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Blog - People Practices

Read An operational perspective of the Telecom Industry Blog

We are looking for mystery shoppers
 -  Posted by Deepa on Dec 7 2010 [Jigyasa]

Jigyasa is looking for mystery shoppers in Singapore.

Mystery shoppers go as customers to retail locations to measure and gather feedback on service standards. It requires about 45 mins to an hour of an individual’s time.

You do not need any prior experience of mystery shopping. However, you do need to be able good observation skills, an eye of details and awareness of what good service standards entail. You can do mystery shopping in the evenings, week-ends or during the day.

Those interested in doing mystery shopping may email or send a reply sharing a brief profile through the contact us

Please read here to know more about mystery shopping.

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Making Virtual Distance Work in the Digital Age
 -  Posted by Deepa on Apr 30 2009 [Workplace habits]

Via David Goldstein’s blog

Virtual teams are here to stay. Some teams work well while others seem to fumble or fail.

Dr. Karen Lojeski and Dr. Richard R. Reilly provide a useful framework to identify factors that could determine the success virtual teams.

They define

“Virtual Distance as the perceived distance between two or more individuals, groups, or organizations that is brought on by the persistent and pervasive use of electronic versus face-to-face
communications.”

The 11 Factors That Comprise the Virtual Distance Index are:

Physical Distance Factors

  • Geographic Distance: The degree to which team members are separated by physical distance.
  • Temporal Distance. The degree to which team members are separated by time zone differences or work schedule differences.
  • Organizational Distance. The degree to which members of the team work for the same organization or for multiple organizations.
  • Operational Distance Factors

  • Team Size. The number of members the team includes.
  • Face to Face. The extent to which the team meets face to face versus electronically, especially at critical junctures in the project or through the course of work.
  • Multitasking. The extent to which members are facing competing demands from multiple projects and have multiple deliverables due at the same time.
  • Technical Skill and Support. The extent to which members are able to use the technology tools at their disposal, and their access to technical support in using those tools.
  • Affinity Distance Factors

  • Cultural Distance. The extent to which team members share cultural values, similarities in communication style, and attitudes toward work.
  • Interdependence Distance. The extent to which team members feel interdependent on one another for their own success.
  • Relationship Distance. The extent to which team members have worked together before or know some of the same people socially.
  • Social Distance. The extent to which each team member’s status is derived from his or her hierarchical position in the organization and contribution to the team or the work effort.
  • While issues such as Cultural compatability and technical skill and support have received a fair share of attention, other factors identified play a dominant role in a virtual team’s success yet often are rarely factored while setting up virtual teams for specific projects or initiatives.

    “The degree to which members of the team work for the same organization or for multiple organizations”, “the extent to which team members feel interdependent on one another for their own success” or “the extent to which members are facing competing demands from multiple projects and have multiple deliverables due at the same time” are issues that need to be studied while setting up virtual teams. Much is at stake to ensure that virtual teams succeed in organizations.

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    Manage Stress and Fear
     -  Posted by Deepa on Mar 19 2009 [General]

    Learned helplessness

    is a condition of a human being or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected. You can read more about the experiment done on animals here.

    According to Dr. Richard Pestak, learned helplessness plays an important role in stress.

    There is nothing more stressful than dreading unpleasant experience that you have no control over. The result can be paralyzing sense of futility, helplessness, and stress related anxiety. The solution is to decide if you can reasonably expect to bring about a change in the situation. Certain things you will not be able to do anything about. But instead of giving in to a state of learned helplessness, change the one thing that you do retain some control over: your own attitude towards the stressful situation.

    The opposite of helplessness is optimism, ‘an Explanatory style’ which is “a psychological attribute that indicates how people explain to themselves why they experience a particular event, either positive or negative”

    Another danger which can contribute to Learned helplessness is being around the naysayers who add to the ‘gloom and doom”. Warren Buffet recently talked about it in the CNBC saying, “Fear is very contagious. You can get fearful very quickly, but you don’t get confident, you know, in five minutes. You can get fearful in five minutes, but you won’t get confident for some time.”

    So in a time when a lot seems beyond your control,

  • Pay attention to your own attitude towards stressful situations
  • Ensure you stay around people who are positive and are a positive influence on those around them
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    Selection: developing your personal check-list
     -  Posted by Deepa on Mar 8 2009 [Recruitment]

    Two separate conversations with different senior leaders’ triggered this post.

    One asked whether there was a single test to help identify the right person for the right job. The other felt that the probation period could help determine the suitability as a short interview was not sufficient to know whether a candidate was the right fit.

    There can be no single test to determine suitability of a candidate and all organizations need to take responsibility to ensure that the candidates who are recruited are most likely to succeed in their jobs.

    Errors in selection can and ought to be minimized by taking multiple perspectives and views. Tests (where applicable) and interviews are a part of a wider selection process. One way to approach the process is to look for competencies that are common to all successful people.

    Here are two leaders on what they looked for as ‘must have’ competencies for success:

    Jack Welsh (Former Chairman and CEO of GE) looked for

  • Integrity, Intelligence and Maturity
  • Positive Energy (self)
  • Ability to energize others
  • Edge- courage to make tough Yes- No decisions
  • Execute
  • Passion
  • James M. Kilts (Former CEO of Gillette)

    (Brains and capacity for hard work are a given)

  • Intellectual Integrity
  • Results
  • The ability to make decisions
  • Leadership
  • The ability to think conceptually
  • (Source: Doing what matters)

    Incidentally when

    “Warren Buffett was asked why the Gillette board of directors chose Jim Kilts to be CEO, he said, “Jim made as much sense in terms of talking about business as anybody I’ve ever talked to. If you listen to Jim analyze a business situation you get absolutely no baloney. And, frankly, finding someone like that is a rarity.”

    Ultimately, Good leaders learn to develop a Personal Check-list of what has worked for them while picking out good candidates.

  • Do you have such a check-list?
  • What critical skills do you personally look for in candidates?
  • What has been your success rate?
  • How do you predict winners?
  • A book on a related subject that makes interesting reading is Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers

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    Dr. Randy Pausch
     -  Posted by Deepa on Jul 27 2008 [Inspiration]

    Few in recent times, have been a force of inspiration as Dr.Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon Professor who passed away on July 25, 2008.

    A man who in his dying days inspired the rest of us on how to live! (Not just through his talk but also on how he handled his terminal illness)

    Be sure to watch his “last lecture” and his talk on “time management” if you have not yet done so. The videos, PDF and slide versions of the time management talk have been made available by Professor Gabriel Robins at his site.

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    Anupam Jalote
     -  Posted by Deepa on Jun 5 2008 [Jigyasa]

    It is with great pleasure that I welcome Anupam Jalote, a good friend and now a business partner on board Jigyasa.

    His previous position as a Chief Process Officer involved heading service strategy for Bharti Airtel Limited, a $5 billion full service telecom service provider. You can read about him here.

    What stands out, apart from the depth and breadth of his Telecom expertise is his ability to lead people, insights into human behaviour, thinking out of the box and a wonderful sense of humour.

    I am looking forward (as much as I know that the readers of this blog will) to his posts as well the work we hope to do together for our clients.

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    Creative Generalist
     -  Posted by Deepa on Feb 16 2008 [Practices of an exemplary manager]

    If you’ve ever questioned the importance of generalists in your team or if you are a generalist and want to see how your role should be, then check out this well researched and thought out article by Steve Hardy on Creative Generalists.

    Some core traits identified by him are:

  • Wander & Wonder - finding possibility
  • Entertain curiosity and ask unasked questions.

  • Synthesize & Summarize - presenting information
  • Connect the dots and present complex information succinctly

  • Link & Leap - generating ideas
  • Take a simple insight and find a transcending application.

  • Mix & Match - connecting people
  • Make worlds collide and harness collaborative energies.

  • Experience & Empathize - understanding worldview
  • Understand humanity and life’s many interrelationships.

    HR professionals in organizations should be mainly be “creative generalists” given the fact that most of the specialised or administrative work can be outsourced and people management responsibilities (recruitment, performance management and the like) rests or should rest with the Businesses’.

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    What have you changed your mind about? Why?
     -  Posted by Deepa on Feb 7 2008 [Inspiration]

    This was The Edge Annual Question - 2008

    When thinking changes your mind, that’s philosophy.
    When God changes your mind, that’s faith.
    When facts change your mind, that’s science.

    Read how some of the finest of intellectuals responded to this question on subjects close to them.

    Extracts from some of my personal favourites amongst many others. Click on their names to read their complete response and to undertsand the context.

    Jamshed Bharucha

    To assess genuine understanding of an idea one is inclined to resist, I propose a version of Turing’s Test tailored for this purpose: You understand something you are inclined to resist only if you can fool its proponents into thinking you get it. Few critics can pass this test. I would also propose a cross-cultural Turing Test for would-be cultural critics (a Golden Rule of cross-group understanding): before critiquing a culture or aspect thereof, you should be able to navigate seamlessly within that culture as judged by members of that group

    Kevin Kelly

    It has always been clear that collectives amplify power — that is what cities and civilizations are — but what’s been the big surprise for me is how minimal the tools and oversight are needed. The bureaucracy of Wikipedia is relatively so small as to be invisible. It’s the Wiki’s embedded code-based governance, versus manager-based governance that is the real news. Yet the greatest surprise brought by the Wikipedia is that we still don’t know how far this power can go. We haven’t seen the limits of wiki-ized intelligence. Can it make textbooks, music and movies? What about law and political governance?

    Chris Dibona

    But, and here’s the thing I changed my mind about, is the tradeoff for silly high productivity that I have to run my projects the way we run the Summer of Code? Maybe. Can I keep my hands off and let things run their course? Is the team strong enough to act as this kind of mentoring to each other? I now think the answer is that yes, they can run each other better than I can run them. So let’s see what letting go looks like.

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    New ways of connecting and doing business
     -  Posted by Deepa on Oct 18 2007 [Trends]

    Pfizer is partnering with a social networking site for physicians, in order to reach out to doctors more efficiently.

    Sermo is a networking site for physicians that allows them to use the collective wisdom of the group to discuss, share and exchange and take away new insights.

    According to this article,

    “Pfizer-affiliated doctors will be able to talk candidly with the site’s 31,000 members, potentially giving the company insights into prescribing patterns and a way to show doctors data on its drugs.”

    Pfizer doctors, who will be clearly identified, will be able to ask questions of the Sermo community or respond to posts. If Pfizer doctors were to offer comments others deem biased, the system provides for quick rebuttals.

    We should be seeing more such inititaives taking off with the explosion of social networks.

    At an individual level, here is a doctor using technology to to reach out to patients who is willing to “evisit by videochat, IM or email for certain problems or follow-ups.

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