Shoe Salesmen in Africa – A Story about Optimism

Shoe Salesmen in Africa..


Many years ago two salesmen were sent by a British shoe manufacturer to Africa to investigate and report back on market potential.

The first salesman reported back, “There is no potential here – nobody wears shoes.”
The second salesman reported back, “There is massive potential here – nobody wears shoes.”

This simple short story provides one of the best examples of how a single situation may be viewed in two quite different ways – negatively or positively.
The question is, when confronted with a problem or challenge, which salesman are you ?


Manage your STRESS..

A lecturer was giving a lecture to his student on”stress management”. He raised a

glass of water and asked the audience, “How heavy do you think this glass of water


The students’ answers ranged from 20g to 500gm.

It does not matter on the absolute weight. It depends on how long you hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, it is OK.

If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm.

If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance.

It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

“If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on,

the burden becoming increasingly heavier.”

“What you have to do is to put the glass down, rest for a while before holding it up


We have to put down the burden periodically, so that we can be refreshed and are able

to carry on.

So before you return home from work tonight, put down the burden of work.

Don’t carry it back home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you are

having now on your shoulders, let it down for a moment if you can.

Pick it up again later when you have rested… Rest and relax.

Life is short, enjoy it!!


Talented employees stays because…

Hello Everyone! This entry came in a quick succession…
There are so many research and studies on retaining Talent, i recently came across a comparison on a long run cost benefit analysis of retaining a talent or hiring a new, and no doubt former sounded better based on facts mentioned therein.

There are many factors as to why employees chooses to stay..some of the factors are below.
1. They are paid at par with industry – this is one factor however works well if other (below) factor are also managed well.
2. They are mentored – This ensure continual improvement of your existing talent pool and help in succession planning. Ensure that they realizes that they are mentored for self and org. Development.
3. Inspired – Inspiration is the key. They should feel inspired not feared.
4. Empowered – Coach, develop, test and empower.
5. Challenged – They should  be challenged some time so that they continue to further improve and innovate.
6. Involved – You can relate it with engagement. Engagement through involvement and engagement through development.
7. Appreciated – This works as moral boosting and confidence inoculating device. Do it often.
8. Kept on a mission – To maintain adventure and thrill in their work give them challenging tasks and projects. Full backup support must be ensured.

Thank you for your time reading this, do send your comments.

Good night

ORGANIZATION’S CULTURAL SHIFT – Linkage of Organizational & HR Strategy

ORGANIZATION’S CULTURAL SHIFT – Linkage of Organizational & HR Strategy is a must!!


Dear Folks, sorry for missing out on my blog. Fine! So coming on the topic, Organizational change management & cultural shift has been most talked terminologies in the HR fraternity these days, thought to write something what I had in my mind and based on my leanings & observations, however the topic is too wide & this blog entry may seems like a drop in the ocean…but never mind!!

Whenever an organization is going through some transformation, the role of HR departments becomes vital & important as they take a lead to support this transition to be smooth, however the transformation had never been an easy task as it involve dealing with the smartest creature called the human being who does everything possible to stay in their comfort zone, taking them out of this is a difficult task.

To support this change the first thing you could do is to educate your people to speak out or pass a judgment based on facts/logic/data/action, don’t entertain generalized statements (eg. We have been doing this by this way only, this is happening since many years etc.) & counter such talks. When your people start adopting this (speaking on facts/logic/data) they actually start working and gradually become smart in whatever they do. At first they can give you blind faces but gradually situation improves and there comes a point when they keep all relevant data at the fingers, this not only increases your organizational talent capability but also boost confidence of those who are managing this change/transition.

How well and with what pace the above change shall take place depends on alignment & linkage of top Management (Organizational strategy) & HR department (HR Strategy).

Let me tabulate this for better understanding.

Organization Strategy HR Strategic Focus Activities
Cultural boost Equality





Capability Enhancement



NSI (Never Stop Innovating)

Policy benchmarking

Educate your people on Organization ethics

Build trust & empower people

Engaged workforce is best, run structured engagement program

Learning & development (continuous learning must be ensured, it helps tap attrition of your top performing layer)

A culture where employee strive for perfection & innovation in whatever they do


Cost Leadership Efficiency in QCD




Cost Control






Employees realignment

Efficiency in Quality, Cost & Delivery. All possible supports should be ensured to sustain this.


Emphasis & support on implementation of best in class & proven tools & techniques viz. Lean manufacturing, KAIZEN, 5S etc. all training & support must be ensured to replicate it on the shop floor.


Best Fit approach (based on area of expertise/interest & capability)

Lateral movement, Job enrichment

Differentiation Growth



Growth is a lifeline of any entity & To make your organization stand out from the crowd, emphasis on innovation has to be promoted & ensured.


Fewpoints to note while driving the change.

  • Inculcate a culture where people works even when they are not supervised. Train your team on “3D” Discuss>Decide>Deliver.
  • Start as commanding and latter shift to influencing mode. Here you may have to start with authority to command but latter when people start feeling the change in themselves and realizing that it is for their good as well they start cooperating and getting influenced by the change which increases ownership.
  • PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) to be in place.
  • Frequent reviews and feedback.

–          And so on…!!

If you are leading the transformation/change and felt low at any point, below quote is for you:

“Keep working, Keep striving, Keep believing, things may look same today but you are getting closer and closer to your dreams as long as you keep on going” ~ Doe Zantamata

So, what came out loud and clear is that sustainability in your effort is the key and changing anything to good takes time so take this challenge head on and finish it.

Thank you for reading and I hope this must have given you a good perspective of what I had to offer.


©Vivek Mishra – 2015





Path to Learning…. The Cockroach Theory for Self Development

Have you heard of the Cockroach Theory for Self Development?


At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.

Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group. Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue. In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter. The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt.

When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant. Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior? If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my spouse that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story: Do not react in life. Always respond. The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.
Shared by Swati Malhotra (Senior HR Professional)