spooky's world

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Coaching..... The Office Game

The outgoing Australian coach John Bucanan turned down several cricket coaching assignments among them a high profile assignement from India and he said he wish to move in to a mentor role next. He specifically talked about coaching in the coporate circles. Surely, having seen what he has done with a high performing team like Australia from it's dominant position where it was to what it is today where they have raised their game in to levels un imaginable, he'll be a cracker coach in demand no doubt!

It's interesting to note that most of the people in the corporate sector who are performing managerial or team leading roles are expected to do more or less the same. It's common to see most corporates having "annual appraisals" and some of the others are having "mid year reviews" adding to that. At many places that seems to be a very formal process. All of a sudden superiors are talking about how people performed during the year under review and more often than not they also discuss 'one off' career progression plans.

One tends to wonder whether this should be the case. GE's Jack Welch in his book winning talks about two page written summaries for his direct reports which list down goals for the previous year, a candid feedback on the performce, and objectives for the coming year and they discuss gaps if any. However that document is closely monitored many times during the course of the year and candid is the key word for regular feedback sessions. That seems to have worked very well during his tenure looking at pipeline of leader's they produced and continue to produce.

Interestingly I think we can all learn a lot from Sports and specially from cricket. A cricket coach's role could be wide and varied. He's a mentor, he's a guide, he teaches where required and he puts his foot down above all for the betterment of both the individual and the side.

A typical cricket squad which comes under the purview of a coach is very similar a team under a normal manger at office. To start with a squad will have seasoned campigners, the senior players the likes of Mc Grath's, Mahela's and Jayasuriya's. Then they'll have to deal with larger than life demi god figures like the Ponting's, Tendulkar's and Lara's. Not to forget the likes of Sangakkara's and Flemin's who read the game so well. Then they'll have to work with budding players, semi sesoned ones etc. Now, isn't that similar to what most of us encounter in the office environment?

It sure is, and in some of the future postings let's examine how best we could transform cricketing knowledge in to 'office field'.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Kids continue to teach you

It's been almost a year since I las wrote in my blog. Looks totally out of this game I suppose. Anyway it is no doubt been an interesting year. Kids have grown up. Became an uncle since of late. Moved to another area of work. New problems but it is fun. I mean it's how you look at it.

From many outsiders point of view it is a nightmare! It was not so long ago (I mean less than a decade ago) we wanted to finish school and get in to the big league. We thought it was boring. Doing what it was required to get through your exams was too much! Desparate to start work back then. Thought it was really happening( I mean the work life!).

Trust me it was happenning alright! At times you feel it was way too much. So many things are happening in life you seems to wonder whether you just run throught the motions.

Back to where we are at the moment. Kinds have grown and they are at a very interesting stage. Two girls are clever. They understand almost everything we talk. They are just 17 months. But we can't bullshit to them. They are inquisitive, very vigilant, very very smart and a determined lot as well. Trust this is to do with this generation I suppose. Every kid seems to be like that. But the time spent with the two kiddo is just un imaginable. It's always fond memories. Irrespective how naughty and demanding (both physically and mentally) they can get) you just can't stop adoring them.

When you deal with them you learn hell of a lot. Trust you can learn million things about dealing with people if you start reading kids. Because they are just raw, no illusions, just straightforward.

Thats it for the moment.....

Monday, December 12, 2005

What Kids Teach You.

I am a father of two. Twins. They just completed 7 months. Your life is very different upon becoming a father. I'm in my mid 20's and most of my friends standards I was early for many things. Including marriage and now having kids! More on that later.

I took time off from my work today to be with the family. Most of the time was spent on arranging my study room which is also our makeshift store room. However I did spent lot of time with the kiddos too. And trust me it was fun. They have this amazing ability to relax you and really make you do crazy things.

However several things crossed my mind. First was their die hard attitude of not giving up. At seven months they have just started sitting down, although they are still not stable once they do that. At times when they do sit they just loose balance and fall backwards. You loose your breath for while watching that! Fairly hard hit mind you. At other times they just fall flat on their face! Of course all this happens in the bed, but then again at their age when muscles are not fully developed it will be hard I'm sure! They cry from time to time, guess it hurts at times too. But the key lesson learned was that they just don't give up. They try to sit up again. As the laws of the universe rule, they do sit up. And they simply enjoy that process. I believe that is because kids haven't learned from us as to how to say no!

What about us. We as parents are certainly concerned and worried about their well being. However even we want them to succeed. Being first time parents we are very concerned! But deep down in our hearts we wanted them to succeed. We always count the number of days till they actually sit down. We always anticipate their success.

When they crawl it's no different. They get down but they get up again. We never keep them down!

How does it all differ when we become bigger? What changes us? I did think about it long and hard. I came up with two reasons.

1. Until the age we start going to school we tend to actually learn, to think creatively, learn the ropes of life and to think! But from the day we step in to the school we are told what to do. It is all pre-determined. We get all comfortable with the process. We tend to accept what is right and wrong.

2. Society plays an important role too. People around us, whom we associate wait until we fail. They'll tell us one hundred and one reasons why we should not do something. At the very first instance you go down, they'll jump at you. Next time around you even think of doing something they'll you why you will not succeed in that.

Isn't this too common in our society.

Guess what? Those who have succeeded in life are those who have defied this common rule.

So what do I think of all this? Time to change and practice it!

"When the going gets tough the tough gets going"

"I might get down but I get up again, you are never going to keep me down"

Saturday, December 10, 2005

CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility - Is it a fad or real

Looking at the local corporate sceen almost every company seems to go after CSR. Even the accountancy bodies have recognised this to a certain extent. Social reporting is coming to formal repoting of companies. However it is fair to pause for a while and ask the question, does it really mean anything?

Well, today I had th opportunity to be part of my organisation's CSR program. In a way it sounded pretty typical. Our guys decided to renovate a public dispensary in one of those "not so" developed areas in the city. Our guys approach was very commendable in many ways. They planned things out in detail and not even the overnight rain which continued till noon could dampen their spirits. They pulled their socks and reached the place probably 15 -20 minutes later than the originally scheduled time.

My situation was slightly different. After attending urgent house matters I reach the location around 11.30Am. There were local people and our company staff who were working hand in hand . In a short while I found my self painting upper parts of a wall using a roller brush. I haven't painted before. It is not something that I enjoy either. But......I started doing it. It was fun! When you roll it up and see the paint being spread around you do have a sense of satisfaction.

After sometime I was joined by another first timer, a female who seemed to enjoy brush painting right from the ouset. Within a hour or so we managed to "complete" fairly large room between two if us. I cointinued in the hall area too. Because of my "vertical" advantage I manage to add some value especially in higher areas.

We had about 40 odd staff doing all sorts of things from painting to manufacturing chairs to clearing the garden. There was a sense of achievement in everything that we do. We were ne big family. The usual groupings you find in office was not there.

There was a great deal of team work. Well I thought this is one of the best ways to build team spirit.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Corporate Politics - Aren't we all part of it

Many different people have different opinions on company politics. Some will say it is bad and you should not be part it while the other group will simply thrive on that. Ever since we started working we have been taught to be aware of politics and be out of it.

The golden question is can you actually do that? Can someone really be immune to politics in an organisation where it is thriving. Better than that how would you define "Company Politics". But before that, why do we have politics? Well my guess is that it is all about power. Those who wish to expand the power grid will use politics as the mechanism to do that. Company politics is essentially about exanding YOUR group. In that regard aren't we all partof that? Don't we all have our won little click? Who meets during lunch or go for a beer? When that happens what do we talk?

Anyway keeping that aside, if we focus on typical company politics, we will have to focus on the management it self. We were advised many times not be a player for any executive . In our own words not to be "Mr. X"'s boy. recently a colleague of mine was totally disgusted with company politics. he was mad over it. He was wishing for a day where none of these politics will prevail. It made me wonder, can we really have politics free organisation? My guess is that irrespective of what the comanies preach in their HR mantra about just and equitable, as long as human beings surivive that politics will prevail. Whether you like it or not it is something which you need to acknowledge. I certainly don't mean that you should embrace it. But you need to acknowledge that fact and look at way of playing with politics. After all if you cannot live without that.