RRGwrites

On life…and learning

Posts Tagged ‘Learning from Life

This New Year, Let’s Find God Within Us All…

with one comment

imageFifteen long years ago, around the same year-end time, I had read this heart-touching story. I was deeply moved; and as a habit, noted it down in my diary. As a young lad, this story left a deep impression upon me at the time and since then, I start my each new year reminiscing it.

This year, as all of us get ready to usher the new year in, I am sharing this piece with you: 

One cold evening during the holiday season, a little boy about six or seven was standing out in front of a store window. The little child had no shoes and his clothes were mere rags. A young woman passing by saw the little boy and could read the longing in his pale blue eyes. She took the child by the hand and led him into the store. There she bought him some new shoes and a complete suit of warm clothing.

They came back outside into the street and the woman said to the child, “Now, you can go and have a very happy holiday.”

The little boy looked up at her and asked, “Are you God, Ma’am?”

She smiled at him and replied, “No, son. I am just one of His children.”

The little boy then said, “I knew you had to be some relation.”

Touching, isn’t it? This story helped me stay more human year on year, welcoming the new year on a nicer note… I wish you all a very happy new year 2017; hope that you find your reasons and means to show you are the chosen one by the Lord Almighty to play His children, same way as the young lady in the story.

God bless you all…

Advertisements

Written by RRGwrites

December 30, 2016 at 7:45 PM

शहीदों के विचार…

leave a comment »

bhagat_singh_1929_140x190आज शहीद सरदार भगत सिंह का 110वां जन्मदिवस है – एक तरीक़े से, आज शहीद उत्सव है।

मैं आपसे शहीद भगत सिंह का उनके अंतिम समय का एक कथन
बाँटना चाहता हूँ; ना जाने क्यों आज मुझे यह बहुत याद आ रहा है –

“ऊषा काल के दीपक की लौ की भांति बुझा चाहता हूँ। इससे क्या हानि है जो ये मुट्ठी भर राख विनष्ट की जाती है। मेरे विचार विद्युत की भांति आलोकित होते रहेंगे…”

कितना गंभीर और निश्छल, परन्तु सत्य वचन है; और इतिहास इस बात का साक्षी है कि उनके विचार आज भी हमें आलोकित करते है…

आईये, आज सोचें कि क्या हमारे आचरण में, विचारों में इतना तेज है कि वो हमारे जाने के बाद भी याद किये जायेंगे और लोग उनका अनुसरण करेंगे?

Written by RRGwrites

September 27, 2016 at 11:01 AM

What I Learnt From My ‘Not-So-Great’ Bosses…

with 7 comments

Lessons Learned RRGwrites

We all love to talk about our Bosses, don’t we? And Lord knows, a minority of of us would regard our bosses as good leaders. When I wrote my earlier blog – ‘What My Great Bosses Taught Me’ – many of the readers asked me, “Hey, what about the bad bosses?”

So here it is…

The matter of fact is, I never had a really bad boss. Truly! That said, I have had my fair share of bad apples – a very insecure boss, another one who was ill-mannered and one who was simply incompetent for his job. However, none of them were awful enough for me to either loather or run away from them. In fact, I performed better under a couple of them, and was more successful under one of the tougher nuts.

There are many things I learnt from my great managers. The earlier blog enlists those. However, I learnt lot many more things from my, should I say, not-so-great bosses. A learning that proved invaluable in my later years; both, as a professional and as a people leader. Some of them were very simple, practical things and few were too profound a learning…

They are:

  1. Don’t reply to an unfavourable email in a hurry; wait till evening at least. That helps my hyper-reaction settle down and choice of words become calmer!
  2. You may be really intelligent and smart and all that, no point over-fighting your peers – functional or cross-functional. Even though they may not be able to score a point over you, they will end up despising you – something that won’t do good to the professional image in later years. From this boss, I learnt the value of building a truly well-knit peer-group, which may not be my besties, but wouldn’t despise me either.
  3. No one comes to work to do a bad job. No one joins office thinking they will give their worst that day. Keeping this in mind made me practice empathy and statesmanship, even when I was right and others were grossly wrong.
  4. Harsh language never helped the cause. If you are younger and more successful than your peers, you need to not oversell it. Success is a lousy teacher and it encourages arrogant behaviour and as rash tongue. Worse, even if you are right in what you say, how you say that will be picked, and surely used against you. Here, I learnt to be firm, yet stay polite. A learning that has held me in good stead since then.
  5. I learnt the craft of managing very senior management employees from one of my most difficult bosses. He was really good at this. I learnt the art of polite persistence, presentation skills to a senior audience group as well as how to handle tough questions from them, specifically those whose answer I didn’t know!
  6. Never work for a powerless boss. This is a great life/career-saving tip I received from one such a boss. I have written in detail about this learning here
  7. One must not feel insecure when your subordinate’s stars are shining brighter than yours. I once had a very insecure manager, who, despite being extremely competent functionally, was extremely inhibited in front of smarter juniors. He would simply feel threatened! My learning was a life-long one; that the key to success for any deputy is to do such good work that his boss gets promoted and recommends him for taking his spot! I have written in detail about this learning here…

YUVA – For The Young India…

leave a comment »

Youth.jpg-large

Written by RRGwrites

January 11, 2016 at 11:51 AM

स्याही का रंग…

leave a comment »

Ink RRGwritesआजकल मैं बड़ा विचलित हूँ। गाय को ‘माँ’ कहने वाले, एक-दूसरे की माँओं को गाली दे रहे हैं। दूसरी तरफ, मज़हबी हाशिये की तुच्छ राजनीति करने वाले कुछ अहमक़ सियासतदां जानते-बूझते इस जम्हूरियत में छेद करके UN जाना चाह रहे हैं और यह जता रहे हैं कि कैसे इक ख़ास किस्म के गोश्त के टुकड़े की भूख़ पूरे देश के भूखे मरते आवाम से बड़ी है। कहीं तो स्याही का रंग इतना वीभत्स हो चला है कि वो लिखने के लिए नहीं, मुँह काले करने के काम आ रही है, ऐसे कि भगवे रंग के हिमायती भी भगवा छोड़ इस काले रंग के मुरीद हो चले हैं। कौन भारतीय हिंदुस्तान में रहेगा और कौन पाकिस्तान जाये, ये बताने वाले कितने सारे हो गए हैं। दूसरी ओर, स्याही के सिकंदर लिख कर विरोध ना जता कर, सरकारी और गैर-सरकारी पुरस्कार वापस कर के जता रहे हैं। जानवरों की ऱक्षा करने के लिए टीवी चैनलों पर इतनी चिंता बिखरी हुयी है कि दिल्ली महानगर में होते मासूमों के बढ़ते दुराचारों की भयावह चीखें नक्कारखाने में बजती तूतियों के समान प्रतीत होती दीखती हैं।

इतनी नकारात्मकता फैली है… अजब हड़बोंग मचा है चारो ओर.… संस्कृति और धर्म के नाम पर। गाय के नाम पर, सारे-के-सारे बछिया के ताऊ, यानी बैल, हुए जा रहे हैं। सुर्खियां और वोट बटोरने के लिए धर्म का बाजार गर्म है।

हिंदी भाषा के महान लेखक, रामधारी सिंह दिनकर ने एक जगह कहा है:

“संस्कृति ज़िन्दगी का एक तरीका है और ये तरीका सदियों से जमा होकर उस समाज में छाया रहता है, जिसमे हम जन्म लेते हैं।”

मैं शहरे-अवध लखनऊ की गंगा-जमुनी संस्कृति का बाशिंदा हूँ; बचपन से मेरे मित्र सभी धर्मों के थे, आज भी हैं। मिशनरी स्कूल में हिन्दू और मुस्लिम दोनों पढ़ते थे, हम अपने सिख दोस्तों के साथ गुरूद्वारे जाते और जब भी मौका मिले, बंगाली रसगुल्ले नाक डुबो-डुबो कर खाते। जब कभी हम आपसे में लड़ते-भिड़ते, वो मजहबी रंग न लेकर दो छोरो की आपसी लड़ाई मानी जाती थी। होली और ईद, दोनों पर खुश होना हमने सीखा। मंगलवार को हिन्दू दोस्त गोश्त नहीं खाते, इस वजह से हमारे मुस्लिम दोस्त-यार ख़ुशी और पूरे मन से शाकाहारी खाना खा लेते थे, ना कि मज़हबी आज़ादी के नाम पर ‘बीफ पार्टियां’ आयोजित करते। दीवाली पर खील-बताशों के माफ़िक ईद पर सिवईंयां मैं आज भी खोजता-लाता हूँ। मेरे लिए ये ज़िन्दगी जीने का तरीका, मेरी संस्कृति है। हमारे मरहूम वालिद साहब कहा करते थे, “जो धारण करने योग्य है, वही धर्म है।” ये सीख बहुत बचपन से मेरे साथ रही। तब तो, कम-स-कम मेरे बचपन के दिनों में, हिन्दू अगले और मुस्लिम पिछड़े या मुस्लिम आगे और हिन्दू पीछे – ऐसा नहीं होता देखा मैंने।

इस मज़हबी गैर-रवादारी और राजनीतिक असहिषुणता ने सारे देश में एक बेचैन कर देने वाली मानसिकता पैदा कर दी हैं। और वो काफी हद तक हमें बाँटने में सफल होती भी दीखती है!

पर क्यों?

Written by RRGwrites

October 19, 2015 at 7:01 PM

How I Learnt A Crucial Leadership Lesson From My Garden

with 4 comments

Leadership Lessons RRGwrites.jpg

While interacting with my gardener today, I realized an invaluable lesson in people leadership and employee engagement. A lesson, that originates from a mistake I made early this summer…

Those of you who know me well are aware that I am gardener at heart.

Having spent my childhood in the lush and greener surroundings of a cantonment, I developed a green thumb from very early on. Baba, my late father, was the one who taught me the nuances of nurturing a sapling. He and I would spend hours every Sunday, attending to our plants. Lot of heart and effort went into what I know now of gardening.

In the concrete world of the Millennium City – Gurgaon, I am one of the lucky ones to have a sizable garden space in my home. I built this green space from the scratch; every day, I feel a sense a fulfillment when I stand there. On weekends, you’d mostly find me working there in a corner, personally managing the growth and upkeep of each of the plants. Each blooming flower and reaping fruit is a resultant of my love and labour for my garden.

Looks like I am losing track. What was my mistake and what is the leadership lesson learnt?

Let me introduce you to CB, my ex-gardener. He was my key aide in building and nurturing this garden. CB was a trusted, old hand for over 7 years. He was extremely dedicated, hard-working and polite. Though I was aware that he didn’t possess the deeper skills of gardening, his efforts and willingness to work with the family ensured better growing plants, blooming flowers and a neat-&-clean garden area. He was also loyal and smart enough to save me money – he’d bring smaller saplings from the greener sidelines of the colony, painstakingly make cuttings of otherwise expensive plants and make my garden look nicer, without burning a whole in my pocket. He would also sit and listen to my rantings of how knowledgeable I was about gardening and amuse me. High on personal integrity – he was a trusted family aide and we would not think twice before leaving him in charge of the home. In that role, he was also helpful as a Man-Friday in all family events; often running small errands, without much ado.

One fateful day, something happened that made me lose my cool, and how!

Around the onset of last summer, I bought hundreds of periwinkle flower saplings. Baba used to love this flower; every year, I would grow them in large parts of the garden. Continuing the tradition, I decided to cultivate them this summer too, expecting the entire garden to bloom within a month. Just a day after we planted these saplings, the entire family traveled out of station. As always the responsibility of tending to the garden was with CB.

I came back after a week, and to my utter dismay, found most of the saplings dried out – dead… Of course, they weren’t watered for days…

CB was summoned. I gave him a verbal lashing; no holds barred. He, and another maid, who shared this responsibility – both had erroneously assumed that the other would have watered the plants. Result: no one did either water or check. Delhi’s on-setting scorching summer heat dried out nearly all the saplings.

Seeing this damage, my emotions took better of me. As I continued to lose my cool, he stood folded his hands in front of me. CB did try to explain. I didn’t pay any heed; I was furious. And as they say, in such temper, you only say words that you regret later.

As a result, CB, my loyal aide for years, was heart-broken to hear my overtly tough words. He was visibly upset being scolded in front of the entire household. And despite the fact that realized my overstepping on the heat and calming down soon after, CB decided to move on. He moved back to his hometown and didn’t come back. Even if he did return to Gurgaon, I didn’t see him… For many days, I rued this loss. All others were upset too at home. My mother didn’t say much, though I know she wasn’t too happy either with my outburst. My ‘better-half’ didn’t opine much either, but I knew that she wasn’t too happy knowing this incident… Other servants too didn’t like it, I know… I too was feeling apologetic…

I waited for a few months and tried to trace him down; no avail. I engaged another gardener…

Working for last 8 months, my new gardener too is a good man. He knows the craft and has gardening skills that CB didn’t. He too works fine

And only just fine… my new gardener works by the clock. He cribs more often. He demanded and got a higher salary. He expects me not to correct him at all, should I see things not going right. I am still not sure of his personal integrity, albeit I haven’t experienced otherwise as yet. He hasn’t yet become a trusted family man-Friday, let alone my mother and wife entrusting him with the home errands or the family events. Does he think and act in my best interest each time, I am not sure. He works hard and yet, takes a clinical approach – not with interest and passion to make the garden look its best. He doesn’t save me money. He knows a lot, much more than CB, but doesn’t bring the passion and politeness…

I miss CB every time when I interact with my new gardener. The garden still looks nice and clean, but not spotless. Flowers still bloom, but they aren’t planted with the heart… No wonder I don’t see the same view, despite all my own individual efforts…

This morning, when we were planting the winter saplings, I found my new gardener again cribbing about the amount of work it entailed… I didn’t stop myself from giving him a sermon on work-ethics. He didn’t seem impressed; I could see it… And I surely didn’t want him feeling disengaged. Hence, to bring him around, I handed him a 100 rupee note as an added incentive… Then only I found him smiling. Something, that CB never expected…

Leadership lesson learnt for life.

Think of my garden as an organization, myself as a leader or the promoter and CB as a trusted & engaged employee. Most often then not, organizations lose good talent because of bad managers or even when good managers lose it on small mistakes. CB did make a mistake and that did cost me money and agony. It also led to a lost opportunity and a poorly bloomed garden the whole summer. That said, he still was a trusted, long-standing employee, with only good for the organization and the leader in his heart. His record of seven years was much meaningful when compared to the loss of one summer… Losing him due to a heart-burn, purely due to a leader mismanaging a crucial conversation, was a big loss. It could have been completely avoided.

Many times, such employees will go join competition – their organizations will bloom better than yours. How often we see this in organizations? Quite often…

We can always hire a more efficient replacement. But the cost of replacement of a trusted employee & team-mate is way high; much higher than only the monetary cost. It costs the company, the leader, the team many bigger things – passion, dedication, trustworthiness, and above all, it dents the organizational culture for all other employees, new and old.

Well, I made a mistake. I dropped my pennies that day. And I realize it thrice a week now. I am sharing this life and leadership experience, which I learnt the hard way, with you all, so that you can learn from my mistake – in your gardens, and in your organisations…

If you are lucky to have a CB in your home, company and team – value him. Allow him a mistake or two. Even big ones at times. When he does make such a mistake, watch out for how you reprimand; handle the crucial conversation that may go awry and don’t lose it then. Trust me, losing CBs in today world of talent crunch can cost way too much…

Now, its your turn. What do you think? Do share your thoughts…

This New Year, Let’s Find God Within Us All…

with 2 comments

imageThirteen long years ago, around the same year-end time, I had read this heart-touching story. I was deeply moved; and as a habit, noted it down in my diary. As a young lad, this story left a deep impression upon me at the time and since then, I start my each new year reminiscing it.

This year, as all of us get ready to usher the new year in, I am sharing this piece with you: 

One cold evening during the holiday season, a little boy about six or seven was standing out in front of a store window. The little child had no shoes and his clothes were mere rags. A young woman passing by saw the little boy and could read the longing in his pale blue eyes. She took the child by the hand and led him into the store. There she bought him some new shoes and a complete suit of warm clothing.

They came back outside into the street and the woman said to the child, “Now, you can go and have a very happy holiday.”

The little boy looked up at her and asked, “Are you God, Ma’am?”

She smiled at him and replied, “No, son. I am just one of His children.”

The little boy then said, “I knew you had to be some relation.”

Touching, isn’t it? This story helped me stay more human year on year, welcoming the new year on a nicer note… I wish you all a very happy new year 2015; hope that you find your reasons and means to show you are the chosen one by the Lord Almighty to play His children, same way as the young lady in the story.

God bless you all…

Written by RRGwrites

January 1, 2015 at 12:27 AM

%d bloggers like this: