RRGwrites

On life…and learning

Posts Tagged ‘Rishi Raj Gupta

Motorcycle Diaries… Road to Ladakh… The Trip Is Ready!

with one comment

Road to Leh Blog

Trip is ready! June-July 2016… anyone joining 🙂 ?

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…

Why Are You Motivated To Lead?

leave a comment »

Why Are You Motivated To Lead

In one of my most read blogs – ‘‘Why Should Anyone Be Led By You’, I asked 12 questions to all leaders and leadership-aspirants – the first one being – “Why do I want to be a leader?”

Over the years, several of my readers, team-mates, leaders I met and trained during leadership workshops have attempted answering these 12 questions. Many of these admitted to me, that they haven’t ever really asked themselves – “Why Am I Motivated to Lead?” In my opinion, (much to the contrary and popular one), everyone is motivated. There is nothing called a not-motivated person. However, the moot question is not IF a person is motivated, but WHY a person is motivated…

More so pertinent a question, if you are a leader…

Hence, as a leader, don’t you want to answer this – Why Am I Motivated to Lead?

If you think this is a right question to ask, do attempt answering… That will be an interesting self-reflection in your leadership journey.

What If We Fail…

with 2 comments

India Wold Cup Team

India meets Australia tomorrow – the semi-final of ICC World Cup 2015. The game we all have been waiting for… a game in which billions of Indians all over the world don’t want Dhoni and men to fail… a game, where victory is being treated like a need, where failure isn’t an option.

I am feeling quite restless. What if we fail tomorrow? What if the journey of the Indian team’s world cup ends tomorrow? The same team, which fared extremely poorly down under in last 4 months and which almost has risen like a Phoenix in last 7 matches of this tournament. What if they lose now…

In this hour of my restlessness, I find solace and hope in the words of a very old advertisement I had read. It was by Bajaj Auto, and if I recall right, was a campaign for the motorcycle brand ‘Bajaj Caliber.’ I read it long, long ago, loved it and noted it in my diary. It has, since then, helped me sail through some of my own tough moments;

What are we going to do when we fail?

When we find the wrong kind of tears,

running down our cheeks.

When we look at our Gods

and see mortals instead.

When the sports page

reads like an obituary.

When we know all others are

celebrating our grief.

What are we going to do when we fail?

We’re going to look up from our toes.

And into the sun. Without flinching.

We’re going to walk out there alone.

Again.

Grit our teeth.

Take guard.

And wait for the next ball.

Like a true fan, I too would love India to win tomorrow. But more than that, I would love the game of cricket to win, the game to stay belonged to the gentlemen, where we are allowed to fail at time… and not crucified for it.

गाँधी की मूरत और भगत सिंह के विचार – क्या चुनेंगे आप?

with one comment

Gandhi at London Square

कुछ दिनों से गाँधीजी की प्रतिमा की बड़ी चर्चा है – वो जो लंदन के पार्लियामेंट स्क्वायर पर ब्रिटिश सरकार ने लगाई है। चर्चा का मौजूं कुछ यों है कि क्या मूर्ति वास्तव में गाँधी बाबा के शक्लो-सूरत की है, या बहु-प्रसिद्ध और सफ़ल फ़िल्मकार सर बेन किंग्सले के जैसी दिखती है, वही जिन्होंने ‘गाँधी’ फिल्म में बापू की भूमिका निभायी थी।

मैं स्तब्ध सा हूँ। आज वास्तविक शहीद दिवस है, २३ मार्च, और हमारे चिंतन का विषय इतना बुतपरस्त और इतना पथरीला है…

दो साल पहले मैंने यह लेख लिखा था,  आज ही के दिन… कुछ भी नहीं बदला शायद…

‘विचारों की सान पर…’

आज ‘असली शहीद दिवस’ है – बस हम जानते नहीं हैं।

शहीद शिवराम राजगुरु, शहीद सुखदेव थापर और शहीद सरदार भगत सिंह 23 मार्च 1931 को अपना बलिदान दे कर जा चुके हैं। देश स्वतंत्र भी है, शायद। कम से कम किसी दूसरे देश का गुलाम नहीं है, बाकी तरह की गुलामियत के बारे में नहीं कहता।

भगत सिंह ने जीवन के कुल 23 वर्ष ही पूरे किये। जितना ज्यादा मैं जानता-पढ़ता हूँ उनके बारे में, मेरा आश्चर्य बढ़ता जाता है कि इस छोटी सी उम्र में उनके सोचने-समझने की क्षमता कितनी जागृत और परिपक्व थी। क्या आप जानते हैं उनके विचार और लड़ाई सिर्फ ब्रिटिश साम्राज्य के खिलाफ ही नहीं थी; सामाजिक पिछड़ेपन, साम्प्रदायिकता, अकर्मण्यता और विचारों के क्षेत्र में अन्धविश्वास के विरुद्ध भी उनकी लड़ाई थी? शायद आज का युवक ये जानता ही नहीं। और ऐसा क्यों न हो, जब हमारी अपनी ‘स्वतंत्र’ सरकारों ने ही हमारे क्रांतिकारियों के विचारों को, उनकी याद को, महज एक ‘धन्यवाद्’ का रूप दे रखा है जो आज के दिन की तरह समाचार-पत्रों में एक-चौथाई पेज में छपता है, बस।

भगत सिंह के बारे में बात करते हुए एक जगह ‘शहीद भगत सिंह शोध समिति’ के डॉ. जगमोहन सिंह और डॉ. चमन लाल ने लिखा है (पुस्तक: ‘भगतसिंह और उनके साथियों के दस्तावेज’) –

“…आज सबसे बड़ी ज़रूरत इस बात की है कि शहीद भगत सिंह के मूल वैचारिक तत्त्व को जाना व समझा जाये। यह पहचानने की ज़रूरत है कि वे कौन से सिद्धान्त थे, कौन से तरीके थे और कौन से गुण थे, जिससे भगत सिंह आत्म-बलिदान करनेवालों में सबसे ऊँचे स्थान के अधिकारी बने? वे कौन सी परिस्थितियाँ थीं, जिन्होंने भगत सिंह को भारतीय चेतना का ऐसा अन्श बनाया कि एक ओर तमिलनाडु में उन पर कविताएँ लिखी जाती हैं तो दूसरी ओर भोजपुर में होली के गीत में ‘भगत सिंह की याद में अँचरिया भीग जाती है।’ लेकिन ऐतिहासिक दुखान्त यह भी घटता है कि जब वर्तमान की समस्याओं का सामना करने के लिए हम अपने अतीत से उदाहरण खोजते हैं तो अतीत के सारतत्व को नहीं, उसके रूप को अपनाने की कोशिश करते हैं, जैसा कि भगत सिंह व उनके साथियों के साथ सरकारी और कुछ अन्य प्रचार-माध्यमों ने किया है।”

लेखकगण आगे लिखते हैं,

“शहीद भगत सिंह न सिर्फ वीरता, साहस, देशभक्ति, दृढ़ता और आत्मा-बलिदान के गुणों में सर्वोत्तम उदाहरण हैं, जैसा कि आज तक इस देश के लोगो को बताया-समझाया गया है, वरन वे अपने लक्ष्य के प्रति स्पष्टता, वैज्ञानिक-ऐतिहासिक दृष्टिकोण से सामाजिक समस्याओं के विश्लेषण की क्षमता वाले अद्भुत बौद्धिक क्रांतिकारी व्यक्तित्व के प्रतिरूप भी थे, जिसे जाने या अनजाने आज तक लोगो से छिपाया गया है।”

मैं समझता हूँ कि यह सच बात है कि हमारी सरकारों ने भगत सिंह और अन्य साथी क्रांतिकारियों के विचारों की पूर्णता को जन-मानस के सामने लाने का कार्य नहीं किया है। पर क्या ये भी सच नहीं है कि देश के नागरिकों ने, युवा-समाज ने भी अपनी ओर से ईमानदार कोशिश ही नहीं की है जानने की? क्या आज भी हम भगत सिंह का सिर्फ क्रांतिकारी स्वरुप नहीं जानते? और क्या हमने कोशिश की है कि हम भगत सिंह के बौद्धिक और वैचारिक स्वरुप को जान पाएं और उनसे सीखें?

कई बार सुनता हूँ कि किस प्रकार से देश में नेतृत्व का अभाव है, ज्ञान का तो और भी ज्यादा। शिकायत है कि नेता नहीं मिलते। और सिर्फ राजनीति की बात नहीं हो रही यहाँ पे, कार्य-क्षेत्र में तो नेतृत्व-क्षमता के अभाव का रोना लगभग रोज़ ही सुनता हूँ। आप भी शायद मानेंगे। पर फिर पूछने की इच्छा होती है कि क्या हम वास्तव में सीख रहे हैं पुराने नेतृत्व से, विचारों से? वो नेतृत्व और विचार जो सिर्फ समय के हिसाब के पुराने होंगे, पर परिपेक्ष्य, उपयोगिता और प्रासंगिकता के हिसाब से बेहद कारगर हैं आज…

“स्वतंत्रता का पौधा शहीदों के रक्त से फलता है”, भगत सिंह ने लिखा था। शहीद राजगुरु, शहीद सुखदेव और शहीद सरदार भगत सिंह के विचारों व कर्मों से रोपित और रक्त से संचित आज ये पौधा भले ही पेड़ बन गया हो, मीठे फ़लों से बहुत दूर है।

आओ दोस्तों, आज शहीदी दिवस पर ये प्रण लें कि जानना शुरू करेंगे उन सिद्धांतो को, उन विचारों को, जिन्होंने एक 23-वर्षीय युवक भगत को ‘शहीद सरदार भगत सिंह’ बनाया। शायद ये हमारे भी कुछ काम आ जायें…

___________

मैंने लंदन स्क्वायर पर स्थापित गाँधी-मूर्ती का एक चित्र देखा… कुछ चिंतामग्न प्रतीत होते हैं वो। क्या हम भी चिंतन करेंगे कुछ आज? बताइएगा…

Written by RRGwrites

March 23, 2015 at 12:09 AM

Abhinav Bindra’s Insane Pursuit of Perfection

leave a comment »

Abhinav Bindra

As Abhinav Bindra, India’s Olympic gold-medalist retired from professional shooting career today, Ashish Magotra of the Firstpost wrote,

“Professionalism and a bloody-mindedness are prerequisites as is perhaps a certain brand of insanity; insanity simply because you won’t survive… the best in the world without that.”

So true! These are golden words for any professional.

Thought of sharing this brilliant article with you… read on to know more about this insane and inspiring pursuit of perfection…

‘Abhinav Bindra’s search for perfection should inspire all Indian athletes’

It Is Time For Leadership

with 3 comments

Time for LeadershipSometimes, in the normal course of the day, one gets to hear most basic and yet, most profound statements. Sharing something similar that I heard last week.

Sitting in a sales-team meeting of senior managers, I heard a lot of them mentioning about challenging external business environment and toughening regulatory controls. In one voice, almost everyone opined that it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage the pressures of performing amidst the changing, rather non-favourable conditions of doing business.

Mood was palpably intense, I could sense.

One senior manager, who was sitting quietly in the room till now, remarked,

“Things are indeed difficult. And that’s why, this is the time for leadership!”

What are profound statement! Leadership simplified!

Wherever there is chaos, adversity, challenges, you need leadership to come forward, to pave way, to show how it done, so face the music and to lead by example.

Don’t you agree?

__________________________________________

Image-credit: people-onthego.com

Written by RRGwrites

September 18, 2014 at 2:03 PM

How To Lose Your Recently Hired Top Talent?

with 7 comments

Losing You Top Talent

You have hired top talent? Want to build a star team?

But, what if you lose them soon?

One of the toughest challenges organizations face in today’s time is that of losing key talent; it comes at a premium and it hurts even more when your recently hired or promoted top talent leaves you. However, if you are not watchful of certain sure-shot holes in their engagement at work from early days on, you may end up losing them sooner than you could think, that too without even realizing it sometimes. And that may happen irrespective of the career-levels they belong to. Here is how:

  1. You and/or the Company do not treat them with respect. By respect, I don’t mean you are supposed to bow down to them everyday! But surely, if you do not value their talent, capabilities and experience, they will get disoriented after a point in time and become disengaged. Not giving autonomy as desired or assured, quagmiring them in bureaucratic hurdles, not involving them in key decisions or simply not keeping them duly informed about the crucial events, activities and/or plans –  it will send a signal that you or your organization do not know how to utilize such talent. Well, that’s the start, of losing them!
  2. You ask them to prove themselves, without creating necessary support for them. Well, most often than not, we all know that management jobs are all about managing increasing degrees of ambiguity. However, that certainly won’t cover up for the need of support even the top performers would need, whether hired from outside or promoted to higher or moved to newer roles from within. How often you’d hear stories about disengagement with work due to lack of support – whether resources like team or infrastructure or the lack of willingness from those around to get such talent to seamlessly settle down. It builds the frustrations over a period of time. Loss of talent, thereafter, is only a matter of time…
  3. You put them under a weak boss. Now, that’s surely a killer. A weak boss is one who is definite recipe for a sooner-than-later-disengaged and fast-disappearing top talent. No one wants to work with a manager who wants to please everyone, doesn’t take a call, appears either lost or struggling, and doesn’t stand up for his people. Plus, hiring top talent is easy, keeping such a bunch of individuals engaged as a team is a far bigger task. A leader has to work double shift in ensuring he is on top of people dynamics, manage conflicting views and yet, do not allow negativity to seep in. Wherever these things don’t exist – top talent too doesn’t exit for long!
  4. Too much uncertainty around the goals. If you hear – “Let’s do this as a top priority”, and then find definition of priority changing every month – this talent is surely not going to bear it for long. Top talent, as desired, is often referred to as result-oriented and process driven individuals, who bring a lot of method to the madness – to quote the proverbial management sutra. Yet, shifting goals and priorities aren’t a best way of engaging with them. Moreover, it alienates the teams below too, who find themselves working on difference tasks every other day, without the earlier ideas taking any concrete shape.
  5. You and your Company does not listen to them. Another definitive recipe of losing star performers. You hired them for their skills, talent and experience. And yet, you either do not listen to their views, or ignore their ideas. And I am not referring to simply hearing them out. We all would agree that not recognizing the performance and/or efforts is a big derailer for engagement for any employee. However, in my experience, not listening to your top talent is a bigger trouble-maker. When such talent sees little patience in the organization to listen to an outsider’s view or an expert’s opinion or worse, even ridicule their thoughts… be prepared for a replacement hiring soon!

As an HR professional, I meet a lot of people on a daily basis; I listen to them, understand their challenges, and sometimes, I just meet them to give them an opportunity to talk freely. I meet people who have recently joined, people who have spent six months or less and people who have spent decades. I meet them all! Yet, my most important leanings have come from my interactions with employees who leave within 6-12 months of joining the company. A great boss I worked with taught me a wonderful lesson – “an employee’s emotions are purest on two occasions – firstly, when he joins the company and then again, when he is about to leave it.” Such employees teach me a lot, really! Above 5 pointers rank amongst the top reasons when I see star performers, who have recently joined, become disengaged and leave the organization. Same can be said of the top talent that was moved to new or higher roles and do not find it engaging.

That is my experience and I have found it helpful to manage the newly inducted top talent; I just watch out for the above five gaps. Do share yours. Is there something you would want to add to the list?

_______________________________________________

Image-credit: onthe-wayout.com

%d bloggers like this: