Day: July 18, 2008
Aviation management degree from Poland
The University of Information Technology and Management (UITM) at Rzeszow, Poland, is offering B.Sc. degree with specialisation in aviation management. The course is offered in collaboration with Bonn University, Germany, and includes a one-year practical training with Lufthansa airlines. The course is being offered in English medium.
Bartosz Pomianek, deputy vice-president for International Students of the university, said: “We have an international profile of students, and Poland is safe.”
Explaining the potential of the aviation management course, Nagendran Shanmugam, managing director, Kasturi Europe Placement Services, Malaysia, said the university was now tapping more students promising low tuition fees and placement prospects.
“More brand new airports are coming up in India and the aviation sector as a whole is booming. So, the specialised course in aviation management can help in getting professionally-qualified hands to meet the demand,” he said.
Admissions for the current academic year in Poland are now underway and classes commence in October.
UITM also has twinning programmes for various Bachelor’s degree courses in which the first year can be studied in Malaysia and the remaining two years in Poland. The degree will be awarded by UITM.
The university also offers three-year Bachelor’s programmes in Information Technology, International Management and Hospitality Management. Tuition fee per year comes to Euros 3,150. Students who have passed Plus Two are eligible. The university has a tie-up with Jayendrar College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore.
For more details about admissions, phone 9790271277.
IA slashes UAE fares
18 Jul 2008, 1745 hrs IST,PTI
DUBAI: At a time when major carriers operating in the UAE have hiked their fares, Indian Airlines has adopted a new aggressive marketing strategy by reducing fares to most Indian destinations.
IA has cut fares on the UAE to Delhi and Mumbai routes by 20 per cent. The one-way fare has been cut from Dh500 (about Rs 5,500) to Dh 400 (Rs 4,400), while the fuel surcharge remains same. The new fares came into effect from July 14.
Indian Airlines Regional Manager Abhay Pathak said the airline had introduced special fares to Delhi and Mumbai last Monday.
On May 5, fuel surcharge was hiked to Dh 390 from Dh 350. During the peak summer period, the fare would be Dh 100 cheaper although the fuel surcharge would remain the same. “We have a large number of blue-collared workers. We don’t want to distance our customers. I think we’ll maintain the fare,” he said.
He said the fares reduction was aimed at getting more volumes since the India-UAE sector was seeing over deployment of capacity. It will help us maximise our revenues, he added.
Most of the airlines, including Emirates, increased the fares citing the staggering rise in fuel prices.
Both Indian Airlines and Air India operate 19 flights daily from Dubai and Sharjah to Indian destinations. With the reduced fares, one-way ticket from Dubai to a destination in Kerala costs Dh 790, including taxes, down from Dh 900.
A single journey to New Delhi and Mumbai, too, is costing 790 against the previous Dh 1,070 and Dh 880, respectively.
Passengers flying from Sharjah to any Indian destination also stand to benefit from the reduced fares as Sharjah-Mumbai ticket price has come down to Dh690 from Dh840, while Sharjah-New Delhi ticket price is down to Dh 740 from Dh 1,070.
No limits to excellence
The important lesson in the Nadal-Federer match is that people who operate at high levels of excellence pull each other up the scale.
V. K. Madhav Mohan for THE HINDU
CEOs and organisations can learn important lessons from the history that unfolded on Centre Court at Wimbledon on July 6, 2008. The gentlemen’s final of 2008 was arguably the greatest tennis match of all time. Noted tennis historian Bud Collins had no hesitation in classifying it as the greatest Wimbledon final ever (also the longest at 4 hours and 48 minutes).
What Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer achieved on that rain-swept day was unimaginable. As the rest of the world looked on in disbelief, they shifted the frontiers of excellence upward by an order of magnitude.
This was not just tennis, as Vijay Amritraj said during live commentary. The match had everything anyone could hope for: drama, fortunes swinging like a pendulum, brute power laced with consummate finesse, court speed fuelled by fighting spirit and above all, mental strength beautified by sportsmanship.
What has all this got to do with CEOs and organisations? Quite simply, the classic encounter reveals finer points that are as applicable to individuals as they are to organisations. Both Nadal and Federer competed on their own respective scales and yet propelled each other to the next level. They fed on each other’s performance and so transcended from good to great. That transition points the way for the rest of us, lesser mortals!
The important lesson that stands out is that people who operate at high levels of excellence pull each other up the scale. Peter Drucker posited that the difference between the top and the average is constant and so the way to shift the average upwards is to help the top shift upwards. The common practice however is to help the bottom shift upwards.
Both in academic and corporate environments, the focus is almost always on the weaker, poorer performers. More resources are lavished on them in terms of training and counselling; if the same resources were directed at the top performers, they would move even higher. Then the average would move upwards since the difference between the top and average is constant.
This has important implications for organisational performance. If more people improved their performance and if top performers went even higher the entire organisation would migrate to new standards. This is more or less what happened during the Nadal-Federer epic. Both have been top performers consistently as their respective ATP rankings of two and one in the world respectively, denote. On July 6 both pushed the other into a new zone of performance, a zone that that is the stuff of dreams.
Their achievement is bound to raise the standard of tennis on both the men’s and the women’s circuit because Nadal and Federer have demonstrated what is possible. This is much like Roger Bannister breaching the four minute barrier for the one mile run on May 6, 1954, with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds; a month after this feat another runner, an Australian named John Landy, bettered Bannister’s record with a time of 3 minutes 57.4 seconds.
New performance zones
The CEO should think about ways to move his team into these new zones of performance. By focusing his own time and the organisation’s resources on the top performers (mentoring, training, new assignments, exposure, travel, scholarships) he can create an environment in which every individual pushes others up their own scales. A collective lift ensues, thereby scaling up organisational performance, much like the flight of geese in formation generates collective lift.
Coming back to the Wimbledon final, I believe Nadal won this time because of the following, each of which has lessons for CEOs:
His backhand is hit with perfect balance in all situations since he is a natural right-hander converted into a lefty. So Nadal actually has two equally powerful sides, his powerful lefty forehand and his backhand beefed up by the strength and control in his natural right hand. Organisations need to learn from this by creating and innovating new strengths while augmenting the existing strengths. This more than compensates for weaknesses.
Nadal’s swinging slice serve which curves away from the opponents on either side. Even the great Federer’s perfect ground-strokes were always under pressure on the Nadal first serve because the ball was always either going away from Federer (on the deuce court) or curving into his body (on the advantage court).
The lesson here is to develop one particular weapon to specifically neutralise a competitor’s core strength. That means understanding the opponent’s strength and designing a product, service or policy to eliminate its effectiveness in the market
Unrivalled court speed and unrelenting aggression. Nadal is probably the fastest man ever on a tennis court. That allows him to retrieve even impossible winners and forces the opponent to play interminably long points, thereby sapping his stamina.
Companies need to build reserves of cash and talent that will force opponents downhill with every competitive encounter. No matter what strategy or tactics the competitor employs, the CEO must always be ready with a counter thrust. In fact, the reserves of organisational stamina must be built up with contingency plans and resources, careful husbanding of cash and constant honing of talent
Continuous adaptation and evolution in his game. Nadal has made the crossover from a clay court specialist to a complete tennis player. From being able to hit mostly heavy top spin ground strokes he’s graduated to drop shots, sliced backhands, deft angles and serve and volley tennis. Similarly organisations must adapt continuously and develop all-round capabilities much like pilots with all-weather ratings. That calls for continuous market analysis and organisation development to map the market.
Mental toughness. Nadal’s mental toughness prevented him from wilting even when he had lost several match points. That strength is evidently practised and polished with visualisation exercises. Mental rehearsals are as important as physical practice. CEOs must develop this capability for personal visioning by repeatedly visiting the scene of future physical performance mentally and “seeing” a perfect performance every time. By encouraging everyone around him to develop this skill the CEO can make a very strong impact on organisational performance.
Supreme physical fitness. No other tennis player has demonstrated Nadal’s unremitting aggression, court speed or mental toughness. The basis of all that is his almost superhuman physical fitness which gives him the balance, breath control and stamina to deploy his technique and weaponry with devastating effect.
The peerless Federer revealed fleeting glimpses of fatigue only in the last two games of the match but that, sadly, was enough to make the difference between victory and defeat.
So too must CEOs , business owners and managers be committed to physical fitness. This is the key to mental toughness and clarity. Gym workouts, sports, walking, yoga, pranayama are all de rigueur for today’s leaders. Personal discipline leads to fitness, physical and mental, and that goes with the territory of leadership.
What the world experienced during the Nadal-Federer encounter was indeed a demonstration of possibilities for personal and organisational growth. The dynamic duo proved beyond doubt that limits to growth and excellence do not exist. For that we have be eternally grateful to those two great sportsmen.
1 in 5 UK MPs mentally ill: Survey
16 Jul 2008, 1320 hrs IST,PTI
LONDON: One in five parliamentarians in Britain suffers from mental illness caused by the stress of their public lives, a confidential survey of MPs and peers has found.
Those questioned said they feared disclosing their struggles because of stigma and discrimination.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health questionnaire was completed by 94 parliamentarians, 100 lords and 151 parliamentary staff.
According to the survey, more than a quarter had a mental health issue, while 86 per cent of MPs said their job was stressful.
The group’s report is critical of the law forcing MPs to give up their seat for life if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for six months.
Liberal Democrat parliamentarian Mark Oaten said he was treated with anti-depressants after his private life was exposed in the press.
“The truth is many politicians, myself included, have found the job enormously stressful,” he told The Independent .
“I was regularly taking Prozac.” He said he had now “got back his life” and was looking for other career opportunities after the next election.
One of those serving MPs surveyed, speaking told the paper: “I would love as an established MP to talk openly of the serious depressive illness I endured long before I became or even thought of being a MP”.
Labour MP Howard Stoate said he had advised MPs to seek help. “A lot of people underestimate how much pressure their MPs are under but it is no more stressful than some other jobs,” he said.
‘Sexy voice implies a sexy body’
18 Jul 2008, 0038 hrs IST,ANI
WASHINGTON: If you find the voice on the phone sexy, chances are that the person is physically attractive too, says a new American research.
The study, led by Susan Hughes, an evolutionary psychologist from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, suggests that people with voices deemed sexy and attractive tend to have greater body symmetry upon close inspection.
“The sound of a person’s voice reveals a considerable amount of biological information,” LiveScience quoted Hughes, as saying. “It can reflect the mate value of a person,” she added.
The study cautions that an attractive voice does not necessarily indicate that this person has an attractive face.
A symmetric body is genetically sound, scientists say, and in evolutionary terms, in the wild, it can be an important factor when selecting a mate. However, sometimes changes during prenatal development can slightly skew this balance. For instance, the length ratio between index and ring fingers, known as the digit ratio, is fixed by the first trimester, a time that corresponds with vocal cord and larynx development.
If the hormone surge that affects vocal development also affects finger growth, there should be a connection between an individual’s voice and digit ratio.
Hughes could not demonstrate a connection between voice attractiveness and digit ratio in her previous work, possibly due to vocal changes that occur during puberty.
So in the new study, about 100 individuals listened to previously recorded voices and independently rated them on nine traits important during mate selection: approachability, dominance, healthiness, honesty, intelligence, likelihood to get dates, maturity, sexiness and warmth.
Study participants generally agreed on what made a voice attractive. But when Hughes used a spectrogram to analyze these voice ratings according to different acoustic properties such as pitch, intensity, jitter and shimmer, she could not find a common feature that made these voices seem attractive.
This indicates our perceptual system may be more advanced than expected, Hughes said. “We can agree on what’s an attractive voice yet I can’t capture it with a computer,” Hughes said.
Investigating if a combination of these properties can define an attractive voice may shed light on a connection, she said. The study is published in the June 2008 edition of the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior.