Category Archives: Productivity

An Idea A Day Keeps A Doctor Away

idea machine

By Ankit Chandra

I think I am obsessed with the idea of creating new ideas. Since my undergrad days, when a mere look at a stepper motor interface made me think of the numerous possibilities there were to make something cool with it, I have been fantasizing about the next cool thing I could make with the basic building blocks I have at hand.

Only with time, my building blocks evolved and became a mix of technology pieces, business concepts and social issues. That’s a great concoction though! But with more information in my head, I guess my idle time goes into thinking about new things to make, new companies to start and a new world to live in.

Most of the times I get out of my day dreaming and move on with my life… but the idea sticks on as a ‘Could have been the next revolution’ Sometimes I have actually realized that someone made a killing out of it 🙂

Here is a small list of a few of those ideas.. These are in no particular order DO NOT judge me on this!

  1. Automatic pet fish feeding system
  2. SaaS based Supply Chain Management system (Patented by IBM I think)
  3. An earth based car positioning, and guiding system, which I proposed, to Reva the electric car company. (They shot it down)
  4. An advertising system based on ring back tones on mobile phones (too late on this one)
  5. A virtual Chai ki Dukaan (Road side tea shop) where people get together and gossip, discuss new ideas or understand the world, Office politics, course curriculum, or their love life. This is still a very potent idea, if the Chai ki Dukaan ambience is successfully implemented.
  6. A local area customer – vendor handshake platform for services. So you can get a local plumber/carpenter/nanny without having to hunt for one.
  7. A concept similar to batchmates.com but much before batchmates.com came about
  8. Setting up a Sabji Mandi in US to promote healthy food
  9. Opening recharge stations for electric cars in India.
  10. Opening a p2p shop rating system, which is accessible through mobile phones.
  11. And a fresh one.. A doctor rating system!!

Well the list is longer… but you get the gist… and yes you are free to implement any of these.. It’s open source now 🙂

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How to Make Your Boss Love You – Part 1

meryl-streep-the-devil-wears-prada

“My boss is a nice person, but for some strange reasons he does not like me…or so I think…not sure!”

“Guess my boss was a Hitler in his previous life!”

“I don’t know what she expects from me. She cracks cheap jokes all day long…of course, according to her it’s not cheap…but I find them quite distasteful!”

How many of you connect to these sentiments? Assuming that most of you will, let’s try and unravel a few traits of managers and ways of appealing to particular types!

The Bully

BossDo you get frequent mails from your boss, threatening you to complete a particular work on time, or else…? Did you make a killer presentation, which had a punctuation error on the twelfth slide and for which you were reprimanded by your boss? Is he always trying to intimidate you into performing your task? If your answer to all this is yes, then your boss is a sure-shot bully!

How to deal – Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple way of dealing with this kind of people. All you can do is project yourself as a reasonable person. Put your foot down whenever you feel he has crossed the line. Your boss might respect you when you stand up for yourself because, in a way, you are speaking his language.

The Manipulator

manipulative-bossThis type of people will never explain their requirement clearly to you. Instead, they will drop hints and expect you to find your way out. Such qualities in managers generally surface in case of great power difference. You can recognize your boss as being manipulative if he sends you running off with tasks to multiple directions. Initially, you might feel good about being given the responsibility to accomplish numerous tasks. However, you have to keep evaluating your goals. If you feel that the tasks are not helping you accomplish the career goals you have set for yourself, you have to speak up.

How to deal – Talk to your boss privately about your career goals. Tell him about what you aim to achieve, but you have to remember to make your boss look good in the process. Hurting his ego will not do you any good. With some patience and skill you will manage the manipulator.

The Liar

liar1-e1334603938595Has your boss promised you promotion after you complete a hellish project? Have you completed several such difficult projects without any promotions in the horizon? If yes, then you must accept it that your boss is a liar and that he is trying to extract as much work from you as possible, free of cost!

How to deal – While you have to keep your interests in mind, you cannot afford to get into the bad books of your manager. The best way of dealing with such a personality is by getting things in writing. May be you can start a chain mail and keep your upper management in the loop. A chain mail will be your best defense against false promises.

Salary Negotiations – Recruiters Pride – Part 1

salary cover

One of the key stages of the hiring process is the starting salary negotiation. It is a hurdle that needs to be overcome if you are to close the deal on your dream candidate. While there is no magic formula for handling a salary negotiation—as it can be impacted by many external factors beyond your control—there are several tactics to follow that can help you to engage in a mutually beneficial and ultimately successful salary negotiation.

Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition Group Espire Infolabs advices on the subject in the first part of this two-part series.

1. Put the salary range in the job description

There is a general reluctance for employers to include salary details in the job description, but by failing to do this, you are making salary negotiations harder as you are not setting the candidate expectations correctly and you may attract candidates who are off the scale. Where possible, include a range, even if it is broad, and make it clear that the candidate’s actual pay will be dependent on their experience and likely contribution to the business. This way you will filter out those candidates who are out of the ball park and where salary negotiations are likely to be fruitless — and a potential waste of both party’s time.

2. Check whether you are in the same ball park

There can be a tendency for the candidate and hiring manager to negotiate according to poker rules and not show their hand early, which means salary expectations, may not be revealed until late in the process. This can lead to salary negotiation issues if the candidate and employer salary expectations prove to be wide apart or not in the same ball park. At the very least, ask the candidate to confirm their current salary and package, so you can check you are on the same page and save wasting each other’s time.

3. Give additional reasons to join you, other than just money

Don’t allow the candidate to become too fixated on salary; give them other reasons to join you by constantly promoting all the other positive perks and aspects of working at the business, be that: culture, training, challenging work, location, benefits, flexible working, etc. The candidate will factor in all these perks and may be prepared to accept a lower salary in the knowledge that he/she will be receiving all these great perks.

4. Make the offer face-to-face

Where possible, try handing over the offer letter face-to-face and then talk them through it, rather than by post or email. It’s much easier to reject or query an offer that has come via email, or letter as it is quite impersonal. So, personalize and make the offer face-to-face and this should give you the upper hand. Of course, the candidate should still be given a few days to make up his/her mind, if need be.

Wait for the next set of guidelines in my next post.

salary-negotiation-tips

Next Gen HR Mantra – Competency Based Approach

Business people crossing finish line

By Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait

Dramatic growth will take place when we focus on the organization-with technology a part – rather than on technology alone.

-C.K.Prahlad

As a HR professional in a knowledge and tech based organization, when I had to frame a model for the annual appraisal process, I was surprised to see a paradigm shift by the top management. Instead of evaluating what is achieved, there has been a shift in the method to it being how it is achieved. Such competencies actually develop when multiple technologies are harmonized. Knowledge in most organizations is held by people. What is more difficult to identify are managerial competencies. Research shows leveraging on managerial competencies clubbed with efficient organization management can give an organization a competitive edge. So the framework basically comprised of managerial competencies.

It is expected of a manager to react to constant business changes in internal and external environment. Hence it has become a challenge for the HR to identify the managerial competencies. The biggest benefit of such approach is that it focuses on a specific employee and not the work position and does not comply with the HR policy. Hence not only training and development has to be taken care of, but also the career development factor is taken care of in this approach. This in turn also complies to the Maslow’s law of Hierarchy.

While I was working there, we had developed a model in connection with the organizational values rather than individual work positions. The model really helped in enabling to identify, measure and evaluate competencies within the organization. However every organization has their own models and there is no common consensus in regard to what framework should be followed.

According to Lucia and Lepsinger, certain competencies might be generic across several organizations but behaviors relating to those competencies vary widely from organization to organization. Hence in this approach it is the employees who are an important source for achieving a competitive edge to the organization.

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Add 5 Things in Your Not-to-Do List and Become 5 Times More Productive!

productive

How many of you are habituated to making long to-do lists every day? What are your reasons for making the list? Because you think you will forget to complete all the tasks? Ever thought of making a not-to-do list? Yes, such a list will help you in being more productive and more successful in achieving your everyday goals.

So, here comes the not-to-dos:

1.  Multitasking

productivityProbably you think that it’s the most difficult thing on earth! When was the last time you did not multitask? Probably you don’t even remember! However, it’s a fact that instead of multitasking, if you simply focus on one task at a time, you end up doing that particular task very well and on time! Alternatively, when you try your hands at two or three things at a time, all of them are implemented in a mediocre way! You neither derive any happiness nor a sense of achievement from it.

2.  Hold Grudges

grudgeDid your kindergarten teacher tell you that you must not make mistakes, or you have to repent for it? Let’s frame it properly now – mistakes are valuable and you do not have to repent as long as you learn your lessons well!

Learn from your mistakes and let go of your past! Harbouring a grudge will leave your heart heavy and there will be no space in it to embrace new opportunities. Let your past show you the way towards a goal without really defining your personality.

3.  Compare

compareYes, it’s a good idea to compare gadgets or clothes prior to purchase. But, it’s not a good idea to compare yourself to your neighbours/ friends/ foes/ acquaintances. No two people can be the same and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Of course, competition thrives on comparisons! However, try to limit it as much as possible and keep the competition healthy!

4.  Backchat

backchatSometime or the other, the concerned person will get to know that you have spoken about him or her behind the back. Gossips are unproductive and they create bitterness in and among human beings. If you don’t want to become a butt of jokes in future, stop gossiping right away! If you have to discuss someone, may be you can directly talk to that person about his follies rather than talking behind him. Focus more on productive discussions and you are sure to be highly respected in your friends’ circle.

to-say-no5.  Say ‘yes’ when you really wish to say ‘no’

Refusing may be difficult task but you will feel bad for a few minutes. After a while, you will forget about the entire incident! However, when you force yourself to say a ‘yes’ and then fulfilling that promise, you might feel bad for longer period of time – at least, longer than what you initially felt.