October 27, 2007

Hello, is this a bloody sport?

Team dynamics can make team work a bloody sport when individual successes become more important than team success.

Joining for dinner with her colleagues, Ashmita wasn’t at all excited for any chat. She’s been thinking all day that her colleagues were playing a spoil sport. She couldn’t understand why?

Soon, her team leader picked up the conversation to give and take feedback about team members. To her surprise, Ashmita realized that all the time she was upset about her colleagues, she was the one at fault. Though she immediately apologized and requested feedback, she couldn’t help recollecting all the things she did against the team because she thought the others were wrong.

It’s something that we would call a bloody sport. If you must’ve seen a bull-fighting game (pic attached), you know what a bloody sport is. Either the bull gores the matador, or the matador jabs the bull with his sword. There’s only one survivor in the game. Look at the contrasting picture of the Rugby game. It’s a team of people enabling a single person to make the goal.

Does that make you say, “That’s a team!” Yes, from the bottom of our heart, we all know that a team has to have a single objective, work as one body, and complement each others’ weaknesses. But, we fail miserably. Reasons, if we have to analyze are more personal than interpersonal.

This is no thesis about teamwork, but, here are some useful tips for each of us to remember.
  1. Team success means Individual success, not vice-versa
  2. The least of designated member is as fundamental as the most skilled member for the team’s success
  3. Before forming any opinion about another, talk it out with them.
  4. Uphold team spirit at all times, If you can contribute in any way, contribute positive energy only
  5. Working in a team is not a bloody sport, it’s a healing game.
  6. Don’t compete with each other, join hands to compete against another
  7. Say it often to each other, “You are a good thing,”
As much a rotten apple can spoil the whole basket, a medicine pill can heal a body too.

Choose your role!

With inputs from Deepak Mehra.

October 10, 2007

Everybody needs an ear

"A spark of light for your interest... gives you many reasons to work hard..."

This was a 'status of mind' message a colleague of mine had put up after a 10 minute of talk last evening. Given that this colleague-friend was experiencing turbulent times in his career, all he needed was an ear to hear him out at the least.

As an HR professional, I always remind myself what Prof. A. Venkat Raman (Reader, FMS) used to emphasize during college days... HR stands for Human Relations. As a Christian ethic, I was always taught that we need to have a burden for others (primarily for salvation, not limiting to that, of course). Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people" further reinforced the concept of using the principle even in business and work-lives too. That's a contradictory statement I made, cos when we talk of HR (human relations) it surpasses work and business to touch lives, and they actually do. The effort while initiated for business purposes, yields mutual benefits, to both the company and the executive.

But there are perils of this HR practice of getting genuinely interested in people. As Carnegie warns too... when you get genuinely interested in others, you'll be welcome anywhere, BUT, do not expect ANYTHING in return. That's where the catch is -- you're not supposed to expect anything. In raw terms, it means, you aren't gonna get anything for your efforts.

Among the 6 points listed by Dale, the First is - Become Genuinely interested in other people; which becomes a foundation for the other five... without this, I believe, any relationship is an empty exercise of hypocrisy over one another.

October 9, 2007

Status messages or State of mind messages?

"A little spark of light for your interest... gives you many reasons to work hard"

That's what one of my junior colleagues had put as his status message on Google talk! It's interesting to observe that these messages convey more than status and are more widely and increasingly used to convey one's 'state of mind' or some 'life messages' which are useful to everyone. Another contact on my Gtalk! list uses the status message to communicate his location, 'Oxford, UK' for example.

Given that many people do not merely copy quotes from internet and in fact write personal learnings from experiences, it becomes a very good channel to share life lessons, and what's more, people intently read status messages. The status messages are often so interesting, that in my company, I've started a column "Status message of the week" in our official newsletter.

But then what conveys the status of availability? Ah! leave it to those green, orange and red buttons!