May 18, 2011 Category : Careers & Training
It is unfortunate that those who manages institutions and universities in India do not think about the future of students and they feel by delivering outdated university curriculum in very old fashioned bookish and spoon feeding way of teaching and talking about the glorious past of our country, and finally by giving away a piece of paper called "degree" they have done their duties as so called "academicians" !
It is even more unfortunate that these 'academicians' only emphasize on studying theories over applications and feel 'scholarly activities' and so called 'research' in educational institutions much more than imparting Employability skills among students although neither those 'scholarly activities' nor those 'researches' had any innovations that will benefit mankind other than just talking about those. This debate gets dangerous and the academicians take the names of few institutions of India where only India's finest students get admissions based on their IQ and numeric skills but not based on their emotional intelligence!
Where is the vision about life, career, future and society among the students which should ideally come from the teachers, where is the innovation, self confidence, exposure, openness of mind and global vision ?
Many scholarly research endeavors have been made in the area of knowledge, education and learning within the context of a institute. The debate about the role of an academic institution is rich and revealing. An education expert, Robert Wolf proffers four models for the ideal university which is also applicable to any academic institution:
- the academic institution as a sanctuary of scholarship
- the academic institution as a training camp for future industry professionals
- the academic institution as a social service center and
- the academic institution as an assembly line for established 'men and women.'
In-depth research also indicated several gray areas in the recruitment process conducted by the companies which was reconfirmed by the recent actions by several leading IT & ITES giants when they retrenched over 800 employees across the country on the basis of 'non-performance' including those who were 3 to 4 years old. This also focus on several other hard facts
- Academics is yet to impart with the career related skills.
- A large number of students are conceptually unclear about career issues.
- High marks and getting job do not guarantee that one can retain it.
- A more holistic approach and learning beyond 'employability' training.
Till date, most of the higher education institutions in India ignored a very important area of enhancing the skills of the gurus, the Faculty development programs. Many institutions feel this to be 'waste of time and resources' and most of the gurus feel that once they are teaching in such higher level, there is 'no need of further training'!
As a result what are really missing in our education
-The market reality (so not really market driven)
-Vision (except in prospectus or on display in reception)
-Contemporary curriculum with focus on developing professional skills
-Standard teaching practices
- Most of the "global" practices
-Inability to think rationally and act differently
-Inability to impart vision (self-development/ self-learning/ attitude/ grooming)
-Academic leadership & quality faculty
-Dynamism and long term thinking
What Indian institutions do not teach ...
-Lessons on Time management and Priorities.
-Lessons on commitment, hard and smart working.
-Lessons on common sense, gut instinct, confidence and foresight.
-Lessons on managing stress, depression, crisis and change.
-Lessons on honesty, communicating, negotiating and interviewing.
-Lessons on people management, practical aspect of dressing.
-Lessons on art of networking and entertaining people.
-Lessons on entrepreneurial attitude.
-Lessons on global vision, process mindset and balancing EQ & IQ.
-Lessons on holistic thinking and growth.
Importance of Employability skills training for the Indian students
After years long research and analysis our associate consultants with extensive global competency and employability training experience have developed the integrated training program suitable for Indian and South Asian engineering and management students based on the following list of employability skills lately referred to as 'soft skills' which is different by far from what people used to refer as 'soft skills', even a year back. To be precise, it's based on Competencies Framework and featured an Employability Skills Framework identifying nine key Employability Skills :
These refer to one's ability to do the job and are sometimes called 'hard skills'. They might include such things as :
- Technical ability
The assumption is sometimes made that discipline specific skills are more important than employability skills. However, in today's world where knowledge (discipline specific) rapidly becomes obsolete the ability to identify, access, network and communicate new information (employability) is vital for career success.
- Problem solving
- Initiative and enterprise
- Planning and organizing
- Adapting to new situations
- Developing a strategic long-term vision
- Being creative
- Identifying opportunities not obvious to others
- Translating ideas into action
- Generating a range of options
- Initiating innovative solutions.
- Working with people of different ages, gender, race, religion or political persuasion
- Working as an individual and as a member of a team
- Knowing how to define a role as part of a team
- Applying teamwork skills to a range of situations eg, crisis
- Identifying strengths of team members
- Coaching, mentoring, and giving feedback.
- Developing creative, innovative solutions
- Developing practical solutions
- Showing independence and initiative in identifying problems and solving them
- Solving problems in teams
- Applying a range of strategies to problem solving
- Using mathematics including budgeting and financial management to solve problems
- Applying problem-solving strategies across a range of areas
- Testing assumptions, taking the context of data and circumstances into account
- Resolving customer concerns in relation to complex project issues.
- Managing time and priorities - setting timelines, coordinating tasks for self and others
- Being resourceful
- Taking initiative and making decisions
- Adapting resource allocations to cope with contingencies
- Establishing clear project goals and deliverables
- Allocating people and resources to tasks
- Planning the use of resources including time
- Participating in continuous improvement and planning
- Developing a vision and a proactive plan to accompany it
- Predicting - weighing up risk, evaluating alternatives, applying evaluation criteria
- Collecting, analysing, and organising information
- Understanding basic business systems and their relationships.
- Listening and understanding
- Speaking clearly and directly
- Writing to the needs of the audience
- Negotiating responsively
- Reading independently
- Using numeracy effectively
- Understanding the needs of internal and external customers
- Persuading effectively
- Establishing and using networks
- Being assertive
- Sharing information
- Speaking and writing in languages other than English.
- Having a range of basic IT skills
- Applying IT as a management tool
- Using IT to organise data
- Being willing to learn new IT skills
- Having the occupational health and safety knowledge to apply technology
- Having the appropriate physical capacity.
- Having a personal vision and goals
- Evaluating and monitoring own performance
- Having knowledge and confidence in own ideas and vision
- Articulating own ideas and vision
- Taking responsibility.
- Managing own learning
- Contributing to the learning community at the workplace
- Using a range of mediums to learn - mentoring, peer support, networking, IT, courses
- Applying learning to technical issues (eg, products) and people issues (eg, interpersonal)
- Having enthusiasm for ongoing learning
- Being willing to learn in any setting, on and off the job
- Being open to new ideas and techniques
- Being prepared to invest time and effort in learning new skills
- Acknowledging the need to learn in order to accommodate change.
P:S: This article is contributed by(Prof. (Dr.) Sudhi Ranjan Dey.He is a graduate of Calcutta University and DBA in Consumer Behavior and MBA in Marketing & HR from Europe. He is the CEO of Gurgaon based Global management Xperts which is a pioneer training organization in India in the field of Academic leadership, Employment Enhancement and Professional Efficiency and Effectiveness Enhancement among freshers. Sudhi has over 30 years of global industry experience, held senior positions with Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Sony, Ford, Sony Music, etc., lived across 17 countries, worked in 33 countries across 4 continents and visited 69 nations.)
May 16, 2011 Category : Jobs walk-in
Have you ever asked yourself at some point in your life or at various points in your life or that of your business the following question…?
“What’s my purpose?”
I am guessing that if you are reading this, you have. And, because you just read the question, you are asking yourself (perhaps again or perhaps for the first time) that question. It is a very important question. To me, it is the most important question you can ask yourself. Once you seriously ask yourself that question, it will not let you go. It has a habit of nagging at you until you give it your full attention to find out the answer.
Regrettably, people and organizations across the globe are living and leading purposeless lives - rightly or wrongly. For many of them they are afraid to ask the question because, if they did, they would have to face up to their responsibility for where they are and what is happening or not happening in their lives and even their organizations. They prefer to live and work in selective ignorance. They have no desire to grow. But know this…what not growing is dying.
For me, this is where leadership starts. It starts with self-leadership. Only by addressing this question and determining its answer will your life and, therefore, your career be as fulfilling as it is meant to be. Please, let me explain. The purpose behind the question is to confront people (and even teams and organization because it can applied there too); to give them a thought-provoking question to help them get clearer direction for their careers, their lives and their own Journeys of Success so that they ultimately add more value and find more fulfillment.
Everyone on this planet is here for a purpose - their purpose. The one for which they are divinely designed. My personal conviction and belief is that everyone is world-class at something (their purpose). There is something for which you are the only person on the planet with the right mix of attributes, strengths, passions and experience who can deliver and fulfill it. Regrettably, many never discover it. Why? Because they do not ask the question.
I posed my own variant of that question on Linkedin last year… In one word, what’s your purpose?
The response was quite significant. It generated more than 3995 replies. Why so many? To coin a phrase, “The teacher comes when the student is ready”. This question is a great teacher. Based on the feedback and comments in the discussion many said how timely the question was for where they were in their lives and careers. Considering the global financial crisis we are just coming out of that is, perhaps, not that surprising.
Now you may be asking, “Why, one word?” Good question. My answer? As a coach, I like to distill things down to their simplest and purest form for me first and, then for my clients. A confused mind says, “No!” You cannot get confused when you only have one word with which to deal. Of course, that assumes you know you have the right one word.
That one-word-purpose will be a reference point for your life – personal or business. It is for mine. My one-word purpose is: transformation. All that I am and do is about transforming people and organizations so they are more on purpose and working and living to their potential. So, whenever I am facing a challenge, an opportunity and/or a decision I can ask the question: "
Does this align or resonate with my purpose?"
If the answer is “Yes”, I keep going. If the answer is “No”, I don’t. Your purpose is like a compass and is meant to be used as one to keep you heading in the right direction. It applies across all your roles in your life e.g. mother, wife, daughter, volunteer, business owner. Applying your purpose in such a way ensures you are being who you are meant to be and doing what you are meant to be doing. The result…you will achieve what you are meant to achieve.
The key is that once we know our purpose we are to keep it in front of us at all times. Do that and life will be more fulfilling! Do that and you will connect with others living their purpose. Do that and you become a force for good; a force for change.
Please understand the inherent import of knowing and living your purpose. Think beyond yourself. Living your purpose will help others live theirs. All purposes are interdependent.
Imagine. If everyone in your home, school, business, town, city, region or nation discovered and lived their purpose, what would be the impact and value to the world…especially considering the events of today?
I believe most of, if not, all the adverse issues of humanity would be addressed and overcome.
Mankind would truly become enlightened.That should get you thinking.
Before proceeding with the rest of this article and due to the importance of this critical question, whether you are an individual, team or organization, just ask yourself, mull over and meditate upon this life-changing question:
In one word, what’s my purpose?
So…Where has your thinking got to? As mentioned above, there are those people who are too afraid to ask the question. They are afraid that the answer may explain why their lives or their businesses are perhaps unfulfilling. That means they would have to assume responsibility for where they are at rather than using the escape of blaming everyone else for their situation and their sense of frustration or dissatisfaction. For them to confront themself would mean they would have to change. And the fear of change is what holds many people and organizations back from their true self and their true purpose.
Just so you know. It took me 42 years to discover my purpose. Why so long? I never really confronted myself with the question. When I did, the answer slowly revealed itself.
As you read this you will be in one of three camps:
1. You already know your purpose. Congratulations! Now the mantle of responsibility is on you to live your purpose more fully and, thereby, help others to live theirs.
2. You have a good idea as to what is your purpose but do not yet feel you really have it clear. Well done! Keep it foremost in mind and begin to use it as the compass it is meant to be that will lead you to a more fulfilling career and more fulfilling life. With that focus its purity will be distilled.
3. You do not yet know your purpose.
For those of you in camps #2 and 3 we will continue this exploration and provide you with some guidance on how you can approach answering this life-changing question. Consider the following approaches to help you define your purpose. Please remember that these can be applied to an individual, team or organization.
1. Be 3. Three year old toddlers are perhaps the smartest people on the planet. They are incessant in getting to the root of an answer. Any parent out there will know this. My daughter last year kept asking the question "Why?" She wanted to know the answer. And she kept asking that question until she was satisfied (and my wife and I were exhausted) she had the answer she was seeking. And you should keep asking it too. It is an immensely significant and powerful question.
For example, start by asking yourself, “Why do I do what I do”? …Now ask yourself, “Why that is that important to me? And then on that answer ask the same question, “And why is that important to me?” And keep going until you can go no further. At that point you have come very close to the core answer to your question – your purpose.
2. Identify those areas in your life that provide you with the most stimulation, energy, and excitement. What are you passionate about? Your passion and purpose are closely linked. Sometimes it is easier to seek your passions first and your purpose will be born from there.
Where do you get a consistent buzz? What are you doing and who are you being when that happens?
Ask yourself, "Where in my life, across all my roles, do I feel like I am in the zone? Where do things flow?” Your answer will give you a clue that you are aligning to your purpose.
3. Consider your strengths. What are they? Your gifts? Where have you been able to exercise those fully? Where have you used those to serve others? Answering these will help identify a location, a field and/or a focus for your life. In that lies your purpose.
4. Ask friends, family, and colleagues what they believe or discern is your purpose. Make sure to ask only of those whom you know and trust and who know you well and who will be honest with their feedback. What you are looking for is a common thread in their answers.
5. Another approach is to finish off this phrase, “My purpose is to bring...".
One or all of five of these should help. Once you have identified your purpose, make the effort to determine the one word that sums it all up for you.
A question I often get asked at this point is, “Won’t it be possible that someone else will have the same word and the same purpose?”
My answer is “Yes. Absolutely.” However, your approach to it, your context and your impact will be unique. Why? Because you are unique! Someone in Canada may have the exact same purpose but you are in India. Enough said. This allows you to be authentic. Being authentic means your body, mind and soul will be in harmony. When that happens your whole being is "singing".
If you are not “singing” and feel discordant with your work and/or your life it is likely you are not in alignment with your purpose. When there is discord stop. Review what is going on and determine what needs to change about you and your circumstances.
When you are not authentic you likely experience frustration. I did. Several times. As a result I have changed my career from veterinarian to army officer to post-grad student to trainer to consultant to award-winning coach and now also speaker and author. All the while I was moving toward my purpose, whether I was aware of it or not. For you and me, energy spent anywhere else other than your purpose is often wasted. Where you feel drained by bad habits and attitudes, wrong relationships, lesser priorities and those other things that actually distract you, these are keeping you from your purpose. Deal with them.
Everyone is entitled to their own purpose because it is theirs alone. When you know it "fits" for you it is right. Do not allow others to dissuade you.
Remember most of us have "crabs" in our lives or business. What do I mean by that? Put a single crab in a bucket with no lid and it will try and get out. Put another crab in the bucket what will happen is that when one tries to get out the other will pull it back. The “crabs” are those people who will seek to pull you back into the bucket with them; they are comfortable where they are and your purpose and aspirations will make them uncomfortable and challenge them. They generally think they need to pull you back. Why? Because it makes them feel better about themselves. It is really about them. Not about you.
As I have done, identify your “crabs” and manage those relationships to minimise the drag effect they may have on you living your purpose fully. (Note in business these “crabs” could be clients, colleagues, leaders, suppliers and other stakeholders.)
We are designed to serve one another not feed off one another. We all need others to truly achieve / live our purposes. That can be perceived on of two ways. First, some may take the approach to use others. This is a very self-centred approach. You may achieve your purpose but it will likely be more difficult and less fulfilling. Second, serve others. This is a humble and more selfless approach by which you will likely achieve your purpose more easily with more fulfilment.
No one purpose is greater than another. There is just your purpose. That is the one that is most important. Once you know it, examine all areas of your life and ascertain if each area is keeping you on purpose. Where an area is not, decide when it is reasonable to withdraw or change and/or decide where you need to move next to keep you on purpose.
Live your purpose. Love your purpose. Live your dream. Remember. Our purposes are interdependent. Every person’s or organization’s purpose serves others. Without others, we cannot truly fulfil our purposes. When we serve one another we truly become free.
Who knows? Perhaps, by sharing your purpose, other readers or even I can help further yours or that of your organization and vice versa? Now that would be interesting!
(P:S: This article is contributed by Dr Richard Norris.)
May 05, 2011 Category : Science & Technology
The global recession, directly or indirectly, will impact leadership – yours, your market, your competition, your region and, yes, your nation. Why?...
Because leadership is ubiquitous. It is all around us. It is of primary importance. Yet, it is seemingly underserved, undervalued and under resourced. Need some proof?...
According to the Development Dimensions International ‘s Global Leadership Forecast 2008/091 from research of 1493 HR professionals and 12,208 business leaders across 76 countries:
- 75% of business leaders identified that improving or leveraging of leadership talent was their #1 priority.
- Only 41% of business leaders are satisfied with the help they get to develop leadership capabilities.
- One of the core needs within organizations is to create a sustainable supply of quality leaders.
- The primary skill shortfall amongst organizations is in leadership skills and interpersonal skills.
Leadership is a leaking bucket. All organizations, large and small, from the family to local sport team to government to the boardroom of a leading global company, will at some time need to replace leaders. This arises from necessity and/or from natural attrition. From the information above, there is clearly a pervasive problem or, in a more positive tone, there is an opportunity – an opportunity to address this chronic shortcoming. How?...
Start with yourself. Leadership starts from within.
To begin to explore this important distinction let’s start by looking at the definition of leadership. According to the Oxford Dictionary leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.
To lead is to cause (a person or animal) to go with one by holding them by the hand, a halter, a rope, etc. while moving forward.
Leadership therefore requires influence, direction and action. However, for leadership to manifest so that others follow, it stands to reason that the leader, whoever or whatever that may be, must first influence themself, give self-direction and act on that direction.
There exists a perennial question about leadership - “Are leaders born or made?” or to rephrase it “Nature versus nurture”.
Why does it need to be one or the other? Do you see many babies leading Fortune 500s or governments or the local sports team? Regardless of your opinion or perceptions one thing is for sure. Leadership is something into which you grow. Importantly, we are all born to lead ourselves at least!
In nature there must be reasonably synchronous growth regardless of the “ecosystem”. Teenagers may experience growing pains when their bones are growing at a faster rate than their muscles. Our DNA is programmed so that eventually growth levels out and all systems are aligned and developed to their full design specification.
An individual promoted to a new role in an organization can experience a skill, attitude and/or ability gap compared to the new demands. To address the gap or deficit, the same individual must seek within first and begin the process of change there.
Admittedly, in organizations it is possible to experience growing pains too – sales and demand exceed the ability to supply and/or service the customer. Leadership must, therefore, develop within the organization to address the imbalance and ensure that harmony is restored.
What Does Google Have To Say?
As Google is the #1 search engine, it gives an impartial and objective perspective on leadership.
Just by typing in “leadership” yields 118 million results – sites, references etc. According to Google Adwords searches on the word “leadership” receives >4 million hits globally per month. Both of these facts suggest that leadership is a topic of significant interest and that there is a huge diversity of data, opinions, perceptions, models, styles, concepts and experts. The monthly searches also suggest there is a perpetual quest for answers, solutions and information on leadership.
Interestingly, when the global search is narrowed there are only:
4400 hits per month for “successful leadership”
33,100 hits per months for “effective leadership” and
18,100 hits per month for “self-leadership”.
It is interesting that, in the face of all the need out there for leadership, the refined search on successful and effective leadership globally produces comparatively so few hits. Why is that? Is there a global delusion that we just need to know more about leadership or just understand it better rather than define what it takes to make a good leader or even a great one or to establish a legacy of outstanding leadership?
People – Your Most Important Asset
The mantra that people are your most important asset is spoken around the world. Too bad the mantra is wrong.
People are not your most important asset – the right people are. And that is especially true for the right leaders. The right leaders will attract, inspire, develop and retain the right people. The right leaders will be intent on growing other leaders. The right leaders will start by growing themselves – from the inside out. They know that to be a great leader they have to establish their own strong foundation of principles, values and attitudes.
A skills-based approach to leadership, however, takes an outside-in approach. That is where many individuals, teams and organizations get it wrong and contribute significantly to the statistics of the Global Leadership Forecast 2008/9. A skills approach to leadership assumes that good foundations have been laid upon which to lay the skills. To outright ignore examining and establishing the right foundation is in place is a huge risk. Regrettably, whether assumptions have been made or the matter outright ignored, this often equates, effectively, to throwing skills on Teflon. The result is skills will not stick.
Applying the skills-based approach, consider a formula for success, here applied to leadership, as Be x Do = Have. Have = good right leadership. Do = skills. Be = ? Without addressing the ‘Be’ it is no surprise that leadership is chronically found wanting.
You get the people you deserve. It’s your decision. For you to attract and lead better people you need to become the leader those people need and desire. That means you must invest in yourself first.
Where to Start
The majority of leaders should know and understand that people are the core building block of their team and/or organization. But to be an effective leader, you need to know the core building block of your people – their respective roles.
Many organizations just look at their people in their professional capacity. Whilst they may invest in their development and endeavour to lead them they often miss the mark. To ensure that your leadership “fits” and attracts the right people doing the right things to generate the right results, you need to ensure that you take into account all the roles each person comes to work with – within and outside the team or organization. This means you must address their personal roles outside of work e.g. parent, spouse, charity volunteer, team captain of local hockey team and coach of daughter’s swim team (5 roles).
All of a person’s roles show up at work. A leader is no different. They have as many if not more roles. The right leader will be addressing their growth and development in each role according to priorities and available “resources” (time, money etc.).
Self-leadership therefore begins by identifying core roles, prioritizing them, planning their development and then acting on the plan. To do all that it must begin from within.
Interestingly, a leader will attract into their lives people and circumstances from which to learn and grow. Life is, after all, a mirror. The quality of your leadership is determined by the quality of your relationships.
There are two often quoted adages – love your neighbour as yourself and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These both stress the importance of meaningful relationships and emphasize that all relationships start with you.
So leadership starts with your relationship with yourself. To improve your relationships with others so that you can become a better leader, you need to improve your relationship with yourself first. Regrettably, this revelation is often overlooked and/or not given the attention it is due.
A Critical Ingredient
Any relationship starts with you. Leadership starts with you. Self-leadership (and any leadership for that matter), to be effective, is dependent on the ability to communicate well – internally and externally. There is plenty of focus on external communication. For example, throughout the school systems around the world there is an emphasis regarding training around the messages from our mouth and from our pen or keyboard. However, what has been sadly overlooked is the greater importance of our internal communication.
All communication starts as a thought before it is translated into words and messages. How many of us have allowed ourselves to “speak first and think later”? What was the result? In many instances it likely created some unwelcome ripples in your life and in your leadership.
We all have an internal voice – actually we have two – our internal ally or our internal adversary. Our ally is working for us. Our adversary is working against us. As a leader which voice is loudest most often or to which one do you listen to most? When the adversary prevails it is often because we are reacting to a situation or challenge. Self-leadership knows to proactively and consciously control the voice to which it listens.
With self-leadership our internal (and external) communication must be open, honest, clear, timely and, at times, radical. Integrity then flows from this. When our thoughts line up with our words our actions will follow in alignment. We are congruent. We walk the talk. When we do that people do what people see. Your self-leadership then flows into leadership.
To help initiate your self-leadership here are some extremely helpful questions for you to consider:
What is the detailed profile of the ideal leader for you, your team or your organization?
What are the foundations for self-leadership?
On a scale of 1-10 (1 being poor and 10 being excellent) how do you score on self-leadership?
In the event you did not score a 10 for #3 what do you need to be and/or do to improve your score to an 8+?
How do you encourage and develop self-leadership individually and/or as team or organization?
Where applicable, how will you integrate self-leadership into your existing leadership development?
There is a global need for leadership – always will be. The important distinction is the need for great leadership. Great leaders lead themselves well first. But before they become great they know they have to grow into it. To do that means they must invest in themselves first and begin that by developing themselves from the inside out role by role. Ultimately, the quality of your leadership is determined by the quality of your relationships which are determined by the quality of your internal or self-communication.
Leadership brings change. Change is inevitable; growth is optional. To grow as a leader, whether as an individual, team or organization, you must therefore change. That change must begin with you. Leadership starts from within you.
(P:S: This article is contributed by Dr Richard Norris)