We all have heard stories, in our growing up years. In the earlier days, when we were kids, storytelling used to be a daily activity, before we went off to sleep. I remember my grandfather telling me stories almost every night. I am sure, all of us would have experienced the same. Now, with the digital media entering (invading) our lives, and with nuclear families, the story telling has got shifted from the natural mode to the digital mode, as well. In today’s world, the tablets / laptops / mobiles also serve the purpose.

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Have you ever pondered – what is the importance of storytelling? Is it actually important? When you ask these questions to yourself, you will realize that one of the most powerful modes of learning is the stories. In the initial years of our lives, these stories were used to give us an understanding about the world, about differentiating between what is right and what is wrong and about giving to us, a value system.

Let us fast forward to the days when we reached college. There were some friends, who were considered to be the ones who stayed in the limelight. Most of the times, these friends (or classmates) were good in storytelling. They were able to explain things in detail with clarity. Time passed by, and then began our professional journey. Whether we started / joined a business or a service, in all types of occupations, good leaders had this skill of effective storytelling. They happen to share stories or anecdotes while explaining concepts and ideas, which help their teams.

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Every geography and every culture has it’s own stories, which are told from generation to generation, with some minor moderation but the crux remaining the same – the moral or the learning, that the people can derive out of them. The stories can broadly be divided in two main types – Fairy Tales and Legends. The fairy tales are not considered to be true stories and even the supernatural events are mentioned as a matter of fact. Legends, on the contrary, are believed to have actually happened with some details of time and place. Though, one thing in common with both is that they help individuals in learning something.

Many of us would have attended various training programs. Some of the concepts, which were shared during the programs would have been implemented by us and many of us would have been successful as well. Can you try to remember the content of these training programs? Most of us might forget the concepts however, the stories told by the facilitator or trainer stay with us. That is the power of storytelling. The human brain consists of cognitive machinery and this is required to understand, remember and tell the story to others. We, as humans, think in narrative structures and these help us remember the facts, concepts or processes, which are presented in a story form.

Storytelling Connecting mind and heart

The engagement level that stories create is immense. Good stories often create more than just a connection among the listeners. It is not only the mind, which is being connected, but also the hearts that get connected. Effective stories contain multiple meanings and the leaders often use this as a mode to convey complex ideas in an easy and understandable manner. Effective leaders use good storytelling to their advantage.

Storytelling is a powerful mode of making powerful connections with colleagues, managers and teams alike. It appeals to all type of learners and is tool to inspire and motivate others.

Audio Visual Stories for kids are available on the Youtube Channel – AV Books 4 Kids

View, Like, Share the stories and Subscribe to the channel

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Storytelling – A Powerful mode of Learning

Gamifying Employee Life Cycle

In today’s corporate world, employee engagement is of paramount importance. The employee life-cycle in any organization is the journey that an employee takes from the first till the last day in that company’s corporate environment.

Employee Life Cycle starts from the first step of recruitment and follows till the off-boarding of the employee. Or, as you can say from Hire to Fire. Fire, not taken in the literal sense… 🙂

Employee Life Cycle

Employee Life-cycle

Employee engagement with an organization is dependent on various factors in this journey. From the employer’s perspective, one of the major factor is to provide the employee the right kind of work environment. From the employee’s perspective, it is personal disposition. The three types of categories, in which employee engagement can be classified can be:

  1. Engaged
  2. Unengaged
  3. Actively disengaged

Let me start by defining the term – Gamification. It is considered to be the application of game elements like scores, points and game principles in non-game context. A couple of common examples of the same would be: Customer Loyalty programs like collecting miles while travelling on flights or getting credits for Online shopping, which can be converted to cash or used for future shopping. These tend to impact the behaviour of the customer and push them for going that extra mile.


Gamification, as a concept is a very powerful tool to impact the employee engagement level. The gamification can be used to drive the employee in active participation in various activities that takes place during the employee life-cycle. Though, the three basic game elements – Points, Badges and Leader-boards can be used as a starting point. However, it would be important to build in much more game elements, to actually make the end result more attractive and engaging.

Newbie to Beginner

Once, an employee is recruited, the first step taken up is of on-boarding the employee. The intent of this step is to get the employee aware about the basics of the new organization and getting acquainted with the team and the processes. Usually, the on-boarding is looked at, as a formal introduction of the new team member. Gamifying the on-boarding helps in increasing the new joinee being more focussed in the interactions. If the gamification during the employee journey is automated, through an app or an internal website, it can contain various activities, which the employee can complete within a given span of time. Each of this activity would carry some points. If the joining is a part of a group on-boarding, there can be a questionnaire around the food preferences, favourite colour, spouse names etc. of the existing team members. The new joinee who completes it within the shortest span of time earns a badge. There can be a leader-board, which displays comparative scores of the others. This would bring in a competitive environment and the employees would also enjoy the process.

The next step of employee life cycle would be of managing the performance of the employee. In most organizations, there are various sales related schemes, which are constantly running at pre-defined frequencies. This, in itself happens to be a gamification element. Utilizing or adding the other game elements like badges for different achievements, would help in engaging the employees more. Along with this, there can be a competition among different levels for achieving maximum number of badges with an incentive built around it. Along with Sales, there can be different badges for different functions, with some incentives, which would accelerate the team involvement in the daily tasks.

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There are also some communities, which can be formed in the gamification tool, which would allow cross-function and both intra and inter team discussion. This can be a good platform which would help in terms of sharing of best practices across diverse and homogeneous groups.

Linking the achievements of accumulated points and badges along with the points earned by the employees, publishing regular dashboards (or leader-boards) around the same and providing incentives on the basis of the same would help in terms of keeping the employees glued in. A few such badges can be:

  1. High Performer
  2. Collaborator
  3. Team Player
  4. Best Team Leader

On similar lines, there are various L&D interventions that an employee undergoes during the sting with an organization. Each of that intervention can have a badge assigned to it and some points. When an employee undergoes any of these, they can earn different badges and points, which get accumulated in their kitty. This would help in having the employees more eager to learn and build their skill-sets and competencies, which would help the organization in having ready employees to take up different roles.

The Rewards and Recognition (R&R) for the employees can also be built around the same. However, a word of caution will be to ensure that the normalization of the points should be done for the frequency for which the employee is to be rewarded. Also, the normalization should be done to remove any cross-functional disparities in the score.

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There can be different competencies, that the employees may possess, after spending a good time in the organization. Now, I feel that the definition of good time is subjective. It may vary from organization to organization and individual to individual. This is done on purpose, so that everyone can define, what would be a good time for them, or their organization. These competencies can help the employee take up an Expert position or a Leadership position, depending upon their areas of expertise. Gamifying this aspect of Succession Planning by having Assessment and Development Centers, would add a sense of inclusiveness among the participating employees.

We all know that a typical organization is in a pyramidal structure. Hence, of course, there would be some employees, who would need to be off-boarded and some other, who would take up expert or leadership roles. Gamifying the off-boarding process will also help in leaving a mark in the mind of the employee and which would help in having a positive word-of-mouth spreading about the organization.

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My second book – Corporate Anecdotes, has a collection of short stories, the outcomes of a few of them would change, in case we are able to implement this gamification concept.

You can get your copy of Corporate Anecdotes:

For your Kindle or Kindle Mobile App:

Or, your Paperback from:

Different Viewpoints

We have seen times, when the other person – whether it is our friend, our boss or our subordinate – seems to be unreasonable, or at least, that is how it looks. The reason that it looks that way, it is usually that we are trying to judge the person or his / her behavior from our glasses only, which show us “our side of the story” or from our view-point. When we look at a particular action or reaction given by the other person, we do not consider “their part of the story”. There are always multiple angles, which need to be considered. One, which we see from our side, the other, which the person facing us has and also, a third person’s view. In case, we want to grow and wish to get a better understanding about anything, it becomes important to explore the other viewpoints as well. Perhaps, considering these other viewpoints will help in getting an overall view of the situation as well as understanding why a person reacted in the way he / she did?

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Let me narrate an incident, which could be an excerpt from any one of our lives. It was a cold chilly night. Ashish was with a doctor, who was examining his son, who was not keeping well for a long time. After examining his son, the doctor wrote the prescription and handed it to Ashish. He asked Ashish to get the medicine, at the earliest or his son’s fever would rise leading to other major complications. Ashish immediately got into his car, dropped the doctor at his clinic and drove off to the medical shop, which was operational 24 X 7, due to it’s proximity to the city hospital. Even in this killing weather, it seemed as if, all the town’s vehicles were parked there itself. He was getting impatient in searching for a parking space. He thought, “Let me leave my car on the road itself” and while he was thinking about it, he saw a police vehicle towing van nearby. He had to decide otherwise. After spending over five minutes of searching for a place to park his car, Ashish saw an area, where he might get to park. Every minute that was being spent was like an hour for Ashish. While he started to move towards the parking space, a motor-cyclist drove his bike in the same place and ran away. Ashish became furious. He had his son, who needed the medicines urgently and now, this person had taken the only space available.

Think about you being stuck in such a situation. Give it a couple of minutes and think about what would, you be feeling, if you were Ashish. For some time, keep these thoughts in your mind.

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The incident continues – Ashish waited for over ten minutes. The motor-cyclist came running along with a medicine pack in his hand. Ashish immediately started to hurl abuses and for him being insensitive. The motor-cyclist turned to him, drove out of the parking and said – “My doctor has said, if my mother does not take this medicine in next thirty minutes, she will die.” And, the motor-cyclist drove off.

Now, try to analyze the same situation once again. Would your reaction change, or would it still remain the same?

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In the corporate and the personal lives as well, we seem to confront similar situations. Whether, it is achieving some unrealistic sales targets set by the bosses, inconsistent performance by the team members or some demand put forward on us by friends or family. Usually, we try to look at all these things from our viewpoint. As a leader, it becomes important, that you broaden your horizon, the comprehension and the way in which you react to the given situation would change. It might be a strategic planning, motivation issue or some pressing assignment. Remember, having an outsider’s viewpoint is interesting and good, to be an effective leader.

What follows what: Happiness or Success

In our professional life, is it important to be successful, or is it important to be happy? A question, that many people think about. Many of us think that being professionally successful keeps us happy. But, is that true? Take a moment and think about it. Isn’t it better, if we look at it, otherwise?

What does success means to you? It is the answer to this question, which would set the foundation of whether your would be happy or not. So, if you become successful, you might be happy or, you might not be happy. 

Each one of us have a different thought process. We are driven by things, which are external or which are internal. These are the forces, which drive us.

Let me cite a couple of examples. 

  1. In case, I am successful by achieving success in my career and becoming the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an organization, but then, does it gives me happiness? Maybe or may be not. I might need to make sacrifices, which I am not very happy about. I may need to reduce the time I spend with my family. Or, maybe I need to make a choice between attending my daughter’s birthday vis-a-vis attending an important business meeting. I might be successful if I choose the latter, but I will be happier attending my daughter’s birthday. Success comes at a price.
  2. I love to work with people and help them solve problems and have a career as a

    counselor or a coach. I like to counsel them in their careers, coach them and help them in developing their competencies. A similar dilemma comes up here as well. There is one of my team members, who has come to me for some help in his career decision. However, I have my anniversary on the same day. Now, what do I choose? I might be successful if I spend an hour or more with my team member. However, I have a date with my spouse, which I should not miss. 

When we look at these two cases, we can see a stark difference in what do we take, as our decision. Happiness and Success are mutually independent.

I had gone through a similar experience, when there was a national level role, which I thought would help me grow in my career. I thought, this might be the opportunity, which would propel my career to new heights. Though, one sacrifice that I had to make was to leave my family and go to another city. It was a choice that I had between being happy or being successful. Being a family person, I used to miss my kids the most. Within a couple of months, I relocated my family as well. In my case, I chose latter. But, soon after, I realized that in spite of making that choice, I was not happy. When happiness eludes you, you are unable to put your heart and soul into what you are doing. There were various other things, which I liked to do, like making Skill Building audio-visuals, building strategies and conducting competency development interventions and I started focusing my attention on those competencies, instead of holding a grudge about the choice I had made. This helped me grow, as an individual, both personally as well as professionally. Just to reiterate, I started being happy, which made me become successful.

Choices in Life

Life always offers us choices, and we select, what we think and feel is right. Therefore, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making our choices and once the choice is made, it should be our earnest endeavor to stick with them. It’s important to find ways to keep yourself happy. In the movie, 3 Idiots, the same thought has been epitomized. Being successful is important, but that will follow, if you are happy in what you are doing. 

You can always find things, in everything that you do, to be happy. It should be your search to find those 2 or 3 things, which make you happy about anything that you do. Believe me, success will follow.

Resume, CV or Bio-Data

While looking for a job, the first thing that you look into, is to prepare a Resume… Or, is it a Curriculum Vitae (CV)… Or, a Bio-Data… Does it really matter? Most of the people would say – All of these are the same. Actually, all of us have grown up in our careers and most of us have been using these terms interchangeably.But, is that right? Let us explore that further.

All of us, who have been a part of the corporate world, look at this document (Resume, CV or Bio-Data, we’ll decide later, when to use what?) as the first tool, which helps to grab the attention of the potential employer. In cases of details shared for marriage as well, a similar documents helps the other party shortlist the prospective spouse. However, what is it which we should make use of and when?

Let us explore, what these three documents are and what should each one of them contain.


The word resume is a French word, which means Summary. As the title itself, the constituents of a person’s resume contain a summary of work experience, education and skill-set of the individual. The skill-set which are included in the resume are the ones, which are selected, on the basis of the target job, for which the profile is being shared.

The length of the resume, should ideally be 1, or maximum 2 pages. I am sure, you will not be interested in a summary, which is longer than the story itself. The language used in a Resume is in third person. This gives the resume a professional touch and a formal tone.

Curriculum Vitae:

Let us now take a flight from France to Italy. Curriculum Vitae, or CV, which is the commonly used short-form is a Latin word which means – Course of Life. The CV is a document used to list out every skill, all the jobs / positions held, degrees, certifications, professional affiliations, that an individual has acquired. The sequencing of these can be ascending or descending. 

Generally, the length of a CV is taken as 2 or 3 pages. This may even be longer, if required. Unlike a resume, the CV is used to highlight the general talent of the person, instead of focus on specific skill.


Bio-Data is a short form, used for Biographical Data. This document is exactly what it sounds like. It contains the basic data about a person’s life. In a Bio-data, the emphasis is laid on basic details like – the date of birth, religion, gender, race, nationality etc., which is followed by a listing of education and experience. A biography is usually, a couple of paragraphs used in the professional context, which discusses an individual’s work and achievements.

It is usually the shortest among the three (Resume / CV / Bio-Data). The bio-data is not related to a person’s career goals. The biographical information cannot help to predict future behavior, however, on it’s basis an image gets formed, about likely future behavior of an individual. 

When to use what?

After looking into all the three, let me share which of these documents should you be using in which case. 

The curriculum vitae is preferable for fresh graduates or for people, who are exploring a career change. The reason is that, in the case of a fresh graduate, he / she might be having experience of projects, sports and extra-curricular activities, which should be getting detailed. Some of these might also highlight the skills of an individual like effective communication, team management, problem-solving. For people looking at a career change, it would be important for you to explain in detail what you have been doing in the earlier role or earlier industry. Hence, a CV should be shared.

A resume is ideally suited for mid-level and senior-level positions. The goal of the resume is to make you stand out, vis-a-vis the competition. It becomes important that the resume is customized to every job position, for which the person is applying for. Usually, a key for the customization of the resume is the job description and requirements, against which a person is applying for.  Specially at the mid and senior levels, a summary suffices, on the basis of which, the interviewer will be asking questions. Hence, it should contain not too much information, so that it seems long and neither too less information, so that the resume does not gets shortlisted.

The bio-data is used mostly for applying to government jobs or applying for research grants. In the Indian sub-continent, it is often used for marriage purposes as well.

Geographical Trends

In America and Canada, the preferred job application document is the resume. In these two countries, the CV is used only when applying for a job abroad or when searching for a research oriented position.

In Europe, the usual document shared is the curriculum vitae only. The resumes are rare. 

In Australia and India, as stated earlier, the terms are used interchangeably.

So, it is important to understand, what type of document are you sharing and in which case? I would recommend that you look at the position you are applying for, consider your present position and then decide on the format. There are innumerable sites offering templates for all the three types available free on the net. If you are feeling stuck in selecting the right format, you can connect with me for help.

Best of luck in the search for your dream job!!!