Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Art called Management

I remember reading in my management books, an argument about 'Management' being an art or science. If my memory is anything to go by, the author concluded that it is as much science as art, for the intricacies of managing is indeed complex. I for one think that it is truly an art. Just thought of sharing my thoughts on the same;

Every organization relies on individuals to take it to heights by banking on their managerial skills. The life of a manager can be truly horrible. To manage one's work is one thing but to actually extract and manage work from a whole set of 'widely different' people coming from distinct backgrounds can be really demanding. To have a string of meetings running in your daily schedule will only add to the load factor. And to top it all, you are the first person to be answerable to the higher management if anything goes wrong though you may not have the slightest of clue as to what went wrong. Not to mention the kind of pressures one is subjected to from the clients. To top it all, there are loads and loads of worksheets and word docs which await you every day in office.

How really tough??

And that is precisely why it requires people of great caliber, excellent temperament and the right attitude to occupy such slots. If not, the entire team will be in shambles. The same person who is supposed to take the organization to heights can bring it down to the lowest depths. This one person can ruin and demolish every fabric of an organization's structure. He or she can successfully sow in the minds of his team mates' seeds of hatred, disgust and extreme frustration which will obviously have direct impact on the outcome of work the employee does. The whole process can have such cascading effects so as to tarnish the image of the organization built over years or even chase away prospective clients from coming anywhere close to doing business with the organization.

People can be different and that is the essence of our diversity and plurality but to deny the other a chance to voice their opinion and to stick ardently to one's own unidirectional view of the world would be the ultimate heights of psychotics; worse still would be to force others to tow your superficial ways. And the heights of this absurdity would be known only when a manager fails to produce any tangible results but sometimes thanks to the vastness of the organization, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the source of the inflicted damage. As a result of which, the perpetrators of the crime often escapes unnoticed.

I am sorry for being harsh but I am just realizing the pains one has to undergo to endure such brutally insane people who come from their own wonder world with their own fancy thinking. At times, the point of contention can reach such ridiculous heights that you give up your faith on the organization though it is in no way even remotely connected to it. Pity the souls who strive so hard to build up an image and take the organization to stupendous heights. For after all their hard work it only takes a few jokers from within to demolish the entire structure that they've built. What is even sadder is when they position their thoughts to be far more superior to all others, and go on a rampage insulting the inanities in the thinking of the rest.

The net result of all the above is that a team completely loses focus with the team members increasingly turning despondent and glum and thinking of ways to shove their work in every possible without giving it their true heart and love. The struggle to gain the maximum from every employee soon becomes a struggle to extract the bare minima from the same individual. Work then goes to resemble the age old ways of getting things done. By resorting to intimidating methods and staying guard all throughout to ensure there is no deviation. In effect, every inch of creativity and innovation present in the individual is put to a cruel end leaving only the silliest of incentive for the work to be done – which is the figure that gets wired at the end of every month to the bank account.

Funny is the ways of the world, for it sometimes truly rewards the comic who has no clue as to what is happening and who does everything within their control to project the happenings the way they perceive it.

Now my dear readers, If any of you reading this happens to be managing, my sincerest plea- open your eyes to the talents under you and spend some time to evaluate yourselves. And to all of you folks in my place, lets join together for a saner world!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Happy Day

Today I am feeling happy. Elated in fact; if I could represent the last few days of my life on a graph, today would be a steep spike upwards. Especially considering the past few days;
Now what caused it… let's see; talking to people can make one feel good. Taking some time off for yourself to think and plan about your life can make one feel good. Listening to pleasant news can make one happy. Well, in my case it's been a combination of all of these that has done the trick.
Spoke to some wonderful people in the past few days. Amazing how some good old plain talk can make you feel better. Especially to catch up with friends and family; it's like talking your heart out and laughing it out. Always helpful; Thank God I have been blessed with some good friends.
Then I took what I believe is the first step towards a long journey henceforth. To sit down and actually evaluate myself- the journey so far and the road ahead as well; I've done this a lot of time but not on paper. At least not anytime recently; getting things on paper always helps coz it gives you a better picture; I'll have to thank all of you readers for helping me initiate this as well.
And lastly, Singh is King again. The Indian election results have definitely brought in a lot of joy in me. The dance of democracy as they say is a peculiar affair. You never know what lies in store. It's not always that you are judged on governance. There are a plethora of issues at play and you can never be sure which one will click. And the whole exercise being what it is – there's just one word that comes to my mind when I think of it – Stupendous. I mean look at the sheer degree of management that's required to get it working. Whatever it is, without going into the details, I'll say I am happy for Singh and the whole breed of politicians he's going to usher in.
On the whole, I feel happy and am all set to start another delightful week. All charged up to tackle my problems head on. :D
Now, before I close I just want to go a little bit into politics. I hope this time around we'll have all round development coming in. Healthcare, Water, Sanitation, Infrastructure, education, Telecom – lots of sectors deserve due attention. And like sidharth varadarajan said, the economy is in a completely different state from how it was five years ago. With the worst economic crisis after the great depression still not seeming to fade away, economic reform team would be very careful before opening up to foreign investments. This is not to say that we should stay away from foreign capital; they are definitely needed to boost our growth but it should not be in a way to shun local growth and more importantly we should protect ourselves from exposing to unnecessary risk. The present crisis has not eroded any of our banks, thanks mainly to our strong regulatory framework. This should remain while still encouraging innovative ideas to further bolster the economy and help generate further local employment. India has invited quite a lot of funds from both FII as well in terms of FDIs. A good sign and with the outsourcing funda still staying strong, it is likely to go up again.
The nuke deal will give us access to further energy resources as well. Let's not go into the problems of that now. I only hope our Iran relationship also improves. Pakistan still remains in shambles and tackling them would still remain a key concern. That country would need to get its grip very quickly and being our immediate neighbor, we would need to watch out. Terrorism and its off shoots would require greater resilience and strength from the government. I only hope that all sorts of fanaticism gets wiped out.
I for one believe that I can trust the present team to deliver in terms of economic reforms and all round growth. With ahluwalia, Manmohan, Chidambaram and their likes, it sure is a re assurance. In Kerala, my hometown the left has suffered a major setback. This of course is more to do with their factionalism than the good of congress. But of course with candidates such as tharoor, congress surely has got an elegant team up there. The number of young blood is on the rise. Definitely a good sign; I only hope they bring in results. Another good sign is rahul's mature way of handling things; I have found him good so far. With his bottom up approach to reforming the inner roots of congress, I am looking forward to seeing more from him. Like he said, it's a paradox that in a democratic country it requires personal liking and nepotism from senior leaders for a person to rise up in politics. He very honestly admits that it was his surname which got him his status more than anything else. And he was quick to point out that now that he's there he might as well do something to clean the system rather than refuse to accept his new found glory. His strategies so far have so paid off big time. The rise of the congress in UP after deciding to going it alone has been proclaimed as one of his key achievement. Not surprisingly, you had lots of hullabaloos about rahul being the next prime minister. Thankfully, all such speculations have been put to rest immediately by his mother and the party chief whip.
This is one thing about congress. They've found it hard to come solid without support from the Nehru family. That I feel is a real shame. I have nothing against Sonia. Indeed as Ramachandra Guha says, she would definitely go down in history as one of the key figures of modern India. What is sad is that it required someone like her to get congress out of their shackles.
Anyways, with Manmohan Singh all set to become the second prime minister after Nehru to get reelected after a successful five year stint, it sure does bring in relief.
Jai ho it is!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I am feeling ridiculous today. No particular reason. Just the way life works. It's half past 1 in the wee hours of the morning and I am still awake. You can imagine how restless I am feeling. A dear friend of mine tried calming me for quite some time. It did help but the restlessness soon returned. I thought I would call it a day but somehow felt I had to scribble something today, just to etch the memory in ink – maybe in bytes, now that its digital.
It all started with me thinking of the road ahead. As I woke up in the morning, I began visualizing myself into the future and what I saw was depressing. I didn't want that to happen. And for that not to happen, I had to make something else happen. This precisely was what was making me restless.
One could look at life in two ways – "live your life" or "enliven your life". I see both very distinctly. In the first way, you accept life as it comes, as they say- make the most of now. In the second case, you take control and let life do things the way you want it to. And with every passing day, I realize how hard the second way is.
I am not arguing for any of the ways to be better than the other. What's ultimately important is for one to feel happy and of course the end result of what you do with your life.
For long, I have taken my life granted. Thanks to my father, I've been blessed with great schooling. Thanks to that and partly also to my uncle, I got into a good college with the least trouble. Thanks to my college, I got a job as soon as I was out of it. All the while, there was no struggle. Only comfort. Only luxury; unhindered smoothness; no problems whatsoever till now. And now I realize the need for some real hard work. Not the study hard and get good marks type hard work. But a bigger one; I realize I've been blessed with so much that it would be cruel to turn a blind eye to all of that and lead the life as its taking me. I believe its well within my command to alter the flow of my life, of course with the blessings of the almighty. And what pisses me off is the way I am taking things forward.
The world is increasingly getting flattened, but I am sitting here without even acknowledging it. Stock markets are dancing to the madness of people but I choose not to bother. There are forces and opportunities everywhere. Only that my head is not waking up. There was a time when raw power ruled. When the only ingredient to success in life was either your heredity or your muscle power; but today, ideas can revolutionize things. And now that the economies all over have taken a correction from the absurd growth rates, sanity should prevail and opportunities will be galore. Like what air Deccan chief said, recession is the best time to get things started.
In the new world with google and amazon and e-bay, things should not be hard to find or buy. It's just a click away. The right amount of thinking should take us places. And if you are reading this, I believe you also have it in you to make a difference to your life. To take advantage of it is well within our control. To execute it to perfection will depend on our passion and our own desire to experience success.
Let's toast it that then. To success in all forms of life: D
Now, I feel slightly better as well… and the clock has just struck 2. I'll go and get some sleep now.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Marriage and Love

I was talking with my friend a few days back and he brought my attention to the nuances of arranged marriage nowadays. Back in my native, it starts off with the background check. Phone calls and requests; house going and enquiries; then the girl's family almost always have to take the lead. They will start off with a visit to the lad's house. Once there, they'll start off with tracing the ancestral roots like as though trying to find the common link. And then the humble proposal; if all goes well, the girl's photo is left for the boy's perusal. He is supposed to have a good look at it, and then meet her once, and then take a final call.
Amazing na… well if you see, this actually is what happens most of the time and it doesn't cause much confusion as well. Now let's look at the other alternative. The usual love stories; I just want to share my thought on this whole lovers and love story thingy.
To start with, one of the problems with lovers is that most of them get lost into a surreal world. Their thinking gets very much confined to the spaces between themselves. I am of course not generalizing but with whoever I've seen, the vast majority of them are lost in their loving world for quite some time. And during this time, they somehow lose the big picture of life. The focus becomes on getting their love working, on their intimate issues and on and on. And once the complications start, it becomes all too muddy. And when it goes to heights like, either her or no one, it gets absurd. I mean, you could have n number of reasons for being happy with one person, but that definitely should not be an overriding reason to kill your life as such. It's not like you were born with the other person in your life. And all these movies and stuff, always treats the parents as the villains. And life gets happy only if you get your partner else it's supposed to unsuccessful and what not! Crazy I tell you;
But then I must admit I've seen mature people as well, who knows how to take care of relationships. Taking it the way it should be taken. As being part of their life, but not their entire life; not like one reason to completely disengage them from life. And with all the celluloid hype, the idea that love should come first and love is too pure and all that have come to acquire wrong meanings. I mean, love is not something only between partners. It is a far more superior concept. Part of our love should go to our partners but if that becomes reason for us to hate love itself, then the entire purpose of it is lost. This is just one way of how people lose focus.
Reminds me of a beautiful story I read in my company BB some time back. It was about a woman who was denied her lover. The usual father was not willing, so child marries someone else story. It was beautifully narrated to show that life goes on in all cases. Our memories will no doubt stay with us. Perhaps, it will bring in us a tinge of hurt every time we think of it. But newer things should come by in our life and we should be able to grow with it. Staying with our past only results in derailing our own lives;
Coming back to where we started, love stories could definitely be another viable alternative. But the problem nowadays is to get the right story: P