– Culture –

In my last post I said that a foundation of a company is built by people, so if you have the right people which means you  have a solid base. Yes 1st step crossed but post that how do you ensure the rest of the building is built and your company grows and my answer to that is ‘Culture’. Culture of  a company/team is what will take those different ingredients and make the most appetizing meal out of it.

With the Olympics on I want to touch on India’s sporting culture by sharing a story of a Sporting Hero of India. I don’t know how many of you know of Santhi Soundarajan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santhi_Soundarajan) but she was (she is not dead but i’l tell u why I write ‘was’ here) a Silver medal winner in 800 m at the Doha Asiads in 2006. Now to why ‘she was’ because she failed a gender test and was stripped of all her laurels at international and national level. Presently, she works as a daily wager at a brick kiln earning Rs. 200/day. Some of you might say well she failed the test din’t she but for a medal starved country like ours don’t you think more should have been done for our sporting hero. If you still have doubts whether or not, let’s compare this to a story of another middle distance runner but from South Africa. A Gold medal winner at the Berlin World Championship 2009, Caster Semenya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caster_Semenya) failed a gender test and was stripped of her medal. Unlike what happened to Santhi, the South African authorities and citizens came out in support of Semenya so that she could regain her standing and dignity in world sports. Result: the IAAF revoked her ban and this year at the Olympics, she was the flag bearer for the rainbow nation at the opening ceremony in London. There are thousands of stories like these which tell us about plight of Indian sporting heroes and I only hope they find the strength and courage to carve a successful life for themselves.

Moving on to culture of a company, it’s only the two of us directors who comprise “Phaze Experience” at present and we have developed a culture for us in the last 8-9 months. In terms of working culture we as a company thrive on challenges and pushing ourselves beyond our capabilities to service clients. At times with help from friends and other organisations but that’s another thing about us we are very open to collaboration and working with different people to deliver a quality product. As people we believe in hard work and we realize that there nothing like a free lunch. If you have to do well you will have to slog it out. Having said all this we also realize that fun is an extremely important part of any culture and that’s why you would find post working hours a lot of friends are welcomed to our office ( we do need some time of each other after the whole day btw). And invariably you will find the smell of pizza, fizz of coke, the sound of music (so cliche) and chatter fill our small cabin that we call office.

Mannan Abrol

Brands and Super Heroes

Have you ever spent some time to analyse your perception and impression of a Super Hero. The underlying fact remains that you will always trust a super hero to deliver miraculously. Can organizations and their respective brands build a super hero like perception of themselves?

This is a strange but interesting pattern of thought that struck me a few days ago while sitting and having a few interesting conversations with a close friend. However subjective could be highly inspiring for a large number of organizations operating within the servicing sphere. Here are some of the key elements that a super hero builds his brand around:

  • Miracles: The way a super hero operates has always got something to do with miraculously showing up in a time of need and saving the day.
  • Purpose: Any and every super hero has a story, background and a clearly laid down path which he/she will always follow and so will all their stories.
  • Timing: They will always appear at the right time just before everything is meant to be destroyed or brought down.
  • Heroic Figure: The physical evidence of most super heroes is super strength, presence of mind, street smartness and speed.
  • Winner: A super hero is a true winner in every way. He will always prevail over evil and win the battles he is fighting.
  • Trust: There is a very powerful pattern of trust and unconditional love for a super hero.
  • Recall: The inspiration and strength a super hero inspires is always thought of or remembered in times of a challenge.

I do wonder if there are many organizations out there with a similar perception out there yet or not?

Abhimanyu Tewari

‘Foundation’

They say, ‘if you start well you would in variably even end well’, also ‘a well built building has a sound foundation’… I’m just not quoting these things for the heck of it what am coming to is, you might start well and and you might build something substantial but if your foundation is weak you will always be on uncertain grounds. I started dwelling on the word ‘foundation’ while reading an article where they used it in reference of it’s literal meaning and got me thinking about more profound connotations of it in terms of a company.


The article was on the privately managed Delhi Metro Airport Express which has been shut down for two months, due to a safety concerns. Problems with the bearings, is the reason that this step had to be taken  (for those who don’t know, bearings are the interface between the pillar and girder, hope that din’t confuse you further). Out of 2,100 bearings on the elevated section of the corridor, nearly 233 need some correction or the other. When I read the number 233, as a citizen I’m astonished and it seems like quite a lot of negligence on the part of the authorities involved. Not even going into the  life threatening encounters that could have taken place or the safety hazard part of it, I’m just glad that steps have been taken before anything happened. For those who believe in making easy money and have traveled by the Airport Express, you might want to file a suit against DMRC and Reliance Infra on the grounds of exposing you to life threatening situations.

Looking at the word ‘foundation’ from the point of view of someone who is looking to build a solid base for its company, I’m thinking what does it take ? And yes it takes a couple of hundred things but everything becomes negligible or less important if you have the right people. When I refer to people here I talk about the people who work for or with you to deliver your product. I think for any start up, the case is always – how do we attract the right talent? and attracting them is just the 1st step to it.

 Our theory till now on this is to work with people in our circle and collaborate with people that we trust but we realize that at one point of time we would have to move beyond the circle of trust. Where as big MNCs require degrees, experience and percentages (at least that’s what I think), we look for intent, passion, drive and whether they are English speaking or not (ya! that is important 🙂 )

Talking about people who work for you, I would like to share a friend’s experience who started his company two and a half years back. This week, one of his employees quit, who had been working with him for nearly a year. The reason for him leaving was not work pressure, less pay, working conditions or anything like that but a very positive one, he want’s to start up his own company. Very heartening to see considering my friend is closing 25 and his employee is 23 years old.

Well in the end, anyone looking for a job, do contact us!

Mannan Abrol

Collaboration replacing competition

Have you ever come across the term Strategic Alliance used between different partnering organizations. I seem to be noticing this as an emerging trend across industries where individuals are choosing collaboration over competition to increase their overall capacity and capability.

This is fairly interesting given this is possibly the largest and fastest emerging entrepreneurial generation. More than money or an idea, any organization will grow by way of expanding capability and capacity with another complementing organization. Thanks to our ever growing networks and social media channels that bind them together, we can today look in almost all possible directions to seek the right strategic alliances and take on challenging and large scale projects together.

Our own experience with such alliances has been unique. Surprisingly more than capability, we have been blessed with diverse dynamics with different sets of individuals and their respective organizations. They have not just enabled us to expand but actually given us short term management degrees which may come in handy in the long run.

Team dynamics are quite an adventure in terms of learning when you work with another organization by way of a strategic alliance. So by this observation, does lack of competition really lead to lack of collaboration?  and in a more monopolistic environment, does absence of competition decrease the viability, uniqueness and dynamic nature of a product? and further does the absence of diversity collapse new ideas and growth prospects for that same product? But at the same time in the presence of too much competition and diversity, does this same product loose out on quality?

The fun of doing what we do when we do something of our own! Such questions are maybe what help us gain new prospects and ideas.

Abhimanyu Tewari

 

Country vs Self or Winning vs Losing

If there is one sport that has caught the attention of Indians (of course after cricket) in the last 20 years and has produced home grown heroes to look up to, I would give my thumbs up to Tennis. Led by the dynamic duo of Paes and Bhupathi, it has certainly given this cricket crazy nation something else to drool on, you can’t discount Sania Mirza’s contribution to Indian tennis now can you!

In the past there have been fissures in Indian Tennis but those cracks were always mended for the sake of the country. But the recent refusal by both Bopanna and Bhupathi (apparently the lead protagonist in this whole controversy) to partner with the number 1 tennis player in India – Paes at the London Olympics has shaken the foundation of Indian Tennis. So are they in this case putting their self interests ahead of the country’s or are they a better combination to represent India at the London Games ? Well recent history would suggest, that on current form and practice they are India’s best bet. The reigning French Open champions came together earlier this year and will be playing at Wimbledon together as well. This is after foregoing very successful pairings previously to prepare together for the Olympics.

As this situation unfolds like a high profile corporate deal between AITA (All India Tennis Association) and the players, it will be interesting to see whether the most successful Indian tennis player is able to raise his game and inspire his partner’s – 24 year old Vishnu Vardhan to an Olympic medal (which would be his 2nd) in his 6th Olympic Games appearance for India. (not a very proud record to have BTW)

Moving on from Tennis at the core of the controversy lies a situation which we as people come across quite often – choosing your own interest over anything else (a person, a greater cause etc). According to me as long as you can back your self and your decisions and come out a winner (definition of winner being ambiguous here) you will have enough material wealth and good Karma to go around!

And a company with an intention to provide unique experiences to clients we hope to back ourselves with decisions which make us money and in return leaves our clients with a smile on their face. 🙂

Mannan Abrol