Sunday, 2 July 2017

#When Change Happens. What happens when an organisation transforms? By Lalit Jagtiani



#When Change Happens. What happens when an organisation transforms?



“Change management is not a practice where one size fits all. It needs to be adapted, improvised and then fitted to the needs of the organisation”

When Change Happens by Lalit Jagtiani, Digital Transformation Thought Leader, at SAP is a free-flowing management book devoid of any corporate jargon. It’s well laid out, with illustrations and call-out quotes that grasp your attention, highlighting key takeaways and lessons for any organisation. ‘When Change Happens, A story of Organisational Transformation is a work of fiction which has been candidly threaded together with real-life office situations that make it an easy read. One can easily relate to such situations when an ogranisation is going through any sort of change.

To kick start, for any kind of change in an organisation it is vital to appoint a change agent and a dedicated team that will drive this transformation. The role of a change agent is key to support teams in overcoming barriers and drive business results but what is also most important is to involve the larger employee workforce and get their opinions. They need to be feel involved in any process and experience a sense of ownership. This could be in form of engaging surveys, group discussions, team building and bonding exercises, meetings or workshops. To ensure any such engagement activity or meetings are productive it is critical for teams to have a clear and mutual understanding of what would constitute a productive outcome and the role they are expected to play in achieving this. This helps in keeping the discussions focused and to the point. Communicating an organisational change to your workforce ensures there is a harmony in driving change and everyone feels they are playing a key role in supporting the organisations transformation goals.

Co-created common goals help employees feel motivated to share their views and insights. It’s also important and it makes employees feel good about a job which has been entrusted to them for which they share a passion and commitment. This enhances the probability in achieving the desired results. It terms of a common goal and vision, Lalit adds that, it’s not only about creating and having a vision but what is most important is people need to believe in it and it should be made clear to them on how it can be achieved. Vision is not a document that a team writes and forgets about. It is about continuous and ongoing efforts focused on driving a mutual understanding, alignment and strategy to achieve the envisioned outcome. It is a powerful tool to enhance alignment and achieve outstanding outcomes.

CVL Srinivas, CEO, South Asia, Group M adds, “When change happens, is a very well written book and coming from a full-time practitioner it does not end up with frameworks but is full of practical tips derived from real life situations.” The book not only offers change managers and consultants but also corporates, employees and startups resolutions for various situations. Sharing his views on Lalit’s book, Imre Vadasz, Regional HR Director AMEA, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific, notes, “The book accentuates that change management is not a binary process, also it is more complex than mastering methodology, following a well elaborated plan, using a toolbox that fits every ogranisation.” 

However, an interesting point that Lalit calls out is that every organization he has engaged with has a unique culture and characteristics. Hence, there is no one prescribed way of ensuring the success of interventions.  Another key observation made is that, realizing assumptions and limiting beliefs opens the possibility of achieving superior outcomes. Limiting beliefs often weigh you down and don’t let you achieve your full potential.

This write up however does not do justice to the multiple management lessons Lalit has penned. Get your personal copy now from Amazon. Com or alternatively from any leading book store, else just read it on your kindle.

When Change Happens, was first launched in Singapore followed by subsequent launches in Mumbai and Chennai. It was well attended by key corporate honchos, management gurus and the media fraternity. The launch in Mumbai was followed by a panel discussion where Lalit Jagtiani was accompanied by Vinod Kumar, MD & CEO, Tata Communications; Deepa Soman, Founder and Managing Director, Lumiere Business Solutions and Rohit Suri, Chief HR and Talent Officer - GroupM, Asia.

Lalit’s journey as a Business Transformation Specialist began in the late 90’s when he along with a couple of his colleagues were christened Change Agents. Since then, Lalit has been instrumental in leading and managing organisation transformations for companies across South East Asia, India, and Sri Lanka. 

Lalit is a Business Transformation Specialist with focus IT enabled transformation. He is also the co-founder of LeadThink© – a platform for leaders and professionals to showcase their capabilities through personal insights and sharing of experiences in driving successful transformation in their organisations.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Trekking the Himalayas, trek to Roopkund

At 15000 feet we conquered Roopkund. 




It all began with a flight to Delhi, a 7 hour bus journey from Anand Vihar to Kathgodam and then another crazy and tiring 9 hour sumo ride,  through the rocky road escaping falling rocks to our base camp at Loharjung. 


We walked and trekked an average of 8kms a day, crossed narrow hill paths, stayed in a village home, snow covered tents and tents that were nearly blown away and all with the best views of nature’s bounties.



Roopkund, situated in the Chamoli district of Garhwal, in the state of Uttarakhand has been a preferred trekking site. The hill stations Nainital and Kathgodam are the closest but at a distance of 217 km and 235 km respectively. 
It is said that you can spot over 300 human skeletons at the bank of the lake and it is believed that they belong to the Palaeolithic age.
We began walking through green grasslands crossing the green coniferous forests of pine, oak and spruce trees and over the week made it to the snow clad mountains. 

Tired, sweaty, and showered with hail stones or a drizzle, we marched on. Refilling our water bottles on the way from the streams and miniature waterfalls that we crossed. At the few halts we made, we ate yummy fluffy omelettes, spicy maggi noodles and drank some garam chai to keep the chill at bay.   


Village stay at Didna Village at 8,045 ft.).

At Ali Bugyal we were at 11,320 ft.



We crossed the pleasant meadows of Bedni Bugyal and made our way to Patar Nachauni at 12,818 ft. 


It just kept getting easier 😊 at Bhagwabasa at 14,117 ft.

Munching the local berries, Kafal





Himalayan beauties









Patar Nachauni at 15755 ft.
To book your trek, get in touch with Trek The Himalayas today.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Horses, Monkeys and Hand drawn carts only at Matheran


Matheran the ecofriendly hill station




Matheran is the only hill station that opposes two and four wheelers and hence earns the ecofriendly hill station tag. An hour and 30mins from Bombay (Dadar Central) by train is all it takes to get here.

Neral is the closest rail head and once you alight from the train, take the sharing cab service @80/- a seat to get to Matheran.
The toy train which takes one from Neral is Matheran is a preferred ride for many and offers picturesque sights of the surrounding hills.  It is now non-operational but the Railway Minster, Suresh Prabhu hopes the Central Railway will get it up and running soon. Once you arrive pay an entry fee of INR 50 for adults and INR 25 for children from age 2 -12.

You can then either walk for an hour along the toy train tracks or get unto a horse and ride along. The other option is travel in British Raj style in a hand drawn cart, pulled and tugged by three men. You can bargain for both these (horse ride would be around 250/- pp and the hand drawn cart around 300/-pp. Both will drop you to the main market junction.

The best time to visit is throughout the year but avoid the monsoons due to possible mud slides.  Usually packed during the holiday Season time may and Oct (school holidays) but otherwise you can visit anytime of the year

What to do and where to stay:

1. Buy shoes at a good bargain:  There are many shoe shops all over offering mainly Indian Kolhapuri type of chappals and other footwear. Also buy for keep sake, finger size type of chappals/ mostly bought for memory sake and has been sold here for around a century.



2. Kids play area at Chhatrrapati Shivaji Maharaj Udyan: Where there are around four - five slides and a number of other kids activities

3. Ride on horseback and visit 5, 7 or 12 points: The set of points in the same location usually 5-30 mins from each other. The view is great from all so nothing special about covering all the points unless you must do it as per your checklist. Bargain and get yourself a good deal. Do keep in mind the view is much the same form all points only the location changes.

4. Booze: Is available only at Pramod bar but at a premium so do carry your quota along. Located in the main market area and is easy to identify. Everything sold is at a premium from soap to oil to coke.

5. Hotels, Resorts and home stays you will find many all around. At the very beginning is MTDC 

6. Time to relax:  There is also a massage centre, Adoma Hospitality.co.in just besides Hotel Kumar Plaza

What I like: 

1. Eco friendly hill station where Polythene bags are banned. Also no vehicles, two or four wheelers. (even cycles are not allowed)

2. Paver blocks for travellers to walk on align the mud road while a center mud and stone pathway for horses

3. The place is clean and no plastic bags or litter around.

4. And most of all not too far from Bombay 😊 

Good to know:






Saturday, 11 February 2017

My father is a hero, by Nishant Kaushik

My father is a hero

By Nishant Kaushik


‘My father is a hero’, is a quick read about a father – daughter relationship and portrays the ‘always on the move life’ we all lead.  Juggling work and his personal life, Vaibhav Kulkarni a single parent tries to make both ends meet. His daughter Nisha is the apple of his eye and he makes several sacrifices to ensure she is always happy. Throughout the book, Vaibhav a common man with his meagre earnings does everything he can, from enrolling Nisha for music and singing classes, organizing a birthday party to even surprising her to an international travel trip to meet her idol and diva, Rihaana.  Nisha is also the favorite student in class and is admired for her intellect and consistent zeal to excel, by her teachers. At some point however the story takes a twist where Nisha is unable to succumb to peer pressure of always being the best and comprehend why her parents split.

Its also about the relationships Vaibhav maintains with her teachers, fellow parents, his colleagues and his closest friend. Vaibhav does not have many friends he can confide in but just one close dear friend who he occasionally meets over meals and rarely to catch up for a quick drink.  Its also talks about work-life balance and how one has to manage expectations in an organizaion and work in a competitive environment where everyone is vying for a promotion. It showcases how at times careers make or break a family and how ones priorities become a key decision factor.

A highlight from the book and also a weakness for many of us is the use of credit cards to make ourselves happy. Vaibhav makes a number of credit purchases and is lured into collecting more loyalty and bonus points via using his credit card frequently. To this end, he shops more just to be awarded with a smart phone which he hands over to his daughter.  Even more, to surprise his daughter and to express his boundless love, he even buys flights tickets to Australia and makes hotel bookings too so she can see her favorite star Rihanna perform live.

The book is a good read for any parent and just shows the sacrifices one makes to warrant their child’s happiness.

Nishant Kaushik is also authored four other bestselling novels. He is married and lives in Australia with his son. My Father is a Hero has been published by Srishti Publishers. Copies are available at all leading book stores and on amazon.com too for INR 97/-


Book Courtesy: I received a review copy of the book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Being brave and being ready to take a bullet!



03:02- Mainik Dhar

Being brave and being ready to take a bullet!

Mainik Dhar’s recently released book 03:02 is about being brave and being ready to take a bullet. This thriller cum fiction novel is a story of combat and more so about being there for your country fellowmen when they need you the most.

03:02 begins with a glimpse of corporate life, the anticipated promotions, the titles we constantly seek, the office parties, celebrations that follow and work-life in general. The book trails into how none of these really have any meaning or matter when terror strikes and our world is torn apart. Mainik notes that these designations and uber job positions we hold so dear to us just crash when everyone around us is terror stricken. Walking up from a hangover at 03:02am post celebrating his promotion Mainik soon realizes that something was unusual and that’s when it all begins.

Mainik paints an illusion of the city of Mumbai when terrorists rampaged and destroyed the city using the international airport as their base. The city that never sleeps was under a terrorist attack and literally during these hours even forty winks was a tough one. When our little world is clouded in darkness, there is an awakening and everyone realizes how crippled we are with no electricity, no phones, no internet, and no working cars. Our total dependence on technology, the lack of it and helping one another during a series of terrorist strikes that rocked the city is what 03:02 is about.

With no authority to govern the city, people went berserk taking law into their own hands, rioting and looting was seen all around. Taking charge from the core society committee, Mainik calls out to his fellow residents to be brave and to do the right thing. He identifies the skills of each person and how they can contribute in their own small way to benefit the residents at large. While some contributed generously without expecting anything in return others chose to tend to only their loved ones.

As the book trails through the series of events it just grips you with anxiety of what is to follow. It was a shocker for many to see gun shots being fired, people being raped and murdered, rockets being launched and people being shot dead, right before their eyes.  Throughout the book it makes you wonder whether the situation will dampen or just improve, will the authorities aid those suffering or will they just be left to fight their own battle. Fate was unseen and no one knew what tomorrow would bring. With the support from everyone around, Mainik builds an army and collectively fights the terrorists taking them down one by one. The quest continues for weeks and 03:02 details this fight for freedom

What would one do in such a situation, it just makes you stop and think. Should each of us have some training in how to handle combat situations or simple self-defense techniques. Would we go out of our way to attend to someone at a hospital or a department store, like Mainik does or just curl ourselves in our home, our protective shell and say goodbye to the world outside. 03:02, is much of an eye-opener to many of us, if we don't help each other today, even our immediate neighbour, will the peace and unity of the country ever be restored? Life as we know it today has become so mechanical that we choose to keep our eyes shut and just focus on us. The recent Uri attacks and surgical attacks were a testament to this, for we cannot predict what is to happen next and hence it’s important to be united.

It’s often the pride of who we are and seeing our own downfall that we are afraid of. 03:02 arouses a vigor and vibe of being Indian and fighting the enemy. Standing tall and standing strong and how together we can make it happen!

Mainak Dhar is the Managing Director of General Mills India and a bestselling author. 03:02 was released in Mumbai on 24th June 2016.  Present at the launch Mainik signed copies at Crosswords, Kemps Corner and spoke about his motivation to write such an exhilarating thriller.

03:02 has been published by Westland and falls under the category of Fiction / Thriller. Copies are available at all leading book stores and on amazon.com too for INR 192/-.  A contribution from author royalties for every copy sold will be made to the National Defence Fund, which accepts voluntary contributions to help armed forces service members and their families.


Book Courtesy: WritersMelon. I received this book free of cost in barter of a review.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Chug Chug...off we Go! - Halt Station India


Chug Chug...off we Go! - Halt Station India





‘Halt Station India’, is a fascinating story of how the Indian Railways evolved and how it impelled the growth of India’s business capital. Rajendra B. Aklekar the author and also a veteran journalist has been following the Indian Railways very closely for over two decades. He narrates this story in his crisp 205 page book.  The book chugs into the past glory of Indian Railways, its humble beginnings and then trails into the current day comprehensive railway network which has mushroomed to accommodate the burgeoning population and many more railway heads. Rajendra borrows interesting anecdotes from letters, notes from past railway journals, personal diaries, newspaper reports and other sources along with extensive research across the length and breadth of the country. 

Overloaded and soaked with his love and passion for railways, Rajendra shares his experiences and trivia as he tramples upon the entire stretch of the railway track to uncover artifacts and hidden secrets. Halt Station India details the beginning of the railway revolution in India and how the city, Bombay was gradually knitted together, it actually shaped Bombay and drastically made the commute time shorter and safer too.

                           

The railway network primarily helped the British fortify their position in India. It was believed that organizing and dispersing the growing native population and the quick deployment of troops could be best handled by trains, this stance was confirmed by Lord Wharncliffe in May 1846.  The railways were essentially a boon for both the British Empire and the local folk as it cut short the travel time, facilitated the swift movement of cotton and other essential commodities, supported job opportunities, helped in the influx of local artisans and all in all defined a new landmark for the city. With the newly laid railway line, cotton and other raw materials could also be traded with remarkable speed to the sea ports and this was a great achievement as it could be speedily sent by ship to the hungry textile mills in Britain. The demand for cotton actually spurred the growth of railways across India and because of which there was a progressive chart outlined as well.

Several English companies like Glenrock Iron and Steel, Dorman Long & Co, Frodingham Iron and Steel were contracted to supply and design necessary equipment. Girders, turntables, locomotives, stationery machinery for wagons and even assembled structures for bridges, booking offices and station building frames made their way to India. In just the first few years around 18568 tonnes of iron were imported, all in all more than 6000 ships were being dispatched every year from England with about 5,00,000 tonnes for various lines across the subcontinent. 

Back then the appointment of a firm and engineers to carry on the mammoth task of construction, laying of the first rails, the acquiring of land and working with the local labor force were just the initial teething snags that the lay before the British Empire. However, these were tactfully dealt with and swiftly fixed. Train coaches were designed just like to those running in England and imported to India. Despite superstations and locals believing that an evil force was powering the engine or how it could move so fast without medication the first train chugged off not only in India bit also in Asia. It sprinted from Bombay to Thana on 16th April, 1853 at 3:55pm, supplemented by a 21 gun military salute. Back then the path was deserted and ran through swamps which today is a dense urban landscape.

Halt Station further add that the railways were meant to symbolize the power and achievement of the British regime in India and the extravagant and decorative Victoria Terminus mirrored just this. 

Today few commuters stop and notice the intricate carvings of various flora and fauna that complement the majestic terminus building. Students from the adjacent J.J. School of Arts contributed to the architectural wonder, adding Indian decorative elements to the building namely the peacocks and tigers, tropical plants and reptiles. The building welcomes you with two stone sculptures of a lion and a tiger at the main entrance, representing England and India respectively. These were sculpted in Britain and were designed by Messrs Earp, Son & Hobbs and then shipped to Bombay.  It also important to note here that the architect Frederick William Stevens paid meticulous attention to detail and designed not only this gothic building but also accessories and furniture that accompanied it. While Stevens supervised the project, Indian officials from the PWD Assistant Engineer Raosaheb Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and supervisor M. Mahaderao Janardan did the ground work. With all this grandeur, Victoria Terminus, now rechristened CST is actually one of the most photographed buildings in the world.

Today the Indian railways feature as the largest rail network in Asia, covering 65,000 kilometers and 7500 stations, the fourth largest in the world after the United states of America, Russia and china. In keeping with the legendary date and time since the first train chugged away, a train runs today as well at the same time.


In addition to the above, the book shares many more secrets, surprises and tidbits of history that Rajendra discovered over the years, for e.g. hidden secrets beneath bridges, the journey of the tamarind tree in India, how Hancock and Carnac bridges got their names along with their history, Kurla station’s position within the country’s water transport network then, the world's first ladies train that began from church gate,  an ancient abandoned British cabin with letters carved in wood at Dadar Junction North Cabin and even Ville parle station that carries an old signboard of third class booking window, almost forty years after the third class was abolished. These are just some of the many revelations that Halt Station India unfolds. 

It is available here on Amazon and is priced at INR 296/- within just few weeks of its launch it has been ranked first in the bestsellers in the transportation series.



Rajendra. B. Aklekar at the book launch


                                             Rajendra. B. Aklekar at the book launch

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Migratory Goan




The Migratory Goan




Bomoicar (Bombay Goan in Konkani), traces the life of the Goan immigrant from the susegad Goan soil to Bombay, the land of opportunity, between 1920 and 1980. 



The book, compiled and edited by Reena Martins, a Bombay based Goan journalist over the last eight years, takes a close look at these immigrants joys and struggles through their lifestyle, culture, food, drink, prayer and song that they carried from home and kept alive in tight knit ghettoes like Dhobitalao, Byculla and Mazagaon. It documents the stories of few Goans who worked strenuously and took up both skilled and menial jobs with the railways, hotels, colleges and government institutions. The book is quintessentially a peek into the Goa life and culture in Bombay and takes one on a cruise from Goa to Bombay and vice versa and details their travel journeys.




Bomoicar, is filled with charismatic and interesting stories of Goans who travelled via the old decrepit steamers, Konkan Shakti or the MV Konkan Sevak. Philomena Fernandes, recounts how her parents travelled via sea (Mazagaon to Vasco) around 1918/1919 via Konkan Shakti and it was indeed a very memorable experience. On board, some would open up their lunch boxes to a feast of roast beef or chicken sandwiches, fish cutlets, vegetable samosa’s or even chorizo pao.


In coping with a world so different from their own, the Bomoicar arrived at creative housing solutions. They strung together rows of single tenement houses in old colonial style buildings in South Bombay and formed the Goan kudd or club. Bombay was home to some 400 odd Goan clubs then. These functioned as meetings places and there was at least one club (named after the patron saint of the village) for immigrants from each Goan village. Huddled together on aluminum trunks that served as benches by day and beds by night, residents were well updated on news from back home, often peppered with gossip too. This helped reduce home sickness in a city of concrete that had replaced paddies and coconut groves.






The clubs also dished out desi cooked food available at reasonable rates, some served finger licking tongue roast and xitt-kodi (fish curry and rice), fried Bombay Duck or Mackerel, etc along with the traditional banana. The Goan enclave at Dhobitalao in particular was well known for Antons' fish curry rice serving and many feasted on this routine diet. The meal was had standing, quietly and hurriedly to make way for the next set of amchem Goenchem brothers.



Frederick Noronha Goa based veteran journalist and now an alternative publisher notes that migration has always been a large part of Goan reality. In an e-mail exchange, Frederick shares that data available, in 1960, indicated that when there were approx 600,000 living in Goa, there were around 100,000 Goans living in Bombay. Hazel Fernandes another Bomoicar, and Bandra resident narrates how her Great Grand Father came to Bombay when he was just a young lad and began working with the British Baroda and Central India Railway (BB & CI), Indian Railways now. He gradually moved up the ranks, married a pretty Goan girl in her mid-teens and moved in to a petite cottage in Bandra’s Waroda Road. He bought the place for just five thousand then and was already the nineteenth owner of the place.



Staying and praying together were always part and parcel of community life. Daily rosary was recited at every club and during the months of September and October, the statue of the Virgin  Mary made its rounds through the many Goan homes. The homes were festooned and prepared for the arrival of the statue, and yes every home had to be better ornamented than the next door neighbours. Bookings for the statue were made months in advance and near and dear ones were invited to little treats of chickpeas and some other light snacks over a cold drink. The older men usually stayed back for copachem- a shot of feni or beer, and extended family members were served pulao and chicken curry.



At Christmas time, a troupe of local Goan actors would be hired to perform the khell, which led to the tiatr or Konkani drama. The khell troupe lured people out of their homes and into the jam packed hall of the club, where they enacted the life of the average Goan through earthy dialogues delivered with a liberal dose of butler English by dithering men in drag- shadowy stubble dusted with talcum, flaming orbs above square-lined jaws and tobacco-stained lips painted in bright red lipstick.The Goan community also boasted of some renowned musicians like Anthony Gonsalves who contributed towards the Bollywood film industry during the 20th century. 



The Prohibition days however, did not dampen the Goan lifestyle of fun, food and drink. Prohibition was introduced by Bombay’s Chief Minister, Moraji Desai in the Fifties, against manufacturing, buying, selling and drinking of alcohol, as he was a firm believer in urine therapy and considered alcohol immoral. To drink at home during prohibition, one needed a permit and a doctor certifying that alcohol was for preservation or maintenance of health for three months only. One was allowed one up to 375ml of brandy or rum or 750 ml of champagne and only a single family member could avail of such a permit at a given time. But the prohibition which was at its peak right up to the Seventies, presented a great opportunity for many a Goan woman popularly known as aunty, who in a small corner of her house served hooch accompanied by chakna or spicy snacks. It was available at the many Goan, ‘Aunty Liquor Bars or Eddie’s Bar type mini restaurant cum bars that emerged in the Goan neighbourhood. It was often smuggled into the city too in tyre tubes or with leprosy patients whom cops were afraid to check as they feared contracting the ailment.



As the effect of prohibition got diluted, country liquor showed up on shelves of liquor shops and the Goan aunty was eventually edged out. Thus ended the role of the legendary Goan Aunty, who had inspired many a Bollywood director to portray the Goan girl as loose and the man as a tippler. But the Bomoicar was a hardworking and sincere person who was both Bombayite and Goan at the same time.



Bomoicar took quite some time to compile because stories had to be collated, from a diverse and far-flung set of people too. Though the book is illustrated with fine line drawings, it may have come alive with a touch of colour. Even though the book has not been officially launched yet, it has already been widely circulated and has received positive reviews too. To compile all these short stories, Goa.net (Goanet, an online mailing list for Goans across the globe, now in its 20th year) served as the focal point, followed by a circle of friends and other online sources.



For copies of Bomoicar, visit Golden Heart in Margao, or order by email from goa1556@gmail.com or reenamartins@hotmail.com. The book is prices at INR 200/-