Dinesh Srinivasan on news…Delivering an address on Industry expectations and students readiness

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Productive early

Speaking earlier, Dinesh Srinivasan, Project Manager of Wipro Technologies, said that the industry expected the graduates to be productive as early as possible.

Delivering an address on ‘Industry expectations and students’ readiness,’ he said that the clients wanted the IT companies to reduce the costs on training, which necessitated recruitment of students with ‘industry-ready’ skills.

He also urged the educational institutions to imbibe entrepreneurial thoughts in students not only to motivate them to start companies but also to let them know how a business functioned.

Full news given in the below link..

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/companies-looking-for-industryready-recruits-says-niit-vice-president/article3678093.ece

SIGN-In : Entry to my World of Entrepreneurship

SIGN – Original Logo

Dinesh Srinivasan

SIGN1

I was contemplating a few topics for the last post of this year (2013) and I was filtering out various topics on Project Management, Corporate Politics, Employee Motivation and finally end up with two things

  1. About Me, and
  2. Entrepreneurship.

I’ve not written much about me in my blogs and I always felt it doesn’t matter for the audience.

However, I thought why not for a change?

Also I’ve not written as much as I wanted to on Entrepreneurship, so why not something on Entrepreneurship?

And then, as a late thought why not both? Entrepreneurship and Me.

Then I decided I’ll write about my experiences with my first venture SIGN (Special Interest Group for preserving Nature) Enterprises.

There are various motivations behind each individual who venture into entrepreneurship. For many it’s money; for some it’s control; for few it’s doing things their own way and…

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Why Mid-career crisis is good for you?

midcareercrisis

You thought your career was skyrocketing; you switched jobs at your whims and fancies; you kept meliorating your life style until one fine day it dawned to you that your career is going nowhere.

If you relate yourself to the above statement then welcome to the Mid-career crisis club. The good news is that You’re not Alone.

There are still a few more blessings in the disguise if only you care to look beyond the obvious.

  •  Add Meaning to Work
    • All these days you were running a rat race with everyone without even knowing why you’re in the race, where do you want to reach, whom you’re competing against, etc…When you hit the mid-career crisis, that’s the time you must take a break…try to understand the purpose of your life and add meaning to your work.
  • Discover Your True Passion
    • For most, when they step into their first job, the rat race begins. They were dragged away along with others into the work life and they’d hardly any time to think whether this was the job they really wanted to do and would get utmost satisfaction when they look back. If you’re one among the most, then this is the time you can look at other options; introspect and discover where your heart lies and find a way to monetize the work/hobby that you love. Hard, but possible.
  • Network and Explore
    • Talk to people. Not only the ones who you knew already but also the new ones who you’ll get to know in this period. Use the social media to get to know people from different walks of life. You may surprise yourself to find different channels are open for you which you’d have previously thought never existed for you. Explore the different options to find the right fit (an idea or work with the right set of people).

There’s nothing to panic when you hit the mid-career crisis and that’s way similar to mid-life crisis (not too young, not too old…not too sure of life). This is not the end of the road…you just need to hang-in there to weather the storm…

Corporate Politics – How to survive the inevitability..

office-politic-1

Well, I do not want to call myself as a victim of corporate politics. I’d rather call myself as a warrior of corporate politics, fighting numerous battles and still surviving.

I’m not new to office politics. Being in the industry for over a decade I’ve had my fair share of experiences, people trying to make me a fall guy for every issue and stealing credits for my accomplishments. It’s not easy to get past these hurdles and stay afloat. I managed to do that…well, so far…ahem!!

It’s almost impossible to avoid politics altogether in a corporate scenario where everyone’s in race with other to climb the ladder fast. Here I’m not going to teach you how to play smart politics and get on the ladder faster than the rest.

My intention of this article is to enlighten you on how to survive (and not get distracted) when the politics is played on you. Here are my tips…

  • Focus on work in hand
    • It is very important that you focus on what you do the best – work. The intention of the guy playing politics is to bring you down to his level and beat you with his experience. It is important that you stay cool (at least on surface) and laser focus on your work. It’s deeply demotivating for the political guy to know that you’ll not be distracted easily.
  • Have a record
    • Keep a record of your activities and accomplishments, wherever possible keep the appropriate people in loop including your supervisor. Even otherwise, note down the things and mail it to yourself. It may be useful one day. In this way, you can fend off people stealing credits or making you a scape goat.
  • Keep your self-motivation really high
    • When you realize that politics is played around you, it’s quite crucial to keep your self-motivation really up. Because when politics at work, you may be blamed for someone else mistake; your supervisor or team member may get appreciation for you work or even worse, your accomplishments would be silently ignored. You need to believe strongly in you and in your abilities in this situation. If your self-motivation is not really really high…you might end up getting demotivated or even depressed.
  • Believe in Karma
    • Remember the saying “What goes around, comes around”? Now is the time to believe it. You continue to give your best to your work and be nice and helpful to the people around you. Your work and your value will be realized one day by the people either at your current work place or in your future work place.
  • Pull out
    • If you think that the situation gets out of hand and even after following the above steps that there’s no improvement then do not hesitate pull yourself out of that work place. Continual exposure to the negative work environment takes away your self-confidence and your self-respect. It’ll hamper your career growth for ever. Take that Big decision and move out. If you can’t take big decisions in a crisis, when will you get the opportunity to take big decisions otherwise?

Hope this helps to survive the corporate menace that’s plaguing the real achievers .

My wishful thinkingif only all the efforts and energies that were spent on pulling down a few guys were diverted to create synergies and synchronization, the organizations would be much more productive and better place to work for.

Why Fresh Grads join start-ups?

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Ever since the entrepreneurial upstarts seems to be blooming, the new grads fresh out of college invariably have to make a choice with respect to where they begin their careers – a well established, stable Organization or adventurous and interesting upstarts.

Of course, many prefer to settle for well established large Organizations but there are a few daredevils who bet on adrenaline rush that the start-ups offer to its employees.

Everyone knows about the risks surrounding start-ups and around 90% of start-ups would fail. Nevertheless, what makes these few souls to look for start-ups? Why do they risk their careers on start-ups?

Let’s take a closer look…

  • Performance
    • First, at Start-ups performance is valued not academic qualifications. This lures the smart grads who’s not come out with flying colors in the exams but are good problem solvers otherwise.
  • Transparency
    • Start-ups usually have less hierarchies; less bureaucracies and hence high transparency. This is good for fresh grads who’ll be able to understand the complete end-to-end work flow of the Organization. It’s easier for these people to align with the Organization’s Vision and Mission.
  • Unlimited Learning
    • You’re not limited to scope of your work or JD. You’re allowed (or even encouraged) to wear as many hats as possible. This is a great news for fresh grads as they can really get their hands dirty as diverse as coding or S&M (Sales & Marketing) and really know where their strengths or hearts lie and deeply focus on that one area later on in their career.
  • Life Skills
    • Working in a Start-up for a few years would teach you lessons that’s very difficult to gain in a large setup. The lessons learnt from Start-ups would not only help in professional life but also in personal life. These are the people who would survive or even thrive under adversities and do not get bogged down unlike their counter parts working in a large/stable Organizations.

Have you recently joined a Start-up? Please share your experiences so far and explain your mindset ‘what made you to take the plunge?’.

Who’s an Entrepreneur?

There are ubiquitous definitions for the term Entrepreneur.

Few months back, I watched a Tamil movie named Billa II (yes part 2) starring Ajith Kumar. I liked a particular dialogue in that movie and thought it’s an apt definition of an Entrepreneur.

I’d like to present the original dialogue as is and then give a crude translation of the same in English.

“Yen Vazhkaila ovvoru naalum, ovvoru nimishamum, yen..ovvoru nodium Naana sedh-kana-dhu da..”

roughly translates to,

“Every day of my life, every minute of my life…even every second of my life is solely designed by me..”

This is one quality that differentiates the real entrepreneurs from the normal people of other walks of life.

Entrepreneurs make their own decisions and take responsibility of their decisions instead of passing the bucks.

In short, Entrepreneurs have control of their life with themselves and do not pass the baton to the others to control their lives.

Have you, encountered any dialogue from a movie which you think suits an Entrepreneur???

SIGN-In : Entry to my World of Entrepreneurship

SIGN1

I was contemplating a few topics for the last post of this year (2013) and I was filtering out various topics on Project Management, Corporate Politics, Employee Motivation and finally end up with two things

  1. About Me, and
  2. Entrepreneurship.

I’ve not written much about me in my blogs and I always felt it doesn’t matter for the audience.

However, I thought why not for a change?

Also I’ve not written as much as I wanted to on Entrepreneurship, so why not something on Entrepreneurship?

And then, as a late thought why not both? Entrepreneurship and Me.

Then I decided I’ll write about my experiences with my first venture SIGN (Special Interest Group for preserving Nature) Enterprises.

There are various motivations behind each individual who venture into entrepreneurship. For many it’s money; for some it’s control; for few it’s doing things their own way and etc… For me it was the impetus to preserve the environment that was getting spoiled by the human practices.

My close friend and I had constant but casual discussions on how people and Government were indifferent towards their indulgence in polluting the nature.  Nobody cared about Industrial waste and sewage that were getting mixed with the fresh water bodies; Nobody cared about the dark smokes emerging out of Industry chimneys; Nobody cared about the plastic remnants getting dumped in the fertile lands.

It was more of lamenting than anything else. One fine day, it dawned to me that nothing’s going to change by simply wailing over the problems rather it would be better if I could address the problem in whatever small way I could. Thus born Special Interest Group for preserving Nature.

SIGN was brain child of mine and was able to convince 3 other good friends of mine to be part of the founding team. It was all good till the ‘Face the Reality’ phase began.

The founders of SIGN had only the good intention to do some betterment for the environment but lacked the knowledge or acumen to run the business successfully. This led to the downfall of SIGN in no time but the lessons learnt would stay forever.

Do I regret founding SIGN? No. I’m certainly proud of it and when I look back, creating SIGN was one of my greatest achievements regardless of its failure.

If I’m taken in the time machine a decade back, would I create SIGN again? Yes only this time with better understanding of the business world.

Would there be a possibility of the founding members to join hands again to create another start-up? There’s only a slim chance of that happening as everyone of us is well settled in the corporate world. But I do believe in magic.

Would you help someone to be an Entrepreneur? I believe having more entrepreneurs is good for India and the world in general as that means a lot of innovations and value additions. I also strongly believe that entrepreneurship should be taught to young people right from schools and colleges. Keeping these precepts in mind, yes I will definitely provide suggestions, advices and support possible from my side to any aspiring entrepreneur.

Following are my 5 suggestions to any aspiring entrepreneur based on the lessons I learnt from my experience with SIGN. I hope someone who wants to start-up may find the suggestions useful.

5 suggestions for a start-up:

  1. Complementary Skills: Always look for a partner who complements your skills rather than with similar skills. Apart from other benefits, this would also lead to inter-reliance and hence hold the founders together for a long time.
  2. Execution Team: Execution is as important as planning. You should have a team that must go to any length to meet your plans. A brilliant plan without good execution almost always fails.
  3. Relevant Domain: It’s best to start-up something in a domain you know very well. The cross domain with some relevance to your original domain is also a safe bet. Remember,  venturing into entirely new domain means you may have to catch up a lot with respect to the dynamics in that particular domain to be really competent.
  4. Start Small: because you may want to do a lot of trial and error in the beginning till you figure out the winning product/strategy. Reserve your resources till then.
  5. Networking: Network with the people relevant to your industry/domain. It’s the contacts that will play major role in your start-up success. You may not know from whom you would get help so do not always approach the people with intent that what would you get out of them. Always try to give from your side (however small it could be) before you expect something back from them.

There’s certainly more to it and depends on lot of other factors, etc… If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and looking for suggestions or consulting, you can write to me at dinesh.smp09@gmail.com

The Myriad Challenges of People Management

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This I believe, and this my whole life’s experience has taught me: the managerial life is the broadest, the most demanding, by all odds the most comprehensive and the most subtle of all human activities. And the most crucial – From Management: A Humanist Art by David E. Lilienthal”

and another saying

People do not leave Organizations; people leave their Managers – Anonymous”

The above two quotes clearly bring out two things:

  1. The Manager Job is the most challenging one &
  2. It’s also a thankless job

Managers can be compared to a car engine (not the super fast cars for obvious reasons), where everyone raves about the looks of the car, its power steering, mileage, boot space, infotainment features, etc…but do not talk about the engine unless something goes terribly wrong.

Managers are no different – when everything in the Organization goes right, the team gets the credit for doing their job; When something fails, the managers are the ones to be blamed first.

This is exactly the job role of the managers; this is the reason why Managers are paid so much – isn’t it?

So, what’s wrong in that?

Just to make it clear, nobody wants to get paid for taking only blames and everyone likes a pat in his/her back for the job well done regardless of their salary levels.

Managerial jobs involve immense human interactions unlike the technical jobs where the interactions are more with machines and tools (HW/SW). Here, are the fundamental differences

  • Machines are much more predictable than humans
    • They do not have mood swings 🙂
  • Machines do not have hidden agendas
    • They do not care to pull you down, steal the credits rather let you take the credit of their work
  • Machines do not have an ego
    • Humans do and that’s most difficult to deal with
  • Machines accept commands to perform their work
    • It takes a lot of communication and negotiation skills to make humans accept your words/ideas/strategies/intentions

There are myriad challenges of people management and unfortunately one among them is this subtle and intangible nature of the job which is difficult to measure.

Please share the challenges that you’ve encountered with people management in your professional life.

1 Like = You understand the challenges of the Managerial job and appreciate that

1 Comment = You’d like to share the challenges unlisted in this article to the world

FRAP Philosophy – How to be successful at one’s career/life

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This article is intended for anyone (student, employee or entrepreneur) who wants to be successful at his/her career or life.

I’m introducing you to new philosophy I term it as FRAP.

FRAP stands for,

Focus

You’ve to set your eyes firmly on your next step and tell yourself that “this is what I’ll be doing in the future” The earlier you discover your area of focus, easier it will be to gain the expertise.

Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back when you fall. It’s the ability to ‘hang-in’ there without quitting till the time is right to bounce back. This is one character that differentiates people who have just tried and  people who have tried and succeeded.

Adaptability

You need to adapt to the changing circumstances, changing scenario, changing environment. You should be capable of changing your strategy according to the changing circumstances.

Passion

If you’re ready to skip your favorite pastime and rather enjoy the work that you do then you can understand that’s your passion. The more you start enjoying the activity and challenge to outdo yourself that will become your passion. For some people, it might be coding complex algorithms, for someone playing Tennis or for someone to solve Sudoku.

For instance, if you want to be an entrepreneur and your goal is to build a successful organization

You must highly focus on the area where you want to build your organization. Your focus should be so intense that you should be able to spot the gap in the market and market in that gap.

If the entrepreneur is not resilient he’ll not be successful. It’s one quality he should absolutely possess. His first product release may not be liked by the potential customers, he might receive a lot of negative criticisms, if the entrepreneur is resilient enough he would not lose heart and take all that negative criticisms as a learning and incorporate required changes to come up with next successful release.

An entrepreneur must adapt to changing market requirements, changing technology and ever changing customer expectations otherwise he’ll end up with a product that nobody wants.

An entrepreneur must be passionate in what he does. He might have to wear different hats in the beginning. He is the CEO, CMO, CSO, etc…if he’s not passionate enough soon he’ll end up giving up his goal.

I hope the above FRAP philosophy would have given an idea about the qualities that are required to be sure shot successful in life or career.

I’m sharing the link to my speech at KLN college where I originally highlighted the FRAP philosophy to the students

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB8_e5CCnJ8

Hope this helps.

Why Narayana Murthy better entrepreneur than Steve Jobs

Jobs-Murthy1

The intention of this article is not to compare the two individuals who are great in their own way. They both were seen as ‘Face of the Nation’ at least in the technology sector. They both had initial set backs but were able to come out of that and built a great organization.

I’ve great admiration for both these entrepreneurs and comparing them and claiming someone is better than the other is a disrespect to both these great men. Then why the title is so?

My intention is to bring out the challenges of the entrepreneurship in India compared to the west and pay tribute to the Indian entrepreneurs (including Mr. Murthy) who’d done it overcoming those challenges.

The challenges are manifold. Right from the Government encouragement to entrepreneurship to supportive Eco-system to individual mindset. I’m restricting myself in this article to peep into mindset of Indians which restricts many to enter into the world of entrepreneurship. These mindsets were developed over the years due to historical and cultural reasons.

Let us dive deep to examine the mindset of Indians on entrepreneurship.

  • Fear of Failure

– The biggest stumbling block for Indians is the fear of failure. The society sees someone fails in their attempt to do something new as good for nothing. They brand the person as a failure rather than seeing it as an isolated incident where the person failed at something. Even worse, the individual who failed the attempt himself believe that he’s a failure instead of realizing it was an opportunity to learn and re-attempt.

– The Indians must develop a mindset to accept failures as part of eventual success to become successful entrepreneurs later on.

  • Look forward for appreciation

– The Indians were conditioned during the Colonial rule that only way to get recognition was to work hard as per the rulers expectation and await their appreciation. Appreciation was the driving force for them to work hard. That’s what it took them to various countries like Sri Lanka (Ceylon then), Singapore, etc…and convert those barren lands into a cultivable land and contributing to their growth.

– Even after many years of Independence still the above mindset persists, looking forward for appreciation for the work done. This is the reason that many Indian work force still stuck with the corporate. On the contrary, an entrepreneur often faces negative criticisms, eyed with doubtfulness, accountable for all the things that go wrong and has no one to appreciate.

– Indians need to be thick-skinned, open to criticisms and self-motivated (ie., do not wait for appreciation from others) to become successful entrepreneurs.

  • Social Recognition

– The Indian society respects the people who work in large organizations which provide stable salaries. Many individuals give-in to this temptation. They do not want to lose the respect in their social circles by getting into unknown territory – entrepreneurship, where the success is uncertain.

– Indian bridegrooms face a unique problem when it comes to entrepreneurship.  In India more than 90% of marriages are arranged by the families of brides and grooms and unfortunately entrepreneur groom would be least preferred by the families.

– The mindset of the society should change and see entrepreneurship as a respectable profession.

  • Preference to predictability, stability & Certainty

– India was once land of abundance. We’d everything from eclectic spices to expensive golds. The south of India were ruled by Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas which gave a stable government. There were no chaos, no uncertainty and everything was in order, everything was so predictable in life. These orderliness has somehow entered into Indian genes. This could be the reason that Indians prefer predictable corporate jobs to chaotic entrepreneurship.

– people should be trained to see the chaos as an opportunity to address a need and hence generate a value.

  • Avoidance of Decision Making/Accountability and Adherence to Hierarchy

– Entrepreneurship is all about decision-making all the while, it’s secondary whether the decision is correct or not. But Indians definitely take backseat when it comes to decision-making. It can be observed in the political scenario, corporate scenario even in day-to-day life in India.

– Developing a strong attitude to take accountability of your decisions is the need of hour. This can only be possible if the fear of failure has been overcome.

  • Importance of $$$ as a child

– Last but not the least is as parents we fail to teach our kids the importance of money and how to handle it. We take care of all their needs such that they are not even aware of cash flows and attach least importance to money.

– This is the reason why many budding entrepreneurs with the above background fail since they do not know how to get things done with less/constrained resources.

– If we allow our kids to manage the money when they’re young and guide them by asking thoughtful questions like “What value do they create for themselves with the certain amount given to them? What are the different options they can come up with? etc…” I’m sure that our younger generations would be far better than us when comes to decision-making and get more value out of fewer resources.

Most of the post modern successful Indian entrepreneurs faced all of the above-mentioned challenges and emerged as successful leaders who proved to the world that Indians can be successful entrepreneurs and can build great organizations that can compete globally. They could do that because of their strong will and self-belief and they refused to go with the flow like everyone else in this country. I take this moment to salute these great Indian entrepreneurs and wish many more to follow from this great country.

Disclaimer: India is vast, complex to understand and hence it always hard to generalize. Hence, I may be wrong in my generalizations and apologize upfront  if I’ve offended anyone.