Monthly Archives: February 2018

Fragrant Banarasi Pilau Recipe

Banaras or Kasi or Varanasi---Religious Pilgrimage City on the Holy River Ganges

Banaras (also Kasi or Varanasi) is a tirtha, a religious pilgrimage city on the sacred Ganges River in northern India. Pilgrims come from all over India to cleanse in the river at Banaras.

Banaras is the most distinguished and consecrated of the seven ancient holy cities of India, stationed on the west bank of the Ganga (Ganges) in modern day Uttar Pradesh in India.

Lionized in numerous Hindu texts, it is the emphasis of a whole series of homologies which at the same time place it at the center of the world, make it the complete cosmos and position it as the ford or doorway to heaven or liberation (moksha). This last transition is thought to be ensured by dying there—the explicit aim of many ageing and sickly pilgrims. Theoretically, the entire city may consequently be viewed as one great cosmic cremation ground.

Banaras is also an ageless center of long-established Sanskrit learning, since 1916 Varanasi has been home to what is now the biggest residential university in India, Benares Hindu University.

Ingredients for Banarasi Pilau

  • Fragrant Banarasi Pilau Vegetarian Recipe 1.25 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
  • 3/4 cup carrots, cut into small cubes (about 2 carrots)
  • 2.5 cups hot water
  • 2 strands saffron
  • 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp nuts, such as pistachios or cashews, sliced

Procedure for Banarasi Pilau

  1. Wash the rice in several changes of warm water and leave to soak in cold water for half an hour. Drain in a sieve.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamom pods, bay leaves
  3. After about two minutes add the rice and stir gently on medium heat.
  4. When all the grains are coated with oil) this usually takes three minutes, add the peas and carrots and pour the hot water. Add the saffron and salt. Stir and adjust the salt if necessary before leaving to cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 minutes. When most of the water has been absorbed, cover, lower the heat and continue cooking for a further 8-10 minutes.
  5. Fluff up the rice with a fork prior to serving.
  6. Sprinkle over the sliced nuts and serve piping hot
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits

The Decline in Our Culture of Industriousness

Virtue of Industriousness

Virtue of Industriousness What does a worm do for its livelihood? It works without ceasing, tunneling beneath the surface, keeping the earth from excessive hardening. However, where does it get its own nourishment, to maintain its health and to give it energy to carry on its labors?

It is time to begin the public, forthright, and uninhibited questioning of this presumptuousness, however uncomfortable it may now and then make us. There is an economy in the rhythms of nature. Each creature has a purpose, each has a job to do and the same hand that placed these creatures on earth and assigned them their duties, also provided for their sustenance. Imagine being an obstinate Bull or an obstinate Bear in a fickle stock market? Its guaranteed downfall. The ant, the sparrow, the worm, and their fellow creatures that inhabit the spaces of the world all share in the same divine plan. Each serves in its own way and each is sustained in its own way.

Because I know that there is such a plan, I am confident in my own destiny. It is improbable that He who provided for the worm did not provide for me. Man is a free agent and he has the privilege of exercising his own judgment in selecting the work by which he serves and is himself sustained. However, I depend not on my particular job, nor on the man who makes it available. I am not dependent on my employer, my customer, my client, but on the Lord my God, my true Benefactor, who sustains the whole world with grace and with loving-kindness.

Committing to Mindful Economic Consumption

Running after our cravings has brought us a lot of suffering and desperation. Committing to mindful economic consumption is committing to our own happiness. It is a conscious determination to make space for the happiness that is available in each step and each breath. Every breath and every step can be nutritious and healing. As we breathe in and breathe out, or as we take a mindful step, we can recite this mantra: “This is a consequence of happiness.” It does not cost anything at all. This is why I say that mindful consumption is the way out of suffering. The teaching is simple, and the practice is not difficult. Stress management expert Pauline McKinnon writes in In Stillness Conquer Fear: Overcoming Anxiety, Panic and Fear,

The intensely anxious person desperately fears losing control, and at an inner level this is a fear he or she has created while attempting to maintain a preferred image, striving to feel fully accepted in the world. The onset of panic threatens to expose all—in the dread of a crumbling facade and he risk of likely judgement, criticism or public shame. But the highly anxious person also desperately fears taking control—for to do so would involve letting go of the defences he or she fights with to prevent loss of control. Taking true control does not involve fighting. It involves letting go—of tension and of the belief that there is something e must defend ourselves from. … So there is a double-edge to high anxiety: the fear of losing control, for fear of taking control. Paradoxically, it’s in the letting go that we successfully move through both edges of fear, with the result that we can then take calm control of our life.

Mindful Economic Consumption Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. There are two times in a man’s life when he should not conjecture: when he cannot afford it, and when he can. No general praise, or universal censure, can be passed upon them in this respect; for they disagree according to their kind’s as much as animal foods. One should subdue this aversion with all one’s might and let everything that they do impress one equitable. The boy heard what he imagines was a cough again and turned to see the mother beside the bathing tub.

Protection and security are only wrathful if they do not cramp life excessively. Live on not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours. Even so, such discernment is inadequate; because it is of the nature of the immanent that, it cannot be judged objectively. Looking at a tree with such purity they might have noticed a relationship with the tree and have been thankful to be alive, a gratitude that seemed irreversible.

Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Leadership Learning

Leadership Learning

The two most precious assets in the professional service firm are the capabilities of our people and the use of their time to produce results for the client. A delicate balance arises. Leaders require continual skill building, but time to learn is limited.

We discovered opportunities to leverage time in leadership development in a blended-learning solution.

Leaders learn the most on the job. So, target and pursue learning that extends the applications of key leadership capabilities on teams, in projects, and with clients. By employing multiple methods of learning, you can craft a leadership learning strategy that is delivered in a blended solution.

There are five steps to develop a blended model of learning:

  1. 'Hacking Leadership' by Joe Sanfelippo (ISBN 0986104949) Link learning to the core values. The clients’ experience of the firm’s core values is their relationship with each professional who represents the brand.
  2. Ensure that the business strategy is driving the learning agenda. The knowledge of critical client-service leadership capabilities and respect for time informs decisions on content and design.
  3. Conduct needs analysis and determine current capability levels. We conduct analysis on our shared competencies globally in 34 countries to determine where the real-time learning opportunities produce the maximum results.
  4. Select content and design a learning continuum. Our leadership roles model encompasses the capabilities required for success. This provides a framework for the leadership learning content. We designed a fully blended model to support the learning. The core of the model is Vision and the foundation Eminence and Expertise. Business and client Results are the target outcomes. Key roles of leaders and a selection of the primary skills required include:
    • Relationship builder: emotional intelligence, negotiation, trust and authenticity, consensus building
    • Communicator: influence, persuasion, listening, presence, storytelling
    • Innovator: change leader, creativity, custom solutions, risk taker
    • Global citizen: integrity, responsibility, diversity, global relationship network
    • Mentor/coach: developing next generation talent, coaching performance
    • Decision-maker: strategic analysis of options and courage to act, even when information is incomplete
  5. 'Learning Leadership' by James Kouzes (ISBN 1119144280) Extend the learning beyond the classroom to the job. Provide quality learning through on-line learning resources and coaching that is available just-in-time through a technology learning platform that gives access 24/7 to prime quality learning, when leaders need it and how it best works for them. This platform supports the blended leadership learning that is delivered over time in four main steps.
    • Launch leadership learning with a virtual class. A virtual class establishes the community of learning and values everyone’s time.
    • Push out self-paced online learning. A rich combination of online leadership assessment and individual leadership style report, e-learning, with readings and resources, are provided with opportunities to interact with coaches.
    • Conduct the classroom program. This highly valuable time is focused on knowledge exchange, problem-solving, action planning, practice application of new skills, performance coaching, building the culture, and networking.
    • Support on-the-job learning with targeted online learning. A combination of performance goal setting, dialogue with performance coaches, and availability of targeted online, self-paced learning incorporates learning on-the-job.

A leadership learning map offers just-in-time learning. Our experience has proven to us the power of extending leadership learning beyond the classroom.

Posted in Management and Leadership

The Magic of Customer Enchantment

Reality Check on Customer Enchantment

The Magic of Customer Enchantment We love hearing those service champion stories—always laced with awe-inspiring heroics and “happy ever after” endings. These way-beyond-the-call-of-duty stories are generally exotic, extravagant, and frequently involve helicopters, champagne, and penthouse suites. Then, we go back to work, thinking “My boss would kill me if I did something like that.” As the cold reality of work quickly freezes out the story’s warmth, it gets dropped in our brain’s “fairy tale” file.

But, is there another side to these enchanting stories? Could extravagant service have a return on investment of sufficient size to warrant repetition? Should managers challenge their employees to “bring me more lavish bills for unplanned, unbudgeted red carpet treatment for customers!” In this era of tight margins, ferocious waste reduction, and microscopic expense control, how do you cost justify an encounter which is by nature extravagant?

Service extravagance does have an important role in any service quality effort. Power, however, lies first in its uniqueness. A steady diet of extravagance and you not only abuse the bottom line, you turn unique into usual—and the magic disappears. However, what mileage can be gained by going the extra 10 miles? Assuming unique is kept unique, there are advantages to encouraging an occasional service extravaganza.

Experiment with service extravagance and customer enchantment

Three Big Benefits of Customer Enchantment

While the CFO might have to take a leap of faith, there are great payoffs of service heroics. Service indulgence fosters customer love and other benefits.

  1. Service Extravagance Releases Employee Power. When the subject of empowerment is discussed with leaders, they all bewail that employees have far more power and authority than they typically use. And, it is generally true. Get a group of employees together and they will quickly gripe about their lack of authority. Empowerment (or lack of it) is often code for fear of failure. Celebrating service heroics can encourage employees to “take it to the limit” and “push the edge of the envelope.” When their confidence is matched by affirmation, they learn to take risks. The goal is to encourage employees to experience the limits and, if they go too far, learn that the leader response will be support and coaching rather than punishment and rebuke. Empowerment begins with error; error begins with risks. Employees risk when they believe failure will spark growth, not censure.
  2. Service Extravagance Keeps Service Quality Top of Mind. The challenge in creating a service culture is how to keep the “shine from wearing off.” The early elation of the “The year of the customer” kickoff quickly turns to exertion when incensed customers make unreasonable demands on an already fatigued front line. How do you insure excitement wins over despair? Part of the answer is celebrated heroics. Effective service celebrations begin with “see.” The telling of heroic service stories provides a graphic pictures of what great service looks like. Too often those witnessing a celebration learn who but not why. They depart with little to emulate. So, tell the story in detail, along with the philosophy or attitude.
  3. Service Extravagance Builds Teamwork at Its Best. Service extraordinaire events, when instigated and implemented as a team, can raise morale and reinforce important lessons in interdependence. The adage that “nothing pulls a team together more than a crisis” can be expanded to a “celebration” as well. And, since teamwork is a decisive commodity in today’s service, the winners in the eyes of the customers are less likely to be the single acts of excellence, and more apt to be the collaborative efforts of colleagues who craft an experience which customers retell over and over. Simply the act alone can fuel teamwork.

'Delight Your Customers' by Steve Surtin (ISBN 0814432808) Remember: Celebrate customer extravagance as extra-ordinary. And, teach employees the principle behind the peculiar. Give leeway for the exceptional, and your employees will have exciting standards for excellence that can energize them to produce service performances customers will remember as special.

Experiment with service extravagance and customer enchantment.

Posted in Management and Leadership

Building Rapport Using the Mirroring Technique for Effective Communication

For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak

Building Rapport Using the Mirroring Technique for Effective Communication In customer service, is it more important to be a good sender of information or receiver? For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak. Is there an art to being a good listener? Yes. Does it come naturally? I think not. In fact, research indicates that we hear half of what is said, listen to half of what we hear, understand half of it, believe half of that, and remember only half of that.

That means in an eight-hour workday, you spend about 4 hours listening. You hear about 2 hours worth. You listen to 1 hour’s worth. You understand 30 minutes of that hour. You believe only 15 minutes worth. In addition, you remember just under 8 minutes worth.

How important are the nonverbal aspects compared to the actual words we use when communicating? Your words are about 7 percent of your communication, tone of voice 38 percent, and body language about 55 percent, and yet, most communication training centers on the use of words.

Often we fake attention because our thought-to-speech ratio. We can think five times faster than the other person talking can. Now you can do something productive with that extra lag time in your thought-to-speech ratio.

Leadership consultant Tom Peters notes: “Good listeners get out from behind their desk to where the customers are.” Do you give your full attention to the people who talk to you? If not, learn a powerful, technique that will improve your listening and help you gain rapport with anyone you meet. This technique comes from the science of neuro-linguistics programming (NLP,) developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. By incorporating NLP into the way we work with people, we can “read” people more sensitively, establish a positive relationship more quickly, and respond to them more effectively.

Mirroring is the Art of Copying Another Person’s Behavior

Mirroring is the Art of Copying Another Person's Behavior Mirroring, one of several NLP techniques, is the art of copying another person’s behavior to create a relaxed communication situation. We tend to like people who are like us. If we look like someone (and 93 percent of who that person is, is nonverbal), they will subconsciously say to themselves, “I like this person. They are just like me.” In addition, if we like someone, we trust him or her and want to do business with him or her. Think about the potential this has for promotions, building business, and building relationships and friendships.

Specifically, this is how you mirror: First, match the other person’s voice tone or tempo. If they talk fast, you talk fast. If they talk slowly, you talk slowly. When I speak in New York, I cannot speak quickly enough. If I am in southern Texas, I slow my pace down to match their pace. One way to help you match the other person’s tempo is to match the other person’s breathing rate. Pace yourself to it. Match the other person’s body movements, posture, and gestures. If the person you’re mirroring crosses his or her legs, you cross your legs. If the other person gestures, you gesture. Of course, subtlety is everything. You may want to wait several seconds before moving.

The process of mirroring is natural. You do it naturally with people you like and have built rapport with.

Morton Kelsey said it well when he said, “Listening is being silent in an active way.” If you think of it, if you rearrange the letters in the word listen, it is equivalent to silent. We would be more effective in customer service if we would listen more and talk less.

I hope that this listening technique will help you gain much wisdom and that as a result, you will have to repent very little.

Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

Zen Koan #18: A Parable – Buddhist Teaching on the Heart of Compassion

Zen Koan #18: A Parable - Buddhist Teaching on the Heart of Compassion Zen Meditation should just be a part of life. Zen people verbalize about viciousness for the reason that when you arouse, the maps that hold your notions are suddenly gone. Our intention in receiving the precepts is not just to bring awareness to behavior, as one might expect, but also to explore, as the thirteenth-century Zen master Dogen Zenji suggests, who we think we are. This is why there are various levels in Zen Buddhism. However, during the vacation, their minds will scatter and their concentration will dissipate.

This is crucial to how Zen Meditation helps us, for the reason that everything we do is colored by our state of mind. For instance, if we feel good, then things seem interesting, and we want to learn; we’re intrigued. If someone needs a demon, a demon will appear; if they need the Buddha, then the Buddha will appear; if someone needs Zen practice, then Zen methods appear. Soon the snores may become hypnotic and repetitive, actually pleasant sounding. You have to hold it just right—not too tight, not too loose.

When it comes to practice, however, it is arduous for us to apply the same principle. Those who tend to talk non-stop generally have difficulty with practice, and also make it difficult for others to practice.

Zen Koan: “A Parable” Parable

Buddha told a parable in sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

Buddhist Insight on The Heart of Compassion

In Zen Buddhism, the offering ends with the practitioners asking the deities to forgive them for any mistakes in the performance of the procedural, such as improperly reciting the words of the text. With a heart of compassion, a mother should contemplate carefully whether she should continue to be a working mother of a homemaker giving all the fondness and care for the well-being of her child. The American author Marc Ian Barasch writes in Searching for the Heart of Compassion,

At its root meaning of “to suffer with,” compassion challenges our tendency to flinch away from life’s too-tender parts. I know this much: when I acknowledge my own pain, I am much less squeamish about drawing nearer to yours. I see to acquire my compassion piecemeal, hurt by hurt. After a bad sprain and time spent on crutches, I became more sympathetic to the locomotion-impaired – the lame and the wheelchair bound, those who hobbled on canes and walkers.

Perhaps Thomas Aquinas was not far off when he claimed. “No one becomes compassionate unless he suffers.” I take this less as a mandate fro medieval masochism than an indecorous call to embrace our own authentic experience. If we’re not at home with the depth of our feelings, we’re likely to skirt the deep feelings of others.

Posted in Faith and Religion

Beauty and Majesty of the Adil Shahi Architecture of the Jumma Masjid in Bijapur

Beauty and Majesty of the Adil Shahi Architecture of the Jumma Masjid in Bijapur

Jumma Masjid at Bijapur has the characteristic of expressing the early characters of the Adil Shahi architecture. In fact, some features of the earlier Bahamani style can also be seen in this monument. Thus it is a good example for the beginning of the Adil Shahi style which culminated in other monuments as it Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza.

The Jumma Masjid mosque was built by Ali Adil Shah I in about 1570 AD. It is the largest and most beautiful mosque in Bijapur with series of arches. In fact, the arches are the most important character of this building. It seems it was never completed because it still lacks two minars, which were intended to flank the two sides of the eastern entrance. Though unfinished in this respect, it presents an elegant look.

The mosque is a huge structure with a rectangle of 450 feet long and 225 feet wide. The walls of this building offer a vast area of simple and plain masonry. However, the monotony of the simplicity is relieved by exterior decorations.

The uniqueness of this mosque is the construction of two rows of arches one above the other. The builder has selected the lower rows for ornamentation. The mosque contains a courtyard which is a square of 155 feet each side. This has a row of seven arches on each side and over them projects a wide and deep cornice on brackets.

Two rows of arches in Jumma Masjid of Bijapur The interior of the sanctuary is equally elegant and impressive. It consists of a large quadrangle, which measures 208 feet in length and 107 feet in width. This is divided into five aisles with the help of arches.

The innermost part is a square nave, each side measuring 76 ft. It has twelve arches, three on each side. These arches intersect above and produce an octagonal cornice that supports the base of the dome. The shape of the dome is pleasing with small isles and small arches all round and a decorated parapet above. Thus, it provides a decorative base for the dome. The mihrab consists of elaborate mural design in relief with bright colors.

Ali Adil Shah I on his return from his victorious and memorable expedition against Ramaraya of Vijayanagara and his treasury overflowing with spoils of war, naturally thought of creating a place of worship (mosque).

The Sultan summoned architects and artisans from Persia and elsewhere and hence the structure has become a building of great elegance, beauty, and majesty.

Posted in Travels and Journeys

How to Be More Creative and Capable in Creating Meetings That are More Effective

The greatest myth that exists about meetings is that they are inherently bad, unavoidably painful, unproductive, and necessary evils. Bad meetings are a reflection of bad leaders. Worse, they take a devastating toll on a company’s success.

Fortunately, for those leaders who challenge the notion that meetings are unfixable, it is possible to transform what is now tedious and debilitating into something productive, focused, and energizing. The key to improving meetings, however, has nothing to do with better preparation, or agendas.

Creating Meetings That are More Effective

Better Meetings

The first step in transforming meetings is to understand why they are so bad. There are two basic problems. First, meetings lack drama, meaning they are boring. Second, most meetings lack context and purpose. They are a confusing mix of administrivia, tactics, strategy, and review. This creates unfocused, meandering conferences, with little resolution or clarity.

  • Produce drama. The key to making meetings more engaging (less boring) lies in nurturing the natural conflict. The best place to learn how to do this is Hollywood. Directors and screenwriters know that movies need conflict to be interesting. Viewers need to believe that there are high stakes, and feel the tension the characters feel. They realize if they do not nurture that drama in the first 10 minutes of a movie, audiences will disengage. Leaders of meetings need to put the right issues (often the most controversial ones) on the table at the beginning. By demanding that their people wrestle with those issues until resolution has been achieved, they can create genuine, compelling drama.
  • Create context and purpose. Drama will not matter if leaders do not create the right context for their meetings and make it clear to team members why the meeting is occurring and what is expected of them. To create context, leaders must differentiate between different meetings. Too often, however, they throw every possible conversation into one long meeting. This creates confusion and frustration among team members who struggle to shift back and forth between tactical and strategic conversations, with little or no resolution of issues.

Nevertheless, be warned, by creating context, leaders might have more meetings. They may spend less time in meetings, but have different types of meetings.

Time for Meetings

Teams should ideally be having four distinct meetings regularly:

  • Daily Check-in is a schedule-oriented, administrative meeting that lasts 10 minutes. The purpose is to keep team members aligned and provide a forum for activity updates and scheduling.
  • Weekly Tactical is what most people know as staff meetings. These should be about one hour in length, give or take 20 minutes, and should focus on the discussion and resolution of issues that affect near-term objectives. Ironically, these work best if there is no pre-set agenda. Instead, the team should quickly review one another’s priorities and the team’s scorecard, and then decide on what to discuss. This will help them avoid wasting time on trivial issues, focus on issues that are relevant and critical, and postpone the discussion of more strategic topics.
  • Monthly Strategic is the most interesting meeting for leaders, and the most important indicator of strategic aptitude. It is the place for big topics that have a long-term impact. These issues require more time and a different setting-one in which participants can brainstorm, debate, present ideas, and wrestle with one another in pursuit of the optimal long-term solution. Each strategic meeting should include just one or two topics, with two hours for each topic.
  • Quarterly Off-Site Review is a chance for team members to reassess issues: the interpersonal performance of the team, the strategy, the performance of employees, morale, competitive threats, and industry trends. These can last one or two days each quarter.

Creating More Effective Meetings

The key to making this four-pronged meeting structure work is to overcome the objection: “How am I going to get my work done if I’m spending all of my time in meetings?” There are two ways to answer this. First, these meetings require about 20 percent of a leader’s time. Most leaders spend even more time on meetings anyway. Second, leaders need to ask: “What is more important than meetings?” If they say “sales” or “e-mail” or “product design,” they should reconsider their roles as leaders. A leader who hates meetings is like a symphony conductor who hates concerts. Meetings are what leaders do. The solution to bad meetings is not to eliminate them, but to transform them into meaningful, engaging, and relevant activities.

'Meetings Matter' by Paul Axtell (ISBN 0943097142) Leaders need to cascade communication. Members of an executive team should leave each meeting having agreed on a set of messages that they will communicate to their respective staffs within 24 hours. Then, members of their staffs communicate those same messages to their staffs. This forces executives to get clear about what they have agreed upon and what actions they will take. Employees in different departments hear the same messages from their respective leaders. This gives employees confidence and allows them to pursue their work without doubts and distractions. Cascading communication also allows people to implement decisions quickly and promotes action and buy-in.

Because of its personal nature, cascading communication evokes more trust. There is no substitute for personal, interactive communication when it comes to inspiring people to act. Therefore, take 10 minutes at the end of their meetings to get clear about what has been decided and what needs to be communicated to turn decisions into actions.

Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Faithfully Plant Seed in the Spring for a Noble Harvest

Originative Thought Shapes Your Destiny

Youth has been called the springtime of a man’s life. It is an appropriate comparison, as spring is the time when nature mobilizes all her energies for new adventures, and youth is like that too. It is the time when every fiber of one’s being is glowing with vitality, and the readiness for bold new tasks. It is the time for the dreams and visions that beckon us.

Nevertheless, spring is not merely the time for adventure; it is also the time of preparation, the time of planting and sowing. In spring, the world awakens to make ready for the harvest of tomorrow. Events, too, have stirred his way. Youth also has this task of preparing its strength to bring into the world the ripened fruits of maturity.

Originative Thought Shapes Your Destiny We now shall turn over the several faults in the constitution at this period of life; and the diseases rising from them. Each of us has the capacity to render some service to our fellow man. Be they much or little, distinguished or humble, the good deeds we perform are the fruits, which our lives were expected to produce for humanity. Nevertheless, our capacities will remain asleep in our souls unless they are encouraged to develop, for they are the seeds the Lord placed in our beings at birth, and we must prepare the soil for them to germinate and yield the fullness of their promise. Evangelos Christou, Professor of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida, wrote,

Validity in psychology can be seen as resting on three different possible foundations. One is on logic, the second is on experiment, and the third is on meaning. If your psychology rests on logic, then it’s going to be deductive. … If your psychology rests on experiment, it’s going to be more physicalistic and empirical, potentially behaviouristic. But if it rests on meaning, then psyche can be the focus.

One of the questions, which every young person ought to ask himself, is, “Will I develop sufficiently to yield some precious fruit at the time of my harvest?” Am I storing up a fund of knowledge about man and the world to draw upon in later years? Am I imbibing the thoughts of great masters from whom I may find guidance in my own tasks in life? Do I offer my mind the stimulation of diverse ideas, the exhilaration of the uninhibited search for truth? This is how we prepare the garden of our lives so that the precious seeds imbedded there shall germinate and come to fruition.

Being a Good-luck Charm

Being a Good-luck Charm No material can possess all of these qualities and thus some compromises must be made. From this it appears, that a body reduced to powder can be thrown but to a very small distance, the resistivity being cracking, because the bodies in motion are but small a fowler who shoots with minuscule shot, is reasonable that the charge can carry it but a short way, if compared to the distance to which a bullet would go.

If the facts sometimes seem obscure, it is because they are cloaked in a “disguise” in order to outflow the censor. The key to deputation is finding people that know the functionality of requisite tasks, but that also know how to conform to particular procedures.

Next are considered in order the following topics: The objectiveness of mental contents, rational contents, and selfhood, and the all-embracing philosophic implications of the respective theories. Real, constructive mental power lies in the originative thought that shapes your destiny, and your hour-by-hour mental behavior produces power for change in your life. Formulate a train of thought on which to ride. The nobility of your living as well as your happiness depends upon the centering in which that train of thought is going.

Their ship’s company remaining healthy has amply rewarded those who have had the doggedness to make their men practice it for their trouble. If it becomes otherwise, it is uncorrupted. In proportionality as our inwards life fails, we go more incessantly and urgently to the post-office. So much for being a good-luck charm.

Barren men whose lives contain no nourishment for the fruit of the human soul are pathetic indeed. They are as pathetic as the barren trees, as the barren earth, which can only produce weeds.

O God, do Thou watch over our youth and guide it to make the ways of its spring a prelude to a bounteous harvest.

Posted in Faith and Religion

Customers Expect Rewards in Exchange for Their Loyalty

'Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It' by Jill Griffin (ISBN 0787963887) If you are over sixty, you may remember the thrill of filling S&H Greenstamps books and taking them to the redemption center.

That is how loyalty programs suck us in: we buy the things we always buy, but we get something extra. The more we buy, the bigger the reward. Today we expect loyalty programs to be part of our purchases, hence the popularity of frequent-flyer miles, supermarket discounts, merchandise rewards for credit card spending, and lower fees for maintaining higher bank balances.

But Loyalty Programs are Not Enough

You must offer a compelling value proposition and ensure that the customer’s experience is positive.

The financial value of a loyal customer is well documented. It costs a company to acquire (buy) customers with advertising, loss-leader items, and other incentives for initial purchases. If customers buy again, the company makes back its money. If they keep buying, more money is made. It becomes cheaper for the company to satisfy customers because repeat customers do not need as much support and understand the value of the brand. They even send new business. Therefore, companies need enticing ways of keeping customers.

You now have many options for incenting loyalty. You can offer discounts, provide points redeemable for free stuff, offer improved service (such as free shipping or fast turnaround), or priority treatment. As you look at your loyalty programs, determine which rewards appeal most to your customers—and then match the rewards to their desires.

Three Motivators for Loyalty

Three Motivators for Customer Loyalty Programs I see three reward programs, each supporting a different motivation for loyalty. Each motivation can be expressed positively or negatively:

  1. Reward/Greed. This is the “I get something for nothing” motivator. Flyer miles, and membership points are examples that appeal to people on a personal level. S&H Greenstamps recently reinvented itself as S&H Greenpoints ( Their motto is “Earn them on the things you buy. Spend them on the things that make you happy.” You now register as a Green–points user and collect electronic points for shopping at affiliated stores or Web sites. You redeem your points from an online catalog of products.
  2. Philanthropy/Guilt. Some customers react more on a community level. These customers respond most positively to loyalty rewards such as donations to charity. A good example is the affinity credit card. I have accepted credit card offers from banks because a small donation in my name will be made to my alma mater. You can get affinity cards for your favorite charity. It is a painless method of philanthropy because you do not take anything out of your wallet; the vendors with whom you do business give the money.
  3. Love/Obligation (or Fear). This loyalty program is targeted at customers who want rewards to serve them as a family rather than an individual. These customers also want relief from the financial burdens of family obligations. A new company that has endorsed this motivation for loyalty is UPromise. Its loyalty program makes donations in their children’s names to tax-deferred college funds when purchases are made from participating companies.

Most companies have a mix of customers with different hot buttons. You can offer different types of reward programs to appeal to each type of customer.

Dangers of Outside Loyalty Programs

Customers Expect Rewards in Exchange for Their Loyalty Loyalty programs provide rewards separate from the brand of the company sponsoring the rewards. In addition, there are dangers inherent in promoting outside brands as a bonus.

  1. More expensive to fulfill. When you offer a product from a different company, you may pay less than its list price, but the cost is still tangible, and you do not control it.
  2. Loyalty to the reward, not the brand. The biggest danger of offering rewards that are not part of your brand is that customers become more loyal to the reward system than to you.
  3. Held hostage to your loyalty program. As a company offering rewards you are, in some way, being held prisoner by your rewards provider.

As appealing as loyalty programs may be, they are not enough to keep customers coming back. Unless the customer finds value in your products and finds it easy and pleasant to do business with you, no loyalty program will work. You must have a compelling value proposition independent of any reward system. Your customers must value you! The loyalty reward is just a bonus.

Identify the motivators and incentives that appeal most to your target audience and customers.

Posted in Business and Strategy Management and Leadership