Mini Saga – Unfortunate Job Search

Unfortunate Job Search

And, the seventh call came.

They also had found a position precisely matching the description of his dream job.

Brian spent several weeks searching with zero result so he’s trying job consulting agencies today.

But, there was a common issue – the position was the same he resigned from last month.

If you have decided to change your job, it’s okay. However, the key here is to be clear about what exactly do you want. If you’re not clear, you’ll end up matching Brian’s position as in the above mini-saga.

Be specific

Observe the conversation below:

“When I say that Jack is the Module Lead and anything that goes right or wrong in the module, Jack is responsible, I’d like to know how you acknowledge it, Jack?”

Jack replied: “It means that I’m the Module Lead and anything that I code or test is my responsibility. For the items I couldn’t have a look, the person who has written the code, is responsible.”

“Vikram?” I asked Jack’s peer.

“It means that Jack should do most of the coding and testing within the module.”

“Peter?”  Finally, I asked Jack’s reporting manager.

“It means that we should tell Jack about anything that happens inside that module. After all he is the module lead. ”

I hear what you guys say. Now, let me ask you this: How should I communicate if I mean that Jack owns the module. That’s why he’s the lead. He owns good and bad things that happen inside the module. If it succeeds, all credit goes to him and if it fails, he bears all the consequences of the failure. How?

“You might say that Jack is the Module lead and anything that goes right or wrong in the module, Jack is responsible.” said Peter and Jack together.

“I hear what you say…” I said.

People respond to their own images of the past rather than the facts represented by the words. Recognize that “Not being specific” is a bigger problem than having mere skills to write the software code.

Reward whom who are able to be specific and reprimand who are not.

Know how to walk first, running comes later.

Some musicians spend years doing nothing but practicing a piece of music and get it validated from their artist guru.

If the piece of music isn’t right, it doesn’t matter what else you do, you cannot perform in the live show.

Clients of most software programming projects that expect you to build great applications presume that you already know how to play that small piece of music.

They presume that you:

  • understand the distinction between content and form, logic and looks;
  • have got experience in crafting great user interfaces;
  • know that solutions thinking overrides technology biased thinking;
  • understand the importance of ‘specifics’;
  • have empathy for what your client needs;
  • know how to make a compelling ground for what you believe.

Too often, we quickly jump on to the next thing, neglecting to get even acceptable enough at the basics.

Confucious said it long ago; almost all of us have read it but only few of us practices: “Small Things Make Perfection but Perfection is Not a Small Thing!” 

Entrepreneurship 30

What is entrepreneurship all about?
Here are thirty thoughts on what it is and what it is not.
For some people, entrepreneurship is “cool” but in fact, it is easier felt than done! 
Entrepreneurship is:
  1. Glamorous, in the beginning;
  2. Hard (in fact, very hard), soon after;
  3. Needs a groundbreaker (pioneer, go-getter, fireball kind of) mindset;
  4. Not for you if you:
  5. …get disturbed by things you cannot control in your job;
  6. …need very clear objectives from your management to perform;
  7. …need very co-operative people to get things done;
  8. …always need someone to listen to your complaints. Ah…you complain??
  9. …are reasonable, well at least 90 percent;
  10. …think one has to lose in order for the other to win;
  11. …think that honesty was the best policy in 20th century, maybe. This is 21st – isn’t it?
  12. …think you need a perfect plan to get started (does perfection exist? Where?);
  13. Sure for you if you:
  14. …don’t depend on your MBA degree to take decisions;
  15. lead beyond your title to get things done, always;
  16. …want to take the pain of making the road;
  17. …know that someone else is going to travel that road later, but anyways;
  18. …don’t complain. About the dust. About bad people. About crazy clients. about anyone;
  19. …take responsibility for the problems created by other people;
  20. …have persistent determination; a completely different level of commitment;
  21. …listen to criticism about what you do; look at the things from multiple perspectives but still move ahead;
  22. …think you’re smart – you always learn from everyone’s (mostly others’) mistakes;  not necessarily your own;
  23. …understand multiple contexts well; better if you apply lessons learned in one into the other;
  24. …believe in creating win-win business prepositions (Haven’t read 7 Habits from Stephen Covey? Huh?);
  25. …are a (the best) people magnet – someone said ‘like attracts like’ …isn’t it? Are you?
  26. …are unreasonable;
  27. …begin with the end in mind (Covey, again) but having (smart) goals is must;
  28. …understand what ‘empathy’ means. It means: how people feel about things. It leads from hiring right person to producing great products to selling not so great products what you wanted to. Not so easy but simple.
  29. …enjoy reading (and acting upon, most important!) what Jobs or Seth or Bate have to say.
  30. …start something, right now!


The power of un-analysis!

Every problem – regardless of its size or simplicity – comes up with an attached list of assumptions. Many times, assumptions are imprecise and make the problem statement erroneous.

To effectively deal with assumptions, the first step is to write them down and the second step is to make sure that most obvious and safe assumptions are not left over.

The key here is to get everything out on the paper from your head as it just helps you visualize the bigger picture with multidimensional views.

Once you’ve got everything out of your head, just loop through the list, take an assumption and validate it against the problem statement. Here’s a 5 step approach to deal with the select assumption.

  1. Analyze Think inside the box. Connect with the obvious. Consider the consequences of the selected assumption. Consider how it relates to the problem in the traditional ways. Take the left side of your brain on a ride.
  2. Pause Take a deep breath. Record your analysis and then disconnect with the obvious for a while.
  3. Un-analyze Think outside of the box. Connect with the unobvious. Consider different ways to look at the assumption. Maybe this is one of the many possible ways to deal with a problem. Is the selected assumption necessary at all? Is anything else out there which is being missed? Take the right side of your brain on a ride.
  4. Pause – Take two deep breaths. Record your un-analysis and then disconnect with the unobvious also.
  5. Reanalyze – Review your analysis and un-analysis. Consider the obvious and unobvious. Consider both of them with attention. Which one way seems a more appropriate way than the other to proceed?

This process brings necessary clarity to the problem.  Many times, the un-analysis part brings forth surprising results which are not thought of otherwise.

For example, suppose you’re about to enter a website development business. One of your assumptions might be to have a huge list of service offerings – like most of other such companies do.

While such assumption may seem appropriate at first, try challenging it and maybe you’ll find some interesting business models – such as a “Make your own Pizza” kind of web design firm in which their customers bring ideas for the web-architects to craft and build upon – something which matters to the customers.

Power Questions: When you deal with a problem, do you attack it with the power of un-analysis also? If not, can you, now?

Happiness – An important trait of powerful leaders

When you classify powerful leaders, you would find one common attribute in all of them. Leaders love what they do. They live in the present moment and extremely happy doing whatever they’re doing.

Leadership is all about choices and happiness is not an exception. Being able to choose the right thing at a right time is what makes of a powerful leader. If a person cannot make a choice to be happy then how could he consider even being a leader?

Yep! I’m saying that an unhappy individual can hardly be a good leader.

Happiness is born from your mood. And, the mood is embedded in beliefs such as:

  • Every problem has a solution;
  • You don’t need to be evil to be successful;
  • Happiness is a choice regardless of the situation;
  • …and so on.

Being happy means that you understood the situation from all the sides; good and bad, and still chose to be happy. Without an underlying positive belief system, leadership seldom turns up. You cannot energize your people to try once more if you believe that success may not be possible.

You can’t lead well if you don’t have faith in your abilities to deal with an uncertain next.

From this context, here are three power questions for you to think and act upon:

  1. Do you consider yourself as a powerful leader?
  2. Are you happy?
  3. Are you really powerful?

… and what you can do about it, right now?