Happiness Evangelist

The Place to Be Happy is Here…


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Humble. Human. Humane.

I was privileged to meet Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and Managing Director, Nestlé India (https://www.linkedin.com/in/suresh-narayanan-65582233) at the recently concluded NASSCOM HR Summit at Chennai.

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A very powerful, yet humble, humane person, I found in him a true servant-leader.

He spoke on how Nestlé managed the Maggi Storm.

He gave us 10 principles that we can follow in our personal and professional lives.

  1. There is opportunity in adversity
  2. Do not be afraid of uncertainties
  3. Teamwork and achievement will drive credibility
  4. Always strive for ‘can do’ rather than ‘will try’
  5. People are at the centre of everything we do
  6. We live in a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world – always keep Plan ‘B’ ready
  7. Never lose your winning spirit
  8. Keep your eyes on Reality, Reality, Reality
  9. Constantly communicate – not less but more
  10. Keep to your values. Be humble. Listen. Stay Connected. Above all, Be Human.

 


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Culture Transforms.

A strong corporate culture “can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with culturally unremarkable’ competitors,” says James L. Heskett in his book, The Culture Cycle.

Corporate Culture highlights an organization’s successes, adds lustre to its brand, produces an image that customers and other stakeholders relate to, impacts productivity and business results & produces a shared value system that influences behaviour at the workplace.

We at Happiest Minds have successfully undertaken initiatives that have enhanced our culture.

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…and…Great Cultures translate into Great Workplaces.

We find that these initiatives have translated into our finding ourselves in theTOP 100 Best Companies to Work for in a Great Place to Work® (GPTW) Institute and The Economic Times study.(http://www.happiestminds.com/press-releases/happiest-minds-is-in-indias-top-100-best-companies-to-work-for-list/)

Covering almost 800 companies and an overall number of 155,119 people reviewed, it is a proud moment for us to be in the TOP 100.

In all the five anchors of the Trust Index® – Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride, Camaraderie and the overriding GPTW statement, we are on par or way ahead of the average of these companies.

Let us continue to march on in our journey of Happiest People . Happiest Customers.


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The 4S of Leadership

How does one decode leadership?

What is it that really matters?

Does it really matter?

New research (Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan  |  McKinsey Quarterly |  Jan 2015) recommends four types of behaviour that is intrinsic to effective leadership.

The researchers, from experience and from literature, came up with a list of 20 distinct leadership traits, surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organisations in different industries and geographies to come out with the most important four.

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These 4 kinds of behavior account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness.

  • Solve Problems Effectively Although difficult to get right, it is a key input into decision making – from daily ones, such as how to handle a team conflict to major ones such as a merger.
  • Strong Results Orientation – Communicating a vision and setting objectives is important, but leadership includes following through to achieve results.
  • Seeking Different Perspectives – Leaders base their decisions on sound analysis, encourage their team to contribute ideas and avoid the many biases to which decisions are prone.
  • Supporting others – An authentic leader understands, is empathetic, builds trust, is inspirational and brings about harmony and collaboration. In short, a leader is a Happiness Evangelist.

Different business situations require different styles of leadership.

But being a nurturer & a problem-solver with a strong results orientation and being open to perspectives is core to leadership.

To introspect…

Am I an effective problem-solver?

Do I possess a strong results orientation?

Do I seek different perspectives?

Am I supportive?

Prioritizing these four is a good place for us to start.


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A Tree in Memory

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another”. – Mahatma Gandhi

World Environment Day (WED) is observed every year on June 5 to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

At Happiest Minds, we planted six trees, one each in memory of our fellow team members who have passed on (https://goo.gl/photos/6fSx7aFHXLzTLn327):

  1. Makeshwar Babu – PES
  2. Ram Vaidyanathan – IMSS
  3. Aneesh Varghese – IMSS
  4. Rajeevan Charles – IMSS
  5. R S S Prabhu – IMSS
  6. Dinesh Subramanian – PES

A TREE IN MEMORY…


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Mindfulness – The Key To Resilience

In our daily lives, we are faced with innumerable challenges – personal and professional.

We as a team have had challenging days and weeks – preparation for meetings, completion of assessments, loss of a colleague and so on.

How do we deal with these challenges?

Do we perceive these challenges as major setbacks or moments of growth?

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How do we stay balanced?

How well do we recover?

How do we learn to increase our R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.E?

The World Happiness Report 2015 describes how well-being (happiness) is a skill and how it can be cultivated and trained by working on four areas: Positivity, Resilience, Generosity & Mindfulness.

Resilience can be explained as bounce-back-ability. The ability to get back up after adversity. The ability to look at crisis as an opportunity for self-reflection, learning and growing.

Is there an easy way to increase our Resilience? Apparently, there is.

And the answer is MINDFULNESS.

Resilience is mostly cultivated from within by how we perceive, and then, react to stressors.

A recent study  found that mindful people can cope with difficult thoughts and emotions better without being overwhelmed or shutting down. Pausing and observing the mind helps one to move forward.

Carley Hauck of Stanford University suggests a mindful practice that can help improve our resilience.

  1. “Come into a comfortable and supported seated posture.
  2. Begin to bring your awareness inside and slow down the rhythm of your breathing.
  3. Acknowledge any event that happened today or this week that was difficult.
  4. Bring your awareness to what happened, thoughts, feelings, and let your heart begin to open as you breathe in and out.
  5. Turn towards the moderate difficulty with compassion and acceptance.
  6. Repeat these phrases in whatever order or frequency that feels comfortable to you.

May I be kind to myself.
May I find peace and healing.
I am doing the best that I can in this moment.
May I accept and find ease with things just as they are.”

Often, when life is difficult, we can be overly critical and hard on ourselves, but compassion, not criticism, facilitates greater resilience.

With compassion, we can turn toward the difficult thoughts and emotions and then get back on track with our next wise move.


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Being Mindful – How Do We Rewire Our Brain?

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How does one rewire the brain so that mindfulness and compassion are automatic responses to stress.

We are born with specific physical parameters, but if we eat right, take care of ourselves, and work out, we can build muscle, flexibility, and endurance.

The same can be replicated for our minds – by working out our brain with mindfulness and other practices, we can boost concentration, flexibility, and intelligence, and build new neural pathways and networks.

Christopher Willard (author of the forthcoming book: Growing Up Mindful) suggests a simple basic mindfulness meditation:

  1. Adopt a comfortable posture that can be sustained for a time
  2. Set a timer for 3 minutes at first – later this can be increased.
  3. Bring your awareness to your breath. This can work as an anchor (Other anchors could be ambient sounds, counting, or even an image you find powerful or calming).  Just invite your mind to rest there.
  4. Soon, the mind starts to wander – this is normal – every time it wanders, gently guide your awareness back to your anchor.

This might seem very simple, but every aspect of this practice is building the muscles of our mind.

What happens each time we focus on or return to the anchor?

  • We build Concentration
  • We detach from our thought stream every time we return to the anchor. This is a practice of letting go In-the-moment.
  • Each time we are kind to ourselves when our mind wanders, instead of criticizing ourselves, we are exercising and strengthening our Self-compassion for challenging moments in our lives.
  • Each time we focus on the anchor, every time we notice our mind is wandering, that is the moment of Mindfulness—not a moment of failure.

This practice strengthens our neural connections and over time helps us build a map of our mind, notice our habitual thought patterns, and develop patience and compassion for ourselves and for others.

Will be happy to hear from you on your experience of the mindfulness meditation.