All posts by ranaks

Why villains are important

A villain is generally accepted to be the antagonist in any story or scenario.

Can one define light without darkness? or Good without evil?

I know this is not a new argument and neither am I trying to invent one at this stage.

However, we evaluate most things around us in relative terms. And such aspects as goodness and greatness are no exception.

(Before I go any further, do note that I expect exceptions in all and every category, however I am only focusing on a general and common trend) 🙂

Is a Hero really a hero without an adversary? Would we really accept political messages from one party if they were not opposed to another? “Comparison” ?

Absolute’s are relative. Debatable indeed, however go along with this thought.

I will not get in to the religious sentiment and rather on purpose stick to HR.

While we used to interview a batch of candidates, we would mostly end up hiring the best out of the batch, who may often not be out first choice if the person was placed in a different batch.

Overall the quality of our heroes enhances or deteriorates in direct proportion to the adversary 🙂

Enough for now. Would love to read your thoughts.

 

ONE STEP AT A TIME – HOW TO BE HAPPY PART 2

Letting go has never been easy. But often letting go is the only option to survive.

Normally when we do let go, we feel an acute sense of guilt – For no reason. However believe me it is only temporary and time will heal it.

Why would you want to let go ?

Every day you will come across people and issues that will give you only stress and nothing more. If you stop to think about them you will realise that there is no “solving” them. There is no recourse that will lead to happiness in these people or issues. These are the ones to let go.

There will be useless “problems” , illogical issues, fake and selfish friends, backstabbing colleagues / classmates etc where we find ourselves involved due to the simple sincerity of thought and honorable purpose. But really ? Is it worth it?

Be happy my friends and let go of your individual poison that is leaching onto you and draining your positive energy.

Let’s be clear on this. Life is not easy and it’s not a fairytale. One rarely gets a choice in the issues we get to tackle. So, in the challenges you do get, reconsider the importance of that challenge in your life or the life of your loved ones… then maybe its worth it. The issues or people may be a mix of fortune and misfortune and you can decide which one is more important based on logical arguments.

Then, there are others which we choose to keep in order to torture our own selves 🙂 Yes, I would say it’s our choice when we do this.

So there are 2 options:

  1. Let go and carry on with the positive life
  2. Try to handle it while keeping your own sanity and happiness intact.

My next post will be on how we can accomplish number 2 🙂

Till then – Be Happy !

One step at a time – How to be Happy Part 1

We are surrounded by people. People we perceive as friends. There are varying categories of this, however at one level or another our friends include our buddies from childhood, partners in crime from the college days and so on …

One significant “friend” category includes our colleagues that we spend a major amount of time every day with at work. One cannot simply discount this category.Good_Bad

As with all relations in life, a key to being happy is to remove selfish friends from your circle as soon as possible.

Now, I am no one to lecture you. Your call… If you love torture – please retain all your selfish friends…Why not even go out now and make a few new ones 😉 – To everyone his/her own poison 🙂

Here are a few signs to identify “friends” to let go of :

  1.  They believe they deserve special treatment.
  2. You are not a priority for them.
  3. They make shady plans or cancel with you for no real reason.
  4. You never met his/her friends!
  5. He/She is not able to sustain long term friends and is usually making new friends as they don’t really know him/her.
  6. They act like polite / cordial people.
  7. They try to confuse you – as if their failing is YOUR fault !
  8. They don’t care enough to stay in touch with YOU – even thou they can with their NEW “Friends” 😉
  9. They are not willing to change for you at all.

Life is all about learning and applying. No one can survive without changing and even less so without a few true friends.

My parting words – Take care of your true friends before they start to feel you are taking them for granted and immediately get rid of the selfish ones around you.

Result : You will be happier and probably live longer 🙂

Part 2 coming next week !

Remember-you-do-not-need-a-certain-number-of-friends-just-a-number-of-friends-you-can-be-certain-of.

 

 

Top tips on adjusting to your new job

Finally it has happened. The moment you were nervous about, the moment you even dreaded. You took the offer from the new company and are starting at your New Job !

The excitement, anticipation and naturally fears start to set in. What if’s, start to roll on like the fire work on the 4th of July.

Here are a few tips that I came across in my career which might make the transition more successful and palpable.

1- Prioritize !

You are expected to learn a lot of things from the culture to the actual tasks very quickly. That is a lot of information in a very short span of time.

The best way to deal with it is to prioritize the most important things first.

2- Find a Buddy.

While many organizations have a orientation or on boarding process where a buddy is allocated. Many still don’t have a formal process for this. Find someone ( preferably not your new manager 😉 ) who can give you a quick “to do”.

RULE: Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

3- Understand what is expected of you.

You cannot deliver – if you do not know what is expected of you.

Priority should be identify expectation and take up short term quickly deliverables first and make you mark !

4- Cut your losses !

If something is not working out, ditch it !

Of course I am not asking you to quit. Remember you are new, however if you think you have taken on more than you can handle – discuss with you boss and take on something more do able.

5- Get to know the new company ( Culture and coworkers)

You are at a new place – Accept it.

Acclimatize and adjust by understanding that things will be different here and so will the people.

6- Do not forget your former colleagues.

Remember they know you and at a time when motivation can be at a premium – they will come in handy to remind you of you strengths to give you the extra boost you need to succeed !

New Job

7- Rest

All work and no play – remember this?

You are in a higher stress zone than normal and you need your full strength. Rest and give yourself time a space to relax.

 

I hope I have been able to suggest some ways to make your transition more hospitable.

Best of luck and wishes for your new role !

The anatomy of a Mistake

What is a mistake?

The Oxford online advanced learners dictionary defines the noun “Mistake” as “an action or an opinion that is not correct, or that produces a result that you did not want

Male hand holding wooden pencil and delete word "MISTAKE" on the white paper

So does making a mistake – intentionally or unintentionally make me a bad person?

Why do we spend so much time beating ourselves up for action(s) that were simply put – a result of a temporary lapse or lack of better judgment? I decline to use the phrase good judgment in favor of better judgment because I do strongly believe that we all are subject to our perception of our surrounding and our decisions are similarly subject to the holistic result of numerous factors that directly and indirectly influence our perception and thus the interpretation of facts which culminates in our decisions at any given time.

I have a rule about mistakes. Its ok to make many unique mistakes as they are simply a learning opportunity but it is not acceptable to make the same mistake repeatedly.

No mistake should be big enough to stop us from travelling the path toward our objective. I keep this rather generic to accommodate a variety of personal and professional objectives.

What is really important is to remember to get back up from a mistake and reassess and reload to jump back in action. Beating oneself up over a mistake is only unnecessary burden which will create lag in the future of our journey.

Learn to forgive yourself as the worst thing you can do is to keep blaming ourselves.

Mistakes
Learning

So go ahead and make mistakes, learn from them and make NEW ones.

Keep learning 🙂

Time

There was a time when I was very binary with my relations. As time passed I came to realize that I am missing out by ignoring the grey areas. Initially either someone was IN or OUT and no second opinion about it.

Then I “matured” in to realizing that we are merely humans and as humans we make mistakes and we learn. We evolve ( hopefully) in to a better person. So everyone deserves a chance.

However, I saw myself making excuses for people. Justifying my perception by interpreting their actions incorrectly. You can see that may not have gone too well.

It is only when you realize that there is a limited amount of time left for you that you really begin to iron out the issues and concerns which have lingered on for so long. Procrastination is punishment in itself.

Lets just assume, I had a two year deadline. What would I do?

I have prepared a list of things that I would do by using this opportunity of limiting my time and not imagining any world beyond this deadline.

  1. Catharsis
  2. Express the truth
  3. Take care of my IN people
  4. Make amends with the OUT crowd
  5. Try to live and enjoy the time I have
  6. Improve my productivity in life and at work
  7. Learn as much as I can
  8. Read and write.

There is also a lot I have simply summarized within the ambit of the above and I leave it open for anyone to theorize or improvise 🙂

One thing I keep stumbling on, and I may be absolutely wrong, however it is my take – Money is a very vital element in general well being. It is easy to make counter arguments. However nothing erases the necessity of money 😉

Till later.

To love

True they say ” its better to have loved , and lost then never to have loved at all”. Even better I presume is if love were to happen more often.

Even better than this would be if it were not one directional and had the occasional surprise of a reciprocation 🙂

I dedicate this post to all my uni-directional lovely lovers out there 🙂

The irony is when no one actually thinks about this. One can fall in love with his / her car, mobile, laptop , ipad or much about anything and anyone in existence and in may cases virtual.

Then we have the workaholic who is in love with his profession / job and in some cases like a hard to get sweetheart … work just doesn’t respond the way our workaholic buddy wishes.

Then there is eternal love and the cycle to keep getting the high again … and again 😉

I would like to simply pay tribute to those who are in love with someone, something or anything / anyone with all their heart … and are yet to get any response …. may it be a “Bad Command of File Name” 😉  [ readers familiar with DOS will get this]

I took a little break writing and this just sort of just came across as a thought and I liked sharing it. The usefulness or lack there off the post is absolutely not intended.

Would appreciate if you can suggest any topics you wish to read on and I can share my personal experiences if possible.

Till later…. Keep loving as love is reward in itself 🙂

Ethical dilemma – To do or not

As one grows in any profession the level of responsibility and in turn accountability only tends to increase.  While the new world of management sciences tends to churn out objective and criteria based grids to resolve most business concerns one the most often used deciding criteria for more experienced managers is their Gut feeling.

I am very sure that I am not the only one out there who feels this way. With this assumption in mind I shall carry on.

Ethics
Ethics

Let’s take interviews for example, for any two candidates with everything else the same ultimately I and some other managers I know more than often rely on their gut feeling about the candidate or their perception on how he / she will tend to perform in the future etc.

This might be simple in cases where two or more candidates are more or less at parity in all respects however it becomes more difficult to justify when the difference is very clear between the candidates and yet my gut tells me to go for the one who is perhaps weaker on the score card and flying high on my gut instinct.

Other decisions include for me, as an HR professional such concerns as conflict management, dispute resolution and sometimes in inquiries where at times all “evidence” points in one direction but my instinct tells me to look in a different direction.

More often than not I have found my and most of my professional colleagues instinct to be right ( do factor in that all colleagues I am considering have over 13 years of experience in  diversified environments). However there is the occasional wrong call too.

Now, let’s take a wrong call in consideration where the judgment call made by me for instance fired back. Now … what?

How do I quantify the logic in my decision? How do I prove that my “intention” was in the right place?

Now i do understand that it is very qualitative to justify intentions and gut more so.

Let’s take this further  …. During an inquiry there have been times when my inside screamed fraud and i could not prove it does that mean i get biased about the person hence forth?

Once i get under the microscope —  how do i defend my intention? Have i just wasted my entire professional career?

In matters of team management i find a simmer dilemma. I tend to be stricter and more demanding from team members who i have a positive gut feeling about and often my only defense has been time. Does everyone understand?

I for one really would like to quantify this feeling. One can minute such things make footnotes yet when put to question i doubt these can stand their ground.

But but but i am willing to put my career, my life on the line for someone i believe in. Period

Who is with me in this ?

The subtle human element that I have been able to comprehend so far in my limited exposure is that we are a very forgetful race and yet we are often quick to forgive. Something in this equation doesn’t make sense to me. Let go….  What can go wrong besides what will anyhow.

Yet we decide about paradigms as per our own perception. Internally we are idealists. How can i Say that?

Feel like re-reading history……the gloomy history of man. All in all when we come to HR its all about people and unlike machinery that comes with a manual …. We don’t 😉

 

We tend to generalize in order to be specific yet we claim that we don’t stereotype … How convenient.

 

To conclude in retrospect I live by my principles and experienced perception and if it takes me to the gallows …. Then so be it.

Till later shall look forward to your comments.

The life of a probationer

In the midst of many permanent workers the lone probationer along with many other singular probationers walk the pace. Being a probationer is like being an understudy for an actor in a play who has no lines.

You move around the stage and perform the actions required, but you never get to take center stage, and you hardly ever get to speak more than a few lines. ( Some dramatic exaggeration) 

The probationer needs to be on time, oops early I mean as being late is like not coming or showing up to a 90’s theme costume party in a space suit.

The probationer needs to be updated, perfect and beyond doubt to survive and be placed almost at the side of the privileged permanent folks 🙂

Brings alot of songs to mind about love lost and experience gained. A probationer has a dream…

One day he / she too will be a part of the permanent staff. Have actual authority be taken serious..Perhaps.

Like all evaluations , the probation period is exactly that. A timeframe for mutual evaluation. What most probationers miss out is that they feel only they are being evaluated. It helps in the long run to understand that while the company is evaluating you.. you too should be evaluating the company.

In the ultimate performance / probation review it is to me a deadly SIN to say that you have nothing to say about the company or a simple ” it was a good experience here” to your seniors.

Coming back to the probationer and his/her dream. Most probationers I have met have felt that the moment their status will be converted to “permanent” somehow magically everything will change. Their peers will look at them differently, they will suddenly have greater respect and an elated position in the corporate food chain.

Reality check: No this does not happen.

A word of advise to my probationer colleagues who have yet to experience the brutal reality of the corporate world : Your position and status is only a name card. Your performance and your delivery is what will define how your colleagues look at you.

Work well done, is exactly work well done and there is no second opinion to it.  The only performance indicator that one needs to be concerned about are the KPI’s. And if the work is done well and a flare of pro activeness and innovation added to the mix it more often then not translated in to a very tasty solution ( pun intended).

So all my friends who are fresh and on probation and have not realized this yet.. buck up and smell the fresh air of new resolves and work smart and work hard.

K

Compliance VS Commitment

I have always tried my best to be a person who puts work and objectives before personal ego. However, I feel a little guilty when I quote myself so having said that I am going to do exactly that. My subordinates will perhaps attest to the fact that I have been found saying “ I am only as strong and successful as my team!” many times during the course of my dozen or so years as a professional.

There are two very important words that I have come across as traits in a team / team Member.

  • Compliant
  • Committed

There are compliant teams / team members and then there are committed teams / team members.

What’s the difference?

A compliant member is one who shows up to work because they have to!

It has nothing to do with attendance or schedule. You will note such people who will be fretting to leave at the end of the shift-Per say. They will most likely walk off to the parking lot in a hurry only to wait another 20 minutes for their taxi or for the parking lot to clear up BUT they will leave work right on time as if waiting for the clock to strike the proverbial School Off time 😉 These are not bad people. Its just a classification really. These are people who are at work because – only because —where else would they be??

Then there are committed members. Work is their extension – their baby. They may even obsess over it. The committed member will treat work or the project as their OWN. They take ownership of what they do and really believe that the output is a reflection of their own self. These are people who think ahead and forecast challenges and are prepared with solutions or attempts.

I recall reading somewhere that it’s only natural to progress easily from a committed to Compliant while the reverse is not only hard but rarely achievable.

The great thing about committed teams is that the team will not treat a task as an assignment from the manager. They will or ideally would treat it as their own objective, take pride in it and gloat in the success of completing it with efficiency and accuracy.

Thou I am not the best of managers, however compiling a lot of what I have read and experience I would like to share a few point on how to develop high performing committed teams:

  • Trust: I value trust above all. If there is no trust then there is nothing to begin with. Thou I hear that trust needs to be earned… I believe that it also required a leap of faith. This goes both ways. As the boss one needs to start by trusting and as the member of the team one would have to take positive leverage of the trust and revert in kind.
  • Empowerment: With empowerment comes ownership and with ownership comes responsibility and accountability. Hand over tasks to your team and make them the owners. Most importantly give them the agility to plan and execute and deliver. Remember humans err. Give them chances BUT not in a manner where they walk all over you!
  • Recognition: Always remember to appreciate and recognize achievement. You as the manager are there to highlight your team. If you will not give them the spotlight … who will?
  • Friendly: Don’t make it all work and no play. Be humorous and friendly with you team. Work is work but let’s not run a coal mine 🙂

 

I would love to hear back from you on your own stories or experiences. I am not a researcher or an absolute on the topic. I have just shared what I feel and your feedback and comments will make this more comprehensible.

Thanks.