Saturday, 27 April 2013

Who is Greater ?

Long time ago,  in the faraway  land of  the Golden Silicon Valley,  there were two large Kingdoms ruled by two mighty kings named Vikram and Amartya.  Both of them ruled with righteousness and equity.  They  gave judgments without partiality, hatred, ignorance, or fear. The people of both the kingdoms led a happy, safe and content life. 

One day King Vikram went to the big jungle to hunt tigers. Coincidentally, King Amartya also asked his charioteer to take him to the same forest to look for a particular kind of flower which his queen wanted for decorating her hair. Suddenly, the two kings came face to face in a low cart-track with precipitous sides where there as no space for a chariot to get out of the way ! 

The charioteer of Vikram ,the king said to the charioteer of  King Amartya  

 "Take thy chariot out of the way!"

But he said, "Take thy chariot out of the way, O charioteer! In this chariot sitteth  the great king Amartya " !

Both the charioteers were in a fix. Then they decided to check who was greater of the two in terms of age, wealth, creed, kingdom etc. 

It was found that  both were lords of a kingdom three hundred leagues in extent; and that in respect of army and wealth and the countries in which they lived,  their caste and their tribe and their family, they were absolutely equal and at par !

Then the charioteer thought, "I will make way for the most righteous".  And he asked, "Tell me about your King's virtues "

Then the charioteer of the King Vikram,said :

"The strong he overthrows by strength,
The mild by mildness, does Vikram;
The good he conquers by goodness,
And the wicked by wickedness too.
Such is the nature of this king!
Move out of the way, O charioteer

Then the charioteer of the King Vikram said :“Now tell me , what are the virtues your king has?"

The charioteer of the King Amartya said

"Anger he conquers by calmness,
And by goodness the wicked;
The stingy he conquers by gifts,
And by truth the speaker of lies.
Such is the nature of this king!
'Move out of the way, O charioteer!"

And when he had thus spoken, both Vikram the king and his charioteer alighted from their chariot. And they took out the horses, and removed their chariot, and made way for the King Amartya.

Managers, How do you conquer your team ? Like Vikram or like Amartya ?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Is Distraction robbing you of your very own 86400 ?

I have a target of writing one blog post every Wednesday. But for the last two weeks I am lagging behind. Too many tasks, too many different activities and too many distractions ..... 

Consider this - I have to work on my consultancy work, my coaching assignments,  there are some social welfare activities that I am involved  in , which needs attention and on top of this certain household chores and usual problems.  I try to fit in everything in my own 86400 seconds of my day. How do I fit in the things which rejuvenate me  - like reading, music, blogging and writing ? Sometimes I get the feeling that I am being robbed of my 86400!

As I had written in one of my previous posts on PRODUCTIVITY , I am a great believer in To-do lists and Time management. And one of the the main deterrent to time management is distraction or interruption

How to tackle distractions ? I have thought about it and would like to share my tips : 

  • One of the biggest distraction is email and social networking. We always want to be available (Read the post FOMO). From today I will set aside about 30-45 min per day  for emails and networking. I will try to spread it across my day during the most unproductive periods of day.

  • Phone calls  - If I am in between some important task, and my phone rings, I will ignore it or cut it short by saying I will call back .

  • Time thieves : Some people are time thieves who have nothing to do except distract you from your work. Try to recognize them and tackle with them appropriately. They come in various avatars -Negative people, gloomy people, adoring people and lost people.  Cut them short , be selfish about spending your time on them - save your precious 86400 !

  • Me !!! - I have seen that sometimes when I am working , my thoughts get carried away towards some news ideas or projects rather than which is on my desk right now ! I will keep a notebook handy and jot down the ideas and get back on track on my current task .

  • Learning to say "NO" - Sounds easy, but it is very difficult. When people request you or demand that you do a certain task, they think that you am catering to only their job. But that is not the case.  You have to put yourself first. We can say say no politely and give a reason. People do understand. It is we who need to practice saying "No" . 

We have to keep our goals in mind and if possible in front of our eyes. Stick the Weekly to-do list on your work table. And relentlessly strive to protect the gift of 86400 seconds you get every day from God. 

Hope to get back on track on my weekly blogging . 

So if you see another post from me after a week, be sure that the above tips are working !

Saturday, 6 April 2013

How well are you managing your 80 ?

This  week was really bad for me.  

There were lots of meetings  -  most of them urgent  ,  adhoc tasks ,  too many transactions to be completed both at work and at home and so on and so forth. I usually plan and make goals for the week.  So , on Friday evening when  I sat down to check how much I had achieved of these goals,  I was really dismayed !   I was reminded of the 80-20 rule and I would like to elaborate on this.

This may come as a surprise, but despite all the talk about life balance, we  can benefit  by introducing a little imbalance into our day. I'm referring to the 80/20 rule, which is rooted in what is known as the Pareto Principle.

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian scientist.  In 1906, Pareto observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. Pareto's theory of predictable imbalance has since been applied to almost every aspect of modern life.

When applied to work, it means that approximately 20 percent of our efforts produce 80 percent of the results. Learning to recognize them and then focus on that 20 percent is the key to making the most effective use of our time and effort.

Finding the 80/20 ratio is crucial for maximizing performance in any business. We have to identify the products or services that generate the most income (the 20 percent) and drop the rest (the 80 percent) that only provide marginal benefits. Spend the time working on the parts of the business that we can improve significantly with our core skills and leave the tasks that are outside our best 20 percent to other people. Work hardest on elements that work hardest for us. Reward the best employees well, cull the worst. Drop the bad clients and focus on upselling and improving service to the best clients.  

Sounds easy? But in reality, the identification of the 80 and the 20 is the most difficult.

Sample situations :

·  80% of process defects arise from 20% of the process issues.
·  20% of  sales force produces 80% of  the  company revenues.
·  80% of delays in schedule arise from 20% of the possible causes of the delays

There is also a management theory floating around at the moment – which may be a bit controversial , that proposes to interpret Pareto's Principle in such a way as to produce what is called Superstar Management. The theory's supporters claim that since 20 percent of your people produce 80 percent of your results, you should focus your limited time on managing only that 20 percent, the “superstars”.

The  80 - 20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of  our time and energy on the 20 percent of  our  work that is really important. We should not just  "work smart",  we should work smart on the right things.  

Another term for this rule is "The Vital Few and Trivial Many."  As a side-note , another of Pareto's controversial theory  is that human beings are not, for the most part, motivated by logic and reason but rather by sentiment – but this is another topic altogether and I will talk about this some other time !

Apply the 20 to work for your Vital 80 and enjoy your  weekend !