Jargon Jungle – a cheeky guide to navigation

B-School students go through a lot of text book stuff of definitions and explanations. But as soon as they join corporate world or take a start-up venture they need to take on a non-ideal world which is far removed from the books. In this world bosses and colleagues and customers and vendors bend well known words as per their needs. One needs to navigate this world without getting lost and without getting cynical. One needs to extract right actions from the overused or misused terms for the good of all stake holders and for good of oneself.

How navigate this jargon jungle? Posts in this category provide a cheeky guide.

These posts are from my column of the same name published on the portal: BusinessLine on Campus www.bloncampus.com

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Planning a new career? Become useful!

This piece is the last in the series on building new careers.  We have seen that preparing for a new career takes some serious planning, commitment, and efforts. We are so focused on getting that first job, assignment, or break that we often forget a vital ingredient of success in this long and uncertain journey. We continue to forget it because we then remain busy in getting the next job.

This ingredient is: ‘giving’ The ‘giving’ that I am referring to is not about writing a cheque for charity. We need to give in the form of using our knowledge, talents, and hard earned skills for being useful to others who may need them. We must become useful through what we can do best and through what we like doing most.

Ashok is currently working in a private company as production manager. His dream is to become a writer. He would eventually like to make a switch to writing as career. As he hones his writing skills, Ashok should consider offering his writing services to people who wish to write books but are too busy or don’t have good writing skills. Writing for others will give him an exposure to capturing others’ thought and re-arranging, grouping, and improving them.  He can also get used to his work being evaluated and commented upon. He will get better in analyzing comments and incorporating them. All this will give him a chance to see how he good feels about writing as a career.  If Ashok ‘gives’ through his writing services he will learn and earn goodwill. What we send out returns to us in much bigger form.The goodwill earned by using our talents is essential for our success.

Doing what you do best and doing what you like most while being useful to others is an excellent test for yourself. If pass your own test you will excel in the tests by the world.

About me:

I help people and businesses in regenerating themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs.  You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Stay in touch with me here Google+ , on Twitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design with Design Directions, a design studio

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Get help for your new career

In one of the previous posts I had suggested that you should start practicing what you intend to do in your new career much before you leap.  In to addition other actions suggested, you should identify people who might be of help. (To read about other actions, search this blog using ‘career‘ as a keyword or click career in the drop-down list of categories or click the word in the tag cloud)

Consider this example. Supposing you are planning to start a fresh career in coding for big data applications. You are currently working in enterprise solutions. You will need contacts in the field of big data. Some of your currents contacts can help you to get introduced to relevant people. Start asking around those whom you know well.

Switching career involves getting into new networks. Your contacts from current career might rarely be of direct help. Getting into right networks is the most important success factor.  You are going to need help of experts, a mentor, those might give you some work (e.g. internships or freelancing), those who might help you with tools and facilities, and of those who can evaluate your work.

Coaches and mentors can accelerate your learning. They can help you deciding what not to do as well -very important since you don’t wish to go on a wrong track.  Coaching is crucial in certain careers – for example, managerial careers.  It is difficult to assess oneself in such careers because you can’t observe yourself . You can’t clearly remember what you did. Therefore, self assessment is difficult. You also may not be aware about the new skills needed for doing a next level leader’s job. You may not even know about the benchmarks of performance. A good coach can help in all above.  Read more in this series on coaching

Do evaluate your preparedness for a new career.



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Shaping your career -tools of the trade

You are pretty sure that you have a gift. You are very good at drawing (or singing or coding or dancing or managing projects). You have also figured out that you wish to use your drawing skills for developing some characters for use in animations or in video games. (whatever basic skill you may have, you will need to figure out its end use). So far, you were happy sketching anything that took your fancy. It gives you pleasure. So continue doing that.

Since you wish to make career of sketching and drawing you need now to get a bit serious and find out what are the tools of animation or gaming trades. You will have to invest efforts and learn using those tools so well that they become your second nature. This will allow you to focus on drawing and not get bogged down by the intricacies of the tools.

If you are looking for a job in a firm which is producing games or animations the first question they will ask you will be about familiarity with the tools they use. Many of these tools  like software packages and the hardware you need to run them don’t come cheap. Therefore consider doing internship or working for free where you get a chance to learn and practice them.

So get real and start investing in your career well before you write your first application.


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‘लीड टु रीजनरेट ‘ आता मराठीत !

नेतृत्वगुणांचा विकास मातृभाषेतून स्वतःच करण्यासाठी हे पुस्तक एक जागतिक स्तरावरचा कार्यक्रम आपल्या समोर ठेवते. नावाजलेले उद्योगपती आणि लीडरशीप विषयातील तज्ञ ह्यांनी मूळ इंग्लिश पुस्तक  ची शिफारीश केली आहे . ह्या पुस्तकाचा मूळ लेखकाने प्रमाणित केलेला अनुवाद मराठी भाषिकांना उपलब्ध होत आहे.

पुस्तकाच्या प्रतींसाठी  तसेच वितारणासंबंधी  संपर्क इथे करावा  support@learning-leadership.com

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Got your first job? -2

You have landed your first job.  You must have done considerable job search even before applying.  Then those job interviews! Even if you haven’t won the that dream job which you were rooting for, you have some thing to cheer about. Congratulations!

Just as you may be looking forward to moving out of your dorm, you are somewhat apprehensive about your success in your job. Your workplace is quite unlike your college or school. See previous post

There is no syllabus

You will have to figure what all you need to know and do and figure out ways of learning all that. There is no way to tell you if we have mastered it.  You will have to decide how much efforts to put.

There are no group assignments

If you have gotten through your assignments in your college by leaning on your team members you will have some work here. You will have to buckle down to doing a lot of work yourself. Even if there are team assignments, it is unlikely that you will escape the responsibility of doing your allotted work.

There are emails!

“What’s new?”, you will ask. Wait.  As a student, barring some course related emails, reading emails was optional. Not any more. You will have to wade through a deluge of emails day in and day out.  Many emails will not be relevant to what you have in hand, but you will have to read before you decide anything.

What happens then? How do you you cope? Will you still be happy about your work?

Keep checking back in this blog.

About me:

I help people and businesses in regenerating themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs.  You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Stay in touch with me here Google+ , on Twitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design with Design Directions, a design studio

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Got your first job?

Are you ready?Congratulations! You are on your way to being an employee or a working professional (that’s better) from a being a student -whether undergrad or graduate. That’s as big a change as the change from being a single to being in a committed relationship. Perhaps bigger.

Your stay at school or university has given you some knowledge and some skills for using your knowledge. But all these have been mock drills. None of them could have prepared you for a different world.  Your first job search can be very stressful, but also a great time for self-discovery.


So we might as well start with the new things which you will encounter.

There is no teacher

Like Alice in Wonderland you will have start figuring out who’s who at work. But none will ‘teach’ unless you are lucky and someone takes you under wings. That’s rare like snow in Sahara. You will have a boss (or two). About bosses later. But no one will tell you how. You will have to beg, borrow, steal, copy ‘how to’ from those round you. Unlike your school, Uncle Google won’t be of much help unless your job is ‘desk research’.  So sharpen your skills of observation, cajoling, pleading, or begging for help.

There are assignments, yes!

There will be deadlines too. Sounds familiar? Wait. The deadlines can change from end of week to yesterday. The assignments themselves can be fluid. The reasons can be changes in market, your company’s working processes, crisis, or somebody did a bad job, or your boss’s whims.

You have a desk

Unless you are in a hot desking or  work from anywhere type company, you will be marooned to a desk.  The luxury of going from one class room to another will be no more. So make do with trips to coffee vending machines or water coolers. Instead of pinging your colleague move yourself to that desk. Standee meetings make for good relations.  You will also get to know more. That’ll be a bonus.

There are no marks or grades

But you will be evaluated on the fly. You will be lucky if anyone shares that with you until the day of performance appraisal.  You will be criticized without being criticized because no one wants harassment claims or loss of popularity.  You will be praised without being appreciated.  Go figure it out! Learn to rely on reading body language of your boss and your peers and even the janitor (they know a thing)

There are no classes

Yay! Wait. There are meetings. The meetings are used for any of the these (1) to tell you what could be told through email \ word \ excel\ powerpoint \ youtube  (2) to discuss things without concluding (3) to discuss what has been concluded (4) loud thinking (by boss) (5) brainstorming (6) to decide something. You will have to figure out ways of making them productive (for you).

Can you add to the above list? 

You will need to ensure that you and your work (both) are liked by your boss and your colleagues (that’s tough).

You have another challenge: to (mostly) enjoy your work. We shall see that!

About me:

I help people and businesses in regenerating themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs.  You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Stay in touch with me here Google+ , on Twitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design with Design Directions, a design studio

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A healthy tension

Recognizing talent does take some efforts

Recognizing talent does take some efforts

Arundhati is a very dynamic HR Head. She constantly challenges her colleagues and people through leadership, management, and technical development programs. She poses questions to the participants and their bosses.

“You say your guy is good in operations. But why does it rate all his people low? Does he do all work himself?” She asks a Head of Department.

“You say all your people are knowledgeable and have good attitudes. But how come your team is under constant pressure to deliver on time?” is her question a team leader.

Her peers say that she doesn’t understand the complexity of their work. This is ‘normal’. Everyone thinks that his or her problems are unique.

There is Vikrant. He is a young recruit. He approaches his boss and asks “I would like to learn some new skills which can help me progress in my career. Please tell me how.” Not satisfied with the answer by his boss,  he asks the same question to Arundhati.  Arunndhati has no ready answer. She promises him that she will set up a discussion with his boss and invite him.

Arundhati and Vikrant’s boss have to deal with this new challenge of talented and ambitious employees seeking to know how they should develop themselves and how they can progress fast. This is increasing. They don’t have answers, they don’t have programs, and they don’t have leadership review systems. Arundhati and the management team must provide these answers and systems.

Vikrant and those of his ilk sense this. They know they can’t entirely depend on their bosses or employers. They must find ways of developing themselves instead of just looking for another job.

Employers must set up conditions for developing their people as per corporate needs. They must communicate. Employees mustn’t entirely rely on their bosses. They must take responsibility of their own careers. They must ask. There must be a tension on this subject.

Such a healthy tension is necessary for progress.

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Reach out to get help with your new career

You have a good idea of what you like doing the most. Whatever it is -it is something which makes you feel good while thinking about it, while doing it, and after doing it.  Whether it is writing, dancing, programming, or anything else you know you are quite good at it. You also have a good idea of how your proficiency can be of use to others. E.g. if you quite like programming, you know in which areas your skill will be valued. You have gone further and understood things other than your favorite activity which you will need to do. (E.g. you know that you will need some relevant domain knowledge  and you will need to keep working in that domain if your programming skills have to be useful to your potential employer or customer). You are also getting yourself some practice.

If you have come this far, you probably know some knowledgeable people who might be able to help you in making the career transition (or substantial progress in your existing career).  It is right time to start reaching out to such people. You should look for help in the following areas:

1. Knowing more about your new career- skills needed, potential customers or employers, additional skills needed, range of remuneration, certifications needed.

2. Evaluating your skills and improving them.

3. Getting more relevant practice through projects, internships etc.

4. Professional tools and learning resources

Reach out to coaches, trainers, mentors, professionals, customers, employers in the above manner and practice your core skills. By the time your first opportunity comes knocking, you will be in a much better position to stake your claim for being considered favorably.

This is the classic preparation  ‘know, practice, benchmark, improvise’ cycle. If you truly enjoy this cycle,  it can’t fail you whatever your goals are.

Checkout this complete self-study book for enhancing your leadership skills: Lead to Regenerate

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Your career – a home for what you like doing most

Are you ready?If you are constantly looking forward to your next raise, or weekend, or workplace grapevine,  this idea may sound far fetched to you.  We have come to accept work merely as a burden and as duty to be discharged.  But by this time you have begun defining success as -professional progress and health and  happiness. Having to deal with work as burden and duty will not make you happy nor it is going to do any good to your health.

If you follow lives  of successful people, you will find they have stuck to doing what they like doing. They had to overcome odds and setbacks. They had to endure failure and criticism. They made detours and took diversions -those inevitable compromises of life -only to get going in the direction which they had set for themselves.

Therefore, think of your career as a home for what you like doing most. It may take time, you may have to sequence things, you may have to bide your time, but you must set a direction.

You have found out what you like doing most. If it is ‘writing’ (for example) you know that you can keep doing it happily day in and day out even if the rewards take long to come.

If you aren’t yet sure, some tips are here and here.

So, you like to write (for example). The next question is for what purpose you wish to use your writing skills. Writing advertising copy may be one way of using your skills. Other applications of writing can be: stories, lyrics or dialog for films, news reports, business analysis etc.  These occupations are ‘homes’ for your writing skills. You need other skills as well to be ‘comfortable’ in any of these homes.

You need to decide for what purpose you will use your writing. Writing may keep you happy but it has to be ‘useful’ for others so that you get paid for it.  If you don’t like to write but like doing something else like ‘programming’ or ‘drawing’ or ‘mountaineering’ you will need to find a ‘home’ for it.

About me:

I help people and businesses in regenerating themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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