Amazing death defying bike ride

It does not even occur in his mind that a small slip will mean a sure death but the way he does it, he makes it look so easy and safe ! Unable to fathom what motivates him to risk his life – is it the sheer thrill of defying death or pushing oneself beyond limits or a fool hardy seeking attention. 

Whatever is the motivation to the rider,  I was getting goosebumps watching this guy biking on the mountain rocks ! Amazing ! 

Addressing at the ICTACT Digital India Forum

It was a great experience addressing delegates at the ICTACT Digital India Forum on the 16th Feb 2015 at Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai. Honoured to be  sharing dias with luminaries like the IT Secy of TN, DIG of Police TN, Vice Chancellors of Anna Univ, VIT, Bharatidasan Univ, Cognizant Vice Chairman, President TCS, Country Mgr. Intel etc. Thoroughly enjoyed and privileged to part of this program. And what a venue – Chennai Trade Centre – as good as the best in the world.

Photos on Face Book

Program coverage by ICTACT Bridge

ICTACT Photo Gallery

Videos on Youtube

Here is a video on the session Digital Skills & Workforce at the ICT ACT Bridge – Digital India conference held in Chennai sometime back, wherein I had the privilege of being a speaker and sharing the dias with Anand Pillai, Head HR Reliance, Kishore Balaji, Country Manager – Intel India, Dr Rajesh Shah, Global Head HR – Syntel and moderated by Dr.Ashok Maharaj, Head Social Media & Gaming, TCS. It was a honor and privilege to be sharing the dias with them..

Here is the coverage hosted on You Tube

Press Release

Has the mirror cracked – the wake up call for the BJP

The election results of Delhi has surely been a dampner to BJP and also sounded a bugle alarm in general. No doubt political analysts of the BJP would say that it is not a referendum on Modi but in private would admit that its a slap on its face. It sure is a major embarrassment to the BJP and Modi himself. This has clearly showed that the aura of invincibility around Modi – Amit Shah has been cracked.

The reasons are many. There has been a serious of blunders created by BJP :

  • Delaying of elections is something un-explicable. Immediately after a thumping win and having routed AAP & Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, BJP should have called for immediate Assembly elections in Delhi. Instead they kept vacillating and even hoping to split the opposition and cobble a make-shift government. What this did is it gave time to AAP to recouperate both in terms of manpower organizational strength and also funds to campaign.
  • In eight months, the Congress got decimated and their vote share went to the AAP instead of the BJP. If the elections were held immediately after the Loksabha elections, may be most of this would have gone to the BJP.
  • The minorities, the dalits and migrant population also voted for the BJP and other parties. But after a series of communal incidents and the behavior of right wing elements in the BJP, the minorities and the Dalits swung their votes to the AAP. The eight month rule did not instill confidence in these sections of the society that BJP would provide a stable and secular government in the country, where people of all religions would be able to cohabitate and live a peaceful life without fear of persecution. If the elections were held immediately after the Lok Sabha elections maybe many of these votes would still have gone to the BJP.
  • They fell into the trap of attacking Arvind Kejrival and even making it as a Arvind vs Modi fight, when it was actually not the case. The BJP did not learn from lessons. Modi made it to the Centre only because the entire opposition ran a negative campaign against Modi and attacked him at every stage. The same thing happened to Arvind. BJP went all out attacking Arvind and ran a very negative campaign, when Arvind was going about his campaign positively.

  • They also fell into the trap of announcing a Chief Ministerial candidate. While resisting for most part, they succumbed in the fag end by bringing in an outsider viz. Kiran Bedi – much to the chagrin of his own loyal partyman and it served no purpose. Neither was Kiran able to mobilize the much needed vote and stop Arvind in his stride nor was she able to quell the demoralization within her team BJP. Or if it was a strategy to insulate Modi from the defeat, it didnt serve the purpose either. 
  • The strategy of exposing misdeeds of Arvind did not find favour with the voters. He became a martyr who was being targeted. If they attacked AAP of hawala transactions, then it boomeranged because BJP has lot many questions to answer about where is it getting its money to fund the lavish election expenditure. BJP has published in its report to the Election commission that is spent around 750 crores in the last Lok Sabha elections but no one knows from where the money came. Similarly it is estimated that BJP has spent the largest amount of money in any state election in Delhi and is sure to raise doubts about its source of funding. If BJP is serious it must agree to bringing electoral funding and the Political parties under the RTI Act. Here the AAP made a political master stroke by publicly challenging BJP to come under the ambit of the RTI Act.
  • By putting all its political might into the election – dragging Modi into the election campaign, bringing Kiran Bedi, deputing all its Cabinet ministers & MPs into the campaign, pressing the RSS pracharaks into the campaign and pumping vast amounts of money into the poll campaign, the BJP has exposed itself into showing how important this election was and as a result the outcome of this election results.
The BJP must not put this result under the carpet and deny that it is a set back to the party. It might defend saying that Delhi is only an aberration. You cant win every time and you will lose some matches. But great teams that have consistently won over a long period of time, have been quick to identify their mistakes from their early losses and then learn from mistakes and take course corrections and regain their top in no time. 

This loss to the BJP is going to embolden the beleaguered opposition. It does show that if there is a united and spirited opposition, it can dent the BJP. It does show that no one is invincible and that even the mighty have to fall one day. 

The BJP must climb down from
  • Being perceived to be an arrogant party (buoyed by its recent successes) and avoid the mistakes of Congress by being a humble party, transparent in its actions & decisions, respecting its opponents, taking all sections of the society in its journey and focussing on good governance
  • Respect its opponents and any opposition
  • Focus as much on domestic politics and not just building an international image,
  • Must walk its talk and demonstrate perceivable results (the black money issue – after all they promised to bring back within 100 days)
  • Not be seen as just pro-industrial and therefore seen as a elitist party but also sympathise and cater to the poor section of the society
  • Not be in a hurry to tear down the opposition and form a government (West Bengal – seemingly in a hurry to dismantle Mamta Bannerjee or Bihar or in Tamil Nadu). Bid your time, show some solid work & development in the Centre and when the time comes, stake your claim ethically
  • Don’t be seen as a one man party (NaMo) but also encourage and prop up other BJP leaders. There is a overkill of Modi and is negatively affecting his image. Let him take a break / go into the background for some time. Over publicity is bad.
  • Most importantly break his silence over the hara-kiri being committed by the right wing elements in his party viz. “ghar wapsi” campaign, blatant threats to hold mass reconversions, Controversy over “love jihad”, Attacks on churches & religious places, attempting to make Christmas Day a working day, forcefully marrying couples on Valentine Day, the sudden love and felicitation for Nathuram Godse, oppose anything critical about Hindiusm, even if it a picture of imagination or a fiction (PK film), trying to impose Hindutva curriculum in schools etc.

This has alienated the BJP from the minorities &  the dalits. They must ensure that all Congress votes come into BJP and not to the opposition parties.  Modi has to win back their confidence by denouncing these actions of the right wing elements in his party and unequivocally confirming the secular credentials of India and his commitment to place National interests above these right wing interests.

The party also has a wonderful opportunity of using the Union Budget to drive home some important messages to all sections of the society and not be seen as pro-rich, elitist, favouring the industries only nor are we recommending to move to the LEFT. 

All is not lost. Whether the AAP is a worthwhile experiment or a credible opposition to the BJP is a mater of debate and only time will tell.  But it does strengthen Democracy by providing a stiff fight and having a credible opposition which will help act as a watch guard and keep the BJP government on its toes. 

The focus will now shift to Bihar and BJP will be really tested. Hope it will learn from its Delhi lessons.

BJP is still the best party to govern, but if it does not acknowledge the reversals of the Delhi election and change its gears and make course corrections, the Delhi experience could well be the Waterloo for BJP & Modi and perhaps the beginning of their downfall……
Stick Figures

Voice of Internal Customer Experience – my paper published in

Stick FiguresGenerally Voice of Customer is referred to understanding the needs and also gauging the satisfaction levels of External Customers. At the same time we find that “customer – supplier” relationships do exist within all organisation. And this relationship is often ignored or not given the same importance as it is shown to external customers.

All too often, we take our employees and their job satisfaction for granted. We focus all our efforts on achieving financial results, acquiring new customers, launching new businesses, and driving customer satisfaction, but too often we forget about the people who actually turn all those promises into real actions.
Employees shape the experience a customer has with the company each time they have contact. Hence employees become the most memorable voice of the company brand as they constitute the actual brand experience. It’s people who ultimately deliver the brand promise. It does not make a difference what the company tells its customers about the company brand, if those who actually encounter the customer don’t deliver the values consistently.

Well here is a Paper of mine published in the world renowned, the leading HR Portal on VOICE – Voice of Internal Customer Experience. I have shared our VOICE program that has been implemented at Schneider Electric and how it has helped to gauge the pulse of the employees at each stage of the Employee Life Cycle in the organisation and also help us improve the Employee Experience. 

Happy reading…..


Talent vs Attitude

Mark Murphy in his book “Hiring for Attitude,” he says that 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months, attributed mainly to non-technical or non-skill related items. Research shows that most employees are fired for non-skill related items. The truth of the matter is that we often hire for skill, and most often fire for attitude.

Attitude is to do with the way you think about something and therefore affects your behaviour, how you approach challenges, decision making etc. From research and observation, talent plays a much smaller role in the success someone has compared to their attitude.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; noting on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”— W. W. Ziege

This does not prove that attitude is more important than skill or other Candidate Metrics; rather, that attitude should be looked at as equal to the rest of the candidate’s attributes and even higher as we go up the hierarchy.

Most recruiters focus on a candidate’s experience – skills. Most recruiting processes drive transactional behavior – “Let me know what you think of this resume” and they do not focus on a complete understanding of an individual’s multiple dimensions.

The 4 Dimensions to be assessed :

Skills/Experience – Does the candidate have the training/education to do the job?
Competency – Does the candidate have the ability/behaviors to do the job?
Attitude – Has the candidate shown they want to do the job?
Culture Fit – Does the candidate do the job the way the company does or wants to?

Skill & Competency MUST be matched with Attitude & Culture.

Skill determines fit for the function, Competency determines fit for the job, Attitude determines fit for the career, Culture determines fit for the company.

In another study it was found that when a person suceeds in a high profile job, 85% of the times it is because of his attitude and only 15% of the times because of smartness or knowledge of facts and figures. Surprisingly, almost 100% of our education expenses and time go to learn facts and figures which account only for 15% in success at work and life.
Truly, attitude defines the altitude and attitude makes all the difference in pursuit of excellence.
I have seen many Hiring Managers and Leaders falling a prey to this Talent Mania only to realise their folly very soon. I have always felt that Talent/Skills/Competency can be acquired overtime and even in a very short period but Attitude / Culture is something which is hard to acquire. Attitude is something that is nurtured over the years and takes enormous effort and time to change over time. There fore it is better to hire someone who is high on attitude & even a bit less on Talent, rather than hiring someone high on Talent but low on attitude.

Everybody looks at sportstars, musicians, artists etc and say – Wow! what an amazing talent, I wish i could possess that kind of talent. People often confuse themselves with the thought that excellence is all about talent. However, excellence is not about talent alone. In fact a major portion of excellence has nothing to do with talent. Beyond a certain point, talent or ability is the most useless virtue to possess. It is what you do with that talent that counts. Beyond a point, it is attitude that counts way more than talent.

It has been observed that even the most talented people in this world have not been able to achieve what they were supposed to achieve. This is because the moment they faced a road block, did not know what to do. Earlier it was talent that solved problems for them. But beyond a certain point when you reach a certain level, it is your attitude that counts. Once an individual is in the top league, the importance of talent fades away. This is because, others present in the top league also possess the same talent. So whats the difference? The difference here is Attitude. An individual succeeds when he/she has the right attitude, the right work ethic and of course the passion to perform. Talent might open the first door, might open the second door, but will not open all subsequent doors. So to achieve anything in life, it is very important to have the right attitude and passion to do well.
Here is a very thought provoking speech by renowned Sports Commentator – Harsha Bogle speaking on Talent while addressing the students of IIM-Ahmedabad.
The best part about the video is when Harsha was successfully able to explain the importance of failure in life. It’s not a bad thing to fail in life, but the most important thing is: one bounces back from the failure and achieves the height of success again.
The right attitude often results in employees proactively developing the skills they need for their particular role and mastering them.
As per study of William James at Harvard University, “The greatest discovery of this generation is: human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude.”

You cant walk on a tight rope for ever – Its time you Wake Up Mr. Prime Minister

Mr Modi, whatever the outcome of the Delhi elections, its time for the BJP to pause, take a deep breathe and chart out its future strategy and there is a certain need to reflect & for some course correction.

He won the elections at the Lok Sabha on the Development plank and won with a thumping majority cutting across geographies, religions, caste & creed. It worked in the Lok Sabha elections and will work again.

People have voted in favour of Modi in huge numbers at the Centre and in states like Maharashtra, Harayana, Uttarkhand, etc. If Modi fails to check his hardliners and right wing elements within the BJP party, he will be a huge let down on the confidence reposed by the people of this country, much akin to what Manmohan Singh did in his earlier stint.

He won on a platform of clean and good governance and because he was able to point to his development record in Gujarat. India was tired of the corruption scandals and the indecision that marked UPA 2. After having watched  a weak-kneed Manmohan Singh sleep-walked through the last three years of his prime ministership, the electorate wanted a strong leader; a man who did not fear anyone, who did not take orders from party high commands and whose word was final.

The Hindutva lobby sees Modi as its own man. No doubt their loyal foot soldiers campaigned tirelessly for Modi on the field and were largely instrumental for his win. In their minds, therefore, Modi’s victory is their victory.

It  has emboldened them to think, that it gives them the right to push its long hidden agenda as can be seen from some its actions :

  • “ghar wapsi” campaign
  • blatant threats to hold mass reconversions
  • Controversy over “love jihad”
  • Attacks on churches & religious places
  • Where was the need to make Christmas Day a working day, when the whole world observes it as a holiday and is an important festival to the Christians
  • Forcefully marrying couples on Valentine Day
  • The sudden love and felicitation for Nathuram Godse
  • Oppose anything critical about Hindiusm, even if it a picture of imagination or a fiction (PK film)
  • Trying to impose Hindutva curriculum in schools

The problem with the issues that the Hindutva camp is now raising is that they put Modi exactly where he does not want to be: On the side of aggressive Hindutva. During the general election campaign, the Congress tried hard to portray Modi as a Hindu extremist. He swatted off those attacks by suggesting that this kind of secularist typecasting was the last refuge of the corrupt and inefficient.

But now, it is Modi’s own supporters who have raised the aggressive Hindutva issues. And he doesn’t seem to know how to respond to them. Consequently the battlefield has shifted from Modi’s chosen area of development to communalism, an area that he had hoped to avoid. Suddenly the Nation, the society at large is being polarised. What the Congress could not do, the parivar has now achieved.

All this also seriously impacts Modi’s larger constituency, the people who voted for good governance, growth and strong leadership. Modi can claim, quite reasonably, that he needs a little more time to revive the economy. But he finds it difficult to explain why he does not control right wing fringe elements in the party. We know that such communal issues as love-jihad do not win elections as the by-elections in Uttar Pradesh demonstrated. We know also that when the BJP talks of development as it did in Haryana and Maharashtra, it rises to record heights.

So why then does Modi make no effort to chastise the right wing elements who have hijacked his agenda? Why didn’t he openly distance himself from the more poisonous rhetoric? It is easy – and largely non-controversial – to condemn the Godse cult or send out subtle signals by attending a screening of PK. And yet, he chose to remain silent or does very little – reminiscent of the previous Prime Minister.

And the less he does, the weaker he seems. India voted for a strong leader, one who did not meekly give in to party high commands or activists. Tolerant and liberal Indians, who constitute the majority of Modi’s electoral support base, are now saying: “ This is not what we voted for. Is this man not strong enough to take on the right wing elements who want to push India back to the medieval era?”

Already there is a huge blemish & a piggy back that Modi carries as a result of the Gujarat riots and there were many who doubted his Secular credentials. However he managed to steer away from it by following a Development Agenda and rightly so. There were many skeptics who feared that with BJP coming to power there will be religious polarization in the country and its seems to be coming true.

However the right wing fringe elements and hardliners in the party, are taking advantage of a BJP rule and pushing their own agenda in a small way, that has catastrophic effect on the Nation and the party. Unless the Prime Minister steps in and nips it in the bud, it will spread like a cancer and will ultimately cause the downfall of the party.

What an opportunity India had when it had Obama at our doorstep. It was a great achievement to our Foreign diplomacy and also the personal leadership of Prime Minister Modi. However his parting remarks New Delhi last month was a polite message to Modi & India that we need to wake up to some irritant in the India Development juggernaut and has somewhat spoilt the otherwise good party. 
In his Siri Fort speech, Obama said, ‘Every person has the right to practice their religion and beliefs and not practice it if they choose so without any persecution.’

The US president asserted that all progress was predicated on social inclusion, declaring, ‘That’s what makes us world leaders — not just the size of our economy or the number of weapons we have, but our ability to show the way in how we work together, and how much respect we show each other.’

‘Our nations are strongest when we see that we are all God’s creation — all equal in His eyes and worthy of His love,’ Obama said, adding, ‘Freedom of religion is written into the founding documents of the two democracies. It’s part of America’s very First Amendment. Your Article 25 says that all people are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.’

‘India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith — so long as it’s not splintered along any lines — and is unified as one nation.
That every nation is stronger when people of all faiths are free to practice their religion free of persecution and fear and discrimination,” he said.’

Not to stop at his parting comments in India, the US President Barack Obama’s reiterated  again in Washington  that religious intolerance in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi.

The New York Times asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his “deafening silence.” “What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities?” asked the New York Times on Saturday in an editorial titled “Modi’s Dangerous Silence”.
“Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens,” said the influential daily. “Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money,” it said.
“Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right,” NYT suggested.

India has moved a long way. We are now in the 21st Century and are being viewed as a serious rising Nation in the world. He has done well on other fronts – the economy, foreign policy, governance, decision making etc. However this blot on Religious Intolerance is threatening to derail the good image & work carried out by the BJP government. Every action of ours are being scrutinised domestically and internationally. People are more connected, there is free flow of information and citizens are increasingly becoming conscious of their rights. We have the potential to become an emerging Super Power amongst the comity of nations.  However we need to shape our future in a way that we will be respected for our deeds.

At this stage, Modi will have a difficult choice. He will either have to throw in his lot with the right wing lobby, in which case he risks alienating his larger constituency. Or he will have to rein in them, in which case he risks antagonizing his original support base.

narendra modi Putting India First
It won’t be easy. Mr. Prime minister, but your continued deafening silence on such important issues is sure to dent your image and ultimately cause your downfall and it will be a huge betrayal of the faith reposed on you by the millions, as you have rightly said “putting India First”.

Its time you reflected and did a course correction and move to the “Development Agenda”, put India’s interest ahead of the right wing elements interests and ensure a Secular India where people of all faiths are free to practice their religion free of persecution and fear and discrimination.

Hope you realize that  you cant walk a tightrope forever….

Invited as a Guest Speaker at ICTACT BRIDGE 2015 – A Largest Industry Institute Interaction Event of India – 17 Feb 2015- Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai

I have been invited to be a guest Speaker at ICTACT BRIDGE 2015 – A Largest Industry Institute Interaction Event of India – 17 Feb 2015- Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai. I feel so honoured to be sharing the dias with a host of luminaries from the Government, Academia & the Corporate world. 

The 19th Edition of ICTACT BRIDGE is scheduled on the 17th Feb 2015 (Tue) at Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam, Chennai. The theme of this Edition is “The Big Digital World” and will focus on all generations of digital era to discuss and iterate on digital business, technologies and skill for the future digital World. The summit will be attended by around 2000 academicians, industry experts and government officials from across the state.
The conference will also have a special focus to trigger and inject vigor into the Nations’ two big visions, through initiating a pledge movement for the key objectives of the two big visions.

  • Digital India – Developing Digital Citizens
  • Make In India – Fostering Innovation, Skill Development, Development & Projecting IP

I will be speaking on “Digital Skills and Workforce”

ICTACT Bridge will also reach to a huge share of society through its online presence on the day of the conference.ICTACT Bridge as a platform has been showcasing the thoughts of Industry Leaders, eminent personalities and senior government officers who are leading India for today and future. 

ICTACT is an Initiative of Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu and Industry, a pioneering venture under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model, working with an objective of developing the next generation talent.


Am really privileged and excited and looking forward to the event and catching up with my old friends from Chennai and addressing a large diverse audience.