November 27, 2011

Corruption - Who'll tackle this bit?

When the nation was busy with country-wide protests, tug-of-war between Anna, Govt., and other political parties playing their ever-belittling opportunistic role.. here’s two instances of corruption I’ve faced and raises a question – Who will tackle this bit?

  1. Traffic Police @ Bangalore – I own a Delhi registration bike. At the Bangalore central railway station, I was actually struggling to find the ‘parking’ spot and I stopped on a side of the road to turn, which would have been a wrong-side driving, however I didn’t turn. On reaching the parking area, a policeman helped me parked my bike - I thanked him for the gesture. After an hour, when I was exiting, the same policeman surprised me with a demand that I show my license and bike papers. On asking why, he tells me – I came in from a wrong side (an hour back). While I may have respected / adhered to his demand if he had been on the spot and stopped me there. On assertively and a slightly aggressive tone questioning the policeman – ‘What traffic checks he is doing inside a Parking area?’ and asking him to tell his name – he started stuttering.. On insisting to answer my questions and to tell his name, he slipped out. Needless to say he was not the only one in that area as I could spot another one in a distance within the same parking lot- perhaps doing the same act with someone else. It’s a known fact that these people not only harness the ignorance of many others who come,  but also attempt to make money by confusing and scaring people with their police-wear (uniform/ wardi), especially the ones who seem not to know the language / or look new in the area. I am sure that this is not only a case of Bangalore but as many cities across India where no one stands up and questions these foul officials! 
  2. Retail shops at Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, All cities’ Bus stands, Railway Stations: Every commodity purchased at these areas in all cities, all tiers, has to cost maximum retail price (MRP) +Rs. 2 and above.. And believe me, you better not say this 'that you'll report to police about this' to any shopkeeper and make a mockery of yourself. You just cannot address this to any policeman anywhere around..cos they're not just the beneficiaries of this loot, but also integral part making this money supply chain even stronger.  I thought this was only a syndrome in Delhi, until I started traveling across to Bangalore, between Bangalore-Chennai, then Hyderabad.. The highest of such mark-up price over the MRP I have witnessed was in Tirupathi – of Rs. +5/-. Well, don't forget that this ranges across commodities.
There are umpteen such things I'd come across recently which I don't want to elaborate, but a few instances:
  • Railway / Bus (Govt RTC) Reservations, where TC (Ticket collectors), RCs (Reservation clerks), Bus conductors will take even a Rs. 20/- till upto Rs. 150/- to help get a reservation. While that being the normal rates. The rates apparently go up to a Rs. 500/- to even thousands during festival seasons and other peak seasons.. 
  • License Departments (Govt) - Leave the touts aside.. The inspector who needs to do test drives, who insists on expediting ppl who can test on the car he has arranged - for which ppl need to pay Rs. 100/- and makes everyone who brings in their own car stand in a long line, which god only knows till what unlimited time their turn might come.
  • Petrol Stations/ Bunks - Where the happy-go-lucky guy who comes to fill in petrol, will even keep a few paise off from quoted amount as if he's saving a great deal. And please, it's not about losing a few paise, but the underlying attitude at work about cutting corners and making money.. 

These are just a very few handful of incidents, and I am sure, there are hundreds of such things we all come across, some noticed, some conspicuously ignored, some unnoticed.

Wonder how these things take a toll on the lower-middle class and below folks; with food inflation anyways hitting the common man’s life and more!

Where is this bit of corruption being addressed is the question? Unmistakably many people, illiterate, educated, uneducated, illuminated included may not have been able to address this bit in so many years even after independence.

Well, Anna's not coming to help us in these places! Let's at least create a wave of awareness across with everyone we come by so that everyone can Stand up and make a difference!

November 23, 2011

Silent workers - diamonds without a sparkle

If you don't sparkle, you're not a diamond. You're not performing either if it's not visible!

Diamonds coated in coal are really not picked up! And, so are these silent performers at work not really recognized. It’s like this— think of a family of two children, where both parents are working and yes, add all the other busy-ness around running a family and catching up with other things in life.. ·
  • One kid is a very vocal, throws demands at folks, fussy about what he gets and all..·
  • The second kid, is a calm, collected, not-so-vocal all the time sorts..
Who do you think gets the most attention? Well, if I have your guesses right – it’s the vocal kid. Does that mean that that the composed kid doesn’t have needs, or that he’s never shared any of his needs at all? Absolutely not!

In the corporate world that’s exactly how things operate. Given all the ‘attributed’ professionalism and maturity that people display, processes and procedures implemented, how interventions and control mechanisms are in place to address issues— people are too busy with umpteen things demanding their attention to really even think that the calm, composed team member really has something which needs as much a devoted attention just as the other things/ people demand.

There’s a term in the corporate world to describe such people – ‘ the silent worker’. These are the ones who are good / high performers in every team who choose not to verbalize their feelings every now and then, however, make themselves heard when necessary and make it count. But, with all the pressures, these days, a manager’s span of attention only lasts as long as the team member is vocal—the precedent set by such behavior is indeed sad. With the cognitive abilities all humans are blessed with, on reaching a certain level of tenure / hierarchy / maturity in the system – all employees not only become extremely perceptive, but also develop sharp—may be fallible, but a sharp sense of judgment. The result—losing out a solid citizen (the silent worker) in your team.

Reminds me of one of the famous Gallup’s employee engagement survey – Q12 question— About having someone who cares for you at work. When people answer 'No', please note that it's not that there's really no one to care, but talking of Recency effect— the employee is questioning what care s/he received at work that left a lasting impression?

Answer this: What is actively engaging care, if not care for one’s career at workplace?

P.S.: In principle, I really do not agree that in a familial situation, the silent kid doesn not receive attention.