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Chanda Kochhar, Chitra KS & Chitra Visveswaran


All  three women with names starting with C – for the #AtoZchallenge –   they are excelling in their own career sphere.  They all hail from a very humble background and have reached the pinnacle of their career.  They continue to be humble about what they have achieved and still strive hard to give 100% to what they do.   What else you need to be a role model !!!   It is easily possible to write a book on each of them for their achievements in life….though, i want to post these videos

Chanda Kochhar

Chanda is voted one of India’s top 15 business icons

Chitra KS

Chitra Visveswaran

 

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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!!

Women Leaders and Self-confidence


While self-confidence is the basis for any self-improvement, a recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) was very specific about the need for women leaders to be self-confident.  Leslie Pratch is the author of this article – she is a clinical psychologist who helps companies identify whether potential executives possess the psychological resources and personality strengths needed to succeed.  If you read the 16 page research paper referred in this article, it can become a long read….so i consolidated the key messages which I found helpful …….

You can read the HBR article here…..

–       Before a woman answers a question in the corporate scene, it may help to stop and ask yourself a question “do you think a man would have ever answered that question that way?”

–       You got be very confident, even though we are so self-critical inside about what it is you may or may not know.  And this will lead to taking risks

–       Gender based expectations for behavior influence the styles and evaluations of leaders

–       Men are freer to carry out leadership in different styles without encountering negative reactions because their leadership is ordinarily perceived as legitimate

–       The findings indicated that women have to have high self-esteem and high self-confidence so that they can cope with the constraints placed on their leadership styles.

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

INVICTUS


Category – History ; Rating  – 3.5 ; Comment – Forgiveness and Leadership by example!

Invictus is Latin and means ‘unconquered’.  When i watched this movie, what struck me was the critical importance of respecting your enemies (are they?) for what they are and getting them on your side.  This indeed is a great leadership quality.  Not just in politics, but this skill is very much required in corporates and personal life.  How many such mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world would have been raving success if this leadership quality is practiced……..How many marriages would have been saved if this quality is practiced in personal lives…..

The interview between Nelson Mandela and the Rugby captain is a MUST WATCH for aspiring leaders.

 Just to add value to my page, i wanted to repeat the poem Invictus here (Victorian poem by English poet William Ernest Henley)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul

 

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