Decision on Data

Data keeps growing. There’s no shortage of data.

Some data is valuable than having no data at all. However, a lot of data doesn’t necessarily mean better decisions and outcomes.

It comes down to making decisions on the data that you have. Decision making skills play a critical role here.

How much data is needed to make a good decision on it?

What insights can we gather from the data we have?

How did we collect the data?

What’s the quality of the data?

These are some helpful questions to make decisions on data.

 

Accelerating Curiosity at Work

The company culture impacts our behavior at work, with peers, customers, and other stakeholders.

With AI doing many mundane tasks that humans used to do before/until now, we need to evolve or hone the “human centric skills” that computers cannot do so easily/replace us on. One very important characteristic of human beings is our curiosity. While we all start out being very curious as babies, as we get older and get through school, home, and our surroundings, the almost “natural” curiosity seems to fade away or underutilized immensely. It’s no surprise then what happens at workplaces when new hires join at a company.

To reignite and accelerate curiosity at work, we need a paradigm shift. To make curiosity a part of the company culture, it has to be encouraged and incentivized at every level of the company. Management has to be curious and ask thoughtful questions in meetings and encourage active participation and questions from meeting participants. Team leads and managers should approach their team meetings with questions, empathy, and active listening. Eventually, curiosity will flow through the company and become an integral part of its identity. Until then, the road ahead can be challenging but the end result will be magnificent!

Required course for high schools and colleges

An important course that’s urgently required and needed in high schools and colleges is Lifelong Skills.

The Lifelong Skills course will cover why certain skills are important no matter what career a student chooses to pursue after their academic years, how to build productive habits for personal and professional growth, and why no matter what educational degree someone holds, gaining skills will be a lifelong journey. Skills will take students and professionals further in their career than talent alone!

Certain skills are valuable lifelong skills: communication, listening, writing, creative, team work, curiosity, authenticity, personal finance management, selling, teaching, coaching, learning, reading, adaptability to name some. If we become aware of these skills and sharpen them early in our professional journey, we will be better suited and authentically successful in the dynamic world that we live in. Technology will continue to become better, faster, cheaper and the more we hone our “human” skills, the better prepared we will be.

Besides the academic subjects we teach in high schools and colleges, it’s high time that we teach students Lifelong Skills and cover the basics to get them ready for the next chapter in their academic and professional careers.

Productive work days

Each work day can feel the same yet be so different.

Monday comes around, meetings and more meetings, and then we’re already planning for the weekend and beyond.

To make our working hours count and make our days productive, we can start our days with intention and finish with learnings and reflections from the work day.

What’s our intention today? Intentions could be I want to become better at doing client presentations or I want to learn more about Generative AI through meaningful discussions with colleagues. The intention helps set a goal for the day.

What did we learn today? We can learn a lot in a given day. We don’t have to be enrolled in a course or a seminar for us to learn something new each day. At the end of the work day, we can take a few minutes to write down what we learned today and reflect on how the day went.

 

Work from home/office

Once upon a time on a weekday, people got up, got ready, and commuted to a physical work location.

That was the “normal” work routine in many places globally.

On Monday morning, individuals got ready, had breakfast at home/in their commute to work, worked for 8 hours, and then returned home. Same routine for 5 days a week. 2 day weekend and long weekends on certain holidays. Lots of time and money spent on commuting to and from work. How productive this “system/structure” has been is up for debate. Working from home was way less common than it is today.

These days, individuals get up, get ready, and work from their home work station all 5 days of the week or commute few times to their physical work location or still commute 5 days a week. A hybrid work model seems to be here to stay and both employees and employers benefit from this.

Are leaders born or made?

Leaders are made.

Leadership is a skill.

Individuals become better leaders by honing their leadership skills.

To hone leadership skills, take the lead wherever possible-community, company, family etc.

We all start from somewhere and become better with practice, smart work, learning, and reflecting.

Startup Founder Credit

Do startup founder(s) get more credit for the startup’s success or blame for its failure than other members of the startup (managers, technical leads etc)?

We know of founder(s) who started companies but what about the initial 5 to 50 employees who helped the startup grow.

What contributes to a startup’s success? Is it the founder(s)’ idea, their execution, their initial key hires, or just the timing of their idea(s)?

How much should we praise founder(s), recognize their successes and failures, and attribute to the startup’s growth?

Productive from home

How will the current and future of work look like? Is the hybrid work model here to stay?

Mark Ma, an associate professor of business administration for Pitt Business, and Yuye Ding, a Ph.D. student in Katz Graduate School of Business, looked at Standard and Poor’s 500 firms — the largest companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges — that had implemented return to work mandates, forcing employees to be in the office five days a week.

The results from the research study showed that while many of the companies said they were bringing employees back to the office to improve the bottom line, there were no significant changes in financial performance or firm values after the mandates were implemented. However, there was a sharp decrease in employees’ job satisfaction.

To keep employees’ happy and still maintain strong financial performance, companies should be more flexible and allow employees to work from home depending on their work nature, product/service, customers, industry etc. If productivity, work quality, and financial performance are not being negatively impacted by employees working from home, companies should allow employees work from home flexibility and provide support to them.

Attracting top talent to your company

How about sharing your biggest and limitless vision for your idea/company with your team and prospective employees?

One of the single most important reasons for top talented individuals to join a startup, growing company or even a multinational is the vision of the company’s founders or the company’s management/leadership team.

People switch jobs and careers all the time. Besides financial compensation package, benefits, perks etc., the most talented individuals are also looking to work on the biggest challenges, make tangible impact, and leave their own mark along the way. Next time you want to attract the best talent from the job market, share your idea and vision with them. See how that turns out!

Leadership’s role in Culture

Culture has to be created.

Leaders are responsible for creating the company culture, growing it, and evolving it overtime.

Although each team member contributes to the company culture, a dedicated team is needed to focus on bringing people together through various initiatives and activities.

The leadership team has to also participate in company culture activities so the rest of the team knows that it’s important and active participation is encouraged.

Is the leadership team visible in the company activities that the team has put together? How engaged is your team in company initiatives and activities? Do the same team members show up for all the company activities?

Coaching Teams for Global Customer Success

Multinational companies need to coach their team to handle clients based in different time zones, cultures, languages, and more. Easier said than done. Countless number of hours, sessions, content, and materials are shared internally to help the company’s team to properly and successfully interact with global clients.

A few tips on coaching teams for Customer Success with global clients (North America based):

1. Conduct sessions between team members based in Customer regions and other office locations. If your company’s customers are based in the US and you have a team based in Nepal, then have your Nepal team members interact as much as possible with their US counterparts. Similarly, if your company’s customers are based in Nepal and you have a team based in US, then have your US team members interact as much as possible with their Nepal counterparts. These sessions should focus on cultural greetings, acceptable language and behaviors, ways of doing business in each culture etc.

    2. Inter-office company visits. Organize company visits between your US team and Nepal team members. Nepal based team members will visit the US and learn about US culture and business and vice versa. These cross cultural experiences will add tremendous value to the respective team members and organizing knowledge sharing sessions post the team members’ visit can be fruitful and productive to the rest of the team.

    3. Look outside company’s network for cultural learnings. Besides facilitating ways to internally assist the team members based globally, do look outside your company to find creative ways to provide team members with wider cultural knowledge and experiences. If a team member’s friend or family member is visiting the US or Nepal for a short period or someone is moving to study or work in the US or Nepal, meet them and hear their experiences and share your experiences as well. You’ll get a broader perspective on the culture and it can enrich your cultural knowledge and cultural nuances.

    Everyone agrees with your idea(s)

    If a team lead/manager or someone in a position of “authority” shares an idea for a new tool/process/policy (or something) and everyone on the team agrees to it without any discussions, questions or feedback, does that mean that idea was flawless?

    If there were no discussions, questions or feedback to the idea shared by the team lead or manager, is the team completely on board or do they feel their feedback does not matter or they did not want to be the “sole” individual who disagreed with the idea or did not have the “authority” to raise their voice in that particular space? No matter how well thought out the idea was by the team lead or manager, there are always areas that can be further polished, improved, or worked on. If you want your idea(s) to be well thought out, it’s important and helpful to have discussions, questions and feedback session with your team.

    If your team always agrees with the idea(s) you share with them without any discussions, questions, or feedback, it would probably be a good time to assess what type of culture you’ve actually created with your team.

    Skills over Location

    A skilled professional should be respected, valued, and paid as much as someone that can be found in a particular region.

    With remote work and freelancing work becoming more common than ever before, companies have a global talent pool to fill their vacancies. A skilled professional based in the US would generally get paid more than a skilled professional with similar qualifications in South Asia because the argument went that the cost of living in the US was higher so the professional needs to get paid more. Over the span of few decades, companies have been looking for talent in offshore regions for cost savings (primarily), time zones turnaround, work flexibility, proximity to customers etc.

    The talent pool and the job/career marketplace is now global. Companies can have skilled professionals working on their products/services from anywhere in the world and the skilled professionals have a global job/career opportunity pool. Skilled professionals based in South Asia should get paid equally to a professional based in the US if the individual has similar qualifications, work ethic, quality of work produced and such. It’s a win-win for both companies and skilled professionals everywhere!

    Underrated : Thoughts on the documentary

    I finished watching the Stephen Curry : Underrated documentary on Apple TV.

    The documentary tells of almost a fairy tale like story of how Stephen Curry who was overlooked throughout his basketball journey (high school, college, early NBA years) to ultimately becoming a 4 time NBA champion (so far). Stephen’s journey to the NBA was filled with challenges and underestimations. However, he kept going, working on his game, and continued to reach newer heights.

    Stephen had a lot of people helping him on his basketball journey – family, coaches, team members, and the community. He emphasized how important his Davidson coach, Bob McKillop and his Davidson team members were critical to his confidence and growth on the basketball court especially in his early years at Davidson.

    It’s an incredible sports documentary and highly recommend watching it for Stephen Curry fans as well as for any sports fan.

    Skills Degree

    What if we could have a Skills degree similar to a College degree?

    A Skills degree would show all the skills you have accumulated over the years. Writing skills, editing skills, sales skills, Excel skills, technical skills, marketing skills and more skills. In a knowledge economy, our skills are our biggest assets. Skills are learnable and we can get better overtime with practice and repetition.

    What skills do you have or working to be better at?

    A College Degree is great but not required. 

    I saw this on a job vacancy post.

    A college degree is great but not required. What’s more important is having the skills to do the job.

    Skills are the way to go. Whether its for an Account Executive, marketing, or technical role, skills are becoming important than ever. With the speed of technological developments everyday and shortage of skilled talent across various industries, skilled professionals will continue to be in higher demand across the globe.

    What skills can you gain while in college and what skills can you gain outside of college?

    The color of the grass

    A tourist from New York City, US visits Pokhara, Nepal for the first time.

    The beautiful views of Phewa Lake and mountains from Pokhara’s Lakeside makes the tourist relaxed and joyful after a long time. The tourist lives a hectic lifestyle back home with job, daily commute, bills, and all the “luxuries” that come with city life. So the Pokhara scenery, atmosphere, and the local people make the tourist comfortable and appreciate everything that is around. The local Pokhara tour guide shows the tourist the best spots in the area and makes the tour enjoyable and memorable. The tour guide lives a relaxed lifestyle with seasonal tours when the tourist season is at peak and takes other temporary gigs in the off tourist season time.

    The American tourist sees the tour guide and admires the simple life of the tour guide who is bestowed a place full of natural beauty, hospitable people, and delicious food. The tour guide sees the American tourist and admires the relaxed life of the tourist who is bestowed financial freedom, choices to splurge their money on, and travel flexibility.

    Engaging Company Culture

    Engaging company cultures have empowered, creative, and growth oriented team members leading company culture events. Through empowerment, employees are given the decision making authority and independence to decide what activities bring out the best in the team. Through creativity, employees can be resourceful and come up with activities that are out of the box and meaningful for the team. Through a focus on growth-oriented activities, employees can initiate programs that integrate both learning and fun.

    What’s your company culture like?

    Starting your venture

    Bill Gross said in a TEDTalk that timing was the single most important attribute to startup success.

    There’s no science to when’s a good time to start a venture. However, waiting for the idea to be perfect, or wanting to have all the “necessary” data points in the world to make the launch decision or just plain waiting probably won’t do much good to your “exclusive” idea.

    Ship your idea. Gather feedback from prospects/customers. Iterate based on learnings. Keep going!

    Am I hunting Antelope or Field Mice?

    A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In the short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”

    The above excerpt is taken from Tim Ferriss17 Questions That Changed My Life who had quoted Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives using the above analogy.