Saturday, August 30, 2014

Power of Rituals…

This is a festive season. Lord Ganesh has arrived at devotees’ home. The whole atmosphere is positive and energetic. Lord is worshiped by devotees with full of passion and devotion.

After Ganesha, there will be Deshera and then Festival of Lights, Diwali. In between there will be lot of festivals. Everybody, from rich to poor, seniors to juniors, will perform and rituals whole heartedly.

What do these seemingly unconnected individuals have in common? All are practicing magic and rituals. Magic and rituals have long been connected.

There is magic in any ceremony that we do, whether it of a routine nature, such as making a wish on our birthday, or whether it is a sophisticated ritual involving all kinds of movements, lights and music or worship of God.

In both cases we are using the power of the ritual in order to create magic in our life.
By doing rituals, we connect to the nature and universe. This brings the energy & positivity in life. Every time that we consciously connect to the universal energy in order to direct it to a specific result that we wish to manifest in our life, we are utilizing magic. The purpose of rituals is to demonstrate this connection between nature and its laws. Rituals are a reminder to us that we are an intricate part of this vast universe.

Ritual contributes to your wholeness by allowing enough safety and freedom for all the parts of yourself to be expressed.

Rituals are important in our daily life, because they allow us:
  •          To bring positivity in the life;
  •          To build the confidence in what we are doing;  
  •          To be as creative as we wish;
  •          To enjoy ourselves and have fun;
  •          To experience beauty and pleasure in our life;
  •          Positive thinking brings positive things in the life.

Hence whatsoever you believe, follow the rituals. They have powers and magic… 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What? You have not listened what I said?

Identify your communication style

All problems in organizations are due to lack of communication or improper communication. People have different styles of communication. You have to choose the right style in particular situation. However people do not tune their style as per the situation. To ensure we communicate effectively each time we speak, we must understand our own communication style and preferences.     

There are four styles of communication normally people chose while communicating. Dr. Carl Jung, a famous & noted psychologist has described a unique model on this as per the figure 1.

Spirited (Expresser): Spirited communicators get excited easily and tend to ask “Who?” They dislike boring explanations and react by “selling” ideas or becoming argumentative. They like to be applauded and recognized and prefer to save on effort and rely heavily on hunches and intuition. For best results, they should be inspired to aim for bigger and better accomplishments.

Considerate (Relater): Considerate communicators like positive attention, to be helpful and to be regarded warmly. Tend to ask “Why?” They dislike rejection, uncaring and unfeeling attitudes and reacts by becoming silent, withdrawn and introspective. They love to be with friends and nurture close relationships. For best results, they must be allowed to care and provide detail; be provided specific plans and activities to be accomplished.

Systematic (Analytical): Systematic communicators seek a lot of data and ask many questions. They tend to ask “How?” They dislike making an error and being unprepared and react by seeking more information. They love to be measured by activity and busyness. In this regard, they aim to save face; they hate to make an error or be wrong. For best results, they should be given a structured framework and be provided time to make decisions at their own pace.

Direct (Driver): Direct communicators like to have their own way; they are usually decisive and have their own viewpoints. They tend to ask “What?” They dislike someone wasting their time by trying to decide for them and react by attempting to take more control of the situation. They love to be measured by results and are goal-oriented, save time, and be efficient. For best results, they should be allowed freedom to do things their own way.

Each style has its strengths and weakness.

Please refer figure 2 for strengths and figure 3 for weaknesses

You can identify your dominant style based on above descriptions. However you can’t use your style in all situations. You have to be flexible to be effective communicator.  

How to deal with these different style of people?

Recognizing another’s style allows us to make adjustments in our own behavior to accommodate that person’s style. This, in turn, makes that person feel more at ease and helps us to achieve our goals more readily. It takes some willingness and effort to expand beyond one’s own style to interact with others. It is generally appreciated, however, and may make the difference between success and failure in an interaction.
Please refer figure 4 for this.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Action – Reaction…

Three learnings while dealing with conflicting situations…

I always see the people in stress when something goes wrong. People even push the panic button and start acting without thinking. I understand that the reaction is natural after any action, but without understanding the action, you can’t design your reaction. Adverse situations are always challenging, you actually hone your skills while handling such situations.  

I remember the situation when I was working with one of the biggest automobile company in their engine manufacturing plant. There was a discussion going on wage demands. Those were typical days when such discussions are in progress. The negotiations were long pending and workmen were adamant on their demands. They were not willing to discuss on the productivity expected by the management as per the standards.

They tried every resorts like boycotting the founder day, annual day, go slow etc. However management was firm and we handled the situation. We identified troublemakers and opinion makers. Trouble makers were put under observation and opinion makers were properly communicated. We also completed almost 10 domestic enquires against the workmen involving habitual absenteeism. These 10 workmen were counselled and instructed not to take a single leave without permission in a year. The counselling sessions were documented in front of the union leaders. Their termination was kept on hold.

We came to know that workmen are planning to take mass leave. They did this and next day nobody turned to the job. This was a case of flash strike.
Next day, 10 workmen were out of the company…we terminated their services. Union had totally ignored this and they were shocked… after few days, MoU was signed. We asked them to implement productivity as per the norms and then only we signed the settlement.

This situation taught me few things which I always remember.                 

Don‘t respond immediately: During the whole process we thought a lot with the team on the actions. We were knowing that workmen will go for flash strike, but we decided the action after much thought. We also deducted the salary as per the law. The deduction and termination of 10 workmen was the strong point with us during negotiations. The pressure built by other workmen and opinion makers helps us to get the union on the table to discuss productivity issues.     

Try to understand before you act: The consequences would have been totally different. We had completed domestic enquiries and all 10 workmen were liable for punishment considering their records. However we had decided to give them one chance, going on flash strike also means absenting from the job which is not sanctioned by the management. Irrespective to all pressures they should have come to the job. They lost. I was criticized by few colleagues for giving the opportunity to those workmen. We didn't terminated them before because we didn't wanted to create a negative environment during collective bargaining.     

Keep the end in mind: This situation was the opportunity for us. Union came forward for the discussion. They had to take the full retreat. When we reacted on the situation, it was clear that we want to break the unwavering which we did.

Off course this was the team work. I also would like to clear that decisions in such situations are logical during particular situation and not necessary, they will be applicable in all such similar situations. However above learnings are applicable before acting in any situations.       

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Memory Power

Does your mind skip the task given by your manager?

“This is skipped from my mind Sir, really sorry, I will work on this..”
Do you give the above feedback on some important tasks given by your manager? There are many activities you have to handle in professional life. Multitasking is the first requirement of the job now a days. Every day, there are meetings to attend and e-mails to respond… and sometimes you miss the deadline because your mind has fully ignored the particular task.

Making the “To Do List” is perfectly right, but not necessary you check it every minute. Sometimes your boss asks you to some reference and you don’t remember the same. Most of the times, you can’t say that you need to check the said reference at somewhere.”

I have written in past on Learning Agility ( few weeks back. 
If you want to climb the ladders of success in your career, your learning agility counts. But when your memory is not with you, you may face the issues and you may be stamped as slow learner…

Have you thought on your memory power?
Memory power is the ability of a person in recollecting the past events or previously learned information or skills…Typically when we learn something, we receive the information from somebody (say coach, boss r trainer)..the said information is retained in our brain. This stored information is required to recall when necessary.
We attend training, we learn many things on the job… in some jobs demand conceptual clarity, references and organization specific terminologies. I have seen the members who have to struggle with recalling the said information at right stage.

There is a simple method for improving the memory power… “OAR”

Observation: Simple concentration and focus is the key to retain the learning. Keep your eyes and ears open. The person who has the good observation skill can relate the things easily. “Seeing and doing” is the perfect way to improve the memory. In learning process you should be like “sponge”, but this is possible only when you are open to new information.

Association: When I was the kid, we use to play the game of association. We randomly use to select the sentence and associate with some objective. It was fun.. anchoring is also another way for recalling the information. For example, if I have to remember the name of the person who meets me in public forum, I relate his characteristics like his voice, hair style, his look with some bird or animal.  It is a funny way to remember people. Association is relating funny and interesting objectives to something.

Recall: Recall or retrieval of memory refers to the subsequent re-accessing of events or information from the past, which have been previously encoded and stored in the brain. In common parlance, it is known as remembering.

There are two main methods of accessing memory: recognition and recall. Recognition is the association of an event or physical object with one previously experienced or encountered, and involves a process of comparison of information with memory, e.g. recognizing a known face, true/false or multiple choice questions, etc. Recognition is a largely unconscious process.
Recall involves remembering a fact, event or object that is not currently physically present (in the sense of retrieving a representation, mental image or concept), and requires the direct uncovering of information from memory, e.g. remembering the name of a recognized person, fill-in the blank questions, etc.

If you observe and associate, anchor your learning greatly recalling will be very easy.         

Saturday, August 02, 2014

What are your Values?

Values: They Make Sense…

 When I was child, one day, I found the coin of 50 paise on the street while coming home from the school. 50 paise was also reasonably good amount for me. I could buy 10 candies with 50 paise that time. When I reached at home, I showed  the coin to my mother happily…I thought my mother would allow me to take candies with that coin. But when she saw it, she started asking questions after questions. She ensured that I really found it on the street. Then she said..

“Have you tried to find the owner of this coin?” I said, “No, nobody was there that time…"

“Son, this is not our coin, somebody must have lost it and we don’t have the claim on this. Please go in the temple and put it in the donation box.” She ordered firmly.   
Above incident taught me a lot. The integrity and no claim on other’s money are the fundamental values, I learned and I still follow the same today…

Fundamentally values mean our belief on something, the way we work and the fundamental dos and don’ts while living our life. Values are beliefs about what is more important to any individual in life. These values are based on the purpose of our life.  Values represent basic convictions that a “specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.”

Milton Rokeach created the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) which consists of two sets of values:

Terminal values: These  values are desirable & end-states of existence. For example a world of peace, a sense of accomplishment, a world of beauty, equality, freedom, and salvation.

Instrumental values: These are preferable modes of behaviour or means of achieving the terminal values. For example, capable, cheerful, courageous, imaginative, logical, loving, and responsible.

However basically all values are for the purpose of life…may it be fulfilling our need, performing our obligations, achieving our aim or goals, discharging the duties as citizen- corporate or social, or satisfying our conscience etc..

Our values are developed from family background, our childhood perceptions,  surrounding, our teachers, reading, education, friends, inspiration from our role models… sometimes it keeps changing as per the situation, however there are some values which came from our parents and elders on which we would not like to compromise.
We should keep in mind that our value system govern our thinking, influence our attitude, motivate our actions. They decide the right or wrong of a choice and they determine our image as a person who is right or wrong, trustworthy or untrustworthy.
If your personal values are aligned with organizational
values, then only you would get sense of achievement.

What’s about the individual values and organizational values?

There are lot of changes in the way we operate.  Every company is focusing on “new way of working.” The value systems, also, have undergone a gradual shift over the past few years. This shift is driven by an increased focus on customers and on the individual contribution that employees can make to the business. This shift in values creates an interesting dilemma and potentially serious issues for managers wanting to introduce top-down changes or large change initiatives today. Now everyone in the organization is on Facebook, twitter and companies are recruiting social site experts to gain the competitive advantage. The value system is also changing the basic assumptions. For example, in past people were not open to speak about their pleasure & personal issues unlike today. Now everybody wants to drum his life open on the social media without thinking the consequences of the same.   

Does this means values are also changing? Earlier companies were managing the business and changes thereon under a strict chain of command. Managers had tight control over employees and they would expect compliance with any change. Elders and parents were playing the role of command at home… 

In the organizational context, the individual have different types of vales. These values are

Interpersonal: Values that refer to relations with others.

Extrinsic: Values that refer to motivating factors at work.

Intrinsic: Values that relate to personal beliefs and attitudes.

When somebody does the job in the organization, his values also reflect in his behaviour. However if values of the person contradict with organizational values, then dissatisfaction is common phenomenon. It also has the impact of the culture of organization. For example, if family first is employee’s value and his job in the organization has a tough issue for getting the time for family, there is a contradiction. After few days, employee either have to compromise on his value or he would have to find another job.
In life, you finally have to decide which value you would like to compromise over other. But keep in mind few values can’t be compromised… what are yours’ that you would not compromise?     

If you are an employee, check if your values are aligned with the organizational values. If you are a manager, check how you assess your employee for values and coach our employee so that he gets engaged.  

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