Monday, June 22, 2009

How can growth mindset change your future?

In today's fast moving life, we always find problems in almost everything. In office, we end up facing lot of work related issues. At home, we have lots of responsibilities to take care of. In middle of all this, we often become habitual of fixed mindset and stop taking challenges. I have always been firm believer of growth mindset. I recently read an article titled "Are You Trapped In A Fixed Mindset? Fix It!" on Forbes, by Carol Dweck, who is a professor at Stanford University and a social psychologist.

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol writes "For 20 years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life." She asks each one of us to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth one. She also explains that if you have a full-on growth mindset, anything and everything is possible. Carol explains that there are following steps for everyone to move from Fixed mindset to growth mindset.
1. Begin by seeking evidence for the growth mindset in your life.
2. Next, learn to recognize your fixed mindset when it takes over.
3. Recognize that you have a choice.
4. Put the growth mindset into action.

You can also see following video from Carol.

I am impressed by the view and approach suggested by Carol. We all hear about successful entrepreneurs, sports persons, cinema stars and many more in their own areas of work. None of them was an expert from birth in their respective areas of work. Each one of them faced problems on the path to success. They are successful today because they decided to come out of comfort zone and accept challenges, with belief in capabilities of self. It was their passion that made it happen. Leaders and successful persons are persons like us.

I still remember that I used to hesitate speaking in English till second year of my undergrad. But with conscious effort and exposure to organizing various events in college and my work organization, I could improve and become comfortable in talking with people. I feel that one's interest in something and attitude can change the things drastically.

We need to change our mindset and acknowledge the failure and criticism. Every mistake presents an opportunity to do something better. Let's stop blaming the circumstances and accept the challenges. There is solution for every problem. It is about whether you try to find the solution. Mindset plays a big role in life and it can change your future. If you dream big, you will be able to achieve your dreams. Believe in yourself and you can do anything. Let's take actions to achieve bigger goals in life !!!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

What does it take to revolutionize a mammoth organization?

I have been thinking about how difficult it is to bring about change in an organization that is facing growth challenges and tough competition with other organizations. While theoretically it might be as easy as top management passing on orders to all the employees, but practically it is a huge task which becomes successful only when the workforce truly gets involved for to bring about the change.

Recently, I read an article in The McKinsey Quarterly on an interview with Om Prakash Bhatt, Chairman of State Bank of India (SBI), which is largest bank in India. Om Prakash Bhatt graduated with BS in Physics and MA in English. He went on to become the Chairman of SBI in year 2006. That was at a time, when SBI was losing market share and was lagging behind in race with growing private banks which offered new products to lure customers.

Om Prakash Bhatt knew that success lay in innovation, however the challenge was to energize and provide right direction to 200,000 Government employees stretched across 10,000 branches. One statement of Om Prakash Bhatt which really impressed me was: "If you look at any transformational effort at any institution across the world, most of the things people have done are common sense. There is no magic to it. The secret is how you do it, how you build a team, and how you build consensus around what you’re doing. Only then are you able to execute your plan. I had a vision for the bank, but I needed to communicate it." As part of his strategy, the top management of SBI started interacting with branch managers with in groups of up to 80. This kind of direct interaction had never happened before in SBI. It gave a sense of need and involvement to employees across all levels of the organization. The idea was to create an environment where people were free to voice their ideas, to criticize and to accept criticism, and ultimately to build consensus and alignment. The moment employees of an organization start feeling that they are part of it, they become more engaged and energized to generate higher results.

SBI which was facing in losses in market share, recently became a Fortune Global 500 company. I am sure, like me many of us would agree with the fact that services of SBI in past 3 years have improved a lot as compared to earlier. While business approach and providing new offerings with changing customer needs is the need-of-the-hour for any organization, it is very important to have employee involvement for an organization to succeed. All of us with our talent and collective team effort can do wonders. We are already seeing tremendous benefits of collaboration within organizations and this is poised to continue and evolve further into tomorrow's global world. Om Prakash Bhatt is a great inspiration for me and I am impressed with his leadership. It would be unfair, if I did not quote his words here: "I want us (SBI) to be available to every Indian, from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich, to both individuals and institutions. I want to do all this by instilling in my people a sense of service and helping them realize their work in the bank is not only about excellence in the workforce but also about self-development, evolution, and excellence in life."

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Monday, May 18, 2009

What should tomorrow's leaders be like?

We all are witnessing one of the biggest global recessions. Hopefully, it will be over in few months or more. However, current situation raises a vital question, "what should tomorrow's leaders be like"?

Recently I read an article detailing Marshall Goldsmith's views about tomorrow's leaders. Marshall Goldsmith is author of management-related literature, professor, consultant and executive coach. He is author of 24 management books. He also has a personal website that hosts over 200 free resources for visitors across the globe. Marshall said that leaders of the future must listen, learn and make mistakes.

I would like to outline some of the essential traits that tomorrow's leaders should possess.
(1) Everyday is a new learning and that is how a leader needs to develop himself/herself. Today's environment is very challenging and competitive. A leader need not be afraid of committing mistakes and should be ready to accept those.
(2) Leaders need to keep long term vision in mind. Ignoring long term vision can have adverse impacts on growth of the organization. I remember NRN Moorthy saying that there was a time when all the board members were in strong favor of selling Infosys, but NRN opposed it and today Infosys represents IT face of India in many ways.
(3) In future, CEOs/leaders will need to manage to people who have better IQ than leaders themselves. So, managing people and learning on the go is going to be very important.
(4) Willingness and desire to learn will play an important role. Good thing is that most of the Indian leaders/CEOs have attitude to learn more. In this challenging environment, one needs to challenge himself/herself and set higher goals to remain on the top.
(5) As CEOs grow their organizations, integrity needs to be maintained.

As we move forward to build a nation of leaders, let's groom ourselves as strong and true leaders. Continuous learning, people management and ethics are going to play an important role in this process.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Are we prepared for test of Leadership?

Current recession poses challenge for the corporations and each one of us. When times are good, everyone comes aboard happily, but in bad times we suffer. Current situation is test of the leadership in a way and also presents opportunity to find innovative ways.

Corporates today are busy taking cost cutting measures, and making an effort to retain the best talent at the same time. Though it becomes absolutely necessary to take strict cost cutting measures at times, I feel that it is equally important to keep employees in the job as far as possible. If a company has to lays off or fire employees, the better option perhaps could be to reduce salaries of all the employees, including senior management of the company. We need to remember that in most of the companies, senior management of the companies draw a huge sum of salary. I agree that they deserve good returns for their hard work, but it is equally important to accept lower wages in bad times, for benefit of all employees. That would result in more faith by the employees (and their families) in the company, in long term. Still in many cases, companies have to take steps of reducing the workforce.

I would like to cite an example, which is on the same lines as my thoughts mentioned above. Japan Airlines is one of the top ten Airline operators in the world. Recently I read about CEO of Japan Airlines reducing his salary to lower than pilots of the company. You can see the video below on CNN about this.

If leaders of the organizations take remarkable steps in benefit of the workforce, then it has unbelievable positive impact on the mindset of the employees. On the other hand, any negative emotions taken by leaders get passed on to entire organization, like a chain reaction. Any fear shown by them can spread pretty fast. I feel that it may not be possible for you as a leader to change the world, but you can certainly change the way you look at the world. Being calm and thoughtful really helps.

As we get groomed to become future leaders, we need to learn carefully and calmly. Today's learning is going to be the foundation for tomorrow's leadership and will help each one of us in good or bad times again in future. Each of our actions should be taken, with long term vision in mind. If you display kindness to other people, that also spreads.

So, let's bring out our leadership skills from within in this test of leadership. Our steps can show the path to others and we can emerge even stronger. Let's build a nation of true leaders, who can sail through all times.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Whom does 21st century belong to?

Many of us have been talking about growth of India for past few years. In this post, I will talk about Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, India's largest private sector enterprise and a Fortune 500 company. I read an article about Mukesh Ambani's views on 21st century and India. He said that 21st century is destined to be India’s century, while addressing a conference on “Taking India to the next millennium” at the International Bar Association (IBA). He also said that responsibility of eradicating poverty lies “with all of us”, adding it is not fair to hold only the government or the industry responsible for it.

He outlined following four advantages that India has today:
(1) Demographics - World is becoming Older and India is becoming younger, which provides tremendous growth opportunities for us.
(2) The ability of Indians to believe in democracy
(3) Technology is going to drive more value creation in the world and India has embraced technology.
(4) Globalization and growth despite of slowdown, led by younger people

You can also see following video to see his views.

After reading this news article, I started thinking about whom does 21st Century belong to and where India stands today. In my view, 21st century belongs to each one of us. It depends on us, what we want to see in tomorrow. We all can bring the change in the society.

India has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years and it is result of talent and effort of each one of us. Now, the onus is on each one of us to take it to next level. India needs true leaders, who can guide others. I am sure, each one of us has lots of innovative ideas to fill this gap. While we, the people in respectable jobs are growing to better living standards, each one of us needs to share this growth with at least few other people. Imagine, if each one of us makes sure to take few more people along on this growth path, it can do wonders. There are various ways like supporting education or vocational training of underprivileged people. If we help in their growth, tomorrow they too will can contribute for growth of the country. Let's use our full potential for continuing growth story of India and be part of the change. Remember, our true potential is much more than what we are doing everyday. So, it is time to realize the power within and make 21st century belong to ourselves.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What is value based Leadership?

Recently I read an article about new book of Mr NRN Murthy, titled "A Better India, A Better World". The book is a collection of Murthy's speeches over the years. The book was released by Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India. At the time of release of the book, Mr Murthy said: "For the first time in 300 years, India has seen a resurgence of its caliber; it was now time to take the fruits of growth and wealth creation to the masses." In his book, Mr Murthy seeks to show that a society that works for the welfare of the most number of people, based on the principle of let everyone experience joy, must focus on two simple things: Values and good leadership. Below is the video showing message from NRN Murthy about the book.

Talking about the book, he says that while India has made considerable progress in the last 18 years after the first wave of economic reforms, we are still lagging. So the real challenge we have is to bring inclusive growth. In order to bring inclusive growth in a country like India we need to solve three pieces of development -- first is creating a public opinion that values good work ethic, honesty, discipline, secularism. Second, we need to develop a cadre of leadership who espouse these values and serve as role models and demonstrate leadership by example. Third, we need the determination of the elite and the powerful in the society to eschew creation of asymmetry of benefits in their favor vis-à-vis the common man. Only when these three conditions are fulfilled will we be able to create a fair, just, equitable and inclusive growth in our society. In essence this is the fundamental thesis on which the book is based.

I have always been admirer of Mr Murthy. He has always displayed leadership with values, along with philanthropy. I have been with Infosys for past five years and always felt that Mr Murthy's value system reached employees of Infosys. In my view, leadership with values keeps one on right track and in some way, it also helps to identify one's responsibilities towards the underprivileged section of the society. Mr Murthy has been living simple life for many years and is always supported by his wife Mrs Sudha Murthy, who is also chairperson of Infosys Foundation. Recently I read about pledge by Murthys for giving Crores of their personal wealth for benefiting underprivileged people for basic education and basic health care.

I am sure, if each one of the aspiring leaders in India decides to focus on values in leadership, it can contribute tremendously for growth of India at grass root level. We all need to make values, discipline and leadership an integral part of life, for true development of India. Our collective actions can bring change in the society and it has already begun. Let's aim for bringing this change in our lives and lead by example.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Does time really matter for a new start?

We often think about, when is the right time for a change or a new beginning in life? Recently I read an article about experience of Jagdish Khattar, former Managing Director of Maruti Udyog, a leading four-wheeler automobile manufacturer in South Asia.

Khattar was responsible for changing the fortunes of Maruti Udyog by helping it to achieve over 55 per cent market share despite the competition and market slump the company had to face in 2001. Prior to joining Maruti, Khattar has been an officer of the Indian Administrative Service with more than 37 years of experience. He is currently the vice-president of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

I was highly impressed by his views presented at the annual Business Technology forum, CIOL Dataquest C Change 2009. Khattar attributed his success to his ability to handle the team as well as the support given to him by his employees and customers alike. He said that the leaders need to be developed within a team and "it all lies in the attitude". Khattar added that the handicap of not having no formal training as either an MBA or an engineer proved a blessing for him as he learned a lot of things.

Outlining his mantras for successful leadership, Khattar said individuals who wish to be seen as successful leaders need to think beyond the obvious. He stressed on "Think Big, Think opportunity". He also added that a leader will bring a mindset of success through innovation. A successful leader is one who will challenge the team to think of opportunities and beyond.

In addition to above views of Khattar, I am listing down key points that I strongly agree with for true leadership.
(1) Every problem has a solution and we should keep working on finding solution of the problem we face everyday.
(2) Today's world is all about collaboration and a great team can produce tremendous and unbelievable results.
(3) One should be receptive of ideas and a good listener can benefit from inputs from team members or customers.
(4) One needs to be optimistic even in times of crisis and be ready to take risks.

Let me also add that Khattar accepted the challenges even at age of 65 and never took a step back. The point I want to stress here is that let's not be afraid of trying something new in life. Remember that innovative ideas can show you a new world and time is always right for a new start. It is all in mind. Difficult times give us opportunity to bring in revolutionary ideas and make things happen. So, let's choose path of leadership and find our own way.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

What does leading fund raiser event mean to me?

Though I led many mega events in college and organized may parties at Infosys, but this time I got opportunity to lead Vibha's Bowl for a Child event for year 2009 in Minneapolis. I would like to share my experience with you.

It started in December last year, when me and Shreejith were named as the lead for this event. Shreejith gave it a great start and then he had to visit India in January. I called managers of different bowling lanes in Minneapolis to find out which one suits best for the event. I had to look at many aspects like cost, number of lanes, distance from Minneapolis downtown, availability of pizza/pop etc., for finalizing the bowling lanes. Finally AMF at Brooklyn Center was chosen and Vibha-MN team gave green signal for it. The event date was finalized as 04-Apr. The ticket price was kept at $25 for two games of bowling, pizza and unlimited pop.

The next step was to prepare the flyer and publicize the event. We contacted different media agencies in Minneapolis. Shreejith designed the flyer and ticket. In March, we had to sell all the tickets. We had target of selling 216 tickets. Everyone in Vibha-MN team helped us a lot in selling the tickets. I remember, me and Shreejith used to approach people everyday in our office, explaining them about the event. That really helped. Most of the people are too busy with work schedule and we are not able to remember about such events. But when approached one by one, we get good response. We also had to make sure that tickets returning from Vibha volunteers or our contacts get sold to someone else quickly. We distributed tickets to Vibha volunteers during potluck at Veeresh' house. Also, we had two conference calls in between to check the status of the tickets and planning for the event. We also had Vibha-MN meeting on 28-Mar at the bowling venue itself, to plan for organizing the event and assigning responsibilities like Registration desk, Vibha booth, food counter etc. Just two days before the event, we were able to finish selling all the tickets. It was great relief, as we had reached our target. Actually there were more requests, but we had to say no to those. It really feels great when you reach the target. I must thank everyone who bought the tickets for the bowling event.

On 4th of April, we reached the venue at 1:00 PM and everyone got into action for their assigned responsibilities. Next eight hours at the bowling venue were awesome. With so many people at the venue, it was great seeing everyone having fun. At about 9:00 PM, we had finished our calculations and the result was great. We found that we had raised $3550 from this event. I had great pleasure in announcing this to Vibha volunteers (you can see the video below). This was more than double of last year's revenue from the same event at Minneapolis. Some of us went to Denny's for coffee and dinner, for a nice break after the day-long event.

The next Vibha event at Minneapolis is Taal, a dance and music competition for children. Everybody is invited and there is no entry fee for viewers. For any questions about the event or more information, you can contact Sindhu Nair at 763.221.5337 or

The satisfaction of leading a fund raiser event can not be expressed in words. I feel that each one of us has immense energy & capabilities and we should use that in right direction. I gained very valuable experience to lead event for a very well structured organization like Vibha and I am going to take it forward wherever I am. More importantly, I am more than glad to spend my time and effort for helping the underprivileged section of the society.

We are lucky that we can buy what we want, but not everyone in this world is fortunate. Some need our help. Give it a thought !!! Think beyond luxury of life and help the needy in some way. Please contact me, if you need a direction to go forward and it will be my great pleasure to do my best for the cause.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Changing trend and opportunity for us to contribute for growth of India

Few days back, I saw Nandan Nilekani on "The Dailyshow" hosted by with John Stewart. You can see the video as well below. The show was about discussion on the book titled Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani. Being in Infosys for past five years, I know a lot about Nandan Nilekani. However, I would like to highlight some points from Nandan's discussion. Nandan says that getting the education right in India is going to be the key for next 20 years. There are many young people in the working age group in India, who can shape the future of India. At the same time there are many people, who are not getting the right education. There is one thing that makes me feel glad every time is that Nandan chose India as the place to grow in long term. They were seven enthusiastic persons with only $250.00 in hand and built a huge organization that represents the IT face of India today in many ways, if not all.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Nandan Nilekani
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

As a result of current slowdown in USA and the globe, many students are coming back to India. According to a recent report, about 100k students are expected to come back to India in next 3-5 years. Recently I read an article about Indian students saying no to American dream. The number of students willing to study in India or planning to settle in India is increasing. Recently I talked to one of my friends who has completed Masters in USA. He was of the opinion that USA is no more an attractive place for him in long term. I am sure that he phenomenon of reverse brain drain will bring benefits for India.

Even the Indians who have been in USA for many years for job, are now planning to come back to India. Actually some of them have already returned back to India and are in process of starting their own ventures in India. One of my colleagues at Minneapolis has spent fifteen years in USA and is now planning to settle in India, after seeing the current job situation in USA. He feels that he has been far from his roots in India for bright future, but in current times it does not seem to be right choice to stay away from family in India. Also, the demand for becoming OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) is increasing.

I feel that we all can make a difference. India has shown tremendous growth in past few years and it became possible because of effort from each one of us. Let's use our energy and talent to make this country the superpower. Each one of us can do a little to provide education to a poor child. We need to make sure that the next generation of India emerges with much better percentage of literacy and growth. Let's join our hands together.

I conducted a poll in my blog with question: "Do you think if given an opportunity, you would like to make positive impact for growth of India at grassroot level". Eighteen people responded and 94% of them said "Yes". I would like to thank all the respondents and mention here that I am working on some of the projects to benefit poor children in India for their education etc. If you want to help with your time, effort or financial assistance to make a difference, then I invite you to join me in growth of India. You can email me to take it further.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Leadership and "Corporate social responsibility"

We all witnessed recent Satyam episode, a never before fraud of it's kind in corporate world of India. Mr Raju showed everyone that greed for position or money can result in loss of millions for investors of any company. I see this unfortunate incident as an isolated one and not actually representing the whole corporate world. However, it is high time that companies in India and abroad realize their Corporate social responsibility.

I recently read a very nice article in National Stock Exchange of India newsletter, about implications of new SEBI Rule on promoter share pledging disclosure. The article is written by by Shankar AVSB, CEO of 7Avenues and Prakash Kumar, non-executive advisor for 7Avenues. The article explains the benefits of recent changes in regulations by SEBI and the interpretation of those for investors. New regulations by SEBI have started showing their effect in stock market, as many blue-chip stocks are seeing downward trend ever since their promoters disclosed their share pledge details.

There are not many companies that have been able to set example for Corporate Social responsibility. Infosys has stood by it's commitment to fair auditing process. It was great to hear from Infosys leadership that at Infosys, the bank statements go directly to the auditors of the company, which makes sure that the cash available with the company is the actual cash, rather than the inflated one as in case of Satyam.

While India needs leaders to become a superpower, we also need to make sure that ethics, strict auditing regulations and accountability of company's board members are given high importance. These are critical for protecting the future of the investors, employees and their families. We do not want people like Mr Raju who served as role model for almost everyone in Andhra Pradesh for many years and finally turned out to be a fraudster. In my view, true leader is the one who leads by example, along with ethical values in place.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bowl for a child - At Minneapolis on 04-Apr

Vibha-MN is hosting its 5th Annual Bowling event ‘Bowl for a Child’, to be held at AMF Bowling Lanes, Brooklyn Park, MN on Saturday April 04, 2009.

The event proceedings will benefit the underprivileged children in India & USA, right from poverty to education and to health care. Come, join us to have fun and at the same time make a difference in the life of a child.

Vibha is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, empower and enable every individual who wishes to make a positive difference in the life of the underprivileged child. To this end, volunteers at Vibha have fundraisers in several action centers across the US and India. The funds are then directed towards grassroots organizations in India and the US which are selected after careful screening by volunteers. The main focus areas of the projects supported by Vibha are:
1. Education: With a belief that education is the key to unlocking the potential of children and for breaking the vicious cycle of poverty, about 50% of their resources go towards education.
2. Vocational Training
3. Physically and/or Mentally Challenged Children
4. Children in Vulnerable Conditions

The volunteers of Vibha’s Twin Cities chapter organize events, drives and campaigns in Twin Cities, Minnesota and create awareness about the cause, as well as raise much needed funds to support grassroots projects in India and US. “Bowl for a child” has attracted good participation in the past. The schedule for this year’s Vibha “Bowl for a Child” is below.

When: April 04, 2009
Where: Earle Brown Lanes (AMF Bowling Center)
6440 James Circle North, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
Timing: 2-5 PM & 6-9 PM
Tickets: $25 (advance); $20 (advance-students);
Group discount: Buy 5 tickets and get 1 ticket free*.
(*applicable only for 2 pm to 5 pm slot till March 25, 2009)
Tickets are limited, so hurry and reserve your spot!

For tickets and more information regarding the event, please visit: Bowl for a Child - 2009, or you can email me.

If for some reason you are unable to make it to our event this year, you may choose to contribute by making a tax-deductible contribution at donation link for Vibha. Remember, your small contribution can make a difference in life of an underprivileged child.
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Let's make positive difference in life of at least one child

By now each one of us knows about Slumdog Millionaire. This is the movie that won eight Oscars in a row few days back. While this movie has glorified Indian talent in different areas of cinema, there are some important aspects of it, which we should not miss as a responsible citizen of India.

This movie has presented true picture of human trafficking in front of us. Though this movie has been filmed in India, human trafficking is actually a problem across the globe and that too in mass. Now next question that comes is, why it happens. Human trafficking has been going on for many years. Poverty and illiteracy are two of the major reasons for this. I came across an article some time ago, which said that child development schemes by Government of India have actually done very little. Fact is that the number of children unable to have minimum food (dal-roti) is increasing every year. On the same lines, it is shocking to know that Preeti Mukherjee, the winner of Oscar at same Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles four years back, is a sex worker today. List does not end here.

What can we do to stop this? While one person can not change everything, it is each one of us who needs to do a little at least. If we contribute in some way for providing basic education and food for poor children, then it will certainly save some children, from falling into trap of human trafficking. As a human being and responsible citizen, we should contribute for this noble cause. In case we are not able to contribute our time for this, at a minimum we should support projects for education and food of poor children. I am listing two of the forums here for contribution (I have been associated with these organizations).
(1) Vibha - This was founded in year 1991 and provides a platform for individuals who want to make a positive difference in the lives of the millions of underprivileged children in India. I have been volunteer for Vibha's Minneapolis Action Center for past few months.
(2) Kartavya - An effort of my college students in India to teach poor children. These children need support for getting admitted in schools after few years of education by college students.

Let's each one of do a little to make a positive difference.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Are we doing our bit for community of eX Indian Security Forces?

It has been three months, since terrorist attacks in Mumbai. But Mumbai was just one of the instances of such brutal attacks. India has been witnessing many such unfortunate incidents every year.

Do we give few minutes of our busy schedule to think about the soldiers who keep us safe? While we, the citizens of India, enjoy cup of coffee in our home, the soldiers spend their sleepless nights in extreme conditions at the border. Indian Security Forces (Indian Armed forces, National Security Guards etc.) are the ones who come forward to help us in natural calamities too.

Few days back, I was talking to Lieutenant Colonel Navinder Narang, who has 19 years of diverse experience with Indian Army. He is in core team of XISF, the community of eX Indian Security Forces. XISF aims to provide a robust framework for the members of the ex Indian Security Forces community, to interact with each other in three key areas of civil life - Placements, Business and Socializing. XISF comprises of all ranks from the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force.

I have seen that in many cases the families of ex-Servicemen do not even receive the benefits from Government. we also have political leaders who are not ready to respect tremendous contribution of our security forces. Looking at the situation like this, XISF is a great effort for helping ex-Servicemen and their families, for them to find their ways after forces.

The video below explains more about the motive behind XISF.

While Government is doing it's portion of support for Indian soldiers and their families (though much of that may be due to pressure from citizens and media), it is our equal responsibility to support the community of ex Indian Security Forces. Few days back I read a news article about BJP promising help to ex-Servicemen, but as we all know these are not more than political promises. If you feel that you should contribute for this noble cause in some way (time, ideas or others), then you can get in touch with Lieutenant Colonel Navinder Narang.

I salute the effort and sacrifice of Indian Security Forces. Let's join our hands together to actually contribute for this noble cause.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is recession really closing doors for us?

It is official now, with Obama saying that it will take years to recover from recession. The problem of recession started with subprime crisis in year 2007, but a recession was declared much later and what followed after that, everyone knows.

Few days back, I read an article by Professor Jagdish Bhagwati, international economist and Professor in Economics Department at Columbia University, USA. He argued that the provision to restrict hiring of H1-B visaholders would deprive the US of the best global talent which comes in the form of highly trained and talented people. To quote his words: "In terms of broader considerations like the people who are coming in on H1-B visas - they're frequently highly trained and talented people and a lot of our progress and prosperity depend on having such people". He stressed that it is not appropriate to blame H1-B workers, as many of them eventually settle down in US, form new IT companies and provide job opportunities to American nationals as well.

I agree with thoughts of Prof. Bhagwati to a some extent. At the same time, I feel bad about millions of people loosing their jobs or business globally. I also understand that it is right of every country to protect it's own benefits first. Even Canada is gearing up for reducing immigration to reduce the impact of financial crisis. After having spent twenty one months in America by now, I can say that Americans have provided a great environment for growth and that's why individuals from all over the world see it as right place to work and grow.

In past few weeks, I read many news articles about increasing problems for H1-B workers in USA. With US stimulus bill in place, the US Congress has barred firms receiving government bailout from hiring Indians and other foreign workers through the skilled US visa worker visa (H1-B) programme, if they are replacing American workers. As a result, H1-B workers will have some impact, and that will impact Indian nationals too. Why I am saying "some" here is because of two reasons. First one is that the stimulus bill bars companies from hiring H1-B workers, but does not seem to stop companies from having H1-B contractors (not employees). Second reason is that not all the companies have opted for bailout package. Since it is global recession now, the overall business scenario of companies in US and across the globe is getting worse everyday. Whether we are in US, India or any other country, there will be impact on many of us. We all can see that everyone is sticking to their current job somehow. Attrition rate in companies has gone down.

I can write much more about the recession and the impact, but here is another way of looking at it too. We all have seen India growing at a very fast pace in last few years, yet there is lot more to transform things at grass root level. May be that this recession has brought some hidden light for us, or has given us a way to re-think about our priorities. Today, with almost every country having dependency on other countries, it is nearly impossible for a country to be isolated from impact of global meltdown. However, India still holds a good financial position comparatively. A lot can be done in India, whether it be in professional career, or for the growth of unprivileged society. Why not we realize our power within and take a step ahead to projects/ideas, to take the nation forward? Let's not be afraid of failures on the way. Failure is one of the very powerful ways to learn. In today's world, it does not matter where you are located. What matters is your thought and actions to make a difference. Many professionals like us have already starting working on related projects. You can find information on such projects in my earlier posts. Let's join our hands together to make India a better place for everyone.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Leadership - The Thinking and Actions

I have been thinking about what is "Leadership", for quite some time. You will find are various definitions available for the word "Leader", which convey the message that a leader is a person who guides or inspires others.

I would like to present my view about Leadership and also mention about Sangeeth Varghese, famous Leadership Expert.

Who is a leader? Leadership starts with the idea of taking actions for change and once you are able to take decisions in need, you become a leader. You do not need to be CEO of a company, or hold a political position, for becoming a leader. At work life everyday, we come across words like initiative, leadership, innovation etc. and many times we find it difficult to deal with these. Sometimes, we feel that we do not have time. But, let's ask ourselves if that is really the reason for the difficult situations? Or, is it rather the fear of taking challenge, or the unexpected environment? If yes, then We have to overcome this fear and the key to do that is to have positive attitude. I always feel that attitude makes big difference in life. "Think Big" is something which will enable you to have long term vision and will keep you driving to take committed actions.

I attended web meet for "India Leadership Network" yesterday. I found it interesting and saw that each one of the participants was ready to change something for transformation of India. The discussion was about connecting all villages of India with Internet and work with various agencies to make it happen. Though at first look it may look impossible to implement, but it is actually possible. Ask one simple question to yourself. Had you thought ten years back that mobile phone will be so easily available in India? But today it is a reality. I still remember that we had to call telephone operator to make phone calls about fifteen years back. The thought and actions for making a change can make the impossible happen.

I would like to mention about Sangeeth Varghese, a leadership expert. He studied at London School of Economics and is founder of LeadCap, a movement with a vision to build India as a nation of leaders. Sangeeth is a mentor for several CEOs and start-up organizations. He was a columnist for Businessworld, the largest business magazine in India and also writes for Forbes, the largest in the world. He is the author of the bestseller 'Decide to Lead – Eight decisions that can make you a leader'. I came to know about Sangeeth few days back and was highly impressed by his definition of leadership. He asks each one of us to do start everyday things differently and contribute in goal of having many leaders in India. Sangeeth has inspired lives of many people. Even you can volunteer in one of his leadership projects. Below is the YouTube video, showing message from Sangeeth.

You will rarely find someone, who is a born leader. Leadership starts from thinking and can be demonstrated by the actions taken.
As Barack Obama said "Change we need" during election campaign, I believe it is time for us to work on "Change we need".

We are fortunate enough to get excellent education and work experience. Let's make best use of it. To make India really grow at grass root level, each one of us needs to emerge as leader. And, the time to act is now. Each one of us has a leader within self. We need to take decision for transforming India and come out of problems like poverty, corruption and infrastructure inadequacy. Remember, the change needs to start from you and it is possible.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Political revolution in India

Today we are worried about future of India, because we do not see capable and honest politicians in India. We see corruption everywhere, and no politician really cares about growth of people in India. His/her own interests come before those of the country. And, we finally say that perhaps the whole system is like that. Roads are not good, there is no safety in the country and list does not end there. I am sure, most of us would agree with what I said so far.

Apparently there does not seem to be any solution, but wait... there may be. If we, the educated people do not think about it, then who will think? What if we form a political party which has professionals like us as it's members and who work for bringing the new young face of the politics in India. It may appear hypothetical at first look, but the fact is that the change is happening. The political revolution in the country is beginning to take shape.

Few days back, I was going through a discussion on "India Leadership Network" group in LinkedIn and ended up talking to Rahul Pandit, who is based out of Hyderabad and is working on forming a political party named "Yuva Party". With curiosity, I started looking for similar political parties and found that there are parties with similar motto, like:
(1) Professionals Party of India
(2) Bhartiya Rashtravadi Samanata Party

Here is preamble of "Yuva Party", based on my discussion with Rahul.

We, The active Members of the Yuva Party united for the protection and well being of citizens of India, have come together to form a new political party based upon the unbiased principles and values. We subscribe to our adopted Key Values of fighting corruption, Rapid Justice, Minimum health care to all , Social and national Responsibility, Non-violence, Respect for Diversity, Anti-divide and rule policy, Education, Honesty, Human Rights, Child development, Recognition and strengthening validation of media investigations, best utilization of tax money and planned infrastructure development. In addition, we support the Platform adopted by the Members for social activity such as helping the deprived, and elevation of standards of living for the Citizens. Thus, positioning itself on the threshold of a political revolution. We will affiliate with other Parties or groups in India and other countries as they accept and are organized around these or similar principles.

I thought that we all are busy in our professional and personal lives so much, still this person is willing to initiate the change in the country. I was impressed with his ideas and strategy.

Every big change starts from a small initiative. If you feel that you can be part of this revolution in some way, then do get in touch with Rahul at Remember, even a small contribution in form of time, ideas or others can make a huge difference. In my opinion, this is the need of hour and we should contribute in some way.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The power of will

Wishing you all a very Happy Republic Day of India !!!

Today I watched Gandhi, a great movie by British Director Richard Attenborough. I am thankful to the team of the movie for a bringing the tremendous effort of Gandhiji and all freedom fighters in front of today's generation in India and across the globe. In my view, this movie is a masterpiece of art. You can find more about movie at

Rather than going more into details of the movie, the key point that I would like to bring out is about the power of will. Gandhiji always said that a person does not need to be physically strong, rather needs to be mentally strong to achieve the goal. I have always been firm believer of "Think Big". Everyday we face problems at work and personal life. It is very easy to blame the circumstances around, but do we have strength to accept the challenges and be mentally prepared to change the things? After watching the movie today, my belief in the power of will has strengthened further. When Gandhiji can bring change in India with his nonviolence approach and will power, why can not we? If I am able to accomplish a very very small fraction of what Gandhiji did in his life, then I will feel that my life has some meaning. So, it is time for each of us to realize our power within and achieve our personal and professional goals in life.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

India Leadership Network 2009 - A Web meetup

How many times have we actually contributed for our country? Here is an opportunity to discuss with current and tomorrow's leaders about transforming India. A web meeting is being arranged by Manoj Acharya, owner of LinkedIn group "India Leadership Network". This group has been in inception for past one year and today it has 21000+ professionals and leaders as it's members.

Don't miss this opportunity. Go to for more details and register for it.

The meeting will start at 8:00 PM IST on 07-Feb-2009 and will continue for few hours. You can even plan to present your ideas in the meeting. You will need Broadband Internet connection to attend it.

Please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions.
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Power of RTI (Right to Information) Act in India

The Right to Information Act was brought into action in India in year 2005. Since then, it has proved to be very beneficial for people in India. With this law getting enabled, citizens of India can request information from "public authority" (generally a Government body) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.

Under the Act, all authorities covered must appoint their Public Information Officer (PIO). Any person may submit a request to the PIO for information in writing. It is the PIO's obligation to provide information to citizens of India who request information under the Act. If the request pertains to another public authority (in whole or part) it is the PIO's responsibility to transfer/forward the concerned portions of the request to a PIO of the other within 5 days. In addition, every public authority is required to designate Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs) to receive RTI requests and appeals for forwarding to the PIOs of their public authority. The citizen making the request is not obliged to disclose any information except his name and contact particulars. To know more about the law, you can visit:

So, in effect, one can ask for information, in case of irregularities found at a Government office. Many Indian citizens have to face the brunt of corrupt Government officials even today and I feel that this law is very helpful in such situations. I have read about many cases in past few years, wherein Indian citizens got the information quickly from Government officials and made them to work for their duties.

I would like to cite a recent experience of one of my friends in Kolkata. He applied for passport last year, along with filling all information appropriately in the Passport application. At the time of police verification in Kolkata, Policemen asked him for Rs. 5000 as bribery, which he rejected. As a result, Police submitted wrong report in the Passport Office. After this, my friend went to Passport Office many times, but every times he was treated in an appropriate manner. He could see the corrupt face of country at that time. One day, his fater suggested him to go for use of RTI (Right To Information). He then submitted an application (RTI) to Passport Office and asked the reason for not getting Passport. To his great surprise, one evening he got phone call from Passport Office. The person on phone talked to him very politely and called him to Passport Office next day. On reaching office, my friend was given proposal of withdrawing RTI application and getting Passport within 2 hours. He accepted the proposal and got his Passport on the same day.

So, this is the power of RTI. I hope coming years bring more such laws and more importantly, awareness among all of us about such laws and the power associated. This article of mine is a very small effort in that direction. I am sure, we all can make a difference.

I will be glad to hear your comments. You can also indicate your opinion using the check box below.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Realty sector growth in India

I have been following information about realty sector growth in India and would like to put my thoughts here based on my experience as well as observation.

I am strong believer of the fact that for a long term investor, investment in land in India will never be a problem. This is driven by following:
(1) Growing number of people in India, resulting in more demand
(2) Increase in buying capacity of middle class and in general
(3) More industrialization and growth of the country, thereby causing shortage of land available for residential and industrial use...
And more...

Check out this article on Economic Times which is relevant on the same lines, as stated above.

The investment in a constructed house or flat in India might put you in risk in times of recession, but investment in land would not (in long term, say 3-5 years or more). If one has reliable contacts to invest in land, I would suggest to invest in this evergreen and best investment option.
In my view, it is better than investment in stocks, or any other investment, in terms of best returns, safety (if one has reliable contacts). Of course, one needs to diversify the investment portfolio, to reduce risks.

I will be glad to see your comments on this article and provide more inputs if you need.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Mumbai !!!

I am sure, each one of us has been continuously watching news online and on TV about Mumbai blasts. Like everyone, I too have been watching NDTV and CNN-IBN, along with news on Times of India online.

I decided to pen down my opinion in short about Mumbai blasts, the aftermath and where India stands in middle of all this.

First of all, I would like to salute every soldier who sacrificed their lives to save others. This includes even those policemen who are not in publicity provided by media. I pray to God that leaders like Mr. Achhutanand and Mr. R R Patil respect the contribution of self-less soldiers of the country some day. I also am thankful to those who saved lives of hundreds of people, by use of their wisdom and promptness. The person who annouces trains' schedule at Mumbai CST station did a real great job after firing started at the station. He continously kept announcing , asking people not to get down from incoming trains. There are many more unnamed heroes who kept us safe and alive today.

This blast has made me sad and angry. There have been almost eight blasts in past six months, but did Govt do something for it? Perhaps because those killed in earlier blasts were common men, not high profile executives and businessmen like those in Mumbai blasts. We have become habitual of acceping terror attacks very normally, with a frequency one city facing blasts in a month on average. This time it took three days to bring situation under control at Mumbai, after killing of many people, including foreign nationals. Media covered whole sequence of events minute by minute.

Where India stands in all this. India lacks coordination among intelligence and action forces. Security Agencies has been asking Govt to provide adequate infrastructure for Naval, Air and Ground forces past many years, but our politicians are busy with their cheap politics, rather than concentrating on security of country's citizens. Today, despite of having clear evidence available with India, US and Israel, India finds itself helpless in taking any action against terror camps based in Pakistan. I remember one of my friend told me recently that one of the retired army personnel in US told him that if it would have been USA in place of India, it would not have taken even few days to attack the terror camps in Pakistan. It is evident, it is all about power.

I feel that each of us is equally responsible for this. Here is how:
(1) I have seen in US that every person is vigilant enough to report ANY suspicious activity to police immediately. Can't we do the same thing in India?
(2) Indian Govt at least is feeling the heat this time due to media and pressure from aam aadmi. We need to make sure that our elected leaders keep us safe in our own country.
(3) We need to report about irresponsible policemen, because of whom whole department gets defamed.
... List does not end here...

It would take hours for me to complete this writing, but I stop it here...
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