Sunday, March 16, 2008

In search of the Perfect Tea

I am happy today. I woke up at 4.45 am to attend a 'Art of Living' crash-course at 5.30 am. Crash course, because, it was a 3 day program unlike the usual extensive ones. The special feature of this program was the presence of Sri Sri Ravishankar, the founder and the driving force behind 'Art of Living'. The program focused on Meditation and Pranayam techniques primarily, and not Sudarshan Kriya for which 'Art of Living' is recognized.

I think over 10,000 people must have attended the event. Seen below, is Sri Sri Ravishankar connecting with the crowd. (click on it for a larger version)

Soon after it ended at 7.30 am (sharp), I decided to have tea at the most famous tea-stall in Nashik for the first time since my arrival in the city 14 yrs ago! The reason for my having tea some place outside home is, because I am home alone at present and I become 'Sloth Incarnated' during such times. To my dissatisfaction, this most-famous tea stall was closed on a Sunday morning!

I was most dissatisfied because this temporary incarnation of sloth would have to find another tea stall. What a pain.

As I ventured to locate other tea-stalls in the vicinity, I was disappointed at every juncture. (Hmm, so the whole process was created to de-sloth me). Anyways, in my search for the perfect tea, I traveled to places which were filled with emptiness. Hardly anybody on the street. I guess, other people with this temporary-sloth disorder must be enjoying their state, neatly on their warm beds.

So finally, while I was on the verge of giving up the perfect tea, I had an 'aroma' of hope. Unbelievable. Fresh aroma of tea. Just some distance away, I saw a customer-driven and energetic tea-walla distributing tea to his customers. (Thank you, God!)

I cherished every sip of the tea and thanked the tea-walla for being present at the right moment for this sloth. The result of this journey was flavored and aromatic. It was time for me to rush back home and enjoy other sloth-moments.

So may be I didn't get the tea at the perfect tea stall, but this journey did de-sloth me and finally gave me the perfect tea at not-so-perfect tea stall! I realized that sometimes, it is more important to travel than to arrive!

Have a happy Sunday!! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some random thoughts about some random things

Presently, there are a billion thoughts hovering around in my mind. Mostly concerned with Vision, Focus, Productivity, Efficiency, Work Approach, Results, Performance, Improvement, Quality, Targets, 'the big picture', Measurement, 'customer delight', etc.

All of these aspects have added to become a binomial equation of the highest order. Too many variables, too many parameters; yet the outcome, possibly, just one. Growth.

What I'm currently caught up with is: Agreed, that I have a binomial equation of the highest order. That there are umpteen variables. That the the outcome is also defined. But, to crack the equation that would result in 'Growth', I'm trying to find out something that is so 'simple', yet 'pivotal' to the success of this equation. Everything else hangs aroung this pivot. That 'pivot' I'm trying to find.

We're talking about finding one simple 'lever' which just solves the entire equation in a jiffy. I'm thinking hard to find this 'lever' in a set of systems and processes devised by us.

May be the solution is too familiar for us to notice. May be it is so obvious that we can't even see it. Need a fresh perspective towards the entire problem. A new direction. A new angle. A new paradigm.

What is the key to high 'customer satisfaction'? Even if we see 'the big picture', how do we regulate work through a set of procedures and systems designed by us, keeping in mind the customer expectation levels have radically evolved over the period of time? They've radically evolved and not radically changed. Hmm. May this is the 'connection'.

Earlier, if the customer wanted something in 10 days with X level of quality; now, he needs it in 2 days with 10X level of quality. So, what is driving this change?
a. Customer perception about the product? or
b. Fear that the same customer may visit some other competitor? or
c. The fact that the customer has become more aware and resourceful than before? or
(there could be more options, but these immediately strike me)

In this 'customer evolution' phase, what all need to change?
1. Recognition that customers have evolved.
2. Systems and processes
3. Fundamental perception of the company about the customer
4. Competition
5. Speed of work / execution
(these strike me right now)

This is where suddenly, I recollect something, which was possibly said by Steven Covey: "It does not matter how hard you're climbing up the ladder; if the ladder itself is against the wrong wall, your efforts are futile"

Even if we identify the right wall and the right ladder, the pace at which we climb the ladder and how smartly we climb the ladder, governs how fast we reach the customer waiting for us at the end of the ladder. Why? Simple, there are 100 other ladders like you wanting to reach the same customer?

Another question that strikes me is: Does a system have to be person dependent or process dependent? I realize and accept, from the bottom of my heart that, it has to process dependent. But, what happens when the person who's designed those processes is the key? What happens if he's not available for a substantial period of time? (I may be sounding silly, but, these are just some random thoughts expressed without cutting down the matter)

Yes, I know that I need help. I need to laterally think a way to get me out of this. And I need to get out of it very soon. The bloggers, marketing consultants, think tanks, even, passersby are invited to share their opinions / thoughts / feedback with me.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Excitement Cost

What does it take to get excited to work? What cost would you spend to keep yourself excited? Here's something that's randomly come to my mind:

What excites you to work? I've known this for a while that work excites me to work more. These days I just need excuses to work. Even on a Sunday, I'd just slip out of home and go to office to work. I think I am getting possessive about my work. I can't see myself not working.

I don't know the word which describes the next level of workaholism. But I think I've reached there. Is there something called 'work worms'?

Putting aside the family and social circle of friends, I prefer to work. A case to ponder deeply and act. A-S-A-P.

This got me thinking. Earlier it was the inspiration that drove me towards doing more work. Inspiration drove me and excited me to become more creative. Well, that inspiration and creativity is still there, which channels itself in other mediums, like poetry; but, it has reduced. Why I'm saying this is because, the frequency of writing poems has drastically reduced. Its work and more work.

I'll say it again: Inspiration drove me and excited me to become more creative. 3 words. Inspiration, Excitement and Creativity.

These days as I become more work-centric and target-driven, I've to work harder at getting myself inspired to get necessary 'fuel' to stimulate creativity. Bad sign, isn't it?

I have a passion for writing and learning languages. But sadly, I'm unable to do any of those. Yes, its work and more work. What's happened to you, pal?

The one thing that makes me work hard (er!) is the visible impact of what I work on in the business. My job is stay in control of the day-to-day activities while strategically seeing and acting if the company is heading in the direction it's supposed to head. The mentoring part I find most exciting. Just fyi, The people I mentor have over 10-25 yrs industry experience. Yes, it is a very fulfilling experience.

Oops. I just realized that I've drifted from the topic I initially started with. 'Excitement Cost' is something you need to incur to get yourself excited. Earlier, this EC was relatively lesser, I got inspiration from Nature, Relational Dynamics, Music, Gaping Void, Glasbergen, Driving, Astrophysics, etc.

These days, as I'm unable to find time to be in the vicinity of any of these, the EC is all set to increase. It is Movies, McDs, Play Stations, New Bike, etc that seems to be gaining popularity in my mind.

Gotta get back to those old ways of getting in a new shape. EC's gotta come down now. Set a deadline, Force. Act now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Fremdsprache - ein entfernter Traum

Ich lernt eine Fremdsprache. Then it stopped. I can't write or read any more German than what's written here. What a pity. The journey that started with a high-powered drive, met with a screeching end.

Agreed, that I am too busy to even think beyond my daily schedule. But therein lies the problem. It is said that busy people have a time for everything (I know I ain't no best 'xample of eet.) I need to define my work well so that I have time for everything. My plan is to learn German, French and Spanish. This is not including the regional languages like Bengali and Gujarati. (Wow! So much to do and I am just excuses)

Will write more later... hang on...

>> Guten Nacht! (good night!)...