Scenarios of collaborative approach in mass collaboration

Women in collaborative approach at work

Stories and examples of  mass collaboration – A brief summary

Whether you are looking to hear and read the story of online collaboration that happened at the Goldcorp Inc. in Canada or the Collaborative distributed computing power that was shared for the SETI@home project, the Search for extraterrestrial intelligence project launched by the University of California, Berkeley, collective intelligence and the “Power of crowds” in online collaboration is here to stay on earth.

The story at Goldcorp Inc. was pretty amazing and it went straight into the records of history on how online mass collaboration can happen and turnaround an ailing company.  This story will be told many times over. This story happened in the year 1997, when much of the world was still grappling with the inadequacies of the internet in terms of its network speed, reach and penetration.

More to come on this, but before that we will explore a bit on this book called the “Wikinomics” written by Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams. The book talks eloquently on the subject of “Mass Collaboration” and its effects on the way we work, our collaboration with others and the future of the industrial economy itself.

Such examples like Goldcorp is happening around the world and is no longer a blip anymore in the present day. Now we are seeing them all the more commonly happening in all the sectors of the Industry. In the coming few paragraphs we will explore them through the following collaborative approaches that happens in the online world.   They are

  1. Collaborative openness
  2. Collaborative co-production or peer production
  3. Collaborative free sharing.
  4. Being a Collaborative citizen of the world.

It is well known fact that throughout history we have companies who operated around strict hierarchical lines of authority. It happened that everyone was reporting to someone else. Employees were answerable to their Managers, Managers in-turn to their Stakeholders and they in turn to their Customers. The argument is that this type of hierarchical model is not vanishing but then with the onset of new online global communities they are giving rise to new models business based on a community of online collaboration and self-organization.

There are millions who use wikis, chats and online forums for speaking out and voicing their opinion on the internet. This is the new “Blogosphere” so to speak. Even in major corporations, it is proved that employees perform better when they collaborate with each other. The supply chains are no different. They work better when the rewards and capabilities are spread across and outsourced to other networks and partners.

It is increasingly, seen that companies are willingly participating in huge online communities and are reaping the benefits of mass online collaboration. A good example is Dell’s “Ideastorm”. Ideastorm was an online collaborative platform used by Dell to source ideas and solutions for all kinds of in-house problems and challenges. Though idea storm was used within employee network many such similar online collaboration platforms opened up in recent years across many companies.

There is also word that such online collaboration and self-organizing will eventually replace the hierarchical models of corporations. We are already seeing it some big corporations like IBM where this a matrix like structure for employees to freely move laterally across functions for performing similar work. Then there is also the ‘Lattice structure” recently talked about in HR circles. There was a recent article where a project manager would be directly able to meet the CEO of the company to get instant inputs. This is possible with the lattice structure.

Then there are the open source projects like “Linux and “Wiki” which have seen phenomenal success. Others that followed this route are the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Innocentive and so on. All these organizations have been breathing mass collaboration and harnessing collective intelligence ever since their inception in the online world and all of them have enjoyed great success.

Many established companies like Proctor and Gamble have grabbed the opportunities created by mass collaboration and organized themselves to leverage these levers for cost cutting and building efficiency within their business processes, partners and customers.

Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams wrote in their book “Wikinomics” that various studies have been conducted to understand the benefits and how these online networked collaborative communities contribute to the Economy, Wealth creation and Innovation. The results have been astounding.

Masses of people can now collaborate and can now collectively advance the arts, culture and education and economy. The results indicate that it is not just about open source or social networking or Collective intelligence or Wisdom of Crowds rather it is about profound changes in the way companies operate, in terms of their organizational structure, business units and the mode of conducting business with their customers and how mass collaboration has created new digital economies. Each of the collaborative approach would outline how these changes would be brought forward.

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Defining Collaboration

We all have varied images of when we think about “Collaboration”. In our everyday lives, we collaborate with our colleagues to get the job done. We see images of people working together and setting objectives to-gether in a meeting room. We collaborate with our partners in the supply chain. We collaborate with our neighbors and work together for a community cause.

Let’s hear from Google CEO “Eric Schmidt”. Eric says, when you say Collaboration, the average “45 year old thinks they know what they are talking about- A team sitting down, having a nice collaboration and nice objectives and nice attitude. That’s what collaboration means to most people”.

With the advent of mass collaboration there is a new promise. The promise of harnessing peer production, utilizing the skills, ingenuity and intelligence of everyone involved much more effectively than before.

The new collaboration can then be defined as “Groups of people acting together, moving together, thinking together to accomplish a common unified goal”

This is akin to another concept called the “Collective intelligence” where groups move as one, act as one and compute as one. There is a whole lot of intuition that comes into play here.

The collective knowledge and capabilities are all embedded in horizontal networks spread across the world. Now the question is “What do we do to leverage this?” One small mention about the old web. The old web was all about websites, clicks and scrolls. The new web paradigm is all about communities, interaction and Peer production.

The collaborative approaches outlined increasingly determine how the next generation of companies would compete and they would be very different from the hierarchical models discussed earlier.

Co-innovation would be the way how new companies would operate in the future. It would be no longer the approach of think globally and act locally or any of the conventional wisdom of innovation through differentiation and protecting IP (Intellectual property).

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Scenarios of  collaborative approach

Collaborative approach in open markets
Collaborative approach in open markets

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1. Collaborative openness

Many corporate functions like the Human resources and Innovation have made their first move towards openness and flexibility. Others are following suite. Companies are making themselves open to external ideas and they do not rely on internal resources alone.  The technology has made possible for companies to open their doors for external talent.

Good examples of such collaborative approach and openness are the development of Open source technologies and platforms like Apache for web servers, Linux for Operating system, MySQL for databases and Firefox for web browsers have all been developed by collaborative community having an open culture of working together, pooling abilities and capabilities  for a common cause.

Another example is the MIT’s open course ware. You can log onto ocw.mit.edu.

An open platform for sharing engineering curriculum content at the undergraduate and graduate level from a World’s leading university.

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2. Collaborative Co-production or Peer production:

 Let’s look at what is meant by Peer-production. The wiki defines “Peer production” as “A way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organization of individuals and communities”.  The entire effort and labor is organized towards a shared outcome.

This type of collaborative approach works very well on horizontal networks and critics say it works more effectively than the hierarchical models. So far, this collaborative approach had a great impact on the production of software, music, entertainment and popular culture. The examples that are already happening are the “Open source Hardware” like PCB boards and Layouts and “Open source software”.

There is general criticism as well as encouragement in the open market on this collaborative approach. The co-production or Peer production models resemble being Utopian in nature and as such are very informal. Though this collaborative approach is  good for individuals, experts feel that there may be quality problems. Many experts vouch that there would be more in the coming years. Where automobiles, airplanes and other high value commercial goods will be produced through this mode.

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3.Collaborative free sharing.

Sharing your resources freely and openly on the internet is widespread. People share from music files, office documents to  video downloads.

It is only through sharing and giving can innovation happen. This helps in building knowledge communities for growth and development. This Collaborative approach of free sharing also happens in “Sharing computing power” and internet bandwidth

An excellent example is the SETI@home project. SETI (Search for Extra-terrestrial intelligence) project is a collaborative volunteering program of distributed computing. This project was launched by the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Individuals can volunteer to take part in this program and download a special software. The software program (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC)) runs in the background and makes use of the idle computer power. Excellent in the way it was conceived. As of June, 2009 there were 180,000 active participants volunteering over 290,000 computers.

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4.Being a collaborative citizen of the world.

Global citizenship for both individuals and companies operating in the online world, is the boon that is bestowed. Individuals and companies have to leverage this in the way they conduct business, innovate and organize themselves for growth is the new paradigm for this collaborative approach.

Companies can tap global talent pool, they have access to new markets and technologies. Being wise and being connected is the next big thing and the world is teeming with immense possibilities.

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11 diverse perspectives for finding happiness at workplace and achieving more

Finding happiness in hard work

Finding happiness at work is the secret towards achieving more and being more productive at work. The following perspectives explores 11 different ways for being happy at our workplaces.

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1. If you want to achieve, find happiness.

According to Elyse Gorman from the “Mind body green” magazine, happy people realize that life changes quickly and big transformation is possible. They see when they follow their passions, circumstances, right people and right opportunities appear in their life. They need not know all the steps. They just have a clear vision of the end result, they want to achieve and keep taking steps in that direction .

When you are positive, finding happiness is easy and effortless. your brain is happier and works more successfully and it allows you to focus on the task at hand. If we can raise somebody’s positiveness in the present it increases creativity, intelligence and more energy. Research shows that it results in 31 % more productivity and results in more positive business outcomes.

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2.Have a strong support network.

Have a support network
Have a support network

People who have achieved usually have a strong support network.  Having a support network is a way to be happy and finding happiness. They are typically givers who extend help towards their families and friends. They also have diverse interests and are open to new learning and possibilities. They are open, curious and experience life to the fullest.

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3. Live in the moment – What did you achieve and enjoy today

Live in the moment to be happy
Live in the moment

Living in the moment is a way to be happy. “Achievement” and “enjoyment” are at the core of Work life balance. Both are like two sides of the same coin.

We all know what “achievement” means. For some it is “getting a better job or income” and for some others it is making enough money to settle down” and yet for some it is just “doing a good job today”. But then, in spite of the achievement many of us want to be happy but we are not happy.

It is the enjoyment part that needs to be understood little more. Enjoyment doesn’t mean happiness alone or the “Laughs” It also means sense of satisfaction, pride, celebration, love and well being. These are the joys of living in everyday life.

In a half-awake condition we would say that, I want to enjoy and achieve today. That’s a good start. If we start achieving and enjoying every day of our life, for the rest of our lives, then that’s something. We would have had a pretty good life, having achieved and enjoyed in all the important areas of our life and the balance and value we always desired to be happy and for finding happiness in life and at work.

So ask today, what did I achieve and enjoy today? These are simple concepts but if we follow and implement them for ourselves, for our family and work, it would be a wonderful life lived.

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4.Support and value diversity – How women can achieve equality in the workplace and be happy.

Women's equality
Women’s equality

Annie Marie Slaughter, is a respected American foreign policy expert, who has written a recent book “Unfinished business, women, men work family”. Ms. Slaughter has become a household name in America on how “Women can raise both healthy families and lead a high profile career.

Women need to embrace the concept of masculinity. Even when their men earn less than them or do household chores and take care of children. And yet be sexy and attractive.  Once they embrace this, they can expect to have equality at the workplace. Fair enough

This is a brief from the article which appeared in the Economist, Juggling mums and Halo dads, Oct 10th, 2015.

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5. Overcome your fears and be approachable.

Human speech is the most complex form of communication. We have so many ways to express ideas, feelings. Thoughts, intents, love, desire etc. When you can’t open up to people, they may think that you are unapproachable. Sometimes there is this danger of isolation. Every living being on the planet communicates in some form or the other. Some people have the fear of expressing themselves and sometimes it is hardest thing to do.

Here are some ways, you can follow to overcome these fears and become more approachable while expressing yourself and of course to be happy.

1. Do not fear people’s judgment: Do not fear what other people think about you. Your imagination will create far worst scenarios.

  1. Reading a lot: Reading will help you learn how other people express themselves. Notice the word usage, diction, flow, voice and tone.
  2. Write something on your own: Start by writing on anything. Write letters. Writing organizes your thoughts and sets focus and direction.
  3. Willingness to listen: listen to people’s conversations. Express maturely with thoughtfulness and consideration
  4. Asking questions: Asking questions, is a great way for starting the conversation and expressing yourself.

The ways above will naturally make you to be happy and for finding happiness at work and in life.

Excerpts from ” How to express yourself to others” By Greg S Baker.

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6. Have an effective work-life balance to be happy

According to a report from Telegraph, 60 % of families are putting extra unpaid work just to get their job done. This results in a combination of work pressure, jobs growing too large to be done during normal “work hours” and company culture. Survey found that 58 % say “staying late” is the only way to get the job done. Fathers are more likely to work longer hours than mothers.

There is a move in Sweden to introduce 6 hour a day to increase productivity. In Finland, no-body schedules a meeting after 16.30. Because, everybody understands that we need to go home and be with our families.

A dad’s challenge too

Fortune, recently reported that Half of MBA’s plan to prioritize their families over their careers. And yet 42% of male MBA’s feared that keeping balance in their lives would derail their career ambitions.

Just like public opinion, many employer policies have also failed to recognize the shifts in pysche of working dads. “Boss expects no change in working patterns as a result of they becoming parents”. Working part time is also looked down upon, acccording to Boston college centre for work and family.

Excerpts from Fortune, You’re not alone, Paul Ryan. Work-life balance is a dad issue, too.by Kristen Bellstrom

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7.  Make time and add value for career development and advancement

Sip a cup of coffee. It is a big question we all like to ask ourselves and that too when it concerns our career development and advancement. Our actions make a lot of impact in our workplace, whether we know it or not. These actions need to be measurable and should have valuable outcomes in order for people to take notice and for you to be happy. The more value we contribute, the more they will acknowledge and reward you in return with salary hikes, promotion and job security and the more we will achieve at our workplaces and be happy. This is universal.

While our job description is a list of tasks, how we achieve these tasks through our actions for a more measurable and valuable outcome matters. Our actions on these tasks influences the amount and the degree of value we contribute to the organization.

The following list highlights the ways in which we can add value to our organization and for you to be happy and for finding happiness at workplace.
1. Saving money.
2. Making money.
3. Improving the efficiency and doing things the right way.
4. Making corrective action and preventive action of existing and future problems.

Even as we take up every task from your objectives or job description, we can ask, how I can add value to this task. We can make compelling case from all our achievements and can even include it the next resume. This makes a superior investment and who wouldn’t want to hire such a candidate or give a salary hike.

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8. Be a great partner at home to be happy

Breakfast at home
Cooking at home

“You have to be a ruthless prioritizer” for Work life balance says Brady Stewart, vice president of global E-commerce operations for Levi Strauss & Company.

Brady balances work and life and talks about the live pressing problems of managing her Husband ‘s breakfast office meeting,  her own office conference calls during breakfast, the dogs barking and feeding her son in the midst.  In all this, she has to plan for the evening dinner as well.

It is time squeeze to be a great partner, professional, be in shape and be great at marriage.

We need to fix our priorities to be happy and for finding happiness. Her priorities shape up in this order.

  1. Kids
  2. Relationship
  3. Careers
  4. Staying in shape
  5. Social life

This is an excerpt from the article “Work life balance poses challenges regardless of wealth” which appeared in The New York times

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9. Look good and feel good for being happy – even the bald ones

Firstly, one needs to embrace the bald look. Going bald is a close investigation in contrasts and it steadily grows on a man. When you are balding, one of the redefining styles is that you should start growing your hair on your beard, for we know the fact that male pattern baldness does not affect the beard. It actually makes the person look younger.

You can even try the “buzz cut” look. The “Buzz cut”  works because it camouflages the thinning hair on the top and make you look neat and rounded. Sport a stubble beard along with it. Another one is the “Military crew cut”. It is a great style actually. It creates an illusion of having full hair for the onlooker.

Celebrities like Sean Connery, who is famously known for portraying the character of James bond has carried the bald look with panache and redefined it in many ways and so was Hollywood actor Bruce wills who often sports a beard to compensate his shining pate.

Some might think that growing a beard over a bald head will add years to their look and they might look aged but actually, it gives a balanced look. There are a number of things that men can do to embrace it and for finding happiness. One needs to take care of the dressing as well. Wear a dress that goes with the shape of the head. Regularly shampoo the head well and apply a moisturizer. You are all set for the look you deserve at work. One of the important things for finding happiness at work.

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10. Know what you have to do next at work

Have you figured out the ingredients that make up your dish   (In other words, your mission or what you want to do in your next job). One of those things that comes to us is that your background might be anything, if you have a purpose and a mission, then connecting those threads become easier. It’s like figuring out the ingredients that you make up your dish (your purpose). It could be even your next job for that matter. A sure way to be happy and for finding happiness.

You need to observe and notice that a lot of transference of skills happen. For example, I might have been a global program manager, an IT consultant, a sales man, a waiter and a burger maker at a restaurant.

Each of these roles create different perceptions about me. Let us say for example, if my mission is to “Help people flourish”. Then I have to bring all the roles into context understand how each of the skills, roles, strengths and values will help me do it or “How to go about it” to “Help people flourish”.

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11. Manage conflict at work and at home for finding happiness.

The Gita, How to be happy
The Gita, How to be Happy

The teachings of “The Gita” for career success

Mahatma Gandhi referred to “The Gita” as his spiritual dictionary. There is so much to learn from the “700 verses” of The Gita, a narrative dialogue that happens between Lord Sri Krishna and Arjuna in Hinduism. The teachings emphasizes that all wars start in the minds of people and we need to subdue that mind to attain clarity. The teachings have valuable lessons on managing conflict and how we maintain our relationships in life and at work for career success and most importantly for finding happiness.

Firstly, we need to embrace and accommodate each others shortcoming and flaws to maintain happy and friendly relationships. It is with this element of positiveness that there is a realization that we human beings possess qualities, which are sometimes liked by others and sometimes they are not. We need to embrace this fact of life that we are not liked by everybody all the time. We also need to understand that we will have to be more accommodating with those people, whose qualities we dislike the most.

We cannot build an expectation that for us to be happy, people need to change around us. If we cannot change a person, we have to accept the person as he is. The same expectation is there as well with the people whom we meet, who expects that we change for them. Naturally, a conflict emanates and there is a hindrance to duty.

The relationships we have with people at workplace are far more important for our career success. When the conflict at hand is over a minor matter, then we make an honest and sincere attempt to find merit in the other person’s argument and make him or her succeed. True collaboration comes when we help the other person succeed. When that happens, then in all humbleness it is our success as well.

In all circumstances, have a suitable response which is flexible enough to maintain friendly relationships at the workplace for career success.

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Learning from HBR: How to say ‘I have an idea’

I have an idea

Saying “I have an idea”, is one of the most difficult thing these days seriously particularly, when you are pitching the idea to a business crowd. This article has been republished from last year from our archives with the title ” All ideas are good, we just need to make it brilliant”.

The content has been enhanced to be more readable and actionable for the audience. I would like to thank Dr. Kimberly from Harvard Business Review from whose article I have referred content for this post.

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Good ideas are everywhere. The world is replete with ideas from aspiring entrepreneurs, corporate managers to movie and ad makers. Saying ‘I have an idea’ is not enough. The hard one is the selling part.

You are supposed to sell your good ideas to a complete stranger or even to a team of decision makers. These strangers in their truest sense are actually decision makers who can either make or break your idea. In other words, these are the people, who can either leave your idea in the dumps or take it to the bigger league.

Dr. Kimberly D. Elsbach‘s article on HBR

Dr. Kimberly D. Elsbach is associate dean and a professor of organizational behavior at the Graduate School of Management, University of California.

Dr. Elsbach wrote at length about how to pitch a brilliant idea to the decision makers. This article was published in Harvard business review in the September 2003 issue. It was delightful to read through the contents of the article and we should be making use of the techniques and approaches mentioned there. You can click for the article here.

The story very well relates to the fact that there are no “good ideas or bad ideas”. All ideas are good.

The success or the failure of the idea or in other words, the idea taking off or not lies on the person who is pitching it or selling it, i.e. the pitcher.  The idea pitcher who says ‘I have an idea’, needs to be brilliant as well. It is the characteristics of the pitcher that matters.  Whether he is able to communicate his passion and articulate his idea in a convincing manner and his inherent qualities are the deciding factors.

Usually, the decision makers at the receiving end, view the idea’s worth from the pitcher’s abilities to project it “right”. The pitcher’s abilities usually overshadow the perception about the workability of the idea itself.

Pitcher Classifications

In all this milieu of things, there are some classifications that are made based on the characteristics of the pitcher.  The premise is that people generally judge us within few minutes of seeing us in action and neatly place us or classify us under some categories. So the good thing is that a pitcher needs to be wary of the fact the audience is judging and will show no mercy on that evaluation and this will have a lasting impression about the pitcher’s qualities and character.

Generally, there are no objective measures for measuring the elusive trait of creativity in a person. So the criteria for judgment is very subjective. In these scenarios, the pitcher needs to be smart to take the decision makers along with them for developing the idea during the presentation. Decision makers respond well to such suggestions on idea development.

Pitcher and stereotypes

Dr. Elsbach has made several observations of pitchers trying to communicate their ideas in a way to convince the decision makers. These observations range from the $ 50 billion US Television and the Movie Industry to other global corporate companies.

Many of us have built stereotypes on how a creative person would behave and act. Psychologically, these stereotypes play a major role in sifting through hundreds of presentations that pitchers make for the decision makers to evaluate.

Many a time, the decision makes have so much on their plate that they hardly have time to objectively evaluate the pitcher and the idea on pure merit. Rather they tend to put the pitcher in a pattern matching and typecasting fray. Such stereotyping is hardwired in the human psyche. It is rather unfair, but that’s how it has been.

Typical typecast characteristics of a creative person would be intuitiveness, sensitivity and being passionate and sometimes even youthful. These typecast are based on the direct or indirect experiences of the decision makers.

So in a typical evaluation of an idea presentation, the decision makers subconsciously award points to those pitchers who have those creative traits but punish those who do not fit or fit into negative stereotyping. A rapid process of elimination happens on the “No-Go” process based on the negative stereotypes exhibited by the pitchers.

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brilliant idea for rowing
brilliant idea for rowing

When you say ‘I have an idea’, Articulate your brilliant ideas to the decision makers.

A stark observation that only 1% of the ideas make it beyond the initial pitch. And why is that?

So how do pitchers stay away from these negative stereotypes? So before we launch ourselves into the classic stereotype classification of the pitchers, let’s look at the “do’s” or “positive cues” that a pitcher needs to take care so as not to kill an idea presentation.

The pitcher needs to demonstrate passion in his ideas:

There may be times when the decision makers pinpoint concerns on the idea and doubt its execution. But it is in our best interest to safeguard our ideas or rather the concept of  ‘I have an idea’ and have a proper response on the actions and recourse that needs to be taken to make the ideas workable.

Do not present ideas in a bookish fashion:

It has been noticed that sometimes pitchers present their cases in a formulaic fashion going from one point to another. Their responses and talk are overdone and packaged from a power point presentation. We need to avoid such bookish talk. It has to be more natural, being extempore and story needs to flow.

Do not oversell:

It is better not to over-sell. Keep you calm and not be argumentative. Know when to be silent and be genuine.

Do not plead:

Have confidence. Believe in yourself and the idea. Do not keep pleading beyond a point that you need finances. Things and destiny will always take its natural course.

Have confidence. Believe in yourself and the idea. Do not keep pleading beyond a point that you need finances. Things and destiny will always take its natural course.

Important point: the pitchers need to take the decision makers along with them on the creative process. That’s the way out. ”

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Accepting responsibility at work and in life

Accept responsibility

Accepting responsibility at work and in life.

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When you want to succeed at work and in life, you need to develop the capacity to be yourself. Very often when things go wrong, we have the tendency to put the blame on others.

Actually, accepting responsibility does not mean putting the blame on ourselves. Accepting responsibility lies in the fact that you are taking ownership of your problem.

You are assessing the situation and identifying the areas where improvements need to done so as to make effective changes within your life and at work. By accepting responsibility and making things right, you are sure to get a better outcome when you do the same thing again, without putting the blame on others.

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Accepting responsibility, wholeheartedly
Accepting responsibility wholeheartedly

Realizing it and accepting it wholeheartedly

We need to realize that we are responsible for our own success in the work place. We need to accept the fact that whatever you are and whatever you want to be, is entirely in your hands. Only when you accept it wholeheartedly, you will be able to get rid of the bad habit of putting the blame on others.

When certain things have not happened in your career or certain promotions have not come in at the right time, it is easy to put the onus on others. But if you examine closely you always had the choice, to own up and do the right things that are required.

You alone are responsible for your own state of affairs and being happy or unhappy.

The day when you realize this, it will be a new beginning for you towards your journey of accepting responsibility at work and in life.

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Accepting responsibility
Do not find excuse for failures

Do not find an excuse for your failures

A good thing to always remember is that we are here in the organization to perform our duty and we are being paid for it.

Many a times it happens that we just want to create an excuse for our failures. We just don’t want to fail in the eyes of others and often cite reasons to pass the blame on to them.

However, if we accept the responsibility and complete our tasks, we will be in more control of ourselves and we would start achieving what we wanted to do in our professional lives. We just need to accept the assignments and perform them willingly, happily and enthusiastically.

It boils down to say that you just take the idea and run with it rather than be told what to do with it and put them into practice.

Top performers when they see the job that needs doing, they just go ahead and perform it.

The difference between the top performers and those who accomplish little lies in the fact that top performers assume to choose responsibility.

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Maturing emotionally
Maturing emotionally

Maturing emotionally

Another aspect of people who accept responsibility is that they mature emotionally. One important aspect is to remain positive and accept failures and learn from them. It is the expression of adulthood.

You also know that things can be done differently and there are other alternatives. Accepting responsibility also means to take help from others. It is good to seek feedback in areas where we need improvement and have a support network.

You will not feel threatened when you find that others in your team have a better solution than yours. You happily accept it and run with it. The more a person accepts responsibility and initiates actions the more he grows into greater levels of autonomy.

Having accomplished simple things, the person wants to achieve difficult work challenges worthy of his or her talents. Success builds on success.

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Talk to your Manager with a development action plan

Accepting responsibility also means that you have a plan to implement the much needed changes which can bring improvements into your current situation or work projects.

Have a monthly feedback session with your manager and discuss with him or her that you want to take up additional projects.

Before approaching, make sure you are up to date on your current projects. Accept the feedback from your manager with a positive attitude and discuss ways with him or her on how you can improve.

Discuss your career goals with your manager and how your career goals are aligned with the objectives of the company.

Follow up with your manager with a development action plan on how you want to implement the changes for your improvement areas.

Develop an action plan by identifying the changes that need to be brought in for your developmental areas. Have a workable timeline which covers both, on the job learning as well as classroom learning.

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Accepting responsibility
Valuable lessons from experience

Learning valuable lessons through experience

Another useful outcome of accepting responsibility is that it teaches us valuable lessons through experience. From experience we learn what kind of actions produce fruitful consequences.

It only comes through experience and cannot be taught in a classroom. As you take in more responsibility, you become more secure more confident and start taking risks and initiatives. This makes the person evolve to become a more confident self starter without close supervision.

Sometimes we learn a lot through failure and we clearly understand what went wrong. Accepting responsibility also means sharing the lessons learned with others at work so that they can take up effective action.

Seek out areas where the company needs help and volunteer. Taking part in the company’s extracurricular activities shows you are proactive and willing to contribute meaningfully for your organization as well as for your own growth.

Become an expert in your area of expertise and master your craft.

 

Finally, accepting responsibility is a choice you make for yourself autonomously. It empowers you and gets you nearer to your goals at work as well in life.

If you feel this write up has benefited you, please feel free to share it on social media and send in your comments.

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Good read on the same topic from Responsibility and blame are two different things, Psychology today.

Also read, Cultural diversity in the workplace

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Understanding and embracing cultural diversity in the workplace

Cultural diversity, as diverse as fruits

Understanding and embracing the cultural diversity in a global company.

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In a typical proceeding of a ubiquitous American global conference call, an American manager speaks over the phone “Does anyone have any questions” and there is a notable silence from their Asian counterparts or team members across the globe. No one utters a word. No one speaks. We all have noticed that this is a fact of cultural diversity.

A common notion among people working in global companies is that people operate and behave in the same professional way because all of them work for the same company. This is not the case all the time. There are huge differences in the way people work. When we come to work, we bring with us our own cultural values, perceptions and beliefs into the system.

Cultural diversity
Diversity at workplace

In any setting, we tend to bring in our own style and approach to the work setting and to a social situation. It is like we all are interacting in a huge marriage party and as such, the feelings of chemistry, preferences and archetypes are quite different.

We cannot deny the fact that social upbringing and conditioning invariably comes into the professional setting and so we all are less professional and logical than we think. We see the world through our own experiences and we react or respond to others in the same way. We need to be cognizant of the fact that cultural diversity exists.

As Laura says in her book “The loudest duck”, it is customary in the United States that people are taught  “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” and you will get noticed when you speak up. The Asian or the Chinese counterpart for the same is  “the loudest duck gets shot” and being outspoken is discouraged.

What stands in our way are the familiar lessons in humility. We learn in all humbleness, “when you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say it at all”. What we need to understand and  question ourselves is that how does this translate to the global corporate culture? And how does it influence the way we act and respond to others?

Cultural diversity in grafitti
Cultural diversity in grafitti

Coming back to the situation that happens on our ubiquitous global conference call, if people are more assertive and voice their ideas, they get recognized more at the expense of the ducks who don’t speak at all.

This doesn’t mean that the ducks don’t have ideas at all, it is just that their cultural values stop them. The organization loses on the cultural diversity. A level playing field need to be established in such a way that the ducks also get heard.

In this way, we can achieve the cognitive diversity we are seeking in the company.

Excerpts from “The loudest duck” by Laura Liswood, Senior Advisor, Goldman sachs.

Also read, Real happiness is when you know the ingredients

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