Want to Fix Problems? Learn or Find Learner

Making something from scratch ain’t easy, but it is never boring. I love working on Hometown.

But here is a problem/opportunity I am encountering every single day.

For the past 4 years I have been learning about internet tools, doing business and what not. Yes I was taking help from all the gurus, resources and my experience. So what is the problem?

Problem is very simple. All the problems I am facing are totally new for me, I have never encountered anything like that. I have never talked with VCs or worked on business plan.

And when I look back at what I learned. It doesn’t help very much, so every time to fix a problem I have to learn the solution. Thankfully I am proudly one of the best known learner I have ever met.

This girl is learning and solving a problem at the same time.

Got the point?

Time has been changing all the time, this time changes are faster. Everything has changed, and it’ll keep changing. So who can help you to address changes.

As we have talked earlier, a person with ‘15 years of experience‘ is not gonna help. Instead we need a learner, who can learn faster. Who is eager to learn from success, average results and from failure the most.

Take a deep breath. <– Please do it.

Give some thoughts to whom you are hiring, or going to work with. Is she a good learner.

Same idea applies in relationships. Thankfully no one is perfect, in the life, everyone of us faces new problems and challenges. For example, I shall have a a wife, and some kids. Some in-laws too. <– Every problem shall be new. I am ready. 😉

Best is the one who keeps learning. Rather than living life based on past experience.

I recently learned from Robin Dickinson, who said this:

The past is not the future.

OMG! It is not. It is not at all.

It is all good to live in present and more importantly looking into future.

I love being learner, and working with great learners.

Be a learner! Surround yourself with learners!

Developing Culture Not Rules

Last week I visited my university’s library, where I spend most of my time while at campus. Before entering into library, students have to submit their bags in a bag room at library’s entrance and get a receipt (token) for their bag.

Let’s get to the point, this time before leaving the library with my friend we got in the bags room, to take her bag back. There was no officer in the room as one used to be and she just carried her bag without returning any token. I asked, don’t we have token system now? She replied, “Nope, our university administration is now working on developing culture instead of rules.”

I like that approach. Changing the focus from whether the students should be trained to follow the rules, developing university culture is 1000 times better.

Same things applies in business places too. Henry Stewart, who is founder and CEO of Happy Ltd, writes in his new book Happy Manifesto, “In many organizations response to something wrong is to create a new rule. Over the time they end up with more rules than anybody can possibly remember, many of which are no longer relevant. We at Happy, talk about having system (culture) rather than rules.”

His company was being rated the best company in UK for customer service (by Management Today) and the 2nd best place to work in the country (Financial Times).

Culture is about everything you do. Do you people try to develop a friendly culture in your organization? What are the benefits of not having rules but culture? Let’s talk more in comments.

What Makes A Company Beloved.

Few months back, one of my Indian friends asked me, Do you hate Microsoft? I replied, “No, I love Google.” Every one of us is in love with some specific companies. They build very positive image in our mind not just because their products / services are awesome at affordable prices, but in fact there are some great things happening inside these companies all the time.

I Love You More Than My Dog (Amazon Link) is a worth reading book by Jeanne Bliss. This book talks about specifically what is common between all beloved companies. Let me share you some interesting finding of the book and my ideas on becoming a beloved company.

Some Beloved Companies

Humanity into their business

Beloved companies take time to set their philosophy, they understand that they are doing business with humans, so they always try to keep humanity into their business. They consider lives of their customers when make decisions, so the customers become emotionally attached to them.

They don’t handle their customers, they treat them humanly in the way customer expects. The language of  Welcome Messageseems if an old friend wrote it, not a computer.

They love their employees

Beloved companies believe that employees are the face of the company so they really respect them and believe that these are the people who make a difference.

Vineet Nayar, CEO HCL, developed a management approach called Employees First, Customers Second that has become known around the world. “ What we want at HCL is passion. We want people to be burning up with their desire to pursue their interests. Fascinated by their assignments. Jumping out of their skins with excitement about what’s next. Eagerly pursuing better solutions and new initiatives” wrote Vineet in an article in Forbes Magazine.

I personally believe very much in this approach, but I think good companies have been doing this since long before the businesses came under studies. Letting employees do what comes naturally to their mind other rather than following strict policies yields more result for the company.

They trust their customers

Today every business claims to love & trust their customers, but we as customers know that this is not very common. Inside the beloved companies, they decide to believe. They believe their employees and they believe their customers, their connections are genuine.

By deciding to trust customers, they are freed from extra rules and layer of policies that create a barrier between them and their customers. They enjoy a personal relationship with their customers.

They make uncommon decisions for customers

We often experience that a company’s service / products doesn’t match with our specific need. Officer at the other end says, “I understand your need & circumstances, but I’m sorry this is our company’s policy and we can’t change to that.”

But at beloved companies their employees make uncommon decisions to fulfill customers needs. Their customer service reps have the authority to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. They don’t read from a script or follow process…they help their customers.

Beloved companies takes help from their heart and mind to make uncommon decisions by considering the needs and emotions of the customers.

They admit and say sorry

In real life everyone of us say sorry on mistake, to the people who have value for us. In business sometimes things get wrong too, apologizing well and repairing the emotional connection with customers is identity of beloved companies. They don’t hide behind the wall, they tell the whole story openly, clearly and honestly.

They apologize the fault and promise to make things better. They don’t refuse to answer questions, and encourage further communication to discuss the situation. As a customer it doesn’t only make us satisfied, in fact it makes us love them more.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, the world’s biggest online shoe retailer & winner of numerous customer services awards said in a May 2010 article in SUCCESS Magazine that, “Customer service is about making customers happy , and the culture is about making employees happy. So really, we are about trying to deliver happiness wether it’s customers or employees and we apply that same philosophy to vendors as well.”

We are naturally programmed to treat others as we’d like to be treated ourselves, is Golden Rule which we should never forget in life nor in business. It’s all about being right more often than wrong.

I would love to know what is your beloved company, what makes them beloved for you. Please share your leading thoughts in the comments below.

Gen-Y Can Help You Reinvent Your Business.

Yesterday I read an interesting article about The CEO’s Role In Business Model Reinvention on HBR. The article featured Infosys, one of the largest IT companies in India with 122,468 employees and offices in 33 countries around the model. Over two deacded Infosys achieved many wonderful business milestones.

In article author mentioned that, at Infosys thirty percent of participants in any strategy discussion should be younger than age 30, because they are not wedded to the past.

Problem is, despite reading a lot about the advantages of failures. Many times it effects our future acts in very negative way, people often feel discouragements because of their past failure and try to avoid something new.

Gen-Y is a handful solution to this problem. Good thing about them is that young people think a lot about future, they trust the future, because they have longer to live in it.

They are powerful agents who have grown up questioning its parents and are now questioning employers too. Don’t be afraid, they will help you get out of your comfortzone to CREATE something remarkable.

Updated on July 22, 2011: I found a video by Vineet Nayar on “How the Young Generation Can Renew an Obsolete Business Model”

If You Can’t, Shift The Authority

You have a pen, right?

But you don’t know how to write.

You’ll probably gift that pen to someone who can utilize it well.

15 years back when you were going to the medical college for admission, you knew that was not what you wanted. You wanted to be a musician but were too afraid of possible outcomes imposed told by the society & family pressure.

I know, you have been running your company for more than 20 years but were too afraid to take decisions. Those big, innovative & risky decisions which could bring you very higher.

Unfortunately, you are still that fearful 50+ guy and don’t want to be changed. But secretly wishing for the success your competitor is getting by taking big decisions.

Do one thing, which is easier but really very effective. Help your employees, especially to those who are not afraid like you. Empower those people in your organization, who have courage to Think Big & Act Big!

You’ll be amazed by the outcomes. And for the above medical college case: Don’t repeat it with your children or anyone, please.

Employees Don’t Value You For Valid Reasons.

This blog is mean to write about business sometimes, actually I’m great believer of being human in business too. So here we go with today’s topic.

I’m the who interviewed Adam, I’m the person who helped him to get settled with his new job and I’m the person who recommends his work. In short, I’m his manager. But why the hell Adam doesn’t care for me any more? Why, I’m of no value to him any more?

And see here what Adam replies, “I seek no value in him anymore. All what he does is simply keep track of what me and other staff do. My 9th grade daughter can do it and she is more active than him. I seek more value in my neighbour who is great programmer and always helps me with the codes and other programming stuff, and you see he is updated. So I want a manager like my neighbour who can help me to create something.”

The above is the case with many managers, middle managers and supervisor in organizations all over the world. But you see Adam is very right too, the reason he is not giving value to his manager is because Mr Manager is giving no value to his staff at all.

Simple suggestion / answer to the manager is, “LEARN MORE!”

Time and technology has brought dramatic changes in businesses all over the world. Today being boss means to solve real problem and support your team with creative solution and ideas. A manager must acquire and build new knowledge not just about his industry but should cover maximum business related fields.

So dear manager rather than complain, go for learning, stay updated with valuable and exceptional knowledge and abilities. All the best!