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Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

The discomfort zone

Overtime, we build a comfort zone to a lot of things-from the books we read, to the people we hang out with to the sports teams we support etc. That’s the easy way to do things. We don’t have to battle within ourselves and choices are pretty simple. Yet, I believe the “real” growth, learning, challenge, excitement, and most things in general is best to be in the discomfort zone (most of the time). The discomfort zone is where you challenge yourself to be the best and to be the best, you have to push your own boundaries. Instead of “I can’t do this” to “I’m looking forward to doing this.” You become a lifelong learner and constantly seek knowledge/wisdom. The world becomes that more beautiful around you.

The show goes on…

Once you climb up a hill, there is a moment to soak it all in. Take a deep breath and appreciate the journey to get here.

Then it’s time to climb up another hill on the horizon.

Far Out: an ongoing read

Far Out Countercultural Seekers and the Tourist Encounter in Nepal by Mark Liechty is a comprehensive read on Nepal’s tourism experiences in the postwar era, hippie counterculture in the 1960s, and adventure destination in the 1970s.

I picked up Far Out when I attended its book launch at Martin Chautari. Having read about 100 pages so far, I’ve learned about how Nepal opened its doors to tourism in early 1950s, influential characters that shaped the early tourism crowd and much more. It’s quite interesting to learn about Nepal’s tourism history and whose identity has now been shaped by tourism around the world. I especially enjoyed reading about Boris Lissanevitch and Jung Bahadur Coapsingha – two important and pioneering characters of Nepal’s early tourism years. I can’t wait to read more.

Choices and customers

In a good business environment, the customers have a lot of product/service options to choose from. Whether customers are shopping for groceries, fashion, gadgets to cars, houses, boats, there are a plethora of product/service providers. As choices become abundant, the customers make decisions based on many things. Some things that make customers choose your brand are price, service, reputation, availability to name a few.

Other factors that are less than obvious which make customers choose only your brand are how much does your brand seem to care about the customers, how is the overall customer buying experience, can the customers trust you, can you deliver what you promised in your marketing, what is the first interaction like with your brand. These are some things to consider as choices are aplenty for the customers.

Soft skills never go out of style

57% of senior leaders today say soft skills are more important than hard skills. Strengthening a soft skill is one of the best investments you can make in your career. Plus, the rise of AI is only making soft skills increasingly important, as they are precisely the type of skills robots can’t automate. LinkedIn

Soft skills that are very important in 2019 according to LinkedIn are: creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management. Learning or honing these soft skills will pay huge dividends in the long term.

Fresh college graduates

Fresh college graduates would go further in the job market/career with these qualities: a hunger to become the best in the field, a strong work ethic, and people skills.

By having a hunger to become the best in the field, the individuals would need to continuously learn, take feedback and will grow. Complementing the hunger would be a strong work ethic which can take the individuals farther than their counterparts. Hunger alone won’t take you anywhere. Lastly, having excellent people skills will take you the farthest.

A learning organization

To stay relevant in the market, be ahead of the competition, and to attract/keep talent, the company’s members’ need to be continuously learning. If the members are not learning, they are not growing.

Most companies know that the employees are its biggest asset. What they know and how they act can differ greatly. Learning has to become a core part of a company’s DNA. It has to be embedded so strongly in the company that employees themselves are proactively learning new things and staying updated. The management needs to provide the right environment where learning is encouraged, incentivized, and acknowledged. Just a few people here and there sent off to a corporate training won’t move the needle.

Travel to me…

Travel to me means to discover

Discover new food, places, people and culture

Cultures of people, customs, traditions, and how they live

Lives of people in different places makes me interested and curious

Curious to learn more about the new destination and myself

Myself is an evolving body and that’s why I love to travel

the incentive

What’s the incentive?

Employees’ motivation at work is influenced by a mix of incentives. If we have the proper incentives in place, the system works best. The salary is an incentive, the raise is an incentive, and the promotion is an incentive. There are other incentives as well. Figuring out what motivates the employee or employees’ is critical to the employee’s growth and the company’s growth. Then there are the intangibles when employees’ do a great job: the verbal acknowledgements of appreciation, company wide recognition, the unexpected treat, giving respect where its due, etc.

Why change?

Why not change?

Why not evolve?

If we are going to get better, why not become one?

If the circumstances are going to be much better, why not take the chance?

Why stay stagnant when things are moving fast?

Why not you?

Why not all of us?

Experienced learner

The saying goes “Experience is the best teacher.”

With experience, comes confidence, knowledge, and a good sense of intuition. When you get hired, you get paid for your “experience.” Can you tell us about your experience managing teams or projects is a common question at job interviews. Employers’ believe that a new hire with relevant experience will take their company to new heights. As much as experience is valued and it should be, another asset is to also have a learner’s mindset. When you can count on your experience, you should and when you are not sure then you should approach people who know/research the topic/ask tons of questions.

Become an experienced learner.

re:Work

re:Work is a collection of practices, research, and ideas from Google and others to help you put people first. re:Work is organized around ways you can make an impact in your workplace.

I love this part “Learning & Development – Empower your employees to grow and develop by making learning part of everyone’s job.” I’ll be sharing what I learned from re:Work in the coming days.

Company culture

What is company culture?

Do we want to have a certain company culture?

If we do, what values should we aspire to have?

Who will be responsible to uphold those values?

What if those values are not followed then what happens?

It’s important to ask the right questions before setting out to “build” company culture.

Is there such thing as too much press in business?

Yes, there is!

I used to believe that getting a lot of press coverage for any business would be good. It would be great to create more buzz, more people would would know about it, more people would be ready to purchase the product, and ultimately there would be more sales. What could be wrong with that right? Well now, I have started to think that it depends where you are in the business stage (startup, survival, sustainable, growth and scale).

For a startup, getting buzz creates hype and excitement towards the company. That buzz can create demand for the product or service, get market feedback, attract talent to the company among others. Yet I have started to see the pressures and repercussion of too much press early in the business stage. First time founders are really excited and passionate about their idea and want to get it out there. It’s hard to resist getting that coverage when it is coming your way. However, when the idea is out in the media, more resource equipped people and companies can easily change their strategies and almost destroy that upcoming new business. Also, if the founder(s) don’t move fast in the market, the weight of the early press coverage/even awards can hold them back. The team dynamics and egos of various people can also be affected if not taken care properly.

It sounds almost counter-intuitive to not get too much press coverage and recognition early. This is definitely not the case for all businesses. However, I’m starting to feel and believe that for startups in Nepal that want to make an impact domestically and internationally, it’s best to extremely focus on your product/service (and resist press/other coverage until you are ready). The time will come when you need to market it, generate press, and grow your company.