Monday, 29 January 2007

5 things about me that you don’t know

Well you are not forced to post in here… but since I am tagged now at Technorati I sought to post the 5 things that many of you don’t really know:

5. I had being a Poet for a long time, Thanks to my schedule now that I don’t really get into it again.

4. One of my passions include being into a profession where Mass is involved…

3. I wanted to be a "Band Master" when I was 5 (they usually play music in Traditional Indian marriages)

2. The only Lady I fancied ever before my wife is Laetitia Casta the French Super Model…Unfortunately my travel to Goa was useless when she was there for a while… Gosh what a disappointment.

1. I don’t like to be honored for the things I haven't done…

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Want to be a Manager?

I thought this is something that would be of interest to a bunch of aspirants who see Management as the future… Luckily I had a chance last night to visit the M.G. Road Barista for a late cup of Cuppa-Chino ;) to add to my good fate I met Sridhar Swami an old mentor of mine working as a Management Trainer with a High Profile MNC. While the topic of discussion was Pains of being a Project Manager the topic took us to “Why You Choose to be a Project Manager”. While we were discussing I realized that if you want to be a Manager

1. You have to think if you are ready for it?
2. Is someone forcing you for it?
3. Do you really want to be there?
4. Is it the right time to be there?

While I realized that many of us who are “Accidental Managers” (Wait for my post on this … coming over the weekend) miss some or all of them, lot many of them flow in the joy of being promoted till they realize that certain fatal things have already struck their experience (You don’t have to taste poison if you have to check if it’s poison).

A few of the simple things that will come to you when you are a New Manager:

1. Decisional constipation: If you are not used to take instant actions, be it actions or corrective measures, this is the first thing you will have to repair. Many of the early age Managers fail throughout due to the constipational way of working (slow and hierarchical decisions if you don’t understand me clearly).

2. I gotta kid : This doesn’t mean that you have to take the labor pains… several Managers face the issue where they end up estimating things considering own self… Albert Alexis told me once that he takes the “Practical Leadership” sessions in 7 days while his assistant took it for 11 days in his absence… This is where it will hurt you… estimate considering the resource expertise not your expertise.

3. Don’t go the Alexander way: Many new Managers want to do everything by own… you miss the leverage of Delegation and control when you do this at the same time you spend too much of time doing everything on your own… WTF is the team for dude? Alexander delegated and won, the other way didnt work for him.You can’t run all the miles alone.

4. Dictators don’t last long, Democrats do? Another problem New Managers face is that the excitement drives them to get into meetings where they dictate what they are expecting from there reporting members…. Darn… too fast too furious…. You are jumping in the hoping lane. Make sure that you give enough time for the members to settle down and accept you as your Manager. This problem occurs mainly if you are promoted against a peer’s likes.

5. People can’t be managed: You can’t manage people, so manage the work and expectations… don’t set ones that you are not sure or aware of.

6. Learn to Manage yourself than anyone: If you are a new Manager make sure you know how to spend time and where … to be Good in your kick off you have to start safe and slow.

While this was not all that we discussed I think I am always tempted to write more …. So before I really get into be a Management Coach, I am sure you guys got a different experience when you were new to Management.

Sameer Shaikh

P.S. You may disagree with my views … don’t hesitate to comment as I am still looking for better mentors.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Guru - The Leader's runway

Recently I watched one of the bollywood blockbusters “Guru” Yes the same Aish-Jr. B starrer… though not many movies these days give out a message as strong as to affect people this one surely does… It gives a message to those hard working smart people out there and invites them to set new trends….

While I see Guru to be the best form of Leadership book which contains the appendix of Management hugely to impress me…I also derive a few of lessons that could be of potential help for the next set of leaders and managers coming this way…. To be successful you don’t need to just lead, you will need to go beyond that and Yes that is what I can derive from the whole movie…

One of the few reasons I quite liked the movie is the way leadership is mentored across the movie…the tailorment of the attitude that says leadership in the way it is supposed to be all I can derive from the movie is:

1. “Learning from mistakes is experience, but Mistaking while learning from Mistakes is a Sin If you have to be a great leader you need to understand learning from the mistakes, this doesn’t mean that mistakes should be a part of your nature. It is also at most important that you learn the right thing from your mistakes…
Recently I heard a friend of mine talking about lack of communication resulting in failure of the project and the next project failing because communication was considered to be the only vital element of the project.

2.“2 things in life can never be explored Women’s heart and enemy’s soul, rest are just viewable in the browser
Success is a vital element in the leader’s life which needs the leader to search and explore for things… If you found a key to a lock which you don’t know the perfect leader will for sure go for a hunt for the lock. Similarly it is very important that you explore of the possibilities before you start any assignments.
Last week in Bigg Boss (The Indian version of Big Brother)… before the nomination for the eviction process Rakhi Sawant was found calculating all the possible people who could nominate her and what 2 votes from her can affect whom.

3. “Out of need springs Desire and out of Desire springs the energy and the will to win”
If you don’t have energy to do it, don’t talk about it. You need the energy of a 1yr old child to achieve the goals of the 50yr old Man. Don’t understand why? You are invited to spend a day with my 3 yr old son to understand this part of the story. Your energetic behavior provokes others to achieve there goals …. And after all it’s a Team effort isn’t it?

4. “Courage is not just about saying NO and accepting mistakes; it’s about doing the same work with no mistakes”
It’s not so very courageous to admit the mistake the real guts are when you do the same work under pressure and do it right this time. It’s about giving a damn to the obstacles instead of cribbing about them. It’s about showing the back to the problems.. not because you ran away from them but you overtook them and they are waiting behind to attack you again. This quality in a leader makes him fearless, and you gotta be fearless if you have to reach the top.

5. “Pleasure is when you take it to the end”
The real pleasure of orgasms can be felt only when you last till then. In my whole career I have seen people kicking off things with all possible enthusiasm and energy and loosing it soon before really taking it to the end. The fun is taking the task to an end. The great leader shows that he is not the one to start it right but surely one to end it perfect.

6. “You can’t blame gravity for falling in love”
Years of me being in this industry have seen that failed projects usually have no owners, if it’s a successful one the credit list is never ending. The best expected quality of the leader will be to own it no matter where it goes. Usually it is found that failures are discussed more than success, the only reason being everyone tries to find someone not himself to be blamed… A leader is the one who has to make sure that it’s him not others. I read a phrase a while ago in the daily planner “I Praise loudly, I blame softly”, I guess that’s the nicest way to do it.

While I see Guru sending louder and clear message about effective leadership I see that leadership is much beyond that… So before you guys really jump into one of the thousands of available resources on leadership…. I suggest you to go watch the movie.

Sameer Shaikh

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Job Hopping : Where is the world driving you?

Last I met my friend Dhiraj after 3 months and asked him how his Job was going I was shocked to know when he said “It’s going Damn cool”… Yes I was shocked because in past he used to start cursing his company once he was 3 months old…. The second shock did not take much time when he said he had hopped the earlier firm and was with a new maestro this time it’s a company in the Health sector… so finally I understood that he had hopped 3 companies over 6 months and was holding another offer just when he is not even a month old….

OK let’s forget Dhiraj … but the fact that Job Hopping these days has become a fashion and to add more glue to it it’s the easy way to make Big money… Boy you don’t need to be mafia to earn a couple of Big Grands a month… just Hop companies every 2 months and you will get a fancied designation with a handsome 10-15% hike if some desperate service company who got a big project last month finds you, its possible to get a 40% hike there….

So the bigger problem here is job hopping is the best piece seen by the young lads who are screwing there careers for the sake of easy flow of money and some fancy designation…. I found a couple of reasons why people really hop the jobs (BTW when I say hopping I mean jumping across jobs when you are not even settled in the current firm)…

1. Your friend got a good offer in some other company (Only Money my Son).
2. You feel shy taking your Company Name because it is too small.
3. You get a fancy Job Designation.
4. You want to impress people with your career growth graph.
5. You don’t like the work you are doing.
6. You don’t like the people around (No girls/dude’s in my Office????)
7. You ended up in this company because you wanted to get out of the old one anyhow.
8. Your colleague was promoted and not you.
9. Your performance in this organization is not good and you think the next organization you can start afresh.
10. blah blha

Well these are the just few reasons I can really make out …. I am sure you will have tons of them to add… So while I see that people with lesser experience tend to hop more there is also a backend demon that tends the middle level guys to hop… simply see the way Indian IT is growing any person with 6+ yrs of experience don’t want to play a role lesser than a Manager, A Person with 4 yrs of experience wants to be a Project Lead and so on… this thinking is not so bad but it tends to be bad when a person not having enough experience ends up in a very very critical role screwing up the whole business…. See the way IT curriculum is generating IT aspirants… around 1 million every month? Interested in IT or not but since they think its big money they are here…

I don’t think we can change a lot of here at least the mentality cant be change so I thought I would just give you a jinx on the future problems. I remember Sarah (Our ex. V.P) telling me that we are looking for people who want to stay with us for long just not 6 months… No wonder why there were a bunch of interviews and a heavy H.R interview I had to face before getting in here… And for the same reasons we had being rejecting candidates looking at their profiles.

Also since the IT is evolving lot of companies are getting into trade liaisons to avoid hopping some of the BPO companies in India have that contract, while other strong players of the IT world are trying to avoid Talent that is hoping… I think it is going to be more and more difficult over next few years for the Job hoppers to get through easily…The reason is clear... no one wants to waste there time on a resource that will runaway and the H.R. will have to struggle soon finding a replacements. It’s the H.R. that is and should be more aggressive on this front.

Before I have to quit writing as the post is getting too long I thought I will also share a few fallbacks that you will have to face sooner or later if you are an expert or Amateur Job hopper:

1. Lack of creditability. You can get in the organization easily but you won’t get the additional set of responsibilities just because people fear that you will leave soon.
2. Lack of Experience: You do the same things that you had being doing in previous organizations, I think every organization has the same set of things for everyone to start with…
3. You are a Technical Fool: Just not because you are there in the shortest period of time but because you haven’t learnt what you were supposed to as you kept hopping…
4. Visiting Card: You will have to change your visiting card and numbers often... one way you loose your creditability.
5. CEO: Ever dreamt of being a CEO… if Yes then Job Hopping will never get you there… No Management will want you to take that over if you have being hopping… Savio told me the other day that the CEO of one of his previous companies was working for the same firm for 25 yrs… Dammn I am ashamed I had being max for 31/2 yrs.
6. You can’t be an expert unless you are a born Smart A**Hole… Hopping leaves you only in one position “Jack of All King of None”

OK so this sounds no more than enough… but I would be glad to listen on what you guys think on Job Hopping?

Sameer Shaikh

Monday, 8 January 2007

Who the Hell is my Mentor?

A few days back before I really went on my vacations I found a good old colleague (actually a student of mine in the initial phase of my career) on orkut, I waved a Hi and got a response that really triggered some awesome thoughts …
Me on her orkut Scrapbook: “Hey Manisha... Good to c you on orkut… remember me?”
Her reply: “Hello Sir... Yes I do how I can forget my mentor”

Well the line really punched my brains … I was really proud to know that she found a mentor in me… whilst past few months when we were trying to assign a senior Team member as a Mentor to the Juniors I realized that its not so much Honest to do that … I think the search of the Mentor should be done by own self…Grrrrrrrrr doesn’t fit in your Management Jargon Books? Why Not? After all they have brains and should Know who is the person or a group of people who can help them accelerate in their career….

A few things worth mention:

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” – Douglas Adams : Catch them at the right time …. I usually try to catch my mentors during the lunch / Tea breaks… that help you get some real free time and some good share of the trade secrets. Make sure that you use this time to get mentored and not discuss.

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” – Sven Goran Erikkson: Don’t hesitate to catch the right guy and ask for advice… 2 years ago in one of the conferences I attended in Mumbai I was able to catch hold of Arun Nathani, yes the co-founder of Cybage It was a straightforward and honest effort which was of real help, the success of this fearless approach is that you might get more than what you expect…;) I got almost 1 hr of his excluding the lunch time we spent discussing a couple of exciting things about Management and it was a talk without a boundary of formality…

“Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; he who would search for pearls must dive below.” – John Dryden:
There are a whole bunch of mentors strolling around you…. I am not so much in favor of one mentor especially because of usual habit that I got from Shahrukh Khan… “You should be Greedy though not hungry”. Yes one mentor is good but more then one is best… don’t you know why extra marital affairs are so popular these days? Heck Yes… you learn a lot especially with shared experiences and varied natures and personalities of the mentors… Make sure that you catch hold of multiple mentors outside there jurisdictions … well you will give birth to a illegal conflict amongst your mentors if they lie in the same belt… Hmmm don’t understand there is a idiom in Hindi that means to 2 swords can’t stay in one Scabbard, So beware when deciding on the mentors.

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Dr. Carl Sagan
A mentor should not be a easy candidate … do enough research so that you know much about them... that way you will also be able to show them that you are interested in knowing and learning them and of course it will help you in building yourselves…

“The Boss is always right” – Someone Unknown
People who you regularly report to, your Immediate or Super Superiors can always be considered for this… the past and present bosses can be considered a vivid experience can be gained through this.

While these are something’s that should be taken care while deciding on the mentors … it is also important that you take care of a few more:

1. Never try to get solutions… Ask for there experiences in difficult situations
2. Ask for a few and you will get more…. Ask for a few minutes you are likely to get hours from them and frank talks if the topics are relevant
3. Discussion kills: A Mentor is a personality that will help you give pathways … but if you go for a discussion you might not get what they have experienced.
4. Build a relation with your mentor … Advice can then be sought very easily.
5. Identify a Great Boss and not a Boss as a mentor… A Great Boss is the one who wants to share his experiences and not just gives you suggestions.
6. Share your experiences …. Well the Great Mentors are always dying to learn more... so they will too be interested in listening from you.

While I njoy my next few days in memories of the vacation I had .... I will leave you to comment on what you think on Mentors..