November 16, 2016

Design Your Life

It Takes 800 Children

How this book got written 

Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
- Khalil Gibran

The seeds of this book, and my career as an educator, were sown in Feb 2004 when I was a serving officer in the Indian Army. In a touching gesture, Tanya, the head girl of the Army School, Bareilly, had handed me a 12-foot-long scroll with a thank you note from 800 grateful students. I had accepted the gift to thunderous applause. “We used to walk with our heads bent when our friends from other schools teased us and said ‘Oh, you are from the Army School!’ Now we walk with the same heads held high and announce that we are indeed from the Army School. Sir, thank you for restoring our pride.”  
This was eight months after I was made chairman of the Army School.  “In addition to your regular duties, I want you to take over as the Chairman of the Army School, which is in bad shape. We need to do something about it,” Maj Gen SD Mahanti, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) had said as he briefed me following my transfer to Bareilly. 
I was curious to know why matters had come to such a pass at the school. 
“Five principals have come and gone in the last two years," the GOC explained. "The school has been direction-less.” 
I promised to do my best.   
On the drive back home, I gave the matter some thought. “I worry for the future of my two children. I am so concerned about their career and education,” I reasoned. “How can I allow the careers of 2,000 children be neglected in this manner?”
I decided to assume ownership of the education of 2,000 students placed under my charge. A plan to reverse the situation began to take shape in my mind.  
In the six months that followed, I took some tough decisions. The students were noticeably happier with the changes made as were the parents. I cannot say the same about the teachers who were too set in their old ways. The transformation attracted considerable coverage in the local media. 
On that magical day when Tanya said, “Sir, may I ask you to please come up on the stage and accept a small token of our love for you?”
At the podium, as I held the scroll in my hand, my old life slipped away.
I saw a glimpse of the way ahead. I was done with my plans to climb higher up the military ladder. I would leave the army and dedicate my life to repaying the debt of gratitude I felt towards these wonderful children. 
Other decisions followed.
I earned my BEd degree at the age of 54. It was time for the soldier in me to step aside and make room for the educator. Three cousins serving in the army shared my vision:  Colonel Naval Kohli, Mr Anil Bhasin and Mr  Salil Bhatia. Together, we set up an outdoor adventure and training camp off Kolad, near Mumbai. 
In the last 21 years, I have interacted closely with over 2,500 students from a variety of economic, social and educational backgrounds in an outdoor camp environment. The exchanges have been informal but intense. In all these years, I have noted two rather significant challenges that confront students as they transition from college to profession:
 1.    The gap between what the students expect the corporate/work world to be and what it turns out to be in reality.
2.    The gap between what the schools and colleges prepare students for and what the corporate/ work world is looking for.

I chat with on average 10-15 students on various social media platforms, including Facebook every evening. Many of these ‘old students’ are now in jobs, some of them are married, some are abroad. During these exchanges they have more often sought advice on issues broadly connected with the two gaps outlined above. While I do my bit to clear doubts, I realise there are hundreds of thousands who struggle without any help from any quarter with these issues.  
The desire to help the wider community of students to navigate this dilemma motivated me to write this book. Towards the same end, I have designed a four-day residential College to Corporate Bootcamp that combines lessons from the army with modern psychometrics and experiential training to equip students to make the inevitable transition effortlessly. 
The purpose of this book is to help students carve out their career paths, intelligently and rationally, taking conscious decisions, considering their strengths and passions. It is possible to make a career out of one’s uniqueness if only one knows how. 
I hope this book is a light on that journey for many!

November 01, 2016

TTST - a concept !

The idea of TTST dawned on me, when, in a conversation with a few international trainers at Tony Robbin’s workshop in Singapore, I realized we can certainly have more Speaker-Trainer icons in India. Harnessing my 45 years varied and rich training experience I took it on myself to help and support the trainer fraternity to upscale themselves and make a successful training career / business.

TTST is not a programme. It’s a mission. 

Mission TTST. 
  • To create and develop minimum 5 Nationally acclaimed trainers by 31 Dec 2021
  • To help all trainers elevate to the next step and build a successful and sustainable business.
The process began with a FREE workshop in Mumbai on 19 Jun 2016 where I declared this mission. In this full day workshop, I focused on two specific areas
  • A trainer will need to update an upscale himself to meet the needs of the emerging learning environment. Ordinary trainers will not succeed. Only Super trainers will.    
  • How training can be made a full fledged, financially successful and stable business and career.
We had 17 parrticipants whojoined in a programme called Super 9. It covered the training programme in 9 sessions. Other than a 2 days Outbound session, others were all one day sessions in a hotel in Mumbai. The entire programme was structured to meet the needs of these aspiring trainers. It essentially covered subjects to include
  • Back to Basics
  • Why Trainers Fail
  • Training entrepreneurship
  • Integrated w-holistic training
  • Experiential learning in indoors as well as outdoor environment
  • Role of Social Media in Training as well as media etc.
  • Outbound Training. This was the highlight of the programme in which unimaginable self discovery break-throughs occurred. 
I consider TTST to be an interesting and exciting experiment. We had fantastic breakthroughs and results. My personal involvement and regular interaction with the participant group and my team through a WhatsApp Group, individual attention to each participant and one-on-one coaching sessions personalized the experience. The group has bonded extremely well and have achieved a high level of camaraderie. The team is already supporting each other in training as well as business. It gave me tremendous satisfaction as all 17 participants acknowledged that this experience elevated them to a much higher level. I saw some major successes in individual’s cases and all participants have stepped up in their professional and personal statures, in varying degrees.

More than training we were in a facilitation mode. The participants came prepared for a session, participated and learned from the environment in the room and not from the trainer alone. In the end we talked of the next session. An assignment was given so that they come prepared for the next session. There were gaps of one to three weeks for them to assimilate, revise, apply the knowledge in their real world situations, come in the next session, share what they experienced. One lesson we learned loud and clear. We designed a programme in a way that the participants came prepared for a session as sessions were conduct interactive. This, somehow, did not happen. We realized that the stark reality of today’s environment is that people are really hard pressed for time. On a Monday morning they get so trapped in their routine personal and professional life that ‘self’ takes a back seat, whether it is one’s health, self development or mental, emotional and spiritual growth. We will now experiment with a 5 days Intensive residential bootcamp and apply the learnings in that environment.

There were several breakthroughs. A few acknowledged that they discovered their niche. A few saw the light of marketing and open workshops only in the end. One on one sessions were 
intense and powerful. A few realised the value of mentoring and coaching and have asked me to coach them. Of all these one case is classic and needs a s 

What do participants say?

An emotion expressed by Kiran Padhi
What a journey it was at #TTST.. The last 2.5 months have been a truly amazing, awesome, fantastic and a thought provoking experience.
I am glad that I saw that watsapp message on L&D Mumbai group to attendSushil Bhasin Sir's free seminar on #TTST and took a decision to enroll for the program thereafter. This journey with the 17 #supertrainers has changed my belief system when I did things I never imagined I would ever do, it was one of a self discovery loaded with lot of learning.
Truly inspired by Sir's #giving nature which helped us learn and come out of our dormancy.
THANK YOU sir for your mentoring, hand holding. You have a lifetime fan for you 😇.
And to my bestest #TTST team.. Love You guys..
#TTST #supertrainer team - If you have to describe your experience of this journey in just 3 words what would those be? Write in your comments

17 students - all unanimously said that the programme benefitted them a lot

What did they take away?

TTST Session 9 Learnings:

1. Creation of a support system is very important for the growth and development of self and others. This is because when we will support others to grow and develop, only then will the training fraternity become strong and we as Training professionals will progress.

2. Grabbing the opportunity is very important. Unless and until we grab an opportunity and make effective use of it, how will we progress.

3. Social media is magical. It's more than just sharing pictures, quotes, videos, etc. Social media is the most effective and important tool for success in business.

4. It's very important for a trainer to be creative and innovative. New ideas of training and new ways of training should be made. For this it's necessary that we trainers keep on learning and sharing.

5. Let go your fear. Fear is that element which becomes the greatest hurdle in your success. Sometimes fear haunts you when you are just about to take the leap. So let go your fear.

6. Never be satisfied with whatever you achieve. Yes celebrate by don't be satisfied. When this satisfaction comes this means your growth and progress stops.

7. Have confidence in your work. This will add value to your work and you as a trainer.

8. Don't bluff. It's ok to say no if you don't know a particular thing rather than bluffing. This will reduce your value as a trainer.

9. Find out well in advance about your audience and what they need.

10. Always be ready to present on the spot. Because it's not necessary that you will get time to prepare.

11. Learn team selection skills. It's obvious that whatever tasks you undertake there will be people associated with you who will form your team. This team needs to be selected properly.

12. Kavi Arasu set up a unique way of having yearly meets at Asian paints which has turned out to be an inspiration to others as well.

13. Your product should be lazer focused.

14. There are many problems that your client will have. Instead of solving each and every problem, give just one solution for everything.

15. We trainers wear two hats. One that is of a Trainer and other of a facilitator.

...this is what THEY said. Is'nt it heartening ??
 Isnt it a reason for me to be on the top of the world?? 

October 26, 2016

'What I feel like saying' In TTST By Brig Sushil Bhasin

October 07, 2016

Training Industry - a peep into the future

The training industry is one of the fastest growing industries both globally as well as in India. Not many of us can foresee and assess the huge potential it has.

Available indications clearly point out to a heartening trend in the increased spending in training. Despite recent estimates of “slowed” economic growth, India’s growth continues to overtake that of most developed countries. India, with its huge population, is the most exciting higher education market in the world. Estimated at $600 billion, it is now thriving on the back of the workforce proving itself equal to its counterparts elsewhere in the world.

Will we be able to effectively train our youth to cope up with the expected future economic expansion? The answer looks like YES but also throws in formidable challenges. Do we have trainers and training infrastructure to meet such challenges???

A peep into the future points out to some good and bad news.

Good News

a. It is estimated that India’s economy will generate about 500 million jobs in the next decade. Of these 75% will be skill based.
b. The workforce in India, with vocational education, is a bare 2 to 4% of the ‘trained’ workforce.
c. The huge gap between the ‘existing supply’ and ‘projected demand’ will pose a formidable challenge in the years to come.
d. The Government has realized this fact and set up a National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) to face this challenge.
e. This will open up new avenues and training opportunities for trainers and L&D practitioners.

Bad News

a. Old style, conventional modules with power point presentations in classroom environment are slowly becoming obsolete.
b. Learning environment is fast changing.
c. Today the learner has quick access to relevant information and data. Trainers will have to outpace the learner and readily provide what he wants, when he wants, where he wants and not how the trainer decides to deliver. The learner of today wants to learn ‘on the go’ off his handset. He wants small bytes and not long modules. 
d. The trainer of tomorrow will have to be skilled and equipped with the latest emerging trends in technology. He will need to integrate that with psycho-metrics, various pedagogues and meet the ever growing and changing demands of the learner and learning organisations.

The training industry, with its good and bad news, is apt for the trainer who can peep into the future, envision the emerging learning environment and prepare him/herself for it.

August 28, 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. We 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 the hexagonal building “Chanakya,’  is the Tea Room. Along the six walls of this hexagon are a set of drawers called ‘Lockers.’ Each student officer is assigned a Locker and a Locker Number as an identification. It has a slit, big enough 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 distribute it by dropping the letters in the respective lockers. He did it very efficiently. We used to be amazed when he, sometimes, stopped our two wheeler to hand over a letter, with a very warm smile. That way, we would get our letter even before we cleared our lockers. How he connected the name or the locker no to the face in a crowd was something that always amazed us.

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 the hillock. We had 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 looked at him with a question mark look and asked him what made him climb a hillock and come up 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 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 that no to that too, had a glass of water and went away. This lady was left aghast, finding 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 Nillgiri’s bluish green hills. She sat down in front of him and asked him a straight forward question. “Ranga, why do you do this. Seeking no reward or favour, why do you do this ‘extra’ job?"In a simple explanation, in his broken hindi, 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 to whom 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 self less work that Ranga was doing for 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 staff course many years ago. Then Ranga was a young boy. He did the same even then. But, he realised that no one noticed his work  or acknowledged it till the German Lady did that. In a conference, the commandant expressed his surprise to the officers. Traditionally, almost all officers on the staff are alumini of Staff College. They all accepted that this never struck them. After a little conversation, it was unanimously felt that Ranga must be recognised for his outstanding, consistent work, beyond the call of duty.

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 a system of Awards like you have in the Defence Forces. Nor is Ranga left with any 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, where 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 25, 2016

9 Daily Rituals that can turn your life around

In my workshops I have often asked my participants of what is that they want as their highest goal. And all discussions usually end up in one final word “happiness.” We all want to be happy. We want success, money, fame - all to be happy. What is happiness? I learned this from a person I have very high regards for. Dr Yuvraj Kapadia. I loved his definition of happiness. 
He said, “I am happy when I can do what I want to do, where I want to do, how I want to do, when I want to do and people around me are happy about it.  These last few words in italics are the key words.
I realized that in order to be happy there is no short cut to self-discipline. You can design your own life your way, but there has to be ‘a way’ which you are welcome to define, create or formulate. Its your life, design it your way. It cannot be ‘no way’ or ‘any way,’ That does not work. With that in mind, here are nine suggested rituals that can formulate your daily routine that will create a ‘method in the madness’ and help you get closer to the state of happiness.
1. Set your routine. Wake up early or work late night and get up late. Whatever works for you. But following a set routine helps. Do weigh the advantages of both before you make up your mind. I have been a late night bird. But Tony Robbins made me change my mind. I recommend you watch this video.  Another one is the 5 am Club by Robin Sharma. Before you make up your mind and decide to challenge your love for the bed do consider the advantages of getting up after a nice sound sleep and using the hour of power to start your day.

2. Wake up with a smile. When you are in the process of opening your eyes put a nice smile on your face and think of all the good you are expecting to happen this day. And then tell yourself, hey, Hurray, today is a great day and I am going to make it happen.
3. Its time to plan and prioritize. You look at the day with lots of work to do. You may end up doing less important tasks at the cost of some important ones. I normally work out a plan the day prior but early morning may just be the best time to review your plans. Make a To Do List, A Not Do List and a To achieve list. Do it religiously, and follow it. It will reduce your stress level drastically and make your life happy.
4. Do 5 good acts a day.
Be good to people around you. Gift them a smile or a little help when you feel someone needs it. “How I can I help you?” is a wonderful gift. You can set a goal of saying this in your environment atleast 5 times a day and then when it becomes a habit, increase it.
5.Get these three harmful things out of your life.
The most negative things we normally indulge in are Gossip, Blame and criticise. Get rid of them. They are big time wasters and affect your reputation in society. Talking ill of the government, criticising the way the country is going leads us nowhere. Work on constructive ideas and avoid destructive and damaging ones.
6. Give high priority to your health
Living a hygienic and healthy life is important. Regular meals, small and frequent meals of healthy food make our lives richer. There is no harm in having a burger or a pizza or an ice cream, but moderation is the key. Learn to enjoy what you eat and spend time on it.
7. Worry leads you nowhere
The big enemy of happiness is worry. And worry never solved a problem. Work on things within your control rather than outside of it.

8. Identify distractions and avoid them
There are little distractions that are like pot holes on the road. They hinder a smooth ride. We have distractions in life , whether they are weird thoughts, or our mobile phones or social media. Set a time for them and let them not come in your way to happiness.

9. Don’t forget gratitude.
At the end of a wonderful day remember to thank everyone who helped you in any way, big or small. It is a great gesture and gives you inner happiness

August 13, 2016

TTST #2 Compilation by Brig Sushil Bhasin

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