Sunday, December 21, 2008

Leadership at the helm and within

These days I was going through a lot of blogs by high profile professionals from various business segments. I came across this article by Greg Wittstock, in which he describes how a certain place, South Bend in Indiana, US went ahead in restoring its city's overburdened and ailing sewage and storm water system back to full functionality. One has to read the article to appreciate the method embraced by the residents.

An excerpt from the original article

Current estimates for the town of 150,000 to do just that come in at a whopping $200,000,000! Do the math. That’s just over $1,300 for each and every resident currently living there!

The way the residents took to this challenge and made it possible is very reminiscent of how Andhra Pradesh of India followed the same principle to improve living conditions and self sustainment.

That article was written in March 2008 and if I am not wrong, Andhra Pradesh used this method under the stewardship of the then State Chief Minister Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu, some 7 or 8 years ago. If my memory is not wrong the program was called Janmabhoomi program.

We always talk about how far ahead the West think and how we need to imbibe their trends to improve our standard of living and try reach their economic growth rate. But here, we find our Government, though State, beat them (the West) on executing a trend of self development by a margin of at least 7 years.

We had and have leaders who think ahead of times to make our society a better place to live in but we tend not to give a long standing helping hand to those who have long term visions and work towards achieving them. We don’t have that patience to see a slow growth. We want overnight success. We need quick results with least strain on our physical, psychological and financial abilities and look to the Government and Politicians to achieve them. Is it because we don’t have that strong desire and never diminishing focus to excel ignited for longer periods?

Hopefully, we have grown wiser by the year with changes in attitude and political intelligence to choose and elect the right leaders who can take the society in the right direction and develop a robust economy. State and Central elections are just round the corner. What best time would one get to prove their contribution to the country’s cause?

Corporate Culture reflected in married lives

This is a story of a Mr. X after 8 years of experience in his field

I am earning Rs 45K per month with my present organization. And my appraisal is due in 2 months time. I am anticipating a 20% raise. That should make it 54K per month. Hopefully, I can live the life I dream of with that hike. With the present salary I am struggling a little to meet ends the way I want. Things could be rosier with the hike in income.

Two months later.

Company decided to give him a 5% hike. It could be because of his not performing to the company expectations or the company revenue for that fiscal could only squeeze that rate keeping all the appraisals of employees in perspective. So he had to settle for a little above 47K per month till next appraisal. He was highly dissatisfied with the outcome.

His immediate reaction was to look for positive transition in his career. He started to look for openings in other companies where he could quote his satisfactory per month salary. Two months from his appraisal day he moved to another company that accepted to pay him 55K per month. He is very happy with his life after his income reached or even exceeded his requirement.

Sixteen months later.

I am earning close to Rs 58K per month with my present organization. And my appraisal is due in 2 months time. I am anticipating a 15% raise. That should make it around 67K per month. Hopefully, I can live the life I dream of with that hike. With the present salary I am struggling a little to meet ends the way I want. Things could be rosier with the hike in income.

Two months later.

Company once again decided to give him a 5% hike. Once again, it could be because of his not performing to the company expectations or the company revenue for that fiscal could only squeeze that rate keeping all the appraisals of employees in perspective. So once again he had to settle for a close 61K per month till next appraisal. And once again he was highly dissatisfied with the outcome.

Again, his immediate reaction was to look for positive transition in his career. He started to look for openings in other companies where he could quote his satisfactory per month salary. Two months from his appraisal day he moved to another company that accepted to pay him 70K per month. He is very happy with his life after his income reached or even exceeded his requirement.

And the same trend continued till he retired at the age of 58. The summary of his professional life is experience of 33 years in his field with 14 different organizations.

This approach of instant gratification, career growth and living in a comfort zone has become so innate that man has started looking for the same in all his endeavors. Even marriages are feeling the strains with this approach, I guess. The moment one of the partners find it hard to continue the relation, a hindrance to his/her career growth, one too many differences in opinions, they are not shying away from filing for a divorce and moving ahead in life with another partner.

Once we look into the statistics of number of divorce cases filed in the past ten years, we find it hard to digest. The rise in the number of divorces is staggering in the past 5 years and these days partners have started taking extreme measures, that of killing their spouse. I am not sure of how much the corporate culture has influenced this trend but the statistics do hint at this idea as the growth in the corporate and filing for divorce cultures do run very parallel.

I leave the number crunching to the hard workers who can gather the right statistics from the concerned departments for more authenticity leaving me with my thought process.

P.S: This is a supposition and is India-centric.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Money: Education Vs Job

When you are learning many subjects in school you pay lesser fees and as you start learning fewer subjects (specialization) as you move into colleges and universities your fee structure increases.

As you keep narrowing down your academic specialization you keep paying more to institutes providing courses till you reach a certain level of academic proficiency.

The more the specialization the more you pay in education and get paid in jobs. Right!!!

But when you join a company and turn a new leaf in life as a job-goer the situation gets reversed…

In view of the quantum of work involved, when you put lot of things into practice (multi-tasking) in corporates you are paid higher salaries and when the work profile is narrow with fewer tasks your salary is bound to dip.

The day you join a job, you are given narrowed work for which you will be paid some salary. When you start climbing the ladder of hierarchy you are needed to handle multiple tasks for which pay packages are higher.

Isn’t this an interesting paradox?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Media strips itself

I was blog-hopping when I came upon an article by Ram Gopal Varma. The post, named “The accusation…” was an interesting one and going further into the comments section was where I got intrigued. RGV, as he is known, was only describing his recent visit to TAJ Hotel in Mumbai during the aftermath of the terrorists attack. “How his visit stirred so much interest in the media and the various speculations from them and actually why he went there?” was what he focused on in that article.

The post inspired me to read few other posts of his. This made me peep into his personal way of description of things. Though the posts are a little on the ruffian side as far as language usage is concerned, it was straight from heart, it seemed. The elements of a typical story teller are also there. The accounts are lengthy, exhaustively covered and captivating.

Coming back to my original point, it seems as though media glare is far too hot on this guy. They seem to have set an eagle eye on this one guy waiting for him to give them one opportunity when they can dig his grave in black and white. May be, RGV’s ways are like that – attracting constant criticism. Whatever characters he portrays on celluloid, though, pure fictitious and need to be kept at that, few seem to relate them to real life characters and tend to take them personally.

The one that caught my eye was his previous post, where he has shared his next venture on “Media-men” and the reactions that he received for that article. This seemed to have angered a section of the fourth estate and that emotion was vented on his recent venturing into the TAJ Hotel and in the comments for his next article.

A couple of excerpts by somebody named “media”:
ramu,
words of wisdom for you. Basically power game rules everything. Only try to attack something which is weaker than you. The strength of the platform of media plus the stupidity of those watching it is well above your reach.
ramu,
those who take sword perish by it. You used some reddy to do film with nag. We used you to get rid of cm. In your films you use resemblance to real life incidents so that movie goers will speculate and watch like sarkar and thackrey. We did nothing more.

I was shocked to see what the undercurrent of those comments conveyed. RGV, as a movie director, definitely has a moral and social responsibility towards the large segment of people whom he can reach through his larger than life canvas. But he is not bound by any. He is his own master and ends are of no consequence to him as far as social justification is concerned. But Media???

They are the backbone to any country and reflect society’s social and cultural attitudes. They are bound to citizens both morally and socially at least by a marginal degree. If these comments show anything, its vengeance, taking society for granted, placing self ahead of anything else and nothing more. What is the media coming to and where it is driving us all and for what? My imagination is taking me into the darkest of waters as answers.

I just hope I am absolutely wrong in my reading.