imageAs a part of the MavenGuru program, yesterday we took out our students for a visit to AlphaBricks Technologies.

Overall, the visit was organized with a purpose of giving students a perspective of how work happens within the IT companies and making them understand the dynamics of corporate environment. During the visit, the students got a chance to interact with key people within the company including the Head of HR and the Managing Director of the company.

Here, in this blog article, I just thought of sharing the message we got from these industry veterans.

 

Address from the HR Head to the students

Roopa Dadia, The Head of HR in AlphaBricks was kind enough to host the entire batch of students and more than keen to speak and solve all the queries that students raised to her.

In her address to the students, she focused on following four main points.

Communications

Having right communication is key towards a successful career. The communication does not only mean a good written or verbal English language knowledge and conversational skill. However, its very important to know how to communicate and especially when you need to communicate to whom.

Knowledge

Knowledge is the foundation of success. Unless you have knowledge of the subject matter or a clear understanding of your work, you would never be able to put quality in your work. Without the sufficient knowledge, you may never be able to be independent at work and would suffer from lack of growth.

Having practical experience

As much as theory is important, having the practical knowledge of the subject is more important. The work that happens in IT is completely based on putting your knowledge into practice, so having a good practical knowledge of the subject helps you in getting prepared for the good start in your career.

Thinking out of box

Carrying a unique thinking or having a different thinking often leads you to innovative solutions to even some of the routine problems. Keeping in mind today’s business scenario, having an out of the box thinking is essential at work so that you can always be ahead of the game.

 

Address from the Managing Director to the students

Samir Dadia, The Managing Director of AlphaBricks has a rich experience of starting up, establishing and growing companies. The students were really happy and felt inspired when he addressed the students. He gave a motivational talk to the students on how they can shape up their future at early stage of life with careful planning and precise thinking.

His important message for students was to have ambitious goal in life and have a vision (dream) of life that they would want to pursue. He recommended that the goal of life needs to be big enough and long term so that we can work towards achieving it and keep rising in our own career in the journey.

He advised students to look beyond the salaries in early career since the focus should be on learning and building competency. The early years in career should be looked at self-investment and should be used to make the strong foundation of knowledge and practical experience of work.

 

 

Overall, the students felt motivated and inspired by the visit and left with a rich feeling of having experienced first hand the corporate world of IT.

 

You can read more about the company at http://www.alphabricks.com/about_us.html

The event photographs are available on our Facebook page

 

ethics-signStory 1

Teacher to father of a primary class student : Your son today took a pencil from his friend’s pencil box without asking him.

Father to teacher : I am so sorry teacher, I give him everything he needs so I am not sure why he would do it. I would ensure he does not do it again.  I am very sorry!

Father gets home, calls his little son and angrily reacts,

Father to son : This has been the most embarrassing day in my life. Your teacher told me that you took the pencil of your friend from his pencil box, without telling him.  This is disgusting and I am very angry and feeling ashamed my son could do this.

If you wanted, I could have got you a dozen from my workplace!

 

Story 2

Vijay has been an average person in his profession, however wanted to move on from present job for few reasons. He appears for interview of company 1, get selected, accepts the offer to join the company 1.  With no worry of staying in the current company, he starts hunting for a better offer than offer he received from company 1, due to his little knowledge, previous experience and desperate need of hiring company, he soon gets offer 2 from company 2 and soon an offer 3 from company 3.

He is very proud of his own efforts to collect and accept so many offers from different companies and finally tries to resign from his present company.  Of course, despite him having 3 offers with him, first thing he tries is to negotiate better terms with the existing company, just in case he can juice most from them.  Well, the present company is unable to match the offer made by companies outside and decides to let him go.

Still undecided where to join, he sends letter of acceptance to all three companies with the thought that he would decide whom to join later.  He feels its an honor to have options in hand till last date.  So finally on the day of joining, without informing company 1 & company 3 he joins company 2 and starts working.

He is proud of his own career, the decisions he has made while switching the job and collection of offers he could gather (in this case 3) during the transition.  He is extremely happy telling how he turned down offers from company 1 and company 3 to everyone.

Do the above stories look familiar?

If yes, do you think in our present life ‘little bit cheating’ is now part of ethics and corporates are warming up to this fact?

Do let me know.

Note – by the way the name ‘Vijay’ was the most familiar name I could remember. No pun intended towards any specific person.

In my last blog post about the leadership management, I talked about how to understand right signals in the environment and how to excel in unknown situations. In this blog post, I would like to talk about another game that we played where the understand of the leadership styles was elaborated quite effectively.

The game was called Tom & Jerry game !

All the Tom’s were representing the leaders / managers and the Jerrys were representing the Teams and the game was to understand the reactions of the team based on the way Tom leads the team.

Situations

The team members were put up in pairs standing in front of each other.  One was acting as a Tom & other was supposed to act as a Jerry.  The Tom’s were, as I said, leaders and was supposed to move his hands in few sequences and the Jerry was supposed to follow Tom’s movements as instructed in the sequence.

There were four different sequences we were supposed to follow and that represented each of the leadership styles.

Sequence 1 – Tom pushes and Jerry resists. Jerry needs to keep the balance.

tomnjerry1As a part of this sequence, Tom & Jerry were supposed lock their palms standing in front of each other. Tom was supposed to push Jerry and Jerry was supposed to resist the push but not push himself.

The most important part of the aspect was that Jerry was supposed to keep the balance.

The situation unfolded as follows as per the timelines,

0th Second – Tom starts pushing Jerry.  Jerry starts resisting and tries to keep the balance.

10th Second – Tom starts pushing more. Jerry starts thinking of ways to keep balance and some times takes a step back to avoid too much pressure.

20th Second – Tom keeps up the pressure. Jerry admits that pressure is too much and starts giving up.

30th Second – Tom keeps up the pressure. Jerry finally gives up admitting that he can not keep the balance.

 

Sequence 2 – Tom pushes and Jerry pushes too. Both needs to keep the balance.

As a part of the sequence, Tom & Jerry were supposed to lock their palms standing in front of each other. Tom & Jerry both were supposed to push each other, however this time, Jerry was allowed to push back with equal efforts.

Again, the most important part of the game was both Tom & Jerry should keep their balance.

The situation, this time, unfolded as follows as per the timelines,

0th Second – Tom starts pushing Jerry. Immediately, Jerry also stars applying pressure. Both start pushing each other.

10th Second – Tom and Jerry both starts putting pressure and starts increasing the pressure. Both start feeling the stress.

20th Second – Tom and Jerry both, reaching a point of high pressure, starts giving up as both admit both can not keep up the pressure.

 

Sequence 3 – Tom does various random gestures with his hand. Jerry needs to simply follow the movements accurately.

As a part of the sequence, Tom & Jerry were both supposed to stand in front of each other. Tom was supposed to make random gestures with his hand by moving in any direction. He should gradually increase the speed. Jerry was supposed follow and mirror the movements of Tom as much as he can, ensuring to be in sync always.

The situation, this time, unfolded as follows as per the timelines,

0th Second – Tom starts moving and weaving his hands in random directions. Tom feels freedom to choose the way he wants to move the hands. Jerry starts following him. Initially the rhythm seems to be good for both Tom & Jerry and both start enjoying the game.

10th Second – Tom starts increasing the speed of the movement, Jerry starts trying to catch up to the movements.

20th Second – Tom gets fast in doing the movements. Jerry struggles anticipating the moves of Tom and starts lagging behind in the synchronization.

30th Second – Tom & Jerry both are no longer in sync for the movements and the game finally ends as Jerry admits its very hard to catch up Tom and his movements.

 

Sequence 4 – Tom does random hand movements, Jerry follows him. After a while, Jerry starts doing some movements and Tom starts following him.

tomnjerry2 As a part of this sequence, Tom & Jerry were to share the responsibility of leading the movements alternatively. Tom was supposed to make random movements with his hands moving in any direction while Jerry will follow him. After a while, Jerry will take over the control and starts moving the hands randomly and Tom will follow him.

The most important part, was the rhythm should be maintained.   The situation, unfolded as follows as per the timelines,

0th Second – Tom starts moving and weaving his hands in random directions. Tom feels freedom to choose the way he wants to move the hands. Jerry starts following him. The rhythm seems to be good for both Tom & Jerry and both start enjoying the game.

10th Second – Tom gives the control to Jerry and Jerry starts moving the hands on his own, while Tom starts following him. The rhythm still continues to be good and synchronization looks still good.

20th Second –Tom takes the control back and Jerry is happy to keep following the movements of the Tom. This time, although, he is successful in following Tom for almost all of his movements.

30th Second – Tom gives the control to Jerry and starts following him.

The game actually continues for some more time, however does not show any signs of problems from either Tom or Jerry to continue this way. Ultimately, winning the game by meeting the objective.

 

 

In all the above four games, the leaders (Tom) used various leadership techniques to try and get the results and obviously Jerrys (teams) did have various emotions, feelings while following the Leaders.  Some, ending in failures, some ending in anger and few ending in confusion, ultimately some of them ending in great satisfaction. 

Obviously, I want to write more on the way the teams have felt in above, but looks this post is going to be huge if I continue to write.  So, may be I would keep the explanation of the human behaviour and mindset in a separate post for tomorrow / later.

However, till then, please let me know what you feel would have gone through the minds of all Jerry’s and Tom’s under each of above sequence.

I would like to hear your views too !

Continuing from my posts about the Leadership management, here, in this article, I would like to touch base upon one interesting game that we played. The game was all about understanding how one should understand the situation when he / she gets into a new situation / team or a company.

The game, as it progresses, uncovers how the mental situation of a person is in, when he is thrown into a new situation.

Lets understand the characters and rules of the game as follows,

Leader – the person who is newly put in the situation or given a charge of a completely new team

Team – the group of people who got a new leader and they are supposed to assist him settle down

Manager – the person who has hired the leader and has promised guidance in settling the team

Now, I would go about mentioning the situation and the specific rules and objectives as follows.

 

Situation 1 & Rules

All the team members are sitting in a room. The managers comes and introduces the Leader to the team and asks the team to help.  The task that is assigned to the Leader is to identify an object in the room. In this situation an office bag of one of colleague  and the team is supposed to help him, without speaking a word.

leader-arrowThe rules of the game were simple and as follows,

  1. The manager will explain the ‘goal’ to the leader and asks the leader to take help of the team to move ahead in his goal
  2. The team was asked to observe the movement of the leader in the room and clap if the leader is moving towards the intended object and remain silent if he is moving away from the object.
  3. Most important rule was that the team members were not allowed to speak or answer any questions of the leader.  If the leader speaks and asks, they were only supposed to smile and follow rule 2.
  4. The leader does NOT know, the rule 2 & 3.

 

Very interesting scenario ! 

I would now try to write the exact discussion that happened between the leader and the team members as follows. 

 

Leader enters the room and to everyone : Hello everyone.  My name is ___ and I have been appointed as your leader here.  I just had a discussion with my manager and he has asked me to come and talk to you all. He mentioned to me that there is some object that I need to find here.  Does anyone know what is it or where is it?  Would anyone like to help me?

As per rule, all the team members look at him, keep silent and smile !  The Leader is slightly confused and goes to Team members and asks them directly.

Leader to Team member 1: Hi, what is happening? Please can you help me here. My manager has asked me to look for some object but I am unable to find. Please can you help me?

Team member 1, smiles !

Leader to Team member 2: Hi, your other colleague is not helping me. Would you be able to help me?

Team member 2, smiles !

Leader to Team member 3 & 4: Guys, you have to help me here. I am not able to understand what the other guys are trying to say. They are just smiling looking at me and its not being helpful. Can you help me here?

Team member 3 & 4 smile ! The leader then goes to the Manager.

Leader to Manager: Hi boss, I think the team is not helping me. I am asking them questions but they are unable to help or answer to me at all. This is just being plain uncooperative.  Do you have any suggestions for this?

Manager to Leader: I think there is some miscommunication. I had asked the team to help you in their own capacity so they must be trying to help you. Why don’t you go and observe for some time what they are trying to tell you.

Leader goes back to the team and asks again, whether anyone knows what he was supposed to find. However, finds no luck so goes back to manager.

Leader to Manager: Boss, I am getting frustrated here. The team does not cooperate me and I am not able to achieve my goal here. The things are so frustrating to me. You need to come and help me here.

Manager to Leader: Try to understand and observe the pattern. Find out what signals they are giving you. I am sure they are responding to you in some way so I suggest you go back and observe more.

Leader, this time goes back and listen to the sound the team is making when he is moving in some direction. Remember, the team was told to clap if the leader is moving in right direction and be silent if he is moving in some other direction.

After a while of observation, the leader goes back to the Manager.

Leader to Manager: I see some kind of pattern in their clapping. If I move to north, they keep on clapping and if I move to south, they stop clapping. What kind of trend is this? Am I missing something?

Manager to Leader: Yeah, probably you need to figure that out yourself.

So, the leader goes back to the team floor and does some more observation and this time he understands the fact that the team is clapping when is nearing to the desired object (read goal) and keeping silent when he is moving away. 

Eventually, within minutes he finds out the exact object and everyone claps !

 

Now, lets take a pause and analyze what the mental state of the Leader would have been while the entire above process.

  • The leader expected the team to cooperate with him, in the language that he understands.
  • When the leader did not understand what the team was saying (i.e., clapping, being silent, not responding), he felt a bit irritated and went to on to talk to team members directly.
  • When that too did not work out, the leader’s frustration grew and probably went to the point of breaking.
  • However, with a little bit help from Manager, when he started to understand the language of the team members, he could find his goal easily.
  • In the end, he understood that the team was actually co-operating with him every time, however he was unable to understand them. It was not other way round.
  • Leader went through a very interesting and beautiful mind transition from frustration to success !

 

Situation 2 & Rules

leader-team Situation 2 is very similar to the Situation 1, however only one key rule was changed. The managers comes and introduces the Leader to the team and asks the team to help.  The task that is assigned to the Leader is to identify an object in the room. In this situation a mobile phone kept in the corner of the room and the team is supposed to help him.

The rules of the game were simple and as follows,

  1. The manager will explain the ‘goal’ to the leader and asks the leader to take help of the team to move ahead in his goal
  2. The team was asked to observe the movement of the leader in the room and Be Silent if the leader is moving towards the intended object and clap if he is moving away from the object. Exactly opposite of Situation 1.
  3. This time, if the leader asks the question. The team members were allowed to answer directly.
  4. The leader does NOT know, the rule 2 & 3.

Now, this time the situation gets even more interesting. Keeping in mind the earlier situation that the Leader had gone through.  The story goes as follows.

The Leader enters the room and tries to understand how the team is responding to his behaviour. He first tries to follow the claps but soon understands that the claps are not taking him to any specific direction, however the silence is.  So he follows the silence and nears the object and picks up in a quick time.

While it took almost 20 mins for the first situation to be resolved i.e., the leader finding the intended object, it took the same person about 5-7 minutes to find the object second time.  Even though it was smaller and was at a relatively remote place.

So lets look at few observations in Situation 2.

  • The leader did NOT ask any team members directly. He assumed that they will not help if he asks the question verbally.
  • He tried to understand the pattern and quickly understood that the pattern is different than the first situation.
  • He was able to grab the object in a quicker time than the Situation 1.

 

Essentially, the morale of the situations are,

  • When you enter new situations. Its good to carry your experience and ideologies, but its sometimes wrong to expect others to fall in line as you need.
  • It is essential to understand how the system works before applying your working techniques or forcing anything on the team.
  • Once you understand the system, you can always get into it and achieve your goal.
  • Most importantly, people do change so never carry perceptions (especially –ve) with you for long.
  • Remember ! Behaviour could be misleading but intent is never wrong, so get to the intent and do not make judgements based on behaviour.

 

So if we consider the situations in retrospect and find out how we can relate to our real life examples of events such as moving to a new team, taking the charge of a new project, joining a new organization etc., I am sure you would be able to find few similarities.

Would you mind sharing few of them with me here?

 

Image 1 credit | Image 2 credit

In my last post about the leadership management, I wrote about the negotiating skills and how we, as humans, try to play for the win/lose situations when we are negotiating for our goals. It was interesting to reflect back on us again, as humans, on what makes us perform this kind of behaviour.

This interesting aspect takes us to inspect ourselves and differentiate between what we really are and what others think of us as i.e., what we project to be.  Essentially, what we project to others is our ‘persona’, and believe me, we show plenty of them within us !

More or less, we in our professional or in the personal life, we portray various kind of personas depending on situations and we do so mostly to get our work done.  Have a look at the following personas and the kind of behaviour that is displayed by the person wearing the persona, it might help you relate back to your own behaviours.

 

Persona
Behaviour seen / bumper sticker !
typical observations
Conscientious Do the right thing … In high risk environments
Supercompetent Here, let me do it … Less risky or wants to show off
Devoted I will always be here for you … Care taker, family man / woman
Drama queen/king You would not believe the day I had … Super excitement in all things that are done
Performer The show must go on … Calling themselves practical thinkers, do not think of effects
Victim Why me ? Passive thinking, resistive nature
Critic I will tell you what is wrong … Wants to do, but points negative things first
Loner By myself … Super performer, normally thinks others do not align with me
Space out Huh… what ? Attitude !
Mr Nice Guy Sure ! Yes ! Wants to be in the right side of things always
Stoic I can take it … Tries to put a brave face but have fear inside
Hostile Out of my way … Puts too much pressure even for simple things
Self-righteous I will never … Man of principles, apparently
Rebel Not me, man ! Will do things in my own way ..
Shy I will wait for my turn … Why should I speak now, I will tell only if asked, even if its important
Chameleon Whatever you say … Flatterer, always says things, but does little

 

facemasksWhile wearing the personas itself is not a bad thing as such and we may need to wear them as the situation demands. However, what we should avoid is to have the persona overtake our actual self and make us believe in what we are not !

In case you are unable to find out what personas you have wore in the past then the following questions, given to us as a part of exercise, may help.

 

– What about specific people make you not connect with them ?

– Kind of people that you easily connect with ?

– What are some of the things that you resist in others?

– What are these things that I resist in myself ?

– Identify 5 examples of where you have demonstrated the same behaviour / action that you resist in others ?

– What are the 3/4 personas I use to,

             a) To be accepted / loved

             b) To get the job done

– When did you make your 1st appearance ?

– What are you most proud of ?

– What are you most afraid of ?

– What do you think will happen to <your name> if you are not in charge ?

– Whenever you take over, what are you always sure of getting from the environment ?

 

Think of the answers for the above questions and hopefully they will help you realize more about yourself.

As I mentioned in my last post about leadership, one of the most important aspect of leadership is to realize yourself and know more about your own behaviours, personas and intents about your own working style. Knowing about the personas help you understand what state of mind you are in and are you your real self or not, thus helps you take proper decisions in every step that may benefit you in the end.

So, try out the answers for the questions above and see what you realize about yourself !