Thursday, 31 December 2015

You can do Anything, but not Everything !

In my corporate work journey, I have met many people. Some good , some not so good.  Some were exemplary and some taught me what not to emulate . 

The learning curve of a child is the steepest from age 0 to 5. In the same way,  when you start your career, that is the time when you rub your corners and shine like a diamond and soak up experiences and learn. 

I had been lucky to work with a person when I started the career and over the years I have realized how much I have learned from him.  For the sake of anonymity, let me call him Big B.   

For some, delegating comes easily, maybe too easy. For others who are perfectionists, letting go of even the most trivial task is almost impossible. If you are in this second category, you probably don’t like the references behind your back that you are a “control freak” or a “micro-manager.”

For Big B , delegation came instinctively.  He had a clear idea about what he would delegate, to whom he will delegate. He gave crystal clear instructions on the assignments. The deadlines, the priorities were crisply communicated.  And he had his own excellent methods of tracking and following ups. 

But one thing which was really admirable about Big B's  delegation was the trust he placed on people and giving credit at the right time and place.

Big B came to office exactly at 9 am and left at 5 pm. Without fail.  I remember one day,  I panted to his office at 5 pm.   He was ready to leave.

"Sir ... please, I need your signature on these " ... I blurted out. 

He looked at me . 

"Is the office on fire ? " He asked . 

"No Sir ... "

"Has anyone died ? "

"Err... No ... ! " I blabbered. 

"Then my signature can wait till tomorrow morning"

"But Sir .... we might lose out on the new contract... "

"Well ... Why couldn't you come a few minutes before ? " Big B asked again

By that time, I was completely flabbergasted.  I could not answer his question.

He picked up his bag and started leaving.  

Big B looked at me and said  "If someone is not efficient, why should I have to pay for it ? " 

This was a lesson learnt which I have not forgotten till date. 

Three Cheers for Big B !   I am sure this post will make him smile.  

I salute you sir !   

Monday, 14 December 2015

Get up ! Stand Up !

We, the females in India  have a long way to go ......
A strange event happened in an organization a few days back , which made me wonder even more ....
 But first read the following excerpt from an interview with Warren Buffet where he has talked about Women then and now  :
"I was born in 1930, I had an older sister Doris, a few years older; a younger sister Bertie, a few years younger. Absolutely as smart as I am—probably a little smarter—and much more personable. They got along better in the world and all of that. 
My parents—our parents—loved us all equally, they never told my sisters “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that”—verbally—but every message they got from society, from their teachers in every way was that their job was to marry well and that if they insisted on working that they could be a secretary, or a nurse or a teacher.
And essentially they were telling me, again silently in many ways, that the sky was the limit. So we would go to school, we would get similar grades, they had everything going for them—except that they were women.
Society just said if you want to be a teacher, fine. If you want to be a nurse, fine. If you want to be a secretary, fine. But forget everything else. So, I have seen that change in my lifetime, although change was slow…It has changed a lot for the better. There’s still important ways to go."
I have been working in Multinational organizations for the last two decades and sometimes I felt proud that yes, there is a difference now . I felt that females have become more professional,  more and more girls are working and are becoming financially independent . Specially in the Software , Banking and hospitality sector, female workforce has increased. I thought that this has made us more confident and secure . 
But my belief was shaken .  Let me recount . 
A lady - in her early twenties worked in the organization. She was an efficient worker, pleasant and hardworking. She commuted for 3 hours daily.  She was reliable and dependable and gelled well in the organization. 
About four months back , she informed everybody that she was getting married . Her fiance was an advocate and she would now be staying a stone's throw away from office. She beamed.  She was happy . So were her colleagues and others in the organization. 
But thereafter , the problems started. She was down with typhoid and had to take unexpected leave for about 3.5 weeks .  Her engagement ceremony happened. And after that she became irregular and unpredictable.  She said that she had to visit her in-laws for preparation of her dresses. She had already consumed all her leaves.  But her supervisor did all the necessary work and took pains to grant her some advance leave. 
When she came with her wedding card to the Global Head , she was asked  whether she would continue work or not. "Definitely ... I have worked so hard and now that I am nearer to the work place , there is no question of my not continuing to work ... " She had smiled demurely. 

She got married. 

She joined office 1 week after her planned leaves had expired.  She attended office for a couple of days and then she again became very irregular. The work suffered.  Her manager was displeased . The deadlines could not be met because of her unavailability. 

She called up her manager after a few days and said that she was staying with her in laws since they wanted her to "integrate" with the family and that she would join back in a few days. 

"A few days " became 2 weeks and then one day she called up her manager saying that she was not well and would like to discontinue working. She would come on the last day of the month to collect her dues and her release letter. 

As per the company policy, she was liable to serve 1 month notice period.  The organizational dynamics was such that this would set a very bad precedent. So, it was conveyed to her that she would not be given her release letter if she did not serve the ice period. 

The next day, she sent an email to the HR manager and  her manager. The email's language was not ordinary.  It was totally like a legal notice. 

It had been written by her lawyer husband. 

I will not go into details of what happened after that. 

It was again evident that the husband did not care about her reputation in the organization, neither did he care about what she wished to do. Neither could she stand up for herself .  

After marriage , the woman's wants , needs, ambition , everything becomes the property of her husband and in-laws.  In this age too, most of  the females are made to "sacrifice" her ambitions, growth etc for the needs of the family.  She is not able to "Lean in " .....

We females should stand up for ourselves. 

We should not be guilty of "being ambitious".  
We should speak our minds.  
We should fight for equality. 
In every step of life. 
Both at home and at work.

We do NOT need validation from anybody !!

It is high time that in the nursery textbooks instead of reading "Father is going to work and mother is cooking",  we should demand that it is replaced with "Mother is in office and father is helping the daughter get ready for school ".

Let us break the stereotypes !