Friday, February 12, 2010

The power of suggestions

"Have you noticed that when someone pays you a compliment, you feel good and if somebody criticises you, you feel bad? The suggestions of others definitely affect your mind in some way or the other, big or small. Think about the effect of your own suggestions to your mind; you are suggesting something to it all the time. Will your mind not get affected by your own suggestions or self-talk? The answer is a resounding yes."

"Auto-suggestion or self-affirmation is the process by which an individual trains his subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically deliberates on his own mental associations for a given purpose. It is a conscious endeavour to regulate your mind with thoughts and behaviour in a positive or in a desired manner. Athletes and top professionals reinforce their belief systems and direct their energies based on self-affirmation."

"The dictionary meaning of the word suggestion is 'call to mind by logic or association.' So what you speak to yourself is important, as the mind tends to associate itself with it. The impression of the auto-suggestion self-talk is stored in the subconscious mind, which in turn affects your actions. When you think or say negative things to yourself, negative impressions are stored in the subconscious mind and thus chances of success are reduced. But when you think and suggest yourself positive things, you are making yourself ready for success."

(Apoorve Dubey in 'The Flight of Ambition,' p. 139 Macmillan)

Group thinking

"Results of human intellect will continue to bring profits to the bottom-line and technological and scientific breakthroughs to the world, as well as personal satisfaction and meaningful work to those involved. While thinking like everyone else at work may feel safer, group-thinkers are less valuable to companies when critical or creative thinking is required. Here's why."

"As individuals, we get stuck in what we can see, imagine, and do. Groups can get stuck, too, often believing those running the departments or the businesses or the meetings, or those verbally contributing the most in them, know best. But neither rank nor verbal skill correlates with creativity, knowledge, experience, insight, or intelligence."

"Group thinking is affected by both group dynamics and composition. If a meeting or department is composed mostly of analytically oriented individuals, the tendency is to see ideas or solutions in that way and shut out more creative offerings by other members, just like a room of right brainers can fail to connect with a left brainer's contribution."

(Nan S. Russell in 'Hitting Your Stride,' p. 30 Macmillan)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Professional and Personal Mojo

"Our Professional Mojo is what we bring to the job. If we have the motivation, ability (or skill), understanding (or knowledge), confidence, and authenticity needed to excel, we will be 'winners' in terms of achieving goals."

"Our Personal Mojo is what the job brings to us. If we find happiness, meaning, reward, learning, and gratitude in what we are doing – we will define ourselves as 'winners.'"

"Both Professional and Personal Mojo are connected to achievement – just two different types of achievement."

"In the 'best of all worlds,' the two types of achievement could be the same – what we do that impresses others makes us feel great about ourselves. But it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes we perform magnificently at work, to great acclaim, but it doesn't elevate how we feel about ourselves. Sometimes we do something wonderful for the world and no one else is impressed."

(Marshall Goldsmith in 'Mojo: How to get it, how to keep it, how to get it back if you lose it,' p. 56 Viva)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Maritime security

"The worldwide concern now seems to be about maritime terrorism, which could take several forms and today has become the pre-eminent security issue in the region. In considering what to do about the threat, the first priority, according to the IMB, is the need to increase security patrols in particularly vulnerable waters. The premise, akin to demanding a 'policeman on the beach,' is based on existing evidence to suggest that such operations do have a positive effect. In the Straits of Malacca, for example, the waterway has seen a decline in piracy incidents over the past twelve months commensurate with increased naval patrols trilaterally between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. This spawning of maritime security operations (MSO) among coalition navies gives rise to the second tenet of maritime counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, and anti-piracy – the need for multinational and multi-agency collaboration and cooperation. While naval units can exercise the constabulary application of maritime power, only law enforcement agencies have the full mandate to carry and use arms, make arrests, and prosecute the offenders. Thus, a coherent civilian and military partnership is required."

"Despite the fact that there are, as yet, no over-arching frameworks bringing these and other elements together efficiently, coherently, and collectively at the sub-regional level, these operations are generally considered successful. In particular, they contribute to what Mike Mullen, US Chief of Naval Operations, envisages as an 'international 1000-ship nave,' a force comprised of the best capabilities of all freedom-loving navies of the world, without which mastery of the sea and the ability to protect trade would be lost."

(O. P. Sharma in 'The International Law of the Sea: India and the UN Convention of 1982,' p. 261 OUP)

Handcuffs off

"I have hated the idea of handcuffs not only because it impairs liberty of limbs but also because it wounds the dignity of the individual especially when exposed to the public gaze. When I was a minister in Kerala, I had abolished both handcuffs and footcuffs and got it enforced so that the prisoner did not feel humiliated. While in the Supreme Court I had occasion to visit the Tihar Jail along with two other judges. It was horrifying to see a prisoner handcuffed and footcuffed by iron rods around the waist and down to the feet. We abolished this inhumanity. Of course as Minister in Kerala I had ordered prisoners to even visit entertainments and fairs subject to safeguards against violence and danger to themselves. My sensitivity for human rights made no exception in the case of those behind strong walls and iron bars. Sentencing jurisprudence is informed by compassion. Solitary confinement, if prolonged, makes a person made, as humans are social animals. So in my time (and the Supreme Court has also held so) solitary confinement as a punishment was regarded as an outrage. I frowned upon other forms of cruelty practised in many states as illegal. Human dignity is the manifestation of divinity that dwells in every living being. I condemned police torture or third degree methodology as is evident from my rulings and other judicial opinions. Indeed I had insisted that when being interrogated by the police, trauma and torture should not be inflicted nor confessions extracted."

(Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer in 'Wandering in Many Worlds: An autobiography,' p. 191 Pearson)

Efficiency in drug procurement

"Procurement and management of drugs and supplies is an area which provides scope for major savings and improved value for money. Some of the successful examples in different parts of the world include practices like buying generic drugs rather than branded equivalents, avoiding overstocking with drugs and supplies which then expire, and cutting down on thefts. It is a common practice globally to have a central drug procurement agency that buys in bulk for the public sector as well as in many instances for NGOs. Centralised procurement with large orders allows benefits from international tendering, lower prices and quality controls. Sometimes problems like delays in receiving drugs from the central supply and corruption shadow the positive points of this kind of procurement system. Occasionally advantages from systems like local drug procurement can also be reaped in the form of faster and cheaper supplies of drugs provided quality considerations are not sacrificed in the process."

"Measures to enhance efficiency in procurement and management of supplies may encompass: training in procurement and stores management, auditing of drug supplies, prices paid and volumes supplied, appropriate regulations to ensure competition in tendering process, maintenance of essential drugs list, encouragement for the use of quality generics and incentives for better managed systems."

(Brijesh C. Purohit in 'Health Care System in India,' p. 147 Gayatri)

Madras hospital

"From the start, the main factor which drove nineteenth-century European interest and involvement in Indian maternity was concern at the very high death rate among parturient women and the need 'to lessen so fearful a loss of life.' There were no accurate records, but the general consensus was that the rate was extremely high, and that the main cause lay in the unsanitary conditions in which women gave birth and in 'the amount of mischief done by native midwives' known as dais. Tetanus, for example, from the practice of cutting the cord with a sharpened piece of shell or bamboo smeared in dung, was a major killer in traditional Indian childbirth, as indeed it still is. European doctors wrote gruesome accounts of the violent treatment meted out to mothers and children by untrained dais, and much of the work undertaken by the government hospital consisted in trying to save the life of mothers taken out of the hands of the dai by concerned friends and relatives…"

"The first attempts to establish a Lying-in Hospital in Madras came within a few years of Bentinck's famous outlawing of sati in 1829. It has long been recognised that sati provided a very potent set of imagery for the British imaginative construction of the Indian woman: meek, oppressed, and in desperate need of rescue from the pernicious efforts of her own culture. The British liked to see themselves in the chivalrous role of rescuer of the Indian damsel in distress, and those who were not able literally to pluck widows from funeral pyres adopted the same mental picture in relation to other aspects of Indian womanhood."

(Ed: Mark Harrison, Margaret Jones, and Helen Sweet in 'From Western Medicine to Global Medicine: The hospital beyond the West,' p. 114 Orient BlackSwan)


"In India, any thinker or reformer may be described as a rishi if he has significantly contributed to the welfare of the society without any selfish motives. For example, even a thinker like Carvaka, who was the proponent of materialistic hedonism, has been referred to as a rishi since he was the one who gave a logical base to the materialism and denied extra-empirical ethos of certain texts and beliefs. So is the case of Vatsyayana, who authored a treatise on sex and sexual practices, and has been respected as a rishi in this tradition. But Kautilya is a rishi because he perceived the pre-eminence of life and ethical living as an outcome of good governance. His period was marked by political disorder, mal-administration and anarchical form of government perpetuated by the Nanda kings. Because of his farsighted vision and implementation, he could reorganise the entire state, ensuring honest and efficient administration. In this sense, there is a complete agreement between Plato, Aristotle and Kautilya regarding ethics and politics as identical, which provides more space to normal ethics, with the aim that the happy life is virtuous life, for the fulfilment of which the whole of creation moves. Unlike Machiavelli, for Kautilya, the separation between politics and morality was unthinkable, and political power acquired legitimacy only when it promoted human happiness."

(Ed: Ananta Kumar Giri in 'The Modern Prince and the Modern Sage: Transforming power and freedom,' p. 403 Sage)

Post offices in financial inclusion

"India Post with more than 1,55,000 post offices with 80 per cent of them in rural areas has one of the largest field forces in India with about 3,00,000 grameen dak-sevaks and over 2,00,000 postal employees catering mostly to the rural areas of the country. The World Bank's Rural Finance Access Survey (2004) reveals that post office branches in India have the closest proximity to rural clients compared to branches of banks. In Andhra Pradesh, the government has chosen to migrate the disbursements of EBT (electronic benefit transfer) by post offices to bank affiliated BCs (business correspondents), as the post office system is entirely manual, takes long and cannot provide proper MIS in time. Nationally too, the Department of Posts has chosen to enter in as a BC in a few pilot cases, and not independently as the system automation required is yet to come and revenue is not commensurate with the effort required coupled with their low risk appetite. It should further be noted that for opening a new account, a post office gets Rs 117 from the government besides whatever else it is getting as a BC. This is not available to a regular BC."

(Sameer Kochhar in 'Speeding Financial Inclusion,' p. 74 Academic)

A big fish in a small pond

"Most candidates have a bias in favour of large corporations. While large companies remain excellent places to work, many small to medium-size companies are now offering wonderful career opportunities. These companies offer the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond. You can have a broader responsibility and more impact on the company's operation in a short time. When preparing a list of your target companies, do not limit yourself to just large corporations. There is often big opportunity in small companies. If you are planning to target small companies, you can often find opportunities by contacting venture capital firms, private equity firms, small business services, and corporate attorneys who maintain a roster of small to medium-sized clients. By going to people who work closely with smaller companies, you can often get a warm introduction into several companies at once. Many firms that work with small and medium businesses are happy to make introductions to senior management at their client companies because it demonstrates additional value that they provide to the small and medium business owner."

(Narinder K. Mehta in 'How to Get the Job You Want and Build a Great Career,' p. 77 Macmillan)


"Mentoring is often tipped as the leadership style of the future. Wikipedia defines mentoring as a 'developmental relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced partner referred to as a protégé – a person guided and protected by a more prominent person.' This is a rather old-fashioned way of looking at mentoring. The new demographics entering the workforce call for a more enlightened approach. In our own definition, mentoring is a structured interaction aimed at sharing knowledge and expertise. However, it can also be used as a communication style, one that requires openness and transparency as well as highly developed listening skills."

"The traditional mentoring relationship described by Wikipedia is, however, still fairly common in the corporate world. Mentoring programmes of this kind are often designed for succession planning and talent retention. But more and more companies are opening up to reverse mentoring as an answer to the current demographic challenge. Younger employees possess the technical skills and experience necessary to understand new market trends and gain competitive advantages. And this applies not only to technology and Web 2.0. Generation Y is also much more aware of the role a company is expected to play in the community. This knowledge is very useful to help decipher the interests and agendas of different stakeholders."

"Peer mentoring implies pairing up an employee with a peer in another department or division of a company. It helps to establish links that can be turned into resources for new projects and can be capitalised upon in case of change programmes. It can also be used as a tool to counteract a silo mentality."

(Silvia Cambié and Yang-May Ooi in 'International Communications Strategy: Developments in cross-cultural communications, PR and social media,' p. 75 Viva)

Determining values

"Values tell you who you are and what is important to you. Enabling your client to identify their values gives them valuable insight about what motivates their behaviour and why they sometimes feel at odds with the world. This tool gives you a simple but effective way of helping your client establish their core values. Many coaches use this approach to elicit values because it is easy to use and can provide a springboard to conversations later on in the coaching relationship about things that might have become barriers to progress."

"It may be that how the client prioritises their values has changed as they moved through life; some of the non-core values may have also changed. The core values that motivate your client's behaviour will not have changed and the values prioritising tools help you assess what priorities your client places on their values…"

"The client's values are useful in helping understand whether or not the goal and outcome that they seek is compatible with their personal standards. It also helps clarify the source of the goal: is it the coaching client or someone else who is setting the agenda? If it is someone else, does the client have control to change the goal? And to what degree can they do so? This is particularly relevant to coaches working in the corporate environment where there is a three-way relationship between the organisation, the coachee client and the coach. In situations where the values are completely incongruent with the coaching goal, then early discussions with the sponsoring organisation and the client to see what scope there is to change are absolutely necessary."

"Understanding your client's values gets to the heart of who they are as a person. Being heard and understood is essentially about being recognised for who you are as a person. Building rapport in a coaching relationship is all about recognising your client for who they are."

(Gillian Jones and Ro Gorell in '50 Top Tools for Coaching: A complete toolkit for developing and empowering people,' p. 115 Viva)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Greed centre

"Over the past several decades, scientists have actually been able to locate the two systems within our brains that mediate fear and greed. These reflexive centres reside primarily in the so-called 'limbic system,' whose nerve cells, or neurons, lie near the centre of the brain. Were you to divide your skull exactly into symmetric right and left halves along a vertical plane, most of the limbic system would lie on or near it on either side. In front of the brain – just behind each eye – sit a pair of neuron groups called the nuclei accumbens. It would not be too much of an oversimplification to call these tiny structures the brain's 'anticipation centre.' They are most electrically and metabolically active during the anticipation of eating, sex, agreeable social activity, and most importantly for our purposes, financial reward. If greed resides any single place in the brain – an assignment that neurologists and neuroscientists are loathe to make about any cognitive function – it is here."

"It really is true: The anticipation is better than the pleasure. Researchers have found that the nuclei accumbens respond much more to the prospect of reward than to the reward itself. Further, it is all the same to the nuclei accumbens, which respond nearly identically to the prospect of food, sex, social contact, cocaine, or financial gain."

"The nuclei accumbens are particularly sensitive to the pattern of the stimuli. If every Friday at noon you are served your favourite lunch, these tiny structures will be happily firing away at 11:55 am. If your portfolio has been doing well lately, the same will happen each morning at 9:29 am when you turn on CNBC and see Maria Bartiromo's winsome visage smiling back at you from the stock exchange floor."

(William J. Bernstein in 'The Investor's Manifesto,' p. 97 Wiley)

Risk frequency

"We sometimes see that some financial institutions try to look for events that occur once every 1,000 years based on the idea of horizontal frequency. This may be possible for natural disaster cases such as earthquakes, but next to impossible for ordinary op risk loss events. Experts at financial institutions in general often recognise that the limitations of imagination stop them at 100 years using the yardstick of a horizontal horizon, which is actually often used in their op risk scenario making. Even this number, however, is not widely shared in the industry or between banks and the regulators, indicating that we are still in search of a consensus on the historical frequency of op risk."

(Tsuyoshi Oyama in 'Post-Crisis Risk Management: Bracing for the next perfect storm,' p. 83 Wiley)

Solid and liquid

"The ideal portfolio is solid and liquid at the same time. Perhaps because this principle defies our normal notions of physics, it's easy for investors to overlook it."

"An investment is solid if decades of historical evidence indicate that it is highly unlikely ever to lose the vast majority of its market value."

"An investment is liquid if you can transform it into pure cash any time you want without losing more than a few drops. If you can't, then we say that its liquidity has frozen, dried up, or vaporised."

"Some investments are solid without being liquid. Unless you borrowed far too much against it, your house is probably worth several hundred thousand dollars even after the recent plunge in real-estate prices – but good luck if you need to convert it to cash in a hurry. There's nothing inherently wrong with having some of your money in illiquid assets; they often have higher returns in the long run. But it is absolutely mandatory for you to keep a reservoir of liquidity in your portfolio at all times. Just as travellers in the wilderness die without water, investors perish if they have no liquidity."

"The flip side, of course, is that many investments can appear to be liquid without actually being solid. And they will stay liquid only for as long as everyone continues to pretend that they're solid. These assets offer merely the illusion of liquidity. The mortgage-backed securities created in the credit binge of the past decade were a form of this illusion. In 2006 and 2007, they traded in immense volumes. That made them seem liquid. But the assets underlying these securities – underresearched loans on overpriced homes that were overleveraged by underqualified owners – were not solid at all. So the liquidity was not sustainable. It was an illusion, like a mirage of water rippling over a patch of sand in a desert."

"Just as it would never occur to you, as you step to the kitchen sink to fill up your water glass, that nothing might come out when you turn the faucet, investors never imagine that a previously liquid investment will suddenly turn out to be illiquid. But it can, and it was this shocking discovery, more than anything else, that accounted for the panic among investors in 2008."

"The biggest risk of all to your money is the risk that many investors never think about until it is too late: namely, the chance that if you need to turn an asset into cold, hard cash right away, you might not be able to do it."

(Jason Zweig in 'The Little Book of Safe Money: How to conquer killer markets, con artists, and yourself,' p. 5 Wiley)


"Ratan hadn't a clue where Asalfa was."

"'Off Sahar airport. Ghatkopar side,' Crispin explained. 'It is a long way off.'"

"Ratan pictured it."

"A road run berserk, traffic snarls matted and choked in exhalations of their own filth. Broad-backed gutters, their oily scum a glacial glint in the sun. Tidal webs of garbage washed up against buildings like end moraines. Buildings erupting past the hairline, breakaways from the grid of roads, lanes, parks, pavements, lunging into the traffice. Peopled long before they were plastered or painted, numbered or named. Concrete structures extruding like warts, flat-topped, scaly, confluent, prurient with urgencies. Walls like slow bruises changing colour after seasons of abuse as old Bollywood posters peeled off, and returning finally to their natural pigments of earth and excrement. Pavements spilling over with lives that began faraway and were headed elsewhere. The taste of dust and onions, the must of freshly hewn wood, and the sting of burning plastic squeezing the lungs."

"And through all this flux, a rootedness – a shrine beneath a peepul, a garland on a cross, a woman winnowing wheat on a ragged charpai. Pickles in glass jars set out on sills to trap the sun. The intent faces of children, picking their way to school past jungles of scrap metal, bamboo and PVC spilling from makeshift factories and warehouses. The plaintive azaan lurching heavenward over the visceral throb of stereos in parked cabs."

"All this had been cremated."

"The pillar of smoke rose solid like a buttress holding up the empty highway of the sky. The ashes would disperse with the first sea breeze, and not one wayward cinder would squeeze tears from a stranger's eye."

(Kalpish Ratna in 'The Quarantine Papers,' p. 136 Harper)

The golden hour

"One key time leadership technique that I used many years ago, and continue to use at least two or three times a week, is the golden hour."

"Imagine setting aside an hour a day of quality time just for you. In this time you can decide what you want to do that would be most helpful to personal development. I have to say that, on occasions, I've used this to do things like catch up on correspondence with friends and create a birthday card schedule for the next twelve months. In other words, this hour is designed to allow you to have time to do those things that you often fail to do due to work pressures."

"You could also have a golden business hour as well as a golden personal h our. The way the golden business hour works is that you get into the office very early when there are no telephone calls or other distractions and spend an hour of planning and preparation for the day/ week ahead. The time should be entirely strategic and around important things rather than any-things!"

"The setting aside of a time slot and then putting into it important things relates to Parkinson's Time Law. This law tells us that unless we create tight, inflexible 'time compartments,' we end up allowing what we do to spread through the day with no conceivable end point. In other words, if you set aside an hour to do a number of tasks, you will be more effective than doing it the other way around – ensuring you complete a number of tasks in however long it might take. So to utilise this time law effectively, it simply means creating a structure to any particular time slot with a specific deadline that you are aiming for and then doing as much as you can in that slot, knowing you have to stop at the deadline point. It's surprising how many people fail to do this when they are putting together a schedule for their daily routines when, by using this time control lever, they will find they become very much more effective."

"… I like to think of time as a cheque book. With a money cheque book, we certainly don't like to write cheques unless they need to be written. Equally, if you had a time cheque book, would you be so generous in writing out these types of resource cheques? I doubt it."

(Sandro Forte in 'Dare to be Different: How to create business advantage through innovation and unique selling proposition,' p. 61 Westland)

Building cooperation and teamwork

"A Scottish Community Health trust needed to build cooperation and teamwork across the whole organisation. Two values to be reinforced were 'one team' and 'patient focus.' Many of the support staff, such as porters, cleaners, administration staff and maintenance staff, felt like second class citizens and couldn't see how they were contributing to patient care. Workshops were run throughout the organisation deliberately mixing groups to bring together the different support staff. The first exercise was to put their names on a large sheet of paper – the patient was at the centre and they were to put their name as close to, or as far away from the patient, depending on how relevant they saw their job. Also, they had to draw lines/ arrows indicating who they give and receive a service to and from. Discussions and debated related to the complexity of dependencies and a reminder of the core business – i.e. patient care – took place…"

"The group was divided into internal customer and supplier relationships. From these discussions, improvements were identified and small multi-disciplinary teams were identified to follow through the improvements identified."

(Mike Wash in 'Tools and Techniques for Business Excellence,' p. 127 Westland)

100 per cent audit

"It has to be noted that KVAT audit prescribed under Section 31 of the KVAT Act is distinct from the normal audits. Generally, in the case of normal audits, the auditors select the transactions on random principle and based on the results of such random verification, the auditors express their opinion on the correctness and truthfulness of the statements. In the case of KVAT audit… there is a requirement of conducting 100 per cent check of the books of account, especially transactions relating to purchase and sale of goods and other related transactions."

('A Guide to Karnataka VAT Audit,' p. 101 ICAI)

Method of accounting

"The Goa VAT Act does not prescribe and make compulsory the maintenance of accounts under any particular method."

"AS 1 lays down that one of the generally accepted fundamental accounting assumptions is the following of accrual method of accounting. The standard lays down that if this fundamental accounting assumption is not followed, the fact should be disclosed."

"The Companies Act, 1956 requires that the accounts should be maintained under accrual basis only. The Income-tax Act permits any one of accrual or cash method."

"The option of choosing a particular method is with the dealer. However, having made a choice the method should be consistently followed. Any change in accounting method followed should be reported with necessary quantification of the effect of the change."

('A Guide to Goa VAT Audit,' p. 77 ICAI)

Loan recovery

"For debtors, a bill is like a warrant from the god of death, Yama. They can't muster up the courage to look at it. To look at the bill means that you have to pay some money. If the debtor should take the account book in his hand, hope blossoms like a flower in the heart of the one who is about to receive. Once the debtor has taken the paper with the account in his hand, there can be no more evasion of payment. This is the reason that debtors don't have courage to look at bills with empty hands."

"'Brother, I know how much I owe you,' said Tahir Ali very meekly. 'I'll pay off the rest of what I owe you very soon now. Just be patient for three or four more days.'"

"'How much longer can I be patient, Sahab?' asked Jagdhar. 'You've been saying three or four days for a whole month. Sweets seem very sweet when you eat them, so why does paying for them seem so bitter?'"

"'Brother,' said Tahir Ali, 'I'm a little hard up for money these days, but now work on the factor will begin soon, and I'll receive a promotion. And then I'll pay off every single cowrie.'"

"'No, Sahab,' said Jagdhar. 'Today I won't go without taking the money. If I don't give money to the moneylender, I won't get even a single ounce of goods to sell. God knows if I have even a single pice left at home. Please think that you're giving not what's mine, but what's yours. If I'm lying to you, then may God ruin my youth. Last night my wife and children went to sleep hungry. I hawked my goods all through the neighbourhood, but no one bought even four annas' worth.'"

(Premchand in 'Rangbhumi: The arena of life,' translated by Christopher King p. 269 OUP)

Vicarious liability

"In Aleyamma Varghese v. Dewan Bahadur, Dr V. Varghese and Others, a large sponge was left behind in the abdomen after a caesarean section. The scrub nurse was held responsible as it was her duty to count the sponges during and after operation. The hospital was held vicariously liable."

"Vicarious liability of a hospital for the negligence of a qualified consultant doctor is a highly debatable issue in the medical fraternity. In many cases, the hospital has practically no control over the working of a consultant. Besides, the nature of work requires such a high degree of technical expertise that the hospital, other than providing an appropriate working environment, has no role in patient care. In such a situation, the hospital suffers due to no fault of its own, which is against the law of natural justice. Besides this, majority of the consultants work under an insurance cover and hence the consultants are capable of paying up the compensation, although it must also not be forgotten that every consultant may not have an insurance cover."

"However, the situation is absolutely different for other staff of the hospital who may not be in a position to pay up the amount of compensation. In India, practically all non-medical staff work without an insurance cover. Hence, it is time that either all staff members are provided with an insurance cover, by the hospital or only the hospital should be held vicariously liable and asked to pay the compensation amount. Keeping these facts in mind, reforms must be made in law."

(Tapas Kumar Koley in 'Medical Negligence and the Law in India: Duties, responsibilities, rights,' p. 79 OUP)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Three types of DMUs

"In businesses of any size, despite the assertions of buyers, most important decisions regarding suppliers, or at least the significant suppliers, are made by groups of people – decision-making units (DMUs). In some companies, these may be quite formal – project teams, sourcing teams or the procurement committee. In others, they may so informal as to be unidentifiable; but they are there all the same, working by inference, by nods of the head and the raising of eyebrows."

"There are three broad types: Authoritarian DMUs, consensus DMUs, and consultative DMUs."

"The authoritarian DMU: A single person – perhaps the boss, perhaps the owner of a smaller business – will take the decision and impose it on their colleagues and staff, sometimes even against the better judgment of the latter."

"For the supplier this is the easiest DMU to influence. If you can identify that individual, gain access to them, and form a proposition that meets their personal needs, the sale is made. But we are looking for more than simply the sale, we are looking for a collaborative partnership, and that will almost certainly necessitate the building of relations with others beyond 'the boss'. This calls for a particular kind of patience, establishing contacts with people who contribute little to the short-term objectives of selling, and where those contacts might even be sources of irritation for the authoritarian decision-maker…"

(Peter Cheverton in 'Building the Value Machine,' p. 97 Viva)

Aligned value proposition

"We have moved from a world of mass production to one where goods and services can be provided on demand; from a 'Fordian' model offering any colour 'so long as it's black' to a spectacular rainbow of choices driven by customer demand; from an isolated, industrial economy to a networked, information society operating at exabyte speed. All of which makes for a more complex, more interconnected and more interactive business environment within which decisions have to be made, fast."

"We are, for example, all accustomed to the fact that corporate teams now frequently operate on a seamless, time-shift basis every 24 hours – from the US, to the Asia-Pacific, to Europe. More and more people are working in project teams where the work never stops – it just passes on to the next time zone."

"The consequent outcomes are both exciting and daunting. Virtual teams may never physically meet one another. They may come from different cultures and speak different languages. And yet they must work seamlessly on the same projects, round the world and round the clock. This means, crucially, that they must all be aligned in terms of a common understanding of the value proposition that is the foundation of everything to which their organisations aspire."

"Failure to achieve alignment could produce some apocalyptic outcomes. The size and longevity of a corporation, for example, is no longer any guarantee of continued survival. Increasing global interconnectivity means that the fleet of foot and mind can swoop on hitherto self-contained, 'safe' marketplaces. And those competitive threats may come from unexpected sources."

(Cindy Barnes, Helen Blake and David Pinder in 'Creating & Delivering Your Value Proposition: Managing customer experience for profit,' p. 197 Viva)

De-constructing disability

"Enjoying personal intimacy and sexuality is not seen as an important part of disabled people's lives. At several points in history and in various places, eugenics has been popular – it was expected that people who were labelled as disabled should neither reproduce nor be reproduced in an effort to prevent the incidence of disability…"

"Much of the literature on the sexual experiences of people with disabilities, and particularly people with learning disabilities, is placed firmly within the medical model. Sexuality is perceived as a problem in need of a cure. In the UK, according to the Sexual Offences Acts 1956 and 1967, a person with a severe learning disability is considered to be incapable of giving their consent to a sexual encounter…"

"Cambridge and Mellan (2000) go on to argue that in the UK, men with learning disabilities who engage in same-sex relationships are unlikely to be given a safe-sex education which allows them to take into account HIV risk assessment, the need to wear condoms, and strategies and techniques for negotiating safer sex. In the recent past, positive images of homosexuality and safe sex were not made available to men with learning disabilities because sex educators feared that providing such information would break Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which prevented local authorities from promoting homosexuality…"

"There are examples of local authorities censoring images of sexual expression by disabled people. Butler (1999) gives the example of Westminster Council in London attempting to censor the film 'Crash' on the grounds that it contained an erotic scene involving a disabled woman…"

"The network of dominant meanings that disabled people experience in leisure spaces do not come from other disabled people, rather they come from able-bodied people who have little or no understanding of disability. However, if we accept the argument that both homosexuality and disability are socially constructed, then they can also be socially de-constructed and subjected to reconsideration and restructuring in the interests of disabled people."

(Shaun Best in 'Leisure Studies: Themes & Perspectives,' p. 100 Sage)

Frustrated journalists

"The digital hub at the heart of the multimedia newsroom allows all journalists and editors to access material from the moment of its logging in to use across all the BBC platforms. This works for the mass of facts and eyewitness accounts that make up some 80 per cent of news, but in some journalists' minds tends to reduce them to butchers supplying a sausage machine. Our limited ethnographic study among the BBC news web team found many frustrated journalists acting as no more than sub-editors reformatting copy. Elsewhere, news reporters are expected to cover a growing number of outlets, across multiple platforms and bulletins, which inevitably reduces the amount of time for the original newsgathering. Meanwhile, senior correspondent appearances and live feeds overnight have also been cut to save money. At Channel 4 News, entrepreneur Ben Cohen was the first correspondent to be hired specifically to service the three daily television bulletins, their online site and their planned digital radio channels, relying largely on his expertise to comment on technology stories and leaving, as he points out, precious little time for original journalism. Peter Horrocks admits to the dangers of his journalists being spread too thin, but says that the balance has to be struck between coherence and diversity…"

"Broadcast journalist Vanessa Edwards is one of many who took voluntary redundancy from BBC News, because at 42 she felt new working patters favour the young. She instances the replacement of graphic designers by software that she was expected to operate herself as one example of the technologisation of her role, producing bulletins on the News Channel night shift. 'I loved my job, which I had been doing for 10 years, but they made me an offer I could not refuse. It was time to move on: it is increasingly a young person's world. I would not say it is worse, but it is different.'"

"… The fast-moving technological demands do favour the young, for whom the skills are second nature, but even some of them complain at the workload and allege that it leads to many more mistakes being broadcast. The most far-reaching changes in work practices have occurred in regional newsrooms, where productivity has been kept up by a dwindling number of staff."

(Ed: Natalie Fenton in 'New Media, Old News: Journalism & Democracy in the Digital Age,' p. 81 Sage)


"A doer credentials by accomplishing something competently. Competence requires completing a job effectively. As Kouzes and Posner (1993) explain, 'To commit to doing something that you have no capacity to perform is either disingenuous or stupid. There is nothing courageous about boldly saying you will successfully… [do something you] know you have neither the skills nor the resources to do it.' (p. 69)."

"'Effectiveness,' however, is a subjective judgment. It involves preferences about the process used and about the outcome that results. Figuring out what other people value in these regards will help you figure out what standards of performance they will apply to your work as a doer. In short, for a doer, it is rarely 'the thought that counts.'"

"Showing competence begins with finding and seizing opportunities to show initiative. Initiative is a combination of the impulse to try something and the willingness to expend the energy needed to get that something started. Taking initiative shows your willingness to spend your energy and to take some risk on behalf of your group. Of course, every type of direction-giver must show some level of initiative."

"What makes some doers unique is that they do not have any formal authority to take the initiative. That increases the risk and also the potential benefits. Consequently, acts of doing sometimes reverberate more than other direction-giving acts. In addition, over time an effective doer gets to be relied upon by others who decide that he or she is to be trusted to do a particular kind of work. That creates status and idiosyncrasy credits that can turn into influence. That influence often extends beyond the subject matter of the doer's act into other group needs."

"To show your competence, you need a sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is your belief in your own ability to act in ways that will make you effective. It supports your willingness to take the initiative to act on behalf of the group. Fortunately, being effective as a doer can begin with small acts. Small successes strengthen and broaden your sense of self-efficacy over time, allowing you to work your way up to more significant direction-giving acts on behalf of your group. They also help you to credential with others in your group. For example, a new team member can demonstrate willingness to take on jobs that experienced members no longer like to do. Over time, appreciation for that orientation can broaden into their support for you doing other activities."

(John O. Burtis and Paul D. Turman in 'Leadership Communication as Citizenship,' p. 32 Sage)