Monday, August 29, 2016

Pappettan tackles a late arrival

In professional life, there is always a need for a meeting. When there is a meeting involved, there are always two opinions about it. Meetings waste a lot of time. There are many people called into a meeting where most of them are irrelevant. There are scores of articles written about how to organize and conduct meetings. As I have nothing new to add on that subject, I will stay away from such topics. At the same time, I would like to address a misconception about the action items generated in a meeting.

Recently, I was in a meeting with a group of people. In the current scenario where remote collaboration is becoming not only necessary but also attractive, the meeting was a teleconference. Pappettan was in the room along with me and several others. One of our colleagues joined late. By the time our fellow member came into the meeting, we had finished all the major items. 

One of us: *with a smile* Welcome.

Late Arrival: *sounding apologetic* I am sorry. I got caught up in something else.

One of us: *hiding the smirk* We are finishing up the meeting.

Late Arrival: *disappointed* Oh!

One of us: *seriously* There are a few action items. You are the owner of the majority of them.

Late Arrival: *slightly agitated* Because I wasn't there, it was convenient to put all actions on me.

As soon as the late arrival completes the statement, all of us become quiet. We realized we had touched a raw nerve. None of us were sure how to tackle the situation. At this point, Pappettan took charge effortlessly.

Pappettan: *chuckles* Hello Late Arrival. I am Pappettan.

Late Arrival: *silent and tensed*

Pappettan: *explains as gently as possible* There were action items on us too. But since we were in the meeting, we could address them immediately and close them.

Late Arrival: *silent*

Pappettan: *continues calmly* Since you were away, we parked it. Now that you are here, you can close them like we did.

Photo Courtesy: Office Now

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A young lady learns about Suffragettes

Sitting with your daughter while she is learning can turn into a humbling experience. While my daughter was practicing her comprehension skills, I noticed the text was about suffragette movement. Although I didn't know a lot of about this topic, I knew just enough to know it was a women's movement. So after my daughter finished the text, I asked her to explain what she read to me. As I was not happy with her explanation, I decided to hammer in the point.

Me: *seriously* You are a woman! *panics, pauses and rethinks the strategy* You are a girl!

Daughter: *looks up and fixes her eyes on me questioningly*

Me: *confidently* You should know about suffragette. It was a women's movement.

Daughter: *expressionless*

Me: *energetically* Women couldn't vote. Suffragettes were fighting for the fundamental rights.

Daughter: *silent*

Me: *determined* Women couldn't go to colleges. Girls couldn't go to schools.

Daughter: *breaks the silence* That was good.

Me: *confused* Why?

Daughter: *explains in a matter of fact tone* Then, I wouldn't have to learn all these. 

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Embassy, the Hague

Friday, August 26, 2016

India Type of deals

“India type deals.” Or should I read it as “Small is beautiful”? Since you can’t bottle has become old, package the wine in a new one. Earlier, the big companies used to shun small deals. It is up to smaller fishes in the market to go for the small deals. What is the reason for the sudden interest in such deals? Is this the direct result of the scramble for revenues and margins?

The other buzzword used is automation. I may sound like a Luddite or a retrograde. The reality is that services industry has not attained the maturity in this space yet. They will eventually get here. But currently, there is an emphasis on automation and pressure to deliver. The unnecessary pressure is not creating the right atmosphere to foster creativity. As a result, there is a tendency quickly fix some broken piece in a complicated process and label it as saving because of automation. This course of action does not foster the right environment to encourage creativity and end-to-end thinking.

Read Vanitha Narayanan's interview on India Type of Deals over here.

Photo Courtesy: Indi Samarajiva
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