Saturday, October 14, 2017
Sunday, January 22, 2017
First things first, the protests on Marina beach in Chennai among many others, as i was discussing with my learned father in law and a very vocal, usually loud and agitated sister in law were and continue to be peaceful and look like the educated young have done it extremely responsibly. A lot of credit is due to everyone involved. Another important aspect is, fortunately the politicians while they have tried to get actively involved have not taken center stage yet.
I would leave the details to the experts on legal nuances of the matter in the courts, what i am intrigued by and deeply interested in is why does every thing have to go to the courts for a decision, especially when the matter concerns not 2 people or parties but an entire set of people who believe that Jallikattu is an integral part of their tradition and they all (well most) believe needs to continue. While there are arguments on if even outdated traditions need to continue, i am keeping away from that aspect here. When the time came people in the country have demonstrated that they can make amends and decide against traditions that don't make sense anymore and with education levels improving, exposure to cultures, people traveling around, things are bound to change.
Could our bureaucrats not have done enough by putting in place guidelines and rules for people to follow if safety, cruelty was the real issue here. Could our politicians not have acted in time with ordinances and whatever other mechanisms they have at their disposal and also if the bureaucrats failed, why did the political masters not take matters in their own hands?
More importantly when the courts across the country are reeling under unprecedented pressures of acting in time on millions of pending cases where in several cases peoples lives are at stake and justice clearly is delayed, if not denied, should the courts be spending their valuable time on all issues - Why couldn't the courts have dealt with this by forming a small work group to frame rules and leave the responsibility of running the sport/tradition to the people and the local administration.
There are far more bigger problems gripping us as a country, we all can focus on those to further the larger interests of the country and leave Jallikattu and other local traditions to where they belong...to the people in the local communities!
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
While we often talk about successes and failures, I started to think if and when I have experienced a real feeling of failure! It was difficult to get any remembrance of such a feeling!
Before you jump with your guns aimed at me, believe me I have gone thru more than my share of problems in both personal and professional life (e.g. trying to improve my communication, picking up a new methodology etc.).
The only reason why in spite of having several failures and some mega ones at times, this feeling of failure does not come in is because of some key aspects that are ingrained in several of us. The attribute of problem solving and the ability to put an honest effort on everything that we are involved in!
Fixing things, finding solutions rather than focusing on the obstacles is an important element of problem solving. An analytical mind that is so crucial for the role of a software engineer irrespective of the function that we contribute in, plays a part too.
For me the approach to problem solving was best summed by none other than Albert Einstein, when he said “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it”. There cannot be a better way to summarize the importance of understanding the problem and then going on to solve it.
There are various strategies for problem solving, one or more are used amongst a list of several like abstraction, analogy, hypothesis testing, root cause, divide and conquer etc. The key here is to have an aptitude for structured thinking and an approach that allows one to attack the problem in different ways.
The second is well and truly a personal trait that many of us are able to demonstrate when we are focused on or are passionate about something that we want to achieve. The challenge is to be able to repeat this in a consistent manner on many more things that one is working on and the results become dramatically different. This is also driven by the environment, the culture in which one finds oneself either at work or in their personal sphere.
An environment where there is all round excellence, there are a vast majority of colleagues who are putting in an honest effort, the ability to seek support and keep at it is much more. A high performance work ethic revolves around this peer buddy mechanism to bring the right level of application from each individual and therefore better all round results.
Where this honest effort becomes crucial is when things don’t go right, when the outcomes take longer than expected, when the results are not in line with the expectations. It helps reinforce the thought process that one needs to keep trying different problem solving strategies and the outcomes will begin to appear favorable. It allows the person the benefit of not getting bogged down easily and therefore letting one to ask oneself if they are continuing to put in their best effort each day. The peer buddy mechanism then plays its part perfectly well here. The feeling that one is putting their best effort each day is extremely empowering, it provides a great deal of confidence and further enhances chances of success.
So there goes, focus on the problems at hand, understand the problem, apply one or more of the strategies for problem solving and see to it that you are putting in your best effort, each day, consistently!
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
While reading this wonderful story again about how Sainsbury changed the name of their bread from Tiger bread to Giraffe bread based on feedback apparently from a 3.5 year young customer, it occurred to me, we as a team do several things that go on to define how we treat our internal and external customers and partners. <more about the Sainsbury story here>.
There are many such stories about organizations like Ritz Carlton and other small, medium and large enterprises going that extra mile to make the customers feel special. In majority of the cases, one could almost see a pattern of no real investments or $ spent but just a little amount of situational awareness, quick decision making, acknowledging the problems and doing what it takes to solve the problem on part of the people involved.
As a unit our vision clearly articulates the importance of being a "respected partner", while a good deal of this respect comes through demonstration of clear thought process, knowledge and content on the relevant topics and the ability to apply these in the context of the business problems, a large part of it is also about how we deal with our customers (internal as well as external).
Sound customer service largely emanates from the most important enabler at an individual level and that is empowerment. The more empowered we feel the more we can do as individuals for our customers. The decision making is faster, the decisions are made with the customer at the core of it, the alignment of goals/objectives is then well and truly complete and comprehensive.
In our roles, each one of us has contributions to make from the perspective of how our customers feel about the interactions they have with us. Our contributions can range from being able to direct our teams to taking specific actions on the ground, all intended to make our customers feel delighted and see value in several ways like:-
1. Being proactive to make the customer feel we are as eager as them to get them the solution
2. Making efforts to understand the problem at hand, get the big picture and evolve the value dimension
3. Being aware of the timelines to get to the solution, since it will impact the customer or their business
4. Reaching out to our network for solutions, believe me we seldom encounter "new" problems!
5. Ensuring relevance of the solution, reviews and quick feedback are a good way to see things are on track
6. Involving ourselves in taking the solution forward…Practice, don't just preach!
There are more ways that each one of us practice every single working day. I am sure the most important stakeholder – our customer, does not get those vow moments just like that. There is a great deal of hard work, meticulous planning and individual effort that goes into making it happen. While we continue to enhance our processes, tools and techniques, people need an equal amount of attention as a key to creating these vow moments, not as a one off but an ongoing behavior. The culture then is an outcome of repeated successes and definite processes that are part of the work ethic and peoples habits.
I am certain you have your own customer service stories, several of these would rank and rate amongst the best in the world. Do respond with those details and post the stories that can go on to inspire us all!
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
While I frequently write and speak about technology and the manner in which it has helped improve things in several aspects of our lives, there are things that I feel also could be tagged as negatives arising out of either a wrong or an unwise adoption of it.
While communication technology and devices, including smart phones have created near unlimited options for us to stay connected, collaborate and keep ourselves and others up to date on the latest, these could also mean some forms of distractions when one is really required to focus hard on the task at hand.
Do you ever feel the urge to often check for new incoming mails on your email? Do you often get “ping’ed” by colleagues on the messenger or communicator while you are in the middle of something important? Do you often feel it necessary to respond to these chat requests even though you are in another call?
The distractions can be of several kind and could have a clear impact on work especially those days and times when you are trying to close on something important. It could lead to meetings being ineffective, where while someone is making important points, few attendees are busy checking their Blackberry’s and iPhones for the latest new arrivals on their mail or even tweeting the most recent updates to one and all!
In this context one small piece of news caught my attention few days back, where a restaurant in LA is giving 5% discount on the bill for those who agree to keep their phones and digital devices away at the door[Los Angeles Times].
Something for us to give a thought at the workplace too, are there too many of these distractions creeping in to hold people from having meaningful conversations, bringing in the right amount of attention and focus?