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Friday, 1 June 2012

EPF of India

Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act (EPF & MP Act) 1952 is an important piece of labour welfare legislation enacted by Parliament to provide social security benefits to the workers. Some important provisions of Employees & Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 (as on 2012):-

  • The Act and scheme provide for 3 type of benefits (1) EPF (2) Pensionary Benefit to employees and family members & (3) Insurance Coverage.

  • The members (workers/employees), who join the company are covered under the purview of the act has to remit contribution from his Basic Salary @12% through their employer & the employer will contribute the same by diverting 3.67% to Employees Provident Fund & balance 8.33% to Pension Fund.

  • The employer has to pay equal contribution along with admn. charges @ 1.10% of the total salary and inspection charges @0.05%

  • Members, who are drawing basic wages upto 6500/-, will be covered under Provident Fund by contributions both by employees/workers and the employer-company.

  • Over and above basic wages / salary of Rs.6500/-, it is at the discretion of employer to share their contribution to the member's PF account though employees/workers will have to contribute their share to the PF Account.

  • The contribution deducted from members' salary by the employer has to be remitted to EPF Organisation by 15th of succeeding month for the preceeding month salary/wages. EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organisation) will pay interest @ 8.25% (as on 2012) for the amount accumulated every year till it is withdrawn on retirement.

  • If the member dies, while in service, the family of the deceased member will get the insurance benefit and pension benefits i.e. widow pension and children pension up to children's age of 25 years.

  • Member can change his job and work with any number of establishements till the age of 58 years..

  • Any member, who has rendered continuous service of 10 years, will be eligible for pension.

  • Full pension will be payable at the age of 58 years of retirement.

  • Reduced pension is eligible at the age of 50 years by deducting the 4% of the actual pension payable.

  • On member's death, Widow & Children Pension will be payable.

  • Minimum pension will be payable Rs.450/- to the widower & to the children Rs.250/-, if the member dies while in service.

  • If the pensioner dies, widow is eligible to receive the pension and no children pension will be payable. 2 children will be eligible for children's pension up to the age of 25. If children get married before 25 years of age, no pension will be payable to them.

  • Maximum pension of Rs.2500/- will be payable to pensioner.

  • Insurance will not be payable to the family member if the member dies after leaving the service.

  • If employer fails to remit the contribution, deducted in members salary will land in trouble and settlement cannot be made to the member/pensioner easily.

  • If the employer fails to remit the contribution by 15th of every month, penal damages will be initiated against the employer.

Active Listening

Even though we have somehow divided men and women into planets - Mars, Jupiter, and may be Saturn- the one thing everyone shares is a desire to feel understood. Even if men use fewer words than women, the bottom line is that every person wants a good listener.

What is it that makes for an assertive listener? How can a listener be assertive, anyway? That would seem to be the one are where being passive would work pretty good. So here are some tips on active listening.

  • Listen up, listeners. In order to be an assertive listener, you have to actually shut up for a while. How are you going to know what's being said if you are listening only to the sound of your own voice?

  • Listening means more than being silent and counting to twenty so you can start talking again. But if you are completely silent, the other person may wonder if you are still breathing. Sounds silly! But a genuine "Really" or "Hmmm" lets the other person know you are with them.

  • Do you hear what is being said to you? If you could not repeat the speaker's last two sentences, you probably did not hear them. May be because it is too noisy in your own head. Tune out your own judgments, mind reading, and worries. Otherwise, it is like hearing two radio stations at once.

  • Ask yourself why the person is telling you this story. Do they want your opinion, sympathy, or anger on their behalf? Conversations go off in the ditch sometimes when a friend wants you to be supportive and calm and you get caught up in your own feelings of outrage over what happened.

    Try to put yourself in other man's shoes. And if you really do not know what they want from you, try asking.

  • Do you understand what is being said? Plenty of people can remember what was said but not know why it is important. If you are not connecting the dots, gently ask, "What is getting to you about this?"

  • If you can, connect those dots. An observation like "So Philip must remind you of your sister" can show that you understand what is meaningful about this story.

Emotion Management

An emotion is the stimulation of a pathway of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain. This pathway interconnects with other brain systems that regulate other physical systems in the body.

Our reactions to our world exist in an extremely complex and changeable internal climate of feelings. Emotions are states of beig with a physical basis in te body and a uniquely personal sense of meaning.

The terms, "emotions" and "feelings" are almost interchangeable. Feeling has the connotation of emphasizing the named and interpreted aspect of an emotion, but feelings and emotions are both variations of the same complex experience.

  • Emotion Management is a way of handling your feelings so that they stay in balance most easily.

  • Emotion management is understanding your feelings well enough to examine them, accept their natural developments, and make considered decisions about responding to or expressing them.

  • Your first goal is to keep thinking, or stay conscious followed by achieving clarity and maintaining a sense of coherence.

  • Staying Conscious:- Staying conscious can be harder than it sounds. When the brain is over-loaded, the most complex processes are the first to go, especially those involved in making plans or synthesizing thought processes.

    You can learn to maintain or to quickly regain those thought processes that might otherwise be lost under emotional pressure.

  • Achieving Clarity:- To achieve and maintain clarity, you must have the ability to think about a feeling while you are experiencing. With emotion management skills, you can evaluate an emotion as you experience it and decide where to focus your attention.

    This gives you the freedom both to decide what to express about the emotions and to modify environment if you want to modulate that feeling's intensity.

  • Sense of Coherence:- To feel coherent, emotions need to be familiar, understandable, and accepted without judgment. They should blend together smoothly and mix comfortably with your specific personality and general experience of yourself.

    This requires you to study your own emotional system to get a full view of how you operate.

Emotion management includes the idea that your emotions do not disrupt a positive, harmonious, and unified sense of yourself. It is important to know that efforts to control emotions usually tend to backfire.

Emotions are the dynamic and spontaneous results of many forces. Working with feelings always helps more than working against them.

Business Process Improvement

BPI is a simple and effective way to improve any business process at any level of its objectives. BPI can reduce waste and improve efficiency, delivering the maximum financial benefit to any business.

Following six interlinked steps help in revealing and and repairing specific points of weakness with the process and emphasize customers, measurement, planning, and execution.

  • Understanding the Customer:- The first process in BPI is, listening to both internal and external customers and determining whether it is doing its part to meet their needs and expectations, and if it is not. If it is not, to know why and in what ways?

  • Understanding the Process:- Here the workflow is to be documented, by segmenting the process's individual steps, and charting each one. Appropriate measurements are determined to track performance before, during and after changes ar made. This documentation allows to validate the effects of evenly improvement effort.

  • Assessing the Process:- To know which steps add value and which do not. Strategies are devised for improvement by determining how to eliminate non-value added steps and how to consolidate redundant steps to smooth the workflow. This process also involves collecting and analyzing process performance data and comparing it to customer requirements.

  • Improving the Process:- As some processes need adustment and others need radical re-engineering, BPI team should weigh the benefits of the improvement strategies and select the best approach for the business. The main objective of this process is to drive wastes out.

  • Piloting the Improved Process:- Running a pilot test of the proposed improvement will help, know whether it is working and it is delivering benefits projected.

  • Implementing, Monitoring, and Continously Improving the Process:- This final process involves creating a rollout plan, training all affected employees, assessing the results, and continuing to make adjustements as necessary.

BPI may look similar to 'Lean' & 'Six Sigma' but the BPI process actually provides a business improvement framework within which Lean & Six Sigma can be used.

Upon completing the assessment process, operations leaders should determine whether Lean and/or Six Sigma will be applicable and can be applied.

Through the voice of the customer, the use of BPI can point operations in the right direction, prompting radical re-engineering and innovation to leapfrog the competition. Bottomline, BPI provides a disciplined approaching to driving operational change.

Mastering 'Eye Contact'

Good eye contact helps one succeed in nearly every type of social interactions one could engage in - from business to family relations. Your eyes are a reliable indicator of how you are actually feeling inside - Sad, Happy, Shy, Joyful or Nervous. If you are feeling any of them, your eyes will show it.

You can get over from your fear and discomfort around eye contact in several following manageable ways:-

  • Making lengthy eye contact with a a friend or family member:- Find a friend or a family member who is somewhat open-minded and explain that you want to improve your eye contact. Once you have got your friend on board, sit across from each other preferably on the floor. Practice looking at your friend's eye from one second to three minutes intermittently but do not try to look at both eyes at once.

    Keep a neutral facial expression with a soften and warmer focus. Relax and be sure to take deep breathe throughout your exercise. Notice whatever thoughts arise while you are looking at your friend's family member's eyes.

  • Making brief eye contact with strangers:- Here you have to make a fraction of second's worth of eye contact while passing strangers and definitely not long enough. Just see eye color and look away.

    Don't start eye contact too far away. If you make eye contact with someone walking by your on your left side, break your eye contact by looking straight ahead not by looking down.

  • Making longer Eye Contact:- So long as you do your eye contact in a respectful and friendly way, there is absolutely nothing with "practising" eye contact with waiters, salespersons, cashiers and other paid service people. If you do it with the right intention to establish a real human connections with someone you are interacting with, it will brighten that person's life in what is otherwise probably a challenging or dull workday.

    And one aspect of learning about eye contact is learning to deal with rejections comfortably.
  • Making substantial eye contact with friends and family members:- Here you have to increase the eye contact next time you are talking with a friend, family member or your colleague.
  • Eye contact in casual conversation with friends and family members is a delicate dance. To ease into this eye dance you should know some of the following important factors of 'psychological space' like (i) whether the other person is facing you (ii) whether your attention is on the other person (iii) whether the other person is talking about something relevant to you (iv) whether the other person is making physical contact with you & (v) whether the other person is making eye contact with you.
  • Making substantial eye contact with people just met:- This final step you have to follow with the people you meet at cocktail parties, conferences, business events, birthday parties, dinner parties and other kind of event by making substantial contact keeping in view the 'psychological space', mentioned above.

You will be amazed at the feeling of connection, sharing, and trust you are quickly able to develop with loved ones and strangers alike through sharing eye contact.

Habits Holding Back From Top

What we are dealing with are challenges in interpersonal behaviour and often leadership behaviour. They are everyday irritations, caused by troublesome acts that make workplace more harmful to mind and health than it needs to be. They are the transactional defects performed by one person to another.

Check yourself against the list below, reduce it to one or two vital issues and you will know where to start.

  • Winning Too Much:- This is the most common behavioural problem in successful people. Winning too much is the number one challenge as it underlies nearly every other behavioural problems.

  • Adding Too Much Value:- It is extremely difficult for successful people to listen to other people. The higher up you go, the more you need to make other people winners and not make it about winning yourself.

  • Passing Judgement:- There is nothing wrong with offering an opinion in the normal give-and-take of business discussions. But is not appropriate to pass judgement when we specifically ask people to voice their opinion about us. For a week, treat every idea that comes your way from another person with complete neutrality without taking sides.

    People will gradually begin to see you as a much more agreeable person, even when you are not agreeing with them. Consistently follow this policy and people will eventually brand you as a welcoming person, someone whose door they can knock on when they have an idea.

  • Starting with "No", "But," or "However":- When you start a sentence with any of these words or a variation thereof, no matter how friendly your tone or how many softened phrases you throw in to acknowledge the other person's feelings, the message to the other person is : you are wrong.

    Stop trying to defend your position and start monitoring how many times you begin remarks with those three words.

  • Telling the World How Smart You Are:- This is another variation on our need to win. We need to be the smartest person anywhere, but it usually backfires. You can stop this behaviour by following a three-step drill:- (i) Pause before you open your mouth to ask yourself, "Is anything I say worth it?" (ii) Conclude that it is not. (iii) Say "Thank you."

  • Speaking When Angry:- When you get angry, you are usually out of control. Once you get a reputation for emotional reaction, you are branded for life. Pretty soon that is all people know about you.

  • Negativity:- "Let me explain why that won't work". After reading this statement, what you feel. You will definitely feel that this is purely a indicative phrase of negativity. Seeing how people relate to you provides proof that your flaw is serious, it matters to people, and it is a problem.

  • Withholding Information:- In the age of knowledge workers and technological advancement, information is power. Intentionally withholding information is the opposite of adding value. Not sharing information rarely achieves the desired effect.

    Also failing to give proper recognize will deprive people of the emotional payoff that comes with success. They feel forgotten, ignored, and pushed to the side.

  • Adhering to the Past:- Many people enjoy living in the past. We use the past as a weapon against others and a way of contrasting it with the present to highlight something positve about ourselves at the expense of someone else.

  • Not Listening:- People will tolerate all sorts of rough and tough behaviours, but the inability to pay attention holds a special place in their hearts. If you are not listening, it means you are conveying a lot of negative messages.

  • Failing to Express Gratitude:- The sweetest words in the English Language are "Thank You". Although there is no art to saying it, people have a tough time executing this basic courtesy.

  • Passing the Buck:- This is the behavioural flaw by which we judge leaders. A leader who cannot shoulder the blame is not someone we will follow blindly into battle. Such leader is not fooling anyone - except perhaps himself - and no matter how much he thinks he is saving his hide, he is actually killing it.

  • Why Budgeting A Necessity?

    Budgeting is a financial plan for allocation of available funds. Why 'Budgeting' is neccessary?

    • Budgeting helps an individual, department and organisation achieve planned objectives.

    • Budgets helps to illustrate the financial responsibilities of the organization to its shareholders, lenders, suppliers, employers, customers and the owners.

    • Budgets are only as good as the individuals who prepare them. The validity and usefulness of a budget depend on the people who put it together.
  • Budgeting helps in planning of an organization in a systematic and logical manner for a long-term business strategy.

  • Budgeting helps in co-ordinating the activities of the various parts of the organization and ensure that they are consistent.

  • Budgeting helps in communicating more easily the objectives, opportunities, and plans of the business to the various business team managers.

  • Budgeting helps in motivating managers to try to achieve the organisational and individual goals.

  • Budgeting helps in controlling activities by measuring progress against the original plan, adjusting where necessary.

  • Budgeting helps in providing a framework for evaluating the peformance of managers in meeting individual and departmental targets.

  • In spite of its many advantages, Budgeting can increase paperwork and can be a drain on management time, especially early on.

  • Budgets are slow to work, since the benefits will not be seen until the next year. Budgets require standardization, which can lead to inflexibility.

  • Budgets can meet with resistance from managers with no willingness to accept new procedures.

  • Salesperson Communication

    Communication is where all trust and relationships begin. Communicating with customers should be 80% listening and 20% asking questions. Trust is earned in listening and not in talking.

    Psychologists say that 93% of what we communicate to other people is non-verbal. A sales person can start his meeting off by telling his customer a few things without uttering a word. Carrying a big shoulder bag / laptop to the customer's place will frighten him. The less the salesperson brings with him is better. The salesperson whenever possible can follow the following communication techniques:-

    • Closing Mouth:- Seems overly simplistic? But the salesperson cannot learn anything while he is talking. He has to learn to use silence in a conversation and leave more space in his conversation by letting his customer to come up with more detail or additional information.

    • Looking & Smiling at Customers:- Having eye contact is vital in good communication and earning trust. If you are a salesperson, just let your eyes roam around your customer's face and come back to their eyes every few seconds. Make sure that both your mouth and your eyes are smiling. A real smile involves your eyes too.

      While your customer is talking, try to block everyting else out your mind. Look at them and listen with your eyes as intently as you can. Your customer will notice the difference and so will you.

    • Moving Head a Little:- Salesperson should let his customer talking by nodding a little as the conversation goes along, but should not overdo it. He might also want to get his eyebrows involved a little on the really interesting bits.

      Even when the customer is doing the talking, and a salesperson's mouth is closed, he still has 93% of his capacity to communicate available which he can use.

  • Becoming a Great Conversationist:- Great conversationist knows how to get people talking and keep them talking, use a number of verbal sounds and certain words to encourage often to continue. When customer takes a breathe, salesperson can encourage them to help talking by mastering the use of great conversatinaist's words like Hmmmm, Oh, Really, Unbelievable, Amazing, Seriously etc.

    Anybody can practice using these words. And the salesperson can often prompt his customer to continue talking by repeating the last few words, using by right intonation

  • Asking Clarifying Questions:- To understanding motive, urgency, consequence and effect, salesperson can ask right questions. If you are a salesperson and cannot think of any right question, the best question to ask is "Why do you say that, Albert?" (note, question followed by name to make it non-personal to get customer's personal opinions and views). Salesperson can use this question a few times over the next few days to make himself comfortable with it.

  • Training Sales Team

    According to a Business Dictionary, 'Training' is an organised activity aimed at imparting information / instructions to improve anybody's performance or to help, attain a required level of knowledge, skill or attitude. The keys to making 'Sales Training' effective depend upon how training is imparted to Sales Team.

    • To know the objective of training, training need analysis is to be undertaken.

    • Trainer should ask himself (i) Does sales team need to know more about Company's products and services? (ii) Do they have a high enough level of technical knowledge? (iii) Does the team need to know more about the marketplace? (iv) Would performance improve with general sales training? (v) Should training be in-house or out-of-house?

    • Sales persons who require coaching can be listed out.

  • Initially, sending sale people on courses on general business principles and practices to help them, better understand the customers' needs and the needs of their company.

  • The trainer can learn from experts and, if possible, can engage them to deliver a speech to sales team.

  • Sale people can be taught business finance principles, no matter how how unfamiliar tey may be with money matters.

  • An experienced Sales Manager, while imparting training to his sales team, can cover wide range of topics according to the needs of the group.

  • As different types of customer will react differently, training sales people by 'Role-Play' training method help them to recognize and handle a variety of reactions. Sales Manager can make role-playing as realistic as you can for maximum effectiveness.

  • As the trainer cannot teach sales skills in the classroom, he can accompany the salesperson into the field, to allow him to make a sale.

  • Constructive demonstrations of different selling scenarios can be made part of the training.

  • The defects of trainees should never be harshly criticised.

  • Good progress can be observed and faults can be noted. Anything that as been done well should alays be praised.

  • Performance can be constantly monitored, followed by feedback to them.

  • Wednesday, 16 May 2012

    Areas of 'Project Management'

    The Project Management Institute (PMI) has established a guide for managing projects called the Project Management Body of Knowledge or PMBOK (called as 'pim bock'). PMI has defined in the PMBOK, the following fundamental areas a project manager should address during the course of a project.

    • Project Integration Management:-  All projects are meant to address some business need. From the beginning till the end of the project, a Project Manager has several people working on a variety of things, often at the same time and only occasionally together. The Project has to bring all this work together in a coherent way. When the project is completed successfully, the product or service produced by the project needs to be integreted into the company's ongoing operations which involve Planning, Execution and Changes, if needed.
  • Project Scope Management:- Managing the scope of the project is extremely important as one of the leading causes of project failure is when the project keeps getting bigger, complex and shifting gradually. It is a good practice to write a clear, definite scope statement and to have sponspor and key customers review it. Project Manager has to define the scope in great detail as he plans for all the tasks that need to be completed to finish the project.

  • Project Time Management:- Of the three elements - Time, Cost & Quality - project manager should have good control over time. Simply put, Project Manager has manage time during a project if he develops an accurate schedule and manages the project to that schedule.

  • Most Project Managers use a baseline schedule as a way to manage the time. By comparing the way the schedule is progression versus the baseline schedule, the Project Manager can see the trends and make course corrections before things get out of hand.

  • Project Cost Management:- Project Manager are always asked to report on how much money he is spending to complete the project. Sometimes the Project Manager can't control all the factors that influence the project. He should build a contingency fund into the budget, but he has to be very careful as asking for money is never a fun.

  • Project Quality Management:- Quality is a key component in any project. There are projects that were completed but the results were disappointing due to inferior quality. Project Manager has to determine the Quality Objectives, Quality Assurance & Corrective Actions required to develop good quality plan.

  • Project Human Resource Management:- Even in smaller projects, managing human resources over the course of the project is one of the most important aspects of a successful project which demands organisational planning, staff acquisition & building a committed team for the project.

  • Project Communications Management:- Communication is one of the key factors in all projects. If strong communication is evident, project manager can be sure that success will follow.

  • Project Risk Management:- In handling risk, Project Manager must think about what may go wrong during a project and develop a strategy to either prevent it from happening at all or reduce the negative impact on the project if it does happen.

  • Project Procurement Management:- Almost all projects need to buy goods or services from outside the company. As Project Manager plans the project, he has to undertake cost-benefit analysis of the options available and decides which one makes sense in the light of budget and schedule.

  • Politicians' Hand Language

    Hand movement, one of the non-verbal communications, is so important in emphasizing a person's points or meanings. Professional speakers are trained to use very limited hand gestures. The next time you see a politician in action, watch his or her hands. 

    • You might be wondering why politicians bother learning hand gestures.

    • Since politicians generally want to give the impression that they are being as open and honest possible, they usually do not cross their arms or legs while they speak though these postures may be comfortable.

    • Politicians keep their hands on display to look honest and trustworthy. So they are very careful about the gestures they use.

    • One reason speakers train themselves to use several neutral hand movements is so they appear honest and forthright even if they are hiding the truth. Using the correct hand gestures can allow a speaker to make the public into a state of trust and comfort.

    • Politicians normally favour palms-down motions, patting gestures & palm raising. By palm-down motions, speaker is telling you that he is in control of the situation or that everything is going to be all right.

      Simply raising the hand with fingers extended and close together is a neutral gesture that the speaker is calm, cool, collected, and ready to handle the situation.

    • There are some hand gestures which politicians try to avoid are fists (tightly closed hands with the fingers bent against the palm) & palms-up gestures.

      For starters, people want to see that their leader has gathered his thoughts, is in control of emotions, and has come up with firm plan of action. Although politicians do use palms-up gestures, they hardly do so as it might be viewed as a gesture of relative weakness. Politicians use this type of gesture when trying to explain a difficult concept or when apologizing for his latest scandal.

    • Here are the examples of some famous politicians love their well-practiced hand gestures. John F. Kennedy & Bill Clinton were famous for using loosely closed fist with a thump sticking out of the top to get their points across without appearing aggressive. George Bush often used to place hands on the elevated platform when he speaks - a way of saying "I have nothing to hide".

    Management Vs Leaderhsip

    According to 'The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management', Management and Leadership are not same thing. But they are linked, and complimentary.

    • The role of a leader is so crucial to continual success. Leadership deals with direction while management deals with speed.

    • Leadership deals with vision - with keeping the mission in sight and with effectiveness and results. Management deals with establishing strcuture and systems to get those results.

    • Leadership focus on the top line. Management focuses on the bottom line. Leadership derives its power from values and purposes. Management organizes resources to serve selected objectives to produce the bottom line.

    • Management and Leadership are not mutually exclusive. Leadership is the highest component of management.

    • The basic role of the leader is to foster mutual respect and build a complementary team where each strength is made productive and each weakness made irrelevant. The essential role of a manager is to use leverage to multiply the work and role of the producer.

    • The manager focuses on systems and structure whereas the leader focuses on people.

    • The manager's main focus is on 'Administration & Maintenance' while leader's focus is on 'Creativity & Development'.

    • The functions of Manager are - Planning, Establishing Agendas, Setting Timetables, Allocating Resources, Establishing Rules & Procedures & Taking Corrective Actions. The functions of a Leader are - Setting Strategies, Establishing Direction, Building Teams and Coalitions, Empowering Subordinates & Satisfying unmet needs of the organisation.

    Tuesday, 15 May 2012

    Writing Readable 'Policy Manuals'

    Careful writing of 'Policy Manual' is essential to ensure that it can be easily read, interpreted, and understood. Poor grammer or lack of skill in writing will confuse the reader and lead to misunderstandings. Here are simple techniques that will help achieve better readability of 'Policy Manual':-

    • The purpose of any policy manual is to clearly define the policy, benefit, or procedural issue. Use a straightforward writing style.

    • Keep the message clear and concise. Avoid long or complex descriptions or definitions. Break a complex issue down into a clear sequence of smaller, less complex topics.

    • Write in sentences that are simple and short. Limit each sentence to one thought or point. A sentence with three of four points that becomes a paragraph is probably too complex. Break up compound sentences into two or more simple sentences.

    • Follow basic grammar guidelines. Write in full sentences which contain a subject and predicate with correct spelling and proper punctuation.

    • Consider your audience and write at a level that will be understood by your reader. When writing policy information, better be always on the side of simplicity and understanding.

    • Use common terms which are in daily use in communications. Use terms with common definitions or meanings to aid in uniform understanding of policy message.

    • Technical languages may be suitable if policy issue deals with a technical, scientific, or legal issue and readers are familiar with the concepts and terms.

    • Follow sequence while writing policy or procedural information. An outline or a flowchart is useful in guiding the writer to define policy information in sequence.

    • Anticipate possible questions that may be asked by the reader or by employees. Provide answers to these questions as you write the policy.

    • Proofread and edit policy statement or manual carefully.

    • Ask another individual to read your policy draft to ensure understanding of meaning and procedures. Be open to suggestions for improvement or clarification that may be need.

    Monday, 14 May 2012

    Outsourcing - Pros & Cons

    'Outsourcing' is an act of one company, entering into an agreement with another company to provide products or services that might otherwise be performed by in-house employees. It is an important financial strategy open to a business that will help it make a superior return on the funds invested. Outsourcing has many benefits for a new business and for an established one for that matter. Still there are some inherent dangers in 'outsourcing'. Some pros and cons of 'Outsourcing':-


    • Access to expertise: It can be alomost impossible for a small firm, especially in the start-up phase, to have a team onboard with the latest expertise. It is easier for larger established firms to attract the best staff and ot have the latest equipment. That, in turn, means you as a new entrant can have access to state-of-the-art products and services from the outset.

    • Greater Scalability: It just is not cost-effective to have production resources on hand from the outset to meet possible future demand. By outsourcing to one or more suppliers you can have, in effect, any level of output you want, all at a variable cost rather than a fixed cost.

    • More predictable costs: While outside suppliers and manufacturers can sometimes provide products and services at a lower cost than doing it yourself, you can make costs more predictable and establish a smoother cash flow.

    • Free-up your time: Turning over non-core functions leaves you and your team free to concentrate on strategic development and core business functions.

    • Economies o Scale: As fixed costs of supplier are spread over more than one client and part of that benefit can be availed in lower prices. That means better negotiating leverage, lower material prices and better equipment utilization.


    • Confidentiality of Data: Confidentiality is a fundamental concern for any business. If you outsource anything involving company secrets ensure that basic contractual provisions, including intellectual property rights and non-disclosure agreements, are established to protect confidential information.

    • Quality Control: Quality Assurance & Quality Control are strategies issues when it comes to outsourcing and an emerging danger with the arrival of 'socially minded customer' in which people are looking more closely at companies and their products before buying from them. So while outsourcing plays a vital role in operations, it still has to be managed and to conform to corporate ethical standards. There are a number of well-regarded India & International Quality Standards that can ensure that operating procedures deliver a consistent and acceptable standard of products or services.

    • Loss of Control: Although you can change outsource suppliers, as long as an activity is bought in, you will have full control over it. You will also find it difficult to develop the skills needed to keep abreast of changes in the field.

    Types of Negotiation

    'Negotiation' is a discussion between two individuals regarding a contract, agreement or relationship. It is a process of getting best terms, acceptable to both the parties and a means of getting what one wants from others.

    Making crucial strategic choice between substantive outcome and relationship plays a role in deciding te type of negotiation. Every negotiation can be measured by the importance of the relationship and substance. Knowing this will help one design goals and approach in that specific situation.

    • Tacit Cooperation:- In this, neither substance nor relationship matter greatly. For example, two strangers arrive at an entrance door of a building out who should go first. In such a situation, avoiding or accommodating approach make sense. One person either lets the other person go first or allows the other person go first the choice of going first or second.

  • Transactions:- Transactions are negotiations in which the substantive outcome is of high value and the relationship value is low.

  • A competitive approach would seem to be the natural response to such negotiations and that certainly makes sense. However, many negotiators too often fail to recognize the importance of rapport and trust-building in such situations.

  • Relationships:- There are negotiations in which the parties perceive a high importance for the relationship and place a low value on the substantive stakes of the negotiation. For example, friendhships and family are where such negotiations would occur.

  • An accommodating approach is important to take in such situations. Communicating clearly and building trust skills practiced either too infrequently or too unskillfully.

  • Balanced Concerns:- Balanced concerns are negotiations in which both relationship and substance matter. Classic examples involve co-workers, partnerships, and alliances.

  • When an owner of a smaller business merges with an owner of a larger one, both obviously care greatly about the financial health for themselves individually and the new company as a whole.

    Steps to 'Successful Delegation'

    'Delegation' means entrusting a task to subordinates by superiors to complete. It is an essential management skill. 'Delegation' is difficult and most superiors experience a loss of control and or a fear that the subordinates they are delegating to are not really capable of doing the task well. Following steps can improve the prospects for success in delegation:-

    • As a superior, decide what tasks to delegate and, equally importantly, what no to. Routine jobs can usually be passed on with little difficulty.

    • It is better not to delegate unpopular, boring and, monotonous tasks often.

    • Delegate subordinates who have right skill set, and who is not already overloaded. Delegate to those who is likely to stay around long enough for the organisation and like to gain experience.

    • Always keep informed the subordinates about the changes in performing the tasks, get their commitment. Let them know about the changes in role and why.

    • While delegating responsibility, give also authority to subordinates by following 'free-rein' leadership style to complete the task by making independent decisions.

    • Follow-up with the subordinates and frequent review will make sure that tasks assigned are being completed satisfactorily.

    • Reward appropriately for a successful delegation.

    • Have two-way communication and keep the subordinates/team members about the successful completion of the tasks to reinforce the value of taking on additional responsiblities, personal development and the opportunities for career progression

    Saturday, 12 May 2012

    5 W's & 1 H of 'Meditation'

    We all need to have maximum mental, physical, spiritual potential, relaxation, inner communication, and system of complete rest for your mind and body. We follow different techniques to help us reach our potential, the most common of which is 'Meditation':-

    • 'Meditation' is not the invention of any one individual or group nor it has anything to do with any religion group or denomination.

    • The art of Meditation can be learned with little or no difficult by anyone.

    • Anybody can begin Meditation by putting aside a time at the beginning of each day, preferably before breakfast. Similar schedules should regularly be followed for best results.

    • ideal place for meditation is your home and meditate in the same location, preferably in a quiet room. where you can shut off the bright lights.

    • Meditating once a day is better and continuity is an important factor in achieving the best results.

    • 'Meditation' should last for about 15-20 minutes. During meditation, you will begin better than you ever felt.

    • Before meditating, first things to do is to slow down the mind, body and senses.

    • To achieve peaceful feeling before start meditating, read something illuminating for a few minutes until you feel calm.

    • 'Meditation' re-establishes our contact with the source of power within us and cleanses the mind and makes us open and receptive, to creative ideas, intuition and inspiration.

    • 'Meditation' is a kind of method, physical and spiritual recharging where you feel totally at peace and calm within.

    • 'Meditation' has no negative but many positive side effects.

    • 'Meditation' has positive effects on our oxygen consumption, cardiac output, intelligence, psychological rest, heart rate, nervous system, stress, performance, self-image, improved inter-personal relationships etc.

    Friday, 11 May 2012

    Writing for 'Press Release'

    Press release is considered as a major source of news information all over the world. A press release or a news release is a text-based announcement of an event, development, or other newsworthy item, having some news value, such as scheduled events, awards, accomplishments, new products, new services, executive promotions, sales, financial data, political issues etc.

    To get readers' attention immediately to a press release, easy to digest for them and make the publication more likely, following are the simple steps:-

    • Layout:- Begin 'Press Release' or 'New Release' heading in bold and type out the layout on a A4 Sheet with double spacing and wide margins to make the text easily readable and editable.

  • Headline:- Media Editors look for originality, topicality and, sometimes, humor. Headline, as such, should be catchy to persuade the editor.

  • Introductory Paragraph:- Write on Editor's perspective. Ensure your introductory paragraph is fact-focused and is not sales-oriented. Make this paragraph more interesting and it summarises the whole story.

  • Body of the Press Release:- Try to tell your story in a maximum of 3 to 4 paragraphs. Use simple language, short sentences and avoid technical jargons provided you are not writing for technical magazines.

  • Photographs:- Email the journalist the option of having a digital version of a standard photograph of your product or anything else relevant to the story.

  • Contact Details:- At the end of press release, list out your name, mobile, telephone numbers & email address for further information by the editors/readers of your press release.

  • Follow-up:- Sometimes a follow-up phone call or email to see if editors intend to use the release can be useful but use your judgement on how often to do so.

  • Thursday, 10 May 2012

    Factors of Jealousy

    Jealous is a "fear of being replaced by a rival, especially in regard to another's affection or or vindictness toward another or fear of losing someone's affection or love or the suspicion of rivalry or unfaithfulness".

    We all probably have been jealous at some point of time. But only a few people have an understanding of the roots or causes for their jealousy. Following are the factors that make one jealous over others.
    • Immediate Factors:- Immediate factors are the internal triggers which provoke a fear response, are buried deep in one's background and are apt to be set off anytime, any place, and with anyone. Everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat to the fearful person, and the more that person rationalises, denies, and suppresses the fear, the worse it can become.

  • Self Factors:- Self factors are parts of one's core, or essential self, that are developed from birth, and that development continues throughout one's life. How & how much one's self develops plays a major role in jealousy. Your self is very complex, and much of it can be hidden from you and others, but it still can exerts influence on your behaviour, attitudes, and perceptions.

  • It is okay to have jealous feelings, but one should try to manage, contain them and to accept that these are your feelings triggered by your response to a perceived threat.

  • Past Experiences:- Previous relationships also play a major in the emergency of jealousy. For example, you repeatedly try to connect to others to form friendships and intimacy but your efforts result in rejections many times. You will be cautious and uncertain in establishing other relationships. You may try to hold others too tightly to ensure that they will remain with you. On the other hand, if you experiences supportive and satisfying relationships, throughout your life is more trusting and confident.

  • Many of one's past experiences can carry "unfinished business". The trouble with unfinished business that you never know when it will emerge and cause trouble, or the form it will take.

  • Family of Origin Factors:- Experiences with parents, siblings, and other people close to one's family during formative years can have some effects for being jealous others. No matter how much one forgets, denies, rationalizes, or works on those early experiences, they continue to play a major role in the adult's life, reactions and relationships. The beginnings of jealousy lie in the feelings of fear, abandonment, loss, and insecurity that were established early in the person's life.

  • The jealous person may only know what he feels, with no understanding of why these feelings emerge.

    Tuesday, 8 May 2012

    Causes of Child's Depression

    No doubt, our children experience stress and other circumstances that they perceive in their own unique ways. While some of these situations are things are things they they can control, more often than no not they are helpless over most of these happenings. There are many factors that can contribute to depression's beginning and recurrence.
    • Genetics:- There are certain illness that parents run the risk of passing on to their children. If a child has a parent or sibling who has had depression, he has about a 25 to 30 percent chance of developing depression sometime in his life. When both parents have had depression, the chances rise to 70%.
    Remedy:- A genetic family history of depression merely gives more information to draw from, with parents's goal to prevent, to detect and treat quickly.

  • Brain Chemistry:- Brain is a complete machine which will roll along without any problem, if it is well-oiled and all components are working properly. These components are called neurons in the brain to communicate with each other. If there are not enough of neurotransmitter chemicals, depression can pop up.

  • Remedy:- Walking or running has a great effect on the production of the neurotransmitters responsible for causing changes in mood. Even slow exercises like yoga will help solve their problem.

  • Physical Illness:- Depression is often associated with some physical illnesses and disabilities. You never know exactly how an illness has affected your child emotionally. Some of the illnesses that depression might co-exist with are Anemia, Asthma, Diabetes, Cancer etc.

  • Secondly, when a child has disability, she is more likely to become depressed unless she has a healthy set of coping skills at her disposal. Children might depressed when he / she realizes that she / he cannot do what others can. This is especially true of children who are not born with a disability but have something happen to them that drastically changes the way they live their lives.

  • The Family Environment:- The family environment around child has the ability to cause depression in children and teens. Poverty, neglect, abuse, rejected, death in the family, divorce, parental conflict, sigle parenting are the main causes for child's depression.

  • Remedy:- Do not underestimate what your child is watching at home. Abuse affects every member of the family. A child cannot defend himself. If you cannot protect yourself from abuse, try to find a way to protect your child.

  • Television:- Children see commercials for smoking or using alcohol where everyone appears happy and carefree. Movies tout the riches and happiness that can be bought through wrongdoings. Song promises true love. These influences are strong and obviously make lasting impressions.

  • Even Stressful Life Events like Sibling leave home, parent's loss of job, death of parent, discovery being adopted etc. might cause depression to children.

  • Parents! do not be scared. The causes shown above about parents and their parenting skills are not meant to alarm anyone but to provide necessary information.

    Messages Women Convey By Dress

    The way women dress sends an instant message about who they are. Women just want to make sure that you are sending the message they want people to get. One quick look at any women can convey the following:-
    • Classy or common.
    • Competent or does not have a clue.
    • Beautiful, not so beautiful or dumb.
    • Creative or cookie cutter (lacking individuality).
    • Caring or not.
    • Poor, rich, or somewhere in between.
    • Decision maker or not.
    • Careful or careless.
    • Appropriate or inappropriate.
    • Entry level, worker bee, middle management, or executive.
    • Elegant or pedestrian.
    Women can look beautiful, creative, caring, rich, appropriate, successful, and attractive no matter their age or budget for dress - that is the fact. Six things set one woman apart from another - Knowledge, Self assurance/self-confidence/self-esteem, A Unique Sense of Style, Attitude, Heart and Soul & The aura of easy elegance.

    Monday, 7 May 2012

    Getting Rid of Junk at Home

    Staying organized around the house is to keep things right so you do not have to search for everything. Organizing your home saves you a lot of time and effort. Here are some simple ways:-
    • Observe what things pile up in your house and where they cluster, and come up with a place nearby that becomes the official home where those things reside.
    • Designate a basket for you and your partner for incoming mails, bills, and receipts.
    • Create a working folders for discount coupons, invitations, and directions, and other time-sensitive papers that clutter your counters.
    • Keep frequently used items in places where you can reach them without struggling, and store them close to the place they will be needed.
    • Have drawer dividers for socks, underwear, lingerie, and tiny items, to keep them separated and organized.
    • Hang hooks for your keys and purse at a place convenient and safe for you so that you can hang them up immediately.
    • Get rid of your junk drawers, or limit yourself to just one that you clear out once a month.
    • Store emergency supplies together in one cabinet like candles, a flashlight, extra batteries, matches, first-aid-kit, poison control kit & a fire extinguisher.
    • Above all, put everything back where it belongs the moment you stop using it - whether magazines to basket or rack, bills and wrapping paper and ribbons to your gift wrapping center.
    • To get rid of clutter or junk, tackle one room at a time, instead of trying to organize all the rooms at a time.

    Cooling a Conflict

    'Conflict' is a direct disagreement of ideas or interests, a battle or struggle, antagonism or opposition. Here are some simple techniques to defuse these situations:-
    • Manage aggression not by email, fax, memo, voice-mail, notes or answering machine. Instead, manage face-to-face. It is difficult but absence of face-to-face communication will just lead to anger, malicious feelings and antagonism.
    • Demonstrate that you understand. Use the phrase 'I understand' but use it with care. Saying it will appear supportive and knowing and implies superior knowledge or being patronizing. It helps to defuse the conflict.
    • If you are being threatened, walk away from the conflict and become non-communicative. Keep in mind, you won't resolve the situation by freezing it. Try to keep channels of communication still open.
    • If someone is sounding off in aggressive, threatening way, play them back exactly as they have used, to make he or she realize how inappropriate or hurtful it is. This technique keeps the issue in narrow focus.
    • Accept when you are angry, but do not try to shift the responsibility for your emotions to someone else. It is your anger, so you be accountable for it.
    • If you are trying to manage a conflict, picture yourself putting each side of the arugment into the scales. Be fair to both sides like a judge, summing a court case.
    • Be pride on controlling your temper. The more you practice being calm, the better you will get at it.
    • If somebody's carelessness or lack of intelligence has led to loss of everything, you have been working for, concentrate on what needs to be done to salvage it.
    • Give yourself permission to be angry from time to time but do it with dignity. Don't slam door or throw things. It definitely frightens people and some might even laugh at you. Going to lose your cool? Do it with decorum and chose your words with care. Be remembered for being smart not a smasher.

    Saturday, 5 May 2012

    Writing Good Lyrics for Songs

    You would have listened to your favourite / memorable songs in You Tube or net or from your music player. If you have the habit of regularly listening to songs in You Tube, you would have come across a lot of positive comments like "Song with Good Lyrics", "Nice Words", "Heart-touching Words", "My Favourite Song of All Time", "One of My Favourites", "Memorable Song" etc. 

    Even today, people do remember some songs which they would have listened years back or have the habit of listening to those songs often. What makes them remember those songs? Good lyrics is one of the reasons. Good & memorable lyrics leave a sense of feeling behind the words. If you are interested in writing lyrics for songs, following are the simple tips and techniques to write lyrics for the songs:-
    • Writing a good lyrics for any song needs time, effort, dedication and patience.
    • Read articles and interviews of song writers.
    • Song writing is an artistic expression. Have the habit of reading poems and listening to good songs.
    • As lyrics convey message of your song, know what type of song you are going to write about - Love, Romance, Friendship, Emotion, Breakup, Relationship, Bad-day, Anger, Religion or about Nature.
    • Listen to similar type of songs to get ideas but do not copy any sentence or creative word or phrase of any song.
    • Also think yourself about what a song is and how it should be written as good lyrics demands careful choice of each word.
    • Select a title for your song which will be helpful during the writing process.Have a book of rhyming words at hand always.
    • Start with catchy or meaningful words/phrases.
    • Everybody comes across good and bad days in one's own life. If you write lyrics from your own personal experience in your life, it will be much easier. You will be able to unconsciously make rhymes in your mind.
    • Creative ideas / words & phrases might pop up in your mind any time. Carry a notepad / pencil with you all the time. Jot down ideas, phrases, experiences & inspirational thoughts that you encounter during the ordinary course of your day.
    • Write as many synonyms as possible for any word to choose the best for your lyrics. Keep changing the words till you find the word best suited, but do not erase any word / phrase while changing as you might need them later.
    • Be original, creative and write from your heart.
    • It is better not to use same words often. Most song lovers ignore / do not like songs which are of repetitive nature, especially remix songs.
    • Try to avoid big words which will be difficult to pronounce for song lovers. Use most common phrases that people like to hear.
    • Most song writers first write their songs in rough poetry and then restructure into a song-lyrics with rhymes. Try to write poetry first.
    • Write all the time to keep the flow going. If your mind is blocked and you are not able to continue writing, take a break and come back with a fresh mind to continue.
    • Never copy existing song lyrics.

    Friday, 4 May 2012

    Principles of Wal-Mart (USA)

    Most observers of the business world acknowledge that the Wal-Mart of USA story of success and is a great example - may be the greatest example - of the free-enterprise system at work. The following 10 simple principles made Wal-Mart a success with no secret, magic or formulae:-
    • Principle #1:- Beginning every successful venture with a dream that requires determination, passion, and the willingness to grow if it is to be fulfilled.
    • Principle #2:- Having a vision that allows to see a bigger, better, stronger in the future - while never taking your eyes off what it is and what it is doing today.
    • Principle #3:- Creating a culture where everyone shares the same values, purposes, and expectations of success will build a great company.
    • Principle #4:- Achieving true success in direct proportion to the degree that an organisation treats its people with respect and dignity - and believes in them enough to help them grow.
    • Principle #5:- Making a commitment to help your customers succeed first.
    • Principle #6:- Achieving excellence becomes a reality when you set high expectations, humbly face and correct mistakes, stay optimistic, and avoid the quicksand of complacency.
    • Principle #7:- Success is in direct proportion to ability to plan, monitor, and ultimately execute all phases of business.
    • Principle #8:- Creating win-win relationships with business partnerships based on trust and open communications, to maximise potential for growth.
    • Principle #9:- Ongoing success of organisation is in direct proportion to ongoing commitment to grow.
    • Principle #10:- Cultivating a spirit of charitable giving and civic involvement with the organisation to increase tangible and intangible returns.
    In spite of its success, Wal-Mart leaders are the first to say the company is not perfect and needs to improve. They highlight their commitment to "continual improvement" as their first priority.

    Successful Market Research

    Market Research is neither a complex process nor very expensive. The amount of effort and expenditure needs to be related in some way to the costs and risks associated with the proposition. A Market Research can be systematically conducted in following stages:-
    • Formulating the Problem:- Before starting a Market Research, set clear and precise objectives.

      For example, if you have the plan to market Fashion-garments, specially to be designed for young women, the research objective should be to find out how many women aged 18-28, with an income over $60,000 / year, live or work within the target market. This will give an idea whether the market could support this venture.

    • Determining the information needs:- Knowing the size of the market requires several information like size of the resident population, people who come into the target area to work or stay on holiday or other places like hospital, library, railway station or schools which provide potential customers to that area.

    • Sourcing Information:- Apart from research in libraries or on the internet, field research is the most fruitful way of gathering information that can provide competitive advantage.

    • Deciding the Budget:- Market Research will not be free even if you do it yourself. At the very least, there will be your time. Doing the research may save costs but may limit the objectivity of the research. If you have no time for conducting research, get an outside agency to the work.

    • Selecting the Research Technique:- Most field work research carried out consists of interviews, with the interviewer putting questions to a respondent. The more popular forms of interview are:- (i) Face-to-face interview for the consumer products. (ii) Telephone, email & web surveys for surveying companies. (iii) Postal Surveys & (iv) Test & Discussion Group. Each method requires good strategies to get positive responses from the respondents.

    • Constructing the research Sample Population:- It is neither impractical nor desirable to include every possible customer or competitor in research. Instead, a sample of people can be selected. Sampling saves time and money and cane be more accurate than surveying an entire population. The accuracy of your survey will increase with the sample size.

    • Processing and Analysing the Data:- The raw market research data needs to be analysed and turned into information to guide your decisions on price, promotion and location, and the shape, design and scope of the product or service itself.

    Sec. School Teacher's Functions

    Secondary School Teacher is one who teaches one or more subjects to students in Govt. or Private Schools. Typical functions of a Secondary School Teacher include:-
    • Keeping attendance records of students.
    • Maintaining disciplines in classrooms.
    • Meeting students' parents to discuss student progress and problems.
    • Instructing students with various teaching methods and using audio-visuals and other materials to supplement presentations.
    • Preparing course objectives and outline of course of study following curriculum guidelines or requirements of Govt. and school.
    • Assigning lessons and correcting students' homework.
    • Administering tests to evaluate students' progress, recording results, and issuing progress reports to inform parents.
    • Performing related duties, such as sponsoring one or more activities or student organisations, assisting students in selecting course of study.
    • Counselling student in adjustment and academic problems.
    • Participating in faculty and professional conferences and teacher training workshops.

    Wednesday, 2 May 2012

    Facebook Founder's Profile

    • Facebook Founder Mark Zukerberg was born in 1984 to Edward Zukerberg (a dentist) and Karen Zukerberg (a psychiatrist) in New York (USA).
    • He founded Facebook at Harvard University in 2004.
    • At his early age, he developed an interest in computers.
    • During his high school years, he wrote a software program that evaluated peoples musical tastes and developed playlists to match their interests.
    • When Harvard University Administrators refused to release student records for his database in Facebook, he simply invited fellow students to create their own online profiles.
    • Surprisingly, within the first 2 weeks of his invitation, more than half of the students signed up on Facebook.
    • As Facebook started gaining popularity, he dropped out of school and moved to California (USA).
    • He even got an initial offer of $1 Billion (which he refused) for his extra-ordinarily remarkable and successful Facebook business.
    • He differentiated Facebook from many other Social Networking Sites by encouraging its members to use add-on applications.
    • Mark Zuckerberg achieved remarkable growth by accessible features, user-friendly and aggressive marketing strategy for his Facebook.
    • Facebook now (2012) has around 480 million members worldwide.