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I love exploring new avenues with "passion for impossible" which were not treaded by others so far. Not bound by any race or country or religion for me to associate with and contribute in their life. Regular blogger sharing my folly as "wisdom" for others. Please visit my blog http://www.ncnarayanan.blogspot.com to learn the moment of truth I faced in my life that made me wiser to handle this complex phenomena called "LIFE" 

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I welcome you to my blog

Dear friend,
This blog is an effort to share all the mistakes committed by me in my Life. I wish to share them with a hope that you may learn from my mistake and avoid committing them all over again!

I am blending my wisdom with that of all great Masters who have shown me the Light.

This blog is dedicated to everyone from whom I learned. Wish you peaceful life ahead.

Love
NC

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Moment of Truth – The path Finder




“Moment of truth” is the moments in our life where we are exposed to some raw facts which we have to accept and face it as a reality of life. In variably we find a huge gap between what we expect from life and what if offer! In those moments we buckle and give up, blaming someone else or circumstances. I wish to classify these moments into two categories – you cannot do anything at all for example death, and you can do something about it, the rest of them. It is all dependent upon how myopic you are about the resources available in this universe.


One of my friends recently narrated an incident when he wanted to re-learn how to make a tie knot (as he was not wearing it for very long time). He immediately sat in the internet and learned through a demo in the YouTube. This is an example of overcoming our resource myopia. Let us examine how we can find a path when we face moments of truth.


Human form is the highest evolved species in the rung of the creations bestowed with the most developed operating system by the nature – creativity & rationale. In the animal kingdom we don’t observe a significant difference between one another in terms of their capability which is a unique phenomenon in the human species. We don’t know the reason for this difference and may not be a good idea to investigate either; accepting it as one of those secrets of nature less understood by us.


In 50’s, psychologist were trying to define this unique human characteristics to measure, evaluate and differentiate the capabilities of human beings. The first one was IQ – Intelligent quotient developed as a measure to evaluate the ability to grasp and understand. The teacher remaining the same, each student understands the subject to different degree. Very few human beings such as Einstein and Stephen Hawking could understand the quantum physics and formulate equations to explain the mysteries of this universe. In the IQ scale they are said to be in the highest around 140. The average human being is around 100 which imply that the vast majority of us will have average level of IQ. Does that mean that all of us with average IQ are doomed?


People believed that if anyone has highest IQ will top the class and hence may succeed in their career. The data does not prove that top positions are occupied only by academic performers. If so what is that made these low IQ performers to succeed? This lead to the next type of human competency identification; EQ- Emotional Quotient which differentiates the human capabilities to handle emotions. If we cannot manage our emotions, it is very unlikely we can handle others emotions for which we are responsible when we start leading people. There could be a person with less IQ but may have high EQ and hence he may be capable of producing better results than the person with high IQ but less EQ.


In the later part of this century, life has become more complex and demanding due the information explosion and connectivity across the global village. This brought one more demand on human competency namely LQ – Learning Quotient, the continued interest to update your knowledge. We generally find the learning quotient is inversely proportional to age; as we grow old we tend to lose the curiosity and novelty we had as a child. We are caught up with psychological Inertia which is defined in a mathematical form:


Psychological Inertia = Knowledge x Experience x Bias


Higher the knowledge and experience, higher the resistance to change as we tend to think we know all that we need to know. The unknown Vedic seer has believed to have said “The more I know, I come to know, I don’t know!” This is the right state of humility believing “knowledge reveals ignorance”. The Bias is an irrational paradigm of believing something without any data. For example, “age takes away your hair and brings in wisdom”. It is very hard to keep your novelty and curiosity as you grow guarding yourself from the psychological inertia.


The next complex human competency needed for the 21st century is RQ – Relationship Quotient, the ability to build relationship which has become the most critical success factor to make progress in life. Many of us have been brought up in different culture, parental and social conditioning which have influenced our personality. These conditioning either aids or inhibits relationship building. For example, we have been warned about meeting and developing relationship with a stranger during our childhood which still lingers in our sub-conscious mind which retards our ability to build contacts. Your power is decided by your contacts.


Having seen IQ, EQ, LQ and RQ, we have the SQ – Spiritual Quotient as the highest in the rung of the personality development. Although SQ sounds little philosophical, it will only means a “principle and character cantered Life”. The principles are nothing but laws of nature which governs            this universe; for example the laws of karma – “what you sow, what you will reap”.  One should keep the principles such as Humility, Industry, Temperance etc as the core values driving their life instead of “money”, “family” etc which has fleeting outcome. If money is in the centre of my core value, I tend to take all my decisions to make money which may violate my time tested principles. That is why we find any violation of law of nature exposes to a down fall later.


What is the main Point?
How do we negotiate the moments of truth where we are exposed to ground realities of knowing the facts which are show stoppers? We stumble upon these facts and either chose to become defensive, blaming someone outside ourselves which is the easiest recipe for doing nothing. Every one of us has a “level of incompetency” which will expose our inadequacy. Let me narrate my experience:


 For some historical reasons, I chose to become a hard core techie and grew up in the corporate ladder till my early 40s. When I got struck in a functional discipline my seniors told me that I cannot lead an institution as I had no general management capability! It appeared to me that the world has come to an end at that time! What happened there after? I built an institution commencing my entrepreneur career at 49? I am happy to come out of a state “one who knows not that he knows not is a fool”. But for the blows, you never wake up from slumber. I augmented my skills and moved on for the better. This is a typical example of “moment of truth”. I could have chosen an adapted child behaviour blaming my seniors for not developing me or choose a less travelled path which has many things to offer. I chose the later.


We have born with certain level of IQ which may be beyond our ability to develop. But the pity is your marks in the school or college is used as the indicator of your IQ. Alas! If you don’t enjoy the subject and passionate about some other topic, you may not obviously score high marks! In my own case I was a mediocre student in my schooling and a topper in all my engineering education including M.Tech in IIT. Most of us end up in a professional education which is not as per our choice and hence may have misleading scores which are not the true indicators of your IQ. Einstein for example is a school dropout and later known as the most outstanding scientist the planet has witnessed.


The EQ is the decisive factor for you to become the most successful leader as well as balanced individual which is very important to keep you mentally and physically healthy. The EQ is not a gift of nature as IQ, which can be developed by constant endeavour. What is most important is, believing that your EQ can be improved. If that belief is there one can use the feedback and feed-forward approaches explained by great authors Marshall Goldsmith in his book “What brought you here, won’t get you there” and Daniel Goleman in his book “Emotional Intelligence”. The resources are plenty.The RQ – Relationship Quotient & SQ are the skill one can develop once you are aware of their merits.
          
In summary,
  • All of us have born with equal rights to achieve our goals in our life.
  • If you have poor academic score, it does not mean your IQ is low. You need not have to feel helpless. It may be you are destined to lead people with high IQs.
  • The limitations are the shackles we ourselves put upon ourselves.
  • The so called IQ is only an insignificant factor to decide your growth as always if you use your EQ, RQ & SQ you can always use everyone around you as a resource to progress. You can intelligently use others IQ for your advantage and that is what leadership is all about.
  • Producing extraordinary results with ordinary people is really leadership is all about. This needs EQ, RQ, LQ and SQ.
  • Watch carefully when an intimidating moment of truth is stunning against you – It is a great opportunity to explore within yourself. If you do, then you emerge as a great leader.
Jai Gurudev
NC

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Passion for Impossible





Nature, for some reasons playing a hide and seek game either by concealing many of its secrets or by evolving in its own pace. The scientist believes, this universe came from nowhere with a big bang several billion years ago and ever since is changing continuously. The four broad forms of evolution belong to minerals, plants, animals and human beings. In the process of evolution, the single cell organism combined to become a multi-cell spices forming mammals that lead to a human being later.


We don’t find life in the minerals and hence don’t find any changes over a period of time; change is the “signature of life”. The next developed model is the plant where we find life and also intelligence; they know when to germinate, how to find sun light and make food. A seed kept on the table don’t become a plant but when you put it on the earth and pour water it germinates into a seedling; the mango seed becomes a mango tree and not papaya! This is a good enough proof for intelligence. Hence the essential difference between the mineral and the plant is the intelligence built in by the nature. We can say that the plant is the next generation of evolution over the minerals with higher intelligence. In other words, the evolution will bring in higher intelligent models over the previous ones.
If you look at the next evolved model namely animals, they are mobile where as their cousin sister “plant” is stationary. Obviously, the nature has to upgrade its operating system with an additional capability to take decisions while they are mobile! I have borrowed the jargon from computer science where an operating system is the software that sits in the computer providing an intelligence to understand our commands.


The nature bestows the animals with the higher capability which we call “Instincts”; the self-preservation, hunger, pro-creation and resting. With these operating systems, the animals manage their existence negotiating all circumstances. Strangely, they don’t get bored as human beings as they have no goal orientation; the past and the future! They function exactly as per the natures’ plan and live peacefully. May be that is the reason they are much healthier than us! They mostly live in the present where as we live in the past or in the future – regretting about the past or worrying about the future.
The next evolved model of nature is Human. The major distinction of animal’s operating system and human’s is the ability to think – the so called rationale and creativity. If the nature has not planned to evolve this model, this planet would have remained as it was several million years ago. We have no idea why these developments are happening and needless to know as well.
The human beings can be classified broadly into three categories – Scientists, Seekers and Ordinary people. The scientists wish to know what the object is made up of. The seeker wants to know who they are. The Ordinary people does not want to ask any questions!! He lives because he was brought to this planet without his consent. The scientists and seekers are the “reasons for change” and the ordinary people are the “victim of change”. The question I am trying to answer is “Who chooses their category?”; “it is us”. The quality that distinguishes a scientist from an Ordinary people or a seeker is their optimism and curiosity. Strangely, these qualities are inborn with us!
Scientists constantly try to un-ravel the mysteries of nature while a seeker looks inward to understand who we are and why we are here? In other words, a scientist is focusing on objects outside him while a spiritual seeker goes inward to explore. If I say “a scientist is an extrovert” and “a seeker is an introvert”, it may not be an exaggeration. Exploring on objects brought material prosperity while focusing inwardly brought the “science of being” what all scriptures call “Brahma sutra” – the knowledge of knowing oneself.
The people in the west explored the material world (the object) and brought the so called material prosperity which created many gadgets that improved our physical comforts. No doubt that the quality of life improves through comfort.  We need to realize that physical comfort alone cannot make you happy as the happiness is a state of a being and has no dependency on any object. The people in the east explored the inner world (the subject) and taught us how we can achieve peace within ourselves.
Every one of us have come to this planet with vast potential and scientists say that an average human being uses only 10 % of his potentials and rest of them are dormant. The common man is alive while the change agents live! In other words the very few people who brought major changes in this planet are the ones who were very optimistic in their outlook while the vast majority of us are perennially pessimistic.
These are paradigms (beliefs) such as “scarcity mentality” and “abundance mentality”. In scarcity mentality we always believe there is not enough for us; where as in abundance mentality we believe there is enough for everyone. If you look at nature, the animals have “abundance mentality”, and that is the reason they don’t aggrandize wealth. They are confident that they will get food when they need.
Vast majority of people believe that there is no cure for cancer while many scientists are still working in the laboratory to find a medicine. Edison believed to have conducted thousands of experiments before he found the electric bulb. While he was advised by his well wishers that he is pursuing a false goal, Edison is believed to have said that he had discovered 1500 ways in which the electric bulb could not deliver light and that is the valuable contributions to mankind even if he had not succeeded to invent light bulbs. This is the optimistic view of few people who have lived their life to change this planet for the better. Just imagine the world without light bulbs! It is frightening, but got granted today.


What is the main message?
I am one of those who have had a 3 decade long service career. As many of us have a desire to become an entrepreneur, I got this idea may be at the wrong time; When I was 50 during which time I had very limited fund to perform my daughter’s marriage and support my son to complete his engineering degree! The age I got this idea is the time common man gives up his steam and looks forward to retire. For a change I had the desire to build a world class consulting company which will change the poor image of consultants in this country. The optimism to visualize success was the only investment I had. I coined the phrase “passion for impossible” to motivate myself at that time which became the ethos of the company I founded.
In ten years Six Sigma Alchemy (P) Ltd has become a well known institution with 25 consultants working with many corporate in India and Asia Pacific. At last I found myself through this exploration process with optimism. SSA is poised for a Global presence now with the leadership of my off-springs. Passion for impossible has become the character of Six Sigma Alchemy now reverberating optimism at the DNA level of our people. 
In summary,
  •  You belong to the most evolved version of Nature – Human being with rationale and creativity. You have the power of creating anything if you believe
  •  If you choose, you can create a future which you dream about.
  • Be optimistic – as it produces better results than pessimistic attitude
  • Be the captain of your soul and take charge of your life.
  • There is no age to aim high; all achievers started their life after 50.
  • Cultivate the possibility thinking as a habit
  • Don't blame any one for your failure as you are the creator of your destiny
  • This World is for those who dare to explore the "Path less traveled" 
Jai Gurudev
Love
NC 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Making Choices - Chocolate or Vanilla

One of the difficulties we have all faced in life is making choices - the right choice at the right time. It is often said that there are two situations where we cannot make choices – choosing the family to take birth and choosing the boss. Looking at the childhood stage, all our choices have been made by our parents; where to study, what to eat and so on. At the age of thirteen suddenly we feel we have grown as an adult and for the first time we start saying no to our parents asserting to take choices of our own.

Many a times when someone else makes our choices, we can blame them for the outcome. There are simpler choices in life which has lesser consequence such as choice of food, and difficult ones which has serious consequences and irreversible (in India) such as whom to marry! As we grow older and take higher responsibilities, we have difficult situations to deal with. One of the qualities of a leader is taking decisions (making choices) at the right time.


At some point in time in the corporate ladder we are paid for taking right decisions as that is the only thing we will be left with in those positions as all others below will execute our orders. The captain in the ship, highly paid, always looks cool and a non-doer! He does everything without doing. He directs the ship without driving. Also, he is the last person to leave the ship while it is sinking and often drowns himself along with the ship; that is the symbol of commitment and leadership.


As we grow, at some point in time we are allowed to take decisions such as whom to choose as our partners and what professional course to study. Whenever parents prevail strongly in these decisions, often we end up choosing some line which is not our passion. I may sound very strong if I say parents choose our professional education which they have missed in their life and often they wish to re-live their life through their children. Alternatively, parents succumb to the crowd behaviour in choosing the career for their off-springs; computer science is the pinnacle of education some time back till the software engineering glamor faded.


I did the same mistake of forcing my son into electronic engineering which I always wished to do (I did mechanical engineering). My son cleverly switched back to mechanical engineering which was his passion (may be my indirect influence!). Parents wish to make their children as their photo copy or re-live their life through their children to make up for whatever they missed. The data will support my view as we see all actors, singers and music directors' children often follow their parents career.


What is the main point I wish to make?

When we were children someone asks us what you want to become? We said “a pilot”, “a doctor” and so on. Often when we reach our school final, we invariably ended up in some professional course or college which is far away from our childhood dreams; may be very negligible cases people would have got what they wanted. In India we have more demand than supply in everything and the people getting what they want is very difficult. In large majority of situations, we have younger generations facing disappointments. Either they give up or understand the realities of life and move ahead with a positive frame of mind.


I happened to counsel a young boy recently who had a dream to join only premium engineering colleges of his choice but could not do so due to his inadequate score in 12th  standard. He has resolved to re-write his 12th exam as many times as it is necessary till he gets into the college of his choice. I counselled him saying that there are life situations which are called “Moments of truth” and wise people make right choices without feeling defeated. We might have “lost a battle and not the war”. I narrated my own story (please bear with me for my autobiography). I am re-producing the words I spoke to him.


 As a young boy, I dreamt to study in St. Joseph College and college of engineering, Guindy which was one of the premium colleges on those days. As usual it was shattered due to my poor score in my school final which was lower than 60%. I was angry upon myself and the society at large! Thank God I didn’t become a militant!  The result was, I sitting in a bicycle shop which was run by one of my friends for one year as I took a break from my education as an angry young man.
It appeared to me at that time it was the end of the road! But it lead to re-inventing myself and beating all systems with an outstanding performance such as “second rank” in the university in Diploma engineering, first rank in my BE with 90% aggregate and “S Grade” (Supreme) in M.Tech at IIT and so on. Where is the boy who scored less than 60% in school final and S-grade in IIT later? No one knows who you are until you dig deep into your being. Problems faced by you act as the active ingredient in finding your true self. In the words of Shree.Ravi Shankar “Problem is the manure; it stinks but it helps you to grow”


In summary,
  • Making decision is an inevitable part of Life
  • Only Decision makers become leaders
  • Rely on yourself for making choices because you only know your passion well
  • Accept the “moment of truth” when life presents what is real.
  • Don’t become an “adapted child" - sitting in a dark room, sucking      your                       
          thumb and crying – Move on
  • No one knows “The path less travelled” is the one which will take you to great     heights
  • Explore the “Master” within you; only who dare to try new path have brought all their     
          ability to manifested form.
  • The secret of success lies in accepting what is in store and trying new avenues.
    Finally, you create your own platform and play as no one else is ready to create it for you.


Jai Guru Dev
NC

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Problems - The Manure




The nature is the best example of a spontaneous organization which manages itself without any external controls. For example, the planetary motions are controlled by the position and gravitational attractions of the planets. The rain forest manages its own affairs by balancing the flora and fauna contained in it unless otherwise its eco-balance is disturbed by human de-forestation. It looks like the plan of nature is to create a self-sustaining mechanism with built-in principles controlling it by itself. This is evident from the simple observation of animals having least amount of health problems which is haunting the modern mankind such as hyper-tension, diabetes, heart problems and so on.


It is interesting to observe that there are no systems of health care in a rain forest and still the life is healthy and peaceful. In the name of civilization, mankind has moved far away from the natures plan. We are perennially unhappy about what we have and in the name of material pursuits we postpone living for a later date – “I will be happy when I have.....”, and this ends up as a “tomorrow syndrome”. In the end we “see” without a “vision”, we “hear” without “listening” and we are “alive” and not “living”! The higher intelligence nature bestowed on us is invested in “searching a black cat in a dark room while it is not there!” Let us examine little bit of the secrets of nature.


We like health against disease, sweet against bitter, happiness against sorrow and so on. In every aspect of ephemeral human experiences, there is pair of opposites. There are foods very tasty to tongue and few of them are not. We prefer the ones which are tasty and avoid those which are not. The secret of nature is; those foods which are tasty are not good for our heath and vice versa! One of those human follies is to feel happy when our expectations are met and resent the problems we face. Is there a “message” the nature conveys through problems? Napoleon Hill in his famous book “You can work your own miracles” says “Every problem is a seed of equivalent benefits”. It means at the outset the problem appears to be curse and later it proves to be a big opportunity in disguise!


At the outset when we face problems we tend to run away from it which is equivalent to throwing away the seed which contains great opportunities. The author says if you put the seed in the soil, it will germinate as a seedling, grow and bear fruits which we have never imagined that the seed contained it in its un-manifest form! It s a great wisdom when I read the book two decades ago and it really made miracles in my life when I started looking at all problems with this new perspective. It is a new paradigm that can revolutionize our lives.


When I was a child in my village, I used to observe during festivals people pull a big wooden car carrying the deity around the streets. As the car moves through the streets, one person will put a wooden wedge below the wheel almost obstructing the flow of the car. I used to wonder why this guy is preventing the car rolling across the street while all people are struggling to roll it. Later when I grew up I understood, but for that obstruction, the car will go direction less and the guy is really steering the car to its destination. Similarly, nature introduces problems as a means of showing direction to us.


Only when we are challenged we become better; diamond glitter only when polished, gold requires heating & beating to glitter. Those who have not faced sorrow and challenges remain as immature people. Indulgence keeps the soul at the “Muladhara chakra” levels only. Probably nature uses obstacle as the tools to explore human potentials.


I had the biggest blow in my life when I had to end up in a poly-technique at the age of 16 when I had the dream to enter an engineering college. Now I know why nature planned my life that way. I knew more about myself as a “self-made person” by pursuing my education till I got my M.Tech from IIT. I have the great joy of fighting with road blocks and converting them as a stepping stone. “Problems are manures; it stinks but helps to grow” is the wisdom Shri. Ravishankar has given to the modern mind.


In summary,


There is a great wisdom in understanding the principle of nature and following it for peace, health and prosperity. Follow the flora and fauna for their alignment with the nature; don’t ignore them as they are less evolved than human.


All that are conducive to your senses are not good for your being and vice versa!
"Problems are the seed of equivalent benefits”. Don’t resent when they appear in life.


Develop the paradigm that Problems are opportunities in disguise.
Carefully pick the seed without judgement and nurture them carefully to grow them till they bear fruits.


Jai Gurudev
Love
NC


Sunday, November 22, 2009

About Life

We have no choice in life upon two things; the birth in this planet and leaving the same. The interim period between these two events is called “Life”. It is a collection of fleeting experiences which can neither be re-played nor stored. There are two paradigms about Life; one “it is a benediction to be a human” and another is result of “Karma” – the inevitable choice. The paradigms are the “Basic assumption” upon which all our beliefs and actions are based. Let’s examine the manifestation of these two basic assumptions.

When we come from the paradigm “life is a result of an inevitable choice” we tend to believe that our state of happiness or sorrow is decided by an external source. We tend to blame our parents for not sending us to a good school, our spouse for not supporting us and so on. In this state of mind one does not want to take responsibility for everything that is happening in their life. Once we blame external sources for our state, we have no responsibility to change anything. It is the best recipe to remain where we are. This state of melancholy is where many choose to remain and don’t want to rock the boat.

When we choose the paradigm of “It is a benediction to be a human”, we take life with a sportsmanship and play joyfully as play itself is the reward. In this state, we take charge of our life without blaming anyone for our progress or lack of it. We become the captain of our soul and steer our life for ourselves and the betterment of our fellow human being. People who lived with this paradigm have believed that in ultimate analysis “Nothing matters”. Think for a moment the anxiety our grand parents (who are in heaven now!) have gone through during their life. Does that have any meaning now? Similarly our concerns now will have no meaning later when we quit this planet. We will not be remembered as Jesus who is worshiped even after 2000 years of his earthly abode.

Alexander died at the age of 32, Jesus was in human form only for 37 years and Adhi Sankara lived only for 33 years in this planet. The foot prints these human beings have left are not erasable for many more millenniums. The contributions made by Edison by illuminating the world, Mother Theresa by bring smile in the face many poor, Mary Curie giving the great invention of radium and so on are the monuments of meaningful life lived by great people. All these people have come from the paradigm that “Life is a benediction” and “Nothing matters” which means that the doing is important rather than the fruits of action. If we are caught up with the fruit of action, we miss the target.

To summarize,

Life is a pair of opposites by design; hot & cold, happiness & sorrow, light & shadow and so on. If it is not so, one cannot appreciate the favourable ones. For example white cannot be defined if black is not there, light cannot be understood if darkness is not there and happiness cannot be recognized if sorrow is not defined. When we have faced ill health we have appreciated health. When we had headache we realized that we have something called head! It is like two ends of the same stick and trying to pick one without the other is foolishness. When we transcend these pair of opposites, we have arrived to our destination.

Life will be joyful experience only when we understand these realities of Life as a whole and live every day with a missionary zeal which will make our presence in this planet more meaningful.

Wish you a Great Life ahead.

Jai Gurudev

With Love

NC

Monday, November 16, 2009

About Happiness

In English language there are several words having the same connotation for “happiness”; joy, pleasure, glee, ecstasy, Bliss and so on. If the word Happiness is specific and beyond interpretation, there cannot be many words in the language. Lets us examine in details.

Before that let me deal with the confusion whether “Happiness” is a cause or an effect? This is important because, cause precedes effect. If we say happiness is an effect, we need to figure out what is the cause. There are two schools of thoughts; in material domain we need a cause to be happy – example: food closer to your choice makes you happy. In the spiritual domain “happiness is a state of mind” and hence you don’t need any cause to make it happen! In fact all Vedic literatures say that our real nature is happiness.

Let’s examine the different words and their connotations for better appreciation of our true nature:

Pleasure:

Pleasure is the “effect” of physical indulgence; as an example, an ice cream gives you a pleasure. Pleasure is in the lowest rung in the happiness scale. The same ice cream is taken beyond a point at a stretch, it will lead to nausea. It is also a fleeting experience and not lasting.

Joy:

Joy is at the emotional level and also the effect of a cause; for example when we have become the father of the child first time, we have experienced the joy. Although Joy is in the higher rung than pleasure, but still it depends on an external object to make us happy.

Glee:

You don’t find the exact meaning for the word Glee from the dictionary. The happiness we get when we see someone in trouble is “Glee”. For example we tend to laugh when someone slipped and fell down; catching ourselves immediately that it is indecent to do that. The cause here is someone else’s problem and it de-generates our being.

Bliss:

Bliss and ecstasy falls in the spiritual domain of happiness which comes from the paradigm that your very nature is “happiness” and you don’t need any external objects to act as a cause. For no reasons you are happy is a state of bliss. It only means all that you have to do is “Choose to be happy”. When the mind is in constant material pursuit, it is perennially looking forward to a physical indulgence or a material object to make you happy.

When one experiences a thoughtless state during the meditation, you experience the Bliss.

Ecstasy:

Ecstasy in spiritual domain is “Nirvana” the state one attains when he transcends the mind. This is an irreversible state of happiness. Vedic literatures argue this as the very purpose of our life.

Analysis:

What is the earthly use of knowing all this? For a modern man of material madness, these are Greek and Latin. Modern man is swayed like a ship in the rough sea without a compass and a captain. We always chase and amaze wealth hoping that it will give happiness and security. Alas! Only to find that object which gave the happiness on the day of acquiring it, failed to do the same all the time. On the other hand, the desire for a big car, upon acquiring it gave the anxiety of driving without a problem of parking or someone scratching it!

As the famous Zen proverb “You cannot pick the one end of the stick alone”. The happiness through material acquisition has its own share of misery. Beware of their limitations and move upwards in the rung of happiness ladder.

Jai Gurudev

NC

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prosperity & Business Excellence

Only few organizations managed to become multinationals and still very few of them could become fortune 100. In India 98% of the industries belong to micro, small and medium enterprise category (MSME) which by definition is less than 10 crores capital investment. I was curious to understand the root causes which made these achievements possible only by few enterprises. All enterprises are founded by an entrepreneur who made a difference from the salaried clause and demonstrated his leadership. Presumably, the entrepreneur had a vision to make a difference in founding an organization. Then why they lost their steam on the way?

I had several opportunities to discuss with the first generation entrepreneurs to know the reason why they did not expand their organization beyond a point. Invariably, the answer was “My children are not interested in taking over my business and no one is there to inherit the institution I passionately founded and hence I have stopped my efforts to expand”. The other reason given is “Already I am overstretched beyond my elastic limits working 24 by 7 and where is the band width to take more?”

If we take a look at corporate, there are plenty of king elephants which had 10 years order book at one time and enjoyed highest customer satisfaction, although their quality and delivery was pathetic. May be in a protected economy, where the customer has limited choice, the true health of the organization is not known to the management. These elephants had their natural death although took long time to die. In spite of poor response to customer needs, few of the corporate survive the onslaught of globalization due to the brand identity created over centuries.

If we examine the key ingredients of successful organizations you will find they are overwhelmingly common sense; very obvious but difficult to practice. Lets us look at each one of them:

1. LEADERSHIP:

In a ship, the captain is the most relaxed person, but highly paid. He is a non-doer and doer at the same time. He is the cause for everything that will happen in the ship and the buck stops with him as he is accountable for everything going well or otherwise. There is an individual behind all great institutions whose character shadows in every brick. His ideologies and vision shapes up the institution and become the DNA of the organization. Be it a Sam Walton of Wall mart or Bill Hewlett & David Packard of HP, their ideologies became the core principles of the Organization. “Respect the individual” is the core value of HP and “Imagination & Wholesomeness” is the ideology of Disneyland which emanates from the strong principle cantered leadership of the founders.

I happened to work for the famous south Indian business house “TVS” founded by Shri. T.V. Sundaram Iyengar hailing from a Brahmin community. He founded a bicycle shop against the custom of Brahmins as they are not supposed to get into business on those days. He had an ideology “Customer is the King” and all processes and people of the organization should align with this one single motive. When TVS was running a town bus in the city of Madurai, the driver and conductor demonstrated this ideology through their behaviour and processes. Even after TVS discontinued bus services, people in Madurai used to say “We can adjust our watch by seeing the TVS bus”. This compliment from general public praises the punctuality of the buses ran on those days. This is the result of people alignment and shared vision across the organization which a leader achieves by his presence and walking the talk. TVS today is several thousand crores turnover business house still known for its Quality Focus; the founder lives in every DNA of the institution.

2. ENVISIONING:

We have seen the foundation of any successful institution starts with the Core ideologies which is the result of principle cantered leadership. Hence there is an element of an organization which is constant such as the core ideologies and another which is changing with respect to time such as its vision – where it wants to reach & strategies which will be the means to achieve its vision. One of the hardest parts of any organization is visualizing the future and passionately pursuing it through clear strategies with the alignment of every one. The organization need to create a management system to achieve this as their people are quite comfortable with the status quo. The strategy changes the process and people over the period of time in alignment with the core ideologies of the institution. The ability of the organization is to keep an eye on the changing environment and manage change internally. Hence Change management is the next capability the Fortune 500 companies could do better.

3. PEOPLE:

The core ideologies, vision and strategies can be given life only by the people in the organization. Ironically, people want prosperity without realizing that it is a result of improvement coming through CHANGE! While people wants prosperity but RESIST changes! They wish to have the result opposing the MEANS! Hence alignment of the people attitude and competency is the next big challenge these organizations tackled well.

4. PROCESS:

The next big hurdle for achieving the vision of any organization is the “Processes”. Many organizations are people dependant and hence influenced by the attitude and competency of the people. The successful organizations have shifted from people dependency to process dependency. A simple example is Mc Donald and similar franchisee managed businesses. One cannot fry finger chips any way he/she likes as the process is standardized and the system does not allow individuals work their ways. The “repeatable excellence” is possible only through de-skilling and standardization of processes. The changing aspect of the organization is the processes which have to continuously evolve over the period of time aiming the customer needs.

5. MEASUREMENT:

The next most important aspect of the successful organization is self assessment on a periodic manner. These successful organizations believe in the stakeholder’s satisfaction as the very purpose of its existence. The stakeholders could be customers, employees, investors, suppliers and dealers / business associates. Unless otherwise there are performance metrics, organization may not come to know how it is performing. Often, organizations review financial metrics which are lag indicators and can show its health only after it has deteriorated. Intelligent organizations measure means more than the results. Adopting Key Performance Index – KPI is one of the characteristics of the successful organization. Managing an organization without KPI is like driving a car without a dashboard! The vehicle may come to a halt without any indication.

6. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT:

Accepting the status quo is acceptable for the mineral, plant and animal kingdom as they have no faculty to challenge them. Human species has the potential to challenge status quo and evolve. Accepting the status quo and living with mediocre results is a sin human being should not commit. The automobile and aircraft are the example for achieving perfection closer to zero defects. Today motor cars are produced with 2 parts per million defects which is a result of continuous improvements over the period of last 10 decades. Hence the most successful companies have built a management system to involve people to challenge the defects and continuously improve processes.

7. RESULT FOCUS:

We have looked at the enablers of any successful organization so far. This takes care of the “Process Focus” ie P- Criteria. The last aspect of any successful organization is “Result Focus” ie R-Criteria. Many organization over emphasizes profits and gets lost in driving its core values. Although profit is an important aspect of any business model, focusing only on “profits first” philosophy will drive people to achieve the bottom line by any means. The most successful organizations kept their larger purpose in mind and profit became the reality by default. However it is not only taking care of the means, but also having an eye on the end is important. This is emphasised by Stephen Covey in his second habit, “Begin with the end in mind” and what Mahatma Gandhi said “Take care of the means and the end will take care of itself”.

SUMMARY:

In summary, the successful institutions are built around the strong ideology coupled with a desire to grow without violating the principles of a larger purpose than earning profit. The key elements are:

· Leadership

· Purpose (larger than profits)

· Vision (end in mind)

· Strategy (mean to progress)

· People (alignment & engagement)

· Process (means to meet customer expectations)

· Measurements (Performance indicators)

· Continuous improvements (change to suit environment).

Wish you happy reading.

NC