Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Political Artists as Conscience Keepers

Recently Oscar winner AR Rahman performed at a concert* organized on the occasion of Mulayam Singh's birthday. I am sure he would go even if Lalu invites him. Or if Lalit Modi or Rahul Gandhi invites him. And no one would raise an eyebrow. Why? Because apparently Rahman being an artist would be doing all these shows to "earn his bread". The fact that he would already be a millionaire and hence performing at each function where host is ready to pay should not really be counted as "earning bread" but can be seen as an attempt to keep the "rich and powerful on one's sides", could be ignored.

I think being an artist gives him the privilege of not being conscientious when it comes to grab money making opportunities. There can be some more professions like this. Doctors would treat any sick person no matter his/her background; lawyers can defend any accused if one pleads not guilty. Others are not so lucky. If you work in a firm which is considered doing unethical business or corrupt - it is often taken as a blemish on your character too.

Now, after becoming rich and powerful helped by keeping conscience locked in a closet for best part of life when one is young and energetic, if these artists or professionals suddenly start pretending to have a more genuine conscience than yours and mine, and being holier than the common man, what do we do? I discard such individuals and their claims as trash.

* The Concert:

- Rahul

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why Facebook DP Change Only For France?

After terror attacks on France, Facebook gave an option to change our profile pictures in a way to show our support to France. If you noticed the pattern, initially people felt "good" when they were changing their profile pictures. Gradually I saw a trend - people were seen criticizing Facebook for being "selective" in its initiatives.

In order to prove their point, some people, pages, journalists etc started posting ghastly images of mass violence from African or Islamic countries and started asking - Why did not FB give an option to display support to "these" countries?

If you think about their reasoning, it appears "correct". Why did not Facebook do it right "every time"? Why "only now"? I think this is a classic case of seeing a glass as "half empty" instead of "half filled".

I think through the profile picture change option, Facebook was giving a harmless means to express grief and solidarity towards a victim nation. If it worked well, it would make sense for FB to do the same next time for other countries also. After all, such activities keep users engaged and it is good for business. But if FB gets mostly criticism and faces a negative campaign against it after this episode; it will not be encouraged to give such options in future all together!

In the event of a humanitarian crisis, if by changing display picture a user feels less burdened; it helps in 'healing'. It does something 'good' even if small or inconsequential in total impact. So I think our criticism for FB does more harm than benefit to this world. Instead of asking "Why only towards France" and in a way insulting French people, or "Why not towards Iraq" and in a way insulting Iraqi people, and spreading negativity at the time of a humanitarian crisis, we should choose constructive feedback like, "I like this feature and hope they give this option even in future."

- Rahul

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Swachh Bharat Cess

Recently Central Govt imposed a "Swachh Bharat cess". I read about it first in the newspaper-headlines as "Eating out, travelling and phone calls to get costlier from today". Naturally I got worried. The next day they wrote articles all over saying "Swachh Bharat Cess Is A Terrible Idea" etc. I got more worried. Then today after taking a taxi ride, I saw that I had to pay 38 paisa as "Swachh Bharat cess". 

I felt like "cheated"! After all, I was expecting this tax to really 'tax' me! Why should I be first made to believe that some grand injustice has been done in the name of Swachh Bharat and then in the end it should turn out to be just some coins?

I read that the funds collected through this cess will be used for construction of "toilets". Though the cess is only 0.5% of taxable services, Govt will get Rs 3700 crore through it this fiscal and around Rs 10000 crore in FY 2016-17. So it seems to be a very good idea. 

I can live without a few coins every once in a while in order to help make toilets in our country.

- Rahul

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Attack On Paris!

God could eliminate all the demons and terrorists merely by His wish. 
But He wants "us" to do it. 
Can we do it by guns and bombs? 
France and USA failed in that so far. 
Then how can we do it? 
We can do it by Courage and Faith.

- Rahul

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Happy Diwali!

Saw a man painting his house on Diwali. His was a humble one, if compared with his neighborhood. In fact only the front wall was in proper shape with a plaster on it. The man was painting the wall in blue - that blue which is used to give a shade different than regular whitewash. The man had climbed a ladder and his wife and son were holding the ladder and looking up at him with a concerned feeling.

The scene touched some cord. In one snapshot it told what a house means to a man; what a man means to his family and what a festival like Diwali means to people. Also I remembered something which a friend had said once - the kind of bonding you see in people with humble means can never be found in the rich families.

Wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and auspicious Diwali!

- Rahul

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Little Goat and A Little Girl

I want to tell you a story - or some little stories woven into one.

Our locality has a few shops selling meat. One goat is always tied to a tree trunk near the shop - perhaps it serves as 'safety stock'. One day a little girl was passing by - holding her grandmother by one finger. I could see that she had turned back and was making gestures with her other hand at the goat - as if trying to entertain it and gain its attention. She also spoke some cute words to the goat. The goat just stared at her.

Then outside a nearby chicken shop, that day only one white hen was seen in the cage. Perhaps the shop was soon to witness a stock-out situation - blame poor forecasting. Now a red cock was seen wandering on the ground. Perhaps it was a pet of someone and hence free. This big red cock looked at the solitary white hen in the cage - a damsel in distress - and made some sounds. The hen actually responded looking at the cock and spoke a few words. I think my heart skipped a few beats at the sight.

What to speak of dogs. With roads getting wider day by day and some dogs not learning how to cross roads safely - especially the newly recruited pups which popup in bunches some fine day - the situation is alarming. The only good thing is that perhaps the municipality is cleaning the roads soon enough for us. Or who knows, may be the fast vehicles do all the surface cleaning.

I had written about the fat cat in our neighborhood before - if you remember. A neighbor decided to steal one of her kittens to be raised as a pet and she religiously went to his house every evening and cried aloud. I can only update that this ritual went on for not less than a month after which either she got her baby back or else made some new ones to cope up with the situation.

On the way to morning walk, I find an unfamiliar noise coming out of a house whose doors and windows were still sleeping. Almost certain, it was a parrot making squeaky noises. Was it trying to wake up its owners? Oh, how I forget - it was responding to the call of nature. While we may find mornings lazy and uninvited, especially on working days of the week - birds find every morning worth celebrating. That parrot was acting like a bird - which I had to take time to come into terms with. So human like.

I think with cities growing high and wide, our earth is increasingly becoming unnatural for living beings which God designed to remain free and happy always. I don't count humans with these free-and-happy beings because I think we are too human to be these.

- Rahul [Views expressed are personal]

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Not Tolerating Intolerance

If you follow any mass media, you would be aware that India has become 'intolerant' very recently. Specifically Hindu groups and individuals have turned intolerant. The commotion that has been created around this 'news' is pervasive; to the extent that if you even dream of being an 'intellectual', you have no choice but to 'condemn' it in the most outrageous manner possible for your profession (is that why I am also writing about it?). What to tell of small time thugs and petty politicians; positions of real power and influence like the President himself have ranted about 'intolerance' in most serious expressions. Yesterday, a political party brought out a 'protest march' to condemn 'silence' of PM on rising intolerance. Till day before yesterday, in a way a protest march was symbol of 'intolerance' and silence was symbol of 'tolerance' - but not any longer. We can't tolerate intolerance - that is the bottom line.

So how did the transformation start? It was a man beaten up to death in a UP village which started all this. Such crimes happen daily. But this one started like a wild fire. First news media started reporting it; then politicians made that village a pilgrimage, then a chain of attention-seekers took it off: writers, sorry, award winning writers, then President, then filmmakers, historians, showmen, businessmen and ultimately none other than Moody's Corporation. Is this what is called Butterfly effect?

Since President has given lecture about pluralism and tolerance two times in October 2015, it is apparent that India has suddenly transformed into an intolerant nation; it has not been a gradual process. Since this change has happened very recently - around last 2 months - logically something should have happened during these two months which was not present earlier - and hence the change. So what is it? If you even start to think on these lines, you would remember the big event - Bihar Assembly Elections!

This whole crooked episode which so called intellectuals call 'rising intolerance' is just a natural rising of pitch during elections. And it happens everywhere. If Donand Trump makes a racist comment on the blacks; or if Obama appeases a communal group and so on - in the run up to US Presidential elections - is it because America has suddenly become racist/communal? Of course not. Then why Indian intellectuals are so foolish that they can't see the plot? May be, they were not really 'intellectuals' all along!

[Views expressed are personal]

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I looked at my savings bank account statement and it so happened that I saw a lot of figures which ended with "Cr.". Now for a moment it appeared like "Crores"! Certainly some "Credit" to such an imagination :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Selected Sanskrit Shlokas With Meanings

एकं सद् विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति।

- ऋग्वेद [१.१६४.४६]

सत्य तो एक ही है लेकिन विद्वतजन उसे बहुविध प्रकार से समझते हैं। / एक ही ब्रह्म है, जो विविध नामों से विख्यात है।

(There is a single Truth, which wise people describe differently.)


आयुर्नश्यति पश्यतां प्रतिदिनं याति क्षयं यौवनं
प्रत्यायान्ति गताः पुनर्न दिवसाः कालो जगद्भक्षकः।
लक्ष्मीस्तोयतरङ्गभङ्गचपला विद्युच्चलं जीवितं
तस्मान्मां शरणागतं शरणद त्वं रक्ष रक्षाधुना।।

- शिवापराधक्षमापनस्तोत्रम् [१३]

प्रतिदिन आयु नष्ट हो रही है, यौवन का क्षय हो रहा है।
बीता हुआ दिन फिर वापस नहीं आता, काल संसार का भक्षक है।
लक्ष्मी (धन-संपत्ति) जल की तरंग-भंग की भांति चपला है, जीवन विद्युत के समान क्षणभंगुर है।
इसलिए, आप जो सभी को शरण देते हैं, अब इस शरणागत की रक्षा कीजिए।

(Every day life is seen reducing and youthfulness decaying. Days that are gone never come back. Time is devourer of the world. Wealth is as fickle as the breaking of the waves of water, and life as transient as lightning. Therefore, you who gives refuge to all, protect me now who has come to you for refuge.)


ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविः ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम्।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ॥

- भागवत गीता [४.२४]

- जिस चम्मच से अग्नि में आहुति दी जाती है, वह ब्रह्म है। जिन (घी आदि) पदार्थों की आहुति दी जाती है, वे भी ब्रह्म हैं। जिस अग्नि में आहुति दी जाती है, वह भी ब्रह्म है। आहुति देने वाला भी ब्रह्म है। उस ब्रह्मरूपी कर्म में समाधि को प्राप्त योगी को मिलने वाला फल भी ब्रह्म ही है।

यद् बलानां बलं श्रेष्ठं तत् प्रज्ञाबलमुच्यते 

- विदुर / वेद व्यास [प्रजागरपर्व (उद्योगपर्व), महाभारत]

बुद्धिबल को समस्त बलों में श्रेष्ठ बल कहा जाता हैै। 

(Intelligence is called greatest of all powers.)


यद् भूतहितम् अत्यन्तम्।

- श्री कृष्ण [महाभारत]

जो समस्त प्राणियों का परम हित है, वही सत्य है।

(That which is in the greatest good for society, is Truth.)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Human Side of Shopping Should Not Be Ignored

Bought a cellphone from a small shop in our neighborhood market. Online shopping portals have made their life so miserable (they have to work longer hours to make the same revenue, which is only to reduce with time) that it felt like a social service to buy from them. The human side of shopping can also not be ignored.

In our childhood in our small town, shopkeepers were important part of our society. People depended on them and they depended on customers. There was a mutual respect. Society functions when people bond together and no one is isolated. Today, since I was not getting the cellphone model I was looking for, I had to do a survey of 6-8 shops. I visited all these shops for the first time ever. I talked to all these shopkeepers for the first time - person to person. Despite living in the same locality for so many years I had not "needed" these guys till yesterday - for me they had not existed or if they did, fulfilled some purpose alien to me - all due to shopping from online portals.

When I visited these shops, I saw so many new things; got to know a bit about my fellow neighbors (shopkeepers), and their places. For me as a part of society, this is important.

I also negotiated with them a bit and when we made the deal - I could see a sense of satisfaction in the eyes of the shopkeeper. I was happy too as a customer. I saw how respectfully he treated me. I saw him writing my 'name' on the receipt with his hands. Online portals don't care about my name - they even don't care if I am a man or a robot - until they are getting orders which are getting paid for.

I can go on but I think you have understood the message. I think it is a good idea to buy from our neighborhood shops every once in a while. The smaller the shops - more humane would be our experience. Even if they are not as good, not as polite as we want them to be, but remember - they are "us". And we should take care of each other.

- Rahul

Disclaimer: Written by Rahul Tiwary on 18 Oct 2015. Views expressed are personal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Durga Puja and Nav Ratri

या श्रीः स्वयं सुकृतिनां भवनेष्वलक्ष्मीः 
पापात्मनां कृतधियां हृदयेषु बुद्धिः। 
श्रद्धा सतां कुलजनप्रभवस्य लज्जा
तां त्वां नताः स्म परिपालय देवि विश्वम्।।

- जो पुण्यात्माओं के भवनों में स्वयं ही लक्ष्मी के रूप में, पापियों के यहाँ दरिद्रता के रूप में और शुद्धचित्त वाले व्यक्ति के ह्रदय में बुद्धि के रूप में, सत्पुरुषों में श्रद्धा के रूप में तथा कुलीनों में लज्जा के रूप में निवास करती हैं, उन देवी को हम प्रणाम करते हैं, हे देवि! आप समस्त जगत का पालन कीजिए!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sustainability of Loss Making Online Companies

How do you swallow this: Flipkart which was established in year 2007 has never earned profit till date. It has accumulated losses in hundreds of crores till now (e.g. it reported Rs 281 Crores in losses in FY 2013). But this year Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal have become India's 86th richest persons with wealth of $1.3 Billion each.

Compare this case with Kingfisher and Vijay Mallya. The company was making losses while Vijay Mallya was India's 84th richest man till year 2013. Perhaps not many would have raised brow even at him if he kept finding investors to keep his loss making company running. But ultimately his company went bankrupt and he also came out of India's 100 richest persons list. It was not only a personal loss for him but it meant disaster for thousands of his employees.

Can the story repeat itself with Flipkart? Most likely no - but it is only a guess. Flipkart has some 33,000 employees. What if the company fails? It would surely be tough for its employees and their family members. Same case with so many other online retail companies.

My point or concern is simple: what are our regulators doing about it? Is not some government regulator meant to keep track of such risky businesses - losses for 8 years straight with owners rising high on the Billionaires list? Of course I am not saying ban them; but owners should be held more responsible by regulators if their employees count goes > a threshold.

I think there is a strong case to bring out some sort of mechanism to protect workers and other stakeholders in case of such companies.

- Rahul

[Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal]

Monday, August 31, 2015

In the Month of August...

Confession (Promoting Hindi)

Many a time when I have to dial a Customer Care number, and when as first step the machine asks me to select language of my choice, I choose "Hindi" and not "English". I do it so that the company or call center sees demand for Hindi speaking customer-care executives and hence would employ some more. A speck in the ocean, my intent is not 'favoritism' but to help create a level playing field for people who just happen to not know English very well.

You can do so for your local language too...

In the Journey called Life...

How time flies. I was thinking about this in the morning. We are first kids, then become youth, then middle aged and then old. It is just a matter of a few years and many of the things that we counted relevant would become irrelevant and perhaps a lot of things we thought irrelevant would be counted as relevant in the end. Are we doing enough good karma to ensure a good life in next birth? You may laugh at it but I do think about all this many a time. When I review my karma, I don't feel confident enough. Our job and our career etc - where we spend most of our energy - do these things help us earn any punya at all? Or occupation is merely a means to support life and family and other things matter which we mostly ignore...

Prize in Quiz

Happy to share with you that I got Second Prize in a technology Quiz during ‘Technotsav’ at Infosys Pune. It was a one week event similar to college days' tech-fests - with lots of events, stalls, guest lectures, and quizzes. I received a certificate and small gift in an award ceremony from the Pune DC Heads.

My Message on Independence Day 2015!

At the end, it is us who make our country either great or poor. When you buy Indian products; Indian companies' employees, suppliers, transporters, all get employment and the companies get to reinvest in India. Make a pledge to consider buying quality Indian brands every time you have to make a purchase. While buying just imagine how your money is not only being spent but also befitting a lot of your own fellow countrymen.

Happy Independence Day!

Our Security Guards!

While going in and coming out of the office campus, a string of security guards scan our laptops in order to earn their salaries. Earlier they used to do manual verifications; now they just scan a bar-code and a QR code. They are literate and adequately educated; whatever that means.

This evening while I approached them for the daily ritual; another colleague had just been there and done that while talking over his cellphone all the time. And one security guard was caught telling his fellow colleague in full attention – “wo bol raha tha… wo 'client' ko 'reference' karega…” and concluded with “aur apna 'biodata' bhejega…” Wow!

So I realized that our security guards actually 'think behind our back'! I still don’t understand what was meant by “wo client ko reference karega”, and if the security guard got confused between 'biodata' and 'big data'; but I was definitely impressed by his curiosity! I think if the security guard could actually understand what was being talked about over phone, his life would be dull. As of now he does not understand it, so his life is 'out of the box'!

Picture of the Month

Family of African Elephants. Just look at the little ones! (Pic credit

Website of the Month

Annamrita is an NGO that provides 12,00,000 meals everyday to schools all over India. Checkout its website and contribute towards a noble cause. What are you waiting for? Click:

Disclaimer: Written by Kumar Rahul Tiwary. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect views of organization author is associated with. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Book: The Life and Times of Layla The Ordinary by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

I finished reading ‘The life and times of Layla the Ordinary’ by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan (written popularly on the front cover as Minna Madhavan) recently. I would definitely say that I am immensely impressed by her writing quality. And the book gave me mixed feelings due to miscellaneous reasons touched upon in subsequent portion of this blog post.

If I have to rate the author on writing ability; I would give her 10/10. In this book, she appears witty and funny and shows an understanding and maturity so demanded on such sensitive stories. The story told in the form of ‘journal entries’ looks very appropriate and natural. I also noticed that Layla explained why she was writing a journal and it showed author’s care for details. There are sketches in the book, making the experience very interesting. Author is very innovative in such aspects. When I started reading it; I got to know it that I had not read something like this before.

The book mentions that it is meant for ‘young adults’. I think it can also be called ‘teenage melodrama’ or ‘growing up pangs’; or any other interesting way to put it. I confess that I have already crossed the (teen) age and hence I can afford to be skeptical about it. Anyways, that counted as my nostalgia for the beautiful years gone by. The main character of the story is called ‘Layla’ (she is touchy about the spelling btw!). She is still (blessed to be) in school and the story is written from her viewpoint. Here, I did have some objections. I believe that a girl of her age can’t have that much knowledge and understanding (or pretend to lack it) of herself; as it comes out from the book. In these pages, I guess the author has taken over the stage from Layla. And if Layla indeed was like Layla; she could not have been a bit confused and a self declared ‘ordinary’ at all. 

Btw, I did not like it that Layla had to break it with Advait (the most popular boy in school). In fact what she did could very well be called ‘use-and-throw’; which boys popularly accuse girls with. But I also think that she won’t have broken up if her so called brave friend Suze was not there. It may be comforting to know that someone knows you better than you do; but we can never be sure about that. And I also think that Layla starting to flirt with Akash even when she was Advait’s girlfriend was indeed ‘cheating’. But it seemed that for Layla, the joy of no longer being an ‘ordinary’ girl was so high that she did not care at all about what was right and what was wrong. Anyways, it was her learning experience and we can’t be correct all the time. But I felt sorry for Advait; and I felt angry at Akash.

While the beginning of the book is brilliant and the author keeps the story exciting till very far; the later portions of the book became a bit boring and predictable. So I had to skip a few pages. But at an overall level, this is a good book.

Recommended only if you like to read such teenage stories; otherwise not.

- Rahul 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Why Petrol Price Won’t Reduce with Same % as Crude Oil Slumps

A newspaper published a big news item saying that in last n months, international crude oil prices have come down by 20% but in India petrol prices have come down only by 8%. It says that price of petrol should also have been reduced proportionally.

Now imagine if govt has do reduce finished product's price by the same fraction its primary raw material's price has reduced. Govt will need to reduce salary of all staffs by 20%, reduce payments to vendors etc by same 20%; each cost component's % reduction may vary but overall should necessarily reduce. It is near impossible to achieve this.

Now add to that the complexity of inventory. Public sector oil companies and refineries bought crude oil at the rate of Rs A. It takes time to refine, process and make finished product. Due to this time lag companies can't start selling petrol and diesel at much lesser price at the moment, since price will be according to the cost of crude oil it paid several months back; and that was much more than current price.

There may be other several other factors than the important ones I have highlighted. For example these companies may have long term contract with crude oil suppliers. Or they need to offset the losses made in recent past. Obviously this subject is as complex as it is interesting.

But then why newspapers and media houses run such populist stories which are half-understood? It is said that half knowledge is worse than ignorance. If you don’t know that you don’t know; it is a worse situation than when you know that you don’t know.

- Rahul 

[Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal]

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mother Cat

A cat in our neighborhood started crying and moving around restlessly some days back. Cats do that when they don't find any of their babies at their expected place. When cats cry in this manner, their voice resembles human voice and it is heart-wrenching to hear. But this cat continued doing that daily; never giving up; and we wondered what the matter was. Yesterday we got to know what had happened. 

One of the houses in the neighborhood had picked one of her babies to keep it as "pet". When cat was restless and crying, a man from the house brought the kitten in his hands to show it to the mother cat. This is typically a "human" behavior. Was the man expecting that when mother cat would realize that her baby was in "safe hands", she would stop pursuing it? Cats have not learned such evolved human tendencies and she still cries every evening; waiting to get her baby back... 

I think our "humanity" is overrated.

- Rahul

Monday, July 20, 2015

SAP SCN: 12-month Leaderboard


Something good to share: 

Today if you go to SCN (SAP Community Network) and SAP APO – Production Planning, Interfaces and Global ATP page, and checkout the “12-month Leaderboard”; you will find that yours humbly is hosted at worldwide #10 :)

- Rahul

[Disclaimer: Screenshot taken from SCN.SAP.COM and copyright of SAP]

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Case: Importance of Adapting Your Managerial Style

By Kumar Rahul [BE, MBA], 12th of July, 2015

As Rohit came out of the VP’s chamber, he loosened his necktie and let some fresh air cool his nerves. He was still in a state of shock. What happened inside during last 30 minutes seemed to be a bad dream which unfortunately happened in real. As Rohit walked towards his office building, he recalled what had happened during last one year in his current project.

Rohit carried with him experience of managing five mid to big size teams. Some of the assignments were pretty challenging. That was one of the reasons why he was chosen to manage his current team for a very big account. His company was in the field of services; with foreign clients paying on a fixed-price model. To make its margin, his company constituted a team with pyramid structure – keeping large number of fresh or less experienced team members and a few highly experienced ones. All through his career, Rohit has led teams which mostly had less experienced members. He knew this game very well. From the beginning in this project also, he used his usual managerial style. But within a few months of having started, one of the senior members asked for ‘release’. He said he wanted to use his skills in a different type of project. Since he was a high performer, he got released. During next 6 months, four of the five senior team members resigned from the company. They mentioned different reasons for their decisions to quit. The unit’s VP asked Rohit for a meeting, which he had just finished. In the meeting the VP blasted him for loss of key employees with the premise that it had something to do with Rohit. But Rohit was really clueless!

On the same day, Rohit got a call from a senior HR manager who chatted with him for two hours straight. After going through all the aspects of the issue at hand, the HR manager’s verdict starred Rohit in his eyes. The resignations were due to Rohit’s managerial style. In fact the release request near the beginning of the project was also due to the same problem but Rohit had not understood what was wrong and hence did not do anything about it.

It started occurring to Rohit and subsequently he became aware of the root cause. Rohit had adopted a ‘directive’ managerial style to manage his team. This style is best if the team members are beginners and hence ‘freshers’ in his team were fine with it. But it was highly unsuitable with experienced members of the team who ‘deserved’ a different managerial style. ‘Delegating’ would have worked well with the one team member who was a high-potential employee. A reluctant but experienced member would have met different fate if Rohit adopted a ‘supportive’ managerial style with him. Similarly another member could have been ‘coached’. Rohit had used a single ‘directive’ style to manage his entire team and it had produced disastrous results.

Many of the experienced managers use different managerial styles to manage different team members differently without realizing it. But many others treat two employees in the same manner even if one of them is at the peak of his performance and the other is highly disillusioned or demotivated. It is not always that managers ponder over how their managerial styles result in consequences in the lives of their team members.

If you do it right in all the above cases, congratulations to you and keep it up! If you do at some times and not at others, be more careful. Remember – as a manager you will never be happy if your team is not happy. Rohit realized this in a hard way. With a little smartness we can avoid being in his place. It is very important to adapt our managerial styles for different team members in a diverse team.


[Kumar Rahul [BE, MBA], works as Senior Consultant at Infosys Limited; based out of India. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect views of the organization the author is or has been associated with. Examples cited are for illustration purpose only. All characters and events mentioned are fictitious in nature and no resemblance with any real person or organization should be perceived. The piece has been written as a Case Study for brainstorming. Picture Credit: Loopup

Sunday, June 28, 2015

[SAP-APO-PPDS]: Improvements in Production Planning Heuristics Logs

By Kumar Rahul [BE, MBA], 28th of June, 2015

In a three part series of SCN Blog Posts, I have explained about how to achieve improvements in production planning heuristics logs in SAP APO. If you work on SAP-APO-PPDS, you would agree that the current planning logs are a bit confusing and hence we always wish there were some ways to improve it. Although I think the improvements through the method I describe in the blog posts are not radical but only partial, you can test it in your system to judge yourself.

[Disclaimer: Kumar Rahul works as Senior Consultant with Infosys Limited, based out of India. These posts in the series are written by the author based on his personal experience while working on SAP. Before implementing any solution you are advised to always do the analysis as well as reach out to SAP in case needed and adopt a solution only if it suits you and testing is successful.]

Friday, June 19, 2015

Case: Do Comfort Zones Form Only @ The Bottom of Pyramid?

By Kumar Rahul [BE, MBA], 19th of June, 2015

As Rohit came out of the training room, he looked around. In these four hours, he met so many colleagues he did not know from before. He thought about his experience during the training session and felt satisfied. But one thing made him think again. Almost all the participants of the training were unknown to each other; as one could see them entering the room alone; not in groups. But every time there was a group activity, the instructor asked them to “come out of Comfort Zone” by randomly selecting group members. In fact this was being done so many times and at so many events in the company that it had become a “ritual”. Without doubt, there was some sound reason behind it. Given that the company was an IT services company where employees worked on “projects”; it meant they had to join new projects every few years and it was like making a fresh start every time. New client, new team, new colleagues and also a new manager. “This is the new normal – comfort zone just can’t form!” Rohit thought.

As Rohit entered his office building, he met Amit, his teammate from the previous project where both had worked. “Where are you these days”? Rohit asked. Amit told him the name of the new client he was working for and also that it was a new “win” for the company. But their manager from the previous account had gone into this account and he had picked up a few of his trusted team members for building the new team. Listening to the names, Rohit knew instantly how and why some team members from the previous project were selected to work for the new project. Was it also not the same case as the manager’s “comfort zone”? Rohit wondered…

As he reached his desk and started checking new emails that he had received during the time he was in training, he saw some organization level announcements. Some more former colleagues of his CEO’s previous company had joined in and they were being given some powerful roles. Some old veterans were reacting by putting in resignations. It was a vicious cycle - their resignations were creating more ‘openings’ in the organization, which were then being filled by more of his CEO’s former colleagues. “Why should the CEO break his old organization by stealing its senior resources? Why can’t he work with the existing team?” Rohit wondered. Was it also not because of the same “Comfort Zone”? Now that sounded like a million dollar question.

As Rohit started thinking on the lines, he saw new and more places where “comfort zones” were in play. For example the main reason why onsite rotation policy had been a non-starter was because the managers did not want to take risk – the existing onsite resources had formed their “comfort zone”… The company was not expanding in certain geographies and certain business areas because its “comfort zones” lied in some others. This “comfort zone” culture was seen virtually everywhere… Except perhaps among the employees at the bottom of the pyramid who were always tossed from one technology to another; one unit to another; and also from one location to another.

“What does the management think? Do they think that we don’t have sentiments? I am not asking for a so called comfort zone, but why do they allow almost every senior person holding position of power to enjoy it?” Rohit was left wondering…

“Is the need to come out of comfort zone only for the bottom of pyramid?” This question was not only in the mind of Rohit but gradually it was becoming apparent to many others… There was a growing unrest simmering within the bottom levels while senior management was completely unaware of it. Given the situation now, how do we see the company and its employee satisfaction matrices after one year from now?

Disclaimer: The case is written by Kumar Rahul [BE, MBA] on 19.06.2015. All characters and events mentioned are fictitious in nature and no resemblance with any real person or organization should be perceived. The piece has been written as a Case Study for brainstorming.