Feedback – The Gift


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We all receive and give feedback continuously. We may not realize it but we do give feedback when our food has not arrived on time, we don’t like the way we are being treated or the service we receive. This may mostly be negative or constructive feedback. There are times when we give positive feedback but on very occasions. Feedback can be directed to unkown person – cab driver, the waiter in the restaurant, Laundry man, paper boy etc.

If you think of it we don’t necessarily pay attention to how we give feedback. Since we give and receive feedback so many times a day, we would do a world of difference if we could observe and improve on the way we give feedback especially to those who really matter.

I was introduced to the concept of OFNR (Observe, Feel, Need, and Request) during a training session and thought it was an interesting concept. The way it works is that whenever you want to give feedback you can frame your conversation without blaming the other person. Typically when we give feedback we tend to blame the other person, which is entirely incorrect.

The basic tenets of feedback is that it should:

  1. Never be personal, the feedback should be on the behavior or the action and not about the person.
  2. We should not blame the person.
  3. Ask if you can give feedback
  4. Give feedback 1 to 1 and not in public

The OFNR concepts work very well and is very effective at work and in relationships. The execution of OFNR is very simple.

Feedback covers the four aspects Observe, Feel, Need and Request. Assume you want to give feedback to someone. You should simply start by asking if you can give feedback, feedback should be given 1 to 1.

Once you and the person are in the room, you can introduce the topic by saying you want to give feedback.

Start with Observe – Let the person know your observation’s, these are facts, the persons actions, data points etc, then inform the person that as a result of this action how this has made you feel. Eg if there is someone who has been coming to office late, let them know the number of time they have been coming late, is there a patter etc. Then you can inform that, how this makes you feel that they don’t enjoy the work, they are not interested to maintain decorum, it hurt your or made you feel angry.

The next is letting the other person know your need – tell them that you need them to come on time as the decorum needs to be maintained or this can ensure that they don’t miss out important points discussed in the team meeting etc. You need them be more accountable and report to work on time etc.

Lastly make a request – Request the person to adhere to work timelines and work ethics.

Many a difficult conversations can be overcome by using the simple OFNR concept. It appears to be overtly simply but if the message can be got across to the other person than why not. During the conversation it is likely that you may get into a discussion where the person receiving feedback may want to justify, clarify or refute the observations, showing empathy and understanding the other person’s point of view is very helpful during such conversations. What is important in this feedback style is that while you do give feedback to the person you don’t blame them rather you let them know your feeling, needs and wants. Hence one has be willing to be vulnerable while having such conversations.

For those receiving a feedback it is a gift, so welcome it with open arms.

A Dogs Tale


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We were on a boat ride on the beautiful backwaters…we could see the sea connecting to the backwaters in the distance. The setting was perfect, the small motor boat moved along to the beach between the backwaters and the sea.  The sun was beginning to rise higher in the sky, all the passengers onboard were enjoying the slow ride, the rhythmic whirring of the motorboat added to the sense of relaxation.

The dingy motorboat had people from all over the country and some foreigners too, so even though we didn’t understand each other there was a sense of camaraderie and fun and understanding. It didn’t matter who was clicking pictures and who was getting captured in the lens, who was talking louder… I looked around and saw that everyone was at peace and were joining the cool breeze.

Just as we were nearing the beach, there was a lot of commotion at the helm of the boat, everyone peered to see what the problem was. It turned out that there was a prairie dog in the water. All of us were amused and wondering where the dog came from since the land was distance away.. did he fall of a boat, did the tide pull him in the water, how long had the dog been swimiing, it just didn’t make sense. Our boatman decided to rescue the poor dog lest he would drown. The dog appeared to be equally amused at seeing us, he appeared to be floating in the water, the boatman steered the boat towards the dog, others in the boat tried to grab the dog but to no avail. One of the passengers made a lasso out of a rope, and tried to catch the dog in it. However the dog started paddling even harder, and in the wrong direction and away from the boat.

The Dog turned and looked at us as if to say, “Guys what are you doing let me go my way”. It just didn’t make sense, the dog padded harder and started moving towards another side of the river bank. Since the dog was persistent and didn’t want to come onto the boat, the boatman just decided to guide him close to the shore before we went our way.

Finally the dog went his way and we proceeded on our earlier trajectory.

This incident was very amusing, we wanted to help the dog and were concerned that it would drown. The dog however was determined to follow its path and didn’t feel the need to take our help. I thought about it and said, sometimes in life, we are like the dog, we are in a difficult situation, and we have a plan and follow it to the tee.  It’s good to be persistent and focused in life but times life gives us such help/freebies however we miss them or avoid taking help from them. Life can be a litter more easy if we just reach out to people around us and ask for help. We don’t have to conquer everything ourselves and that’s why we have people around us. We can’t always get there with our own strength and need people on along the way. Similarly we should help others in their journey of life.

Ever since that incident I have been intrigued if the dog reached the river banks safely, if only we gave life and others a chance…….

Footloose….


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She willed it to ring, but it didn’t. The cell phone was dead silent. Akiya tried to busy herself in the household chores, but kept checking the phone every 5 mins. What if she missed his call or message, she didn’t want to leave anything to chance. She wanted to speak to him but didn’t have the courage to call him. What if he thinks differently?

They had spent the entire day together but she wanted more. It was nothing spectacular, just the routine movie and dinner and some conversations in between. She had begun noticing in the last few outings that he was showing signs of disinterest but she didn’t bring up the topic lest he gets angry and stops talking with her. Zack, he was the life of her world, she could just sit next to him and enjoy his companionship without speaking much.

Her phone beeped just as she was about to fall asleep. She leaped out of bad, it was message from Zack. It’s over. What did he mean it’s over, did he send the message by mistake, did he mean that he whatever he was doing,was over. What was it.. she had loads of question racing through her head. She was fiddling with the phone trying to muster the courage to call him and ask him what it meant. I better message him, it’s so late to call she reasoned …..just as she was thinking what to do, her phone beeped again…its over between us, I am moving on… she couldn’t believe her eyes, she read and re read the message again and again..but nothing changed. Her most dreaded nightmare was in front of her…She didn’t know what to do she was numb to the sensation in her heart…..What did he mean, they just met a few hours earlier, was he trying to tell her something during the day hence he seemed distracted, did he find someone else…..did she do something to hurt him….Almost as a reflex she responded back, did I do something wrong or hurt you…but the phone bore stoic silence….it was almost an hour after she finally broke down..She knew this was going to happen but she was unwilling to accept it.

As she cried herself to sleep she wondered where the relationship had begun to break away….She got up the next morning and checked her phone, maybe he was joking or drunk but there was no message. As she showered she thought that she should call him and confront him. She called and called but her calls went straight to the voicemail. Akiya felt that her entire world came crumbling down. She had weaved her entire life around Zack her dreams and every living moment was for him. Suddenly her life had no meaning. Her friends circle dwindled during her relationship with Zack as he was her world. What is the point she thought, it would be days nay months before she could finally get herself to accept it.

One day as she was sitting in the park she saw a family with a baby, who was crawling and was making an attempt to stand but would fall down after every 2-3 steps, but that didn’t stop the baby from getting up again and again and making repeated attempts, even though the baby kept falling down. Akiya was amused, it was the first time in weeks that she had smiled. It was 4weeks since the last message, she had cried herself to sleep every day. Looking at the baby she had renewed strength, she came back home and looked around her house, it looked like a mess.

She decided it was time to take control of life, she had loved Zack dearly, but he chose to leave in the most unacceptable way, he was not worthy of her love. She was worth much more and could do much more. Akiya decided to take one day at a time and slowly she got into a rhythmic routine. Then it happened she bumped into Zack at a shopping mall. All her feelings welled up, she felt, anger, anxiety, curiosity, helplessness all at the same time. She opened her mouth to speak but words failed her. Zack looked at her and put his head down. Akiya had been dreading this encounter and hence had been preparing herself for it. Nothing can prepare you but your own mind and heart. Zack hung his head and tried walking past. Akiya caught hold of his arm and slapped him across his face. He was shocked but didn’t say anything others around were shocked as well and didn’t know what happened.

Tears rolled down Akiya’s cheek she had told herself that she would forgive him for everything but it was hard to forget what he had done to her. She walked briskly towards the park only again to be encountered by the baby who making attempts to stand up and it appeared that the baby was now taking steps without falling down….That’s it!!!I have to be strong, I am not perfect and not everything will go as planned but along as I get up every time I fall. I will survive.

Up an Alley….


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I have a dream…..well its actually a far-fetched dream…it’s a recurring dream…it’s a dream that I can see with my eyes open…J

I am driving in my Aston Martin silver metallic car…whirring at a speed where my thoughts are gone with the wind….its nothing but sheer pleasure….

Driving past quaint streets of Tuscany towards the picturesque countryside.….While slowing down a bit at the twist and curves of the pathways…The journey is quite liberating……

The beautiful meadows…… almost feels like the green pastures lulling to the breeze. My Aston Martin makes headway towards no destination in particular, the sole purpose is to explore the countryside and enjoy the ride…..The car purrs along almost as though in acknowledgment of  my views of the countryside…

Almost everything seems in perfect harmony…..No Snarling traffic, no honking motorist, most importantly no road rage….This is just an endless road with gorgeous farms and pastures on both sides of the road…

A little ahead I can see cows mooing on my right and almost in contrast are a herd of horses on my left….Contrast because the cows are generally timid and tame in nature….versus the strong vibrant horses….I slowly glide the car down the road and bring it to a halt and take in this picturesque beauty…….I stayed long enough for the cows and horses to gawk at me..then I decided that it was time to leave. I pushed the pedal and was on my way. The Ashton was now speeding a high speed, but it didn’t matter, the road was empty with no sign of life anywhere. And all I was doing was following the direction of the sun…Nothing would come between me and my Aston.

Funny Musings!!!


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There is always humor, always a joke in the making, if only you would take time to look around. There were a few funny moments that I was able to catch, unfortunately I didn’t have my camera to capture the moment. Nonetheless my eyes captured the moment in full color HD 🙂 Below are some incidents that brought a smile to my face.

There is a jogging park in my locality, where just about all types of people come for a morning walk. There are a group of dog trainers who get some dogs for a walk namely for allowing them to answer to natures call and for some basic lessons. These dogs are typically Alsatian, Labradors and Doberman breeds. I was doing my rounds during my regular walk, and saw this visual. A big Alsatian dog was walking by his trainer’s side and suddenly out of a corner poured out 6-7 puppies, these may be about a month old. The moment they seen the German shepherd, they all started barking, The Alsatian had no interest in the puppies, but they continued to bark at him. He simply stopped, turned and looked at the puppies. The looks was good enough for the puppies to scurry back to their hole and the Alsatian passed by nonchalantly.

It almost felt like David and Goliath scene playing out.

The next one was of the same German shepherd, he was conducting his regular rituals, and after he was done a pariah dog came round. He started jumping around the Alsatian and wanted him to play along, but the dog was least interested and he went his way and poor pariah dog was left to play himself.

Scene #2 was at fish market, all the fisher-woman were busy with the customers haggling over the price of fish. Cats are always hovering around for a steal or bits or pieces of fish to fall off from the fisher-woman’s board so they can feast on them. While we were waiting for our fish to be cut and be packed. The fisher woman threw some fish pieces and unwanted fish pieces for the dog to eat. A dog came around and started sniffing the fish (like they normally do for everything) but before he could bite into it, a cat just pounced at him, that just shot the daylights out of the dog, it was such a funny sight, typically you will see a dog scaring cats, here it was the opposite, the dog was so scared that he just scampered away.

Scene# 3 I have typically seen some women offer leftover chapatti’s/bread to crows/dogs/cats the next day. I was on my way to work and this was a scene that brought a smile to my face. The lady of the house just emptied some leftover chapatti in front of some cats. The cats began eating them, suddenly out of nowhere came a crow, swooped down low enough and grabbed a piece of chapatti and flew off. The cat didn’t have a chance. Suddenly then there were 2-3 more crows and they started pecking at the cats tail to shoo her away, I was amused to see that the cat actually was scared of the crows and ran away, leaving the crows to feast on the leftovers. All this in a matter of seconds….

These are small everyday incidents that bring smiles to our face but we miss them sometimes. We just dismiss this beautiful scene playing out in front of us. All this because we live in a fast paced life, even when we are out on our walks I see people plugged to their phones or listening to music. They miss the sweet sounds of the bird chirping early morning.

Take a moment relax, enjoy the beautiful sights, scenes importantly enjoy the people and things around you and you will realize that this place is a heaven on earth.

Like William Shakespeare said All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;They have their exits and their entrances…” so play your part in it even if it means to be a bystander and to enjoy the beauty around..

 

I am Alive!!


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Faith is the most important and I like to describe it as the manifestation of the unseen and believing in something yet to happen in physical realm.

I look back at some moments when I was low, unsure of what to do…..in times of uncertainty, in face of adversity…but what a lot of people don’t realize is that when you are facing a problem no matter now enormous it may seem.. we have the power within ourselves to take it on.. if only we would look within ourselves for the courage…..Faith is a critical role to play here as you are believing and trusting for something that is yet to happen…here is where hope is very critical to our existence on this planet…

In order to survive the following 3 aspects are very important in life

  1. Purpose
  2. Love
  3. Hope

Each of the above is very important a purpose gives a sense of direction,  its why we are here…

Love on the other hand, we all need a little Love, but I realized that you cannot get any back if you don’t give (life is a circle remember) but importantly you can’t give what you don’t have. So you have to start by loving yourself, and then give if forward and love others and then it will come back to you.. It’s a circle….

Lastly we all should have some Hope…if theres is no it’s the end of the road…..

There have been times when I gone through this… I felt that there I had no purpose in life.. I really didn’t have some big Goals personally or professionally. My life didn’t make any sense….didn’t know where I was headed…and what I would accomplish….but I realized that sometimes its Ok to not to have a goal. Its ok to fall, there is nothing lost if you fall. But you need to get up and try again…I still don’t have a Glorious goal, but I realized that My purpose in life was really being content in what I have, do what is best and help others… very importantly take one day at a time..It was a big lesson especially as I had forgotten to pause and enjoy life, I was living life at a breath neck speed….

Being loveless is a useless feeling but I realized that really comes from self-pity, negativity and being selfish.. as all you want is someone to give attention. Its not about romantic love or anything, its just the feeling of being loved by anybody or everybody…here is where it’s important to be grateful for the things in your life. We forget all the blessings we have in life…I have realized that I am loved because I have a lot of things for going for me…I had to focus on the positive aspects of life.

This directly leads you to hope… feeling hopeless is the worst feeling that one can have…what it really means is that I am cornered and my back is against the wall.. this is when a lot of people fall prey to addictions or just are so dependent on others to get them out of this situation. I am a firm believer of glass half full and that everything happens for a reason…No matter what the situation, no matter how adverse the conditions, there is always a silver lining. It at this time that you need to hold on to yourself for dear life…. Literally dear life, as the last straw of hopelessness can lead to extreme situations…

During times of uncertainty just tell yourself that all is well, just keep your hopes on high and when dark clouds darken the sky know that you will have a beautiful rainbow and remember that this too shall pass…and most importantly know that you are blessed because you are alive…

 

I want to grow old with you


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Visiting a doctor’s clinic can be unnervering at most times…But a recent doctor’s visit brought a smile to my face. I was visiting the doctor for a routine eye checkup. The doctor was in the operation theatre hence we had to wait a bit. The number of patients started swelling up….I was looking around at all the people who were waiting for the doctor, some appeared to be in a hurry for others it didn’t matter.

There was a couple opposite me who were sitting facing each other, but instead of talking to each other they were buried in their mobiles…it was irony that they were connected not to each other but to someone else on the phone.. so much for a relationship…

As we continued to wait, an old couple walked in, both looked in their 70s. The man made the wife sit and then walked up to the receptionist to enquire. He explained that they had been referred by an optician for an eye check. From their looks it was clear that they were simple people and happy with what they had….The man was loud enough in their conversation for us to hear it… The receptionist informed him that it would cost him around 400 INR per head. The old Man was amused but didn’t say much. The reason I writing this incident is what followed was unexpected.

The receptionist started taking down basic details like, name, age, other know sickness etc…But just looking at the man I thought he was illiterate and would not understand much. However I was pleasantly surprised, when he gave his name, the receptionist couldn’t get it and he actually spelled it out in English…his name including his wife…I was like wow, he is not illiterate…he then started giving details on their age, he laughed and said write around 65, I don’t know what our age is….it was clear that he didn’t know their date of birth, then proceeded to tell the receptionist that he was fit and no ailments and only had a cataract surgery around 2 year’s back and thinks that he needs another for the other eye. For his wife he mentioned that she has high BP else all good, she has had a paralytic stroke in the past which left her bed ridden. She was taken for treatment in town and she responded well and now she is completely recovered in God’s grace’

I was struck by with the ease in which he spoke, his gratitude to God. He was able to have the conversation without any burden or baggage, he just said it.

I was feeling sorry that I didn’t see anyone accompany them, their kids a family member or anybody at all. After all they were aged and would need some help. But this man. it was clear that he was happy, he cared for his wife. They were both huddled up in a corner like old friends talking away to glory. I don’t know if they have kids, who didn’t bother to accompany them, or if they don’t have kids. It was clear that the 2 of them were happy in each other’s company. Whereas in the earlier case, the 2 couple were buried in their phones. What an irony that was playing out in front of me……..

Food for thought, technology can be boon and a curse depending on how you use it….