Friday, October 30, 2009

Leadership Qualities

First area: Logical - 1st know your trade
I have come to realise that an excellent technical knowledge of your chosen professions can be a huge advantage - knowledge of a range of tools and frameworks, structures one can use on which to hang ideas and analysis into action.

More important though is to retain a lifelong openness to new ideas - sometimes to discard them, sometimes to consume them, but always retain that thirst.

Second area: Emotional
The second area I thought about is quite different. Its emotional, its challenging, its inspirational.

This is really about hearts and minds - communication engagement, vision, desire, passion and risk taking - leaping into the unknown, something that might not come readily to your average rational manager

Third area: Situational
After Logical and Emotional - the third area I thought about was the need for leadership to reflect the situation you are in.

Long term planning when the ship is sinking would be an example. But it’s remarkable how ostrich like leaders can be, particularly when cosseted by large organisation.

There is no smoke without fire, - so if you see a fire - put it out, Equally if you see an opportunity - go for it, if you see a great idea, adopt it, if you need to rescue something - do it - take personal responsibility.

Fourth area: Being yourself
So after logical, emotional and situational, I come to my last but one point.
Be yourself. And in being yourself, you don't stand still, but grow.
Firstly know what you are good at and use it for all its worth, Then know what your NOT good at and work on it.

Fifth area: People
Get a set of great people around you who are ‘A’ players who will themselves recruit ‘A’ players.
People who can take what you are good at, and make it great, people who can protect you from what you are not so good at, and still make it great. And trust them to get on with it..
For nobody ever achieved transformational change by themselves.
And by getting great people you will sustain the success of your organisation too.

Make them loyal to the organisation as much as to yourself. Make them wear the organization laurel with pride for they are the future of the organization, and that’s why you are investing in them. as much as to yourself. Make them wear the organization laurel with pride for they are the future of the organization, and that’s why you are investing in them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Branding Learning

Every successful business (and learning organization) must have a brand and a vision. If you are attempting to create a culture where learning is embraced, your brand is a critical component in structuring your business line. While the thought of visions and mission statements back in the 80’s were unique, they lacked purpose, and more importantly, execution. I can’t tell you how many “mission statement” meetings I have been involved in where executives were “hyped” and “charged” afterward, only to find that the vision was slapped on a poster in the break rooms and had very little meaning, value or impact on the organization. With this in mind, the vision certainly needs to state your values and your overall strategy, but more importantly, it needs to be in line with the company’s brand, growth and profitability objectives. This is also just as important at the departmental level. The vision and execution strategies need to be in alignment with the overall corporate vision and execution strategies as well.

The “brand” is equally, if not more important. I was tasked in developing a “learning brand” in my last two companies (Indymac and American Home) where employees would know that everything coming out of my group was consistent in quality, service, delivery and value. The “TPI” or “Training and Performance Improvement” brand was ultimately a brand that everyone in these organizations associated with the aforementioned characteristics. TPI supported distributed workforces in excess of 10,000 employees across the nation. While there were unique geographical and cultural differences within the business lines, everyone in the company became familiar with, and embraced a consistent experience from the TPI brand. This brand was often compared to the Starbucks® brand. Each Starbucks® store across the world has their own unique, cultural/environmental experience; the store furnishings, and Barista personalities may differ from store to store, but in the end, you walk away with the same cup of coffee.

Beyond the vision and the brand, the next task is to develop the key execution strategies; a holistic approach to learning that is in alignment with the business goals, strategy, vision and profitability objectives. The creation of these strategies at a very high level, along with granular detail in a Departmental Business Plan Strategy, is crucial to the success of today's professional learning platforms. Obtaining stakeholder buy-in along the way is also essential to keep things running smoothly.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chemistry Nobel Prize 2009

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz, and Ada Yonath

Just as architects usually get more glory than carpenters, DNA is more famous than the molecular machine that converts genetic blueprints into proteins. But the ribosome is in the limelight today with the announcement of this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry.

The prize was awarded to three scientists who revealed the atomic structure and inner workings of the ribosome: Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel; Thomas Steitz of Yale University; and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, United Kingdom. All three used a technique known as x-ray crystallography to pinpoint the position of thousands of atoms in the cellular machine known as the ribosome, and all will share one-third of the $1.4 million prize.

"It's a fantastic accomplishment and one that everyone in the field has known for some time is worthy of such recognition," says Wayne Hendrickson, an x-ray crystallographer at Columbia University. Hendrickson adds that this year's prize also completes the Nobel Committee's recognition for the discoverers of biology's central dogma, which describes how genetic information in DNA is copied into RNA, which is then translated into proteins. In 1962, James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel for their atomic model of DNA. In 2006, Roger Kornberg won for his x-ray structures of DNA polymerase, which translates DNA into RNA. Today's prize for work on the ribosome, completes that, Hendrickson says.

Ribosomes exist in all cells in all living organisms. Although central, they are anything but simple. Dozens of different proteins and strands of RNA form a complicated machine divided into two principle components. The smaller component, known as the 30S subunit, works mainly to decode the genetic code in messenger RNA. The larger 50S subunit then takes this information and uses it to stitch together the proper sequence of amino acids that make up the final protein. Early on, researchers struggled to map the atomic structure of even one of these subunits. Producing an x-ray structure requires first creating crystals of millions of copies of a ribosome aligned in near perfect order. If that ordering is precise enough, researchers can then fire a beam of x-rays at the crystal. The pattern in which those x-rays then deflect off the crystal can then be used to map out the arrangement of atoms in the molecule.

In 1980, Yonath managed to generate the first low-quality crystals of a ribosome. By 1990, she had upped the quality of her crystals, but she still struggled to a good structure. Steitz, along with his longtime Yale colleague Peter Moore, jumped into the fray in 1995, following Yonath's recipe for making ribosomal crystals. By 1998, they used additional insights gleaned from electron microscopy studies to help them acquire a low-resolution 9 Angstrom structure of the ribosome. In August, 2000 Steitz's group then published a higher 2.4 Angstrom resolution structure of the large subunit (Science, 11 August 2000, p. 905). Meanwhile, Yonath's and Ramakrishnan's groups published slightly lower resolution structures of the smaller subunit the following month. Since then, the three groups, plus other teams, have used those structures and others to understand in atomic detail how ribosomes translate genetic information into proteins.

The three groups have also begun to push practical applications of their work. All three, for example, have reported crystal structures that show how different antibiotics bind to the ribosome. And several companies are now using these structures in an effort to design new antibiotics against worrisome infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and tuberculosis.

But Steitz, for one, says he never thought initially that anything more than a fundamental insight into the molecular workings of biology would come of the work. "It seemed a bit like trying to climb Mount Everest," Steitz says. "We knew it was doable. But we didn't know how to get there. When we got there in 2000, it was exhilarating. In fact, it was the most exhilarating moment I've had in science."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Flowers at Mehrauli Flower Market Delhi

The festival season has just begun and flowers are in big demand. No festival or traditional ceremony is complete without the use of beautiful flowers in myriad hues.The Mehrauli flower market is a place where flowers are available in bulk. Mehrauli mandi is a place you ought not miss when you are organising a big function like Puja or wedding or when you just need to decorate your home for festivals. Located on the main road of Mehrauli near Qutub Minar, the flower market is 12 years old and distinguishes itself in various aspects from the other markets or florists.

Abundant variety
The Mandi has numerous flowers of the season in various colours and types. Be it the evergreen roses that you wish to get for your daughter's wedding or the gladiolas for just decorating that cozy apartment of yours, Mehrauli Mandi has it all. At every stall in the market, you can find a large variety of roses, marigold, chrysanthemums, sunflower, carnations, rajnigandha, gladiolas, gerbera, orchids, tulips and daisies. Here one can get any kind of flower at any time of the year.

Unbelievably low prices
Since the market specializes in wholesale, the prices here are unbelievably low. Marigold, which is a popular flower for decorations and Puja, is available at florists for Rs 15-20 per foot of made mala while in the mandi, it sells for just Rs 10 per mala of that size. A one foot-long mogra is here for Rs 10 while outside it sells for Rs 20-25. Gerbera sells here for Rs 30 for 10 pieces whereas other florists sell it for Rs 15 per piece. Rose, the most common and the most sought -after flower, costs Rs 10-15 for a single piece but here you can get 20 pieces for Rs. 80.Tuberoses are a popular flower in floral arrangements and their scent is used to produce perfumes the world over. This flower is available in the market for Rs.5 per stick but here you can get it at an unbelievable price of Re 1 per stick.The gladiolas will cost you Rs.10 per stick from  florists while at Mehrauli Mandi  you can get a stick for Rs 4 only.

Flowers are not the only speciality
Here you can get a range of dry, false flowers, bamboo sticks. Ashok tree leaves' that are generally used with marigold leaves for decoration, popularly known as Ashok patton ki ladi are available here. Decorative material in different colors is the main attraction of the mandi. Beautifully crystalled false flowers and colorful beads are also the special attraction of the mandi.

So why not try some beautiful flowers and gift items that are a sure-shot
for upcoming festivals and occasions? You'll love them for sure!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Student

A hyperactive student is not necessarily an ADHD student. This might surprise you, as ADHD is often associated with hyperactivity. An ADHD student is definitely an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder student. How then, do you tell a normal hyperactive student from an ADHD student?

The ADHD student will definitely display the following traits: He is easily distracted. He will not stay focused on something for long if he is on something he does not particularly fancy doing, and will probably be attracted to something he is more in favor of doing. The ADHD student is likely to be distracted by, or rather, attracted to, some sound or sight. If he is bent on something he likes, he can be focused on it for hours.

The ADHD student is thus someone intriguing and challenging to teach. Because ADHD is a neurological disorder, it is likely that the ADHD student has some accompanying learning needs. The ADHD student may be extra sensitive to sound or sight, especially rapidly changing scenes such as computer imagery and bustling activities in the canteen and the playground. You will find him livelier after recess and lunch breaks as his hyperactivity will be highly stimulated by the shifting sights and sounds of the bustling activities around him.

Because the ADHD student is a lively and easily stimulated child, he is also emotionally charged at times, and appearing temperamental to many who do not grasp the fundamentals of ADHD children. To win the ADHD student over, you need to help him handle his emotions. To help him do that, you need to give him a sense of security to be around you. In other words, you need to help him agree that you are on his side, and that you are always right, whether he likes it or not. You need to appeal to his keen sense of right and wrong and help him rationalise beyond his irrational ways and thinking. Speak sense to him and grow his emotional intelligence. If he realises that you are rational even if he is not, and that you are not there to pin him down, he will kow tow to you and call you his lord.

When the ADHD student is emotionally stable in your class, you can do wonders with him. Because he may be easily excited by sight and sound, he is most easily handled with non-verbal cues. The ADHD student is a creature of habit. How do you control him? Collaborate with your colleagues and use the same signals and code of conduct. For example, teach him to respect your stare as being a signal for him to stop moving around, sit down and  keep quiet, or risk being sent home to reflect on whether he is self-controlled and disciplined enough to come to school again.

The ADHD student is a mirror - he is God's gift to us teachers. If you see him screaming his head off in your class, ask yourself if you are setting him that example. Chances are you are yelling your head off at some naughty students and he is, being neurologically wired to mirror the movements around him, just doing as he sees you do. You will be surprised how easy it is to control him when you are quietly seated at your desk and speaking in a controlled fashion. In fact, praise him for being well-behaved that day, and you will find the whole class of students being on their best behavior.

The ADHD student loves deeply, especially his mother and his father. They are the last persons he would want to hurt. Tell him sincerely that his lack of self-control (and not ill behavior) may cause his parents deep grief. He will be deeply remorseful and you will see a new him, even if it lasts only one night. Encourage him to do his best for them. Always remember to praise him for his good behavior and let his parents know when he is better behaved. You will make his day, and his mother will heave a sigh of relief that finally, someone in school is empathetic towards his needs.

The ADHD student may be seen to be clumsy, especially if he is big for his size. This is because in his eagerness to do something, he will throw caution to the wind and likely end up a mess. Tell him it is better to take his time. If he seems frustrated by some intricate activity, or overstimulated by the noise his classmates make during group work, send him on an errand to give his brain cells a break from the over-stimulation. For the same reason, if an ADHD student can keep on task for more than an hour independently, his effort is to be applauded.

It takes lots of patience and non judgemental attitude to understand the ADHD student. Once you grasp the parameters in which his actions are controlled, you will find him very entertaining and a true human being, seeking the truth in his own way and wanting just to be helpful at times without thinking beyond what lies before him. Show him the love and understanding as you would other normal students, and your ADHD student will improve beyond expectancy. You will grow to love him and miss him when he is not around.