Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Portugal’

Encounters with brighter minds invariably leave an author invigorated. When managers, whether the practising kind or the aspiring kind, ask searching questions based on what one has proposed in one’s books or blogs, the writer’s thought process also gets enriched. The more pungent the query, the more fulfilled one feels.

Over the past few years, yours truly has had several opportunities of interacting with youth who aspire to be future managers and entrepreneurs. The topics have been wide ranging, like Work Life Balance, Management Lessons from Movies, Management Lessons from India, Ethics and Values in Business, Managing Interpersonal Relationships, Four Pillars of Integral Management and Surviving in the Corporate Jungle.

Here are some of the outfits which have been kind enough to grant such opportunities:

  1. Catolica Porto Business School, Porto, Portugal.
  2. Department of Management Studies, Universidade Europeia, Lisbon, Portugal.
  3. Madras Management Association, Pondicherry Chapter, India.
  4. Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research, Pondicherry, India.
  5. C K College of Engineering and Technology, Cuddalore, India.
  6. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College, Pondicherry, India.
  7. Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow: NOIDA Campus, India.
  8. International Minds in Finland, Finland.
  9. Madras Management Association, Chennai, India.
  10. Department of Management Studies, Pondicherry University, India.
  11. Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.
  12. Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, India.

And mentioned below are some of the frequently asked questions yours truly has encountered in the recent past. Against each query, you will find a short summary of the response.

What precisely is Spiritual Quotient (SQ)? How does one develop it?

Those who have a high SQ have this uncanny ability to be creative and insightful in their approach to problem solving. They build up their level of self-awareness and there intuitive faculties. They realize that there is a realm of intelligence which is beyond the five senses that our physical bodies are endowed with.

SQ has several components: gratitude, self-esteem, self-awareness, consciousness, compassion, surrender, service and ego.

Meditation can help develop our Spiritual Quotient. So can heartfulness and mindfulness.

When you speak of the ‘Draupadi Syndrome’ in management parlance, you are speaking of managing multiple bosses. How does one handle such a situation?

Organizations are becoming flatter. Functional silos are breaking down. This means working in multi-disciplinary teams and reporting to multiple bosses at times.

Tact, patience and a better understanding of the psychology of each boss can help a manager to handle many bosses at the same time. Bad-mouthing one in front of the other would not help. Playing one against the other could also land one in a soup.

Due to parental pressure and financial insecurity, can one take up a job which is with a company which is marketing a dubious product?

It is not advisable to go in for a job where your value system does not match with that of the organization. You will not be able to put your heart into it. This may result into your being caught in a low-result and lower-rewards vicious cycle, undermining your self confidence.

If you are absolutely with your back to the wall, you may do so for a very short stint; be ready to change to the next one at the first possible opportunity.

 

You advise us to avoid being a Yes-man. How does one convey one’s difference of opinion to a senior? How does one say ‘no’ to one’s boss?

Politely. By marshalling your thoughts and sharing those with the senior at an appropriate time. Be open and respectful to his views. Registering dissent is a responsibility we all carry on our shoulders.

Please give examples of Eustress, the positive kind of stress you speak of.

When you are rushing for a meeting with your girl friend, or going to a movie, you feel a kind of stress which is positive in nature. When the end result is likely to be a pleasurable experience, you feel Eustress.

It follows that when we handle an assignment which connects us to a cause we happen to be passionate about, we experience positive stress. We enjoy doing it.  

 

According to you, interpersonal relationships have a half-life of their own, much like that of a radioactive substance. How can one increase the life span of a relationship?

I believe this can be done by avoiding anger, greed and a tendency to bad-mouth the party of the other part, especially when he/she is not present. Anticipating the needs of a person and assisting him/her in achieving a goal helps.

 

Ethics and Values in business: For an entity which is geared for generating a surplus for its equity holders and boasts of a great market valuation, just how practical is this concept?

Most businesses run on a quarter to quarter basis, with a focus on guideline values. But those which care about developing their brand equity operate based on a compass which is configured on a basic set of ethics and values.

In the Indian context, why do we respect Tatas? Because the group has a 150-year old tradition of good thoughts, good work and a basic sense of decency and honesty. They continue to do so much for the society, mostly in fields which have no direct connection to their diverse businesses.  

Any general career advice you would give to us?

Five years down the road, do you not see businesses becoming more dependent on technology? So, the writing on the wall is pretty clear. Be ready to embrace change. Learn digital skills and be ready to play a relevant role in the business, whether your own or that of someone else.

Do not be scared of bargaining for a better work-life balance. Remain connected to your inner self. Introspect, do a SWOT analysis, and create a USP for yourself. Invest in a good image on social media.

Build credibility. Observe company culture. Volunteer willingly. Build healthy relationships. Keep improving your skill-set.

Book cover English Front

Each interaction proves to be a good learning opportunity!

(Wish to look up my profile? You can find it here.

Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/about-me)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A recent trip to New Delhi gave me an opportunity of calling upon His Excellency Joao da Camara, the Ambassador of Portugal in India. He was kind enough to spare some time for me to be able to present my book ‘Como Sobreviver Na Selva Empresarial’ to him.

 

It happened to be a day when the smog enveloping the capital city of India was at its worst. A brief meeting with an amiable person like His Excellency left one breathing easier. The brief encounter proved to be an uplifting experience. His grace, warmth and hospitality yet again reminded me of the genial and affable disposition of the people of Portugal.

The informal meeting took place in his tastefully done up office. The frankness with which he spoke and the warmth he exuded was typical of the people of character, resource and rich culture he represents.

He spoke warmly of the centuries old connection between Portugal and India. He mentioned families of Indian origin who have made Portugal their home for the past six generations and who make it a point to scout around for Indian brides who would eventually marry the sons in their families.

He mentioned the richness of India’s ancient culture and the diversity of its citizens. He turned out to be a close friend of Ms Clara Nunes dos Santos, a senior diplomat in the Portuguese Government, whom I was fortunate to have met in Oslo a few months back, when she was the Ambassador of Portugal in Norway.

Recapitulating the historic ties

It may be recalled that Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese explorer, was the first one to have crossed the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ in the year 1488, opening the sea route to India.

Vasco da Gama, another nobleman from the household of the King of Portugal, finally landed at the port of Calicut on the 27th of May, 1498, heralding an era of European dominance of India.

In 1510, the capital of Estado Portugues da India (Portuguese state of India) was transferred from Cochin to Goa. In the 17th century, Goa became the capital of the vast Portuguese empire which spread from Mozambique to Nagasaki, controlling the entire Indian Ocean trade.

When India gained independence from British rule in 1947, relations between the two countries turned a wee bit sour over Portugal’s refusal to surrender its enclaves of Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Indian military intervened, ending Portuguese rule over these areas in 1961. Eventually, with the signing of a treaty in New Delhi in 1974 with the new democratic Portuguese Government, amicable bilateral relations were restored.

Trade and commerce between the two countries has only looked up thereafter, even though much potential remains to be explored in the future. During the visit of Prime Minister of Portugal His Excellency Antonio da Costa to India during January 2017, as many as six agreements have been signed between the two countries. These also include an agreement on defence cooperation.

One feels happy to have made a very modest contribution towards an exchange of softer management ideas between Portugal and India. The book authored by me first got published in Portugal. The original English version, ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, followed thereafter.

(A Portuguese version of this article can be found at Book Portugal Ambassador India Vida Economica)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/a-meeting-with-the-ambassador-of-portugal-in-norway

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/a-meeting-with-the-minister-counsellor-of-portugal-in-switzerland

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

(Note:

This is how you can lay your hands on the Portuguese version of the book, launched in Portugal during March, 2016, courtesy Liberty Seguros and Vida Economica.)

(The English version of the book, entitled ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, was released recently.)

 

 

Read Full Post »

For those interested in the art and science of management, here is a video clip which captures the journey of my book so far.

Feedback is welcome.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/a-tale-of-two-countries-and-a-book-launch

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/surviving-in-the-corporate-jungle-some-comments)

 

Read Full Post »

How does one handle bosses and secretaries? What are the scientific laws which govern interpersonal relations? What kind of management lessons can be drawn from Indian epics?

Launched in the Portuguese market in March 2016, the book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’ was recently unleashed upon unsuspecting business magnates and management honchos at Pondicherry in India.

The book, published by Partridge India, presents insightful lessons for managers at all levels – the aspiring kind, the practicing and the tired kind, and even the retired kind. For hassled business executives and entrepreneurs, relentlessly chasing goals and deadlines, the punchy prose – infused with a Wodehousean humour – should come as a relaxing and uplifting read.  

No connection with Vasco da Gama

One does not claim to be a descendant of Vasco da Gama, but it so happened that the original manuscript, penned in English along the coast of the Bay of Bengal over the last three years, found its way to Porto, Portugal, on the Atlantic coast. CEO World, a unique start up there, managed to secure the support of Liberty Seguros. Vida Economica took it up for publication in Portuguese.

The Portuguese version, ‘Como Sobreviver Na Selva Empresarial’, has found its way to the office of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Portugal, His Excellency, Mr. António Luís Santos da Costa, GCIH, who has roots in Goa.

It has also been presented to Ms. Clara Nunes dos Santos, the Ambassador of Portugal in Norway, and to Mr. José Manuel Castro Santiago, Minister – Counsellor at the Embassy of Portugal in Switzerland.

The book has also been discussed at IMiF (International Minds in Finland), a select group of entrepreneurs and intellectuals in Finland.

English version launched at Pondicherry, India

Recently, a book launch function was organized at Pondicherry, India, by People for Pondicherry Heritage (PPH), a group of individuals and NGOs who are passionate about protecting as well as showcasing the unique heritage of Pondicherry.

Ms. Sunaina Mandeen of PPH spoke of the need to preserve our values and our rich heritage, the latter including works of literary kind.

Ms. Sunaina Narang introduced the author to the audience.

While launching the upgraded English version of the book, Mr. R Mananathan, Chairman of Manatec Electronics Private Limited, spoke warmly of several topics covered in the book. He found it to be a unique book which covers a vast area of business management. In particular, it touches upon leadership, administration and refined concepts in the domain of human resources. He felt that I deserve credit for having summed up my forty year long practical experience and present it in a crisp and humorous manner. He wished that the language used could have been somewhat simpler in some parts, though.

Mr. P Rangaraj, Chairman and Managing Director, Chemin Controls and Instrumentation Private Limited, said that the book is replete with rich management lessons which would be useful to managers and business owners of all kinds. He was appreciative of the fact that the book also draws upon such Indian ancient scriptures as Ramayana, Mahabharata and Thirukkural.

The book presentation on the occasion touched upon some of the hundred odd topics covered in the book, like Meeting the Boss halfway through, Female Power and Stress, among others.

The presentation also brought into focus a new perspective on leadership by means of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, wherein a third dimension is proposed – that of the Concern for Ethics. It advocates the importance of developing not only one’s intelligence and emotional quotient, but also one’s spiritual quotient.

The book transports the reader back to an era when the instructive yet delightful works of such luminaries as C Northcote Parkinson, Lawrence J Peter and Sharu Rangnekar ruled the management book market.

 

The launch of the book in two countries is a reaffirmation of the fact that managerial knowledge and skills happen to be universal in nature. Books can act as bridges between two countries and two civilizations and bring these closer to each other for the purpose of forging mutually beneficial relationships.

Press coverage

Here is a press report covering the launch event: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/the-art-and-science-of-management/article19338392.ece

Details

“Surviving in the Corporate Jungle”

By Ashok Kumar Bhatia

(http://www.amazon.in/Surviving-Corporate-Jungle-Ashok-Bhatia/dp/1482888505)

(This is how you can lay your hands on the Portuguese version of the book, launched in Portugal during March, 2016.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/the-book-como-sobreviver-na-selva-empresarial-guia-pratico

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/a-meeting-with-the-ambassador-of-portugal-in-norway

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/a-meeting-with-the-minister-counsellor-of-portugal-in-switzerland

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/an-interaction-with-senior-professionals-in-finland

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/a-book-presentation-session-at-madras-management-association-chennai-india)

 

Read Full Post »

Recently, while on a trip to Switzerland, yours truly had the opportunity of calling upon Mr. José Manuel Castro Santiago, Minister – Counsellor at the Embassy of Portugal in Bern.

Despite his busy schedule, he was kind enough to grant an audience to yours truly, who wished to present to him a copy of his book ‘Como Sobreviver Na Selva Empresarial’.

It happened to be a day when the soaring day temperature had left denizens of Berne gasping for breath and scurrying for cover. To match the heat outside, the Embassy of Portugal in Switzerland offered a degree of bonhomie and warmth, much like the genial and affable disposition of the people of Portugal.

An informal meeting took place in his tastefully done up office. He was genial, graceful and dignified. The frankness with which he spoke and the warmth he exuded was typical of the people of character, resource and rich culture he represents.

It transpired that he had also had a stint in India. He spoke warmly of his positive feel about the country. He touched upon its rich ancient culture and the diversity of its citizens. Yet another emerging economy he had been posted to in the past was that of Brazil.

He mentioned that he has himself authored and published a book which captures his experiences in a long and successful career. Yours truly expressed a wish that some kindly publisher might bring it out in English as well, so the wisdom contained therein may get shared more widely.

He was happy to know that yours truly had been associated with the Tata group for close to a decade, that too in the field of leather footwear and components. The courtesy extended to an ordinary soul from an emerging economy like India was impeccable.

Diplomats represent all that their land is and aspires to be. Much like Ms. Clara Nunes dos Santos, the Ambassador of Portugal to Norway (whom yours truly had the opportunity to meet recently), Mr. José Manuel Castro Santiago is also no exception. One has no doubt that both of them handle managerial challenges coming their way with characteristic aplomb.

One wishes them and their country a great innings in the days to come.

(Notes:

This is how you can lay your hands on the Portuguese version of the book, launched in Portugal during March, 2016, courtesy Liberty Seguros and Vida Economica.

The English version of the book, entitled ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, was released recently.

Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/a-meeting-with-the-ambassador-of-portugal-in-norway)

 

Read Full Post »

Those who happen to know me personally are often deceived by my polite manners. They often wonder as to why I never opted for a diplomatic career.

Allow me to set the record straight. P G Wodehouse played some role in indicating that my Guardian Angels had planned my life much unlike that of Eustace Mulliner, who was a part of the British Embassy in Switzerland.

Jeeves’ psychology-of-an-individual factor has also led me to believe that the diplomatic corps on this planet are better off without me.

My limited intuitive faculties also tell me that life as a career diplomat could not be as glamorous and hunky dory as it might appear to be from the outside of an embassy building.

The Eustace Mulliner saga

Wodehouse fans might recall that the splendid idea of Eustace Mulliner joining the British Embassy in Switzerland was dangled before him by his godfather, Lord Knubble of Knopp. Eustace had stoutly refused to avail himself of the offer.

However, things turned out differently when he was caught misbehaving with Francis, a feline creature which was a favourite of his Aunt Georgina. At the time, two more characters had popped up, taking a jaundiced view of the proceedings. His obduracy evaporated. He decided that Switzerland was a safer country to be in.

Unlike Eustace Mulliner, my Guardian Angels had planned my life along different lines.

One, I never fancied maintaining a ‘Open House’ for pets of all kinds.

Two, Fate never bestowed upon me a girl friend, that too someone like Marcella Tyrrwhitt, who would take the risk of entrusting her favourite Peke and her canary to me while going off to Paris on a brief sojourn.

Three, I have never had the privilege of having a wealthy aunt who might have taken offence at my throwing cucumber sandwiches at her cat.

Four, never have I come across an ardent animal lover like Orlando Wotherspoon, the perennial Vice President of the Dumb Chumbs’ League, who would threaten to thrash me within an inch of my life.

Nor have I had the privilege of coming across a girl friend who had Spanish blood in her; someone who would have liked to whack me with the heaviest parasol she could lay her hands on, the provocation being her discovery that a favourite Peke of hers had been gifted by me to one Beatrice Watterson.Those who have followed the ruminations of Mr Mulliner (Mulliner Nights, Open House) would recall that Eustace, upon joining the British Embassy in Switzerland, had stuck to his duties with unremitting energy.

‘So much so that, he had been awarded the Order of the Crimson Edelweiss, Third Class, with crossed cuckoo-clocks, carrying with it the right to yodel in the presence of the Vice-President.’

One might miss the rights to yodel in the presence of the high and mighty, but life has been kind to me in so many other ways.

The psychology of the individual

Jeeves would have surely approved of my keeping away from a diplomatic career. I am certain that several diplomatic disasters and gaffes have thus been avoided, saving our planet from a more uncertain future. August bodies such as the United Nations surely breathe easier.

The simpleton that I am, a career in diplomacy would have tested my reserves of patience to the hilt. Putting on a plastic smile, when necessary, would have tried my nerves no end. A Bollywood producer, had he cast me as a lead actor for one of his inane movies, would have cried all the way to his bank. Having to make inane conversations with perfect strangers on topics which are alien to the restricted domain of my knowledge would have left my soul in perennial torment.

To a lay person, the life of a career diplomat might sound flashy and exciting. Rubbing shoulders with world leaders. Travelling to exotic locales. Devouring Anatole-ish spreads. Attending conferences and banquets. Making clever speeches which get received with a thunderous applause and, possibly, even a standing ovation.

But it is not too difficult to surmise the harsh realities of a diplomatic life. These pose many challenges of a managerial kind.

Of diplomats and their career blues

Maintaining cordial international relations in our turbulent times would be no mean task. The dignity and the image of the home country needs to be upheld. Culture, heritage and values need to be showcased. Cultural nuances of the land where they happen to be posted to need to be understood and rigorously followed.

Besides negotiating and facilitating treaties, opportunities for trade promotion and closer collaboration have to be exploited to the hilt. An eye has to be kept open for business opportunities between the two countries. Unique strengths of the home country have to be showcased. Stakeholders of diverse hues, shapes, sizes and temperaments have to be kept in a positive frame of mind. Political masters have to be kept in good humour. Business barons snapping at their heels have to be kept at bay.

Meetings, conferences and banquets have to be attended. Impeccable sartorial standards have to be maintained, showcasing their home country while keeping the local sensibilities in mind. Consular services have to be dished out with courtesy, transparency and efficiency.

Morale of the staff has to be upheld at all times. Resistance to change needs to be overcome. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has to be understood and applied in all cases. Career priorities invariably take precedence over personal matters.

The harsh slings and arrows of fate do not stop with such mighty challenges. Once in a blue moon, some odd requests have to be granted. Interviews by a bunch of giggly communication students may need to be granted. Inquisitive media journalists desperately searching for some exciting sound bites may have to be tolerated.

Lay citizens of a distant country could pop up, wanting to present a book authored by them on a subject which sounds like Latin and Greek, simply because the book was launched back home, in the home language.

The last mentioned was the fate suffered recently by two senior members of the international diplomatic corps, when I popped up in flesh and blood to present to them a copy of my book ‘Como Sobreviver Na Selva Empresarial’.

It was kind of them to have granted me an audience. Like many a harsh slings and arrows of Fate coming their way, they took it very sportingly, thereby shoring up the image of their country in the feeble mind of a lesser mortal from one of the emerging economies of the world.

Bertie Wooster would have heartily approved of their chin up attitude. So would have Eustace Mulliner.

As to my not having gravitated towards a diplomatic career myself, Jeeves would have surely approved.

Thank you, Plum!

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/a-meeting-with-the-ambassador-of-portugal-in-norway

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/a-meeting-with-the-minister-counsellor-of-portugal-in-switzerland)

Read Full Post »

Recently, while on a trip to Norway, yours truly had the opportunity of calling upon Ms. Clara Nunes dos Santos, the Ambassador of Portugal in Norway.

Despite her busy schedule, she was kind enough to grant an audience to yours truly, who wished to present to her a copy of his book ‘Como Sobreviver Na Selva Empresarial’.

On a day when the skies were a characteristic Norwegian grey, the Embassy of Portugal in Oslo stood out in its dignified glory. Much like the genial and warm people of Portugal, the welcoming interior left one with an inner glow of joy, much akin to a homecoming of sorts.

An informal meeting took place in her exquisitely done up office. She was charm, grace and dignity personified. The frankness with which she spoke and the warmth she exuded was typical of the people of character, resource and rich culture she represents.

She was kind enough to leaf through the book and found that it demystified the art and science of management in a lucid manner. The Portuguese translation came in for some praise. The courtesy extended to an ordinary soul from an emerging economy like India was impeccable.

Ambassadors represent all that their land is and aspires to be. Ms Clara Nunes dos Santos is no exception. Given her keen intelligence, sharp eye, wit and humour, one has no doubt that she handles managerial challenges coming her way with characteristic aplomb.

One wishes her and her country a great innings in the days to come.

(Note:

This is how you can lay your hands on the Portuguese version of the book, launched in Portugal during March, 2016, courtesy Liberty Seguros and Vida Economica.)

(The English version of the book, entitled ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, was released recently.)

(Related Post:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/the-book-como-sobreviver-na-selva-empresarial-guia-pratico-1-0)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »