Patience in Leadership

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – its how we behave while we’re waiting” ~ Joyce Meyer

In our discussions on Leadership Development we generally give more importance to the aggressive qualities of a leader. However the virtues of ‘patience’ is not given due importance. Leaders can develop the virtue pf patience only after meditative practices by shedding their ego and their quick fix short-term result orientation. The story below illustrates how patience is not just a passive ‘wait and do nothing’ approach.

The power in patience

The power in patience

A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it?”

The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years”.

Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice every day, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then”?

The teacher thought for a moment, “20 years”.
What’s the lesson in it for us?

The Kung Fu Master has conveyed a powerful message in a such a simple way to the warrior. In Hindi language Patience means धैर्य (Dhairya) and Dhairya implies courage – it is patience in the face of danger. Even in our daily routine we get impatient and anxious that the outcome may not be as we want it to be. This means we do not have trust in the universal order of things to accept in grace the outcome. And so we take preemptive hurried action often resulting in a lesser result or failure.

Most of our educational and training institutions of learning and parents too miss out on teaching the virtues of patience and courage to students. Perhaps the teachers themselves are not aware of the intangible power of these virtues and believe in quick-fix short-term solutions. In corporate or in our personal life we are in a race to aggressively achieve goals often without a pause ~ to breathe and think. Those familiar with yoga will know all movements are gradual and graceful and yet they bring about a harmonious balance between mind and body.

In oriental philosophy too the sage Lao Tsu taught that all straining, all striving are not only vain but counterproductive. It does not literally mean to do nothing, but to discern with a quiet mind and follow the natural forces to follow the natural forces to follow and shape the flow of events and not to pit oneself against the natural order of things.

I am sure the student above would have bowed in humility Patience bowand gratitude to the Master for this beautiful lesson.

In Ernest Hemingway’s words ~ “Courage is grace under pressure”!

Have a lovely day dear friends

Is there a right choice?

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” ~ Confucius

Making a choice of which profession to choose is not easy. Students or job seekers simply follow or do what their parents want them to do. In many cases a mismatch-match occurs leading to dissatisfaction. Child career path Einstein

What goes unnoticed unheard is the young persons hidden talent. How can one understand or identify his or her own talent? In some cases the school or college keeps track of the students innate abilities and skills and guides him or her further. Or there are qualified psychological counselors who do their assessment using subtle approaches.

Fortunately the young folk of today are very well informed and quite sure of themselves. They follow their heart and are risk-takers and know that switching from job to the other is not a big deal.

In my own case I completed my engineering but soon discovered that it is the Army for me and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers – enjoyed every moment 🙂

Do share your thoughts or experience  🙂



Always believe in yourself!

 I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much ~ Mother Teresa

I am sharing a real life story of courage, confidence and determination. A young soldier was severely incapacitated in the Siachen glacier region also known as the world’s highest battle field situated at an average altitude of 18,000 feet above sea level. An account of the incident is given below in the newspaper item:


The army provided singular support to Major Rajesh by way of intensive medical care and a suitable employment in the army to rehabilitate him. But despite the physical and mental challenges Rajesh Mehta continued doing his work devotedly and always with a helpful attitude. He is known to be an officer with a smiling demeanor who never says yet finds solutions to problems of soldiers.

In earlier days!

In earlier days!


In such adverse physical conditions many would give up hope but not this young man a trained commando and an inspirational leader of troops who lives up to the motto “Mushkil waqt commando sakth” i.e., “When the Going Gets Tough the commando gets going”!

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path” ~ Buddha

On 9th December this year a wonderful event happened took place. Major Rajesh received his orders for his promotion to the coveted rank of a Lieutenant Colonel. This news brought happiness and pride to all those who have known Rajesh’s brave struggle to overcome all odds.

I asked Rajesh to share with us the source of his strength to face life with enthusiasm and cheer. Please do read his message –

 “With the blessings of Almighty & good wishes of all your bloggers and my family & friends I have been promoted as Lieutenant Colonel on 9th Dec 2013. The positive messages from you on earlier blog posts ( have encouraged me immensely. I am especially grateful to my wife her courage, fortitude and support during our ups and downs. My young son too is a spirited and wonderful company for me.

I feel great pride in being part of such a wonderful organization ‘The Indian Army’ & its humane approach to employment management and thank them for taking care of me and my family in every way.

I wish to share with you what helps me cope with my disabilities of triple amputation and CVA (Cerebral Vascular Accident)?

As per medical prescription, I was bound to be on lifelong medication. During the post amputation period when my entire time was spent on the hospital bed with hardly any scope of exercise except being picked up on a wheelchair & taken around. Fortunately for me it was my doctor who suggested that I could follow the Yoga/ Pranayama being telecast live on TV in the early mornings.

Initially it was difficult for me to pick up the technique of Anuloma Pranayama (Anuloma pranayama is breathing through alternate nostrils).

But after a period of one month my body got used to deep slow inhaling and absorbing oxygen in abundance. I continued with medication till mid 2009 & also kept doing Pranayamas. I had to tolerate the strong side effects of the medications. But in Jan 2010 my neurophysician after detailed assessment of my progress felt I could taper down my medication.

And by the end of 2010, not only was I rid of my medication but could also do 50 sit-ups on the bed. I continued with the same routine and as on date I am able to do 200 sit-ups every day followed by an hour of Pranayama. Finally I would advice all friends to allot some time every day to do breathing exercises or Pranayama and continue a medicine free healthy life.”

   “When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace” ~Author Unknown


Dear blogger friends do join me in wishing Lt. Col Rajesh and his family good luck and plenty of happiness.






Greetings on Teachers Day 2013

Here’s wishing all my teachers, colleagues, friends and students from whom I learned many valuable lessons.  I express my gratitude by sharing this beautiful quote.

Teacher Day 2013

Have a lovely day 🙂

Honest work leads to contentment

A one man enterprise: 75 year old Sayaji Rao a lean and sinewy man is a regular feature in our society. Always attired in a simple dress sporting a traditional Gandhi cap he goes around different societies on his bicycle. His job is to sharpen household knives, tools and garden implements with a grinding wheel mounted firmly One man eterprise close-upon his trusted bicycle. The One man enterprisecharges are meagre and customers never ever need to haggle as house wives know him to be a principled and honest man. Sayaji earns just enough for his daily needs and maybe a little more.

I once asked him why doesn’t he retire and live with his sons. He replied that till he has strength in his limbs he will continue to work as that’s what keeps him healthy – no medicines no hospitals. He sleeps well and is always content with his lot.

‘To labour is to pray’ ~ Motto of the Benedictines

This one man enterprise makes us believe that a man can lead a life in peace and harmony with few wants. Yet we have scores of examples of great companies going bankrupt due to their CEO’s becoming victims of greed and avarice and were even put behind bars. Not only were these top executives shamed but thousands of their employees became jobless overnight and their innocent families suffered too.

‘There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed’ ~ Mahatma Gandhi

A lovely comment from a guest is reproduced as a postscript:

I had an ‘encounter’ with Sayaji today as I needed to have some knives sharpened.
I watched him work on his wheel, fitted on his cycle. What dedication & expertise.
A simple soul with a profound message for humanity. RLS

Thanks Roshan 🙂

China continues to amaze!

Chinese wisdom “He who knows, does not speak, he who speaks does not know” ~ Lao Tsu

This is a Guest Post kind courtesy Sanjay who recently did a brief stint in China. He was lucky to attend the famous annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival and has shared with us some amazing pictures. China is indeed a country whose progress and development stuns the world.

Harbin is the capital and largest city in Northeast China, as well as the tenth most populated city in the People’s Republic of China. Harbin serves as a key political, economic, scientific, and cultural and communications hub in Northeast China.

It is known for its bitterly cold winters and is often called the “Ice City.” Harbin is notable for its beautiful ice sculptures in winter and its Russian legacy, and it still plays an important part in Sino-Russian trade today. Harbin is also considered as China’s fashion capital since new designs from Paris and Moscow reached here first before arriving in Shanghai.

The structures are made from huge blocks of ice cut from the nearby Songhua River. Artists create over 2,000 ice and snow sculptures within two weeks, including a 48-metre-tall “Crystal Castle”.

The wintry wonderland (-16C) theme park draws crowds from across China as well as from overseas each year with its unique sculptures, which are illuminated with multicolored electric lights encased in translucent ice. Visitors often stand in awe of the monumental ice and snow sculptures. (Information sourced from the Wiki)

Harbin 1

Harbin 2

Harbin 2a

Harbin 4

harbin 5

Harbin 6

Harbin 7Harbin 9


       HAVE A LOVELY DAY ~  祝你今天愉快   Zhù nǐ jīntiān yúkuài  🙂

An Arabian Parable – Story of 20 Camels

Final 2 camels......

Dear Friends I am sorry for the font size. KINDLY CLICK ON THE IMAGE!

I thank Ranjana my dear wife for sharing and scripting this beautiful story from her  ‘Self Management’ class’ 🙂


Guest post – Remove the clutter and the worries!

Hello friends this post is contributed by my friend Sriram. You may have read and enjoyed his comments and insights on some of the earlier posts. The anecdote below is quite inspirational and so is Sriram’s interpretation. Do read and enjoy 🙂

“This is very similar to what Mani Ratnam, an ace Indian film director, screenwriter and producer, said, when asked how he creates a ‘scene’, that he only eliminated what he did not want & what remained was what he wanted!!…

The central theme of this anecdote is about ‘uncluttering’ or removing what one does not want to leave behind what one really wants. Man by design is not good at knowing what he wants, but he is very sure about what he doesn’t want.

And this ‘limitation’ of not being good at knowing what we wanted is actually a blessing in disguise as it allows us the chance to explore and try out possibilities simply because we are unsure what will eventually lead us to what we wanted… For if we knew what we wanted, then perhaps we would not be so curious, so exploratory or seeking new vistas or opportunities!

So the lessons that we can be learn from the sculptor’s approach to sculpting is also an approach to life – just ensure u do nothing that you DON’T WANT TO DO and therefore you end up doing what you want to do!

Also it gives hope that within every one of us is the perfect statue that will reveal itself once we remove the ‘unwanted’ baggage we carry of the past as well as unnecessary worries of the future making us ‘not us’.”

Thanks Sriram.
Cheers! 🙂

Lets Talk Walmart

“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity” ~ Kofi Annan

Walmart the world’s largest corporation 8,500 stores in 15 countries and its likely entry into India has turned into a nationwide debate.

The FDI Debate

To revive the slowdown in the Indian economy the Indian government recently announced the approval of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and a few other key sectors. This decision to allow 51% FDI in retail will impact the $500 billion multi-brand retail market dominated by the small convenience stores. A number of multinational corporations like Walmart, Tesco PLC and France’s Carrefour SA , French Groupe Auchan SA are on a wait and watch mode.

Walmart is already in India in partnership with Bharti Group but only in the back-end operations. Once the FDI is passed in parliament Walmart proceed to go beyond the back-end wholesale (cash-and-carry) stores format ad face the Indian consumer at the front-end. With more retailers like Tesco PLC and France’s Carrefour SA likely to follow suit it may prove to be a game-changer for the entire Indian retail landscape i.e., the consumer, the middlemen and the traders and the small farmers.

This announcement has created a backlash from the small retailers and the middlemen who feel their businesses will shut down and there is also a fear that farmer profits would be squeezed out.

Challenges for Walmart

A plethora of rules and regulations need to be understood and adhered. Govt. policy makes it mandatory for foreign single-brand and multi-brand retail companies to meet the 30% local sourcing norm at an aggregate level in their first five years in India (it can be lower at the beginning, but that the average over five years should be 30%). This would stimulate growth and employment in small & medium size industries.

It’s not going to be easy. Multinationals like Walmart will have to take-on a complex web of strategic and operational challenges to get their products to the consumers. The weak infrastructure and communication systems will pose problems and a long gestation period to breakeven is expected.

A Supermarket

At one extreme there are the myriad of small to medium retailers – Kirana (Mom & Pop) stores, hand cart and pavement vendors known as unorganized retailing which constitutes 98% of the retail market.

On the other end the robust network of larger modern Supermarkets and Hypermarkets like Reliance Mart, Big Bazaar, Vishal Megamart, Spencer Retail’s & Aditya Birla’s More and D-Mart which is only 2% of the market share.

Unlike the US where Wal-Mart buys from only a few hundred farmers in India they will need to create a system to contract with thousands of fragmented cultivators. For this Walmart can learn from the much acclaimed ITC’s e-chouphal value chain system of farmer to consumer.

Red leaf vegetable

While the $400 billion Walmart’s worldwide dominance is well known it did fail to read the market well enough in Germany and had to close shop. Similarly in South Korea it did not read the consumer mindset especially of the housewives and had to pull out.

Walmart must learn from its mistakes elsewhere and develop a vision for India that goes beyond profits. Good ethics and corporate social responsibility can become there winning “Mantra’ for India. Remember what Bohdan Hawrlyshyn the well known economist postulated:

“We must remember people are the purpose & profits are the means & not the other way around. It should not be: people are the resources & profits the purpose.”

What are Kirana stores?

A Typical Kirana

Are the 10 million small shops about 400-500 square feet area conveniently located in the vicinity of housing societies. Row of Kirana shops can be seen adjoining roads and residences where crowds of shoppers have to pass by. A Kirana has a vast range of inventory in the smallest of space. Items of daily needs like groceries, stationery, ice-cream and poultry

A row of Small Stores

products are stocked. The range of inventory and space economics is brilliant – you ask for it and you get it – never overstocked so a low working capital.

He knows his customer well and even offers a month of credit as well as home free delivery services. The Indian housewife does not need to plan for a week’s shopping. A large segment of shoppers of middle and lower middle class may have small kitchen and so daily provisioning is the best way.

Some of the Kirana owners when asked about the impending threat of big box formats like Walmart do not seem unduly

Cars parked at Kirana doorsteps

concerned. The coming of super-marts and hypermarkets in the last 10 years did not hurt them. They know their strengths and the emotional connect they have with the customers.

Moreover the India is not a stagnant economy and in a growing economy there is space for both to co-exist profitably.

The Sabzi Mandi (wholesale vegetable market)

In the wet marketing chain large volumes of vegetables and fruits are brought to the Mandi from remote locations in large trucks. The gong sounds at 4am heralding the opening of the market. The middleman or trader at this point

The Sabzi Mandi

quotes a price to the farmer based on his own judgment of quality of the product. Mostly the farmers get a raw deal and are helpless as they cannot carry the perishable items back. Retailers, vendors and handcart buy and take away their daily requirements for retail sale in

Wholesale market

the city.

The mark-up on vegetables between the Mandi to the retail end is between 200 to 400 percent.

Loaded Hand-Cart and vehicles rolling out for the days sale

The ultimate losers are the poor farmers despite their toil and risks and the end consumer.

Some enterprising and cost conscious folk especially house wives brave the hustle bustle to the chaotic Mandi once a week. They buy the vegetables for the entire week’s requirement at wholesale price. But not many can do that.

The likely benefits

Walmart’s core competency is its sophisticated logistic system. The existing long supply chain for fruits and

A typical Walmart in the US

vegetables passes through a number of middlemen en route to the retail end. There is huge wastage due to lack of infrastructure facility such as cold chains and storage. The improved system will plug the leakages and larger volumes will move efficiently through a technology supported system. This will create more value for the consumer and the farmer. A higher farmer share of the retail price will be released. Even the traders would benefit by shopping directly from big box stores like Walmart instead of sourcing from the Sabzi Mandi.

Bharti Walmart already has sourcing arrangements with around 4,000 farmers in states like, Maharashtra, Karnataka and few other states. The produce from farmers is also

A shoppers delight

supplied to Walmart stores globally like grapes from farmers in Maharashtra go to consumers in UK.

Bharti Walmart leverages its global value chain to provide technical knowhow and superior seeds for the farmer to produce high quality produce attracting more price.

The learning and familiarization in India through its JV with Bharti will give Walmart a head start when it finally sets its own stores.

Better and fair management of food storage, cold chains and elimination of the middleman will benefit farmers and the customer. More jobs will come up for the youth in setting-up of food processing units and for retail management. In addition employment opportunities will be generated in food, clothing, construction, packing, information technology, transport and cold storage, besides other basic infrastructure facilities.

“We must take care that globalization does not become something people become afraid of” ~ Gerhard Schroder


Starbucks reaches Indian shores

“It is perhaps the most elegant, beautiful, dynamic store we’ve opened in our history”
~ Howard Schultz

This statement by the charismatic chairman and CEO of the iconic brand Starbucks Howard Shultz means a lot. On Fri last a grand partnership between Starbucks & the highly respected Tata group was launched in Mumbai India. The event lay to rest much of the speculation whether Starbucks will actually enter India a nation long associated with tea drinking.

Deep Mitra my friend who was there says that the large crowd was excited to take part in the historic inauguration. I am sharing a couple of pictures sent thoughtfully by Deep with you dear readers.

The challenge

The big question is can Starbucks attract the Indian consumer enough to shift their loyalty from the Café Coffee Day (CCD) 1200 outlets and the Barista Lavaza 200 outlets which are well entrenched and strategically located. Will the price conscious consumer fall to the charms of the world’s most popular brand? Will Starbucks in due course become the market leader?

Right partner

Choosing the right partner is the key to sustainable success in a strategic alliance and this partnership is just that. The tangibles are in place by leveraging Tata’s prime real estates, the coffee plantations and the synergies coming from the historic Taj Mahal hotel services. This first Starbucks big store is impressively housed in Tata’s historic Elphinstone Building and the next one will be in the Taj.

India tuning

The intangible too are huge as both leaders Howard Shultz and Ratan Tata share an approach that is important not only for profitability but a common chemistry and common value system with a deep sense of humanity.

Though Starbucks leverages its global brand strength with standardized stores and menu it has made a bold change here in India by blending its global culture with the Indian culture. After all Starbucks is a 40 year old culture and the change will surely throw-up some serious challenges. Starbucks has done right to tune-in to the local culture by Indianizing some of its flavors in food offerings to give it a local twist – Mawa croissants — made with cardamom and milk solids — and delicious and nutritious tandoori paneer rolls.
Starbucks price positioning is at the high-end of India’s coffee cafes like Barista and CCD, with a 12 ounce cappuccino retailing for a little over $2.

Good wishes

Finally in an interview Howard Schultz states the “Tata tie up will help us to emerge as leader”. And Tata Global Beverages shares surged 7% to Rs 141 back of heavy volumes. Lets wish a grand success to Starbucks, Tata’s and to the consumer a great coffee experience.

An earlier post on Starbucks India entry at

Cheers 🙂