Tuesday, January 25, 2011

7 Habits of Highly Ineffective or Incompetent People

I love reading books mostly fiction, but my boss gifted me 7 Habits of Effective People - written by Stephen Covey on my birthday. I was happy to receive this book as gift but it was full of Gyaan ! It stayed untouched for sometime in one of the corners of my book shelf. Last Sunday I was busy rearranging my book shelf to make it a bit more organized and bumped into this book. I didn’t have anything on cards as wifey was out with her friends. I thought of daring to read this book. After reading it I felt, if I would have read this book earlier maybe I would have been a better person, but as they say “Better Late, Than Never”

The problem with me after reading these life changing books full of gyaan is that I start thinking what if these books were full of fun and wit, how would the writer have had written it ? This thought triggered series of thoughts, out of which one of them was quiet interesting, The book talked about seven habits of highly effective people, I wondered ‘What if someone thinks about writing 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective/Incompetent People ?’

Habit 1:  Never Be Proactive

Number of Initiatives Initiated by ineffective individuals in any organization is never greater than zero. If by mistake they take some initiatives then they are of no value add to the organization, eg: “how about installing some gaming consoles in the cafeteria for employee benefit”. These kinda people are never proactive, whenever asked in a meeting or offered any responsibilities up for grabs these individuals would be the first ones to look sideways.

Habit 2:  Begin with Partying at Project End in Mind

They will always be part of planning activities but not the ones that are related to work. They would be busy planning what they would do after they reach home from work or how would they like to spend their weekends. They are the first ones who would suggest to plan for an overnight trip or party at the end of a project but would never ever like to participate in any work related activities.

Habit 3:  Put First Things Last

These people are expert at prioritizing last things first. They can never judge which are the tasks to be completed on top priority and which tasks could be kept on backburner, which would in turn result into projects getting delayed to the point of no completion!

Habit 4:  Think Lost/Lose

They don’t have their brain in the right place but their ego is definitely at the right place. They believe in the mantra “If I can’t win the race I would not let other’s win either”.   

Habit 5:  Seek First to Be Understood, Then to Understand

These individuals seek first to be understood, and only then try to understand the other person. These people believe that Speaking one’s dumbest mind out is more important than listening to someone’s valuable suggestions or inputs.

Habit 6:  Never Synergize

These people either have high superiority complex or suffer from inferiority complex. They can neither perform as part of the team nor can deliver anything all alone. This habit of theirs doesn’t allow them to seek a solution from someone who can actually help them out of the situation for their own good.

Habit 7:  Make the Saw Blunt

A person grows in life as an individual or as a team member only if he is constantly seeking for challenges or aspires to learn something new every now and then. However, ineffective individuals are happy in their own make believe world (also known as comfort zone) and never believe in learning new things, sharpening skills, being better individual or ever thinking about facing new challenges by exploring new arenas.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Workplace ~ Dos & Don'ts !

Workplace Dos & Don'ts !

I have spent many years reading management books where I learnt so many things, behaviors, dressing sense, work, work culture, tools, skills and so many similar traits needed to be successful in one’s career. What I did not learn was what not to do at work. I thought of around 10 things which one should not do at work place and penned them down :

1.      Your desk is for work, not for playing Tabla, Drum or any other noise making instruments either with your hands or using Pens or Staplers, this habit of yours could be irritating and disturbing others who are genuinely working. Also no one is interested to know how well you sing, so please sing in mute mode.

2.      Work Desk needs to be clean and tidy. It should not be all messed up, instead of work documents it should not be full of crumbs that you might be snacking sometime back neither is it for spilling coffee or other liquid on your laptops or keyboards.

3.      Email ID is provided to enable faster and smoother official communication and not for forwards or personal usage, you can create a personal email account for all non business activities.

4.      There are teams in an organization and if you are part of team, do remember that your colleagues too have their own work to do, so avoid delegating work to them that you were supposed to do, also avoid wasting their time gossiping every now and then.

5.      Always remember that deadline is the date when project is expected to be completed on and not project initialization date as is assumed always.

6.      Cafeteria is meant to have food and is not a place for gossiping, try to finish your meal asap and get back to work, remember that you are in cafeteria to have you meal during break and it’s not a restaurant where you are hanging around with friends. Also avoid talking to anyone while you are chewing food, no one is interested to see how food looks like once chewed in your cavernous mouth.

7.      Meeting Rooms are meant for work related meetings not for personal chit chat, attending personal interviews or talking/getting fired by your girlfriend/wife over the phone.

8.      If the company allows you to attend to personal calls at work on your cell phone, try to use it during breaks, also please keep sober ringtones while being at work place which are not loud. Noisy and irritating ringtones like “Dekha hai pehli baar, saajan ki aankhon mein pyaar” or any of He-Mess Reshammiya kind of songs can put you in an embarrassing situation, if you forget your cell phone on the desk and it rings when you are away from it or are attending any meeting and forgot to put your cell phone on silent mode.

9.      You should never ever say ‘No’ to any kind of work assigned to you by your team members or any colleagues, do it if you like it, if do not like it delegate it but never say ‘No’.

10.  The Internet Facility is provided for business related activities and not to read Blog Posts, chatting, sending personal emails or surf Social Networking Sites, you can do all these at home at your personal expense.

Feel free to add more things to the list which you feel should not be done at workplace in comments section, follow them at your own risk :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Housemaid Interviewed

It has been a little while that I wrote something, Last time when I wrote a blog post was in 2010 , Its coz I was busy conducting Interviews of House Maids at my home (there’s nothing Shiney about it ! ). You might be wondering why the hell am I interviewing Housemaids ? even if you were not I would still tell you why I was interviewing them.

The maid working at our home was not performing good (by performing I mean keeping house clean, cleaning utensils, etc …), she was either reporting late to work or was busy taking unplanned leaves specially during festivals and weekends. Which quiet naturally had a direct impact on the kind of mood my wife would carry and the way in which our weekend would proceed or end before beginning!

I thought of helping her out in finding proper replacement by conducting interviews of housemaids through method used by companies while recruiting an employee and prepared set of questions after referring few HR Blogs and other similar resources online.

I was all set to conduct interviews of housemaids with next to perfect questionnaire.

I am sharing with you the first interview conducted yesterday :

Me : Tell me something about yourself ?
Maid : My Name is Sheila, I am 4th fail, my hometown is Chorwad, I am 45 years old, I have 11 years of experience working as a housemaid and have earned enough accolades from my past employers.

Me : What are your greatest strengths ?
Maid : I am very good at washing clothes with or without washing machine, I can clean utensils shining like mirror without using costly detergents & keep the house clean and dust free without using Vacuum Cleaner J and can even cook good food, this quality of mine can work in your favor if you have had fight with Madam over petty issues, you would need not go to bed hungry (by hungry she meant food) !

Me : What are your greatest weaknesses ?
Maid : I have a bad habit of eating betel nuts which I am planning to quit soon, I am good at everything (related to work) but need to take television breaks every two hours.

Me : Why do you wish to leave your Current Job ?
Maid : The reason is bad Working Conditions, actually the place where I work right now, they are very nice people but the problem is that they have too many guests & relatives coming in every other day, which means too much of work, and to worsen things further they own neither dishwasher nor washing machine.

Me : Why should we hire you ?
Maid : I believe you were in need of a housemaid and that should be reason enough for hiring me ?

Me : Where do you see yourself five years from now ?
Maid : If you will give me proper raise, annual bonuses, good work culture and equal growth opportunities, I would definitely be working at your place five years from now and if your growth rate would be equivalent to that of mine then I also foresee myself being promoted as a head housemaid, managing team of junior housemaids.

Me : Describe your ideal Workplace and Job ?
Maid : A household with nuclear family, having all the amenities of the modern world, where there are not too many guests coming in very often and which believes in humanistic behavior towards employees.

Me : Why do you want to work at our house ?
Maid : I have heard from Mrs. Khanna that you people are cool and are mostly out of town on weekends and festivals, it also means that you do not have many guests coming in very often and as you are not it town, I too can take a day or two off every month. To top it you also own an automatic washing machine, vacuum cleaner, LCD TV and are soon going to buy a dishwasher. (I was wondering what LCD TV had to do with her working at my place!)

Me : Tell me about a situation when your work was criticized ?
Maid : I am a perfectionist in my work like Aamir Khan is in movies he acts, which also means my work does not leave any scope for negative criticism !

Me : How are you on maintaining confidentiality ?
Maid : (irked a bit on this question) I am not the one who indulges in gossiping about people from whom I earn my bread and butter, I hope that answers your query regarding confidentiality !

Me : What could you have done better in your last job ?
Maid : I have already told you earlier that I am the best and believe in giving my best where ever I work, so there is nothing better than the best that I could have done in my last job !

Me : Can you work under pressure ?
Maid : Yes I know how to use Pressure Cooker :p, I was kidding, I can work very well under pressure, In fact I can perform better than the best under pressure

Me : What makes you angry ?
Maid : Stupid questions, continuous nagging and micro managing my work makes me angry

Me : Tell me about the most boring job you’ve ever had ?
Maid : Where ever I have worked has been a pleasant experience, except at this couple’s place who ran away from their home and were newly married. The problem was not with their nature or kind of work, the concern was that they did not own a television which in turn made working at their place very boring due to lack of entertainment

Me : Have you been absent from work more than a few days in any previous position ?
Maid : I have never been absent from work anytime in my entire tenure across various households, I always plan my holidays well in advance and ensure that neither do they fall on weekends or clash with any festivals of the household I work with except for contingencies, so that the impact on family life of the house I work at is minimal

Me : What changes would you make if you came on board ?
Maid : I am not going to come on board, I come by bus, heheheh am joking sir, The kind of changes I would make after coming on board would actually depend upon the kind of enhancement that the role might need once I start working at your place, say for example I might be able to suggest you which new washing machine, vacuum cleaner, LCD TV or dishwasher to buy based on my experience of working with so many people

Me : How do you feel about working Night Shift and on Weekends ?
Maid :  I do not offer services which are required on nights or weekends, heheheh joking sir, This BPO & IT culture has set everyone’s expectation very high, every profession has started expecting people to work nights and weekends. I do not mind working nights or weekends provided I am paid proper Over Time or Shift Allowance, provided safe transport service to reach home and have been informed well in advance, after all I too have a family life !

Me : How many hours a week do you normally work ?
Maid : The minimum hours that I need to, I try to get maximum work done in minimum time possible by excellent time management, so going by my past work experience I never had to work more than 4 to 5 hours a day which sums up to around 20 hours a week, on weekends it depends if you guys are at home !

Me :  How much compensation do you expect from us ?
Maid : As you have most of the modern amenities a raise of 30% as per my current salary and joining bonus of 5% is what I am expecting from a well to do family of yours and as per the existing Industry Standards

Me :  It was a pleasure talking to you Sheila, we will get back to you after screening some other candidates and if selected you will need to come for a second round of interview with my wife. You will also need to carry a reference letter from any of your previous employers. Thanks for your time. Bai Bai :p
Maid : I too had a great time talking to you, let me know if you wish to test my work by getting some clothes and utensils cleaned for a quality check with or without washing machine J

It was a tiring interview, let me fill up the feedback and hand it over to my wife so that I can proceed with next Maid’s interview. Let me call next housemaid on the list, "Wifey can you please send Munni in for the Interview am done with Sheila !"