Category Archives: trust

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 🙂

5 simple clues to spot a liar

A part of my job involves interviewing candidates for various positions and at different levels. The other day while writing some stuff on body language I started to think about the many aspects of a candidate that we tend to evaluate during the interview process. One aspect that we look at, or at least try to determine to the best of our ability is whether the candidate is being honest or not.
Here are 5 simple clues that you too can watch for in your daily lives and learn how to spot a liar:
<![if !supportLists]>1-      <![endif]>Observe the body language
Does the body language match what the person is telling you? Very often we communicate more from our physical gestures than our words. It is the gap between what is being said and what the body is trying to portray which will give a liar away. You do need to watch for it thou as many expressions can be as slight as an eye blink.
<![if !supportLists]>2-      <![endif]>Watch the smile
A smile can convey many things. However a true smile will always incorporate the lips and the eyes. If you watch carefully you may be able to detect any hidden emotion that a liar is trying to hide such as anger, fear or even disgust.
<![if !supportLists]>3-      <![endif]>Not what but how it is spoken
Experts believe and to some extent I have personally observed that whenever a person is lying their speech rate (words per minute) and breathing pattern changes. It may either increase or decrease, but it does change. Noting this may also help you identify if someone is hiding something from you.
<![if !supportLists]>4-      <![endif]>Against usual behavior
In case the person is reasonably known to you, one indication of lying can be uncharacteristic behavior. The above points need to be weighed in along with the observation of a different behavior pattern to make sense and / or pass any judgment.
<![if !supportLists]>5-      <![endif]>Type of query and its response
Ask simple question and get a simple reply. When you note that someone turns their eyes or starts to show uneasy body language when asked a simple question it means there is something they are hiding. Of course in case a tricky or hard / uncomfortable question is asked it is natural for the other person’s body language to reflect the uneasiness or prolonged processing time.
I hope this is some help and do feel free to add any observations that you have made during the course of your interviews etc.

Some types of difficult co-workers

Now that we have some idea about managing difficult people at work, lets proceed to identify some types… so to say, lets assign them a category and make our approach more targeted.

I have come across a variety of difficult people in my career, and others I have read about :). At times, being fairly honest, I may have been a difficult co-worker myself. My “real” friends used some of the measures discussed below in changing my outlook and making me in to a more professional person. The reason my I have highlighted ‘real’ is: Only the people who cared about me combined with a positive outlook towards organizational / departmental harmony wished to do something to handle the issues instead of simply making an issue out of every little thing I did and having me replaced.

Lets begin:

The Crabby Coworker

You know the type – they come in to work in the morning( or evening /night depending on your line of business) , don’t say hi, won’t even make eye contact with you or crack a smile. 
While we do not all have to be best friends at work, it is pretty awkward when you can’t interact with these people the way you would with a normal person who will at least say hello. What to do:
  • Try to find some common ground:There’s got to be something – anything – that you have in common with this person and if you’re able to find it, you just might be able to crack them. Maybe you and him/her watch ‘Humsafar’ 😉  – you could ask them what they thought of last night’s episode! Maybe you both have kids starting school this year – ask how that’s working out. The point is to find something to get that person talking so he/she feels like you’re both on the same side. They still might not pass any salutation to you, but you might get a glimmer or a smile every once in a while that can lighten the tension.
  • Ask if something’s wrong: When people are grumpy to the extreme, there is usually something wrong on a personal level. If you’re not afraid to have your head bitten off, ask if something is indeed wrong and if there’s anything you can do to help (only if you mean it…thou, I have had instances where the other person knew that I was genuinely concerned, but they still couldn’t resist punching my teeth out ( just an idiom)). This might be a brave approach depending on who you’re dealing with but can once again help open the lines of communication and might lead to a smile down the road. Maybe the person just needs to feel that they are not alone.
  • Don’t take it personally: Chances are that if you find this coworker cranky and difficult to work around…..realize that some people are just like that no matter what you do and try not to let it bring you down.

Agent Coworker (009) (Ahem ahem … informer extraordinaire)

One fine day, you are called into your manager’s office because you were tattled on by your very own 009 … and that too for something that doesn’t really matter anyway. 009’s are really like spies because they are very good at slyly discovering every little tiny mistake you have ever made at work and then going and telling on you, thus making them look good and you look bad. ( BTW, the 009 is an increment to 007, with a licence to chugli-fy)
Is there anything you can do? Yes:
  • Make sure they like you: It might make you sick to your stomach to try to be work friends with this person but if you can do it, it is in your best interest. 🙁 And honestly I don’t like writing this, just as much as you don’t like reading it. This is especially true if you have to work closely around the person and know that they will always be “watching you.” There’s a chance that if this person feels a friendly vibe between the two of you, they might move onto another target who hasn’t made that effort to be friends. Since nobody likes a tattle, they don’t usually have many friends. Use this to your advantage.
  • Be on your best behavior: Sure, if you know the tattletale is sniffing around, just carry out your work according to the books and to the highest code. If you do everything absolutely perfectly, there won’t be anything to tell on. Plus, try not to go overboard trying to share your impression of how the boss forgets what he was talking about, or the way the director smokes etc etc. Its better that you do your comedy in the privacy of your own personal friends. 
  • Avoid, avoid, avoid: If you really don’t have to associate with this person, don’t. It’s as simple as that.

The Know-it-All Coworker

Nobody knows everything but don’t tell your know-it-all coworker that! 
Mr. Know It All
What’s tricky about these people is that they’re hard to reason with because they carry on as if the only ideas that are “right” or “the best way” are their own. It’s especially difficult when this type of coworker is your supervisor who gets to call some of the shots that affect the quality of your job and eventually your day. What if you come up with a better way of doing something that could benefit your whole department? 
Here’s what to do:
  • Make them think that your idea is really their idea No, you’re not gonna get credit if you take this approach but if you can get past that and are just looking for end results, this method works pretty well. You might say something like “Remember your abc idea? (which is actually YOUR idea) I think that will work well for us because of xyz.” You’ll probably only want to try this for ideas that are only slightly different from theirs and not a paradigm shift otherwise your know-it-all coworker could catch on (but you might be surprised – people who think they know everything and are unwilling to budge are often not that sharp).
  • Show your evidence. Prove it. : Even the most knowing of all know-it-all coworkers may find it hard to hold onto their ideas if you can provide all kinds of evidence to show that another idea or another way may be better. Tread lightly on this one and make sure that your battle is worth it.

The Lazy Coworker

Lazy worker
There is nothing more frustrating than doing all the work while your lazy coworker(s) sits around and does nothing. Ideally, someone in charge will see the light and your lazy coworker friends will eventually get fired but we all know that it’s nearly impossible to fire someone these days so don’t count on it. Apparently some people think that HR should not fire, but should rather counsel and counsel again…and once again…etc…… So while the counselling is going on…you may want to try these instead:
  • Suck it up: Yes, you work and your lazy coworkers don’t but one approach is just to acknowledge that fact and move on. In other words, as they say, “do your work and go home.”
  • Don’t pick up the slack for the lazy one: You might find yourself taking on extra duties that were initially meant for your lazy coworker without even realizing it. Stop doing that! Once the workload starts to pile up and you resist the urge to dive in and finish it off, even your coworker may take notice of the backlog and pitch in to help. And if they don’t, say
  • “Help me! I’m overwhelmed! There is work to be done here!”: Sadly, you might have to spell it out to your lazy coworker just like that. Lazy coworkers are not all bad people but sometimes they are oblivious to the fact that there is work to be done so you really just might have to tell them.
To forgive is to release resentment, hatred, bitterness and desires for revenge…We choose not to hate such people, even though we hate what he or she did.

Always remember that when you forgive:
  • You don’t literally forget about the existence of the offense, and you don’t have to ignore the fact that it did cause you pain and hurt. 
  • It doesn’t mean you approve of the offense or allow it to happen again. 
  • You don’t have to become friends with that person or trust them to show that you really forgave them. 
  • Trust is something that takes a long time to earn, not something given as a token of forgiveness. 
Learn to forgive and move on… We live on a small planet and work in even smaller industries let alone offices…. We all have to share it…. Move on and work towards cooperation or at least co-existence.


Some top reasons WHY HR is often misunderstood

Some top reasons WHY HR is often misunderstood –Take 1 J
Readers, I absolutely don’t pretend to speak for every HR department worldwide, but the HR professionals that I know are committed to both their employees and their company. They avoid causing employees pain intentionally. Here are some top reasons why employees might perceive the situation differently. These are the reasons why I feel I have observed non-Human Resource professionals having a list of depressing and so to say “HR horror stories”.
·         The HR staff person is caught daily in a balancing act between the role of employee advocate and the role of company business partner and advocate. And, no, the employee doesn’t often see or understand that the HR person is playing two roles. They gauge the HR person by their affect on the employee’s need.
    • As an example, the employee wants HR to make an exception for him; the employee doesn’t realize that an exception for him begins to set a precedent for how the company must treat other employees – employees who may be less deserving of an exception.


·         All information about employees is confidential. Even when the HR staff person handles an issue, whether the issue involved disciplinary measures or just a conversation, the steps taken and the outcomes are confidential. An HR employee can tell the complaining employee that the issue was addressed. Because of employee confidentiality, they cannot reveal more. This can leave the complaining employee believing their issue was not addressed. (The outcome of a formal, written complaint, as in sexual harassment charges, is generally disclosed.)
Blame it all


·         HR staff members need documented evidence that a problem exists. Witnesses are helpful, too, as is more than one employee experiencing the same problem. It is difficult to take action based on one employee’s word, especially if the other party denies the problem.


·         What an employee may see as unreasonable behavior on the part of a manager or another employee, HR may find within acceptable bounds of organizational behavior and expectations. The employees may have a personality or work style conflict. The boss may supervise an independent employee more closely than desired. HR can talk with all parties, but often, no one is wrong.


·         When an employee doesn’t like her job or work goals or experiences a conflict with her supervisor’s management style, HR can’t always find the employee a new job. Additionally, because of the cost of employee on boarding and training, the organization is likely to have policies about how often an employee can change positions. Indeed, proving yourself in the current job is the fastest path to a coveted new job.


·         HR doesn’t know about the promises you say your manager made to you about a raise, a promotion, special time off, or a rewarding assignment, unless the promise was documented in your performance development plan. You are welcome to complain to HR if you have addressed the issue with your manager. But, the end story is likely your word against the manager’s word. Is it possible you misunderstood your manager? If not be wary about promises made – when he has demonstrated he doesn’t keep his promises. Work with HR on an internal transfer.


·         HR is not always in charge of making the decision. In fact, the decision you don’t like may have been made by their boss or the company president. Good, company-oriented HR people won’t blame other managers publicly for decisions with which they may disagree. And, they won’t bad-mouth the decisions of their boss or other company managers, so you may never know where the decision was made.
So, an unresponsive, unhelpful HR office that avoids helping employees with their problems is not always the case. (Though I know from my experience that such organizations do exist, let’s hope they are on the path to change- Inshallah). There are legitimate reasons why HR cannot fulfill every employee’s wishes.
If the HR staff listens, communicates actively, and informs the employee why a decision is made or an action not taken, employees are much less likely to write asking how to solve their HR horror stories.
This information may help our fellow HR professionals better address the “misunderstanding” by employees.

The Divorce Degree

There’s a reason the MBA has earned a reputation as “the divorce degree.”
Business school students are typically older than other professional degree-seekers (27, on average), and a higher percentage (about one-third) are married or engaged to be married. Some have children. That means applying to a Business school, and then, to jobs, can be an emotional roller coaster for two. Combined with the financial strain of going from two paychecks to one (or none), the round-the-clock nature of a full-time MBA program—from morning classes to late-night pub crawls—can put serious stress on relationships.
I have been thru this and I can attest it takes alot of commitment and supplications to bonus bolts of energy to go play with my baby girl ( 3 months then) when I would get home from a full time job and a full day at night school.
My wife has been very supportive, thou we were both pursuing our Masters degree at the same time, she finished hers first and started to handle the home.
We have had our fair share of arguments and fights. “You have no time for me” was her motto while mine I believe was “You were saving this task for the time I come home!”
Overall it was stressful and initially there was a period of turmoil. However, eventually things started to settle down and we compromised. I would try not to complain about being tired and she would try not to have tasks waiting for me when I got home.

🙂

For many thou, it is not this simple, unless the relationship is unidirectional. Now that is a different thing.

Spending

If you spend on things that you don’t need, you will not have any money for things you need

Nothing special, funny or very provking about this. Simple and I feel very powerfull.

I have spent a life of a big spender. I love to spend. Usually I cannot rest as long as I have any money in my pocket that is not accounted for. I would thrive on a life where my very much significant pay cheque would be devoured within moments 🙂

Why?

I didn’t feel very nice “spending” time on this question. So I moved on to the What will I do about it and How will I do it.

Long story short, I stopped. I put an absolute stop to all my spendings. Then slowly started taking care of my loans, Gadgets, gifts, parties and now, 9 months from the date I started, I am almost debt free and I can now say that my January 2012 resolution will be to safely save half of my take home salary every month.

If anyone feels like asking for advise…Please do 🙂

SO…. The first change is from within.

The Eight Elements Of TQM


Eight elements are key in ensuring the success of TQM in an organization.
Total Quality Management is a management approach that originated in the 1950’s and has steadily become more popular since the early 1980’s. Total Quality is a description of the culture, attitude and organization of a company that strives to provide customers with products and services that satisfy their needs. The culture requires quality in all aspects of the company’s operations, with processes being done right the first time and defects and waste eradicated from operations.

To be successful implementing TQM, an organization must concentrate on the eight key elements:

1-Ethics
2-Integrity
3-Trust
4-Training
5-Teamwork
6-Leadership
7-Recognition
8-Communication

This paper is meant to describe the eight elements comprising TQM.

Key Elements
TQM has been coined to describe a philosophy that makes quality the driving force behind leadership, design, planning, and improvement initiatives. For this, TQM requires the help of those eight key elements. These elements can be divided into four groups according to their function. The groups are:
I. Foundation – It includes: Ethics, Integrity and Trust.
II. Building Bricks – It includes: Training, Teamwork and Leadership.
III. Binding Mortar – It includes: Communication.
IV. Roof – It includes: Recognition.

I. Foundation
TQM is built on a foundation of ethics, integrity and trust. It fosters openness, fairness and sincerity and allows involvement by everyone. This is the key to unlocking the ultimate potential of TQM. These three elements move together, however, each element offers something different to the TQM concept.

1. Ethics – Ethics is the discipline concerned with good and bad in any situation. It is a two-faceted subject represented by organizational and individual ethics. Organizational ethics establish a business code of ethics that outlines guidelines that all employees are to adhere to in the performance of their work. Individual ethics include personal rights or wrongs.

2. Integrity – Integrity implies honesty, morals, values, fairness, and adherence to the facts and sincerity. The characteristic is what customers (internal or external) expect and deserve to receive. People see the opposite of integrity as duplicity. TQM will not work in an atmosphere of duplicity.

3. Trust – Trust is a by-product of integrity and ethical conduct. Without trust, the framework of TQM cannot be built. Trust fosters full participation of all members. It allows empowerment that encourages pride ownership and it encourages commitment. It allows decision making at appropriate levels in the organization, fosters individual risk-taking for continuous improvement and helps to ensure that measurements focus on improvement of process and are not used to contend people. Trust is essential to ensure customer satisfaction. So, trust builds the cooperative environment essential for TQM.

II. Bricks
Basing on the strong foundation of trust, ethics and integrity, bricks are placed to reach the roof of recognition. It includes:

4. Training – Training is very important for employees to be highly productive. Supervisors are solely responsible for implementing TQM within their departments, and teaching their employees the philosophies of TQM. Training that employees require are interpersonal skills, the ability to function within teams, problem solving, decision making, job management performance analysis and improvement, business economics and technical skills. During the creation and formation of TQM, employees are trained so that they can become effective employees for the company.

5. Teamwork – To become successful in business, teamwork is also a key element of TQM. With the use of teams, the business will receive quicker and better solutions to problems. Teams also provide more permanent improvements in processes and operations. In teams, people feel more comfortable bringing up problems that may occur, and can get help from other workers to find a solution and put into place. There are mainly three types of teams that TQM organizations adopt:

A. Quality Improvement Teams or Excellence Teams (QITS) – These are temporary teams with the purpose of dealing with specific problems that often re-occur. These teams are set up for period of three to twelve months.
B. Problem Solving Teams (PSTs) – These are temporary teams to solve certain problems and also to identify and overcome causes of problems. They generally last from one week to three months.
C. Natural Work Teams (NWTs) – These teams consist of small groups of skilled workers who share tasks and responsibilities. These teams use concepts such as employee involvement teams, self-managing teams and quality circles. These teams generally work for one to two hours a week.
6. Leadership – It is possibly the most important element in TQM. It appears everywhere in organization. Leadership in TQM requires the manager to provide an inspiring vision, make strategic directions that are understood by all and to instill values that guide subordinates. For TQM to be successful in the business, the supervisor must be committed in leading his employees. A supervisor must understand TQM, believe in it and then demonstrate their belief and commitment through their daily practices of TQM. The supervisor makes sure that strategies, philosophies, values and goals are transmitted down through out the organization to provide focus, clarity and direction. A key point is that TQM has to be introduced and led by top management. Commitment and personal involvement is required from top management in creating and deploying clear quality values and goals consistent with the objectives of the company and in creating and deploying well defined systems, methods and performance measures for achieving those goals.

III. Binding Mortar
7. Communication – It binds everything together. Starting from foundation to roof of the TQM house, everything is bound by strong mortar of communication. It acts as a vital link between all elements of TQM. Communication means a common understanding of ideas between the sender and the receiver. The success of TQM demands communication with and among all the organization members, suppliers and customers. Supervisors must keep open airways where employees can send and receive information about the TQM process. Communication coupled with the sharing of correct information is vital. For communication to be credible the message must be clear and receiver must interpret in the way the sender intended.

There are different ways of communication such as:
A. Downward communication – This is the dominant form of communication in an organization. Presentations and discussions basically do it. By this the supervisors are able to make the employees clear about TQM.
B. Upward communication – By this the lower level of employees are able to provide suggestions to upper management of the affects of TQM. As employees provide insight and constructive criticism, supervisors must listen effectively to correct the situation that comes about through the use of TQM. This forms a level of trust between supervisors and employees. This is also similar to empowering communication, where supervisors keep open ears and listen to others.
C. Sideways communication – This type of communication is important because it breaks down barriers between departments. It also allows dealing with customers and suppliers in a more professional manner.

IV. Roof
8. Recognition – Recognition is the last and final element in the entire system. It should be provided for both suggestions and achievements for teams as well as individuals. Employees strive to receive recognition for themselves and their teams. Detecting and recognizing contributors is the most important job of a supervisor. As people are recognized, there can be huge changes in self-esteem, productivity, quality and the amount of effort exhorted to the task at hand. Recognition comes in its best form when it is immediately following an action that an employee has performed. Recognition comes in different ways, places and time such as,

Ways – It can be by way of personal letter from top management. Also by award banquets, plaques, trophies etc. Places – Good performers can be recognized in front of departments, on performance boards and also in front of top management. Time – Recognition can given at any time like in staff meeting, annual award banquets, etc.
Conclusion
We can conclude that these eight elements are key in ensuring the success of TQM in an organization and that the supervisor is a huge part in developing these elements in the work place. Without these elements, the business entities cannot be successful TQM implementers. It is very clear from the above discussion that TQM without involving integrity, ethics and trust would be a great remiss, in fact it would be incomplete. Training is the key by which the organization creates a TQM environment. Leadership and teamwork go hand in hand. Lack of communication between departments, supervisors and employees create a burden on the whole TQM process. Last but not the least, recognition should be given to people who contributed to the overall completed task. Hence, lead by example, train employees to provide a quality product, create an environment where there is no fear to share knowledge, and give credit where credit is due is the motto of a successful TQM organization.

About The Author
Nayantara Padhi is an HR Executive in an Indian Steel Industry, and is pursuing a Ph.D. on “The Human Dimension Of TQM”. Mr. Padhi has published numerous articles in different national and international journals, and has completed a P.G. in Industrial Relations And Personnel Management.