Managing a Smarter Life - II

There are the two ways of living life:
  • The easy way
  • The tough way
Two simple tips for having a Tough life:
•Don’t do Art Of Living.
•And if by mistake if you did it, DO NOT practice kriya regularly.

A lot of people spend their life ‘the tough way’ expecting it to be easy and work out the way they want it to be…

Most people spend their time, energy and efforts to ensure that one is able to successful in whatever endeavors one takes up in life…

Here I would like to share with you all what Bawa , who is the founder director of WAYE, had to share about being successful in one of his talks the other day on PASSION MANAGEMENT.

The three key factors for success are :

“If you donot want a dream, how u gonna have a dream come true..”
The imagination that ..”this is a possibility, this can happen” is quite necessary to kindle the enthusiasm to convert your dream into a reality.
otherwise it would just fade away as a dream...

If you want to turn your imagination into reality you really need to work towards it..
Many a times even the most fertile imaginations remain just as such because you donot take a step to work out it out to reality.
Your imaginations to be fruitful need to be translated into action.

Satwa is that aspect of consciousness which does two things –
  • It allows you to go deeper in meditation.
  • It makes life easy. By life being made easy, whatever actions you do, the results comes faster and in MORE than you expect.. in simple terms, you become ‘ lucky ’ a lot often
Compare a door to any obstacle that you face in your daily life situations....
When there is a wall, because of your satwa a door will open just for you. Other people will walk away, crying & or grumbling that “there is a WALL!! I can’t do anything about it!! What do you expect from me?? “…… A person having sattwa comes and definitely a door to walk through will open.

These three is an unbeatable combination. Nothing can stop you.
SIMPLY having high sattwa is not enough.
SIMPLY having only imagination is not enough.
SIMPLY a lot of effort being put is not enough.
All the three are in sync and wouldn’t be effective without the other.

This is so easily noticable that people with imagination also work so hard, but somehow they donot get the results.
That is why it is vital that we meditate;
If you want success in your life, Then you are being an idiot not meditating. Otherwise it’s like working all the while but for going in the completely opposite direction of where your aim is.

You need to work, but not necessarily do HARD work.
But yes! A bit of hard work is needed before one can get into smart work…

So through work, along with imagination and sattwa, whatever you aspire for , not only for yourself but also for others will start to manifest.
A Satguru in life can make life a lot simpler…

Kurshed Batiliwala , the director founder of WAYE conducts the Youth Empowerment and Skills (YES!+) Workshop world wide, inspiring the youth all over to take up higher challenges and live a life of a better human being.

Do It Perfectly

The colour gradient of a single alphabet in the Google logo is what Steve Jobs discusses on a Sunday morning !!

“I've been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I'm not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn't have the right yellow gradient. It's just wrong and I'm going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?”

This is an excerpt from a post by Vic Gundotra,the Senior Vice-President of Social Business - Google really shocked and also amazed me. Mr.Jobs, the CEO of Apple, puts a lot of attention to details!! The gradient of second ‘O’ in Google’s logo…? I thought he takes just important business decision which makes Apple sell like hot cakes in market.

After a shock of few minutes, I pondered on this thought of how all the successful people have been. It reminded me of an instance with M.Visvesvaraya (one of the greatest Indian engineers of the early 90s to be awarded the Bharat Ratna).Once while traveling by train, he pulled the chain all of a sudden in the middle of night, saying “Since there is change in the vibration of rails sound, it seems there is a crack a few meter from here.” Hats off!

Expert architect can pin point even a smallest crack in the wall from distance. Expert programmer can figure out the detail at binary level of the program. They are far sighted and visionaries too. . They leave no stone unturned. Their eyes can penetrate even the hardest rock. They monitor things with an eagle eye.

I compare this quality of these individuals with that of an eagle’s eye. No matter how high an eagle flies, it can pin point a small moving object on the ground from miles away and snatch it away.

We don’t need to do great things to be great, just doing small things with more awareness will do the job. Paying attention to minute things develop a sense of quality-conscious attitude around us. As we start taking small decision smartly, bigger decision will automatically get smarter.

So start small...but with a lot of awareness and attention :)

The author is Satish Suthar, Senior Software Engineer at Sumeru Software Solutions

Turn your negatives to positives

Have you ever wondered, “How I will live with your so called negative traits and yet excel in your career?” Take my word for it that you can not only live with it, but also use it to get positive results.

For that first you need to realize the ground at which you stand.
1. The first step is to know your own limitations – This helps you to know what you want to improve.
a. Write down the things that you need to improve. For example: Short temperedness, over aggressiveness, cribbing nature, poor people management capability etc.
2. The second step is to know your own strengths. Each one of us is gifted with a unique strength. But unless you know how/when to sell/use your strong points, it is of limited use.
a. Write down your own strong points. For example: High level of awareness, Meticulous and methodical, commitment, hardworking etc.

Now starts the game!
• Out of the total number of things that you want to improve, choose one which you feel is easiest for you. I am selecting here, for example ‘short temperedness’.
• Choose one of the strong points that you may have which could positively compliment your above chosen negative point. I am selecting here, for example ‘high level of awareness’.

Now, you are almost there!. Club these two in to one emotion. Which means; in above example make it ‘Short temperedness with a high level of awareness’.
Now, let’s see how this can be made useful and practical in our career.

Suppose you as a manager want to handle a situation where the delivery is at stake and the team has limited capability to handle the crisis, to the extent that they continue to be relaxed and complacent. And you - the manager seems to be the only person who is serious above the delivery.

What next? - Shake them and wake them up and get them on their toes!!!
How to do it? – Shiver their spines!!!

Now, the problem is you cannot shiver the spine of a team by being people friendly and nice chats.

Have you ever heard of how Srikrishna shivered the spine of Arjuna during when Arjuna surrendered his armaments, just before the Mahabharatha war? He started the conversation with Arjuna by calling him a COWARD! Srikrishna called him a Coward with full awareness that Arjuna in reality is not a coward. Krishna was also fully aware that this will shake him up and it worked! It was too much for a proclaimed warrior like Arjuna to assimilate. How can Arjuna who is proclaimed as the greatest warrior of all times be a coward. It shivered the spine of Arjuna and he woke up his mind to continue with the rest of the conversation with full awareness.

In our case, similar treatment has to be employed. You have to let lose your temper at the team to wake them up , but with full awareness that “I am doing this for a purpose and the purpose is to wake the team up to hear out & execute my strategy for delivery”. Once the treatment is given, that moment you should shed your emotions and come back to their tunes.

Believe me while these two qualities works might not independently well, it will add dimension to your management capability if used together in a timely manner.

This is just one example I have given. You can try out hundreds of different combinations of your own characters – mainly your strengths and weaknesses to add dimension to your character and in turn enhance your management qualities.

Hope you got some sense of what I mean. The rest I leave it to your imagination.

Last but not least, this is best executed by a person on his own, not by advises and feedbacks from outside for the simple reason that, what makes changes in you is your own thought processes and realization. Others can only give some TIPs and guidance. So this is ‘Do it your own’ exercise.

All the best! Do let me know the results :)

Everyone will have one or more traits prominent in his/her character. Some are emotional, some short tempered, some caring, some very centred etc. As a part of gearing up to take up a certain role in his career, one has to tune his character to suit the role he assumes. Here in this blog we will try to understand what are the prominent characters a manager should nourish to handle his role properly.

Before going in to it in details, I am giving an example here below to give more clarity on what I mean. If a person with soft nature has taken strong decision to be a police officer, he has to imbibe a tough nature in him or else he might not be able to handle tough situations resulting from his role. So even before he goes ahead and assumes the new role, only 2 options are left for the person
1. Either he nurture his character to suit the new role
2. Or he forgoes his new role and accepts another role which suits his basic character.

Similarly, now, let us see what a manager/aspiring manager should nourish in his character for it to suit his role as a manager.

Managerial post requires a fine balance of 3 three states of mind as given below
1. A manager needs to be of HARD NATURE when it comes to his DELIVERY – A proper task master
2. He should be of DIPLOMATIC NATURE when it comes to dealing with CLIENT/SENIORS – A proper negotiator
3. The same person should be of CARING and EMPATHETIC NATURE when he deals with his TEAM – A proper care taker

Now let us see what each permutation and combination of the above 3 will lead to. I suggest if you are a manager/aspiring manager, see your fitness in to the below categories and find the gap to scale up to the most desired character - the ultimate combination.

Combination 1 :
A manager having only HARD nature without having a DIPLOMTIC and CARING nature will be a pure task master. His focus generally will be mainly to ensure task given to him is complete at any cost and does not like to give way for criticism. He looks up to majorly his own satisfaction on whatever he is doing.
He will
• He will be good at timely and quality delivery.
• Take up maximum load without a looking at team’s capacity and try to complete the same as a challenge.
• A successful delivery is generally his personal pride.
• In short - medium term he will earn team’s dissatisfaction as they will get stressed out easily – This can lead to an unstable team and attrition.
• In short-medium term, he will be good with all clients as he will take up challenges and keep them happy
• In long term he will settle being good with some clients and not so good with some others as his delivery strategy will start earning uneven efficiency from the team.

Verdict – Never a desired character for a manager as the two basic desired qualities – people management and client management is missing.

Combination 2 :
A manager having only DIPLOMATIC nature without having a HARD and CARING nature will be a pure negotiator. His focus generally will be to negotiate with the client or his seniors on whatever he feels is correct and try to get minimum tasks and execute the same well.
He will
• Will be good at timely and quality delivery.
• Will in medium term earn organization’s dissatisfaction as his ability to grow the account will have constrains.
• Will in turn earn team’s dissatisfaction as they will not get better roles due to limited scalability.
• Will in medium term earn client dissatisfaction as he is not able to provide innovating solutions or because he is not good at taking challenges.

Verdict – Not a desired character for a manager as these people fits more in to roles like sales/marketing than delivery. Moreover being people non friendly they cannot manage team’s expectations properly.

Combination 3 :
A manager having only CARING nature without having a HARD and DIPLOMATIC nature will be a pure people’s person. His focus generally will be to ensure his team is happy and he doesn’t get criticism from them at any cost. He will be good at taking team out for breaks, having fun with them etc.
He will
• Will easily slip on his deliverables
• Will in short term earn organization’s dissatisfaction as his ability to grow the account will be an issue
• Will in short term earn client dissatisfaction as he is not able to provide innovating solutions or because he is not good at taking challenges
• Will in long term earn team’s dissatisfaction as they will not get better roles due to limited scalability
• Will be highly dependent on his own manager to get his tasks completed as his own accountability will be limited

Verdict: Such people never makes a good manager as they are very emotional and cannot take hard stands against people/delivery when required. They bring major dissatisfaction from client in long run and acts as a slow poison in the system.

Combination 4 :
A manager having only HARD + BALANCED nature without having a soft side will be a good task master with assertive nature. His focus generally will be mainly to ensure the client task given to him is complete at any cost and ensure client satisfaction by way of flawless delivery and proper client negotiations. He looks up on majorly organizations interest and believes in productivity, quality, timeliness etc of the employees. They generally go by rules.
He will
• Will be good at timely and quality delivery
• Will create same level of satisfaction across different clients – almost all at good satisfaction level.
• In short-medium term earn good remarks from both organization and client in this role
• Will be target driven
• Can quickly earn team’s dissatisfaction

Verdict : Will shine in manager position for some duration due to his delivery excellence but will quickly move to a target driven role where he has limited team members to deal with (e.g. sales, marketing etc)

Combination 5 :
Managers having only HARD + CARING nature without having a DIPLOMATIC side will be a good task master as well as people’s person. Their focus generally will be mainly to ensure the client task given to him is complete with proper care taken to ensure that people are not stressed out. They generally miss out a crucial part of the role- to set the expectation right with the client on the timelines. Though there will be minimum lapses in delivery, client satisfaction or team caring, these people end up delivering at the expense of their own health and time. They go by emotions.
They will
• Will be good at timely and quality delivery
• Will create same level of satisfaction across different clients – almost all at good satisfaction level.
• In short-medium-long term earn good remarks from organization, client and team in this role
• Will end up keeping all happy, but leaving hardly any time for his own personal life
• Will end up taking team’s pressure on his shoulders

Verdict : Though their strategy is good for the client and team, it will create a lot of imbalance in his personal-professional life and is not sustainable. He will have high chances of stagnation in career due to limited scalability and high level of personal stress out. His efforts will be appreciated in short to medium terms, but will undergo criticism as he go up the ladder to take up more responsibilities.

Combination 6 :
Managers having only DIPLOMATIC + CARING nature without having a HARD side will be a good negotiator and people’s person. Their focus generally will be mainly to ensure both client and team is happy. Delivery is not necessarily in their core focus/strength. They end up missing deadlines, but are good at handling client while dealing with it. They are generally good people person and have high emotional quotient.
They will
• Will not be good at timely and quality delivery.
• Will somehow create a decent level of satisfaction across different clients but will not be sustainable – given a chance the client will express their overall dissatisfaction.
• In short-medium term earn good remarks from organization, client and team in this role.
• In long term earn dissatisfaction from organization, client and team as he will start missing his deadlines and his patch up measures will start losing its sheen.

Verdict : They are quick fixers and are good at dealing with a prevailing issue but it is not a sustainable strategy to keep them in any good position. They are very bad at identifying risks and mitigating the same before it becomes an issue.

Ultimate combination
Managers who knows how to handle his HARD + DIPLOMATIC + CARING nature equally well. They will be a good task master and a good negotiator and a good people’s person. Their focus mainly will be to attain highest level of client satisfaction, through top notch quality and timeliness without stressing out the team on a continuous basis.
• They will be extremely good at timely and quality delivery.
• They will create a good level of sustainable satisfaction across different clients.
• They in short-medium-long term will earn good remarks from organization, client and team in this role.
• They will create opportunities for organization through their over dealings with client.
• Their scalability will be high due to the fine balance they maintain.
• They generally have ‘YES’ nature in them, but will objectively analyse each opportunity/challenge before saying ‘YES!’ thereby keeping a fine balance.

Verdict : Ideal situation to which every aspiring manager should reach to. Very few people reach this state and hence if you are able to nurture all three qualities, you will be among the very few successful leader.

Now that we know what the three basic qualities expected from a manager, the following are some tips on how a good manager handles all the above three aspects well. You may keep adding to it as and when you experience new.

Click on the below chart for more clarity

What to improve productivity?

RESPECT = PRODUCTIVITY!! … Seems strange? But it is true.Let us try to understand this theory.

If you want to improve productivity in your professional arena, we should go back to the basics of human nature.What I mean is as follows. Everything which involves human effort has an invisible factor contributing to its success. It is the READINESS of HUMAN MIND!

Unless a person’s mind is ready enough, he will not have his thoughts prepared and his actions will not yield the desired result.

Productivity can be measured in terms of quality, timeliness, efficiency, cost save etc. Since most of our jobs involve human effort, the output also varies based on the person’s mood to do the work.

Now the question is how to ensure that the person has the right mind set to do the work? Simple! Just make sure he is provided with the right atmosphere to work.
Now, how to ensure the right atmosphere?. Many a times, it is not just the physical environment and the gimmicks in the office atmosphere that will suffice. It is the persona very own attitude that makes the maximum difference.

The only one thing that can override any mental hurdle a person might be crossing over is his self-esteem. That is why different people overcome the similar difficulties to different levels of success.
A person with better self-esteem and confidence will handle difficult situation better

A good manager should understand this basic truth and should start boosting his colleague’s self-esteem. How do we do that?

Simple! GIVE him the RESPECT and SPACE for him to execute his ideas on work.

However big/small the position your colleague holds;
1. Respect him for whatever work he does; Because without him, that part of the work is incomplete and also because you might not fit in to his shoes how every small or big the work he does – just like the way he might not fit in to your shoes.
2. Respect his thoughts and ideas; Because, one brilliant idea might change the phase of your delivery or even your company
3. Respect him to be a part of your team; Because without him, your team is incomplete
4. Respect him for his good works; Because you never know, his one small good deed might inspire your team as a whole
5. Respect him for his failures; Because his preparedness to face same challenge has changed after his last failure and you have a better competent person with you.

Finally, Respect him for no specific reason! Because he is another self-esteemed individual as YOU!

Eventually, without your team’s help, you can achieve nothing. The moment you start respecting people for what they are; people start going all the way out to help you. They try to put in their best effort to ensure your interests are met with. There is no better way to get the best result.

How much ever control you put in place to improve productivity, if the above basic factor is missing; the efficiency will always be one yard below the desired.
Similarly; If you start respecting your team, no matter what minimal levels of controls you have; it will ensure a minimum level of desired productivity.

It is because; you now have a self-motivated team which is already in auto pilot mode. Now what do you think? Is RESPECT = PRODUCTIVITY?

Start respecting.. Rewards will follow :)

How many times have we gone to our drawing board to plan for a successful career? When you sit for the same next time, just try out few of the below tips.

Career planning is a conglomeration of many carefully planned short successful journeys where each journey starts from the person’s ‘have potential’ stage to ‘have capability’. Let us see how we can decipher this thought.

Many times we fail to interpret the word potential. If someone says you have a good potential, it simply means that you are on the right path, but you are not quite there. Many times we become complacent at that stage and forget to take it further and build the capability.

To start with, it is important for us to know what potential we have. For example, if someone says, you have the potential to become a good manager, it doesn’t mean that you are a good manager. It just means that you have the qualities to become a manager. While that person’s job ends where he has commented it, your job has just begun. You now need to nourish the potential and gain the maturity to handle a managerial position.

This means, simply having potential will not help but you need to work towards building capability in you. Until then you are a trainee. It is as good as telling that a person, only with his imagination capabilities will not become an architect; he has to build the capability by learning the techniques through a well-designed architecture course.

You should never try to venture in to an area where you do not have the potential. For that identifying your areas of potential is very important. The human race is created with such diverse nature that everyone has got a specific role to play. The key is to identify what role you need to play in your career.

If you end up doing a job which is not as per your aptitude, your work life will be nothing short of a disaster. This is true how much ever good position you are holding. Similarly if you do a job in which you can add value, you will enjoy every bit of your professional life. This is true whatever may be the grade of work you are doing.

Now let’s see how to build the capability. Experience with right expertise is what defines one’s capability. The journey from potential to capability is all about nourishing your potential in line with expected end result; i.e. “having capability by way of building expertise through adequate experience”.

Here the only variable is the level of experience that one can get. The experience varies with 2 factors
1. Availability of opportunity
2. Your alertness to grab the opportunity.

The good thing is that if you are alert, opportunities will hit your door. Or in other words, we fail to recognize the opportunities which are hitting our door, simple because we are not alert. So opportunity is not a factor of luck alone, it is also a factor of our alertness and acceptance.

In short, if you are smart, you will make use of the available opportunity efficiently and prove that success is all about attaining the goal by;
1. Identifying your potential and all available opportunities
2. Perseverance & focus to use the opportunity and nourish the potential
3. Building the capability through right experience, exposure and expertise

So be alert!; opportunity is already in our door steps. Your short journeys from potentials to capabilities start now!

Strategizing – a skill worth acquiring

How many of us have estimated the importance of having right strategies in execution of tasks and in meeting targets? If not, it is worth considering now.

Almost all of us in this busy world are extremely good at working hard to meet targets. In fact working hard has become a norm and will hardly give you the full advantage if you want to compete.

During many occasions we have also heard experienced people saying “Not just work hard, work smart as well”. What does this mean? Let’s try to understand.

The client expectations and our ambitions to set new bench mark on client delight is practically unlimited, but our time, resources, capabilities are always limited to its availability.Hence there will always be a disparity in meeting both at the same point.

The most common scenario is where; we either compromise on the quality to meet the timelines or to extent the timelines to achieve a desired quality. Both have its own impact on client delight. So, how to tackle this? The only solution is to have right strategy of execution right from the beginning and meet both quality and timeline without compromises.

To say it simple, strategizing is all about knowing how to cut down the ‘H’ number of hours required (in normal scenario)in achieving a task to say ‘H/X’ number of hours without compromising on quality.

The ‘HOW to achieve’ part of any task takes prominence and a smart way is formulated. While this is mostly left to the person who strategize, there are some basic guidelines that might help to set the route correct from the beginning.

1. Never plunge in to an available solution and start working on the tasks without you personally getting convinced on the solution –This will ensure the solution is fundamentally strong
2. Invest a decent amount of time in the beginning of a task for only strategizing the right way of resolution – This will save a lot of execution time eventually.
3. Take a stock of the time resource and effort – This will help you to ensure the expectation is set right from the beginning at all levels
4. Juggle around with your mind/notepad with all permutation and combination of assigning right work to right set of people – This will set the right kind of delegation and help gain confidence on your own solution
5. Prepare your excel with the charts to collect data while executing the tasks – This will reiterate that every step is rightly supported with facts and figures
6. Always analyse your data throughout your execution phase – This will help you to re-strategize during execution phase
7. Change your strategy based on how the delivery progress – Very important as same solution from beginning might not hold good throughout the delivery
8. Set priorities for deliverables and emphasise completion of tasks based on the priority of client importance – Very important to reach end result of attaining client delight
9. Phase out the delivery as required and keep client informed of the different phases and corresponding deliverables well in advance –This will even out stress and ensure quality at every stage
10. After every phase of delivery, send a consolidated closure mail with achievements of that phase along with what is due for next phase – This will demonstrate your professionalism to client in standing throughout the delivery phase.
11. Complete each phase with at most care there by leading your delivery to an end to end success – This will ensure a perfect delivery and give you enough confidence for you to take up bigger tasks

The basic rule while defining strategy is that, you never know how to tweak your initial strategy unless you start executing the same. So the key is to start the execution once you have a decent confidence on the initial strategy.

Having set the initial strategy, while executing it, an entropy creeps in to it by way of many non-value add and time taking sub tasks. The primary focus should then be on identifying and isolating them.

This will highly improve the efficiency, cutting down the time required to do the job there by achieving our ‘H/X’ hours target. Once you master this art, you can start defining the denominator in your terms. To start with, half of the normal time required (H/2) should be a good start.

The key is to have right strategy to begin with and then redefine the strategy throughout the delivery phase till the closure phase is signed off by the client.
So let us start by challenging ourselves that we will finish a task in half time. Bet me with right strategy, this will be a cake walk for you and treat for your team .