Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hope...The medicine that keeps us alive...

Hope is the only attribute that will be with us, even when everything else is lost. Recently many banks in the US went bankrupt. They lost their wealth, their business, their share holders, their vision, their time, their belief, their confidence but they shall never loose their hope.
It is a fact that cannot be questioned. Hope is the only medicine by which doctors have used to cure many terminally ill patients. We’ve heard of many a case where cancer patients have survived just because their hope was alive. Same is the cases with business. We have seen many visionary companies struggle from time to time, but they bounce back each time just because they believe that their tomorrow is going to be better than today. Walt Disney, IBM, and Nordstrom are perfect instances to get inspired by. There were some really trying times that these giants faced, but they came back strongly just because they had some hope deep down in their heart, of a brighter tomorrow, that kept them going. So no matter how much disturbed you are right now, you too can look forward to a brighter future if you have hope.
If you read the last 10 newsletters I have sent you, they where done with a special sequence and precision. Those 10 topics are the essential traits that help you start and run a business organization. In their order, they are:-
6. Plan
VISWARAM GROUP has been in self-sustaining businesses for almost two years now. It recently took over a technological firm which deals with web designing and software product development. Now whether that firm makes it in business or crashes depends on our degree of hope in it. We can inculcate the 10 basic traits into our functioning and expect positively for every thing to just work out, and it should.
Let me just keep it downright simple. When a company commences operation or when it decides on its operational policies it needn’t be a visionary company. It’s a myth that all major corporate giants had clear cut ideas of what they wanted to become. Neither did they have visionary leaders nor did they do anything with clear cut planning. I am speaking of giants like IBM, 3M, Citicorp, P&G, AMEX, Ford, Wal-Mart, Sony, HP, Walt Disney. This is where we should have hope, where we should have a positive expectancy. (Courtesy: Built To Last – Jim Collins.)
Another term used for hope by corporate management is positive expectancy i.e. to expect something to happen positively. Usually people with positive expectancy are natural optimists. And the quality of optimism redefines your degree of success.
We all hope for good things to happen to us. Usually hope and prayer go hand in hand. What we strongly wish to happen, we resort to pray and make it happen. But one thing is certain, merely hoping for good things to happen wont help. You have to put in the required action to make it happen. But the most important quality of hope and prayer is that it stays with you as long as you are alive. You may loose everything say wealth, health, family, status but the only flame that remains burning will be that of hope. The interesting thing is that with the lamp called hope you can light up all the other lamps.
We all have had our share of bad times, instances where we have been in a fix in our jobs or business. Some how we get frustrated up to the point of quitting. There may have been instances even of our goals remaining unachieved. The only way out is to keep struggling, as most things don’t happen when we want it to happen. In such instances, I always look forward to a better tomorrow with the magical thought “The Best Is Yet To Come”.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

TIME..The commodity that cannot be exchanged for money..

Time is the only resource we are born with, all other tangibles, like a house, automobile and money, we build during our lifetime. Whether we make it in life or we stand broke depends on how effectively we utilize time. It has been researched for more than 5000 years to understand how to control time, and the experts have miserably failed in achieving it.

Time is not a commodity that can be controlled but can only be utilized. Factually speaking, the world’s richest man and a common man, both have the same time 24 hours every day, but it makes a difference when he utilizes time by earning around 50 million work hours every day through his employees. This concept is called as time compounding, the more the work hours you have in your name, the more you can achieve in shorter periods of time.

It really, really does matter what we do with every minute of ours. Suppose we waste 20 minutes a day, it adds up to 7300 minutes a year or an equivalent to 5 days. Did we ever imagine we would be having only a 360 day year if we waste 20 minutes of a day? So how about folks who waste hours and hours in front of television? Just think of the days they are losing out on!! Let me give you a better illustration; suppose we read one book a week, which is 52 books a year or around 500 books in 10 years – will we not be the best in our field? We will undoubtedly be the king in our area of working if we have the knowledge of more than 500 books. I am not speaking of books like comics or novels; I am talking of books in technical, sales, administration, accounts, marketing etc; those pertaining to your field of interest. And if you don’t happen to be sure of what it is that interests you, here’s a tip that Brian Tracy speaks of in one of his books. “Visit any book shop; you will be naturally attracted to the shelf having the books in your area of functioning.”

If we need to learn to manage time effectively; the easiest method is to model someone who has done it as neatly as it can be done. Specifically anyone who has become rich from the rags, any first generation multimillionaire should be a time management guru. If not for their time management skills, they would have remained employees like us and retired at the age of 58. It takes a lot of expertise on our side to manage time effectively. It’s just not enough to do something right; we should do the right thing at the right time.

 Say, we may be an expert basket ball player, but we can’t be playing basket ball during office hours. There is always a right time for everything – there is time in your life to enjoy, to love, to work like a dog, to fight for survival, to celebrate success etc. It is to take forward all these activities of our life in perfect harmony that we require time management.
Here are some tips that I follow to utilize time effectively:
1. Prioritize: Always prioritize your task as priority A, priority B etc. Always do priority A task first. Never even attempt to do a priority D task when priority C task is pending.
2. Have a plan: Be it for an hour, a day or a week, have a plan. Planning reduces duplicate work.
3. Summarize: Have a summarization of the day’s activity when you retire to bed. This helps you analyze whether you did a right thing at the wrong time.
4. Do things faster and smarter: Develop the habit of doing things faster and smarter. You’re wasting so much of your time when you do things lethargically.
It may seem funny, and you may ask; “Wont our lives be purely mechanical, if we had a time table for each day?” The answer is even funnier “What if we could retire financially independent 10 years earlier?”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Perseverance…when you have nothing more to loose, just continue….

Perseverance is one of the top rated qualities of a winner. Winning is always a struggle, the toughest part of it being to persist when things are not happening as per your wish. The higher your struggle, the higher is your sense of victory. If we closely analyze the lives of successful people, we find that at some point of time, every one of them have gone through real tough times. Most people begin well, perform satisfactorily but quit when they are stuck. What they don't realize is that they may be stopping just three feet from gold.
Winners never quit and quitters never win, very true isn't it? Average folks think "I have lost everything, I don't want to loose any more; so I am quitting" but winners think "I have lost everything, now I have nothing more to loose; so why not continue". Success becomes worthwhile when measured by the obstacles you have overcome to achieve it. So next time you face an obstacle, rest assure that something big is on its way.
Let's analyze why people find it hard to persist. It may be because
1. They haven't had the taste of success yet.
2. They are criticized by their friends or family.
3. They're exhausting their resources without getting anything in return.
4. They get the feeling that the entire world is against their idea.
It is human nature to persist doing something only when we get substantial results for the pain we take. For this very reason, we need to come to a consensus with ourselves that what we are persisting is worth continuing. Many corporate giants like 3M, IBM, Ford, AMEX and Wal-Mart have gone through their share of bad times. Billionaires like Ford, Trump have nearly gone bankrupt. But none of them gave up. They all persisted and bounced back, to reach pinnacles of success and glory. The lesson that we need to learn from these heroes is that "Tough times never last, but tough people do".
The road to success is never smooth. When you are chasing your dreams, be prepared for the obstacles that come in your way. Don't be foolish enough to give up. Giving up is cowardice, but to make things happen when all odds are against you is the real test of your mettle. A brilliant example of persistence can be found in the book "Tough times never last, but tough people do" by Dr. Robert Schuller. Schuller's daughter is a wonderful baseball player but unfortunately she loses her leg in a bike accident. She does not give up her passion for the game; but instead enrolls herself in the college team. When asked, how she's going to make it, her reply was "Dad, I have figured out what to do. If we hit a home run, then there is no need to run". She had the attitude; and Schuller recalls her hitting some home runs. Success is a guarantee for those who put selfless efforts consistently.
There are enough and more negative things happening to us on a daily basis. It is easy to give up, but really, really hard to persist. When problems glare at you, don't get disheartened, but remember the saying "Everything that happens, happens for good".

Thursday, September 04, 2008

PLAN B.. Because it’s quite sure plan A wont work…..

Planning is an essential activity for any event to be a grand success. We need to do the necessary homework because we know that any lack of planning on our part can make the event a big-time flop. Even with intense planning events crash; what could possibly be the reason for this?

Most often troubles creep in between the event, this is where the Plan B comes handy. You might ask, what is the necessity of having a PLAN B? Plan B comes handy when the activity does not progress as per the initial planning. In any team activity, uncertainty is inevitable; discrepancies may crop in and most often, its plan B that works.
I’m sure we’ve all heard about PLAN B or more popularly the BACKUP-PLAN. If we look around we can see that almost every activity has a backup plan. Let’s take for example, a game of football. Every team maintains a team size of at least 15 players before any match – this is to substitute for any injured player. We could find more examples at our own work places. Every project is bound to have a Project Leader and a backup-Project Leader. If by any chance the PL cannot make it to office it’s the backup-PL who ensures the deliverables are on time. Whatever happens, the show must go on!!! For that very reason a backup plan is unavoidable.

We may all have numerous personal experiences of PLAN B being implemented instead of PLAN A. For instance, we had the ‘tug-of-war’ competition held at our office campus. Unfortunately the rope broke in the first round itself. The entire event would have been a flop had we not arranged for a spare rope.

This applies to our lives also. Any time we do something with a proper plan, it’s really important to make sure that we have a PLAN B charted out and ready for use. There is a popular saying "Good business men are always very good at PLAN B". For that sake all major corporate firms have efficient resources backing up the top performing employees. You may be highly gifted and talented, but it’s a mistake to believe that it would be a great loss for the company if they fire you. It may disrupt the smooth functioning for a while, but most often your replacement will perform much better than you.

Just to quote a real life instance, you would not be reading these newsletters if I did not have a back up plan. Due to work pressure the previous editor could no longer review my articles. Had I not kept the PLAN B ready and found a better replacement, the show would have wound up by now. At every workplace attrition is inevitable; it’s your duty to make sure the business is not affected due to the lack of resource. It does not usually take very long to prepare a PLAN B, but most often its value is priceless...