How not to manage a team – Series 2

Had not thought of the second post so early on the series. Well this weekend I learnt plumbing from my dad! I am officially the plumber of the house now :). Before I go on an intro to my dad, who gave me management lessons while plumbing! My dad had not gone to any Grade A B School. He retired from India’s premier telecom organization in a top managerial role. He was equally technical, and as far as I am aware, is a master of several trades and has an amazing handwriting which any calligraphist can envy.

It was another hectic weekend for me and after using the Friday for settling bank accounts, today I got a new Geyser (water heater) for the first floor. The electrician came and mounted it on the wall, as we were not having the right tools to play around and well left us off to fend for ourselves or call a plumber for the remaining work. My dad having seen me play around with the rinch when I installed (read my word – I have never heard anyone install a tap!!! IT industry ruined me) a tap in my aunt’s house last week, decided that I use my plumbing skills at our home as well! Well after buying the necessary accessories, I set off and successfully installed the heater, with of course a few management lessons from dad!

Lesson 1: Listen to your superiors (read supervisors): Well this was something I have never done in my office! That was my argument with dad and told him out rightly to stop instructing me on how to hold the spanner and just give way! Well he added some thing, that my conscience would let me identify the right superior from the wrong. So correct this lesson for today, its – Listen to your superiors. Only if your conscience says that they are right and they are the right people to listen to! How right! I have always felt that some decision makers do reactive decisions and I absolutely do not trust them. If your superior has trust in you and vice versa then definitely you will listen to him or her. I am with you dad, the next time, I accept the plumbing work at home, I will follow your advice or ensure that you aren’t around when I do the work ;).

Lesson 2: Be Patient. My teacher in my primary school (Satnam Kaur), had once told my mom out rightly in a parent teachers meet at CFTRI that I was the most overconfident kid around! Aunty, if you are by any chance following my blog, add to that I have even become, the most impatient kid around! Well, believe me its a very bad combination. You can never manage you team either by being overconfident or by being impatient. My company too was following the tagline Be Impatient, I think someone realized it and sent it to the oblivion forever! Be patient to your team members and listen to them, and show confidence in their work. Do not be overconfident and leave everything to the team, one day they will think you are escaping work and just “Delegating” and will say goodbye to you!

Lesson 3: Be Aware and Be Impartial: Well my dad says that even though, he was the top rung for his division, no one recognized that or as a matter, for proof, I still see lots of his team members call him up for advice on all walks, even after his retirement. That he says is because, he was aware of a. their strengths and responsibilities b. he was impartial, being impartial to your team makes each member contribute equally and put in a 100% to the team c. Know their personal responsibilities and ensure at least a few in the team know about each other at home – Well this according to him helps in a government atmosphere, where work is unpredictable. Knowing each other and each others families quite well, helped him and his team achieve amazing success at critical times of establishing an OFC network from scratch as per his thoughts. I am not sure if this works in IT (Cross Crush problem will occur as per my knowledge ;))

Well apart from that, he did give gyaan on knowing your strengths and best of all he said, “Do not ask your team to do anything if you do NOT know how to do it!”. Well I knew that he knew plumbing as well and asked him not to pat his own back, but he was not at his comical best 😦 and I had to face his wrath. Well introspecting the last statement, I have decided to go with it as well. I have seen managers in the past who do not know what their team is doing, go to client review meetings, bluff, get caught and ensure that both they and their company stand in the ‘Jahaapana’ pose and walk back! Well if you don’t know your goals and the path to the goal, how will your team know! Makes sense… in fact a lot from practical experiences.

Well, finally I dedicate this blog entry to Dhriti, one of the latest entry to our family – my niece. Andy and Lakshmi have been blessed with a baby gal and I wish them al the best of luck and well I hope one day she reads my blogs and well…. Writes better ones ;).

How Not to Manage a Team… – Series 1

I was skimming through what had transpired over the previous year in my career and hence my “PAST” experience, rather just a year back, forced me to start writing this post. The post, initially was intended to be a story on ‘How not to Manage a Team!’, well but even though the topic remains the same, I will post what were the mistakes, I saw in the person and probably what would be right in getting your team to achieve what you want starting this series, as and when I recollect my past supervisor’s mistakes.

The first thing that you need to realize when you are leading or managing is a team is that YOU have to trust the team. Trust bonds your team together and brings together a feeling of oneness. I have seen managers showing trust in just a few resources and giving up on the rest, that to me is never going to let the team settle down as a mosaic. My past experience shows that some managers express trust only in the froth. That is too dangerous as well. The moment the team gets below the brim, they will know the truth and never ever trust you in the future.

The trust also does not develop, by sending forwards as good morning mailers or as Sidin Vaidukut, says in Dork, by sending cheeky Jesus/ Rama will save you in the morning, just pray SMSes. Its going to build over the time. Give the team the time to stabilize and grow, then build mutual trust. Believe me your team will Rock or else, you will be labeled a Dork!

Bengaloorinalli PanchaVarsha-abdhi!!!

Well, the significance of February 14th for me has not been that I have not been able to find a valentine till now. I have not tried and I dont think I even have time to try it tomorrow as well! It will be five years that I made Bangalore as my froster home this Febuary 14th.

It was the V-Day that me and Dushyant had to report to in HPLabs for our internship and sadly, though not interested in staying in this city, both of us moved to Bangalore expecting life to change with times and the city of course.

In the course of Five years, both of us have moved in different directions, Dushyant passing out of IIMA and setting up his own firm and me, still seeking out to what I want to do in life. I still remember working four days a week in HP and having a sweet guide in Dr Shekar Bhorgaonkar, our department director and the amazing team with Vinay, Ravi, Prashant, Pavan Joshi and of course Jayashree and team. The HP stint has given me a lot in life!

Coming back to the Feb 14th, I think 2005 was the first valentines day Fourm celebrated and I still remember, that there were red and white helium baloons all around the mall. Of course, we just went to Mc Ds there to have lunch and came out as usual. As I complete five years in Bangalore, I am amazed by the way the city has changed! The few things I liked earlier was my travel from Banashankari (Andys house to Forum), by the innumerable 201’s, The McDs, Krishna Sagar, Grameen in Koramangala and sorroundings… The Rush Hour hotel in Koramangala cross, The Jogi posters in Forum!

Anyway, life comes a full circle sometimes and I am spending the first day of my fifth year in Bangalore in Koramangala as well due to some appointments. Time has flown quickly and I do not know if I like Koramangala the same way as we did when we were interns! Happy V-day to all of you!

My Name Is…..

I should have guessed its worth, when Abhi was able to get four tickets to the movie My Name is Khan(MNIK) starring Sharukh ‘My Name Is’ Khan and Kajol Devgun, without hassles. (Note that I have due respect for Ajay Devgn, the actor minus his latest crap flick All the Best!, when I use his name here.). The Hype, The Hoopla, The Aura against the movie was all a damp squib. I am seriously not going to believe any more reviews and well, if the promos and music are really worthy, I will watch the movie based on my instincts and then submit a personal review. So well, that means if my gut feeling says that the movie sucks, it does.

MNIK, is definitely only for SRK fans. The movie is as normal as it can be and probably introduces the Aspergers Syndrome into the Indian Market. Remember media tracking progerians and Dyslexians after Paa and TZP, I see the same thing happening after MNIK, provided Shiv Sena decides to play its activities down. SRK is at his emotional best in the movie, which I do not think is what I, as an audience will seek for nowadays or any previous day! I heard someone quote he has acted better than Chak De! Chuck it…. this is no match to Chak De! The theme of the movie is a big let down as well. All that is portrayed is the life of Asians in US after 9/11. Come on I am in India and I have been seeing such differences among people for ages and things are changing slowly, may be for good! But What does this movie have to convey??? That it might reach the Oscar finals for this year as it has a theme that will get the whole of the Americas and the Europe to the theater? That it has Fox as its distributor? Or that people are still suspected on the basis of their surnames? Give me a break the last reason has been used by several movies now and I am tired of it!

The movie hopefully brought an end to the Trilogy of terror related movies, like New York, Kurbaan and finally MNIK! Hope it ends. All three of them, made me think of getting out of the seat in the interval. But for the sake of reviewing I had to sit through till the end. MNIK, starts off slowly and has a few grasshoots. Shahrukh’s comical sense and his aura as a mature actor carries through the movie. But still the script is not that great. The US based locales too have become quite common nowadays and are not pleasant.

The movie, will definitely be a hit, given that it has SRK and of course, the fact that Shiva Sena opposed to it. Sainiks, I think you have made the movie a hit, by objecting to it. Honestly, if it had no controversy during release, in India, it would just have reached the froth of the sea of hits that may release in Bollywood this year.

So boring was this movie that, that Kite trailor which was played at the beginning was a pleasure to watch. Probably to show off that Kites and Rajneeti have a much more impressive storyline they had thier promos aired before the movie. Anyway its an okay work from KJo and well the magic of Shahrukh – Kajol pair I am really searching for where it is? I am seriously looking forward to know why almost all of the newspapers, CNN IBN (which I usually trust) over-rated this movie! Was it just to ensure that crowds reach the theater and ensure that Sena had a black face??? Hope that it is not and they have seen some positive.

My advice, watch this movie, if you are only a die hard Shahrukh fan. No 2, if you have enough money to shell out on a cheesy multiplex. No 3, from my side, for green shoots and Shahruks acting in a few scenes. No 4, its much better than Wolfman. But honestly if you are trying a regional flick against MNIK, go for the regional flick. See this on a weekday when the prices are less. The movie will be a hit and may even be a nomination to the Oscars from India, given the way the world thinks now, but for me of the releases in my memory till now, 3 Idiots is still the best.

To add to this, I had fever today and still went to the movie. I was probably having a temperature and had a constant running nose and irritating throat with a stiff neck! The postive was even Shahrukh looked like he had a stiff neck in the movie and it gave me the confidence that I can act as well ;).

Are You Buzzing???!!!

I am probably one of the privileged few to get a Google Buzz account the day they launched it. Buzz seems to be the next IN thing from google.

I am still trying to figure out what to do with google wave and by that time, google has come out with this fairly simple Google Buzz. What puts Buzz ahead of the rest is the ability to integrate with multiple social networking platforms. Facebook and Twitter now probably have to hit back the drawing board. Google Mail’s user base definitely allows google to go one up above its competitors with Buzz integrated with Gmail.

Anyway google seems to have stuck the right chord this time after the Waves. Just hope that people will still subscribe to my blog after the Buzz starts off.

Chillare Manushyaru!

It sounds pretty wierd! But true. India probably mints the largest number of coins in the world and they vanish in thin air! I had a suffocating time today struggling for change. I usually use whatever coins or note I have when I have to spend and do expect the recieving end to be receptive and provide me back with the exact change in case I am out of change.

Today, on my journey back to Mysore, the conductor had run out of change and I virtually emptied my purse and gave him the exact amount for the ticket. Imagine two people of a 54 people bus are the only ones ready to shell out the change. The rest of the assholes are showing their glittering half yellow teeth ‘Change Illa’. I pitied the conductor and well myself as well later as I had just one ten rupee note left now!

Enroute to my home hopped into the Levis Sale hoping I can get some change if I buy something there. I was planning to augment my wardrobe. It turned out that the place had more people than clothes and I returned back to the road leading to my home, stopped by a petty shop, bought some biscuits for 30 bucks to get the change for 100! That too after I showed the shopkeeper I only had a tenner and a sodexho of ten! Whew… Now I can get into the rickshaw tomorrow morning without thinking about the change as I will more or less be in the same situation.

Its quite an Irony, as I once had someone return back 19.4£ in UK for a 60p purchase in Tesco when I gave an £20 note. They never haggled to give me change back there! I remember even using my credit card for 1£ purchase on a train! India, someday I hope will stop stockpiling everything. Ranging from food, coins, what not….

Why My IPod is back out!

It has been over a year since my best friends gifted me an I Pod Nano. Its been hardly half an year or so since I got to own another I Pod, of a smaller scale. Thanks to Vic and team.

Honestly, I have hardly used both of them as I always felt a din in my ears. But today, I have felt the necessity of taking both of ’em out. Courtesy: Too much sound pollution! My neighbor is learning to drive her car and every few minutes I hear the reverse horn beeping across the whole road! My goodness, I dont think even Adrian Sutil will practise so much for Force India! But I do appreciate her efforts to practise hoping that she can be a better driver on the road given the others I see around.

Coming back to the actual topic, I am tired of the honks on the Bangalore roads, the sound of the gushing wind, replaced by the zoom of a 200cc bike on the roads, the early morning chirping of the birds, replaced by a nosy kids chineese music making device which utters hindi moving songs, that would push any top music director to jump off the Bandra Worli Sea Link! Worst of all, my weekend journeys are no more sweet and smooth. Courtesy, the idiotic movies played on the Volvo services from KSRTC. On a record, I have watched Mungaru Male and Milana some over 20 times each. Add to that I see a set of people showcasing their newly acquired LoudSpeaker phone with the variety of FM channels ranging from Radio City to Fever, presuming they are on the crest and trough of the FM range of Bangalore.

Well to keep me away from all these stupid sounds, I have decided to take my own devices out, fill ’em up with sane music and plug them on to my ears. I am pretty much sure that they would be of use in office as well!!! 😉