Friday, 31 January 2014

Yes, You can !

Once upon a time, there was a huge tree, below which lived a group of chickens.

On that tree ,in a nice little nest, lived an Eagle , protecting her four eggs

One day, there was a storm and one egg fell from the nest on the hay kept near the chickens. 

The chickens hatched the egg and when a baby eagle came out , they looked at it in wonder.  They loved the baby eagle and wanted to protect it

Days passed and very lovingly and with lots of care, the eagle was raised like a chicken. The eagle loved his home and family and believed that it was a chicken. While playing he sometimes looked at the sky and saw the birds soaring high. He pined to be as mighty and strong like the eagles and wanted to zoom and soar high in the blue firmament. 

"I wish I could fly as high as them ... !" he sighed

The chickens laughed at him

"You cannot fly. You are a chicken and chickens can neither fly nor soar ". 

The little eagle stared at the sky and looked at the Eagle's nest on the tree, dreaming that he could fly like them . But every time he talked about his dream, he was told it cannot be done. It is impossible. 

As he grew older, he stopped dreaming. He believed firmly that he could never fly.  He lived his life like a chicken and one fine day, died , with his dead dream. 

Dream and dream BIG 

Believe yourself and not what others tell you.  You never know how close your are towards your goal.  

Believe that you are the Eagle and not what other Chickens tell you. 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Secret of Success

Yesterday I attended a function which was arranged to felicitate a renowned Bengali Actor - Soumitra Chatterjee (wikipedia, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.  As the veteran actor walked into the stage, I was amazed.  Standing tall and erect, he was looking so very handsome.  His face was glowing.  He looked so full of life ! 

And then when he started speaking, I was completely mesmerized. He recited a couple of poems.  His diction, oration and pronunciation was spellbinding. In fact, I think he had improved upon all these aspects !It made me wonder. What was his secret ?  His lust for life ? 

As I listened to him talking about his childhood, how he grew up , his passion for theatre and acting,  

I noticed that he talked about his failures and how he overcame them. He talked about how much more he wanted to do. He talked about the areas he wanted to learn and improve upon ! 

  • Make your shortcomings your happiness :  All of us have weaknesses.  Being aware of them can be the seeds of happiness.  I had come to a strange conclusion sometime back after I attended the the alumni meet of my school. I noticed that my classmates who were plump in school were thinner than the ones who were slender in school. The plump ones knew their shortcoming and took care of themselves. They had turned their shortcoming to their advantage !

  • Compete with Yourself : Be your own opponent. Instead of comparing ourselves with others, we should battle with ourselves. Setting personal growth goals, tracking and measuring them and finally coming out victorious gives a greater pleasure than forever musing over and getting pessimistic about what we have not achieved compared to others. 

  • Develop your Intrinsic Self :  The strength to overcome all difficulties , possessing a strong will which is unyielding makes you self confident and calm. This is your greatest strength. Once we sharpen this ability, no difficulty will be able to sway us.  Criticism will not be able to touch us.

  • Be a Snowball : Every moment, each experience has some lesson hidden it it.  If we can see the hidden lessons in both good experiences and the painful ones, we will grow just like a rolling snowball.  We have to keep the snowball rolling even if there are pebbles and dirt on the way. Every situation that we encounter and every person whom we meet in life is a teacher. We have to learn to recognize the pebbles and gather the snow of the lessons learnt and keep on rolling to grow mentally as well as  spiritually. 
As I write this post, I say a silent prayer.

God, help me to be positive till the last moment of my life.  Let me never tire of learning. Let me yearn to strive towards excellence. Give me the zeal for life , love and learning  like Soumitra Chatterjee.  

Let my mind be filled with peace and love and help me to shun jealousy and  hatred .

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

How to get the pay Hike that you want

A brand new year has started.  

There is something about January. Somehow I always feel optimistic, hopeful and unabashedly make new year resolutions. Some of the resolutions happen and some don't, nevertheless that does not deter me from making resolutions the next year.  For me, the new year has a special fragrance .. just like the fragrance of a newly bought book when you open it and put your face inside the book and take a deep breath. It fills me with joyful feelings.  I wish all my readers a very joyful, fruitful and constructive new 2014 !

As the new year sets in , the hope of getting a good Pay hike is there in  everybody's heart.  People who see the glass as half full think that the hike will be good and the folks for who the glass is always half empty pout their lips and think "Hah ! The manager is God !  All my good work will be overlooked and small gaps in my performance will be highlighted ... ". 

But are all of us really prepared for the appraisal discussion and the salary negotiations ? Every year, after the discussion, don't we wish that we had asked for a wee bit more ? The following are 6 tips about how to negotiate pay raises.

Negotiation is all about making a joint decision when the parties involved have different preferences.

  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare :  Do you have enough data and information about how much people at a similar role make, both inside and outside your organization ? Do you know the perks, incentives, bonus ? Get real information and data to substantiate your arguments.

  • Communicate your worth :  Most of the organizations have forms where the goals are listed and periodically the accomplishments by the employee is documented there. First identify and then communicate your value to the organization. Give concrete proof of how you have saved or made money for the organization or created value in terms of quality, branding etc. Foe this, you have to be very clear about your own strengths and value addition to your employer.

  • Advocate and Ask : In salary negotiations , the golden rule is "Don't Ask, Don't Get" .  many people, including me, make the mistake of thinking that "My work will talk ... why should I ?". But this is a great folly.  We are our best advocates.  But remember,  do not hurry and bring up the topic of salary hike. Let your supervisor bring it up. 

  • Stay focused on the Goal : It is very important to understand what your goal is.  Are you looking at immediate satisfaction or are you positioning yourself for future satisfaction ? Be clear in your mind while you negotiate.

  • Get into your employers shoes : Ask yourself .. Are you being reasonable and fair ? Do you think your boss will be able to explain your hike to his boss ? 

  • Brace yourself for bad news :  Do not over react. In case you do not get what you want, be willing to consider a change of job . Do not create a scene and "quit on the spot". 

Remember, that effective negotiation occurs when issues of substance are resolved and human relationships are maintained, if not improved ,  in the process.   

And yes, managers must be aware of ethical conduct during negotiations. 

So, all the best and go ahead and get the raise that you want !

Again, a  Very Happy New 2014 !

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sonya ,George and Alligators

This is a famous story named Alligator River Story, which I use in my classes on perception , attribution and learning.

Once upon a time there was a woman named Sonya who was in love with a man named George. George lived on the shore of a river. Sonya lived on the opposite shore of the river. The river that separated the two lovers was teeming with man-eating alligators.  Sonya wanted to cross the river to be with George. Unfortunately, the bridge had been washed away by a heavy storm the previous evening

So she went to ask Sindbad, a riverboat captain, to take her across. He said he would be glad to if she would consent to go to bed with him before he takes her across. She promptly refused and went to a friend named Ivanhoe to explain her plight. Ivanhoe did not want to be involved at all in the situation. 

Sonya felt her only alternative was to accept Sindbad's terms. Sindbad fulfilled his promise to Sonya and delivered her into the arms of George. When she told George  about her amorous escapade in order to cross the river, George cast her aside with disdain. Heartsick and dejected, Sonya turned to Slug with her tale of woe. Slug, feeling compassion for Sonya, sought out George and beat him brutally. Sonya l was happy to see George  getting his due. As the sun sets on the horizon, we still hear Sonya  laughing at George. 

Rank the characters (  1 is the best and 5 is the worst) - Sonya, George, Sindbad, Ivanhoe and Slug in terms of their behavior and level of responsibility and their values and beliefs.