Monthly Archives: August 2012
Over the recent past, one of the points which was repeated umpteen times during my conversations with several people was around ROLE CLARITY. All these discussions made me pause and reflect on why ROLE CLARITY is so important in today’s day and age…
Fundamentally What does ROLE CLARITY really mean?
Firstly, what are the very many roles you play in life as a part of your professional and personal life? For e.g.: most of us play the role of a child, spouse, parent, teacher, student, friend, professional, citizen, etc.
Secondly, what are you accountable for as a part of these roles and who are you answerable to? For e.g.: As a blogger, one is answerable to themselves and to the readers. It is the blogger’s responsibility to ensure that quality content is published (w.r.t original content, well thought out, interesting content,supported by relevant data & facts, and literally accurate with respect to grammar, spelling, punctuation,etc.) on a regular basis on your blogs
Thirdly, are the people / environment around you in-sync with your understanding of your role ,i.e, Is there a general consensus and agreement on this with people who matter in your life?
Let me illustrate my point with a few examples.
A very succesful business woman I know who is also the mother of a teenage girl said this during our conversation “If I look back at my life, one of the reasons for my success at work and life in general was phenomenal clarity on my roles and responsibilities from the very beginning – especially at home. To be very specific – It was my responsibility to put food on the table. Whether I cooked or got someone to do the cooking or ordered food from outside, I was accountable for it! There was a very clear and explicit understanding between me and my husband around this. And though I initially resisted taking this up, I later realized that it was actually good simply because I knew what I had to do at home on a daily basis. And hence, I used to objectively plan to ensure that food was laid on the table on time. To be honest, life was a lot easy for all of us. Not only did it give me an opportunity to ensure that healthy food was served, but it also helped me in planning my activities and enlisting the required help to ensure this is addressed on a daily basis.
Role clarity is especially important for women. And more so for working mothers. One of the reasons for a lot of stress in the lives of women is due to this. Most working mothers somewhere don’t know what is their PRIMARY ROLE at home and hence tend to ignore key domestic responsibilities or take undue stress in life“
The second example I quote is from a personal mentor and guide whom I deeply respect. He said to me during a conversation “One of the reasons why many of us have problems is that we don’t have clarity on our roles – either at work or at home. And this state can put immense pressure on you simply because it is hard to deliver anything in life if you don’t know what is expected of you. And role clarity for yourself is just one part of the story. Your immediate environment and ecosystem including the people who matter the most should also be aligned with your point of view – Else you are on the path to …..”
The reason I emphasize this and even wrote up a post is because as I reflected on my own life and spoke to people around me, I observed the following visible charactertics
1) Lack of clarity on the roles that one plays
2) Lack of clarity on the relative priority of the roles that one plays
3) Lack of clarity on the key responsibility and accountability associated with each of the roles
4) Lack of general consensus from the environment / ecosystem around our roles is fairly common
So pause and reflect.
Are you clear about the many ROLES that you PLAY?
Are you clear about the responsibilities associated with these many ROLES?
Are you clear about the relative priority of the responsibilities?
What’s you view on this subject? Leave a comment to let me know
All my life I have been a consumer of services – from education services, to phone services, to training services, to IT services, to hospitality services, to tourism services, to luxury services, to healthcare services, to beauty care services, to cleaning services, to security services, to home maintenance services, to postal services, to courier services, to financial services, to transportation services, to dining services, to lifestyle services, to automobile services, to customized personalized services, to plumbing services, to information services, to research services…etc. etc. etc.
And as a part of my professional life, I have also been a provider of many types of services – IT services, consulting services, training services, advisory services, maintenance services, support services, technology services, marketing services, writing services, blogging services, etc. etc. etc.
Having seen and experienced both worlds, I many times wonder about the following questions:
• What is the Services BUSINESS really about?
• What are you paying for when you consume a service?
• What do others pay for when they consume a service you provide?
As I step back to unravel the answers to these questions, I discovered understood and amassed the following key takeaways:
1) The SERVICES BUSINESS is about selling TIME
In any service transaction, there are typically two key entities. The service provider or the one who provides the service and the service consumer or the one who consumes the service. In most instances the service consumer typically pays for the service, though not always. For e.g: If you visit to a spa for a treatment on beauty care.. Though you are the consumer, it is possible that you’re family / friend / spouse / children pay for the services you consume and enjoy!
So what is that you pay for when you consume a service?
Fundamentally when you pay for a service, you are paying for someone else’s time.
Let us take a few examples to explain better:
Example (a): Take the of research services.
When you pay for a research paper, what exactly are you paying for? If you pause and reflect, you are really paying for the data, insights, methodology, analysis and conclusion that went in to create the research paper.
So who really created the research paper? The researcher
And what did the researcher really put in to create the research paper? His / her time
Example (b): Take the case of IT related services.
When you pay a company for IT related services, what exactly are you paying for? If you pause and reflect, you are really paying for the IT systems or solutions that are being developed, supported and maintained?
So who really does these IT related activities? The employees of the IT Company
And what do the employees really put in? Their time
Example (c): Take the case of consulting services. For e.g.: Financial advisory services, Legal services, Medical services
When you pay for any of these services, what exactly are you paying for? If you pause and reflect, you are really paying for the advice and knowledge being shared with you for your specific question / problem?
So who really provides these services? A financial advisor / A lawyer / A medical practitioner
And what do they really put in? Their time
2) The price of a Service is based on the PERCEIVED VALUE in the eyes of the Service Consumer
The most interesting discovery was the fact that the price you pay for any service you consume is dependent entirely on the PERCIEVED VALUE of the service in the eyes of the Service Consumer!
And the beauty of VALUE is that it is personal, subjective and subject to change any moment. But in essence it is a function of knowledge, skill and attitude of the service provider. So this presents ample opportunities for a service provider to enhance / elevate his / her own positioning in the eyes of the service consumer! What is critical to note is the fact that while it takes focused time and effort to create a perceived value in the eyes and mind of a service consumer, it is equally difficult to change a pre-existing perception. And hence, it is worthwhile to invest conscious time and effort to effectively manage these perceptions in the consumer marketplace.
3) The THREE possible ways to earn more revenues from services are
(i) Increase the number of hours
(ii) Increase the hourly rate
(iii) Increase (i) and (ii) above
The simple math for the Services revenue equation is below:
Services Revenue = (Number of Hours) X (Rate / Hour)
So if you want to increase the Services revenues you can generate – one option is to work more number of hours. Again, there is a limit to how much you can humanly stretch because there are only 24 hours in a day! And there is a limit to how many days of your life that you can actually stretch
And hence the next best option is to increase the Hourly Rate for your services. And the fact is that the rate is dependent on the perceived value of the serviced from the service consumer’s point of view.
So to really differentiate yourself in the long run in the services business, it is imperative that you invest in enhancing and elevating your own value as perceived by the service consumer. And this is really a function of two variables – The value you actually bring to the table and the perception in the eyes of the service consumer! Many of us spend a lot of time in creating and building our own value through self-study. Unfortunately, we don’t spend a proportionate amount of time and effort on self-promotion! That is the key to management of others perceptions of you..
The Service Business is really about SELLING TIME
And since everyone has time, everyone has the opportunity and potential to be a Service Provider!
Pause and Reflect –
What services are you providing today?
What services do you want to provide tomorrow?
Over the years, I’ve observed that there are some people who have time for everything – They do their work (really well and well on time), they have time for family and friends, they have time for their interests and hobbies out of work and they also have time for themselves
What really sets apart those who have TIME for EVERYTHING and those who NEVER seem to HAVE TIME for ANYTHING is this – EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT
In this article, I will be listing some very effective tips for TIME MANAGEMENT at WORK…
1) As soon as you come it to work, list down the top 5 tasks you need to finish for the day – Write it down and every time you lose focus, look back at this list – Very powerful and effective way to close the most important tasks for the day!
2) Invest the time as soon as you come into work to finish the tasks that are TOP on your PRIORITY List – Everything else can be done later in the day. Resist the urge to respond to the latest mail in your Inbox, unless it is very critical!
3) Time Box the following activities for the day
a. Tea / Coffee and Lunch Breaks – For e.g.: At most 30 minutes
b. General Banter with colleagues at work – For e.g.: At most 30 minutes
c. Internet Time – For e.g.: At most 15 minutes
4) Practice the “Zero Mail Hour” for at least 1 hour in the week – You will be pleasantly surprised by how much work will get done if your Mailbox is closed for 1 hour
5) For the most important things, Focus on doing ONE Thing at a TIME – There is MAGIC in this! First, it gets done really well. Two, it gets done faster. Three, you actually end up having more time to do things you want to! And I don’t necessarily advocate this for everything at work – I mean there are things for which you have to multi-task to get ahead, so be it!. But for things which are really IMPORTANT at WORK, focus on doing just ONE thing a time! And see the magic unfold…….
“One cannot buy, rent or hire more time. The supply of time is totally inelastic. No matter how high the demand, the supply will not go up. There is no price for it. Time is totally perishable and cannot be stored. Yesterday’s time is gone forever, and will never come back. Time is always in short supply. There is no substitute for time. Everything requires time. All work takes place in, and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable and necessary resource.” – Peter Drucker
Time is your most precious ASSET. Learn to VALUE and RESPECT IT!