Personal Blog

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

    5 "KS" Etiquettes to manage small teams

    I learnt these simple mantras by observing and working with my earlier boss who is great at building start-ups.
    1. Keep Sharing
    2. Keep Shipping
    3. Keep Improving
    4. Keep Smiling
    5. Keep Simplifying
    Following the above, it is possible to achieve what consultants, crack teams, hiring specialists and luxury retreats, all that cost big money, for developing:
    A. Strategy (simplify enough to enable clear focus on the vision),
    B. Engagement (value differences and still find ingenius ways to co-exist with happiness),
    C. Winning Approaches(compete to deliver and become better and better than competition and meet rising expectations of customers),
    D. Earning Revenues (Ship often to monetize the work/investment as close to the cost as possible. Small companies need cash flow to stay in business) 
    E. Marketing Collateral (Allow teams, peers, customers, industry, end markets discover you and makes it possible to contact you for doing business while teams share knowledge, experiences, successes learnings, R&D experiences and solutions.)

    Start living the entrepreneurial spirit!

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    Expectations Mismatch

    How can expectations be a mismatch ? Isn't it a misnomer ?

    1. Expectations are a consequence.
    2. Expectations are shared.
    3. Expectations are decided mutually
    4. Expectations are a reward of the future.
    5. Expectations mean a practice that has a precedent and is bound to be met all the time.
    6. Expectations evolve over a period of time
    7. Expectations shape up with change
    8. Expectations get realized by executing a choice
    9. Expectations are distinct possibilities in the realm of reality
    10. Expectations are meant for adequate care of the result and future preparation to live again.

    Assumptions are self-focused and self-thoughts. Hence they can be rightly-placed/misplaced, matched/mismatched, negotiated/manipulated, right-on-target/over-estimated, compared, demanded, disoriented, disturbed, denied, non-gratified, disagreed upon. ....

    While expectations can be fulfilled, assumptions can only be calibrated.

    Friday, September 26, 2014

    D.I.A.L change

    Having been impacted by change early in career and seen the after effects to the organization and the people, then took a risky opportunities to join a start-up venture which failed and then be a part of a successful turnaround story, change has now become my De-facto tool to motivate, innovate and define success. The easiest way for me to visualize a change is to create different trajectories and reflect on the accomplishments vs misses. 

    There are just 2 sides to a change or integration effort. One side are people who are given the mandate to make the change and the second side are people impacted by the change. The availability of information and the vision for the future are so different in the 2 camps that bringing them together is what makes a change challenging. The needs, wants and desires of the 2 camps are always tangential and never meet up, making even an experienced, senior, seen-it-all experts, start as a novice in every new project. 

    To DIAL a change, 4 key metrics determine the outcomes and the shape of it. They invariably are present in every situation, turn and with every person.
    The metrics are:

    1. Dialog: Do we and how much we Communicate, Collaborate, Share and Speak the truth ? Are we helpful and are the take-aways intended as it should be? Do we receive feedback ?
    2. Inquire and Inclusive: Are we including everyone required? Are we inquiring into everything we hear, see or asked ? This is the most time consuming piece. So many individuals have so many different perceptions and very many expectations that is impossible to match or could be conflicting with business advocacy. Are we considering the option that is most inclusive and do we conclude our decision with an inquiry that the choice makes the most sense in the given circumstances and with available evidences ?
    3. Actions: Is there a plan ? What are we leaving behind (if no to this, there is no need for change preparation) ? Where is our focus ? Do we have the complete buy-in from stakeholders and shareholders ? What can be the pain alleviating points ? Where do we go for help ? Whom are we recruting ? Are we course-correcting often?
    4. Love: For people signing up and people signing out, do alike with love. Inspite of best efforts, we have to shift or transfer our friends and people interwined in our lives for years. Does our solution show care, consideration, compassion, support, ease and are we giving appropriate time ? Are we sensitive in dealing with a hard call. The hardness cannot be recalled, but what are we doing to soften the blow ?
    Change often links up and changes people lives in myriad unexpected ways. We cannot escape change and if we dont make it happen, it will happen to us. The deal is to DIAL and co-exist with it.

    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    How change is perceived - The paradox of Change

    Managers and champions of Change, particularly in integration teams tasked with overseeing team merger with diverse cultures, needs, processes, systems, people and standards, need and are expected to:

    1. Be Disciplined, Adaptable & Flexible
    2. Incisive in diagnosis from symptoms,
    3. Take actions with clinical precision,
    4. Address every stakeholder needs truthfully,
    5. Behave pragmatic with people
    6. Insightful to tailor solutions than force fit past practices
    7. Pragmatic with people
    8. Practice being in the context and time and patient
    9. Manage crazy timelines
    10. Keep moving ahead in multiple paths to reach the goal
    Paradoxically, every change always is mentioned in attributes of:

    1. Chaos,
    2. Turbulence,
    3. Insecurity,
    4. Lack of Focus,
    5. No clue of what is coming next
    6. Communication breakdowns,
    7. Missing ownerships and accountability,
    8. Unstable working conditions,
    9. Missed family times & Skewed work-life balance,
    10. delays, confusion and lack of clarity
    How does change affect you ? Ask your manager what attributes they would associate and you would get the answer. :)

    Saturday, September 6, 2014

    Alternate or better - the paradox of change

    When we say, the current way of working needs to change, the immediate reaction is to show and ask us to choose an alternate practice that is worse than the current. It is often the need for a status quo and pushing back an idea that isn't mine, is easier, than asking to get involved or champion the unknown.

    Digging deep, it is the pedigree that matters when I will align and would support the need to change. The idea, needs to be from a person I am comfortable changing for, or should be based on a future prospect that is skewed in my favor. Plus above all it needs to become an overwhelming current need- something as an imperative that cannot be passed on and that condition needs to be vouched by a person of trust. Otherwise, my reactions are often the first instant push-back type.

    New managers always find the need to change and start early buy-ins, to identify who is in and who's out. Needlessly at such times, stars opt out as early adoption from an erstwhile comfortable, proven high performance and high market valuations doesn't play emotionally, physically and professionally to start afresh a new path.

    Losing stars early and having a team minus them, may allow for new stars and better market professionals, but the losses to steam ahead and more bottlenecks in terms of calibration slow the pace down.

    It takes a deep breath and few seconds of awful pause to ask "what better looks like?"  when a rather pale alternative is presented. Moving discussion away from speaking of the alternates in terms of reference of the current, peg the changes as the reference and wouldn't it be a win-win  to ask repeatedly - "what more can this better become?" and followed up with "how can you make it happen?".

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

    First post on Coaching

    I wrote this as a feedback in Amazon and realized that it is good as a post with minor edits...
    Let me know your feedback

    Coaching is a tough subject and act. It spans cognitive, psychology, philosophy, bringing two experiences together and requires calibration in actions according to context and life dynamics of the coachee. Yet mastering these subjects is no good for a coaching career.

    Coaching is a person-person interaction that requires
    • Attentive listening, 
    • Building relationships, 
    • Nurturing positive thoughts, 
    • Span new perspectives, 
    • Nudge towards self-realized actions in the coachee 
    • all without authority or responsibility or a formal hierarchy. 

    Thus, a coach needs to do all of the above, every single time through
    • Continuous probes, 
    • Constant motivation, 
    • Following a long path for solutions to unravel than just giving them, 
    • Using no coercion tactics, 
    • Influence yet not over-power the coachee.

    Being truthful, Holding confidence, Constant intent to help, Deliver messages directly not at the person but at the problem requires constant reminder of the basics.  

    This book by Max Landsberg: Tao of Coaching does just that. Coaching is never measured in number of sittings or weighed in hours of meetings. It can be a hallway conversation(like how the book starts), a 20 minute discovery exercise or a structured feedback session and shows how it is needed for both successful people and struggling folks alike. Highly recommended!

    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    10 (+1) steps that worked for me in any escalation management situations

    1. Accept the issue/challenge on an as-informed basis and not probe/cross-question.
    2. Apologise without conditions.
    3. Appear without seeming abdicating
    4. Announce plans, not reasons, problems and past
    5. Analyze process not persons
    6. Own the chain, never leave anyone out. (affected parties, stakeholders - Up, Down and Sideways, Cross domain teams)
    7. Keep relevant the communications for different audiences.
    8. Offer personal services not automated responses
    9. Brief daily with progress report until resolved and back to normal
    10. Position yourself as a vent than to blow back
    11. Bring back your creativity and innovation to de-stress and lighten the environment

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