August 21, 2007

Longing to break free!

Breaking free is not a one time act at all! Guess it's a repeatable process, cos the moment you're free from something, another one/issue is ready to get you!

It was India's independence on the August 15, and I remember wishing a colleague, "Hope you'll enjoy freedom personally from all of life's tensions and weariness." And, right now, when I am in a fix, longing to break free, I can't help remembering that I've felt like this many times before, and there has been some sorta solution always. While I do understand that this moment, too, shall pass away, guess its a reaffirmation to myself that that every dark cloud has a silver lining, and every night makes way for the light.

Hmm... but, what I can think of, right now, is actress Konkana Sen, how in the movie Life in a Metro, she shouts/ screams at the top of her voice to let out her anger/ frustration at the top of her voice on that building.

But, pity! There's no such buildings around my place in Delhi... and I can't afford to do that!

(This was written before 2 days of actual posting...)

When someone else controls your life...

Eevrybody likes to control... but, have you ever been controlled? Have an idea of what it's like?

Picture this: You're sitting in the driver seat of your car, but you realize that the steering wheel just doesn't respond to your directions, but it is controlled externally by someonelse. You're trying hard to take it to a direction you want to, but, it's just not possible... How would you feel?

Well, it's really very tiring mentally when you lose control over whatever's happening in your life. Cos, you just indulge in investigating petty details of life trying to find the missing clue, or what went wrong. Isn't it? That's when ambiguity strikes your life... and it's like a high-intensity earthquake which shatters and scatters everything around... It's in those moments that life issues do not let you take control of them, and demand absolute conformity... makes your head go absolute bonkers.

I remember writing "So, who's managing you now-a-days," a month or two ago, but that's only about career. I guess all working executives will concur with it when I say, that in the current lifestyles there's a very very very thin line dividing personal & work life, and in fact, for both the sides fall into each others premises leaving no distinction at all.

Right now, I'm just talking out... to this computer screen, on this blog... cos I seem to have a fascination for this friend without a face and odd little name...

August 13, 2007

Trainee's attitude alone can result in learning

There are no bad students, there are only bad teachers...

It's like saying that there are no bad bosses, only incompetent employees. Sounds ridiculous, eh? Given my bounded rationality and the recent experiences with a few students, I believe, the person who made that statement that there are no bad students was either not exposed to modern education, didn't have the slightest idea of what the education system might become, or how the student-relations might evolve to be.

I firmly believe that when it comes to training or teaching to a certain group of individuals, the two critical factors that can render the training dysfunctional or make it achieve it's objectives are--
  • Trainee / Student Attitudes
  • Readiness of Students / Trainee to learn (Conscious learning to overcome knowledge/skill gap or enhance one's knowledge)
A very recent instance, while teaching about Issues in Training & Development, I found that I could make example of the very students who were part of some crowd of 50 BBA Students at one of the private business schools. It was because the students were not sitting in the classroom (after rescheduling of the class post four-month break) to get some learning, but for a variety of reasons which include--
  1. It's hot outside the classroom, so to get some cool air-conditioning,
  2. Less attendance leads to penalties
  3. Need to, pass exams, so we'll get some questions to be answered from the teacher (Bottomline, get Questions & Answers basically)
  4. They're waiting for someone, so, classroom is a better place to wait.
Though these few are not the only reasons, they're worth mentioning cos they're the most common ones. It is really disturbing to witness the attitudes of students when they claim that they're not here to learn nothing, but to just vomit the text book and lecture content without any understanding in their answer sheets. And a few, just do the course so as to be branded as MBA for marriage purposes, phew!

Given the consistency of these experiences over the past 3-4 years, I don't see this picture of student attitudes getting any better given the thought bombs that are exploding in the current Indian society. It's just a hope that there are only bad teachers, and no bad students... (Personally, I do believe that there are the worst category of teachers too...)

PS: This little piece of writing was with no intention to blame students alone... This is just one side of the story, there are many threads attached to this...

August 6, 2007

Is your company breeding incompetence?

Process leaders are not being trained well enough in the fast growing sectors like IT, ITeS, Retail, Banking among others...

It’s the same talk again, that India Inc. is hiring big-time. And, to train and manage the new recruits, there are the process leaders, who either have inadequate experience and expertise – or are just plain incompetent. As the bottom of the organizational pyramid continues to broaden its base, the woes of bottom-line executives too have risen… but this time, it is a question of their immediate process leaders’ competence in managing work. Ashish, a new recruit with a multinational bank in India is disgruntled and constantly bitches about his branch manager who keeps shirking his responsibilities on to him and adding to his burden. On top of it, he is also discontented with his process leader who keeps pestering him with requests of assistance over conceptual matters related to processes, or with complaints of his non-cooperation.

The company, which says that passion to perform is one of its core values, probably hasn’t got its performance managers trained enough. That’s not the case with just one organization. All you have to do is have a casual talk with any executive of a (xyz) company – as a customer or as an acquaintance – and you’ll get know it all.

But why is it all happening in the first place? The reason: intense restructuring due to market demands have led companies to go on a frenzied expansion (and recruitment) drive. To balance the organizational structure, companies need to create proportionate senior positions as well. “What’s happening now is that companies are filling these positions up on an ad-hoc basis. So executives with certain experience (regardless of training and managerial abilities) are randomly being picked up for promotions (internal or designated),” says an HR manager with a technology MNC. These newly promoted seniors take up higher responsibilities with new personnel coming in and mentor them.

Such practices, a blasphemy to management philosophies, cannot earn companies any respect in the business world, and such issues can only be resolved if organizations give enough time to plan, allocate and train personnel to meet the market demands. If that’s too much, here’s the classic excuse and most workable solution: Discount it as yet another common problem with organizations on a robust growth path…

Happy Friendship Day to All...

What if we don't meet up every day, and do stuff together?
We're still friends..

(This is a forward, if you feel these images are not to be put online, pl inform)

August 2, 2007

How about learning from movies?

Seems like employees can learn to work better by watching movies...

If you thought movies were just entertainment and a reason to feel good, corporate trainers want you to rethink! What’s common to Forrest Gump,Saving Private Ryan, and Cinderella Man, apart from being Academy award winners? Aren’t they all awe-inspiring and extremely motivating? Capitalising on these qualities of movies, trainers and management consultancies are increasingly finding use of movies as an effective tool for learning in corporate India. Other than the ones mentioned above, My Fair Lady, Bridge on the River Kwai, Executive Decision, and Scent of a Woman are others, which are used for various training modules.

Movies are no more pure indulgence as what sectarians might say... they are finding a place in the toolkit of various HR trainers to be used for imparting learning effectively. They are no more all about big biz and bigger bucks for directors and producers alone! A spokesperson for Genesis Events India, which conducts such workshops, says, “In the workshop, participants view snippets from popular Hollywood films, examine, discuss, and then evaluate the learning that they gather, and then assess the possible application of that learning to the everyday problems that they face at work.” Well, the methodology of these training sessions might be poles apart from conventional ones, but the point is the learning from these sessions is retained well. And so, the concept seems to be working well; after all, who does not want to have loads of learning entertainment?

Wait, what about desi movies? Lagaan has already found widespread use for training in businesses and B-schools as an exemplary leadership model. Then, there’s Munnabhai MBBS that is being ‘viewed’ for training on motivation. Similarly, Iqbal is being used for personal development, Ek Ruka Hua Faisla for negotiation skills... and the list goes on. Says an executive, “It’s like we’re back in school, learning lessons out of stories.”

So, next time you happen to watch some exciting movie, be sure that you get the moral of the story: It may be a corporate lesson!