Baby Steps

Baby Steps When a baby learns to walk, it’s a big step towards being independent. Walking is a major developmental milestone for a baby and almost all mothers remember when their babies took their first steps. It’s interesting to note that most kids make those early steps on tiptoe.

Parents are often anxious about when their baby will actually start walking, the time is different for different kids, mostly between 12-16 months.

From six months onwards, a baby gains muscle strength, synchronization and coordination of limbs to start sitting, rolling and crawling, leading to walking upright eventually. A baby can stand with support at about eight months and most babies take their independent first steps between nine and 12 months.

A baby’s leg muscles continue to develop while he masters sitting, crawling, rolling over and climbing stairs using hands. Each step adds to their building confidence and balance and by the time they are 14 or 15 months old, they can walk well.

They would need lot of encouragement and praise for being able to take their first big steps. You may also let your baby walk in front of you while you hold her hands, and give her practice to experiment with balance.

In India, some parents get walkers for babies as early as they are six-eight months old. Most of these parents tend to think babies are safe in walkers and that it provides good exercise for limbs and actually help them learn to walk. . Walkers may not be advisable for overweight kids. When in doubt, consult your doctor.

Some Tips:

  • While trying to walk by themselves they may lose balance and fall repeatedly, don’t panic.
  • Don’t force your baby to start walking by holding her hands if she is not ready. Some kids don’t walk till the age of 16 months or more.
  • From 12 months onwards, you can give your child push and pull toys to help him gain balance and confidence while they indulge in this play activity.
  • If your baby has started taking his first wobbly steps, it’s time to child proof your home. Keep important things, cosmetics, sharp objects, and risky furniture out of their reach when they start walking and make sure they don’t harm themselves when they take steps inside bathrooms, store room, etc.
  • Babies like to have fun at the stair case walking up and down, install railings for safety.
  • Open shoes/sandals are best bet for growing kids for their feet to take form and body weight.
  • You can also buy shoes which have light and sound for kids who have just begin to walk to make walking an interesting activity for them.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

Baby Sleep

Baby SleepSleep is crucial to a baby’s development. Newborn babies usually sleep for about 17 to 18 hours a day for the first few weeks and 15 hours a day by the time they are three months old. However, they hardly sleep for more than three to four hours at a stretch.

By the time babies are three months old, they tend to sleep more at night and stay awake longer during the day. But it’s amazing just how different babies can be – some sleep for hours on end, while others hardly seem to sleep at all. It’s important that your baby gets required sleep otherwise they tend to be grumpy and cranky.

Six to nine months is an age when your baby is becoming more physically active and learning to sit up, roll over and crawl, and she may get exhausted by the end of the day and need good sleep. Kids get overtired easily. When they do, they find it harder to get to sleep. Once you can spot if the baby is tired, you’ll be able to settle your baby to sleep before grumpiness sets in.

For babies, it is important to set bedtime routines early. Establish a specific bedtime, as well as consistent nap times during the day to regulate her sleep patterns otherwise they have a hard time falling asleep. Your baby needs to follow a regular sleep-and-wake-pattern and recharge with naps during the day.

One year old babies usually sleep for about 10 to 12 hours at night and napping twice a day for an hour and a half to two hours at a time. Keeping consistent times for bed and naps will help to regulate her sleep patterns and soon you will find that she actually enjoys a predictable routine.

Some tips:

  • A massage or a warm bath will relax her and induce sleep.
  • Read a bedtime story or two, sing a lullaby.
  • Make sure the bedding and temperature is comfortable.
  • You could buy a baby sleeping bag that is right for your baby’s age and weight.
  • Help your baby associate darkness with sleep, minimize light, noise and activity.
  • To encourage good sleeping habits, put the baby to bed drowsy but awake to make them learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

In Your Parents Shoes

By Jayaram Rajaram

Over the years I have come across many lovely married couples in my friends and family circles. Of late I am observing a disturbing trend and a self-centeredness that has cropped up in many families. This is the same trend that earlier destroyed the stability that extended families offered in the western world. Unfortunately all the signs of intolerance, lack of patience, consumerism and materialism seem to be slowly finding its way into the earlier unshakeable Indian family system.

Recently I have repeatedly heard people saying that they moved out because they cannot stand their in-laws. This is still tolerable (as I do not expect people to live under the same roof), but I see many youngsters who are abroad (or even in the same city at times) not taking care of their parents because their spouse is not cooperating (Or maybe they just don’t care)! Invariably one spouse tends to take care of the other’s parents but one set of parents are ignored and treated pretty badly. . I am not pointing fingers at men or women here but all of us as a society.  The beauty of the Indian family and the arranged marriage system was that it used to be a merging of two families and not two individuals. I am not getting into a debate of whether love marriage or arranged marriage works here, because both have their pros and cons. Now I find that consumerism and selfishness are peaking in India, with kids earning more than their parents ever earned. I stop to wonder why India is making all the mistakes that the west made just a few decades ago?  Does money and independence mean you forget about what your parents did for you? Does marriage mean you do not have an equal responsibility to take care of your parents and your spouse’s parents? Where the hell did your spouse come from? Did he or she drop from heaven?

I am not talking about just differences of opinion between in-laws and daughters-in-law or sons-in-law; these are common in every family. If people coexist there are bound to be differences of opinion and that’s not a major issue. These things crop up and sometimes tears are shed, words are spoken but overall both parties have a core value system and a desire to make the relationship work. My wife and I keep talking about this and correcting each other when the other misbehaves (both of us do misbehave at times- we are just human), but we know in our hearts that our parents have made us who we are today and they need us more and more as they grow older (We HAVE to be there for them no matter what! I pray for sanity, to be able to do the right thing for the rest of our lives.). It’s the small things that WILL make our lives better in future, not the no-compromise attitude of our instant-gratification generation.

Here I am talking about more serious demands (not the small tiffs) by some people who refuse to take care of their spouse’s parents in their old age but expect that their spouse takes care of their parents. Or sometimes couples are so full of themselves and their careers that ageing parents end up in old-age homes! In some cases parents volunteer to go even if the children want them at home, I only talk about cases where the old parents DO NOT WANT TO GO. They yearn to spend quality time with their grandchildren and children, but are pushed to old age homes.

In this post I would like to urge people to understand that money is important but it doesn’t give you a right to be arrogant. Money can get you companions but not love or a supporting family! Your children closely watch your interactions with your in-laws and parents and sooner than later they will do exactly what you did to your parents (their grandparents). You too will be old, you too will lose the confidence that good health and money gives you today. YOU WILL HAVE TO DEPEND ON YOUR KIDS for physical and emotional support. We live in a world of interdependence which is beautiful. This interdependence makes us and our families stronger in a fragile, more and more unpredictable world. Please don’t allow your world and our society to crumble by being selfish. Each one of us needs to wake up and act properly.

GET IN YOUR PARENTS SHOES NOW! YOU’LL BE THERE VERY SOON! YOUR KIDS ARE WATCHING!!!!

About the Author

Jayaram Rajaram is the Managing Partner of Bril and the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA. Jayaram writes from his heart and from experience. He writes about varied topics ranging from parenting to leadership and entrepreneurship.

To get updates on Bril, parenting tips and Jayaram’s blog posts become Bril’s fan on www.facebook.com/brilconnect

For more information on Bril and ELSA please visit

www.brilindia.com and www.brilart.com

Image Credits: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net by photostock

Bonding over paints and brushes

The boy next door had just come back to Bangalore with his family after having been in Pune for more than a year. Sanket’s family and mine have been neighbours, sharing our stories and watching each other’s highs and lows from near and far (when they had to change base on official assignment) for more than six years by now. My son, Advaita, and Sanket’s older brother, Sankalp, have been close pals since they had met during their kindergarten days and their friendship has been going strong even after two year-long interruptions. On many occasions, a child needs a play-mate her age and the love and company of the mother doesn’t really help there, I knew. Obviously, I looked forward to a friendship between my almost-four-year-old daughter Diya and Sanket, six months her senior – a bonding something similar to what their siblings shared.

Diya is a lioness at home, but beyond her doorstep she puts on a cloak of shyness, breaking out of it only with a selected few or when her mood allows her to interact well with outsiders. Also, she is strong with children weaker than her, but doesn’t try to retaliate or even protect herself when confronted with aggression from children, particularly boys, stronger than her. Sanket had been growing up as a sweet, harmless, quiet three-year-old but one and half years at Pune had metamorphosed him into a chatty, bold, strong boy with shockingly a liking for throwing blows and pulling opponent’s hair whenever things didn’t happen his way, I discovered soon to my dismay!

Me and Sanket’s mother did try to bring the two kindergartners close, a little after I realized it would continue on this note if there was no intervention from the mothers’ side, but expectedly and unfortunately Diya ended up getting hurt in the sudden fights that ensued over toys and blocks and books each time they were together. I gave up slowly on working on building a cordial relation between the two. Sanket’s mother understood and kept quiet.

Recently, when sudden intermittent spells disrupted Diya’s plans of spending the evening at the park as usual, she found herself in the company of Sanket who was too bored to shun company of girls and came to our house, eager to spend some time with Diya. The two decided to experiment with colours and so out came colouring books and paints from Diya’s cupboard, and thus began a session under my quiet but watchful eyes.

“Will you give me the red paint?”

“No.”

“Then I’ll go back to my home.”

“OK, take the red. Give me the blue.”

“OK.”

Then again after some time……..

“I want the green.”

“I want the red.”

“OK.” Sanket complied, surprisingly.

There were no arguments, no fights, no blows and no tears or cries or screams. It almost seemed unreal with two young children who couldn’t be left on their own lest one hurt the other, were actually sitting side by side, paints and paintbrushes and colouring books their companions. Junior in years they may be, but they too found out over months by trial and error what interested them both and how they could enjoy each other’s company without adult intervention. They parted almost an hour – on amicable terms!

A few bottles of coloured paints scored where two mothers failed! Next time Diya gets confined to home at odd hours and I’m too busy to attend to her and she is too bored spending time with herself, and Sanket walked in like the other day, I could allow them to be together surrounded by bottles of paints, without me wondering who between us, the mothers, would have to drop the task in hand to peep in every two minutes for checking on the kids.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As a mother who was a working mom and met the evenings ~4 years ago with her six-year-old naughty son along with frequent complaints about his acts of mischief from mostly mothers of daughters, fussing over my little daughter who is very vulnerable to aggressive boys (what an irony!) is almost instinctive for me. But this recent episode has taught us a few things one of which is I have to learn to detach myself from her now and then, to let her learn some lessons of life on her own, as her father too insists on.

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.

Consumer Insight

By Jayaram Rajaram

Most MBA-types (I’m one of these useless ones too! : -)) banter on about the importance of consumer insight in business. This term is highly overrated according to me, and several useless market research and consulting firms make hell of a lot of money by putting your customers and consumers into boxes. They use jargon like perceptions and preferences, perceptual maps and all sorts of nonsense to hide behind terminology that the common man can’t understand. Questionnaires seldom give you any insight and are a whole load of crap according to me (Pardon my language).

Now let’s cut to the chase so I can tell you what I understand consumer insight is all about. Recently we launched disposable diapers (Brildiapers) for babies. A lot of people saw the pack and asked me what I meant by the words ‘Consumer Insights –India’ on the pack. People were expecting me to say some big 4 consulting firm did this massive research etc. My answer was simple- consumer insights were MY insights as a customer who bought practically every single diaper brand in the market for my son (They were shocked!). I say it openly, NOT a single diaper in India was good enough for my son! So I had to import one that was reasonably good from the US (Still nowhere near the quality that we went on to acheive with Brildiapers Prime)! How do I say they were not good? I tried them ON!! I placed them one at a time as a lining for my underwear and wore each one on for a few minutes. The second test I did was to place each diaper over my mouth and nose and tried to breathe (Not with the same diaper that I tried on of course before you ask me! : -) ). Was I crazy?? NO…I was NOT doing this to launch diapers at that point, my baby couldn’t tell me that his diapers were not comfortable, so I decided to help him out (Simple isn’t it?). It’s called empathy and I would urge every parent to do this with products they use on their baby! Did this crazy exercise give me consumer insights? Did it tell me of a gap in the market for the discerning SEC A parent? You bet!

After my wife and I went through 15-20 different brands and sadly had to import one brand of diapers from the US, I asked myself why no company was manufacturing diapers for the discerning Indian parent who wants superior comfort for their baby? At one point it irritated me because, most of the brands were doing their best to keep prices low (Which is important for the bottom of the pyramid mass market in India) and were unable to use the more expensive materials they were using abroad. What did this mean? A huge compromise on comfort for ALL Indian babies! Even if a parent could afford more expensive diapers, the really good ultra-thin breathable ones were not available in the market!

Now that I had REAL first-hand CONSUMER INSIGHT as a parent, I went ahead and got my team to research in-depth and launch Brildiapers Prime- an ultra-thin, highly breathable, 6-layer, super-absorbent, rash-proof diaper made using world-class raw materials from Germany and USA, for unmatched baby comfort. Now my son is almost 2 and yes, he wears Brildiapers Prime Large!

In conclusion, I would urge my fellow MBAs, entrepreneurs and leaders to get out and become a consumer themselves rather than spend company money on useless market research. Get intuitive to identify unrealized needs and create markets if you will. Move from head to heart. Be obsessive about your brand; solve problems for your customers every single day.

Click here to read more about why brildiapers are special, thanks to first-hand consumer insights and real love that has gone into creating them, in the news!

About the Author:

Jayaram Rajaram is the Managing Partner of Bril and the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA. Jayaram writes from his heart and about personal experiences. He writes about varied topics ranging from parenting to leadership and entrepreneurship. Now that you have read one of his intimate experiences with baby diapers, the least you can do is go to http://www.brilindia.com/bril_diapers_prime.php buy a pack, wear them yourself and report back to Jayaram with the results, or use them for your baby if you are a parent! LOL


 

Innovation in Marketing

Social Media Really Does Work-  Case Study

The following case study clearly reveals how innovation in marketing using social media is extremely powerful. The case study emphasises the importance of creativity and innovation and how marketing teams must look within and do for their brand what they would love themselves. Looking within, listening to your gut and acting upon it systematically is what innovation is all about. As more and more marketers debate the power of social media, what I say is that these marketers should not blame mediums for their lack of innovation and creativity. Social Media channels like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc are mediums that will work for creative organizations and not for organizations that are trying to port traditional mass media / offline strategies online.

This case study that I present is a real one that I personally ideated for my company Bril (www.brilindia.com).

It all started off with this simple nostalgic post of a Bril Ink bottle, that sparked the idea: Click Here to see this post that went viral.

Campaign: Bril Nostalgia Photo Contest (Click Here to See the first post announcing the contest)

Make people share their best and most loved school or college photo using an authorised facebook app that was setup on the Bril facebook page (www.facebook.com/brilconnect ).

GO TO http://www.facebook.com/brilconnect and scroll down to see 100s of happy photos shared by participants. or just Click Here for the photo feed.

Objective of Campaign: To make Bril reconnect with parents / adults (Bril’s potential customers) who have used Bril Ink during their school days by leveraging nostalgia (a very powerful emotion) and Make Living Fun for all participants. A campaign that is all about the participant and his / her life.

Prize: Brilslate Android 4.0 Tablet worth Rs. 10,999/-

Campaign Cost: Rs. 20,000/- including cost of prize, facebook promoted post cost of Rs. 8500/- plus shipping and handling charges

Steps Participants had to take to Participate in the Bril Nostalgia Photo Contest:

In order to participate people had to:

  1. ‘Like’ Bril’s Facebook Page www.facebook.com/brilconnect (The app ensured this was the first step that people had to complete before taking them to step 2)
  2. Enter their contact information (Name, Email ID and Mobile Number)- This built a good email and phone database that could be used later
  3. Upload a school or college photo that they felt was their best

The participants were informed that Bril will feature as many photos as possible, on the Bril Facebook page after affixing Bril’s Logo and a link to the photo contest.

While it was made clear that sharing their photo, tagging and liking were not mandatory and not at all a criteria to win the contest (Satisfying Facebook’s contest rules), participants were encouraged to Tag friends in the photo and others they loved, once it got featured, just to share the joy and Make Living Fun by rekindling nostalgic juices of their loved ones.

Campaign Result and Reach:

Bril received over 292 entries in 2 weeks.

People started participating for the fun of participating, and voluntarily and enthusiastically shared their photo and tagged all their friends (once it was featured with the Bril Logo and a link to the contest). This made the campaign truly viral as people were enjoying the process without worrying about winning.

Each person shared / tagged 10 people on average.

Our study showed that each person had on average 400 friends on facebook

So what was the campaign reach?

292 people X 10 people tagged on average per person = 2920 people reached directly

Let us say each one of the tagged people have an average of 300 friends who would have seen that tagged person’s photo

This makes the reach: 2920 X 300 friends/person reached directly = 876,000 people who saw the Bril brand, the contest and came to Bril’s facebook page

The real reach was even more because of the comments, likes etc that happened on each photo.

Cost per person reached:  Rs. 20,000/876000 = Rs. 0.0228 per person reached.

Leads generated as a result of this campaign: 292 (Only participants considered, but Bril’s lead capture system captured on average 10 leads more per day during this campaign (14 days) in addition to the participants)

Cost per lead captured: Rs. 20,000/292 = Rs. 68.49 per lead

Bril’s facebook fanbase grew from 12,000 fans to 20,000 fans in a matter of 2 weeks thanks to this contest

In comparison:

Average cost of a single 10cmX5cm ad in a leading English daily: Rs. 300,000 (Approx).

Approximate Reach (Not measurable): 300,000 people

Cost to reach: Rs. 1 per person with no real brand engagement

Max. Number of leads that a good ad generated (Based on an ad released in a leading national english daily  by Bril in September): 250 leads

Cost per lead: Rs. 300,000/250 leads = Rs. 1200 per lead

Bril’s Mission: To Make Living Fun for parents and children through world-class products, services and opportunities.

The contest was in perfect sync with the company’s mission as people started to enjoy the process of participation rather than play for the prize and started sharing good old memories with people they love, taking the Bril brand out to their friends and family happily.

Who’s Idea was it? In-house by Jayaram Rajaram, Bril’s Managing Partner, who is also the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA Learning Private Limited. Jayaram is a hands-on innovator, entrepreneur who actually implements in his businesses, the innovation strategies that leaders, organizations and teams are taught as part of BrilArt@Work workshops (www.brilart.com ) .

Jayaram’s Linkedin Profile:  in.linkedin.com/pub/jayaram-rajaram/7/217/947

Campaign Executed and monitored by: Bril’s Social Media Partner Scion Social

 

 

 

Battle of all times – Sibling Rivalry

A familiar story to every parent of two or more children, “sibling rivalry” can sometimes really stress out a mother. I have 2 kids – a 7 year old boy, Rohan and an almost 3 year old girl, Shriya. Rohan, who is otherwise, very “macho” in his choice of games and toys, loves to grab and play with Shriya’s dolls every time she sits down with them. Shriya, who is typically happy to sit with her grandmother surrounded by play dough, puzzles, toy cars and colours wants to play only football, BeyBlade and cricket when her brother is around.

So, what’s new ? The answer is “Nothing” ! I’m pretty sure this is how it is going to stay for generations to come. I’ve heard platitudes like “This fighting will bring them closer” “That’s how your uncle and I used to be when we were kids and that’s how you were with your sister” “It will pass – this is how brother and sister will bond“… et al.

While it all sounds fine, I still feel like banging my head against the wall most of the times ! And that has set me thinking : how can a young boy be the trendsetter and leader, in school and in the playground,and ape his baby sister at the same time ? How can a toddler stumble through her alphabets and numbers yet know exactly how to irk her brother into shouting and hitting ?

If any of you have the answers for me, I promise to treat you at the best restaurant in town !!

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.

Quitting is Easy!

The following is an email that I took out to my team of managers when a pretty senior manager quit during a transition period in my company. We had just promoted a long-timer to fill his shoes. The transition was basically a move from being just a stationery products company to a baby and children’s products company. There was a lot of pressure on the teams to get out of their comfort zones and start thinking like a start-up. There was pressure on managers and leaders to understand, align teams and deliver in unfamiliar territories and product categories.  I felt the message in the letter is very important for every leader in today’s challenging and uncertain markets. It’s more important to people who shift jobs at the drop of a hat and likewise companies that hire and fire. Stability in teams, innovation and sustained action is what sets Great companies apart from the Good ones.

I have changed all names in the letter to protect identities.

Subject of Letter (Email): Quitting is Easy

Dear Managers,

Firstly I would like to congratulate Sachin on becoming an Area Sales Manager. Sachin has not become a manager by default due to Hari’s exit, but because of his ability to solve important problems for the company, and his go-getter attitude. Sachin was a deserving candidate because he has a positive attitude and has shown the behavioural characteristics of a leader, with the ability to embrace change while sustaining and growing the heritage business also. At Bril, we try our best to give people within opportunities to grow, and as managers and leaders all of you should be looking at grooming future leaders. Make sure you are encouraging people below you to grow. Identify the guys who are ready to walk the extra mile and give them added responsibilities. Allow them to fail as long as they are diligently and ETHICALLY taking action. Sachin, so far you have done well to get where you are, but I sincerely hope you realize that this is the beginning of your journey. Do not allow this promotion to get to your head. Stay focussed, grounded and positive. Think big, motivate and work with your team to take this company into the future successfully.

You must be wondering why the subject ‘Quitting is Easy’?

Yes, the point I want to make through this email is that Quitting is the easiest thing that all of us can do. True leaders, in fact the greatest leaders of today are people who didn’t quit when there was pain, when times were tough or when there was change or transition. Steve Jobs was thrown out of his own company, but he never gave up pursuing his dream. His positive attitude and drive made the universe conspire and give him back his company on his terms. Apple nearly went bankrupt at one point, but Steve Jobs knew it in his heart that one day it would be the best and most sought after company in the world. He never stopped working on his dream and the rest as they say is history. Ask anybody who has worked with Steve Jobs and they will tell you that he was a tyrant to work with, but the people who stuck on have become millionaires (Some even billionaires), because they kept a positive attitude in the toughest of times and kept taking action day in and day out for many many years till success was inevitable.

Leaders of tomorrow will be people who sense an opportunity today, in times of change, maybe even adversity and take it as a challenge to seize the opportunity that every change or adversity brings along with it. Bril today is at an inflection point of tremendous growth. All of us are fortunate to be in the positions that we are in today, as I believe in my heart that this company and brand is going to scale unimaginable heights. I include myself in being fortunate, as it is only divine grace that puts us in a place of opportunity and surrounds us with people who are going to create the future. This is a time that I am going to be harshest on the people who I believe can deliver, but are being pulled back by their negative mindset or maybe lack of systematic action. I will be harsh if I sense that you or people in your team are not pulling up your socks and working your butts off (Pardon my language). I will not tolerate excuses; I will not take NO for an answer. The products identified as the future of the company HAVE to be sold, and sold in the tune of several hundreds of crores in the years to come. This has to happen without sacrificing on or while achieving growth in the stationery business. What does it take? More number of hours of work, supreme time management abilities, dealing with more rejections in the market, motivating the right team members and good old dedicated action (New distributor appointment, Primary, primary primary, secondary, secondary preschools, apartment complexes, flier distribution……..again and again and again focussing on the new products daily and making it a part of your and every team member’s daily routine like they do for stationery products and more). So in this mail I want to make it very clear to you that when I scream at you, I scream for YOUR growth, so you can achieve your full potential and make the company grow. A parent only screams for the benefit of their children, a guru only reprimands the brightest of students (There is no ulterior motive!). Please don’t prove me wrong, as I believe that this team is the brightest and most capable team we have ever had at Bril in all these years. During this time, those who are weak hearted and cannot see a bright future here will leave. That is fine, but what I would like to emphasise is that QUITTING IS EASY. It is the easiest thing any of us can do. Believe me that I will not rest till Bril is a huge force to reckon with- I believe that this is my life purpose. Stay here, if you share the same passion as I do, or we can be good friends and you can move on. Having said this, I honestly believe that each and every one of you I am mailing today has the capacity to lead their respective teams and this company to great heights. I sincerely hope you believe in yourself too. Who says there will be no problems along the way? Great leaders are those who love the challenge and convert problems into opportunities.

So, the message I would like to drive home in a nutshell is……

  • Quitting is easy- that’s why quitters never grow. They normally start and quit all the time so they never really achieve success in anything they start (Most ordinary people are quitters). Leaders are persistent and keep DOING till they achieve their goal (No matter how many months, years or lifetimes it takes).
  • You fail only when you Quit.
  • Believe in yourself
  • Always have a positive attitude
  • Genuinely be good to people. Show them you care, but reprimand when it is due. Be fair even when you reprimand.
  • Don’t lose that fire in your belly EVER!
  • Great things happen when small actions are taken on a daily basis
  • Don’t wait for that big deal. Win a small deal everyday

I am hoping and praying that this is the dream team that will take Bril to stratospheric heights in the years to come.

All the best.

With Love,

Jayaram Rajaram

Managing Partner – Bril

Managing Director & Chief Dreamer

ELSA Learning Private Limited

www.brilindia.com / www.brilart.com / www.elsalearning.com

This post is as important for children, who will be future leaders, as it is for adults. Not quitting, and being persistent will surely Make Living Fun in the long run. As parents, let us try to instill resilience and a Never Say Die attitude in our children.

 

 

Entering the mind of a child

Entering A Mind Of A Child

You may say that I’m over analyzing, but today I would like to take a couple of feet off my already short 5 foot frame, subtract a quarter century from my age and try to see things from the eyes of my 7 year old. Here is what he listens to in the morning:

  • “Rohan  – wake up – getting late”
  • “Drink your milk – if you miss your bus, I’m not going to drop you”
  • “No – you can’t play your cricket cards now – no time”
  • “DRINK your milk before I count to 10″

This is what he hears when he gets back:

  • “Wash your hands”
  • “Not on the floor – the uniform goes IN the laundry hamper”
  • “Eat your fruit first – then you can have some junk food”
  • “You are going to have to switch off the TV in 5 minutes”
  • “BTW, what did you do in school today?”
  • “Just a couple of minutes more – then TV time is over”

And this, when he comes back home from playing downstairs

  • “I don’t care if you don’t like daal – you’ve got to eat it”
  • “No time to play now the board game now – play with your sister for sometime”
  • “Clean up – do you think I’m going to do it at the end of the day??”
  • “Time for bed – otherwise you can’t wake up in time for school tomorrow”
  • “Good night”

And I sometimes wonder, have I really got it right?

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.

Is Innovation & Creativity Mere Lip Service in Organizations?

By Jayaram Rajaram

How to create and sustain an Innovation Culture in your Organization?

I have interacted with many-a-CXO over the last 10 years in business and almost every single time I have heard the words ‘Innovation’ and ‘Creativity’ being used. While I find that there is unanimous vote when it comes to the importance of innovation, it’s the MBA-clan and managers who sit inside boxes that are talking about the urgency to innovate. While the desire to innovate is a good starting point, most leaders and teams seem to just get stuck with the desire alone. Unfortunately most Business schools stifle creativity and innovation by equipping future leaders with analytical tools designed to mitigate risk. Innovation and creativity can never happen when leaders tread cautious paths. Time and again people say they want innovation but are even scared of embracing a slightly off-beat advertisement campaign maybe in a not-tried-before media vehicle; leave alone allowing collaborative creativity that is required in creating innovative products, innovative distribution channels or coming up with innovative solutions to sales or operational challenges and most importantly to people issues.

Over the years, I have been tracking companies that have excelled despite recessionary environments, with customers falling over each other to buy their over-priced products. Yes, the first company that comes to everybody’s mind is Apple then there’s 3M. Yes, Google gives its employees time to pursue their passion and allows them to fail. While this is a very good step forward for innovation and has yielded great results, why do so few companies come to our mind when we think of the word ‘Innovation’? I am not saying that there aren’t more companies that have taken the innovation pledge seriously. There are a few hundred companies that are continuously creating the right environment to nurture creative thinking amongst employees and their customers and shareholders are rewarding them with premium margins and share prices. But the point I am trying to drive home is that, in order to be able to create, nurture and sustain an innovation culture, the right leadership is required. I am sad to say that many companies are stuck with leaders who have suppressed their own intuition for way to long and have prevented anybody else to get creative in the true sense.

Before I offer a solution, let us analyse why Apple has been so successful? In my opinion it is because their products were designed with the arts in mind. Arts are more human, arts have a heart and Steve Jobs was inspired by Calligraphy, Zen and simplistic design- the arts. He intuitively built products that he would love, rather than asking customers what they wanted. Asking customers what they want only gives you iterative improvements and rarely radical innovation (I am so happy Steve Jobs came along, as finally people listen to me about meeting unrealized needs!). Steve Jobs honed and acted upon his gut because he got in touch with his core through Zen meditation. More importantly he had the guts to defy corporate risk aversion and create & take-to-market products that revolutionized the world. . How many CXOs have such gumption to stand out and say the buck stops here?

Now that the problem is clear, what can be leaders do to enhance and sustain creativity and innovation in their organizations? While you don’t find a Steve Jobs every day, every single organization can take the following steps to nurture creativity within.

  1. First and foremost every leader must give employees opportunities to realize that they too have a creative side. Not only by acknowledging and accepting suggestions and ideas from even the junior-most employee, but by acknowledging talents in the arts.
  2. Leaders and Talent Heads must start recruiting people who have pursued some art form like music, dance, visual arts etc. as they would understand how the arts have the ability to impact people at their core, and apply it to their work- if given the right environment and opportunities.
  3. Try to create opportunities for people to look within and de-stress. This could include meditation sessions, exposure to creative arts performances by musicians, dancers, artists and maybe even cooking sessions, photography, drama sessions etc.
  4. Incorporating a system whereby employees, especially leadership teams interact and attend workshops conducted by real creative geniuses, to understand the essence of tapping into their innate creative zones and understanding how to create the correct environment for innovation to happen.
  5. Get new perspectives by engaging in and also helping your employees engage in creative interests (even during work-hours whenever possible), to understand the emotions that they feel while doing so. These are the emotions that should translate into products and experiences that the company offers to its customers (Remember- that’s what Steve Jobs did). I call it taking advantage of your goose bump moments to intuitively know what makes people tick. I’m hoping your employees and customers are people, if not this may not work J
  6. Cut-out power-point presentations and focus on real idea generation and open-ended brainstorming sessions. Encourage people to move from head to heart in every meeting. Believe me customers are fed-up with information overload and want to work with companies that are more human, while delivering results of course.
  7. Encourage people to dress-down and meet customers like they meet friends (This is innovation in sales). This is a pet topic of mine and will tell you more about the importance of this in a separate post.
  8. Encourage action and systematic action to put creative ideas into real-world action. Nothing happens without systematic action and even the best and most creative ideas will remain just that-brilliant ideas without leaders who ensure they are acted upon.
  9. Last but not least, allow people to take risks and FAIL!

About the Author:

Jayaram Rajaram is the Managing Partner of Bril, a company that works on a Mission to Make Living Fun for its customers and consumers, through its world-class school stationery, baby and children’s products. For more information about Bril please visit www.brilindia.com  (Bril’s Facebook  Page: www.facebook.com/brilconnect) . Jayaram is also the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA Learning Private Limited, a human development company that works towards nurturing and enhancing creativity amongst children and adults and also helps organizations take innovation seriously through its BrilArt@Work offering. For more information about BrilArt please visit www.brilart.com