Archive | October, 2012

Never vs., Always &!

22 Oct

Organizations worldwide are always focused on and worried about Top line and Bottom line. If you’re wondering what those two lines are, here’s Wiki Answers’ simple explanation.

Top line is corporate net sales, that is, total revenue/income generated by a business.
Bottom line is the profit/loss number, after all expenditures/liabilities have been discounted from net sales.
Both of these terms come from the accounting document known as the income statement, or Profit/Loss account. Top line is the first line of that document, and bottom line is the last line in that document.
When companies talk about the need to increase their top line, they are talking about the need to focus on generating/increasing sales. Bottom Line efforts are usually aimed toward cost reduction to increase the margin and therefore increase the result.

A company’s focus on top line and bottom line naturally translates into focus on its customers and employees.

Since top line is always the priority – a natural corollary of public listing – companies tend to focus more on Growth. So, growing the business through existing and new customers becomes a higher priority. Hordes of new employees are taken onboard for growth.

During times of economic distress – which happens regularly these days – they tend to focus more on sustaining revenue from existing business. Retaining both customers and employees becomes critical for sustenance.

This is cyclical and goes on and on until a company goes kaput or is gobbled up by a big fish. And then the cycle starts all over again.

What if the way organizations perceive top and bottom lines and the way they approach both of them isn’t the right way?

Top line isn’t just about revenue. It’s enchanting your customers to acquire more services and products from you, willingly.

But enchanting customers is vastly different from merely servicing them. That requires highly energetic and motivated employees, who think opposite and act different.

Bottom line isn’t always about cost. It’s enticing your employees to create and deliver more value for you, joyfully.

A disinterested employee will result in a disenchanted customer. To avoid this disaster, companies should find a way to align employees’ energy to customers’ needs through organization’s vision.

Employees are the biggest investment for any organizationnot infrastructurethat’ll provide better returns from customers. Needless to mention, it’s a long term investment.

Enticement goes way beyond monetary benefits for employees. Increasing pay every year will not assure the best output.

Enchantment goes far beyond delivering services on time to customers. Doing the same things over years will not guarantee the best outcome.

Culture, Climate, Creating value and Celebrating outcomes are the 4Cs of Enchantment. And they’re relevant and critical for both employees and customers. It’s a simple many-to-many mapping that appears complex.

Ever heard of Yin vs. Yang? It is a known fact that Yin and Yang are two relative aspects of the same phenomena. Organizations can’t afford to focus on and grow one at the cost of other.

To use a cliché, if the organization is a coin, customers and employees are two sides of the same coin. They’ve to co-exist for the organization to be of any value.

Customers and Employees are like Ida and Pingala. They’re different but exist together for the purpose of nourishing organization’s Life. Life is Growth. Or Growth is Life. Either way, it is one and the same.

It is never about Customer vs. Employee, but always about Employees & Customers!

Living Life!

15 Oct

All Life forms, including humans, have one Life, in this lifetime.

There are 2 choices for any of us in this Life.

We can either Exist or Live.

Existence or going-with-the-flow is the easy way, chosen by many.

Living or treading-a-different-path is the hard way, chosen by few.

The few who choose to Live Life, become the chosen few.

Lord Krishna, Pathanjali, Samrat Ashoka, Gautama the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Raja Raja Chozhan, Leonardo DaVinci, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Ramana Maharishi, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Henry Ford, Mahatma Gandhi, Tenzing & Hillary, Albert Einstein, Swamy Vivekananda, Subrahmanya Bharathi, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking, Rukmini Devi, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, MS Subbulakshmi, Oscar Pistorius, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev… It is a long list of legends spanning centuries.

They will tread new paths and show the path for others. And they don’t mind scores following them.

They will break existing rules and make new ones. But they don’t know fear while doing so.

They will think and act differently. And they don’t think twice about being perceived as nonconforming.

They will be questioned and stonewalled at every turn. But they don’t worry about perceptions and focus on reality instead.

Mere existence is following a routine. Routine will rust the spirit, numb the enthusiasm and kill the desire to excel. And No We Can’t Live Life without breaking the routine!

Existence may be good. Anything Good will make you smile in acknowledgement of its goodness. That’s why most humans are happy to just exist. And go with the flow. Accept BAU. They look at life as clockwork.

Humans with their overrated 6th sense think Flora and Fauna just exist. And they’re wrong, like in many other cases, due to their limited, constrained thinking.

All non-human life forms know and play the Game of Life well. They Live Life the way it is. They don’t mess with nature’s way of Life. And their existence is useful for others – including humans who consume and destroy them. They know fully well the Absurdity of Existence!

But true living is Great. Anything Great should bring Joy Drops, whenever one experiences it.

Those who chose to Live, know when Life recycles Time, the Present becomes the Past in the Future!

So they bookmark the past, focus on the future and make things happen in the present.

They don’t bother about what others would think of them, as they know this Life is worth Living.

Life is a marvelous, vibrant, adventurous, memorable, enchanting and joyful journey. Life’s journey is the destination.

We can learn how to Live Life from other life forms in perfect harmony with Life and humans who chose to Live Life.

Life is an Endless Beginning, which is indeed beautiful, if we let it to be!

Life spans 3 stages. We can live Life one moment at a time; one hour at a time; one day at a time or one Life at a time.

One Life. It is far more worth than mere existence. Rev it. Live it.

Joy Drops!

3 Oct

Recently a colleague shared a few interesting tips on ‘How to Stay Happy Always’. One of them was “The tears happen. Endure, grieve. Then go on”. This got me thinking. Wondering rather!

Who says tears happen only due to grief? There are many instances in Life when tears well up in our eyes for reasons that have no relation whatsoever with grief. In fact, they are tears of Joy! So, what triggers them?

Great music. Try listening to Maharajapuram Santhanam’s ‘Bho Shambo’ song with closed eyes. Or the likes of TM Krishna, Sikkil Gurucharan, Bombay Jayashree & MS melting away into their music! Legends like Madurai (Mani Iyer), Kunnakkudi, Kadri & Seergazhi do the same effortlessly. Adele (Someone like you), Susan Boyle (I’ve a dream), Kenny G (Songbird), Yanni (Santorini), Elvis (In the Ghetto) and many such exceptionally talented and blessed musicians too will have the same effect on a keen listener. My recent ‘Aha’ ones were ‘Chakraview’ by flautist Pt. Rupak Kulkarni and ‘Ahir’ by Prem Joshua!

Darshan of a deity in the Garbagriha during Deepa Aradhana! When the priest slides aside the curtain in front of my family deity – Lord Muruga of Kumaramalai – after several minutes of alangaram (dressing up) and the Lord Child smiles at us with a slightly tilted head; When one finally gets the sight of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupathi after several hours of wait, a sight that lasts only for a few brief seconds but forever etched in one’s memory; When Goddess Meenakshi in Madurai is ceremonially taken to her Palli Arai (bed room) clad in a simple white saree sans jewelry (she’s an Empress, mind you) after the Artha Jaama (late night) Puja; During the Nadha Aradhana (offering of sound) at Dhyanalinga temple at Isha Yoga center. This experience will be amplified in temples such as the Kukke Subrahmanya or Dharmasthala or the many shrines that are naturally lit by only oil lamps!

Aha moments while reading a book, such as the first and second parts of the Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi that I’ve recently read. In ‘The Immortals of Meluha‘ (part 1), the first time when Lord Shiva’s Thaandavam (dance) is described in vivid detail, when his Neelkanth (blue neck) is recognized for the first time by Ayurvati (chief doctor) or when Lord Shiva recites the war cry ‘Har Har Mahadev’ (all of us are God of Gods). In ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ (part 2) when the identities of Lord Ganesh and mother Goddess Kali are unveiled (literally), when they were unconditionally accepted by both Lady Sati and Lord Shiva and when the sacred chant ‘Om Naham Shivay’ was chanted for the first time! Or when Subroto Bagchi’s blind mother tells him to ‘Go Kiss the World’ on her deathbed! You may read my reviews of all 3 books at GoodReads.com.

During those seminal scenes in movies with phenomenal performance by a star. When Jones Sr. calls Jr. “Indiana” for the first and last time in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’; Alfred tells Wayne “Never” in ‘The Dark Knight’;  Sully’s eyes open after the soul transfer at the last moment of Avatar; Vader looks longingly at Skywalker after throwing away Palpatine with his single remaining hand at the end of ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’; T-800 sacrificing himself by sinking into molten metal while looking at Sarah & John in ‘Terminator 2 – The Judgement Day’; Sakthivelu tells his followers ‘போதும்டா, போய் புள்ள குட்டிய படிக்க வைங்கடா’ (enough, please educate your children), to end the pointless bloodshed once and for all in ‘Devar Magan’!

ஈன்ற பொழுதிற்ப் பெரிதுவக்கும் (prouder than the time of birth) moment for a doting parent. Our recent one was when we came to know that Jr. has won the Bronze medal with his Indian team at the World Under-16 Youth Chess Olympiad at Istanbul, Turkey.

Listening to National anthem while representing the nation. Have you noticed how many Olympic athletes had moist eyes, while accepting their medals?

மாங்கல்யம் தந்துனானேன (groom tying mangalsutra in bride’s neck) moment. Most think it’s only for the parents, but many obviously know it isn’t only them.

First time of anything with a newborn – sight, wail, rollover, hail, grip, babble, move, step, fall, rise. And of course that utterly disarming smile that’ll melt any heart – even the ones made of kryptonite!

Brief moments of Deep spiritual experience during Meditation or while performing Kriya. It’s hard to explain, but experienced by many a meditator.

Being in the presence of Guru. my Master – Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev – is an accomplished master blaster, when it comes to blasting open the floodgates within any meditator. He will only laugh out loud when we ask why!

Rewinding our flash memory (pun intended) by fondly looking at a decade or more old photo or video or faded greeting card with a hand written message.

When one stands amidst pristine nature, marveling at its magnificence and the skill and care of its creator! I’ve felt it in many places including the mighty Smoky mountains, foothills of Velliangiri and in the wilderness along the North shore in Minnesota. Lord Shiva’s abode Kailash and Manasarovar, Valley of Flowers, land’s end at Dhanushkodi, the Grand Canyon, Alaskan wilderness, Angel falls, Galapagos, The Great Barrier Reef, Aurora Borealis, the North Pole  are all in the to go list – in this Life or another!

When that brilliant but economically challenged kid whose study we funded gets selected by a top institution for higher studies or by a company for job, based on merit!

When the pet dog jumps at us and eagerly licks our face at odd hours, on our return from a trip. All it expects in return for showering the unconditional love is a gentle rub or a tummy scratch. And it’ll have moist eyes too!

When one comes back alive and kicking from a Life threatening injury or disease. I’ve seen the suffering, prayers and hope well up in my parents’ eyes when I started walking again after two surgeries in my knee that kept me bedridden for several months and brought any chance of a sports career to an abrupt end, when I was in high school. I’m sure Yuvaraj’s mother would’ve felt the same way when he triumphed against cancer recently. Vikram’s wife would’ve been through the same when he rose again and became a colossus in his acting career.

When someone (usually a child) asks a profound question for which we don’t have an immediate answer! All the knowledge we thought we’ve gained through years of experience is of no value at that moment.

India’s World cup winning moment. And when the entire team carried one of the greatest living legends of the game on their shoulders around the stadium! Oh, what a relief for a billion people – Cricket fans or not – to know that it could be done again, after all! And how hard it would’ve been for the brave bunch that did the impossible the first time!

When hearing a simple ‘Thank you’ from a student attending a volunteer training session, reassuring you that the weekend spent volunteering is an investment, not an expense. Our great nation will reap the benefits, someday!

When a Leader gently lets the limelight shine on his team during great moments of triumph and recognition. MS Dhoni, a great contemporary sports leader, does it happily, time and again.

Such teary moments are ample in everyone’s Life and they are never about grief. They are about joy, pride, love, triumph, reverence, gratitude and bliss. There’s no shame in shedding them. For they lift the facade we all have to wear – even if only momentarily – and offer us a glimpse of the true nature of Life. One that has to be experienced, cherished and celebrated. They are Life’s Joy Drops B:)

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