Bossy Business

“Work occupies about 70-80% of our time in the day. Given that, its important to like who you are working with and being able to look up to people you work for. Getting a good boss is almost similar to being married….takes time to adjust and understand each other but once you do the team work is amazing.

Being a working professional for more than a decade now, had an opportunity to work under quite a few interesting and amazing people. Also had multiple opportunities to observe leading styles of many and of course getting feedback on my own. I am still not sure which category do I fit in. Here’s a broad list of categories most of the bosses fall into. I think most of us will fit in one dominant category and have traces of others.

  1. Delegators– They love to delegate work to their subordinates and get hands off. In fact they take pride in delegating their work and give their subordinates a lot of freedom and flexibility and at times very limited instructions and directions to work with. One key to dealing with them is good communication. You need to ask for help when you need it and communicate issues if you have any. Good part of working with such bosses is that you get a lot of freedom and flexibility while working on any projects
  2. Nitpickers- They have an eye for details and they can see flaws even in the most perfect work. They take you to task for minutest errors that might have slipped your notice. With these bosses you are always on your toes to produce most perfect output. Working with such people ensures that you work to perfection. You get to learn a lot from such bosses. But of course there is a downside that you are always under pressure and worried before presenting your work to such a boss
  3. Micro managers– They can’t seem to let go of the project and want to get into details of how to do a task. These ones are the most difficult to manage. You might have a different way of approaching a task but they simply won’t hear and will want to do it their way. Trying to build trust in such bosses helps allaying their anxieties and letting you handle things.
  4. Buddy- They will be your best friends at workplace. They are totally cool and you can communicate with them very openly. However when it comes to feedback they are not very critical. They are soft and do not want to hurt you by giving a critical feedback. Sometimes in fact they do not give any feedback at all. It is important to seek active feedback from such bosses. You might need to take a lead in setting goals and bringing discipline when it comes to feedback.
  5. Visionary- These guys love chasing big goals and big dreams. They are creative thinkers who might not necessarily have all details at the same time.They will keep trying new paths and new ways of doing things. They will work along with team to discover new things. Its fun working with such people if you are fond of unstructured work environment.
  6. Non appreciator- Everyone works towards being recognized apart from monetary gains which the job brings. These guys forget to appreciate exemplary work done by their team members. Neither do they show case hard work of their team members to others.
  7. Credit Seekers – These bosses have a goal of climbing the corporate ladder maybe even at cost of others. They will make you work hard and not be afraid to take credit for your hard work entirely. Its important to make sure you document and publish your hard work to ensure that you are not sidelined
  8. Coach – They are perfect bosses and you would be lucky if you encounter one of them in your work life. As a boss everyone aspires to be a coach. Someone who gives you flexibility to work your own way but guides you to the best practices. Gives you critical feedback to make you grow and helps you achieve the best in yourself.

As I mentioned I believe all of us have few shades of all these styles. Good or bad , bosses are an integral part of our jobs…and all of them shape our personalities for good or bad.

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Persistence

Clear blue skies beckon to me fly

To float free in the skies I want to try

But when I attempt I fall down in a heap

Despondency in me starts to creep

I decide to give it one more try

But bitterness of my failure makes me cry

Clear blue skies beckon me to fly

To float free in the skies I want to try

I keep flapping my wings in attempts to fly

I dream of soaring heights as in my bed I lie

Every attempt I make seems to fail

Story of my failures will make a sorry tale

Clear blue skies beckon me to fly

To float free in skies I want to try

Despite of this I don’t stop flapping my wings

Hope to soar high within me is still lingering

Today again I decide to give it a try

And here I am flying free and high

Clear blue skies beckon me to fly

And here I am because I never stopped giving it a try

 

Finding your soulmate

It’s been more than a decade that I have known my husband now and despite of the fights we keep having we are still going strong. Even after decade he is the only one with whom I can talk to  hours for without getting bored and he still is the only one with whom I can drop all my masks and be assured that I won’t be judged. All around me I see so many relationships crumbling and people living dissatisfied lives – not interested in their partners. So recently when one of my younger unmarried colleagues asked me what do you look for in your partner , it got me thinking. So here it goes….my list of things to look out while seeking that perfect someone:-

  1. Same values and basics in life: This is very important for a long term relationship. If your basic value systems are different the relationship is surely headed for a disaster. For eg: You believe in honesty and your partner think its ok to lie and cheat. This is  a non-starter.
  2. Similar aspirations & ambitions in life as such: If you need to grow into the relationship, you need to have same aspirations in life. You both need to seek similar things from life to have a harmonious journey
  3. Sense of humour: Life can throw some real tough ones at you as you  go along and without someone who can make you smile through this, life will be even tougher.
  4. Strong friendship: It’s important that to have strong friendship as a base for relationship. Once the romance settles down you need to be comfortable to share your worst fears with your best friend
  5. Honesty: If you can’t be honest with your partner then the relationship is doomed. If I have to hide small things about yourself from your partner then life will be really difficult to handle.
  6. Sexual attraction: Needless to say having strong sexual chemistry is what gets people together in the first place. As relationship grows older its important to keep the spark alive.
  7. Ability to make compromises: For a successful relationship partners need to be willing to adjust and make compromises and that can happen only if you understand and trust each other. There will be many times in life when you will be forced to make choices which you might not necessarily want to but then you need to trust your partner at times….This is crucial to successful relationship

Having a partner is important but having a right one is crucial. Finding someone with whom you can tick all the boxes above won’t be easy but rest assured that it will be worth the wait.

“Insight” business

Met a colleague today and he asked us a simple question- “What business do you think we are in?” It really got me thinking. Traditionally market research company has always been viewed as data mining company or company conducting survey. In fact dictionary definition is market research is “the action or activity of gathering information about consumers’ needs and preferences”

But is that what we really do?  If that’s all market research firms really did then given the advent of technology I guess we would have simply been replaced by computers. I am sure computers would be much better at assessing data patterns more accurately than human beings or whats app and emails would replace humans in taking surveys. So what’s the value we bring to the table. I would like to think that this industry is driven by providing “insights”.

So what is an insight? Found a few definitions of insights:-

Merriam-Webster: the power or act of seeing into a situation

Oxford:capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something

Cambridge:a clear, deep, and sometimes sudden understanding of a complicated problem or situation:

In fact there are many many more….the list can go on. But despite of the fact that we live in a world where we have enormous data at our finger tips, very few companies have an ability to convert that data into a genuine insight. Like “innovation” or “lateral thinking” “insight” is another misused word. Most of the people confuse insights with facts or observations. So let’s start with what is not an insight:-

  1. Insight is not data : Data will definitely help you arrive at an insight but data in itself is not an insight. For eg: 60% people like feeding their pets –> This is data and not an insight. This data combined with some other data sets might lead to a genuine insight
  2. Observation is not an insight: Again observations are important to gain insights but they are not insights in themselves. For eg: It is observed that people tend to feed their pets at breakfast tables or at dinner time. This is an observation but not an insight
  3. Customer wish or want is not an insight: Often companies tend to consumer customer “wish” or ‘want” as insight.Most often insights are latent and require a little digging to uncover the truth. Though it might be one of the essential building blocks for uncovering an insight. For eg: I want to lose weight fast. This is merely a customer wish or a statement and not an insight

But one can convert a fact and observation to uncover a good insight. For eg:-

Fact: 60% households in metros are dual earning families

Observation: Game zones and toy shops tend to be full on weekends

Insight: Maybe parents are guilty of not spending time with kids and tend to buy toys or take kids to gaming zone on weekends to make up for lack of time

It is easy to get caught in data while synthesizing the findings and crafting insight statements. So it’s important to keep in mind the macro perspective. It is good to remember that insights are only the beginning, not the end. Moreover insight needs to be linked with actionable & tangible goals for it to really make an impact.

I would like to think of myself as someone who belongs to an industry which  can convert knowledge into actionable and tangible insights.

 

 

 

Culture Machine

Few days ago I was reading “Delivering Happiness” by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. It is an interesting book about his journey as an entrepreneur but most importantly driving customer centricity by simply concentrating on happiness of those around you. Just by doing this you can infinitely increase your own happiness and your satisfaction levels. One big take away that I had from this book was that for any value or culture change to be a part of the organization its important that each and every employee integrates it as a part of his or her daily behaviour. In Zappos every person in the company do small things which make others happy- its become a part of their DNA. Another major take away for me was that for this to happen the top management need to start doing this first. Culture flows from top to bottom in an organization.

Recently I met one of my friends. He worked for those new breed of companies which follow “open” culture. In literal terms it means doing away with cabins and having an open sitting area for everyone. My friend had recently quit the company and was talking about his experience.The company was facing some serious concerns and had been planning to cut down on staff. But this was kept under the cloak. My friend’s boss and his super boss knew about this but there was no communication about this possibility till they were handed letters to leave the company. It came as a shock to many, some having heard about this through grapevine were more prepared. Is this really what open cutlure is about? Does it end at having open sitting arrangement?

To drive a culture which is based on openness – communication would be a key. Transperancy in actions and clear communication across all levels in organization would be key for an organization which “claims” to have an “open culture”. When employees see their top bosses being transperant and honest in their communication- be it with colleagues or be it with their subordinates, they would automatically adopt to this. Maybe over a period of time there would be no need for “grapevine” in the company. You simply ask the other person to verify facts and to me that would be truly “open” organization.

To make some value a part of someone’s DNA its very important that authority figures adopt it first. And its logical isn’t it? Our first authority figures as human beings are parents. We learn and adopt most of our values and culture from them initially.And this is not by hearing or enforcing them on you but by observing and adopting their behaviour. “Walking the talk” is the most critical element to imbibe values in someone else. Else you would end up having fancy office, loads of jargons but no actionability.

 

Social addiction

His wife stood and wept silent tears

While family was distraught because they care

But wait is that all who are really there

Followed by ten thousand on twitter

Where have all these people frittered

Facebook friends I have in plenty

Then why is my funeral so empty

How I wish I could have spend time with my loved ones

Than entangling myself in social web I spun

Being yourself

If you are beautiful they will label you as a snob

If you are not then you are as plain as a bob

If you are work hard then you are a bore

If you party too much then you act like a whore

If you very intelligent than you are a nerd

If you aren’t then you are labelled as a retard

If you take charge and lead the way they call you dominating

If you don’t then you are dependant to the point of being irritating

If you dress modern and fancy then you are forward and loose

If you dress traditionally you are a social recluse

They will hate you for what you have got

They will hate you for what you have not

You can’t please everyone even if you want

So do what you like and your individuality you flaunt