Blog Archives

The Forbes India 30 Under 30 List: 20% Women. Good, Great or What?

So the first ever Forbes India 30 Under 30 list is out. It is there everywhere I go. On Facebook, Twitter, on the magazine and in the news. If you’ve not read it, click here.

When I first saw the title, I was super-excited to read the list. One, I love lists. Two, this was by Forbes. Three, it was about young achievers in India. So reading this list was bound to be a treasure and a pleasure.

As I went on to read the list, I was truly impressed by what these achievers have done. As the post says, ”Showcasing an enterprising new generation that dreams big and refuses to say die“. As I read further, these words from the article caught my attention “This isn’t just a celebration of capitalism and profit; it is also in recognition of social value. Do-gooders, geeks, greens, musicians, sportspersons, creative-types and biz kids: The net was thrown wide to catch the best and the brightest.“ 

As I scrolled through the list, the sheer diversity impressed me! In terms of age (from 18 years to 29 years), in terms of the categories and in terms of their achievements itself. After I read the post, I also spent significant time in reading more about each of them and their achievements, and I was bowled over. Where did my 20s go? – I wondered!

Well endowed talent, passion, confidence, the genius of their ideas, focus, discipline, the will to succeed, the spirit to go the full mile in spite / despite everything and most importantly their supporting ecosystem (in terms of parents, friends, family, institutes, organizations, technology and capital) have all played a role in their names featuring on this list. For that, my deepest respect, a big bow and a Tiara crown to all of them. I don’t know any of them personally, but I was proud to see such a list recognizing young talent in India.

As I mulled over the list, one thought continued to linger on. Why were there so few women? Among the list of 30, only 6 women featured. 80% were boys and 20% were girls.

For full reading, click here

New to the IT Workforce – Here’s what counts…

New to the IT Workforce? – Here’s what counts…

A lot of friends and family and people who know me at work ask me this question again and again “What really counts in an IT job, especially if you’re starting you’re career?”. I usually respond based on whom I’m talking to, the personal context & background and the amount of time I have at hand..But then as I responded to this question for the Nth time recently, I thought why not post a response in on my blog..

So here, I am summarizing the response to this question – based on my own personal experiences in the IT industry spanning more than a decade, and the interactions with friends / colleagues and leaders in different organizations.
* Your knowledge on the areas / topics of study / specialization
So if you are an Engineer by education you should “know” what you learned by virtue of your degree. After all, if the threshold qualification for the job is of an Engineer, then you should at least demonstrate that you have the basic Engineering knowledge and background to qualify for the job. Similarly, if the job demands that you know the basics of a tool / product, then you should know it!

* Your self-confidence
Again, your own self-confidence in your knowledge, capabilities and strengths is what will make you stand out in a group of thousand people

* Willingness to learn
Learning is a continuous journey, and those who show that they are willing to learn – be it new technologies, processes and ways of working are the one’s who end up with more opportunities, challenging work assignments and diverse projects as a part of their career portfolio

* Openness to work
Again, you should be open to take up work assigned to you – at least in the initial few years of your career. Every single assignment adds to your own understanding of the IT business, and as you grow – you will appreciate how understanding different facets is so critical in your career growth

* Oral Communication skills
Again, many time you get selected / rejected for a job position primarily based on your oral communication skills. So speak up, speak in a clear and concise fashion. And continuously hone your oral communication skills

* Problem solving skills
The world is full of problems, and the IT industry is no exception. So there are all kinds of problems one can encounter – technology, product, process, people, customer experience, design, architecture, user experience, customer expectation management, etc. And one’s ability to truly understand and solve a problem usually makes all the difference

* Written Communication skills
Written communication is an intergal part of an IT job. On an daily basis, one will need to communicate with colleagues, teams, third parties, customers, etc. via the written medium (mails, documents, presentations, etc.). And how well you can articulate and write will make all the difference in how easy / difficult it is for others to work with you

* Your professionalism
Be professional in your interactions with colleagues and managers. Draw the line between your personal life and professional life – It makes a lot of difference in how other perceive you!

* Ability to collaborate and work in teams
In today’s day and age, it is all about collaborative ways of working to achieve business objectives. So how well you can work with a diverse (and in many instances cross-cultural team) will make all the difference in the output you / your team will be able to deliver

* Your personal drive and self-motivation
One’s one drive and motivation is what will set you apart, and is what can sometimes be the only factor in the kind of work assigned to you. So demonstrate this in word and action.

* Willingness to go the extra-mile, for the objective of the project success
At the end of the day what counts is the success of the project you are working on. And sometimes this requires individuals / teams to go the extra-mile. Make sure to stretch at times when it counts. This will make all the difference

* Truly “understanding” the customer requirements and project goals
Make an attempt to truly understand what is the customer pain areas or problems, and how the technology is enabling solve the problem. This understanding will help you work better and more effectively and deliver in line / beyond expectations!

Are you crystal clear about the ROLE(s) that you play?

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

Success of a Blog

“How do you assess the success of a blog?” is a question lingering in my mind for a while now. And I am not talking about private or restricted blogs – But the public ones…Many bloggers claim to run very successful blogs, but there is no universal definition of success…

Some of the typical yardsticks which many bloggers use are:
• How many views did a post get?
• How many reactions / comments did a post get?
• How many times was a post shared / tweeted / forwarded?
• How many followers does a blog have?
• How many readers / blog addicts actually await your posts?
• How many people respond in some alternate way to your posts? For e.g: Sent you feedback over an e-mail, Called to express their agreement / disagreement, etc.
• What kind of real impact do the blogs elicit in other’s lives? For e.g.: Did it get others to reflect? Did it initiate a positive change? Did it influence a key decision?
• The blogs are accessed by default by others if they are looking for specific information

In reality, all the above yardsticks are definite indicators of measuring blog popularity, which in turn is indicative of success. However, there are no baseline numbers for measurement. For e.g.: Is a post popular if it has X (X can be 100, 1000 or 10000) page-views in a day OR is a post popular if it has Y (Y can be 100, 1000 or 10000) all time page-views is a point of debate..

In my view, a lot of blog popularity and success depends on the following parameters:
1) The focus of the blog, i.e. what you are writing about? For e.g.: Is it a travel blog? Is it a technology blog? The target audience that would be interested in these subjects would vary a great deal. Some topics / subjects have universal appeal, while some are aligned for select readership and hence would have different criteria for popularity and success

2) Why one is writing? For e.g.: If you start a cookery blog, then you are probably writing to share all that you know about cooking & also get others to share view / tips / links on recipes. If you start a BPM [Business Process Management] blog, then you are probably writing to share your knowledge, experiences, point of view on the subject, to network with fellow SME’s [Subject Matter Experts] and to create a brand for yourself. If you start a photo blog, then you probably are looking at showcasing your talent, connect with people with similar interests and also acquire business prospects

3) How vibrant the blog is? Specifically in terms of the topics of the blog & if they are aligned with the interests and sensibilities of your target readers and frequency of updates

4) How well the blog is marketed? This in the most differentiating factor in determining the long term success of a blog. How well marketed your blog is makes an ocean of a difference in the success of a blog. Multiple channels can be leveraged to reach your target audience from personal e-mails, to twitter posts, to LinkedIn updates, to Facebook status updates, Cross linkages from other popular blogs / web-sites, etc.

All the above directly impact the long term success of a blog. And if not periodically updated & marketed, they run the risk of a slow but certain fatality.

Originally published @ http://nipmu.blogspot.com/2011/08/success-of-blog.html

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