December 07, 2008

Beyond Code: Learn to distinguish yourself in 9 simple steps!

Thank you Rajesh for this great book. It was a wonderful gift making Beyond Code available for free.

Rajesh Setty's Beyond Code is about 9 simple steps to distinguish yourself. I read it and I could very closely relate to it. It is like a handbook you should frequently refer to and ensure you are practicing the principles which would help you be distinguished in the crowd.

The book is divided into two sections
  • Inner game (the game we play with ourselves): Learn, Laugh, Look, Leave a Lasting Impression, Love 
  • Outer game (the game we play with the external world): Leverage, Likeability, Listen, Lead
The topics are practical and you must introspect to relate more with your self. There are exercises at the end of each chapter and you must sincerely do them. They superficially look simple but once you sincerely do them you would realize how thought provoking they are and help you to relate your situation to the learning.

This book is a must read for all of us who are in the IT industry. We are too focused on the technical skills which benefit us in the short term but here Rajesh has shared his insights on how to distinguish ourselves and get superior results in our life. This is a book you should read, re-read and ensure you practice the learning. If atleast few around us learn something out of this book we would definitely have a better workplace to live in.

This book has touched me also because Rajesh is a IT person like myself. He was once a IT consultant and now an entrepreneur and  investor.

You can download the book free from Rajesh Setty's website or buy it here.

Thank you Don (Don Frederiksen) for sharing about Rajesh's book on your Lead Quietly blog. You have not only shared the great book Beyond Code but also guided me to the world of Rajesh Setty's blog - Life Beyond Code, which is very insightful reading.

Friends, practice the learning and I am sure it will bring a huge difference to your life and 'who' you are. Make it viral and share your learning.

Have a good week ahead.

November 10, 2008

Live as if there is NO tomorrow

Do you see people coming to office on Monday mornings with a gloomy face? I wonder how they have spent their weekend. Was the Sunday evening start of the frustration? Possibly the agony of the coming week looms large on them. The harsh reality of a struggle they would encounter through the work days. Well, there may be many around us with a similar state of mind - if you care to look around - entrapped in an emotional state of negativity.

One such guy I know, is Ravi (name changed). I knew he was bored with the job, yet he was in it for the past eight years which he still believes is his career. I knew him well, and I understood that he was trapped in a career he hated. Yet, the social responsibilities forced him to move on. In effect, every day in office for him was another boring day - as if to go through the chores and watch the clock tick. The lack of enthusiasm was contagious enough to not only touch his quality of work but of his peers! I saw that as a negative parasite sat in a so called, positive (but rotting) sack where much was at stake. Yet, the guy was expected to contribute, deliver and fulfill the goals his manager gave him.

One day over a cup of coffee, I asked Ravi, "Why would you like to do something that you do not like?" Ravi's response was exactly what I anticipated, "What options do I have? I am into this job and I have to pay the EMIs and the bills. I never wanted to do this kind of work but I studied engineering and I was always told that I must work for a good company."

"And, what would you like to do, given a choice?"

"Not sure, but I do not enjoy what I do."

I wondered, "If you really do not know what you want to do, what makes you happy, then how the hell would you know what would you like to do in your life?"

Probably that was too difficult a question for Ravi to answer spontaneously, but we went back to our work.
Few weeks later, Ravi came up to me and said, "Can we talk for a moment?"


As we walked over to the coffee machine, Ravi said "Well, I intensely thought what I wanted to do. I know exactly what I should do....."

"So are you quitting?"

"No, I am not", he thoughtfully said. "I would continue to do what I am doing. But I have noticed the interesting pieces within the clutter of work I hate to do. I clearly know that the interesting stuff will give me enough motivation to finish my other chores as well."

I was puzzled, "How did you manage to suddenly change your frame of mind?"

"Till few days back I blamed my destiny that I was in this job, struggling through the days. But I realize today, that though I blamed others for my destiny, it was me who chose to accept and it was me who is bearing the consequences. But today I believe, its me who is responsible for where I am and its me who must change it for better ..... Until I exactly know what I want to do in life, I would try to enjoy what I do and bring out my best to deliver the best."

He paused for a moment to continue, "Well, at the end of the day every moment in office is a moment lost in life. Who can control the moments of my life most, other than me? I am completely transformed and motivated to ensure I enjoy every moment - a moment is past the very next moment, and is eternally lost! Its only one life to live and I would like to live as if there is no tomorrow."

Couple of moments by the water cooler that day, left a lasting impression on my outlook.

November 08, 2008

Goal setting

We can do wonders if we can identify what exactly our GOAL is.

As an individual or a team, we must know what we would like to achieve in order to have a clear focus. As a manager it is imporatant for us to ensure that our team members know precisely what we would like to achieve, and what their individual deliverables are. Often we are engrossed in ambiguities. Ambiguities, to me, are just a state where we do not know which path to take and what decisions to make to reach a specific goal. Being able to handle ambiguities well is extremely important.

When we set goals there are few rules which we may follow:
  1. Document our goal - Write it down. Think over it to ensure it accurately describes what we would like to achieve. Refine it and make it brief such that the 'goal statement' is crisp. Revise it such that it is clear to anyone who reads it.

  2. Define a timeline - All goals must be attached with a timeline. When would we like to reach our goal? Without a timeline there is a potential to loose focus on it over time, without realizing the fact that we are astray. However, it is extremely important to define practical and realistic timelines. Many projects face delivery pressure because realistic timelines were not planned. A tight deadline agreed with the customer creates immense pressure for the employees and stake holders and the fall out is a poor quality of delivery. We should be careful about this and if required, negotiate with the stake holder of the deliverable.

  3. Create mile stones - If our goal has a vast deliverable, for example delivery of a complex project, define smaller mile stones. These mile stones should be like sub goals leading towards the larger goal. Attach a time line to each of the mile stones and track progress. It allows to check that we are on track.
One of the useful method, I have been practicing is to write down on a paper every Friday evening, what am I going to do on each of the days next week. It clearly gives me an idea what are the things I need to work on. My deliverables are clear with no chance of missing out a task. As a matter of practice if we note down things, it clearly does not go out of our mind and at the same time help us to prioritize.

Seeing a list of 'tasks' which are the milestones to my goals gives a fair understanding about the time I would need to complete them. There would be tasks which would be easy to do and some which would require some thought. But overall it gives a complete control of the things I need to deliver. It gives me much needed control on my time.

A definite goal setting also helps in preventing any rework. If we know exactly what we would need to deliver, then it is much easier to plan. Precise planning would automatically increase the probability of delivering right the first time.

August 26, 2008

You are, what others believe you are

You are, what others believe you are!

Even before you read the rest of this post, take some time to ponder on the statement and relate to your experiences. Have you ever been in a situation where you realized that others have a different perception about you, even though you thought differently about yourself? If you can think of, then that would really be a moment to look back and analyze what caused it.

Its self introspection that can change us. There may be innumerable 'soft skill' trainings that we might attend but unless we believe in the concepts and realize the benefits of the classroom lecture, the real transformation will never happen. Beyond weekend approach is based on the methodology to transform ourselves into happy human beings using a powerful 'tool' called self introspection and the power of analyzing situations followed by decision making.

Handling others perception about ourselves - this is a key to own growth in an organization and managing our reputation. Would we buy a product which does not have a good review? Or, would we go to a movie in the weekend which had a poor rating in the Friday newspaper? Our critics are the most powerful advertisers of ourselves - positively and negatively. Relate it with situations within the organization and one would realize that this holds true for each one of us as individuals.

This is perception management and it is so important in today's work culture. The way you manage others perception helps you to build your own brand - the brand YOU.

August 13, 2008

Beyond Weekend approach

Beyond Weekend approach is based on the fundamental principle that:
  1. Our attitude at work influence our state of mind which affects our happiness.
  2. Our attitude impact our customers, managers, subordinates and coworkers.
  3. Our reaction to situations and response to people influence the attitude of others.
  4. The attitude of others influence us and affects our state of mind - positively or negatively.
  5. Positive attitude produce positive reactions and negative attitude produce negative reactions.
  6. This is contagious and positively or negatively affect the overall health of an organization, which in turn influence our work life and impact our happiness at work.
In Beyond Weekend we look at the rudimentary ways by which we can generate positive reactions in our workplace to produce positive results.

Instead of looking around and expecting others to make us happy, here we identify what WE can do to take control and make ourselves happy and create a positive influence on others. The positive attitudinal stepping stones lead us through the journey of happiness.

We will identify the stepping stones here and build the foundation of the Beyond Weekend approach.

Introspect, implement and share these 'stepping stones'. Practice the positives and let a chain reaction start to ignite the happiness within our work place.

August 04, 2008

Background of this blog

In today's competitive world I observe that there is great focus of the corporates in the training of their employees. Companies not only train their staff on enhancing their technical skills and product knowledge but also spend huge amount of time and money nurturing their soft skills.

In the area of soft skills, the trainings vary from sessions on customer relationship management, employee motivation techniques, extensive leadership trainings and the list is endless. There is great innovation on how the trainings are delivered to touch the employees. The trainings are designed with an intention to bring out the best in people which in turn should improve the performance of the organization and hence increase profitability.

I believe, one area where we should focus on is the happiness of employees at work. There are few companies that explored this area and benefited out of this. As employees and managers we are trained on various management techniques and leadership skills to bring out the best in self and others. Employee happiness is one such state which would help that cause and benefit the employees and the organizations equally.

In this blog I intend to explore the horizon beyond weekend where the week days can be as happy and colourful as a weekend can be. I firmly believe that happy employees contribute to greater profitability of their organizations, which in turn benefits each one of us.