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Classroom Training Is Still Required..
Posted 2017-03-27 by iCert Global.
Learning And Learners Knowledge Management..
Posted 2017-03-18 by iCert Global.
Turn the Threats to Opportunities..
Posted 2017-03-15 by iCert Global.

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Classroom Training Is Still Required And Relevant? What Do You Say?

The technology outreach is phenomenon today. In every sphere of life, there is impact of technology. That probably could spell the sophistication in learning approach and mode.
Nowadays, individual and more companies and corporate switching to online mode in training and knowledge transfer. all the more reason to leverage technology and its benefits. So given all the advantages, the need for more traditional learning is losing its touch? This point is subject to debate and deliberation. Why do we have classroom training still?

Have you stopped using a pen or pad?
Seriously. This is not some data point. If you look around, have we disposed all stationery? With the advent of touch-pads and novel laptops with touch-enabled screens, there is no need of pens. Why then pens around? The answer is obvious – a matter of convenience and reach. The classroom setting makes sense in some cases – what happens if the internet is down or beyond reach? Why do you need online classes when the team can be assembled in a room? Besides, the tutor-led instructional set-up is more conducive for brainstorming, sharing and dissemination knowledge. Learning can be different – with different kind of people.

Competitions compliments coaching
The positives of classroom training are the infusion a competitive streak, which is identified as healthy as it promotes learning. Constructive criticism is welcome. Where there is scope to exchange ideas and deliberate on thoughts, won’t you agree it is healthier? Only when you are challenged, can you expect real growth.

‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’
It is a French quote by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, which is true in this context. So much has changed with regard to learning but the fundamental aspect of classroom still remains relevant. There is a need to retrain on new tools or learn new skills in the digital disruption. Agreed. But has technology good enough to do away with classroom? No, if at all, there is virtual classroom. Why? The system is hard to replace. We still need a white board for discussion and analysis. it is hard to dispense with the essentials. One doesn’t wish to tamper the time tested mode. May be chalk is replaced with marker, and white board to smart board. Call that incremental innovation, in terms of technological advances.

From generations to millennial to centennial, the system has preserved and persisted using conventional classroom mode for education, Man has witnessed the agricultural and industrial revolution and stands witness to scientific upheaval.  And with time, moved along the changes.  Some, though, remains.


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Learning And Learners Knowledge Management

Learning is for a lifetime. Learn from your mistakes. Learn, learn and learn. Do you ever stop listening to such suggestions or at times, sermons? Be it office or home, professional or personal, the aspect of learning never ceases. Unbeknown to us, don’t we learn?  We do. But do we apply? That’s questionable. Take it from day-to-day life; there are many facets of learning. In fact, we are shocked at the level of our learning and also of ignorance. ‘My son’s sixth grade teaches me a lot many things which I didn’t know it existed’ remarked a colleague. ‘I was ignorant until this moment, but no more’, said another.


              image courtesy: https://goo.gl/rHB14e

Learning Passionately

Some have never-quenching thirst to learn – willfully, without any constraints. They spend the time liking what they do - the kind of people who are passionate and take pride and personal ownership in their engagement.  There is self-investment in the form of time, energy and other utilities. The one interested to learn won’t mind the investment. For the learned and informed are more equipped and well-prepared to make good of opportunities. In the best-seller, ‘Corner Office’, the same subject is taken up the author while asking some 700 leading CEOs about their success and the response amazingly was “passionate curiosity.”

There are the kinds that can view ‘failures’ as part of learning. Nothing succeeds like success but there can be no better trainer than failure. To take failure in your stride and move on with learning is the mark of an experienced mind. It is easier said than done. All it takes is just a stone to break the glass ceiling. There are many examples of the most successful when stricken with failure to fumble and fall down. And there are some who can still stand up and face it – the notables. Check with them and they will attribute learning as key takeaway.
 “Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will do in the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant… One of the main features of human existence is the capacity to rise above [our] conditions, to grow beyond them.”  -Victor Frankl

The Reluctant Learner
Not all have the same interest or inclination. Not all are interested in reading, which doesn’t discount their abilities. But there are some poor learners- failing to learn from mistakes and past experience. Some need to be enticed with incentives, for instance, ‘promotion’, ‘pay hike’ and other perks. Some companies, these days, are making it a mandate for working professionals to be ‘professionally certified’ to be ‘eligible’. Some companies make certification a prerequisite in screening resume – this type of pruning can be observed when there exists a skill gap, whereby the supply greatly exceeds the demand. For want of better profile, certification is set as a criterion, failing which you don’t make the cut. The typical carrot-on-top method employed by some companies is to ‘make them learn’ by enlisting for programs or become certified in some practices. PMP is one typical example for companies of repute to insist as a minimum requirement for their Project Managers or only hire those who are PMP certified.
To their defense, not all are reluctant. "Show me the space to allocate bandwidth for learning and I will gladly enrol." And to some extent, it cannot be denied that those wanting to pursue higher education or professional certification that might burn efforts, unless there is time to follow educational quest, 'how to' will dangle as a huge question. And that's fair an expectation and also proposition. 

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Turn the Threats to Opportunities Risk Management

 Sometime back GE’ CEO hit headlines with a zinger that threw even the reader off the rails.”If you are joining the company in your 20s, unlike when I joined, you’re going to learn to code, "GE CEO Jeff Immelt wrote in a LinkedIn post on Thursday. "It doesn’t matter whether you are in sales, finance or operations. You may not end up being a programmer, but you will know how to code. We are also changing the plumbing inside the company to connect everyone and make the culture change possible. This is existential and we’re committed to this."

Become multi-skilled. Expand career options.

One can’t figure out the relevance of code with someone handling compensation or making cold calls in the hope of a prospect. How does coding propel a career in finance, HR or Sales? It’s hard to connect and yet the call is to ‘code.’ Is that a threat or opportunity? Look at the plus side; if you become competent to code, hailing from a finance background or pursuing a sales career, isn’t that a shot in the arm, with ‘soft skills” making your profile more sophisticated. Besides, in terms of career choice, you have more than one option. The choices presented upfront are just wide and varied. Turn that threat to an opportunity.

Don’t rely on one individual. Transition.

From newly found start-ups to deep grounded companies, this curse of leaving the core knowledge in the hands of very few, or someone reliable and then totally rely on that person is a paradox that remains unsolved till date. Can Manager code? It could be the pitch to the millennial, but from experience, can senior-level managers ask the programmers to move aside and start coding? Then who will manage?

Some of the tools and even languages that were potent and popular during their times have either faded or obliterated, distanced or disappeared. You don’t get to hear about BASIC or FORTRAN or Pascal.  Where are they today? They had their hour of glory, shone in limelight and stepped offstage for some other language to become prominent. The show goes on; the actors change and so does the costume.

Besides, Managers have a higher calling than coding. They have to manage overruns and burn rate, keep cost within budget, cope with  scope, rein risk and always an eye on the bottom-line. Leaders are expected to extract the best/optimal outcome from the team. Lead the team with strategic vision. As long as leader keeps their next level or second-in-command motivated to take care of things, they can focus on other responsibilities. 

Today Leadership is about connecting with everyone and not the peers and reporting heads. That aside, isn’t it a threat to depend on someone or identified few? Over-dependence or too much reliance is harmful to the interest of any organization. It is a threat. Pooling all information in one server or maintaining multiple mirror servers spread across different geographical locations so that they will come in handy should one server crash - which makes more sense? Knowledge in the hands of one or concentrated  few is a serious threat. To mitigate this threat, start transitioning.  Disseminate. Distribute. Decentralize.

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Let Us Agree To Disagree Stakeholder Management

 Disagreements can turn toxic. Those who are confrontational by nature tend to handle disagreements differently and that usually is far from friendly. How do you handle disagreements?

 It can be a clash of ego when emotions run high and are not kept in check, resulting in aggression and confrontation, which can be potentially disastrous. How do you handle confrontations?

The best way to avert the head-on collision is to avoid the collision. Many a seasoned HRs would advise on the ‘discussion and dialogue’ mode, rather than ‘returning the fire’. One HR opined, “Confrontation takes you nowhere and leaves those involved with heartburn that’s going to take some time to heal. Instead resort to conversation which doesn’t get heated as altercation. There is a fine line between conversation and argument. Debate is encouraged and so is deliberation. Those who tend to be too argumentative are going to making things difficult for themselves and those around them."

Find resolution; not reasons to justify.

Meetings with pain points can drag on and on for hours together tossing back and forth with both parties either reasoning why ‘they are right” or typical cat fight to clamor for the attention. The lie when uttered the loudest becomes the truth kind of maxim. Don’t turn meetings to shouting matches, instead gain control and aim for closure at the earliest possible. If you don’t have the authority to take decisions, then collect data points and carry the conversation assuring action by escalating to the next level. There is always a way – when you are composed and collected unwilling to pick a fight, how can someone start a fight? Experience plays a critical role as profiling of employees is possible to a mature professional. They know how to give and take; accede and agree; identify common ground and settle as well. Typical trade-off.

Negotiate, but don’t negate.
What is meant by trade-off? Go for a win-win situation. Sometimes, the employee might be a valued asset and hence losing will not be a profitable proposition. In such cases, companies do tend to go for the mutually settlement whereby both the interests' are protected. There is no need to negate the grievance; hear it out and if and where possible, negotiate. And outright rejection is refusal to entertain any request or remedy. 

Leave room for Disagreement
The work place is made up of people, not puppets pulled by strings. So as individuals, everyone is entitled to their opinion and its highly likely there might exist difference in opinion. A progressive culture will call for debate and disagreements. If dissent is the essence of democracy, then disagreements should be heard and sorted. Sweeping aside or dismissing those disagreeing would make the culture regressive, suffocative and stifling. Everyone must feel that they have a voice – which may agree or disagree with the views/opinions presented. You can’t force someone to think on the same lines as you do, and you can’t be always right, and neither can you force someone to think right. Agreeing to disagree is a challenge and you better be up to it, if you want to be successful in whatever you are engaged.

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. -  Mahatma Gandhi


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As an Employee What Are The Returns On Your Investment ROI To The Company Stakeholder Management


You draw salary ever month, right? how it is accounted? as CTC – cost to the company. Everything comes at a cost. Be it a server or computers – all of these fixed assets or movable assets come at a cost. What about human assets? Of course, they come at a cost. But expensive as compared to any other.

As employees, there are so many expectations. Likewise, the employer too harbours much from the workforce. Harmony is when both the expectations are met. In many cases employees whine about a lot many things – some just need the perfect excuse to complain and the whining begins, and at times never ends.

When things are not to your satisfaction, accept and adapt.

Human psyche is such that nothing satisfies – ‘when one need is meet, another crops’- Maslow’s law and very much applicable in all places. We don’t live in a perfect world. So expecting a Utopian set-up is worse than wishful thing or simply aid ‘unrealistic’. From a small startup to established behemoth, there are always possibilities for people to complain.

Always contribute more than your job description.
When you work to your true potential, you can do more than that’s specified in the Job Description. Meeting expectation is breakeven. You are compensated to the services rendered and company CTC is justified. No loss. No gain. When the equation does become beneficial? When your contribution becomes more in scope and involvement on a higher scale.

Widen your horizon and Broaden your Base.
When do you, as an employee, exceed expectation? When you complete tasks ahead of time; when you rise far and above to the call of your duty; when you go out your way to accommodate more work. But if you are comfortable doing the same job, then get out of the comfort zone as you tend to become complacent and soon a replacement to fill you slot will be lookout.

Wear Multiple Hats and Multi-task.
The demand versus supply is skewed. The competition is cut-throat. The more skilled and more ways of skilled will make you outstanding. Now complementing a ‘specialist’ role with ‘add-ons’ draws more eyeballs as end of the day, like it or not, companies do tend to question ‘what more do I get from this resource?”. It was about primary and secondary skills. Since the competition has intensified, so have the expectations. So how many primary skills and how many secondary skills are calibrated by the recruiter in terms of proficiency: elementary, Limited Working, Professional Working, and Full Professional working. These metrics are just a sample and companies have their own systems of measurement to score marks for profiling. The more, the better are your chances to get past screening to selection.

The Budget on you should not become a burden.
The company apportions budget on its requirement. Spending on salaries is huge slice of the pie as it’s a recurring cost. The investment of other things can be a one-time or yearly (like renewals) but salaries are paid monthly. So unless, there is appreciable returns from the employee’s output companies will start bleeding and remain in red. Forget breakeven, the company is headed towards loss.

So what are we driving at?

Since you, as an employee, come at a cost, ensure your returns to the company IS ALWAYS HIGHER, else you become a liability. All those trainings and workshops and knowledge sharing are meant to shape you up for stellar performance, and the when you fail to deliver, what happens to the investment on you? Many companies ask such employees to leave or quit, and they come out and crib  as ‘injustice’ without justifying their cost to the company.  Increase you value-add. Become the game changer. Bring more to the table. Do more. Let your action-items increase in number, and add to the revenue.
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Who Is The Boss People Management

 Usually, it is used as a moniker about the one who lords around or tries to throw the weight by trying to herd.

The Boss, in the titular role, don’t have to be bossy as mostly misunderstood. The Boss is synonymous with Leader and just that our perception of ‘Boss’ is more about command and control, somehow that title is very unsettling.

But just like different times calls for different actors, a boss to has to resort to the command and control if the situation mandates.

There are many leadership styles: Autocratic, Democratic, Strategic, Transformational, Laissez-faire. The boss can follow any such leadership style or may be all but applicable to the audience (read as employees).

Are all employees the same?


The 80/20 is very much present as inferred from the performance – meaning, 80% of the workload is usually assigned to 20% of staff. Why? Because they are ‘the’ performers. Notice carefully and you will find it hard to dispute that the one who is hardworking and consistent on deliver is always assigned more work. Why? Because of the delivery. Company needs employees who are an able, reliable and consistent in performance. Employees are always a mix and match . while some perform, some outperform and some don’t perform at all. Accordingly, the Boss to has to adopt different leadership styles.

It will be very unfair to portray the boss in a poor light just because he/she is unfairly and unreasonably demanding. Some Boss scream “I want it and want it now” without realizing the magnitude of work or plainly pushing their luck. But it can go as far as possible. If shouting and screaming works, then work place will be a street fight so chaotic that your differentiating factor as a Leader will be your decibel level.

Command and Control

This IS required to the ones who need jumpstart. They can’t do it by themselves and some push to move forward. In the worst case, push becomes a shove. That’s where the ‘Command and Control’ is exercised. “if you don’t do it, then..” might sound as a threat but with some staff this works. Whipping works. These are poor in self-esteem, lack confidence and hang in there for survival. And they know well, that getting another job or alternatives is hard to come by and hence respond to the command. It is the fear of getting fired that somehow extracts the work. Hence, it is useful to such work force – usually new  joinee, entry-level ,  fresher or experienced hires who are yet to adapt to the new surroundings.

Democratic

Leadership through consensus by winning confidence and gaining ‘buy-in’ of the team. This team is mature and self-starters. They don’t need someone to be behind their back to get the job done. Once delegated, they are on their own and ensure it is done with minimal intervention and supervision. Accountability is usually high, and the team takes pride in its performance.

Laissez-faire

This is not commonly practices and usually associated with researches and their ilk. Such resources are very independent from the start and don’t need any intervention or monitoring, mostly, the engagement will be time-bound and hence the Boss will have very less scope with regard to delegation or follow-up.

So what kind of a Boss are you?

Brutal, demanding, ruthless, callous, difficult, tough, harsh and aggressive? Just look around and how many faces can your eyes meet and count. The Boss is responsible for the cycle of business with the feet on the pedal. At one stroke the boss has to face so many faces. Possible? That why that person is the Boss. And yes, it takes some aggression and ruthlessness to get the job done weighing in the 80/20 rule. ‘The one who shows mercy on others denies oneself’ – doesn’t mean callous in attitude. Though caring, they appear callous else the workforce becomes complacent. Spare the rod, spoil the child. You might be all tall and grown up but at times the rod in the form of some penalty makes you what you are really worth.


Imagining the Boss as someone jumping up and down or hollering at the top of the voice in the hope that their voice will be heard amidst the din of the backdrop of expectations and projections is not the typical profile. Agreed, some Bosses are obnoxious, petty-minded, self-centered and can’t think beyond business. But then, it’s unfair to stereotype the Boss in such fashion. Some bosses are gentle, willing with en ear to hear, and simply wonderful.  The Boss, too, is a human with family to tend and friends to catch up. It is just that they burn more hours and sacrifice so much so that can draw a salary.

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How Do You Really Manage Time Time Management


They say ‘it’s easier said than done’.  Truth be told, we are all pathetic in managing time. Take for instance, when you arrive at the Airport, and read the flight status as “Delayed”. The Project delivery is marked “Delayed”. No Project finishes on time without incurring some delay. Delay is now acknowledged as part of life and surprises springs when things happen on time.

Don’t take your time for granted

Its 24 hours –like it or not. Yes, these days, its hardly enough. Science changes many things but not the solar system. So 24 hours are all you have. How best to utilize without wasting? Then much depends on what is ‘waste’? But what is certain: time is limited. Life is short.

Time flies.  When it is ‘about Time’, then wrap it up. So work within the time limit set. That’s why estimation is essential. Though accuracy is something difficult to achieve, even with the advancement in techniques and thought process, historic data or past experience should at least provide you ballpark. When you plan a task or trip, what’s that you focus on? When will we complete / when will we reach? It’s the ‘when’ which is assigned the maximum weightage.

Likewise, where and whom you spend your time too matters. Professionals don’t work in line with the arms of the clock. Overstretching leads to early burnout. In reality, it impacts the productivity of the succeeding day. When you are dead tired after a hard day’s work, then you miss out on a lot many things, especially stress relievers like family time, rest and sleep. The hangover is carried forward. So the following day, your weariness pulls you down plunging the productivity. Consistency is the key, and for that managing time is the most important of all.

Some are sticklers to time. A minute late and tempers can be seen flying and epithets and expletives expressed unreservedly.  Why? Because the person values time so much, while the ones to go easy with are more likely to take time for granted.

“ Better appreciate what you HAVE before it turns out to be what you HAD! “


Don’t take others' time for granted

If your respect someone, you will respect their time as well. “Don’t waste my time and your time” – sounds familiar. Typically annoyed or totally disinterested. Why? Because the time can be spent on something worthwhile.

Besides, there are some characters with their own idiosyncrasy, who just take a sadistic pleasure in making others wait – for the heck of it. Since they sit on plum positions that offer the kind of cushion, comfort and the control, people wait. Wait as they have no choice – it can be anyone from a vendor to a stakeholder. Now is an employee a stakeholder? Of course, yes. And is it fair to make them wait just because your calendar for that day is crowded. Whose interest supersedes – an individual or company? Company. But without the ‘individuals’ will the company survive? And wont the individuals have their agenda for the day and ripping off their rationed time for family is fair just because you’re the Business Head or the Manager or the CEO? Those who wait might oblige grudgingly, but the payback can be expected in some form. Those ‘Heads’ must think about the possible ramification. Repercussions are bound to happen. When the suppressed spirit finds release, don’t expect it to behave benevolently. ‘You will be repaid in the same coin’ and ‘taste your own bitter medicine.’

Your agenda for the day might be jam-packed, and of course unknown or unexpected calls might spring up, which can’t be ignored.  They need to be accommodated without affecting the agenda adversely.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

Remember, just as your time important, so will it be for others you interact. Don’t abuse your position by taking their time for granted. That’s the worst form of injustice.


Your feedback is important to us. Please leave your thoughts here.

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Doing The Right Thing Is Always Right People Management


Have you ever experienced the conflict within yourself? Many of us would have experienced without realizing what it is. I would like to share few scenarios of my life where I have contradicted myself and how it helped to create the self-awareness within me.

From a personal perspective:
What is Right to me may not “RIGHT” to my spouse?


I always want my son to do things perfect in his studies and sports which is my primary concern all the time, whereas my spouse  always wants to take care of my son’ interests and happiness emotionally. Who is wrong here? None. Who is right? Perhaps, both.  We both have very different standpoint but the same mission in the upbringing of our son. Hence, it’s obvious that we get into conflict when I try to make my son to do things against his interest. To avoid confrontation, which might escalate to arguments, she tend to downplay with my son when I am  around and  makes him to complete his school work and studies before my return from work.

It is like racing on thin ice. Most of the times, we do our best to avoid situation that might result in conflict/argument.  My spouse' maxims in managing my son need to be balanced with my own principles to instil discipline. Eventually we respect the institution of marriage/family rather than self. The more we kill the self, the better will be our family life. Is that right? I agree.

From a professional point of view:
What is Right to me may not “RIGHT” to my manager?

Moving onto a professional realm, what appears right to you may not be so with your colleague or manager. There are always differences in opinion. As the saying goes, ““When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary."

As a team, when the crew has the same objective, there can be different approach in accomplishments. Conflict or difference of opinion arises in the professional life when the objective, level of urgency and priority differs.  Rifts can be resolved when we align, with an open mind that there exists different ways and means to achieve the goal.  There is a streak of self-righteousness in all of us, making us ‘Right’ always. Is that right? Certainly not. You must be willing to listen to others’ opinion and perspective and for all you know, they might be right or you can be proven wrong. Its all about objectivity and a sense of rationality.

What I learnt so far in my professional life : get your objectives aligned with your Manager’s (Stakeholders') objectives/Vision/Mission to avoid most of the conflicts. When we work in an organization, there could be more ways to achieve the mission and not necessarily only one way. Always focus towards the end results without allowing yourself into petty squabbles of who is Right. It’s alright if you are not right. No one is, for that matter all the time correct. We are not picture perfect with a vision of 20/20.  Don’t get deviated. The less we spend on proving self, the more we focus on our objectives & goals, and eventually become productive and promising.

We always welcome feedback, and your review will be very much appreciated.


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Custom Made

 This might be a regular word in the IT industry offering products and solutions. The definition states “made or done to order for a particular customer.” Today, custom-made is cut across the industry fitting to customer specifics. 

Just imagine a customer walking into a restaurant and reading through the menu, and calls on the waiter to order something that’s not part of the menu. The Customer doesn’t take NO for an answer, if you are really keen on customer service.  If it is not listed on the menu, then better cook it – that’s the survival mode in the industry. This is just an analogy that can be applied to any vertical or horizontal.

There is no ‘one size fits for all’ – all these might sounds a cluster of clichés, but the spotlight is back on the customer beaming more brightly than ever before. Customer is king. True, if not for the customer, what will happen to business eco-system? Who drives business? If not for the patronage of the customer, who pays for the bills – and that includes salaries.

We got to think more on the lines of doing something readily and exclusively made for the customer.”

We got to think more on the lines of doing something readily and exclusively made for the customer. Right from sundry stuff to sophisticated schooling.

Interestingly, trainings too have seen the swing when institutions go out of the way  to offer tailor-made trainings, which are unique and inimitable to the customer in picture.

Now the engagement has gone one-notch above.  Now customers brief a scenario to exact a solution. It’s like turning a use case into an application – which may sound as an exaggeration. Not anymore.
  
In a recent enquiry, customer came out with a specific need that was not part of our offering. In fact, they pinned the scope so neatly that befits behavioral science, and refusal to entertain their enquiry will make them shop elsewhere.

“You must be willing to go as far as you can”


Today, the choice for customer has grown manifold. If you aren’t ready, move aside, and the next one in line will be inquired. So to a bag a business order, that connects directly or loosely, it’s both important and imperative to make most of the opportunity  and drive hard for a closure. It will be foolhardy to dismiss with a ‘sorry, we don’t have that in our catalogue” is to let the ball slip through your hands. Unless, its completely beyond your strength, you must be willing to go as far as you can. Chances aren’t easy to come by these days with competition throttling and scuttling at the first instant possible.Customer service is evolving. The service provided will be the game changer and excellence will result in clincher.

One of our customers had an interesting anecdote. He was visiting a gift shop to buy something in particular. The shop owner heard his order, and declared his helplessness as “not available’ and turned his attention to the news on television. The customer moved on to the next door, which too was a gift shop, ad that owner too didn’t have the article, but instead of flatly refusing with a  ‘No’, he was entrusting to offer the customer with alternatives of ‘may be you would like this or try  that one.” The spirit of engagement impressed the customer, and even more impressive were the choices presented that the customer never thought of, and in end he purchased one and promised to come back. While leaving the shop, he looked at the previous shop and noticed the distinct difference in entrepreneurship. One was willing to go way go way beyond, while the other just sat and did nothing much. The customer left a thank you note to the shopkeeper saying “that looks like it’s just made for me”. 

Custom-made, perhaps.

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The Art Of Poor Communication

 When you are in a commanding position – from a Lead to a CEO or Stakeholder, much is expected in terms of communication. Someone said ‘giving is the best form of communication’. What do you give? Information.

And what exactly is communication? Transmitting thoughts that can be read and understood. It’s not the mastery of the language or the command of the vocabulary that makes your communication good. These are of course required, if not good to possess, but the essence of communications gets down to the basics. The simpler the content, easier the read, and greater the understanding – it applies to both verbal and written form. We tend to assume speakers who can speak for hours are good communicators. Some of the greatest communicators, like Former President Ronald Reagan, who was known pen his own drafts, is hailed one amongst the best in connecting with the audience. That is the ultimate objective. Exchange of thoughts in manner there is no misunderstanding.

So what are the pitfalls in communication that makes it poor? There are many, and we have selected some of the most recurring and repeated mistakes.

Occupation Hazard:
It could be an occupation hazard or the work backdrop, that communication suffers – though unintentionally. A Marketing professional uses some jargon frequently used at the work place which subconsciously influences the fluency. “So, what is the bottom line?” can have many interpretations and mostly misunderstood. It can mean as the ‘most fundamental aspect’ or ‘the balance sheet’. So how does a kid understand? ‘What is that you want to say finally?’ that’s why the disclaimer ‘occupational hazards’. It happens. Take for instance, the acronyms. MSP can stand for “Managing Successful Programmes” to “Medicare Secondary Payer “and several more expansions. So the context is essential. Set the context, and even the jargons will fall in place. Else Mandarin and Cantonese become Chinese languages but totally different.

Follow the 5-minute rule:
this happens with mind boggling frequency at the senior level when they have to go through hundreds of mail in a day that some get missed out of oversight but the sender feels slighted and, at times, insulted. It is a good practice to post a return mail within 5 minutes, even if it’s just a line. “I am busy right now. Can I get back by the end of the day?” and let’s say you miss by the end of the day, the sender will give you the benefit of doubt that something caught up and put the response on hold.

Avoid condescension
; another bane when mail or phone calls are deliberately given a pass because of any reasons, mostly personal. Or even the gap in the ladder? “Oh, that person is just a junior”. To shake your head sideways to proclaim ‘I never did that’ is sanctimonious, at least, you would have delayed and assigned lower priority. To say the least, the very act is unprofessional. So avoid. Effective Leaders are known to make others feel exceptional, especially at the grassroots and above. Treat everyone alike actually commands respect that they salute your spirit.

Beating the bush:
Time is money, and when time gets wasted, the loss is colossal. This happens mostly in meetings when the speaker meanders, wandering around the world or circling around the centerpiece without ever approaching the subject. Agile standup meeting is cited as an example for its effectiveness in communication as there is an agenda and a time limit. Carry an agenda and stick to it without deviating much. There is a difference between brainstorming and team meetings. Let’s not confuse and get carried away. Sometimes, even after hours of deliberation, attendees have stepped out of the room scratching their head “what really went inside?” this is the reason ‘Minutes of Meeting’ helps.

Listen and let the other talk
. There is no need for dominate but carry the conversation. Don’t pretend listening or don’t listen with intent to ‘give it back’. There is a streak of self-righteousness in all of us and hence we feel right in our sight and assessment and most unwilling to entertain an alternate or opposing perspective. You learn a lot by listening f only there is patience and willing to hear out till the end without interrupting. Preempting or try to prove ‘I am always right’ only weaken your stance. Rather let the other speak and hear.  ‘The less he spoke the more he heard.’ Business conversations ought to be professional.


No Communication.
This is the worst form of communication. A meeting scheduled for a face to face interaction gets postponed or deferred or doesn’t happen at all.  A response to a mail is delayed, deferred or plainly ignored. This can be both discouraging and demoralizing. It is poor in etiquette, and pathetic to note that willful negligence can only resulted in wasted hours.

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Communicate with Clarity Stakeholder Management

 All us will agree to the need for greater clarity in communication – be it any form, verbal, or written. We say a lot and

really don't mean anything much.

Conflicts arise mainly due to poor communication. When words are minced, message loses its meaning. Basically, we failed to

make sense, and probably never realized.  Confusion is otherwise called as noise.

Let’s look into some real-time scenarios:

Despite a set agenda, meetings, at times, drag for hours not deliberating the issues tabled, rather a stray thought entertained finds resonance with someone seated and soon the discussion veers off in a direction that’s tangential. When the meeting is concluded, everyone leaves learning a lesson not to get distracted but fall into the same trap that was supposed to be safeguarded.

Likewise, a client call to collect requirements goes into an infinite loop of ‘back and forth’.  Why? Either the message is

not clear or the stakeholders are not in the same page for the lack of understanding. It’s as if the conversation is taking

place in a language that the attendees in the call are absolutely clueless. This, when Language is no longer a limitation

can be so ironical.

Or, the instance when a simple mail intended to communicate a message can be so misleading.

So, how do you bring clarity in communication?

You don’t have to be poetic. Just be precise.

There is no need to compose an essay. A 2-liner will be enough if the message can be conveyed.

Be verbal, not verbose. Compose crisp concise message using shorter sentences.


The second paragraph is this post itself is typical disclaimer as to ‘how not to write’. Rather, simplify. Make it easier

for the reader to understand. It should not be a test on IQ.  Is your message easy to understand? Assess the easiness. If

yes, post. If not, rewrite.

Clarity means simplicity. We often confuse that word as a business jargon. The challenge today that 'you might be possess

the knowledge of a professor' but can you explain in a way that a third-grade kid can understand?

There should not be any confusion at all; nor the need to refer the dictionary. Prose that is plain yet elegant; correct in

its context brings out greater clarity in communication.


It can be challenging. So is clarity in communication.

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If You Want The Best Pay Prove That You Are The Brightest Person


If the new H-1B Visa Bill is anything to go by, then soon there may not exist visa cap per country but issued purely of on merit regardless of the origin. The catch of “only the best and brightest” has been ringing in the valley ever since there was a change of guard in the leadership.  This is only fair so that Companies don’t shortchange the unsuspecting employee by undercutting wages. So to book yourself a berth, better ensure you are the best in the list.

Some companies and candidates have been too long in the shade that’s its time they come under the sun and face the heat of the competition. Most look towards the west – be it migrants or aspirants. So, professionally, unless you have a proven track record that’s superior and surpasses the set expectations, chances to be counted in is going to be grim.

Just read out the latest reports as extracted and the enormity of reality will dawn on you. The good days are gone? It can be a lament or do you hear someone shoot-out “good days are back”. Your caliber and competency can be vouched by you alone as it will be you who will be subjected to the litmus test in proficiency.

Quoting verbatim from the source:

“The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 introduced by California Congressman Zoe Lofgren prioritises market based allocation of visas to those companies willing to pay 200 per cent of a wage calculated by survey; eliminates the category of lowest pay; and raises the salary level at which H-1B dependent employer are exempt from non-displacement and recruitment attestation requirements to greater than $130,000.

This is more than double of the current H-1B minimum wage of $60,000, which was established in 1989 and since then has remained unchanged.

“My legislation refocuses the H-1B program me to its original intent — to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world, and to supplement the US workforce with talented, highly paid, and highly skilled workers who help create jobs here in America, not replace them,” said Mr. Lofgren.

Here comes the zinger: when the message is loud and clear about scouting talent that are the best and brightest:  what makes one best and bright? In simpler terms, you can’t nudge or elbow your competitor but win the race by a mile. Touch of the legend sprinter ‘thunderbolt’? Humor aside, the hunger to excel and exceed expectation is the basic expectation. You can take it from here as the baseline and figure out the challenges that lie ahead and criteria to be met. Nothing less than outstanding can help you outshine as a luminary in the global pool of star players.

Well, one might want to know the hue and cry made about the visas. Admittedly the numbers don’t add up for ‘skilled staff’ to survive and succeed in the stiff competition in Silicon Valley, especially the startup, which needs to compete with the established set-up. It’s unfair on a David versus Goliath, so let’s level the play area might be the rationale by hiring some great talent in-house or outsourced. And there comes the bone of contention on the basis of the disparity in income and also the loss of opportunity when a Job is shipped outside or talent shopped from elsewhere.  There were enough holes to plug and routes to circumvent. And hence, this diktat to demonstrate first and declare yourself as the ‘conqueror’ and the crown is all yours. Prove your worth as deserving and therefore desire is the dictum.

If you feel tempted to ask ‘what talents will take me through?’, then walk through the Job Responsibilities and measure yourself in terms of the weight age, and ask yourself “are you there?” if yes, what’s your standing when lined up with strongest of contender? Certifications, of course, lend currency and expertise arises from the virtue of experience. What happens, if the shortlisted candidates possess the certifications and areas of expertise? Well, that its typical Darwinism “fitter than the fittest”.  Better than the best. Prove that and take home the trophy. The winner gets it all.


May the best man/woman win.
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The Great Expectations

 Only the title of the classic written by Charles Dickens has semblance to this posting and surely not its substance.

With the onset of a new year, political boiling in the land of opportunities, wherein skilled professional face severe unrest in the wake of sanctions and scrutiny, the future seems to hold its breath.

When the need is to analyze skill gap, currently it’s more about geographical demarcation to permit access or deny entry.

When the very skill,  due to soaring demand, took people places is set aside owing to political compulsion, it most  certainly play out to be a professional’s paradox.

The citizens and green cards spared, the fate of the extremely talented and brilliant minds hang in mid-air.

No matter what, come hell or high storm, mankind has survived all sorts of adversaries and yet prevailed. And this too shall pass. That we know. But by when? Is something we don’t know.

So it means “Stop. Don’t sharpen the axe.” Canada came out openly declaring that it’s a good opportunity to make good of the talent in their innovative-rich centers to build a better future. No one gets stuck – they move on to the next land of opportunity.

Recent studies have already identified other potential markets for professionals to pursue their passion and nurse an ambition with abilities.

The future is touted to be greatly influenced by SMAC – Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud, and along with Ethical Hacking and Artificial Intelligence will play a stellar role in steering the future. Drones have become common a word now – which was earlier associated with weapons, and hyperloop is literally a race against time. With SpaceX exploring aerospace , burning with the motive to put man on mars -  the mission to mars by commoner [not astronauts], daring to challenge the challenge, aspire to achieve the‘ impossible'. That seems to become the expectation.  For every contrast, there is a compelling chance/choice.

Skills cannot be silenced, subdued or suppressed. They can be harnessed – to the hilt.  When conventional classroom could be moved to Live Virtual Classes, the threats of any form will shift the learning to another platform. Learning is forever. Unless We stop to learn

Since the narration started with Charles Dickens, let it conclude by borrowing one  of the phenomenal opening lines from his ‘Tale of Two Cities’ –
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, , it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair ”  

 But just like the way the previous president concluded his last message “We shall overcome", and in time, we will. That, for now,  is the greatest expectation.


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Resignation Retention A Page In People Management


When resignations are rampant and the attrition rate spikes, all the eyes invariably turns on the eyes of the HR as scapegoats, when nothing concrete comes out as evidence for the exit . other than speculations flying thick and fast which twirls into wild rumours, the real reason for someone’ departure is never disclosed, for whatever reasons.

Some of the most heard is “blame the manager”. Fine. What happens if the manager quits? Blame the manager who managed the manager? We can keep going round in circles. The bottom-line – the person was either willing to go or forced to leave. The reasons can be anything – from conjectures to outright conclusions.

Pinning on a person fails to make sense. Rather look at the person leaving. Particularly HR. The HR derives no pleasure as they alone know better the ‘cost of hire’ right from advertising about openings to screening resume and shortlisting and hoping the candidate will clear the countless rounds of interview so that they can close the file or requirement. It can be daunting in cost and effort. And it gets tough on the Hiring manager to bring the ‘new hire’ to speed, the transition in timeline will sometimes roll into months. So overall, it is an expensive exercise that no one wants unless or otherwise forced to engage. Rather, it is far more prudent to retain than release. That’s why many companies consider to ‘talk it through’ the pain points that made the employee severe ties.

And what could be the pain points? The data points collected from various exit interviews and successful retention discussions were pooled and the most striking listed :

Stagnation. When an employee feels grinding the same stone with nothing new but regular, routine, monotonous work, frustration boils and resentment builds badly seeking a release. That’s when they look around. Everyone has an axe to grind. When you do something repeatedly, that’s called monotony or specialist?  Its your take. Somehow the passion in you has replaced with pressure.

 Stunning Offer:  something you can’t resist or refuse. Obviously, it far better than where you are that has made up your mind to move. A great work culture, exciting job responsibilities, eye-popping package with perks and all the freebies and holidays. Sometimes, the allure with the offer tantalizing which is hard to let go . money is a great motivator – the lure of CTC. Not many read CTC as cost, but as ‘package’. Not many realize the grass is just as green on the other side.

Sense of belonging: by far, what many fail to admit or accept is that the employee simply lost  the sense of belonging in in the work place . “I don’t fit in here anymore.” What made the employee draw such a conclusion could be attributed to any factor – may be the manager or the employee itself for underperformance or incompetent. But the unmistakable fact is unless one feels "I belong here", expecting to stay on is simply chasing the wind.

Erosion in trust. It works both ways. The employee loses or the employer. Trust is sacred. Trust is both strong and fragile. So long trust is upheld, it remains strong. But just like one stone to bring down a glass plane, its so brittle. Once doubt creeps, trust dilutes.

Unreasonable timeline. Overwork overburdens. When the effort estimation is not realistic then one has to wake up to reality. Pushing beyond the permissible limits can prove punishing. Expecting productivity is preposterous. Sometimes, one has set reasonable expectations. Stretching in grave situation is acceptable so long the stakeholders concerned are accommodative, failing which the situation simmers with hostility. The person in-charge can hammer about delayed deadline while the programmer under pressure  will cry foul about the fixtures.


The way out is a win-win. Earning confidence is the best way to build a relationship. Times have proved how the crew went beyond their call of duty to combat challenges only because of the confidence and faith placed in them. People management is a practice that many leaders are yet to perfect.

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Brace Yourself for 2017 Reskill Reinvent and Reboot

Why is that we tend to view cynically when concerned with future? Why cant the way forward be brilliant. The search for the predictions for 2017 yielded so many results that it was difficult which to discard. But something that met the eye was ‘Will It Be Easy to Find a Job in 2017?’ Finding a job , in the present scenario, packed with aspirants and applicants by the horde whereby the supply greatly exceeds the demand, is compounded in its woes with automation leading from the front. A bellwether company in the south asia has actually ‘released’ 9,000 employees because of automation. So battling out with other contenders for a key slot is going to be tough, and to qualify will be a major hurdle. The recruiters are smart to skim the top talent. The important question is: will you find your resume in that short list? It’s good to greet with good news. Some of the predictions stated were on a promising note “Tech jobs will continue to boom”, “Responsible workers will be in demand”, and “Hiring will be up for new grads.” Now if that fails to sound positive, what else then? These are all predictions and not prescient. So take it at face value and look into the future with renewed hope and rekindled spirit. As is the want in any case, preparation is the key. Its very much evident that in a fiercely competitive market, acute shortage of skill and desired talent for the demanding roles that comes with lucrative packages and high slaries, 2017 is expected to witness the same trends of ot the previous year. Clearly, data security, big data and cloud technologies emerge on the top. With massive breaches at Yahoo announced last December, security is a major concern, and at the same time presents a great opportunity to make good. Big Data dominated the news in recent times as “weaponized, it is essential that you reskill, reinvent and reboot. The opportunities are plenty. Be optimistic.
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