Monthly Archives: September 2019

13 things for Mentally strong People


There are 13 specific things all mentally strong people refrain from doing. They do not:

1. Waste time feeling sorry for themselves. This is a self-destructive behavior that leads to more negative emotions.

Training II Facilitation II Consultant

Originator of Prism Philosophy and first lady in India doing research on FOLLOWERSHIP

2. Give away their power. People can still be kind while demanding that others respect them.

3. Shy away from change. Change can be scary and uncomfortable, but it is necessary for growth.

4. Focus on things they cannot control. Trying to manage what is out of one’s control just leads to increased anxiety and stress.

5. Worry about pleasing everyone. Conflict and confrontation are often uncomfortable, but constantly avoiding it makes it impossible for people to reach their goals.

6. Fear taking calculated risks. Sometimes people’s fears and anxieties do not actually match the risks they are taking.

7. Dwell on the past. Self-reflection can be healthy, but dwelling can be self-destructive.

8. Make the same mistakes over and over. Repeating the same mistakes does not change anything.

9. Resent other people’s success. Resenting someone else’s success can cause a person to behave illogically.

10. Give up after one failure. Some of the most accomplished people in the world failed dozens of times before achieving success.

11. Fear alone time. Creating time to be alone with one’s thoughts is a powerful experience.

12. Feel the world owes them anything. A sense of entitlement does nothing but anger others.

13. Expect immediate results. Change takes time.

Cobra Effect


The Cobra Effect is a term in economics. It refers to a situation when an attempted solution to a problem makes the problem worse. This name was coined based on an incident in old colonial India.

By some reasons, there were too many venomous cobra snakes in Delhi. People were dying due to snake-bites and it became scary for almost everyone to step out of their houses.

The government of the day had to get into action to stop this menace and it offered a silver coin for every dead cobra. The results were great, a large number of snakes were killed for the reward.

Eventually, however, it led to some serious unwanted consequences. After a short-term dip in cobra population, it started going up.

This was because few people began to breed cobras for the income. When the news reached the government, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the now-worthless snakes free. As a result, the cobra population further increased. The solution for the problem made the situation even worse.

The unintended consequence for a well-intention-ed idea led to making the problem worst.

Trying a new solution?


Planning to tackle an existing problem with a new idea?

Well, it’s time to pause and think about how people would respond to the new idea that may sound great on paper!

Specially the solutions that try to affect how people behave.
There’s always a certain group of people who have a tendency to game the system -intentionally or otherwise.

They have a tendency to take short-term advantage of any situation though that may lead to harm to them & society-at-large only in the long run.

Every solution has consequences and those consequences may lead to certain situations where rather than solving a current problem, you may end up with more complex problems.

Few more examples:
A similar type of incident like increasing cobra-population occurred in Vietnam. The rulers realized that there were too many rats in Hanoi and spread of plague was imminent They created a reward program that paid a prize for each rat killed. To obtain the bounty, people would provide the severed rat tail. After initial success, the officials, however, started noticing rats with no tails. The rat catchers would capture rats, cut off their tails, and then release them back into the sewers so that they could breed and produce more rats, thereby increasing the rat catchers’ profits.

As they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the similar mistakes are happening around us everyday when the decision -makers fail to take a 360 degree view of all the possible outcomes of an action before implementation.

Nearly 2 years ago, city of Philadelphia in USA passed a “soda tax” — a US $1 tax on a typical 2-liter bottle of soft-drink- as a “sin tax” in the national war on obesity. But the natives didn’t cut calories as a result of the tax on sweetened drinks, nor there was a shift towards any healthier option. Instead, most of them just drove outside the city to buy the same colas , from stores where they didn’t have to pay the tax. But the poorest paid more as they could not find it affordable to drive out of the city to buy their drinks. In the end , city suffered loss of revenue due to lower sales whereas the lower section society paid more .

The unintended consequence for a well-intentioned idea led to making the problem worst.

Even big & brilliant companies do the same mistake!

It is not that mistakes happen only with the government run programs, there’re n numbers of examples in great private companies too where the best & brilliant people lose sight of certain negative outcomes due to the initial magic of seemingly great looking ideas .

The Nano Car – a small car that could never it make it big !

The car once touted as the world’s cheapest, Tata Nano, seems to be running into a dead end as sales and production is down to a trickle. The poor demand has resulted in Tata Motors shutting down the plant in last month.

A car considered as a brilliant product, launched in a segment having a billion dollar opportunity. Hope ran high , the company expected all present and potential two-wheeler owners would shift to Nano.

But they forgot to dwell deeper – a car marketed as ‘the cheapest car’ , created huge initial interest. But it never took off.

Later on, Ratan Tata admitted that the reason for failure of this idea was none other than the term which became synonymous with Nano – “The cheapest car”.

Buying a car in India is associated with social status and prestige; if a person owns a car, he is assumed to be successful and settled. But the word ‘cheap’ in its marketing campaigns spoiled everything.

The company also failed to dwell upon the competition from used-cars. Used cars (2nd hand cars) from other companies , which were much better in quality, space and mileage were available to the same customer -segment at the same or lesser price than Nano .

An intelligent team of people failed to think about the above likely outcomes because it became temporarily blind by the brilliance of such a great idea, by the idea of tapping a billion-dollar opportunity.

Apple turning sour!

In 2017 Apple admitted that it was slowing down the speed of old iPhones as the batteries of those old phones were degrading with the passage of time.To make up on loss of brand image and to saistfy its erstwhile customers, it offered to cut its US $79 battery replacement feed down to US $29 as a way of apologizing.

This lower fee led to more people in 2018 ended up swapping their batteries — instead of upgrading to the latest iPhone models thus affecting new iPhone sales. As iPhone batteries became cheaper and easier to replace, fewer people are shelling out for new iPhones that can now cost up to US $1,449.

On January 2nd this year, Apple revealed that it was expecting a $9 billion loss in revenue due to weak iPhone demand that’s partly caused by more people replacing their batteries, according to a letter issued by CEO Tim Cook addressed to investors.

Slowing down of iPhones sales can be attributed to many external reasons too (better Chines phones, better Apps on Android phones etc ), but strategy of battery-replacement was an internal idea. It would have been handled better if people at top would have thought more about it , if they would have filtered this program from Cobra effect

What’s in it for you ?
Next time if you or your team has some brilliant idea , get your brilliant guys together in a room and think about the Cobra- effects before implementing that idea.

You can always fine-tune the idea to minimize the negative implications by spending few extra hours/days before rushing to announce it.

Don’t implement while you’re under the awe of the brilliance of a never -tested, nice-looking solution or idea, think about the Cobra-effects first.

(Reproduced from a Facebook post by Shri Nilesh Vikamsey, Past President, ICAI)



Stay interviews hold potential pitfalls. Most of these potential problems occur when interviews are conducted inefficiently. The following 13 traps should be avoided whenever possible:

fullsizeoutput_380e1. Fear of response. Managers who are reluctant to use stay interviews often fear that the employee responses will present them with no-win situations based on specific areas of concern, such as pay or promotion. The proper approach toward this inappropriate fear is to rely on prepared probes, as well as solutions that are reliable responses to these specific employee concerns.

2. Bringing up performance issues. Unless an employee’s responses indicate an ambition that goes beyond the scope of his or her performance, issues related to job performance should be avoided–particularly if they have not been discussed previously. If an employee uses the phrase “You never told me that,” the stay interview is effectively concluded.

3. Tipping the agenda. Since managers will have an “Important to Them” list for reference, there may be a temptation for them to direct the conversation to items on the prepared list. The employee must be the driver of any good stay interview’s content.

4. Being sketchy about resources. A manager must know the full details of the company’s resources and be prepared to reference and offer them during stay interviews.

5. Forcing meetings. The initial drive toward conducting stay interviews should originate from team leaders, not from the top levels of management on down.

6. Conquering silence. A manager should leave ample space in the conversation for an employee to pause, reflect, and then continue speaking. A manager who speaks simply to relieve tension or break an awkward pause is redirecting the flow of the interview and discouraging the employee from opening up.

7. Losing focus. Even if an employee’s conversation is so dull that it is sleep inducing, a manager must remain on task. One helpful hint is to write the same phrase over and over on a notepad in order to remain alert.

8. Becoming defensive. Rather than responding to perceived criticisms, a manager must remain focused on probes, allowing the employee to control the flow of conversation. Listening, being respectful, and asking probing questions establishes employee trust by proving that the employee’s concerns have been heard.

9. Throwing the company under the bus. Executives or other higher ups should never be blamed for conflicts, policies, or problems. The best response to criticism of the company or company executives is to state confidence in the knowledge and decision-making capacities of top officers.

10. Solving quickly. The objective of a stay interview is to probe deeply, solve completely. Quick solutions are seldom effective. Managers must ask and listen to gain valuable employee information.

11. Building a poor stay plan. It is vital for employees to be involved in follow-up actions and the development of stay plans.

12. Dropping the ball. Managers must honor all commitments made in stay plans, including deadlines.

13. Breaking trust. Any statement or action that fails to promote trust or offer a solution to trust-breaking issues is a detriment to a stay interview.

Conducting Interview



Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 7.04.24 pmOpening remarks during the stay interview are focused on three objectives: informing the employee about the meeting’s purpose, narrowing the employee’s potential suggestions by limiting expectations, and ensuring that the employee understands that words spoken during the interview in no way constitute a legally binding contract.

Finnegan classifies employees into five types: satisfied, mystery, low performing, overly ambitious, and high performing. In each interview, the manager must be sure to probe deeply and solve completely. The following five scenarios illustrate how a stay interview can be used with nearly any type of employee:

1. Satisfied. Shelia is a competent employee who has never expressed dissatisfaction with her sales position. During her stay interview, Shelia says she gains energy from coming to her job each day and wants to remain in her current position. Management’s best move in this scenario is to repeat back Shelia’s key points to her and close the interview by encouraging her to come forward in the future if she should have any issues, ideas, or concerns.

2. Mystery. David was hired as a computer programmer after graduating from a top-tier university. Management believed he would be a hard worker and key hire. David’s stay interview reveals that he is uncomfortable with people but deeply motivated by programming and by gaining new knowledge. Management should provide David with new opportunities to expand his knowledge.

3. Low performer. Robert is a department head at an assisted-living center who is a plodder and whose job is hanging in the balance. Robert’s stay interview shows that he has lost faith in the company’s mission. Management must use this opportunity to encourage Robert, and remind him that other roles exist in the company for employees who remain focused and motivated.

4. Ambitious. Tyler was hired six months prior for a call center team. A medium performer, Tyler shows ambitions to move into management. Tyler’s stay interview shows that he is hungry to move up in the company but lukewarm on making improvements in his performance. Management should provide Tyler with company resources related to increasing leadership skills, while also reminding Tyler of his obligations to master his current assignments.

5. High performer. Tanya is a prize employee who works in quality control. After only two years at the plant, she has become the de facto leader in the plant manager’s absence. During her stay interview, Tanya refers to a set of notes and offers a range of beneficial ideas to improve plant efficiency. In this scenario, management must accept that Tanya may be a continually challenging employee, but one that is highly valuable for ensuring managerial success.

The important takeaways from these scenarios are that some employees are content with things as they are; some have more ambition than loyalty; a stay interview can push a mediocre employee to a productive one simply by demonstrating management’s interest; some quiet employees have to be prodded for basic information; and high performers often have egos to match.