On life…and learning

Archive for July 2013

A truly Great Team OR only a Great Company?

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Great Team OR Great CompanyThis is the season of several business magazines publishing lists, their own versions, of great companies to work with. And very soon, we will have surveys of employee engagement being administered across companies, gauging the engagement of the employees across verticals and teams in each company – the quintessential annual exercise.

And here I am, bemused all over once again at this very concept! All these years of being a part of the corporate world and some great companies, I could never understand the concept of a ‘great company’ or a ‘not-so-great company’. To my mind, there can be no such thing like a great or not-great company. In fact, there are ‘great teams’ and ‘not-great teams’ that are more of reality, as far as engagement of any employee is concerned. Think of it, if you were working in a ‘not-great team’ inside an otherwise ‘great company to work’, would you be really engaged and productive? No, right? On the other hand, if you work in a really great team, chances are that you’d be far more engaged and involved, even if your company is not really appearing amidst rankings of the great companies. If you agree, then I wonder why is there so much fuss around a ‘great company’ and so little or less meaningful concentration and effort around building & nurturing great teams, consisting of high-performing, well-intentioned and competent employees!

In my experience, organizations must focus on identifying and nurturing ‘great teams’; there is a dire need to learn from what those teams are doing right, what is the culture and ethos and though I really not like the term, what are the ‘best practices’ that can be imbibed and used to turn around the ‘not-so-great teams’. And one of the key things great teams focus upon is that whether each & every teammate is getting right opportunities to use their strengths every day; that they get chances, challenges and encouragement to demonstrate their best every day. That’s the bottom line of creating a successful organization and that’s really where companies should focus upon.

When I look back in my own career and reflect, I see some superb Indian and global organizations I worked with. And yet, what I more vividly remember are the teams I was part of. Some ‘great teams’ I worked in, and on a rare occasion, also found myself in a ‘not-so-great team’. While I fondly remember the great teams & great people I worked with, I also equally remember that when I was part of a ‘not-so-great team’, I wasn’t able to use my strengths, and give my best every day. The very fact that the company I worked with was really world class didn’t make any difference to my motivation and energy levels during that phase. And I am sure, many of you would have experienced the same predicament one or the other time in your career.

Best companies are not ‘great companies’ merely by some survey or rating or ranking. They are a unified whole, a superset of several ‘great teams’ replete with ‘great individuals’, who give their best every day. And that is what modern organizations must try to achieve. That will really make them a ‘great workplace’.

I would any day prefer working in a ‘great team’ vs. a ‘poor team in a great company’. Now it’s your turn. Which of these views speak most to you? I am sure you too worked in some great as well as not-so-great teams; what are your experiences? Let me know in the comments below – and here’s to all of us building great companies.

Are You Geared For Life?

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GearforlifeI am happy to share with you all that yours truly’s ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ are now being featured by the ‘Gear for Life’ – a community floated by Wildcraft India. (Follow the link here: http://gearforlife.in/rishi-raj-gupta)

‘Gear for Life’ is a unique community that has been built for the engaging individuals in the domain of Outdoors. It is a platform where people can share their ‘outdoor experiences’ with like-minded individuals; a forum where all outdoor enthusiasts & domain experts can share their different opinions, experiences, ideas, tips & tricks, etc. In India, where the outdoor industry is still nascent though rapidly growing, a platform like GFL will help discerning individuals find a single space for information, sharing & interaction.

When they reached out to me last week, seeking my willingness to join and contribute, I was rather happy to share my experiences, which GFL would publish with an aim to inspire individuals and outdoor enthusiasts through stories of beginnings, achievements, learning and new experiences. It is through these stories that various enthusiasts can explore and try something new and different. They told me, ‘Gear for Life’ aims to capture stories that motivate and stimulate people pursue Outdoors. And you all know, ‘The Motorcycles Diaries’ were all pursued and written with the same aim. Hence, this collaboration appeared a great idea!

Whether you are an adventure and outdoor enthusiasts – who take to trails, off-roading, hiking, trek, etc., on a regular basis, OR you are an outdoor aspirant, looking to explore the outdoors – occasionally, ‘Gear for Life’ is your platform.

So, if you are ‘geared’ for life, do follow – http://gearforlife.in

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gearforlifein

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GearForLifeIn

Written by RRGwrites

July 24, 2013 at 11:41 PM

Who is dead? School Children in Bihar, or Apathetic Democracy?

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apathy--deadliest tool of mass destruction.previewSince yesterday, I have been wondering; who really died a cruel death in Bihar? Were they 22 kids who died a poisonous death after eating the mid-day meal in their school? Or was it the indifferent Indian democracy, which passed away?

As the newly set up primary school turns graveyard to these unsuspecting kids in the Gandaman-Dharmsati village in Mashrakh block of Saran district of North Bihar, who died after being served adulterated mid-day meal in their school, I am deeply hurt and angst-ridden. And I am even more pained to witness the mockery of this gruesome killing of innocent kids being made by politicians across party lines on the national television. Is there any end to our apathy??

On this really shameful day, I am reminded of what Robert Hutchins, an educational philosopher and former dean of Yale Law School said,

“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference and undernourishment.”

I am certain – it is not the death of these poor school kids alone. In their death, it is really this apathetic Indian democracy, which perished.

PS: While he would continue to enjoy the free meals inside a poor villager’s hut, I am convinced that now Junior Gandhi will dare not extend his luncheon-escapades to the mid-day meals in primary schools…


Photo-credit: traciemcbridewriter.wordpress.com

Written by RRGwrites

July 17, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Hero of the Day…

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Juan-Martin-del-PotroThis one’s purely from the heart…

Wimbledon’s longest ever men’s semifinal of all times just ended, and how! Million’s favourite Novak Djokovic ended the winner, yet I am sure those who watched the match would have given their hearts away to Juan Martin del Potro, the Argentine, whose grit made this match the best match of this Wimbledon season. What a sportsman he is! Even Djokovic ended up clapping several times for this giant of an athlete, who, despite all pain and injuries, fought till the very last game and gave his best. What a game of tennis this was, an epic battle indeed! Played in line with the highest traditions of the game…

del Potro is my hero of the day. Reminds me of something I read years ago; fits him so well today…

…and to get there is an incredible journey.

The athlete delays marriage, 

he hocks his car,

he lives in dormitories,

soaked in sweat,

his legs ache as if amputated

but there is still 30 kilometers to run;

every single day the demons of pain & fatigue come visiting,

telling him to forget it.

And sometimes,

even God forgets to look his way.”

 del Potro, though God did forget to look your way, you are the man of the day. Thanks for your true sportsmanship…

Guys, you need a lesson in grit and 100% determination – do catch the re-play of this match… you will understand why this blog was straight from my heart…


Photo-credit – getty images

And, Murray Stays On…

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MurrayWell, it wasn’t a great sight when I started watching today’s Wimbledon men’s quarterfinal – Andy Murray was playing unseeded Spaniard Verdasco. Keeping with this season’s tradition of lesser known players killing the Wimbledon dream of giants like Federer and Rafa, Murray had lost 2 sets back to back, and when I switched on the television set, I saw in the stand Murray’s girlfriend had tears rolling down her cheeks. I, an ardent Murray fan this summer, almost whispered to myself, “Well, what’s really wrong with this day?”

There are days when you feel really low – down; barely holding enough not to go out, just as yet. With two sets down, this much loved Brit tennis player was certainly not in high spirits. But he wasn’t out as yet, I told myself…

And then he came back from behind into the game. And came back with a bang, winning the next 3 straight sets, finally winning the match. It was quite an emotional match and he held his nerve.

Something inside me too won today with his victory. The day, finally, seemed to come to a good end. I am sure different kind of tears are rolling down the cheeks of Murray’s girl post match.

As they say, everything comes if a man will only wait. With Murray coming back to the road of victory via mountains in this match, I am optimistic that very soon, England’s wait of over 70 years of an Englishman winning the coveted Wimbledon trophy will come to a happy end.

Hopes are alive, they are. I am looking forward to a good day, a good game of life…

Written by RRGwrites

July 4, 2013 at 12:19 AM

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