August 13, 2016

TTST #2 Compilation by Brig Sushil Bhasin

August 09, 2016

Ranga the Postman

For officers of the Indian Armed Forces there is a prestigious institution, a ‘Mecca’ for the elite, called “Defence Services Staff College” in Wellington, near Ooty in the Nilgiris. I went through a ‘one year ‘ staff course there in 1983. 

The Staff College, as it is popularly called, is known for its meticulously seamless working and the high standards of ‘staff work’ that it inculcates in the officers.
There is a unique and efficient facility created for sending and receiving letters and study material. In this beautifully designed hexagonal building “Chanakya,’  is the Tea Room. Along the six walls of this hexagon are sets of drawers called ‘Lockers.’ Each officer is assigned a Locker and a Locker Number,as an identification. It has a slit, big enough for someone to slip a file through. We were expected to clear our lockers at least twice a day at 8 am and 4 pm. You could have your assignments, letters, even bank cheque book of the local bank found in the locker when you opened it.

There was one postman called Ranga who was assigned to Staff College. Every day, he would bring the mail and then distribute it by dropping the letters in the lockers. He did it very efficiently. We used to be amazed when he could connect a number to the face and a name, and would sometimes, stop our two wheeler to hand over a letter, with a very warm smile. That way, we would get the letter even before we cleared our lockers.

One day, Ranga, parked his cycle on the road and chose to walk up a steep hill to handover a letter to a German Officer who stayed in a Bungalow atop a small hill. We used to have a few officers from Friendly Foreign Countries attending the course, too. The lady opened the door after Ranga rang the door bell. He handed over 2 letters to her with his big, warm, usual smile. She gave him a question mark look and asked him what made him climb a hill to deliver the letters, when his job was to just drop them in the locker. He simply smiled and said, “Saab will clear his locker tomorrow, and I thought I could deliver the letter toady.”  She was not sure of his intention. She was not convinced. She asked him to wait, went inside and got a bottle of rum for him, assuming that this could be the only reason for this unusual effort, as most of the working class men expected Rum (we used to call it Black Dollar) as a reward for any outstanding work or favour. With his hands folded, he bowed down to say, “No madam, thanks, I don’t drink rum.” “Have a cup of tea, then,” she offered. He said no to that too, had a glass of water and walked away. This lady found it difficult to digest.

When Ranga delivered the third letter in 2 months time, she had to find the answer. She had offered him hard cash too, which he had politely refused. She asked him to sit down in the verandah overlooking the Nililgir’s Bluish green hills. She sat down in front of him and asked him a straight forward question. “Ranga, why do you do this ‘extra’ job. In his broken hindi, he offered a simple explanation, which she understood very little of, he explained. “I get pleasure in doing my work well. When I see a smile on the face of a person when I deliver the letter, I like it. I go home and sleep peacefully with a thought that I did my job well and brought smiles on peoples faces. I don’t see those smiles when I drop the letters in the locker. In the morning, I time myself to reach the college in the Coffee Break, so that I can hand over letters personally to officers, and deliver them in hand. The day I get late, I drop the letters in the lockers, and miss their smiles.”
The Lady was wonderstruck at the unique sense of devotion and selfless work nothing more than self satisfaction. She decided to write an article in “The Owl,” the official magazine of the DSSC. She wrote that she had never come across such a devoted, selfless person who took extreme pleasure in his work. True customer delight so as to say.

When this article fell on the commandant’s table, he was attracted to it. He had done his course many years ago. At that time Ranga was a young boy. He did the same even then. But, he realised that no one had noticed his work  or acknowledged it till the German Lady did that. In a conference, the commandant expressed his astonishment to the officers. Traditionally, almost all officers on the staff are alumni of Staff College. They all accepted that this never struck them. After a little conversation, it was unanimously felt that Ranga must be recognised.

The Commandant wrote a letter to the Post Master General in New Delhi, recommending a suitable appreciation for Ranga. In his reply, the PMG said, “We do not have a system of Awards and Recognition like you have in the Defence Forces. Nor is Ranga left with any scope of further increments, having reached his maximum a few years ago. We also do not have any rank structure that I can give him a promotion. I am enclosing a letter of appreciation, the best I can do, and you may like to hand it over to him personally.”

The Commandant decided to do something differently. He, asked his staff to organise a Tea Party, with the entire College staff in attendance. Ranga was publicly appreciated and then called on stage to accept a cash award by DSSC, for serving the organisation in a commendable manner. Ranga walked up the two steps of the stage with his usual warm smile, folded his hands, lowered his head and said in hindi, “Saab, I never did anything to deserve or expect an award. I am very grateful to you for this unique honour. This is more than enough for me. I will not accept any award, as that’s not what I worked for.” The Commandant tried to persuade and convince him, but Ranga was pretty sure of his stand, and walked down from the stage with two tiny tears of joy in his eyes.

Why can’t we all be 'Rangas?'. Why do we only work for awards and rewards, promotions and increments? Why is the latest buzzword, WIIFM, (Whats in it for me?) become selfishly the mantra in today’s modern environment?


Lets pause to think.

August 06, 2016

"I Can’t do it"



Priyanka was not confident of climbing up a rope and doing ‘Commando Crossing.’ Her friends were doing it comfortably and enjoying it too.

Priyanka was standing with a big ‘question mark’ showing on her face. I walked up to her and said, “How are you this morning?” “Fine,” she responded. “Are you sure?” I questioned. She had a slight smile on her face and said, “well, not really.” 

“Why?” I asked her. “I don’t think I can do this,” was her prompt answer. I paused, pointed my finger towards her head and said, “Remember, you said I don’t think I can do it.” Its just a little correction in your thinking that can do the trick.
“sir, I am telling you, I really cant do it,” she insisted. “Well I really think you ‘can’ do it, Priyanka,” was my forceful reply.

I went on to convince her. “See all children are doing it. They are your classmates. Do they have any capability better than you have? You are slim and light. Some of them are heavily built. Their arms had a tougher time pulling up their weight. Yet they did it. Difference? They thought they ‘can’ do it and you thought you ‘can’t.’ Both are right. It’s the way you ‘think.’

I saw a slight smile on her pretty face, displaying slight agreement.
“You said you are my friend. Are you?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said. “Will you do what I tell you to do, something easy and good for you.” “Yes,” she agreed.
“Please go behind that tree, close your eyes, and tell the tree, “I CAN” do it” 21 times. She did it.
“Can you do it, now?” I asked her. “I can try,” she mumbled. Without wasting a single moment, I instructed my staff to make her wear the harness. Now she was up on the rope, sliding her feet on the lower rope, easily. She smiled. I smiled back. She came down. “How does it feel right now?” I asked. “Awesome” was the answer, with a smile, much broader this time.
“Who did it?” “I.” “You said you can’t do it. Then how did you do it?” “I was being stupid, she said.”


I asked her to raise her right hand, lower it slowly down on her left shoulder and say, “Well done, Priyanka, you did it,” She did it. All those watching all laughed out loud. But they laughed out louder when she did what I instructed next.

“Again, Right hand up. Lower it on you right cheek. Give yourself a slap. And say, “Sorry Priyanka, I didn’t trust you.” She did it. This time the laughter stopped and I saw faces becoming serious.

All children realised that they themselves limit their thinking, make some perceived judgment and believe that what they ‘think’ is reality. Its many times just a perception.

#ttst  #Super9

July 12, 2016

7 Goof-ups you can't make as a trainer / coach

What NOT to do if you wish to be a successful trainer/coach
However good we are as trainers, and for whatever length of time we have been training, we cannot stop improving ourselves. We learn from our experience and we need to continue avoiding mistakes we made or could have made. That leads us to excellence, if not perfection.
  1. Over-confidence and under-preparedness. Over a period of time we become so confident that we feel comfortable walking into a class without preparation. We may have acquired vast knowledge and confidence in the subject. Yet, preparation is a must. You need to fine tune the subject matter (content) and deliver what the class (students) need and not what you know. A rehearsal always help in keeping to the point, planning your time and being prepared for likely questions.
  2. Lying, bluffing and exaggeration. For one, you will be caught sooner or later. Two, students admire honesty. So, if you are not sure, it’s a great idea to throw the question back to the class. Someone may be able to answer. Or else say, “may I come back to you later on this?” and then make sure you do it. Being honest works, but to a limit. You also need to portray your ‘subject expert’ image. Maintain balance. 
  3. Losing focus = losing audience attention. Its important to make up your mind on what you ‘must,’ ‘should’ and ‘could’ cover in the session. Go with these priorities. Never leave your ‘purpose.’ Going astray is something that can just happen if you do not consciously work on it. Particularly, when learners ask questions, while answering there is a possibility of your straying from the objectives. That can eat into the ‘musts’ and ‘coulds.’ To avoid this, you can write the main sub heads on the white board and refer to them occasionally. I picked an idea that helps. Have a flipchart and mark it PARKING. Whenever a question is asked which is beyond the scope of the subject, park it on this chart and answer it in the end only if time permits, or take it with the learner concerned, later, off line.
  4. Loving your own voice too much. Most of us love to keep talking and hearing our own voice. That can be an overdose for learners. Avoid talking on and on. It is important to engage learners in an interaction. Turn from a 'teaching’ mode to a ‘facilitation’ mode. Understand that the people sitting in your audience are not dumb. There is a vast reservoir of knowledge there. Harness it. Recognise and acknowledge their knowledge and experience. It makes learning interesting
  5. Letting the audience disconnect. Staying engaged and connected with the learners is not only important but critical too. The attention span and the intellect of the audience must be gauged. Keep connected with them and maintain’ eye contact.’ To keep them involved with small activities and exercises is an effective way of maintaining continuous connect. Let your energy drive the energy in the room.
  6. Inappropriate/ insensitive/ frivolous humour. We all understand the importance of humour. And humour in training is important. But sometimes it is ‘forced’ and out of place. That makes you look like a joker and tarnishes your image. It takes time to learn to induce humour at the right time, at an opportune and relevant moment. Never ever try cheap humour to gain popularity. Also avoid humour which can be sensitive to a religious or communal belief. 
  7. Being caught unprepared by honest feedback / questions from learners. A trainer must have active listening skills. You must not only listen to but also seek feedback and work on it. Learn the art of receiving feedback with grace and poise and working on it. Nobody can make everybody happy. Expect the hard questions and frame answers in advance. Getting upset or fumbling for answers is not done.  

It is a business. Ok? If you are a professional trainer, and you expect to be paid for it, you are clearly in a business. The greatest of trainers have to master 'business stuff' like sales, marketing, online promotions, digital media management, branding and accounting. You are in business, and if you don't accept that and think, act and strategize like a businessman, you have paved the way to failure with your own hands. This is reason number one for failure in the training/coaching business.  Being a good, humble human being will lead you to being a good trainer and good entrepreneur

If you resonate with the above and want to elevate from a trainer to a Super Trainer, you have an opportunity to register for the next FREE Train the Super Trainer (TTST) program in Mumbai by clicking here

July 02, 2016

Connect with Brig Sushil Bhasin




I am now conducting Open Public workshops and Coaching workshops, besides my usual corporate training and workshops in schools and colleges.
I am publishing regular newsletters and updates.
Will you like to be connected with me for updates of my events? If yes you are welcome to register 

July 01, 2016

Success-Learn-Do BSB-Quote


June 29, 2016

Training is not an event - BSB-Quote


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