Sunday, 30 September 2012

Amazing teams !

A few weeks back,  I met some of my team members from one of my previous organizations.  They were reminiscing about the “Good old times, the high energy environment and the real work”  they did.   “It is not the same anymore … “  they lamented.

It made me ponder. I always thought that I was a very lucky one to get such hardworking, talented, energetic, enthusiastic people working for me who took so much of initiative.  What was different, I thought …

  •  Delegate Power  : It is important not only to delegate work but also delegate power !  Only then your team will take the full ownership and initiative.  The team will know the importance and repercussion of the work delegated to them and believe me , will go all for it!

  •  Make them feel proud :  When your team does big work and takes big decisions, they feel amazing !  The more you trust them , they respect you more and work harder.  A sincere pat on the back, a few words of appreciation and giving them the credit for their accomplishments works wonders.  When they feel good and proud about their work, they will move mountains. I have seen my team working day and night without any complaint when they had to deliver a piece of script which they owned.  Making them feel amazing makes them super humans. The business booms. Delivery happens on time . Customers are delighted.  All this - without micromanagement !

  •  Foster positivity  : Negative criticism and unproductive arguments create a vicious environment. Eliminate it.  Encourage people to come up with solutions to their problems when they complain.  Do not let the negativity sap away the trust and energy of the team.  Remember, one rotten apple spoils the full basket.  So remove the bullies and foster positivity and harmony in the team. 

  • Communicate Effectively :  The communication from the leader should be clear, crisp , precise and concise. The team should understand the plan, have clarity about the decisions being taken and the direction in which they have to proceed.  They should be aligned with the overall goals and objectives of their project and it should be clearly communicated to them how they are contributing to the end result.  Clarify any question that come from them as early as possible. There should not be any ambiguity about the project priorities.  
When you do these, your team thrives.  They are energized.  They move mountains for you.

And whenever your paths cross ,they will always remember how they felt like superheroes when they worked for you !

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Never say never

Have you heard yourself say "I can't do this", "This is impossible", I do not have time for exercise", "I don't think I will be able to do my Masters" etc. etc.  All of us have been victim of excuses sometime or the other. But last week I had a life turning experience which will prevent me from giving excuses. Ever. 

In Calcutta, there is an Institute for Cerebral Palsy and I was invited to visit them a few days back. It is an institute which helps the Cerebral Palsy kids and coaches their parents. The visit was therapeutic and an inside-out kind of an experience and I will talk about it  later in my future blogs. I met a lady - she must be in her mid thirties. She cannot move one hand, walks with a limp, is almost blind and has great difficulty in speaking. The social worker who took us around introduced her to us. She is heading the legal department of the institute and works as a consultant lawyer for  the disabled people . She is a double gold medalist from Presidency college and a Leeds Scholar !  Her parents had left her with the institute when she was about 5. From her childhood, she was an avid learner and  operated the computer with her feet ! She never said never and now has become a role model for the institute.

Sometimes, the environment around us imposes the condition for excuses. So, stop listening to the voices who say "You can't do it".  There was a competition between a team of frogs and a team of  goats as to who can reach the mountain top the fastest.  The leader of the goat said to the leader of the frog " Why are you all even trying ?" Everybody knows that we will win ! We have nimble feet, can run fast, whereas you can only jump , you have heavy body, you cannot see ..... " This went on and on . The frogs  were convinced that they cannot do it and started to retreat , when suddenly they saw that one frog had already reached the mountain top ! 

"Hey !" Everybody said "What is the secret of your success ?

The leader of  the frogs said "He is deaf ! He could not hear what we were discussing. He never thought that he cannot reach the top " ! 

Successful people do not make excuses . Leaders do not fear failure.

They create results . 

Without making excuses.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Three Best Practices

 Here are the three best things which I have learnt from the best organizations that I have worked with.

Best Practice : Include the family : I was in my formative years of working as well as a mother of a four year old. My days passed in a haze. Deadlines, technical problems, teleconferencing along with tantrums of  my daughter. The organization dedicated a day for the families where the employees did cultural activities with their families. I enrolled my daughter. The organization took the pains of picking her up from home, included her in a group dance and she proudly performed on stage ! A  story book was given to her by the CEO of the organization as per the policy of rewarding the kids of the employees who stood first in class. And my daughter just loved the "300 Bedtime Stories" she received. She still cherishes the moment and the book.  A small act , but it had a lasting impression.

Best practice : Being on Time :  The mantra was "Be on Time every time".  Posters were all around the organizations. Everybody came on time for meetings. If someone was late, everybody stared at her ! The leaders were always 2 minutes before time. Such was the culture of the organization, that it was ingrained in everybody. And for me, I have carried this to all my organizations as well as in my personal life. Being punctual is a commitment for respecting yours as well as others time.

Best Practice :  Let them see it :  This organization had whiteboards on every possible place. The walls, the pillars, the partitions !  Every project had whiteboards assigned to them where the daily activities of the team were written. There was a morning ritual for the project to have daily stand up meetings. Everyone knew how the project was doing, what were the issues and risks , what were the to-dos for the day, who needed help and what were their commitments.  It was an open office with no partitions and the white boards were visible to the full team . Always.  And the visibility had a profound effect on the project and team dynamism. 

Want to try these  in your organization ? 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Choice

Once upon a time, a donkey fell inside a dry well. He brayed and brayed and started crying. The farmer  who owned the donkey tried to pull him out but failed to do so. After doing his assessment, the farmer decided that neither the donkey nor the well were worth saving. So , he arranged for mud and dirt to haul it inside the well so that the donkey could be buried and his braying and crying would end for ever. When the donkey understood the plan, for some time he did not know what to do. He was hysterical. But when the first haul of mud fell on his back, he suddenly understood what he would do. Just SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP ! So, blow after blow, however painful and distressing the situation was, he kept himself motivated by telling himself  "Shake it off.. Step up... Shake it off...Step up ...."   This went on the whole night and in the morning, the donkey was out of the well into the cheerful morning sunlight !

At work and in our personal lives, mud will be hauled at us. It depends on our attitude and perseverance how we take the dirt and make it a stepping stone for further growth. Either we sink or we just "Shake it off and step up". Either we give in to panic, self-pity, bitterness and cynicism or we take each blow as a learning opportunity and convert the adversity into opportunity. Make your own choice.  Either make it a stepping stone or a stumbling block.

The choice is yours.