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Archive for November, 2017

ashokbhatia

What is the best Christmas present a CEO can give to her organization?

In keeping with the Yuletide spirit, the best gift could perhaps be a resolve to take decisions based not only on commercial considerations but also on sound ethics and values. Decisions which would serve the strategic interests of the organization and would never lead it to a situation of public disgrace and compromise.

An upgraded Blake Mouton Grid

If one were to take the liberty of modifying the Blake Mouton grid, the leadership style of such a CEO would qualify for either a 9,9,9 or a 5,5,5 classification.X Y Z upgraded

Here is a quick rundown on the various leadership styles which emerge from a grid of this nature:

1,1,1: Charmless Charlies

One can only wish their organizations the best of luck.

9,1,1: Road Rollers

They would achieve a target by ruthlessly crushing anything that comes in their way.

1,9,1:…

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There are talented actors in Bollywood who never make it to the top league. But the impression they leave behind even as a supporting actor lasts long.

In this blog, the erudite author pays a fitting tribute to one such actor: Nazima.

My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

Cine-lovers who are familiar with the cinema of the late-sixties and early-seventies would easily recollect her sweet and innocent face with those lovely big expressive eyes and the charming smile which characterized this talented actress. She had gained popularity as the quintessential ‘sister’ of the hero or the heroine and had a pleasing screen presence.

n9I have seen quite a few movies of Nazima and used to find her demeanour very appealing. But around the mid-seventies she just disappeared from the scene. I had somehow always thought she had got married and settled somewhere in a foreign country and never came back to the glitz and glamour of the film industry.

It is only recently while browsing some YouTube videos, I came across this shocking piece of news that Nazima had succumbed to cancer and passed away in 1975 itself at the young age of twenty-seven!!!

This…

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Travel is highly educational, said Jeeves. That is how it turned out to be when plans to visit New Delhi, some 2,200 kilometres away from where yours truly normally pollutes the environs, fructified.

An innocuous post on the Fans of P G Wodehouse page on Facebook led to some fans of the Master in the National Capital Region (NCR) deciding to meet up on 11.11.2017.

Eggs, Beans and Scones

The infamous Delhi smog singularly failed to dampen the spirits and many ardent fans of Plum in NCR landed up at the gig so very graciously hosted by a young man in spats, a management professional who happens to be based in Canada but was visiting his family in India.

Lord Emsworth, the grandfather of the young man, presided over the boisterous proceedings. An eminent bureaucrat in his hey days, he happens to be a devoted Plum fan. He turned out to be quite far from being woolly headed, and ensured that all the guests who had descended on his castle felt absolutely comfortable and at home.

Lady Mildred Mant, the daughter of Lord Emsworth, proved to be a genial host. Her attention to detail and the standard of hospitality on display might have prompted Jeeves to undergo a refresher course under her in the art and science of entertaining guests.

The theme of the gig was ‘Eggs, Beans and Scones’, since Lord Emsworth and the family found that the local bakeries were clueless as to what Crumpets stood for.

A leaner version of Beach, the butler, kept shimmering in and out, providing nourishment to all and sundry.

The Proceedings

Stiffy Byng showed up, somewhat annoyed at not being able to detect any chance of launching one of her goofy schemes. In the absence of any policemen in the vicinity, and missing the Harold Pinker of her life, she decided to go in for a safer option – that of bringing a quiet and dignified charm to the gig.

Bertie Wooster popped up, with Cousin Wilmot in tow. He brought in a black forest cake, with a portrait of the Master adorning its top. The portrait ensured a restricted calorie intake for all present. Only a small strip at the bottom of the cake, comprising Plum’s signatures, was eventually consumed. The rest was gobbled up by potential fans in families elsewhere who made polite enquiries regarding the identity of the person before shoving in large helpings down the hatch.

Aunt Dahlia marched in and proved to be a charming companion. Having been a Governor of several educational outfits in the league of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, she displayed exemplary restraint and did not address any one of those present as blots on the landscape or as worms.

The huge parcel which she brought in was presumed by those present to be having copies of the latest editions of Milady’s Boudoir. Instead, it was found to contain several Bertie-Jeeves mugs, which caused much merriment. All were eagerly lapped up.

Joan Valentine, the coordinator of the group, trooped in precisely at 11.11 AM, so the meeting could get off to a flying start. A rendition of The Yeoman’s Wedding Song was promptly located and played out, declaring the proceedings open.

Gladys Biggs turned up, accompanied by an impostor who turned out to be Clarence Mulliner. Technology having advanced, he did not need to squeeze bulbs and shoot photographs. While others got busy with much back-slapping and what-ho-ing, he quietly went about creating a visual record of the boisterous proceedings.

Gladys unveiled a delectable collection of some exquisite hand-painted sketches themed around the works and characters of Plum. It transpired that the same had been done by her niece, Gwladys Pendlebury, who had burnt the midnight oil to dish out the entire collection. She had done so at Hyderabad at a very short notice, and had couriered the entire set to Delhi, where her aunt and family had lost no time in getting these framed. Understandably, there was much excitement generated. All those present lost no time to grab one each.

Mr Mulliner too dropped in and regaled all those present with some stories of Bollywood producers and directors. A frequent traveller between Delhi and Mumbai, he proved to be a repository of Wodehousean wisdom.

Ashe Marson materialized, wearing a Wodehousean golf cap, looking bronzed and fit. His demeanour and bearing demonstrated the power of Larsen exercises, coupled with brisk walks, cold baths and a strict diet regimen. An established author, he often gave the impression as if his grey cells were busy working out the next adventure of the famous detective Gridley Quayle.

(L to R: Young man, Lady Mildred Mant, Aunt Dahlia, Mr Mulliner, Lord Emsworth, a balding Bertie Wooster, Joan Valentine, Gladys Biggs, Stiffy Byng, Ashe Marson, Cousin Wilmot; Clarence Mulliner is lurking behind the camera)

Florence Craye walked in, essentially to check as to what the excitement was all about and how the meeting was proceeding. Luckily, she did not appear to have any intentions of raising the intellectual level of those present.

Honoria Glossop joined the NCR Plummies over Skype briefly from UK, adding to the sparkle. Despite these being early hours in the Queen’s country, that too on a Saturday, she took the initiative of chatting with all those present.

Spawning Wodehousitis

Other than Plum’s works and characters, Spinoza and other literary figures also came up for discussion. Some openly shuddered at the challenge of exposing the coming generations to the unique pleasures of Plumsville.

It was felt that many amongst us have inherited the germs of Wodehousitis from our previous generations. The group wondered if prompt efforts can be made through proper channels to identify suitable Plummy soul-mates for those who are not averse to taking a saunter down the aisle in the near future. Such an initiative would ensure a steady spread of Wodehousitis in the times to come.

At such meets, continents and countries disappear. So do races, castes, creeds, gender, professions and income inequalities. Only the affliction known as Wodehousitis retains its relevance.

Those who are turning green with envy need not fret. They would do well to brace up for the next gig, planned at the same venue, on Saturday, February 17, 2018.

(Note: The allusion to characters of P G Wodehouse here is purely arbitrary and subjective and is not intended to offend any of those who spared the time to join in and make this encounter a memory to cherish for a long time. Permission to use photographs is gratefully acknowledged.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/another-drones-club-meeting-at-asker-in-norway

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/a-drones-club-meeting-in-amsterdam)

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Organizations where the top management believes that any suggestion for improvement in a department emanating from another department amounts to interference and sacrilege tend to become like zoological parks. All subject experts get confined to their ‘cages’ or ‘enclosures’. Forays into another’s territory are frowned upon. This is a sure shot recipe for nipping creativity and innovation at the work place.

The biggest casualty of course is the hapless customer who has had the misfortune of buying a product which turns out to be defective. The incessant running from pillar to post a disgruntled customer is subjected to ends up creating a market ambassador the organization could surely do without.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. Here is a video clip which captures the journey of the book so far:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/surviving-in-the-corporate-jungle-a-video)

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Saint Thiruvalluvar was a humble weaver and an enlightened soul who gave us the Thirukkural, one of the finest specimens of Indian spiritual literature. It carries within itself eternal values and wisdom which could guide a lay person as well as a professional in all spheres of life.

Thiruvalluvar

Thirukkural captures the three-fold direction of life – Aram, or virtue; Porul, or wealth; and Inbam, or love.

The sage says that the life of a householder is superior to that of someone who opts for renunciation. He goes on to describe the duties and responsibilities to be discharged by a householder in great detail.

While describing the duties of kings, Thiruvalluvar touches upon the art of management and governance in very clear terms. This aspect has already been captured in some detail here.

Thirukkural speaks of matters of the heart with great elan. It gives love as much importance as ethical behaviour and righteous conduct. Feminists can take heart from the fact that it highlights the need for respect of women in unequivocal terms.

Thirukkural is an enduring example of the eternity of values, ethics and a humane approach to problem solving.

 

(Related Posts: 

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/management-lessons-from-thirukkural

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/management-lessons-from-india)

 

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A vast majority of professionals decide to be ‘passengers’ and not ‘drivers’ in their careers. They are happy to behave like headless chickens, strutting about sounding very busy but with meagre results to show. Typically, they outsource the thinking part to brainy birds around them and lead a mentally sedentary but self-contented lifestyle.

Call them file-pushers, clock-watchers, head clerks, or what you will – they do serve a useful purpose in keeping big bureaucracies running like well-oiled machines. They can also be groomed to become devoted followers for charismatic and dynamic leaders.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. Here is a video clip which captures the journey of the book so far:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/surviving-in-the-corporate-jungle-a-video)

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They are to be found in all spheres of life. They have perfected the art of boosting the sagging morale and flaccid ego of their superiors, thereby securing better perks and intangible benefits for themselves. Due to close proximity to their bosses – whether perceived or real – they end up being king makers.

Smart bosses easily figure out how to remain at an arm’s length from them. The tricks they use to steer clear of yes-men: a discouraging body language, asking for hard evidence for all the charges being levied against someone who is absent and generally berating them on select occasions in public.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. Here is a video clip which captures the journey of the book so far:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/surviving-in-the-corporate-jungle-a-video)

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