In 1986 as a rookie salesman, I was working for an electronic typewriter marketer and was posted in the port city of Vishakhapatnam in South India. I made my first sale to Director General of Naval Projects (DGNP), a Government of India joint venture with the erstwhile USSR. They were, according to my unconfirmed sources, involved in some hush-hush project on submarines. Anyway, I was thrilled at my first sale of a princely sum of INR 23000 (now about US$ 470; not much but compared to a manual typewriter costing US$100, it was a great introductory sale). My joy was short-lived as I wasn’t able to collect the check. The clerk was parrying it with a number of silly reasons, none of them justifying the delay. After innumerable trips to the Accounts Payable, it dawned on me that there was some other reason, which I was not able to figure out. I bet those of you who are from the above countries would have got it by now. Yes sir, the man wanted ‘baksheesh’, a euphemism for bribery. When I accosted him in the employee canteen, he told me that I should help him so that he can help me! I paid him INR100 (US$2) and collected my check.
Even today, the scene has not changed much. We still give ‘baksheesh’ and get things done, especially when we deal with government or quasi-government agencies. Most Indians consider this practice as a necessary evil and don’t give it a second thought.
When we were asked by 3 of our corporate customers – an electronics OEM manufacturer, a medical equipment major and an industrial gases market leader, all with a strong presence in more than 100 countries, to develop eLearning courses on FCPA, our teams went ahead. We even developed an off-the-shelf course on the Anti-corruption Laws for those who want a generic course.
Out of curiosity, I went through some of these courses. My immediate reaction was that this law is very difficult to follow in India. It will definitely be interesting to read the experiences of those who worked in these countries, setting up off-shore facilities or managing them.
If you are interested to know how much you know about FCPA, take a free quiz.
Thank you for reading my blog.
Want to learn more about FCPA and understand the rights and wrongs of the corporate world?
Before starting CommLab I was a teacher. Then, 9 years ago, I decided to become a ‘tycoon’ and started CommLab India. I don’t think I became one but many a time, I caught myself in our company’s conference room, sharing my latest learning – be it Self-Actualization, Lateral Thinking, Quality Strategy, Management or Leadership – with my team. I realized I love to learn and share my learning.
My new-found avocation of social networking fueled my dreams again – I started dreaming big; to share my learning with as many of my colleagues, across the globe, as possible and help them propagate it further.
This is what I have in mind – using sound instructional design principles to design and develop a series of 30-minute training kits for classroom delivery. The training kit will include a Training Agenda, a PowerPoint Presentation or Webinar, Presenters’ Notes…the entire works, so to speak, ready for delivery. The topics, I am afraid, will be of my interest (Let me hasten to reassure you that they will be useful)
To test waters, I ventured (with trepidation) to develop a small off-line webinar of 6-7 minutes on “Get the Best Out of People”. May I request you to view it and give me (gentle) feedback? [Let me warn you that our web master requires you to fill a small form before you can download it; I hope you don’t mind]
Here is the link to view the webinar: http://www.commlabindia.com/elearning-resources/elearning-webinars.php
Thank you very much for reading my blog.
Make a great day!
Those of us whose education included management science and those of us who learnt more and better about human motivation doing our masters in the University of Life have realized that motivation, either positive or negative, doesn’t work on everybody in the same manner.
Way back in 1960s itself, Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y enlightened us about the two contrasting assumptions of human motivation, leaving us to choose between the carrot and the stick and we now have Stephen Covey who talks about the wisdom of migrating from an industrial age (Theory X) to that of an Information Age (Theory Y) to get the best of people.
I am sure all of us, as seasoned managers, have our own experiences and opinions about what works in motivating our people and what doesn’t. We know that monetary rewards are necessary but so are the small little trinkets that even battle-scarred and war-weary generals and soldiers love to receive in recognition of their services.
As a first generation entrepreneur most of my working life, I have always used non-monetary motivation copiously (for an excellent reason that I couldn’t afford too much of monetary rewards!). It worked very well for me, cutting across levels, departments, gender and education/ experience.
A small example – In the beginning of this year, when we conducted a climate/ morale survey, we found that the team felt that they do not have enough freedom when it comes to taking leaves. We decided to give total freedom to avail eligible leave – a person need not take anybody’s approval before taking leave; they need to only inform in advance that they are availing leave. We had our usual share of Doubting Thomas’ apprehensions that this freedom is bound to get abused and will result to utter chaos. It is 2 months since we announced the new leave policy and there isn’t a single case where a person has not behaved responsibly when availing leave, keeping the company’s interest very much in mind.
A number of visitors – business associates, customers, suppliers – who visited our facility and came to know about our initiates toward making ‘Happy Employees’ have commented that “too much of a good thing is bad”; too much of praise, recognition and freedom is bound to bring about negative returns.
We don’t think so. What would you say? I would love to hear your comments, advice and experiences.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you are interested in the subject of motivation, you will find our free online course on ‘POSTIVE REINFORCEMENT’ quite interesting. Click on the link to access it: http://www.commlabindia.com/elearning-gurus/elearning-freecourses.php?course=C1
Financial superpowers such as the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, etc. are reeling under the heat of intense recession and the rising mercury is taking its toll on jobs and investments. India, which caters to these major outsourcing powerhouses, is also being exposed to the recession wave. Pink slips and cost-cutting have become the routine in organizations here too.
So, what should we do? Wait for the dust to settle? How long will it take?
All one can do is to predict but no certainty can be worked out. As a marketer, I should not wait for things to settle, but instead infuse my focus, energy and wisdom to make things better. How?
The world is reeling under one mantra “MORE FOR LESS.” This is the requirement of the day. If we could study this requirement and come up with strategies, these can act as the ammunition to fight recession. There is a saying, “Attack is the best form of defense.” So, why wait when we know the mantra? Just attack by making strategies around pricing. Instead of cutting jobs and investments, if we can take a cut on our margins, it would work wonders.
I see this as a fight between marketers and recession. If we have the guts to make strategies to provide “More for less,” we can definitely bring back the derailed purchase wagon on track. It would be a win-win situation for both suppliers and buyers. If we can recreate demand, the battle is won.
Sr. Manager- Business Development
Nowadays, Social Media Marketing is much talked about as an effective medium to building new business relationships. Common sites in this field are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and writing blogs.
How do you generate an interest and publicity through social media and attract prospective clients? The answer is simple – it’s the Law of Harvest. You always reap what you sow. If you give anything in value, you will get back equal value. But the basic underlying principle is that you need to give value first.
Effective marketers realize that in order to attract potential clients, they need to understand their need and give them something of value. They build their strategies around this principle. E-learning will boom with social media when people give value to their customers.
Here are five tips to communicate with your e-learning audience.
- Use blogs to educate your audience on the latest e-learning trends and the importance of e-learning in imparting cost effective training. Create webinars, whitepapers on Instructional Design strategies and theories and discuss popular authoring tools to develop effective e-learning solutions.
- Use LinkedIn to become members in industry specific forums so that you contribute to the discussions.
- Use YouTube to impart learning by creating small e-learning modules and to demonstrate your products’ features.
- Offer free courses so that users experience your product quality and worth.
- Use Twitter and Facebook to inform your users about the knowledgebase you created, such as blogs, YouTube and free courses.
If you wish to learn more about Social Media Marketing, I recommend that you visit http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing-kit/ and download the Inbound Marketing Kit. I found it to be very useful.
I invite you to take advantage of our Free eLearning Courses at www.commlabuniversity.com
Dr. Ayesha Habeeb Omer,
Chief Operating Officer
With busy work schedules and advanced technology such as internet, people want everything at a click of the mouse – whether it’s paying bills, communicating with people, shopping and now, even learning. When I think of learning, the first thing that comes to my mind is e-learning.
Basically, I am a Flash Action Script programmer in Custom courseware department. As my responsibilities are increased I became Project Manager. I learnt a lot of Project Management skills in CommLab India. Initially I used to get tensed to handle multiple projects, because I used to take complete responsibility of all the projects and I was not able to meet the deadlines I used to work late nights with the team to complete the projects.
On those days I am not able to find out the reason for these problems. One day I attended Stephen R. Covey’s training program on “Overcoming Challenges in Today’s Times” in which he showed some video clips on trust. Also I read about trust in the book “The Seven habits of Highly Effective People” written by him. I learnt that we need to trust our team first and give them responsibility. After this training I worked on this concept and realize that I was not giving responsibility to my team and taking full burden of the project upon me, because I am not trusting my team.
Then I started experimenting on the concept with my team members. I selected one member in my new project with whom nobody wants to work, because his performance is very low. Before starting the project I gave complete details of the project to review and then I personally explained everything about the project and his role and I said,
“This is your project and complete responsibility is yours. You are the boss of your work and I will not take any responsibility on this project, but I am always available to help you. You can ask me any number of times for the clarifications or any other suggestions. But I will not take any responsibility of the project.”
Then I asked him to give the project plan which he submitted. I took confirmation two times about the deadline. He promised me that he will submit the project on time. I helped him whenever he asked me. He became very serious on his work and taking full responsibility of the project. Everyday he updated me the status without asking. Unfortunately, after this hard work he didn’t complete the work on time. He felt bad about his performance and understood his area of concerns. Then he requested me for some more time to complete the project which I agreed. This time he doubled his effort and concentrated on the areas of concerns and completed the project. After completion of the project he felt great in handling the project independently for the first time and also he enjoyed working with me. I am also happy because I didn’t have complete responsibility. I just kept tabs on the project status. I hope next time onwards he will be more responsible in his work.
We should first keep trust on our team and start giving responsibilities. Also this applies to the team member to ask and take responsibilities. One will feel great if any responsibility is given. It is very difficult to get job done with others if that person does not feel any responsibility. If we give total responsibility then that person will find better ways to handle the job, sometimes better than us. This concept helped me to handle multiple projects without stress.
Don’t put pressure everyday to your team members which does not give any motivation, just keep trust on your team and give them the responsibility. Responsibility of work will makes them feel great and motivates them to work.
Keep Trust on Your Team!
Abdul Razzaque Hussain
I am not an economist or a management guru. I do not know what precisely causes economic recessions and booms. I am 47 years and lived all my life in India. I never really faced a recession in my life. So, the whole thing is quite new and mysterious.
I have read a lot about the problems faced by organizations and individuals because of this recession. I read that companies are cutting costs by laying off employees and stopping salary hikes and in some cases, reducing salaries for the remaining. I also read that men and women are finding it very difficult to meet their financial obligations.
Why companies are going bankrupt? Is it because their customers are not buying enough or they are not repaying what they have borrowed? And why do the customers do that? Is it because they do not have money? Why don’t they have money? Is it because their employers haven’t paid them? The questions go on. I haven’t really figured out where it started.
To me it looks like the old story of the Ant and the Grasshopper. The ant toils first and then enjoys the fruits of its labor whereas the grasshopper enjoys first and then it doesn’t have the chance to earn it! Are we not the grasshoppers of today’s world? Organizations want to grow very fast, very big not by improving their worth to their customers but by borrowing money and synthetically growing; individuals want to enjoy the luxuries of cars and flats by borrowing many times their earnings.
For a moment, imagine a person with a modest salary and modest savings but with no debts? Or a small business which pays modest salaries but with adequate retained earnings and is debt free?
How will the recession affect them?
Such a business doesn’t think of retrenching its employees; it is busy making more money than ever as it is actually in the best position to offer its services at a lesser cost as it does need to bother about loan payments to banks and investors. And the individual? He doesn’t need to worry about the house loan repayments. Even if he is retrenched, his savings will see him through till he gets a new job, which he will very quickly, especially if his philosophy is to strive to be worth more. It constantly goads him to improve his skills.
Why can’t we be ants? Why can’t we strive to be worth more to earn more? Why can’t we earn first and then rightfully enjoy? It is possible both for organizations as well as individuals to live like ants and avoid the fate of grasshoppers. To the ants of the world, I salute you. To the grasshoppers, it is never too late to become an ant!
In this particular article I will share some of my experience in which I really struggled to become successful.
What ever challenges came to me in programming, I got through those challenges successfully. If I remember properly, approximately 97% of times I successfully faced the challenges and 3% were failure. From those 3% of failure, I use to learn and apply that experience in next challenges. For a period of 2 years, I was driving my career with an unlimited speed facing every challenge of my life happily.
One day every thing started changing. From an unlimited speed, I was dropped to zero. The reason was – CommLab India decided to start a new department called “Technology” which will play a supporting role to make the things better in courseware and I was going to head the department.
After this decision it took me a very long time to pick up my pace again. When I was a programmer, I was in the front line to face the challenges but now my team will be in front line to face the challenges and I was standing behind them.
Before forming the team, I was working alone and for any challenges I use to do planning by myself REGULARLY. When the team came, I use to plan for them once (when the project start) and forget it. Every time I was facing failure rather than success. I was not able to understand what the problem is going on.
Then I came across a method called RPM (Result Oriented Purpose Driven Massive Action Plan) by Anthony Robin. I went through the training material to learn RPM. Slowly I started implementing RPM method in my projects and found that it really works. The rate of failures in the projects started decreasing. Not only I am practicing the RPM method in my personal and profession life but also teaching this method to others in my surrounding to that I learn this method properly.
When we start any assignment – a project for a client or buying something for you – we put some milestones and we think that we have done enough of planning for that assignment. But if you really want to understand the meaning of the word “Planning” then it’s just not putting up the milestone but breaking each milestone into such small pieces that you can see each part of the project crystal clear. For example, you have to send a mail to your client regarding an update on the project. If you think that write a mail is not a part of planning then you are wrong. Every thing which you are going to perform in the project is a part of planning.
When you are putting milestones for a project, it’s just a “Plan”. When you start breaking the milestone into small pieces then it becomes “Planning” and you have to keep on evaluating you’re planning at regular milestones to see that your planning is going according to your plan.
It was a dream of CommLab India to have there own university from a long time and finally we had our University (http://www.commlabuniversity.com) because we planned it properly. Now I am heading Technology department in which I have a team of 4 members who take care of CommLab University, trouble shoot any technical problems and also support courseware in make there works simple.
It took me a very long time to understand the different between “Plan” and “Planning”. I am happy that I understood the difference and now I am able to apply it. I am thankful to CommLab for providing me the opportunity to get trained on RPM method.
Still I have to go a long way learning from my failures and moving towards a successful future.
Syed Amjad Ali
Knowledge is like water in a Well. If you share the water with the society people then level of the water will never decrease every day fresh water will come. In the other case if you stop using the water and not allowing others to use, then within a few months the level of water will get reduced and the still water will becomes impure and one day there will be no water in the well.
So if we don’t use our knowledge and not sharing with others then our skills level will slowly decrease and one day we don’t have any knowledge to compete with the latest and advanced technology. If you share the knowledge and transfer your work to others then you will get time and new opportunities to learn new thing and increase the level of your skills to compete with the latest and advanced technology.
I have attended the Knowledge session presented by Stephen R. Covey on January 29, 2009 and I am very impressed with the concept of “Learn by Teaching”.
At the time of my school days one of my teachers used to say
“One time of writing is better than 10 times of reading”
Same thing now I can say that
“One time of training is better than 10 times of writing i.e., 100 times of reading”
My Experience as a Project Manager in CommLab India:
I got opportunities to learn authoring tools and one of them is Lectora. I learnt some basic skills from the documentation and I used forums to clarify my doubts. I did not go to any institute neither took any online training.
While working on the projects, I started giving training in my organization. While training other colleagues, I learnt a lot and increased my skills. Now I became an expert in Lectora and I can develop whatever feature is required.
Initially, I believed that training can be given only to talented people who knew basic programming. But now I believe that training can be given to any one. I have become an expert in my field.
All these improvement happened only through “learn by training”.
We have other methods to learn, for example we can get learning by work experience, from institutes, or by online tutorials. But to become an expert and get command on the subject one MUST train others.
Abdul Razzaque Hussain