Friday, February 26, 2016

Arjuna Vs Drona & it's relevance to the Budget Session of Parliament

Respected Members of Parliament,
As you sit through the critically important budget session, let me extract a part from one of the world's greatest epics, The Mahabharata to underscore a point.
It was past mid-day on the 14th day of the Kurukshetra war. Arjuna had sworn to cut Jayadrath's head by the end of that day else kill himself. Cunning Duryodha seeing an opportunity to eliminate Arjuna, placed Jayadratha right at the back, with Karna in the center and Drona up ahead.
His strategy was simple. Only two of his generals could kill Arjuna, Drona and Karna. By putting both in Arjuna's path, either Drona or a fresh Karna facing a tired Arjuna (post a tough battle with Drona) would kill Arjuna. Even if they didn't, they would keep Arjuna engaged till sundown, thereby forcing Arjuna to keep his pledge and kill himself. 
The plan seemed to be working as Arjuna had just about reached Drona's position by mid-day. However, the All-knowing Krishna had seen through Duryodhana's plan. As Drona reached down to lift his bow and begin battle with Arjuna, Krishna whispered something to Arjuna. Drona looked up and was surprised to see an unarmed Arjuna get off his chariot and approach him on foot. Before he could collect his wits, Arjuna lay at his feet and said, "Dear Drona, you are my guru and my father. Today I have taken a pledge to kill Jayadrath and I seek your blessings and support to accomplish this." Drona was left with no other choice but to bless him and allow him the right of passage.
Similarly, Krishna brought forth Bheema to take on Karna in an epic battle, thereby diverting all the hurdles in Arjuna's path. Arjuna then in the nick of time severed Jayadrath's head, keeping his pledge, destroying the Kaurava army's morale, thus leading to its eventual defeat and destruction.
Why am I quoting this to you today? In the budget session, it is vital that policy matters with regards to economy and reforms are taken up, debated, amended (if needed) and passed. For this to happen, everyday the Parliament is in session, these matters must be given priority. However, the JNU issue has laid siege to the Parliament all of last week without a single critical bill being discussed or passed. The JNU issue is like Drona. It is important but not urgent and critical. You, honorable members must quickly find a way to circumvent it and immediately engage with the key matter of economic policy.
Like Krishna we must know how to prioritize our battles and like Arjuna we must know which is the immediate enemy we need to tackle.

Monday, February 22, 2016

#Businesslessons #CEOlessons #leadershiplessons

My two-bits as a CEO, #entrepreneur, #founder and #startup

1. Focus on  building differentiation for your company, not on the bottom-line. For a strong bottom-line is merely the outcome of a uniquely differentiated company.

2. Don't waste time looking for the perfect team. Instead understand the potential of your current team and put all your effort in optimizing their output.

3. An organizational culture is nothing but a manifestation of your own personality. Therefore your organization's culture cannot be built by posters and emails. It will be built by your own behavior.

4. Your longevity at the company's helm is equally a function of how you handle your investors as much as your handling of their investment :)

5. Your greatest enemy is isolation. The more you find yourself spending time with yourself and taking decisions based on your own gut-feel, greater is the chance of them being wrong. The greatest of leaders aren't those who come up with the best solutions always. On the other hand, they are those who know how to identify and spot the right solutions consistently from the multitude thrown up by their own team members.

6. Every leader has an expiry date. Instead of focusing on the length and time-span, work towards having an impact in that duration. That is what will be remembered.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Lessons from a Leader. #Shivaji #maharashtra #startup #enterprise #management

On Shivaji Jayanti, let's recall the lessons this great hero set by example:
1. Objective Clarity. Freedom from an oppressive rule was his singular objective and everything else was judged by its delivery to this.

2. Mother is supreme. Ma. Motherland. Mother Nature. Shivaji built his life's mission around his mother's clarion call, "Freedom". He immediately understood the scale and vision of her command. No man can err if he follows his creator's call.

3. Meritocracy. He selected his generals based on their ability not on caste or religion. 

4. Believe in the team. Shivaji developed a second level team which went on to create their own kingdoms.

5. Righteousness even with the enemy. Shivaji limited his war to an ideology. He treated the family of his enemies and prisoners with respect and great humanity. 

6. Strategy. He introduced guerilla warfare for the first time as the principal strategy because it suited the terrain he inhabited and the fact that his army was tiny.

7. Self-belief. Despite the fact that he was starting from scratch and was up against the world's largest army, he was confident of the outcome. He never let doubt creep in even during times of failure and achieved the impossible against all odds.

Shivaji is every Indian's hero. He fought oppression, built a nation, valued and cared for people, believed in merit not background. And never ever gave up.

Remember him. Be inspired by him.

#Shivaji #maharashtra #startup #enterprise #management

The Lonely Cloud Consulting. #advertising #consulting #marketing

With the courage to be solitary, 
Not all think or do differently, 
Where truth is told, 
Actions speak aloud. 
 When welcoming drops of rain, 
slake parched grounds. 
High in the sky, the lonely cloud.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Featured in @Outlook Business

Home » AD BREAK » Making the choice

Making The Choice

Mahindra's TVC is about a pain that many Indian car owners feel regularly
The honeymoon period after buying a new car is glorious. The first two years pass by with no problems, and a warranty to cushion you in case there are any. Once the warranty ends and the freebies disappear, the cracks in the relationship start to show and you become distrustful of the car manufacturer and its promises of great service throughout.
Picking up on that idea, multi-brand car servicing company, Mahindra First Choice Services has decided to promote its services through its first TVC that started airing on January 26 this year. Lasting a month, this campaign has been conceptualized by Lonely Cloud Consulting. Rajan Narayan, founder, says, “Car servicing, as a category, has never been advertised. So, for us, we had to deal with concept creation to begin with. Our research showed that users start getting weary of car manufacturers’ service after the warranty wears out. In such a scenario, the aim was to establish the honesty that the brand claims to provide as well.”  
Alok Kapoor, head, marketing and franchise development, Mahindra First Choice Services says, “Abroad, there are three types of players in the car servicing industry – dealers, independent garages and multi-brand servicing companies and their market share remains more or less equal. In India, however, due to the lack of variety, the campaign is aimed at educating the consumer. Since we have never had a campaign before, this was a way of letting potential customers know we’re here for them.” Aiming at older car owners whose cars are older than two years or have run out of the warranty period, Mahindra First Choice has found a pain point that many Indian car owners are feeling regularly. It will be interesting to see the turns the market and the brand take after this initiative.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Be a woman. #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #enterprise #woman #stress #business #startup

Today when we talk of #startups and entrepreneurs, we are bold enough to talk about the downsides of the process. We are honest about the high failure rate and the stress it entrepreneurship involves. Finally only one entrepreneur can understand the other, which is why sharing experiences amongst ourselves is so important. Here is my bit. Hope it helps.

While #entrepreneurship has wonderful success stories to aim for, an #entrepreneur’s life also has self-doubt looming over a large part of it. It’s not just the fear of failure. It’s the fear of having failed one’s duty towards one’s near and dear ones – the family. Men have been coded with the responsibility of being the family providers. Therefore the tendency of men have been to increase the sense of safety and security for the family. A regular job is the standard solution to this role. #Entrepreneurs as a group, therefore carry the burden of being seen as men who are poor at performing this core function by deliberately putting their families at risk.

#Entrepreneurs take on #business stress and then add on to that this stress of worrying about the family’s future: Do I have enough to see through this year? What if these projects don’t take off as plan? God! There’s no safety net! Look at the tuition fees for colleges, will I be able to put my kids through it? What about mortgages?

We spend nights losing sleep as we toss and turn these questions through our minds. Today research tells us that #stress is the quiet killer that accounts for most of early deaths among #entrepreneurs. An interesting statistic is that more men succumb to stress related issues than women. This is also borne out in a broader truth: women outlive men in general.

Why is it so? Is it that women aren’t put in stressful situations? Do the role of women as nurturers free them from the stress of being providers? Is it some special hormone that’s inbuilt which helps them fight stress?

The answers to all these questions I found to my surprise are interlinked. Firstly the moot question is: Are women put in as many stressful situations as men are?
The answer took me completely by surprise because it is, simply put:


And by extension, probably more so.

Why do I say this?

The answer to the question is best given by an example. From my own family. When my grandfather died, my father was just ten. There were seven other siblings in the family which lived from hand-to-mouth. Did the family disintegrate? Did the children go astray? No. On the other hand every one of them rose to become highly educated and hold powerful jobs. How did it happen?
Due to the perseverance and effort of a woman. An uneducated middle-aged woman, my grandmother. My father often tells me of their days of struggle. One’s in which he’s observed his mother selling her meagre jewellery to educate her children. But the one thing he recalls most strongly about her during those days was her calmness. She never raised her voice to anyone during those days of penury.

This story is not unique to my family. Indeed I’ve heard this from countless friends and associates. I’ve seen families lose male members yet bounce back and I’ve seen women from broken homes and collapsing marriages recover themselves and rebuild their lives and those of their children.

How do women do it? By focusing on the immediate and not worrying about the distant future.
Who has seen the distant future? Who knows what will happen next year? The intervening time may cause so many changes that your worries for the future may never occur. Moreover there’s nothing one can do about a future that’s only a hypothesis at this instant. But you can do something to affect that outcome if you act on the present.
By acting positively now you are in fact causing a favourable outcome in the future.

This is what women do unconsciously. They work hard on the present to make the most of the moment. By continuously doing so they improve the lot of themselves and their family.

It’s time we men learnt this from women. And not just that, behaved and began thinking like them in such moments of stress. There’s no point in thinking too hard about the future or advancing non-existent worries to our heads. Let’s become women at such times and mitigate stress.

The philosophers who synthesised ‘Vedanta’ or Hinduism as it is called today probably wanted us to understand this when they created the concept of God as ‘Ardnareshwar’ or half God-half Goddess. We have been imbibed with the best qualities of both our parents. While we men make a great show at displaying the machismo of our fathers, we shrink from using or displaying the survival skills of our creators, our mothers. There’s no shame in a man using his mother’s qualities. In fact, the man who adapts and adopts is the man who survives and flourishes.

So when under stress, have a mental sex-change, learn from your wife, your mother and from woman kind. Become one. Think like one. Focus on the immediate and current and leave the distant future aside. Take life one step at a time and you’ll live long and be successful in that life.

Which is why we call women our better halves J