Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why do we struggle very hard some times? How can we get past the tough times?

I am immanent in every being. People forget Me, even though I am within and without them. I am the inner core of every being, but they are not aware of this. So, they are tempted to believe the outside world to be real and true, and pursue objective pleasures, and fall into grief and pain. On the other hand, if they concentrate all attention on Me alone, believing that the Lord has willed everything and everyone, I bless them and reveal to them the truth that they are I and I am they. Thousands have been blessed thus.

It is Time to Stop Managing Down and Start Coaching Up!

    Manager: a person who has control or direction of a business, or of a part, division, or phase of it.

    Coach: a person who gives instruction or advice to elevate the performance of an individual or student.

    Businessmen and women are looking for leaders who demonstrate an enthusiastic and genuine belief in others and who strengthen their will to succeed. Look at the two definitions above and think about which of those people is going to get the results needed in business today. Coaching is all about focusing on the talent of the person, and not so much about the production of the job description given when hired. Yes, businesses hire a manager to control the output of sales in order to control the outcome or production of business. However, if the focus is on enhancing the talents of hired staff, I believe the outcome will be greatly improved. Coaches focus on supplying the means to achieve, not on the fear of employees losing their jobs. It is the title of "coach" that helps to express optimism for the future with a firm walk in life.

    A coach must keep hope alive from within the person. They must always strengthen their players' belief that life's struggles will produce a more promising future. This evolves into an intimate and supportive relationship, a relationship based not on pure authority, but on mutual participation that results in an inner renewal. The coach sees the good in you, and it is his or her job to bring the good out and place you in a position where your talent matches the task so success is almost a given. It is when you put people in positions of your needs that you are thinking like a manager, not a coach. Your job isn't to put people in a position of your need; it is to put them in a position where they will succeed.

    All great coaches find ways to change up the game plan in order to get tried and true results. Different competitions, changing up strategies, having employee input ideas from the field - all these things help to get your team engaged in the company's goals and have some friendly competition to bolster energy for production. A manager without a coaching strategy might simply post the goals of the company for the quarter and give no input as to how to achieve those goals. This kind of manager is relying on the talents of the sales staff, but not enhancing or improving upon past performance. Yes, the coaching up manager is going to have to be creative.

    Business owners should be looking for that quality in a coach for their team. Coaches, study your competition. There are strategies out there that are proven in the marketplace and should be followed, just like the skills to make a three point jumper shot at the buzzer. Perfect practice makes perfect. Follow your team on the road to help them to continue following proven principles your company has set. But by all means, have some fun with some friendly competition.

    During these uncertain and changing times, those who take the title of Coach lead with a positive, confident, can-do approach to life and business, something that is so needed with the people I see each week. The feedback I receive from investing hundreds of hours each year with people is that they want a leader with a coaching focus, not a managing agenda. These people want to believe that we all are part of a journey, and this is not just a job or a task.

    hey seem to gravitate toward people with a can-do attitude, not those who always seem to have a reason why something can't be done. It is when the pressure is on that the title Coach becomes so important. A manager thinks one way and a coach thinks another. A coach says, "I asked you to be on this team because I believe in who you are as a person, not just as a player." The good coach sees what is good on the inside and brings it out. A manager sees what is on the outside and pushes it in.

Contractor, Chaudhuri in race for SBI MD's post

State Bank of India (SBI) Deputy Managing Directors Hemant Contractor and Pratip Chaudhuri have been identified as possible candidates for promotion as the managing director of the country's largest bank. At present, the proposal was pending with the department of personnel and training, sources familiar with the appointment process said.

One of them is likely to be appointed as a replacement for S K Bhattacharya, who superannuated last month. While R Sridharan, the second managing director, is due to retire next year, the government can also expand the number of managing directors to four.

"A few candidates have been interviewed (for the managing director's post). Some of the candidates have been shortlisted," Chairman O P Bhatt said on the sidelines of a press meet today, adding the decision would be announced shortly.

Four Deputy Managing Directors - Hemant Contractor (head of corporate and wholesale banking), K Krishnakumar (head of information technology), Diwakar Gupta (incharge of rural and national banking) and P Chaudhuri (who looks after the international banking business) - are eligible for the managing director's post. To be eligible for the post, a candidate must have two years of residual service left. SBI can have seven deputy managing directors.

Parliament recently approved two more managing directors for the bank. However, the process of appointing additional managing directors was yet to start, Bhatt said. The four DMDs who are eligible for the managing directors' post also become the contender to head the country largest bank when Bhatt retires in March 2011.

E-payments can help govt save One Lac crore a year: McKinsey Inbox X

E-payments can help govt save One Lac crore a year: McKinsey

New Delhi, November 1: An estimated annual savings of around Rs.1,00,000 crore makes a compelling case for the government to make a one-time investment of Rs.60,000-70,000 crore to build an electronic payment platform for all its transactions with individual households, says consulting firm McKinsey.

Such a platform could help the government save Rs.71,000 crore a year, while benefiting individual beneficiaries to the tune of Rs.26,200 crore. Many of the beneficiaries would be from financially excluded households as most of the transactions between the government and households relate to welfare schemes, the consultancy said in a report Inclusive growth and financial security: The benefits of e-payments to Indian society released on Monday.

The cost of building the e-platform is prohibitive, but benefits far outweigh the costs, as it would enhancing the efficiencies of the payment system by reducing leakages, increased the efficiency of delivery of services and lower administration costs. Leakages account for about 75-80% of the losses that the government suffers due to the manual payment system, while share of transaction cost is estimated at 15-20% of the losses, says the report.

A National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme worker loses as much as Rs.6-7 in wages and travel costs to redeem the Rs.100 she earned for a day's work. The saving of Rs.1,00,000 crore is equivalent to about 10% of the total payment flow between the government and households, considering that in 2008-09, such payments in form of direct cash transactions, subsidies and public services such as education and healthcare amounted to Rs.13,30,000 crore. Savings would be maximum on welfare schemes such as targeted public distribution system and national rural employment guarantee programme where the government could save as much as Rs.82,700 crore, as payment inefficiencies are 30% or more. The savings of Rs.1,00,000 crore is equal to 20% of the fiscal deficit or 25% of the government's welfare spending. The amount is enough to meet the entire expenditure on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the universal primary education programme, or double the outlay for fertiliser subsidy.

However, the most significant gain from an e-payment platform in a country of 80-100 million poor households would be in the form of financial inclusion.

"An e-payment platform would enable the formal financial sector to more easily and efficiently reach disadvantaged Indian households and offer modern financial products," the report says. But getting to a point where the government can make this saving requires all its departments and agencies to be fully networked to ensure that all information transfer is electronic. It would require installation of accessible and convenient transaction points, with one in every village.

The government would also need to ensure reliability of payment by making the system tamper-proof. This would require installation of identity authentication infrastructure, especially at payment points that serve the poor, illiterate and rural sections of India.

That apart, the e-payment investment can be made viable only if the financial service providers and intermediaries align themselves as stakeholders in the set-up. The government would also need to ensure that the infrastructure created is put to use. This would entail transfer of all salaries is done electronically, and use of cash and cheques is eliminated. Similarly, all payments to vendors and contractors would have to be made electronically.

Your Ideal Self and Life

Your self-concept is made up of three parts, each of which affects each of the others. Understanding these three parts enables you to put your hands on the keyboard of your own mental computer. When you learn to take charge of the development of a new and positive self-concept of selling, you can then control your sales destiny for the rest of your career.

Determine Your Direction

The first part of the self-concept is the "self-ideal." Your self-ideal largely determines the direction in which you are going with your life. It guides the growth and evolution of your character and personality. Your self-ideal is a combination of all of the qualities and attributes of other people that you most admire. Your self-ideal is a description of the person you would very much like to be if you could embody the qualities that you most aspire to.

Strive Toward Excellence

Throughout your life, you have seen and read about the qualities of courage, confidence, compassion, love, fortitude, perseverance, patience, forgiveness and integrity. Over time, these qualities have instilled in you an ideal to which you aspire. You might not always live up to the very best that you know, but you are constantly striving to be a better person in light of those qualities that you value so highly. In fact, everything that you do on a day-to-day basis is affected by your comparing your activities with these ideal qualities and your striving to behave consistently with them.

Clarity is Essential

Successful salespeople have very clear ideals for themselves and their careers. Unsuccessful salespeople have fuzzy ideals. Successful salespeople are very clear about being excellent in every part of their work and their personal lives. Unsuccessful salespeople don't give the subject very much thought. One of the primary characteristics of successful men and women in every walk of life is that they have very clearly defined ideals and they are very aware of whether or not their current behaviours are consistent with their idealized behaviours.

Set Challenging Goals

Part of your ideals are your goals. As you set higher and more challenging goals, your self-ideal improves and crystallizes. When you set goals for the kind of person you want to be and the kind of life you want to live, your self-ideal rises and becomes a greater guiding and motivating force in your life.

Your Future is Unlimited

Perhaps the most important thing for you to realize is that whatever anyone else has done or become, you can do or become as well. Improvements in your self-ideal begin in your imagination, and in your imagination, there are no limits except the ones that you accept.

What is your ideal vision of the very best person you could possibly become? How would you behave each day if you were already that person? Asking yourself these questions and then living your life consistent with the answers is the first step to creating yourself in your ideal image.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, dream big dreams. Set big, exciting, challenging goals and ideals for yourself in every part of your life. Allow yourself to imagine a wonderful life ahead.

Second, think about how you would act if you were an outstanding person in every way. Then, practice being this person, as though you were acting a role in a play. You'll immediately notice a difference in your behaviour.

Monday, November 1, 2010

SOCH VICHAR*: Super-rich investors buy gold by tonne

SOCH VICHAR*: Super-rich investors buy gold by tonne: "The world's wealthiest people have responded to economic worries by buying gold by the bar -- and sometimes by the tonne -- and by moving as..."

What will be the state of the mind of a pure soul, in times of joy and sorrow?

The rain falling on the mountain range slides down the sides into many valleys and flows as turbid streams. The same rain falling on fresh water lakes or limpid rivers remains pure and clear. The sages who are cognizant of their Atmic reality are transformed into the purity, equanimity, and charity that it represents. They are ever in the full awareness of the Atma, their inner core. In the purified consciousness of these persons, there is the experience of identification. Likes and dislikes, sense of “I” and “mine”, anxiety and calmness, elation when praised and depression when blamed - these cannot contaminate or agitate a person who has attained that state.  These opposites become balanced and are accepted with equanimity as waves on the Atmic consciousness. This is the authentic Atmic attitude, the Brahman inner-look, the unitary vision.

Motivation, Manipulation and Leadership

The word "motivation" is one that is often confused with "manipulation." Motivation occurs when you persuade someone to take an action in their own best interests.

Things like people preparing their homework, accepting responsibility for their performance and finishing their education, are the result of motivation.

Manipulation is persuading someone to take an action which is primarily for your benefit.  Things like selling an inferior product at an inflated price or working people overtime with no extra pay are examples of manipulation. Manipulation self-destructs the individual doing the manipulating.  Word gets out on manipulators and people grow less and less likely to respond in a positive manner to their manipulation.  Productivity declines.

Leadership occurs when you persuade a person to take an action which is in your mutual best interests.  Eisenhower said that leadership was the ability to persuade someone to do what you wanted them to do because they wanted to do it.  When that happens, performance improves, productivity increases, and both parties win.

Comparing motivation to manipulation is like comparing kindness to deceit. The difference is the intent of the person.  Motivation will cause people to act out of free choice and desire, while manipulation often results in forced compliance.  One is ethical and long-lasting; the other is unethical and temporary.

Carlisle said, "A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats the little man."  The value you place on people determines whether you are a motivator or a manipulator of people.  Motivation is moving together for mutual advantage.  Manipulation is persuading or even subtly coercing someone to do something so that you win and they lose.  With the motivator everybody wins; with the manipulator, only the manipulator wins.  And to that I might add that the victory is temporary and the price is prohibitive. Leaders and motivators are winners, manipulators are losers who produce resentment and discord.

We're both on the same side

One of my favourite stories concerns a young lad who was confronted by three bullies with violence in mind.  Quickly, the little guy drew a line on the ground, stepped back several feet, looked the biggest bully in the eye and said, "Now, you just step over that line."  Confidently, the big bully stepped over the line, preparing to commit mayhem on the little guy. Quickly the little fellow grinned and said, "Now we're both on the same side."

Physically, they were both on the same side.  But emotionally they were still some little distance apart.  The smaller boy improved his chances of getting on the same side emotionally by his touch of wit and wisdom.  This is an excellent combination to defuse most crisis situations and represents a major step in solving whatever problems exist.

There are several lessons parents, managers and educators can learn from this little vignette.

First, whether it is a parent/child, management/labour or teacher/student situation, both really are on the same side and the best way for either side to win is for both sides to win.

Second, a sense of humour can be very helpful in removing communications barriers by revealing your human side and establishing rapport.

Third, sometimes it's necessary for the big bully (the person in authority) to move to the other side of the table (across the line).  This lets associates, children or employees clearly understand that they really are on the same side and open to listening to ideas from both sides of that line.

The fourth message is that it is always important and to our own advantage to maintain our perspective by being open and fair-minded as we look at life from the other person's perspective.

Soon, e-payment facility at RTOs to erase middleme

In a move aimed at eliminating middlemen and removing irregularities at regional transport offices (RTOs), the state government has decided to introduce e-payment facilities for vehicle registration and driving licences, vehicle permits and fitness certificates.

According to official sources, the facility will first be introduced for registration of vehicles by dealers and then extended to payments pertaining to licences, permits and fitness certificates by the public. Transport minister K N Nehru is likely to inaugurate the system in November.

"The department has tested the software and is now making certain modifications to make it more simplified. To start with, the payments can be made through the State Bank of India's net banking services and the bank has agreed to provide zero balance account facilities to vehicle dealers who don't have an account with it. Once the system is in place, we will gradually enable the driving schools and individual applicants to make use of it," a senior transport official told The Times of India at the Secretariat.

Authorised dealers in the state have already been given identity name and password to enable them to access the transport department's website to submit applications for vehicle registration online.

"The government aims to make the RTOs cashless and paperless offices and considers the introduction of e-payment facility an important step in that direction. Soon, the system will be upgraded to enable applicants to make the payments using credit and debit cards,'' said a regional transport officer in the city.

Many vehicle users welcomed the decision but said the government should be more pro-active in ensuring that there were no middlemen at RTOs since usage of e-services depends on the computer literacy among the general public. The recently introduced facility through which vehicle users can submit applications for driving licence and get prior appointments to take learner's licence tests and driving tests has evoked a good response.

Transport department records show that about 7,500 vehicle users across the state applied for learner's licence online since August 1 and in Chennai region alone, over 3,000 people used the facility to submit learner's licence applications. Besides, driving schools in the state submitted applications online on behalf of over one-lakh applicants.

Putting your health before your wealth

The message banks would like to convey to customers, using technology. An intervention for PurpleTeal would mean an SMS sent to a customer to remind him about taking medicine or a health check as the case may be.

I care for your health before I care for your wealth," is a healthy message that a bank might like to convey to its customers. And toward this end, asks Sethu Venkateswaran, "If I can place an ATM in a hospital, why can't I place a doctor in the bank?" Venkateswaran is the Head of Group Retail Banking for Arab Banking Corporation (ABC). He actually tried this out at his earlier employer - where some branches had doctors visiting at peak hours or days so that bank customers, while waiting to transact, could consult with the physician on at least basic medical issues.

No wonder he was taken in by PurpleTeal CEO, Narayanan Ram's offering - an SMS service which, by customers' choice, alerts them about medicines or medical tests they have to take or sends a mere morning walk reminder.

Venkateswaran is among three such bankers that eWorld spoke to, to know what they thought of the SMS service from the stables of PurpleTeal. None of them is yet a customer for PurpleTeal, but will decide on a deal shortly. What all of them agree on, though, is that the SMS-based offering fits in well with their aim of offering value added services to customers.

Why Banks?

It is easy to understand why Medical Insurance companies and Hospitals would want their clients to follow a prescribed medical regimen. But where do banks come in?

Says Venkateswaran, "About a decade or more ago, bank marketing was new to everyone. As we evolved, we had to offer that 'extra' something to attract clients. It had to be something more than the usual vanilla offering that was a given."

He explains that these were, among others, discounts on purchases using a credit card or accumulating reward points. "It slowly evolved into lifestyle related issues - we looked at a particular age-group and tried to address what it wanted." If it were insurance, he says, "We'd talk about benefits - example, the education of his child in the long-term." It could even be the lounge benefits in airports that a premium customer could get.

The end of the last century brought in car loans and home loans that needed the extra something. "Free car service for the first few months and free legal consulting for a home loan were obvious extras."

Now, he says PurpleTeal fits in with his plans, "Something (untoward) could happen to you, the customer. We won't let that happen. I care for your health before your wealth!"

Agrees Suresh Sethi, Group President, Transaction Banking at Yes Bank, which is evaluating PurpleTeal's SMS service for its insurance customers, through its tie-up with Bajaj Alliance. "We want our customers to lead a healthier lifestyle. It would certainly help prevent customers falling ill."

According to Rajesh Iyer, head, Personal Financial Services Marketing, HSBC India, health consciousness is an emerging trend today, and people do want to 'invest' in their health. "However, it is also a reality that current lifestyles leave most customers time-starved. PurpleTeal's offerings help us bridge this gap between 'intent' and 'action'. "We are able to add value to our customers, beyond banking."

In the last five years or so, agrees Venkateswaran, health consciousness has risen and so have the number of fitness centres, not to mention diet concerns. "For now, we would like to cater to patients' needs as they see it fit - such as reminding them, by SMS, about their 30-minute morning walk." Slowly, he feels it would evolve into a support system that a bank could offer to clients: "'Did you take the walk? Have you even thought about walking as a routine? If not, maybe you should.' kind of messages should reach them."

Backward integration should be easily possible with PurpleTeal's offerings coming into play. "We are doing this in Jordan. We tie up with hospitals and pharmacies. Once they are in our ecosystem, our clients would get discounts if they use the services of our partners. We could also tie-in a discount in insuring them with our master health plan."

Sethi says a bank client could use a debit card that doubles up as an insurance card, to be presented for claims. These customers could choose to receive this SMS service - mainly for 'Wellness', meaning being healthy and free of disease. According to Sethi, "This same card could be produced at Gyms or Spas to redeem points accrued." Going a step further, he even envisages extending this to discounts on health foods bought at stores that the bank ties up with.

Banks have not tried a service identical to PurpleTeal's yet. Says Venkateswaran, "Life monitoring is new to us, as is PurpleTeal's idea. It's so easy to plug and play with their offering."

Iyer says that consumer research brought home the fact that one common goal for customers was 'staying healthy'. That's about when HSBC "came across PurpleTeal. This should help us straddle the 'fiscal' as well as 'physical' well-being of our customers!"

Ask him to peep into the future and he says that the launch of 3G services would offer a lot of scope for innovative services. "Customised live video chats with a health specialist based on the health/fitness condition of the customer, is a possibility."

Why 'Intervention'?

Ram of PurpleTeal, meanwhile, is agog with anticipation as these bankers decide on striking a deal each with him. His company currently services 4,00,000 active customers, having totalled 15 million interventions so far. (An intervention for PurpleTeal would mean an SMS sent to a customer to remind him about taking medicine or a health check as the case may be.)

It has similar interventions specifically designed for pregnancy, weight-loss, smoking addicts who want to quit and the like.

Professionals typically fall in the age group of 25 to 44 years. High BP, diabetes, cholesterol and obesity are common problems across this segment. Wealth management clients are typically aged between 45 and 60. These suffer, in addition to above conditions, from the likes of arthritis. Since most diseases are aggravated, if not caused, by unhealthy lifestyles; diet, exercise, stress management and treatment should help significantly. Ram says, "Between visits to the doctor, people have to do a number of health-related actions on their own. They often miss things or don't do them as regularly as they should because of a lack of timely day-to-day hand-holding."

This is where PurpleTeal comes in. He says that with his offering, banks could attract customers and build their brand. Importantly, they can look to reduce insurance claims and possibly generate incremental fees for these services.

"They can also anticipate emerging opportunities. SMS reminder services for a pregnant client could throw up opportunities for a new baby savings account. Or, client hospitalisation could allow banks to offer loans to him."

Ram cites studies that say: in 2009 alone, India would have lost $9 billion due to premature heart disease, stroke and diabetes, since chronic diseases cause large and adverse economic effects on families, communities and countries. "WHO figures show that 80 per cent of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 Diabetes and 40 per cent of cancer could be prevented with healthy diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco products."

Now, isn't this reason enough to resume that morning walk you have been putting off for so long?

Making a Difference

Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything."

You're probably familiar with the starfish story, the one about all the starfish that had been washed up on the beach during high tide only to be left there in the sand to die as the tide went back out.  A young boy playing on the beach recognized the fate of the starfish and began to methodically pick them up one at a time and toss them back into the sea.  A man who had been observing the boy approached him shaking his head.  "What's the point, boy, don't you see there are thousands of these starfish lying along the beach?  There's no way you're going to make a difference." Undaunted, the boy replied to the man as he tossed another starfish into the ocean, "Yeah, but it made a difference to that one."

During World War II my grandmother committed herself to writing letters to servicemen stationed overseas, primarily to those who at one time had been students in the Sunday school class she taught.  Now, my grandmother's letters were no small feat.  They were labours of love, written in her small handwriting on multiple pages front and back and often times around the edges.  In them she would share news from home, stories she remembered about that person's family and childhood, and offer words of encouragement and inspiration.  Each letter she composed represented hours of tedious work. Yet, I doubt seriously that my grandmother's letter writing made much of a difference in defeating Hitler and saving the world.  But I am pretty sure it made a difference to each one of those servicemen who received them, maybe to some it made ALL the difference.

Too often, I'm afraid, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the challenges and problems that exist in our lives and the world around us, becoming paralysed by the enormity of it all.  We're like the man observing the boy on the beach tossing starfish back in the sea.  "What's the point?" we ask ourselves.  "Surely my little contribution won't make any difference."  Oh, but it does!  In fact, for some it might make ALL the difference.

So . . . "Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything."