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.

 

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.

 

Useful college workshops

Workshops that could provide tremendous value to current college students especially after they graduate are:

Financial Management

Priority Management

Skills Development

Health and Fitness

Leadership

Networking

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.

Running a Tech company

In running a tech company, a lot of times the challenge is the company part not the tech.

Tech problems might have easier solutions than people problems.

The tech stack should not be the only focus if you want to build a successfully growing company.

Take care of both the tech and people (more importantly) and you have a chance to make the impact you seek to make!

Less Meetings, More Productivity

Meetings fill up a work day. There’s a meeting here and a meeting there. Then the day is almost done and we still have a lot of important work to be done.

With remote work being a part of our professional lives, video conferencing tools so easy to use (Zoom, Meet, Teams), and devices at our hands, we could be taking meetings from anywhere. An organized meeting with an agenda, meaningful audience engagement, and clear next steps is well worth it. However, many meetings fall off the mark and we end up just looking busy and not getting much work done. There’s a huge opportunity cost to meaningless and unproductive meetings when the team could be working on more productive and important tasks. A CBS News article stated that “Based on how much time workers said they spend in nonessential meetings as well as their salaries, the survey estimated that organizations employing 5,000 people waste around $100 million annually on unnecessary gatherings.”

What are the solution(s) then?

Meeting Purpose: Before setting up a meeting, asking ourselves is this meeting necessary, what’s the agenda, who is absolutely needed for this meeting, what can be the end result of this meeting etc. Being absolutely clear on these few questions can make a huge difference on how the meeting goes.

Meeting Audit: Once meetings have been on the calendar, conducting a meeting audit from time to time is important. A meeting audit will consist of reviewing whether this recurring meeting is still necessary, what can be changed, and if possible can the meeting be removed from the calendar completely.

Meeting Scalability: Often times, there could be meetings conflict where the same key individual(s) are needed in multiple meetings. Considering if the next individual in charge can attend the meeting instead, can the meeting be recorded, or can the video conferencing platform create an AI Summary of the meeting are some options to make better use of our time at work.

What’s your Trillion Dollar Venn Diagram Of Success?

Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot shares his thoughts on rare skills and the Trillion Dollar Venn Diagram Of Success (phrase credit to him).

Dharmesh shares that “You probably have a few valuable skills right now. The question is, how do you turn those skills into a successful career or company? By combining skills together. But combining any set of skills won’t necessarily get you where you want to go. You need to be strategic about which skills to acquire. Here’s my framework for combining skills to maximize your potential.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=WghyEbmPWgk%3Fsi%3D08-AmPfcl47pxRhZ

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?

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.

Effective Corporate Training

In Carol S. Dweck’s ground breaking book, Mindset The New Psychology of Success How We Can Learn To Fulfill Our Potential, she shares how to make corporate training programs effective.

She mentions:

Look for talented managers who also embody a growth mindset.

Train leaders, managers, and employees to believe in growth, in addition to training them in the specifics of effective communication and mentoring.

Creating a growth-mindset environment in which people can thrive which involves: presenting skills as learnable, conveying that the organization values learning and perseverance, not just ready-made genius or talent, giving feedback in a way that promotes learning and future success and presenting managers as resources for learning.

A belief in human development can make corporate training programs effective and help generate the results needed.

Talent vs Skill

What is Talent and what is Skill? Are they the same or different?

Talent is a natural ability to gain a skill or set of skills. Skill is the ability to complete a set of tasks well. Skills are learned and we get better at a craft by practicing intentionally over a period of time. If we want to become better writers, athletes, teachers (or at anything), we can because it’s an skill or set of skills. The beauty of identifying and understanding that something is a talent or a skill is liberating and profound. Once we find clarity that it’s an skill, we can learn and become better at it. Having talent does not mean that hard work, discipline, effort (and others) are not that required or important to become excellent at a craft or a task. While some who are talented can understand or do certain tasks better because of their “natural ability” or “gift”, talent by itself would not be enough for them to be excellent or world-class in their craft.

Here’s a simple distinction between Skill and Talent.

SkillTalent
DefinitionAn ability developed with practiceA natural affinity for a skill
ExplanationAn ability that, with practice, a person can become an expert inAn ability one is born with that, when nurtured, can develop more quickly than those without the
innate talent
ImpactsAnyone willing to work on itFewer people, who must be born with it
DevelopmentTraining, education, coaching, and practiceNature, along with training,
mentoring, education, and practice
Source : https://www.upwork.com/resources/difference-between-skill-and-talent

Seth Godin, author of The Practice Shipping Creative Work says that “It’s insulting to call a professional talented. She’s skilled, first and foremost. Many people have talent, but only a few care enough to show up fully, to earn their skill. Skill is rarer than talent. Skill is earned. Skill is available to anyone who cares enough.”

So was Micheal Jordan talented or skilled or both when it comes to basketball? Was Mira Rai a “gifted” trail runner than other runners? Is Warren Buffet more skilled or talented or a mix of both at analyzing businesses and financial numbers?

Getting to that Next Level

What’s the Next Level?

There are Levels. Realizing that there’s another level to be better is a key component in getting to that level. If you strongly believe that there’s no more level beyond where you currently are, then either you’ve achieved a lot already (Happy for you!) or you are limited in your circumstances, environment, or in your mindset. If you are doing what you can and still not getting the results that you want, then looking for outside help can benefit you. Getting to the Next Level is where the Coaching comes in!

BetterUp has written a helpful article in Benefits of coaching: Purpose, clarity, and passion in daily life

What’s your company culture like?

To get a quick gauge of your current company culture, you can do a few activities.

Have a look at what is being promoted and encouraged within the company.

What pictures, videos or posts are team members posting on internal company channels? Are those pictures of team events, community activities, nature, industry reports or something else? What is the engagement level on those posts?

See what activities team members spend most of their time on besides their day to day work responsibilities.

Are team members actively participating in company events, social events or any event in general? Do the same individuals tend to attend these social events compared to other team members? Are there regular planned company culture activities?

Management’s time and effort in company culture related activities

Does senior leadership understand the benefits of company culture and activities around it? Do they show up or be present in the cultural activities of the company? How is the leadership team treating or behaving towards the volunteers who organize the company culture activities?

Relationship equity

What’s your relationship equity like?

Have you invested time and energy into building the personal and professional relationships in your life?

If there’s not been much investment in the important relationships, should we be surprised by the current status of those relationships?

Relationship equity is about putting in the time, energy, care, generosity, and empathy in building meaningful relationships in our lives. It’s a message, a call, an email, a gift, an acknowledgement or any effort you make to cultivate the relationship in your life. Healthy and beautiful relationships take time and evolve as needed. The more we give and help others, the more joy we receive!

Room for Creativity

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Pablo Picasso

In one of her “The Artist’s Way” series book, Julia Cameron says that creativity is born in generosity, and flourishes where there is a sense of safety and acceptance. If we feel safe and accepted in a certain environment or group setting, we will generally be comfortable to be ourselves and open up more. If we feel threatened, judged, or unaccepted in a certain environment, we can become defensive and closed.

Julia adds that every creative endeavor thrives in an environment of safety and one of the quickest ways to create this environment is to provide structure. What is ideal is a structured mixture of scheduled and unscheduled time. Scheduled time will help individuals stay focused and get tasks done while unscheduled time will provide them room for spontaneity and inspiration.

Exponential growth of Nepal’s tech industry

How can we help grow Nepal’s tech industry? To measure the growth of the tech industry, what are some benchmarks? Good to have some benchmarks to start out with:

Few quantifiable benchmarks can be:

Number of companies in the tech industry

Number of jobs created by the tech companies

Number of high skilled professionals in the tech industry

Number of diverse employees in the tech companies

Collective amount of taxes paid to the government by the tech industry

Few non quantifiable benchmarks can be:

Is it easier for someone starting out today to make it in Nepal’s tech industry?

Do individuals and teams have access to the tools, resources, mentorship, trainings to become successful in Nepal’s tech industry?

How can different tech companies intentionally help each other grow and navigate the dynamic tech landscape?

Are government policies and regulations helping the tech industry grow?

What does Progress look like?

We want Progress. Like yesterday.

It’s tempting to be thinking of achieving massive success as soon as possible.

So what does Progress actually look like (realistically)?

In Atomic Habits, James Clear says if you find yourself struggling to build a good habit or breaking a bad habit, it is often because you have not yet crossed the Plateau of Latent Potential. When you finally break through the Plateau of Latent Potential, people will call it overnight success. We tend to see the most dramatic event rather than all the work and efforts that came before that “overnight success.”

Source: James Clear

3 A’s to greatness

Awareness. Action. Automatic.

Awareness is the first component of becoming great at a skill or craft.

Once awareness is established, action is needed to intentionally practice and work on the skill or craft.

After taking consistent action to get better, the skill or craft becomes automatic.

Beyond the Comfort Zone

In our comfort zones, we tend to feel at ease, almost no anxiety, stress free, and safe.

In the boundaries of our comfort zones, we tend to feel some or a lot of anxiety, stress, and get defensive.

Do we all have comfort zones? If so, do we stay in those zones or go beyond them?

Of course, we all have our comfort zones in different areas of our lives and activities that we do. As humans, we operate from a place where we make decisions from what we know, feel comfortable doing, and go about our personal and professional lives.

However, if those same comfort zones are limiting our own growth or from allowing us to reach our full potential, wouldn’t we want to go beyond them?

Imagine you have been selected as a member of your varsity basketball team. Your basketball coach sees a lot of potential in you and provides regular feedback. There are parts of your game that are already good and you capitalize on them. Then there are other parts of your game that you are not mostly aware of but your coach sees where and how you can improve on them. After each varsity practice, the coach comes up to you and gives you constructive feedback on your improvement areas. You listen to the coach but you are not REALLY LISTENING to your coach. You have a feeling that you are already good in certain areas and that’s the part the coach should praise you on. Yet here you are listening to the coach just talking about where you can be in the future and keeps going on and on the improvement areas, not so much your strength areas. After a few of these feedback sessions, you finally get the urge to just tell the coach that you are doing everything you can and get defensive because you don’t feel appreciated or valued by the coach. You have excuses and don’t take any responsibility or ownership.

Now what can happen next?

As a player, you can reframe the conversation with the coach as a way to see that the feedback is for your own growth and if you have want to reach the next level, you should do the activities the coach recommends you to do. Or you can stay defensive and feel entitled to think that you have already reached your potential and the coach doesn’t see that? Or just quit the varsity basketball team?

Comfort zones are there and will continue to be an integral part of each of us. Yet, if you want to live out your AUTHENTIC GREATNESS, how often will you push yourself out of your comfort?

A recommended read related to this topic “How to Leave Your Comfort Zone and Enter Your ‘Growth Zone

the “perfect” work

Seth Godin’s blog today was Unbeatable vs Perfect. In it, he states that Google has killed more than 200 projects over the last few decades. They fail all the time. MORE THAN 200 PROJECTS!!!

Over the years, I knew Google discontinued a few products/services here and there but did not expect more than 200. Often we see a company, professional, or industry expert present an almost “flawless” or “perfect” product/service out in the world. We expect our work to be like theirs or close to it as possible. We forget that we are on our own journey to greatness. There is no need to compare, contrast, or feel deflated. What you can do from the work you see out there is to draw inspiration, motivation and keep going at your pace. There is “never” a perfect version of something and there is “always” room for improvement.

If Google waited for the “perfect” project/product/service to ship, we won’t be talking about them in 2022. They launched in 1998 and are still relevant to us more than ever before!

Also if I waited for the “perfect” blog to post, this post would be in my Drafts and you won’t be reading it at this moment. Thanks for reading my “not-so-perfect” blog.