Thursday, September 1, 2011

Team Work

A long wait since I last wrote! Here is my take on team work -what should ideally make a good team bond and work together! No gyan just a reflection of a couple of observations

A very famous basketball player of his time, Magic Johnson, once when asked about what he thinks makes a good team work together, replied "Everybody on a championship team doesn’t get publicity, but everyone can say he’s a champion." If any team remembers this and works relentlesly towards the ultimate goal, I think it will make a hell lot of difference.

Let me quote this from my experience. Table-tennis is not a great team event like a football or a soccer or a basketball is. But it is still a team event! If the two players dont understand each other and work in unison, the championship will never be theirs. I and a good friend of mine played table tennis together. By the time we had graduated from college, we had won almost every tournament together - singles or doubles. While he won more single tournaments then I could and was the more flamboyant player than me that attracted more adulation than I could even think of, I even once didnt feel bad about it. I am not mentioning this to garner sentiment points or to show my greatness. What I am trying to emphasise here is pprecisely what Magic Johnson said. Today, I can proudly write that we were champions, I was a champion.
Another important fact that a good team should possess is respect and adulation towards each other. I am sure, if I am asked today who was a better player, I would not hesitate to mention that my partner was a better player. And I still remmeber, he always mentioned to everyone that I was a better player I dont apper to be one because my game was formulated on a defensive approach and his was an attacking game. Now thats what I call respect. We always knew and will always know, that on our days, each one could give the other a challenge and could win. But at no point did we thought that about"I" am a better player. This is something that gives a team its stability.

I have seen many teams having stars but loosing the wars. Even in corporate world, you may have a great team on paper from the best f the institutes but sometimes a smaller and lesser known team just throws you off guard and wins the battle. And believe me the team hat wins is the one that fights like one and let none take their position.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Identify Enneagram no!!

Please identify the enneagram number :

1 always wears bright color and has an agressive approach. 1 reacts first and then thinks. 1 always builds a process chart or diagram around any problem that is brought in. It can be assumed that he does not like to take people along with him and rather uses his power/influence/position to sell his views and imposes it. He is never satisfied with any one else's views. If after a lond discussion in which he is part of, you send the Minutes of Meeting , he will always have something to add to it. However, he doesnt appreciate if someone gives a suggestion to him.

1 is percieved to not forget things and is full of vengence. However, he is too disciplined. He rarely misses a deadline and becomes too stressed about someone else missing it too.

In team meetings, he enters and exits the meeting at his pleasure. He is always hungry for data and even people based decisions he takes based on facts and not on gut feeling. He presents himself as risk taking but to me, he is too scared of taking risks.

Ask for more information

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lesson in Management

For all those who believe that only leaders of corporate world or sports world can give us a lesson or two in leadersip or management, read on.

One of the skills that one need to aquire quickly (please read super quickly) is to learn the act of hiring an auto. Everyday I have to travel from my house to a T-junction to hire an auto. Believe me, its one of the toughest task I have handled so far. Its tougher than handling a few managers that one comes across. For a research inclined person, it will be a great exercise to evaluate the pattern of availability of autos or may be do an annova and find correlation between time and availability. Kidding !

For the last one week, I have observed that a person in mid fifties reaches the place from where I pick auto around the same time that I do. I saw him standing there and struggling with all of other co-sufferers in getting an auto. But for the last two days, I observed that he never stood at the junction but walked a little longer and tried to catch auto from there. Today, when i again observed the same "pattern", it brought a smile on my face.

What was this man doing? He was walking a little farther than his competition and catching auto. I was moved. What an insight into art of management? All you have to do is to continously succeed - learn to walk/strive/try a little longer, harder than your peers/competition and you will be a little closer to success. And you will be closer to success a little ahead of your competition.

Thank you Gentleman for teaching me this art!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Social media and connecting with people

I have heard several managers complaining that a lot of employees now spend a lot of time on the social media sites. While many believe that hese sites should be blocked in office, I am a firm believer that the soultion doesnt lie here. You can block it on your server but would you be able to control the availability of a sleek technology savvy mobile phone and with 3G now operational, employees have more in hand.
I, however, discovered a benefit of social media. Oh I mean, one more benefit and I think the function of HR can benefi from this the most. I have a colleague who is on maternity leave. The other day I found her online. I had been thinking of calling her for quite some time but was not able to due to  too many operational issues that keep cropping up.
We chatted for quite some time and we could discuss and address all the problems. Now, many may say that this could have been done through a mail or a phone call too. But here are a few benefits because of which I think I feel good:
  1. I could buy time. Everytime she asked me something which I needed to refer to the policy or call a colleague and get the information, I could easily do. There were no issues of an impending call hanging on your head or the all so monotonous mail where the information can be half or not well communicated.
  2. The ambience and enviornment was not formal. I sensed smileys being sent for any information sent. All doubts could be asked, in a not so formal environment. There were times we even shared a small joke while interacting.
  3. It was much better than a mail.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A whole New Mind:Book Review

A Whole New Mind – Book Review
Successful people were great at what they do simply because they were given a head start, an opportunity to clock up massive hours of practice and training ahead of everyone else, not because they were born great.” Malcolm Gladwell, Author of Outliers

About the Author: Daniel H. Pink is the author of four provocative books about the changing world of work — including the New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind and Drive, which together have been translated into 29 languages. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and their three children.
His articles on business and technology appear in many publications, including the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. He also writes a monthly business column for the U.K. newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph.  Dan has provided analysis of business trends on CNN, CNBC, ABC, NPR, and other networks in the U.S. and abroad. And he lectures to corporations, associations, and universities around the world on economic transformation and the new workplace.
A free agent himself, Dan held his last real job in the White House, where he served from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. He also worked as an aide to U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich and in other positions in politics and government.
He received a BA from Northwestern University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from Yale Law School. To his lasting joy, he has never practiced law.
About the book: When the book was offered to me, I had no clue why was it given to me. Reading this book gave me the startling realization that “right” minded people, once seen as the social outcast, will eventually be powering the next wave of economic transformation (In fact, today they are as I am a little late into reading this book).
I have always been in awe of people who have shown a creative knack, especially those who have gone ahead and build a career around it. As I was reading this book, a fellow classmate of mine moved out of his job and started something on his own as he has been creative. I am in awe of them because I’ve found them to be true to them-selves, they have the tenacity to stand firm on their interest and pursue a rewarding career doing what they enjoy most. I after reading this book, attribute this to their “right way of thinking” as I realize that it must be that they enjoy doing what they do because otherwise, they would have succumbed to the left minded societal pressures of our society.
To those who are like me, a typical “left” brainard MBA; this book is definitely a good source of information for ways to improve “right” brain thinking. Today, I do strongly believe that with diligent practice, every ability can be attained and improved over time.
A Whole New Minds message is very simplistic compared to more recent design books. The resources, however, such as blogs, books, and exercises, should be very useful and interesting for everyone interested in learning more about improving these skills.
In this book, the author argues that the world has reached a point where traditional left-brain thinking, which includes analytical, logic based methods, is now less important than right-brain thinking, which includes meaning, empathy, and creativity.  The three main causes for this, according to the author, are abundance, Asia, and automation. The abundance of goods available today is making people seek more meaning in their lives and purchases, rather than accumulating more.  Similarly, the ability to outsource work to Asia or have it replaced by faster automation and software makes many traditional left-brain skills, like programming, engineering, and financial analysis, less meaningful today than in the 20th century.
The author also argues that 5 personal attributes will make workers in the 21st century more successful: Design, Empathy, Story, Play, and Meaning. For each, the book outlines its importance in today’s society and provides resources on how to improve them in your personal life or organization
1.    Design: This means the ability to imbue a product or process with aesthetic or emotional qualities that engage the user and add value over competitor produces or services and is characterized by mainly in terms of going beyond the "merely functional" (p. 65) to "pleasure, meaning, and beauty" (p. 86). (extracted from the book)
2.    Story: This means the ability to weave a narrative that ties together events, people, ideas, and places into an engaging whole. Stories can make legal, medical, scientific, or historic facts fit together in a way that adds significance and context. Stories have proven to be a means for transmitting knowledge for thousands of years and the book presents the story as a central to human thought (p. 99). (extracted from the book)
3.     Empathy: This means the ability to understand a fellow human being's perspective, struggles, and experience. The author makes much of facial recognition and ties empathetic thinking to feminine qualities (p. 168). (extracted from the book)
4.    Play: This means the ability to engage in humor and games. The author emphasizes laughter clubs (p. 194) and touches on digital games as a powerful economic product (p. 183). (extracted from the book)
5.    Meaning: This means the ability to go beyond meeting material wants and desires toward meeting the need for fulfillment, including a strong sense of life purpose or spiritual meaning. (extracted from the book)

The author in the book also brings in the concept of Symphony which is the ability to synthesize disparate pieces from multi-disciplinary perspectives into a significant and accurate whole. The central idea here is that thinking that can quiet sequential, logical, and reductive tendencies and instead focus on relationships, metaphor, and "big picture thinking" can succeed.
In order to be successful in the conceptual age, we will have to not only excel at left-brain skills (analysis, linear thinking), but also at right-brain skills (synthesis, simultaneous thinking). This combination of complementary skills is described as a whole new mind.
A whole new mind allowed me to take a step back. All these years, I’ve been studying engineering. As I went into the next level of education to study business, as I sit back and realize that without being aware of it, I was forcing myself into a left-directed mindset. After all, when I was a teenager, I wanted to study the art of cooking. I went for sciences and mathematics I couldn’t envision what kind of job I would have access to if I studied art.
According to the book, the challenge for me now, is to finally muscle up my right brain and get it back in shape.
I would also like to take a chance to mention that this book is also full of exercises, online references and ideas that the author suggests to exercise the six senses needed to achieve success in the Conceptual Age. For those for whom all this “right brain thing” stills sounds a little bit weird( for instance, it sounded wierd to me, before I was introduced to this book) I would definitely recommend this book as a good starting point.
To conclude, I believe, in today’s world, it’s important to maintain balance but in particular, to foster traditional “right-brain” thinking.