Gratitude – 2010

I am filled with gratefulness as I think about 2010 coming to an end. The reason I love blogging is that while I express myself, I meet some very interesting people – meet them through the words we write and through our passion of sharing ideas to make a small difference in the world we all live in.

I am thankful to my friends Rajesh Setty (for being my guide and mentor), to Lisa Haneberg, Phil Gerbyshak and Utpal Vaishnav (for being such cool friends), ActiveGarage team (for hosting series of my posts on Quality), Nicholas Bate (for his profound insights), Kurt Harden (for his generous mentions) and Michael Wade (Nicholas, Michael and Kurt are awesome threesome).

I am very proud to be a part of a wonderful community of leadership bloggers and am grateful to Dan McCarthy (for his insights and for hosting Leadership Development Carnival), to Mary Jo Asmus, Becky Robinson (be sure to check out her new blog) and Wally Bock.

John Hunter is a passionate improvement expert who shares some profound lessons on management, leadership, lean and Deming. Ivana Sendecka is a remarkable individual who is working really hard shipping inspiration and making a difference. Her blog is an interesting collection of thoughtful questions, experiences and stories that inspire. Thanks to both of them for enlightening and inspiring.

I know that the list is incomplete. It will run into pages if I list everyone who interact/make a difference via their  tweets, blog posts and videos (Just a stat: I have more than 220 amazing blogs in my feed reader)

This blog is a skeleton, a tool. Whatever I write here is flesh and blood. But readers, i.e. you are the soul. So, a BIG THANKS TO YOU for being an ardent reader/supporter of QAspire Blog. I have enjoyed all the interactions with you via my posts, comments and interactions through QAspire Facebook page. You validate me, correct me, inspire me and above all, allow me to be myself.

I wish you all a REMARKABLE 2011!

People Focus – 2010 Management Improvement Carnival

Samba Carnival at Helsinki 2009 - Photo by Tanmay Vora

Samba Carnival at Helsinki 2009 - Photo by Tanmay Vora

Some of my most significant learning in quality and continuous improvement have come from John Hunter’s Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. This year, John invited me to participate in 2010 Annual Management Improvement Carnival, and I was thrilled to host it on this blog.

The prime focus of this carnival is people development – and I have the honor of reviewing three amazing HR and leadership development bloggers – all of whom I have learned something significant from in this year – and list some of their best posts in 2010.

Great Leadership by Dan McCarthy

Dan has built an amazing community of leadership thinkers, writers and practitioners through his blog titled “Great Leadership” and by initiating/hosting ‘Carnival of Leadership Development’. So, here are three posts from Great Leadership blog that I enjoyed the most in 2010:

  • The Best Career Advice You Will Ever Get” – I loved reading all parts and I think you should too. Some very valuable career advice there.
  • Great Employees Trump Perfect Processes – This post resonated with me so well because as an amateur practitioner, I thought processes were silver bullets. Many years later, now, I now believe that good people are at the core of any Quality Management System.
  • How to Discuss an Employee Performance Problem – This is one thing most leaders hate doing, and Dan offered some excellent tips to handle such situations. This post is a must read if you are a supervisor/manager at any level.

Renegade HR by Chris Ferdinandi

Chris writes short and thought provoking posts on HR, hiring great people and letting them do amazing job. I have been following the blog for last few months and this carnival enabled me to dig into the older posts written earlier this year. Here are my favorite three:

  • Renegade HR: Getting Started – This post offers four simple-yet-difficult-to-practice ideas that forms the core of Renegade HR. The fundamental belief? “A great organization starts with the people you bring into it.
  • 21 Random Ideas About HR – This is a great list that offers some radical ideas on HR. My favorite? “Curiosity and drive are more important than experience.
  • HR Should Put Itself Out of Business – Check this post out to know the new ways for HR to become even more awesome as a business function.

Glyn Lumley  – The HR Maverick

It is unfortunate that Glyn Lumley is not blogging anymore (a very recent announcement), but I am grateful to him for having shared some insights while implementing Deming’s system of management. Here are a few posts I particularly liked:

  • Down with staff suggestions! – This post takes a dig at the traditional staff suggestion systems and emphasizes on the fact that instead of people suggesting improvements, they should be an integral part of improvement process. I agree!
  • Questions about appraisal – An excellent post that suggests a continuous feedback system through effective coaching as a great alternative to meet performance goals.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your wisdom/insights to enlighten and educate me in 2010.

A Round Up of My Writing in August 2010

August 2010 came to an end, and once again, I didn’t quite notice it in frenzy of everything going around. August was a fantastic month when rains enlivened us. The earth suddenly turned greener and merrier. September, for me, would be a breakthrough month in many ways.

In case you missed reading any of my posts, here is a quick round up of all my writing in August 2010. (You can also visit monthly round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010, Mar 2010, April 2010, May 2010, June 2010 and July 2010).

My Writing at QAspire Blog


Have a GREAT weekend!

A Round Up of My Writing in July 2010

July 2010 – another spectacular month came to an end, and I didn’t notice that in frenzy of things going around. In this month, we welcomed monsoon and said good bye to the sweltering heat. Monsoon continues in August as well, and I look forward to another exciting month.

In case you missed reading any of my posts in July, here is a quick round up of all my writing in June 2010. (You can also visit monthly round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010, Mar 2010, April 2010, May 2010 and June 2010).

My Writing at QAspire Blog

Free Stuff

25 Things Managers & Leaders Should NEVER Do” (Download PDF)


Have a terrific Tuesday and a productive month ahead!

A Round Up of My Writing in June 2010

June 2010 – a brilliant month as far as blogging is concerned. I wrote on a wide variety of topics and a lot of my writing was recognized by the blogosphere. That was satisfying. Recognitions raise the bar and help us to do better. June was also a month of anticipating some respite in heat with monsoon setting in. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet – but it seems it will set in soon. So, I look forward to July 2010.

In case you missed reading any of my posts, here is a quick round up of all my writing in June 2010. (You can also visit monthly round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010, Mar 2010, April 2010 and May 2010)

My writing at QAspire Blog


Looking forward to July 2010 – Wish you a GREAT one!

A Round Up of My Writing in May 2010

May 2010 was a ‘hot’ month – literally as well because most parts of India saw an unprecedented heat wave. For blogging, it was hot too – because I wrote a lot of posts on a variety of topics (including thoughts on training, hiring and quality improvement) and all these posts received recognition from the blogosphere. Beginning of June marks some respite from the heat with formation of clouds and their movement eastwards.

In case you missed reading any of my posts in May 2010, here is a quick round up of all my writing in May 2010. (You can also visit monthly round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010, Mar 2010and April 2010)

My Writing at QAspire Blog

Elsewhere on Web

  • I have been writing a series of posts on #QUALITY at ActiveGarage. I added one more post titled “7 tips for acting on customer feedback” to the series this month. 15 articles so far taking the conversation on quality forward with practical ideas and insights. Check them all out!


Now looking forward to June 2010 – I wish you a WONDERFUL month ahead!

A Round Up of My Writing in April 2010

Another productive blogging month comes to an end. April saw me writing a lot more than routine, thanks to a 10-days hiatus from active work. This was also a remarkable month because I transitioned to a new job, new challenges and completed 4 years of active blogging. It has been a long journey so far – and indeed, a very rewarding one.

In case you were busy, traveling (or holidaying like me), here is a quick round up of all my writing in April 2010. (You can also visit round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010 and Mar 2010)

My Writing at QAspire Blog


May 2010 looks promising for me – and I wish it is equally promising for you as well. Have a FANTASTIC Friday!

A Round Up of My Writing in March 2010

March was again a productive blogging month. I lost first half-a-month worth of my writing time because of a business trip to Helsinki (Finland), but I could catch up eventually.

First quarter of 2010 is gone – time really flies. You can revisit my writing in January 2010 and February 2010.

In case you missed any of my posts in March, here is a quick round up of all my writing in March 2010.

My Writing at QAspire Blog

Looking forward to April 2010

A quote from Mark Twain says, “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year!” Jokes apart, I look forward to April 2010 as a month of rejuvenation, change and spirit of new opportunities.

I wish you a lot of energy, enthusiasm and passionate involvement in your work as you start April 2010!

A Round Up of My Writing in February 2010

February was an amazing month for me personally – lot of new exploration, new experiences (good and bad, bad left me with some good lessons) and new ideas.

January and February have been months of deliberate blogging for me where I religiously wrote three posts a week. It only helped me sharpen my own thinking and write better.

If you missed any of my February posts because of work, travel or holidays, here is a quick round up of all I wrote in February. Now looking forward to March!

My Writing at QAspire Blog

Elsewhere on the Web

Tom Glover devoted one full week to my book #QUALITYtweet. Here are a few links for you, in case you missed:

Phil Gerbyshak also interviewed me on my book #QUALITYtweet. It was so much fun to interact with an ever-energetic guy like Phil.

I will be traveling to Helsinki – Finland again and I may not be able to stick to my “three-posts-in-a-week” regime. However, traveling is the best time to read some great books and gather some interesting experiences. I will share as much as I can in next 10 days of travel.

Till then – Good Bye! Have a rocking start into March 2010!

A Round Up of My Writing in January 2010

January 2010 was a productive blogging month.

In case you were busy all the month and could not catch up with this blog, here is a round-up of my writing activities in January 2010.

Posts at QAspire Blog:

#QUALITYtweet Series at ActiveGarage

Looking forward to a Fascinating February!

QAspire Blog 2009 – Essential Posts Redux

When the year ends, we tend to retrospect. Look back and see what worked and what not. Here is a collection of some of the chosen posts, some essential lessons from each month of 2009 (our of total 93 posts written in Y09):

January 2009:  Explicit versus Tacit – Content versus Process

This post talks about explicit and implicit value that an individual generates for an organization and how important is it for organizations and individuals to consider both these forms when evaluating performance.

February 2009: Experiences and Learning on Respecting people

This essential post touched upon the issue of respecting people at workplace. Two diverse experiences shaped up this post and lessons learned from these experiences are still very relevant.

March 2009: Personal Leadership – It shines in difficult times

We are all leaders – but our education, upbringing and organization structures suppresses our leadership traits. This post talks about how personal leadership comes to the fore in light of difficult situations.

April 2009: Leadership Lessons from Geese flying in V shape

‘Leadership’ was almost like theme of the month. This post documents observations from Geese flying in V shape and what we can learn from them. I also included this example in a leadership training I delivered to a group of middle managers in my organization.

May 2009: 25 Lessons Learnt on Conducting Productive Meetings

We know that meetings can be a huge waste if not conducted well. This post touches upon 25 most important tips for conducting productive meetings.

June 2009: Creativity, Effectiveness and Constraints

I have always experienced that constraints boost creativity and spur insights. Read on to know more.

July 2009: Spotlight: An Upbeat Interview with Rajesh Setty

I had a privilege of interviewing Rajesh Setty on his book Upbeat – Cultivating the right attitude to thrive in tough times. Rajesh shared some very relevant insights that hold true to thrive in any time, and not just in recession.

August 2009: Quality is Happiness

This short piece received some interesting responses. Quality is not just conformance to requirements. Quality is Happiness.

September 2009: GIVING is GROWING (Generosity and Leadership)

When we give more, we receive in equal proportions. Why does GIVING matter? Read on. This is also the month when I announced my book #QUALITYtweet – 140 bite-sized ideas to deliver quality in every project. and write a guest post on Perseverance at Mountain State University’s Leadertalk blog.

October 2009: Working and Walking – Where Are You Going?

We grow when we practice our craft in a chosen area – so when we do our work, our work does something to us. The idea is to think about what our work does to us. Busyness is certainly not equal to progress.

November 2009: What NOT to do in Customer Service 7

My ‘not-so-decent’ experience with an airline prompted this article, which enlists 7 things businesses should never do when dealing with customers. November was a happening month where I also wrote an article series (12 parts) on Quality at Activegarage and also launched my first book – #QUALITYtweet.

December 2009:  Invisible Cost of “Toxic” Leadership

Leaders cannot afford to be toxic and negative. Leaders who are not conscious and careful about the way they think, act and talk set a wrong example for their people.

– – –

Blogging in 2009 has been very enriching – I grew as I wrote and made a lot of generous friends. I thank YOU for visiting my blog, posting your thoughts and spreading the word on social networks. It truly means a lot to me.

Wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a HAPPY NEW YEAR. See you in Twenty-Ten (2010)!

Article Series on Quality – A Round-Up

As announced earlier, I am writing a very exciting series of articles on QUALITY over at – it is a 12-part series that touches upon some of the most critical aspects of building a quality-centric organization culture. Here is a list of articles already posted so far, in case you have not read them.

I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. The beauty of this series was that I came to realise the power of focused and theme-based writing. It can be a great tool to focus your thinking on a subject and collate that with your own experiences.

Collection of thoughts to have a GREAT start into the week!

I wrote earlier about “(How to) have a Great Monday”,  but another way to get off to a wonderful start into the week is to take 30 minutes out and read some brilliant articles that energize you to tackle new set of priorities. So here they go –

  • At workplace, we often get drained by conversations that pull us in a downward spiral. Some people tend to look at problems and others look at possibilities. Mary Jo Asmus, one of my favorite leadership bloggers, writes about “Encouraging Pure Possibility” – if our conversations shape our destiny, why not have positive ones? I totally agree.
  • Have you ever been part of meetings or presentations where the real point takes long to come through? Do you write or often do presentations? Michael Wade, among his many other very interesting posts, emphasizes on need to get to the most compelling part of the subject first – be it presentations, writing blogs, fiction and non-fiction. He says “Unless the beginning is really interesting, don’t make it the beginning.” That’s so true.
  • Being a good presenter is the pre-requisite of being a good leader, because at some point, leader has to communicate, deal and present. That is what Dan McCarthy touches upon in his very insightful post Can a Poor Presenter be a Great Leader? – a must read for anyone aspiring to be a leader.
  • Nicholas Bate is sharing a bunch of ideas on Brilliance via a series titled “How to be Brilliant 1-50” – it is a collection of practical ideas that not only defines brilliance but also shows a way to get there. I have loved all 42 of them so far, so will you.
  • It is said that if you constantly judge people, you will never have time to love them. In business world, judgment rules. Why is it important for a leader to validate people for who they are and how they feel? Explore this delicate subject with Tanveer Naseer.
  • Managers/Leaders have to empower people to generate outstanding results.  Blogger and a cool friend Utpal Vaishnav shares 20 practical tips to empower your people. I am sure you’d enjoy reading rest of his posts as well.

Wish you a super-productive week ahead – and stay tuned for more posts/announcements coming in this week!

Management and Leadership Link Roundup – Best thing to do while Traveling

I am on a VR Fast train from Helsinki to Tampere as I write this. Trains here in Europe have amazing facilities to enable me to use the laptop and write something. Travelling is the best time to reflect upon and get inspired. Okay, laptop is on. What next?

I decided to meet my dear friend – the feedreader. I asked him to give me some great insights from the world of blogs as I travel. My friend never disappoints me you see, and here is what my friend has to offer:

  • Michael Wade has been one of my favorite bloggers since I started blogging. He shares a very insightful piece on striking a balance between action and thinking. Do you feel the need to slow down and really think about those important questions? Do it now. Strike a balance.
  • I really admire Nicholas Bate for amazing lists he creates. In this list, he stresses that sometimes less is more. My favorite from that list is – A bike-ride at the week-end with your daughter is much more compared to the full-on Disney experience. How true?
  • Gretchen Rubin runs this amazing blog named “The Happiness Project” where she has written very interesting post titled “Sixteen Tips for Feeling Happier at Work“. One of my favorite tips from that list is – Take care of difficult calls or emails as quickly as possible. Procrastinating just makes it harder; getting them done gives a big boost of relieved energy.
  • If you build the right organization culture, profits will follow – says Terry Starbucker. He gives example of Zappos and says – They just seemed to “get it” – making me happy was important to them. Zappos is led by someone who had the audacity to put the pursuit of happiness ahead of market share, inventory turnover, margins – heck, ahead of everything.  Happiness is Zappos “raison d’etre”. What are your key organizational values? Get them right and you will get your numbers right anyways.
  • Rosa Say very humbly asks – “Do you define your Leadership Greatness?“. She mentions a simple yet important rule that if you settle for good enough in your organization, so will everyone else. If you stubbornly insist on great and only great, so will everyone else. Another interesting insight – Sequential “Good” leads to consequential great.
  • Seth Godin -my hero, suggests that “Why am I here?” is a simple mantra that will change the way you look at every meeting, every conference and even organizations for rest of your life. It is also a great question to think about why you are where you are in your career? Very rovocative!

I am sure you will enjoy reading these blogs/posts as much as I do. And if you do, drop in a comment. On that note, have a great day ahead!!

Image Courtesy: Krish Tipirneni’s Flickr Stream