When you are jittery most of the time
When you procrastinate
When you feel that your current place is just temporary
When you start distancing yourself from people who love what you are doing right now
When you see someone make it big doing what you want to do, apart from feeling inspired you feel someone stabbing you (it’s your conscience) , you feel pain for you are still here
When you actually get goosebumps thinking of possibilities
Inspired by a video on TED I along with my few crazy friends decided to try a 30 days challenge. The idea is to do something every day for 30 days.
Most of us decided to blog/create content every day for next 30 days and for every miss we decided to dunk the person in a pool(Counts are being kept).
Thankfully, my score is still 0 and with this last post it will remain 0 :). Can i say I am proud 🙂
Its been incredible, you have to sometimes push yourselves to write even when you can barely type. But thats the whole idea, not only you learn something new,it also increases your will power.
The next 30 days are going to pass, you like it or not. What matters is how you make them count
So here is a link to all my and my friends works since past 30 days(their challenge is still on as some started late)
Extremely hectic day again.Started with a discussion on communication workshop action points and then was part of interview panel for www.slateindia.in
The highlight of the day was meeting with core committee of Nirmaan(http://www.nirmaan.org/page/Home.aspx). Nirmaan is an NGO started by few BITS pilani guys to build a poverty free ,knowledge powered and economically empowered Nation.They had come to ISB to talk to people about imbibing best practices of management in their Organization
Now these are the guys who are hell bent on changing india but still are doing their normal jobs.They work in IBM but still are the driving force behind the organization.
And before you judge,this is not a small organization of a few guys,its an enormous corporate style organization with very clear defined goals and has over 5 franchise all over India.
It was a great learning experience to discuss the challenges they are facing in their organization and finding out that it was the exact thing bothering our organizations as well.
They have done some amazing work already ,biggest one being launching a toll free helpline for rural students for career counseling where they give them information about courses,exams,scholarships etc.
Biggest problem in rural areas is lack of knowledge ,they have dreams but no guidance on how to achieve them,this helpline bridges that gap. It is currently limited only to a small area and i wish to see it launched at a national level soon. Best part is that it is funded majorly by the state government.. It was a pleasure interacting with these young guns of India,such clarity of vision and thought, such professionalism, I felt I was in the presence of Narayan Murthi’s of social sector.Much can be learned from them
And the final feather in today’s cap was that we were able to finalize the requirements for Upcoming Lead India National clubs website . (LI main website is at : http://www.leadindia2020.org)
It was a long 4 hr discussion which went up until 1AM but an extremely fruitful one. My Infosys Business analyst training finally paid off :),i felt like brains storming with business again to get the requirements out.
Thankfully it was almost the same as I had already implemented on our test sites. Tomorrow have a meeting tech team of LI which manages the website to finally implement
Fun part is ,Lead India is conducting a camp for 570 Clubs next week which will cover over 8000 change agents,and we plan to launch the website with them as the first set of users.8000 users as test users :O now thats un imaginable by any standards,even corporate portals we develop in infosys.
We hope this portal will bring about accountability and finally increase in output of various activities we do. The numbers are mind boggling, consider this, these 8000 change agents might go ahead and train around 80,000 more people and, as a part of suppose green initiative everyone plants a tree, if this portal by virtue of accountability and visibility is able to effect 10% of the people ,we land up with 8000 more trees and this is just from one camp….
Finally home at 2 AM..
Total brainstorming of the day: 7+hrs..m loving it…Crashing now….
Have you ever watched a kid play? Who hasn’t.
Always active,happy,smiling running ,easily distracted and doing something new every day and every second.
They keep on doing different uncanny things that might amuse,irritate or anger people around them.
But they don’t stop,if they have to try they have to try. If they want to put your phone in their milk they will,they want to touch all they keys on your keyboard they will,they want to run around in circles they will.
They like experimenting,they do what makes them happy and not because they might be good at it or become good at it.
Then ,they grow up. At every step society teaches them one thing “Focus”. Focus on what you are good at,focus on what you could be good at,focus on one thing.
Now they do things to be good at it rather than because it makes them happy. Well nothing wrong in it, that’s how you become successful in the society.
But the question I have is: “why do we suddenly start to feel the need to focus when we grow up?”. Why can Kids be Kids and adults need to focus?.When we look at mother nature ,we are still kids. We still need to learn so why this sudden urge to leave everything else and focus on some.
Yes focus is important, but then why focus on one ,why can’t focus be on all?
When a person is good at one thing we call him successful or smart but if he/she is good at many ,we get the likes of Da vinci and Michelangelo.
So why do we ask people to focus on one thing,why cant we bring about a change where it will be expected for people to focus on many?.
If a kid can be expected to learn to walk and identify shapes and colors why are the expectations so low when we grow up?
Why can’t we be more like kids? Looking out of the glass window and running after every pretty butterfly we see , once in a while?
Be the guy/gal with finger in every pie,do everything you want to do once in a while. Stop focussing on just one thing,you may be missing out on soo much fun and experiences by not doing other things.
Don’t tell me you don’t want to sing when you see a great singer,your feets don’t tap when you see someone dancing,you don’t get the urge/wish to paint once in a while or you don’t feel the need to capture the beautiful scenery in your camera.You may not be good at them,you may suck badly in them,you may be the worst singer ,dancer, poet ever to have existed or will exist but..think like a child,would you have given up? Would you not have at least tried? just for the heck of it,just to see how it feels. So go ahead try.
If you are good at your Job..my question would be what else are you good at? Do people really like being good at only one thing or doing only one thing?
Thats not natural,absolutely not. Look at Kids..can they be made to do only one thing?
So here is the time to grow down a little,think like a kid. Do something more,even if society tells you you cant be good at everything …whats the harm in trying?
Do what makes you happy once in a while!! Be a Kid
Finally Government has relented and has agreed to issue a formal order to constitute a committee composed both of beauracracy and people from Civit society to draft the Lokpal bill.
This is a Huge victory for India and Anna. But before we celebrate and down our defenses ,remember its just the begining. We need to now make sure that the final bill that comes out is as Anna and India wants and is passed immidiatly by the parliament.
It wont be easy guys,its still the start. We have won the first battle but the WAR is still ON. Justice delivered late is no justice at all,the time to punish the corrupt is NOW not later.
So here is what we need to do. The momentum needs to be ON. Keep asking questions ,whats happening? Is it moving swiftly? Is teh government trying to delay it?
All the momentum that has been build up needs to continue. Dont assume victory ,its just the begining.
“Darvaze mein Taang ada di hai humne…bas ab to ghus hi jayenge”
For all those people who want to support Anna Hazare but dont know what to do ,here is a small list of things you can do
(all those who want to know of the movement check my previous blog http://madhurchadha.com/2011/04/07/why-anna-hazares-victory-is-so-essential-for-us/)
Educate yourself: Anna Hazare is fighting for something called a Lokpal Bill. This bill essentially gives us enough teeth to fight corruption. The government has presented a shamelessly toothless bill which like all other anti corruption bills is a sham and totally biased towards the corrupt. Educate yourself and others around you on what the bill is all about .Know ad let others around you know why it is important You can find the details on
or simpler versions on
Join Anna: Go join Anna, you may not fast but you can be physically present there to show support. More the numbers more the pressure
Have Solidarity Marches/Dharnas in your cities colleges: Another way to educate is to have solidarity Dharna liek Anna’s in you cities/villages/Companies. Does it seems like a waste of time?? Well if you can leave work and celebrate India’s world cup victory ,this my dear friends in much more important. This will not only spread the movement but also help to keep it alive
Blog/tweet/write about it: Yes ..sign all petitions,write a blog,tweet about it Like every video of Anna. Let the government know that people are following,this is not a simple dharna but a new revolution.If you have ever written a Blog you ought to write about this. Write whatever you feel,even a simple message like Anna I am with you
Dont let the flame Die: Every news is Big until the next Big news comes along. This is what the government is hoping for.They are hoping the euphoria will die down,they are hoping that we wil over all it soon and Anna will be back in obscurity. What you can do is simply KEEP ASKING? Yes a simple thing like Whats happening. Keep asking to let the Media know that we are stil interested ,we are still behind Anna and this story needs to Live. Let the government know that if they do not give up they WILL give up office soon. People of India are no longer going to sit Back this time.
Its a Call for action!!!! Dont just Sit behind
also see “its personal this time”
A 71 year old man named Anna Hazare has decided to fast unto death unless government rectifies and gives more teeth to a bill called Lokpal bill ,do we really care??
Many people start fasts these days,they go on strike for every possible reason,there are dharnas everywhere so whats so special about Anna.
First of all who is Anna Hazare : Anna is a social activist of wide acclaim,he was awarded both padmabhushan(1992) and padmashri(1990) among various other awards. He served in Army and later became a social activist. He is known to be a man who can think far far ahead of most of us. He converted a village Ralegan Siddh to a model village which is a model of environmental conservation. Most notable about this village is that the entire village is powered by solar power.
So What is anna fighting for. Anna Hazare is fighting to give Indian population the legal muscle to wipe out corruption. He is fighting to give more teeth to a bill called Lokpal bill which has been hanging in parliament for more than 40 years chiefly because it will give us the power to bring to justice the corrupt politicians ,hence they never let it pass.
The current lokpal bill being considered is a total sham ,and as one judge rightly said it is shamelessly tooth less. Here is the version of bill the government wants to give us and what Anna is demanding(from wikipedia)
1. Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by LS Speaker or RS Chairman.
2. Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body. Its part is only limited to forwarding its report to the “Competent Authority”
3. Lokpal will not have any police powers. It can not register FIRs or proceed with criminal investigations.
4. CBI and Lokpal will have no connection with each other.
5. Punishment for corruption will be minimum 6 months and maximum up-to 7 years.
Hazare’s(Civil Society) Version also known and Jan Lokpal bill
1. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
2. Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate Prosecution against anyone found guilty.
3. Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.
4. Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.
5. The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum up-to life imprisonment.
So how is this fight soo soo important, it is important for various reasons
. Anna Hazare is fighting for us: Even if the bill is passed possible Anna Hazare will not be able to see the corruption free India he is fighting for. He is doing it for the coming generation,he is doing it for us also he is doing what we should be doing. We keep complaining that “This is the way it is and this is how it should be” and “Nothing can change” corruption is too deep,politicians are too powerful,but we do NOTHING about it,now here is a 71 year old guy who is showing us what can be done. If he fails we fail and all the cribbers win. Out procrastination wins, we add one more thing in our list of excuses for doing nothing. He looses we loose the idealism of an entire generation
Anna is doing it Gandhi style, a very civilised and peaceful protest. No blocking trains,no burning buses ,no violence .
He is showing us how it should be done,how Gandhi ji used to do it, how its more about inner power than external. He is showing us that Gandhi Ideals still hold true ,they still work. If he fails we loose trust ,we loose trust in the very basis of Indian freedom struggle.A base which is already shattered ,most people don’t understand What Gandhi ji stood for what he did. Ana Hazare is a shining example for the entire generation to come( see how to support Anna 1)
And at last ,if Anna looses this time ,we can safely say bye bye to lokapal bill for another 40 years. Politicains would never pass a bill that would make it easier for us to bring them to book ,it will take people like Hazare to build up a movement to force them and sadly we don’t see likes of him very often(also see How this is a leaderless movement).
If hazare looses today ,nothing changes,yes nothing changes for you or me. We will still live the way we live,keep cribbing about corruption in India,red tap-ism and bureaucracy but if he wins it will be a huge step to a better India .An India with no corruption,an India where even the Prime minister would be afraid of taking any bribe ,an India where the public servants will finally be accountable to the public ,the way it should be. An India of our Dreams….
God ,let Anna Win
How to support Anna 2
Had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine over team and people management in NGOs/ voluntary organizations . NGO is a basically a non government non profit making organization,dedicated to a social cause and majorly supported by volunteers.
We have been working with various volunteers for organizations like Lead India 2020 ,Vande mataram youth front etc for past 5 years and one thing we have learned is that everything we learn about team skills,team management and people management breaks down in a voluntary organization.
Its much harder to sustain a voluntary organization than a business. Yes it seems counter intuitive because when we say NGO,it brings out an image of volunteers working tirelessly to uplift the society,people working for satisfaction rather than money.
Well nothing wrong in that imagery,most part of it is right but then why it is so hard to sustain an NGO,why don’t voluntary organizations work with the same level of maturity and professionalism as many corporates do.
Well here is my Take on it
Lets forget NGOs and voluntary organizations for a moment
Why do people work the way they work? What drives them to work better and harder
a. Money: Only objective is to sustain. Eat Live Die. Better work=better money
b. Ambition: Have a goal in life ,want to reach somewhere someplace pretty soon. Could be power,prestige ,respect or anything else
c.Work ethic:/Conscience: Yes you smiling people,many people still have it,actually most people have it to varying degrees. There is a level/quality of work you expect from yourself and if you don’t do it you feel guilty. Its that irritating voice which asks you to correct that small little HTML,correct that simple image on your site,keep your record books organized.
d. Need for appreciation: This is closely related to point c and d. We all like to be appreciated for our work .
Most people have one or many of these drives
Now the strongest of these forces is Work ethic and conscience,something that tells you what is the minimum you would expect from yourself. This is exactly the factor that prevents NGOs from achieving what they can and what NGOs need to research more on.
When volunteers work for an NGO all of them work with good intentions, a need to do something good and satisfy their conscience . I do not doubt their intentions,what i believe happens is that their level/minimum self expectation suddenly becomes LOW in a an NGO. Anything that they do is extra work and this satisfies their conscience very very early on.
I call this Short Changed Conscience
Since it is a voluntary work,it was never expected of them and hence anything they do directly adds to their conscience as good work,thus making them feel good about whatever they do even if it is shoddy work from their professional standards.
I may receive brick bats for saying this but most NGOs stand on the half hearted works of many volunteers. and half hearted work ,irrespective of intentions can never match the professionalism.
Now dont get me wrong here,i am not writing this paper because i am frustrated with anyone, I am trying to find out what goes wrong. It is these volunteers only who make things work,it is these volunteers who keep the wheel of development turning,but my point is that this wheel can turn faster.
If you need to create a website for your business,or maybe your client you will spend considerable amount of time to find the best possible technology,best possible interface,you will take feedback and implement it . But what if you are building for an NGO, you will still make the website,but you may not be willing to consider changes based on feedback,you may not research too much and most importantly you may not polish all the edges.
Is that true or is it just me?????
Yes there are exceptions to this,people who take this work more seriously then their professional work also,these are the people who form the nucleus of any voluntary organization,hats off to them. But their percentage is relatively low
Before you guys tell me how dare i question the pure intentions of volunteers who spend their time with NGOs helping them ,let me clarify,I do not question that,I Respect people who want to and do spend time,this paper is to identify areas where we go wrong,why most voluntary teams don’t work the way they should/could and maybe identify what can be done to improve them.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Defined structure: Have a clear structure and role division like any corporate team with clear objectives and responsibilities. More you bring people in that zone,better results you may get
2.No Reliance on the nucleus: Generally the nucleus of the group or you may say the most dedicated person drives everything. He/she handles all activities. This definitely needs to stop. Have clear cut owners of every activity and try and stop this nucleus from working everywhere. The reason is simple ,the nucleus is a GEM but if he/she handels everything you loose the chance of creating more nuclei. Every team should have a nuclei .
Try this in one important activity or a movement of your organization,do not involve your best volunteers. Yes explain them the reasoning,its important
3. Implicit feedback mechanism: Irrespective of what work a person is doing, how dedicated he/she is to the cause or even how old a member he/she is have a compulsory feedback system. the moment people know that their work will be commented upon their productivity goes us. The Work ethic of their corporate work kicks in and standars improve. I would suggest always have 1 compulsory improvement point for every every feedback.
4. View volunteers as leaders and not as temporary workers: No explanation required,try doing that and see the result
So this was my take on teams in Voluntary organizations,…if you have any comments/suggestions/criticisms please do enlighten me.
Am i seeing the way things are or is it just me 🙂