Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Big Bang"

bigbang.jpg

Here is one great piece of idea which is designed to increase links. This one is called the Big Bang and the author, Mel over at Monday Morning Power wants to see if we can set a record and get to 1000 sites. Anyone can take part

If you would like to join in please do, even if you haven’t been tagged! Just follow the instructions below.





*Start Copy Here*

You do not have to be tagged to play along. This game is simple and so are the rules.

1. Copy from *Start Copy Here* through *End Copy Here*

2. Add your site(s) to the list. Just be sure to post the "Big Bang" at each site you add.

3. Tag or don’t tag, your choice, however, the more tags you create the longer the list will grow.

4. Let me know your blog’s name and url by leaving me a comment HERE. I will add you to the master list. (If you would like a scroll box code, leave me your email address and I will email it to you.) Scroll Box Example. (I decided not to use the box for the Big Bang for ease of copying.)

5. Come back and copy the master list back to your site, often. This process will allow late-comers to get as much link benefit as the first ones in. Once you are on the master list people who have participated earlier will update their bookmarks and help everyone lower than them out on the list.

1-Attitude, the Ultimate Power 2-Juliana's Site 3-Rusin Roundup 4-Grow Rich Along With Me 5-Comedy Plus 6-lynda's loft 7-Amel's Realm 8-MAX 9-Speedcat Hollydale 10-Mariuca 11-Complain Complain Complain 12-Mariuca's Perfume Gallery 13-Life Is A Roller Coaster 14-Sugar Queen's Dream 15-First Time Dad 16-Life 17-My Life 18-The Painted Veil 19-My Thoughts 20-DatCurious.com 21-Little Aussie Cynic 22-A Nice Place in the Sun 23-DatMoney.com 24-The Down Side OF Up 25-Ladyjava's Lounge 26-Cat Tales 27-moms.....check nyo 28-Colorado Baby 29-It's a Woman's World 30-ENLIGHTENED BITS 31-My View of "It" 32-My Reviews and Finds Along the Way 33-Our Hep Chat 34-Rantings of a Woman 35-The Callalily Space 36-Mom Knows Everything 37-Hazel 38-Chronicles and Tales Unlimited (RED) 39-From the Mouth of Jabber Jaws 40-Sunny Side Up Foodie & Lifestyle 41-Carmel Corn 42-Daily Stock Picks 43-The Whole New World 44-Wifespeak 45-Slavery Bliss 46-Rooms of My Heart 47-Unpredictable Life 48-My Life, My World 49-At Your Service 50-All About Ebay 51-Everything Amazon 52-Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out 53-My So-Called Site 54-New Wife Blog 55-Tendre Poison 323 56-Nick's Bytes 57-My Scratch Pad 58-Choc Mint Girl 59-Life Is Just Around the Corner... 60-Amori, poseia, art... virtuali by Hanna 61-Maryannaville 62-monaco - monaco's 63-Nyumix's Blog 64-read my mind - my keyboard monologues 65-Shower You Children With Love - The Right Way 66-Secret Agent Mama 67-Pinaymama's Diary 68-Answers to the Questions 69-Work of the Poet 70-A Total Blog 71-My life, my hope, my future 72-NORTE 73-A Window to Our World 74-Life as a Mom 75-FIELD OF DREAMS 76-lisgold 77-See Me for What You 78-Caught in The Stream 79-Pinay Mommy Online - My Home 80-foster me up 81-CRUEL VIRGIN 82-Garden of Moments in Blog 83-So Cute 84-Love Everlasting 85-WeLcOmE To My CriB 86-WELCOM TO PINAYSMILE'S JOURNEY 87-Ice's Icelog 88-Jenny's Wandering Thoughts 89-Hobbies and Such 90-Sweet Paradise 91-Mommy's Gibble Gabbles 92-Rusin Review's 93-My Small World 94-Little Peanut 95-Online Ramblings 96-My Mood My Feeling 97-BLOG it with ALLEN 98-Entertainment World 99-Let's Go Singapore 100-Firelynx 101-Catsy Carpe Diem 102-Every Beat Of My Heart 103-Always Da Fresh Princess 104-Listening.. 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(my world, my place, my views...!) 420-Matt's blog (World of Insanity) 421-Lifestyle chronicles 422-The Alien Next Door 423-CMAQUEST 424-The Mascot 425-NARUTO ADDICT MANIA 426-Friendster Layouts 427-borneo tatoo...the original body ink 428-DOMANTIX 429-CULTURED SHOCK 430-EuWorx 431-HUBPRIME 432-STAR SURFACE 433-MY KALEIDOSCOPE WORLD 434-luckycharms 435-John's Blog - Maybe I Am Joking? 436-NEW WORDPRESS THEMES 437-WEB VIDEO HITS 438-TOP MUSIC VIDEOS 439-TEXT MESSAGES 440-Homemade Haven 441-TAGMEMEAWARD CAT 442-Coriander Dreams 443-BrainLoops 444-Soul Meets World 445-Speak The Speech 446-The Tall Poppy 447-My Day Off 448-Internet Business Promotions and Opportunities 449-Gage's World 450-PIXY ROSE 451-John's Cynical Blog 452-Poliblog 453-Techcheck 454-RoseateMarketingTips.com 455-RUSTYGANGSTER 456-Napaboaniya's Music Videos 457-EZINE PRIME 458-Prime Scrolls 459-FactMundo: World of Facts 460-CHAE 461-GOLDFINGER 462-OnlineBiz and Resources 463-ASTRO GALAXY TRAVEL 464-The Singapore Housewife 465-Climate of Our Future 466-Anorexic Queen 467-Eleanoreblog 468-Turnip of Power 469-Old Life 470-Shiphire Dustbin 471-POSTCARD HEADLINES 472-crazyblog 473-V.Col 474-Simple Life, Simply Me 475-Rasso Photoblog 476-Bagwine Ruminations 477-The Travel Bug 478-Short Stories 479-OPENGIGA TECH 480-Yogatta Dot Com 481-Net Diary of Rasal 482-WORDPRESS MEME 483-divaness 484-Thinking Tunnel 485-My decisions, my mistakes, my feelings, my LIFE 486-E-News (Gossip, Scandals, Movies, Music, etc) 487-FRAPPUCINO JOWN 488-MAYBELLE DOODLES 489-And the Legend Lives 490-In His Time - Endless Frontier 491-Travels in Time 492-Money Making Reports 493-MY HAPPY PLACE 494-The M&M Online BloG 495-Carol's Corner 496-http://individualathome.blogspot.com/ 497-Confessions of a Social Climber 498-Moderately-Confused Pinay In Deutschland 499-BLOGSILOG 500-DigiScrapz: Captured Memories 501-Cherry’s Comfort Zone 502-Thinking Out Loud 503-Wishing and Hoping 504-Jobs for Davao 505-Jobs for Abroad 506-PRC Exam Results 507-Wish Washy 508-Captains bridge 509 Colourrain 510 Modus Vivendi 511-Our Hep Chat 512-I forgot where I was going with this... 513-MRS FANCYPANTS LIVE 514-Real Estate News and Tips 515-MY.........STORIES 516-Garaphernalia 5.0 517-Everything Everywhere Travel Blog 518-lane of memories 519-Avee's Adeventures 520-Celebrating Life 521-Me and the World 522-Paul, Toni and Lance ----- Bridging The Distance 523-Paul and Toni 524-This is My New Chapter of Life 525-Online Competitions 526-posh lifestyle 527-Creative In Me 528-Life's Lessons 529-KERSLYN'S COMFORT ZONE 530-Piece of Mine 531-One World One Dream 532-HUMBLE HOME OF OURS 533-Life Is Beautiful; 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*End Copy Here*


Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Water - The Crisis of 21st Century


"Water is life, Water is death"

Water is one of the most precious elements of life on the planet. It is critical for satisfying the basic human needs, health, food production, energy and maintenance of regional and global ecosystems.

Over 70% of the human body is made up of water. A human being may survive without food for several days but water deprivation can kill a person within a matter of hours.

Life is, therefore, tied to water, as it is tied to air and food. And food is indeed tied to water.

Water could well be the only natural resource to touch all aspects of human civilization.

"No single measure would do more to reduce disease and save lives in the developing world than bringing safe water and adequate sanitation" (Kofi Annan).

Issues of food or health or sanitation, environment or cities or energy production, the 21st century has to deal with water quality and management.

Yet, while water sustains life, it can also cause deaths if contaminated. Some of the deadliest diseases, which kill millions around the world every year, are carried in unclean water. In fact, unsafe water and sanitation cause an estimated 80% of all diseases in the developing world, where as much as 90% of waste water is discharged without treatment. An estimated 50 to 100 lakhs people die every year-including one child every 15 second from diseases caused by poor water quality; 25,000 people are dying every day from malnutrition.

"Sold Out of Water"

The Crisis

Let us look at some of the different dimensions of this crisis.

About 120 crores of people (20% of the global population) spread across 40 countries do not have access to safe water; 240 crores of people lack adequate sanitation services.

There is no more fresh water on earth today than there was 2000 years ago when population was 3% of its current size! In the past 100 years, the world population was tripled but water use by humans has multiplied sixfold. Women in Africa and Asia walk an average distance of 6 km a day to collect water.

Fresh water fishing, a key livelihood activity around the world, is under threat. More than 20% of the world's known - 10,000 - fresh water fish species have become extinct, been threatened or endangered in recent decades.

Daily water use per person is about 600 litres in residential areas of North America and Japan and 250-350 litres in Europe whereas per capita water use per day in sub Sahara region is a mere 10 litres. (Per capita use of water in India is about 50 litres per day).

It is reckoned that one flush of a western toilet uses as much water as the average person in the developing world uses for a whole day's washing, drinking, cleaning and cooking!


"The battle for life"

Water, the Cause of the Third World War!

Over the next 20 years, the world's population will increase from the present 6.4 billion to an estimated 7.2 billion whereas the average supply of water per person is expected to fall by one-third. The hardest hit will be the poorest.

According to UN, by 2025 as many as 500 crores of people will be facing water shortage; as many as 270 crores will face severe water shortages, if the world continues consuming water at the present rate.

Water scarcity is estimated to cause annual global losses of 350 million tonnes of food production by 2025.

Save every drop of water today, because water shortage could well lead to the next world war. Unless appropriate measures are taken immediately, the world would soon face threats to global good supply; further environmental damage and ongoing health risks for the hundreds of millions of people lacking access to clean water.

"Fierce national competition over water resources has prompted fears that water issues contain the seeds of violent conflict" (Kofi Annan).

There are 215 trans-boundary rivers whose basins cover 50 percent of all land areas; 32% of the national boundaries are formed by water. Consequently, UN has identified 300 potential water conflict zones.

"Crisis of the Century"

Why the Crisis?

Water covers 70% of the planet but more than 97.5% of the surface water is ocean which, obviously, is not usable in industry, agriculture or as drinking water. (Desalination is far too expensive to be for widespread adoption).

The fresh water on which the world depends represents a mere 2.5% of available water. But then, three-quarters of this fresh water is trapped in the form of snow and ice. That is, all that is available for human use (and, of course, for animals as well) is 0.6% of the surface water!

Population growth, climate change, overuse/ misuse of water and pollution of available water are the principal causes of the crisis.

Irrigation accounts for two-thirds of global use of fresh water. Farmers use water less efficiently and withdraw more water to compensate for water losses. In developing countries 60% is wasted or used inefficiently.

Major sources of water pollution are human wastes, industrial wastes and chemicals and pesticides and fertilizers used for farming.

We have been pumping groundwater faster than aquifers can recharge.

Most of the water reservoirs are suffering reductions in storage capacity as a result of sedimentation caused by deforestation; on an average 1 % of the water storing capacity of the storage reservoirs is being lost annually.

Much of the municipal water supply is lost before it reaches consumers, leaking out of water mains, pipes or faucets or disappearing through illegal taps.

In plain terms, as far as fresh water is concerned, the world has been living way beyond its means.

"So Far So Good"

Not Too Late Yet!

Of all the planet's renewable resources, fresh water may well be the most unforgiving;difficult to purify, expensive to transport and impossible to substitute.

"Water is not like oil. There is no substitute. If we continue to take it for granted, much of the earth is going to run short of water or food - or both."

"A scarier prognosis is indeed difficult to conjure up."

Source :

Water World Council

Wikipedia

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Leadership (R)evolution


The role of vision and values in organisational leadership ...

The levels of business consciousness in today’s corporate world have increased manifold and hence many business practices have undergone a dramatic change. It is now time for the survival of the wisest as against the survival of the fittest. Wisdom being in short supply, organisations are forced to resort to a vision-values approach in order to stay ahead of competition.

With corporate scandals happening on a large scale, people have identified a scarcity for the right models these days. Not every CEO is a perfect leader. The corporate world has woken up to the realisation that survival is possible only when it moulds itself to the demands of a constantly transforming world in a universally acceptable way.

This is the era of leadership (r)evolution, characterised by change and nerve-racking challenges. In such times, leaders must be able to navigate their organisations through all the complexities and competition that has given rise to a sense of misplaced hurry. As many leaders have rightly observed, the only way to survive is to handle challenges when values are threatened and vision is hazy.

The basics revisited

Vision and values guide organisations comfortably through unchartered territories. Says Dr. Sampath, “Vision is the ability to think or plan the future powerfully, with great imagination or wisdom, while values are the beliefs we hold within ourselves that governs our behaviour in any given context”. Maintaining focus on vision and understanding values in order to achieve vision are the key determinants of good leadership and therefore organisational success. It is highly essential to match individual values to organisational values. It needs to be emphasised however, that there is a fundamental discrepancy between the individual’s ‘cherished’ values and ‘lived’ values that must be bridged.

“Vision without values is risky and values without vision leads to nowhere, and vision with values is evolution”. Organisation decision-making rests to a large extent on clarity of vision and values. If a leader finds making an important decision difficult, then it is certain that either the vision, or values, or both were unclear.

Though a comfortable blend of vision and values is not always realistic, every leader must instil a vision in the organisation and values that drive their followers to achieve the vision. Like the unity of purpose is void without a vision, there is no meaningful progress in the lack of values.

The chasms

George Bernard Shaw has said, “A reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him while an unreasonable man adapts the surrounding conditions to himself”. Therefore, an individual’s success is dependent on whether he is a ‘Master of Circumstances’ or ‘Victim of Circumstances’. Comprehension of interdependency of values helps one understand the behaviour of an individual.

There is a dire need for the integration of the ‘being’ and ‘knowing’ stages of an individual. Organisational evolution is possible only with an efficient integration of the two. The larger the gap at the top level, the hazier the leadership direction becomes. The three gaps give rise to values conflict. Fundamentally, the common denominator in all levels of gaps is the difference between ‘what I perceive’ and ‘what is’. However, every organisation almost witnesses all these three chasms between:

‘Who I want to be’ and ‘Who I am’
‘Who I am’ and ‘How I want people around to experience me’
‘How I want people around to experience me’ and ‘What is expected of me’
These gaps begin to close when there is a deep understanding that the root of conflicts lies in a commitment not honoured, an idea unrealised and an opportunity lost.

Conflict experienced

What should change in an organisation and what should not? This is a question that has been bothering organisations ever since the change bug has affected it. The need of the hour is to distinguish between the timeless core values and demonstrating them in a contemporary way with a flexibility level that retains the essence of values in the organisation.

Even organisations that claim to be visionary restrict their vision to certain functions and aspects only. Also, conflicts that seem obvious at a later date would have been unapparent to the leadership earlier. For instance, in Enron’s case, as management experts say, “Enron failed to realise that its core values should never change while its operating practices should never cease to change”. Simply stated, organisations must never compromise their values to achieve their vision. The missing factor here is the alignment of the vision and values as also the misalignment between individual values and organisational values. Leaders must encourage their followers to develop loyalty and commitment two virtues absolutely essential to adopt organisational vision as their own and make efforts to achieve that with value-driven objectives.

Misalignment between vision and values is often one of the main reasons for the downfall of organisations. It could also lead to complications and give rise to conflicts. The primary role and most onerous task of effective leadership is to “reassemble the vision and reconstruct the value structure so that they are in agreement”.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Charity among us

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One of the better things expatriates bring home with them is the appreciation of charity, if not the act of giving itself. Or to rephrase it in our context, getting involved in charitable endeavor is not one of our better traits. Being one of the poorest nations doesn't help much in this regard either. There is this onerous question - "How can one think of giving to charity when one is practically living off one?" True - we, as a nation, are on the receiving end when it comes to charity. But, that's exactly where I stop agreeing with this logic - the keyword being "as a nation".

If you are reading these lines, there is no question in my mind that you do not fit the mold of a typical Nepali. You obviously can read and write in English, have access to the Internet and further than that, found this post in the blog universe. That should put you in the top few of the Nepali populace, economically speaking. Come to think of it, you most probably had a city schooling in a private school where you had harder time writing in Nepali than in English; if you are about or beyond your college going age, you probably don't bother writing in Nepali anymore; if you are of the working age, you probably work in Kathmandu or abroad; or if you are a retired person you probably retired as a very senior government officer or a professor or a professional in some sector. I can make those claims with so much certainty because of one factor alone - your English skills. Add to that your access to the blog and the rest is left for your guesswork.

Regardless, I can make another claim very quickly. At least 90% of you have never given to charity. And no, I don't mean about the times when you handed out 10-15 bucks just to get rid of the bunch that came to your doorstep with a "chanda" pad. It is not to say that you never intend to or you do not want to. Reasons for your not giving are plenty and reasonable - lack of information, lack of credibility of the fund raisers, lack of proper/convenient means, no visible gains of giving, no apparent results of your contributions, skepticism over the proper utilization of your contribution are, but, few reasons that come to mind.

Winter is upon us now. And each day when you complain about your car a/c not warming up quick enough, your gloves not blocking enough wind-chill as you ride that bike, your heaters not warming farther corner of your living room or your tea getting cold quicker, think of one person. This could be anyone who you see everyday on your way to work, temple, gym or bazaar. This person is someone you see and fail or choose not to notice. This kid who works in the teashop; this little girl who is scurries along in bitter cold of Kathmandu mornings to buy milk for her "sahibs" still asleep in their cozy beds; a homeless boy in Pashupati area who gets the warmth for winter from the pyre's heat. Those are few examples that we Kathmandu-baasi are more familiar with. What about the tens of thousands of children that we never hear of - in villages. Can you withstand the same conditions for one day that these people do everyday? Can you live as a homeless for one day? Can you work cleaning glasses in a teashop for just 3 hours? Easier said than done, my friend. Try it out and I'd like to hear from you.

I still remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine while I was in college. In the span of this discussion, he said "....whereas, people in villages get to eat fresh vegetables, milk, ghee, yogurt and meat." The context of our conversation is not even relevant here. The point is that we city dwellers have become oblivious to the state of our country. Yes, you get closer to the source of food as you go to villages but who actually gets to reap the harvest is another question worth writing about altogether. My point, for now, simply is that we don't know anything about the state of our country. May be we do, but it has not hit us home yet. We know there is dire need, we know there is hunger, we know there is no school out there and yet we have not really felt the pain. At least, not like we would feel if those condition were our own !

I don't have to cite any references to say that most of our help should be directed towards the people we do not mostly talk about. Three centuries of Shah dynasty combined with one century of Rana oppression as a "change" has established an unproductive culture among us. Along with infrastructure, education and healthcare, moral attitude of the citizens has suffered a great deal. Three hundred years of continued rip-off didn't leave much time for looking back when the window of opportunity opened up during the 90s when our leaders showed us exactly how hungry we are. Believe it or not, I don't blame them. What do you expect when you place a plateful of delicacy in front of a hungry street kid? Do you expect the kid to go and look for a place to take a shower and then go find his street buddy to share his food with while it is warm? No way! Our leaders did what was natural. (Only, it never stopped was what made matters worse!!). We all are takers, opportunity provided. Bluntly put, we don't give. We take, and more often than not, snatch when we have the opportunity.

I have observed quite a remarkable phenomenon in the western world when it comes to charity. It is not only praiseworthy, but of late has become a fashionable trend. Angelina Jo Lee seems to have inspired sizeable few to follow her path of philanthropy. While the intention of the Hollywood superstars are beyond anybody's contemplation, here are few USA facts that are interesting. Approximately 1,20,000 children are adopted each year in the United States. Some adopt for love, others for religion and yet others for human cause. More than 83% of adults have been donating to some chairty every year since the last decade and a typical contribution amount is 3% of the individual income. Besides, numerous studies have shown that middle class families struggling to make ends meet are the biggest contributors of all the charity. In addition, those who receive charitable contributions are known to be many times more likely to return favors later in future. And, how can any one not feel the warmth of human compassion at the magnanimity of the likes of the Gates, Buffets and Rockefellers just to name the few mega-philanthropists.

How do we fare? It's hard to sallow - we suck!!! If we ask even the smartest and well informed among us to name a few charitable organizations in the country, they will probably come up with at most 2 or 3 names - most very obvious like Red Cross. I am very interested in a survey that asks people to list 5 things they would do if they won a lottery of one corer. By the way, has anyone noticed what are the responses in the game shows in TV channels where they give away prize money? I wonder how many in Nepal say "some part of the winnings for charity!"

You don't have to earn big, you don't have to give big and you don't have to have big objectives to give for charity. An amount of 10 bucks a month is not too much to ask for, is it?* It is 3% of 4000 bucks. Now, don't tell me you don't earn 4000 buck in a year !! (If you don't, don't waste your time reading blogs, you fool. Go and make money!) Being the minimalist that I am, I think it is enough to start the habit of giving. It is not the intent of giving that we lack but the habit and means. Is it not true that you have more than once felt the need, if not the urge, to give? Would you not give more or more regularly if it were easy, transactions honest, organizations transparent and dedicated? Would you not give if you could SEE with your own eyes that your money is being put to good use, to take children off the street or build school? Would you not give if you knew that if you don't, the kid of the same age as your kid will remain hungry today, and probably the days after too? Would you not give if you knew that without your giving, a little girl will never be able to read and will spend her days beating the rocks to gravels?

We can achieve tremendous results with very little individual efforts, if we do it collectively. It is a simple logic and power behind numbers. The inexplicable phenomenon of "If 1 horse can pull 100 kg, then 2 horses can pull 500Kg" also applies here. There is much more to human spirit than we give credit for. Once a giver, always a giver - I experienced it myself. An friend of mine tried to instill the habit of giving to charity in me. I used to hate him during his this obvious solicitation of advice without my asking for it. I did not give a penny when he asked - mostly because I didn't like him enforcing his idea on me, but also because of his choice of charities. He didn't gain anything from those - far from it; he gave even when he could least afford to.

Yet, for all his nagging and irritation, I thank him. He has made me a giver without his knowing it. (That reminds me - I must write him soon thanking about it - he will be pleasantly surprised!!) Nothing has satisfied me more than when I give – sometimes, as little as 25 bucks. I give when I can and when I want. I don't give merely because someone asks. I give if I feel the organization or individual deserves a helping hand. And I give where there are more visible results - sometimes loans without interest and sometimes just a helping hand. I give to expect nothing in return. I don't have any other pattern of giving than that I give whenever I see more personal attachment to the one receiving it. Giving to help Ram dai buy a cow, or to help Kaali go to school is more meaningful to me than giving to Red Cross. You may feel otherwise. It is all personal choice just like fashion and food choices. The bottom line is, I give. Do you?

Yes, the last statement was intentional. I intend to arouse that anger, irritation or ego in you with that question. I give to charity - do you? (A T-shirt campaign comes to mind!!) I hope one day, you will. When you do, I am sure you will do it again. Be it your shame of having too much, or the anger of not having more, or the ego of not being the one who didn't give, or the irritation of being constantly asked to give, or the compassion towards your fellow being or the love of an innocent child's desperation - the fact that you helped when it was needed outweighs all the reasons in the world. We go out in the world with a pauper’s begging bowl and yet fail to sound the SOS alarm among ourselves. Are we so hopeless that we are not even asked to help? I don't believe it.

I give when i know how, when and what to give.
I give when what I give, gets to the needy.
I give when I see my contribution is making a difference.
I give because it makes me feel that I am better than others.
I give because it changes someone's course of life.
I give because it is a matter of life and death for someone.
I give because I dare you to try it out and brag about it.

Any takers? No puns intended ! :-)

(Have you read Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher? If you are 30+ and have not read it already, shame on you. And yes, you can restore all your shame by reading it!)

Note:
* @Rs 10/- a month = Rs 120/year. If you get one lakh persons to do that, it is Rs 1.2 corer/ year. One lakh is less than 4 out of every 1000 of us. How many kids could you feed and send school for that amount? Now, that is a question worth finding an answer for.
-Saral Nepal

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Twelve tips to climb the corporate ladder

Being over-dedicated to your job may actually dim your chances of a promotion

If you talk to any successful entrepreneur, he will tell you that one of the ingredients of his achievements is hard work. But there are situations where hard work is counterproductive. The gadflies and drones of the company actually overtake you.

There are several reasons why this happens. There are people who work hard — much harder than their colleagues — because deep down they suffer from an inferiority complex. Often, they don’t realise it. They sacrifice family life to devote themselves to the corporate cause. You will find a lot of them in foreign banks. They run from meeting to meeting: from power breakfast to deal-making dinner.

Americans are particularly good at creating work for each other. The British have learnt to enjoy themselves behind the facade of hard work. Remember the five investment bankers from Barclays Capital who totted up a bill of £44,000 on one meal. (That’s what the wine cost; the £400 food bill was waived by the astounded restaurant owner.) Incidentally, Barclays was at that time cutting 1,800 jobs.

Away from the executive suites, why are people penalised for working too hard? The inferiority complex encourages some people to make themselves irreplaceable. An executive secretary with a top CEO says that she is the right hand person of her boss. So much so, each time he changed jobs, she moved with him. The money is not an issue; within limitations, she has been taken care of. But she recollects that she joined the job in the secretarial pool along a certain Ramona. The latter didn’t try to reach the big league by latching her wagon to a smart young executive. She was relatively lazy and was sent for training courses. Today, Ramona is sales manager in a rival concern and could even make CEO some day.

It’s not just secretaries who get wedded to their bosses. Some individuals get wedded to their jobs. They make themselves so valuable that they are impossible to move out or replace. If you are ever in such a position, you can bid goodbye to your chances of promotion. The other reason, of course, is that because of your insecurity, you take good care not to groom a successor. Remember the first IT types in companies when computerisation was a new, new thing. They made everything seem so esoteric. One of the few good things Bill Gates has done is reduce them to jargon-mouthing non-essentials.

Hard work also implies a lot of devotion to the immediate job content. The end result is that you don’t have the time to see what others are doing. If you want to rise to the top, you have to be a generalist. This is why industry puts a greater premium on MBAs than engineers.

But engineers and MBAs alike can fall into the hard work trap. And they have some evidence to prove that they are doing the right thing. According to a study by the Gothenburg University in Sweden, people who work hard tend to be happier. But the researchers add that the important point is to have a goal. Unfortunately for some, the work itself becomes an all-consuming goal.

Other researchers have pointed out that working yourself into a dead end happens more to women than to men. Some of the reasons are: overcompensation because of the need to handle multiple priorities; a greater sense of loyalty to the organisation and the individual; and a more responsible attitude to life. It may also be that job opportunities for women are limited even today. However, you won’t find HR people talking about this, as it’s politically incorrect.

The ultimate result of unstinted hard work is that you get taken for granted. The worker who expects to get rewarded for devotion ends up as the dogsbody around the office.

Pushing for promotion

Twelve tips to climb the corporate ladder

• Master your current job.

• Volunteer to take on (valuable) extra tasks.

• Make your boss look good.

• Stay in close contact with the HR department.

• Maintain positive relationships with the staff.

• Let your leadership skills shine.

• Groom a successor.

• Get a mentor.

• Take additional training.

• Look presentable at all times.

• Perfect your elevator pitch.

• Watch your timing.

Source: The Telegraph

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good advice often comes like gentle drops of fine rain

Now days I'm reading articles of Mr R Gopalakrishnan who is the executive Director of TATA Sons , so here is another one-

All endings are also beginnings. It is just that we don't know it at that time. In a delightful book, 'The Five People You Meet In Heaven', Mitch Albom narrates the story of an 83 year old war veteran, who discovers people who affected his life without anyone knowing about it.

This is true for managers also. Views from casual acquaintances who are not formally assigned the role of being a well-wisher can be extremely valuable. Their ideas come like gentle drops of rain that fall around you without making their presence felt too strongly, nor being intrusive.

When I grew up in Calcutta, it was a premier mercantile city, still maintaining the famous boxwallah tradition. Any young person walking around the office areas like Fairlie Place and Brabourne Road would yearn for a management trainee job in those business firms-Andrew Yule, Balmer Lawrie, Bird and Company, and Martin Burn, names that have now virtually vanished.

I was completing my final year BSc course, resident at the college hostel. Father de Bonhome, the principal of St Xavier's College, asked me whether I would like to be recommended for a trainee's job at McKinnon McKenzie. It was a fine firm, he could suggest only two from the whole college, and the salary would be Rs 450 per month. I calmly said that I was honoured to be recommended; in reality, I was thrilled. I did not consult my father, who had by then moved to Bombay.

With a borrowed suit and soaring dreams, I interviewed at the McKinnon office. After being seen by two managers, I saw one Mohi Das, the managing director. He asked me several thoughtful questions. As I was getting convinced that I had done well and might actually get the job, he drew up close to me and asked, "Son, may I call you that way? Don't get me wrong, but you are just past eighteen. You can have the job; we can train you quite well. But, tell me, do you need the job? How is the family situation?"

I was a bit offended, what did my family situation have to do with the job? He clarified, "Well, I have spent my career in one set of circumstances, but you will spend your career in an entirely different set of circumstances. I feel you should get a professional degree. You can always get this kind of job, son-unless the family situation requires you to get a job right now".

How could he dangle one of the most prized jobs in front of me and then say what he did? I just did not want to listen to him. And I was quite clear about my future (or so I thought) without asking too many people!

Reluctantly, I decided after some further thought that I should mention to my father that I wish to accept the job. He was furious that I could even think of taking a job. My dream job ended like a collapsed balloon. I went on to study further and joined Hindustan Lever subsequently.

I never met Mohi Das after that encounter. He retired in due course. A few years ago, I learned that he had died in Coonoor. He would not recognize this story even if I had the chance to remind him. He influenced and counseled me about my career in a valuable way, but unknowingly.

Like gentle drops of fine rain that touch you but do not interfere with you, casual advice comes your way. You need to listen to and reflect on them. Then take your own decision. Particularly for a generation that is as blessed as young people are in today's India, this would be wise.
- Mr R Gopalakrishnan

Monday, December 04, 2006

Success is about direction more than distance

Many managers spend a lot of their working time, thinking about how to accelerate their promotions, how to impress the boss more than their colleagues, and how to earn money faster. The management world is indeed very competitive. So you feel that time must be spent thinking through such matters and taking appropriate actions--quite correct, but only in part.

The question to ask is whether it is the aim of a career to go far or in the right direction. Ideally, of course, you should achieve both, but that is not easy.

If you watch club level golfers, you will see the point. Some stand on the tee box with the longest club, and whack the ball with the might of an ox. They are the ones who want to see the ball soar away with an accelerating speed. A few seconds later, when they observe where the ball has landed, they curse and crib. The ball has perhaps been lost or has landed in a difficult spot from which it would be difficult to play the next shot. Other golfers take a measured approach of landing the ball on the fairway at a spot where they want to land. For them, the next stroke is as important as this first tee shot. Both are valid ways to play the game. If you are very talented, you may learn to do both i.e. go far as well as land where you want. Many club level golfers never achieve this.

The purpose of a career is to utilize your potential fully because that alone can give you satisfaction and a sense of self-esteem. This is so whether you are a chairman or an assistant. It becomes possible to achieve such satisfaction when you are surrounded by friendship and trust, which are essential for accomplishment in managerial tasks. Nobody can do a management job all by himself, this is a well accepted fact. It is the web of relationships and friendship that enables a manager to navigate the choppy waters that the ship of his career will constantly encounter.

There was a fine movie made by Frank Capra which I recall seeing when I was young. It starred James Stewart and Donna Reed and was named It's a wonderful life. The story is about a man, who thinks he is a failure. So he prepares to commit suicide.

An angel is sent to prevent his act and to rescue him. The angel finds that the man lacks self esteem and hence he thinks that his friends and relations do not much care for him. The angel takes him in an invisible form to overhear what his friends and relations think of him in reality. He is surprised that he seemed to be loved by them all and that he mattered to them. His own perception of his failures in his career and his business activities bothered them little, and their love for him was overwhelming. He feels blessed.

The moral of the film is that no man is a failure who has friends.


Well, it is the same with your career. You take your own successes too seriously, and your failures in the same way. Other people do not think about either with the same intensity, they have better things to do!

Philosophers say that a good question to ponder about is when you die, who will come to your funeral? When a loved man dies, lots of people come for his funeral out of choice. When a rich or powerful man dies, lots of people may come, but for the reason that they want to be seen to have been there.

If you aim in the right direction, the best possible distance will come automatically. That is a simple truth.

- Mr R Gopalakrishnan