Archive for March, 2015

When it comes to upholding righteousness in our turbulent times, instances from Indian scriptures offer invaluable insights.


India can justifiably boast of a long history of culture, tradition and values. Scriptures of Indian origin are a treasure trove of nuggets of wisdom. These continue to be relevant in the current context and also find ready application in the field of business management and administration.

Here are some of the areas where I believe Ramayana can inspire management14 practitioners.

  • A Premium on Values

Sticking to some core values which are steeped in righteousness eventually leads to success. The main protagonist, Rama, is depicted in Ramayana as an epitome of virtue. He is an ideal king, an ideal son and a pragmatic person. He sets high ethical standards in warfare and invariably sides with dharma, or righteousness.

A random sample of all successful business houses which have been around for more than a century now – Siemens and Tatas, for instance – is ample proof that ethics in…

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When it comes to awards, Blogosphere could compete with any other activity of human creativity. Unfortunately, to a person like me, of rather limited intelligence, the awards on offer have so far appeared to be those of a ‘you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours’ kind. But when a fellow resident of Blogosphere decides to write about another blog that we have also come to respect and admire, things sound quite different.

What better recognition can a blogger hope for?!

Permit me to share a blog post by Victoria Madden which speaks of the discovery of ‘Plumtopia’ and ‘ashokbhatia.’

Thanks again, Victoria Madden.

Moulders Lane

I got into blogging almost by accident: I was writing a book and it occured to me – I still don’t know how, I’m a complete techno-idiot – that putting my ideas online would help me get a better perspective on what I was writing.  After many diversions I ended up with three, inter-related blogs: one of which you are now reading.

When someone actually posted a (very nice) comment on an article I’d written here that mentioned P. G. Wodehouse, I had a feeling of slight alarm.  I spent two or three months looking at it doubtfully, then took the plunge and rather gingerly added it to my post. More time passed.

It finally occurred to me to wonder who this person from the Internet was who’d left such an astute and gratifying comment – and more particularly, how they’d found my post.  I followed the link like Alice…

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It is not altogether wrong to say that it is the early worm which gets caught! Quite a few managers have perfected the art of selective amnesia and acquired honorary membership of the Global Procrastinators’ Club.COMPLACENCY

Procrastination works best when the idea is to delay a crucial decision which, if taken at that point in time, could create more problems than it would solve. Governments appear to do it all the time. The flip side is the higher probability of losing a business opportunity.

With due respects to Newton and Einstein, we do have some Laws of Procrastination:

The First Law

A task which has been put on hold will remain undone till the time an external force is applied.

The force could come either from your boss or from a peer or a subordinate. In matters of domestic chores, reluctant husbands succumb to the pressure applied by a nagging wife all the time.

Those who push you deserve to be treated with respect.

The decision to not to take up the task is still yours.Scientist IsaacNewton-1689

The Second Law

Force equals Mass multiplied by Acceleration.

For people, ‘Mass’ denotes their ego level and seniority in the company. The higher the ego/seniority, the more the force required to get a person to do the work in an accelerated manner.

It follows that the higher you happen to be in the hierarchy, the easier it is for you to indulge in the luxury of sleeping over a problem; if you are still stuck in the lower echelons, try to exert an inner push on yourself to overcome the static inertia. If you don’t, a pink slip could soon become a painful reality.

The Third Law

Any action results into an equal and opposite reaction.

If the reaction of a decision being taken by you is going to be counter-productive, take no action. Simply join the Global Procrastinators’ Club and be happy.

Theory of Procrastinative RelativityScientist Albert_Einstein

The following tenets may be considered:
• Bosses always expect you to do things at speeds higher than that of light (read thought).
• The Propensity to Procrastinate is inversely proportion to the visibility of the task at hand. A mail from a junior team member can remain unopened for a week. A mail on the same subject from the CEO has to be attended to at the speed of light.
• The Propensity to Procrastinate is directly proportional to the manager’s frame of reference. If the manager’s role model happens to be a sloppy performer, the propensity is higher. If the role model is a star performer, the propensity may vanish altogether.
• The relative difficulty of taking up a much-delayed task is directly proportional to the delay itself. The more the delay, the more difficult it is to take up that particular task.

A Statistical Approach to Procrastination

Much like in Time Series Analysis, a manager’s Propensity to Procrastinate can be explained in terms of four factors:
(a) Long term, which is inbuilt into the character and the attitude of the manager,

(b) Cyclical, determined by the performance appraisal cycle of the organization, with weeks just preceding the annual appraisal ritual registering the lowest values of Propensity to Procrastinate,

(c) Seasonal, linked to the overall mood of the organization, whether upbeat or downcast, as also to the relative importance of the issue at hand,

(d) Random fluctuations, related to the mood of either the boss or the manager.

How do you handle procrastination? Is there any facet that you would like to share by way of comments below?

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PGW StiffUpperLipHere is a collection of some juicy quotes from ‘Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves’.



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Can a business be run without resorting to corrupt practices? This was one of the several questions attempted to be answered by management experts at a recent seminar organized by Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research at Pondicherry (SACAR) at Pondicherry in India.1 Inaugural Session IMG_2266At every step, a business faces a choice – whether to indulge in corrupt practices to get what is its legitimate due, or face hardships and bottlenecks in meeting its obligations towards such stakeholders as its suppliers and employees.SACAR Dr ReddyThere are no simple answers to this vexed issue. However, there could be innovative ways of handling such challenges. A strong anti-corruption image helps. The conviction, that this is just not done, takes time to radiate to those who place such a demand on the business.

Another way to face such a challenge is to politely decline meeting an illegal demand. Instead, an offer to fund a legitimate activity which falls in the realm of CSR and shores up the image of the official/department concerned could get readily accepted. This could be by way of toilets being set up in schools, trees being planted and maintained on a main thoroughfare, or by investing in a scheme of social benefit.

???????????????????????????????The conviction emanates from an inner strength and a resolve to ensure that the dealings of the corporate concerned remain above board. Once adopted and marketed as a strategic choice, the business gains in the long-term – by adding value to its own brand equity and by gaining public trust. In turn, this could be leveraged to command better margins in the market place and also to attract better talent at a lesser cost.???????????????????????????????According to a business captain who addressed the participants at the seminar, the core mantra is to not to readily give in to illegitimate demands and to do simply what is in one’s control. The path of righteousness is not easy to tread but can be adhered to successfully if the top management has the necessary conviction. Decision making based on good values and an inner connection always helps a business person to strike this delicate balance in its operations.

Speakers at the seminar also touched upon VUCA and the increasing rate of change in the business environment. Studies which have proved that businesses which adhere to the basic values of honour, truth, beauty, justice and love were quoted do better in the long run. Participants were exposed to leadership lessons drawn from such Indian scriptures as Ramayana, Mahabharata, Thirukkural and also from Sri Aurobindo’s works.???????????????????????????????The value of meditation and resultant control of one’s mind was demonstrated. A panel discussion explained the likely changes in the business environment over the next decade and outlined the leadership and management attributes which would become more relevant in the times to come. The emphasis was on leaders who steer their businesses not only directed by an economic compass but also by a moral one.

The seminar, entitled ‘Preparing Future Business Leaders and Managers: An Inner Approach’, drew an enthusiastic response from business managers, scholars and students alike. It was addressed by Dr. Ananda Reddy, Director of SACAR, Mr. R. Mananathan, Chairman and MD, Manatec group of companies, Prof R. P. Raya, Dean, School of Management, Pondicherry University, Dr. Saikat Sen from SAFIM, Prof. Kisholoy Gupta, Mr. J. V. Avadhanulu, Mr. Ganesh Babu and yours truly;  a heady mix of management educators, lifestyle coaches, business thinkers and influencers.

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Rest in Mirth, TP.


It is too early to begin contemplating the enormous loss to literature, and our lives, that will follow Terry Pratchett‘s sad passing today. The news has upset me too deeply to write at length, but I wanted to add my small voice to the millions who will surely be mourning Terry Pratchett’s death and celebrating his life over the coming days.

Please forgive me for quoting from my own 2013 review of his novel I Shall Wear Midnight, which expresses a little of my feelings.

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (2010)I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Terry Pratchett, not just for the pleasure his writing has given me, but for demonstrating what can happen when intelligence, humour and IDEAS work together.

How people think they can achieve anything seriously worthwhile without humour is beyond me. But it’s worse than that. Our world is run – and our ‘important thinking’ done, predominantly…

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c1 (25)You can be forgiven if you think we, the people of India, have let you down,
We have deeply ingrained prejudices upon which many of us do frown;
Like an ostrich, or like the three monkeys of the Father of our Nation,
We refuse to hear, see or speak evil, or to examine our value fixation.

Our society needs to stop mistreating and tormenting those of your kind,
Killing the likes of you in the womb, denying them a healthy body and mind;
Treating them like mere toys, made to fulfill the males’ lustful impulses,
Prisoners to their patriarchical mindset, ignoring your appeals and curses.

Some of us would like to know why at all you went out on that fateful day,
Why did you have to flag a bus full of maniacs while finding your way?
Were you not being stupid when you dressed the way you did that night?
Did you not realize we will continue to mentally undress you with all our might?

Some claim that you never had the right to resist even a ‘normal’ assault,
Hoping for a shred of mercy from your tormentors was only your fault;
When they tried to force themselves on you, you were naïve to protest,
You were expected to meekly surrender and be subservient to their lust.

You stood up, you resisted, you protested, and sealed your fate,
Escaping ignonimity at the hands of your family and a future mate;
Had you lived, lawyers would have made you relive the horror repeatedly,
The butchers who disemboweled you would have gazed at you heatedly.

In your death, you have found silence and peace, an end to your suffering,
A freedom from the denial of opportunities to live life your way, with a zing;
But you have set for your sisters a new benchmark of courage and hope,
To face social prejudice, stigma and gender bias with a short rope.

Thanks to you, women are now fighting back, reporting misdeeds,
Politicos no longer sure of winning elections till they take care of your needs;
The delicately nurtured are now more aware of their situation and rights,
Standing up to be counted as citizens, demanding respect and scaling new heights.

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