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Women forums in IT industry – hype or real?


I have had very interesting conversations with many on the need to start a Women’s Forum  in  IT corporates -  It ranged from “This is a long felt need”  to   “why only Women’s initiative – why not Men’s initiative? call it gender equality!!!….”

Over the years in IT industry, I hardly saw any situation where women can operate differently because they are women. When we assess someone’s capabilities to fit into IT industry, we look for standard traits -  Zero-defect project deliveries, vast domain knowledge, excellent communication and team management skills, client-facing capabilities ……..  all these are gender-inclusive expectations in our industry.

Research has also proven that women have a higher EQ (Emotional Quotient), which in today’s corporate world is rated higher than IQ – this actually gives women an edge over men in problem solving.  The recent trend analysis also concludes that corporates which have women as part of senior management have done much better than those who do not.

Ideally, with the above two facts, the women workforce in IT industry should be at a minimum of 50%.  In reality, statistics show that women workforce ranges between 25% to 30% and less than 15% of senior management in most global IT companies.

The reason for lesser percentage of women is mostly attributed to women’s extended role in family and childcare – this is true globally. Surveys have concluded that in households where men and women work, women still do twice as much housework and thrice as much childcare.

How do we enable women workforce to sustain their career aspirations while they manage their housework and childcare responsibilities   -   this is the major trigger for many IT corporates to start  corporate programs supporting women -  Ideally, from my perspective, these forums/programs need to

  • enable women workforce with additional skills required to multitask
  • leverage women’s potential for furthering organization goals
  • retain women talent
  • establish the IT corporate as “employer of choice” by women workforce

So, what can women do to with the support from these forums??

  • KNOW YOURSELF – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” – James Allen.   With understanding themselves, comes the wisdom – with wisdom comes the personal power.
  • DEVELOP SKILLS – Ensure they develop skills which continue to give them the financial independence.  This is very critical – with financial independence comes a lot of responsibility and with responsibility, they grow as an individual
  • BE AWARE AND EMBRACE CHANGE –   Continuously challenge their limits – every archiver (Gender inclusive!) has done this!

We need a whole lot of committed change agents  who can make this change……and be part of the change!!   Till then, the debate on the need for  women’s forum will continue…and probably the cheeky lot will continue to check about the need for men’s forum!!

Time Management


While I hardly stand any preaching off late, this slide share was concise and cool! I am pretty much in sync with most of the tips and felt it is just cool to replicate it as is! Great job by E.Garbugli!

How to get RICH and RETIRE early


I do realize the importance of managing personal finance– drawing the financial wall in my life model is a result of this appreciation.

At the same time, in the recent past, I hardly could keep my attention on any self-help books – call it getting impatient with preaching pals!  And I still go with the view that RICH is a very relative term – Being Happy and at Peace with one-self is Being Rich for me (do people under the same sun sign think this way? I was stumped when I heard a similar definition from the same fellow disguised alien who told me about Moneyball)

Nevertheless, I picked this book with lot of enthusiasm and pride – the author, Rajasekharan had been my colleague in his past corporate avatar and is one of the key enabler of the monthly early morning long walking sessions for a bunch of walking enthusiast like me. And this is the second time one of my friends have published his writing – It was Anitha just last year!

What I like in this book

  1. Caters to a large audience reference book – If you are 20+ and starting your career, you just start your financial planning with this book. If you are middle aged and still have another 15-20 years of salaried service, you still can get inputs to get rich.  If you over the middle age hump-this can still be a quick ready reference in matters of India financial markethow-to-get-rich-and-retire-early-275x275-imadhfd5hbt69ujz
  2. Weaving general leadership principles – “Inaction is costly”, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, “planning is like painting, the more valuable it becomes with more finer details you put in”,  “ financial planning is like going to gym -  got to be regular and long term” (knowing Raj and his love for Stephen Covey, this is not a surprise!)
  3. Excellent clarity
    1. Definition of rich – if your passive income equals your expenses
    2. Focus on basics  -  Long term financial planning is the basis of getting RICH
    3. Simple and easy language
  4. Super simple control diagram charts  -  which says what is RICH and sticks on to your head
  5. Good content flow   -
    1. Part one: makes the reader appreciate and define what RICH means at that individual’s level,
    2. Part two covers the why and how of long term financial planning followed by
    3. Part three which explains the various investment options in India and how to choose them to get an ROI of 15-20%
  6. Though it sounds like a self-help book, Raj has clearly established that each individual’s needs are very different based on their perspective of life – unique is the way he puts it candidly that it is all his views based on his experience
  7. The thorough details on various investment options –Debt, equities, mutual funds, insurance policies, gold, real estate.   The case of Asian Paints is well handled to enable even the beginners to understand and appreciate the intricacies of equities market

What I look for in the next edition

  1. Soft version of all the reference tables (a CD with the book)
  2. Consolidation of all questions at the end of each chapter
  3. A followup workshop based on this book -  I had the opportunity to be present in Raj’s book promotion session and I felt he can build a workshop based on this which will help many
  4. Hard bound cover  -  this is a book which can stay in the reference section for years to come
  5. Some more proof reading

Success Tips


It indeed was a  stressful straight three weeks  -  stressful because I had multiple priorities  and I was so indecisive on what is number one priority over the multiple priorities.

My thoughts were clouded with the everlasting urge to excel in all priorities, various situations around the priorities, consequences of prioritising one thing over the other,  what other people consider as my priorities, etc, etc.  I literally was tempted to give in to my confused state – it may be an easier choice to hide from the situation, from the people, crib about the situation and  pour my frustrations over that cup of ginger tea to the close confidante.

I did do that -  half hour non stop criticism over the people and the situation.   Though nothing changed the people or the situation, I felt good at the end of the crib session then…….but later in the evening, I started feeling even more stressed that I never solved the stress, and kept my focus on people’s behavior and current situation than on objective actions to face the situation.

And that is when I realized I got to do two things  -  decide what i want ; and then be objective to focus on what i want.  It probably was the clarity after going through this which helped me face the situation and come out of it….

I know it is a continuous journey for me and this cycle is worth remembering…and drew the chart for my own success tips -

SUCCESS TIPS

  1. Clarity on what we want
  2. Objectivity to focus on what we want

When we have the clarity on what we want, we know what choices we need to make.  When we are making the choices with clarity, we understand what are the consequences of the choices.  Analyzing the consequences brings in more clarity to the choice made or relooking at what we want.  Once we get the clarity, then we need the objective focus  on what we want  -   focus which does not get distracted by the people and environment.  Success is always sweet in the journey of life………

Related Article:  Life and Learning Series

 

WORDS


It is been almost couple of years since I started being conscious of the power of words we use in our communication   -    this specific article  “Small words make a Difference” very nicely brings out the  impact  -  Remember  “BUT”,  “TRY”,  “HOPE TO, WANT TO”,  “SHOULD”, “CAN’T”  are best words to avoid using …..

You may also like :   Inspirational

Knowledge and Practice


It had been a long-standing challenge -   practising the knowledge.  It is an established documented fact (come on, I documented in this blog here….) that the outcome of any event depends on the response to that event.  I am yet to put that knowledge to use 100%.

I had two such events in the last 24 hours….making me introspect on how long it is going to take to get ourselves practice what we know….

The first incident made me realize the need to strongly emphasize in my communications on how much I value my ideals. While I have my ideals, I also believe that it is an individual’s prerogative of having their own ideals (rights and wrongs) which will vary with every individual. Oxymoron belief!

In this context, it becomes very important to react to someone’s thoughts in the right way – communicating the intent is extremely critical -   needs excellent clarity of thoughts and the choice of right words.   “my ideals are different. while what you say/do are different from mine, I appreciate it is your prerogative to do/what you think as long as it is beyond my boundary”.

The second incident made me realize that in the fit of the moment, you lose your knowledge and just react to a situation in a wrong way – your anxiety kills your knowledge and just after that few minutes you kick yourself for reacting to a situation without applying your knowledge …… phew!

In both the incidents, a particular value or reaction of an individual is not in alignment with my thoughts/values. While I can still look at the big picture and appreciate how much value each individual carry, I am still a long way in ensuring my confident reaction to the specific incidents.

This challenge is really dodging me…..knowledge and practice!!

Steve Jobs – Lessons!


Here is another leader   -   one who created value and made many of us feel “AHA”…………I truly believe that it is a great story to tell your grandkids that “I lived during the times of Steve!!…who made those ipads….”

While many would have read his speech 2005 Stanford commencement speech, this article below  in Forbes magazine reiterates his uniqueness……….

My order of top ten lessons from Steve’s life  goes here………

  1. Never fear failure
  2. Listen to the voice in the back of your head that tells you if you are on the right track or not
  3. Find the most talented people to surround yourself with
  4. Expect a lot from yourself and others
  5. Stay hungry, Stay foolish
  6. The most enduring innovations marry art and science
  7. To create future, you can’t do it through focus groups  (believe in yourselves!)
  8. Anything is possible through hardwork, determination and a sense of vision
  9. You can’t connect the dots forward, only backwards
  10. Don’t care about being right. Care about succeeding

Here is the article………The Top Ten Lessons Steve Jobs Can Teach Us – If We’ll Listen

ENJOY reading and INTROSPECT how much applies to us!

Sean Maloney – Inspiring!!


I could not resist sharing this article with many  -   It is a truly inspiring story and I am amazed on how much the human will can take control of one’s life……….This is an article in CNN’s money about Sean Maloney  – head of Intel China.

This is an article in CNN’s money about Sean Maloney  – head of Intel China.

When he lost his words due to stroke, he had only his will power to get back  -  “I’ve trained the right side of my brain to take over speech, normally a function of the left side. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done.”……….so, you can train your brain to do what you like….:)

His advice to all…..”Never give up,” he says. “No matter what anyone says, you can attain your goals if you never give up.”

Inspirational!   Makes us take responsibility of our life!

Intel’s Sean Maloney: The man who couldn’t speak

LLS – Self – Health – Green Tea


I first heard about green tea 11 years back  -   my initial understanding was that green tea is an antioxidant which will help prevent cancer!

It took me another 9 years to appreciate the overall benefits of it and start drinking green tea!

You can read on this here

Probably, it is an acquired taste, but it helps to have hot green tea after a heavy meal….. It gives a very light feeling after you sip the large cup of hot green tea!   It goes with my belief that anything good for the mind is good for the physical health  :)

The easiest way to have green tea is to get one of those branded tea bags  -  Tetley, Lipton are available across the globe.   All you need is a glass of hot water and you just dip the tea bag and wait for a minute and half  -  the water turns into the light yellow clear liquid and you remove the tea bag and you are ready for your sip of green tea.

Tip  -  Keep a box of tea bags at your work desk…If you have hot water dispenser at work, you have ready-made tea in two minutes!! this duration is excluding the water cooler gossip while you collect water !!!  :) :)

Hot green tea!

Note that you MUST NOT add milk to green tea.

If you are a person with sweet tooth, try adding honey into the green tea or a dash of lemon into it!!

Go green(tea!!)

This is part of the Self of LLS series  -  http://ireach.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/life-and-learning-series-lls/.

Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson


Imp Note-I found a free ebook link for this book on the web, which i have linked to the image above.  So, if you want to read this book online, click on the image above.

Short notes & good quotes

When I finished reading this book, I was disappointed.  I have heard so much about this book from my acquaintances from various circles (professional, personal, social) and most of it was high ratings.  When I actually started on this book, probably my expectations were too high, higher than what my acquaintances were actually trying to portray. It may be one of the classic communication challenges  -  where the noise gets amplified  – just that in this case, my expectation about the book got amplified so much  based on the earlier feedback from others.

Overall, the cheese story and the characters – two little rats (Sniff and Scurry) and the two little people (Hem and Haw) is a simple story which  also makes a feasible bed time story for kids.

 The book has many quotes on change management (listed for reference here), but if you ask me about the topmost takeaway from this book, for which I will remember this book is

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WEREN’T AFRAID?

This is an excellent question which I think I will be asking myself whenever I am taking a decision in whatever circumstances – be it personal or professional. 

The other worth mentioning quotes on change management (substitute cheese  with what we want to have in life)

  • Having Cheese makes you happy
  • The more important cheese is to you, the more you want to hold on to it
  • If you do not change, you can become Extinct
  • What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
  • Smell the cheese often so you would know when it is getting old
  • Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese
  • When you stop being afraid, you feel good
  • Imagining yourself enjoying new cheese , leads you to it
  • The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese
  • It is safer to search in a maze, than remain in a cheese less situation
  • OId beliefs do not lead you to new cheese
  • When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese you change course
  • Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to bigger changes that are to come
  • Change happens
  • Anticipate Change
  • Monitor Change
  • Adapt to Change quickly
  • Change
  • Enjoy Change
  • Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again
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