Author Archives: Nischala
If you thought “(S)he loves me /loves me not” was one of the most difficult questions to answer in life, you probably got it right and wrong.
Why? Because there’s another question which is equally (if not more difficult) to answer, i.e. “Should she work or not? – especially if she is married / mother”.
This topic is much discussed and debated in almost every circle I know. No matter his / her age, almost everyone I know has a strong view, opinion and perspective on the issue – from my neighbor’s grandfather to my mother to my mother-in-law to my friends to my colleagues to my daughter to the family friends dog to the long distance uncle / aunty who saw me once as a baby…all and sundry. But of course! We live in an era where we all have freedom of thought and speech, and so literature and stories galore!
Here’s the thing…
I know what it takes for most women to answer that question and make peace with her answer.
I know what it takes for most women to share her answer with the world, and deal with all that her response entails
I know what it takes for most women to action her answer on a daily basis, and deal with all comes her way
Because I’ve been there, and done that! And like with everything else in life – It has its good, bad and ugly.
And yet, anyone who listens to my voice knows that I am a strong advocate of #WomenAtWork.
A lot of times I’m asked and ask myself “Why women should work?”
She wants to work
She loves to work
She believes in her work
Interestingly, above responses don’t get enough merit… So here’s my response on 30 more reasons
1) You earn. Financial independence and freedom can be one of the most important variables that influence the quality and quantity of a woman’s life. It can also be one of the most liberating aspects for a decent quality life and respect.
2) You learn. Learning is one of the foundational pillar to personal and professional growth and life, and sky (rather your view of the sky) is the limit to what you can learn when you work.
3) You have an identity of your own – independent of your personal relationships and associations. There’s no telling how important it is in your own self-confidence and self-worth
4) You are a better employer as almost all working women hire more help at home / on the domestic front – in terms of home-maintenance services, like driving / cooking / cleaning / ironing, etc. You provide an opportunity for more women to work by being a working woman yourself and make a significant contribution to improve the life of all your employees
5) You are a part of diverse life experiences and that enriches your own understanding of yourself, people, the world and life
6) You connect and interact with people from all walks of life / diverse backgrounds and that opens your mind, views, opinions and perspectives
7) Your general knowledge improves – just by being part of a world out of the 4-walls you observe, listen can comprehend a lot lot more
8) You appreciate the differences and nuances of the world within the 4-walls and outside the 4-walls. Trust me, this bursts your bubbles in terms of what it takes to be a working woman!
9) You understand human behavior and how the real-world really operates
10) You get to see how fair / unfair life is beyond the 4-walls – It is Kalyug for good reasons. And that changes the way you view your own life and the way you live your life
11) Your own self-esteem increases significantly – you just feel so much surer of yourself
12) Your family views you in a new light – many times, this translates into more respect and value they associate with you
13) You are better enabled, equipped and empowered to make decisions – simply because you know that you have a choice
14) You can “buy” things for yourself – yes! You’re a good prospect for (m)any businesses. You pump money into the economy and boost money circulation
15) You can be a role model to someone – I know many of my role models are everyday working women who balance it all every single day
16) You learn a lot of key “life skills”. Top among them are time management, communication, negotiation, saying NO
17) You tend to let-go of a lot of excess baggage – many times it is simply because you don’t have time to delve into the past or worry about the future
18) You can inspire someone somewhere – just by being a live example of “It is possible, you can do it”
19) You can “buy” things for others – with fewer questions, and no / few answers
20) You see life with a new lens
21) You realize the value of all that your mother and father and teachers and supporters / advocates a lot lot more
22) You value time a lot more. You recognize just how little / much there is
23) You feel more independent
24) You are in better control of your life
25) You teach your family independence / inter-dependence
26) You contribute to the world economy by being a productive contributor (in the economic world)
27) You understand and appreciate the value of money a lot more
28) You “genuinely” appreciate how life is for “him” – as he is the one who is usually working for the long haul
29) Your work will directly / indirectly play a significant part in your off-spring
30) Chances are you will leave a richer legacy (financial and otherwise) for your forthcoming generations
It does not matter what works she does
It does not matter where she works
It does not matter how she works
It does not matter how long she works
What matters is that SHE WORKS
Today, tomorrow and the day after
What matters is that her work makes a difference to her / their life
This post is dedicated to any / all women who have “worked” at some time in their life. May the tribe expand, flourish and prosper
There are some buzzwords which will not go out of fashion in the business / corporate world. “THOUGHT LEADERSHIP” is one of them. When I first heard the word more than a decade ago at the start of my professional career, I was in “awe” as the word sounded important and impressive.
My first thoughts were “Don’t we all have a zillion thoughts zooming in our minds every single day, so what qualifies for thought leadership? How can anyone demonstrate leadership with their thoughts? Who decides that it is thought leadership? How does one demonstrate thought leadership?”
With time and experience, I found these answers. Today, “Thought Leadership” is an integral part of my professional responsibilities.
And here’s the thing|
1) It is still in vogue to be associated with this “T” word or / and have it in your professional resume
2) It is still important and impressive to an individual / organization
According to Wikipedia, the term ‘Thought Leadership’ was coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the Booz & Co magazine Strategy & Business, and used to designate interview subjects for that magazine who had business ideas which merited attention
“Thought Leadership is simply about becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.” By Michael Brenner
I think Thought Leadership is many times about asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS too. In fact many times the questions are more important than the answers – as they get one to think and provide the direction for your strategy and plans.
“Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.” By Daniel Rasmus
I fully concur with this definition. The only thing is that very many times “Thought leadership” is incidental or accidental, and consequently so are the relationships which is possibly and probably not a good space / place to be in for any business.
According to a Forbes article,
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.”
I agree with this view. The most challenging part is to become a Thought Leader, or the big HOW? I’m not so sure if Thought Leadership always results (directly) in increased profitability. It can – provided it is marketed / positioned well, and reaches the right audience / reader.
Wikipedia says that “Thought leadership is often used as a way of increasing or creating demand for a product or service. High tech firms will often publish white papers with analysis of economic benefits of the product as a form of marketing”
Agreed! It is really about putting your voices and views in the marketplace and promoting it on multiple online / offline channels that your prospects view.
Why is Thought Leadership important today?
Simply because it is a competitive marketplace and every individual / organization has several thoughts on a periodic basis. Establishing “continuous leadership” on your thoughts is a direct testimonial to the kind of team that you have and a clear ‘market message’ that nurturing and sharing these thoughts is important to you / your team and your organization. Thought Leadership can sometimes be your one and only “key differentiators” in the GTM (Go-To-Market) Strategy. Hence it is imprative for organizations to build, nurture and demonstrate “Thought Leadership”
How to demonstrate Thought Leadership?
With your content. With you communications. With your conversations (online / offline)
Who should drive Thought Leadership?
The beauty of Thought Leadership is that it
Integrates with a SME (Subject Matter Expert)
Integrates with content and social media functions
Integrated with marketing functions
Integrated with Leadership
And so it really is a collective collaborative constructive responsibility of an individual / team / organization to showcase / demonstrate Thought Leadership over a period of time.
And lastly who determines it to be “Thought Leadership”?
This is a tricky one since it depends on who is the addressable market for your offerings / solutions / services / products and who is the (potential) target customer. What may be “Thought Leadership” to one may not be “Thought Leadership” to another. The point is that there should be an “industry / community / group” of experts who “publicly” ratify a thought as “Thought Leadership”…
Agree / Disagree? Leave a comment to let me know
First the good news..
The team at SheroesIndia wrote a post on “Must Follow Woman Influencers on Twitter” . It was a pleasant surprise to feature in that list among august company like Tanvi Gautam @tanvi_gautam , Ankita Gaba – @ankitagaba , Lakshmi Rebecca @lakshmirebecca , Kalki Koechlin @kalkikanmani , Gul Panag @GulPanag , Meeta Sengupta @Meetasengupta and Kiran Manral @KiranManral
The post starts off with “There are tons of women on Twitterati making their mark. SHEROES list down a few Indian women who are impacting the space in a massive way“. Being included as ONE among 20 Indian woman is indeed wonderful. I do follow many of them on Twitter, and I know that they are doing their bit and best to make a difference in their sphere of influence with their tweets.
Personally, this is the second time I feature in a list among Twitterati. The first one was in 2012 when Dr Tanvi Gautam create the first ‘epic list’ of 50 Indian Woman to follow on Twitter
Her list in her own words was about “A dedication it to all women thought leaders from Asia, not just from media and film, not just the corporate world but all the ones that are making a difference in their own way.”
Even today, the list is as relevant as it was 2 years back because the women from that list continue to make a difference in their own way. Some of the women who find a mention are
Kiran Bedi @thekiranbedi
Sairee Chahal @Sairee
Sania Mirza-Malik @MirzaSania
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw @kiranshaw
Sagarika Ghose @sagarikaghose
Azmi shabana @AzmiShabana
Anupama Chopra @anupamachopra
Barkha dutt @BDUTT
Jessie Paul @jessie_paul
Sucheta Dalal @suchetadalal
Rujuta Diwekar @RujutaDiwekar
Being featured amidst such amazing woman was indeed a a great honor and a humbling moment. It makes you happy, get attention (both in the real world and virtual world) and is extremely gratifying. Being in the spotlight makes me happy. Recognition is a great motivator in Social Media and in life.
Interestingly both the lists have several common names too!
But that’s not what this post is about? It is about my views on Why such lists are important? Why these women find a spot on these lists? And what it takes to be here?
So first.. Why such lists are important?
(1) They bring together in one place some awesome women so anyone can follow them, read and hear their views, opinions and perspectives on one / many subjects. I know I’ve connected with many of these women and learned immensely from their tweets / personal interactions
(2) They put ‘women’ in the spotlight and that is extremely important because it motivates, it inspires, it sets an example to more women
(3) They enable fostering networks and relationships amongst women and that is indeed a powerful force to reckon with – which can be the catalyst and harbinger for the cause and voice of many women’s issues.
Why these women find a spot on these lists?
(1) They are genuinely inspiring in what they share and do – Just follow them, and you’ll know why they’re on that list
(2) They are genuinely trying to make a difference with their words / tweets and shares on Social Media
(3) They are passionate about specific causes – And continuously support them
And what it takes to be here?
(1) Time - In today’s day and age, the most precious asset is “time”. And any serious Twitter / Social media user would know that being active on Twitter takes time and energy (which many times comes at the cost of letting-go many other things in life – specifically if you are a woman!), especially if you intend to be on Twitter for the long haul. Almost all these women are regular, active and serious Twitter users, so they are giving it time, focus and attention
(2) Willingness to share and speak up – Almost all these women are not shy to honestly share their life experiences, personal stories of success or failure, views, opinions, perspectives on one / many issues. So they speak up and share when given the opportunity, and that only helps the cause of women in terms of inspiration and bringing to the fore-front many critical and real issues
(3) Positivity - Again almost all these women are extremely positive, optimistic and hopeful (most of the times) while being conscious of the realities of today – especially in the context of women’s issues, empowerment and endowment
(4) Value - At the end of the day, Twitter is a free social media platform. While being free to use, any Twitter user has complete freedom to choose whom he / she will Follow / Unfollow. So your tweets should be of “value” to anyone who is reading, and almost all these women continuously share valuable content / tweets
And yes, before I forget another pleasant surprise came my way a few days back. The kind folks at Fempowerment Awards
@FempowermentMC Femspiration sent my way a #FemTribute .
As I sign-off, I’d like to say Thank you to all those who create these lists, and to all the women who continue to make a difference in their own way , in their own sphere of influence!
What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know…
The decision or choice to be an entrepreneur is no easy one (usually).. – whether you are a new kid on the block or you’ve had a corporate career for some (or large) part of your life.And yet, I increasingly read see and hear of so many people taking the deep plunge into entrepreneurship..
I always wondered “Why entrepreneurship?“…And I discovered 36 compelling reasons
(1) To create something new / unique / innovative
(2) To have a fair chance to make money that a corporate job can probably never really pay you
(3) To fell the thrill / high of building a new business / enterprise (This is very different from 1 above)
(4) To be your own boss
(5) To get away from your current boss / company / life
(6) To work on a purpose larger than yourself / life
(7) To generate employment and improve the quality of life for someone somewhere
(8) To work wholeheartedly on something that you are deeply passionate about, and strongly committed to
(9) To create wealth
(10) To experiment with something you’ve never done before
(11) To fulfill a dream
(12) Entrepreneurship is in the blood ; They can’t / won’t do anything else
(13) To lead from the front (really from the front)
(14) To make life worthwhile
(15) To truly solve a problem / market need
(16) To make life easier for someone somewhere
(17) To address a higher calling
(18) To challenge yourself, and push the envelope
(19) To be in control of your life – and not dependent on someone
(20) To live a life (style) that you’ve always desired
(21) To be in full-control of your time at work
(22) To take-over the family business / set-up
(23) To be in power, and to have the power to control, influence and determine the outcome of a zillion things
(24) To build / create / groom / mentor individuals ; a great opportunity to do it your way
(25) To prove a point – to yourself or someone else
(26) To dis-prove a theory / hypothesis / widely held popular belief. For e.g.: He / She can never be an entrepreneur
(27) To find a way to do something better / faster
(28) To pioneer the way to do something in a cost effective manner
(29) To settle past scores with someone. Sometimes jealousy or revenge are the cause for one to embark on entrepreneurial ventures
(30) To heal wounds of the mind and heart; To some entrepreneurship is therapeutic I’m told
(31) To do something worthwhile / productive with your time, skills and knowledge
(32) To pay the bills and put food on the table
(33) No one else is ready to employ / hire you :(
(34) To make a difference in someone’s life
(35) To maximize usage of both sides of your brain :) – Entrepreneurship needs optimal usage of the left and right side of the brain. Ample role of creativity and logic
(36) To leave a legacy which your forthcoming generations will be proud of
Did I miss any? Leave comments to let me know
This week at work has been a lot of creating marketing assets and planning an integrated marketing campaign. Suffice to say, it was busy and I don’t know how time went by. The one point which was much debated and discussed was COLORS!! :)
I can’t emphasize the role importance and significance of colors in any communication, and more so if it is a marketing related corporate communication. Colors can be the one and only reason why you and I read something or not, why I feel or think something after we read a specific communication. I guess it is the same for you..
So on my (delayed) post for this week, I’m going to share with you some of interesting and insightful points on the “world of colors”.
ONE COLOR can MAKE IT / BREAK IT.. Agreed?
Social Media is everywhere. In the morning news, in the paper, in the bus / train / car, in the clothes, in the phones, in the here and there and everywhere. Almost everyone I know thinks Social Media is the new age God / Goddess if you will. The mantra (or myth) is that if one embraces Social Media, then it is one step in the right direction, specially in a business context.
And yet, so many companies make some very fundamental social media mistakes. So what are those mistakes that i’ve heard or seen. Are you making them too? Read below to figure it out
(1) I hear about Social Media buzz, I sparingly use Twitter / FaceBook, I can speak about Social Media without sounding like a fool.. BUT I don’t REALLY UNDERSTAND Social Media. Please go take a Social Media 101 class
(2) I’m sure Social is key for my business because everyone else is doing Social. Really? Please re-think
(3) I’m sure that Social Media Marketing would be effective for my business, but I’m not really sure who my customers are and if they are active on Social Media. Really? Go check how you’re making money. Once you know your customers, ask / find about their social media presence
(4) I don’t know if Social Media is right for my business. Read the article on How to determine which Social media fits your business
(5) I don’t really know what and how to measure on Social Media. Go figure
(6) I need to hire a very social person to handle my Social Media business. No! Virtual social is very different from the real-world social, and they can be at two ends of the spectrum
(7) Social Media Marketing is free. No! It takes time and Time is money, remember?
(8) Spending lots of time on social media means I’m doing it right. Quantity and Quality are two different things right?
(9) Social Media Marketing is about putting someone all the time on Social media. Oh! No not really! They should be doing the right things on social
(10) It is better to be in Social Media and do something than not be on Social Media. Hmm.. Well debatable! But if you’re there, you better do something right. If you get it all wrong, then you’re better off not attempting Social
Corporate Communication is an important channel of communication within any organization. It is probably the fastest and most cost-effective channel for efficient and effective one-many information exchange. Many organizations use corporate communication “mails” to share news, views, achievements, highlights, milestones and general organization updates which employees need to know on a regular basis. Now whether employees read or not – That is the topic for another post (or debate)
Having been responsible for several kinds of “E-Mail” Corporate Communication for the past several years, and seen what works and what does not, I’m sharing in this post DO’s and DO NOT’s. This is based on my personal experience.
1) Be clear on what you want to say and the key messages from a communication. If you are not clear, there is a chance that the reader does not understand either. More often than not, the problem starts here!
2) Be clear on the target reader and how he / she consumes content (typically). Customize your communication accordingly (format / tone / style / language / channel)
3) The Subject / Headline is the most critical. It can be the only reason (again most times) as to why someone will read your communication. Keep it short, relevant and interesting
4) Structure your content into smaller sections. It is improves readability significantly, and ensures more eye-balls.
5) Keep the content crisp, concise and clear
6) Highlight in one / more ways the key messages (Use bold / italics / different color) in your communication. So if any reader glances through your communication, they should get the gist by looking at the highlights.
7) Time it right – Send your communication at a time when the probability of reading it is the highest
8) Use images / videos / visuals in your communication – They are easier to read and comprehend, and usually get more readership than “text-only” communications
9) Check for spelling / grammar / format / consistency – Basic sanity check and what you learned in high school
10) Give the mail of whom anyone can get in touch with, should they have any questions / feedback
11) If you get a query / feedback on a corporate communication, be sure to respond. If you don’t have an answer, acknowledge that you’d received the communication and will respond shortly
12) Ensure that the information is 100% correct. Have supporting data to back-up your communication. If you have referenced (part of) content from a public source, share the reference in the communication itself
13) Use quotes / testimonials to make / emphasize on a point. Take necessary permissions before you share
14) Ensure that there is a critical peer-review of your content – for accuracy, consistency, correctness of language / words / messaging
15) Get all the necessary approvals before you publish. It is better to be safe and delay a communication, than to be sorry
Most importantly, Make it easy to read and comprehend. That is why you are communicating right?
1) Make spelling mistakes
2) Use abusive language
3) Make controversial statements (unless you want to rake up a controversy)
4) Send false / incorrect information
5) Share information with people who should not / need not know
6) Share wrong / incorrect information
7) Keep the communication long
8) Use text and colors which are difficult on the eyes
9) Use vernacular languages if English is the de-facto official business language in your work environment
10) Make personal comments / remarks on anyone (whatever be the background / history)
11) Keep it cryptic – Unless you don’t want others to understand (BUT Why then are you sending a communication)
12) Assume that everyone knows everything. In any cross-section of readers, some may know and some may not know
13) Send the same communication 10 times in a span of 5 minutes. Technology glitch / manual error – This is usually not well recieved
14) Send incomplete information.
You’d think all of above was pure common-sense, and anyone would know. I agree. But looks like common-sense is hard to find, hence this post. What has been your experience with corporate communications? Good / Bad / Ugly – Leave a comment to let me know