How To Break The Team To Make It Work

There was this game which we used to play during our childhood days; chose a word and then form as many words out of it as you can. The more words you got, the better.


I don’t know who came up with that game, and it sure would sound silly if I ask you to play it now!


And not because you wouldn’t have time for it, but you might be too sheepish to play such a naive game.

Are you really that busy or ashamed?

C’mon! I bet it’ll only take a couple of minutes. Alright! Alright! Five minutes at max.


I knew you’re too lazy to do that. No? Well, even if you did .. You would have come up with few of these.

Am | Me | At

Tea | Eat | Ate | Met

Team | Mate | Meta | Meat | Tame

You notice something odd there?

Me! There’s a “Me” which is odd. The ME which represents each one of us. The ME who is there in every team!


There is I in there as well, or I’ AM. But, I prefer not to use this “I” as it sounds to me bit self-centred and arrogant.


There are times when I should take the front seat, but not when it’s about the team.


So, you would have to jumble up yourself or break yourself to form ME, who drives the team.


Every word you make out of it could mean something so powerful, if you associate it with the team.


Every member is like a Meta data or Meta property of the team. They HAVE to work in conjunction or the whole machinery would wear and tear out, even before you know it.


The ME has to take care of my mate(s), that’s a British slang used to refer to a friend, a buddy, or a known person.

Me has to ask them if they have had something to eat or eat with them.

Me never tame(s) his mate(s), or offer someone as meat to step up.


You have to passionate, yet selfless. You have to be willing to learn, yet impart knowledge to others. You have to be successful as a team, yet achieve your own goals.


We all have some qualities and some weaknesses, and we look out for each other; otherwise it’s not a team we’re part of.


Otherwise it’s just AM who’s gonna take control. And when that happens, you know how ugly it could get.

Here’s another food for thought, do you work with a team or in a team?

Working in a team, is like working in silos where someone would tell you what to do and you do it; plain and simple. You don’t question, you don’t challenge, and you don’t push boundaries. Of course, you do work hard to achieve something, personal and/or professional.


However, working with a team is like holding everyone accountable and responsible. People have similar frequency and everyone works towards a common goal first.


Funny, how words, as small as these, could make a huge shift in perspective.


Whether you think – “I am part of the team” or “me who is in the team” or “me who makes the team” – the choice is yours, and so is the success of it!


It’s not easy, and it can take years to learn. Anyone who says he is a team player, ask them this – do you know how to break a team to make it work?


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And Your 9 Minutes Start Now!!

Glancing through the top stories on my twitter, I came across a much unexpected item; “Tax workers in Australia have refused to extend their day from 4.51 to 5pm – what could you do with an extra 9min at work?” That’s somewhat absurd, I thought. Firstly, that’s an odd bit of time to close your day, and secondly, I was unaware that people in Oz worked till 4.51pm. My initial thought was to ignore it and move on to other things. But then, I couldn’t keep it out of my mind for long. I know there could be many things which a person can do, however I came up with these (not in any sequence)

  • The most impactful thing which I’ve seen off lately is the executive orders being signed by US president. If you are at an important role, it might be enough for you to pass an order or a decision.
  • A customer service representative could help a customer with his concern, who must have waited more than that to get through to someone who could help.
  • Professionals working hard could take client calls, discuss issues, and provide information on which they have worked throughout that day.
  • A brilliant sales person might need less time, but if he is not able to convince the potential customer in less than 9 minutes then the chances are he might not be able to do it, at all.
  • If you follow most watched sports like baseball, cricket, or football then you must know how each minute could play out. Roughly 3 pitches or an over could be bowled in that time. On your best day, a team could score a goal in 30 sec. So, 9 minutes could change a match’s outcome completely.
  • For a patient, who has had an attack or has been shot, 9 minutes could become a matter of life or death. The response time for a medicine or time before an organ fails is generally less than that.
  • The brave soldiers, who tirelessly fight and put themselves at harm’s way, 9 minutes could mean getting backup team or an air support when they are about to advance to enemy’s post.

These are some of the things which one could achieve in 9 minutes or less. Understandably, these are subjective or situational scenarios which you might not come across every day. However, one should not underestimate the importance of every minutes and what can be achieved during that time. I personally feel, it’s not only time but the will to complete a task at hand which makes the difference. Yes, it’s end of day and you have to catch a bus or a train back home, or drive miles away steering through traffic. However, the work which you’ll complete in those 9 minutes or somewhat more would save you nearly an hour when you come in the next day!

All of us try and plan our day’s work, but there are times when it just spills over. Situation beyond control stays as it is. But, if there is something which you can achieve during the day then aim for those extra minutes, wherever possible. The sense of achievement, might not be noticed or rewarded, at least you’ll have a peaceful sleep.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” ~ Michael Altshuler


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I Went To Learn Football, Instead I Learnt …

From this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered – we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me. …” ~ William ShakespeareHenry V

A group of people who come together for a common cause becomes a group, a band, a gang, or a team. Every member of the team has his unique capability and has a role to play, even if it to stay at the side lines and boost the morale of others. Every member gets involved and can be rated individually but the end result or the performance is collectively measured.

Since my childhood days, I was actively involved in sports and played various sports. Football was one of my favourite sport. At the time, I didn’t know much about it or the different leagues which were played around the world. The only names I knew were the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Beckham, and other famous players. The football world cup was the sporting event we all waited for and watched with all the enthusiasm. While playing football at my school, all we did was run behind the ball without any plan or formation. Gradually, I started understanding the game, the positions, the tactics, and other related fundamentals.

Playing and following the game for quite some time now made me realise it was not just about learning the game, it was about learning important lessons before you could learn the game.

Importance of a Good Coach – It takes a lot of practice, learning, and experience. A person who has been there and seen it all knows the nitty-gritty of the game. And, no one can coach you better but a person who has seen the highs and lows. Moreover, not every coach is or can be good. Nonetheless, the significance of a good coach is nonpareil.

Coming Together as a Team – A coach will do everything in his capacity to train you, give apt feedback, present opportunities to you, and make pertinent strategies. But, the end result lies in the way the team plays individually and collectively. Every member should understand the basic of a team play; supporting each other, looking out for potential threats, covering the weak links in the team, and working towards common goal. One can only grow if the team grows. After all, there is no “I” in the team rather “am” which means I’m part of the team too.  Things don’t change overnight, consistency and persistence will lead you forward, one step at a time.

Need for Creativity & the Burning Desire – One idea may have worked for a team. It may work couple more times, however it’ll not work forever. Failure to bring in creativity would eventually bring downfall. Whether it’s the coaching methods or the individual player’s style of playing – both need to be flexible to learn new ways and open to change when required.  Ever wonder why a team has an unbeatable run? It’s because every person on the team has the passion to go for the kill, the itch to succeed, and give a performance better than previous day. If you are not hungry for more, you may sit out than giving a mediocre performance. Once you start something, prepare yourself to see it out till the end, no matter what challenges yous face or if your personal aspirations are not met along the way. Always remember, best transfers happen at the end of the season. If you get the gist of it!

Nothing Works Without Planning – The formation in any game is as important as deploying personnel for a battle. If the analysis of opponents’ behaviour and playing pattern is not done, a plan of play is not put on the board, or the right formation is not prepared then you leave your team exposed. Every situation forces you to be dynamic and keep you on your toes. Who plays where, how the play should be made, when to be on the offensive and when to defend, and similar things need to be planned well in advance. Like any other work, for instance software development, planning is the first stage before any play (execution) is made.

Every Player has the Potential to be a Star – Every person has a role, a designation, and skills to perform with in the team. While it is important to be good at what you are responsible for, it does not hamper you from honing new skill. You may have a liking towards one role, but you don’t know your true potential till you try something else and are able to compare with. Never be shy to learn. There are defenders in every team, but not everyone plays for best teams. They all have a distinguishing factor than the rest of the lot.

Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” ~ Heraclitus

Nothing is Over Till the Whistle Goes Off – Ever seen Manchester United play on their home turf? How Sir Alex used to tap his watch and the playing time was extended. Likewise, there are many teams who have made a difference in those closing seconds. Similarly, nothing is over till the clock is ticking. Don’t lose hope if things are not going your way, it’s a matter of time before things will turn around. Every bit of effort you put in will be rewarded. Often, we work very hard throughout but become complacent towards the end. Your approach and your attitude in those crucial moments towards the end make all the difference between winning and losing.

It’s not just about the game, some things don’t change and remain applicable to everything you do in life. Hope there was a learning for you in this too!

It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it.” ~ Douglas MacArthur


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Bumping the Faux While Seeking Veracious Talent

Tell me something about you”, asked Adam (the manager), still admiring the suit which Eve (the candidate) wore and the confidence with which she greeted him. Having read about the tips & tricks for interview and the job description (JD), it was only a matter of putting the right words together. Mentioning about the work history and carefully relating it to the bullets of the JD, while cautiously examining Adam’s expressions; for clues if she was on the right course or not. “Oh gosh! She is incredible”, thought Adam. The interview went well, in fact better than Adam had hoped for; having interviewed few not so good candidates since past few days. The offer is made based on the technical know-how presented by Eve.

But was she a good fit culturally? Good for the organisation overall?

Hiring for a manager or above is like getting a step dad or step mom; you have to ensure that the person is able to connect well with your children (the team), impart your vision and good learnings in them, and at the same time is able to match your steps and contribute to the overall growth. On the other hand, anyone below managerial level, is like an adopted child or a foster kid; he should be able to gel with other kids, not create trouble for anyone, is able to take care of himself and others, and does what he is told.

Not all, but most people are laden with egocentricity, callousness, manipulation, and other (annihilating) personality traits. Paul Babiak and Robet D. Hare, in their research, suggested these behaviours as disorders and people exhibiting such disorders are psychopathic by nature. Organisations, have had paradigm shift, since mid-90s. They have experimented with internal structure (hierarchy), business units, and other processes all along; and continue to do so. People with psychopathic attributes flourish because these organisation require them, often mistaken with special talents, for different jobs; as they are effective in getting results. But the management and leadership is unaware (or choose to overlook) the long term destruction caused.

Taking control of things (coercion), making decisions (domination), getting other to do what you want (manipulation), making false promises (deceit), only concerned about self (self-centred often mistaken for confident), and taking credit for others work (callousness). These so called qualities put them above others, and are quite common in managers; the trouble is that everyone has these or likes these and sees no problem with them. But, they rob you of your culture, your authenticity, employee productivity, and most of all your talented people: who are either in their learning years or have few years of experience; but are forced to run away from all this madness.

Eve had most of these traits, and even though she was able to get work done she was (mentally) hurting people. Her team was stressed out, felt humiliated, and didn’t want to work with her; but they wouldn’t say anything as they felt intimidated by her. Moreover, they couldn’t ascertain if the leadership would side with her or support them; no trust on leadership. In this case, the roles can be reversed, or Eve could be replaced by Ben. It’s not about pigeonholing based on race, colour, gender, or any other parameter.

Contemplating the Prospect

Like an old proverb, “all that glitters is not gold”; this planet is not straight nor its habitants (or their complex minds). Everything is round (with no starting or ending), but a hole at the center: a black hole. It enwraps so many feelings, and you only get to feel what is shown: you can’t see it. Of course, with learning or training and with experience you enable yourself to judge others; but that can still be manipulated. Crucial aspect is to acknowledge the presence of such individuals and traits, prepare an organisational strategy to deal with such menace, conduct regular feedbacks and evaluate them; accompanied by a zero tolerance policy. It’s more of a problem at the top level (who are responsible to drive the organisation), than at the grass root. Think about the legacy you want to leave behind, and not just the CV you would carry to next organisation.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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There Is A Motivation In Demotivation

#How Managers Can Demotivate Team

After a long period of negotiations the project is won. The plan is put in place, the team is decided, and the work commences. Numerous hours are put in and people work day-in day-out without complaining. Even if they do complain, at times, they are made to realise the importance of the project and criticality from the client’s view. Not everyone is the same, so there are managers who will like to micro-manage their team. There might be many reasons for this, however the most prominent is the fear of being looked upon as less competent or to match up against the expectations of superiors. In few cases, the person really has a twisted mind and has a burning itch to control others.

These know-it-all will quash your ideas as they feel challenged, they will shift blameon you, and pretend to help you by guiding you to do thing their way. In an essence, they need a puppet or a toady whom they can control without making it too obvious. Once they have such people under their command then it’s no more a fair game for others who try to fight it out on the grounds of merit. If someone is blindly following them then they’ve to do something for them in return, to keep them sticking. So, merit goes out of the picture and certain bias comes in to play. The best part is, they will make it look as if merit was the main reason behind their actions. Some other ways in which such peopledemotivate others and spread venomous feelings all around – giving false hopes, making you work against unrealistic deadlines and expectations, and always finding a way to put you down. Their biggest strength is the way in which theymanipulate others to do things and keep themselves out of anybody’s imagination, so nothing leads back to them.

# How To Be A Good Employee

So when you walk in to the office, with all the confidence you could reflect, always keep your head straight and be passionate about your work, yet be humble at the same time. Being ambitious is good but one needs to be respectful towards others as well. Newton’s third law in quite intriguing when applied to one’s life. Your every action will bring along a reaction: like a boomerang. Acquaintance, colleague, or a work friend: they all have their importance in your growth. You’ll be surprised to see how an unconditional act of helping others will return manifold when you least expect it. While one bad deed with dig craters for you. People around you are your best promoters. Choosing the right experience, from previous jobs, and the values which you have learnt from your loved ones help you become what you are or will be in future.

However, there may come a time when you’ll be overlooked and not appreciated, in spite of you rising beyond everyone’s imagination and expectations, always being there in the need of the hour, and efficiently working on every project the organisation puts you in. Situations may arise when you will be dropped for people with less experience. But, there is a learning from every story which takes place in your life.

No one is perfect, so learning should never stop. Sooner or later, you shall find an organisation or a manager who would appreciate you and your work and be unbiased towards you. Your qualities will stand you apart, anywhere you go. As I read in one of the blog, you should acquire the characteristic of a rubber ball in you. When you are pushed towards ground, you let your feelings collect within your body and then you channelize them to bounce back; rather than cracking.

“You can either learn to become like you have been treated or learn to become the exact opposite. At least, have a conscious thought over it and have a pretty good reason for it. Otherwise, it’s not worth the effort.”

Author speaks: I’m not here to change the world; I intend to make an impact on one soul at a time. If you like my work, please press Like, or better yet put a Comment; perhaps a feedback. However, the best appreciation of my work will be to Share this with your friends and your social circles (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, and others).

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The Desire to Get Promoted

P.T. Barnum once said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!”

Why do we want to grow/get promoted?

  • To move away from monotonous work
  • To learn something new
  • To gain benefits associated with the new level
  • To keep up with the competition and challenges in this ever growing world
  • To fulfill our desires and reach the goals we have set for our self

Since the adolescent age we are offered rewards, in terms of toys, or candy, or any other thing. We perform a task when we were offered something in return of we were afraid of being scolded. Occasionally, it was to outperform other kids, perhaps, to be able to show our talent. However, most of the times kids would shy away from these situations.

Coming to think of it as some indicators for neurological reactions, based on individuals’ needs, we can map these to R.I.C.E

  1. Rewards based, where one has desires for being rewarded, sense of being appreciated in the crowd
  2. Insecurity based, where one is afraid of failure, afraid of losing out, sense of being not important
  3. Competition based, where a person try to fend off all competition to make a stand, to be better than others
  4. Evolution based, where a person learns new skills over time and grow as others grow, while at the same time is aware of competition from peers

Every communication needs to have two channels, one to send and other to receive. Likewise, every task has two channels – one is expectation of completion and other is reward for its completion. The ultimate reward is the outcome of the series of tasks linked with one’s (work) profile. These rewards are means to overcome the insecurity of being left out in the crowd, and/or losing out on the prospective opportunities. These insecurities grow with time, as people tend to have more desires. The desires stem from the socio-economic changes, the technical advancements, and not to mention the family and peer pressure.

To attain self-actualisation, the realisation of one’s true potential, a person goes through different levels of needs, as detailed by Abraham Maslow.

Maslow Pyramid

Some people attain these at early age, others struggle citing to various factors. Starting from the bottom of the pyramid, the first three levels are the most desired and comparatively easily attainable. But as you go up, the objectivity or the individuals’ perception of these level come in to play.

Then, the question one should ask is, can I quantify these desires? Or, do I need quality more than anything? One can settle for a practical approach of attaining more, while others could strive for simplicity and happiness with near and dear ones. I have often seen people working at odd hours, and at the same time suffering with health and other issues. That’s the price one has to pay to maintain things at equilibrium. In the end it boils down to how far you are ready to go to achieve (what you desire) and/or sacrifice at the same time. Or if, there is an alternative!

”The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” …so remember: great achievements take time, there is no overnight success. ~ Leo Tolstoy