Saakshi Nagpal

Archive for the tag “Saakshi Nagpal”

I am alive

Hie,

How is 2013 going so far?

Presently, anything that I am crossing by is ‘new’ for me. With frequently changing cities apart from weather differences, I am occupied with cleaning, packing, moving, unpacking and then starting again with cleaning process these. Checking out my old notes on my first computer, I got a treasure, hidden in this old computer hard disk from nearly a decade.

My dad gifted me a computer , the one with big and bulky  white screen covered behind a screen guard, big CPU which required a decent cooling system in the room keyboard  with big keys

The Neil Diamond Collection

The Neil Diamond Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

producing music every time you touch them (ouch !! touch-me-not beauties) on my birthday. I was in my primary school and thus my play time was for limited hours every evening. Those days I recall my motto was to listen new songs, improve my verbal English, learn using computer and speed up typing.  I came up with the solution, to play English songs on computer, open a notepad and start typing as the song play.

Here are the lyrics from a beautiful song written by Neil Diamond perfect for a fresh start of a brand new year dedicate to a great life , enjoy !!

I am alive

I am alive

Take a walk

You can hardly breathe the air

Look around

It’s a hard life everywhere

People talk

But they never really care

On the street

There is a feeling of despair

But everyday

There is a brand new baby on

Everyday

There is a sun to keep you warm

Its alright, I am alive

Take of your life

What its got to give

I am alive

Everybody

Look here

I am alive

I am alive

So , what are you waiting for gear up your energies, raise your chin , smile a bit , wear  bring-it-on attitude and chant ‘I am alive’

Be happy , Stay Blessed

Happy 2013

Saakshi

Happie Happy 2013

Hie,

So we have survived the Mayan’s prophesy,  wow!  Feeling lucky and happy that we are back enjoying the benefit of uncertainty that life cunningly serves us , here are my this year’s resolutions .

a)      To spend first 90 min of my day to myself every day.

This is my wish for a long time. Now when I am married, I should act mature and more spiritual (something for my soul). I wish to spend the first 90 to 120 min (oh ! yeah I am lavish) every morning to do what I love to do. Be it dancing, listening music, reading a book, writing, cooking, walking or simply thinking. These minutes will be like charging my soul to maintain my super duper energy levels.

b)      To laugh for 10 min daily.

Weird? Recently I got plenty of compliments for my smile (blushing me J , I do lie , lol ). At times smile is the best gesture one can make. It has the same impact as to show a brave silence or as to acknowledge acceptance. Smile does look good on anyone’s face, but there are moments when we ask ourselves, ‘when  was the lastI laugh whole heartedly and how long?’  Laugh for 10 min daily is my this year must do task.

c)       To have a bit more empathy in my voice.  I have an habit of asking  feedback all the time over and over again , till the time I get to know how far I have achieved my objective ( I am obsessively goal oriented person). This is what I got, ‘add some empathy to your voice’. How m gonna do it , no idea , but sure I will cultivate this skill.

d)      To organize my wardrobe bi-weekly. (Pay attention its organize not re-organize) . Stacking and maintaining clothes is a big project for me. You are most welcome to my place and open my cupboard at any point of time on your own risk. For sure my neat image is gonna vanish in no seconds. So trying to be more organized this year . Wish me luck .

Along with these ,I am borrowing my last year resolutions (mentioned on my last year’s blog – Dusk (2011) and Dawn (2012) ) and carrying them for this year too which I was able to stick  for the most of the year.

e)      Write and Workout daily. (Notes to self – walking and a bit of dancing is not a workout !!)

I am done with my resolutions and hopeful of pushing myself to achieve them. I wish you all a happy, positive, stress free, eventful, loving and spiritual 2013.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Good Night 2012 … Welcome to a happie happie   2013 …

Stay blessed,

Saakshi

 

To a healthier better me – My birthday resolutions

I am a big big girl, in this big big world, its (any issue) not a big big thing, come on bring it on to me..

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Yeah , it’s my birthday week . he he he 🙂  I usually celebrate my birthday the whole week. So now that I have stepped on to the second quarter of my life , or to say I am crossing mid twenties/late twenties and rushing towards 30s  but instead of focusing on anti-ageing treatments to disguise my age , I am putting my energies to a very obvious thing that unfortunately I had been ignoring from long time.

Family, friends, long lost friends, colleagues, acquaintances, well wishers, everyone showed their immense love on my birthday. They wished me happiness, prosperity and good health. I have been saying this on my blogs over and over again, but yeh ! I am confessing even I have tendency to walk over it (bad bad girl). I am blessed I always get cooked ready to serve – excuses to put my health not on top priority.

Well, I’ll be honest; it’s not that I’m not capable of committing and following through – anything that I have decided for myself. I don’t bind myself with point to point resolutions, but it’s too easy to slip in my comfort zone crushing my all healthy thinking’s 😦 . I am going to experience a 360 degree turn soon in my life (keep guessing 😉 ) transitions have already started then why not fixing my health status.

Being a woman, I sincerely apologize; I am adding few more vanity (mind, body and soul) changes in my resolution cart.

Here I am  with my resolution cart :

  1. To take good care of my health

a)      Go for 30 min walk or meditation.

I love morning walks. I am sad I am not going for them due to all the stupid reasons I can think of. But from this morning, I am back in action.

b)      Will have proper 3 meals a day.

I am not going to try to have a proper diet, I can’t afford trying. I will do it.

c)      To have 6 hours of sleep a day.

I can see, people who know me smirking (and also those who can see the time of the post). I am an insomniac. This will be a fight but I want to win sleepily , else one day will come when I will be called as zombie . (Currently, they have termed as ghost)

d)     To take my medicines on time.

I am not that ill, that I have to take so many medicines daily. But whatever I need to take (multivitamins, calcium, iron tablets, pain killers etc etc) , I will have them on time. Already, placed a daily alarm.

e)      Start my day with lemon and honey in warm water.

Ya, ya I want to lose those stubborn inches. Do you know how bad it feels , when you have a Van Heusan dress in your wardrobe from last 11 months (price tag freshly enacted) and you try it every Saturday morning , just to say ‘I wish I could look better’ L

2. Do something that I love to.

I love to write. I love to dance. Writing and dancing is being in trance form for me. Need to come over my mood swings –  write/dance. Need to vent out my anger – write/dance. Need to express my happiness – write/dance. I know I am not regularly blogging but tweeting. I am trying to be active on blog again. Coming to dancing, what gratifies me – locked my room, dim lights , loud music dancing in front of mirror , just like that.

3. Crop the cribbings

I do sometimes crib, human tendency please don’t judge me. Thanks. Every day is a new day , every moment is a new moment, every situation is a new situation.. Face them , live them, embrace them. Life is a bed of roses but with some thorns. Once pinched by the thorn tip immediately turn to the softness of roses, don’t stay there and start cribbing the thorn , better to confine into the softness of roses.

4. Keep my wardrobe organized.

Don’t want to waste precious morning minutes in finding what to wear and then iron them , uff , I do need to fix this bad habit.

5. Not to say ‘I am busy’

There was a time, when friends always taunt me because I am always ‘busy’. Credits to last few weeks, I am actually busy (oops I said that , I am sorry).I am not liking this , feeling totally burn out. I am daily struggling to manage my just 24 hour day. The way I am moving with life (can’t dare to say growing with life) I feel I would never be free from schedule madness until I will be comfortable taking responsibility of ‘my time’. No one is going to beat me for declining meetings. Being busy is not cool !

So where does this list will leave me? I believe in results, I am sure I will be sticking to above mentioned resolutions (fingers crossed)

Life is short, though I wish to live 100 years. I want to make this life worth living every moment. No walking away from greatest life episodes. Not to miss any single moment to say thanks /sorry / love you. Do something that I am proud of , in my signature style.

Cheers, to a better , wiser, more organized, more energized, new freshen one more year older me … happie birthday 🙂

Thank you everyone, hugs and kisses. Stay Blessed

Saakshi

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

Awesomeness Personified

Hie,

How to be awesome in whatever you do?

If you think for a while that my next blog is going to be just a manual on How to be awesome, you are probably wrong. I am no trainer/teacher/coach to instruct you in few easy steps that how to be awesome!
I believe we all are awesomeness personified and just need to search the hidden persona of ours. There are always two different faces of a coin. If nature has beautiful snow covered peaks, it also has disruptive volcanoes. The point is where you are looking. One individual can’t be good at all things. If anyhow the person tries to be, there would be few weak points.

I like reading and occasionally write on my blog , but unfortunately from past few months life (ok, I am exaggerating ; my mood or emotions or outlook whatever you name it) has taken a 360 degree turn. All for bad. No, I am not cribbing or showing my irritation here on a public forum nor I am doing this in my real life but somewhere unconsciously its effecting me badly , I appear pale and lost most of the times . Happiness and smile are long lost entities and that’s one of the reasons of blogging ‘so rarely’.

I am going to work, finishing all my daily tasks, attending trainings (May – Aug my calendars are decorated with all sort of trainings. September will see me an improvised super human being 🙂  ). I am getting good rankings, appreciations, rewards, challenging projects. Strangely, I am socializing more, reading more books, I am losing my appetite and am an insomniac now. A strange demoralized phase in which I am in, is unfolding all my hidden weakness and finally adding it to my stress level.

Tony Robbins (an American Self help author and motivational speaker) says “In life you need either inspiration or desperation”. I choose inspiration. Inspiration from my own strengths.
So listing my strengths …
I am creative, confident, open minded, have a good patience level, ambitious, good at analyzing and organizing things. I am committed to my commitments. I am a quick learner. I can write well. I can push people to pursue their goals.bla bla bla ..
So, as the list goes on for my strengths similarly I have few ( !! 🙂  !! ?? 🙂 ) weaknesses also .

Whatever they may be as I have said earlier , I am following Tony’s advice. Choosing inspiration over desperation . Inspiration from my strengths and disguising myself for a while that there exists no weakness that can potentially pull me down from being an awesome soul.

You may have completely different opinions on this subject matter and I respect that but according to me, it would be a painful experience when you are suddenly confronted with some bitter moment(s) of your life . A moment where the only word that could define it is “Crap”. A “double crap” when it’s exposed to everyone. Grr !! Public humiliation. You may either chose one way where you can escape from by just saying “this is the way I am” or falling in a guilt pit 😦 . My conscious chooses the first one that is not claiming your weakness as a badge of your identity. This is like putting your best foot forward, accepting yourself with the weakness and getting a inspiration to keep rising higher.

If you can’t overcome weakness, then why not shine your strengths more.

Doubts ???

Stay awesome , be awesomeness personified.
Saakshi

Being Confident – My learning from Toastmasters.

Hie ,

How are summers going ?? 🙂 🙂

Last week , I completed my Competent Communicator along with  Competent Leader certification from Toastmaster manuals. Happy me 🙂 , I am just 9 month old with this programme .

Below is my project 10 from Competent Communicator manual : Inspire your audience.

My dear fellow toastmasters, I still remember my first speech. Those who have given their Icebreaker will be experiencing a sweet smile on their face and those who are still planning to give will experience goosebumps. Mine was a bit different. I thought I was dead sitting on the chair waiting for my turn. Fortunately or unfortunately mine was the first. I gave my first speech at Area Level Humorous speech competition representing our club at Adobe systems  

Before the competition, when I was bothering myself with the questions like ‘Can I do it?’ ‘ What I will do if I go blank?’ ‘Do I have the confidence, that I can make it?’ Our Mr President come to me , and ask to volunteer for Vice President  Public Relations role.

I was like uhh !! you can’t do this to me. I am the kind of person, who can work till late will never crib but interacting with entire organization and always being upfront to create a buzz ., this is just not me. I am the person who needs to be dragged to parties and then needs  some solitude to regenuate. I am not a social butterfly.  Now I am grateful , for the confidence Mr President has shown in me. 

From that day till today, the club meetings are like  weekly lessons. Thank you for all your support and guidance through the journey of learning till date. I can feel the brand new me J within me.

Lets think again, aren’t those questions scary ? Most of us , including myself try avoiding such questions b’coz deep down we have some or the other kind of fear of unknown. It can be driving, swimming, singing, dancing, public speaking or socializing.

I fear of social gatherings, no please don’t take me as an introvert or something it’s an area where I just don’t feel comfortable.. Comfortable of mass?? NO may be lack of confidence to communicate with the strangers at a personal level. I am well read , well travelled ,  enough to carry on any conversation except stock exchange and cricket !! But still … ahh !! I just can’t do that. I literally get cold feet.  Being socially inactive, my motivation was at a decline.

Finally I took charge of myself, coz , I was sick of this feeling, it was always a herculean task to approach someone and say “ hello , whats up , how u doing ? “ .  One fine day, there was a circular in my mailbox asking nominations for membership of an internationally recognized public speaking and leadership club. I at once nominated, without giving second thought or even looking at the cost. I nominated myself. I never had stage fear. In fact  I was the head girl of my school, a regular figure on stage not only b’coz  my mom can see me and hear me performing but b’coz I love the feeling of being here on the podium and addressing people. I can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but I go insanely awkward in groups and specially when I have to initiate any conversation, so I joined the club to exploit myself. Exploit b’coz in my heart I was confident that I can do it. As they say ‘no pain no gain’ my moto was ‘ if it doesn’t torture, then it doesn’t matter’.

The fact that here in Toastmasters, there is no one to judge you  or score you , here we all learn in a mutually supportive, positive learning and non threatening  environment. This means fewer chances of embarrassment and also a good opportunity to interact and socialize. Now the fear of public humiliation did the trick. Result, I am here , regained the lost self esteem projecting the much desired confidence .

This was my part of story. But one question has the power to either make it or break it – Do you believe you have confidence?

They say change is the only constant thing in life. I believe Change is other definition of life. With my year long journey with Toastmasters, now I accept that change is the only truth of life. To accept the eternal truth, one needs to have confidence and confidence in plenty. The confidence should be like a solid, which even when challenged will never backed down. The confidence should be your armor against all odds.

So, from where will we get this confidence? And when we find it , will this confidence remain with us ?

It’s a myth that confidence is a state of mind which is built by a constant thinking. The fact is confidence is within you, it’s in your heart; it’s in your belief.  Confidence creates a positive vibe around us and spreads too.  Don’t tell me you don’t try certain dance steps from Dance India Dance at home , don’t tell me you stop yourself singing in bathroom, don’t tell me  you  don’t try your hands at your favorite cuisine at home. No matter how absurd you may have performed it gives you a certain sense of happiness and satisfaction. A feeling of being ‘too good’.    

So, clearly you have the desire, take a step forward show confidence in yourself and just do it. Who knows the world around you may feel proud of you.

You love to dance, dance with your friends, feel the spotlight on you. You love to sing, then why in confines of your bathroom, don’t you think that echo ruins the melody? Call your buddies for Sunday brunch, have fun , someone may like the food and ask for tips!! Try it out

Find confidence in whatever you love to do to overcome the fears you always desire. It may not be easy because in reality, the world behaves in such a way that makes a vicious cycle revolving 360-degree without any clue. You may have fought with your fears and gave a shot but in the end, found yourself back to same place.  It must be very hard.

Most importantly, it is your confidence that tells your true worth no matter where you are and what you might be doing. Confidence is a treasure which boosts our  morale and helps in keeping us focused towards our dream despite of all odds.

And if you are thinking how to retain this confidence (I know it’s fragile) ,then have a TEAR in your eye.

Try , Enact, Analyse , Reform.

As I have been practicing this via Toastmasters, though I will be completing CC this afternoon , I don’t want to stop now. For me the fun and learning has just begun! so having said that I am confident that  I have inspired you enough to come forward and present your icebreaker , what you all need is just the CONFIDENCE and let it oozes out from your pores.

Let me know your take on this.

Keep Talking,

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

The Expert Enough Manifesto


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