Friday, February 29, 2008

Start a long term goal today...

I want to share one real-time incident my trainer told me when I attended a training program few years back on motivational skill.

"In an organization, they were conducting fresh graduates recruitment drive. The trainer was one among representing the organization. As the turnout was huge, they conducted first level of written test. Only a handful of candidates got into second level -which was a Group discussion.

In Group Discussion candidates were asked to group themselves and talk for or against a given topic. The topic given is - "Current political scenario works for the common man". One candidate reacted to the group discussion and started arguing.


Candidate asked the trainer - "For which position are you recruiting us?"

Trainer politely told - "For junior java programmers role"

Candidate told - "So, we are just junior programmers. we are going to work in computer with the java compiler. If you ask each one of us on coding & working knowledge on computer then that would be somewhat relevant. How do you think group discussion is important for us?"

Trainer told to the entire group of candidates - "If anyone thinks that they are going to be just programmers for the whole life, then please leave this place. We are only recruiting future aspiring CEOs, CIO and Managers and not just programmers."

Then that candidate ashamed for his argument with the trainer and continued participation in the group discussion."

This story reveals the mind of present youngsters and the statement indirectly shows the broad career vision of the trainer. Even some of us thinks in the same way as the candidate whenever a meeting is arranged with managers or other groups. Remove the barrier and get into long term goal.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Because that's the way it's always been done...

Last September I blogged about Positive Thinking. In that I mentioned a small event in George Dantzig's life. I also explained about our belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before through an elephant story.

This is another fantastic story about five monkeys to give an insight about thinking process & forced restrictions among ourselves.

It all started with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, a banana was hung on a string and a set of stairs was placed under it. Before long, a monkey went to the stairs and started to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touched the stairs, all of the other monkeys were sprayed with cold water. After a while, another monkey made an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys were sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, anytime another monkey tried to climb the stairs, the other monkeys tried to prevent it.

One monkey was removed from the cage and replaced with a new one. The new monkey saw the banana and wanted to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attacked him. After another attempt and attack, he knew that if he tried to climb the stairs, he would be assaulted.

Next, another of the original five monkeys was removed and replaced it with a new one. The newcomer went to the stairs and was attacked. The previous newcomer took part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, a third original monkey was replaced with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

Every time the newest monkey took to the stairs, he was attacked. Most of the monkeys that were beating him had no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they were participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys had ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approached the stairs to try for the banana.

Why? If the monkeys could talk, they would say, "Because that's the way it's always been done around here."

Though we, human beings, are more different from monkeys. But putting ourselves in the context, I think we are also
executing certain activities in the same way as others without knowing why we are doing in that way.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What does a Project Manager do in cooking?

Here is the lighter side of my Project Management.


Last week, I had an interesting discussion with my wife. During the discussion, she challenged me on my cooking abilities.


I told her "Today I am going to show my cooking skills to you".


As a Project Manager what do I do now?


I am good in Project Management and not with cooking! Now, I thought why can't I use project management skill in cooking?


I took a paper and pen and started my "Project Ratatouille" :-)


Listed all the project objectives - Cooking delicious food for lunch


Listed all project requirements - vegetables, oils, cereals, etc.


Listed all project activities, their dependencies and duration - buying vegetables, cutting vegetables, cooking food, arranging dining table, washing vessels, etc.


Listed all project cost estimates - for buying vegetables, cereals, oil, etc.


I did a bit of Risk management too - Listed alternatives in case of the expected items not available - and thought of what if scenarios - what if cooking gas gets over?


I started my project around 10.30 am. While I was cooking, I sent my neighbor's kid to buy certain spices from the near by shop(which I forgot to buy during my visit) and i gave him chocolates in order to appreciate him - a bit of fast tracking, HR management.


At last around 1 pm, I finished my project. The end result was an 'Excellent' grade in cooking from my wife.


Thanks to Project Management!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What am I doing?

I am writing blog for more than an year in blogger.com. Even some of the topics are copy-paste from the articles which I read, I do it very sincerely to the level of my satisfaction. My attraction to do blogging grows day by day. Past few days, I was trying out blog using wordpress.com.

I have passion towards Leadership and Project Management. I am learning about Leadership, Project Management, Strategy and like to make most out of it. I am practicing Project Management for past few years.

One of my lifetime goal is - I want to contribute to Project Management community - by finding new method of managing projects and people. Areas of interest now is Communication, Risk management, Strategy.

In order to fulfill part of my wish, I created new blog for Leadership and Project Management called Leadership Champions

Though both Blogger.com and Wordpress are having same functionality but they are having different set of features and they need to be rated differently.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Where we lost our creativity?

A few years ago my son, Parker, walked into the room as I was looking for my wallet. When he asked me what I was doing, I replied, “I’m looking for my wallet.”

“I’m sorry you lost your wallet, Dad.”


“I didn’t lose it, Parker. I had it this morning,” I replied, as I continued to look.


I didn’t have to look up to feel the sense of bewilderment my son was feeling. I’m sure he was thinking, “Dad must be crazy. If he can’t find his wallet, it must be lost.” But like a good son (and a smart one too) he didn’t comment on my apparent craziness.


After a couple more minutes of searching, I said, “Found it, Parker.”


He couldn’t resist any longer: “I thought you hadn’t lost it Dad.”


“I hadn’t lost it Parker. It was just misplaced,” I replied somewhat matter-of-factly.


The wallet wasn’t lost: I knew that I had had it earlier in the day. But it was misplaced because I couldn’t locate it.


Author and speaker Brian Tracy (2007) cites on his blog a research study done with children aged two to four that found that 95 percent of them were rated as “highly creative.” They assessed those same children at age seven and found that only 5 percent still tested as “highly creative.” The number doesn’t get any better as children turn into adults.


It seems that creativity and my wallet have something in common: neither was lost (the wallet was still in my house, and our creativity doesn’t vanish), but both certainly were misplaced (I couldn’t access my wallet, and we can’t always access our creativity either).


What is creativity? In The Social Psychology of Creativity, Teresa Amabile defines creativity in part this way: “A product or response will be judged as creative to the extent that it is both a novel and appropriate, useful, correct or valuable response to the task at hand” (1983, p. 360).


All of us were born creative, and everyone on your team is creative, but like my wallet, their creativity (and yours) might be misplaced. Remarkable leaders know and deeply believe that everyone is creative and use that belief to support, draw out, and help people find their creativity again. When creativity is in play, great new ideas can be applied to the organization’s challenges and opportunities.


This interesting excerpt about creativity is from Remarkable Leadership - Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill At a Time by Kevin Eikenberry.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Give Your Brain a Boost - 20 memory tricks you’ll never forget

--- By Patricia Curtis


Can't remember where you put your glasses? Blanked on your new colleague's name? "Forgetting these types of things is a sign of how busy we are," says Zaldy S. Tan, MD, director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "When we're not paying good attention, the memories we form aren't very robust, and we have a problem retrieving the information later."

 

The key, says Harry Lorayne, author of Ageless Memory: Simple Secrets for Keeping Your Brain Young, is to get your brain in shape. "We exercise our bodies, but what good is that great body if you don't have the mental capabilities to go with it?" Sure, you could write everything down, keep organized lists and leave electronic notes on your BlackBerry, cell phone or PDA. But when you don't have access to those aids, or if you want to strengthen your brain, try these expert-recommended strategies to help you remember.

 

Brain Freeze #1
"What the heck is his name?"

 

• Pay attention. When you're introduced to someone, really listen to the person's name. Then, to get a better grasp, picture the spelling. Ask, "Is that Kathy with a K or a C?" Make a remark about the name to help lock it in ("Oh, Carpenter -- that was my childhood best friend's last name"), and use the name a few times during the conversation and when you say goodbye.

 

• Visualize the name. For hard-to-remember monikers (Bentavegna, Wobbekind), make the name meaningful. For Bentavegna, maybe you think of a bent weather vane. Picture it. Then look at the person, choose an outstanding feature (bushy eyebrows, green eyes) and tie the name to the face. If Mr. Bentavegna has a big nose, picture a bent weather vane instead of his nose. The sillier the image, the better.

 

• Create memorable associations. Picture Joe Everett standing atop Mount Everest. If you want to remember that Erin Curtis is the CEO of an architectural firm, imagine her curtsying in front of a large building, suggests Gini Graham Scott, PhD, author of 30 Days to a More Powerful Memory.

 

• Cheat a little. Supplement these tips with some more concrete actions. When you get a business card, after the meeting, jot down a few notes on the back of the card ("red glasses, lives in Springfield, went to my alma mater") to help you out when you need a reminder.

 

Brain Freeze #2
"Where in the world did I leave my glasses?"

• Give a play-by-play. Pay attention to what you're doing as you place your glasses on the end table. Remind yourself, "I'm putting my keys in my coat pocket," so you have a clear memory of doing it, says Scott.

 

• Make it a habit. Put a small basket on a side table. Train yourself to put your keys, glasses, cell phone or any other object you frequently use (or misplace) in the basket -- every time.

 

Brain Freeze #3
"What else was I supposed to do today?"

 

• Start a ritual. To remind yourself of a chore (write a thank-you note, go to the dry cleaner), give yourself an unusual physical reminder. You expect to see your bills on your desk, so leaving them there won't necessarily remind you to pay them. But place a shoe or a piece of fruit on the stack of bills, and later, when you spot the out-of-place object, you'll remember to take care of them, says Carol Vorderman, author of Super Brain: 101 Easy Ways to a More Agile Mind.

 

• Sing it. To remember a small group of items (a grocery list, phone number, list of names, to-do list), adapt it to a well-known song, says Vorderman. Try "peanut butter, milk and eggs" to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," "Happy Birthday" or even nursery rhymes.

 

• Try mnemonic devices. Many of us learned "ROY G BIV" to remember the colors of the rainbow, or "Every Good Boy Deserves Favors" to learn musical notes. Make up your own device to memorize names (Suzanne's kids are Adam, Patrick and Elizabeth, or "APE"), lists (milk, eggs, tomatoes, soda, or "METS") or computer commands (to shut down your PC, hit Control+Alt+Delete, or "CAD").

 

• Use your body. When you have no pen or paper and are making a mental grocery or to-do list, remember it according to major body parts, says Scott. Start at your feet and work your way up. So if you have to buy glue, cat food, broccoli, chicken, grapes and toothpaste, you might picture your foot stuck in glue, a cat on your knee looking for food, a stalk of broccoli sticking out of your pants pocket, a chicken pecking at your belly button, a bunch of grapes hanging from your chest and a toothbrush in your mouth.

 

• Go Roman. With the Roman room technique, you associate your grocery, to-do or party-invite list with the rooms of your house or the layout of your office, garden or route to work. Again, the zanier the association, the more likely you'll remember it, says Scott. Imagine apples hanging from the chandelier in your foyer, spilled cereal all over the living room couch, shampoo bubbles overflowing in the kitchen sink and cheese on your bedspread.

 

Brain Freeze #4
"What's my password for this website?"

 

• Shape your numbers. Assign a shape to each number: 0 looks like a ball or ring; 1 is a pen; 2 is a swan; 3 looks like handcuffs; 4 is a sailboat; 5, a pregnant woman; 6, a pipe; 7, a boomerang; 8, a snowman; and 9, a tennis racket. To remember your ATM PIN (4298, say), imagine yourself on a sailboat (4), when a swan (2) tries to attack you. You hit it with a tennis racket (9), and it turns into a snowman (8). Try forgetting that image!

 

• Rhyme it. Think of words that rhyme with the numbers 1 through 9 (knee for 3, wine for 9, etc.). Then create a story using the rhyming words: A nun (1) in heaven (7) banged her knee (3), and it became sore (4).

 

Brain Freeze #5
"The word is on the tip of my tongue."

 

• Practice your ABCs. Say you just can't remember the name of that movie. Recite the alphabet (aloud or in your head). When you get to the letter R, it should trigger the name that's escaping you: Ratatouille. This trick works when taking tests too.

 

Brain Freeze #6
"I just can't memorize anything anymore!"

• Read it, type it, say it, hear it. To memorize a speech, toast or test material, read your notes, then type them into the computer. Next, read them aloud and tape-record them. Listen to the recording several times. As you work on memorizing, remember to turn off the TV, unplug your iPod and shut down your computer; you'll retain more.

 

• Use color. Give your notes some color with bolded headings and bulleted sections (it's easier to remember a red bullet than running text).

 

• Make a map. Imagine an intersection and mentally place a word, fact or number on each street corner.

 

From http://www.rd.com/health/brain-and-nervous-system/retrain-your-brain/article.html 

See more articles in Reader Digest website www.rd.com

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Greatest principles of listening

Two of the greatest principles are:

1. I do not have the power to make anything all better for anybody.

2. I am not responsible for solving the problems of everybody else.


If these two principles are understood and practiced, the pressure is off and you are able to listen completely. That’s when true communication occurs. The next step is to let the other person know you are listening and genuinely care.

--- from I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE EVERYTHING ALL BETTER by Gary & Joy Lundberg

Monday, February 11, 2008

Blood Brothers - A film where we can learn a lot

 

It is just 18 mins story. Siddharth is a well-settled guy with excellent career, pragnent wife & a 5 year old child. Change in his life occurs when he does blood test and comes to know he is a victim to HIV +ve. He runs away from home - settles with railway beggers. One day, during the fight with fellow beggers, he gets hurt - safeguarded by another doctor who finds that he is not HIV +. Siddhu comes back home. He wants to find the truth about his report. He finds another guy with the same name having HIV +ve. He searches for that guy - who is a coach of a local football team. When he tells the news, the coach already knew about that. Coach says that having HIV +ve is not the end of life - it is also similar to other diseases like diabetics, tuberclosis , blood pressure, etc & one can achieve a lot even after being identified as a victim.

Siddharth portrays exactly how an educated professional feels when he hears the news.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Books for the year

In past few months, I did huge collection of books mainly on Management, Strategy and Communication topics. For past few weeks I am reading following books parallel. It may take months together to finish these books.

Currently reviewing:

1. I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better by Gary & Joy Lundberg

2. Speak Like A CEO - Secrets For Commanding Attention And Getting Results by Suzanne Bates

3. 100 ways to motivate yourself by Steve Chandler

Books I finished:

1. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

2. Top 200 Secrets Of Success by Robin S. Sharma

3. Few HBR articles - Traps in Decision Making, Five Minds of A Manager

Monday, February 04, 2008

Blue Ocean Strategy - Powerpoint

Sometime back I blogged regarding Blue Ocean Strategy book. I found the following slide show about the concept of the book. This gives essence of the whole strategy building process detailed in the text.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Office Space - Movie

I was searching for Officespace movie for long time. But didn't get a copy of it when I visited CA. After a long time I found this movie in internet. I am planning to watch this over the weekend. One interesting thing is my favorite star Jennifer Aniston (Friends series Rachel girl) acted in this movie.

 

This post is updated on 02/05/2008.

Movie Review:

 

Office space excellently portrays a typical office in U.S. Our hero Peter who works as a Y2K programmer have eight bosses to find out his mistake in TPS reports :-) He gets frustrated by the unhealthy - mechanical work style.

 

His organization plans to layoff workers. As the consultants get good impression about Peter (for the truth about his work style) they promote him. Two of his other friends got laid off. All three want to make big money. They introduce a virus in office network which deposits cents in their account by rounding-off of the customer's billed amount. Since it is very little money, nobody will notice this - this is their idea. But as usual due to some mistake in the program, it credits more than 300 thousand dollar in a day. All of them understood that they are in big trouble. Peter wants to comeout of this big problem. He sends the collected money to VP. But Milton, a trouble employee, gets the amount and sets the office to fire.

 

If you are a software engineer and working in US, you will surely find each scene occurs in your day to day life. VP, Milton, Peter, Samir, Michel Bolton, Leena every one did their role with perfection. Not much hope for my heroine Jennifer Aniston :-(

Stand for Something

This is a small article taken from internet about stand for something not just work for paycheck. Example of Judy George presented excellently. Here is the article:

---

Our survey results made it clear that people aren’t just working for a paycheck. They go to work to be part of something bigger. They want the work to have purpose; they want the organization to have a mission. They want to know that what they do makes a difference in some way.

The person who embodies the mission and purpose of an organization is the CEO. The most successful CEOs are perfectly aligned with the mission and purpose of the organization. Those CEOs stand for something.

Judy George is the founder and CEO of Domain, a retailer of designer home furnishings. Before she launched the business, she was president of Scandinavian Design. The story of her company’s launch is a great example of how Judy came to stand for something.

On a Sunday morning in 1985, Judy had a meeting with the CEO of Scandinavian Design, expecting to get his approval on a new deal. He fired her. Judy had invited her friends and family to a big party to celebrate the deal, and instead, she had to go home and tell them this news. While it was a shock, Judy got up the next morning and was already thinking about the future. She decided this was actually the opportunity of a lifetime—to start her own company. By 1998, she had grown from 3 employees to 250, with twenty-three stores and $50 million in sales.

Judy’s success became a legend, especially among women entrepreneurs. She had bootstrapped her way up, combining a flare for design with hard work and a tough mind for business. Eventually she sold the company and wrote two books, one of which became a bestseller: The Domain Book of Intuitive Home Design. She also spoke frequently to business groups and gave many media interviews, sharing much of her personal story.

Judy is frequently recognized in public; people will come up to her just to say hello or to shake her hand. She attributes the recognition to the simple fact that people know her story—and have known it from the very beginning. The lesson in that is, Judy says, “you have to stand for something.” She adds, “That’s the best advice I can give anyone. And to do that, you have to be willing to reveal something about yourself—by telling people where you’ve been and the mistakes you’ve made. They relate to it. They realize that we’re all human.”

-----

Mad, Glad, Sad, and Afraid - Basic emotional category

Few lines about different emotional feelings from "I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE EVERYTHING ALL BETTER" by Gary & Joy Lundberg. These lines gave me good start in understanding own emotion.

Dr. Jay Lundberg came up with a short menu of feelings. He has identified the four basic emotions as: Mad, Glad, Sad, and Afraid. Each of these emotions has many other names or descriptions, but this simplified list is a good place to start.

It is important to recognize that you may have more than one emotion at a time. Often this results in a feeling of frustration or confusion. By examining each part of the frustration, you may be able to understand yourself better and break down the emotion into a combination of the basic four, that is, mad and sad, or afraid and mad, or glad and sad, and so on. The following are examples of situations that elicit more than one emotion:

Mad, Sad, and Glad—A promotion at work is given to another person and you are feeling mad that you didn’t get the promotion and sad that you weren’t recognized for your hard work. And to complicate it further, you are trying to feel glad for the other person.

Glad and Sad—When one of our sons and his wife decided to move to a city a thousand miles away for a new job opportunity, we were glad he would have the chance for a better job and sad that they would be so far away.

Mad, Glad, Sad, and Afraid—I had an automobile accident some years ago where I turned left at a busy intersection and didn’t see a small car approaching. After the dust settled, I felt mad at myself for not seeing the car, sad that I caused the accident, glad that nobody was hurt, and afraid of what would have happened if we had been a few feet further into the intersection.

The important thing to know is that we all have emotions and we can feel more than one emotion at a time. They are there whether we recognize them or not. Nobody needs to wait for permission to feel, because the emotions are there. The sooner we recognize them, the better off we are.