Wednesday, July 16, 2008
82. Why dogs Wag their tails!

The reports speak volumes: a recent Gallup poll found that a staggering 70% of people feel "actively disengaged" at work. And according to Morton Worldwide, only 33% of employees are satisfied with how their employers communicate with them. These reports and others like them are astounding when you consider how much time people spend at their jobs.

Another Gallup study revealed that businesses which engage their employees had less turnover and remarkably higher percentages of customer loyalty, profitability, and revenues. Extensive studies by the HayGroup revealed powerful links between employee engagement and productivity. People thrive on being motivated, fulfilled, challenged, and recognized. It’s human nature.

So, as a manager, how can you engage your employees? Begin by trusting the unlimited potential of people and by realizing that business is a personal contact sport. The following 10 strategies, will help you get started:

1. Be a leader others can follow. Leadership is a learned behavior that takes time to hone. At its foundation, leadership is comprised of several key drivers, including the behaviors surrounding clarity, credibility, and encouraging presence. Finding clarity helps leaders understand the real issues and to gain insights that contribute toward decisions and actions.

2. Build an organization based on trust. You must be equipped intellectually and emotionally to deliver information—good news or bad news—as early as possible. If you aren’t honest, you’ll lose people’s respect and, ultimately, your credibility. If you gain people’s trust and maintain it, you’ll have their support not only when the company is thriving, but in difficult times as well.
3. Have strategic clarity. Strategic clarity is the ability to take an organization’s talent and culture and combine them with internal business processes that support a clear, targeted value proposition of what customers want. If you do this well, you achieve profitability and reach the organization’s vision. Having strategic clarity requires prioritization. Do you dig five holes 100 feet deep or 100 holes five feet deep? You have to determine what is best and then you have to articulate it.
4. Align employee talents with meaningful work. We all have choices in the work we do and the roles we take on. Know what your employees are good at, what skills they need to develop, and what they’re passionate about. Work hard to get people into positions where they can use their top talents 70 to 80% of the time. If people do what they love, performance improves. Understanding people’s strengths and weaknesses will help you develop teams with complementary skills.
5. Set achievable goals. Establish realistic goals and never underestimate—or overestimate—what you can get done and how long it will take. Apply this thinking to yourself and to your teams. Encourage hard work, but be reasonable. If someone must regularly work until 9 or 10 p.m., something’s not right.
6.Invest in employee development. Motivate and focus your team by developing career paths for people at all levels within the organization. Too many times we’ve seen organizations crumble when a leader leaves unexpectedly. Developing others helps clarify a sense of direction and encourages better performance. It is critical to individual growth and long-term retention and ensures ongoing high-performance, stability, and viability.
7. Be a boss people want to work for. People don’t work for companies; they work for people. Bosses who care about people build high-performance teams and get great results. These are the leaders everyone wants to work for. Believe in your employees, help them grow, mentor them, and invest in their development. Many clients have told how their relationships with their bosses make or break their jobs and shape their ultimate career success. Healthy relationships between bosses and employees lead to happiness at work.
8. Resolve conflicts early and skillfully. We often find that people who avoid conflict are surrounded by a lot of unresolved conflicts. Although no one loves conflict, businesses can’t grow or evolve without some degree of conflict. General George S. Patton once said, "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking." Acquire conflict management skills and they’ll help improve your work and personal lives. When people know you are open to new ideas they won’t be afraid to suggest innovative changes. Potential conflicts are easier to resolve the more openly you address them. That’s why if you want to have fewer conflicts, you should actually have more of them. Encourage open discussion and endeavor to understand the nature of conflicts. You will then be in a better position to resolve them.
9.Provide ongoing feedback. Give and receive feedback with an open mind. Practice giving feedback—both positive and negative; get coaching, if necessary. Align yourself with a mentor with whom you can practice and from whom you can get advice. Become a mentor yourself. Pursue 360 degree leadership tools, Myers-Briggs personality assessments, and hold meeting debriefings. Ask for, receive, and constructively respond to feedback.
10. Celebrate, have fun, and be grateful. When you have a powerful and committed team, continually let them know that you greatly appreciate their efforts. When people speak, listen, and respond attentively. Catch people doing something good and then celebrate with positive feedback. Commit to acknowledging and affirming others. There are many ways to reward employees and together they will yield huge pay-offs. Team-building events, profit sharing, and individual recognition efforts help sustain employees with energy, enthusiasm, and effectiveness. Reward yourself and others with small tokens for work well done. Use humor and surprises to keep things fresh. Smile more. Give people time off when deserved. Keep up the "praise ratio": praise people seven to 10 times for every one challenge, correction, or critique. Celebration feeds on itself; the enthusiasm that springs from it can be contagious, ultimately fueling positive business outcomes.

If you make a concerted effort to engage your employees you’ll become not just a good leader, but a great lovable one. Ever wonder "why dogs wag their tails – it’s just because they love you"!


posted by Prasanna Parameswaran at 3:43 PM | 1 comments
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
81. ஹைக்கூ - ஓர் அலசல்!
எட்டுத்திக்கு திரும்பினாலும் பாமரன் கூட இன்று ஹைக்கூ எழுதுகிறான்!. ஜப்பானில் தோன்றிய இந்த மரபு கவிதைகள் இன்று உலக கவிதை இலக்கியத்தின் நடைமுறையாகிவிட்டது! அதிகபட்சமாய், 3 வரிகளில், 17 ஸிலபலில்(Syllable) முதல் வரியில் ஐந்தும், இரண்டாவதில் ஏழும், மூன்றாவதில் ஐந்துமாய் ஜப்பானியர்கள் எழுதும் கவிதைதான் ஹைக்கூ!
"ஹொக்கு" என்று முதலில் அழைக்கபட்ட இவை, 19-ம் நூற்றாண்டில் "மசாஓகா ஷிகி" என்னும் கவிஞரால் ஹைக்கூ என்று அழைக்கப்பட அந்த பெயர் இன்று வரை நிலவிவருகிறது. உலகம் முழுவதும் 20-ம் நூற்றாண்டிலிருந்து வேகமாய் பரவ தொடங்கிய இந்த கவிதைகளை, விதிவிலக்கின்றி, மேலை நாட்டு மோகத்தினால், இந்தியாவிலும் பரவ தொடங்கியது!. இந்தியாவில், பெரும்பாலும், வங்காளம், தமிழ், உருது, குஜராத்தி ஆகிய மொழிகளில் ஹைக்கூ எழுதப்பட்டது! 20-ம் நூற்றாண்டில் கவிஞர் ரவீந்திரநாத் தாகூர் வங்காள மொழியில் நிறைய ஹைக்கூக்களை எழுதினார்! குஜராத்தியிலும், உருதுவிலும் நிறைய "கஜல்"(Ghazal) எழுதப்பட்டன - இவை கஜல் கவிதைகளென்றே அழைக்கப்பட்டன!

தமிழில் மகாகவியும் பாரதிதசனும் இதை வெகுவாக் ஆமோதித்தாலும், இவற்றை தமிழிலக்கியத்தில் பெருமளவில் இயற்றியவர் கவிஞர் அமுதபாரதி(அ) "அமுதன்" ஆவார்! இந்த மரபையொத்து வெகு முன்னரே தமிழில் கவிதைகள் எழுதப்பட்டன - 3000 வருடங்களுக்கு முன்னால் "குறுந்தொகையும்", 2000 வருடங்களுக்கு முன்னால் "திருக்குறளும்", 1000 வருடங்களுக்கு முன்னால் "ஆத்திச்சூடியும்" ஹைக்கூவை போல் எழுதப்பட்டவையே!

இதில் விதிவிலக்காயில்லாமல் நான் இயற்றிய சில ஹைக்கூக்கள் இதோ இங்கே: -
1. விருந்தோம்பல்:
உயிர் கொடுத்தாவது விருந்தினரை உபசரி - கறி குழம்பில் "சிக்கன்"

2. நாணமின்மை:
ஆடையின்றி வெட்கமில்லாமல் நின்றான் - மேகங்களற்ற "வானம்"

3. முனகல்:
என்னை வெட்டி எறிந்து குடைந்துவிட்டான் என்று
தன்னிடம் வந்த காற்றிடம் அழகாய் முனகியது மூங்கில் - "புல்லாங்குழல்"

4. இழப்பு:
பொழுதுபோக்கிற்காக சீட்டு ஆடி மொத்தமாய் இழந்தான்
-பணத்தையும் "நட்பையும்"

5. அடி:
ஆயிரம் அடி வாங்கிய அபூர்வ சிகாமணி -
அழகாய் சிரித்தான் "சிற்பமாய்"

6. கவனம்:
உன்னிப்பாய் கவனி என்ற ஆசிரியர் சொல்
கேட்டு உன்னிப்பாய் கவனித்தான் மாணவன் - "ஜன்னல் வெளியே மேகம்"

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posted by Prasanna Parameswaran at 11:58 AM | 1 comments
Friday, July 04, 2008

80. What the Shit!
Ok Im still nostalgic from my previous post, so very well thought why not continue on an another hilarious one. Mind you, if you are the one who screeches " oh my god! how disgustingly shitty it is talk about Shit", then this post is not for you. If you do want to have a laidback fun then read on. Sometimes when shit happens, you want to be able to articulate the experience more than just you've, taken a shit. Here are some shit definitions to help you explain the situation better to your friends and family...

1. Ghost Shit You know you've shit. There's shit on the toilet paper, but no shit in the bowl.

2. Teflon Coated Shit Comes out so slick, clean and easy that you don't feel it. No traces of shit on the toilet paper, you have to look in the bowl to be sure you did it

3.Gooey Shit This has the consistency of hot tar. You wipe your ass 12 times and it still doesn't come clean. You end up putting toilet paper in your underwear so you don't stain it. This shit leaves permanent skid marks in the toilet.

4. Second Thought Shit You're all done wiping your ass and you're about to stand up when you realize've got some more

5. Pop a Vein in Your Forehead Shit This kind is that doesn't come until you're all sweaty, trembling and purple from straining so hard. You strain so hard that your veins start popping out like Nagarjun's in the movie 'Ratchagan'.

6. Bali Belly Shit You shit so much you lose 5 kilos

7. Right Now Shit You better be within 10 seconds of a toilet. Usually it has its head out before you get your pants down:)

8. King Kong or Komodo Dragon Shit This shit is so big that you know it won't go down the toilet unless you break it into smaller chunks. This kind of shit usually happens at someone else's house. :)

9. Wet Cheeks Shit This shit hits the water sideways and makes a BIG splash that gets your ass wet.

10. Floater Shit Even after the third flush, it's still floating in there. My god! How do I get rid of it? This shit also usually happens at someone else's house:)

11. The Frightened Turtle The kind of shit that just pokes its head out then quickly goes back in water.

12. The Bungee Shit The kind of shit that just hangs off your ass before it falls into the water :)

13. The Ring of Fire Shit The kind of shit where you eat really spicy food and your asshole feels like the inside of a cigarette

14. The Shitty Shitty Bang Bang The kind of shit that no matter how many times you flush it always floats back to the surface.

15. The Avalanche Shit The kind of shit that comes out in a million pieces a second, reminiscent of an avalanche - but with rocket propulsion, and splatters all over the toilet bowl

16. The Windy City Shit When you sit down, and fart for so long and hard that you no longer need to take a shit

17. Oh Shit! Shit You shit so much and wipe your ass so furiously you run out of toilet paper/Water and you say OH SHIT :)

18. The Never Ending Shit It's the shit that keeps running out of your ass like pea, and just when you start wiping your ass your stomach gargles and splash, more shit runs out. This always happens after eating Fried Chicken or Chilly Parotta! :)

Ok Enough of Shit, see you all later!

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posted by Prasanna Parameswaran at 6:56 PM | 3 comments