Blog Archive

How Happy is Your Organization?



By Junaid Tahir
It's a known fact that the efficiency of any organization is concretely linked with the work satisfaction index of the employees. You can hire good people by tough hiring criteria, you can ensure their attendance by installing time-in and time-out devices; you can ensure their availability on their desk by close monitoring through IP cameras etc however you cannot guarantee or enhance their creativity index, their efficiency and their loyalty factor by all these policing techniques. While most of the entrepreneurs want their teams to be the most effective ones and even they want them to move from effectiveness to greatness (as Stephen Covey tells in his book 'The 8th Habit') but least of them take the real effective actions in order to achieve the same.

In order to have highly collaborative and creative teams there should be an environment where teams should love what they are doing. Every morning if an employee while coming to office is enthusiastic and charged about the day, then he will make things happen. However if he is coming to office with sad heart or negative attitude then you have already half lost the project. So the point is that a culture of friendliness and trust needs to be ensured. Encouragement and consistent gratitude needs to be in place since it acts as a fuel and empowers the acceleration of the teams and the project tasks. Below are some of the points you must consider for the sake of monitoring the happiness and satisfaction index of your organization:
1-     When was the last time you did an anonymous company-wise survey to seek feedback from each of the employee? What was the score?
2-    One of the known questions from Gallup® is that "Do you have a best friend at work?" Being in-charge of your organization when did you noticed last time about any employees who don't have their best friends at work? If yes, what have you done with your empathic skills to judge this and then took any action to nourish the culture of friendliness?
3-    Do you have a rewarding culture in your company? Do you give spot awards, appreciation certificates, monetary rewards, free coupons or professional trainings?
4-    Your employees are like batteries, do you measure their 'charge level'. Remember your mobile battery icon becomes yellow and red when charge level is 25% and 10%? Same is the case with employees. You need to have close observatory and emotional intelligence and analytical skills to monitor such things.
5-    Do you ensure that your employees have a great work-life balance? Are they stress free (work related stress) on weekends? Are they over loaded or under loaded or rightly loaded? Are your managers and team leads capable of assigning the right task to the right person?
6-    Do you have family like environment where employees share their emotions, concerns and jokes? Do they laugh/smile while working (not applicable for customer facing employees)? Did you plan any family level or team level get together or any other team building activities?

    
I believe with the above recommendations you can observe, analyze and eradicate the most common causes of disengaged employees and eventually increase the productivity of the organization.

A final comment is that you should not treat your employee only as a physical human being, instead treat him as a compound of body, heart, mind and soul. Stephen R Covey recommends that once you start behaving according to this philosophy, employees start generating great results for the organization. If you would like to explore more on this, "The 8th Habit" book is the rich source of knowledge and wisdom; Google it to learn more.

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About Author: Junaid Tahir, a Project Manager and a passionate blogger writes articles on wisdom, stress management, leadership and life enhancement subjects. His articles can be read Here


Positive Thoughts for You




When you find peace within yourself,
you become the kind of person
 who can live at peace with others.


Decide to be happy today,
to live with what is yours -
your family, your business, your job.
If you can't have what you like,
maybe you can like what you have


If someone does something stupid. . .
forgive and forget.
After all, it's just for one day.
Who knows, it might turn out to be a nice day!




Who is Helping You,
Don t FORGET Them.
Who is Loving You,
Don t HATE Them.
Who is Trusting You,
Don t CHEAT Them.


be kind, cheerful, agreeable, responsive, caring, and understanding.
be your best, dress your best, talk softly, look for the bright side of things.
Praise people for what they do and
don't criticize them for what they cannot do.


The loveliest memories
That we know were made
With good friends




Top 10 Healthiest Vitamins
10 Steps to Ensure Continuous Improvement
5 Public Speaking Tips That'll Prepare You for Any Interview
12 Habits of Perfectly Organized People
10 Biggest Mistakes People Make Managing Organisational Performance !!
Top 25 Causes Of Car Road Accidents.
10 Tips for Better Business Writing
12 Ways to Quickly Become Unproductive
10 Unwanted Helpers of Humanity

Story: The Two Frogs


A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.



The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.



The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.



He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?"



The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.



THIS STORY TEACHES TWO LESSONS:



1. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.



2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them.



Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of words... It is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way.


Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another.



Story - Power of Positive Talk & Encouragement
Story - my son and ice cream
Story - The Farmer's daughter
Story - Sharpen your skills
Story - Keeping Others Happy
Story - The Pond of Milk
Story - Self appraisal
Story - The Power of Positive Talk
Story - From Stress to Strength
Story - A Good Lesson
Story - The Wise Farmer of China

Dealing With Depression Is Hard



People suffering from depression and anxiety find it extremely hard to reach out for help, which is the first step towards their recovery. They would ideally need to enlist the support of family members, friends or a health professional. This wonderful cartoon by artist Colleen Butters, demonstrates the importance of taking that first step in reaching out for help.





__._,_.___













Winners Vs Losers
Wise Quotes from the book "Lift me Up" by Ron Kaufman
Worries & Prayers
Worry Creates More Problems
You Are the Result of yourself – Straight Forward Lines
You Are The Results Of Yourself
Your Guide to Never Feeling Tired Again
Your Life is Your Balance Sheet
The Ultimate Guide to Stress Management
 75 Questions to ask yourself for assessment
.


__,_._,___

Some Points to Ponder :)


Most of these are applicable to desi countries :)
  • We'd rather spend more on daughters wedding than on her education.
  • We live in a country where seeing a policeman makes us nervous rather than feeling safe
  • People are obsessed with screen guards on their smartphone even though most come with scratch proof Gorilla Glass but never bother wearing a helmet while riding their bikes.
  • Politicians Divide us, Terrorists Unite us
  • Everyone is in a hurry, but no one reaches on time
  • Its dangerous to talk to strangers, but it's perfectly OK to marry one
  • The shoes we wear are sold in air Conditioned showrooms, the things we eat are sold in open

HEALTH: Is Your Eyesight Getting Dimmer? The Signs and Treatments

Fun & Info @ Keralites.net
Our eyes are perhaps our one of our most important sensory tools. They are the primary way for most of us to gather information about what's going on around us so we can sense the world, live, work, interact with people, and walk around safely, being able to tell what is coming up ahead with remarkable accuracy. However, with age, our eyesight may become dim and our eyes tired. It is, therefore, very important that we take good care of them through a proper diet, special exercises, and healthy habits that reduce the eye's stress and effort.
But first, how do we even know if we are losing our eyesight?

How do you know if you are losing your sight?
If you are losing your vision, chances are you may not even know it. Vision loss happens so gradually that you may not recognize you have a problem until it becomes a much larger one. According to the World Health Organization, more than 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired. About 80 percent of those cases could have been avoided or cured with proper treatment. The best way to prevent such deterioration is by going to regular checkups with your eye doctor, but there are additional things you can do yourself to prevent and treat eyesight loss.
If you find yourself suffering from sudden and temporary blurred vision, changes in your night vision, changes in how you read and write, increased clumsiness (brushing more and more against objects) or an increased sensitivity to light, then you may be developin an eyesight problem.
Fun & Info @ Keralites.net

If you found out about your problem early, or if you just want to keep your eyes healthy, there are many things you can do for your eyes that are completely natural and highly beneficial.



Natural ways to improve your eyesight:

Eye friendly Diet:
Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables will keep your eyesight from deteriorating and might even help improve it! Vitamin A, C, and E, are all important to eye health as well as foods rich in antioxidants.
Also, don’t forget to add Omega 3 to your regular diet. These fatty acids are essential nutrients that have great health benefits. Most people know that they are good for your heart, but many don't realize that it can help keep your retinas healthy and slow down age-related eyesight deterioration.
Fun & Info @ Keralites.net
To get all of these great nutrients, you can eat more things kale, chard, collards, spinach and carrots. Salmon and tuna are excellent for omega 3 and if you want even more beneficial non-meat protein you can have some bananas, beans or nuts.
It's important to remember that a change in your diet alone will only protect your eyes from more harm and can only lead to a minor improvement in your sight.

Perform Eye Exercises
One of the best ways to naturally improve your vision is to perform daily eye exercises. Don't forget, your eyes have muscles just your arms or legs.
Start by doing an eye "warm up", rub your palms together and place them over your eyes. Hold your hands over your eyes for five to 10 seconds, and repeat 3-4 times.

Your first exercise should be to just roll your eyes up and down without straining them too much. Look up as far as you can, and then look down. Repeat this 10 times. Now look to each side, repeating 10 times. Finally, roll your eyes in a clockwise motion about 10 times, then reverse the movement and roll them counter-clockwise 10 times as well.

When you are done, grab a pen or a pencil and hold it at arm’s length, making sure it is at eye level. Focus on the tip as you slowly move it closer to your eyes. Always focus on the tip as you move it closer to you, and then back to arm’s length. Repeat this 9 more times.
When you're done, massage your temples with your fingertips and gently move to  your eyebrows and under your eyes as well. If your eyes feel tired close them and let them rest for a few moments. Just at the gym, these muscles can get tired if you overwork them.


Lifestyle Changes:
The thing about our habits - they accumulate. Even the little things we do, when done often enough, can have negative consequences that keep building up.

1 – Stop smoking: Smoking can lead to macular degeneration later in life, as well as cataracts. 
Fun & Info @ Keralites.net

2 - Make things bigger and brighter: It is very straining for our eyes to look at small and dark objects, and doing so may lead to a decline in your eyesight. To prevent this you can do many things - changing the font size of the text you read and using the zoom option on computers and cellphones. You can also adjust the brightness settings on electronic screens and see if your paper has a larger-print edition.

3- Take more breaks: Practice the "20-20-20" rule. If your work or hobbies involve staring at a screen for long periods of time, take a break every 20 minutes, and focus on a point 20 feet away (6 meters) for at least 20 seconds. It will let your eyes relax a bit and change your focus. 

4 - Rest properly: Getting enough sleep at night is important for the health of your eyes. If your eyes are well-rested, they will be in a much better condition during the day.

5 - Wear sunglasses: Too much exposure to ultraviolet light can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts. The old myth about staring at the sun has some truth in it, so avoid it when you can. If you don’t want to wear sunglasses, a simple hat will also protect your eyes nicely.
Fun & Info @ Keralites.net
I hope these tips will help you and that your eyes will continue to serve you well for many more years to come!

Confidence: Being Assertive




If you're reserved, you've likely been told you need to be more assertive (
confident and forceful personality) at work. But if that's not your natural style, how can you still ask for what you need and get what you want? Here are three ways:

  • Start with a success inventory. To understand when your style is effective or not, spend a week assessing your success. Before a meeting, ask yourself, "What do I want?" Then, afterwards, evaluate the results.
  • Set small goals. Challenge yourself with a specific goal. For example, give yourself a week to initiate three difficult conversations with colleagues. Or promise that in group discussions for the next month, you'll speak up within the first two minutes.
  • Build relationships. If you hold back because you're uncomfortable with your co-workers, consider interacting more with colleagues outside of work so that you feel more at ease speaking up.


Story: The Butterfly Cocoon




A man found the cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress.

It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly.

He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. And we could never fly. So have a nice day...and struggle a little!



Story – The Boy and the Girl
Story – The Law of Garbage Truck
Story - How I Became Honest
Story - The Father And His Son
Story - The Monkey And The Apples
Story - The Carpenters - Bridging the gap
Story - Man and The Hotel Owner
Story – The bus driver - A Management Lesson
Story - The Teacher, The Students and The Potatoes

Using VLOOKUP Tool for Microsoft Excel







If any of the picture does not load properly in this article, i suggest visiting HERE  to learn vlookup.





What is VLOOKUP Formula & how to use it?

I tell my excel school students that learning VLOOKUP formulas will change your basic approach towards data. You will suddenly feel that you have discovered a superman cape in your attic. It is that awesome.
What does VLOOKUP really do?
Imagine you have a list of data and you want answer a question like, "How many sales did Jimmy make?"
VLOOKUP is one of the formulas you can use in this situation. VLOOKUP searches a list for a value in left most column and returns corresponding value from adjacent columns.
What is VLOOKUP formula and how to use it?
Read more – What is VLOOKUP formula and how to use it?

Introduction to VLOOKUP, MATCH & OFFSET formulas

VLOOKUP may not make you tall, rich and famous, but learning it can certainly give you wings. It makes you to connect two different tabular lists and saves a ton of time. In my opinion understanding VLOOKUP, OFFSET and MATCH worksheet formulas can transform you from normal excel user to a data processing beast.
Introduction to VLOOKUP, MATCH & OFFSET formulas
Read more – VLOOKUP, MATCH & OFFSET explained in plain English

How to do wildcard searches with VLOOKUP?

Often we need our lookup formulas to go wild. Not in the sense of go-wild-and-chomp-a-few-kilo-bytes-of-data sense. But wild like wild cards. For eg. In the below data, we may not remember the full name of sales person, but we know that her name starts with jac. Now how do you get the sales amount for that person?
You can use wildcard characters * and ? with VLOOKUP & several other Excel formulas.
How to use VLOOKUP with wildcards?
Read more – Using wildcards with VLOOKUP formulas

Making VLOOKUPS dynamic with data validation

Sometimes we don't know what we want. If this happens when I am in a bar, I usually order a cocktail. Just a mix of everything. The same will work in Excel too.
For eg. If you have lots of data, but the value you want to look up needs to change based on whims and fancies of your users, then you can resort to a cocktail. A mix of VLOOKUP with Drop down lists (Data validation).
Making VLOOKUPS dynamic with data validation
Read more – Use data validation with VLOOKUP to lookup anything you want

How to lookup values to the left?

There is no argument that VLOOKUP is a beautiful & useful formula. But it suffers from one nagging limitation. It cannot go left.
Let me explain, Imagine you have data like below. Now, if you want to find-out who is the sales person who made $2,133 in sales, there is no way VLOOKUP can come to rescue. This is because, once you search a list using VLOOKUP, you can only return corresponding items from the column at right, not at left.
How to lookup values to the left?
Read more – How to use INDEX + MATCH combination to fetch values from left

How to lookup based on multiple conditions?

Not always we want to lookup values based on one search parameter. For eg. Imagine you have data like below and you want to find how much sales Joseph made in January 2007 in North region for product "Fast car"? Read more to find how to solve this.
Read more – How to lookup based on multiple conditions?

How to get values from multiple columns with VLOOKUP?

VLOOKUP is great for extracting information from a huge data table based on what you are looking for. But what if you need to extract more than one column of information? For eg. Lets say you have salesperson's name in left most column, and monthly sales figures in next columns, one for each month. Now, you want to find the total sales made by a given sales person. How do you go about it?
Read more – How to get values from multiple columns with VLOOKUP?

Using VLOOKUP formula with tables

Excel Tables, a newly introduced feature in Excel 2007 is a very powerful way to manage & work with tabular data. I really like tables feature and use them often. If you are new to tables, read up Introduction to Excel Tables. In this short video, understand how to use tables with VLOOKUP formulas.
Watch the video – Using VLOOKUP formula with tables

Doing 2 way lookups in Excel

So far we have seen what VLOOKUP formula is and how to put it to some nifty uses. Lets go one step further and learn how to do 2 Way Lookups.
What is a 2 Way Lookup?
Lookup is when you find a value in one column and get the corresponding element from other columns. 2 Way Lookup is when you lookup value at the interesection of a given row & column values.
Doing 2 way lookups in Excel
Read more – 2 way lookup formula in Excel

Getting 2nd matching value from a list using VLOOKUP

We know that VLOOKUP formula is useful to fetch the first matching item from a list. So what would you do if you need 2nd (or 3rd etc.) matching item from a list?
Read more – Getting 2nd matching value using VLOOKUP

Range lookups in Excel

Here is a really tricky problem. Recently I was given a data set like this (shown below) and asked to find the position of lookup value in the list. The only glitch is that, instead of values, the lookup table contained lower and upper boundaries of the values. See the below illustration to understand the situation. In this case, how do you lookup?
Range lookups in Excel
Read more – Doing range lookups in Excel


Safety Advice: Put your car keys beside your bed at night.


SHARING SATURDAY: Put your car keys beside your bed at night.Put your car keys beside your bed at night.Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your Dr's office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across. Put your car keys beside your bed at night.If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage.If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around. After a few seconds, all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.P.S. I am sending this to everyone I know because I think it is fantastic. Would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't reach a phone. My Mom has suggested to my Dad that he carry his car keys with him in case he falls outside and she doesn't hear him. He can activate the car alarm and then she'll know there's a problem.Please pass this on even IF you've read it before. It's a reminder.
Put your car keys beside your bed at night.
Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your Dr's office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across. Put your car keys beside your bed at night.
If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.
This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage.
If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around. After a few seconds, all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.
P.S. I am sending this to everyone I know because I think it is fantastic. Would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't reach a phone. My Mom has suggested to my Dad that he carry his car keys with him in case he falls outside and she doesn't hear him. He can activate the car alarm and then she'll know there's a problem.
Please pass this on even IF you've read it before. It's a reminder.

How to Evaluate Managers



By Junaid Tahir
Companies are becoming more and more concerned about cost optimization, resource tweaking and talent enhancement aspects in order to improve their revenues and services index in the market. One of the key actions is to build effective teams by reducing the 'fats' and by polishing the talented resources. Specifically middle managers are focused by the leadership because they are considered to be the most critical resources of the organization because they are micro managing things by controlling the staff ensuring quality products and services; and on the other side interacting with the senior leadership and transforming their vision into practical tasks.

So managers evaluation is one of the approaches for deciding new trainings, assigning new tasks, retaining/laying off or for annual performance reviews. Usually HR specialists are part of such evaluations but for several SMEs only department head is asked to perform the evaluation. While I was wondering what mechanism must be used by the managers in order to perform evaluation which is fair, honest and transparent, I was able to produce the below:

#
Personality Trait or Skill
Mngr-1
Mngr-2
1
Requires minimum supervision to make things happen?


2
Has positive attitude? (Problems focused or solution focused?)


3
Effectively Communicates with teams and management.


4
Responds/updates swiftly to the management for the assigned task?


5
Can take decisions independently?


6
Performs well in stressed circumstances?


7
Begins with the end in mind? Or work in day to day basis?


8
Effectively utilizes the given resources?


9
Has strong follow up with vendors/teams to complete the projects?


10
Produces effective and easy to understand reports/summaries?


11
Has knowledge of Technical Domain? (add multiple domains if required)


12
Develops Strategies by looking at the big picture?


13
Builds Strong Cohesive Teams by team building skill?


14
Avoids politics and focus on the projects/goals?


15
Effectively delegates tasks and ownership to the team members?


16
Ensures that databases are organized, error free and up to date?


17
Complies with Company Policies and Procedures?


18
Explores and learns new techniques and tools? (Self Improvement)







Overall Score


  
Following table may be used for the sake of marking:

Marks Legend
5 Marks
Demonstrates Always and Encourages Others
4 Marks
Demonstrates Always.
3 Marks
Demonstrates Most of the Times
2 Marks
Demonstrates Sometimes
1 Marks
Demonstrates Rarely
0 Marks
Does not demonstrate


In case, two or more managers are to be compared, then above table can be utilized. In case each manager is required to be evaluated separately then multiple documents for each manager can be generated where detailed talent sustaining and skill polishing strategies can be written down. Please do let me know if you think any skill to be added to the list above.



Other Related articles:

Junaid Tahir, a telecom engineer and a blogger, writes articles on wisdom, happiness and stress management at his personal blog. His personal Google Group can be joined here. He is reachable at mjunaidtahir@gmail.com for any kind of suggestions and comments