Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tracking the missing link: Why should you distinguish yourself?

“Being part of the commodity crowd erodes your value.” Rajesh Setty

Last week I had the opportunity of attending an interview with an upcoming media firm. However without divulging much of it, I learnt some valuable lesson that I thought are worthy blogging about.

The world of work is endowed with a constant pressure to give more, be more effective, be more efficient and be more productive. In such a demanding and competitive environment one needs to think differently and be different. It is with that in mind that I set on a pursuit to distinguish myself and move above the commodity crowd of graduates.

In order to distinguish oneself it is important to embark on a continuous expedition of self improvement. This involves working on short term skills that provides short term results as well as developing competency in technical skills which are necessary for success in the competitive world of work.

One thing I have learnt on my present-day journey to success is “sometimes you win and sometimes you lose”. However what determines whether you are one of the statistics or stand out above the commodity crowd is not the failing down but how fast you recover from a failure and start marching on.

There are many limitations in life nevertheless in order to live our dreams we do not have to extend these limitations to our imagination. We need to be creative and innovative so as to live our dreams. Setting the right expectations is of paramount of importance. The application of the philosophy ‘under promise and over deliver’, of customer relation management to setting realistic expectations is of value in minimizing dissatisfaction.

In the quest for personal growth and success one has to seek ways of improving relationships with friends, family and also work on how to get or keep a dream job. In order to do so, certain personality factors which are sometimes technically referred to as ‘Likeability factors’ are indispensable.

In his book titled “How to boost your L factor and achieve your life’s dreams”, Tim Sanders highlighted four critical factors of individual personality that should be boosted.

•Friendliness: your ability to communicate liking and openness to others
•Relevance: your capacity to connect with others' interests, wants, and needs
•Empathy: your ability to recognize, acknowledge, and experience other people's feelings
•Realness: the integrity that stands behind your likeability and guarantees its authenticity

The improvement of these areas goes beyond boosting your likeability factor, to bring out the best in others and give a hand in surviving the life’s challenges whilst enabling you to outperform your daily responsibilities.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Creativity and Innovation at work

The world of Work training was a skill development process that stimulated the break through thinking and innovation. The programme brought into play a range of learning methods including exercises, writing, presentations and groups discussions. I cherished the practical sessions on corporate creativity, stress management, mind mapping and conflict management. These sessions were essential in developing skills in thinking, imagination, intuition and insight.

I was able to explore how to use creativity and innovation to align myself with opportunities for a successful career in the world of work. Among other imperatives the diverse composition of the participants and guest presenters such as Kuseni Dhlamini, Professor Lovemore Mbigi and Roy Blumenthal to mention a few, generated an enriched understanding of factors that influence corporate context, culture and climate. Such a programme provides an optimal leverage that is indispensable in the transitions from a learner environment into the challenging spheres of employment.

Friday, May 11, 2007

AIDS Policy: A Business Imperative

The session on AIDS impact on business, presented by Christine Randall, highlighted the significance of having a running AIDS programme within an organisation. In her profound presentation, she critically pointed out problems a company can expect from the scourge of AIDS and more importantly solutions that have proved effective remedies. The first challenge of developing an AIDS policy is to get management to appreciate the relevance of the programme and its potential to address their organizational needs.

However, I strongly suppose that AIDS prevention and care activities by businesses can maintain and sometimes even increase productivity and profitability. AIDS goes beyond causing illness and death for employees and severe economic and emotional disruption for their families. It also increases the cost of doing business.

Some of the costs of AIDS to business are:

  • Increased health care expenses
  • Increased retirement, pension and death benefit claims
  • Decreased productivity as worker absenteeism rises owing to personal illness or absence from work to care for sick relatives
  • Increased recruitment, labour turnover and training costs from the loss of experienced workers.

Theses costs makes it imperative to establishing an HIV/AIDS programme and policy in the workplace as a cost effective solution which will help reduce the future spread and impact of the disease. Even so, the establishment of a comprehensive and sustained HIV/AIDS programme with appropriate policies depends on the foundation of genuine management commitment to the endeavor.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Emotional Intelligence: The edge for success in life and business

The session on emotional intelligence, presented by Shameen Naidu, turned out to be a self assessment encounter. We had the opportunity to do individual emotional intelligence and self awareness tests. The interpretation of the scores from these tests provided me with some important checks and balances on my emotional standing. I learnt a valuable lesson that learning to develop my emotional intelligence as well as skills is vital in building a successful career especially in a service oriented corporate environment.

In today’s intensely competitive and highly demanding business environment, the ability to manage emotions effectively is indispensable. Emotion states such as happiness facilitates happiness are instrumental in facilitating innovativeness and creativity. Ability to manage emotion in oneself and others by moderating negative emotions and enhancing pleasant ones, fosters an enabling environment for establishing good relationships and team work initiatives.

According to Goleman, many people with very high intellectual intelligence do poorly in work and relationships because they have low emotional intelligence. In life a person needs to be effective both alone and as a team player.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Rise and shine: the 24:7 Society

The speed of change in the times we are living is rapid. We are now living in an age were tomorrow in not soon enough. Our mind set is now centered on the notion of time management. The cornerstones of personal effectiveness are anchored on making the very most of our opportunities. In her presentation on time management, Janet Askew, gave us important hinds on planning and prioritizing. In her exposition she used an Action Priority Matrix perspective, which is a simple diagramming technique that helps in choosing which activities to priorities and which one to drop if we are to make the most of our opportunities. In this perspective priorities are ranged in order of importance, starting with the non negotiable urgent tasks up to the insignificant things. By choosing our activities intelligently we can improve our personal effectiveness.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What makes you unique makes you successful

The World of Work Training has made me realize that each individual being is a personal services brand. Whatever we master increases the value of our personal brands. In life greatness and success are never accidental. The acquisition of self-improvement techniques is a deliberate process that needs commitment and determination. This was affirmed through the presentation we had today on writing and presentation skills presented by Elspeth Kempe and Des Patel respectively.

In the presentations, it came out strongly that, what separates people is never genetics, good breeding or some social advantage. Instead, what separates people is their level of commitment to self improvement and excellence. We had the opportunity to do prompt presentations on topics of choice with an imaginary audience. As luck favours the prepared mind, it was really a challenging learning encounter that required practice and preparation.

The following site has useful personal marketing presentation statements, perhaps you may have a look at it.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Conflict Resolution

The resolution of conflicts in any organisation is very vital in maintaining solidarity and bringing together efforts to try and meet the organisational goals. In any organisation workers come from different backgrounds, which automatically implies conflicting ideas, attitudes, perspectives, norms and values. This ultimately leads to conflicting ways of achieving the goals of the organisation. The more diverse, the more conflict. Therefore conflict resolution plays an important part in encouraging tolerance among employees and employers. Resolving conflict involves naturing a culture of respecting other people’s views in any circumstance, which ultimately leads to a solid working environment.

The Human Resources department in any organisation has a role of maintaining a conducive environment for its employees and it has a greater impact when it has policies that helps maintain this. Conflicts are best solved if the department is effective and this will help keep the work of the organisation to standards.

Conflict is seen in different dimensions, that is, among workers (sexes, races, religion, and gender), between employees and employers and the trade unions. Sexual harassment is one of the many problems that arise in many organisations and especially when it involves the top management and subordinates. Employees infected by HIV/AIDS have also been stigmatised and most have ended up loosing their jobs. When such problems are not addressed and dealt with in an organisation they are bound to cause distraction in the work and aim of the organisation.

In conclusion, I recommend that for all organizations to achieve their goals there is need for a strong and effective Human Resources or board that aims to resolve all kinds of conflicts that may arise in the organization. Engaging employees and employers in workshops of conflict resolution is a very important step in nurturing a community of tolerance in the organization.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Unleashing my creativity

The presentation on corporate creativity by Roy Blumenthal, provided practical ways on how to cultivate a spirit of creativity. In order to unleash a creative spirit there is need to break mental barriers and open up new pathways of perceptions. The session on creativity opened up an imaginative space for the free fall of thoughts whilst aligning the ideas to solve the problem at hand.

Creativity is a life tool that I am going to take with me into the world of work as it stretches my imagination. The session seemed more childish but at the same time it helped us stretch our minds and create new things out of imagination like what children do. It needed some brain storming and a lot of imaginery ideas to come up with a totally new invention. This is really what sustainable development requires, coming up with new and creative ways to sustain our economies and societies.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The reflective value of networking

In the past week, I have learnt that everyone is a potential lead to business and opportunity. All the speakers we had during our World of Work training provided us with important leads. The initiative of being open and communicative with everyone I meet is producing incredible results. I had an opportunity to chat with one of our guest speakers, he was open and friendly. As a result of such a great attitude doors are opening in the unlikeliest places. The guest speakers we have are so passionate about their goals, they are giving off a rare air of optimism and determination.