June 20, 2008

Micro Labs

Today was my second day in Nirma Campus. As per schedule I had a “Micro Labs” session. I was confused by its name itself. What does an MBA candidate do in a lab? And that also a micro lab; it is a strange name of labs I have ever heard.

All candidates were gathered in a hall with chairs available for each one. We were instructed to sit in a circle. As soon Prof Muncherji entered the hall, she asked to put our bags and books on chair and stand up and come into centre. We had a plenty of rounds of innovative games to be played.

In first round we asked to form two circles in a way that candidates stood face to face. Inner circle had to rotate in counter clockwise and outer one had to rotate in clockwise direction. We needed to stop in front of every candidate in other circle and give him a smile, shake hand and introduce each other.

In second round, we were asked to fly like birds; mean we needed to move our hands in air like birds move their wings. But condition was that we could not stay at one place; we had to move. Third round was again an introductory round. We needed to form groups of four persons and give our introduction.

In fourth round we asked to drive vehicle that we generally use to drive. We had to make noise as vehicles do. And Yaps!! We needed to horn if needed. Fifth round was again an introductory round where we needed to form group of three persons who must not have formed a group with you before. And we needed to discuss our goals and ambitions with group member.

Sixth round was more terrific round than other rounds where we asked to jump like a frog. Again a condition was put that if someone stops, he or she has to be “Murga” in front of all. Seventh round was again an introductory round where we needed to form group of five persons with previous condition applied. We needed to discuss person who influenced you the most and how.

In eighth round we were asked to walk by closing both eyes. Ninth round was also an introductory round. And in tenth and last round we were asked to move in backward direction without turning back.

This all things look awkward with straight perspective. But it removed fear from our hearts; I can interact any of my classmate without any fear what he or she will think. I can jump like a frog in front of my classmates. This is what makes MBA program different than others and what makes a good institute different.

June 18, 2008

Inauguration Ceremony

Today I had to attend Registration Day at Nirma University. Upto this point Institute has communicated very well. I thought I would register in around 1 hr and come back. But when I reached there I came to know first we needed to attend “Introduction Ceremony”. After that, Inauguration ceremony was held.

Mr Palia (from board of directors, Tata Steel) and Mr. Iyer were chief guests. The audience were addressed by chairman of each management program offered by Institute of Management.

Mr Dhar started the ceremony with a great speech. With the start, he mentioned few figures related to Indian economy and its growth. Being a technical person, I hardly understand a single sentence related to economics. But once it was over, Mr Dhar explained why candidates join MBA. According to him, it can be two reasons first candidate wants a job, or he expects a higher position in current company. But MBA does not guarantee any of them. As per his point of view, MBA teaches you those aspects of life which are not only needed in corporate but also helps in living a better life. And finally when he concluded his speech with a great quote “Honest is still the best policy.”

Then came Mr. Danak’s turn; chairman of Doctoral Program. He started speech with a question “Why does doctoral program come after conventional MBA program both in real life and in Inauguration ceremony?” The answer lies in difference of graining knowledge. Conventional MBA is meant for Knowledge Determination while Doctoral program is meant for Knowledge Creation.

Last was Mr Gupta chairman of part time MBA program. His speech included a good poem on trusting oneself. I just repeat few lines I remember “Do trust yourself otherwise who is going to trust you.” And more “Trust does not mean you are perfect, but you have a perfect willing to understand life.”

These were snippets of what chairman delivered in their speech. I will continue with speech of chief guests afterwards.

June 13, 2008

Beginner's Luck

Last week I started to read “The Alchemist”, a novel shared by my colleague. The story runs around achieving one’s destination and omens. It describes existence of a universal language that you can experience between people from different countries and sometimes between human and animal.

That novel explained “Principle of favorability” that put me in looking back at my life. Principle of favorability states that when you play cards for first time, you almost sure to win.

I always dream to get into a MBA institute; but this year, by gathering all my courage, I filled admission form. I had to appear for an entrance test and I started preparing for it. In between I fall sick for 15 days and I lost my concentration and my interest too. The entrance test was about fundamentals that I learned in earlier studies. I hope for the best and taken the exam. Fortunately I got selected. Beginner’s Luck; same thing explained by that principle.

That novel also explains reason behind beginner’s luck. “There is a force that wants you to realize your destiny; it whets your appetite with a taste of success."

As I went on reading this novel, I started believing that there is nothing like luck and coincident. It is our inability to choose our destiny. In a result we regret our fate by saying world’s greatest lie. Thing is we need to identify correct omens.

I have seen struggle of my friends. Some succeed, some fail. Each time I learn that when you try to run away from your destiny, it will force you to return.

Finally, I will repeat the same lines that made me read this novel. “When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

June 10, 2008

Why Employees Leave Organisation

Every company faces the problem of people leaving the company for better pay or profile.

Early this year, Mark, a senior software designer, got an offer from a prestigious international firm to work in its India operations developing specialized software. He was thrilled by the offer.

He had heard a lot about the CEO. The salary was great.. The company had all the right systems in place employee-friendly human resources (HR) policies, a spanking new office, and the very best technology, even a canteen that served superb food.

Twice Mark was sent abroad for training. "My learning curve is the sharpest it's ever been," he said soon after he joined.

Last week, less than eight months after he joined, Mark walked out of the job.

Why did this talented employee leave?

Arun quit for the same reason that drives many good people away.

The answer lies in one of the largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization. The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called "First Break All The Rules". It came up with this surprising finding:

If you're losing good people, look to their immediate boss. Immediate boss is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he's the reason why people leave. When people leave they take knowledge, experience and contacts with them, straight to the competition.

“People leave managers not companies" write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

Mostly manager drives people away?

HR experts say that of all the abuses, employees find humiliation the most intolerable. The first time, an employee may not leave, but a thought has been planted. Second time, that thought gets strengthened. The third time, he looks for another job.

When people cannot retort openly in anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and slowing down. By doing only what they are told to do and no more. By omitting to give the boss crucial information, Dev says: "If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into trouble. You don't have your heart and soul in the job."

Different managers can stress out employees in different ways - by being too controlling, too suspicious, too pushy, too critical, but they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents. When this goes on too long, an employee will quit - often over a trivial issue.

Talented men leave. Dead wood doesn't.


June 4, 2008

Deserve Before You Desire

The grass isn't always greener on the other side!! Move from one job to another, but only for the right reasons. It's yet another day at office. As I logged on to the marketing and advertising sites for the latest updates, as usual, I found the headlines dominated by 'who's moving from one company to another after a short stint', and I wondered, why are so many people leaving one job for another?

Is it passé now to work with just one company for a sufficiently long period? Whenever I ask this question to people who leave a company, the answers I get are: "Oh, I am getting a 200% hike in salary"; "Well, I am jumping three levels in my designation"; "Well, they are going to send me abroad in six months". Then, I look around at all the people who are considered successful today and who have reached the top - be it a media agency, an advertising agency or a company. I find that most of these people are the ones who have stuck to the company, ground their heels and worked their way to the top. And, as I look around for people who changed their jobs constantly, I find they have stagnated at some level, in obscurity!

In this absolutely ruthless, dynamic and competitive environment, there are still no short-cuts to success or to making money. The only thing that continues to pay, as earlier, is loyalty and hard work. Yes, it pays! Sometimes immediately; Sometimes after a lot of time; But, it does pay.

Does this mean that one should stick to an organization and wait for that golden moment? Of course not. After a long stint, there always comes a time for moving in most organizations, but it is important to move for the right reasons, rather than superficial ones, like money, designation or an overseas trip.

Remember, no company recruits for charity. More often than not, when you are offered an unseemly hike in salary or designation that is disproportionate to what that company offers it current employees, there is always unseen bait attached. The result? You will, in the long-term, have reached exactly the same levels or maybe lower levels than what you would have in your current company.

A lot of people leave an organization because they are "unhappy". What is this so-called-unhappiness? I have been working for donkey's years and there has never been a day when I am not unhappy about something in my work environment-boss, rude colleague, fussy clients etc. Unhappiness in a workplace, to a large extent, is transient. If you look hard enough, there is always something to be unhappy about.

But, more importantly, do I come to work to be "happy" in the truest sense? If I think hard, the answer is "No". Happiness is something you find with family, friends, may be a close circle of colleagues who have become friends. What you come to work for is to earn, build a reputation, satisfy your ambitions, be appreciated for your work ethics, face challenges and get the job done.

So, the next time you are tempted to move, ask yourself why you moving and what are you moving into?

Some questions are:

"Am I ready and capable of handling the new responsibility? If yes, what could be the possible reasons my current company has not offered me the same responsibility?"

"Who are the people who currently handle this responsibility in the current and new company? Am I as good as the best among them?"

"As the new job offer has a different profile, why have I not given the current company the option to offer me this profile?"

"Why is the new company offering me the job? Do they want me for my skills, or is there an ulterior motive?"

An honest answer to these will eventually decide where you go in your career-to the top of the pile in the long term (at the cost of short-term blips) or to become another average employee who gets lost with time in the wilderness?

"Deserve Before You Desire" - Dr. Gopalkrishnan, Chairman TATA Sons.

(Mr. Gopalakrishnan succeeds Mr. Ratan Tata as Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., the holding company for many of the Tata Bluechips like Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Voltas, etc. Possibly he is the first non-Tata person to head the Tata Empire. )