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Wake up 74 - Give credit...

I was reading this book about companies that are built to last for years; companies that have retained their greatness across many years and one the common points between all these companies was that the leader always said it was the people around them that were responsible for the success.

When you read it in books it seems easy to digest this fact but when it comes to real life you find that people seem to forget it! And not giving credit where due or worse still is when credit is given to the wrong person can drastically affect employee morale. You ought to delegate work that you are comfortable doing but along with that you ought to delegate the credit as well. Many a time we receive our share of glory for having done a task well and forget to acknowledge the actual person who did the ground work. Giving them the limelight will improve team spirit and they will hold you in good stead.

Even a pat on the shoulder by a senior saying ‘well done’ goes a long way in lifting the spirits of an employee. And it is even more important to watch out for this in the case of new employees who are in their first job – a pat on the back will charge them up and will make them like the place they work in. A pat on the back for the wrong person and you can be sure they would be hurt deeply since this is their first job and you can be sure they will opt out of the team at the first opportune moment.

There is this saying “Praise in public; criticize in private” attributed to Vince Lombardi (an American football coach who helped his team win 5 league championships). Sometimes even praising in private will suffice if the incident is something that you can’t share at a bigger forum.

So go on and appreciate others when they do a good job. Even the person who least expects it will feel good about it.

Wake up 73 - The deserving will win eventually...

After the euphoria of the Oscars has died down, I thought of penning down a few thoughts with that as reference.

Many would say that A R Rahman’s music that fetched him a couple of Oscars was certainly not the best music that he has composed. But I don’t think it really matters – he has been composing a lot of wonderful albums over the past several years and certainly deserved recognition. Though people feel it might not be for his best piece, everyone agrees that he certainly deserved it.

Kate Winslett was nominated for an Oscar 5 times in 13 years but won the award only this year. Just imagine – 13 years without a win and coming close on so many occasions!

Fans consider Michael Crichton’s earlier works better than the Jurassic Park novel he wrote. He wrote quite a few novels before this but it was Jurassic Park that shot him to fame.

What if these people had stopped earlier? What if they had decided, “for the work I do I don’t get due attention or rewards; why should I continue to work like I am?”

There are others who get recognition at the right time for their effort. The portrayal of Joker, in the movie ‘The Dark Knight’, won so much acclaim when the movie was released that everyone immediately pronounced Heath Ledger deserved an Oscar for his role.

Whichever way you look at it the hours, days and years of effort will usually pay off. Those who keep trying will eventually win – you might feel upset over losses, but the game is not over; so keep going and eventually the deserving would come on top.

Life has its own interesting way of settling scores!

Wake up 72 - Look before you leap to conclusions...

When I look back it was an interesting incident. A few of us enrolled for a training session. Most of us had received the session material in advance. My friend didn’t get it since they were short of copies. During the session I lent my book to that person since I had read most of the content. I noticed the person write a name in the first page of the book. And do you know what I thought? I thought the person had written their own name on the book. I had jumped into conclusion without knowing the facts – the fact was that the person had actually written my name on the book! And I told myself, “Oh SS, there you go again – how did you jump to the answer without reading the questions properly”.

I have noticed situations where a senior will jump on top of a junior without even pausing to think what other problems the junior is going through! For instance there was a person stuck with a major production problem – and production problems are the highest priority in IT services; he was already tensed because of that and at this moment a senior who didn’t know that he is grappling with a production failure jumps on top of him asking him to complete an Excel file. He doesn’t even give the other person a chance to respond and screams how he could delay filling up that Excel file – granted that the junior should have done it earlier but hey, this wasn’t the time to be preaching all that!

We sometimes think we know everything and jump into conclusions. Just double check the situation and facts before you jump over someone.

Wake up 71 - Have you ever wondered why you are here?

Sometimes amidst our hectic schedules when we suddenly think of that question we kind of get stumped! And a lot of times we don’t really ponder over it as well. As I stood in the pharmacy in a hospital looking at the patients bustling around the place, the question popped up yet again. In a hospital you see people gasping for life, some undergoing critical surgeries, some suffering with life threatening illnesses, some suffering watching their loved ones suffer while some others had become immune to the pain because of repeatedly seeing such things.

There are a few places where such questions pop up – times when you don’t worry about the world around you; times when you spend all the time for yourself – hospital certainly is one such place. I probably lapsed into this thought since I was reading a book where the protagonist finds himself in prison and I was visualizing the sequence of events – that is another place where you would think; there are many great leaders who have evolved into great personalities after a stint in prison. Another time where you might find such time is in solitary confinement. Imagine having to spend months in a small room with no contact with the outside world. It does happen for soldiers in war time and there have been soldiers kept in solitary confinement for years.

Well, God forbid that you have to spend even an hour in any of those conditions, but spare a thought to “Why you are here?” It does make for an interesting question to which you might not have an answer! Why do most of us lead the same monotonous life that everyone else leads? The same daily routine everyday – grudgingly wake up, get ready, rush for breakfast, come to office, do some work, make others do work, occasionally win a praise and many a times win curses, head back home tired, eat and sleep. And then we look forward to the weekends which get spend shopping, watching movies or resting.

Everything around is there for a reason; everything happens for a reason; and why we are here should also be for some reason.

The famous tag line in the X-Files series was "The Truth is Out There" - have you found it? I'll leave you to ponder over it;

Mail me if you have an answer :-)

Wake up 70 - Work kills; be careful :-)

Sometimes at work we tend to push ourselves to the limit. Slogging once or twice is fine but when it happens on a daily routine and the body starts telling you it is feeling tired, it is a warning sign we should heed to. It is sad that we don’t pay attention to what our body says – if you listen you will realize that you are the best doctor for your body; no one else knows better about your body.

There was a colleague who used to slog regularly along with the rest of the team. It was quite a hectic project; thanks to our wonderful estimations and our excellent knowledge of the system – we try to showcase ourselves as if we are experts of the system in one month! Anyway, coming back to this person – generally what happens is that even if a person finds it tough to continue they would refuse to say, “I just can’t keep going like this”

It is more a feeling that if we say we can’t then everyone would think we are a loser. After all when everyone else in the team is slogging “how can I say no”. She did take that step and after a while she even switched out of the industry because she realized that her body just couldn’t take it – she lost on the money but at least she realized this doesn’t suit her and opted out. Each person is different and you might find one person who will soak happily in pressure with a smile while another crumbles on hearing the word “deadline”!

You might have seen some people (maybe even you) who like to do everything and be involved in everything that happens in the project – right from gathering requirements to the final verification after the project goes live; it is good at first when learning about how things work, but later it turns out to be hazardous. Their constant worry is that something might go wrong and so they try to keep everything under their eyes. There are few others on the other extreme - who won’t worry about what is going on in the project. The ideal position is of course the middle path; Delegate and trust the people who do the job – they might make a mistake but if you never give them a chance to work on their own you will never know.

Not everyone might be able to get to work in what they like doing. But whatever you do, don’t damage your body in the process. We have all heard stories of how pressure has taken away lives – directly and indirectly thro loss of health. So do we all start saying “no I can’t do it”? If your body starts complaining (tiredness, shortage of sleep, no energy) then it is high time you shift to a lower gear; Take it easy, take a break, relax, take up some hobby for a while, rejuvenate and forget all about deadlines and office. Damaging your body can turn out to be irreparable and later there is no use regretting.