Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Many years ago I attended an interview
a corporate interview
three wise men on one side of the table
me on the other side of the table

They asked me a question
but were not listening to my answer
one stared in intimidation, the other looked bored
and the third emitted sheer indifference

in desperation I looked behind them
there was this blank wall
which gave no cues of encouragement
but atleast no discouragement-as from  the wise three men

so I looked at the wall neutral , and continued my answer
I could atleast  retain the flow of my speech
without intimidation without discouragement

why do we do this? I asked myself-
meeting candidates as if a favour to them
using interview not to know and understand their fit
but exhibiting  our own  importance
exhibit our knowledge as being more than theirs
 and generally belittle the hapless victim

Is it because in India
we have so many people ?
if not one then another one ?
'my whim',  influence or money determines selction
correct fit is just for the books!

Has anything changed over the years
methods, approach or styles of interview ?
Has awareness changed in the globalised era ?
Sadly  not much- hardly at all in manufacturing

There is  still the feeling
" giving my time for this is a favour"
 too much time
 waste of time!

The other day I organized- 
for  frequently interviewing , senior leaders
a training program on interviewing skills

but there were few takers...
many never turned up
even the ones who came
felt one day was too long-
half a day is the maximum time
that one can spare from a busy schedule

others were aghast and felt it a  blasphemy
to be told  they need training
for the  mere role of interviewing!
After all what was their experience ?
 What was their stature?

Oh when will corporate leaders realize
that recruiting is serious business
that  recruiting right is the key.....
an antidote to future heartburns

If only we cared for people
right from the beginning
we would have happy candidates at the interview stage
happy employees at a later stage
 contributing fully zestfully

 for they were selected  by diligent leaders
sincere and responsible leaders
carefully for their worth-  for their fit
they sit pretty and comfortable in their roles
they are not square pegs in round holes!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Till yesterday we were friends!

Yes, till yesterday we were friends
infact very good friends
we had joined together as engineering trainees
experienced the rumble & tumble together
of fitting in- graduating from the campus to corporate

first two years just flew away
so much to learn.. so much to share...
so much to learn together

our discussions helped in deciding
whom to trust,  whom to look up to
and whom to be weary of...

we shared intelectual notes and frivolous banter
books technical and fiction
we went for the movies together
thoroughly enjoyed each other's company

Was it him or was it me who first realized
the importance of getting ahead
and not just being an equal- even if equally learning & evolving

so suddenly there was this need
to impress the boss more- to be one up
be the earlier one to get promoted
and be ahead in the race

yes, this has its price
we miss some things
we dont talk like old times
we are guarded when with each other
take potshots at each other
at every opportunity

perhaps it is a small price to pay
for success & personal achievement
to be ahead of others- before everyone else

After all winning is every thing
individual glory is everything
says the American dream

 the western thought-the first world
reminds us again and again
that  winning and being a winner is paramount.

yet sometimes in a quiet moment
I wonder- why does this system , the corporate system
turn friends to adverseries?
Is it the only way
that we can get the best for the organisation?

Belbin said we can each give our unique self to the team
One can  shape, another impliment yet another finish
there are others who can  cordinate, teamwork or create ideas
one does not compete with the other
but compliments for a wonderful synergy

Our corporates sadly think otherwise
So I can never be one with my  friend again
after all it is through  this struggle that I can get ahead
And my company too can stay ahead !

Monday, 22 October 2012

Employee in Knots

On the way to the airport
the FM radio blared- a tamil song.....
"having caught a koel and put in a cage
you order it to sing
Having tied the legs of a peacock
you order it to dance......"

the lines caught my attention
so true, so true-was this song
written for the corporate situation ?
but how did the poet know the plight
of the corporate employee-the employee in knots.

when he joins he is all energy- excitement
chest jutting out- raring to go
within a few days- he is put in his place
immediate colleagues themselves are vary
don't want him to be 'too smart' & a threat

so give him half information- no job clarity
delay assigning the table chair
the system & other resources...
soon enough he caves in
 is cut down to size and  now
fits in to our way of life

Deadly mix of insecurity and Ego
play havoc with the lives of the average employee
he is tied up in knots-
one knot initiated by insecurity
the next one by the Ego
followed by insecurity
and then the Ego

Later, even those with fancy designations
are given subtle hints- that their power is limited
they need to follow rather than set the trend
subtle hints aplenty- not invited to this meeting
not invited to speak in that - polished rebuke to the one
who won't take the hint...
soon most fall in line- Man does live for bread
whatever the theorists might say
dignity and self respect sacrificed
at the alter of necessity

Having tied them in  knots
having removed the teeth of the tiger
you complain when it suits you
 that you have harmless cats without drive
when all the while you never wanted tigers
just cats that will do your bidding
purr when you want it to

yet how much more powerful
and wonderful it would be
if all of us were tigers
acknowledging and respecting each other
giving our best- pepped up with enthusiasm
working in unison  for the cause of our mother....
our organisation!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Corporate Meetings

I have to go to another meeting
yes,another periodic meeting
I dread it , he dreads it, we all dread it

yet ,like the charge of the light brigade...
Ours not to object, ours not to  reason why  
Ours but to do and die
into the valley of death
rode six hundred then, we a smaller number
do it every week, over and over again

But why do you protest so, you ask
at an opportunity to learn and share
to be a part of decision making

What decision making... There is more of fault finding there
I would be happy to come out of it unscathed -to live another day
until next time when I die, to live again

Often times,the one presiding couldn't care less
whether all get to speak-express their views
It is only a few who get to speak
others are diffident- they fear ridicule and blame

Sometimes,the one presiding can curtly cut to size
those speaking unconventionally or being 'too clever'
new comers speak in the beginning but become wise very soon
"speak only if you have to- it is safe and sure"

At other  times, with a  weak one presiding
It is a slanging match- a free for all
need to defend my department - at all costs
How dare he ...
find fault with me and my department?

But surely there is a better way-
Have meetings  with a purpose
attended by the relevant few
all speak for the purpose- nothing more nothing less
all speak for the whole and not for the  parts

Egos pocketed 
ideas   lovingly shared
as the  aim,  not to win
 but to understand and be  understood
and collectively decide
in the interest of your mother- your organization!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

                Salutations and Blessings

               As I embark on the new path
               I salute Lord Ganesh- epitome of wisdom
               the remover of obstacles

               I salute my Guru and inspiration
               Moid     Siddiqui
               author of an entire book in verse
              'intangibles'-born out of  courage & conviction
               giving insights into corporate world
               more than a decade ago

               with their blessings I know
               can travel safely & confidently
               even if the road appears hazy
               for the light from their lantern
               and good wishes from  your hearts
               dear HRDians
               show the way as I take each step .......