It can be sunny this season too

A week can make a lot of difference during the rainy season. For some reason last week decided it was in love with me. A push up at work with some encouraging upgrades, and some amazing miscellaneous happenings really made it a week to remember.

The Schneider Electric Software India Training Champion Awards were announced and out of the blue my name came up for the “Training Champion” Award. Now, this is no run of the mill award in the company’s scheme of things and while I was wondering where this came from, HR comes up and informs me that the “Promotions through infographics” session I conducted a while back got the best feedback results and combined with the fact of being one of the training community leaders for marketing, I was giving this award.

And that was not all. Our Software Development Center in Bangalore organised the Chess Championships and guess who win’s six matches in a row and the cup! While three of these matches really stressed me out, the rest were a breeze (yes, I am in a boastful mood). I always go in with the Sicilian Defence, something my Dad taught me as a kid. The first person I called on winning this championship was my Dad. I told him how I used the Sicilian Defence in every match and I could sense through his voice the pride he felt in me winning. There can be no greater appreciation in this world than that from a parent or loved one. Thank you Dad.

The good run refused to stop here. A weekend corporate football tournament saw us reach the semi’s and though we were knocked out via tie-breaker to the eventual champions, I had my moment in the sun in the quarter finals as I blocked all the three penalties in the shootout. However, I now have a terrible shoulder and I hope the pain subsides soon. I can’t stand going to the hospital again.

So there it is, my week of happy madness. Tomorrow is a new day and I can’t wait to see what the coming days and month’s bring up.

The final derby

And another football season comes to a close. Hold on, one more tournament to go next week and then we are done. Following a year of mixed fortunes, our Schneider Electric football team will be playing the final cup of the year – The Diego Cup, in honour of the great Diego Maradona. Besides being my favourite footballer, I hope to take some of Maradona’s aggressivess and maniacal risks into this tournament to ensure we finish this year on a high.

At the Schneider Electric annual day – Best team and winners

The year began with a bang. Winning the Schneider Electric intra-cup was a great start to the year and I won my first ever personal football award – The Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament. It was an unforgettable final where a rag tag team taking part for the first time knocked out the two time winners. We were bruised severely at the end of the tournament. Muscle catches, leg cramps, broken fingers and a teammate broke his leg. But it was worth it – completely.

Blues Cup Winners

The Blues Cup was another comprehensive win where we beat a tricky IBM team in the final. However these wins were followed by a couple of runners up trophies and then a whole lot of knockouts as we cleared the league phase hurdles but got stuck at the quarters and semi-final stage. Mid-year we lost one of our key players to an accident – a loss we feel professionally and being a close friend – personally. Our team has chugged on and has shown a fighting spirit and camaraderie that has kept us afloat. We have emerged as a team to beat in the corporate leagues – a feat we are proud of and hope to keep emulating and winning in games to come. Here’s to a good end to the football season and 2016.


Office dynamics for dummies (includes me!)

What a day! As the evening ends and the India-Pakistan cricket match does not go down to the wire, what with wickets starting to fall like nine pins, I sit back and reflect on a day when someone tried to challenge my integrity as a professional. I stood my ground to the barrage and in the end received something that was on the lines of an apology for trying to belittle me and an appreciation for the work I did.

I have realised some pretty important facts in managing office dynamics during my seven year professional career. People are out to squeeze the most out of you but the important thing is to stand your ground no matter what. Here, from my point of view and experience, are some strong facts that could help make rather than break a strong professional foundation:

1. Know your work and responsibilities that go with it clearly: Many a time we get into a work profile based purely on the designation provided, the moolah of course, and based on the general job description provided. But in case of the JD, do we get into the nitty gritties of what is required of you? In most cases we just go by the generalised job description failing to ask the right questions. Get to know your reporting heads during the interview stage and never hesitate to ask the right questions (no matter how silly).

Back to cricket – Wahab Riaz is out as I type out this first point.

2. Set your pace and define your output: Once in, you got to set the level at which you operate and immediately set the level of quality of work you deliver. That way your contemporaries and leadership teams are in the know-how on what you can deliver, how you do it and the turnaround time that goes with it.

3. Go by your job description and stand your ground no matter how slight the deviation may be from your JD: When you enter an organisation that is made up of different verticals or is a part of a multi-tier process flow where you have various business heads breathing down your neck, stand your ground and go with the pace you have set.

4. Identify leaders in your organisation who can become your mentors: Make sure you have the right guides to help you out in getting your bearings in the organisation. Identify leaders who matter and are patient enough to impart the right advice. Make sure you follow up on the advice and get back to them with the results. Never hesitate to ask for help.

5. Never get overawed by suits: The big guns may breathe down your neck but as long as you follow the process and never waiver in your commitment to the process, you are safe. Never get cowed down from the brickbats you may face for not being flexible enough with the process. In large organisations, it helps to stick to the process workflow, that you define initially, like a leech. Be polite and respectful at all times, but firm.

6. Maintain values: A clear conscience, honesty, transparency, being there for your team and the people whom you manage, always be respectful to the people around you and you will gain their respect in return.

7. Never get personal: This is not about loose talk but about your life. Never talk about your personal life to colleagues however much they may open up to you. In the end you are in a professional environment and face-offs are better off when you don’t know anything personal about the others nor others know about you. Also, a level of respect builds up for you as an individual in such a situation. It’s a matter of never knowing what to expect except professionalism from the individual in question. That makes you unpredictable and such a quality builds a careful attitude and a respectful distance from you.

A lot of the credit for coming out with these details goes to my experience with my earlier company and people who have been constantly mentoring me and providing me the right insights at the right time.

As I write this, India make it to the finals of the cricket World Cup by beating Pakistan. Fireworks and shouts of joy envelop the air. After the way the day went and the excitement of the match I need to call it a day.

Goodnight and Good Luck India.