- A trainer could become a better trainer. This seems to be least favorite path of trainers but is the most crucial and can take trainers to the peak. It is also the hardest in my view. By becoming better trainers I mean really be known in the industry. Build your social network and stay in touch with your students. Continue providing them assistance post training. Be less of 'sage on stage' and more of a 'coach by the side'. Start a blog and write a book on your subject or on how to become a better trainer. Understand how people learn and create training practices that help people learn faster. Do research on the subject of training and learning. If you are in the training business, there is a great scope for better trainers who go beyond training in a class and help build learning solutions, who can do research and appropriately adapt their training strategies, or even create new ones, who can create new standards in the training industry.
- Depending on the acumen towards operations, people management and business, trainers could move to roles like managing training, handling projects and other ops roles. Trainers could even take on sales/business roles. They could move to manage training centers, area, territory, region, zone, country. Many senior people in our organizations have been trainers at some point of their careers. All training businesses need people with good ops, sales and business management skills and acumen.
- Trainers could become Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for content development projects. Trainers could even start writing content, depending on the skill and interest. Trainers could become full-fledged content developers. And from there ID specialists, or take the other path of project management. From either path, trainers could move to taking on business or sales roles.
I’ll bet when you worked for a successful manager you had:
- More resources
- More credibility
- More meaningful, value-added work
- More development and career opportunities
- A bigger slice of the merit increase, bonus, or commission pie
Now think about when you worked for a failing manager. …you probably experienced:
- A lack of resources; your team was always at the end of the line when it came to budget, office space, equipment, headcount, etc….
- No matter how good you may have been, you carried the stain of your manager’s bad reputation
- You worked on low priority projects that didn’t seem to matter
- You didn’t get much coaching, and maybe not much development (failing managers are usually threatened by ambitious, high achievers)
- A lack of career growth opportunities – because your manager was stuck in place, and didn’t have the political clout to be an advocate for his/her people
Do read his full post here.
- Create a robust online presence
- Flaunt high-quality affiliations
- Give public speeches
- Appear on TV
- Win some awards
- Publish a book
"I have to do everything and I have get everything done” to “I have to enable people to do their jobs"
“You are an expert because you know something” to “You are an expert because you share what you know” and “You are also an expert because you know who knows”.
“Longevity in an organization” to “Will the person stay in the organization for about 2 years”
Next, take stock of your grasp of your organization's purpose, mission, operations, history, structure, strengths, personnel, politics, finances, the opportunities and threats it faces, its competitors and their relative advantages or disadvantages, its customers and markets, its key suppliers and critical inputs, its stated and manifest strategies, its reputation, any governmental and regulatory considerations, the executive cadre (including their history and relationships inside and outside your organization), and anything else you can think of that I haven't included in this list. If you don't have a good grasp of all or most of those matters, then you probably don't belong at the table – at least, not just yet.
- Functions that have participated are Instructional Designers (33%) and Technology/Programmers (22%), followed by Project management (17%) and Graphics and Media (11%).
- Most participants have 10 years work experience (28%) followed by 5 and 3 years (11% each).
- So far the survey seems to be dominated by male responders (72%).
- Only 28% people switched jobs last year.
- Mostly people from elearning/training vendors have participated (72%).
- City spread is fairly even with nearly equal participation from NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. Surprisingly, Bangalore has had low participation so far.
- Number of years of experience is more specific rather than a range.
- Salary details are now a number instead of a range. This will help get better inputs about salaries.
- Gender info can help to see if there is any gender inequality in salaries.
- Industry info can help identify salaries in different industries.
A day in the life of a student
As everyone knows that student life is difficult, I would first plan my day so that I don’t have to plan it afterwards. I would go to school, do my homework. But it isn’t as easy as it looks like. Some ma’ams (teachers) give hectic homework which makes my brain heavy as a kilo, and some ma’ams are so sweet that I get overconfident for the UT (Unit Test) she has made and I get bad marks. Some are both so I get confused is she strict or sweet.
There are always two choices, a bad side or a good side. The bad side is full of cool guys and bullies while the good side is full of kids who only study! Half of the bad side becomes prefects and a quarter of the good side become prefects. This student life is so confusing.
So a day in the life of a student if hectic, difficult, confusing and weird.
- INERTIA: We just aren’t really used to working on the cloud. Change is always hard and we just fall back on ways of working that we are comfortable with. It is always easier to simply email the document. It is easier to work just double click the document and start editing it rather than log on to the separate system in the browser and then navigate to the folder to edit the document.
- NO INTEGRATION WITH EXISTING SYSTEMS: Using Google Docs or Zoho was hard because of lack of integration with existing systems. For example, we don’t always have a list of Gmail IDs for everyone in the team. This means an additional step to make the collaboration document accessible to all. Each cloud service requires a different login ID and password than the regular network sign-on on the machine.
- ACCESSIBILITY AND SPEED: Many of our team members are traveling and are on the road so to speak. They don’t always have access to the Internet. So having documents on the cloud severely handicaps their ability to access the documents when there is no Internet connectivity. And working off the Net is slower than working off the local machine.
- SECURITY FEARS: While we explored Google Docs and Zoho, there were fears whether we should actually store our company and client data on the cloud. While I am personally very confident that Google and Zoho will safeguard data stored on their server, there is still an inherent fear of putting up company and client data on their servers. Perhaps this fear is to do with the added responsibility that the individuals don’t own the data. There is no problem in having personal emails and chat on these servers, but putting company data on the cloud is just too much added responsibility.
- LACK OF OFFICIAL ITS EVANGELISM: While we have SharePoint Server available to us, it is primarily used as file storage (if at all) rather than a real-time collaborative tool. Even with our SharePoint Server installation, there’s very little official ITS support available. There’s no one really evangelizing cloud collaboration as the new way of working. I would look for the ITS team providing awareness about official tools available and training on how to use them. This has to be driven by having cloud collaboration as part of the ITS strategy. I think this is the biggest hurdle to cross if cloud computing is to be embraced.
- It is about people.
- It is about management.
- It is about mutual respect.
- It is about work ethics.
- It is about being responsible and accountable.
- It is about letting go. Good managers never micro-manage.
- It is about communication.
- It is about thinking out-of-the-box.
- It is about developing yourself.
- It is about still being friendly.
A few years ago my boss said to me in a review meeting that we weren’t doing enough recognition. I defended we were probably doing too much. We had Star of the Month, spot awards, recognition mails etc. I also felt exceptional work should be recognized not just great work.
And then a little while ago, an Aha moment for me happened. Recognition is not just about awards, it is also about acknowledging the work being done that is just supposed to be done. A simple Thank You can go very far in acknowledging the person and work s/he is doing. A genuine from the heart Thank You is sometimes as much of a reward as any monthly or annual award. Sometimes that is all we want to hear.
And the opportunities to thank people around us are aplenty: Thank you for collating the data and preparing the report, thank you for organizing the meeting, thank you for participating in the initiative, thank you for organizing the team lunch, thank you for your inputs on the idea, thank you for… the list is endless.
So go ahead, say Thank you to someone today. It’s a great feeling.
I recently received an email seeking my advice on how to deal with an office bully.
It has been a long time since I interacted with you. The project that I am on is beginning to gain momentum and it seems it's going to be a rugged and enjoyable ride throughout the year.
Today I write seeking your guidance. A guy in the office who has been in the company for not more than 5 or 6 months has developed a tendency somehow for irritating me.
He does this by -
a. Interrupting me when I am saying something.
b. Calling me with funny names in front of other people and in meetings and trainings.
c. Interrupting me when I am talking to a colleague about some project related work.
d. Suddenly slapping my back when I am involved in work calling me with a different name and then walking away.
I have once retorted back and also confronted him to no avail.
He has a known problem with behavior. During an office trip, he got drunk and started making fun of everyone and started cracking vulgar jokes in front of the ladies.
I am a little vexed about how to approach this problem. I don't want to be a part of a formal complaint because it could be seen as manipulation. I am on contract and I don't want to be tainted on account of a jerk. But I have been dealing with his crap everyday for some months now. This affects my work many times because I feel insulted and humiliated.
I have informally discussed this with a colleague who suggested that I should talk to the senior PM but then the project is just gearing up, it needs people and I run the risk of being labeled as someone who is bringing up problems.
Kindly guide me.
Here’s how I responded.
It is unfortunate to hear your plight. I am quite sure there is no one way to deal with what you are going through. You’ll need to figure out for yourself what works best for you. Given the limited knowledge I have of the situation and the persons involved, the options that come to mind are:
- Ignore him, environment will take care of him. If you say that he has a known problem with behavior, he will probably get marginalized in time anyway. If he doesn’t improve his behavior, your boss will ease him out of the team and in all likelihood out the company. Unless of course, this person is really good at what he does, like a real genius. In which, I guess you should learn to live with his banter and try and learn from him. Hard to do I know, but geniuses are known to come with their idiosyncrasies.
- Ignore him, don’t feed his behavior. He is probably doing all that to gain attention. If you don’t give him the attention he is trying to get, perhaps he will stop doing what he is doing.
- Be friends with him. After all, he is probably doing all that just to get attention. It is possible he doesn’t have many friends. Take some time to actually know him. Perhaps his behavior will change if he finds you friendly. Perhaps you won’t find him so irritating if you get to know him better.
- Confront him, one on one. Talk to him one on one. Be open and try to understand his situation. Then explain that you are uncomfortable with his behavior.
- Confront him, take him on. Start calling him names, start paying him back with the same coin. Okay, perhaps not the best idea. May lead to more adversaries and therefore avoidable.
- Talk to your boss, or even HR perhaps. It need not be a formal complaint. Just as you are asking me for advice, you could ask your boss for advice for handling this situation. It’s a good way of letting your boss know of things without complaining.
I believe that if you approach the situation with the openness of understanding the other person better, you will usually find a solution that will work for you. I know it is a lot of words, but I hope you are able to derive something out of that I have written. All the best.
I am not sure if this is all that he could do. What would you suggest?
I am sure you’ve heard this before, what with 54% companies banning social media sites. Of course, Twitter and Facebook are complete waste of time. Reading and writing blogs is a complete waste of time too. I also hear some executives say email is a waste of time too. And phone? What does everyone talk about anyway? They should get off the phones and just work (and I have had managers complain that personal calls were affecting productivity of some people). I think books are a waste of time too. After all what good could possibly come out of reading anything.
Social media is a tool, a medium. What you do with it constitutes the value you extract from it. Twitter can be a very useful productivity enhancer tool. However if you use it only to catch up with friends, chat about what you are having or review movies (and there is a lot of that going on on Twitter), then yes companies will see it as a productivity sapper. Facebook is a great way to connect with people. But are you spending too much time playing Farmville or answering who is the best looking friend, then yes Facebook is not exactly going to be popular with your boss. Blogs are a great tool to reflect what you have learned, great way to connect with other thinkers and great way to learn. But if you are overactive on your blog about movies, your landlord, or your blue umbrella (yes I have seen this posts with more than 50 comments on how someone got wet because they forgot the blue umbrella or something like that), then companies aren’t necessarily going to be thrilled by it. You can spend all your time reading John Girsham or Harry Potter, but companies would prefer if you read Good to Great, Built to Last or Wikinomics or something like that and implement your learning in your work.
So if you don’t want companies to ban Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, then show your boss the value you are getting from them and how the company can benefit from it.
Here are five easy ways to kill your MIS:
- Make it hard to access the MIS. Don’t automatically give access to everyone who needs it. Add special permissions that need multiple approvals for access. Have multiple logins.
- Make it hard to access data. Have too many clicks to reach the data. Have reports that aren’t intuitive and require you to make multiple selections.
- Have useless data parameters.
- Shrug your shoulders when data isn’t right. Garbage-in-garbage-out, right. So when the MIS throws up data that is meaningless simply shrug your shoulders and say that it shows what was entered.
- Don’t validate input data. See previous point.
The eight irresistible principles of fun from Box of Crayons, “an irresistibly funky animated movie designed to help you create more fun in your life”
- Stop hiding who you really are. Take the time to figure out what makes up your DNA.
- Start being intensely selfish. Get hungry for things that are truly important to you.
- Stop following rules. It’s no longer about what you can’t do, it is about what you can do.
- Start scaring yourself. Explore the edges; dip your toe in the outrageous.
- Stop taking it all so damn seriously. Lighten up, this too shall pass.
- Start getting rid of the crap. Think of all the stuff weighing you down and get rid of the clutter.
- Stop being busy. Just because you are going flat out, doesn’t mean you are on the right track.
- Start something. Don’t wait any longer for permission to do what you want to do.
Three easy steps to become a thought leader:
- Have a thought. You can’t be a thought leader without a thought. Have a point of view about everything, be opinionated.
- Share your thought. It’s all very good to have a thought but it is quite useless unless you share it. To be a leader assumes you have followers. You can’t have followers if no one knows what your thoughts are. It’s easy to share. Share more at workplace, be a node of reference, start a blog, don’t pass on an opportunity to present, be available, be visible.
- Make sense. It is good to have a thought and to share it with others. But ultimately it needs to make sense and resonate with others. Otherwise you are just opinionated. This is the toughest part of being a thought leader.
So there you go… becoming a thought leader in three easy steps.
Another great post by Dan McCarthy on 12 development goals for leaders. He is spot on for the 12 development goals for leaders. There are additional ones suggested in comments on his post, but I quite like the 12 he lists. Thank you Dan. Head over to his post for more.
- Strategic thinking
- Financial acumen
- Cross-functional knowledge and perspective
- Industry, competitive, and customer knowledge
- Leadership presence
- Change leadership
- Remote management
- Talent management
- Time management