Thursday, 20 September 2012

Selling combs to Buddhist Monks


Let this blog find you taking on impossible-sounding tasks & accomplishing them.

Here is an interesting story on sales!

There was a company which made combs. To expand its business the management wanted to employ a new Sales Manager.

The company advertised the vacancy in the newspaper. Hundreds of people turned up for the interview over few days.

The Company was now facing a problem of choosing the right candidate for this position. So, the Chief Interviewer set a difficult task to choose the candidate for a final interview.

The task was: Selling combs to monks in Buddhist monasteries!

Only 3 applicants were willing to stay on for this final interview challenge. (A, B, C)

The Chief Interviewer instructed them: "Now I want the three of you to sell these wooden combs to the monks in the monasteries. You only have 10 days to do it and report to me after that."

After 10 days, they reported.

The Chief Interviewer asked A: "How many combs did you sell?"

A answered: "Only one."

The Chief Interviewer asked: "How did you manage to sell?

A answered: "The monks in the monastery scolded me when I show them the comb. But on my way back to downhill I met a young monk who bought it to scratch his head.

The Chief Interviewer then asked B: "How many did you sell?

B replied: "10 pieces. I went to a shrine and noticed many devotees' hair was tangled due to strong winds outside the shrine. The monk in there listened to my advice and bought 10 combs for their devotees."

Then, the Chief Interviewer asked C: "How about you?"

C replied: "1,000 units."

The Chief Interviewer and the other 2 candidates were astounded.

The Chief Interviewer asked: "How did you do that!!?"

C replied: "I went to a famous monastery. After observing for few days I discovered that there were many tourists. I then told the Chief Abbot there. "Sifu, those who come here are very devoted. If you could give them a gift, it will be more memorable for them. I told him that I have a bulk of combs here and asked him to craft his handwriting on the combs as a present to those who visit here. He was very delighted and straight away ordered 1,000 pieces."

Notice that whenever you took on a tough challenge with a belief that you will face it and find a way out, you achieved beyond all expectations and came out shining!!

We always have a choice: How we respond to a huge target, how big we think & accomplish.

May you connect with your true capacity to dream big and bring that into reality.

Warm regards,


Link to our workshops 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Strengthening the organization fabric - 'Chupa Roostam' exercise


Let this blog find you giving surprising delights to people around you & being delighted by others.

I had earlier written two articles on essence of contribution & its impact:

Last week we had a residential workshop for a corporate client. While designing the activities, I remembered one activity suggested in a workshop for fresh Chartered Accountants. They called it “Secret Santa”. We took that idea and named it “CHUPA ROOSTAM”.

Here is how it was done:

Each participant (say A) picked up a chit of paper containing another participant name (say B). In case A gets his own name, he draws another chit.

A is CHUPA ROOSTAM for B. In next 2 days during the workshop, A will give 3 delightful, thoughtful surprises to B. A must keep his/her identity secret from B. A can ask B’s friends what he likes etc.

This exercise generated a lot of enthusiasm & excitement in people. People went out of the way to surprise the person they picked. Many actions were very creative & generally with limited expenses. People got inspiring personalized messages, hand-made cards etc. – each with a lot of thought behind it.

One participant who had otherwise spoken very little in the workshop, insisted on sharing the surprise he received. He acknowledged his CHUPA ROOSTAM for the heart-touching message he got. He said that he will treasure this for his life. There were many other such instances.

You may want to experiment this in your organization or family. If implemented with enthusiasm, this can generate a lot of excitement, creativity and connection around with very little expense.

  1. Do it within a physical location to start with. You can later extend it to people working across locations. Include ALL – office boys, temporary staff, etc. – you will be surprised by the ideas they come up with.
  2. Assign one person as co-ordinator for 1 month for this exercise. To start, you can choose to be that person!
  3. The co-ordinator draws up chits containing names of all people in the location. He/She gets each person (A) to pick one chit each (B). In case A picks his own name, put back the chit & pick fresh. The co-ordinator keeps a record of who picked whose name & keeps it secret. In 30 days everyone is to give 3 delightful surprises to the person they picked. Maximum spend on each surprise can be capped at Rs. 50 each.
  4. Focus more on creative ways to surprise people
  5. Encourage people to complete their surprises at the earliest. Anyone who wishes to express his/her delight can send a mail to the group, describing what he/she got & acknowledging the CHUPA ROOSTAM.
  6. For MONTH 2. Assign a different person as co-ordinator. Repeat step 3. This time ensure that A picks someone other than last time’s name or his own name.  Rest process remains the same.
  7. Do this for 3-4 months. There may be some interesting conversations & mysterious delights. You can then do it across locations.

If you have some activity that you did in your organization & it created a lot of excitement & engagement, please share with us.

Warm regards,


Link to our workshops