Learn to give it back!

Being nice is hygiene. But being nice is not a synonym for being a doormat. It’s ok to take your tongue out for a good word lashing on someone, when someone crosses that line.  Don’t fear. Use that fantastic piece of equipment ferociously when needed.  Don’t think – let it go. NO.

Every time a line is crossed with you, and you don’t respond appropriately, you are raising the threshold level higher for people to do what they want. And you won’t even know it.

Disrespect and abuse is sometimes very very insidious and you won’t even know it’s happening to you. So you need to force yourself to respond and defend the self every time that line is crossed. It’s an important act to keep your self esteem high.

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Do the George!

Insecurities and fear make you do crazy things, which can be self-destructive. If you come from fear, if you feel scared, do the ‘George’.

Remember George Costanza from Seinfeld. There was an episode when he said to this effect – ‘every time he does something he loses, so now he will do everything against instincts and do the opposite’. In the episode, surprisingly things start to work out for George.

When the emotional construct is screwed up, all your instincts are in extremes. So if you wish to start normalising, you need to begin to control the urge to go over board or under even. Practice emotional rationality.

Ask for feedback from close friend. Did i over react? Was it right I did this or felt like this? Slowly your emotional structure will straighten out. It’s a long-winded lonely road to get to normal. But what else you gonna do?

how do you know if the candidate is lying about his experience?

One of the crucial things, that a business head has to do, is recruit. Sometimes, nearly 30-40% of his or her time, is spent on human resources related matters. And out of this, recruiting people takes up a significant chunk of time.

So if you lead a business, you would need to hire people who can independently carry out the tasks assigned to them. A primary tool to gauge this is the experience  the candidate has. An impressively written resume feels great to read. But how do you know what’s real and what’s not? One way.

Check on their ability to solve problems? And that too problem solving on multiple levels. The best way to know if someone has done what they claim to have done is to ask them about the problems they faced.

Those who have really done all the things that they have written about, would have faced truckloads of problems, issues. And these folks will be able to rattle it off in one breath. Like a superfast express. They will tell you precisely what the issues were, like dots on a map and how they tackled it, connected the dots and reached the goal post.

Those who have trouble sharing this, they could 1) feel, its a sign of weakness to share that he or she faced problems 2) really did not do what they claim to have done. Either way, you need to use some other metrics to check if his experiences are real.

love chaos?

There are people who love chaos. Because that’s unstable, because it provides security to them. And then there are those who love chaos, simply because they can bring order to it. They can see that light through all the loops and complex twists. And they know how something seemingly chaotic can be simplified.

Try belonging in the former category because that will always mean you will have a job. How can the organisation do without a person who is the only one who knows how to work in chaos.

Those in the second category, grow a thick skin, steel spine and hard heart. Because you are going where no employee loves to go. You are setting up processes. And thus you are making yourself redundant. If you love doing this, you better make sure you are in a company that loves you for it and treats you special.

Any other organisation will, at the first spark of trouble, show you the door. Why? Because you have set the process, the work will happen without you. So you are not needed. So choose wisely.

Trusting your team

One of the most important aspects of building a company is to trust your team. The urge to do everything perfectly will a top most priority. And the only way to satisfy that urge is to do the job your self.  But you can’t do everything!

So the next best thing is to train your team to perform and deliver the way you would. And if you have trained them, you then have to trust them to deliver. Every so often, you will find the urge to check whether the job is being done well. Wait. The thing is this. If there is no complaint, no one is screaming bloody murder or calling you a dozen times, then alls well.

Finally you just need to firefight, once in a while. One thing to remember, mistakes happen. Everyone makes mistakes. Point is how do you tackle it, fix it and ensure that it does not happen again.

Is a leader a psychiatrist too?

Of course it is. That’s why you are a leader. A leaders job is to facilitate problem resolution. Period. A leader may not sit and actually solve the problem, but it’s his or her job that the problem is solved and to make it happen.

That’s why soft skills, social skills take some times more precedence than hard ones. Executives need to understand not just the maths of the business but also what emotions drive decisions.

A crucial component of this is then training. Incorporating training in everyday life, down the ranks at all levels of leadership to imbibe empathy and problem resolution thinking becomes one critical component of building leadership across ranks.

 

Friends for a healthy heart

The organisation is place that can eat you alive and spit you out like you are puke. No explanations, no logic, no emotion. That is the horrible part. The beauty is that sometimes it allows you to excel beyond your wildest imagination. She takes care of you, feeds your ultimate desires, makes you famous and becomes your cash cow. We all strive to meet the latter. Many of us do. Many of us also meet the horror. And when we do meet her, the only thing that can help us tolerate her is our support system – friends, family, well wishers. If you have not met the iron lady, you will at some point. And then you will need shoulders to cry on, lots of shoulders.

So when you decide to keep this support system at the bottom of your priorities, you are in one word – screwed. Remember this when you decide to chuck your family and friends for work or don’t make it to their birthdays and other happy days. Or when you don’t have time to have fun with those who love you.

Your friends and family is your only one true asset. Your link to sanity and an acid free stomach. They will keep your heart running smoothly. Learn to get together with those who like you for who you are and not what title you have or what car you drive. Hang on to them with dear life. If you are tired, shake it off. Figure a way out to keep them in your life. Sometime you will have to literally fight the world to be with them. So fight!

Sure this is a cliché of a post. But life is better when you get together with friends just to talk junk and nonsense and sometimes a little heart talk. No world politics or the environment. Just silly stupid talk that makes you laugh and remember that there is a better life for you. That all your heartache will pass. That things will get better.

So next time when a friend calls you to get together. Go! Take a break.

Feed your people

Hungry stomachs don’t work! Providing for a good pantry in the company does not just make a humane thing to do but good business sense.

Many of us get food from home to our place of work. Then there are those who don’t. And this number is a large one. Imagine a huge chunk of your workforce going out of the work place every day to eat food, go out for tea as the company tea sucks. We love our tea breaks. It’s an effort, its expensive, its time consuming. It’s massive waste of time.

Companies need to figure out to provide this basic amenity to employees. The loss due to bad food, unavailable food cannot be quantified immediately. But it does indirectly influence productivity.

Fed people are happy people. Ask Google. But you don’t have to compete with Google. One of my employers provided us with food cooked inhouse made by an inhouse cook. It was hygienic, was varied at times, economical. But the most important thing. I did not have to lug food from home. Especially when travelling in Mumbai trains, carrying that extra weight is always difficult. So having food at my workplace was helpful.

You may think that providing or subsidizing food to your team will be an added expenditure. But the payoff is huge. When you take care of your employees, they will take care of you.

Where’s my cheese?

 The fun part about eating a pizza for many of us is the cheese. Actually, let me rephrase. The fun IS the cheese. Gooey, salty, stringy, overflowing dairy heaven.

Imagine to my surprise when I ordered one pizza with Dominoes, I get picture 1 (Top). I had a slice and I thought  it tasted like, hmmm, buttery bread with veges. Maybe it’s just me. Then I hear my family barking at me. What have I ordered? Bread and veges?

So I called the central number on the box. I explained the situation and I was guided back to the store  that made the delivery. A woman came on the line. I explained the situation to her again. This is the response,

“Madam, we make pizzas like that only”.

Like that only ? Without the cheese? I tell her that I can come to the store with what’s remaining and she can see for herself what they had sent. I got a sorry, can’t help you.

So I called the number again. I explain the situation. This time I am a little upset with the callous response. The person on the other end reconnects me back to the store.  I ask him what’s the point in connecting me back to the store and can he not do something about it? He says his job is just to route calls (another post). So here I get reconnected again to the store. This time the manager comes on line. I go through the whole thing again. This is what he had to say.

“Leave the pizza. I will send you a fresh one”

I wait for 10 minutes and I get picture 2 (Bottom). Now, can you see the difference? You can ‘see’ the cheese. I was happy.

My point is this. Could this have been done in the first place? The core ingredient in picture 1 is missing. Where is it?  Does one get cheese on the pizza, only when one complains? How many of us do complain. Who has the time and energy to go through a helpline. Generally we would just say, chuck it. I almost did.

The ‘Khushiyon Ki Home Delivery’ tag has to be that. The happiness is in the cheese. No cheese no happiness.  No Dominoes.

Risk

Doing business means you take a structured risk with a well thought plan to manage the risk. Doing business with 0 risk is an impossibility. If one expects 0 risk, then one must not expect any rewards, any possibility for growth. And only those who truly understand the business can see a path ahead, its potential, the possibilities, even when the world sees nothing.