Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I found this article very relevant to be thought of and discussed not just by India by most of the countries around the world. Protectionism is being proposed by most countries including US and it sure will have ripple effects moving through countries doing cross border business. I think it is an unwritten phenomenon which happens for the times we are facing with. 

Sometimes I feel my generation is going to experience all the events happened in history and which resulted in a major paradigm shift in the way the world moves ahead. We have seen the IT age - now we talk about generation Web 2.0 and maybe 3-5 years down the line it might be called something else.. Tsunami... Global warming.. Nuclear weapons.. religious hatred..never before seen diseases.. all sorts of things which one has never imagined.. SO are we nearing another age in the history where living things are coming to an end.. !!! I am not sure.. anyway.. coming back to the point on protectionism...here is what the article has to say:

Fear and loathing are on the rise in the United States. Right now the emotions are focused on AIG and Bernie Madoff—deserving targets for populist ire. 

The New York Times published a Page 1 story showing how protectionism is on the rise worldwide in response to global economic pressures. Picked up from a piece of analysis by author Paul Collier’s book, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It. He points out that the last period that the world went protectionist in a big way was the years 1914 to 1945. We can see what a raging success that was!

When the mob gets tired of pursuing AIG and Madoff, it will look for other targets to bay after. India is at risk. Inciter Lou Dobbs keeps pounding away at the foreigner and immigrant. Meanwhile, US Senators Richard Durbin and Chuck Grassley are crafting new legislation aimed at further tightening H1B and L1 visa rules. It’s expected to be submitted to Congress by April 3. Visa reform is legitimate, if there are abuses. But it becomes dangerous if the legislation ignites an angry broadbased backlash against India and offshoring.

Don’t get me wrong. I think a measured dose of protectionism can be useful at times of crisis or in response to abuses by other nations. It’s legit if it’s done rationally and in a carefully targeted way. It’s not okay if it erects major barriers to trade.

It could harm both nations if the US goes after India. For starters, where’s the harm or unfairness? Stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show US employment in the category of computer systems design and related services at 1.463 million in February. That’s down just 5,000 from a peak of 1.468 million last November. This is the category of employee that would be most affected by IT offshoring. Yet it’s just off an all-time high—and at a time when Wall Street has fired thousands of techies because of its own mistakes, not anything the Indian tech industry has done. I tried to get business process outsourcing-oriented job stats from the BLS, but they mix up BPO-type jobs with janitors and security guards, so it’s impossible to connect shifts there with offshoring.

Nasscom, the Indian software/service trade association, hired McKinsey & Co. during the last recession to do an analysis of the impact of Indian outsourcing on the US economy and jobs. The results showed a positive impact—more jobs created. The argument is that by making American companies more efficient, offshoring makes it possible for them to grow and hire additional employees. There’s logic to that, but, since the Indians hired McKinsey to do the study, the conclusions aren’t as credible as they would be if the study was independent.

The best argument I’ve heard recently for not demonizing the Indians came from Nandan Nilekani, co-chairman of India’s Infosys, who is in NYC promoting his new book, Imagining India. He points out that, unlike China, India does not have a trade surplus. It needs to export more if it is to keep GDP at a healthy rate. (And it needs to continue to grow at a healthy rate or risk an uprising by people left out of the tech-led boom.) Concerning the potential for US visa restrictions, he says: “Trade is a two-way street. We need to keep the movement of people open.”

That’s a key point. Trade isn’t just about merchandise. It’s about labor and capital, as well. And if American pundits and policymakers fail to realize that, trade between the US and India will be neither free no fair. That’s something people on both sides of the globe need to be concerned about.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More Blood-Pressure-Friendly Foods

Good article for ones who have hypertension and who want to avoid hypertension.. .. 

Source: Realage

Here’s a great morning meal for better blood pressure: Grind up some flaxseeds and sprinkle them on your whole-grain cereal. 

That’s right. Whole grains are good for lowering blood pressure, and flaxseeds may help bring it down a bit as well. Give those omega-3s another round of applause. 

Some ALA to Start
Your Day

Flaxseeds are abundant inalpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat. And in a study, ALA-rich foods lowered blood pressure slightly -- probably because this omega-3 fatty acid helps relax blood vessels, allowing blood to move more freely through arteries. And since even small drops in blood pressure can help your health in big ways -- by guarding against stroke and cardiovascular disease -- why not sneak in more flaxseeds where you can?

More Blood-Pressure-Friendly Foods
Make sure to include these foods in your blood-pressure-lowering plan, too:
  • Walnuts -- They are loaded with ALA and help your heart in other important ways. 
  • Berries -- One study recorded a seven-point dip in systolic pressure from a daily dose. 
  • Tomatoes -- The lycopene in tomatoes has a talent for tamping down blood pressure. 
  • Yogurt -- Eating plenty of low-fat dairy products could reallycut your hypertension risk

Sunday, March 29, 2009


This is a lovely email which my boss sent us all as part of sharing his knowledge and wisdom with us all in the company. I thought it shall be useful for anyone reading it...

A decision without action is no more powerful than indecision or no decision. Decisions without action are preparations for living without living. We need to act to experience life. We either make things happen or let things happen to us. Edward Rickenbacker describes a six-word formula for success ~ “Think things through, then follow through." 


Once a decision is made, it is time for action. Theodore Roosevelt said, "In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." After all, if we do the wrong thing, at least we can learn something from our mistake. But inaction teaches us nothing, other than regret. 

Our decisions are the clay we use to make bricks. And our actions are the bricks we use to create ourselves. Here’s a story that will help you understand the point ; "An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked him if he would build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career. 

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you." 


The carpenter was shocked ! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.” 

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, sometines putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we'd do it much differently. But we cannot go back. 

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." 

We, too, are birds that have a song. Our song can be melodious, sweet, and jubilant or screechy, savage, and vapid. It all depends on our actions, for they are the notes of our song. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour - 28th March

This is a nice article which I found in TheStar. newspaper

I loved the positive things that the editor has pointed out which had been iniitiated due wrong reasons of power cut happening due to electricity board. How people realise the small things in life & make most out of the natural things present around us which are never noticed by us during our routine busy schedules.. 

I remember when I was in Kanya Kumari which is the southern tip of Indian subcontinent.. in 1996 we had experienced the glamour of the stars in the sky & in millions.. since this part of the world is amost diving into the Ocean and the skylight is not disturbed by the artificial lightings of the skyscrappers and the street lights and one can enjoy the glory of the Stars in the universe.. 

Editor: Mr. Soo Ewe Jin 

A time to remind ourselves to care for Earth

AT 5.17pm on Aug 3, 1996, the whole of Peninsular Malaysia plunged into darkness.

For 16 hours, Malaysians were left powerless while staff of Tenaga Nasional Bhd worked round the clock to put things back in order.

Information was not forthcoming in the first few hours.

Our patience was sorely tested and tension ran high. Fortunately, it was a Saturday and by Monday, things had pretty much returned to normal.

I remember that Saturday night well. Most of us were out in the garden as all the electrical gadgets in the house were shut down. My neighbourhood had never been so dark before.

And when I looked upwards, I was greeted by such a majestic sight. Millions of stars twinkled in the sky. Artificial light had been snuffed out and Nature had reclaimed its rightful place.

I was reminded of a sign on my desk that read: When the outlook is grim, try looking up.

My good friend who is blind was at a barbecue party somewhere in Brickfields and he told me that he became the most useful person around that night. For while others were lost in the dark, he was well at ease.

There is a restaurant called Nans le Noir which specialises in “blind eating” It has outlets in Zurich, Berlin and London, and the owners emphasise that diners get to “completely re-evaluate their notions of taste” as they strip you of your sense of sight and force you to rely on your other senses to truly taste the “truth of the food”.

As you enter the pitch dark restaurant, you are guided to your seat by the blind staff, who also serve the meals. Any move you make while in the restaurant has to be done with the help of your guide – even getting to the Gents or Ladies.

Sounds interesting, which brings me to the point of today’s Monday Starters.

This Saturday, we will all get a chance to turn off the lights and join the millions (possibly billions) to power down for an hour to remind all of us to treat our planet with loving care.

Earth Hour (www.earthhour.org) starts at 8.30pm on March 28, wherever you live on Planet Earth, and for one hour, you are to turn off the lights.

The number of cities and towns signing up to switch their lights off has already exceeded the ambitious target of 1,000 set by Earth Hour organisers.

While cynics may see this as a gimmick, I see it as a vote for change, that we join hands with fellow inhabitants of the planet to vote for Earth and not for global warming. If enough votes are generated, governments will have to listen and shape policies, locally or globally, to effect change towards a greener and sustainable lifestyle.

I am looking forward to seeing how all the major urban centres in Malaysia will respond.

I doubt if enough lights will go out in the Klang Valley for me to enjoy another incredible starry, starry night.

But I will do my part in my little corner. The lights will go off in my home this Saturday. I will also switch off my mobile phone for an hour because it lights up each time a call or an SMS comes in.

A candlelight dinner with your loved ones would be nice.

This Saturday, by choice, I will turn off the lights. I will enjoy the darkness and appreciate what true light is all about. Will you join me?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Airlines set to lose US$4.7bil this year

It is an alarming situation around us for all sectors..   during this recession... no depression.. no downturn.. whatever we call it.. we tend to be talking in Billions of dollars only.. wonder.. what is going to happen to all the government fundings that shall go in.. & who shall get in line for becoming the next richest people.. 

Here is an article which had come in Star News paper.http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/3/25/business/3549559&sec=business

GENEVA: World airlines are set to lose US$4.7bil this year as a result of the global recession that has shrunk passenger and cargo demand, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

IATA had estimated in December the industry would lose US$2.5bil in 2009.

“The state of the airline industry today is grim. Demand has deteriorated much more rapidly with the economic slowdown than could have been anticipated even a few months ago,” director-general Giovanni Bisignani said yesterday.

“The relief of lower fuel prices is overshadowed by falling demand and plummeting revenues. The industry is in intensive care.”

IATA, which represents 230 airlines, also raised its estimate of international airline losses in 2008 to US$8.5bil, from its previous US$8bil estimate.

The Swiss-based body said its latest forecast was based on a view that the economy and air transport demand would hit bottom by mid-2009 and then start to recover.

“We do expect better prospects toward the end of this year or the beginning of 2010,” Bisignani told a news conference at Geneva airport.

Leading airlines have slashed fares to encourage continued travel and unveiled a range of cost-cutting measures to stay afloat throughout an economic slump.

Fares should stay low throughout the year while airlines compete for the business that remains until global economic activity rebounds, Bisignani said.

Asia-Pacific carriers will continue to be hardest hit by global economic turmoil and are expected to post losses of US$1.7bil, against the earlier forecast loss of US$1.1bil in 2009, according to IATA.

Carriers in North America were expected to deliver the “best performance” among the world’s regions with an estimated US$100mil profit, IATA said, crediting their strength to early capacity cuts and relatively little fuel hedging that has permitted them to benefit from sliding oil prices.

And European carriers are expected to lose US$1bil in 2009 as a result of the recession that will continue to drag down both economy and premium demand worldwide. — Reuters

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The outsourcing market faces up to two years of falling prices

This is an interesting article which I found and thought of sharing with my blog followers... 

Source: ZDnet Asia

By Colin Barker ZDNet.co.uk
Posted on ZDNet News: Mar 23, 2009 11:56:12 AM

The outsourcing market faces up to two years of falling prices, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Prices in all areas of IT services will fall by between five and 20 percent, Gartner forecasts, with an average fall of 10 percent in the coming year because of the uncertain economic climate and IT budget constraints.

"This fall in prices will occur due to increasing competition in the market between traditional and new providers, as more providers compete aggressively to keep revenue growth on target," Claudio Da Rold, an analyst at Gartner, said in a statement on Monday.

Regardless of the relative strength of outsourcing during a recession, many companies are reporting intense discussions with their vendors, according to Da Rold. "[This includes] renegotiation of contracts for terms and conditions, service-level agreements, fees, volumes and low-cost offshore delivery locations," he said.

Gartner expects a price fall in datacenter services of between five and 15 percent. Prices in desktop and helpdesk services will decline by between five and 10 percent, but the fall in network services prices will be bigger, at between 10 and 15 percent. Charges for application hosting services, until now one of the fastest-growing areas, will drop between 10 and 20 percent, the analyst firm said.

India has been one of the most popular areas for outsourcing operations, but Da Rold believes the country will be hard hit by the price falls. Indian offshore providers "have been coming under significant pressure for pricing reductions due to the Mumbai terrorist attack, the scandal at Satyam, rupee exchange-rate fluctuations, and continued wage inflation and attrition levels", Da Rold said.

Gartner advises businesses not to try and negotiate for the lowest price on new outsourcing contacts, because: "It will not make providers safer, deliver good services or promote a positive relationship".

This article was originally posted on ZDNet.co.uk.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Depression, Recession, Meltdown, Slowdown, Downturn, Inflation, stagflation

The current Economic Scenario both Globally and in India is a matter of concern. Many of the current generation really do not understand what is going on and are confused about words like Depression, Recession, Meltdown, Slowdown, Downturn, Inflation, stagflation etc. If these words are understood in the right context then the scenario becomes clear to the layman and it will diminish The Fear of the Unknown and add a little more confidence, as he/she will really be able to see where he/she stands in the current scenario.
RECESSION: When the GDP(Gross Domestic Product) of a country, which means the total value of the Goods, Services and Agricultural Products is taken into account and if there is no growth for two continuous quarters( a quarter is 3 months in a year), then it is assumed that the country is sliding into a recession. A weight age is given to each of the sectors of the economy and every sector of the economy must pull its weight in order to contribute to growth. If this does not happen then the Economy is considered to be sliding into a recession. The recession is confirmed.

DEPRESSION: When a recession hits a economy and there is a widespread decline in the power of the people to buy goods and services, and when such goods and services cannot sustain themselves and there are large scale layoffs and job losses leading to further inability for people to live normal lives and when the recession moves into 4 quarters then the country is sliding into a depression. In a depression growth continuous to be negative and will take time to move into the positive segment. It is estimated that around 850 billion dollars will have to be pumped into the economy, which mainly means to put money into the hands of people to buy and turn 1% negative into positive. As of this day the USA, Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, Africa and the latest addition is the Middle East and Singapore/Hongkong are in a state of recession and many of these economies are moving into further negative situations which means depression. A toal of more than 20
million people in all these countries have lost their jobs.

MELTDOWN/SLOWDOWN/DOWNTURN: This means that growth slowdown. The economies of India and China which were expected to grow  by about 9% to 12% during 2008-2009 are now projecting growth at 5% to 7%. India is not into recession and there is every reason to believe that this cannot happen even in 2009-2010.We call this a slowdown/meltdown or downturn. When a country is heavily dependent on its manufacturing, goods and services and agriculture and when these in turn are heavily dependent on exports and when economies in recession cannot afford to buy or import as before then there is bound to be a slowdown. China depends to the extent of 64% on exports and only 36 % on local consumption and as such the slowdown has hit China badly. More than 20 million( one million is 10 lakhs) workers have lost their jobs as they were mostly working in export oriented industries. Having lost jobs they now do not have the money to buy anything they need as such local
consumption is also affected. Remember that China is the 3rd largest economy in the world only next to the USA and Japan. The Middle East economy is fired up by the sale of oil. Remember that Crude was selling around USD 150/- in July/August 2008 and since then the price of crude has come down to around USD 42/-. The largest consumers of oil are the USA, Japan and China and India. When the first three economies of the world who account for more than 55% of the oil consumption and they are in recession then crude prices, which are govered by demand and supply cannot go up. This means the revenues of the Middle East have come down by two thirds and all work and projects which began on the assumption that crude prices will stay at around USD 140/- are now coming to a stand still. Dubai is a totally service oriented Economy like Singapore and Hongkong. When IT, Financial and other services are hit in the major economies these economies also are hit badly.
In contrast India depends only to the extent of 16% of its economy on exports and 84% of what we produce is consumed locally, so it is far fetched to think of India going into a recession.
Yes certain sectors of the economy which were nearly 80% dependent on exports like the IT industry are hit then such of those who are connected with this industry are also hit. This does have a cascading effect on other sectors too but this could lead to a real correction of the economy. Money now begins to have a intrinsic value, rather than just the paper it is printed on, which was the case a couple of months ago.As compared to the countries who are in recession or depression or like China in a slowdown India also is in a slowdown but we haven’t even officially reached a level where 100,000 jobs have been lost. Yes perks have been discontinued, increments have been stopped, salaries have been reduced, work hours have been stagerred but then the Indian Management System is much more humane. Stop complaining and start working and feel happy you have a job.

INFLATION: Inflation is when the demand supply situation works and when demand is more than supply then people are prepared to buy at whatever prices that are quoted then we have a inflationary situation. Like rice and wheat and sugar. When production is disturbed and we have a hungry population then the market, like crude oil, dictates the price. It is like for the last 7 years when the IT industry was on a euphoria of growth, when companies were recruiting people commanded a price which was unrealistic or inflated. For every 5 jobs created there was only one person available and this person went to the highest bidder. This person in turn when he had more money than he would have ever seen in his life at this young age did not think of liquidity or the future and went on a spending spree. Real Estate/ housing came into demand huge demand and prices were inflated. Banks were prepared to lend to this new age buyer and the buyer went in for huge EMI’s on
Flats, Vehicles, holidays and other expenses leaving not much for liquidity. Now with companies downsizing on salaries, people, perks, when companies start laying off people due to business or profit concerns then the demand for such goods come down and the inflationary trend comes down. Our inflation rate today is at the level of 2002 and it is still going down. One of the greatest things about India is that while the savings rate in the US/Europe is in the region of 2% to 4% in India it is in the region of 35% to 40%. Even in times of trouble people have saved money to spend when they do not have a steady income. This will keep the economy moving, maybe slowly but moving not falling. We have a well regulated and strong financial system and our banks are considered some of the strongest in the world. As of today the Market capitalization of The State Bank of India is higher than Citibank, USA. Job losses are minimal and opportunities to work are still
there. Maybe it is not a job of your choice, but remember when you are hungry, anything will do and not necessarily from a 5 star menu card.

STAGFLATION: When the prices of products, goods and services do not go up or come down and when our growth is continuously the same it is considered to be stagnant and as such we have stagflation. 

Inflation is a necessary evil like blood pressure. Your blood pressure must be 80/120 for you to be normal. While the 120 can go up to 140 then 80 cannot go down to 60 which means you are in trouble. This is called low BP. You need to see a doctor immediately.
But when the 80 hits 190/210 then it is high BP and you need to see a doctor too.

Many of us who are in our late 50’s and 60’s have seen these recessionary and downturn situations in the past and we have learnt lessons from it and as such even though I run a business I am running a successful one as I have taken steps long ago to insulate myself in such a situation. Youngsters should not be afraid or lose heart. This is a cycle which happens in your life and like us you have your lessons to learn.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Can it be Real?

One can experience magic but cannot describe it and this is what one can do by watching a Demo of a futuristic product developed by one of the students from MIT.

The idea is that we have 5 senses that we can use, but how about having a 6th sense.. and one can really know what I mean by looking at this video.. which features Pranav Mistry... the student who has come out with this idea..


It is just superb and out of the world.. or is it!!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Easy Way to Cut 220 Calories

Source: http://www.realage.com/

This is my personal experience that I tend to snack if I stay awake watching movies or doing something late into night. I am sure you all will agree there.. hope this helps..

Removing 220 calories from your day could make a big difference to your waistline, right?

So here's the simple way to make it happen: Set your DVR to record your favorite late-night shows. Then, hit the hay. In a study, people who stayed up late -- and got less sleep as a result -- munched down 220 more daily calories than the hit-the-sack-early crowd.

Nocturnal Noshing
The people in the study with later bedtimes averaged about 5.5 hours of sleep per night. The folks who crashed earlier slept about 8.5 hours. Although the sleep-deprived did not eat bigger meals, they did snack more than the well-rested group -- and usually on high-carb foods eaten late in the evening.

Sleep/Eat Connection
Researchers suspect the night owls ate more not just because they had more opportunity but also because sleep loss may affect reward-motivation brain neurons in a way that leads to more snacking.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Getting good deals at TESCO!!

Usually saturday/sunday we like to get the grocery for the week or couple of weeks if possible. Last saturday we noticed lot of offers by Tesco and decided to go for shopping at this place at the Puchong outlet.

Tesco plc is a British-based international grocery and general merchandising retail chain. It is the largest British retailer by both global sales and domestic market share with profits exceeding £2 billion. In 2008, Tesco became the world's fourth largest retailer, the first movement among the top five since 2003. Originally specialising in food and drink, it has diversified into areas such as clothing, consumer electronics, financial services, telecoms, health and car insurance, dental plans, retailing and renting DVDs, CDs, music downloads, Internet services, and software.

Tesco opened its first store in Malaysia in May 2002. Tesco partnered with local conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad which holds 30% of the shares. Tesco also acquired Makro, a local wholesaler which was rebranded Tesco Extra and provides products for local retailers. Tesco Malaysia offers a value range, own branded range, electronic goods, the loyalty clubcard and clothing. On 31 January 2007, Tesco announced that it was purchasing Makro and converting and refurbishing all its stores to a new format called Tesco 'Extra'. 

Tesco offers Malaysians a complete one stop shopping for their needs - fresh food to groceries from household needs to apparel. Tesco carries a total of 86,000 lines of products including more than 1,300 Tesco branded items.

Tesco believes in working with local businesses, government, authorities and suppliers throughout their worldwide operations. This is also the same case for their operations in Malaysia. As part of Tesco - strategy of combining world class retailing approach with a local focus in Malaysia, Tesco believes in maximizing the benefits of local sourcing.

Among the key steps undertaken are:

  • Working with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to develop the Supplier Guidelines Communication Pack for potential suppliers.

  • Organising seminars, workshops and proactively assisting SMEs on supplying to hypermarkets like Tesco.

  • Developing and assisting local suppliers to supply products under the Tesco brand to Tesco hypermarkets, locally and internationally.

  • Creating retail opportunities for local businesses through rental of retail areas such as shop lot, food court, temporary kiosks, etc.

  • Working with State Government, FAMA, a subsidiary of Ministry of Agriculture, to maximize local sourcing opportunities.

  • Creating opportunities for smaller businesses - allocating 30% of food court space for Bumiputra suppliers.
Don't forget to check the local newspaper for great deals at TESCO.... I could save RM 20 on my groceries which is almost 10% on the weekly budget - not bad isn't it.. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Innovative approach in Cost cutting?

I think one of the things happening currently in almost all companies is how to control costs and how to get better efficiency out of the same resources by adopting different methodology. Most company personnel have been asked to cut down on travel or look for cheaper alternatives. Here is something which I read about Infosys, which has been known to use innovative approach. Here in this excerpt they are talking about using their strengths (workforce of 100,000) in devising a model to cut costs & get advantage to the table.

Source: www.rediff.com

Here are some of the measures that one of India's most valued, and most respected companies, Infosys Technologies, has implemented.

Save $10

It is asking all its employees to go in for a one-time cost savings of $10 each. This initiative is expected to help the company, which has over 100,000 people on its rolls, log in a cost saving of $1 million (around Rs 5 crore).

An internal mail from the company's CEO and MD S (Kris) Gopalakrishnan to the employees said, 'If each one of us is able to identify a savings of even $10 -- not just per day or per month -- but $10 as a one-time effort from each one of us, that would translate to a saving of close to $1,000,000. I urge each one of you as a key stakeholder of the company's success, to examine your work environment and look at opportunities that will optimise utilisation and control expenditure.'

Infosys said the letter had been issued basically to stress the company's focus on cost-cutting. "The overall message is -- don't think any expense is a small expense and don't unnecessarily spend money. Because it's a tough time. We had never seen a time like this earlier," said V Balakrishnan, CFO, Infosys Technologies.

Log in on time

It recently announced an initiative as per which if an employee reaches office before 8 am throughout a month, he will get a cash award of about Rs 500.

The move is aimed at increased utilisation of its transport services and to beat the traffic, which will result in higher productivity for the company. The company operates several buses to transport its employees. "This is to make sure that the buses are full. The capacity usage of the buses is very low at the moment," said Bala.

Discretionary spend slowdown

Discretionary expenses have been drastically reduced across the company. The Infosys senior management and board members have already offered to cut down their discretionary spends.

This includes brand building expenses and sales & marketing. "We are looking at cutting down some of the discretionary expenses. The travel cost has already come down significantly. However, we are not cutting any necessary expenses on things like training and R&D," said Gopalakrishnan.

Deliver or. . .

Infosys has placed around 5 per cent of its global workforce under the scanner. It has told its senior managers to give the lowest performance rating (4 on a scale of 1-4) to the 'underperforming' 5 per cent as a part of the company's consolidated relative ranking. Though rock-bottom rankings have been handed out earlier, this is the first time that Infosys has made it mandatory.

The move is expected to affect over 5,000 employees.

The company has decided to implement a six-month mentoring programme for such employees after which it will decide their future based on the improvements they have made. As a part of this programme, each affected employee will be asked to work under the supervision of a mentor who is a senior executive.

During this period, the employee will not be given any important assignment, even though he will be allowed to work on the project where he is working at present. If the concerned employee is on bench, he will give all his time for the mentoring programme. During this time, the employee will get full salary as well as the regular allowances.

"While 50 per cent of such employees come back to the system, others get the message and quit voluntarily in most cases," Infosys Vice-president and Group HR Head Nandita Gurjar said.

Travel economy

Infosys has asked its staff to travel on an economy-class ticket if the flying time is less than four hours.

Chief mentor Narayan Murthy recently flew to Sri Lanka, and he flew economy.

Variable pay cut

It is looking at slashing the variable pay component of its employees' salaries.

Time for a sabbatical?

Employees have been issued letters stating they could opt for a one-year sabbatical to engage themselves in philanthropic activities. They would continue to draw 50 per cent of their salary during the period.

However, only those employees who have been on the company rolls for at least two consecutive years before are eligible for the offer. A panel comprising senior members of the Infosys leadership team will decide each case.

Smaller pay hike

Employees may get pay hikes below 10 per cent this year, the company's chief financial officer S D Shibu Lal has said. Which means they are lot luckier than many others who have had to face pay cuts, longer working hours, additional responsibilities and even job loss.

Ideas, anyone?

Infosys has set up a portal where employees can submit ideas that could range from ensuring all computers and lights are switched off at the end of the day to bigger business ideas which could be incubated.

So far the company has apparently received over 1000 such ideas which it is in the process of evaluating.

No loo breaks?

We don't know how true this one is, but staffers are apparently not encouraged to stay on beyond 7 pm to complete project deadlines. So they won't be allowed to take a toilet break after 7 pm!

To help them in this process, there will be no drinking water available after 4.30 pm. It has also pasted advisories next to the elevators 'encouraging' employees to take the stairs 'for better health.'

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pay attention to your Resume

Your Resume or CV is one of the most important documents that you may write in your career. Mistakes in your CV could therefore cost you the opportunity of a lifetime.

It's the first meeting between you and a prospective employer...

You have heard the expression "First impressions are lasting ones." Well, your resume is the first meeting between you and a prospective employer more often now than ever. So, how do you want to be remembered? Wrinkled and unorganized. Neat and structured. Long and boring. Precise and interesting. Companies do not have the time to interview every applicant that is interested in the job. If they did, there would not be a company to work for. They use an eliminating process. That's right - resumes.

They tell the employer a great deal about you...

Resumes tell an employer a great deal about you. Where you have been, where you are and where you are headed. However, the story must be told quickly and clearly. You only have a few moments to convince the employer that your resume deserves further attention before it's trashed. Your resume needs to shout - professionally, "I am the one you want on your team." So much so, that even if you are not appropriate for the advertised position, he or she would be inclined to start one for you.

They tell you a great deal about yourself...

Resumes also tell you a great deal about yourself. Many people are unsure of exactly what they do for a living. Most people underestimate their importance to the overall success of the business. Once you stop and think about your job responsibilities , you realize you do and know a lot. You begin to gain confidence about you and your qualifications. This new found confidence can be carried to the interview.

Its purpose is to get the interview...

The purpose of the resume is to get the interview. After reading it, employers should want to get to know you better. Your resume is your friend, if properly prepared. If not, it could be just the thing that loses your opportunity. Use it to your advantage. You have complete control over whatever employer knows about you. Never falsify information, but emphasize the good, and de-emphasize the bad. Make sure your lasting impression is a profound and positive one.

 Here are some common errors to be avoided while writing your CV:

1) Spelling Mistakes: Spelling mistakes can leave a poor impression. So have your CV read by someone to remove such errors before you go ahead and apply for a job.

2) Factual mistakes: Incorrect tenure in an organisation, incorrect education details, chronology of experience, can all lead to misunderstandings.

3) Long flowing sentences: This distracts the scanning eyes of a Recruiter due to the limited time they allocate to reading CVs. My suggestion to all, make some key bullet points in your resume that would summarise your experience, skills and achievements.

4) Formatting: The size and type of font chosen can have an impact on the readability. Please do not hilight unnecessary points with colourful fonts, keep it simple and to the point.

5) Incorrect contact information: This being the second most critical data after your experience and skills must be correctly presented. You should mention both your present and permanent addresses with direct contact numbers such as your mobile and landline number. If these details are not listed you might miss an opportunity by a missed call.

6) Lack of objective/focus: Unclear objectives can leave a Recruiter guessing which field or type of job you are interested in. A great objective statement clearly defines your career goal aligned with the job you are targeting for.

7) Length: The CV should be descriptive enough to explain what your key skills are, yet short enough to retain interest of the Recruiter.

To add this, you should also know that a Cover Letter adds a few stars to a great CV. It highlights your interest and summarises your objective for applying for a particular profile. So, once you have worked on your CV, get working on your Cover Letter. This can greatly increase your chance of getting an interview call, which will be your key to securing an opportunity.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What’s the real rate of return?

I found this article interesting to share with my fellow bloggers & visitors to my blog....

Source: "The Star" newspaper 11th march 2009 : http://biz.thestar.com.my/  

● Ooi Kok Hwa is an investment adviser licensed by the Securities Commission and managing partner of MRR Consulting.

THE recent reduction in interest rates by Bank Negara caught a lot of depositors by surprise.

Lately, some senior citizens who had been dependent on interest from fixed deposits (FD) for their living expenses have been complaining about the low returns from FD not being able to cover the high inflation rates.

Even though there have been signs that our inflation rate has been heading south from the peak of 8.5% in August 2008 to 3.9% in January, the current 12-month FD rate of about 2.5% is still lower than the latest inflation rate of 3.9%.

If we use the 12-month FD rate as our risk-free rate (instead of the common market practise of 10-year Malaysian Government Securities or MGS rate), the real rate of return to depositors is only minus 1.4% (2.5% - 3.9%).

This explains why some depositors have been quite worried that they may not be able to survive if they continue to depend solely on interest from FD to cover their living expenses.

Even though the Government has encouraged the public to spend money, a lot of people have been holding back their expenditure on some luxury items following the threat of unemployment. They only spend money on necessary items.

Besides, they will continue to place money in FD even though they are aware that the real rate of return is negative.

Based on Bank Negara’s monthly statistical bulletin of 30-year average 1-month, 12-month FD rate and the inflation rate (as measured by the Consumer Price Index or CPI), our real rate of return was positive at 2.9% if we compute it based on the average 12-month FD rate and inflation rate of 6.1% and 3.2% respectively (see table).

The table shows that in an expansionary economy or high interest rate environment, the real rate of return increased to between 6% and 7% during the years 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1997.

However, when our economy went into recession in 1988 and 1998, the real rate of return tumbled to 1.8% and 0.4% respectively.

Hence, even though the real rate of return was minus 1.7% last year – the first time over the past 30 years – we need to understand that the real rate of return will improve when the overall economy recovers.

Investors need to understand that it is not possible to generate the average real rate return of 2.9% every year.

During the current tough economic environment, we also need to understand that the primary concern is to protect capital.

Bank Negara has guaranteed that it will protect money placed in the banks until December 2010.

Hence, we need to make sure that we have enough reserves to help pull us through the current downturn.

According to the rule of thumb of financial planning, we need to have savings to cover four to six months of our living expenses.

We believe that as long as we continue to save money and spend less, it is acceptable to get negative real rate of return during this period.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

5 investment secrets of a self-made millionaire

(Excerpt from Taming the Lion: 100 Secret Strategies for Investing by Richard Farleigh, who made millions before he was 35 through shrewd investing. Published by Vision Books.)

I had been investing for a number of years before I learnt how to deal with risk. By solidly identifying some market opportunities I had achieved good results, but I treated finance as a game of chess, an exact discipline, where I expected to benefit from good decisions and suffer from poor ones.

1. How to deal with risk

This over-ambitious approach occasionally caused some bad habits. For instance, when I was not performing well, I made three basic mistakes:

  • I let losing positions drag on for longer than I should, as I hoped that eventually, I would be proved right.
  • I was a bit harsh on myself, and I assumed that to make a loss, must have missed something obvious.
  • I let it depress me that many hours of work on research and analysis could actually lead to failure.

Equally, when I made profits, I was over-ambitious and assumed that my reasoning had been right. I thought I was a hero!

Backgammon rather than chess

Fortunately, it didn't take long before I evolved a different way of thinking. I realised that luck plays a role in the investment world. Profits can be simply due to good luck, and losses simply due to bad luck. Financial markets are more like a game of backgammon than a game of chess, because unpredictable events in the markets simulate the involvement of the dice.

With this discovery I started treating markets as partly random and accepted that there was always going to be risk. There is no perfect investment or trade. This approach helped my trading enormously.

  • I stopped blocking the possibility of losses out of my mind like some dark fear, and I began to consciously anticipate them.
  • I accepted that it would not always be possible to find a reason for a trade going wrong, apart from just chance. So I gave up over-analysing losses with endless post-mortems looking for my mistakes.
  • I learnt to assess risks and look at factors like correlation and liquidity.
  • Having consciously recognised risk, I reasoned that it was not always a good idea to try and minimise it. I knew that having identified some comparative advantages, I had to trust them to work over time.
  • I accepted that even good ideas can lose money. That helped me to get better at cutting losing positions. Being wrong did not mean that I was a lousy trader. Even a trader with a comparative advantage will often make what is later found to be the wrong decision.

This attitude to risk is worth adopting. Accept that trading is unique -- a doctor or a lawyer would quickly be out of business with the number of failures that are part of a trader's life.

2. Good ideas can lose money

In 1999 and early 2000, Warren Buffett was very sceptical about the rising valuations in the stock market, particularly those in the tech sector. Consequently, he didn't invest as aggressively as many other fund managers. Then, of course, in mid-2000 the share prices of many tech stocks collapsed to a fraction of their boom value.

It was a massive market crash, and the so-called 'Sage of Omaha' was proved right (yet again!). I'm sure, however, that even he must have felt some pressure when prices were relentlessly rising and his funds were under-performing. With his reputation though, his investors stuck with him through this difficult period, and he held firm. They believed that he had the right approach, even though he was not getting immediate results.

Analysis after a loss

If you've lost money on an investment, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Were you pursuing a genuine opportunity?
  • Did you understand how the market usually works?
  • Did you back a big idea or market anomaly that you had identified?
  • Was the potential reward worth the risk?

If you have let yourself down, learn from the experience and try not to do it again. But if the investment looks like it made sense, then try not to be put off. Accept that you cannot judge the quality of a single trade or investment by whether you made a profit or loss.

This approach is very disciplined. You do not want to change your investment style on the back of just a few disappointments.

The outcome of an investment or trade is not necessarily a true reflection of the merits of the original idea. Good ideas can lose money.

3. Wild swings and losses are uncomfortable, but they may offer the best rewards

While the markets have evolved and become increasingly sophisticated, there has been enormous scrutiny of just about every possible opportunity. Any obvious and reliable way to make money has now probably disappeared.

This means that there are fewer opportunities which offer smooth above-average returns. In fact, the opportunities likely to last longest are those which are the most uncomfortable. Would you be prepared to back an idea that would probably lose money eleven months out of twelve, even if it would probably pay off in the other month?

A lot of traders don't want that life. A lot of funds would be hammered with capital withdrawals by their investors. We live in a quarterly or annual reporting world. People evaluate performance over a given period and take action if results are not up to scratch.

By careful management of risk, however, you may be able to take on these uncomfortable types of investments. In the mid 1990s, I had "retired" and I only wanted to invest my own money. I continued to trade currencies and futures on my own account, and I also decided to start investing in early stage companies.

Early stage companies are often private companies which are not listed on any share market, although that is normally their aspiration. There are many of these little unlisted companies searching for financial backers, and they usually find it very difficult, since few investors are interested in them.

4. Opportunities may be found in areas that others find uncomfortable

One of my reasons for moving into this high risk sector, was that many people find the risk profile too uncomfortable. The majority of the companies fail, and the investor needs to select his investments extremely carefully, and trust that the winners will more than compensate for the losers.

Investors also have very little liquidity, and they may have to wait years for a chance to get some money back when the company floats on the share market or is acquired by another company.

This is why I came to the conclusion that good, small companies can be underpriced. This can be an advantage for anyone investing in start-ups if they are able to sort through the many companies looking for money and to choose the good over the bad. I have found the process is not that different to looking at the fundamentals driving currencies, interest rates or other markets, and over a ten year period, I have managed to achieve well over a 20 per cent annual return despite the market collapse in 2000.

Not everyone though, can invest in unlisted companies. The minimum investment needed is at least 50 grand, and you probably need a network to make the introduction. However, I have also been able to apply the experience I have gained from dealing with unlisted companies to help me evaluate small companies which are already listed on the share market.

These are accessible to all investors. In a later chapter I will explore the fundamentals of small companies which I think are important for investors to assess. The small listed companies are also generally riskier than the big solid blue chip stocks, but by making an effort to investigate these opportunities and by managing your risk, you may find that these more uncomfortable investments offer a better price.

In general, keep a lookout for investments and trading styles that others don't like. It is logical that it may be here that you find the winners.

5. Diversify

The benefits of diversification are very well-known. There is a famous expression saying that diversification is the one "free lunch" for the investor. No collection of strategies would be complete without a mention of this easy meal. The world is risk averse. People want to avoid nasty surprises. Investors would prefer to have steady reliable returns, rather than potential wild swings of wins and losses.

Diversification can allow investors to reduce their risk without reducing their overall return. The idea of diversification is that it smoothes out the flow of wins and losses. It is unlikely that a variety of separate trading ideas will all win or lose at the same time. So even if we are placing riskier trades, it may not result in a riskier total portfolio.

I have discussed how I believe that uncomfortable trades with the big swings in wins and losses may offer the best rewards. So diversification is especially useful, because it may be possible to have a more comfortable existence, and still pocket the high return.

There are a few points to note about diversification:

  • You can diversify within an asset class. For example, a stock portfolio can have a mix of some blue chips with some small stocks.
  • Diversification across all asset classes (stocks, bonds, cash, gold, property, etc.) is more effective though, since the positions are less correlated.
  • You shouldn't keep a losing position simply because another one is doing well. I was once very sloppy with a losing currency position, because I had a bond position that was profitable, and in aggregate I wasn't losing money. I realised later, that had I used my usual discipline I would have cut the losing position and been much better off.
  • Every position in the portfolio should be based on its own merits.
  • Remember that you can keep cash as one component in a diversified portfolio.
  • Diversification is not an exact science. Since it is difficult to accurately measure risk, so for diversification a rough mix, based on instincts, is probably adequate.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Will we have voting via internet in India??

It is just so coincidental that during our lunch time we had a heated debate on this topic and with juts about 7-8 members involved in this discussion it became a pretty serious.

Well we had started off with saying that when should India be planning to use the internet medium for things like voting. We had a few members who supported this or rather felt that it should be a good option while we also had opinions where some of us felt that it is too early in India for having this since the penetration of internet is still not reached the villages as it has in other developed countries. We didn't reach a conclusion that day and we might still not until one day the thing really happens.

One of the interesting argument was that security will be an issue for internet voting. The point that was put forth was that internet voting may involve the votes been unethically cast by family members sharing their passwords for voting with other family members and that this won't be secret ballot. The point also raised was that threatening could also happen to all the internet voters by some parties by holding them at gunpoint, which I was not supportive of.

An intelligent point which had also come up was about the cost cutting that could happen by use of less papers for this purpose. NRIs currently don't have the rights to vote although forming a very large community in country's decisions and economy. Why hasn't this point also not taken up anytime ? One can easily make use of Indian embassies in respective countries to help get the votes in for the NRIs. There are few unasnwered questions, which I feel we shall get answers in the next 5-10 years or less.

So anyway we still don't have internet voting happening but the popularity of internet during the recent american elections has started catching up in some way for Indian elections. Below is an article published in Businessweek asia on March 6.

*Barack Obama used a unique grassroots campaign that leveraged technology to reach out to the masses. His assets included an impressive 13 million e-mail addresses and 2 million friends on his social networking site, according to published data. Now Indian politicians are taking a leaf out his stunning campaign and are trying to use technology to reach out to the electorate.

A few parties, including Congress and BJP, are also reaching out to specialised consultants, and going beyond plain vanilla websites to help them plan their campaigns. Robinder N Sachdev, president, The Imagindia Institute, a think-tank which helped to mobilise Indians as a lobby group in the American elections, is now in discussions with campaign managers of various political parties.

Mr. Sachdev plans to leverage cell phones, which has a much higher penetration in India compared to the internet, to reach out directly to voters. "At every rally, we will ask people to send in three issues that matter to them most on the SMS number we set up. Even if 10-15% of the 1000 people who attend the rally do that, you've got a sizeable number," he said.

The candidates can then address the issues that matter most to the constituency through targeted campaigns. A rating of all the issues can be done based on the responses received. And, a la Obama, who built what is probably one of the most valuable databases of e-mail addresses and contact details, the mobile numbers can help political parties build a database through which they can directly reach out to voters.

The Congress and BJP are spending more than Rs 1 crore on online, e-mail, mobile this time. Although party contributions from individual voters is not yet happening because of low penetration of the internet and payment gateways, BJP said it is pushing around half a million mails everyday. "Though the penetration of internet is still minuscule, 60% of internet users live in the top eight cities which impacts some 50 Lok Sabha seats, so it's a medium worth considering," said Pradyut Bora, convenor of BJP's IT cell.

The BJP has also cross-linked its website to different portals and are keenly promoting it through the Google search engine. It also plans to use Facebook and Orkut. Others like BSP are in the process of signing up a Delhi firm to launch a website, while UP CM Mayawati is expected to soon launch her blog.

The Congress is updating its website, given that online medium are increasing becoming more central. "We are in the process of giving a cleaner and leaner look to our five-year-old website," Biswajeet Prithvi Singh, chairman, computer department, Congress, told ET.

The relatively lower cost of an online campaign also makes it a compelling proposition, according to Mrutunjoy Mishra, co-founder of online firm juxtconsult.com. "By spending Rs 3-4 lakh, one can get around 4 million impressions which is far cheaper than channels like television or outdoor," he said.

Parties like CPM are, however, a little sceptical of the power of online. "In a poor country like ours face-to-face contact with voter will always occupy centre stage. Online campaigns can be a successful model for America where internet penetration is 100%," said Prasanjeet Bose, convenor, research unit, CPM. "The Obamisation of Indian politics has little relevance to the bulk of voters that actually elects MPs on the basis of caste, creed and Rs 2 rice promises," admitted Mr. Mishra. "But nonetheless, this is just the beginning. By general elections 2014, the results will start to show," he added.*

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Firms need to remain ethical ?

This is an excerpt from "The Star" newspaper here in Malaysia..

A company’s business ethics is the first casualty in an economic downturn, according to London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) president Glynn Lowth.

“Companies will try to cut corners, take short cuts or do anything just to achieve it (profits),” Lowth told StarBiz after the CIMA-IIM (Malaysian Institute of Integrity) Debate on Ethics 2009 here yesterday.

“I understand that going into tough times, it would seem better to take short cuts but in the long term, they would see that an ethical business would be a better business,” he said.

Lowth, who was one of the panellists at the debate, said there was evidence to suggest that companies would be more profitable if they conducted their businesses in an ethical manner.

“Customers and business partners notice their ethical practices and would want to deal with them more. There is a better payoff by being more ethical in business,” he said.

Quoting Montek S. Ahluwalia, the deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission, he said: “Confidence grows at the rate that a coconut tree grows but falls at the rate that the coconut falls.”

Bushon pointed out that the element of ethics must be a top-down initiative for it to be effective. “The people at the top occupy a position of trust and they have a fiduciary duty to ensure that business is run in a proper manner.”

Hashim said company CEOs should be made accountable for decisions related to ethics as well as profits.

“Companies should consider remunerating their CEOs for ensuring good ethics just as how they are remunerated to ensure good profits,” he said.

My personal opinion is now that we see every country trying to put in a stimulus package for the betterment of the economy & helping the reputed names of their own countries to be able to stand on their feet, it will be again difficult to control this aspect of ethics.. during these tough times it will be very important for governments to give money to managements & firms which do really have potential to sustain thru the economic times & during good times be wise enough to return the monies to the government for the betterment of the society.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How to Handle Difficult People?

A bully at your work is difficult for you to face. He is demanding you do part of his job without pay or credit. How do you handle it?

Your neighbors are constantly fighting. They wake you up in the middle of the night with their screams and curses. What do you say to them?

Your father is unhappy about your career choice. He constantly criticizes your work and points out what he thinks you should do. How do you deal with him?

Difficult situations are part of everyone’s life. Employers and employees can’t get along. Partners clash over money. Spouses cannot resolve disagreements.

If you ignore these situations, they always get worse. Employees get fired, partnerships and marriages break up, everyone is miserable.

Waiting and worrying, the most common "solution," also allows the problem to get worse while giving you stress and shortening your life span.

If you attack the person, at least you are trying to fix the problem. But attacks, rage or irrational anger gives you a bad name, makes people afraid of you and reduces honest communication.

Disconnecting from the problem or from the person is not always wise or practical. Losing employees, supporters and friends because you needlessly disassociate from them may reduce your stress, but you might also become lonely and poor.

The Best Solution Is to Confront and Handle People

"The ability to stand up to and confront and handle whatever comes the way of the organization depends utterly on the ability of the individuals of the organization to stand up to, confront and handle what comes the individual's way." — L. Ron Hubbard

When you face and resolve the problem yourself, you feel wonderful. You are in control of your life. You not only conquer the opposition, you conquer your fear. Few accomplishments are more satisfying than confronting someone who is difficult to face and handling the conflict.

How to Confront and Handle Someone

By getting organized and working out a plan of action, confronting and handling people becomes much easier. The key is your preparation.


Follow these seven steps to prepare yourself for dealing with the difficult people in your life.

1. Make the decision to face up to the person directly and by yourself.

2. Write down the exact problem you need to handle and your goal for the confrontation.

Examples of problems to be confronted that you might write down:

"Joe is refusing to pay me despite our agreement."

"Chris is hurting office morale and causing me stress with her continual complaining."

"Bob is supposedly telling people that my work is inferior and I am dishonest."

Once you specifically name or identify the problem, write down a goal for the meeting. "By the end of the meeting, I want . . . ."

Examples of goals or objectives you might want as a result of a confrontation:

"Joe pays me in full."

"Chris stops complaining or leaves."

"Learn the truth about Bob’s comments and if true, get him to stop it."

In some cases, your objective may also state:

"Figure out if I want this person as a partner/employee/boss/friend."

3. Write down a Plan or List of Points You Need to Make to Support Your Goal: Facts, Reasons and explanations you may need the other person to understand. List the points in order of priority or importance.

For example, to get Joe to understand why he must pay you, you might make these points:

A. Joe requested the service.

B. Joe signed an agreement to pay for the service.

C. We provided the service as promised.

D. Joe was happy with the service.

E. Etc.

4. Write down objections, reactions or disagreements the other person may have. Include everything you are afraid might happen during the meeting. Putting specific concerns and fears in writing reduces their impact on you.

For each objection, reaction or disagreement you expect will happen, write a solution of how you will deal with each.

5. Organize your notes and gather supportive documents.

6. Arrange the meeting where you will not be disturbed, preferably in a space you control.

7. Start the meeting.

A. Look the person directly in the eye.

B. Explain the specific problem you want to resolve as you noted in Step 2.

C. Go over your first point on the list from Step 3.

D. Listen carefully to the other person and make certain they feel understood.

E. Hold a position on your points.

F. Use your solutions to their reactions as you worked out in Step 4.

G. Continue describing your points and listening to the person's side.

H. Do not give up. Communicate and persist for as long as it takes to reach your goal.

The more frequently you confront and handle difficult people, the easier it becomes. The amount of time it takes to prepare for a confrontation decreases. You become strong and tough.

When you confront and handle everyone around you, people respect you for your courage, your honesty and your control. Your associates, employees or coworkers follow your example and become more productive. Your enemies either become harmless or become friends.

Taking positive organized action, despite fear, is the kind of courage all successful people must have to succeed.