Satin Scripts

A blog about food, travel, sports, finance & anything which interests a common man

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Find what is the most valuable resource in the current world scenario? – New Age thinking (Part 7)

On a Monday morning my daughter came running towards me with a query. She had a question from her teacher which she remembered at the spur of the moment. The question was “What would be the most valuable resource in the current world scenario? I promised to give her an answer by evening as I was getting ready to leave to my office.

I could have googled out but for once I thought of finding an answer on my own. My wife was having a tough time handling by younger daughter who was distracted with her toys as my wife was trying to feed her. It was a typical scene in any toddler’s house which I was enjoying before I left for office. On the railway station the train was approaching the platform with the driver continuously honking. He was doing that, as a middle aged man with his headsets on, was trying to cross the railway tracks. My heart skipped a beat as the train narrowly missed him, else he would have been under the wheels.

I navigated my way through the crowd and managed to get a seat in the train. As the journey commenced everybody was busy with their phones or daily news papers and few where chit chatting as a group. I then spotted a hawker in my compartment yelling at the top of his voice in order to lure customers to sell his products and he was successful enough to find a couple of buyers as well

Later I reached office and I had a training scheduled on that day. It was a soft skills training and my faculty was nice enough to explain the relevant concepts. When I reached home, I saw my family glued to the television as it was a prime time and one of the channels was airing a serial which had the highest TRP and considered to be No.1 in its genre. After me freshening up, I went into my room to get myself relaxed. My daughter’s query in the morning strikes me and I tried to recollect the trail of events happened since morning to answer my daughter.

  • What a mother tried to get from her baby?
  • What a loco pilot tried to get from a jay walker crossing the tracks?
  • What a hawker tried to get from the passengers?
  • What a trainer tried to get from his students?
  • What a serial director tried to get from his audience?

When I tried to string a cord with the line of events, I could find a correlation amongst all of these. My daughter appeared in front of me and her eyes were filled with anxiety expecting an answer from me. I replied her stating the most Sparse, Scarce and Sacred resource in the current world scenario is

Human Attention
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Everybody in this world is now chasing human beings to gather their attention. These days the distractions are more and everybody finds it difficult to stay focused on one thing for long. A survey results denote that an average individual browse their gadget for more than 180 minutes a day but their attention in a particular screen doesn’t stay for more than 8 seconds. This signifies the quantum of information available and how much we humans are distracted as well.

As everybody tries to gather our attention, it has become the most valuable resource of this century. Try to use this judiciously. Thanks for spending your most valuable resource in reading this article for the past few minutes and thanks in advance, if you spend that additional time on sharing this valuable information amongst your groups.

Friday, 12 August 2016

5 “Must to do” things at work for success…

Do you belong to that tribe of workers who keeps wondering “What else can I do at work” in order to have a better appraisal? Are you the one who completes the task assigned to you at ease and still see your Manager writing comments - “Could have done more”? Whether you are puzzled on how to meet your manager’s expectations? Then you are the one amongst most men and women who got caught into the 3D syndrome called “Do, Deliver & Depart

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You may wonder what else I can do at work when there are preset goals assigned to me. You would have been happy with the job on hand and continue to focus only on those goals diligently and keep delivering it on time. If you belong to that breed of worker then you are termed as an employee who “Just Meet Expectations”. In this world of high competitiveness everybody is expected to walk the extra mile, think out of the box and deliver at lightning speed. All of these will come with a change in attitude. By following the below guidelines you not only surprise yourself but also “sweep your manager off their feet

Understand the larger picture: Any work assigned, you need to understand the relevance of your work in the bigger context. This will make you feel how important is your work in the larger scheme of things. Also you can connect the dots from end to end which will help you improve the process knowledge. Enhanced process knowledge will make you an SME in a shorter span of time.

Think about your client’s customer: In this era of outsourcing, things have evolved a lot to an extent you should not stop with worrying about your clients. Rather go one step ahead and start thinking about your client’s customer. You need to imagine how your errors will impact them. This will not only help you to prevent from doing mistakes but you will also take the job on hand more seriously and come with fool proof concepts which will ensure flawless delivery.

Be innovative: Never do your work the same way it has been assigned. You need to start thinking “Out of the box”. You need to find smarter ways of completing your work faster with far superior accuracy. It’s ok to be lazy as long as you are innovative. It reminds me a famous quote “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it – Steve Jobs”. 

Don’t be afraid about failure. In this world of lightning speed even if you have to fail do it faster, rather than slogging it out to do it first time right. Before taking your chances take your manager into consensus on your risk appetite, so that they can back you up.

Practise Multitasking: World travels at such a fast phase everything has become instant. All the expected deliverables in the service delivery comes with a deadline of “Yesterday”. This indicates the speed at which work to be delivered. Proper prioritization and planning will only help you to deliver the work at defined deadlines. In order to meet out these requirements you have to equip yourselves with multi tasking talent. Gone are those days when work can wait for us. Now everybody is waiting for work. So make yourself a part of the elite group of multi talented folks to stay in the hunt.

Ask for More: This is the most important thing one has to do at work. Never be self contented. As long as you are happy with the job on hand your knowledge will be restricted. Only a crying baby gets the milk, so keep pestering your manager for more challenging assignments. Before doing that ensure that whatever has been assigned to you, either has been completed or has been stabilized and handed over to the person who backs you up. This appetite to ask more, showcase your hunger for knowledge and urge for growth.

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The past decade has seen a lot of changes when it comes to client expectations and service deliverables. Keeping abreast with these changes is a challenging task but you have to evolve yourself to crawl up the corporate ladder. Those who don’t understand the change consider themselves as a loser.

"You’re never a loser until you quit trying"

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

What does a Balloon Vendor boy in a train and a Sales Manager of a MNC have in common?

A young boy who was selling balloons in a sub urban train looked like a hero in my eyes. The determination he wore on him was more beautiful than his attire. Amongst us there live many such unsung heroes who are ready to break any hurdles on their way to achieve big in life. This incident happened, on my commute in a sub urban train where I saw this young prodigy.

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon that you could fry an egg in the sidewalk. I had no other option but to step out to complete few of my house hold chores. I forgot to take my English daily which normally keeps me occupied. Thanks to my bad memory due to which for the first time I looked at the outside world on my train commute not through a printed edition rather through a virtual version.

It was just hot breeze which blew through the window on my face. As frustration crept in, I just turned my sights towards my co-passengers. All grown-ups were glued to their gadgets. A family along with their 5 years old kid was the only lively people out there. The naughty kid kept me engaged with her mischief. Midway through my journey, I saw a young boy aged around 12 years boarded my compartment to sell balloons. I felt bad for the boy, as given his age he was forced to do a job.

The young boy was all energy and went ahead with his job. He understood his target audience very well. He dint even made an effort to sell his balloons with others and directly went near the family with the kid. The kid persist her parents to buy which they refused. The boy still approached the girl’s father and offered a balloon. He refused with a lame excuse as he dint have a pink colour.

The boy took a pink colour balloon from his bag. He bettered the deal by offering them a small discount if they buy 2 balloons. The girl’s father succumbed to the deal. Seeing the girl struggling, he blew the balloon for her and tied with a colourful band. What looked like a no-deal few minutes before was converted and he doubled his sale as well.

A good Sales Manager:

I saw the qualities of a good sales manager within him. He was not taken back by refusals. He had the shrewdness of offering discount to double the sales and still maintain his profits. He showcased his customer care by helping the girl in blowing the balloon. All of these were done by a 12 year old. I couldn’t hold my curiosity and I called him with a pretext of buying his balloons. I asked him, “why you have to sell balloons, at this age instead of going to school”. His reply startled me.

People buy Balloons for Entertainment; I sell them for my Education

He proudly said that he was a student of a government school in his locality. His Dad expired and mother’s house keeping income was just enough to support their family needs. There wasn’t a semblance of pessimism I could see in that boy. He makes money to support his education as he was focused to make a great career. I acknowledged his effort by buying a pack of balloons which he had to sell for that day. His eyes glowed and went happily. I’m sure that this boy will make really big one day. The lesson which I learnt that day was:

It’s not the colour but the air within which makes balloon fly high, likewise it is not the external looks but the attitude within will helps us to reach greater heights

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Friday, 5 August 2016

New Age Thinking (Part -6) – Out of the box (Cage) thinking

My daughter is fond of birds. She has developed this affinity towards them as they can fly freely in the air which she as a normal human being cannot do. Parrot being a bird which can be tamed easily and has eye catching feathers with its ability to speak tops her list of most favorite birds. She keeps asking me to buy a bird cage with a parrot. I advised her stating, “Birds are born to fly and taming them in a cage for our personal preference is a cruelty which we do to the bird”. Even though initially, she dint accept this idea later she understood the truth behind my words and made up her mind.

Given the above information as a background, I would like to narrate a real time experience which I had with my daughter last month. It is the tamizh month of aadi (July 15th to Aug 15th) and every temple in the neighbourhood is filled with a festive atmosphere. The situation is no different in my native. My entire family headed to our village family temple to be a part of the festivity.

On the day of the festival, we proceeded to the temple to feel blessed and get soaked in the divinity. After offering our prayers to the presiding deity my daughter and I stepped out of the temple. The market place was filled with enthusiasm. Loud music filled the air. Small vendors selling balloons, fancy items, ready to eat munches where all over the place. Merry go around and giant wheels were placed to entertain the kids. My daughter had a good fun time as she is new to village festivities.

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As we walked further we say a man sitting under a banyan tree with a parrot in a cage. The man was a parrot astrologer, a fortune teller. It is a common sight in this part of the world to see parrot astrologers being part of such festivals. As the foot falls are more in such festivities they come there to make use of the hay days. My daughter curiosity meter shot up and she questioned about the man with the parrot. I explained her about what they do but she was not convinced with the fact that how come a parrot decide her future with a deck of cards

She persisted me to see parrot astrology but I was not game to it. I said that it is cruel to trouble the bird to come out of the way and force it to pick a card. My lack of belief in the practice made me convince her but she stood stubborn. This made me angry and questioned her rigidness. She spontaneously responded that “The bird in a bush is better than the one in a cage”. I could not do much about the bird with the astrologer as he cages the bird for a living. Hence I request you to see parrot astrology

“Not to know my fortune but to free the bird for a minute”

I was startled by her new age thinking and immediately obliged her request. Millennium kids are way ahead in their thought process. A proper grooming will make them future leaders of the world.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Life is not a marathon- Pause in between and dive into your dream trails

Honking Vehicles; Beeping Mobiles...

Boring commutes; Tiring bodies...

Burdening loans; Racing time...

Isn't it a daily affair????

Life is perceived to be a marathon. We keep running and also maintain a fast pace to be the leader of the pack. Let’s change this way of thinking. It is fine to take a pause as completing a marathon, itself by all means an accomplishment.  The marathon schedule should never be a deterrent for anyone to dream. Most of us just think about it, some pursue it and only a few realize their dream.

I’m no different from the above routine but in spite of the busy schedule, I too chase my dream. As I’m a nature lover and fond of travelling, I always get obsessed to travel to places where the nature is at its virgin best. I got this passion stuck to me since I joined the corporate world as my first job posting was at “God’s own country” – Kerala. When everybody moves to Kerala for tourism, I moved there for my first job. This made me stay determined that I would travel the entire length and breadth of the state before I move out.

Trivandrum to Wayanad, Cochin to Guruvayoor almost every tourist destination was covered. I lost count of some places I visited like chalakudy, such high was my frequency of trips. The trips help me rejuvenate and calm my mind. Staying away from the madding crowd and having a time for your own self is a pleasure to have. In these days of fire fighting, having this “My Time” itself is a luxury, that too when you are resting in the lap of nature the feel is immense.

There is no doubt on why the state is named “The God’s own country” as there is greenery wherever you roll your eye balls. I find it difficult to give a rating, as every place was too good by its own self. Still I would like to recall a few of my dream trails where I felt as part of the nature.

Alleppey boat house stay remains fresh in my memories. The back water is clean and calm. The sunset was a must to watch wherein a red blanket covers the sky and the reflection gives a feel as if there is fire in water. Constant cool breeze keeps cleansing the face. The constant swing of the boat makes it a cradle on water and etched my thought with childhood memories. An overnight stay helped to cleanse my mind and soul.

Munnar is another dream destination of my choice. The day I landed, it was drizzling all around. The sun was playing hide and seek. On the way to the nearby dam we stopped by the beautiful sight of the grasslands. Every grass wore a crown at the tip where a drop of water dazzled. The sun rays penetrated made it look like a green blanket studded with diamonds. I just lied on the grasslands and glared at the sky and it gave me a feel as if I lied in the lap of nature. The feel I got at that moment was second to none.

Wayanad always stays close to my heart for its pristine beauty. The place was almost undisturbed by mankind. A stay in a tree house got me entangled with nature. The tribal form of living combined with the comfort of urban homes is a unique experience. A view through the window gives me the view of the nearby stream which constantly produces a rhythmic flow of water. The sound generated was music to ears. The balcony was open to the vast expanse of the Western Ghats. An evening spent there with the company of perching birds and swaying trees was a blissful experience. It reminded me about the quote which I loved the most

“The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And Miles to go before I sleep,
And Miles to go before I sleep

In the journey called life, everybody has a lot of promises to be kept and this pushes all of us to our extremes to makes us feel that we have “Miles to go before we sleep”. In spite of the expectations surrounding us, it is always good to have a pause by pursuing our dream trails. As a part of my passion, I would like to take such dream trails once every six months to keep myself grounded and take up further challenges in life.

Rigor, Relax, Rejuvenate, Repeat!!!!

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra #DreamTrails activity at Blogadda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Appraisals are not aircraft journey for elite. Everyone can easily navigate it – Find it how….

Employee always imagines the appraisal process as an international flight trip which is filled with complication. The fact of the matter being, it is an easy process to undergo provided the employee understand the requirements and goes through one step at a time until they successfully complete their journey.

There is always a disconnect between the views of the managers versus the expectations of the employee in an appraisal. Employees keep complaining about their appraisals and curse their managers for ratings. Managers try to put the blame on the bell curve and hide behind it. In order to have a healthy appraisal, one may need to start the pre-work as early, at the start of the year when the goals are announced. The article helps the reader understand the ways to get prepared for the year end appraisal.

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Know your destiny: The destiny refers to the goals to be achieved by the end of the year. Most goal settings even skip one on one discussion. If one such meeting happens, the employee blindly accepts the given goals without any introspection. Having unclear goals is like starting your journey when you are unsure about your destination.

It is the duty of every employee to spend time with their manager to clearly understand the goals. The employee should assess whether the targets set are SMART goals and any ambiguity to be cleared during the goal setting process. This gives a head start to the journey undertaken for the year.

Maintain Check list: A checklist on the documents and things to carry, is a good to have for an international travel.  As one gets prepared for the travel it is a good practice to take stock of the situation midway through the process. Whether the current pace of work will give them enough time to get ready for the travel is to be ascertained. This is exactly done during the midyear review as well. The employee is accessed against each set goals.

The employee should maintain a record of their achievements. A clear track of goals achieved against the set goals to be known by the employee. Self assessment is very important during a review process. It is bad on an employee to expect their manager to access them, when they themselves cannot do a proper assessment of their own self. The better way to start the review process would be to:
  •   Narrate their own assessment
  •   Targets achieved till date against each goals
  •   Plans for the second half of the year
  •   Positives in first half of the year and areas of improvement for second half
  •   Summary of assessment

Such meticulous update given by an employee will make their managers dumb stuck. You have effectively done your manager’s job easier during the review process. Any Manager will appreciate such a detailed analysis and narrating the positives and areas of improvement will fetch you a thumbs up from your manager.

Carry your documents for the travel: A passenger role does not end with preparing the check list. They should ensure that they carry all the required documents on the day of the travel. This ensures a smooth passage to the international travel. Any lack of proof will lead to rejection or delay in your travel.

The “D” day will finally arrive. It is the day of your performance appraisal. A normal tendency is to go the year end appraisal with empty hand and clogged mind. This results in a tug of war, where both parties want to hold the same end.

The best approach for an appraisal to have documented evidence of the achieved goals. It is better to email these evidences to your manager. If all the achievements are archived into one single email and given as a summary then you would be amongst the few who would be doing that. You may also consider preparing a power point presentation with each slide speaking about every goal set for you. This will make you stand out in the crowd.

An employee who is confident about his achievement will never hesitate to document it. As your Manager handles many employees like you, rather than expecting them to remember your achievements, a neat documentation of your performance will refresh their memories. It will serve as a documentary evidence for your manager to project yourself to the top management.

Instead of whining, start acting smart. You take the first step rather than expecting your manager to do it. After all, it is your appraisal. The above highlighted steps will ensure that you have safe clearance at all counters and you get your boarding pass on time for your journey called “Career. No more your manager’s can complain on the bell curve when you have such a professional approach. 

These steps assure you that, “You can bend even the bell curve”.

Use this article as Vade Mecum, Even you can “Bend It Like Beckham”

Friday, 29 July 2016

Un- riddle the Interview Puzzle – To get the best out of the candidate

Internet is flooded with host of articles which guides the candidates on how to get through an interview but there are very few articles for the interviewer.  As a certified Interviewer, I thought of sharing my views in this article on how to get the best out of the candidate during an interview process. The pointers listed below helps in making the Jigsaw Puzzle called “Interview” a seamless one for the candidate.

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Perfect Ambience:  Any candidate who walks in for the interview comes with a jumbled mind. Ensure the ambience in the reception, waiting hall and the interview room are good enough. This can be achieved by maintaining the surroundings neat and clean. The colors of the room should be pleasing to eyes. Good lighting should be made available. Furniture to be uncluttered and it is preferred to have a couple of news papers or magazines in the waiting hall. All of these set a right tone in the mind of the candidate for the interview.

Warm Reception: The candidate to be warmly welcomed either by the Receptionist or by the Talent Management staff. Offer the candidate water or beverages, else direct them to the pantry. Allow few minutes for them to settle down before handing over any forms to take in their details. Give a briefing about the interview process. This helps the candidate to get prepared mentally for the interview.

Do your home work: "These days even high school kids don’t skip home work, can Interviewer’s afford to?" The profile of the candidate should be browsed through, before stepping into the interview room. It is a wrong practice to stare at the profile of the candidate while they talk. It is a signal of unpreparedness. A proper home work will help the interviewer pick the key points. It will be easier to frame up the questions for the interview

Respect Time: Ensure that you be on time for the interview. Don’t pretend to be busy during the time slot allotted. As matured professionals we need to better manage our time before expecting the same from the candidate. A good interviewer is one who knows to respect and value the time of the candidate. State your apologies to the candidate, even if you are late by few minutes. Any unprecedented delays foreseen ensure that it is duly informed to the candidate well in advance. Making the candidate wait for long will only add up to their anxiety and it creates “brain drain”.

Self introduction: Greet the candidate and offer them a comfortable seat. Sit in a position wherein you have a direct eye contact with the candidate. Exchange pleasantries to initiate the conversation. "Don’t jump into your first question, as if there is no tomorrow". Even before getting started make a self introduction. It is good to say the name and the capacity at which you work for the company. Also give a quick brief about the role for which the interview is being conducted. This introduction not only helps the candidate to get familiarized with you but it also provides the candidate to gather some breath and allow their heart beats to calm down.

Eye contact: Throughout the meeting ensure you share a good eye contact with the candidate. This helps to gauge the candidate easily. Do not keep flipping through the resume papers which resembles either you are unprepared or disinterested. Don’t be keen in taking notes, “Remember, you are not writing an exam”. Note making also distracts and you may lose on any important point as the candidate speaks.

Last but not the least:

You are not Hitler out there to hire forces for WWII; a pleasing face does the interviewee a world of good” – SMILE  J J J !!!!!! ……
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