Friday, February 27, 2009

i-TFTD #189: Thank You, Readers of i-TFTD

i-TFTD #189: Thank You, Readers of i-TFTD

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time because when you are giving someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you will never get back.

-Rick Warren, in The Purpose-Driven Life

i-TFTD was born with an email titled, “Bless You My Friends” to fellow participants of a leadership programme on 31-Jan-2005 followed by a few Thoughts for the Day on 2-Feb-2005. Arun Wakhlu and Kuku Singh (who at least once a year praises the continuity of i-TFTD) inspired me on the day that R Raghavendran expressed a desire that someone should send a few nice quotes by email periodically. What a simple thought! What a great idea!

If you have something to do that is worthwhile doing, don't talk about it, but do it. After you have done it, your friends and enemies will talk about it.

-George W. Blount

I sincerely thank each of you, too numerous to list here, for the kind words you have periodically sent that fueled my enthusiasm in ensuring that i-TFTD has continued without a break for over 212 weeks except during my annual vacation. Many have contributed to the kitty of inspiring quotes and articles. Some names deserve mention on this 300th (or 4th) anniversary of the original series of i-TFTD (new ones were started to share the same ones to those who subscribed later and the blog had not started where one could refer).

Thanks HVS, Mohan-ji, Shibu, Gopi and Santos(h) for generous and repeated praise in the initial days in 2005 that enthused me to keep this up at least once a week amidst long and hectic work days. V Shankar among others used the quotes and actively encouraged new subscribers.

Our heads are round so that thoughts can change direction.

-Francis Picabia, painter and poet (1879-1953)

Some thoughtful queries and brief mail discussions with people who had interesting interpretations enriched me. Thanks to some names I can recall: Anushtup Sett, Vinod Govindan, Goosie Srinivasan, Pranav Parikh, Loganathan Damodaran, Vivek Sathe, Amitabh Roy Chowdhury, Vijay Desai, S Ketharaman, Amol H Joshi, Ramanan Jagannathan, Uday Agashe, K Shailesh, Shekhar Parpattedar, Bhavana Mallesh, Shuja Rahman, Paresh Madani, Sheenam Ohrie, S P Aditya and Venkatesh Chetlur. Thanks to all others I may not have recalled. Thanks to Nitin Sharma and Aditya Ghanti who persuaded me to blog these.

We can't see eye to eye, but at least we can feel heart to heart.


Quite a few individuals (who shall remain unnamed) sent touching mails about a particular quote somehow helping them with a problem situation they were facing. Such (undeserved) gratitude used to surprise me but I have come to understand it to some extent as described in i-TFTD #165 20-Apr-2007: Instant Learning also available online here. I am also grateful to the  few former colleagues who said that i-TFTD had become a habit, that it was an energizer they expected on some mornings a week, requesting to send it to their personal email IDs.

We probably wouldn't worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.

-Olin Miller

Cherry picking from a multitude of possibilities, filtering only what I find thought-provoking, guessing what might appeal to a few known and a large number of diverse, unknown colleagues, spontaneously typing a couple of top-of-the-mind comments… this is one of the few things in life that I have persisted doing more or less the same way for 4 years—and pray to be able to continue…

I wish you success in identifying your innate talents and goodness, and putting your strengths to create a better world for yourself,


Friday, February 20, 2009

i-TFTD #188: Say Yes to Gen Y Yearnings

i-TFTD #188: Say Yes to Gen Y Yearnings

Don't Let the Economy Alter Your Gen Y Strategy

by Leah Reynolds

Excerpted from

Generation Y, whose members are 14 to 27 years old, often is portrayed as being self-entitled and spoiled by the baby boomers. In the workplace, they have a reputation as being overly ambitious dreamers who want higher salaries and more time off without paying their dues.

Deloitte's latest snapshot on Gen Yers already in the workforce presents a different picture. Gen Yers are a hidden powerhouse of employee potential: They are future-oriented, ready to contribute now and opportunity-driven. And they may just be a key asset for your business in tough times.

Gen Yers are driven less by rewards and more by opportunity. Career enhancement is more important than salary or a more secure job. When ranking factors in their decision to join their current employers, 63.5 percent cited development opportunities, while 49.8 percent mentioned salary and benefits.

They are adept at collaboration and teamwork. The chance to partner with older, more experienced workers is welcomed, and they are full of fresh insight on how to reach their peers in the consumer market. When asked what encourages them to initiate new ideas or participate in innovative efforts, their top two responses were opportunities to work with senior staff and executives (53.5 percent) and a culture that embraces contributions from all levels (52.9 percent).

They take on tough challenges and work toward ambitious goals.

...managers can tap this hidden powerhouse of employee potential, especially in this time of tight budgets and economic uncertainty. It can be a difficult challenge, but these ideas can help:

-Cut with a scalpel, not an axe: The current economic situation may require staff cuts, a process stacked against Gen Yers, who lack seniority and may not be top performers in traditional ways. Stick to a longer-term Gen Y strategy by expanding elimination-decision criteria to include competencies such as innovative prowess, technical savvy and willingness to take risks.

-Don't be afraid to ruffle feathers: Older workers may not be happy that young upstarts are getting great opportunities, but do what's right for the business. Try assigning older workers as mentors for younger staff, and change traditional reward structures to encourage participation. Older workers will feel valued and respected, while younger workers' desire to rocket up the learning curve will be satisfied.

-Acknowledge the challenge: Today's young workers have different expectations, and this isn't likely to change. Find ways to meet their needs by adjusting the strategic workforce plan, organization models, rewards, recognition and development programs - or another company will.

Gen Y is the future. Companies won't survive without them, so figuring out how to harness their capabilities is good business. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll see the benefits, and a bigger lead you'll have over your competition.


To my Gen Y readers: more and more of the management gurus are saying good things about you. I believe them and I believe in you. Feel good and do good. Make the world better.

To my non-Gen Y readers: We have no choice but to accept the inevitable but when we do it willingly and with understanding we become a part of the change, and we are able to influence it subtly. Dont overvalue age or experience or knowledge, this century is all about the fresh use of knowledge, new perspectives and innovation. We not only dont have any advantage over the upcoming generation, our so-called wisdom can be a barrier. True wisdom is constantly working to keep ourselves adaptable in all aspects of our lives.

I remember more than a few occasions during my childhood when I was irritated to hear elders lament along the lines of, These days kids dont know this, or This generation does not appreciate that. One thing I swore to myself on one such occasion was I would not fall in this particular trap; when I am older, I will not deride the inexperience of youngsters. Its not been easy but I have stuck to this promise made decades ago. All it takes is spending more time with younger folk and keeping the child in all of us alive perhaps by being a little naughtier, a tad humbler, and above all, willing to laugh at oneself.

Monday, February 16, 2009

i-TFTD #187

i-TFTD #187

#187-1. People cannot be managed. Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.

-H. Ross Perot

#187-2. We are not donkeys, and some of us do not eat carrots and we don't like sticks.

-Peter Block

#187-3. The finest leadership advice in the world: ask questions and listen!

-James Lundy


Even in this day and age the simplistic carrot-stick approach is widely mentioned, necessitating the plethora of books and seminars on inspirational leadership.

The third sounds simple, but do we ask the right questions to the right people often enough? And to ask and then listen... no wonder true leaders are so few.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

i-TFTD #186

i-TFTD #186

#186-1. Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.

-Benjamin Franklin

#186-2. The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.

-Winston Churchill

#186-3. Action is the antidote to despair.

-Joan Baez


Criticism is constructive if its aim is to solve/improve and it is accordingly presented, preferably with suggested solutions wherever possible. Sometimes a criticism is countered with, "Why don't you try doing it?" but that is not a valid answer in all cases.

In a lighter vein, I would like to say, "Even Churchill is right sometimes!"

The third is good to remember in any "stuck" situation when further pondering is not useful. That is probably why Nike's tagline has endured so long: Just Do It.

Monday, February 2, 2009

i-TFTD #185

i-TFTD #185

Slightly different tone of i-TFTDs today, the last one explains why.

#185-1. You can make buffalo go anywhere, just so long as they want to go there.
-Gerald Weinberg

2. It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.
-Jerome K. Jerome

3. I can trick you into learning with a laugh;
Oh winnow all my folly and you'll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff.
-W.S. Gilbert

Jerry Weinberg is a pioneer of the psychology of software development and has written many interesting books. His quote above is an antidote to any illusions we may have about motivating others.

The second one is so true. Our enjoyment of a thing is sometimes relative/conditional in a negative way.

The last is a favourite theme of mine. Just because something seems fun or funny does not make it less useful or less profound. Learning is especially aided by humour.