Friday, 25 July 2014

How to handle the scars of life

Once upon a time,  there was a King who had a wise  minister   The king had utmost faith on the minister.  Before taking any crucial decision, the king always consulted him and  learnt for his wisdom. 

One day, while hunting in the forest,  a  tiger pounced on him . Though the king killed the tiger, but his face was bruised very badly.  The king was very handsome and he was proud of his good looks.  He was very upset  and could not concentrate on the matters of the state.  The minister observed his king for a few days but when he saw that the king was not able to recover from the trauma, he went to meet him personally. 

"O King, Why are you upset ? Your wounds have already healed and you will be better in a couple of  days more  " 

"My wounds will be healed , but I will be scarred for ever. My face will never look the same again.... " the king moaned. 

" Your highness ! Do not fret.  Whatever happens happens for the good.  God is just. Have faith on him.  Sometimes there are situations in life when it seems that you are doomed for ever. But , later, in retrospect , you realize that things aren't so bad after all.  We have to persevere through our hard times.  Patience, faith and self confidence should be our guiding lights. ...."

Hearing his words, the king became very angry with his minister. 

"My face is mutilated , and you are saying that it is for the good !  Get out from my kingdom and never ever show your face again ..."  the King boomed. 

With a heavy heart, the wise old minister  left  his beloved kingdom. 

After a few months,  when the King was returning after a war,  he was abducted by dacoits. They wrapped his face and tied him up . They waited for nightfall , when the leader of the group will come and sacrifice him to their Goddess.  

The head of the dacoits came - " Remove the cloth from his face... " He ordered. 

When he saw the scarred face of the king,  he said " No... ! His face has flaws so he cannot be offered to the Goddess ... let him go ! " 

The King was released.  

As he walked away from the forest, the King remembered the wise words of his minister ... yes ... Whatever happens happens for the good.  later, in retrospect , you realize that things aren't so bad after all...  I have done a grave mistake ... The next day, the king went to the small hut near the river apologized profusely to the wise minister.  He was brought back to the kingdom with great pomp and show. 

We all face hurdles in life. At work and at home. Sometimes, we  feel that things cannot be worse than this and why did this have to happen to me. Tough situations take out the best in you.  There are numerous examples where people faced adversity to come out shining more than what they were in their comfort zone. 

Always try to turn adversity into an advantage. For that we need optimism and positive thinking.   Only you can help yourself.  You have to keep faith in yourself else it is very easy to go down the spiral. 

Tough situations do not last, tough people do ! 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Can Female Leaders Have it all ?

In the last few days ,  this contentious topic is doing the rounds in all newspapers, tabloids, websites, TV , twitter , facebook etc..   

In a recent interview,  PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has said  "I don't think Women can have it all . We pretend that we have it all. We pretend we can have it all " . 

Then she went ahead and told the following incidents from her life :

" I'll tell you a story that happened when my daughter went to Catholic school. Every Wednesday morning they had class coffee with the mothers. Class coffee for a working woman—how is it going to work? How am I going to take off 9 o'clock on Wednesday mornings? So I missed most class coffees. My daughter would come home and she would list off all the mothers that were there and say, "You were not there, mom." "

"The evening when I was appointed as the President of the company, I got home about 10, got into the garage, and my mother was waiting at the top of the stairs. And I said, "Mom, I've got great news for you." She said, "let the news wait. Can you go out and get some milk?" I looked in the garage and it looked like my husband was home. I said, "what time did he get home?" She said "8 o'clock." I said, "Why didn't you ask him to buy the milk?" "He's tired." Okay. We have a couple of help at home, "why didn't you ask them to get the milk?" She said, "I forgot." She said just get the milk. We need it for the morning. So like a dutiful daughter, I went out and got the milk and came back. "

As a female , I too know these pangs of guilt and anger.  We seethe at the unfairness of it all. As Nooyi has rightly said - the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. 

"Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you're rising to middle management your kids need you because they're teenagers, they need you for the teenage years.  And that's the time your husband becomes a teenager too, so he needs you . And as you grow even more, your parents need you because they're aging. So we're screwed. We have no... we cannot have it all ".

Nooyi has touched upon a sore point of the working women.  

Yes,  all the points are true, But have you ever wondered why is it that only Females feel like this ?  Don't you think that the above points are true for the Males too ? Then what is the difference ?  Why does only the Females feel guilty and burdened ? 

The answer is simple.  The females have been conditioned that way. Collectively, unconsciously, it has seeped into the DNA of all the females, all over the world that bringing up your child, looking after your household is the primary duty of the women.  

And this cannot be eradicated in a year or even ten years. It might take a couple of decades  and that too if  the women change their own mindset and in turn change the mindsets of her family. 

  • There should be equal distribution of work in the family and the work should be based upon the aptitude of the partner.  It might happen that the female of the house has a greater aptitude for dealing with external matters like bank, finance and cooking then her husband should help the kids with their studies, other household work etc.  Females themselves should not fall into the trap of stereotyping. 

  • There will be situations when the females will feel guilty. And there will be circumstances when they will be made to feel guilty.  Whenever I am in such a situation , I ask myself  "Why ? "  The same question has to be asked to the husband as well and again to your mother or mother in law or anyone else. No justifications , but simply try not to feel guilty.  The consequence or the situation is not the fault or the responsibility of just the female. Everyone else in that situation is equally responsible and can take action.  When Nooyi found out that there were many mothers who were not present in the school and the next time when her daughter said that Nooyi was not there,  she rallied the names of the mothers who were not there too. These are coping mechanisms .  So, even your daughter can act in a stereotypical mode since she stays in a society and peer pressure and other actions work subconsciously in her mind.  Female leaders have to keep the coping mechanisms going on , persistently, consciously and explaining and discussing about these with her kids so that they too can share her thoughts and feelings. 

  •  I am not against motherhood.  I have a beautiful daughter and she is the apple of my eye and I think children are the greatest source of joy.  But again , if  any female chooses not to start a family, I think she should be given the choice.  A few years after my daughter was born, I was under pressure from my parents as well as in laws to have another kid.  But at that time, my career had just started to shape up.  I was doing well at work.  Having another kid would have put a sudden brake on the ascent.  Because I knew that I will be expected to balance my work as well as my kids.  Somehow , the same is never expected from the fathers.  This change has to be brought in . Nowadays, in India, some progressive organizations give paternity leave of a week. That is not at all enough. The paternity leave should be at least of `12 weeks, just like maternity leave. Again , the father might be wary of snide and subtle remarks about lparenting , since it is considered to be very "female" job.  The organizations should actually glorify the fathers who look after their kids.  

Changing the society, our family and most importantly changing ourselves (females) might take infinite time.  But I am sure that the change will happen.  

We have to keep faith . Female leaders , mothers, managers have to keep on trying, helping other females, their daughters, their sons  to change their mindsets. 

We have to be relentless in our efforts. 

We will win . Finally.  And then we need not "Pretend". 

Female leaders can have it all. 


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Virtually Possible !

I am a big proponent of flexible timing and telecommuting.  

In my two decades of experience,  I have seen many failures as well as success stories of  centralized as well as decentralized projects. 

A hundred years ago, when the industrial revolution started, the workplace moved from small home based offices to large centrally located factories.  The villagers migrated to cities and towns .  Now, in the 21st Century, we see a reversal.   From centralization , we are moving back to decenralization.  

 This is the age of Virtual Teams. Technology has made it possible to work from anywhere.  Decentralization is now feasible and in most of the cases advantageous - both for the employee as well as the organization.  But along with the advantages, there are some problems too.  Managing these issues helps the leaders in the organization reap the advantages of telecommuting. 

The main problems of  a virtual team are managing people when they are far away, limited personal contact, motivating , conflict resolution and getting the work done when the team members are scattered across different locations. 

So, how can a leader manage a virtual team  effectively ? 

  • Uniform Treatment  and communication - Treat the virtual team the same as  the team who are physically present in your location .   The communication to the full team should be uniform.  No matter where the team members are located, they should be kept informed of team and departmental going ons.  Chit chats between team members enhances the team spirit.  In one of my organizations, we had deployed a indigenous messenger which was used by the team to chat and convey information.  Periodical  newsletters  also works well , where along with the articles and appreciations, a chatty section is included which includes tidbits about the loves of the team members. 

  • Personal interest : The leader should take a personal interest in each team member.  In a company , I was reporting to the Global Head and she made it a point to talk to me at least once a week and figure out how things were going on .  I used to make congratulatory calls to teams when they did something special.  On different occasions like birthdays, marriage anniversary, births etc,  make it a point to send a card or a bouquet. These are small things , but since you cannot see or touch the person , it becomes absolutely essential to do these things. It works. Trust me.

  • Periodical team meetings :  This one is a mandatory one. Specially for virtual teams or for globally distributed teams.  Once a month or two months, hold a hold a full team meeting.  The best way is to do a video conferencing. If that is not possible , try Skype.  If that too is difficult, at least hold a teleconference.  Have a set agenda and allow time for every location.  These are opportunities for exchanging and sharing ideas, best practices and build espirit de corps.

  • Set working guidelines :  Working guidelines for telecommuting is a must. Set specific targets , if possible daily targets and put a process for comprehensive and regular status reporting and tracking.   It is a good practice to set a specific time in the day when s/he should be available for calls, talks , meetings.  Have them come to office (if they are nearby) for training programs, important meetings, extra curricular and teaming activities. 

The telecommuters should be made aware of the potential problems of working from home. Some people feel that they miss out on the water cooler talks and socializing at the workplace and another person felt overwhelmed with the prioritization and self discipline of working from home. These are the cases , where people chose to return to office.  So, instead of  a permanent arrangement, let the people try it for a while where the team member as well as the  leader can assess whether telecommuting is working or not. 

So, go ahead and try virtualizing the workplace.  It sure ensures employee satisfaction as well as reduces costs. 

Do share your experiences with virtual teaming. 

Cheers !

Monday, 30 June 2014

The strange problem of an efficient team member

My friend was in a fix. 

"I am facing a strange problem .  I have a person in my team who is very efficient.  If he is available in the shift , I do not have to worry at all . I know everything will be done perfectly and the delivery quality will be good with no complaints at all" . 

"Go ahead ", I said " I don't see any problem at all !"

"Well, the problem is that he takes advantage of his efficiency ". 

"What do you mean ?"

"For example, if the shift duty is from 7 am to 3 pm and he comes at 8 am , he does not stay back to make up for the lost time. If I ask him to do so, he says that he is more productive than the others in the team . Again there are times when he  flaunts himself and says that since he is more efficient, he should get some extra compensation for that"

"Hmm ... " 

"Though the rest of the team does not say anything, but I feel that hostility is building up and they feel that I am being partial to that person.  Since he is so good, I don't want to admonish him or be very severe with him ,since I know that I need him for the success of my operations ...  What should I do ? "

This is not a very uncommon situation at work.  Sometimes, managers are almost exploited and held at ransom.   

So what should he do ?  

My take on this ... 

  •  It is a very dangerous situation for an organization if we become people dependent. Our processes should be so strong that the delivery quality is predictable and standardized under any constraints. I know that putting a system in place is time consuming and many organizations do not want to invest in this, but ultimately, this becomes the main differentiator between successful and unsuccessful companies.  This is one of the main Mantra for growth and stability.

  • If the manager tolerates the behaviour described above, it means that s/he is compromising with the sense of equity and justice of his or her team. Two things become evident to the team. First,  the confidence and integrity of the manager becomes blurred and secondly the simmering feeling of  unfairness might eventually turn into an imbroglio.  No project can be successful if there is lack of tuning in the team members. So, the manager should first give the priority to the harmony in his team. 

  • The manager should not tolerate indiscipline but should also give reward for efficiency and productivity . This can be done in various ways like appreciation letters,  monetary rewards etc.  Again, the reward should not be too easy to achieve.  This way the excellent performer will be rewarded . This will also motivate others  in the team to perform better. 

  • Trainings should be an integral part of  work.   This will ensure that  the average performance of the team improves .  Trainings also boosts the morale of the people and they feel that the company cares for their growth.  Hands on trainings, mentoring, induction trainings should be planned carefully and implemented religiously. 

Personally, I always prefer to have a person in my team who is hardworking, sincere, takes initiative and ownership. If  I have to choose between a genius with an attitude problem and an average performer with  lots of initiative, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, I will promptly choose the latter.  

Equity, fairness, integrity and strength of character are  values which should never be compromised with.

Not even for a few shifts of  perfectly smooth operations.

Friends, what are your views ?

Friday, 20 June 2014

The most important skill of a Business Manager

When approached correctly, persuasion is one of the most important skills in the armour of the business manager. 

Like power, persuasion can be an enormous force  for the business. 

The importance of mastering the art of persuasion is vital to the ability of a manger to efficiently address the challenges in the business. 

Effective persuasion is achieved when managers arrive at shared and mutually beneficial solutions. We should utilize negotiation skills so that we perform joint problem solving and joint opportunity finding.

Persuation and negotiation skills are honed through careful preparation, innovative framing of problems and arguments, and communicating this in a most vivid manner. By establishing the most correct emotional match with other parties, managers will generate a climate of greater openness and a willingness to move to positions not previously held.

Four crucial variables in the persuasion equation :

  •  Establish credibility An audience that is presented with a new or contrary position will initially respond by determining whether the perspectives and opinions of the persuader can be trusted Unfortunately, the majority of managers over-estimate their credibility because they fail to understand that credibility primarily derives from their perceived expertise and the relationships they are able to establish. Credibility is the basis for effective persuasion. If you lack sufficient credibility, then the steps that follow are futile. High credibility ratings are reserved for those who have proven over time that they can be trusted to listen, to act in the best interests of others and to share credit for good ideas. Their behaviour is characterized by integrity, consistency and the ability to resist extreme mood swings.

  • Framing for common ground Involve people and obtain their commitment for ideas or plans. It is best to begin by employing various types of dialogue to collect information, good listening, testing ideas with trusted co-workers and asking questions should precede the framing of a position.

  • Providing evidence When credibility is established and a common frame developed, the focus shifts to providing the most vivid evidence to back the persuader's position. The most effective persuaders are adept at backing up numeric data with metaphors, analogies, stories and examples that bring their ideas and views to life. They are word artists who can compose compelling word pictures .

  • Emotional Connection : Effective persuaders appreciate and use the immense power of language to their best advantage and to emotionally connect with their audience. On the surface, reason appears to be the primary force that drives business activities and persuasion. However, when exploring just beneath the surface we discover that emotion is a very prevalent and powerful determinant. Good persuaders know the importance of emotion. They respond to this insight by showing their own emotional commitment to the position they promote, and by being able to accurately sense how audiences have interpreted past events, are more likely to get proposals accepted. 
Cheers !

Monday, 9 June 2014

Intelligence of the Unconcious

I have always banked on my "gut feel",   that is my intuition. 

Somehow I could not find any reason why sometimes I  recruited not the best but maybe the third or fourth best.  Or sometimes why I  chose to select a particular organization to do business even though there were some lacunae. 

But I  knew that I was right and about 95% of the time, I was correct. 

Intuition is the ability to anticipate and predict. We can sense the "Vibes" of a person or have a "nose" for smelling trouble.  It is a knack , if I may say, to know whom to deal with , when and where. It is the ability  to decide without waiting for all the facts and figures because of an "inner voice" which insists that the decision is right. 

Recently I read an interesting article on Intuiting  which talked about scanning the resume with your hands It said that though the resume is there to guide us, but we can go beyond the written words with our intuition. It talked about scanning the resume with our palms !  The technique that the researcher talked about is to go slowly from line to like as if scanning with your palm , without thinking much about the words on the resume.  Putting fuzziness rather than focus , while reading between the lines !  I really want to try this out the next time I am recruiting .

In Hindu mythology, we have several tales which actually talks about intuiting, hunching and mental telepathy. We have saints who predicted the future, queens who could hunch the danger before the king went for the battle.

Even in recent times, I have read about a person who could just look at you and tell minute details about your past and also predict the future. Though there are many people who would snigger, my take on this is that just because we cannot prove something scientifically does not mean that it is not true.

As we grow older and get trapped by the very logical orientation of our modern education system, we tend to lose the spontaneity of making intuitive decision  for sheer lack of practice and application.   We are so used to using the left lobe of our brain for logical  and analytical thinking that we miss out on the power of the right lobe , which is for emotions, intuitiveness and feelings. Just think of the power if we could use both the lobes of the brain - logic and intuition  for decision making. 

Intuitive people are very good at  7 skills :

  • Pattern Perception : ability to fill in the information gaps amidst  a clutter of data. 
  • Recall : Fast processing of memory stored in the unconscious. 
  • Recognition : Ability to immediately identify a face, an object, an event a circumstance in its proper context.
  • Analysis : Analytical thinking and coming to the correct conclusion without much time to complete the logical analysis
  • Imagination : Able to think of many possibilities and different ways of doing things.
  • Connection Skill : Ability to put seemingly unrelated things together.
  • Psycho-Osmosis  : As Carl Jung calls "Collective Unconscious".  Ability to extract information from the memory bank of all human experiences. 

The research paper says that we can practice intuitiveness. The more we practice, the better it is.

Are you intuitive ? What is your take on this ?

I am curious to know..

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Smart Squirrel

Once upon a time, in the deep woods of  Zilicon valley, there was a small kingdom , ruled  by a benevolent Lion King named Justix.  

Justix was fair and upright and ruled his kingdom with honour , compassion and trust.  He was large-hearted but he did not like inefficiency.  He judged his subjects by the quality of work they did and selected the best people in his ministry.  All the animals of the jungle loved and respected him and wanted to be in his good books so that they could prove themselves and rise in the hierarchy. 

One day, a fox named Deceptix came to stay there from another nearby kingdom. He was shrewd and crafty and was wily enough to understand that the real power lay with the ministers of Justix.  He wanted to be a part of the coterie by hook or by crook.  He took his CV to Justix and requested him to let him work on a crucial project which was very important for the welfare of the inhabitants of the jungle.  Justix looked at his cv and was really impressed with his credentials and experience.  He smiled and put his incharge of a part of the project and said that he wanted quick results. Deceptix nodded meekly and said that he will prove himself. 

Genuinix the deer was a part of the project and had worked very hard and sincerely for the kingdom since the last 5 years.  He now reported to Deceptix who quickly understood that the quality of work of Genuinix was really good. He quickly built rapport with him an got most of his work done by Genuinix but portrayed to Justix that it was he who had done everything.  Deceptix sweet -talked Genuinix and told him that his work is being appreciated and he will be rewarded very soon. Genuinix was straightforward and unassuming and took everything on face value. But days passed by and Deceptix was promoted , inching closer and closer towards the ministry position, but Geniuinix stayed where he was . He continued to work hard, but no one really noticed his contribution. All the accolades were taken by Deceptix. 

Finally, one day, Genuinix was so disheartened and demotivated that his performance started declining. Deceptix , in the meantime had got a coveted position and hardly cared about Genuinix. 

Justix was very impressed with Deceptix's work and one day called him and said " You have proved yourself . Here is another important project , which I think only you can handle . I want this project to be done in record time and with full quality" 

Now, Deceptix was in a fix.  He needed someone who would do all his work just like Genuinix and Deceptix would take all the credit. He ran a devious eye on his team and selected Smartix the Squirrel. Smartix was a quick witted, clever and bright worker.  He did his work diligently, took initiative and was always enthusiastic.  But he had seen the plight of his team leader Genuinix. 

"Smartix ! You are the best worker around and I know I can trust you with the most difficult work. I want you to deliver and you will get rewarded.. " Deceptix smiled warmly. 

"Yes, Sir, I will .... Thank you for the opportunity ..." 

A usual, Deceptix started giving all his work to Smartix, but he created a barrier between Justix and Smartix. Again , all the credit for the work went to him , with hardly any mention of Smartix.  

Deceptix was happy . 

His plan was working again. 

One day,  Justix wanted a detailed report with crucial data , with proper analysis. 
Justix quickly summoned Smartix and explained the requirement . 

" I need the report by 5 pm."

Smartix did not compile the report by 5.30 pm. 

Deceptix was worried. " I need to show this to Justix NOW ! Better do it fast", he shouted at Smartix.

By 6.30 pm , when the report was ready,  Deceptix almost snatched it from Smartix and ran inside Justix office. 

"But where is the data analysis that I had asked for ? " He roared . 

Deceptix looked at the report. 

The analysis was not there. He did not know what to do.  But suddenly there was a knock on the door and Smartix peeped in. 

"Sir, here is the data analysis , I could complete it just now ... I apologize...."

Justix  took the report and looked at Deceptix "Can you please explain this last point ? "

Deceptix did not have a clue. 

"Can I help sir ?" Smartix , the squirrel said. 

"Yes, please do so ... fast !" Justix roared again.

Smartix took the whiteboard and explained each and every point of the report. 

Justix was impressed.  

He said " From tomorrow , I want you to work in my personal cell for the data analysis work ...

And Smartix became one of the favourite workers of Justix. 

After a few months,  Justix came to know of the wiliness of Deceptix and he was sacked. 

Smartix was promoted to the rank of a minister and he chose Genuinix to work under him.

What do you think ?

 Do you think Smartix did the right thing ?

 Do you think Genuinix should have got a better deal since he was sincere,  honest and straightforward ? 

Monday, 12 May 2014

5 Tips to Develop your Confidence

All of us have heard this advice sometime or the other.

 “Be confident . Then success will follow “,  and all of us agree to this.

But what is confidence?

What is this magical ingredient that everyone covets?

Confidence is about knowing yourself, who you are, why you are here, and what you want to do. 

Confidence is all about believing in yourself. You have confidence in other people because you trust them and can depend on them. The same goes for yourself. If you trust yourself, your ideas and your abilities, then you have confidence.

A common misconception is that a lot of people think that being confident means being outspoken or egocentric. Actually the reverse is true -  The egocentric loudmouth is usually much less confident than they let on.

In truth, the most confident people are usually the ones who are quietly happy with themselves and their lives. They have their own ideas and plans, and happily go about them at their own pace. The more confidence you build the more peace of mind you gain.

Having confidence makes it so much easier for you to get what you want from your life. It means you can improve your relationships, increase your career and financial success and have a much more fulfilling, interesting life. People who are confident know themselves, are clear on what they stand for and what they are doing with their lives.

Our level of confidence and self-esteem also sets the 'level' for how we live our lives. We cannot live above or below our own beliefs about ourselves. This is especially true for confidence, as our fears can often hold us back. And the best way to overcome fears is to work on your confidence.

Where does it come from?

From early childhood, those people closest to us shape our beliefs. Our personal foundations are built like the framework of a house. After a time, they begin to form the basis for our personality and eventually our adult personality is created. Our beliefs, confidence and life path are often set within the first five years of our lives.

Unfortunately, every child is not given an equal set of encouraging, confidence-building beliefs. Many of us are told that being confident is bad, and that only 'ego-maniacs' have high opinions of themselves. Fortunately there are several powerful ways to move past this type of thinking and build our confidence.

What are the best ways to develop your confidence?

In one of my previous blog post, I have talked about 10 ways to boost your self confidence Click to Read Post. 

Anyone can improve his or her confidence. And contrary to what most people believe, it has little to do with the external parts of our lives, such as relationships, career choices, success or anything else. The journey to build your confidence starts from the inside out.

  • Set Goals : This is probably the easiest thing you can do to help yourself. You write a big list of things you’d like in your life, and then pick a few to work towards right now. Keep the list with you, and keep working on the list until you have reached your goals. Then go back to the big list and choose some more goals.

  • Be clear on your values : Each of us must stand for something on our lives, and it's important that we know what it is. This is not an easy task to do, but it's certainly worthwhile. Take the time to think about what you want your life to be about and write down some values. Words like integrity, freedom, contribution, courtesy and success are excellent places to start. The key to making your values work for you is that you must make them your own. Don’t just choose the values your parents or partner have. Always make them your own and resolve to live by them as much as you can.

  • What do you want ? : The third way to build confidence is to make a habit of asking for what you want. The old principle 'ask and ye shall receive' is still alive and true today. If you truly desire something in your life, then go ahead and ask for it. The truly confident person is able to ask people for whatever they want or need. They are willing to risk people saying no to them, because they have a sense of inner calm that goes beyond the events of the day.

  • Do not take things personally : Taking negative remarks or events as a personal attack is a reason why so many people are unhappy. Once you stop believing that the world is out to annoy or disappoint you, things become a lot easier to cope with. Next time someone or something happens to you that makes you feel angry or anxious, remember to stop taking it personally and replace the feeling with humour.

  • Trust your choice:  We all have a great capacity for thought and to make choices. A winning trait of a confident person is that they believe in their own ideas and are willing to follow through on them. If you are continually seeking approval from other people, you won?t get very far. If you are in the habit of always seeking an opinion or asking for approval (even without saying it directly), then resolve to stop doing it.

The Upward Spiral

The best thing about building your confidence is that it causes the principle of 'reciprocal causation'. 

This means that doing the things that create confidence actually make it easier to do more confidence building activities. In essence, you begin to create an upward spiral.

Bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with; good habits are hard to form but easy to live with. Building confidence is a good habit that you must develop. As it continues to build you'll find it easier and easier to live with.

By choosing one of the above activities and following through on it, you will cause reciprocal causation to kick in. Soon your confidence will enable you to try more and more confidence building activities.

Eventually you will see your life, love and world transform, as you become a truly confident person. 

Just do it !

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

5 Great Games

One of the basic elements of working in a team is to collaborate, communicate, listen and hold on ..... Have fun !! 
The Leader has to ensure that his team learns to work together , respect and trust each other and enjoy at the workplace
In my sessions, I have used these games.  These games can be used for various occasions. Hope you like them !
For each game I list :
§  tnumber of participants
§  an estimate for the duration
§  the learning objectives and purpose
§  the material needed
§  a short description with instructions for the game’s facilitator

For the learning objectives and purpose, I’ll additionally recommend a short debriefing after the games, where you’ll find even more valuable outcomes.

Chair Game
number of participants: >= 9 (the more the better)
duration: 15 min
learning objectives/purpose: Success only through collaboration; working together across teams; finding a higher common goal; silent communication
material: >= 20 chairs
short description: Have the participants form 3 groups. Tell the participants not to talk anymore. Give each group one of the following instructions on a card (group should keep it a secret for the other groups):
§  arrange all the chairs in the room in a big circle
§  put all the chairs in the room upside down
§  group all the chairs in the room to pairs

Make sure everyone in the groups reads the instructions. Tell the groups to execute their instructions. If at some point every group is stuck, tell them that there is a solution that every group will be able to successfully execute their instructions at the same time. Debrief when there’s no movement in the room anymore.

possible progression: Groups will first fight each other, later hopefully see that they can all reach their goals together. The end state of the chairs is a big circle with pairs of chairs turned upside down.
Count to 33
number of participants: >= 3 (not more than 20)
duration: 5 min
learning objectives/purpose: simple things can be hard to achieve; listen to others

short description: Have the participants stand up and form a circle. Let the participants shout out numbers in the sequence from 1 up to 33 clockwise. Give the instruction:
“Whenever your number is dividable by 3 or ends with a 3 you have to clap your hands together instead of shouting out the number.”
Whenever a participant makes a mistake, the following participant has to start all over again with 1. Debrief when the group reaches the number 33.

possible progression: Participants will end up with this sequence (numbers are shouted): 1 2 clap 4 5 clap 7 8 clap 10 11 clap clap 14 clap 16 17 clap 19 20 clap 22 clap clap 25 26 clap 28 29 clap 31 32 clap
Escape the Room
number of participants: >= 3 (the more the better)
duration: 10 min
learning objectives/purpose: collaboration; silent communication
material: 1 chair per person
short description: All participants sit on a chair randomly distribute in a (large) room. Let participants lift their feets from the ground. Announce the following instructions:
“The goal of the following game is to escape the room. From now on, nobody is allowed to touch the floor or speak anymore.”
possible progression: Some participants hop with their chair to the exit. Others, often the ones furthest away from the exit, will cooperate by forming a bridge with their chairs. Some will also help others, e.g. by ‘islands’ (i.e. participants on chairs not connected to the bridge help by extending the bridge in their direction).
number of participants: >= 10 (the more the better)
duration: 10 min
learning objectives/purpose: warm-up; deals with post-meal coma
material: 1 chair per person minus one 1 chair
short description: Have the participants build a circle of chairs with one chair per participant (except for yourself). Assign a fruit out of three or four possible fruits to each participant and yourself, like
“Strawberry, banana, apple, mango, strawberry, banana, apple, mango, strawberry, banana – and I’m an apple.”
Explain the rules:
“Whenever the person in the middle calls out a fruit, the participants that fruit was assigned to have to get up and quickly find a new chair to sit on. When they get up, the person in the middle also tries to find a chair. Given that there is one chair less than the number of participants, one person will end up without a chair, and the game starts over. Instead of a fruit the person in the middle can shout ‘fruitsalad’, which means that everybody has to find another chair. It is not allowed to sit on any of your neighbour’s chairs.”
possible progression: Big fun in a fast paced game, where you have to react quickly.
Counting In The Dark

number of participants: >= 5 (not more than 20)
duration: 15 min
learning objectives/purpose: collaboration; silent communication

short description: Have the participants stand up and form a circle. Let them close their eyes. Tell them to count to 10 aloud. Whenever two people shout out any two numbers together, let the group start over.

possible progression: People will start calling out numbers with a high possibility for calling them out together, so they have to start over and over again. Since their eyes are closed, they can’t use sign language. They have to collaborate to find a appropriate strategy like letting one person alone do the counting, or by using a counting token which will be passed from one to the other.
Enjoy playing !  Have Fun !