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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Remembered or missed?

"In fact, people sometimes ask me how I would like to be remembered. While hopefully that is a while away, all I tell them is this: I don't want to be remembered, I just want to be missed."

- Chetan Bhagat ('Half Girlfriend')


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Right Approach

How many times have you tried to approach the senior-most person in your organization? Most of the times, the CEO's and MD's are approached for very wrong reasons, resulting in not_so_positive response from them, which you interpret as unwillingness to be approached. Mentioned below are some common reasons for which top bosses are approached:

.Personal touch - Highlighting your work in your organization is often mistaken with highlighting yourself. You try to e-mail or call or meet the top boss just to say 'hi'. People driving their businesses will never block you directly for personal reasons, as they understand the value of their employees – top to bottom. At the same time, they have neither the time nor interest in your personal matters. You send your wedding invitation, they will say, “I'll try to attend”. You send new year greetings, they will reply, “Same to you”. These replies do not necessarily mean you have the rapport with the top boss. Do not boast you receive 'casual' mails from them, many others too, might be receiving them.

.Detective reports - You feel your immediate boss is misleading the team and misguiding the management, what do you do? Send an 'inside' report to the top boss? Or try to make direct meeting to explain 'real facts'? Two questions for you. One, are you dead sure the top boss is not aware or involved in what your immediate boss is doing? Two, what are you hired as – a secret agent? At your level you never know who makes the decisions and who executes. And complaining about your own boss or department questions your own integrity. If the top boss does need your assistance, he will approach you for your inputs. And in that case, please provide “facts”, not “views”.

.Salary issues - Bargain your price at the time of joining an organization. Once joined, you become a part of the existing payment system. Try to influence the management with your work and achievements, not with personal requests of salary increment. Your stories about family responsibilities, loans, health problems, and other liabilities, can earn you sympathy from the top boss. At the same time, your capability and intentions to be with the organization are prone to criticism. Try to understand what you have to do to get a rise, instead of cooking stories of how badly you need more money.

These are some representative cases of wrong approach to the top. So, what could be a right approach?

.Business view - Not every employee can exactly share the top boss' vision. However, you are the master of your work, department, or activities. Try to think of a possible enhancement in your process or department, that could drastically reduce the cost or magically boost the sales. Now, try to approach the top boss with your idea, which purely is your initiative. However silly or small that idea be, the top will always be willing to give it a thought. Whatever fate your idea earns, you, as the originator, get noticed.

.Rise to the occasion - There are times when the top needs assistance from all the levels, especially the ground level. These expectations often cross the typical roles and responsibilities definitions. Grab these opportunities. Prove to the top that you can go out of the way, when required.

There may not be too frequent opportunities to approach the top, right way. But then, identifying the right one and grabbing it, is the key, isn't it?


Monday, December 15, 2014

5S - Simple Steps to Improve Working

5S is a method of organizing your workplace and workflow, to improve efficiency and quality of work. Literally, 5S is combination of five Japanese words, starting with the letter 'S'. This method can be applied in your professional as well as personal life.

1. Seiri - Sorting. Remove the unnecessary.
- Sort your documents and items as per requirement. Keep only necessary and remove the unnecessary.
- Review files and folders on your computer. Store only necessary and delete/backup unnecessary.

2. Seiton - Systematic arrangement. Place for everything and everything in place.
- Keep frequently used items closer to you.
- Define specific locations to store all necessary documents and items. It is recommended to stick name tags on the drawers/shelves/containers, where these items are stored. Ensure that they are stored at their designated place only.
- Prepare a list of folders, broadly classified according to contents, on your computer. Ensure that all documents are saved in corresponding folders only.

3. Seiso - Cleaning. Keep the workplace clean and tidy.
- Cleaning your workplace should be a regular activity, rather habit.
- It makes the place more pleasant and worth spending time at. It also increases your confidence about availability and accessibility of necessary items.
- On your computer, clean your desktop, recycle bin, and major folders regularly. Remove unnecessary shortcuts, files, and documents. It will help improve performance of your system.

4. Seiketsu - Standardization.
- Prepare standard procedure of above 3 activities.
- Make index of items and documents, by numbering them in logical manner.
- Maintain a list of items, documents and their locations.
- Also, mention names of persons responsible to follow above 3S's. Explain the standard procedure to all concerned persons.
- Maintain a master document having links to all necessary documents on your computer. Prepare schedule for backup, upgrade, and cleanup of your documents and software.

5. Shitsuke - Self Discipline.
- Ensure that all above 4S's are followed.
- Once the procedure is standardized, everyone concerned must follow it, until new improvement is suggested or some unavoidable reasons are surfaced.

Benefits of 5S:
- Reduced searching time. You know where to look for particular item.
- Increased productivity. The time and energy for searching are saved.
- Improved quality of work. You can focus on core activities.
- Satisfaction of working, without draining your time and energy, and delivering quality results, all the time.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Case Study - Sales Communication

How many of you, working as Sales Executive/Manager, have experienced the frustration about your potential clients not returning your calls? Almost all of you, at some point of time, right? Let's analyse the case and see why this happens.

The Case:
The potential client typically said, "We need your product/services, please send us a business quote customised for our industry". Now after providing all the details and repeated follow-up calls, you are wondering, what happened so dramatically, that the client is not even answering your calls? Why do they behave in this way?

Possible Reasons:
- Client’s request is misinterpreted as immediate wish to buy. Enthusiastic sales people try to reduce ‘enquiry-to-order cycle time’ to seconds! This results in false impression, ‘Send me a quote’, being concluded, as if the client will place an order the moment he receives the quote.

- ‘It’s not a priority now.’ This can happen almost overnight. Changes in demand from customers of your potential client, tricky market situations, or simply a new Boss can be the most common reasons, why they no more need your product/services urgently.

- ‘I am an expert, I know in and out of this product/service.’ Many times, someone at the client’s end feels he has all the required information and there is no need for further discussion.

- ‘We are totally packed in another project/audit/daily work.’ This is not always a lie; you have to believe this sometimes. You can even judge this from the situation in your own office. In most of present organisations, people have many things to complete within tough deadlines. The client wants to come back and discuss with you, but just cannot make it right now!

- Just for reference and comparison. Many times client needs your quote for comparison, to justify to the management/team to place order with your competitor.

It’s important to find out the reason for client’s silence before further investing in this case. Let’s see how:

- Don't give up. Maybe your potential client wants you to maintain the follow-up. There should be no harm in contacting 5-6 times before jumping to conclusion.

- Keep adding value in each follow-up call. Don't just say, "Hi just calling you as a follow-up on our quote. Call me if you need any other information". Instead, you can say, "Hello, I believe you have realised how our product/services can be a great push to your efforts in cost control. We can discuss and explore some more ways to customize the product/services bringing it closer to your requirements." This way you can stress on potential loss due to delayed purchase decision.

- Are you following up too frequently? After 2-3 unsuccessful attempts, increase the gap in subsequent calls by days, weeks, or even months.

- Use different communication tools. Use phone calls with e-mails, invitations to the upcoming events, forwarding articles, testimonials etc. Try to express yourself as an expert in this field.

- Discover multiple contact points in the client’s organisation. Identify and develop multiple relationships within the potential organisation.

- Plan for future actions. Be prepared with the follow-up schedule and agenda for next meeting/call. By identifying symptoms of unwillingness, you can further evaluate the seriousness and/or urgency of the need.

- Try a little bit of fun. After repeated attempts to contact, leave a funny message as, ‘I know you're very busy person, but I also know that reducing your production cost is important for you. That's why I keep bothering you. Can I have an opportunity to talk to you instead of your answering machine?’

- Let them have some breathing space. E-mail the potential client stating, ‘We thought you were interested, but as we have not heard from you since long, we might have misjudged your need.’ This can get you a response and perhaps an explanation from the client (who might be feeling guilty of not communicating).

By trying out some of these different options, you should be able to get some clue on the status of the need. This should help you decide whether to look forward to the client as potential one or to move forward with another client.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Business Etiquette

Good Manners
It takes 15 seconds to make a good first impression. And you spend rest of your life to repair it, if it was negative one. Hence, be prepared to present yourself as the best of you.

Right Handshake
Handshake is a universally accepted way to greet people and introduce oneself in the corporate world. It should be warm, firm, and should last about 3-4 seconds.

Business Introduction
In business introductions, rank and designation are considered more important than age and gender. Whenever you are in situations where you have to introduce a colleague to a senior person or your client to your boss, always say the name of the most important person first to show respect.

Always call during regular working hours. Call back or answer voice messages within one working day.
Remember mobile phone is only for emergencies. Switch off your mobile while attending a meeting.

Effective Business Correspondence
Reply to all business e-mails within one working day, maximum two.
Always use sentence case. UPPERCASE means you are shouting; lowercase shows you are lazy.
Always use email signature, giving your complete contact details.

Perfect Business Attire
What you wear is a sign of your respect for the other person or the organization you are working or interacting with.
Observe the dress code of your workplace.
On casual dress days, wear business casual clothes.

The Business Luncheon/Dinner
Remember, a Business Meal is for eating and networking.
Place the napkin on your lap and do not wipe your face or nose with it.

The Value Business Referral
Referrals are invaluable to business.
When people give you a referral or a sales lead, thank them.

Skilled Business Networking
Corporate parties, cocktail receptions, office parties are excellent places to network.
Office parties are an extension of the office environment; so appear on time, dress appropriately, drink in moderation.

The Smart Business Talk
When meeting prospective clients or business associates, to initiate the discussions and get the business talk going, start with introductions and by asking general questions.

Value Time, Value Business
Time is precious; time is money.
Be time conscious and stick to the rules of punctuality.

The Friendly Office Environment
Be polite and courteous, even to those you do not like, to avoid fights and negative tension.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Listen Carefully and Get Ahead

Knowing how to listen is a crucial aspect in relationships… especially in today’s competitive business environment.

Successful professionals know careful listening can reveal unseen problems, identify new trends and opportunities and lead to creative solutions. They also know that listening to people will help building good relations in their working relationships.

Do you know how to listen…?
  • Control Emotions: Experts say emotions are powerful obstacles to listening. They colour what we hear and prevent us from focusing on what is being said. To be a good listener, one should not react while someone is speaking.
  • Another emotional obstacle is anxiety about what to say. If you are listening to someone, listen carefully, take a deep breath, and then respond. It shows respect towards speaker. It will also give you some time to think and understand the stand of speaker.
  • Notice details about speaker: how slow he speaks, his style, how much eye contact he maintains. This will help you while responding as sharp difference between styles can create tension. Accepting his style can help you concentrate and build a good communication and understanding.
  • Do not label the person: One major obstacle in listening is that we label the speaker as a boss, a peer, or a subordinate. Wise executives encourage communication on same levels.
  • Listen aggressively: Asking a good question is a secret of good conversation. When you are having conversation with a group of people, keep some gaps in your presentation so that people can ask questions to make interaction interesting.
  • Do not jump to conclusions: Some people are solution-finders, before a speaker finishes, they can immediately come to the conclusion and find the solution. Instead of coming to conclusions immediately, listen to the speaker carefully to weigh all aspects of an issue to find perfect solution.
  • Understand others' need: If you want to influence, you have to listen that person carefully and understand his need.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Secrets to Peak Performance

It is scientifically proven that Loss Prevention is the primary and most effective way to improve performance. As it relates to optimizing internal capacities, it is quite easier and faster than applying any external improvement techniques. No external applications would result unless all causes of internal loss are prevented. Let us consider example of a balloon. You will not be able to blow it to size with whatever amount of air, until it has even one small hole. Similarly, you need to optimize your potential energy before enforcing additional efforts.

Here are some tips on buffing up your efforts:

1. Lead a well-rounded life

People who get their work at home until bedtime get on peak early and get addicted to work in short span of time, too. High performers can leave their work at office and spend good amount of time on the things they like. This allows their minds to refresh and rejoin work with improved efficiency.

2. Proper selection of career

Selection of work plays vital role in your career. High performers select the kind of work they like to do and focus on the internal satisfaction, not on external rewards and powers. In the end, as they enjoy their work, their work is always better than others’ is and result in high returns.

3. Rehearse each challenging task mentally

Before facing any challenging situation, high performers prepare for it by judging pros and cons, possible actions and reactions. They rehearse the task mentally so that when it happens, they have already gone through it.

4. Seek results not perfection

Many hardworking and ambitious people focus on perfection, leaving them short of time in everything they do, leading to missing on opportunities. High performers do not focus on perfection, but on accomplishment of the task. The mistakes are taken in as lessons, and not as bitter memories.

5. Be willing to risk

Most people like to create their comfort zone, and live with that for their lives. They are always in search of security, and run away from risks, thus missing on hidden opportunities. High performers, by contrast, are geared up to take risks by carefully considering how things would work and making provisions for failures and worst scenarios.

6. Don’t underestimate your potential

People presume that they know their limits. In fact, they don’t know, but they believe and limit themselves. Self-limiting is the biggest obstacle in high-level performance.

7. Compete with yourself

High performers focus on building themselves and improving on their own skills. Worrying about competitors’ abilities and possible superiority can often be self-defending. People differ in their potential and skills; hence, one can be better in one skill, while poor in another. High performers are interested in doing the best possible job by their own standards.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

ज्ञानाचा विषय माणूस आहे!

"खरं म्हणजे, बुद्ध हा कुण्या हिंदू देवाचा अवतार नव्हे. हजारो वर्षं, हजारो मुखांनी एखादी खोटी गोष्ट पुनःपुन्हा सांगितली, तरी ती खरी ठरू शकत नाही. देव, ईश्‍वर अशी कोणतीही कल्पना बुद्ध मानत नाही. तो आत्माही मानत नाही. तो कोणती अवतारकल्पनाही मानत नाही. तो स्वतःला माणूसच मानत होता. आज संपूर्ण दुनिया त्याला जगातला सर्वश्रेष्ठ तत्त्वज्ञानी माणूस मानते. त्यानं ज्ञानरचनेची पायाभूत सूत्रं सांगितली. असं करून त्यानं अज्ञानरचनेच्या चिंध्या केल्या. प्रत्येक माणसानं पूर्णतः चिकित्सकच असलं पाहिजे. ‘चिकित्सेच्या वा विज्ञाननिष्ठेच्या निकषावर जे खरं ठरणार नाही, त्याचा स्वीकार करू नका,’ असं तो सांगतो. ‘विश्‍व सान्त आहे की अनंत?’, ‘ते शाश्‍वत आहे की अशाश्‍वत?’ अशा मालुंक्‍यपुत्ताच्या प्रश्‍नांना उत्तर देताना बुद्धानं विषारी बाण लागलेल्या माणसाची गोष्ट सांगितली. समजा, तो बाण लागलेला मनुष्य, त्याच्या उरातला बाण काढू न देता, तो बाण कोणत्या धातूचा होता, कुणी मारला, कोणत्या दिशेनं तो आला, अशा प्रश्‍नांच्या उत्तरांची अट घालू लागला, तर त्या प्रश्‍नांची उत्तरं मिळेपर्यंत तो मरूनच जाईल. मुद्दा बाण काढण्याचा, मनुष्य वाचवण्याचा आहे. ‘ईश्‍वर आहे काय?’ ‘आत्मा आहे काय?’ अशा प्रश्‍नांची उत्तरं मिळवण्यात आयुष्य बरबाद करण्यापेक्षा तुमचे प्रश्‍न तुम्हीच सोडवा. त्या प्रश्‍नांची उत्तरंही मिळणार नाहीत आणि तुमचे इहजीवनातील परस्परांना जगवण्याचे प्रश्‍नही सुटणार नाहीत. बुद्धानं बाण काढण्याचं महत्त्व विशद केलं. ज्ञानाचा विषय ईश्‍वर नाही. आत्मा नाही. परलोक नाही. ज्ञानाचा विषय माणूस आहे. त्याच्या आणि त्याच्या संबंधात येणाऱ्या इतर माणसांमुळं निर्माण झालेले प्रश्‍न हा ज्ञानाचा विषय आहे."

- यशवंत मनोहर (सकाळ सप्तरंग, १४ सप्टेंबर २०१४)


Friday, December 5, 2014


"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." - Winston Churchill

Attitude plays a vital role in the life of any human being. Setting right attitude is instrumental in the process of being successful or achieving things you want in life. Here are some useful tips on attitude setting:

1. Do not fear

“Attitude is not walking like a King; it’s walking like you don’t care who the King is!”

Do not limit your thoughts fearing potential reactions from others. Be a self-believer.

2. Accept new things coming your way whether you like them or not

“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” - Napoleon Hill

Many times, opportunities come in disguise. You tend to avoid something, which would have eventually turned beneficial for you.

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one” - Mark Twain

3. Mould yourself as your work demands

“The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the work is half done already.”

If you want satisfaction in what you do, you have to take on the most difficult assignment. Simple and easy tasks leave you underutilized and hence, unsatisfied with yourself.

If you do not have knowledge; but if you feel or circumstances say that you have to work on it, instead of saying no, gather information and build knowledge. No one can steal this treasure from you.

4. Give 100%

“Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.” - Langston Coleman

Whether it is expected from you or not, give your 100% and make it a habit. It’s better to say, “I did it” than saying, “I could have done it”.

5. Do not evaluate too much

“We get volumes of data, pro and con. So often we get volumes for and volumes against, so we don't do anything. If we can't please 1,000 percent, we do nothing.” - Jack Coyle

It’s good to assess every situation; but not at the extent of isolating from the scene. Don’t think much on pros and cons, every action will have both good and bad reactions.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Top 10 Professional Tips

One of the biggest mistakes corporate professionals make is 'to assume'. They tend to take things for granted and do not understand that there can be (rather are) multiple angles to the same view! They assume their bosses' views, they assume their colleagues' approach, they assume their competitors' pace, and so on...

In today's competitive age, if you miss your competitive edge, chances are high that you miss everything. The Performer brings you few tips - easy to remember, interesting to implement, and beneficial in results:

1. Interact with people on valid topics -
Communication has its own significance in corporate world. Here, we are referring to horizontal communication, the one you have with your colleagues, partners, and team members. The stress is on 'valid topics', which should benefit to both the ends of communication - broadcasting and receiving! There are lots of topics which need neither your opinion nor your approval. Identify those topics and AVOID talking on them. A more generalized statement would be - don’t talk much.
Another point is Greeting people when you are in, it highlights your presence.
Listen to people – it helps you understand atmosphere around you and plan your work accordingly.

2. Share your knowledge -
There can be a big debate on this - sharing your knowledge. Some people would say, disclosing your cards would draw the end of game nearer. Let's look at it from a new angle - if you want to grow horizontally, hold on with what you know; if you want to grow vertically, release it as soon as possible. Sounds confusing? Couldn't be simpler! If you want to go on working in the same way what you have been doing since years along, just continue with that. Hardly anybody would be interested in receiving the knowledge from you, as you are not known for updated knowledge pool. On the other hand, if you go on releasing what you have learnt yesterday, you would be more flexible to learn new things today and implement them tomorrow.

3. Look smart -
A most overlooked aspect! Keep your worries at home, don't carry them. Nobody is going to buy them from you, even if you showcase them throughout the day. The more pleasant you look, the more positive things you will attract - positive people, positive thoughts, positive results. The sadder you appear, the more negative influence you are going to have - people will approach you with their own grievances, are you looking for it?
Keep your eyes and ears open, that surely helps!

4. Make quick decisions and implement them -
The key is the word 'quick' - decision in no time and implementation even faster than that! Delaying decision carries lesser risk than delaying implementation. That's because, the idea is already out in the market... So let it be more decisions and at least few breakthroughs, than dwelling upon fewer decisions and no results.

5. Be a diplomat -
A diplomat is a person, who tells you to 'go to hell', in such a manner that you actually start looking for the trip! Doesn't that explain what it means?
Be strict whenever required - first understand 'whenever'...

6. Keep in touch with the top ones -
Hierarchy in corporate world has to be observed with due respect. However, that should not impact your existence. The top-most layer of any organization is always in search of ideas and suggestions, which can be supplied the most from bottom levels. Present yourself with innovative solutions, whether all of them are accepted or not is not that important. What's more important is, you are being heard and noticed.
Never criticize your boss in front of your team. You will receive the same level of respect what you show them.

7. Be active -
The initial phase in any organization is the right time for you to outperform. Don't lose that precious stage in merely learning. Impress your colleagues, bosses with your work before they start expecting. Set your own standards of performance.
Understand your job profile and work on key points right from initial stages.
Take initiatives. Don't let too many to boss you around. Be your boss at first hand.

8. Don’t gossip -
It is the last thing you need to succeed in corporate world. While you keep on talking about others, they work and leave you far behind. Don't become a time-killing aid for your colleagues. Maintain safe distance from gossips and rumours in office.

9. Be aggressive in meetings -
When you have been called to speak, SPEAK UP! This is really funny - people talk what and when they are not supposed to and remain silent when and where they are expected to! Do your homework before any meeting and present aggressively what you have prepared. Meetings are not meant to be political campaigns, where one talks and thousands listen. However, before you start, ensure to be logical, be innovative, and be creative.
Keep clarity in your communication. Don't let others draw conclusions from your thoughts. Always end your talk with your own conclusion.

10. Delegate -
Delegate your work to your team members, it makes them feel important and motivated. Highlight initiatives taken by you in front of your team and superiors. At the same time, appreciate others' efforts publicly, that's far better than criticizing personally.
Arrange team meetings regularly. Your team should become your strength. It can be a large source of ideas and solutions. Utilize it.