Category Archives: Strategy
During the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to interview several potential candidates for hiring against a specific job opening. Most of these candidates had an overall experience of 3 to 6 years ; and in their own assessment / as per their resume – They have the required technology knowledge, skills, expertise and experience to qualify for the specific job opening.
Unfortunately, when I interview them , I find HUGE GAPS.
If I had to summarize the key areas where the gaps were evident, I’d list the below areas:
(1) Gaps in “What their Resume said” and “What they said” : Let’s be clear! For starters, if you are applying for a job opening, your resume should be updated (up-to-date) and reflect what you are actually doing / did! So if your resume said something, and you say something else during the interview process – There’s a good chance that you’ve filled the interviewer with a ‘seed of doubt’. And once this doubt is planted, its hard to regain ground!
(2) Gaps in Communication : A glaring issue is on the basic communication skills of the candidates. Its common knowledge that majority of the interviews would typically start with the interviewer asking you to share details about yourself and a summary of your work experience. Suprisingly, about 80% of the candidates I interviewed were not able to articulate even this clearly! Giving them the benefit of doubt (And the fact that they may be tired or nervous or that many of us find it hard to speak about ourselves), moving on to the technlogy questions. Again! There’s a huge GAP! I don’t know for sure if they don’t know the answers, or they are not able to articulate. But here’s what I do know – A lot of work is required in the “Oral Communication” aspect
(3) Gaps in Technical Knowledge : Again if you apply for a job posting and claim to “know” a particular technology, you should “know” the basics in theory, and be able to explain what you know. Unfortunately, a BIG GAP in knowledge as well!
(4) Gaps in the understanding of their own past project experiences : This I find very suprising and interesting. I’d assume if someone has worked on a particular project, he / she should be able to explain atleast questions like “What was the problem you were trying to solve for the client?”, “Why did the customer want to do this project?”. After all, if anyone is working on a project and building a “technology solution”, there has to be a “problem to solve” – Right? And if you’ve worked on the project, would it not be natural for you to find out “What the REAL problem is?” – Even out of sheer curiosity? Sadly, most of the people I interviewed did not know the big “WHY?” of the project! And had spent years working on these projects! A big GAP again in my view. Technology is an enabler to solve problems, but if it is making you blind to the problem itself – Then something is really WRONG here!
(5) And the biggest GAP is the Gap in Expectations – What can I say here? Interview is barely over, and comes the list of expectations which go like “I want to go onsite as soon as a I join” – yes! sure : provided you have the skills that are required for onsite (read as communication skills, technology knowledge, relevant experience). “I am expecting an X% salary hike” – yes! sure : provided you demostrate during the interview process the value you bring to the table. “I want to lead a team” – yes! sure : provided you demonstate you can lead a team
Welcome to the Interviewers World! If you thought taking an interview was easy, No – Its NOT! Because everytime you say Select / Reject – You are in some way influencing / impacting / affecting someone else’s career, someone else’s life..
And with so many GAPS that exist, its somewhat easy and yet so hard to take that final decision…
What’s your view on this subject? Leave a comment to let me know..
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. BY Steve Jobs
The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. BY Albert Einstein
Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting. BY Edward de Bono
The chief enemy of creativity is “good sense” BY Pablo Picasso
Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better. BY John Updike
Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. BY Mary Lou Cook
Creativity defeats complication with simplicity, overcomes fear with empowerment, and discovers order by achieving balance. BY Michael Rawls
Being a working mother is no easy task… Every day comes with its share of endless round-the- clock expectations, ups and downs, challenges, surprises, joys and sorrows, good bad and ugly, unanticipated / unexpected events / activities, challenges, exhaustion, moments of self-doubt, wonder, awe, guilt, etc. etc. etc.
Simply because every working mother has to deal with several “mini-projects” as I call it on a daily basis
Project 1 : Kids (A to Z)
Project 2 : Work / Career
Project 3 : Food and Cooking
Project 4 : Husband (Yes! A full time project)
Project 5 : Friends
Project 6 : Home Maintenance
Project 7 : Family
Project 8 : Self
Project 9 : Miscellaneous / Others
Just listing it down exhausted me! Then imagine how exhausting it would be for anyone to manage every single one of them, every single day!
The bottom-line is really this:
- You are primarily accountable and responsible for all / most of the above (In most cases)
- You can plan all that you want. But a lot of things are beyond planning – In fact, beyond your control (For e.g.: Kids not well, You fall sick, A last minute deadline at work, An extremely urgent official “life-and-death” call which the spouse has to take!, A natural calamity, etc etc etc.)
- You can really take it one day at a time in terms of execution! At least till your children are somewhat independent!
And ever since I became a working mother myself, I have often wondered if there was a magic mantra to aid any working mother. Something which
- Gives you that extra energy
- Gives you “Me Time”
- Makes you more productive
- Makes you “clear-headed”; no matter what situation you are in
- Keeps you emotionally balanced
- Gives you those much needed extra-hours
- Makes you look good / younger despite your age / stress-level
And the good news is this – From personal experience, I’ve found one “MAGIC MANTRA” which can truly make a DIFFERENCE for a working mother; at least in addressing all the points listed above..
And that is regular practice of Yoga and Meditation.
Everyday practice of yoga and meditation for 30 – 40 minutes has enormous benefits from all dimensions – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual.
Here’s what I realized as the key benefits of the practice of yoga and meditation:
- You get that extra energy simply because of the improved blood flow and oxygen circulation in your body
- You get a few minutes of “Me Time” ; just for yourself and to yourself – Time of calm, peace and quiet
- You end up being more productive. Personally, I’ve found that my productivity almost doubles on days I practice yoga / meditate ; and hence you can actually “gain time”
- Your head is a lot clearer; and you can handle high-stress / pressure situations at home and work; and make decisions better. After all, stressful / pressure situations are a routine part of everyday parenting!
- You are more in control of your own emotions; and this is extremely important for a working mother. Else you can go on an emotional roller-coaster ride every single day!
- Last but not least, you get a wonderful body tone, agility and glow on your face / skin – which every women / mother truly loves
If you’re interested in learning more on how yoga can make a difference in your life, hop over to my post on 12 Most Promising Outcomes of the regular practice of yoga
In conclusion.. Looking back at my own life – Ever since I became a mother myself, I have a new found respect and admiration for all working mothers.
No matter what you do
No matter where you live
No matter what else you do
If you’re a working mother
Hats off to you
What is the magic mantra that has worked for you? Would love to hear your views… Leave a comment to let me know
Originally published here
Yesterday (14 May 2013), I had the opportunity to conduct a session on “Corporate Innovation” to a diverse audience (3 to 10+ years experience). It was an interesting, and interactive session. The one strong view which was echoed from the participants was that there is VERY LITTLE INNOVATION happening at the ground level within most organizations!
Sharing below the key messages from my session
Overview to Corporate Innovation
- Innovation has evolved from “Nice to Do” To “Good to Do” to “Must Do”. Innovate to survive
- There is no “universal / standard definition” of Innovation
- Innovation within an organization can happen at any time, at any place and from anyone. Innovation can occur at any level within an organization – from entry level to executive management
- Innovation can be of technology, process, business, delivery methodology, product or user experience
- What the wise have to say about Innovation. To read a set of interesting Innovation Quotes, click here
- Focus of Corporate Innovation is how to “Simplify” / “Solve problems” / “Make things easier and better” / “Improve efficiencies” for internal (employees) and external (customers , partners, suppliers, vendors) stakeholders. Of course, corporate innovation initiatives focus on “Reducing costs” / “Improving Revenues”
* Innovation Life Cycle : Every innovation typically follows a life cycle as depicted below
* Importance of Corporate Innovation
- Getting employees to “Think”, “Learn”, “Reflect”, “Experience”, “Comprehend” and “Apply” : Build a culture of innovation
- Key Differentiator ; Competitive Advantage in the market
- Additional “Revenue Potential” ; Non-Linearity
- Better Customer Engagement
- Market Positioning & Thought Leadership
* Lessons from my Corporate Innovation Journey
- There are three distinct phases in the Innovation Life Cycle and each requires a different mind set
- Your idea need not be unique; How you position your innovation makes all the difference
- The Business Plan is just a baseline plan
- When you start the GTM [Go-To-Market] activities can make all the difference
- The first customer is the most crucial in your journey to success
- Corporate Innovation should be a priority from the top
- Internal communication and collaboration is critical to succeed
Extracted from paper published in the IIMB Summer Magazine (2012)
So for the past few days I’ve been mulling about what exactly determines your follower base on Twitter..
Is it predominantly the topis you tweet about? For e.g: Marketing, Leadership, Social Media
Is it your online brand image?
Is it your offline brand image?
is it your Profile description on Twitter?
Is it your Twitter profile photo ?
Is it the quality (read as relevant and valuable information) of your tweets?
Is it the quantify (read as frequency) of your Twitter activity?
Is it having some Twitter activity every single day?
Is it a complex equation with all of the variables above?
What’s your view? Leave a comment to let me know
World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. [Src:
On the occasion of World Book Day, I wanted to write a post on books which are my personal favorites. After all, Books can be your best friend for life, if only you extend your hand in friendship!
I started reading as a hobby rather late in life.. But once I discovered the magic and beauty in the world of books, I invested significantly in buying diverse books from diverse authors, and voraciously read them. Like they say, Diversity is the spice of life – And this is so so TRUE for books.
The other important observations / discoveries / realizations that I made about books are as follows:
* At what age you read a book makes an ocean of difference in what you take away from the book and how it can impact / change your life. If you read a book in your teenage years it can influence your thinking in unimaginable ways. The same book if you pick up well into your 30′s – you already have amassed a range of personal experiences, which can greatly influence your book take-aways.
* If you like the first book you read from any author, chances are you will end up reading and buying all their subsequent work.
* There are many benefits of reading. Personally, the top one’s are – They enable you to learn, open your mind and world to dreams, options and possibilities that you never knew existed.
So coming back to why I started this post… Well listing below my personal favorites.. Looking back at my reading journey, I think when I read these books made all the difference in my life – And hence they figure on this list..
(1) Mutation BY Robin Cook
This book opened me to the world of Medical Science and Genetics in a way that I could never imagine. Till date, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Excellent story, very well written and above all, it takes you to a world which many of us cannot ever imagine. The book was written in 1990, and I read this book for the first time in 2000. And I fell in love with the subject of Genetics after reading this. Over the years, genetics as a field has evolved significantly and it continues to be a fascinating area for me to read about!
(2) The Other Side of Midnight BY Sidney Sheldon
I loved this book for the excellent story telling skills. While the focus is on the life of 2 women who fall in love with the same man, the book beautifully brings out a range of human emotions which can transform your thinking, your values and your life when in LOVE! A powerful story with powerful characters, and unthinkable actions which drive human behavior. Again, looking back I read the book in my teenage years, and the story stuck in my memory!
(3) The KiteRunner BY Khaled Hosseini
This is by far one of the BEST fiction books I have read till date. While the book has elements of history, war, politics, migration, – the overarching theme is around human relationships. Some of the most important lessons that the book re-inforced are below
(a) that there are very few people for whom we can do anything anytime anywhere – No preconditions, No questions, No thoughts – Just pure action. The underlying emotions are usually love, fear or respect.
(b) Some bonds can never be defined – They just exist. And there is uniqueness in the beginnings, in the evolution and in the conclusion…. Or there is never really an end.
(c) Division and Discrimination are all in the mind.
(d) Honesty is a great virtue. You need courage and strength of character to be honest & stand up for honesty
(4) Jonathan Livingstone Seagull BY Richard Bach
What can I say about this book which simply makes you realize how it is OK to be different,and non-conforming to the masses. That is when you truly discover your calling in life.
(5) Man’s Search for Meaning BY Viktor Frankl
I read this book when I was looking for some answers to deeper questions of life. This book provided insights, perspectives and views from someone who had truly experienced the highs and lows of life. Not too many people experience true highs and lows, but those who do end up TRULY understanding the deeper meaning of life – And this book captures the essence and wisdom from a man who has lived it all!
(6) All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten BY Robert Fulghum
A classic which focuses on things about life that many of us tend to forget as we become adults. And the most important lessons of life are the most basic one’s, those that we learnt in kindergarten
(7) The Secret BY Rhonda Byrne
An excellent book with a powerful message on the “The Law of Attraction”. The basic premise of the book is that whatever happens to you in life is really a function of what and how you think. And I can vouch from personal experience that it’s TRUE!
(8) Outliers BY Malcolm Gladwell
The book opened my eyes and mind to data, facts and information which was truly interesting. And I personally loved the writing style as the book tickled both the left and right brain . And all of Malcolm’s books went into my Reading List!
That’s all for now.. What are your favorite books, and WHY?
Its that time of the year again – The Annual Appraisal Time when an employee’s performance evaluation is done.. You are rated for your work, efforts and contributions in line with your objective for the year. While the process is a mandatory part of most organizations, it is also a good time for you to do a self-review, reflection and evaluation on your own career goals and performance – Honestly – Just for YOURSELF! And what is key would be to asses your career performance and career growth w.r.t your own professional aspirations and ambitions.
One question that I find extremely useful to ask myself is “What’s my Value Quotient (VQ)?” – Or in simple words “What is the UNIQUE VALUE that I bring to the TABLE at work“? – And value can really translate into anything that helps an individual employee deliver his / her responsibilities and perform in line / beyond expectations to help achieve an organization’s objectives – So it could be knowledge (Subject Matter expertise – Technology, Business Domain, Finance, etc.), Specific skills (communication, negotiation, Building and nurturing relationships, Expectation management, etc.), Professional networks, personal brand, etc. etc.
Food for Thought
* What is your Value Quotient (VQ) , i.e., What is the “UNIQUE VALUE” that you bring to the table at work? Can you write it in 1-3 sentences
* Has this value “INCREASED” in comparison to last year? – in your own assessment
* Has this value “INCREASED” in comparison to last year? – in your organization’s assessment
* Will these “parameters” be of VALUE to you 3 – 5 years from now?
* Will these “parameters” be of VALUE to your organization 3 – 5 years from now?
* What can you do to “enhance your VALUE” in the next 1 year?
* What can you do to enhance the perception of your VALUE in the next 1 year?