BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING … YOU 👊🏻

Big brother is watching you.jpg

(Photo credit- https://www.redbubble.com/people/galaxysalvo/works/16066035-big-brother-is-watching-you?p=poster)

June 17, 2019

In a recent set of Tweets (https://twitter.com/aamirkazi60/status/1139408694653800448), our GM Aamir Kazi, @aamirkazi60, raises some very interesting & pertinent questions on the use of Social Media by employees of companies (for brevity I am only reproducing an extract of some of the questions he poses) –

Quote

In a recent row of […] the question is- does any organization has the right to spy on any employee’s private life?

  • Check on our thinking?
  • Do their employees represent organisations on their social media? What should be the criteria or standard operating procedure while on job?
  • Does any organisation has any contract letter saying “your social media accounts & personal emails will be checked for foul language and inappropriate content and if found guilty, disciplinary action will be taken against you”- you may lose your job?

UNQUOTE

My layman’s [non-legal] perspective on this is as follows-

  • Employers cannot spy on anyone (let’s leave that to our governments 😇)!
  • Saying that, nothing stops an employer having a clear policy BARRING anyone from using social media, the web and emails for personal use during office hours, unless that’s part of their job responsibility – and appropriate, legal action against the employee if found guilty. Why should an employee use paid, company-time for their personal jolly, regardless of using their own devices or company devices?
  • Equally, no employee represents an organization on social media, unless specifically authorized to do so…and this is where the viewer of the posts may not know whether it is an official post or not.
  • If we have to check on employees’ thinking, I think there are official psychometric tests which are normal and can be administered to employees, as long as these are fair and across the entire department or company- without singling out any one employee.

Employees have a responsibility towards their organizations too to ensure their social media actions don’t inadvertently reflect back on their company.

The starting course of action – which I believe to be morally & legally correct – would be for companies to technologically restrict social media & web access on company-provided devices.

How do your companies handle these phenomena?

What is a fair & reasonable policy for companies to tackle this media  channel in a growing technology world?

(p.s.- By the way, Aamir’s tweets were personal in nature 😉😏)

 

“Fate Will Take What Fate Will Have”- William Somerset Maugham

June 6, 2019

Death

(Image source- https://www.wired.com/story/giving-open-source-projects-life-after-a-developers-death/)

People say there are only two finite things in this World- however, I believe there’s only one … DEATH.  Many of you may not agree but I do believe DEATH is the only certainty in the whole world.  Everything else is your destiny … and what you make of your life.

William Somerset Maugham’s last play, “Sheppey”, tells the story of Sheppey, an hairdresser, who believes he is a lucky man.  Maugham ends the play with an old Arabic Fable, where “DEATH” visits Sheppey; and in reply to Sheppey, tells the story of a merchant in Baghdad trying to escape death.  (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheppey_(play)).  Jeffrey Archer’s very first chapter, titled “Death Speaks” in his book “To Cut a Long Story Short”, requotes this very Fable.

Whatever our life and however good or evil we’ve lived it, in the end we just cannot escape the ONE certainty life has in store for us – our own DEATH.

We may be terminally sick, a building may fall on us, die in a war or an earthquake swallows us – nothing is by accident.  This was our fate, with the time and place written.

The only measure of comfort we may be able to get out of this certainty is how we die – the more violent, harder or painful may very well be a factor of how we lived our life.

So next time someone “good” dies – whether at a young or old age – I will try not to blame the so-called “cause” of the death or go in for a “blame game”; but look introspectively and try to reconcile that the person’s time had arrived.  Don’t blame yourself, nor the opposite person, nor the circumstances surrounding his death – this was meant to happen, at the time it happened and in the place it happened.

That’s all there is to it!

 

What’s the Time Please!?

(Photo credit- https://www.labmanager.com/leadership-and-staffing/2015/10/time-management-101#.XOZlwogzZnK)

May 30, 2019

Time Notes

In the 1980s, my two friends – #Shahrukh & #Shahveer – and I decided we’ll be on time for every party.  Guess what happened … we were the only three there at the appointed time!  What a riot … even the hosts weren’t around.

On average, we only have 657,000 hours in our lifetime – so why WHY NOT MANAGE TIME BETTER!?

Amongst my many idiosyncrasies, I hate being late and I hate waiting for latecomers – I get irritated; it vexes me (I love that term 😊); and it truly gets under my skin.

A close relative has an uncanny ability of turning up at a party just when the food is coming out or a minute earlier.  There has NEVER been a time when he has to wait for the food 😊.

Another close relative just cannot be at an appointment on time – even for his departing flight!  The one time I decided to trick him into going earlier by saying the flight was leaving 30 minutes earlier, was the only time he got to the airport on time … and the flight was delayed!  IRONY!!!

So what can one do-

  • Try putting your watch forward 15 minutes? However, your internal clock will smarten up almost immediately and you’ll know you have the additional 15 minutes available- and you’re back to square one;
  • You can have your partner nag the hell out of you to get out in time;
  • Your secretary can keep calling to pester you to go on time:

… OR, you can realize you only had 657,000 hours available (on average) in your lifetime – before the reaper comes calling – so make the most of it and DON’T BE LATE!

(Incidentally, we couldn’t fight the party system and Shahrukh, Shahveer & I were forced to (in the words of others) stop this ‘ridiculous’ behavior! 😊).

 

“The School of Hard Knocks”!

May 14, 2019

Persistence- Calvin Coolidge.jpeg

The attached Quote by the late President of USA aptly describes the resolve & determination my grandfather & family have shown over the last seven decades.

Over these decades, we have faced – and continue to do so – political problems, pressures & interferences; hotel politics; community politics; family crisis; business pressures; sports politics; monetary problems.  Is it because we are minorities?

My late grandfather, Dinshaw B Avari, was an orphan in Mumbai.  Himself learning under a lantern, my grandfather gave tuitions to pay his way through college, obtaining a B.Com from Bombay University.  He started his career in the Sun Life Assurance Co of Canada and in 1929 was sent to Karachi to open the Company’s office.  From this eventually led to the purchase of the Bristol Hotel in Karachi and the start of our family’s hospitality career.  When Beach Luxury Hotel opened in 1948, the property was requisitioned.  In Lahore in the 1950/60s, a new “scheme” by the Governor then, requisitioned our property for so-called public use.  Our Avari Towers Hotel in Karachi, absolutely ready for operations, remained closed for two years due to “competitor” politics…I can go on and on.

However, Calvin Coolidge’s Quote stands tall on our Office wall, as we have weathered the tides & onslaught against us…and survived…and grown … due to the persistence of my grandfather & father!

In the face of these challenges my grandfather used to quote “More things are wrought by prayers, than by man alone”.  There is no substitute for persistence and hard work … and Prayers and faith in God help you overcome such challenges and tribulations.

… and no school can ever teach you this!

“Why Everyone Should Take Notes” … and Diary

(Title & photo credit- https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6529279365681807360 & https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/why-everyone-should-take-notes)

May 8, 2019

Everyone should take notes.jpg

Richard Branson on his LinkedIn feed gave an excellent summary of some reasons for note taking.  Just to summarize-

  1. “To note points that most interest or concern” you;
  2. “How do you expect to remember what was said and act upon it?”
  3. “you can prioritize them and take action”.

Which immediately reminded me of my own father.

I joined our family business on exactly January 1, 1990.  One of the very first things my father taught me – and my brother – was to carry a small note pad & pen to keep jotting down points, notes, observations, discussions, calendar events, etc.  You know, the pads you see on hotel bedside tables, near the phone?  As Richard says in his article, how is it possible to remember what people say, especially when there are dozens of ideas and points being discussed, etc.?

My father is an avid note taker – and I have seen first hand how useful it is in actioning, remembering & following up on things … often to great discomfort to some of us 😊!

It truly is a great habit and tool – for anyone, regardless of profession – and not just for business.  It works for odd jobs, house work, personal work, points for family…you name it!

Now I’ve graduated to using the calendar and note-taking apps (with their reminder tones) on my phone – but my father and brother still use the paper notes.  Either source peforms the same function.  However, to be very honest, I still don’t use the basic concept as much as I should and as much as my family does!

 

Another ancillary tip- using a diary for the same purpose.  Again, to give credit where it’s due, my father taught our Executives and us to diarize the day’s events in the date it is required.  At the end of the day, those points which have been actioned can be struck off; those points which have to be taken forward to another date can be transferred to that date- so that when the appointed date comes, you remember to action that.

Great tips – ever learning!

What other tips do you use to help you through your day or through your work?

 

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

(Image source courtesy- https://www.google.com/search?q=profit&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNmpuOvsfhAhUQlIsKHSlmDEYQ_AUIDigB&biw=1422&bih=652#imgrc=DgUdcZ0TJmCpBM:)

Profit doesn't grow on Trees

April 11, 2019

Business and family groups are defined by their philosophy and values under which they operate.

We have 4 core philosophies under which our family operate, one of which I’ll take up here –

We are in the business for profit BUT AT THE SAME TIME, we have a responsibility towards our employees & society.  It is our moral obligation to assist our employees where necessary.

Somehow, here, “profit” is a dirty word.  Why?

If we don’t make a profit, how can we plough our resources back into employee welfare & engagement and social uplift & charity!?

If we don’t make a profit, how can we support our own team members’ genuine issues and society’s charitable endeavors!?

We have a “womb to tomb” philosophy – that doesn’t mean we force “you to work till you drop”.  What it means is that for our Associate & Supervisory cadre, generally, we let them work till THEY want to retire.

Pakistan doesn’t have any safety net for retired people. What do old people do?  Where can they turn?  No government since inception has ever provided or supported them.  It is upto us to look after them – whether by extended employment or pension or medical or education.

But how can we do this if there is no PROFIT!