coursepack. Connected to so may people and got an idea of why everyone chose Babson and why were they there. There were some technical laptop setting sessions thereafter. It was a 8AM-9PM week with 1 hour driving up and down amidst traffic, school buses, I felt very exhausted by the time I got back home
Day 2 & 3: It was a session called ‘Techmark simulation’. We were divided into groups into each planet (divided into 5 planets and 5 groups in each) and each group represented a Management team trying to bring back Techmark to speed and reap profits. We were given 5 quarter periods spanning 1.5 hours each to solve and sell 3 products to 3 different countries based on the market statistics, economy and financial statements. You don’t understand anything right after reading this? That’s how we as a group felt too…After 2 periods, we could gather details and understand what was expected and by the end of 5 periods, we won in our planet. Was it a win by luck? May be or may be not, but it was a great experience trying to calculate, brainstorm, listen to various perspectives, ideas and coming up with a competing strategy doing all this inside a room packed with charts, flipboards, print outs and notes. By the end of day 3, my brain was about to explode
Day 4: Had an idea lab session with Prof DC to know about brain orientation, where ideas come from, working on gathering and multiplying stimuli and coming up with an idea only with a company name given. There were 42 different ideas that were generated in the class…Mine was the most dumbest idea But most others were weird, very different and out of the box thinking types. We were asked to pick up one idea as a group and pitch as a business plan with Potential customers, Business/revenue model, Target industries, Production costs in mind. It was another group interaction session which led me to think ideas come from divergent thinking and its not easy to pitch if you are not sure about what you want to do/implement. Had a welcome party in the evening where we connected to our Profs and other faculty members.
Day 5: We had our first 2 core course sessions. Without pre reading for classes, you cannot contribute anything in the class which led me to catch up with the readings early in the mornings. Class interactions count for grades and hence introverts like me were pushed to talk. It was evident that only when you talk, your thinking and ideas emerge and help you to leverage with that others think of. It was a great session to discuss about a case study of Innovation, How failures breed success and much more. Said bye to my learning groups and other classmates and thanked Babson for such a wonderful experience throughout the week thought it was exhaustive. Did a bit of shopping and dinner with Sis and R later.
Day 6: Went to CT with friends and saw fall colors. How long I had to wait for seeing the fall colors? Had a great dinner at A/S’s house after which stayed very late till 2:15 in the morning completing my assignments. Ha, when did I become a good student?
Day 7: Watched some TV shows with A/S and talked about those. Packed and got to the airport very early not anticipating that I would be missing my connecting flight. New experience of missing the flight due to technical snag in the aircraft and stayed at a Hotel arranged by the airlines.
Got back home the day after and went to work after a week. Felt like I had been in a different planet the week before
Intense coursework and busy schedules ahead. The interest towards the coursework has certainly multiplied after the whirlwind week. Got to go…Will catch later
Many things to be said here are not the ones that I put forth. It has been said by many, lived as ‘principles’, ‘values’ by many, preached by many and want to embrace by many. ‘Sundays with Raji’ is my reflections, experiences and here’s one after its been laid back for a while.
1. Be aware of the bad and the negativity around you, but always focus on positivity and good. This way, your energy is spent on some great values than those that draws you down
2. Early mornings are the best time to do and strike off the most important tasks of your day. This will leave you with a level of satisfaction when you lie down on bed that night
3. Do one new thing everyday. Don’t let go off your potential wasted, buried in the dark. Spend some time every week on an activity, interest that you are most likely to want to pursue. When you look back after days, you would feel like ‘Life is beautiful!’
4. Faith moves mountains. Miracles do happen with insurmountable faith and indomitable will to pursue something that you believe in, standing for what you believe in, irrespective of any circumstance it is, irrespective of any odds that you may face
4. ‘I sacrificed this; I sacrificed that;’ – Telling people about your sacrificial things is like getting attention and wanting appreciation for the sacrifice. Sacrifice is a judgement that should be made by the world; not by you. Mahatma Gandhi never said that he sacrificed his barrister job to become ‘Mahatma’. Mother Teresa did not say that she sacrificed her life to help the needy [From Masterminds - 08/25/2012]
5. When you do anything in life, make sure it serves these two – ‘Personal Good’; ‘Larger Good’. Unless you strike these two things off after you do what you wanted to, it does not serve its purpose [From Masterminds - 08/25/2012]
6. Meditation brings communion. It helps you to get concentration power. You need not meditate for hours, just few minutes everyday for yourself, bringing peace within you, bring focus to eradicate the shorter attention spans
Habits are those that I follow. Take-aways are those that I am constantly working on for the betterment (personal good and larger good – I am an evolving consciousness as like all others