Category Archives: avoiding

One step at a time – How to be Happy Part 1

We are surrounded by people. People we perceive as friends. There are varying categories of this, however at one level or another our friends include our buddies from childhood, partners in crime from the college days and so on …

One significant “friend” category includes our colleagues that we spend a major amount of time every day with at work. One cannot simply discount this category.Good_Bad

As with all relations in life, a key to being happy is to remove selfish friends from your circle as soon as possible.

Now, I am no one to lecture you. Your call… If you love torture – please retain all your selfish friends…Why not even go out now and make a few new ones 😉 – To everyone his/her own poison 🙂

Here are a few signs to identify “friends” to let go of :

  1.  They believe they deserve special treatment.
  2. You are not a priority for them.
  3. They make shady plans or cancel with you for no real reason.
  4. You never met his/her friends!
  5. He/She is not able to sustain long term friends and is usually making new friends as they don’t really know him/her.
  6. They act like polite / cordial people.
  7. They try to confuse you – as if their failing is YOUR fault !
  8. They don’t care enough to stay in touch with YOU – even thou they can with their NEW “Friends” 😉
  9. They are not willing to change for you at all.

Life is all about learning and applying. No one can survive without changing and even less so without a few true friends.

My parting words – Take care of your true friends before they start to feel you are taking them for granted and immediately get rid of the selfish ones around you.

Result : You will be happier and probably live longer 🙂

Part 2 coming next week !





Baa Adab Ba Mulahiza Hoshiyar ….

Zilay Subhani … Sirajudaula … Sultan E Hindustan … Sultan E Azam …

Baadshah E Hind … Sahib e Zaman….Jalal Ud Din Muhammad Akbar …

Jalwa feroz Ho Rahay Hain !!!

In the midst of the glory and intimidating architecture of the Mughal Empire lays a dirty little secret lost to reality and time to be more famously known as a work a “fiction”. The Emperor enters the darbar only to be presented with a criminal …. Anarkali.

Her crime …. Theft. Well as they say Theft is theft may it be big or small and in this case it was huge. She had inadvertently stole the heart of the Crown Prince Jahnagir. Oh My God. What every will become of her 🙁

One can always see the Indian movie Mughal E Azam to get an idea of what happened … or allegedly happened.

History as we know is only a perspective of the one who writes it. When the memory of Anarkali was fresh …it was Akbarnama and of course he did not mention anything of her. Later when Jahangir become emperor and his reign produced Tazkir E Janagiri … I believe the memory of a love affair long ago was forgotten or replaced by new and more approachable one(s)…so we do not find anything there of her either. All we have is the tomb of Anarkali. I don’t wish to elaborate on that.

What is my point… well I imagine or wish to imagine what was going on in Anarkali’s mind when she was standing against the wall being “built” in to it brick by brick, line by line by the Royal mason while Akbar and his courtiers looked on.

What was going on in her mind??

I sense that every brick she saw being added was a reminder to her of the hopelessness of her adventure. Every inch that the wall grew closer to trap her inside she felt she had nothing and she had sacrificed everything for Nothing. Then she may have been thinking of the good times with the prince. Remembering the promises made by him and now the hollowness of those promises. She must have felt like being reborn and starting life again.
She may even have thought about how Jahangir could have tackled the situation where the result was not her gruesome death. He could have talked to his father he could have kept the affair in wraps like one of the wazirs she knew of.

No, he had to go and confront the King..his father and evoke all wrath that comes with standing against the king no matter waht the topic.

There she stood being trapped and at one point her tears stopped. She could see that she had nothing and that is where her hopelessness was coming from and the one she blammed well he had everything and now without her he had nothing and that is where his dejection was coming from . He was not to blame.

It was fate and this is how their love was to be immortalized — she smiled.

She smiled because now she no longer feared death. She KNEW now that it is from this moment on that she will actually begin to live.

This is how I think she felt. She may have been just standing there drugged and unconscious…I don’t know but I think she was strong and she was fearless and this scared the life out of Akbar.

Coming back to the moment, I am sure if she had a mobile she would have liked to slip one with her secretly and called Jahangir after being trapped to let her loose ..or … I imagine her sending a selfie to Jahangir from inside the walls 😉

We do many things in our own frame of reference and we live our entire lives within that frame of reference. Absolute in our mind and yet always fluid and dynamic.

While making decisions in life I feel it important to not have too many absolutes as they will sub-consciously and perhaps in a pre-determined manner reject the many choices that might exist in any situation showing only one?

Next time I would like to talk about …. Till next time 😉

Office Show Down

Now that I am working for the 7th company in my professional experience spread over a dozen years and multiple countries and a few continents I feel that I have finally (rather obvious) concluded that office politics is not a local or regional phenomenon. It is a universal reality. 

The sooner we acknowledge its existence, the better prepared we will be to handle and cope with it. Mostly I feel it’s about how WE react to such situation and less about accepting it. 
But as the saying goes, acceptance is half the battle won.
First, always remember that amongst all the variables that you cannot control … there is one very important factor that you can control. That factor is YOUR RESPONSE to any situation. How you choose to react decides the tangent the situation will take. Always evaluate and respond in a manner that is above petty personal differences and ultimately good for the business.
Second, Always remember that if your reaction supports the bottom line then sooner or later your boss and management will see it. This is a good thing J
Third, instead of being upset about the things you cannot change its better to be happy about the things you can change. Very often we are too busy feeling victimized by some policy that we cannot change to notice the positive influence we can bring within our own area of influence.
Fourth, Its always better not to take sides. Being opinionated is one thing however taking sides is another. Learn better and effective conflict resolution techniques in order to resolves positively the disagreements.
Fifth, Always remember to understand before your seek to be understood. This helps in creating a deeper understanding of the others point of view and also creates a better possibility of a Win-Win situation.
Last, Never …Never get personal. It is an office and you will come across many people from different places and different insight and opinions and objectives. You must remain focused on the company objectives and stay aloof from making it personal.
Have a nice weekend!

Managing difficult people at work

Difficult people present no problem if 

  • we pass or meet them 
  • on the street
  • in the supermarket 
  • in a building lobby
  • in the parking , etc

Nevertheless, when we have to work with them difficult people can become major irritants.

It seems that some people are just born to be difficult. We have all worked with them and most of us dislike them. Difficult people are easy to recognize–they show up late, leave early, don’t turn their work in on time and have an excuse for every failing – bottom line, its never their fault…. Hmm..heard that somewhere?

Wait, there’s more. These difficult people harass you and others, ask too many self-explanatory questions, neglect details, distract you and repeatedly challenge you and others for no other reason than to “appear” important. Even worse, when they interact with customers, vendors and people lower than them in the corporate hierarchy, they can be grouchy, impolite, condescending, uninformed, misleading, inappropriate or simply wrong. — Do you know anyone like this?

Naturally, no one wants to work with difficult people. When dealing with problematic employees, productivity decreases, frustrations rise, morale goes down and customers and vendors get upset.

Now, lets see how we can handle such people:

But I try my best

1. Don’t ignore the problem. Assuming that the employee provides value to the company and possesses redeeming qualities, there are ways to deal with difficult employees. Most often, managers will simply ignore problematic staffers. Managers who live by this rule hope the problem will just go away; that these people will somehow turn themselves around or stop being troublesome. Ignoring the situation is the wrong solution to what could likely become a progressive problem.

2. Intervene as soon as possible. It is important to take action as soon as the negative behavior pattern becomes evident–when left untouched, this problem will only escalate.

Occasionally, the difficult employee has no idea that his behavior is a problem or that others react negatively to his actions. This is because most people tend to put up with the annoying behavior and “go along to get along.” At the same time, some employees just consider it a “job frustration.” Just like some managers, employees want to be liked by colleagues and subordinates and are therefore reluctant to speak up when a problem arises.

Ultimately, it is the manager’s responsibility to take the appropriate action to correct the problem. Whether the concern exists due to the employee’s lack of knowledge of the issue, lack of feedback or projecting the difficulty onto someone else, the manager has the responsibility of addressing and turning around the predicament. The manager needs to gather information from employees to discern the extent of the problem and personally observe the employee interacting with customers or vendors.

3. Research the problem personally. Armed with accurate data and examples, the manager needs to then take this person into a conference room or office–away from others–and calmly address the issue. To begin, the manager needs to ask the employee if he is aware of any ongoing issues to determine if the difficult person is aware of the problems.

If the employee is “unaware,” the manager needs to describe the unacceptable behavior. The employee might interrupt to disagree or deny the existence of any issues. Nevertheless, the manager needs to continue by giving clear examples of the unwanted behavior.

The manager also needs to allow the employee to respond to the allegations. If the difficult employee refuses to believe that the allegations exist despite the evidence, the most the manager can hope for is an intellectual acceptance of the possibility that a problem exists.

4. Help the problematic employee to get back on track. Once the employee begins to understand that these negative behaviors are real and experienced by others in the organization, the manager or someone from human resources should begin to coach the difficult employee in displaying more acceptable and appropriate behaviors. The employee needs time and practice in “trying on” new, more suitable behaviors. HR and/or the manager need to provide specific feedback to this employee on the success or failure of his efforts in minimizing the negative actions and implementing ones that are more positive.

5. If all else fails, termination may be necessary. If the employee continues to deny his inappropriate behavior and refuses to try to improve the situation, the manager needs to place this person on the fast track towards termination. Often this involves recording a series of well-documented verbal and then written feedback about the behavior. Strictly following company protocol, there should be a period for the employee to address the questionable behavior. If this trial period does not result in improved behavior, then the employee needs to be terminated.

Most employees will recognize the negative behavior and will at least attempt to turn it around. This is especially true during tough economic times when unemployment is high and finding a new job is difficult. In any case, the manager needs to follow company guidelines in recognizing the unacceptable behavior, providing direct feedback, providing input to try to turn it around and ultimately taking action in a timely manner.

Not doing so is a disservice to the problematic employee, other employees and the success of the organization.


Reflection is not something we tend to do very often. Mostly time is just not enough. We wish the day had 30 hours, and years had 500 days and with all this we would still age at half the rate that we do now…Probably add lesser pull of gravity to that list J
Do this for me… try it… just relax in your chair. Forget everything and resist the existence of everything around you. Now think about what you wanted to be when you were 3 years old. Work your way up on a approximately 5 year increment basic. This is what my reflection was:

What I wanted to be
My Papa
Software Engineer
HR Professional
My Papa

I have come full circle… What about you?
Life is full of surprises. My father comes factory built with faults, and that is what makes him perfect.  I too have my own unique set of faults. I am not perfect. It is really lovely and kind of my wife to think and say that I am a perfect Husband and a great father. But when I reflect on myself I see many improvement areas.
My father is the best example of a father to me. A friend, father, disciplinarian, ideal, angry young man and self less. I wish that if I were to be half a father to my daughter, I “may” be close to father.  Life is funny. You only get one change, unlike the computer games. Wonder what it would be like if there was a cheat code in life. My life revolves around my wife, my daughter and ofcourse my parents.
How I wish to be a baby again in the laps of my parents ( thou I wouldn’t remember anything ) J
Today when I hold my daughter, I feel the strongest sense of satisfaction and a spark of love that I have never felt in my life. A much stronger bond exists between my baby and her mother(my wife) ….now I know the meaning of “The cure to the worst of ailments lies in a mothers hug”.
My reflection made me call my dad and tell him that I love him and no matter how far physically I am from him….He is always a part of me and in my thoughts.
Would appreciate if you share your reflections.

Re-engineering and TQM

Re-engineering and TQM: Approaches to Organizational Change told as a
“Tale of Three Villages” By: David Chaudron, PhD


The chiefs of three villages each set out to build a bridge across a wide chasm. If they could build this bridge, the trade that came would enrich the lives of villagers for generations to come. The first chief told his workers, “Go forth and work. Do whatever is necessary to build that bridge.” The villagers established a frenzied pace, for this chief abused those workers who did not follow his commands. The first chief boasted to the other two leaders about the speed of his construction. Unfortunately, because no one coordinated these worker’s efforts, the bridge was a haphazard collection of nails and boards. It soon collapsed.

The second chief was watching this mess and decided to learn from the first chief’s mistakes. She organized her workers into teams, and gave them a plan to build a bridge. At first, these workers had success, and built the bridge straight as an arrow far over the chasm. She boasted to the two other chiefs about the accomplishments of her workers. Unfortunately, the the next major storm destroyed the bridge for the chief did not know how to build structural supports. Her workers became discouraged and abandoned their efforts.

The third chief was watching their efforts and decided to learn from the other chiefs’ mistakes. He sent his workers to the other villages to learn what they had done, and what they hadn’t done. His workers then developed a plan. In their first step, they did not build the bridge at all, but focused on creating the support columns they would need. When they completed this task, they rapidly finished the bridge.

Many organizations are like the first village in implementing Total Quality Management (TQM). They start with vague directives with little clarity on what to do. Their successes are sporadic and likely to fail. Other organizations are like the second village, and become victims of their own success. Their initial quality improvement teams may be so successful they rapidly create more teams, without the qualitative organization-wide changes necessary to sustain a permanent effort. Some of these changes are obvious, in that companies must facilitate, recognize and encourage these teams. However, other qualitative changes (described below) also may be necessary. If these changes are not made, the TQM movement risks running into the same troubles that enfeebled the quality circles of the 1970’s and 80’s. (See “Quality Circles after the Fad” by Edward Lawler III in the Harvard Business Review, January-February 1985, and several recent articles in the Wall Street Journal).

Incremental Approaches
The first two villages used “incremental” approaches to TQM: They deal with technical problems the organization faces one at a time, without reviewing or changing any underlying “systems” issues, such as performance appraisal, profit sharing vs individual compensation, and organizational structure. Incremental approaches work best when senior management is unwilling to deal with these systems issues, when lower-level employees wish to experiment with TQM without senior management support, or when many in management are ambivalent towards TQM. Organizations can use approaches in “stealth” mode, where several quality improvement teams are quietly working without senior management’s acknowledgement. These approaches are good for picking “low-lying fruit”, (solving easy problems.) Incremental approaches can easily collapse when TQM “champions” leave the organization.

Incremental Change: variation one
Option one is one of the most frequently used models in implementing TQM, and perhaps the most wasteful of time and effort. Using this approach, every one in the company or a designated unit receives massive training (40-100 hours) in TQM, Statistical Process Control (SPC) and meeting management. After this training, employees in many are on their own.

In addition, because management does not tie training to implementation, natural work groups (people directly reporting to the same person), and cross-functional teams end up with only some of their members trained. Many people wait months before they used the training they were given.

The net result of this option is the loss of employee time due to too much training being given, employees feeling confused about the company’s direction, and frustration at not using the training they received. Whatever success these teams are limited by the structural barriers the company has, that is compensation, organizational structure, performance appraisal, etc.

Incremental Change: variation two
Option two emphasizes 1) defining the company’s goals and objectives, 2) selecting quality improvement projects tied to those goals, 3) training only the members of the process improvement team with just enough training, just before they use it, and 4) providing on-going support of each team’s efforts.

The result of using option two is a more sharply defined effort than in option 1, with a much greater chance that the quality improvement team’s efforts will directly relate to the company’s quality goals, and a greater sense of accomplishment among team members.

As with option one, these teams’ successes will be limited by the structural barriers the company has, i.e., compensation, organizational structure, performance appraisal, etc.

The Structural (Re-engineering) Approach
The structural approach to implementing TQM deals initially and directly with the systems barriers described above. Other names for this approach include organizational design and the “socio-technical” approach. Using this approach, senior management forms a steering committee, who then designate a design team made of a diagonal slice of the company. This design team then assesses the company’s culture, systems and environment, and develops recommendations for the steering committee. Such recommendations can include self-directed work teams, profit-based pay, pay for knowledge, and reorganizing the company away from the “functional stovepipes” of manufacturing, engineering, sales and service, towards a more product, customer or geographically based orientation.

The chief advantages to this approach are 1) dealing with major issues up-front, rather than avoiding them, 2) changing aspects of the company that will have a substantial effect on productivity, and 3) demonstrating that management is serious about quality.

Disadvantages include the need to be open and honest with employees from the beginning (if that is a disadvantage), and dealing head-on with issues that many in management may have trouble changing: their own management style, their own pay, and their own power.