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.

 

home-and-work-life-balanceNow that I am not actively working for any corporate, I believe I am more qualified to talk about achieving work-life balance in the profession. Of course, without goes saying that I would be doing so hoping not to offend any of my past employers.

Its only been little over a week since I left my job and trying to find my feet independently, but this period has enabled me to retrospect and find out how my journey in the corporate world had been for past over a decade of years. Few thoughts that came to my mind with regards to balancing the work-life in professional world, I am attempting to put here.

 

Are you aware of your priorities?

Most of us are driven by tasks and work priorities. We always feel and give priority to what is being told to us by our boss, what the project demands from us and what the team members are expecting from us. I have often seen that people struggle to cope up with the work demands and either stretch to finish the job, struggle to complete and leave it half complete.  May be most of the times all we end up is a day that somehow has finished but, without giving us a bit of satisfaction that we achieved what we set out to achieve.

Stunningly, when I spoke with quite a few people and found what makes them struggle, I found a simple lack of understanding of Urgent vs. Important prioritization and acknowledging them back to the source.  Often this leads to confusion and frustration in situations where the project demands you to pay attention to a critical problem and your boss (or super boss) expects you to complete a task urgently.  Its important that we understand the priorities the role demands from us and act accordingly.

The understanding and acknowledgement of priorities should not only be limited to workplace tasks. It needs to come out of your overall life and what you have set out to work for.  If your family is your priority, make an attempt and an effort to make them most important in your life so that you can plan your work accordingly.

 

Acknowledge the choices, make them or someone else will make it for you

Every situation, however difficult comes with multiple solution and choices that sometimes we lack to see. Often the choices are easy (possibly leading to more issues) and difficult (better in long term) and the history of choices you have made defines your personality.  The choices you have made creates an expectation baseline for you and the perception then becomes difficult to break. 

Typical example is onshore and offshore communication and task allocation where its easy (and sometimes encouraged) by offshore management to simply follow and not argue onshore for aspects that are incorrect. It then becomes a practice, expectation and baseline that is difficult to break. 

Unless YOU choose to be on the right side of choices (and its often difficult), things can not change and you often ending up suffering either by being pushed to corner for your work, experiencing forced decisions and sometimes frustrations.

 

work-life-balance21Corporates are built by nature to squeeze the most out of you

Believe it or not, all the corporates by nature are built to squeeze most out of you.

All the so called people oriented policies are supposed to support you work more in office. Overtime, compensatory off, paid leaves, crèche-at-work are all the facilities to ensure that you spend more and more time in office and give your life for it. 

Very few corporates have rules that prevent you from turning up to office or thinking about work post your work hours.  In fact, most of them reward you for working extra (so called hard work) by promising to pay more, give incentives etc.  Few interesting words that we feel are important and on which our appraisals have been based are,  ‘initiatives’, ‘innovative ideas’, ‘going out of way to support’ inherently means that you are expected to work more to comply the ‘standard’ in your office.

 

Be aware of the trap, understand the priorities, acknowledge and make the choices and you can save yourselves from burning out of work.   Its easy to get caught in the habit of ‘I know it, let me do myself’. Remember, if you do it, you are taking away the right of someone else’s learning it today and in process making it difficult to get rid of it next time it comes.

Be smart, balance life and work. 

Believe me, I know now, its important!

How would you feel while sitting in a board room, listening to some rant by a very uninteresting person on a vary boring topic !  Believer me, the life @ hell is nothing different than that !

I know, I know, its really difficult to be a patient listener  … and a patient reader as well, hence this will be a quickie.

However, I thought following quick tips might help you in enjoying some of the most boring presentations in your life,

 

Listen

Listen with understanding and do not be judgmental while the presentation is going on.  If you make up your mind that the presenter is a person of ‘such and such type’, it really becomes difficult to get your interest back on track.

ClassParticipation 

Overlook

Not the presentation, but the faults of the presenter. Always see the intention, summary or the gist of the presentation rather than the actual dialog delivery and apparent things. Think on how you can make up your opinion based on the data / presentation content rather than who is presenting and how !

 

Voice

Voice your opinion on time, precisely and clearly.  It helps the presenter to come back on track if things are going out of sight !

 

Effort

Make an effort to keep the person motivated and ask questions that you feel he could answer. Typically boring topics are also boring for the presenter and they tend to rush or slow things unnecessarily. Hence a participation from your side can actually help close things faster.

 

So, in short, show a LOVE for the presentation and you would not get the biggest distress in your life next time you are invited for a boring talk !

Continuing from my earlier posts about Leadership Management, in this article, I would like to pen my thoughts about the effective presentation techniques.  This is something I learnt in the Mentoring & Coaching workshop that I attended. The learning really enlightened me on how to deliver effective presentation to the audience.  So, naturally, I would like to share with you all so you also get the 2 cents out of my knowledge :-)

Ok, let me set the context of this article first.

Here, I am going to write about few tips that you should by heart about delivering a keynote, delivering a speech or delivering a presentation to a wise, knowledgeable audience.

Consider your self in a situation where you have to deliver a speech on a ‘process change / innovation’ in your workplace and you would want your audience not only to understand the gist of your presentation, but also leave them motivated and enough encouraged to support you in your work that you want to do. 

Sounds familiar situation ?  Then read on !

Before any of your presentation, do you set out the expectations from your audience? In case you wonder what it is and what kind of expectations one should have from audience then following list should help you construct these,

  • Do you expect your audience to list down action points and work on them later on ?
  • Do you expect your audience to feel motivated and spread the word about your presentation / speech after its complete ?
  • Do you expect your audience to indulge in some thought processing (problem solving) and come back to you on a solution or suggestions offline after your presentation ?
  • Do you expect your audience to just listen to what you are saying ?
  • Do you expect your audience to provide you recommendations and suggestions during the discussion, a kind of real time feedback ?
  • Do you expect your audience to negotiate a deal based on your presentation ?

 presentation

I am sure by answering few of the questions above, you would exactly know what you are looking from your speech or presentation.  There could be more questions, but hopefully the above more or less should cover most of the situations.

Ok, considering you would exactly know your goal and audience expectations set, lets move on to a simple formula to decide how to navigate through your presentation in the most effective way.

 

SENSES

While presenting, you should keep all your senses alive.  Its not that you should use all your sense organs (lol!), while presentation, but you should be fully aware of the surroundings in which you are giving a speech and presentation. Its important that you feel comfortable in the position you are standing, the eye movements, body posturing etc., should be really comfortable and should support what you are actually trying to say.

 

MOTIVATION

This talks about both self-motivation as well as how much your talks are motivating the audience. Self motivation comes from how much conviction you shown in your idea / speech or presentation yourself. And to motivate the audience, you need to try and capture the pulse of the audience based on their own responses, engaging into thinking, discussions etc.

 

APPLICATION

No one is interested in only a concept or a theory. It is important to give an idea to the participants how things will work on a shop floor or in reality. Whatever points you are making, it is important that you give a vision (if not a demonstration) to the audience of how your idea will work in real life. Understanding of where this will work, how this will look like, is very important from the audience perspective.

 

REPEATATION

Ensure that you do enough repeating of the very important points throughout your speech or presentation. Of course, you would not want your audience to miss out on these.  One of the simplest way of doing it is to keep a separate note of your important points and remind your audience of previous points as you go along in your presentation.

 

TRANSFER

Think of real life examples, try and relate it to the what audience has experienced in their own careers, their own life and help them relate themselves to their own thinking. This helps the audience understand the point you are trying to make it, in much better way. One of the easiest way of doing it is to discuss the common pain points, or common gains and benefits that interests you as well as the audience.  This helps the connection :-)

 

PARTICIPATIONSteve Jobs - A great presenter!

Who wants the audience to go to sleep while your presentation is going on? Participation ensures the brain cells of the participants are active. Few simple tips of ensuring a good participation is to logically divide your audience into groups (in your mind of course, or sometimes actually) and make them think, make them answer simple questions, ask them to raise doubts, or simply nudge them for attention at frequent intervals. Other ways of ensuring participation are encouraging the participants (few of them) to encourage and share their experiences on the topic of discussion.  The change in the speaker (in turn the person under focus) can help re-concentrate on the discussion.

 

UTILIZATION

Would you rather want to hear someone standing in a corner with a folded hands and speaking in a monotonous language ? Or someone who is using the presentation space very well and ensuring he / she is able to make a personal connect with everyone. Its important that you make a full utilization of the accessories that you would have with you for the presentation, be it the presentation board, note papers etc., its important that your body language shows positive signs of trying your best to convince the audience.

 

EXPECTATIONS

As I mentioned earlier in my post, its important that you convey the expectations right at the start of your presentation. This helps in setting up the context and prepares the audience of the way they need to think and concentrate on the speech / presentations.  Believe me, no one is interested in any speech or presentation if you only like your audience to listen and do not act !

 

INTERESTS

Keeping audience interested in the presentation is one of the biggest challenges a presenter faces during his presentation. Especially if this is a long presentation that can go beyond a good hour. You need to keep in mind that every human being has a upper limit of time up to which he or she can concentrate with the best the abilities. You go beyond that and soon you would find audience going to sleep :-).  Few good ways of ensuring the audience stays interested is to take pauses in the presentation at appropriate times, and changing the topic to ease up audience concentration and give their thinking a break ! Speak up about football, cricket and they would jump in the discussion quickly !

 

LOGIC

Last, but probably the most important. You need to be logical in what you speak.  Remember a secret and important fact about presentation “Audience is more cleaver than what you can estimate !”.  It really takes few minutes for the audience to judge whether they are interested in continuing in the presentation at their best, or just drop back or sometimes, even leave it it.  So its important to be logically correct while making arguments, examples etc.

 

Now, in case you are wondering why I actually made one letter out of above points big and others kept smaller, think for a second !  I guess you already have got the answer.

If you put all these letters together, you get a key phrase to remember these tips, “SMART PUPIL”.

Is it now easy to remember this ?

 

Try above tips when you actually deliver your next presentation, and see if you could actually get your point across the audience in a more convincing way.

And as usual, please do let me know your feedback on this. It really helps !

Finally I am back to my blog after a big break.  Again, blame it to my poor time management skills !

Anyways, this time I am going to pen my thoughts on the Goal setting that all the leads need to do for their subordinates in the organization they work.  As you would appreciate the fact that the goals, if set correctly and on right time, can help build successful careers of the people and self.

So, here in my blog post today, I would attempt to put few things that would help you put the goals in right perspective when you need to do it next.

 

how to set up the goal !

 

goalMost of the leaders with whom I have interacted or worked with, often ask the question ‘How to set a right goal’ for someone that work for you. The lack of understanding on how to set up the goals, often ends up resulting into ‘assigning a task’ to the employee instead of setting up a real career goal. 

Now, how should we really think of a goal and how do we really put that into the perspective so that the employee understands what he or she wants to achieve, but is free to determine how he or she needs to get there.

Setting up any goal is essentially answering four basic questions about the goal that is being set up.  They are as follows,

 

  • WHAT ? – Determine what you want to do (for self goal) or what you want the other employee to do at the end of the evaluation period.  Typically this becomes the objective of your goal.
  • HOW ? – In case of self goal, determine how you want to do the things. This will help you answer what you need to do to achieve the goal.  This may not be required in case of setting up the employee goal.  You need to allow the employee to determine how it needs to be achieved by the employee.
  • WHY ? – Determine why doing this is important for you and essentially for the organization. Typically this will help you identify the benefits to yourself and the organization if the goal has been met.
  • WHEN ? – Most important part of goal setting is to time bound the activity and the goal achievement date. Typically for the performance appraisals, its the end of the year for which the goal is being set.

 

An example of the self goal that I set up during the workshop was as follows,

 

What – To develop a next in line leadership for myself in the team.

How – By doing the leadership training, taking continuous feedback and coaching to the immediate subordinates.

Why – To get the best out of the leaders reporting to me and free up myself for the next role.

When – Within next 6 months

 

SMART GOALS

 

It is essential that when the goal is set as per the formula mentioned above, the resultant goal should be SMART.  Yeah, SMART !

 

  • Specific – The goal should be very specific on what needs to be achieved and should not be confusing or too elaborative and hard to understand.
  • Measurable – It should be measurable periodically to find out the progress and also at the end of the cycle to ensure that the objective is met.
  • Achievable – The goal should be realistically achievable by the employee. There is no point on setting up a goal of scaling a mountain for someone who is not fit enough to walk !
  • Relevant – The goal should be relevant for the job that is being done in the organization and what is expected out of the role.
  • Time bound – Time is very important as it determines when it needs to be reviewed, tracked and closed, so the goal should always be time bound.

 

A really SMART goal helps in getting the team focussed and bound towards success. 

Further to this, when you are actually filling up the self appraisal and writing feedback on the goals that you set earlier, keep in mind the following keywords that would actually help you put some weight behind your comments.

 

  • Direct / indirect contribution to the business results
  • Operational excellence
  • Franchise building
  • People development (leadership development)

 

Try the above tips when you are setting up the goals next time and, as usual, let me know your feedback.