My Thoughts ...
Competition is a state-of-mind! Marketing is a way-of-life! Happiness is success! Problem with Strategy is that very few get it right, most use fluff! A leader is one who inspires by making a difference in the lives around! Forget about being illegal, we can't afford to be less-legal! Easy to have been born as human, then why it is so difficult to live as a human? You don't have to be rich, royal or irrational; just be a giving person! Connect at the being level, communicate to the soul! Pursue continuous improvements, but persist on innovation! Work where you are celebrated, not tolerated! Get the big picture, but deliver one that is magnanimous! Always remember the word "blame" as "boomerang" To find meaning of your life, just ask what life expects of you? Choices, inturn, create concern. Right strategy helps pick the right choice! We will be far more green, healthy and sustainable if we add 2 spoons of "contentment" to every growth-hungry diet on Wall Street!

March, 2013:

Of US recession, growth and suffering!

Strategy following

A country’s ability to manage its debt justifies its certainty of growth. But that certainty often becomes a question as several variable forces that will ultimately influence the speed of the economic ascend or descend of that economy. As the public deficit becomes too big, then the degree of personal confidence declines, and we just need one key crisis to go faster down the spiral. True. It all depends on how the political establishment manages the situation – successful ‘quantitative easing’ among others. The United States is never free to act in a manner that disregards foreign investment, and so many other factors that help maintain its economy. Complicating matters is that the US has become more reliant on the global economy. Thus, we have citizens of this country listening to national policies that regard less of their impact will make decisions based on their own perceptions. Plus the greatest capability to talk into recession, call out a bear market and complain of dismal growth, and well, then SUFFER along!

But there are other ways to escape this. My point is beyond those statistical cascades – unemployment rate, profitability/dividends, inflation/stagflation, Foreign Direct Investments etc. etc. It is also how we allow ourselves to be dependent on incremental profitability to eventually define the state of economy and consequently make ourselves so vulnerable to suffer? True. It is important to have enough money to pay our bills, but do we ever learn that we cannot continue this path to drive our sense of security, certainty of growth and quality of life as a nation?

FIRST, the question is how in the US, we declare we are not growing or not being as successful (actually read suffering) as an economy. Japan, for example, does not use the same measures of success, as their priorities are more social than financial. Therefore, economic growth as measured in GDP is subservient to employment rates, income distribution etc. Despite its drawn-out battles with their economic situations – real estate and financial market bubbles during the 90s, and deflationary pressures that persisted, unemployment in Japan has rarely risen above 5%. They also have huge domestic reserves owing to their ‘savings’ culture. Americans, as consumers, on the other hand, have been gutted by decades of government and corporate policies that encourage spending and indebtedness. Whereas US assets are largely illiquid and leveraged. Some of this is a function of higher risk tolerances in the US, but it’s also a function of lack of awareness or careful thought and mainly ‘lack of contentment’ in as a way of life! For its people, “feeling good” holds a higher priority than being sensible when it comes to fiscal discipline. That combined with the notion that everyone is entitled to a better life irrespective of how it can be achieved has also placed the US in a position where it is being asked to underwrite the needs of a nation; a situation that cannot be sustained.

Americans read this approach as being ‘socialistic’ … and as such, some will consider this blog as having political overtones and not something of relevance. Nothing is further from the truth. In its simplest terms, the point that I am trying to make is how we define success. Is it something we strive for or is it something that we feel is a right? Are we easy to find contentment or are we willing to sacrifice for a better life? But the key difference I call out is ‘contentment’ in the criteria that define us being successful.

SECOND, the conundrum of how Americans see loss in the absence of gain. This view would suggest personal suffering when gains are little incremental (read growth) which is then exacerbated when corporate America begins lay-offs – call it downsizing, bear market, and effectively convinced all are LOSING.

If capitalism means “riding on money” – in another sense we can use money as our servant. However, in real terms we are acting as slaves to money. Our desires are derived from wants and not needs. As such, the cost of these desires run ahead of earnings. As we project this trend into the future we compare existing income with future earnings and begin to worry if we see shortfall. When will we realize that we don’t lose anything (in most situations) and avoid all the suffering? What it takes is a realistic view of the present and a reasonable expectation of the future.

I advocate capitalism. But I also advocate it with an understanding of contentment as a major factor when measuring returns. We can begin this path simply by exercising fiscal responsibility on both a personal as well as an organizational basis. Perhaps also ask Wall Street analysts to add “employee happiness” as a factor as well before they consider selling a company’s stocks off for not growing the profit numbers.

As capitalists, let us also invest a half hour a day in spiritual life. Invest it any way possible – meditate for peace, pray for faith, sing with gratitude, dance for joy and serve with love. It’s the best investment we can make. Then we will find both dividends and happiness together, and the rate of return to be infinite!

Are we civil enough?

If you smile at someone, it will not bring peace to some troubled war zone. If you are kind to a stranger, it will not heal the sick or feed the hungry in the world. But, perhaps, if not directly and immediately, it will make a difference somewhere in someone’s life. As they say, even butterfly’s fluttering has impact on the ecosystem. So, we should not underestimate the power of a gentle gesture or a kind, caring, act. They have more resonance and carry farther than we can ever imagine. It makes a difference. Even if it’s a small difference, it’s a difference!

Life experiences taught me several lessons on etiquette and more. I see so many basic principles of ‘being human’ etiquette are ignored in our daily business or professional lives. Here are a few examples:

Emails

A supplier writes to provide goods or services to a corporate buyer. The mail is almost guaranteed to be ignored in spite of it being addressed to a particular person, surprisingly, sometimes even with some reference in the context. If at all, it is replied a couple weeks later. Email etiquette, I heard, says a mail is expected to be responded within 24 hours?

Job seekers, I am sure, would have the worst experiences. Well, I can understand lack of response to mass mails inundating inbox, and some extent when someone is genuinely swamped or not being able to catch up with emails or calls.

I am not talking about spam mail.

Networking calls

A network friend leaves a voicemail for a corporate employee seeking some favor or connectivity within the employee’s organization is often ignored. Doesn’t the etiquette suggest a call is expected to be responded within 24 hours?

Corridor encounters

A consultant who provided services on a previous project is ignored when run in a corporate corridor – the manager doesn’t care to smile or say hello, leave alone stopping by to ask the consultant a simple “how are you?”

Are we forgetting ‘being human’ and continue to reinforce our society based on “you want a favor, so you labor, I will connect only when I need you in the context of my world” kind of transactional approach to life? Can we not be human enough to make the other person emotionally comfortable and happy with small gestures?

Let’s not disregard simple human relations etiquette! Let’s be humane!

I would love your thoughts.

Breaking Strength of Love!

strength of love

A love story. I came across this story a few years ago, and saved it in my computer, Unfortunately, being in a hurry, I forgot to capture the author’s name in a hurry. So I apologize and regret for not being able to give the credit whom it belongs, but sincerely thank for the nice piece of work.

The story succinctly delivers a great message for all those married couples to understand the meaning and value of a significant emotion that is often taken for granted through silence and routine. Nonetheless, it is the key to a long and successful relationship that is centered on true love!

So read on… (more…)