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From the green pitch to the corner office….

The ball is faster you bloody bull, pass the ball…” – thundered my coach… A voice I can never forget and a lesson I still find useful. This was the first lesson to me on the soccer field. Running like a bull, helter-skelter and everywhere, we all do. Mired by cut-throat competition and ever-increasing replacements, we all have to run and run fast. But do we have to run like a bull, I think not.  “Strong on your feet and nimble in your head” – was the icing on the first lesson

Inside our cubicles, following are few soccer lessons, I still find pertinent

  1. The ball is always faster than the player: Invariably the ball always faster than you, to try to outspeed it is foolish. Trying to outrun and dribble around when you are surrounded by competition will not only tire you, it can injure you and also run out of steam before time. The trick is to rely on the team. Pass the ball to the nearest player and reposition yourself to get the ball back from him. Share your workload is the idea
  2. Trust: This brings me to my second lesson, to pass the ball you have to learn to trust. Fifa player of the year 2016, Ronaldo, Messi followed by Griezmann, Fifa Team of the year 2016 is  Germany, Brazil followed by Portugal. 2014 Fifa final, Germany drubs Brazil 7 to nil. Need i say more to emphasise team effort? These incidents say a lot. Learn to trust your teammates and build camaraderie.
  3. Mistakes – my fault, accolades – it is your: Trust comes when you are ready to say “If it goes wrong I am responsible if it goes right you are responsible. It requires an immense amount of courage even to think these words let alone execute it. This strategy is not be used in every scenario and with everyone. Having said that never shy away from giving this impression to your trusted ones. And if you are a leader, this gets you people who travel very very far with you….
  4. What is on TV is not what you play in real… last but not the least, what we see on tv are the meanest players of the world, high on steroids, augmented with brilliant technology and camera to make it look fast furious and entertaining. It is a result of many many years of practise off the field. Trying to emulate it is a disaster recipe, have your own plan, strategy and roadmap. Yes, take cues, guidance, help from the best you see around, at the end use your mind cause you are the best judge of your environment.

Keep the theme intact and the rest will follow…

Happy Diwali!!

The “ON” “BY” “WITH” way…

How did the thought come by? Well, midway through a cookery show, which I was kinda forced to watch with my daughter. Three teams slugging it out, lead by a head chef. And to put it rather lamely, the team which cooked the best, won the match and the goodies, and the accolades etc.etc.. pretty usual. What i could notice that all the three head chefs had their own distinct style of expression, broadly classifiable as “ON” “WITH” & “BY” styles. One “WITH” style, the Chef was quite into cooking (i.e. operational stuff included) and had a specific task cut out for himself, much like other mates. Pretty much equal amount of work which the team had, plus of course planning, managing and decision making and not to mention shouldering the result and facing the judges.

The other team had their head chef literally on the team, only into managing, decision making and allocating specific tasks to specific team lads, we say it the “ON” style. A lot less work compared to the “WITH” style and definitely a bossy guy demanding respect from the team and surely maintaining his panache and definitely passing on the critical comment from judges to the team through and through.

And finally, the “BY” style, a leader who lets his team define, decide and deliver and only stepped in when he felt things are not on track and needed a course correction. Works the least and the teams does everything from planning to delivery. With such leaders, the team shoulders both accolades and reprimands.

Let’s look at leaders from sports annals, almost all  “With” guys. Heavily worked, into thick of things and lose their position as soon as they stop performing. 

In the business world, you find primarily “ON” style leaders working wonders.

And finally let’s us look at leaders in the teaching or social sector, you would find them usually practising the “BY” style. A bit passive style where leaders are more like coaches and enable their team to perform.

Which team won finally, I thought I would share and give a direction to the thought. But while scribbling these, strangely I felt I was being a bit biased and may be, my opinion would lead to assumptions which may or may not be correct

To conclude, let the show winners ..stay at their show, my thought stays with me, while you choose which hat you wish to put on…

Get ur self a katappa first..

Everyone loves a Bahubali around, flamboyant casanovic and go getter. Be it sales, service delivery, operations, our talent acquisition team and of course the entire organisation is neck deep in getting, nurturing or retaining one. Not to mention the innate aspiration of all newbies to become one. 

In this mad rush to create, nurture and retail Bahubalees, we almost always overlook the one key pillar which keeps the Babubali chugging. The character which pocesses the rare virtue of reliability and integrity sans the artificial halo in and around his head. It cannot be taught neither does one inherit it but can only be self learned. A role much harder to play both in reel and real life because of its ego crushing and adrenalin snuffing nature..

A role played by most of the women in our life since ages. For me, it’s difficult to become a Katappa than Bahubali..

Go get urself a Katappa first, Bahubalees will follow…..

2 mobiles, 3 laptops and a perennial “low battery” life…

It isn’t only with me, its with all of us. A life infested with electronic devices and the perennial problem of low battery. For me its like my bank account, perennially low, unfortunately unlike banks mobiles devices do not have any “zero balance” option. Once I had to plead a uber driver to change my mobile battery to book a cab back home. Adding to the fun was the demonetisation drive. No money, low battery, little intoxicated and late at night somewhere in Gurgaon (sorry Gurugram)

The world of apps will continue give us a life of “low batteries” and lower attention span. Sooner than later there would be platforms available to develop you own app for your own distinct need in a jiffy.  It will be as easy as opening an email account. And the already endemic “low battery” is soon going to become a global gridlock. Realistically speaking, we cannot entirely shut the app world around us to solve the problem, but what we can do is have a more rational approach to address it.

For the corporate world we already have platforms which can optimise the life cycle and usage of plethora of apps companies develop and use, for us lesser mortals (retail users) i guess we will have to wait for some time. Till that time enjoy the only benefit of low battery…some mobile free time…

Blink Vs Thinking Slow…

I can never forget my first swimming lesson. Our trainer who himself was a teenager inspired  me enough to jump at the deeper end of the pool, and which of-course i did. He eventually dragged me out, violently coughing and gasping for breath. Sounds enterprising but trust me none of us would wish to be in such situations and for us corporate workers it more important than ever to deliberate before executing.

Be it blink (by Malcolm Gladwell) or thinking fast and slow (by Daniel Kahneman), the importance of thought before any action is a must always. However, the approach, which differentiates the two is stark. For me Blink is an interesting book to read but when it comes to real life action, i would rather be slow and take the help of tools and systems in place before the plunge or intuitively establish cause and effect relations

Tectonic Shift & Napping Mammoths

 adobe-spark-10
Traditionally and to a good extent in existing scenarios as well, a Video Conferencing solution remains fiefdom of senior and top management. A non-democratised and straitjacketed room accessible only to privileged few whose travel bills are exorbitant enough to create a gap. A huge investment just to ensure that you are able to squeeze in video (into the conversation) and ofcourse lots and lots of “Identity value”. Vendors till date have been able to do a decent job in increasing the “Identity Value” . Products like Apple, Mercedes, Nike etc have done a great job in creating and maintaining “Identity Value” hence keeping the cash register ringing continuously.
Sadly though traditional conferencing vendors have not been able manage sustainable “Identity Value” though. Not because of brand visibility but because of product usability. Let me elaborate a bit more of it, all of us would have the answers on finger tips if asked to name few video conferencing players who are top players in the market. This is brand visibility. Only two key features and lots and lots of “identity value”.
What is does not offer as seamless integration to its core is
  • Integrated white-boarding for taking notes,
  • document sharing, collaboration or annotation
  • ability to work together from multiple locations
  • Ability to take inputs from multiple sources (Like laptop, tabs, pads, Internet etc). If you needed it desperately add one more device called switcher to the clutter
  • to share MoM/final results after the meeting. These features are a huge contributor to a productive result oriented meeting
  • And limited number of rooms/user participation in a conference
What is the cost to get these additional features and many more?
  • some eagerness to explore and evaluate new things by uses
  • and a manageable learning curve for additional features
  • Willingness to explore beyond traditional
Personally as i shifted from traditional conferencing system to software dependent conferencing system what i had to personally invest was some not so dedicated time (about 2 hours, one hour for two days) to run through the additional features and learn to use them. Now i prefer client calls, inter-region conference calls, intra region team meeting all on my vc/laptop/phone with the capability to take notes on the same device on which we discuss, work on a common document and not mail multiple times, not being restricted to 4 or 5 users but add upto 50 users with a click of a button.
What you get from these new age conferencing and collaborating systems?
In a nutshell
  • Independence from a team of back-office staff to run and support it multiple vendor integrated solution
  • Independence from number of regions and participants barrier
  • Independent from being restricted to one room and one device
  • Ease of use: This is debated many time and users feel that it is not as easy. When users brought their first touch based mobile/smart phones the learning curve was there, however none bothered much over it. This was because the identity value was so high that the minuscule learning curve was nowhere in consideration.
What vendors need to do probably is create a bit more of Identity value and of course allow as many users as one can to try for free and experience with the products. Having said that even without the identity value, the technology wave is such tsunamic that the traditional technology would be wiped off like mammonths