Welcome to PacozDiscipline

I have a flair for making people & communities successful. I yearn to excel in that arena!

This is a compilation of my thoughts and responses to others thoughts. Most of them are relevant to the world of learning & development, and may be of help to you. Please add your comments and views.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank You!

A powerful phrase, but seldom used conscientiously and consciously. The following write-up was sent as an email by a friend-philosopher-guide, Basab.

THANK YOU (by Oprah Winfrey)
I live in the space of thankfulness - and I have been rewarded a million times over for it. I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased.
That's because what you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.

"Say thank you!"

Those words from my friend and mentor Maya Angelou turned my life around.

One day about ten years ago, I was sitting in my bathroom with the door closed and the toilet lid down, booing and a-hooing on the phone so uncontrollably that I was incoherent.

"Stop it! Stop it right now and say thank you!" Maya chided.

"But - you don't understand," I sobbed.

To this day, I can't remember what it was that had me so far gone, which only proves the point Maya was trying to make. "I do understand," she told me. "I want to hear you say it now. Out loud. 'Thank you.'"

Tentatively, I repeated it: "Thank you - but what am I saying thank you for?"

"You're saying thank you," Maya said, "because your faith is so strong that you don't doubt that whatever the problem, you'll get through it. You're saying thank you because you know that even in the eye of the storm, God has put a rainbow in the clouds. You're saying thank you because you know there's no problem created that can compare to the Creator of all things. Say thank you!"

So I did - and still do. Only now I do it every day. I kept a gratitude journal, as Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests in Simple Abundance, listing at least five things that I'm grateful for. My list includes small pleasures: the feel of Kentucky bluegrass under my feet (like damp silk); a walk in the woods with all nine of my dogs and my cocker spaniel Sophie trying to keep up; cooking fried green tomatoes with Stedman and eating them while they're hot; reading a good book and knowing another waits.

My thank-you list also includes things too important to take for granted: an "okay" mammogram, friends who love me, 15 years at the same job (and loving it more than the first day I started), a chance to share my vision for a better life, staying centered, having financial security.

I won't kid you, having money for all the things I want is a blessing. But as I look back over my journals, which I've kept since I was 15 years old, 99 percent of what brought me real joy had nothing to do with money. (It had a lot to do with food, however.)

It's not easy being grateful all the time. But it's when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: PERSPECTIVE. Just knowing you have that daily list to complete allows you to look at your day differently, with an awareness of every sweet gesture and kind thought passed your way.

When you learn to say thank you, you see the world anew. And as Meister Eckhart so eloquently stated: "If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'Thank you God', that would suffice."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

CLO Symposium, TISS, Mumbai

I recently attended the one-day CLO Symposium in India (http://www.closummitindia.com/). I must appreciate the effort made by Kumaar Bagrodia to organise such an event, and TISS for supporting the initiative. One could always write a thesis on things that should be done differently, but it is important to celebrate the learning. I wish more people attended, and more importantly let's make an effort to make these successful in years to come.

I had been speaking to a lot of friends and industry-colleagues beforehand about their interest in attending the symposium, and although a few had mentioned that they would attend, but many were skeptical about attending. While there may be quite a few reasons for that kind of response, but I believe it was mostly because of the absence of a 'fraternity'. And this symposium and such symposia would, undoubtedly, ensure that the 'fraternity' gets built.

To begin with we were a few of us who had once worked for NIS Sparta (http://www.nissparta.com/), and it was quite a reunion-of-sorts (Vinay Pradhan, TV Binoj Vasu, Bulbul Ray, Rituraj Sar, Rahul Mehta, Me...). Navin Bhatia and Anand Dewan couldn't make it! Psst!

Unfortunately, I had to leave and hence could not attend Dr. Chandra's session onwards. The star of the entire session was the session by Mr. Bhaskar Chatterjee... he was smooth and moreover he gave us all something that we could carry back. Transcript of his session is at the bottom of this note.

Quite a decent bunch of speakers were there, most of them were good, but only a few could make it interesting. I have baptised their sessions basis my interpretation of what was being discussed, and my rating of the session.

Keynote Speakers (9/10)

  • Mr. Bhaskar Chatterjee (Secretary, Department of Heavy Ind and Pub Ent, GoI)
  • Mr. Kumaar Bagrodia (CEO, LeapVault)

Round Table: Who's a CLO and do we really need one? (6/10)

  • Mr. Arun Balakrishnan (CMD, HPCL)
  • Mr. Thomas Varghese (CEO, Aditya Birla Retail)
  • Dr. Mukund Rajan (MD, Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd)
  • Prof. S Parsuraman (Director, TISS)
  • Vikram Oza (Bloomberg -UTV), Session Convenor

Learning at Teach for India (7/10)

  • Ms. Shaheen Mistri (CEO, Teach for India) - Introduced the work being done at Teach For India... very 'moving' presentation

Learning and Development in the PSU Sector (1/10)

  • Mr. S Mohan (Director, BPCL)
  • Mr. V C Agarwal (Director, Indian Oil Corporation)
  • Mr. K S Jamestin (Group GM, ONGC)

Individual Sessions (3/10)

  • Ms. Susan Bloch (CLO, Aditya Birla Group): The session was a polling session to figure out what people thought 'contributes' to learning. The audio-video presentation was good
  • Mr. Nilesh Kulkarni (Head HR, Novartis Consumer Health): The session was focused at Learning and Development in a Bio-Research environment

Round Table: Role of a CLO (8/10)

  • Mr. Yogi Sriram (EVP, L&T) - Session Convenor
  • Ms. Suchitra Rajendra (Director, Organization Capability, Pepsico)
  • Mr. Kalyan Banerjee (Head Learning, Mindtree)
  • Dr. Gopal Mahapatra (CLO, Oracle)
  • Captain Mohanlal J P (Head, Learning and Development, SBI Life Insurance)

Individual Sessions - Couldn't attend hereon...psst!

  • Dr. S Chandrasekhar (VP HR South Asia, IBM)
  • Mr. Ranajit Mukherjee (GM, Advisory Services NIIT)
  • Someone representing 'Who Moved My Cheese'

Transcript of Bhaskar Chatterjee's presentation

Will the CLO survive... Yes, In today's changing world, someone has to be responsible for the activity of Learning.

What defines a Learning Organization?

  1. Shared Vision - Disseminated or built bottom up. The CLO has to do that.
  2. Building Inertia - Stillness is calm and peaceful. Movement needs to be included to bring about change.
  3. Open Communication - Able to communicate without fear... question it... not just the board, but just about anyone.
  4. Departmental Interest - It has to be subjugated to to ensure the shared vision. We currently operate in a single-loop learning environment; but we need to build an environment of double-loop learning - mistake is a part of the process; use mistakes as a learning process. Could we work around a list of failures, rather than just a list of best practices?

CLO's responsibility is to ensure a constant learning process. The commitment has to be top-down. Evolving organizational structure needs to be ensured; one that works around the learnt elements; a culture promoting innovation.

Who is a CLO?

  • Highest ranking corporate officer concerned with talent and learning management. Expert in training and development of organizational talent for optimization of business results. Needs to be shrewed business person; responsible for optimization of business results.

What does the CLO do?

  • They don't provide companies with learning programs. They are responsible for fostering change in the workplace. Requires leadership skills, and also courage to bring about change... in a quite and gentle way.

What are the traits of a CLO?

  • Communication- One cannot be a retiscient communicator.
  • Influencer - Use right influencing techniques to get points across, in an assertive yet gentle manner.
  • Consulting Skills - Its about the CLO providing consultation to others and others doing it with the CLO.
  • Starategic Thinking - Where is the company moving.
  • Business Person - Every change is linked to business... Business Acumen

3Cs of a successful CLO

  • Care for people in the company
  • Content (core) of the organization
  • Contact (networked) within the orgzn.

5 things CLOs should do.

  • Understand business processes.
  • Learning resources to orient towards business processes.
  • Push employees' performance.
  • Promote a culture of innovation and successes, and a supportive attitude towards failure.
  • People will stop innovating if failures are not accepted.
  • Support CEO in reorganization. Be a champion of ideas and foster the same within the organization.