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somras 6th April 2009

Your Monday morning cuppa HFI buzz!

Unbox , take risks and convert your weakness to your strength!

To find yourself is to lose yourself.

By Apala Lahiri Chavan Lately we have been very taken up with the rollercoaster economy in the world and its specific effects on us. I guess that was expected. And so, many calls and articles later, I wanted to dwell on the issue of how can each one of us do anything in the face of such a big and external problem? It’s easy to say that we should live “within,” and not be shaken by outward happenings. That may be possible for evolved masters but that sort of gyan is not really that helpful as we plod/jump/run/stand still through our everyday existence. Well, to be more contextual…as I shared with you on the call, we need more Suvodeeps, Rushikeshs, Mahalakshmis, Narayans, Ankurs And Shilpas. These six individuals are at various levels in the organization but they found ways of contributing that went beyond their job descriptions. And that is what I ask of each one of you. Don’t be boxed by your designation and job description. Think out of the box and suggest ideas that may help HFI achieve increased: • • • • • • • •

Sales Efficiency in delivering work Quality of deliverables Efficiency in internal processes Happiness index in these times of caution/gloom all around Unity and bonding as an organization Public relations Good karma

It is heartening to note that several of you have already started to come forth with ideas and suggestions. Your coming forth gives Hitesh, Sarit and me a lot of strength and I cannot express in words how much we appreciate that support. And now to change tone and be a bit more philosophical two of my favourite koans that I think are VERY relevant to this topic, are: Know who you are. Be what you know.

The bottomline interpretation (what strange terms to use for koans!) of these koans, according to me is that we can achieve much beyond our little self-created boundaries by stepping out of our comfort zones and taking risks. AND, if you think that you are too “small and weak” (read too junior/too little experience, etc.) to really contribute anything meaningful, this is THE story I would like to conclude with – Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength. Take, for example, the story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,” the boy finally said, “Shouldn't I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know,” the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. “Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”


Somras ||

Your Monday morning cuppa HFI buzz!

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.” The boy's biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

The making of Golu Singh By Vir Amar Dasmahapatra, Mumbai Traveling abroad for a long spell offers you much more than unusual work experiences, as I discovered on my last trip to California. Apart from the busy weekdays that I spent consulting at Chevron, I had extremely busy weekends each with experiences more varied than the last. For this issue, I'd like to share what I think was the most fun of them all... building “Golu Singh,” the first snowman I ever made. Snow is really the last thing I'd associate with “sunny California,” even though I've experienced the bipolar temperament of San Franciso's weather, which went from hot to freezing in a space of two hours on one of my visits to the city. Nevertheless, the Universe has its sense of humor... it decided that California would be the place where I'd realize an ambition I've nurtured since the age of three! You see, I'd once remarked to Ciarda (a project director on the western region team), that I'd never made seen snow up close or made a snowman, even though I made a recent trip to Himachal Pradesh. Imagine my surprise when she told me that there was snow at just about a couple of hours drive from where I was staying. This was near lake Tahoe, which is at an elevation of 5000 feet. Not only did she tell me this, but followed it up with an invitation to join her family in making a little trip there! Needless to say, she didn't have to ask me twice! So, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, under a brilliant blue sky, I took my first step in the snow, as Ciarda captured the moment on camera. A couple of minutes later, I sank thigh deep in the stuff, even as I was completely enraptured with the look and feel of it, quite heedless of the fact that my shoes were soaking wet!

6th April 2009 Together, Ciarda, Carina (her six-year-old daughter) and I built “Golu,” the three-tiered snowman in the picture. Consistency and touches of sophistication were his most prominent characteristics... well what did you expect? There were two usability professionals working on him! Nearby fir trees supplied all the items needed for this face and expression, while the cold air kept him in shape despite the sun shining bright on him. Let me just end by saying (without the slightest hint of self admiration), that the last thing I saw before we left that place, was a bunch of families gathering around Golu, with the parents telling their kids to try and make a snowman JUST like him! :)

Freedom and joy know no religion By Vivek Dhage, Bangalore

This picture was taken while on a trip with my friends. What struck me were the colours and the perfect backdrop, and not to forget, the carefree expression and attitude of the girl. But deep down, it also set me thinking… Here was a Muslim monument and a Muslim girl; I’m Hindu, and my friends are Christians. And all of us had smiles on our face! Truly, freedom and joy know no religion. Location: Masjid-e-Ala, Srirangapatna Unpack your experiences Many of us have had the opportunity to visit and work at other HFI offices across the globe. What was it like experiencing other centers function? How were the in-person interactions with colleagues who’d only been email or phone contacts till then? Were the other HFI locations like our India offices? In their order, their chaos, their fun…? What were your most memorable moments? Somras invites you to wander down memory lane and share your inter-office travel experiences.

We would love it if you contributed movie / food / book reviews, news stories, photographs or any other fun stuff/happenings to somras@humanfactors.com. Your comments and feedback are also welcome..


Somras 06 April 2009