Tag Archives: Management

Brilliant business discussion!

The image below captures it all really- I wish I could recall the article I shot this from to credit it- however, this is the best discussion to capture the importance of a good team.

Today, being the day of entrepreneur awards, I am reminded of the lesson yet again! So go on you business owners, managers and everyone else in power, surround yourself with a good team.

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And this captures my thinking very well!

The other day, I was discussing the situation of my past company and why I left ‘cos I had no faith in certain members of the team. When I read #4 on this post about firing, I feel I made the right decision- I couldn’t fire the person so I jumped ship as I didn’t believe in the organisation.

Today, I feel good about that decision. I don’t really need the external validation but every so often, it feels good.

Let’s help the company find the people who fit the roles correctly and let those people find their niche ‘cos not everyone can do everything right! So go ahead, fire that person. You could be doing them the biggest favour ever!

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Actions speak louder than words!

The other day, I was back in my old office talking to the second most senior person- someone I have admired from my first interaction and someone I genuinely have a lot of time for. She is also one of the really few people I have always been inspired by- for her simple ways, her warmth, her encouragement, her dedication and her passion. So, to hear words like “you overwhelm me and make me feel inadequate” are high praise in themselves, but when she invites you to talk to * wait for this *
** breathe ** (me, not you)
*** drum rolls *** (again, for me, not you)
… to the WHOLE office- I don’t mean the Dublin office, or the Irish office- I mean, internationally- .i.e. almost 250,000 people globally- and these are some of the brightest minds in the world, then, well… you know her words were not just words.

STILL overwhelmed by her reaction. STILL in shock. STILL in complete awe of the lady.

And today, I have A LOT more self belief- so dear world, watch out- ‘cos I come with renewed energy (even if my sickness means I need to sleep every 3-4 hours and I feel like death warmed up) and optimism and faith. The world is definitely my oyster and here I am to take over as that meek engineer who actually makes the ship get to its course while the captain is too busy dancing and prancing around.

Boo yeah. Whoever said 2012 is going to be awesome was so right. Oh wait, that was me- see, already coming true!

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Dreams for 2012

I have been meaning to write down all I want to achieve this year: here are some images!

1. The BIGGEST decision of my life potentially but one that makes me excited, tingly and happy 🙂

2. I know I look good but there is something about feeling good- inside and out. I have ignored yoga and my body for ages but this year, I want it to change. It is not just about turning heads when I walk in about doing a double-take everytime I catch a glimpse of me in the mirror! Too vain, perhaps but it’s what I want for me.

3. My blog name says it, my very ethos is about it and I really miss it. I cannot wait to go on a new adventure. I am hoping I don’t have too long a wait.

4. What’s the point of owning a beautiful car like mine if I don’t take it for an adventure- bring on summer, hood down, foot on accelerator and just a weekend of giggles, photography, chats, fun- boyfriend optional 😉 Well, to make it that bit more special, it would be nice to go with him!

5. Goes back to #1. When I start earning, I can start saving. It’s a vicious circle.

6. With the changes coming my way, with the roller-coaster I have been through in the past few months, with the decisions I have made in the past few years, I have forgotten myself- my values have remained, I have adapted but I have not always been honest to myself- this year, I find myself again.

Honestly, I am not even sure what this means but it sounds AWESOME and so I am somehow gonna define it this year for myself and make it happen!

And when I find myself, define magic for myself, I can be who I want to be- again. It is time to reinvent myself.

7. Have fun, live life, be happy

So what if this is my last moment on earth- as I have said, I would rather die doing something fun and memorable than sick and bored…

Part of finding myself is to accept myself too!

This means finding a different type of strength, maybe not so unladylike though:

AND confidence- the confidence to be me!

And now that I have begun the process of finding inner peace, I hope to always

8. While finding my new strengths, I shouldn’t forget the old ones in my life:

I am SO SO SO SO SO lucky to have the people I have in my life- thank you! If I am cranky, if I am tired, if I am insufferable over the next while- forgive me and keep giving me the strength!

And why wait to find a mistletoe… 😉

A hard call- I do know this is always tough to judge and very intangible but I really hope to achieve it the best I can:

9. Something small, something materialistic and something that makes me smile: I am going to own my own Loubotins by the end of 2012!

10. A full bar to me symbolises friends coming in, good times, the ability to afford the finer things and a sign of laughs and memories that have been shared and that will be created 🙂

And no point of drink, without some food, esp exotic food- nom nom nom!

11. I also want to read more, write more, see more plays, have more laughs, explore more and just let the year be the year of awesome!

2012: the year of living, the year of dreams and the year of living my dreams! 🙂

So…

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6 in 6 days!

This is a NEW record for me- I have always been head-hunted, I have always had opportunities come my way but in the last 6 working days, I have had 6 job offers!

Almost all of them have been very enticing, very exciting, very tempting. I have been thinking about it alot and decided to try and identify what is it that I love so much about what’s on offer and what I have so here goes:

On Offer:

  • An opportunity to make my own team- in most cases, I will have 1 or 2 old people but need to bring in other talent as I deem fit
  • Money- not just the money but the expense account, the options to spend and get the lifestyle I need
  • Travel- all offer me an expat package of X trips to India (and the ones not in Ireland are even willing to thrown in a trip to Ireland annually!!!!!)
  • Intelligence- the roles are tough but the people I will be with will have intelligence
  • Assistant- I need one. Simple as. No doubts.
  • Structures- I usually dislike these but I do see the need to have certain structures, reviews, documents etc to udnerstand what’s happening
  • Not living in the Urgent land- The idea of pre-planning is something I embrace
  • Company- I am not a lone wolf
  • Support- Interesting networking opportunities, interesting people to meet etc
  • Did I mention BRAINS? And I don’t mean the ones zombies look for!
  • Financial responsibility- not budgets etc but when who gets paid etc- the actual process

What I love here:

  • Freedom- I come and go as I please. This does me feel guilty and I track to do about 80 hours of work a week- double of what I am technically supposed to
  • Opportunity- there is so much growth possible, there are so many things we can do but we need to plan and get the right team together and I am finding it tough to do that- when the coach you have hired doesn’t think one has the right team, you know you are in trouble
  • Responsibility- I have an awesome scope- I can do what I want, the lack of some structure (for lack of better word) upsets me to some extent but the rest is pretty darn awesome
  • Living my dream- I can actually see the dream life in my head unfold if certain things go as I imagine they should/ will
  • Emotional attachment- this is MY baby- Ryan may have done the initial hardwork and all- he carried the baby for the gestation period but when it was time to change the nappies, wake up to feed it and do all the dirty work, I was in there with the sleeves rolled up. He may not admit it, but I had a huge part of the decision and achievements wracked up by this organisaton even before I came in full-time. Just when the baby is beginning to start walking, it would be wrong of me to not be there to make sure the gates are closed, the stairs padded yet show the baby the path it needs to go down ‘cos watch out world, we are gonna rule the roost and beyond!
  • Pride- No one and I mean no one else can do what I am doing in the organisation- not someone new, not Ryan, not any of the current team, no one- a lot of factors work towards this realisation. Not saying I am not replaceable- just as easily can be but no one can else get the organisation to perform the way I can, partly cos of the visions I have and the way Ryan and I think and are linked.

However, it’s weird when I was writing the good, a lot of the negative points came up too and I feel, I just do, I need to pen it down:

  • I am unhappy- unhappy not ‘cos I am doing something I don’t want to but ‘cos I care and I am doing something I want yet I have a sh!t team- I change any words I might have said in the past- wipe them all out and let’s start afresh. The organisation has grown, they have been asked to grow and they are not growing the way they need to- I am beginning to wonder if they have the capacity to?!
  • I have NO support- as a friend or as a colleague- if I open my mouth- I am apparently being too chatty, being too whingy, being too sulky or being too judgemental- f*ck you all. And this article helps me realise even more that I am not going completely insane.
  • Almost every time I have an idea, it’s dismissed and then fed back to me a few days later- sometimes I feel its a power play but most of the time, I think it takes that long for him to assimilate the idea and by the time he does, he forgets where it came from and then wonders why I have no original thoughts
  • I feel guilty if I am not working every single moment
  • I can’t afford the life I want- I came here for 3 months and am still here 13 months later and have nothing to show for it
  • I can’t implement the changes I want, I can’t base the office in a place that makes sense (tacit knowledge/ hub/ proximity/ safety), I can’t make decisions
  • I don’t have certain powers I want- I will always remain ready to fly till I have that security and till I know I have it cos I have earned it- Crystal, Ryan, Spartacus telling me they will look after me no matter what is not the security I can live with
  • I HATE, HATE, HATE the official title I have- it’s missing the most important aspect about my role- the aspect I love and the very aspect I do least of
  • I really dislike not being a team in the office and the lack of communication we have- telepathy has it’s limitations
  • I don’t like the fact that Ryan’s loyalty doesn’t allow me to hold people as accountable as I would like
  • I don’t like that Ryan feels he is above everything and be excluded form procedures
  • I don’t like the fact that I seem to be constantly picking up Ryan’s sh!t and he doesn’t realise that- how long does toilet training really take?!
  • Lack of intelligence- I am tired of talking to myself, I crave human interaction.
  • Lack of meeting new people- I get ideas, perspectives, thoughts from interactions and not from reading or lectures- at the end of the day, a coffee is so much more fruitful
  • I feel I am constantly banging my head against a wall
  • I know I am constantly banging my head against a wall
  • My ‘team’ can’t perform and I am constantly doing things to make their targets achievable without anyone else knowing to project them in a good light but how long can I run myself this thin?

Sorry about this peeps, what started off as a WOW moment ended up as a rant- if I told my mother today that she may have an unemployed daughter on her hands today, things must be bad.

I wrote Ryan a card asking for time and undivided attention and then I chickened and removed it ‘cos of the day he has had- see, I protect him constantly- the best friend, the mate, the love in me can’t hurt him even for his own good yet a part of me is hurting and crying for attention- sitting in the same room for 2 hours with 5 mins of chatting helped me feel it’s all ok even if it’s a false sense of security- at the end of the day, I want simple things and happiness and contentment- I want my dreams to come true, I want to have the relationship I deserve, I want to lead the organisation to heights it deserves to go to, I want to support my mother in a lifestyle she deserves, I want to look after my aunts and uncles, I want to be able to go on the holidays I need to just survive- I am considering a sun day for Gawd’s sake, I want to be able to buy a magazine without wondering if I can afford it if that’s what I choose to do, I want to laugh, I want to smile, I want to be the person I always imagined I will be, I want to be able to buy the €1000 pair of shoes I am drooling over ‘cos I will appreciate them and want them, I want to be able to get the handbag I actually need and not settle for something sub-par cos it’s in my budget, I want the house I planned years ago.

I don’t have high expectations of me, do I? 😉

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To stay or not to stay…

I am at that junction in life (AGAIN) where I am confused, disillusioned, cynical, depressed, peeved off and f*cking confused (yes, I said confused twice, deliberately).

I have NO idea where my life is going, I have NO clue what to do to get what I want, I have NO real love (yes, my family and friends rock but they are not always there for me and those that are, I feel terrible about using them so much constantly that I now feel alone), I have NO assets to speak of (big boobs don’t count!!!!), I have NO way of talking to my bestest friend cos he has NO time for me or anything else on this planet bar himself, I have NO plans about what’s happening next and I have NOTHING in my life going my way- AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

And no, it’s not hormonal.

Wish I knew what to decide, how to decide, I know what I want but I have NO clue how to get it all. I am tired, tired of trying to play games, tired of carrying the weight I carry on my shoulders, tired of being taken for granted, tired of being told I am useless, tired of having a happy mask on my face, tired of life. There are times I genuinely wish I was weak enough to give it all up and throw the towel in.

Baby steps- should I stay in my current job? should I stay in Dublin? should I stay in Ireland?

I got an awesome job offer- what a package, the benefits, the salary and all came up to almost half a million in a fairly decent currency- I could get the car, the house, the clothes, the gadgets, the lifestyle I wanted in a flash and I am pretty certain it would help in many other ways but the role and location didn’t excite me enough- turning it down was one of the most interesting conversations in my life.

Nothing is making me happy at the moment. Nothing! I feel like an utter failure.

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Guilty EVEN when proven innocent!!

The other day, I had to make my annual pilgrimage to get my visa sorted. I find that a simple 20 min task to get both immigration and visa sorted spans over 2 days and is bl**dy painful.

Simple changes could really make things SO efficient:

  • Have one window do both the tasks- so what if they are 2 different departments?!
  • Get people to book appointments so they can do other things and don’t spend hours sitting there
  • Provide desks for those who want to work on the move so the productivity element can carry on
  • Why have someone stand there to hand out tickets? If they are checking the documents anyway, maybe they can figure a quicker way of processing them too?
  • Why not let someone be efficient by giving them a ticket while they go get a postal order- saves them time and has people out quicker- win-win!
  • Why not accept credit cards and not make people waste money on getting a postal order?
  • Allow the visa and registration to last longer than a year
  • Make the long-term visa quicker to get so people don’t have to do this annually
  • Make it possible to renew online
  • Treat people with respect- if they are in the immigration office, they are either working, married to someone who is working or studying here and therefore, in all instances, they are bringing money into the economy!
  • Maybe have a separate process for the different stamps or priority queues or something
  • And why oh why close the office of the second step so much earlier than the first step- it means, people have to return the next day and therefore, need 2 days away for this bureaucratic sh!te!!

Worst thing is the way the people treat you in there- even if you have all the paperwork, you have everything done right, you are treated with disrespect and piece of sh!t- it’s as if you are guilty despite having been proven innocent and it’s as if you are worse than scum.

Basically, it’s a horrible experience and one I truly dislike, especially since it could be so quick, so efficient, so pleasant for all involved. Is this what I pay my taxes plus the f*cking expensive registration fees for?! I mean, I paid a HUGE amount for a green card, and then I have to pay for registration and finally for a visa- POINTLESS!!!! Do it in one go and charge me an extra 50- the saved time is well worth it or rather, don’t charge SO much every single time.

 

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What makes a CEO?

So, my title states I am a part of the ‘C’ suite. My behaviour certainly is that. My life is mostly about work so it goes to show but it doesn’t mean that growth isn’t something I focus on.

I focus on growing myself and growing the organisation too. Infact, I think it is very important for self to grow for the organisation to keep growing.

But one thing I disagree with is the basis of this article- I don’t believe good CEOs are born and can’t be taught. Seriously, are we to believe that all the really successful business leaders out there have that inate quality in them and no one else can get it? That pretty much kills the chance for everyone else. Take me, for example, I was always brought up to believe I was awesome, I was amazing and I would be the chairperson of a big business. Was it that environment and reinforcement that made me the person I am today or was it my nationality or was I just ‘born with it’?

I do believe the fact that I am Indian (and a bania, to top it off, for the Indians who follow me) has definitely helped me be a success today. I do believe the environmental reinforcing has helped me too. But I do believe the skills I have learnt over the years have definitely helped me get to where I am. I was always somewhat strategic- perhaps, yes; definitely, no. I was always very good with people- perhaps, yes; definitely- not! I was always good at organising and executing things- perhaps, yes; definitely, no.

So basically, my personal understanding of what makes a CEO is someone who has the IQ to think big and think of the steps needed to get there and the EQ to bring along the team (which may not always be the perfect mix) to that vision while managing their stress levels and having a successful personal life.

Infact, to me, the last 2 factors are exceptionally important- being able to not lose one;s temper is exceptionally important and being surrounded by a close family is almost a necessity. Yes, I speak from experience.

I have always performed best when I am happy in all fields- when I am loved up, when I know I have that partner, when I have time with my friends, when I get exercise, when I eat healthy, when I get them massages, when I read a good book, when I enjoy a good dinner, when I go for that awesome holiday and not when I am tired, cranky and always feeling like a doormat. It’s important to be content and that comes from within and that’s what helps me perform, or so I believe naively perhaps.

And so today, I went kickboxing 🙂

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Businessmen are politicians too

If the past few weeks have taught me anything, it is that politics is a part of our lives more than we realise.

There is politics everywhere- whether it is the politics of sucking up to a boss, the politics of smiling when angry, the politics of being seen to do the right thing, the politics of being at the right event, the politics of living- no matter where one is, we are surrounded by a certain politic!

And often I have wondered why certain competitions care about who we are, who we hang out with, who we date, who we share houses with, where we live, where we went to school, what have we faced in our lives, what we need to more etc etc etc and realised that it is primarily because if you are a leader/ if you are in the public eye, no matter whether you are a public servant or not, you have certain responsibilities and you have to adhere to them!

Ah well, lesson learnt, I just need to be more careful, esp in Ireland, where the business community is small and I stand out for being different… So much for thinking I could be the first generation in years to stay away from politics!

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Glass Ceiling

Tonight, after ages, I had a fabulously long chat with Tigger. I miss her. And it’s at times like these that I truly thank technology- out of my 5 closest friends, only 1 is in Ireland- Ryan. All the others live in different parts of the world and yes, I have some extremely close friends in Ireland, these 5 are in a league of their own, it’s just different.

So anyway, while talking to Tigger, she mentioned how a b!tch was bullying her at work and telling her she was no good (now, seriously, if I could afford her- I would snap her and have her on my books so darn quick that the very thought that someone would think she is not good at what she does is mind-boggling) and how she should not have been hired at all.

It got me thinking… I have been in scenarios where I have had managers/ bosses/ peers put me down too. However, every time it was about my ability to perform, it usually came from the females- the ones who outwardly were all sugary sweet and all for women’s equality but in reality about stabbing the back and making sure they stood out and were recognised for breaking the glass ceiling…

Some years ago, I had read somewhere the glass ceiling was a phenomena that the women invented- sometimes I wonder if we have too much time on our hands to come up with such terms! The men were too used to it being an all-male club and all that but somehow I suspect, they were not completely averse to a set of nice looking legs joining their meetings- it took some adjusting but was it worth all the hoopla that continues today? Is the glass ceiling something that is really there or something we have dreamt up?

I mean, is it a bit like racism? I am always asked if I found it tough to become friendly with the Irish or if I ever felt discriminated against etc. I think if I went analysing everything, maybe yes I was treated differently ‘cos I am different (duh) or ‘cos there was a form of bias but I believe if you don’t look for it, there is none to be found. If I came here with the mindset expecting people to treat me differently, I would have probably been treated that way. But instead, today I run a fabulous young company with great promise, I am surrounded by an excellent set of friends (pity they are not closer to me- I do miss the occasional coffee) and I don’t ever feel I have been mistreated because I am darker, prettier, browner, more exotic looking or whatever else people want to think.

Yes, being a woman in the management world has its disadvantages- we are emotional, we think differently but you know what, those very things are our advantages too- we can deal with negotiations better, we can shed some interesting perspectives and we can help a team avoid groupthink- so there. I wish more people would judge talent for what it is, forget the gender, forget their biases and let the world get on in its natural state- ie, by letting the fittest survive- be it man or woman.

I think Buck Rodgers captures my thoughts very succinctly:

“There are countless ways of attaining greatness, but any road to reaching one's maximum 
potential must be built on a bedrock of respect for the individual, a commitment to excellence, and a rejection of mediocrity.” 

The goal may not always be about attaining greatness but I suspect if you are talented, you manage to gather it along the journey.

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“I wanna be my own boss”

These words are so common, so many people say them. And I can completely see the beauty in it:

  • It shows ambition & drive- characteristics I completely understand
  • It shows gumption- no one gets to the top without some risk
  • It shows the understanding of freedom- there is something nice about not really reporting into anyone
  • It shows responsibility- oh boy! being your own boss means answering to the biggest critic- yourself and your parents (mostly)
  • It shows vision- you need to think ahead and plan it if you wanna get there

On the flip side though, may don’t realise there are downsides too:

  • You never switch off- work is a part of your breath, work is what you think of all the time, work is what you dream of, work is #1 and there’s no question about it
  • You are responsible for feeding a lot of other mouths- some directly, some indirectly
  • You may think you can take time off whenever you want but you can’t- you are the linchpin, you need to make sure everything keeps happening
  • Your day is never your own, even though you love it and you adore what you do…

Though saying all this, I will have it no other way! If one treats being their own boss as really that and meets their targets etc and don’t just use being the boss as an excuse to not perform or live up to their employees’/ customers’ expectations, then they will realise it is the toughest job ever.

No wonder you need a massive foundation of hardwork and passion. Thank God I have large amounts of those- I will be needing them in the next while, I suspect… fingers crossed.

EDIT: Added new:

Someone else (in NYT) was obviously thinking being one’s own boss today- the ups & downs, as well. Enjoy the read.

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The Meaning of Success

The past few days the idea of Success has really been playing around in my head. And I came across the 4Cs to Success from an individual’s perspective (Thank you Forbes magazine):

Clarity – Clarity of purpose and direction is fundamental to your career and life success. Success begins with a clear picture of how you define it, create a powerful mental image of your success.

Commitment – It’s simple. Success is all up to you, and me, and anyone else who wants it. We all have to commit to taking personal responsibility for our own success. I am the only one who can make me a success. You are the only one who can make you a success. Stuff happens, so choose to respond positively.

Confidence – If you believe in yourself and your success, you are likely find ways to make that belief come true. Surround yourself with positive people.

Competence – There are four key competencies that will help you become a career and life success:

  1. You have to be able to create positive personal impact.
  2. You have to be become an outstanding performer.
  3. You have to be a dynamic communicator – in conversation, writing and presentations.
  4. You have to build and maintain strong relationships with the people in your life.

From a business perspective, I truly believe that Customer Intimacy as mentioned previously too, is one of the key offerings any successful organisation needs to provide. I was highly impressed initially by the work done by an Indian travel agency– I needed to amend a ticket and they called me less than 24 hours after me sending them an email but they completely dropped the ball by not following up correctly. If they had proper systems within their organisation, they could have made a customer for life out of me and hence, my associates. Similarly, in my industry, the main advantage is not in Product Leadership but in our Operational Excellence- how quickly can I turn things around and have it done- the Customer Intimacy is the cherry on the top but it is also the things that clinches the final deal in my mind! So maybe from an organisational growth perspective, we need to ensure customers feel they got that extra mile!

And to get that organisational success, we need people with that inidividual drive and passion to form that high-performing team. And I think part of that comes from surrounding yourself with people who:

  • think similarly to you, yet challenge your ideas and beliefs
  • understand where you are coming from, yet bring a different perspective to the table
  • feel the instinct in their gut, yet question the instinct in your gut
  • do what needs to be done, yet know when it’s not the right thing and should have the conviction to correct you when you are doing something wrong

On that note, I was reading an article that said everyone is the average of the 5 people they spend most of their time with (I bloody rock then ‘cos the 5 people I spend most time with are bloody amazing!) and so does that mean that the ideal team should just be an extension of those 5 people or similar to those 5 people… I truly wonder…. One thing is for sure, never go against the values- self and organisational- the result is usually not too pretty.

And so I am off to the dreamland to quantify the meaning of success to myself.

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Crash?

The last few days have been exceptionally busy, great craic and really go-go-go. To the extent, I didn’t even get to write my weekly for last week and there were a few:

  • 2 hikes over the weekend and an additional midnight, old-time walk by the pier
  • Some cool new thoughts/ processes/ meetings at work that have the potential deliver MASSIVE results- Woohoo!
  • Finally, and yes I mean finally, after all the up & down insanity, booked flights for my big trip- I cannot wait. The best bit- since we are conducting business meetings, getting online every single day and planning constantly, it is being covered by work!

Other than the insanity called life, I have been left pondering by some comments made by a certain wise person I know. While he was over staying with us for a few days, we were discussing the office, how things are, how we plan to bring in some formal policies, new way of thinking, a change in the culture and certain structures etc- and his attitude was that we were wasting our time doing things a small company didn’t need to. At some level, what he says makes absolute sense- rationally, we are facing some tough times, we need to buckle up and do what we do well and focus on our core competencies but there is the visionary part of me that wonders how will we ever grow bigger and be sustainable to allow the senior team to travel and do our thing if we don’t put the structures and mechanisms in place to allow us to be flexible, lean and effective… At an impasse now.

With all the thinking, being tired, playing host, planning my life, trying to not worry about certain aspects in my life that don’t seem to be going as smoothly as I had hoped, I am a wee bit aware that I am heading to burn-out and I wonder if this is the crash after the high or the long overdue crash that I am undergoing. And with that, there’s more food for thought on my plate hehe.

 

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Filed under Management, Weekly Achievements

Books I have been told to read

This list seems to be ever growing and I seem to keep misplacing it so I decided I needed to put it somewhere I wouldn’t lose it and where better than my blog: Little did I know some of them I have managed to read- I shall keep updating this list as and when I read/ add things to the list:

  • Upside Down Management by John Timpson
  • The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
  • Understanding Organisations by Charles Handy
  • Our P___- Sketches from Memory by Edmund White
  • Prague Pictures by John Bauville
  • Growth of the Soil
  • Competitive Analysis- The New Science.. by Davenport & H___ (2007)
  • Super Crunchers- Way of thinking by numbers- A____
  • The Ultimate Question by Fred Reichfield
  • The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier
  • The Black Swan by Taleb
  • Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter
  • War & Peace by Tolstoy
  • Supercapitalism by Robert Wright
  • The Domains of Organised Action
  • Crossing the Chasm
  • The Nature of the Firm by Coase
  • The Art of the Start
  • The Billionaire who Wasn’t by Chuck Feeney
  • The World is Flat by Thomas Freedman
  • Live Now by Sean O’F___
  • General Theory by Keynes
  • Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond
  • The Way of a Ship by Derek Lundi
  • Cuckoo’s Egg by Clifford Stole
  • March of Foley by Tuckman
  • Confessions of an Opium Eater by deQuincy
  • Death of Distance by Frances Cairncross
  • Business of Pradigms by Joel Barker
  • The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Xander
  • Different Business Conversations by Bruce Patton, Doug Stone & Sheila ___
  • Dealing with an Angry Public by Lawrence S___ & Patrick Field
  • Beyond Reason by Roger Fischer & Daniel Schapiro
  • Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof

Recommended Movies:

  • Angry Men
  • A Man for All Seasons

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Disgusted!

Sometimes I wonder if I have very high standards, if I am way too much of a perfectionist or is it just that I take pride in the work I do?!

or maybe I understand the simple thing called responsibility- anyone else ever heard of it?!!

Had to walk out of the office today because I was so DISGUSTED at the behaviour of the senior manager who reports into me. She went off for 2 days of holidays- I wasn’t in the office on her last day and tried calling her loads of times for an update- was told she had sent me an email- errr… Nothing worth knowing in that email to me and then she refused to meet me today because she was so stressed- I mean, seriously- you have let customers down, you have made mistakes and you cannot own up, you are annoyed ‘cos you couldn’t get someone to do the job you delegated to them and then you scream at me ‘cos I want to rectify things?! And last week, during our weekly team meeting, after our biggest project had just finished, she walked out mid-way. Some responsibility there! I am SO furious- yes, I know I shouldn’t expect everyone to work at a Fortune 100 standard but a bit of respect for your supervisor and a bit of pride in the job are too much to f*cking ask for, are they?!!!!!! Like seriously.

I am meeting my team tomorrow and want to ensure that I calm down before I see them or else….

Anyhow, my highlights of last week:

  • Had an amazing Diwali celebration- saw movies, bought knives, went for dinner, set off the smoke alarm in the house due to the number of candles, spent time with my friends, bought sweets for all in the office and even set off some sky-lanterns
  • Went away for a spa weekend and had a brilliant time- really do wish we had managed to switch off from work but in fairness, that’s too much to ask for!
  • Had a business meeting with a supplier and I thought the way I played my cards, used my position was just brilliantly strategic- the sort of thing that would win a chess game!

After ages, I went away for a bit of a break. Went to this awesome spa resort called Lyrath in Kilkenny. It was SO beautiful, quiet and serene- highly recommend it! The Oriental restaurant there served a lovely meal and we had one of the nicest bottles of Bordeaux ever- yummm- I could use a glass right NOW infact 🙂 The pool- kinda small but refreshingly warm, the jacuzzi- great, the beds- comfy, the view from the room- green and the barmen- they remembered what we were drinking when we couldn’t so A++ in my books! All in all, well worth a visit. I could go back already.

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Lessons Revisited

After a period of 27 months, I am back in the driving seat, managing projects, leading staff and doing what I love doing the most- helping companies grow.

The last 6 weeks or so have been especially eventful with the way I was thrown into the deep end at a very stage of the project, without the appropriate resources and though some of the mistakes/ problems we faced were very similar to the basic issues I have dealt with in the past, it’s been interesting doing it again and just as a reminder to me and to all of you out there running projects, managing companies or just getting stuck in the same rigmarole, take a moment to think on how it can be improved.

Things I am definitely going to try and bear in mind in the future:

  • Assumptions!
    • I assumed that a person with the title “Senior Manager” behaved as one.
    • I assumed that when I delegated work, it would be done.
    • I assumed that everyone would have that quality called “common sense”.
    • I assumed everyone is doing the job because they care and though I don’t expect the same level of dedication and passion as myself, I expect some.
    • I assumed that if someone told me that they understood my instructions, they meant it.
    • I assumed- BIG MISTAKE.
  • Presumptions…
    • Very similar to the Assumptions list but OMG! everyone presumes too much, too little, too incorrectly, too foolishly, too… (shh, politically incorrect but true)… stupidly!
    • Presuming that all my assumptions were right- hehehehe
    • Presuming I had the energy I used to have- not taking into account the lack of break for the last 14 months.
  • Communication- the very key to a successful project
    • Whether it was between senior management, or the middle level management and senior management, or amongst departments, there was A LOT of information not communicated
    • I was reminded of the big kick-ass event I had hosted some 9 years ago- despite the fatigue, despite the stress, despite the issues, the core team met every morning and every night to check in and make sure everyone knew the whole story and you know what, it went seamlessly, from the outside!
  • Planning… yeah, I know, I harp on and on about this point
    • Every successful project needs to be planned down to the very second
    • Do we have 2 shifts?
    • Who finishes when?
    • Who is responsible for what?
    • What is the back-up plan?
    • Who are the key players and how can we ensure their tacit knowledge is codified?
    • What will the process be?
    • Who makes the final decision?
    • Who works weekends? Who doesn’t work weekends?
    • Who gets time off?
    • What is the X policy?
    • Who pulls up people for their mistakes?
    • Is everyone singing from the same hymn sheet? And if not, then why not and how can that be changed?
  • Surprises!
    • This is when they need to be avoided.
    • They can be a surprise to everyone else perhaps BUT not to the management- every surprise should actually be pre-planned.
    • Everything should have a plan, a structure, someone responsible and everything should be accountable.

That’s my top 5- I have a niggling feeling I am overlooking something so there may be part 2 yet! Here’s hoping I can deal with these things better in the future.

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And I’m back!

So, the last few days have been very quiet for me- I just took the time to go underground, focus on myself, get some sleep, settle into living in the country (and nope, I am nowhere close), go on long hikes, read and basically love life.

However, in all that time, I have managed to gather up a couple of interesting links, read some cool stuff and still spend some time online- mostly reading, absorbing information and just having a good time… here’s the top 3 that caught my eye, err brain:

This is a post in a mix of Hindi and English, also called Hinglish, and about a topic I love- gender stereotypes! I agree with so much the author says, and used to agree with some of them she says when I was her age- is this a sign of growing old, conforming (shock horror) or just maturing?! (This question is a rhetoric and I really don’t want an answer primarily because I don’t think I can handle it!)

No surprises on this one now- anyone and everyone who knows me knows how I am always singing the praises of having good relationships- I mean, it has gotten me out of many a soup so it has its merits! After my first day at work (after a break of 27 months- ouch!), I am even more a fan of this- a girl who has pretty much been running the operations couldn’t handle me coming over her and the company recognising a fellow manager- all silly, she understands but thank God for me being able to reach out and empathise with her- all about the relationship. I wholeheartedly believe in ALL the relationships that surround us and that’s why I am such a fan of coffees…. with people.

While on the topic of relationships, this made me laugh alot! A dude is actually patenting his approach to hit on women- how cool, crazy or confident is that. Apparently (yeah, I still like the word- you should have dealt with it by now), the book is a very good insight for males into how females think- I wouldn’t know as I haven’t read the dude’s stuff nor can I give a male perspective on a book!

So well, that aside I also finished reading Terry Pratchett’s ‘The Fifth Elephant’- another of the Disc World series and for those who are uninformed, unaware and just ignorant, please go read Terry’s work NOW- he rocks! and he takes me to a fantasy world that is so clever and funny that I love immersing myself into it- go Terry!

And finally, my top 3 of last week would be:

  • Looooooong hikes- 3 in 8 days, pretty good going, me thinks!
  • Moving to the country- seriously, never thought it would happen- to me, Ireland meant Dublin as far as living was concerned… this is a MASSIVE move for me.
  • Healthy eating and sleeping- it has been good to have time for ME- yes, sleeping, eating, reading, cooking, sipping wine in the sun, drinking champagne on my garden- that’s been something I have missed.

And on that note, it’s late, I am tired and I hope to be more frequent but first week and all, so it may be the weekend before I reappear.

Till laters, toodles peeps!

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Hope…

…that someday I do NOT end up on a list like this!

Funny that, articles that tell you how to be an ideal boss or how to become a manager, they seem to refer to ethics/ following the truth or whatever else you wanna call it, but how many of us really do? How is it measured?

And I mean, I know business schools teach their managers a course in ethics but how relevant is it when they are actually working? How many of them follow it? What about those who have never been through that course?

I am entitling this Hope because I have Hope in myself and my fellow managers across the globe to do what’s right and not end up on a list like the one above- greed is one of the seven sins!

On a bit of a sidenote, I love this article– what do YOU have- a job, a profession, a career, a passion?!!

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Some Amazing Advice

Over the last 2-3 days, I have been VERY lucky to have had some amazing conversations, met some really cool people and learnt some sound advice, especially on what to bear in mind when in a startup.

The 2 people whose advice I am capturing below are some amazing individuals:

  • BM: A venture capitalist specialising in technology startups. Best known for his/ his company’s involvement in eBay and Bebo and for missing out on Skype.
  • SM: A very out-there sort of a guy whose passion lies in connecting culture and businesses together. He now heads a non-for-profit organisation to bridge the gap between the 2 sides.

Both of them are amazing people and have some awesome ideas, thoughts and experiences, some of the key points are captured below:

  • Know when to replace the entrepreneur with a CEO
  • Have a clear exit strategy- i.e. go public or sell- have a timeline in place
  • Know your cash flow- on a daily basis
  • Have an amazing board that are not involved everyday
  • Let there be NO surprises
  • Have a strong understanding of the different stakeholders and create the organisational identity based on that
  • Collaborate, don’t compete
  • Constantly be aware of the changing landscape around you

On a completely unrelated note, I met up with TS last night and we have both agreed that the timing sucks for us- with him being out of the country so much, and me being out of the city as much and us being together so little but to continue spending time together and hanging out and seeing how it goes. I am absolutely delighted. The others are still on the scene and this party of 4 is certainly very interesting but I am having a great time… Either which way, I hope TS and I can overcome these obstacles because he is still leading my a long shot!

Enjoy the weekend folks- if you are in Ireland, do head towards Dun Laoghaire for the brilliant festival of food, music and good times! Maybe I’ll bump into you there- hopefully the weather will hold!

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Heya all!

So I just had a few moments today to just sit back and reflect on so many things happening in my life and here’s my week so far- pretty charmed life, I lead eh?

On Monday, I got offered the role of a CEO of a SME in Ireland- now that’s pretty darn cool, in my opinion! And then I spent the rest of the evening with close friends just chuckling, smiling and having a good time 🙂

Tuesday was a quite day with alot of visits to the toilet and knowing I have a doctor mate who dropped by to check up on me, with a bottle of wine in tow, made me laugh! I mean seriously, doc, I haven’t even in 24 hours and you want to pop open some wine to celebrate? You went with non-bubbly ‘cos of my health- oh how nice of you! Thanks for the laugh doc 🙂 [Incase you are worried, it turned out to be 7up in the wine bottle and he was troubling me but hey, it was amusing]

I went for a tour in the Convention Centre Dublin on Wednesday and wow! What an amazing building- completely carbon neutral, a PPP that seems to be favoured towards the public while still making a profit for the private entity and 8000 capacity on the 5 floors! I am blown away with the way everything was so high-tech and all- maybe in the years to come, it wouldn’t remain so good… but for the moment, I can see a lot of potential to it. My biggest issue is the lack of connected hotel- when I go away for conferences and such, I tend to prefer staying in the same hotel than commuting… I know they are connected to Ritz Carlton in Powerscourt but that’s gonna be not easy!

And today, I was reminded of an old song I used to love- there was an Indipop version of it too but for the life of me, I cannot remember it- so if anyone could tell me where I can get either the French or the Indian version of the song, I would be very grateful- it’s a very soothing tune. I also learnt a random fact that there were over 2 billion videos viewed on YouTube yesterday- that’s some traffic!!!

Some interesting links I enjoyed reading today:

Big hips on women = potential memory loss!

China is STILL trying to control its people’s thoughts!

What a way to start what you’d hope to be a lasting relationship!!

Opening wine by using a shoe- certainly wouldn’t manage that in heels!

Indian Rupee has its own symbol now!

The potential of social media marketing (McKinsey Quarterly report)

Testing your decision making gut (McKinsey Quarterly report)

And when to trust that gut? (McKinsey Quarterly report)

And the BEST smile of the day- TS mailed me a reply to an email I sent him on Tuesday because he had promised to do so. He mailed me at 3 am because that’s when he finished work- now, how cute is that? You gotta adore someone as sweet as that 🙂 *Swooooooooooooooooooooon*

And you know what- we are only half way through the week- how cool is this?! Wahay, I love life!

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Customer Intimacy = Success?

Ok, so theoretically speaking a company can focus on 3 axis:

  • Product Leadership
  • Operational Excellency
  • Customer Intimacy

(This diagram explains the theory further.)

Lately, I have been seeing amazing examples in how Customer Intimacy actually seems to drive long term sustainable growth. I am gonna take a few random examples from my own personal life and this is not based on any theory or study but just my instinct!

  1. Mark Geary– one of my favourite singers- pretty big in US/ Ireland/ Eastern Europe when it comes to singer/ songwriters. He reaches out to his fans through facebook, through myspace and becomes friends with them. Whether it’s an email to help me deal with a sh!t day or a surprise CD to acknowledge my love for his music, he is always there. There is no “I am the star” attitude. There is no “I don’t care for you” feeling. It’s all about a hug, a smile, a pint and a shared connection. Marky, you are my hero! Thanks for your music.
  2. The Bikini Shop– saw them on TV3 Expose yesterday and decided to check out the website. Now I am lucky or unlucky to have a figure that’s not the usual one and I don’t always get my size. Unfortunately the combination of sizes was not on the website so I decided to call them- and they gladly took my size, my preferences and are looking to help me get the bikini I want. Now, that’s service- this feeling of wanting to help me makes me want to go nowhere else- especially since no one has my size anyway!
  3. My local printer- As a photographer, I am constantly printing pictures, getting them framed, and as such, a frequent visitor to the local shop. Now, yesterday I was feeling sick and had absolutely no energy to go anywhere even though I needed to collect a commission from the shop that was due for delivery. So they called me, since they knew its importance to me and when they heard I was unwell, they even asked if they could bring me some groceries and medication. Now, that’s service!

I mean everyone has good products, maybe they have good lean operations (that’s more a cost management internal thing that a customer cannot judge externally) but if the products are comparable, who do you go for?

So if we convert our product focus to service, is it an automatic recipe for success… I truly wonder?

And is this something about the company culture, the training internally or is it just I have been luck to have come across the right people?!!

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