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Sunday, March 18, 2018

HAPPINESS SPECIAL ...Finding your happy space

Finding your happy space

While there is no real cure to help you stay happy forever, certain lifestyle changes can slowly and steadily get you there

Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time? This so-called happiness ladder is famously used as a way to measure and compare happiness across the globe.
The scale is intended for use at the public policy level, but there are lessons to learn at the personal level as well. Find a sustaining and satisfying job; do your best to live in a happy place; surround yourself with social support; take care of your health; and be generous (in spirit, time and money) in order to pave your own personal road to happiness.

Good things happen in the bedroom
A lot of potential for happiness happens in the bedroom. It’s the place where we sleep, have sex and retreat for quiet contemplation — all of which are activities that can improve happiness. As a result, many people who study and write about happiness encourage people to focus on life in the bedroom. A “living well” index created by British researchers found that the two strongest indicators of wellness were sleep and sex. People who feel rested most of the time are happier than people who don’t. The same can be said for people who are happy with their sex lives — they are happier overall than people with less-than-satisfactory sex lives.

Do’s and don’ts
So, as you think about your living space and how it’s affecting your happiness, make the bedroom a high priority: Turn your bedroom into a luxury hotel suite. Think of the feeling you get when you escape to a nice hotel on vacation. Capture that in your home every day.
Invest in comfort. Buy comfortable sheets, pillows and bedding and a quality mattress.
Don’t skimp on window treatments. Blocking out light will help you sleep better.
Remove the television. Bedrooms are havens for sleep and contemplation, not screen time.
Be generous
Generosity makes people happier. Generosity is one of the six variables found to consistently influence happiness in the World Happiness Report. And several studies have found that people who behaved generously were happier compared to people who made selfish decisions. In fact, just thinking about being generous and kind triggers a happiness reaction in our brains.

Pets can make you happy
Psychologists conducted a series of experiments to determine the role that pets play in our happiness. They found that pet owners were happier, healthier and better adjusted than non-owners. Pet owners said they received as much support from their pets as they did from family members. And people who were emotionally closer to the pets also had deeper ties to the humans in their lives.
Dog owners who felt a strong connection to their pets were happier and healthier. And in one expressive writing exercise, writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend when it came to staving off feelings of rejection, according to the report published by the American Psychological Association.


GADGET/ TABLETS SPECIAL.... Five tablets that can match up to your multi-tasking skills

Five tablets that can match up to your multi-tasking skills

Spend less time charging your tab and more time watching, listening, and playing games on the go with these Android devices

If you are looking for a tablet and thinking about an Android device, there are so many choices and variants to pick from. Some Android tablets have 10-inch screens, others seven, while the rest land somewhere in between with a handful pushing the boundaries past 10 inches. Here are some of the best Android tablets you can buy today.

1 Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the favourite Android tablets right now and replaces the Galaxy Tab S2. This tablet is preferred thanks to a powerful processor and an excellent display that’s prepped to show you HDR content, something even the iPad can’t do yet. There’s an S-Pen stylus included in the box.
Weight: 429 gm Dimensions: 237.3X169X6mm OS: Android 7.0 Screen size: 9.7-inch Resolution:1536X2048 CPU: Snapdragon 820 RAM: 4 GB Storage: 32GB Battery: 6,000 mAh

2 Honor Mediapad T3 10
The Huawei MediaPad T3 10’s aluminium back plate and rounded edges feel wonderful in your hands and make it easy to use. The tablet is powered by the entry-level Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 quadcore processor which is capable of handling a set number of tasks including some heavy games.
Weight: 460 gm Dimensions: 229.8X159.8X8 mm OS: Android 7.0 Screen size: 9.6-inch Resolution: 800X1280 CPU: Snapdragon 425 RAM: 2/3 GB Storage: 16/32 GB Battery: 4,800 mAh

3 Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
It is packed with media-focused features and sports a distinctive design. There’s a built-in stand to take the heft off your hands, while the integrated projector means you can enjoy big screen entertainment away from your TV. However, the screen exhibits enough sharpness so you won’t need to use the projector anyway.
Weight: 665 gm Dimensions: 246.9X179.1X4.6 mm OS: Android 5.1.1 Screen size: 10.1-inch Resolution: 2560X1600 CPU: Intel Atom quad-core RAM: 2 GB Storage: 16GB/32GB Battery:10,200 mAh

4 Amazon Fire
The low price and sturdy design make the Amazon Fire a great choice to give to a kid — in fact, Amazon’s even built a (pricier) version specifically for children. Even for grown-ups, the Amazon Fire far exceeds expectations, with a bright 7.0-inch screen, impressive battery life paired with reasonable performance.
Weight: 313 gm Dimensions: 115X191X10.6 mm OS: Fire OS Screen size: 7-inch Resolution:1024X600 CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz RAM: 1 GB Storage: 8/16 GB Battery: Up to 7 hours

5 AT&T Primetime
If you need cellular connectivity in your tablet, the Primetime is an affordable option for consuming content from AT&T’s paid streaming services. It has a sharp 1080p display, dualfront speakers, and an impressive battery.
Dimensions: 10.12X6.50X0.33 inch OS: Android Screen size: 10-inch Resolution: 1920X1200 CPU: Octa-core 2GHz RAM: 2 GB Storage: 32 GB Battery: 9,070 mAh
TOI  11MAR18


RANK NO.44 Duolingo

Duolingo has turned the gamification of education into a model for success, winning over 200 million users—an impressive number for a learning app, as investors appear to recognize: The company was valued at $700 million in July 2017. In 2017, it grew its base 30%, to 25 million monthly users, who can take 75 free courses in 29 languages. The company first solidified its market lead with a flashcards app called Tinycards. Duolingo’s first foray outside of languages, Tinycards uses a mix of repetition, animation, and positive affirmation as a means of teaching users virtually anything from human anatomy to Pok√©mon names and statistics. And because users can make their own shareable decks on any topic of their choosing, Tinycards taps into another urge to compete—and show off trivia knowledge—between friends, making it the perfect education platform for swipe-left millennials.

TRAVEL /FOOD SPECIAL Multicultural munch

 Multicultural munch

There are over 100 types of coffees that you can sip with an equal number of dishes.
There are cafes, takeaways, drive-ins and fine dining meals. Melbourne is among the food capitals of the Southern Hemisphere. A stroll down the bustling streets of Central Business District (CBD), shows you how settlers from across the world have brought in their own food influences, set up shops here and started dishing out their unique cuisines, adding to the fun, edgy and eclectic mix of flavours!

You cannot miss the strong coffee culture of the city. A fresh baked doughnut with a better than usual latte, espresso or cappuccino, is an ideal start to the day. All for just $1.99! You can also have an ample dose of long black, flat white, batch brew and filter coffee. One can smell the city’s love for coffee everywhere.
People love to walk around with their takeaway coffee glasses. Old warehouses and workshops have been turned in to coffee shops. On a food tour across the CBD, our guide informed that there are over 100 types of coffees that you can sip with equal number of dishes.

Italian, German, Polish, Irish, Indian, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern or Indian, you name a cuisine and you’ll find it here. Preparations here are truly contemporary and presentation styles are American meaning you get familiar flavours served in big portions. The best bit for us was that even popular Indian preparations such as butter chicken, paneer tikka or dal taste superior due to fresh ingredients being used.

Do not overspend on your stay and spend instead on food experiences that are just a short drive from the city – like vineyards, chocolate factories, honey farms and cheese cellars. There are experiences such as ‘choose and use’ best carrots or visit to a strawberry farm to pick your own berries and have it prepared as the way you like it! You can also try your hand at Mexican cake making or learn the history of Italian and Greek cuisine in the city. There are options such as visit a kitchen garden next to your restaurant and pick your own ingredients or decide which cheese will be the best topping for your pizza. One of their most popular city tours is in fact enjoying a three-course meal on a colonial tramcar turned into a restaurant as you navigate the city.
TL  11MAR18

WOMEN SPECIAL.... ET WOMEN’S FORUM The event, a medley of diversity and uniqueness.

ET WOMEN’S FORUM The event, a medley of diversity and uniqueness.

The inaugural ET Women’s Forum showcased how women are leading change and supporting others in their journey to become equal stakeholders in an unequal world. The confluence of select voices with their own stories of conviction and courage outlined how women can have parity in ease of access to resources and opportunities and get themselves heard better

An eclectic mix of distinct voices converged in Mumbai on Friday as some of the brightest minds came together to chart out a road map to unleash the power of half a billion—the women of India. At the inaugural ET Women’s Forum, presented by Facebook, global influencers and champions of woman’s empowerment held out the promise of change with their stories and inspired women to become part of the global and national decisionmaking.
The confluence of select voices with their own stories of conviction and courage outlined how women at work, in sports, in art, in politics, in the development sector, on company boards, as entrepreneurs, in the family business, can get themselves heard better to become equal stakeholders in an unequal world.
A worrisome statistic caught the attention of many a speaker at the forum. The World Economic Forum in its Global Gender Gap Report 2017 said that some of the most challenging gender gaps remain in the economic sphere. At the current rate of change, closing the economic gender gap will now take 217 years.
“To my mind, that is 216 too many,” said Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, in her inaugural address at the forum. Blair said women are so much more than a one-dimensional statistic, adding that the world is at a tipping point in the history of women.
“India has a precious opportunity that it is overlooking and underutilising. And that opportunity is the boundless potential of Indian women as business owners, job creators, and leaders in their community,” Blair told the audience.
The speakers and panellists who laid the groundwork for tapping the power of half a billion included Andrea Jung, president and CEO, Grameen America; Annette Dixon, World Bank vice-president, South Asia; Fawzia Koofi, Afghan MP and women’s rights activist; family business scions; startup founders; women politicians; social change agents; women in cinema, sports; trailblazers and outliers.
Across the wide array of fields, there was optimism even when the statistics looked grim.
Talking about women on company boards, Jung said, “Having been the only woman on a board for years, one woman on boards is not enough--there is strength in numbers.” Something that found resonance with former Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman M Damodaran, who advocated having at least two women on each company board, at least one of whom should be independent.
Dixon talked about ways to remove barriers for women in the labour market as this was an opportune time to revisit and reform outdated legislation and policies that act as deterrents. “Fostering the creation of better jobs, providing support for the child and elder care, and ensuring mobility to and from work can remove significant structural barriers for women to access employment,” she said.
A recurring theme at the forum was women learning to lead the charge and supporting other women when it came to dealing with the issues they face. Be it reservation for women in politics, finding mentors at work, seeking funding for their startups, empowering other women as leaders.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem needed more women role models, said Rajan Anandan, India managing director and vice-president, Southeast Asia, Google.
Blair exhorted women to think inclusively, act inclusively and enlist male allies. Jung spurred women to fire themselves on Friday evening and rehire themselves on Monday morning. This would allow women to reinvent themselves and it would act as a catalyst for that reinvention. Women are born with an extra guilt gene that needs to be fixed, said Shobana Kamineni, president, Confederation of Indian Industry, who spoke on the complex yet important issue of ‘Breaking the Boys’ Club’.
For the audience and participants, the event, whose celebration partner was Diageo, was a medley of diversity and uniqueness. Such as when Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar put forth her perspective between the sessions on women entrepreneurs and getting women on boards.
Tor A Dahlstrom, consul, deputy head of mission, Norwegian consulate, Mumbai, and one of the few male audience members at the event, said, “It was a very interesting session which threw a lot of light on Indian society in general. It was an educational experience of sorts for me.”
Anjali Verma, a member of the audience said: “I have worked in India and across the Middle East and Canada but I found this event to be unique and the only one of its kind. This forum can go on to be a game changer in the future.”
For panelist Aanchal Thakur, who is an alpine skier, it was all about drawing inspiration. “We got to know each other, and we got inspired by stories of people across spheres,” she said--words that echoed the underlying sentiment of the daylong gathering.


MANAGEMENT /CULTURE SPECIAL ...Culture can make or break agility

Culture can make or break agility

While many companies are striving to become agile, only four percent of survey respondents have completed an organization-wide transformation, the latest McKinsey research finds. The No 1. problem they cite is culture.
Anecdotal evidence supports this culture challenge. The former COO of ING, a financial services giant at the forefront of applying agility enterprise-wide, reflected that “culture is perhaps the most important element of this sort of change.” He noted that ING has spent “an enormous amount of energy and leadership time trying to role model the sort of behavior—ownership, empowerment, customer centricity—that is appropriate in an agile culture.”
For example, consider the matter of delegation. Companies large and small struggle with effectively delegating work. A manager, who let’s assume gets a decision correct nine out of ten times, hands off a task to a worker who is right eight out of ten times – at least to start, Thus, the manager determines that making slightly fewer good decisions sometimes is a price worth paying to improve efficiency, speed, and empowerment.
Here’s the rub: The first time the worker makes a decision that differs from what the manager would make, the worker gets feedback. Depending on how it is delivered, the feedback can trigger a level of fear and anxiety that prompts the worker to avoid a future misstep.
·         Imagine that this first mistake was on decision No. 10. The designated worker has made nine good decisions since having been delegated the authority to make the decision, matching the manager’s level of proficiency, but has made them faster and more efficiently because the manager wasn’t involved.
·         Then on decision 10, there was a not-so-good outcome. After getting a slap on the wrist, or “feedback” which triggered performance anxiety, for making a mistake on decision 10, the next time the worker likely will check first with the manager. Soon, the delegation evaporates and turns into escalation.

In a complex, hierarchical organization, you can imagine that lots of decisions escalate up the ladder multiple times, going high up the chain of command.
So, what happens when an “empowered” cross-functional team tries to move at high velocity within a slow culture of escalated decisions? Agility dies. This is why Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ notion of decision velocity – and the need for managers to “disagree and commit” – is so important.
McKinsey’s global survey on organizational agility illuminated the difficulty of getting the culture challenge unstuck.
Organizational agility potentially represents an existential crisis for middle management. The traditional middle manager is often in place to communicate, direct, and control. The agile organization tosses that aside and instead, suggests that traditional ways of planning aren’t that useful. For these organizations to thrive, they still need visionary leaders looking at the big picture, but much planning now is emergent and bottom-up. The value of middle managers controlling things and passing information up and down the chain of command starts looking not so valuable. If you wonder where the resistance to change is likely to come from, the clue is here.

February 26, 2018 – by Aaron De Smet

Saturday, March 17, 2018



Harsh Goenka's group has recently adopted ‘happiness’ as its tagline, and even aligned its policies to this new outlook. Here's why, and how it works

If there is one thing RPG Enterprises chairman Harsh Goenka would want to tell employees, it’s to get a good night’s sleep every evening. But that, he says, can only happen if you work at a place that is stress-free, fun and keeps you happy. “I value happiness in life, and I want our employees, our customers, our suppliers and our shareholders to be happy,” says Goenka. “When you come to work on Monday, you should look forward to it.” This is the main idea behind the group recently adopting, (and earlier this month, rolling out) its new corporate mantra Hello Happiness. This tagline will now apply to RPG as well as all its subsidiaries like CEAT, KEC International, Zensar Technologies and others. And it isn’t just a branding initiative: The group is now aligning all its HR and people policies, as well as its office best practices, to this idea.
While companies are falling over themselves to adopt clever taglines — which often turn out to be obtuse and jargonistic — Goenka wants to keep it simple. He said as much in a Town Hall two years ago, when he stated that he wanted RPG to become, not necessarily the largest organisation, but certainly the happiest. “When you see the corporate taglines of manufacturing companies, you see certain kinds of words, like ‘growth’, ‘quality’ and ‘technology’, being used,” says Goenka. “This is typical corporate-speak. I believe each company should have a tagline that best captures its aspirations and capabilities. And that’s what Hello Happiness reflects. It’s about what we stand for — authenticity and a workplace that is fair and treats people well.” The new mantra is usually accompanied by (an arguably cheesy) ‘square’ smiley, and will be reiterated through the launch of various branding exercises like ad films and appropriate literature.
“Happiness is not a one-day exercise. It is built over a series of events and experiences,” says S Venkatesh, President, Group HR. “The particle of happiness keeps growing when you are able to deliver a joyous moment or a positive experience to employees – such as, say, when a staff member sees that a policy is employeefriendly, or has an exchange with a manager that is career-enhancing. You can’t deliver happiness in one day. It has to be built up over time.”
The group — which is known for its employee engagement — has sharpened its policies with this in mind. “The employee is at the heart of the company and all its policies,” Goenka insists. When it impacts more than 14,000 employees, one has to tread with caution.

Encouragement begins at home
To begin with, the group takes retention very seriously by offering in-house career-pathing and growth opportunities for its young talent. Rather than hire people from the outside, youngsters who have been in the company for a while, are given the first right of refusal for a next-level role. Mentoring is an open, two-way street: Anyone can walk into her line manager’s room to discuss and resolve issues.

Better work hours = greater productivity
The group has done away with its attendance muster; employees no longer need to swipe in and out. In fact, with their seniors’ support, they can construct their own working hours around the core office hours of 11am to 4 pm. Like many other companies, staff gets the option of working from home or availing of flexible working hours, and if they’ve been in the organisation for at least four years, they can even take a two-month sabbatical. “We trust our staff to have a conscience and take responsibility for their work,” says Goenka. “If you police people, they’ll find ways to beat the system. But if you trust them and let them be, they will deliver.”

No honorifics, please
The biggest challenge, for any traditional, family-run business, is to try and transform itself by changing its well-entrenched work ethos and culture. Alongside an openness at all levels, the group has also decided to adopt honorific-free modes of address. Some weeks ago, Goenka shot off a mail to staff saying he would henceforth be addressed only by his first name. He even put out a piggybank seeking fines from anyone who did otherwise, and collected some amount to donate to charity. “We also strive to provide an apolitical atmosphere, and that creates a lot of happiness,” adds Venkatesh. “People want to fight business issues, not organisational issues. You want to devote all your energy to bringing in business, not battling internal politics, bipartisanism and nepotism, which is the bane of most companies today. The arbitrariness of such practices makes your feel stressed out and sapped of energy.”
Happiness has been a key consideration in RPG’s workplace philosophy for a while now. Two years ago, when the group had launched its vision, it was ‘Unleash Talent. Touch Lives. Outperform. Be Happy’. Now, however, happiness and the emoticon adorn all the company’s vision and mission statements. “The emoji gave our vision statement a distinct character,” says Goenka. “Everybody remembers it.” It was also clearly time for a new look. RPG’s previous mantra, from four years ago, was ‘going for growth’. Reflecting on it, Goenka says that could’ve been a tagline for just about any company. “Besides, we achieved that,” he says.The group’s revenue growth has been at 26.8 per cent CAGR in the last three years, while its profit growth in the corresponding period has been 42.8 per cent. Its market cap has also grown at 44 per cent in the last three years, and Goenka adds, the way things are going, the group will finish the year at over Rs 25,000 crore. The group has also made several overseas acquisitions in the last few years.

Accommodating changing priorities
Part of widening its appeal and making itself a satisfying workplace for a younger generation — more specifically Millennials — is the group’s recent thrust to participate in more future-facing ventures. It has funded start-ups, a pharma distribution company, e-commerce, cybersecurity ventures and is even looking at investing in artificial intelligence. It is also encouraging its young managers to turn entrepreneurs by promising them funds. “Millennials think very differently about the workplace from the way we did,” says Goenka. “They have no attachment to assets, and want to work for socially-responsible companies.” If that’s what makes them happy, Goenka certainly doesn’t want to miss out.
To mainstream something like happiness, an internal team of senior managers spent many months with all levels of employees, trying to understand the policies that would — simply put — make them happy. Brainstorming over several months yielded over 100 taglines, many of which were so forbiddingly corporate that they had to be rejected. “It’s important for any company to stand the test of time and be unpretentious,” says Goenka. “Your brand promise should not be so aspirational that your employees can’t relate to it. The most important constituent is your (work) family. If they think it’s not what the company stands for, it just won’t work.” Now that’s an idea that will make RPG staff very ha
MM 10MAR18