Life ReCharge lessons from two dwarfs

Being a dwarf can be a curse.
What else can one feel when one encounters a bitter reality that one is physically less than almost everyone else; where one is consigned to a lifelong existence of limitations.

Life can become a burden. And one can resign to a hopeless future till death brings an end to this painful life.

But not these two gentlemen. I met Ninad Haldankar and Shivaji Ingle who performed at an orchestra recently. God made them dwarfs. But they did not let the limitations of their physical size enter their psyche.  They danced. They played clowns. They laughed. They made people laugh.

They ignored their own imperfect lives and tried to fill the lives of the audience with some happy moments.

They did not cry at the lemon thrown at them by life. They made lemonade out of it. And they laughed and clapped and enjoyed and brought joy to others.

Their small physique taught me some big lessons about life and living.

They were the real giants trapped in those small frames.

If we come to terms with our reality and accept it as it is, a lot of possibilities open up.

The level of our happiness or success need not be limited by the size of our body or our imperfections.

Thank you, Ninad and Shivaji for being real heroes. People like you make this world a better place. People like you make this imperfect world perfect. I salute your fighting spirit.

From Bollywood stars to us, everyone wants to belong someplace else

I saw Aishwarya Rai speaking about her comeback films in completely fake accent with convoluted pronunciations on CNBC TV18. Her desperate attempts to “prove” her class through her “polished” language was obvious. A lot of Bollywood divas and hunks indulge into faking this contrived personality facade.

Here the channel was English, but I have always found it amusing watching Bollywood actors speaking English on Hindi TV interactions or in award functions. They somehow manage to fake accent, but their shallow vocabulary gets exposed when they have to explain their thoughts with “You know” and “I mean” after every few words, obviously because of loss of words.

I don’t understand why can’t they speak in Hindi on Hindi channels when they have to struggle hard to get it right in English? Is it their desire to belong to some higher class?

When a newcomer is trying to enter filmdom, he/she wants to anyhow belong to the Bollywood fraternity, which is a motley group of all types of artists. By hook or by crook, they want to belong to Bollywood, at any level.

And then, once they are in, they wish to upgrade their class, they seek distinction and aspire to belong to the “higher” class of actors who are fluent in English. They want to rise above the ordinary and want to belong to a higher class. They wish to appear “different” from those Desi actors who can’t even speak English.

Junior actors or veterans, stars or wannabes, all want to belong somewhere.

So do we all.

We all crave to belong somewhere. There where we are not.
This is one proof of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And that is where a huge untapped market lies.

“I mean. You know?”

Why ESOPs must be doled out very carefully?

In the very initial days at any start-up, when the funds are in short supply and challenges are too many, the new entrepreneurs may generously dole out partnerships just like Ranbir Kapoor in the Bollywood film Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year. In the film, he makes the peon, the receptionist and the technician equal partners of his new venture.

The film does not portray the post-sellout disputes which arise in many start-ups due to unclear ownership terms in the beginning. Sometimes, such disputes get ugly and spread in the public media. The ESOP dispute after the famous sell out of, founded by (Phanindra Sama and friends) to is one such recent example. Phanindra Sama had to face a lot of public embarrassment about ESOPs given to some employees, even after not doing anything wrong apparently. It is unfortunate but true.

Start-ups are generally started by people with similar passion and vision but with complementary skills. Gradually, some more people come on board. These people vary in terms of skills and risk appetite. Many of them come with an expectation of a stable, regular paying job. They don’t wish to risk their security for a potentially high risk ownership proposition because they are not sure of the future of the company’s prospects. It is a personal choice which people make based on their own life stage and priorities. So, they consider the offer of ESOPs as an additional bonus which may or may not materialize because of their own uncertainty about continuing with the company or because of the company folding prematurely.

But, as soon as the company gets listed or sold and ESOPs become saleable, greed takes over. Now everybody wants the share. Ironically, if the founder would have lost money, none of them would have wanted to chip in to share a part of the loss.

So, while deciding about ESOP, one should be very clear and objective without getting emotional. ESOPs should not be given to all and sundry who don’t believe in the company or who don’t share the passion that drives the founders. Hiring some people purely on payroll may be expensive in the short run, but it should be considered in the long run if we believe in our own venture’s value generation potential. One should consider this as some more risk in addition to the risk already factored in.

Entrepreneurs must remember that everybody wants to own the success but failure is an orphan. Nobody wants to own it. We should be selective in choosing our drivers and peons who will suddenly develop aspirations to be millionaires without doing any extra bit for the company. During the regular days, they may have thrown all the tantrums and may have tried to avoid work as much as possible, but when the D-day comes, when the promoters decide to sell out, they suddenly woke up to the realization that “WE founded and nurtured this company with OUR blood and sweat.”

Sensibility should override sensitivity. Ensure that you don’t have to pass through the miserable and humiliating situation like Phanindra Sama had to for no fault of yours. Don’t give ESOPs people who don’t deserve it. Let commitment and merit get rewarded.

Here is why businesses can’t retain good employees

“I keep my staff working late because my home is nearby. They think I am a dragon.”

An advertisement screams echoing desires of a section of entrepreneurs. But think over. Who would love to work for a dragon?

A lot of entrepreneurs take great pride in the fact that they are “successful” in making their employees toil for unusually long hours. In other words, they measure the success of their leadership by the extent of exploitation they are able to exert on their people.

This is a completely misplaced concept.

Imagine, who would like to work in such an organization where their efficiency, productivity and loyalty is measured by the number of hours they put in? Where they are treated more like a machine than a human being?

Only those people who don’t get employment elsewhere may agree to work at such an exploitative places. In other words, losers, who don’t have any choice would agree for such an exploitation. And losers can’t help you build strong organization.

This exploitative approach is one reason why small, unorganized firms don’t get good employees. It is a vicious cycle which needs to be broken.

Entrepreneurs must remember that quality of work is more important than quantity of hours.

Three Success Lessons From A Successful Indian CEO

At a recent speaking assignment at a company’s annual day, I got a chance to listen to the inspiring speech of Ghanshyam Dholakia, the managing director (MD) of the Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd.

Mr Dholakia shared an advice with his employees to succeed in life. “To succeed in any job, profession, business or in life, you need to ask yourself the following three questions,” he said.

1) Do you do your job without being reminded?

If you need reminders and follow-ups to complete a task, you will find it difficult to achieve something really worthwhile in your life. Taking responsibility of a task is a characteristic of dependable people. If you need reminders to do something, you reduce the speed of the team of which you are part of. A team or an organisation can grow only if all the members take up their share of responsibilities, and perform the tasks on their own.

Being able to complete tasks on your own requires constant self-motivation. And this self-motivation is an asset, which can take you ahead of the others in life.

2) Do you do exactly what you said you will do?

Successful people keep their word. They do whatever they said they will do. They don’t cut corners. They always deliver satisfactory performance. On the contrary, losers speak more, and do less. They make a lot of promises, but don’t keep them. Their performance is less than satisfactory.

If you cut corners, if you always leave a task before its completion, if you over-promise and under-deliver, you are reducing your chances of success. Talking is easy. Doing is difficult. But, it is action alone which will produce results and that only will determine your trajectory.

3) Do you do it when you said you will do it?

Your relationship with keeping your time reveals a lot about you. When someone meets you for the first time, they believe your words completely. They presume you will do all that you said you will do. This belief remains till you perform your first task with them. If you fail to arrive on time or get late on your first promised action, the credibility of your words crashes down. Your punctuality about keeping your time will determine your dependability. People form opinions about you based on your performance on time front. If you are late in fulfilling your various commitments, your word starts losing its impact.

Your trait about punctuality starts when you arrive at your office everyday. For instance, if the time to reach your office is at 9 am with 15 minutes’ grace time, there will be three types of people in the company:

a) Those who always arrive at work before 9 am
b) Those who arrive after 9 but before 9:15 am
c) Those who always arrive late after 9:15 am

Everyday these later-comers give some or the other excuse for being late. These lame excuses are meaningless, except that those who fall under this category prove only one thing that they are not dependable. They can’t keep their word. These people will not get any responsible assignments, if there is alternative. Their chances of success will always remain limited. Also, it is not only at work that the credibility of these late-comers is weak. Such people fail miserably in keeping up to their commitments in all areas of life, at work, at home or in the society. Arriving late or not doing anything on time is their common trait.

So, ask the above three question to yourself. If answers to all these questions are ‘yes’, you are on the path to success. If not, you have some work to do.

This is a really useful and ‘workable’ advice from a man heading an organization of more than 8,000 motivated employees.

पानी की हो या दु:खों की, बारिश रुकती ही है |

मुंबइ में जब ज़ोरों की बारिश होती है, घंटों तक और कभी कभी कुछ दिनों तक जमकर बारिश होती है, तब ऐसा लगता है, कि यह बारिश रुकेगी ही नहीं |

लेकिन आखिर बारिश रुकती ही है | सूरज की रोशनी वापस आती ही है | दिन प्रकाश सभर हो जाता है | जीवन की चहल पहल फिर से शुरु हो जाती है | हम बारिश और उस से होनेवाली तकलिफें भूल जाते हैं |

जीवन में भी ऐसा ही होता है | जब दु:खों की, तकलिफों की बारिश होती है, जब समस्याएं हमें घेर लेतीं हैं, तब हमें लगता है, की अब इस का कोइ अंत नहीं होगा |

लेकिन उस वक्त यही याद रखना जरुरी है, की कोइ भी बारिश आखिर में रुकती ही है | चाहे वो पानी की हो या दु:खों की |

जीवन के आकाश में संभावनाओं का मेघधनुष्य हमारे जीवन को विभिन्न रंगों से भरने के लिए हमेशा मौजुद ही है |

हां मौसम बदलने में समय लगता है |
थोडा धैर्य रखें तो हर मौसम बदलता ही है |
चाहे कितना ही कठिन क्यों न हो…!