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?

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



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?

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!

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.

    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!

    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.”

    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?

    when you’re ready for fishing

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Heard it many times. Seems like a valid point of view right?

    That is if the man is ready to fish or wants to learn how to fish, then it becomes an empowering journey. Without the awareness that fishing is important or is an important lifelong skill to learn, it won’t take people closer to their goals and vision. You won’t go too far with a person who just wants a fish on a plate or happy to have something easy served up all the time!

    How about “Give a man a fish, and you feed his appetite now; teach a man who is hungry enough to learn how to fish and you feed his motivation and empower him for a lifetime.”

    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

    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!

    Institutional knowledge : A case study

    Nepal is a beautiful country with its unique opportunities and challenges.

    Alicia and Ajay both attend a top management college in Kathmandu, center of colleges and universities in Nepal. Once they finish their undergraduate studies, they plan to pursue their graduate studies outside of Nepal (Europe, Australia, North America). After graduating top of their class, Alicia starts working at a technology company and Ajay starts working at a bank. After working a few years, they decide to pursue their graduate studies and apply to universities around the world. Alicia feels comfortable at her workplace and shares her graduate study plans with her supervisors and employer. Ajay is hesitant sharing his graduate study plans and wants to finalize his graduate admission first and then share the news with his employer.

    Many employers across all industries are aware of this “going abroad” trend among the young professionals in Nepal. Some employers have systems in place to manage the transition better than others. With Alicia, her employer starts planning a transition, starts gathering institutional knowledge and puts out a vacancy internally and externally to fill her role. With Ajay, his employer will find out at the last minute his graduate study plans and will have to scramble to find a replacement, rush to collect his knowledge/expertise gained from having worked several years at the company, and might struggle to fill his position on time.

    Given this circumstance, who should take more responsibility? Should employees better communicate their graduate and undergraduate plans with their employers? How should employers better prepare for migration trends of their employees and how should they handle when employees do share their going abroad plans (be it for studies, work etc.)? What can the company, industry, or the government do to understand these migration (studies, work etc) trends and better prepare as well as leverage the diaspora’s collective expertise and experiences to help the companies, industries and the country?

    Empowering Curiosity

    Building a company culture of curiosity in an organization takes small intentional steps.

    If a team member asks a question in a group, how is that question handled?

    Does the meeting organizer have an agenda and allocated time for questions?

    What is the team leader’s first response to a team member’s question? Is it a straightforward answer or a thoughtful follow up question?

    Does the team member feel safe and comfortable asking the question in that environment?

    Who has been given the default “authority” to ask questions in that environment?

    Is the meeting host intentionally seeking out questions from the participants rather than just expecting them?

    From Entrepreneur to Empowerer

    How can entrepreneurs grow their startup?

    The qualities that help entrepreneurs start their businesses might not be the same that will help take the startup to the next level.

    There will still be challenges that entrepreneurs will face when they have hired all the “right people” for the different roles of the company. If the entrepreneurs continue to become heavily involved in decision making of the different functions even when they have put “right people” in those positions, the company will be limiting itself. The entrepreneurs’ efforts might actually be counterproductive then.

    For entrepreneurs to grow their company, most times they themselves become bottlenecks to the growth. It’s time to switch from being an entrepreneur to becoming an empowerer (one who empowers others to do their best). If entrepreneurs have empowered other leaders in the best way possible, the company will experience growth in many ways.

    Your company’s “Chief Question-Asker”

    “The most important thing business leaders must do today is to be the “chief question-asker” for their organization” says Dev Patnaik of Jump Associates.

    Patnaik says that “the first thing most leaders need to realize is, they’re really bad at asking questions. The business executives rose up through the corporate ranks because “they were good at giving answers. But it means they’ve had little experience at formulating questions.” Without the company leadership setting the tone and culture to the rest of the organization that asking questions are important and critical to the business growth, it’s no surprise that the employees are not asking any or enough questions. If the employees who understand the company’s products/services are not asking any or enough questions to the customers/end users for feedback, or asking questions to explore new products/services in the market, the company will become stagnant and the competition will take over.

    Adam Bryant, The New York Times Corner Office Column writer says that “the best leaders understand that asking open, exploratory questions can help them figure out what’s coming and where new opportunities lie, so that they can lead their company in new directions.” Leaders have to show vulnerability and humility to ask questions which is more important than upholding the persona of the leader who must “be all-knowing, decisive, and in possession of infallible gut instincts, all of which leaves little room for questioning.”

    Are you the company’s “Chief Question-Asker”?

    Quotes are from “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger