Of Black Turtlenecks , Blue Jeans and Apple.Inc

Steve Jobs was a wise man. Irrationality is wisdom too, if it can put to good use. In this case, to create a technological Giant called Apple.Inc, the most influential technology company of our times. There are a few unconventional elements that clearly went into the making of this super-shining technological company. One of them clearly was the black T-Shirts and Blue jeans. The dress code which the then CEO, Steve Jobs and the then and now Apple employees, in the apple stores (the kind of employees that actually come into contact with the customers), adorn, both with equal pride.

This might seem to be a very simple and easily replicable strategy. Then why is it not easily done by everyone else? The challenge, curiously, does not rest with the frontline employees. They are, unfortunately not in a position to choose what to wear, hence any nicely done uniform sporting the brand logo will do just fine for them. It's then upto the CEOs to make the move, and to drop those pricey lustrous dark Suits. The art and the wisdom is in empowering the frontline employees.

Just imagine this and it will be all clear. Imagine your company's CEO making sure that he/she wears exactly what you wear every single day, and chose to do so for the rest of his/her life. You wear blue, he too does. You wear green, he does too. How would that make you feel? That's how they feel.

" Man 50%, dressing 50%" is the crude translation of an old Tamil (A Dravidian Language of the Southern India) saying. So if not anything else, you are 50% of what the CEO is, going by your dress code. The discretionary decisions that the frontline employees, "the biological-living faces of the brand", make with the customers can be roughly weighed to be 50% percentage of what the CEO makes in keeping the company healthy, alive and profitable. That's psychological employee empowerment at play, with just one party knowing how it all fits and works. Or may be both parties know it, but accept it happily, keeping their egos aside. Whichever be it, it does work.

Photo courtesy : Flickr user - http://www.flickr.com/photos/crashmaster

A place for Life's serious Businesses

"Gap between the response and the stimuli"...Makes all the difference. While reading the Stephen Covey's Seven habits of effective people, I stumbled upon the line that explains about the gap or space between the response we make to a stimulus. The more we are in this space, the better we respond. It is a way to exercise and building the patience muscle. It is in this space that the wrong, as well as the right decisions and hence the actions, are made. These lines, Stephen Covey claims, struck him fresh and stuck with him ever since. I write these lines now, in a dark space,during a power cut, in peace. The realizations are many. Firstly, the book reading happened when Steffi was sleeping and I was sitting close by her, for she was having fever and chills. The doctor advised rest, good food and as anyone would guess, a few pills containing paracetamol. To provide her the peace, I had to ensure an environment that was peaceful for her, at least peaceful enough to enable her mind and body to enter a brief slumber. In doing so, I discovered the peace too, after a long time. Steffi, caring enough to not let me be bored, asked me to watch TV if I wanted to, but I chose to read, and hence the peace continued to exist, both inside and outside the mind, and the reading went on and these words are being typed here. A place for serious businesses of Life. While reading the book in absolute peace, I realized, all over again, that we all need a place, a well kept one, to deal with the important thoughts and aspects of life. A place in which introspection and reflection would not be interfered by the noise of the daily earthly routines. A place, say, to reflect on the journal, to sit in dark and see the life with the eyes closed, a place to read good books, a place to write the book which others would read in their respective peaceful places. This idea is definitely not anything new. We all know this, I knew this before, you knew this all along. All good principles and ideas are just like this, and this is best put by borrowing a line from the same book, "an idea whose time has come", an inward revolution. 

Being selfish, for good.

It is only human to be selfish. Or better, it is only natural of all living things to be selfish. Self preservation is built into the very core of our behavioral DNA. The very purpose of life is to live, especially to live long enough to leave behind a progeny, so that the species continues to live on. Or better if the time permits may be leave behind a great idea or a product for the generations to come. Hence, it is very important and only natural to be selfish, and make time and resources for yourself.

I typed (about two months ago) this as I was watching a man in his sixties struggling to walk inside the bus (yes, while it is moving), he was definitely not healthy enough to maintain balance and walk firm. He could well have been, had he chosen, a few years ago, to be selfish for his own health. He could have been selfish and could have spent some time and money everyday to keep himself healthy. But he did not, because he had other priorities to attend to. His family, kids, parents, relations, work, aging parents and the same stuffs that we all have and must attend to in our lives on a daily basis. And now it was his turn, to transfer the burden to his kids and be the aging parent. And The cycle goes on.

Be selfish, for good. Loving yourself, at least for the important others! Hmmm...Interesting.