Nov 052015
 November 5, 2015  Tagged with: ,

Hire for Passion

Let me start with an assumption that most people reading this would have faced some sort of job interview in their life, unless you are a born entrepreneur who never had to look for a role in his life. I will share two similar experiences that I heard about recently.

And they tell you,”You are good, but you don’t have enough skills in xyz.”

An experienced professional gets approached by a consultancy firm director looking to fill in a role for one of the client projects. There is an initial alignment, followed by a face to face interview, where matter looked affirming followed by a couple of days of silence. Then the professional receives the long awaited call, “blah, blah, blah, discussed … blah, blah, blah, considered blah, blah, blah, you are strong on x and y but not so strong on ZZZ and that is where we wanted some more experience. Thanks, keep in touch.”

The same professional gets put up for another role at a major Bank through another consulting company. This time immediate feedback from the client was, “He resume seems strong and previously he has appeared for interviews for even more senior roles. This role is a bit junior compared to the previous roles he has applied for. Thanks but no thanks for now.”

OK, I might have over simplified the conversation, but the gist remains the same. You may have heard or experienced similar stories yourself. If you are experienced, trust me, I know it is painful. How does it feel when you know in your head that you are more than capable of doing the roles. But, you need a chance for proving that. You need a chance for proving that although you do not have enough experience on ‘z’, with your curious nature and a desire to learn and adapt, you can pick up the skills on the fly and apply it effectively. That is what consultants do!

No project will be exactly identical and the challenges of one project might be slightly different than the next. Solution that worked for project A might not work exactly the same for project B. Why don’t the recruiters/interviewers focus on an individual’s passion for their work, work ethic and the zeal to learn and adapt? Why is the focus solely on black and white words printed on the resume vs. what more can a individual achieve provided a chance? Why not provide a chance to talk and demonstrate on what value can the individual really add to the project at hand and how he/she would go about solving the real problems at hand! Can someone teach me to demonstrate “passion”, “persistence”, “adaptability” and “willingness to learn and learn quickly” on a piece of paper. I know it becomes easy and if you are sharp observer to identify these traits when you meet someone in person.

I agree with the graphic above, and skills are overrated. An individual can achieve more when they have more passion and some skills. I have seen a person going from a call centre job, to a training consultant to a BA role all in one year. I have coached an individual from a sales lead generator to becoming a junior instructional designer in 6 months and in 2 years time the same individual is leading a team of 2 junior instructional designers in a mid sized company. These people did not have any skills in their chosen field to begin with but they have a lot of passion to learn and move forward. I am sure, if you think for 30 seconds, you can find enough examples around you or even in your ownself!

When an entrepreneur starts up a business, they don’t have all the skills but they have passion to figure out things on the fly as necessary. When businesses – big and small bring out new products, most likely they don’t have everything figured out. They may not even all skills in all area. But what they have most times is passionate people driving the change and those people learn and adapt on the fly. Businesses have their goals on getting to their own “moon” or the “mars”. I don’t think you can get on Mars just based on your skills, but you need people who are passionate and are persistent.

Enough said! If you are a recruiter, can you explain? If you are a hiring manager, can you explain the rationale of rejecting people just on the base of their resumes? What’s your experience when you have a skilled person who just hates coming to work everyday? What’s your milage when you deal with an individual who is passionate about his work and has a zeal to learn and fill the skill set gap by showing up everyday and putting in 110%? Who do you think will perform better? No wait, I can answer that. The person who achieves more and adds more value is the person who loves coming to work everyday.

Oh, and the poor person who’s experiences I have shared above is none other than me. But surely, the above scenarios are not just mine – 1000s of individuals experience this everyday.

Oct 192015
 October 19, 2015  Tagged with: , ,

The Internet is flooded with productivity tips and this is another post to add to that mix. How many productivity boosting posts have you read this week? Ah, I digress.

The point of productivity tips generally is to make us more effective and efficient with our time. So I was reading one such post today. I wanted to add one thing desperately to this list and that is the habit of creating a daily list.

I am a GTD [Getting Things Done] methodology buff and have been creating monthly, weekly and daily list for quite some time now. I mostly use technology to perform my GTD. For a long time I resisted paper and pen as I wanted to be completely digital, but alas I wasn’t as effective doing just that and I was loosing focus.

So, I decided to write every day tasks on a simple post-it note first thing every morning. As day progresses and I finish my tasks, I start marking them off. Most times I also allocate the estimated time required for each task which allows me to plan my day better. What have I achieved doing this? More or less, I get 80-90% tasks completed each day. What remains is generally a low priority task or something where I have a dependency on someone or something else. Using this simple hack, I get more done everyday and my day remains focused.

Daily To Do List

Daily To Do List

As you can see from the list above, I have done the important tasks and low priority works remains!

I know what you are thinking, that there is no rocket science behind this, but then rarely is. It is all about what works best for you and what gets you focused and on top of matters.

What is your productivity tip of the day?

Oct 072015
 October 7, 2015  Tagged with: ,

Goals are important and having the clarity of what you want helps but having solid systems in place is even more important in achieving those goals or getting you in the vicinity of the goal/s. Having systems will reduce the amount of decisions you have to make thus saving your will power for other aspects of your life. Systems can bring more discipline and can assist with consistent progress.

Thanks to Getty Images - carlp778

Thanks to Getty Images – carlp778

I was motivated by the concept of having goals vs systems by Scott Adams. Since then I have focused on having solid systems and continuously improving them. I love my systems and workflows but I keep a very agile approach. I still have goals but they are driven by systems that I use.

So what is a system? I define it as a series of steps to accomplish task/s used on a regular basis. The system can be your training schedule to perform exercise to increase body mass. The system is the GTD methodology that people follow to get work done and keep moving.

One can have a goal of saving $20,000 for an overseas trip but having a system in place to save money on a regular basis can get you the money you need for the trip and more. You can have a system in place where you decide to put 10% of your weekly wage into a saving account. You could also top it up by not drinking coffee at your local cafe but instead put that money into the bank account. Result of this? You will reach your goal sooner than expected and you don’t have to constantly chase your goal. You set, commit and arrive. A bonus of this system is that you already get into habit of saving 10% every month and can even reach other goals in the future. Oh, and we haven’t even considered the potential health benefits because of reduction of sugar intake!

As James Clear said, “..goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress”.

Oct 042015
 October 4, 2015  Tagged with:

Curiosity is the spark for creativity and innovation, the best long-term investment you can make.

Sep 232015
 September 23, 2015  Tagged with: , ,

This is so true about so many things in life, from measuring performance at work, measuring productivity, measuring ‘things’ that will make you reduce weight, measuring things that you have accomplished in a day or this lifetime, measuring learning at work and many other things. Before you start measuring and spend endless time in analysing those measurements, identify things that will really move the needle.

Sep 232015
 September 23, 2015  Tagged with:

About Apple Upgrade Program

In this way, the Upgrade Program allows Apple to better maintain the supply of iPhones on the open market, which means Apple has better control on resale value and pricing. Apple has more access to refurbished products, which it can sell to emerging markets at costs that may actually be lower than what third-party resellers would pay.

From cradle to grave: Vertically integrated efficiency

Finally, there’s huge potential upside for Cupertino if the the Apple Upgrade Program takes off: Recycling.

It takes a lot more work (read: resources, energy, money, time) to scout, mine and refine 7000 Series aluminum than it does to recycle it. Let’s get back to that logistical machinery. Tim Cook didn’t rise to the rank of CEO because he was some MBA that looked good in a suit. You may recall that Cook ran Apple’s worldwide operations for more than a decade; first as an SVP and then as COO, before assuming the top job at Apple. Regardless of his title, Cook’s role was to determine how to most efficiently build and source the necessary materials. The Apple Upgrade Program falls directly in line with that mission.

The convenience of getting everything done over the store or online will win over time for a lot of customers and the extra perks of the upgrade program will be an added bonus and will serve to move the needle in favour of it. Also, as the article mentions, Telcos will be pushed to add serious value and quality of network than before. I am no accountant, but this might also be more tax effective for individuals and businesses.


Sep 222015
 September 22, 2015  Tagged with:

“Due to the increasing number of security improvements and the effectiveness of exploit mitigations in place, Apple’s iOS is currently the most secure mobile OS,” reads the statement on Zerodium’s website announcing the bounty. “But don’t be fooled, secure does not mean unbreakable, it just means that iOS has currently the highest cost and complexity of vulnerability exploitation and here’s where the Million Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty comes into play.”

Article Link

Sep 212015
 September 21, 2015  Tagged with: ,

Last week I was fortunate to have an invitation of 99U Local [but unfortunate that I could not attend]. I was following the conversation online and these three info visuals by Lynne Cazaly summarises the content quite well.

  • Be the first one to do something and add a twist to it
  • Be consistent in showing up
  • Be Honest with yourself and others and show up your hands when a mistake it made

  • You don’t have to take everyone’s advice
  • Have a mindset of plenty and share what you got
  • Always have a plan
  • Make your important decision the first decisions of your day

  • Use self doubt to your benefit
  • Have a morning ritual
  • Choose a word for your year. Every year, one new word to focus on.


Aug 032015
 August 3, 2015  Tagged with: , ,

How is the culture of your team? Do you want to improve it or transform it all together? What would you do?

Let’s start with definition of “culture”. What is a definition of culture?

One definition that I like is ” A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.”

If you are not happy with the culture around you and want to re-define it, start with defining your own culture and transforming yourself. Each thing that you do and perform should be a reflection of that culture. Culture both good and bad are infectious. Create a culture that infectious that it propagates at the pace of fire without you having to tell people in your organisation that you are trying to change it! Be passionate about it. Immerse, live and breathe the culture you want to spread in your house, your team or your whole organisation.

Culture is a very personal thing and should not be copied from other teams or organisations just for the sake of it. Like many things copy and paste strategy will not work. Things that work well elsewhere will not necessarily work at your organisation because the people and the story is different.

Stories and actions stick. Long agendas and meetings don’t neither do empty promises. Also “You” define the culture not just fancy Power Point decks or beautifully decorated posters.