Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

A Seat at the Table: Are you Ready?

Loved this article in the Learning Solutions magazine The Specialist’s Dilemma about getting a seat at the table by Fred Nickols. I especially loved the following description:

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.

Yup, more is required for a seat at the table than just being very very good at what you currently do. And yes, you should question whether you really want a seat at the table. It isn’t always pleasant :-).


11 Reasons NOT to Ban Social Media in Your Organization

Jane Hart seeks rebuttal to reasons commonly given by organizations for banning social media at work. I have heard some of these. Here’s why I believe organizations should NOT ban social media, rather find ways to leverage it. Some of these are in the Indian context of hiring and retaining workforce. I am adding an 11th reason that I have heard for why organizations ban social media that could perhaps make it to the list.

11.          Social media takes up too much of company’s Internet bandwidth hampering other work.
Given the advantages of social media, and reducing cost of bandwidth, it might be a very worthwhile investment by the organization. Investing in bandwidth is probably as critical, if not more, than investing in higher-end machines and laptops.

10.          Social media is a fad.
If so do you want to be left behind and not know anything about it?

9.            It’s about controlling the message.
If it is are you using the channels available to you and the employees? Just because social media is banned at work does not mean employees don’t have access to it at all. They are on it whether you like it or not. And if you are indeed worried about controlling the message, are you on the same channels are your employees are?

8.            Employees will goof off.
If employees have to goof off they will, whether they have access to social media at work or not. If you are managing your work allocation and performance management well, and have the right business measurements in place, it doesn’t really matter whether employees goof off or not. If you are measuring the time they are spending on activities rather than the results they are expected to achieve, you are probably a lawyer or a consultant billing by the hour. I can’t comment on lawyers but as a consultant, you better focus on results or you’ll be out of business.

7.            Social media is a time waster.
See point 8.

6.            Social media has no business purpose.
If your customers aren’t on social media, investors aren’t on social media, stakeholders are not on social media, employees are not on social media, competition is not on social media, and you don’t believe in continual learning, keeping track of market trends etc., then yeah, perhaps social media serves no business purpose for you.

5.            Employees can’t be trusted.
If you can’t trust of your employees, why are you in the business that needs employees? Do you trust them enough to let them talk on phones, use email? Then you can trust them with social media. Yeah sure there are sensitivities of using social media on which you should coach your employees, just as you would to use the phone or email. The video talks about employees can’t be trusted to not put up photos on the office party. Well what’s the harm? It’s a great opportunity to tell the world what a fun place to work your organization is, and therefore attract more talent for your organization, especially when the workforce is getting younger (also see point 4).

4.            Don’t cave into the demands of the millennials.
Enough demographic studies show that in India the workforce is getting younger. Wouldn’t you want to create an environment that your workforce relates to and enjoys? Would you want to create an environment that your workforce finds stifling? You could potentially use social media access as a retention strategy.

3.            Your teams already share knowledge efficiently.
Cool, so you will understand how social media makes it easier to serve this objective.

2.            You’ll get viruses.
So get better anti-virus protection software and better processes to update your computer with latest patches.

1.            Your competition isn't using it, so why should you?
Don’t all business gurus tell you to do things your competition isn’t doing to get ahead in business? Do you really have this as a reason for banning social media at work? Duh!

Progress so far - Unofficial Salary Survey 2010

It’s been a slow start to the 2010 Unofficial Salary Survey of eLearning, Content Development and Training jobs. You can now view the responses by following the Responses link.

Some highlights so far:
  • 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.


Some changes I had introduced in this year’s survey were:
  • 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.


The survey can be useful only if more people participate. Do spread the word around.

There's nothing official about this survey. The survey is not based on responses by companies but based on responses provided by you, the employee. This survey is not associated with any organization. The survey is anonymous.

This survey is for you if you are an Instructional Designer, Content Developer, Technical Writer, Project Manager, Graphics designer, Flash Programmer, Content Integrator, Tester, Editor, Trainer, Training administrator, SME, or any other role involved in elearning, content development and training delivery.

Click Unofficial eLearning Salary Survey of India 2010 to participate in the survey. I will publish the findings on my blog here sometime in August/September 2010. This year’s questionnaire attempts to find out more about you and the industry to provide a more in-depth analysis.

Help derive maximum benefit from this survey: spread the word about this survey. Email, Tweet, Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn and Blog about this page for your friends and colleagues.

Earlier survey findings:



A Day in the Life of a Student

My 10 year old son wrote a creative writing piece as part of his home work that I just had to post here. It has some interesting insights into the lessons of life he might be imbibing at this age. So here it is with due permissions from my son to post it on my blog (with corrected spellings).

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.



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.

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