How effectively authentic are you at the workplace? : Activity Corner; V5 Issue 1

Answer the following questions in the work context with a “True” or a “False”. Honestly!

  1. I am aware of my values.
  2. My behaviour at work is in alignment with my values.
  3. I know what I want in my career.
  4. I am not doing everything I can to achieve my career goals.
  5. I do not regret the career decisions I have made.
  6. I do not know what my natural talents are.
  7. I use my natural talents at work as best as possible.
  8. I know my limitations and hence don’t volunteer for work that I know I am not capable of doing, even if it is very rewarding.
  9. I often express my views at work.
  10. I express what I feel about an issue without hurting other’s feelings.
  11. I often take a work decision based on what others think rather then listening to my inner voice.
  12. I often behave the way my colleagues expect me to behave.
  13. I am transparent in my communication to my colleagues about difficult issues like bad performance.
  14. I am a very different person at work than I am with friends and family.
  15. I am careful about not flouting any organisation rules or norms while doing what I believe in.
  16. A lot of times I am not sure why I behave in a certain way at the workplace.
  17. I love my job.
  18. I give my whole self to work.
  19. If there is something that creates disengagement from work for me I discuss it openly with my manager to address it.
  20. I am my natural self at work and don’t feel the stress of having to be somebody I am not.


Score your responses by giving a point to every ideal response as given below.

The higher your score the more effectively authentic you are at the workplace. Revisit these questions after a reasonable interval of time and see whether your score has improved. As long as there is an increase in the score you know your efforts to improve your authenticity quotient at the workplace has been effective.

Employee Engagement Practices Quiz : Activity Corner; V4 Issue 3

Google was founded by 2 mathematicians Sergey Brin and Larry Page. They owe their stupendous success to a culture of innovation and creativity. They realized in their early days that it is employee engagement that can set them apart from the thousands of other technology companies. Free, healthy and well cooked food became a key ingredient of their employee engagement strategy. Guess what they did to celebrate the day the company went public. No, they did not have a series of senior management speeches about its vision and bright future, but a free ice cream station for employees. 

If you are looking for more inspiration on employee engagement, you don’t have to look very far. Many Indian companies have initiated interesting employee engagement practices. See how aware you are of them.

  1. This is an Acronym for a wealth generation option given to employees under holistic compensation philosophy. This seems to be back in action, as the domestic information technology (IT) industry is witnessing an upsurge in attrition rate. Indian IT companies like Infosys, which had put this on the back burner during the global slowdown, are understood to be revisiting it now.
  2. Between 2000 and 2009, the Adi Godrej group had a young executive board (YEB) which worked closely with the group management committee. The Mahindra group has sustained this concept for eight years. It gives young people the liberty to engage with problems and aids lateral thinking. This initiative exposes top management to a young team that innovates and thinks differently.
  3. This concept is related to making employees co-owners. The Future group of companies headed by Mr. Ashok Biyani is acquiring talent like Mr. V. Vaidyanathan of ICICI Prudential Life, by giving them a stake in the business they will be spearheading.
  4. In this initiative, the company has periodic discussions with the employees to understand any issues/apprehensions faced by them. The discussion also focuses on what makes them stay within the company, the reasons why employees wish to continue working for the organization. This gives the company a chance to do more of those things that employees enjoy. Patni practices this.
  5. A lot Indian of companies today are committed to contributing towards the betterment of the community and society at large. Activities such as the Blood Donation Camps, Christmas Day celebrations with underprivileged children etc develop among the employees, a pride of association towards the company, encouraging them to become responsible citizens.This is about having a contract between business and society, which allies profitable companies with healthy communities because what happens to societies happens to business. What is this employee engagement tool?
  6. “____________is about capturing the essence of an organization in a way that engages current and prospective talent. It expresses an organization’s ‘value proposition’—the entirety of its culture, systems, attitudes and employee relationships, providing a new focal point for the company.” Manmohan Bhutani, Vice President, People and Operations, Fiserv India.
  7. This feedback is provided to an employee by subordinates, peers, and supervisors. It also includes a self-assessment and, in some cases, feedback from external sources such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders. This kind of feedback for Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies is posted on their intranet for all employees to see. He does not believe that all wisdom percolates downwards and believes in bottom up accountability. Even presentations at HCL Technologies are posted on their intranet for everyone to see and comment.
  8. Many companies have started using this for recruitment. For recruiters this low cost tool offers them a broad perspective about the candidate. It tends to bring forth certain traits and personalities of a candidate which may not be reflected in their resume. It also widens the talent pool for the employers and also fastens the recruitment process. It increases the brand visibility of the recruiter. From the applicants’ perspective, this helps them gain deeper insight into the company about certain facts and information which may not be readily available on the company website.


Business Quiz : Activity Corner; V4 Issue 2

The world of Business is an exciting one with developments happening every year, ever day and every moment. Here is a Business Quiz to test your awareness and knowledge of this exciting world.

  1. 1.Identify the company.

2. Which company is behind the creation of Mouse used on computers?

3. Tata Sons allocates about 66% of its capital for which purpose?

4. Which organisation instituted the Nobel Prize for Economics?

5. Which brand of scooter when translated into Italian means 'wasp'?

6. "Life is One Incredible Journey" is the tagline of which magazine?

7. What is the name of the mascot on the bonnet of a Rolls Royce?

8. Which company's name is short for Durability, Reliability and Excellence?

9. What is Francisco Tárrega’s 1902 music composition Gran Vals’ claim to fame in modern telephony?

10. By what name is California's Santa Clara County more commonly known as?



These answers are in no way indicative of your actual awareness or knowledge about business. While some of the questions are trivia, most of them can be guessed, and all of them can be determined through a search on

Are you an Effective Appraiser? : Activity Corner; V4 Issue 1

A Performance Appraisal discussion is not only a tool to measure performance; it can also be a tool to motivate your team member. For this one must conduct the performance appraisal meeting effectively. To know the effectiveness of the appraisal meetings conducted by you as an appraiser respond with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the following questions.


Scoring direction to "Are you an effective Appraiser?"

Count the number of questions that you have responded with a ‘Yes’. The higher the number of ‘Yes’s, the more effective you are as an appraiser. Treat the questions as a checklist of “Best practices for Appraisers”. You can go through this checklist every time you conduct an appraisal and over a period of time focus on converting all the ‘No’s to ‘Yes’s. 

All the best!

Determine your primary Conflict-Handling Intention: Activity Corner; V3 Issue 4

People have an underlying disposition to handle conflicts in certain ways. To determine your conflict-handling intention, indicate how often you rely on each of the following tactics by circling the number that you feel is most appropriate.



Place the number that represents your score for each statement next to the number for that statement. Then total up the columns.

Your primary conflict-handling intention is the category with the highest total. Your fall-back intention is the category with the second highest total. Each of the categories is explained below.

Competing: A desire to satisfy one’s interest, regardless of the impact on the other parties to the conflict.

Collaborating: A situation where the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties.

Avoiding: The desire to withdraw from or suppress a conflict.

Accommodating: The willingness of one party in a conflict to place the opponent’s interests above his or her own.

Compromising: A situation in which each party to a conflict is willing to give up something.


Source: Robbins, SP, 1994, ‘Organizational Behavior’, 6th edition, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi.

Are you an effective listener? : Activity Corner; V3 Issue 3

Listening is an important part of being able to communicate effectively. To determine whether you are an effective listener put yourself in the shoe of a colleague who talks to you regularly and respond to the following statements with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. In fact to be doubly sure about how effective your listening skills are, also conduct this exercise with a colleague who you actually communicate with regularly at the workplace. Request him/her to respond honestly with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’.

1. You feel I pay undivided attention to you i.e., I am not doing something else simultaneously when you talk to me.


2. I do most of the talking even when I am listening to something that you want to communicate to me.


3. When you are talking to me I interrupt often and do not let you finish what you are saying.


4. I maintain eye contact with you most of the time when I am listening to you.


5. I encourage you to talk by responding appropriately with the nod of a head and with small verbal comments like “yes”, and “uh huh”. You don’t have to ask me “Are you listening?”


6. I do not ask you enough questions to clarify and understand what you are saying.


7. You feel I am able to understand your feelings along with the words spoken. I do get you.


8. If something you say does not agree with me, I often get defensive.


9. I am able to paraphrase effectively what you say most of the times and demonstrate to you that I have been listening and have understood most of what you have said.


10. You feel I do change my view point after having heard your views on a subject and having discussed the same at length with you.


Score your responses by giving a point to every ideal response of an effective listener. Similarly score the responses of your colleagues.

The more the ideal responses the better you are at listening. To ensure you have the right assessment about your listening skills, it is important that you have not just answered these questions yourself. The way we perceive our behaviour can be very different from the way we actually behave with others. The difference in the scores between the way you thought others feel about your listening skills and what others actually feel underlines the difference between self-perception and reality.

Word Jumble: Activity Corner; V3 Issue 2

To determine the answer to the following question solve the word jumbles and use the letters marked in bold in each of the jumbled word. All the jumbled words are team related words.

What did the team leader tell his new team member about working in his team?



Scoring direction to “Word Jumble ”

  1. Virtual  
  2. Empowerment
  3. Praise   
  4. Synergy               
  5. Ego                        
  6. Goals    
  7. Collaborate
  8. Kinship

"It's about teamwork."

Determine who Controls Your Life: Activity Corner: V3 Issue 1

Locus of control is the degree to which people believe they are masters of their own fate. Internals believe that they are masters of their own fate. Externals see themselves as pawns of fate, believing that what happens to them in their lives is due to luck or chance.

To determine your locus of control read the following statements and indicate whether you agree more with choice A or choice B.


Scoring direction to “Determine who controls your life”

Give yourself 1 point for each of the following choices: 1B, 2A, 3A, 4B, 5B, 6A, 7A, 8A, 9B and 10A. Scores can be interpreted as follows:

The higher your internal score, the more you believe that you control your own destiny. The higher your external score, the more you believe that what happens to you in your life is due to luck or chance. Internals typically are more satisfied with their jobs and more involved in their jobs.

Source: Robbins, SP, 1994, ‘Organizational Behavior’, 6th edition, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi.

Guess the "Turnaround Company": Activity Corner; V2 Issue 3

Guess the ‘Turnaround Company’

There could well be a million ways that a company's profitability graph can take a down swing and it can fall in the red. The introduction of new competitors could change the commercial landscape. Fresh business processes mayhave bypassed standard industry operating procedures. Acquired units might have failed to integrate effectively. Executives could have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. No matter the reason, the turnaround is a catch-all phrase that captures what usually happens next, a term that mostly signals that there is light at the end of the tunnel. A decent chance that corporate leaders can right past wrongs and brighten dim-looking futures.

Guess which ‘turnaround’ organisations are featured in the clues below:

  1. This Car Company's growth became stagnant and it moved into a low-market situation in 1982 after its Chairman’s departure. The turnaround centred on a four-year planning and production program for their "European-like" Taurus mid-market line of cars, which eventually won "car-of-the-year" accolades.

  2. Restructuring the company by laying off workers and eliminating management jobs, the CEO redirected the productive thrust from electrical manufacturing to high technology, eliminating or selling businesses such as house wares, developing such others as plastics, medical imaging and financial services, and seeking "integrated diversity" by acquiring companies, notably RCA in 1985 for $6.28 billion in cash.

  3. Since the 1880s, this organisation has been a name synonymous with photography. But in the 1980s this corporation faced unprecedented challenges from competitors. For the first time, they failed to meet their profit goals and faced a do-or-die situation. Team Zebra succeeded not through new technologies, but through a new commitment to their inner resources that unleashed creativity, risk-taking, teamwork, and excellence. It pulled off "the turnaround of the decade" and reminds us that the power to succeed lies within our people and the way in which they're inspired, motivated, and included.

  4. Exclusively patented copying machine fell monumentally behind world competition by early 1980. However due to it’s strong leadership and a successfully executed program of product and service quality, it became "the first major American company targeted by the Japanese to regain market share from them." A strategy that contributed to their resurrection was introducing quality based on customer satisfaction and an unusual manufacturing and marketing concept.  The company slashed assembly costs by almost 50% while doubling output and improving performance using innovative production techniques and greater receptivity to new ideas.

  5. The basic plank of the turnaround of this Indian public service transportation enterprise was its shift towards market orientation and customer focus.  Some of the strategies adoptedto control costs were retrenchment, improving efficiencies, outsourcing and technology upgradations, non-politicizing of the decision making process which turned around this organisation from loss to profitability.

  6. This Indian beverages company used debt restructuring to reduce interest costs and injected funds where possible to replace high cost debt.  It also acquired a firm with global retailing operations that were complementary to its domestic operations and therefore succeeded in steering the organisation towards profitability.

  7. Acquiring the commercial vehicles unit of a bankrupt Korean firm, and enhancing its product portfolio this Indian company’s net profit zoomed to 163% when it was able to profitably use Korea as a base for exports to the Asian markets.

  8. This Indian auto components maker acquired a loss making European re-manufactured engines firm and turned it around with better cost controls.  Its main aim was to get hold of order books and then shift production to India to bring about cost economies.


  1. Ford Motor Company
  2. General Electric Corporation
  3. Kodak
  4. Xerox
  5. Indian Railways
  6. Tata Tea (acquired Tetley)
  7. Tata Motors (acquired Daewoo commercial vehicles unit)
  8. Continental Engines (acquired ATK Vege Motors, Europe)

Emerging Trends: Activity Corner; V2 Issue 2

Are you keeping track of these emerging trends?

Listed below are descriptions of different products, services, technologies and practices that are representative of the different trends that we are seeing today. Some of them are in areas that can improve workplace effectiveness. See how many you can identify.

1. It is a free service that allows users to send "updates" text-based posts, up to 140 characters long. Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends.

2. This is a portable device for storing and playing audio files. It can hold anywhere from a few hundred to ten thousand songs.

3. Initiatives related to this help companies make profits without sacrificing the resources of its people, the community and the planet.

4. This device supports push e-mail, mobile telepone, text messaging, internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services. It has a built-in keyboard, optimized for "thumbing" (the use of only the thumbs to type).

5. This is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important aspect.

6. This is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content. They are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.

7. These are web applications that draw upon content retrieved from external data sources to create entirely new and innovative services. They are popular because of the emphasis on interactive user participation and the manner in which they aggregate and stitch together third-party data.


1. Twitter. Media such as CNN use Twitter to break news. The American Red Cross uses Twitter to exchange minute-to-minute information about local disasters. In May 2007, there were 111 such "Twitter look-alikes" internationally. Most of these have emerged due to Twitter's success.

2. iPod. In addition to playing MP3 audio files, the iPod plays AAC (Advanced Audio Coding). AAC’s principle difference from MP3 is its ability to support Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM is a response to the type of song sharing first enabled by websites like Napster. By encoding legally purchased songs with digital signatures, it increases the difficulty of sharing them inappropriately.

3. Sustainability or Being Green. Companies are doing this by developing greener products and services (designed to have less adverse effect on the environment), and by being more focused internally on operating with greater energy efficiency, cutting their own costs and reducing the "carbon footprint"(carbon emmissions) they leave.

4. Blackberry. It was first introduced in 1997 as a two-way pager. Today, they are popular with some businesses, where they are primarily used to provide e-mail access to roaming employees.

5. Blog. Political consultants, news services and policital candidates have began using them as tools for opinion forming.  The emergence of blogging has however also brought about legal liabilities and unforeseen consequences. In India, blogger Gaurav Sabnis resigned from IBM after his posts exposing the false claims of a management school, IIPM, led to management of IIPM threatening to burn their IBM laptops as a sign of protest against him. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.

6. Wiki. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best known wikis. Wikis are used in businesses to provide affordable and effective intranets and for knowledge management. The open philosophy of most wikis, allows anyone to edit content. Wikis tend to take a soft security approach to the problem of vandalism; making damage easy to undo rather than attempting to prevent damage.

7. Mashups.The Web site is an example. It mashes crime data from the Chicago Police Department's online database with cartography from Google Maps. Users can interact with the mashup site, such as instructing it to graphically display a map containing pushpins that reveal the details of all recent burglary crimes in an area.

So which category do you belong to?

a. You were not aware of them
b. You have heard of them
c. You knew about them
d. You use them