Saakshi Nagpal

Archive for the tag “Business Analyst”

The Leader as Coach

In this world there are two kinds of leaders one who loves to collaborate and partner along and second who loves to direct and are control freaks in nature.
If partnering and collaboration are more gratifying to you rather than directing and controlling then I hope next few minutes would be helpful for you and if you are among the second group, please pay attention ,  you may find something interesting.

Most of us see ourselves taking leadership positions in near future and some are already in leadership role and Toastmasters gives us platform to practice and hone our leadership skills. Among team management, time management, stress management, project management, some XYZ management and lot of etc etc imaginable managements ….. . the most important responsibility is to grow and develop the team.

Henry Kissinger, a German born Noble prize winner American writer has once “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. “

As a leader, you are measured, recognized and rewarded not for what you do, but for the accomplishments and achievements of the people you lead. If you want to achieve your goals, you must do everything you can to help your team succeed. If you consider present and past great leader they are alike in 3 areas.

  1. They provide a clear direction through their mission and vision.
  2. They foster collaboration through team building, delegation and coaching.
  3. They motivate team members to achieve by providing feedback, support, recognizing and by resolving conflict.

Many of the world’s greatest leaders say that their team growth is how they measure their own success. Dhoni is considered as the most successful Indian Cricket captain of all times. Not just because he ia great player & his hair styles are trendsetters, even his bald look is still in fashion. But because under his captainship India has won world cup , Twenty 20 world cup , so many series and has set records.

Following Henry Kissinger’s advice , when you coach others to reach their potential you are helping world’s future leaders to gain strength and skills to succeed. You are writing new success stories. People have more potential in them  than they currently show in their lives. If they only knew how to surface their potentials they would have already done so. But the ground reality is that most of them don’t. If provided coaching they get to surface their greatest potential.

Looking for the most convinciable example of being leader as  a coach & writing history, I am able to pick a name close to Indian hearts – Kabir Khan ( sattar minutes ….. Chak De India) . He proved his innocence, his capability , his patriotism by coaching women hockey team and lead them to the path less travelled …. Indian Women Hockey team won 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Some leaders are fortunate enough to get formal training in coaching skills, many are not. They have to develop these for themselves.

 If you  search the techniques on internet you will find numerous tools and techniques which will help you to learn to trust your instincts to become a better coach and so enhance your team’s performance.

 Does this sound daunting? Indeed it is.

 We are talking about how to grow the capabilities of a team and help them achieve what might they have just dreamt. After searching a lot , the easiest approach  to implement and to remember , I got was the GROW Model.

 GROW is an acronym standing for Goal – Current Reality – Options – Will.

 The model is a simple yet powerful framework for structuring a coaching or mentoring session.

 A useful metaphor for the GROW model is the plan you might make for an important journey. First, you start with a map: With this, you help your team member decide where they are going (their Goal) and establish where they currently are (their Current Reality). Then you explore various ways (the Options) of making the journey. In the final step, establishing the Will, you ensure your team member is committed to making the journey and is prepared for the conditions and obstacles they may meet on their way.

 How to use GROW model ?

 Grow :

First , you will help your team member define a goal that is specific, measurable and realistic.

In doing this, it is useful to ask questions like:

  • “How will you know that you have achieved that goal?”
  • “How will you know the problem is solved?”

 Examine Current Reality

As the team member tells you about his or her Current Reality, the solution may start to emerge.

Useful coaching questions include:

  • “What is happening now?”
  • “What, who, when, how often”
  • “What is the effect or result of that?”

Explore the Option

By all means, offer your own suggestions. But let your team member offer his or hers first, and let him or her do most of the talking.

Typical questions used to establish the options are:

  • “What else could you do?”
  • “What if this or that constraint were removed?
  • “What are the benefits and downsides of each option?”
  • What factors will you use to weigh up the options?

Establishing The Will

By examining Current Reality and exploring the Options, your team member will now have a good idea of how he or she can achieve their Goal. That’s great – but in itself, this may not be enough! So your final step as coach is to get you team member to commit to specific action. In so doing, you will help the team member establish his or her will and motivation.

Useful questions:

  • “So what will you do now, and when?
  • “What could stop you moving forward?”
  • “And how will you overcome it?”
  • “Will this address your goal?”
  • “How likely is this option to succeed?”
  • “What else will you do?”

So ready to go  , hold on !!

Beware of common mistakes :

  • Assuming everyone is coachable
  • Overestimating the short term results from coaching
  • Assuming every situation provides the opportunity for coaching
  • Failing to establish rapport which creates the trusting space for coaching to occur
  • Failing to get others’ permission to coach them
  • Confusing coaching with training or supervision

 Benefits of Coaching

Again , investment done in coaching results in improved performance. This investment reaps other benefits too.

a)    High Morale : When everyone is working together and achieving goals, team members feel good about their work .

b)    Empowerment . People feel confident and willingly accept more responsibility.

c)    Development. Team members learn and improve. As they grow, they become more creative and are able to contribute even more.

Does it sounds good ? Here is lot more to it…… Team productivity increases, and the team complete tasks to your expectations . As their skills increase, you can delegate more so you have more time for other leadership responsibilities.

Win Win situation.

 Lets accept the situation, world needs strong , competent leaders now more than ever before. Effective leaders not only in government and industry but even in our civic organizations and toastmasters. At the end of every year, Toastmasters international rewards titles to every club –be Distinguished, Select Distinguished or President Club . The difference between successful clubs like this and unsuccessful clubs is the quality of leadership within the club. Being a leader its your duty to ensure you do everything possible to improve the performance of your team and……………………… to take them where they have not been.

PS : This article was my speech as one of the projects required for ALB (Advance Leader Bronze) Certification by Toastmasters. I hereby completed my ALB , yeah !!

Saakshi

Resolving Conflicts

Just Imagine :

You’ve just arrived to your workstation which you share with a colleague, and it looks as if it’s going to be another frustrating day.

Your side of the office is neat as a pin and incredibly well organized. You take care not to talk loudly when you’re on the phone, so that you don’t disturb your office mate.

Your colleague, however, is the exact opposite. Empty cups and crushed biscuits wrappers litter his side of the office. He sometimes puts the music on while he’s working, which breaks your concentration. And hell breaks when he is chit chatting with others while you are on call.  Stationary items at your side of office are often misplaced, at times you dread yourself coming into the office every day, simply because you don’t like sharing your space with your colleague. He drives you crazy, and you often argue.

Can you recognize that there’s conflict between you two because the two of you have completely different working styles.

Let us try to understand this..

What’s Conflict?

It’s the difference of opinion with two or more people, real or perceived that is not resolved, worst if someone is getting aggressive.

All of us experience one or the other conflicts at work, personal life and even in Toastmasters. Members can have disagreements over programming, logistics, meeting styles and people.

Conflict is not always bad. When it is addressed and resolved, conflict often leads to positive changes, increased productivity, better decisions, innovation and bonding among people. Adversely, unresolved conflict can lead to poor productivity, low morale, distrust, and failure.

A leader must know how to handle conflict.  He/ She can choose to ignore it, complain about it, blame someone for it, or try to deal with it through hints and suggestions; or can be direct, clarify what is going on, and attempt to reach a resolution through common techniques like negotiation or compromise.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is what we do to identify and address conflict in a mature and respectful way.

Why there are conflicts?

Root cause of all conflict and complaints – unmet expectations. Unmet Expectations from others!

Lets us take a closer look when and where conflicts occur.

a)      Conflicting resources

ð  We all need access to certain resources –  office supplies, meeting rooms, scheduling conference calls via desk phones. There are n no of employees and limited resources , hence their needs can be at odds.

 b)      Conflicting Styles

ð  Everyone works differently according to  his/her individual need and personality. For instance some people love the thrill of getting things done at the last minute, while others need the structure of strict deadlines to perform. Whenever there is a difference in working style it may call a conflict.

 c)       Conflicting Perception

 All of us see the world through our own lens, and difference in perceptions of events cause conflict. For instance HR Work from Home policy. There will be employees happy with such a policy being strictly followed, whereas there may be few who are not that pleased. Their perception – why it bothers so much to HR when by any means the work is done. Office politics comes in this section.

d)      Conflicting Goals.

Sometimes we have conflicting goals in our work. We all work on projects which involve multiple stakeholders.  One of them may ensure the high quality service is top priority but another stakeholder may focus on regular project updates and statistics. It’s sometimes quite difficult to reconcile the two!

e)  Conflicting Pressures

We often have to depend on our colleagues to get our work done. However, what happens when you need a report from your colleague by noon, and he’s already preparing a different report for someone else by that same deadline?

f). Different Personal Values

ð   Imagine that your boss has just asked you to perform a task that conflicts with your ethical standards. Do you do as your boss asks, or do you refuse? If you refuse, will you lose your boss’s trust, or even your job? I hope this won’t be case with anyone here.

g)  Misunderstandings

 When rules and policies change at work and you don’t communicate that change clearly to your team, confusion and conflict can occur. Lack of or incomplete communication can lead to misunderstandings.

 Cost to individual

No points for guessing, conflicts are generally destructive in nature, with time, emotional and health costs. Conflicts with others results in stress, loss of confidence, unhappiness, hostility, withdrawal and even illness.

Cost to the organization

Research indicates that a typical manager loses 25% of the day responding to helpful conflict. This is time lost to creative, productive work.

Take a medium sized organization with 100 managers. Let’s assume average monthly salary per manager is Rs 80,000. With managers losing 25% of their time on conflict, the cost will be Rs20, 00,000

This only accounts for management time. The true cost will include higher employee time, higher staff turnover, missed opportunities, absenteeism, inefficiency, low morale and poor teamwork.

 How to resolve conflict

So how do you deal with conflict and complaints?

Do you become aggressive back when it becomes a matter of who “wins” or “loses” the argument?

Or do you use cunning and well thought through communication and interpersonal skills to get you through the other end with the outcome that you desired?

In any case if a conflict has taken place, being a leader you have to approach it.

Method 1 : Ignore it.

In some situations, the issue may not be important and it may be best to ignore it. Often, though, this method does not work. The conflict does not go away.

 It festers.

Method 2. Smooth it over.

 This method is appropriate when the issues are more important to the par­ties involved than they are to you and the team’s goals. This method preserves harmony and goodwill.

 It heals.

 Method 3  Force.

  A leader uses power to resolve differences. This method is best used when an emer­gency requires a quick decision. However, it usually results in “winners” and “losers,” and losers can be resentful.

 It wounds.

 Method 4. Compromise.

 Each party makes a major concession to arrive at a solution. Since both parties lose something, they may have less support for the compromise solution.

 It either unites or divides.

Method 5. Collaboration.

This is a good way to resolve conflict. Each side recognizes the other’s needs as legitimate and important and acknowledges their ability and expertise. They work together to arrive at an agreement that will resolve the conflict. When each party wins, they have greater commitment to the solution and no resentment or distrust

It spreads harmony.

Collaboration offers a framework that will result in a win-win situation. You can facilitate the collabo­ration process by following these seven steps:

  1. Find the root cause.

Once the issues have been determined, focus on solutions not blames.

  1. Allow all parties to speak

3. Encourage all parties to listen.

4. Identify areas of disagreement..

5. Identify areas of agreement. Once everyone has spoken, help them find and discuss areas they agree on, such as: Common goals, Interests and values

6. Search for solutions. Everyone

7. Reach a consensus, by, THE BRAINSTORMING METHOD

All ideas are written down as they are generated, without discussion or evaluation.

After the ideas are exhausted, team members return to the first item on the list and discuss it, evaluating its positive and negative aspects.

Eventually, the list is narrowed to the idea that best resolves the problem

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is what we do to identify and address conflict in a mature and respectful way.

 

When it is handled well it can lead to

  • Improved relationships between those who were in conflict
  • Increased understanding for the different parties around a situation or topic
  • The identification and hopefully, the improvement of the processes that aren’t working

If conflict is not handled well.

if it is allowed to escalate , relationships , the team’s ability to function, the workplace , and the product or service produced will all suffer. So understanding how to handle conflict is vital to ensuring that you can be as effective as possible in the workplace.

Somebody told me, leadership is not just about managing people it’s more about managing people’s ego.

 This article was actually my speech as one of the projects required for ALB (Advance Leader Bronze) Certification by Toastmasters.

Stay Calm and Blessed,

Saakshi

How do you communicate with Business ?

Hie,

Picture this:

It’s a Monday morning after a long weekend when you took Friday off to get out of the city , travelling across 3 states . You have to attend your cousin’s wedding, a family affair !! This results in no ‘allowed’ access to e-mails. Back to Monday (travelling early morning) – you fire your email application and you have some 300 + unread emails.

What will you do?

a)      Sort them according to sender’s name?

b)      Sort them according to ‘high importance’?

c)       Take a deep breath and grab a cup of coffee.

d)      Panicked and start replying in order you receive those emails.

This is like what my morning is, today. The troubled part was I have to again apply for a leave (long weekend) for coming Monday and Tuesday. A road trip to Badrinath, with family.

You may be wondering if I am having such a number of e-mails ,either  I am not managing my clients / projects well, or I am keeping them aloof for the project  status or they are not informed well in advance that I am taking some time off for myself. (In India , taking time for family is equal to  taking time for yourself. Whereas I believe, there are 4 defined sections – work , family , friends and yourself , demanding their own time).

Just to justify my situation, my leave was planned and communicated beforehand (out of office also placed), project status always up to date. Such an alarming no of unread mails were because of few CC’s and a lot of system generated notifications. But still looking at the no, it does create a panic situation.

Regardless of your communication skills, it always comes down to your personality how you deal with such a situation. Some will reply back just saying “Done. Please check.”  And some will draft a long blog like e-mail.  We all will agree, inviting everyone concerned on a short conference call, probably with screen share is the quickest way to reach the solution .But is it reliable? (ah ! making MOM and wasting time again 😦 )  Next comes the Instant Messenger, IM  (which often shows all stakeholders offline when you wish to talk and magically online just as you wish to go offline.) So the solution comes back to e-mail.

As a Business Analyst (BA), which mode of communication is preferred and reliable (!!)? From past few months I am working across so many cultures – American, British, German, Italian , Mexican , Middle East and Indians . Through the way they communicate (emails , IM and telephone  calls) , the clear difference in styles made me believe it was due to the culture they inhibit. Later I closely observed within our Internal team , my manager always ping me to ask if it’s a good time to talk , if yes then please  come to meeting room and on the other hand  my team mates put everything on e-mails; CC manager . So is it the generation difference? Managers or the SME (subject matter expert) are more senior, experienced and are in more responsible positions, they need immediate responses. Whereas BA, the younger generation grow up with texting messages, find it reliable and follow the e-mail norm religiously. 

In my CBAP (Certificate Business Analyst Professional) training workshop classes, my trainer told me “BA is 70% communication skills and 30% technical skills”. I fully agree. It’s the way we communicate that earns us fame along with bread and butter. So whether you choose e-mails, Instant messenger or telephonic calls , make your message crisp clear ,make sure the  timing is right. Study stakeholders well (yes, this is the unsaid part of your job, accept it)to decide what they would prefer a e-mail or a short call.

In my opinion e-mail is the best way, marking all stakeholders to be on same page. It makes the documentation work easier too. And it will serve as a life line, if something goes wrong when anyone is on leave.

Coming back to leaves, I am working in IT industry and as most of you may have expected, my planned leave stands cancel. Sipping my coffee and a long to-do list , I am now deciding communication strategy – how to deal this with family?

Wish me luck.

Saakshi

Titanic : 3 lessons for a Business Analyst

Some make it big.

Some make it legendary.

Some make it an epic failure.

Titanic , the tragic ship becomes the inspiration of many books, movies , remake In 3Ds. Titanic (the movie) was the first english movie I saw chupke-chupke on cable TV, its charm has totally mesmerized me. The sinking scenes made me cry. Being a kid (I would be in 6th standard) I learned how to act at the time of crisis, how to keep updating our decisions sensing the need of the hour and how to keep your cool. (Of course , how to stand on the deck of ship *wink *wink )

I managed to watch Titanic 3D three times since it’s release and thought the learning can be extended to any domain.

Here are the 3 learning’s as a Business Analyst (BA) from Titanic.

1.    Oh yeah , I know it all 🙂  

The mighty and glorious Titanic was believed to be ‘unsinkable’. For that reason, it did not carry the required number of lifeboats. This was one of the biggest causes of loss of life on the ship. The belief that the ship was unsinkable ultimately led to disaster.

Lesson for BA : Your experience and knowledge (read as assumptions) are so powerful that they directly affect how you think, learn and work. When you believe something to be correct, you act in accordance with that knowledge (assumption). Ours is a world where people don’t know what they want and are willing to make us go through hell to get it. Identify, challenge, figure out loop holes and move beyond any assumptions that could ultimately spell disaster for you.

2.      Overconfidence is Catastrophic

Overestimating the capability of the Titanic led the captain to make several perilous decisions. One such decision was to abandon the safety drill of lifeboat practice in lieu of a recording a faster sailing time to New York. Another such decision was to increase the speed of the ship, even though a neighboring ship had turned off their engines believing that the waters were treacherous.

Lesson for BA : Invest good amount of brain and time on effort estimation. Follow work break down structure and project plan religiously. Make the team be on same page and try to maintain a journal titled – lessons learned. Keep reviewing the status and the problems faced. No project can succeed without management support. The best sort of management support is the kind in which management doesn’t find out about the project until it’s a success.

3.    Address Limitations

The creators of the Titanic feared nothing. They had built a ship that could overcome the major weaknesses in ship design that caused so many ships to sink in the past. But the ‘mathematical certainty’ did happen 😦

Lesson for BABeing able to design workarounds we can do magic !! We can push our limits and deliver a better, more flexible, robust software product and please the customer, but still there is always a scope of ‘out of scope’ features pouring in. Be specific and clear about these, and address them well in time. Save your well toned neck 🙂  No matter how much you say it to be a demand problem, it’s a technical limitation, accept it. There is always a room for beta version or next phase of release

 

Source : This article is highly influenced by the original one at http://www.greatmindsinspire.com/5_Life_Long_Lessons_that_we_can_Learn_from_the_Titanic/Default.850.html

Hope you all agree with me. Have some more learning / suggestions, please drop in 🙂

Saakshi

Customer Delight

Our organization’s Quality Policy which is displayed on our workstations right in front of our eyes says ,

We aim to be preferred global service provider for IT related services, by consistently delighting the customer and setting industry best practices.”

Yesterday was like any other day until I read our Quality Policy again. The word ‘customer delight’ caught my attention. And the immediate reaction was – when did anybody ever get up in the morning and think “Cool! A new day for upsetting customers”. Apart from the Devil himself, No body.

Hey  dreary warriors of service industry ,

 Like most of the companies our organization also uses the NPS – Net Promoter Score as the customer loyalty metric. I am working on 6 projects and yesterday for the month of March I received emails announcing that I had scored the perfect 10 in 4 of them, One customer gave me 8 (which was not too bad) but what me really mad was that I got a blank entry in one. I can understand that he was having a busy day , but so much so that he missed my NPS entry :

Customers awarding me 10 must be delighted. Customers giving me 8 must be satisfied and the blank entry, I would say they are not loyal.

Let us learn some dictionary meanings  

Satisfaction – the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation. 

 Delight is, to take great pleasure when your expectations are exceeded. 

 Loyalty is having the feelings of allegiance. 

These three simple words have a slightly different meaning, but all have a significant impact on the attitudes and behaviors of customers. Clearly, satisfaction is the minimal requirements to play – to truly develop a loyal or at least a return customer, one must go beyond satisfaction to delight.

When I was a little girl, I used to get upset whenever I had any fights with any of my friends. I would show tantrums and skip dinner. It was my dad who took me out for walks for soothing and yet wise words. Being an obedient daughter I used to listen to him carefully and absorb all that. In return he always delighted me with a candy bar. I never had expected that. Same is with our customers. Customer expectations are typically not very high. Give them 2G they are happy unless and until they know about 3G. Our job is to surprise them with what they were not even expecting. Now the question that arises is – how do we do that?

The NPS scores , the perfect 10s, respectable 8 and a blank entry  made me think about this golden rule , (on second thoughts, looking at the gold prices today) let me call it a Platinum rule.

 DAD 🙂  yes inspired from my DAD , my hero.

DAD stands for Discover Act and Delight.

Discover – Whenever you want to delight your customers you will have to first discover their expectations or needs. Only then will you be able to fulfill them or exceed them. Now how will you sense your customer’s expectations; clearly it is not an easy task. You should always strive to cultivate your dynamic sensors that will help you discover them clearly. Pay attention to your clients’, they give you various hints via mails, on phone calls.

If somehow it doesn’t work, then it is the time to change the shoes , be the customer of your own business. This will help you identify where your business is falling short on creating customer delight.

Do you serve your customers with an A* attitude? Or do you service them like YOU are doing them a favor?

Discover yourself.

Act – you got the customer’s expectations. It is time to act on it, not just to fulfill it but to exceed it. Service industry is a competitive world. You need customers to return with business. What you will do then? Give them options, that way it’s easy for customer to decide want they want and what they don’t rather than leaving them wandering.  Think what else you can provide them!

Promptness is a virtue.

Delight – Inform customers of your intent to evoke customer delight.  Asking help actually strengthens the bond, it does not weaken it. Make this message a part of your campaign from the very beginning. And when you achieve it make sure it is acknowledged. Customers may not know what exactly they want but they have a pretty good idea of what they like and dislike when confronted with it. 

 Take advantage of that.  You might learn something.

My dear warriors of the service industry, a bit of engagement, a bit of loyalty, a bit of consumer delight is all that we want.

To conclude let me quote a Poster which we see in our office everyday

It says

Customers are too good to lose, let’s make them (^ MORE THAN) happy.

 

 

PS : This is my toastmasters 7 th project , which I also delieverd in International Speech contest and won second position.

 

Regards,

Saakshi

I See

My Toastmasters Speech – Project 2

I See

Seen people with spectacles? –

Fancy frames thick / thin lenses.

Well, there are so many like this in this room, even I am wearing my secondary eyes. You must be thinking simply how silly the question was!

Never mind, we all know an optician makes these spectacles, based on test results either done by himself or a qualified eye doctor, in medical terms an optometrist. The idea is to make the person wearing these see with clarity, taking away any lack of appropriate focussedness.

Ladies and gentlemen, greetings for the day, I hope, I wish you all, be in best of your health (coz somehow I am not) , in best of your spirits and on the top having best of your vision.

My question to you is, do we need just clarity of vision?  I consulted my doctor 6 months back and got my numbers corrected. But will these pair of glasses ensure that I will see things correctly, if my mind is filled with prejudice and close mindedness. Will I be able to keep up with the pace with so many intellectual people around, even if I choose to keep a narrow outlook?

The answer is an obvious- NO. This restrictedness of not one’s eye sight but one’s vision distorts ones perception and brings in a refractive error.  

We are all the prisoners of our own perceptions. I have a short story about the results of being locked up behind the bars of worry, doubt and fear or better to say a chained mind of its own perception.

I walked around the counter at Mc Donald’s to get a straw for my drink and found a woman frantically mopping up her spilled coffee. She was using the flimsy tissue paper that was used for wrapping burger so the mopping up process wasn’t working well. I reached for the napkins and started helping her. She looked up in surprise that I had found the napkins saying that she had looked for them but didn’t see them. Her comment was “I couldn’t see.”

She was right. She couldn’t see Why not? Because of her present state of mind, she might have panicked or been in a hurry, and this blocked her vision. She was not able to see the napkins that were kept in plain sight. It was a state of mind of “worry, rush, and fear.”
In the prison of our own perceptions, we can’t see for what we are looking, fear motivates our actions. Each of us has our own personal prison created out of all that we have been taught and accepted about the worldview. Perception does rule!

For example if someone inquires what time it is. My hands rush to my mobile phone. I don’t care that I am wearing a nice watch.

Let’s have another example how many time have you searched for your glasses and found it at place least expected, your head.

 Or what do you think is the reason behind biased political views and favoritism. Many times our upbringing, our thought patterns rule our decision making and views. We behave as if we are not able to see. As a matter of fact, we do not, if our mind is blocked with obstacles.  Many a times, the uniqueness of the system in which we are caught, forces us to see erroneously. Our unsymmetrical upbringing, different backgrounds, may prohibit us from seeing clearly. In the struggle between reality and perception, most of the times, it is the latter that emerges paramount.

Folks,  “Our Perception magnifies things that we believe in”

 Let’s all break out of prison now!

I am a Business Analyst my job is to first ask questions, get the answers and then start working on them.

I have one more question to you. Look at the below picture.

These are two horizontal lines.

Horizontal lines

Horizontal lines

Which one is longer?

Many of you may find the above one longer. But, you will be surprised to know that, both are equivalent in length.

My perception says, the first denotes the open mind when you are able to see broad horizons and the second, a closed, restricted, narrow mind. So in the end, I am repeating myself, Perception Rules!

Lastly I would get a smile, when someone from the audience says, “I see”, as an acknowledgement of my speech. It’s a relief that we all share same perception J

I am waiting.

I am waiting

Who I am ? What I am doing? What I like talking about? What I will be (or should be) talking about? What gives me the kick to get start something productive? What I am doing here? Why I am here? Who the hell I am?

These are the many questions I ask myself whenever I visit myself. I want to know who is the real person behind these thoughts? I want to find out from where I get this go-get-up-and-start-doing something feeling?

I always wonder about my qualifications (hey , not my educational qualifications , I am talking about the qualifications that define a person , qualifications that make a soul) are they satisfactorily enough to waste my time doing all these brain storming ?

I don’t know is it actually good or bad for me , I don’t trust people easily ,not  even myself. So every time when I have this go-get- up-and-start-doing type feeling I usually feel in aggressive hyper active mode and actually start working on it.

This is the last week (Fiscal week 52, as we say 🙂  ) of 2011 and as per my learning’s and analysis , I have planned some serious things for 2012 that I MUST DO, so just relaxing this moment and waiting…

What I am waiting for?

I am waiting against all hopes that Delhi temperature would fall near to zero and it will snow (ahh !! every winter I wish to see snow in New Delhi.)  I am waiting that my cough will go soon and I will be enjoying. ( having a horrendous cough due to some environmental allergy).  I am waiting for Brida (book by Poulo Coelho) to finally choose her soulmate. I am waiting for Agneepath to release.

I am waiting for January to start my MBA.I am waiting for my payslip with some increase figure (ok , this won’t be possible in 2011, I admit).I am waiting for my Christmas gift ( assuming some have thought of sending me.)

I am waiting to get used to a healthy routine. I am waiting when I would proudly exclude myself from ‘the foodie’ list.  I am waiting to see how the recent happenings would turn out in January 2012. I am waiting to hear someone from the other end of country.

I am waiting to finish my inbox-ed tasks and plan my New Year party. I am waiting for my next holiday. I am waiting for my dost to get married. I am waiting for someone to ask me out for a drive in this chilly-foggy night.(The naughty me 😉 )

And , now while I am waiting for my dinner , I should stop waiting and rather do something actually.

Girls please don’t wait for Santa to silently hear your wish and make it true. Rather be a dirty doll and go ahead and ask for it!!

Merry Christmas!!

Something gone wrong !

Hi folks,

How are you?

I hope you must be in the best of spirits of your health and also on the road that leads to LIFE.

You must be wondering about the title of this weblog. Chill. Relax. Nothing has gone wrong (presently) in my life. It was just a thought across my mind while attending a team meeting today. (Boss, I am sorry nothing sort of this was on agenda and definitely I was attentive,it is just a random thought.)

Earlier I imagined what life would be, if it is well documented. That weblog was all about planning. Here, I am talking about execution of the planning discussed previously and the fate of decisions that were taken.

I am a Business Analyst and belong to IT sector; I tend to see LIFE as a long term engagement project. For me success of project LIFE depends upon the decisions made while it is on planning and development phase.

Before I go further into Root cause Analysis of why something goes wrong, I have few questions for you.

Q1 :How do you make decisions?

a) Are you influenced by peers?

b) According to your experience?

c) Blindly follow your gut?

OR

d) As per your comfort level?

It depends from person to person  and sheer luck, following  any one of the above can either rocket you on cloud 9 or corner you with a bottle of wine and a jaw dropped expression saying ‘something has gone wrong.’

Q2 : How sure are you with your decision ? Do you regret?

When I was a kid I was always running away from water (you guessed right 🙂 , I somehow managed to skip bathing every second day) my father  used to pick me up on his shoulders and without warning threw me in a big bucket. I was shocked at first but then laughed out at the trick he’d played.

He taught me a lesson, ‘whenever you want to achievesomething, plunge straight in.’

Traveling through all those growing years, I had quickly (yes, I regret 😦  ) forgotten this lesson . I am only …oh, how old I am!! Hmmm…. were you expecting that I will disclose my age…leave it. I had already nurtured many enthusiasms (starting something on my own , enrolling to MBA classes , going for walks every day , learning dance , studying Spanish and French ,blabla , blue  blue ) which I had abandoned as quickly as I had taken them up.

I am not afraid of difficulties rather I always stand upfront to face challenges. I was scaredof forcing myself to choose one particular path and missing out on others. I am afraid of committing to myself. I always wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none.

Every project by default has a fate – failure, unless and until you firmly decide to be on one path and drag it to success. There are no optimal solutions pre-written or tree structures made to crack the mystery of success.  Similarly, Life is complicated. One has to follow certain paths and abandon others at times, only to prove that they were not the right ones, but it wasn’t as bad as choosing a path and then spending the rest of life wondering something had gone wrong.

Probably , it is the law of life (I m pretty young to say ‘fact of life’) that not everyone could escape the dark night even if someone has never made a decision , even if someone lacks courage to change anything because in itself it was a decision!! (Proud to be an Analyst)

Well, my dad also says, ‘the time when it goes wrong it’s actually teaching you something.’

Are you still worrying that something has gone wrong?

Cheat sheet for you:

Nothing in the world is completely wrong, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

BAs – Hidden Leaders !

 

Many times we are not in a position of authority yet we have to have some leadership skills for easy going. Working as a Business Analyst (BA) and working closely with large teams I have observed that BAs have to constantly challenge themselves on leading without really leading.
I term this as challenge because generally we don’t have the title to help us put weight in influencing ourselves. We are in the unique position of not having any title in our kitty from a leadership perspective, so we have to be a bit more creative.
We do our absolute level best on capturing the business and functional requirements , analyzing, recommending solutions, utilizing the right tools for creating  a product that in the end returns us customer’s approval with their satisfaction. It sounds simple and interesting but in practical it’s not easy.
We spend hours pondering over the requirements, meeting with customers, documenting, re-documenting, designing architectures, developing use cases (explaining what they are and what they are not), redeveloping them, creating and recreating report layouts.  After that, co-ordinating with the development team, encouraging them to complete the work within the timeframe, and we may have a few updates to the fields on the reports – and that’s ok, we need to be flexible and responsive.
Apart from convincing the developers that the project is doable, then we have to have the business meetings where we have to re-prioritize the already prioritized requirements (due to extended deadlines). We work closely with the business to try and reassure them that everyone on the team is focused on delivering the project on time. We are secretly praying that the team will come through and deliver exactly what is needed by the clients.
This is all we do. WE MOVE MOUNTAINS EVERYDAY !!
Then where does Leadership comes? Leadership comes through the side lines. And you can be creative by acquiring 3 simple qualities and won’t sound bossy.
Listening – It is important , it allows you to think and tailor the message to be send back to sender. Every sort of business communication is sensitive either for the client or for the technical team. Listening properly and responding in an apt way is a crucial skill.
Building relationships – Build healthy relationships with all people at all levels in the organization. You never know when this will come back to serve you well. To lead from the side, it is helpful to have colleagues that will speak to your credibility and work ethic. Don’t underestimate the power of  good relationships.
Motivate – Motivating or Influencing is like a boost to your goal. Give your team the freedom to do what they can do better than you in anyway. Motivate them and don’t yell at them, else, they will be much less inclined to take the initiative when needed.
Don’t poke your nose in order to achieve the best in spite of any situation. Don’t bear the burden of someone else’s ego.
Acquiring these 3 simple skills will help you to continue to grow and mature in your career as well as in person.

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