Managing risks in a production environment, that is making money for customers, is extremely essential. However, most often, due to the unpredictable nature of the production support or operations management work, the fear of unknown increases drastically.

More often than not, for an operations analyst or a production support analyst every day is a new day and every problem is a new problem and hence the traditional risk management model that suggest to Identify->Analyze->Plan->Track->Control. The traditional model assumes there is a significant time available that will allow you to analyze and assess the risks after you identify it. However, in the production support or operations management area, the time is something that is not available and you are expected to react it quickly.

I have been part of a workshop recently to discuss about the Risk Management and how it could be done in such a volatile, unpredictable and unknown environment such as production (or Live).  In one of my previous experiences about awarding the winners in an organization, it was observed that the companies, most often, tend to reward the people who do better crisis management than the people who do better risk management and that often means that the risks are tend to be reacted only when they are realized and become a bigger problem.

So, at the end of the discussion, it was more or less agreed that the Risk Management in a production environment is all about behavioral change and mindset. Interesting ? .. read ahead !

If you consider the possible responses to a risk once you identify it, they could broadly classified as follows,

  • Terminate – terminate the risk at the source and do not accept the same
  • Transfer – transfer the risk to the concerned stakeholders and ensure they are mitigated
  • Treat – accept the risk immediately and start controlling
  • Tolerate – accept the risk and do nothing !

If you revisit all the scenarios you had experienced related production support or operations business, they are more often than not demand urgent attention.  A priority 1 ticket is waiting or some incident is threatening to take the shape of a bigger problem.  Now, for such situations, can you terminate the risk ? Can you tolerate the risk or can you transfer the risk and keep quiet ? I would think no ! In all such cases, you would have taken quick action to either resolve the risk yourself or ensure that the risk is resolved at the earliest.

Now, coming back to my earlier statement of relating the Treat, you would agree that to treat the risk in an production environment that requires collaboration across multiple teams, you need to develop the ownership & risk taking mindset. Someone needs to take the ownership and drive the problem through to the solution or mitigate the risk in full.

Few tips on mitigating the production risks are as follows,

  • Keep customers informed of more bad news than the good news. Even if you do not believe, the customers are more prepared to listen to worse news than you can possibly give the.
  • Expose your vulnerability without going into victim mindset !

 

Friday was an interesting day for me at work …… a day in training !

Now, you would ask how could a full day training be interesting?  Yes, it was interesting because the training was on “Emotional Intelligence at work place” and the topic itself was very engaging.  It was all about taking a day off to know yourself, know how to deal with others, use your strengths to deal with emotions of yourself as well as others and build effective relationships.

The training involved a lecture from the trainer (details at the bottom) over the “emotional intelligence” of oneself, how to identify the various emotions you are going through and how to deal with its state. It also involved a quick self-evaluation using a question – answer technique.

As usual, I would like to put in here, on my blog, the gist of the training and what I learnt during the training.

So, to start with, do you know what is an “Emotion”? It seems so simple, but when asked this question during the training, probably none could give an exact answer.  The answers were such as, ‘An emotion is a feeling.’ , ‘An emotion is a thought in one’s mind.’.  The answer that the trainer gave was ‘An emotion is an energy within the body that creates an awareness of its state through feeling’, which probably was a sensible answer !

There are two kinds of emotions that one can experience.  Simple enough to guess, they are Good emotions and Bad emotions.  Good emotions (happiness etc) are the ones that the body likes to carry and the Bad emotions (fear etc) are the ones that the body does NOT like to carry.

The mind is an invisible force that resides within the human body and assists the human being to experience various states of emotions. The mind plays an important part in managing the emotional state of a person.

The equation is simple, Mind is a slate on which the external situation, understood by 5 senses (see, listen, hear, touch, taste) and governed by one’s intelligence, intellect, memory, beliefs & values create an emotion that is visible through the gesture of a human being.

Now, what does EI tells us?

EI has 5 basic competencies as follows,

Self awareness

Self awareness is all about being aware of the emotional state of oneself. It also extends to expressing the emotions at right time and not suppressing them within yourself. If you are getting angry, upset, disappointed or frustrated, then its essential to identify the state of emotion and take a corrective action immediately.

 

Self management

This is all about managing one’s emotions and how you appear to others.

For example, if in a meeting, due to some lengthy arguments and counter arguments you are feeling angry, then its better to announce that I am getting angry, and I suppose I need to take a break.  than continuing with the meting, which is likely to affect your judgment and might end into something you might repent !

 

Self motivation

Self motivations tells you to have a passion in life. It tells you to discover your own passion and pursue it in order to keep you motivated in life. It suggest you to have a goal in life (personal & professional) so you can go all about pursuing the goal.  Doing the job you love and loving the job you do is the mantra of keeping one highly motivated.

 

Empathy

Empathy is all about getting in someone else’s shoes and DO nothing ! Yes, do nothing !

It suggest you should empathize with others to understand what situation they are going through before taking any decision about anyone. It helps you to understand what pains or problems someone is going through and how it might affect someone’s performance at work.

It also suggest that one should empathize with oneself. It helps understand what emotional state you are going through and what situation you are under. Self empathy is all about giving time to yourself every day to ensure you are in a good emotional state to realize your situation control limits.

 

Effective relationships

Effective relationships is the relationship that is Goal Oriented. In the discussion, after much debate, it was convinced that all relationships you can think of are goal oriented. An effective relationship is also one the one that comes with expectations and the one where the expectations are met.

Its recommended that you have a clear understanding of emotions with whom you get into an effective relationship.

 

Finally, at the end of the training, it was asked of us to create our own definition of EI, in exact 40 words and I could come out as follows,

EI is all about knowing and motivating yourself, controlling your behavior irrespective of situation type, understanding others better, relate to them for betterment of your social and work life that could translate into more happiness and help earn more money and growth.

As I said earlier, its been a very interesting day on Friday in training.  More thoughts on various topics within the EI will hopefully follow soon on my blog.

As usual, let me know your comments :-)

 

Recently, my father, (Prof. R. K. Deshpande) retired from long and distinguished service service as a Botany Lecturer in Science college and on the occasion of his retirement and I had a privilege to be part of his last day at his work and the small facilitation by his department in his honour.

It was a wonderful occasion of honouring a career that spanned over almost 3 decades and with various achievements, it was great to see his colleagues acknowledging his contribution to their career, work and the legacy he has been leaving behind.

His work life has taught few very important lessons especially to me which I would like to remember forever my life and practice the.  

“Problems will always be there, you need to find a solution and move ahead.”

A career spanning over three decades, for sure, would have had its fair share of troubles and problems. However, he had always followed the principle of facing the problems and finding his way out rather than worrying over the problems and their impacts. He is of firm belief that every problem is mitigable and we must strive to solve the problems and ensure they do not arise later.

“Discipline, hard work & foresight are three pillars of success.”

Discipline, hard work & foresight are very important aspects for getting a success in life.  He taught us the fact that all three must go together if you want to achieve greater success in life. If you leave one out, then you are in a danger of not fulfilling your potential.

“Have your own principles, thoughts and be firm with them.”

My father always encouraged us to take our own decisions in life then be it the choice of school. college, subjects or courses or even wife. He had given us a greater freedom of ensuring that we are responsible for making the decisions that affect our life.  He had never enforced his opinion or rule on us which we simply had to abide by. He is a man of principles and has followed them all his life and had never compromised on them and so does he encourages us to do in our respective lives.

You would not believe the fact that although I was a student in the same college he was a lecturer in, he gave me a freedom NOT to choose his subject for my college education and go for other subjects !

“Do something that interests you, apart from your job !”

My dad has been a versatile personality. Although he had been a teaching professional all his life, his multi faceted personality had shades of being an excellent singer, a very good musician, a very capable stage actor and a very social person. He had composed many songs, given a voice to them and had his music shows at quite a few places across Maharashtra. He also had a keen interest in acting and had played various characters in various stage plays and again had toured across various places in Maharashtra.  He still does have a passion for music and arts and that is something amazes me of his personality. 

Hats off to his work in the creative field and I can only wish I could have so many talents in me !

 

Papa, You are a great human being, a humble man and source of inspiration for our family and we all love you !