Wednesday, January 16, 2008
“During the first outburst of communal madness, Pyne was down with malaria. When his fever had subsided, he remembers seeing the twilight sky blaze into a glowing red the way it did at sunset…”
“The Pynes fervently hoped that the insanity which had taken over their world would eventually die down and spare them from having to take the decision to evacuate their home, leaving it to the mercy of the marauding mobs. On 16 August, however, two constables yelled out to all and sundry from the mouth of the lane: ‘We cannot assume responsibility for those who choose to stay behind; we are prepared to escort the rest to safety.’”
“In response to that call, men, women and children came scurrying out of the houses along that lane. The Pynes were forced into the decision of leaving their home; only one of Ganesh’s uncles remained behind. The rest sought refuge in the compound of the Medical College. It turned out to be the right decision, made in the nick of time. For within the next two days, the entire area around Kaviraj Row would go up in flames…”
Shiladitya Sarkar in ‘Thirst of a Minstrel: The Life and Times of Ganesh Pyne’ (Rupa & Co)
“Once again it was not simply the superiority of Manchu arms that had carried the day. The cliques and factions, the intrigues and chicanery of the Ming court, especially the machinations of the eunuch cabal, made a coordinated policy impossible and emasculated the Ming defence. In the northern section of the Great Wall alone there were four viceroys, six governors, and eight generals-in-chief, all vying with each other for supremacy, and above them a eunuch commander-in-chief, who saw the purpose of his position solely in terms of personal advantage.”
Keith Laidler in ‘The Last Empress: The she-dragon of China’ (www.wiley.com)
“We believe that any type of regular communication tool ought be used as a primary source for word of mouth promotion. We think the way to achieve this desirable goal is by putting the customer on the inside of what is going on in the industry of the company producing the communications. Most of your customers never read your industry’s trade papers and business journals. But it is exactly this kind of insider information, once shared with a customer, that filters out to contacts of the customer and produces conversations that can lead to increased business for your company – at almost no cost.”
“For example, if printers are reading in their professional magazines about anticipated paper shortages – due to environmental limitations on tree cutting, a new demand for specific types of paper, a reappearing disease being found in the forests, or any one of a hundred other factors – they should make this kind of information prominent news in their own customer communications. We believe in such situations customers would be more understanding of subsequent price increases and better prepared to conduct their own business as a result of the new information…”
Godfrey Harris in ‘The Hottest Ideas in Word of Mouth Advertising’ (www.vivagroupindia.com)
“But if you have a good wine, a special occasion, friends who want to talk about the wine with you, or the boss for dinner, stemware (glasses with stems) is called for. And it’s not just a question of etiquette and status: Good wine tastes better out of good glasses. Really.”
“Compare wine glasses to stereo speakers. Any old speaker brings the music to your ears, just like any old glass brings the wine to your lips. But (assuming you care to notice it) can’t you appreciate the sound so much more, aesthetically and emotionally, from good speakers? The same principle holds true with wine and wine glasses. You can appreciate wine’s aroma and flavour complexities so much more out of fine wine glass. The medium is the message.”
Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan in ‘Wine for Dummies,’ third edition (www.wiley.com)
“When an individual experiences excessive anger, worry and the stress caused by hatred, his or her adrenalin level rises, blood pressure may increase, and a heavier load is placed on the heart and circulatory system. The risk of heart disease – especially heart attack – increases for those who live in attitudes of anger. These individuals experience twice the risk of heart disease as compared to everyone else.”
“In addition, when a person is upset, angry or fearful while eating, these negative emotions stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn causes decreased secretion of hydrochloric acid. This causes decreased secretion of pancreatic enzymes, which makes it harder to digest the food… This may lead to bloating, gas, heartburn, indigestion and other digestive problems.”
“The excessive stress caused by negative emotions is quite dangerous because it increases our cortisol levels, which then suppress the immune system. When the immune system is suppressed, cancerous cells can begin to form and grow. Hatred and jealousy are devastating emotions.”
Don Colbert in ‘What You Don’t Know may be Killing You!’ (www.magnamags.com)
“You, as a leader, must never tolerate obnoxious employees. The obnoxious employee prevents effective functioning of a team. Give them an opportunity – listen to them, and if they don’t improve, fire them!”
Pramod Batra in ‘Be a Winner Everytime’ (www.successcorners.com)
“Without a single hit, how did Mithun Chakraborty manage to get so many films over so long a period? He shifted to the south Indian hill station of Ooty, and built a hotel there. So, a producer would land up at Ooty, stay with his crew in Chakraborty’s hotel at concessional rates, shoot a film with him and an aspiring or failed starlet, finish shooting in three weeks flat, do post-production in Mumbai over the next fortnight or so, and inside two months, a film would be ready with six or seven songs, several fight sequences, one rape, fiery dialogues, and a weepy mother. The producer would then release the film in the less classy theatres in the big cities and in smaller cities like Patna, Indore, Benaras and Bathinda. The actor’s loyal front-stall fan following ensured a decent run for a couple of weeks. Low investment, short gestation, moderate returns, and guaranteed break-even: many producers were very glad to take this package.”
“Since film financiers lend money at 3-4 per cent interest per month, the length of the gestation period can often be the difference between profit and loss.”
‘Bollyworld: Popular Indian cinema through a transnational lens’ edited by Raminder Kaur and Ajay J. Sinha (www.sagepublications.com)
“In her book ‘The Story of a Dream,’ Sudha has given a clean answer to this question. ‘His dreams are far superior to my dreams. My dream is confined to a small circle, ‘my work…my future.’ But his dream is big; it is about finding the means to increase the wealth of the country. Therefore I don’t think there is anything wrong in my giving up mine. In case my dream had been bigger and capable of doing good to the country, he would have given up a lot more than I have done now. I have no doubt about it at all.’”
N. Chokkan in ‘Narayana Murthy: IT guru’, translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Venkatraman (www.nhm.in)
“Once, when he was speaking to Ramayana exponent Ramesh Bhai Oza, he boldly told Oza in front of thousands of disciples that the people who had gathered there to sing bhajans could be better utilised to lay roads or install water pipes.”
N. Chokkan in ‘Dhirubhai Ambani: A business legend’, translated from Tamil by R. Krishnan (www.nhm.in)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
“These minor interests filled up Mr Jamsetji’s odd moments, but his favourite hours were those spent at home among his books…”
Frank Harris in ‘Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata: A chronicle of his life’ (www.penguinbooksindia.com)
“If you are the type of person who gives up easily, never finishing anything you start because of distractions or obstacles along the way, you can forget about achieving most of your dreams in life. Without perseverance your dreams will always remain out of your grasp, a mere figment of your imagination.”
“Perseverance is possibly the single most important quality anyone who is interested in succeeding could ever possess. Develop this quality and it will lift you when you are down, urging you to push on until you reach your dreams.”
“Perseverance makes all the difference between failing and winning! Without perseverance you have lost before you have even begun. No matter how often you fall and are knocked back down over and over, you are never a failure if you keep picking yourself up to try again. The only failure is in giving up and staying down. Remember the spirit of the true champion is found in those who pick themselves up every time to try anew. When you have perseverance you will win even when the deck is stacked against you.”
“Perseverance should not be confused with ‘hard work’ or ‘the number of hours worked’. It can be more accurately defined as your total commitment and determination to follow through with your plan, even in the face of defeat and criticism. It is knowing what you want and being so determined to have it that you commit your entire efforts to getting it. It means having the willpower to fight on when others wave the flag of defeat. It is the quality that truly separates the winners from the losers.”
“So how do you develop perseverance? It is quite simple really…”
Warren Veenman and Sally Eichhorst in ‘Where Has My Ceiling Gone?’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
“We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start. Anon.”
Sally Eichhorst in ‘If I Can You Can’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
“The tools for analysing financial statements can be classified as: horizontal/growth analysis, vertical/common size analysis, ratio analysis, and quantitative analysis.”
“However, it is important to note that there are some limitations to financial statement analysis. Some of these limitations are:
Business decisions are made in a world of uncertainty.
No single ratio can be relied upon to provide assessment of company performance.”
“Hence, no financial analysis can be 100 per cent accurate despite including all publicly available quantitative and qualitative factors. This fact should always be borne in mind before making any investment decision.”
Dun & Bradstreet in ‘Equity Research and Valuation’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
“In the time period between the ages of 20 and 35 the objective is to achieve maximum capital appreciation by taking elevated, but reasonable, risks. In these early years, young investors need to purchase stock in small companies that have fast revenue and earnings growth and high profit margins. Companies expanding their operations in young and growing industries provide the best opportunities…”
“This is the period from 35 o 50 years of age. The main objectives are to make capital gains and create a growing stream of income. Another objective is to develop a diversified portfolio to control the level of risk. A way to reduce he level of risk is to switch out of the small companies and into medium-size companies that have competitive advantages in established industries. This type of company is found in non-cyclical industries such as food products; non-durable household products; medical supplies; personal care products; electric, water, and gas utilities; and waste disposal services. Avoid cyclical businesses like industrial manufacturing, transportation, steel production, residential and commercial construction, travel, and style-based retailing. Companies in these industries have variable earnings and may reduce their dividends during lean times. In addition, their stock prices can decline severely at the bottom of a cycle in the stock market…”
“This covers the time span between 50 and 65 years of age. The objective in this period is to maintain a high level of income flow and make some capital gains. The relative safety of each investment is the primary consideration. The relative safety of each investment is the primary consideration…”
“These are the retirement years. After amassing your fortune, the objective is to preserve capital and live on the income from the investments. This requires selling individual common stocks and switching into very low risk assets such as….”
Clifford Pistolese in ‘Lifespan Investing’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
“Structure means regularly scheduled meetings with a coach, a support group, or some vehicle that will help you behave on your good intentions. Unless you have that, you know where the road paved by good intentions will lead.”
“Helpful structure is driven by relationships. When the people who meet with you care about you, they will give you the support you need and, in a loving way, hold you accountable…”
“What we need to do in the training business is to spend ten times the amount of time following up our training as we do organizing, developing and delivering it. What we need are mentors and coaches to help people move from being novices in doing what they know to becoming master teachers.”
Ken Blanchard, Paul J. Meyer and Dick Ruhe in ‘Know Can Do! Put your know-how into action” (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
“So how do you avoid worrying? Simple! An excellent way to avoid worrying is to allow yourself no time for worrying. In other words, keep your mind occupied. What you must also understand is that there is a 99 per cent chance that your worries will never become a reality. So don’t waste y our time and energy worrying about something until it happens. Just this small change can create a major improvement in all areas of your life.”
Warren Veenman and Sally Eichhorst in ‘Dare to Succeed’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
“In an organisation, after several self-searching sessions, it became clear to many at the senior management level that their tendency to undertake close supervision was really a tendency to continue to play old roles.”
Udai Pareek in ‘Understanding Organisational Behaviour’, second edition (www.oup.com)
I got hooked, but then a bigger fish came along and swallowed the bait (Microsoft’s acquisition of Visio Corporation was its biggest at the time). Microsoft Visio emerged with a new identity, and Microsoft started the struggle to blend Visio into the rest of the Microsoft Office System. The 2007 release has continued this progression, but the Big Three of the Microsoft Office family (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) have shiny new coats and bionic hearts, while the others look on enviously, but there are new, useful toys to play with (Link Data to Shapes and Data Graphics).”
David J. Parker in ‘Visualizing Information with Microsoft Office Visio 2007’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
“An engaged employee is someone ‘who is aware of business context, and works closely with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organisation.” (Bevan et al.)
Michael Armstrong and Duncan Brown in ‘Strategic Reward: Making it happen’ (www.vivagroupindia.com)
Susan Bloch and Philip Whiteley in ‘How to Manage in a Flat World’ (www.pearsoned.co.in)
Digital Review of Asia Pacific 2007-2008 from Orbicom and the International Development Research Centre (www.sagepublications.com)
“Are you suggesting that we keep quiet and allow things to settle down?”
“Not really. You must be clear in your communication and must let them know your perception. But not with a preconceived mind. That can be a disaster.”
“It is easier said than done, Tushar.”
“That is why everyone does not reach the top. Silas used to tell me that not being able to manage conflict is the biggest deterrent for career advancement. Often, we take positions and hence the conflict becomes personal. Most of us want to reach the top without any obstacle…”
“But sometimes it is so difficult to avoid such situations. It gets onto your nerves.”
“This happens as most of us take ourselves too seriously and hence the conflict becomes personal. We become defensive and tend to react. Then to safeguard our point of view, we go on justification mode and we counterattack. Why should you convert a professional conflict to a personal one?”
“But we are not saints. No one has any right to put us down and show us in a wrong light.”
“Fair enough and I completely agree with you. Hence, we need to talk and talk maturely. Blowing up things may not give you the right solution. There is no end to such conflicts unless handled with a clear thought process.
Reaction is the easiest solution as that is the easiest way to defend and most of us finally resort to reacting. Then as we react, our answers are never thought through. Silas taught me to think before reacting. The reaction of the other person is not in your hand, but you can control yours. We can definitely control the damage by having a control on our reaction. I tried and it helped.”
“I think the best way to solve the issue is to simply avoid it.”
“No way. You must talk and give utmost importance to the situation…”
Partha Sarathi Basu in ‘Why not…! Racing ahead with mentors’ (www.ubspd.com)
And that’s the sentence that turns out to be untrue. Donahue and Levitt offer no persuasive evidence that legalised abortion contributed to recent crime reductions, significantly or otherwise. They offer no persuasive evidence, regardless of whether those crime reductions are measured in absolute terms (number of crimes committed) or, more appropriately, in terms of crime rates (crimes as a share of the population).
Since we are dealing with an empirical research study in a respected scholarly journal, the authors must have done a lot of empirical research. And they did – except not the research that would have made their evidence persuasive. They show that legalisation of abortion coincided with a decline in birth rates among women whose offspring would be prone to commit crimes. They also show that the decline in crime began about 18 years after the legalisation of abortion, when these offspring would have been starting their high-crime years.
But all that evidence is just circumstantial – unpersuasive for a simple reason: It does not show that there was an actual decrease in births of crime-prone offspring, only that there might have been. But if there were, say, a 10 per cent increase in the number of women who fit that demographic profile, and a 5 per cent decline in birth rates among these women, there still would have been an increase in births of crime-prone offspring…
What the data on births actually reveal is that the crime-prone population did increase as a share of the overall population. So there would have been no reason to expect crime rates to decline – and thus no plausible evidence that abortion was a factor.”
Gene Epstein in ‘Econospinning’ (www.wiley.com)
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Master Choa Kok Sui in ‘Practical Psychic Self-defense for Home and Office’ (www.pranichealing.in)
Seshadri Kannan in ‘Advances in Plant Physiology: From the Green to the Grain’ (APH Publishing Corp)
“It is no disgrace to be a follower. On the other hand, it is no credit to remain a follower. Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers. They became great leaders because they were intelligent followers. With few exceptions, the person who cannot follow a leader intelligently cannot become an efficient leader. The person who can follow a leader most efficiently is usually the one who develops into leadership most rapidly. An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the opportunity to acquire knowledge from his or her leader.”
Napoleon Hill in ‘Think & Grow Rich!’ (www.jaicobooks.com)
“One of the most common complaints of married partners, especially unhappy partners, is ‘We don’t communicate.’ But it is impossible not to communicate – a cold look may communicate anger as effectively as a fierce outburst of words. What these unhappy partners mean by not communicating is that their communication drives them apart rather than brings them together, feeds conflict rather than resolves it…”
“Couples in satisfied marriages tend to have the following characteristics:
- Willingness to accept conflict but to engage in conflict in non-destructive ways.
- Less frequent conflict and less time spent in conflict.
- Ability to disclose or reveal private thoughts and feelings, especially positive ones, to one’s partner.
- Expression by both partners of more or less equal levels of affectionate disclosures, such as tenderness, words of love, touch.
- More time spent talking, discussing personal topics, and expressing feelings.
- Ability to accurately encode (send) verbal and non-verbal messages and accurately decode such messages from their spouses.”
“…Mace and Mace (1979) observe that on the day of marriage, people have three kinds of raw material with which they can work. First, there are the things they have in common, the things they both like. Second, there are the aspects in which they differ, but the differences are complementary. Third, unfortunately, there are the differences between them that are not at all complementary and can cause them to meet head-on, with a big bang. In every relationship between two people, there is a great deal of the latter sort of difference. So when we move closer together, those differences become disagreements.”
M.B. Sharan and Damodar Suar in ‘Management through Interpersonal Relationships’ (www.jaicobooks.com)
“The term ‘active listening’ is used to differentiate from simply absorbing passively what is heard. It demands frequent eye contact, concentrating totally on the person who is talking (i.e. not thinking what you will say next, looking at the clock or looking through the window at a dog crossing the road), sitting in an open relaxed position, and making the sounds and facial expressions of interest from time to time.”
“It also means listening with our eyes…”
Tish Nicholson in ‘52 Ways to Motivate your Staff’ (www.jaicobooks.com)
John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund in ‘Human Sigma: Managing the employee-customer encounter’ (Gallup Press)
Bonnie J. Knutson in ‘Service Quality Monitoring and Feedback Systems,’ included in ‘Service Quality Management in Hospitality & Tourism’ edited by Jay Kandampully, Connie Mok and Beverley Sparks (www.jaicobooks.com)
“Conventional wisdom is almost always mediocre, because most people agree that a problem should be solved the same way. I think that artists try to put themselves into their own idiosyncratic personal corner where nobody else’s answers will fit.”
“In our society, problem solving is greatly over-appreciated. Problem creation is, in fact, much more interesting. Because, if you ask yourself a really interesting question and no one else’s answers will fit, that will kick open a door that you can go through and follow your own path to wherever it goes. One way to distinguish yourself from the pack is to try and follow your own path with art, so that somebody standing in front of your work will not be thinking about another artist.”
“Lately, for a lot of younger artists, appropriation is the prime modus operandi; and that’s antithetical to the way I came up. It’s like sampling in popular music. You take something that already exists and you put your personal stamp on it. But it’s going to look like someone else’s art or it will not look like art.”
“I think the most exciting thing in the visual arts is to see something that actually does not look like art…”
Chuck Close in ‘Decoding the mysterious process of art,’ included in ‘Creativity: Unconventional wisdom from 20 accomplished minds’ edited by Herb Meyers and Richard Gerstman (www.palgrave.com)
“He was in a tux, and I had never seen him looking so fancy, but he also looked exhausted, really devastated. This was during the height of the Vietnam War, and John and I were amazed as Dave told us in detail how he had to become directly involved in managing that horror. Like civilians before, he found the military bureaucracy intractable – we were astonished at his stories of deploying troops and planning battles. He was officially upbeat, but we both concluded that his heart wasn’t in it.”
“Now, instead of being at his desk in the Pentagon, he was in my office asking me to find the last five days of the Wall Street Journal. I found them, and we averaged the price of HP stock for that last week. He muttered something about my keeping mum about his visit, and he disappeared.”
“Some weeks later it was announced that Dave would be returning to HP, and the mystery of his visit became clear. When he left to go to the Pentagon, all his HP stock had been put into a trust, so that any profit on his holdings while he was in the government would be given to charity upon his return.”
“The stock price had declined in the intervening years but had been rising recently. The five-day average established the price for his return – his timing was nearly perfect in that there was very little profit to be given away.”
“Why did he worry about something like that, when later he donated billions to his charitable foundation? I don’t really know, but I suspect that there were two reasons: first, I think he was disillusioned, totally, by the war, and second, I think he had an early whiff of what was soon to become the Watergate scandal.”
“I just think that he wanted to keep his stock and not have to surrender any to pay for those two things. Dave would never talk much about his Washington years, but I believe they had a profound and depressing effect upon him at the deepest level.”
Tom Perkins in ‘Valley Boy’ (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
“Our bureaucrats react, as they usually do when confused, with sneering arrogance. This year we had the cabinet secretary and the finance secretary as the main representatives of the Government of India. One of them was heard saying, ‘We don’t need Davos, we have people queuing up to invest in India.’ Mercifully, our businessmen make up for this chippy arrogance by listening, observing and trying to learn; and we hacks try hard to hide the fact that we are either bedazzled or befuddled or both. I long for the year when I will be able to come here and report that like other Asians (Chinese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Thais) we have also learnt to react normally…”
“The Chinese – who do not have the advantage we have of familiarity with the English language – now speak with the confidence of real members of the global community…”
“For too long we have allowed our political leaders to get away with concentrating on the sort of subjects that allow endless hours of meaningless waffling – secularism, communalism, nationalism…”
“So inconsequential have we become because of our insularity and our isolation, that India quite simply disappears from the newspapers and news bulletins of the world while you are travelling…”
“We could react as our chippy bureaucrats do by simply shrugging our shoulders and saying we couldn’t care less. This would be stupid. Globalisation may only be a buzzword in India but it is a reality everywhere else. If we want to be part of it, we must start demanding that our political leaders and high and mighty officials speak in a language the world understands. For a start, they have to become economically literate.”
“It is no longer good enough for us to be told, ad nauseam, that India is a poor country with vast problems. We need to know why it is still a poor country and what our political parties are going to do about it. When they learn to answer our questions, they will learn to answer the questions of the world.”
Tavleen Singh in ‘Land the world forgot’ dated February 16, 1998, included in ‘Political and Incorrect: The Real India, Warts and All’ (www.harpercollins.co.in)
Monday, January 7, 2008
enclose fading text,
missing pages I seek,
unknown chapters ahead
Writing my dreams,
in the blank pages ahead,
line after line filled,
with hopes in my head
It may well change,
like chalk on slate,
but at least I’ll know,
the author was me, not fate.”
Mainak Dhar in ‘The Funda of Mix-ology: What bartending teaches that IIM doesn’t…’ (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
“For the Data Recovery Advisor to function, Oracle must first detect an error. This can happen as a result of an error occurring naturally during the course of database operations (that is, some form of an ORA error) or if the DBA executed a health check that detects the error.”
“The Data Recovery Advisor will return the priority of the error (Critical, High, and Low) and its status (Open or Closed) and provide repair options available to you to correct the problem (such as perform media recovery). All information from the Data Recovery Advisor is stored in the ADR. The repair options presented may be automated or manual, or both options might be presented…”
Robert G. Freeman in ‘Oracle Database 11g New Features’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
“Much of the training may in any case be covered by trainer satisfaction measures, and these should be given a high profile. Yet they may not be enough, so more detailed financial analyses could well be worth looking into.”
Paul Turner in ‘HR Forecasting and Planning’ (www.jaicobooks.com)
“However, if for every time you have to correct people (perhaps 10 per cent of the time), you also tell them when they are getting it right (correspondingly 90 per cent of the time), you will start creating a culture where people are enthusiastic.”
“Your workforce will be satisfied at the end of the day by more than the money they have earned; they will be part of a culture where people will go the extra mile and turn down offers of higher-paid jobs elsewhere; you will have started a coaching culture.”
Carol Wilson in ‘Best Practice in Performance Coaching’ (www.vivagroupindia.com)
“A banking company launched a new scheme of private banking and realised that for its growth it had to develop its sales force. It needed a rapid increase in the number of sales associates. The sales force was needed not only to sell the new product but also address high turnover in field offices and wide variances in sales effectiveness among officers.”
“Thus a sales competency model was developed, clarifying the characteristics required to succeed in the job. It had an objective: To integrate into the company’s selection system on the job, the same criteria for hiring people, as required for effective performance. It was incorporated into the performance management system to ensure that sales people would receive coaching and feedback on the behaviours and skills that had strong correlation to success on the job. The focus was to increase productivity and check turnover…”
Seema Sanghi in ‘The Handbook of Competency Mapping’ second edition (www.sagepublications.com)
“One belief is that the value systems of humanity that made the late twentieth century so achievable are the results of global competitive cooperation. For example, American culture which represents multiculturalism is emphasising the importance of cooperation between workers and capital holders for more synergy. Some researchers concluded that there is a widespread ethical commitment among US workers to improve productivity…”
“Another example is: what causes both employers and employees to strive for productivity? Do employees view work as a necessity of continuing their life? Is people’s view on work a contractual binding between employee-employer commitment? Are they viewing work towards achieving higher levels of profitability? The answer to all these questions indicates that the more money a corporation gets, the harder they work, and the more profit they make the higher wages and benefits are paid to workers…”
Kamal Dean Parhizgar in ‘Globalisation of multicultural management’ included in ‘International Business and Culture’ edited by Kip Becker (www.jaicobooks.com)
“As the expectations and bargaining power of the customers increase with the help of IT and the adoption of electronic commerce, both these metrics will have to be improved and maintained at very high levels.”
B.S. Sahay and Ramneesh Mohan in ‘Indian Supply Chain Architecture’ (www.macmillanindia.com)
“Business excellence is a relative and dynamic concept. It means exceeding any competitor on: innovation, product quality, cost competitiveness, delivery, customer satisfaction, and service.”
Pravin Rajpal in ‘Achieving Business Excellence’ (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
“An ugly thing, that is what you are when you become a tourist, an ugly, empty thing, a stupid thing, a piece of rubbish pausing here and there to gaze at this and taste that, and it will never occur to you that the people who inhabit the place in which you have just paused cannot stand you, that behind their closed doors they laugh at your strangeness (you do not look the way they look); the physical sight of you does not please them; you have bad manners (it is their custom to eat their food with their hands; you try eating their way, you look silly; you try eating the way you always eat, you look silly); they do not like the way you speak (you have an accent); they collapse helpless from laughter, mimicking the way they imagine you must look as you carry out some everyday bodily function. They do not like you…”
“But the banality of your own life is very real to you; it drove you to this extreme, spending your days and your nights in the company of people who despise you, people you do not like really, people you would not want to have as your actual neighbour. And so you must devote yourself to puzzling out how much of what you are told is really, really true (Is ground-up bottle glass in peanut sauce really a delicacy around here, or will do just what you think ground-up bottle glass will do? Is this rare, multicoloured, snout-mouthed fish really an aphrodisiac, or will it cause you to fall asleep permanently?). Oh, the hard work all of this is, and is it any wonder, then, that on your return home you feel the need of a long rest, so that you can recover from your life as a tourist?”
“That the native does not like the tourist is not hard to explain. For every native of every place is a potential tourist, and every tourist is a native of somewhere. Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this. Every native would like to find a way out, every native would like a rest, every native would like a tour.”
“But some natives – most natives in the world – cannot go anywhere. They are too poor. They are too poor to go anywhere. They are too poor to escape the reality of their lives; and they are too poor to live properly in the place where they live, which is the very place you, the tourist, want to go – so when the natives see you, the tourist, they envy you, they envy your ability to leave your own banality and boredom, they envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself.”
Jamaica Kincaid in ‘A Small Place’, included in ‘Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Non-fiction: Work from 1970 to the present’ edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
“Globalisation is seductive, but brings with it the risk we will all sound and look the same. And the issues are as compelling for advertising creatives as they are for authors and filmmakers.”
“How can I plug into the universal mainstream, but retain my own voice and culture?”
“If I want to achieve an international standard, do I really have to imitate the West?”
“Can my own culture evolve and find its own space within the wider marketplace?”
“Too often, bad advertising is excused, even justified, simply because it is ‘local’, which is an insult to the culture in question. What we have to remember is that British advertising is ‘local’ at its point of origin, and so too is American work. British advertising is so often brilliant because it is unashamedly British. Likewise, American advertising speaks with an American voice and attitude.”
“It’s a question of applying the universal truths – singularity of proposition, simplicity of expression, and relevance of message – within your own cultural context. You don’t have to slavishly copy Western ideas, or make your ads look like they were created in London or New York. The Brazilians have embraced the universal truths and found their own voice. So have the Japanese, the Thais, the Australians and New Zealanders. The Indians, Chinese and many others are beginning to.”
“It is not as difficult as it seems. Scottish author and Booker Prize nominee Ali Smith explains: ‘You go as local as you can, the thing becomes huge, it becomes the world. That’s the key. Small things are big in our small lives. Little details are gold dust. We think things happen in a big way in our lives. Actually, things happen all the time in small, random and disparate ways.’”
“If a New Zealand movie telling a New Zealand story can win the Academy Award, and if an Indian writer writing about India and an Australian author writing about Australia can win the Booker Prize, then the message is clear. Cutting edge creatives should be true to themselves and their own cultural context, while taking on board the universal truths of great advertising as their guiding principles. Rather than imitate, they will then innovate. The world is waiting.”
Jim Atchison in ‘Cutting Edge Advertising: How to create the world’s best print for brands in the 21st century’, third edition (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
“Let us remember that the number of British civilians engaged in governing the 400 million people of the Indian empire was never more than about 10,000. Historically, empires may have been conquered by military force and established by terror – ‘shock and awe’ in the phrase of the US Pentagon – but if they wanted to last, they had to rely on two main instruments: co-operation with local interests and the legitimacy of effective power while also exploiting the disunity of their adversaries and their subjects (divide et impera). The present situation in Iraq illustrates the difficulties even the most powerful occupier will face when these are absent.”
Eric Hobsbawm in ‘Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism’ (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
“Requests for a pay increase. People may threaten to leave unless they get more money. What if you find their claim is unjustified? Are you going to raise their pay because of the threat? If you succumb, the word will get out. Others will realise that the only way to get more money is by threatening to leave. You are then faced with an anomaly: outspoken staff get more than the more reserved staff. This is not a fair picture, nor a happy one. Once you start to make exceptions, the whole system might collapse.”
“Money and productivity. Some staff members claim that if they get paid more they could be more productive. This is laughable. They are really telling their manager that they are not working very hard at the moment. It also illustrates that pay, performance, and motivation form a flimsy link.”
“Raise someone’s pay by 5 per cent. Are you going to see a 5 per cent increase in productivity? Unlikely. If you doubled someone’s pay, could they be twice as effective in the same position? Probably not. There has to be a threshold. Is there a just-noticeable difference in performance when someone gets a pay increase in your organisation?”
“Nor should one expect more money to lead to an increase in morale. The opposite may even occur. A perceived lack of equity in salary or bonus can result in grumpiness and lack of effort. Even if their compensation is excellent, some people are never satisfied. More money can even lead to a slacking off and a drop in morale if the employee thinks, ‘is that the best they can do?’ It is easy to define the bottom line when it comes to compensation and motivation: It is the perception of fairness. This is not always easy to achieve.”
Clive Shearer in ‘Everyday Excellence: Creating a better workplace through attitude, action, and appreciation’ (www.pearsoned.co.in)
“This speaks of poor time management by most people. And, unfortunately, it is true. I read about a world-class organisation, which had over 5,000 employees. It worked 6 days a week. A regular ‘Voice of Employee’ survey showed that employees believed that they were extremely stretched and had no time for themselves and their families – in other words, no ‘work-life’ balance. It was so serious that the management decided that they needed to shift to a 5-day week. This would give the employees a two-day break.”
“As a result, the organisation lost a day every week. But the CEO took a very interesting call. He said that for the next 3 months, the organisation would not hire anyone to supplement capacity, but would do it after 3 months, if required. It was expected that people would work longer hours for 5 days to take care of the loss of one working day.”
“The CEO then started keeping records of the ‘in’ and ‘out’ timings of everyone without them knowing that they were being timed. An interesting finding emerged. There was no change whatsoever, in the time that people came in or left for home. The ones who were used to leaving at 6.30 p.m., left at the same time as before, the ones who stayed till 8.30 p.m. every day, stayed till 8.30 p.m. even now. Surprisingly, there was no drop in productivity of employees in these 3 months. The performance of the organisation, too, remained the same as before.”
“What does this indicate? The same employees, who cribbed about ‘work-life’ balance and work overload, now completed the same work that they took 6 days to finish, in 5 days. How could they, unless, earlier, they were wasting their time and not using it effectively, when they worked for 6 days? Alternately, if they could finish all their work in 5 days, why should they need to complain of excessive work when they were working for 6 days?”
“There was only one difference. Everyone started managing their time productively when they had to finish their work in 5 days. In the 6-day scenario, work expanded to fill in the available time.”
Ravi Subramanian in ‘I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari’ (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
Sunday, January 6, 2008
"Take, for example, the concept of investment risk. As individuals, most people would define risk as the chance of permanent investment loss, the degree of volatility, uncertainty, and so on. In a group setting, risk becomes defined as deviating from what the consensus thinks. Not looking stupid is a very powerful influence on how people look at risk."
"As it applies to investing, groupthink results in it being riskier to buy a lesser-known company with above-average growth potential and a reasonable valuation than it is to buy shares in a well-known company with perfection already reflected in its price. Yet 'the group' knows the company, loves its history of success, and considers it a blue chip. This is the investment equivalent of the old saying, 'You can't get fired for hiring IBM.'"
Michael Moe in 'Finding the Next Starbucks: How to identify and invest in hot stocks of tomorrow' (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
“Devotion to progress sometimes requires sacrifice for causes greater than ourselves, with no immediate or apparent return to us. That devotion was displayed by one of the most courageous, devoted people we studied. Her name was Isabella Baumfree (which she later changed to Sojourner Truth).”
“As an African American woman who escaped slavery, she became a powerful advocate for women’s rights and freedom from slavery. In 1851, Truth went to the National Women’s Rights Convention and requested to speak. She was such a powerful voice for freedom, her opponents made a move in an attempt to humiliate and disqualify her from speaking at the conference. It is reported that officials ordered her to go the women’s restroom and bare her breast to prove that she was a woman.”
“At that moment, Truth had a choice: she could walk away and allow injustice to subdue her voice, or agree to a demeaning test and liberate her voice. As she removed her clothing, she said, ‘It is to your shame, not mine, that I do this.’ To leaders full of humility, there is no humiliation – only purpose and progress. Humiliation is a feeling most often felt by those who lack humility. Upon getting dressed again, she delivered her ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ speech. Here’s an excerpt:”
‘That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman?’
‘I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman? Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [a member of the audience whispers, “Intellect.”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?’
David Marcum and Steven Smith in ‘Egonomics: What makes ego our greatest asset (or most expensive liability’ (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
"As a conservative Republican who had already demonstrated that he was no bleeding-heart one-worlder, Bush would have been especially well suited to the task of managing the domestic politics of construction effort to build a 'new world order.' In that sense, he could have achieved a lasting breakthrough in an area where his father had made a promising start."
"Instead, Bush chose, essentially, to go it alone..."
Strobe Talbott in 'The Great Experiment: The story of ancient empires, modern states, and the quest for a global nation' (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
"Space within a store should be designed in a manner in which a harmony, relationship and movement of traffice between different areas is maintained. Food courts in mall should be strategically located in such a manner that the peripheral noise is avoided, but at the same time facilitates maximum visibility. The obvious reason: to increase the number of footfalls (which may increase the number of conversions) in the shopping centre. Clear demarcation of spaces also acts as a guide for a customer while strolling inside the store."
"Retailers today demand more column-free spaces for the optimal utilisation of leased area and more height for the appreciation of spaces in the store. The need of large lobbies and circulation spaces such as atrium and lounges has increased the loading of gross leasable area (GLA) over the super built-up area in shopping malls. Most mall developers in India have been traditionally charging 25-30 per cent as a loading factor on usable area. This is because the sanctioning authorities include the area consumed by lobbies, lounges and atriums in the calculation of total floor space index (FSI). Global standards, in contrast, suggest that five to 10 per cent of the toral built-up area is allowed free of FSI for such areas in shopping centre design."
'Malls in India: Shopping Centre Developers & Developments' (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
"The technological challenge is to enable young people to make their way with confidence in a world that is being shaped by technologies which are evolving more quickly than at any time in history."
"The social challenge is to provide forms of education that enable young people to engage positively and confidently with far-reaching processes of social and cultural change."
"The personal challenge is to develop the unique capacities of all young people, and to provide a basis on which they can build lives that are purposeful and fulfilling."
Rene Carayol and David Firth in 'Corporate Voodoo: Principles for business mavericks and magicians' (http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)
"If you can't remember where you left your keys and then discover that you are actually holding them, then dismiss this temporary stupidity as a senior moment. With the stress and information overload of 21st century life, not just senior citizens, but people of all ages are liable to forget things and have senior... now...what was that phrase we were just talking about?"
Kerry Maxwell in 'Brave New Words: A Language Lover's Guide to the 21st Century' (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
Friday, January 4, 2008
"So long, trusty bicycle. Hello, sexy sedans and Chinese convertibles. Even if the scramble to establish local car brands leads at first to overcapacity and a glut of mini-jalopies, such affordable wheels will only mean higher revenues for roads, road-builders, auto parts and repair, suppliers, and allied tourism. Either way, there are big gains to be had from China climbing into the driver's seat of the world auto industry."
Jim Rogers in 'A Bull in China' (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
"Delegation tends to lead to a sort of 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to whatever has been delegated, which in turn can cost us time and energy in teaching, managing and worrying about whether or not tasks we could easily do ourselves are being inadequately done by others."
"A good rule of thumb is this: Delegate the task, not the responsibility."
"Something all the rich thinkers I studied agreed on was that you must be getting regular updates on where your team members are with the various tasks and projects you've delegated. Think of these check-ins as like having a GPS system for your goals - it can be tremendously helpful, but it only helps if you take the time to look at it and are willing to adjust your course when necessary."
Paul McKenna in 'I Can Make You Rich' (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
"Congratulations. You are about to be handed your predecessor's most precious offering: the business. You are about to become an entrepreneur, whether or not you think the label fits you. You didn't create this business, but you will create its future."
"In track and field, relay runners must complete a clean handoff within a certain distance, called the fly zone. If the lead runner steps out of the zone before securing the baton, the team is disqualified. As you wait in the fly zone for your turn to run the business, keep the focus where it belongs:
* Power past the handoff without colliding into other runners. Complete your transition of power, accountability, and ownership of assets and liabilities.
* Accept coaching and cheering from your team. While you have the baton now, it can be lonely leading the pack, so seek out wise counsel.
* Shuffle your team if you are losing the race. If a member of your new team runs into trouble, ask your predecessor to fill in and temporarily do a needed job."
"Do so with determination and humility. Your team, your vendors, and your customers will admire your transition from follower to leader."
Andy Birol in 'The 5 Catalysts of 7 Figure Growth' (www.jaicobooks.com)
Thursday, January 3, 2008
"Only when the war in Afghanistan began to wind down in 1988 did America's interest in democratisation come alive. But great damage had been done during that decade, not only to Pakistan, but to the long-term strategic interests of the US, the Muslim Umma and the rest of the international community..."
Benazir Bhutto in 'Daughter of the East: An Autobiography' (www.landmarkonthenet.com)
"Carlos Ghosn made it a priority to convey real hope to the people at Nissan, spending countless hours in front of groups of employees and answering any questions they fired at him. He realised that honesty and empathy were necessary prerequisites to reenergising the base."
"In many ways, this is the essence of political campaigns; it was something that Ronald Reagan excelled at as he spent the years after Ford's defeat in 1976 preparing the ground for his run in the 1980 Republican Party primaries."
"Shape shifters are perhaps the most dependent on the relational capabilities of senior management. To move a company from a reasonably strong position to a new place, even when that place has the potential for exponential growth, is a scary assignment for any leader. Ensuring that you have the right people, motivated and energised, confident and trusting, to succeed at this transition is at the top of the 'to-do' list."
Sydney Finkelstein, Charles Harvey and Thomas Lawton in ‘Breakout Strategy’ (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
"People normally become very uncomfortable when there is a lull in a conversation and will try to fill an awkward silence by talking some more. This is particularly true when they are worried about something and don't want to talk about it - even if the discomfort is only subconscious."
"I don't recommend following every question with a 30-second pause, as people will either think you're a pain in the backside or a moron. However, I do think the careful use of silence can be very powerful in the right place."
Richard Jones in 'Project Management Survival' (www.vivagroupindia.com)
"We don't think so. We are convinced that you shouldn't be wasting your energy trying to find a way to undercut your competitors' prices by 1 or 2 per cent. That is hardly creative, and it's wearing in the long run."
"You only need to look at the German food retailers to see exactly how unproductive it is. For years now, there has been the same discouraging situation: cut-throat competition and sluggish demand have reduced profit margins to below 1 per cent in some cases..."
Anja Foerster & Peter Kreuz in 'Different Thinking' (www.vivagroupindia.com)
"For pipeline transport, gas is needed for the operation of compressors. For LNG transport, gas is needed for the liquefication process and for the regasification process. Furthermore, during sea transport, part of the LNG evaporises (boil off) and is partly used as fuel for the ship's engine. In total, approximately 20 per cent losses occur throughout the LNG chain."
Markus Burger, Bernhard Graeber and Gero Schindlmayr in 'Managing Energy Risk' (www.wiley.com)
"Despite the jibes from hydrogen sceptics that fuel-cell cars are 'rolling H-bombs,' the easiest of the three objections to tackle is safety. It is true that hydrogen is inflammable. But that risk has to be put into perspective."
"Unlike hydrogen, for example, methanol is corrosive and extremely toxic, while gasoline is both a carcinogen and easily ignited. A study done in 1997 by Ford argued that hydrogen-powered cars, if properly engineered, could potentially be safer than those using gasoline or propane..."
"A tougher challenge for hydrogen is storage. Because hydrogen has the smallest atomic structure of all elements, its atoms can wiggle through the crystal lattice of the material used to contain it. The leakage from a pressurised hydrogen tank could be significant..."
Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran in 'Power to the People: How the coming energy revolution will transform an industry, change our lives, and maybe even save the planet' (www.vivagroupindia.com)
"Asian economies are recognising the integrative nature of gas trade, hence, trying to develop the regional infrastructure, thereby promoting cooperation..."
"According to Petronas, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei have agreed to pool their shipping resources in order to sell their excess LNG into the spot market. As the off-take patterns become less predictable, some of the big producers are moving to take more control of the means of delivery."
"BP, for example, is commissioning between three and five LNG vessels from Korean yards, and Shell has ordered four vessels..."
Girijesh Pant in 'India: The Emerging Energy Player' (www.pearsoned.co.in)
"Shen Taifu had a better idea. As a senior officer of the Great Wall Machinery and Electronics Scientific and Technological Industry Company, he duped 100,000 hardworking Chinese into investing over $170 million in securities touting a 24 per cent annual interest rate."
"After collecting the money, Shen tried to leave China on a phony passport. He was caught and eventually shot, once again proving the old adage 'you can't take it with you.' These two cases, plus numerous other examples, spurred the Ministry of Finance to conduct a study."
"In 1999, the ministry released data showing that a whopping 89 per cent of the companies listed on the Chinese exchanges had cooked their books."
Burton G. Malkiel in 'From Wall Street to the Great Wall: How investors can profit from China's booming economy' (www.wwnorton.co.uk)
"The second was to redirect growth, driving resources away from the coastal cities and toward the relatively impoverished interior."
"Internal publications and external analysts are now saying that the regional disparity is proving almost intractable, and in the face of rising discontent with the stubborn maldistribution of resources, the message is being promulgated that such gaps and dislocations are a natural part of fast economic development that must be endured."
"The focus remains very much on driving economic development, and the most powerful generator of wealth to the direct benefit of the Party and state is not the tax system, but the network of top SOEs."
'China into the Future: Making sense of the world's most dynamic economy' edited by W. John Hoffmann and Michael J. Enright (www.wiley.com)
1. Strategic Level
*Houfa Zhiren (gaining mastery by striking after the enemy has struck)
2. Campaign Level
*Yanmi Fanghu (close defence or self-protection)
*Zhongdian Fanji (key-point counterstrikes)
*Fan Heweishe (counter nuclear deterrence/counter intimidation)"
'China's Nuclear Future' edited by Paul J. Bolt and Albert S. Willner (www.vivagroupindia.com)
"Chinese scholars and officials eventually developed the term heping jueqi, or Peaceful Rise. First used by Zheng Bijian, a powerful senior adviser to the Chinese leadership, the term soon became a part of Chinese leaders' speeches and central to academic studies of China's future, though some Chinese scholars thought rise sounded menacing, and Chinese leaders now often use the phrase 'Peaceful Development' instead."
Joshua Kurlantzick in 'Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power is Transforming the World' (www.oup.com)
"The control environment has an influence on the way business activities are structured, objectives established and risks assessed. It also influences control activities, information and communication systems, and monitoring acitvities. It is influenced by the entity's culture and in turn influences the control consciousness of its people."
Guide to Internal Controls over Financial Reporting (www.icai.org)
"To minimise such situations, it helps to have the support of those decision makers who are responsible for establishing sound internal controls and an internal audit environment in the organisation. The Chief Internal Auditor may find it useful to promote RBIA (risk based internal audit) and the value it brings to these decision makers with respect to their compliance objectives."
Guide on Risk-based Internal Audit (www.icai.org)