Tag Archives: being-productive

My 2015 in review

2015 is over but I am still hungover. What an year it was. Lemme quickly share with you some highlights of my 2015 and I will eagerly wait to hear your top highlight of the year through the comment section.

To begin with, my blog got a lot of love from all of you. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

And I became a proud father of Zayaan Raza, who joined us on 5th Dec 2015. Here is us wishing you an awesome New Year!

Last but not the least, the icing on the cake was when I got selected in the 25 Top Indian HR Professionals – what an honor!

Twitter is the new classroom – are you marked absent?

On March 21, 2015, Twitter will celebrate its 9th birthday. 9 years ago,  Jack Dorsey sent out the first tweet in 2006, at a time when the micro-blogging social network was known simply as twttr. Those who are interested can read Twitter’s full origin story.

tumblr_lxnecjMabB1qee43fTwitter is a great place to learn and be a leader. It is quick, easy and full of information. However most of us are unsure of many things when it comes to Twitter. Few years ago I shared 5 ways to get the best out of your twitter account however there is much more that we need to know. If you still do not have a Twitter account, then see how to create my twitter account deck.

Recently I read an article which said, the employees, who are not on Twitter should be fired. And I would not completely disagree. Twitter is a big classroom and most of your employees are absent. How do you plan to compete with the competition?

The problem: Modern information moves at a breakneck pace, and you and your team need to keep up.

The solution: Get on Twitter. Follow the smartest and most innovative people, publications and companies in your industry. Check in a few times a day. Retweet the best stuff, maybe compliment someone on a good share. You don’t need to tweet twenty times a day to reap the benefits of Twitter as an information source. (Sure, it can feel like trying to drink from a fire hose, but the slide below can help with that). It’s not necessarily a big investment of time, but it’s an essential routine to start integrating into your day. (If you’re struggling, create a little schedule for yourself. For example, check when you first log on in the morning, when you come back from lunch, and when you have your afternoon coffee. You get the idea. We think you’ll find that it will start to be as routine as checking email.)

Twitter has varied use cases which can help you become more productive – from micro-blogging to finding a job, from quick answers to keeping up with the news, from learning to being an SME… the list is endless. Everyone is learning. The question is – Where are you?

Please share with me what is one thing that you admire about Twitter? And if you are not on Twitter then share one reason why. May be, I will convince you why you should!

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How to be awesome at work! And in life too!

The crux of life is to learn something new, everyday! – Khalid Raza

I started the blog with the statement above but if you see the comments, you will see a buzzing conversation. Through his comments, Narayanan shared with us a better version of the quote, which I am pasting below. I am amazed, how all of us can make all of us more intelligent, smarter and better. Thank you Narayanan!

‘The crux of life is to learn something new, everyday and share it with others!!! – Khalid Raza and Narayanan

2014 zipped past like a bullet train. Is it the effect of super-addictive learning, or the fast paced world we live in? Nonetheless, it was a great year for me, personally and professionally. I made some new friends, traveled to awesome new places including Mauritius, bought a house, got promoted at work, worked with one the finest leaders in IBM – Tim Collins; learnt a lot from my mentors and #SocialHRSuccess revolutionized social learning at IBM,.Ohh I forget, I started liking coffee – thank you New York!

#SociaGlamor #BEAwesome #Leadership #Learning Khalid Raza khalidraza9

But above all, I discovered that working with other bright individuals, is an opportunity to become a better person. We get these opportunities all the time, but mostly squander them as we fail to see them as opportunities. Some of us stay blind. So much to learn, so much to do and so many ways to shine! To some it all up there may be much to achieve in this world but the biggest achievement will always be love and appreciation from people around you. How much of that do you get? How do you get more?

I am going to share a small activity which I started in 2014 and works for me. I want you to take a pen and a paper and write down the name of the person, you ‘do not’ wish to work with again. Don’t fret, I’d not ask you to share that with me.

Think of the reasons, why you would not like to work with them. Anything which makes you cringe about them. Write the top three reasons below the name. This is where this activity becomes the toughest – you have to be honest with yourself. For, you are in the process of becoming your better self.

Now list down the times where you demonstrated any of those three traits at work. It does not matter if you were chasing a deadline, of you were upset or if your CEO had turned red. If you can relate to any of the qualities that you wrote down, it means there are people at work, who do not wish to work with you!

Did you ever think of it? I did not, till I did this exercise. I felt really bad about myself and heart heavy. But this is where we pick up the gauntlet and take steps towards becoming our better selves.

Now do the next step in the process. Take one said trait at a time and give yourself two weeks to improve. Here is what I did:

  1. Made impact statements for each trait. The impact statement should guide you towards eradicating the same. For example if the trait is, “He/She speaks rudely,” the impact statement can be, “I will be polite at all times.”
  2. Wrote my impact statement on a paper and stuck it at my desk. It read, “I will not interrupt.”
  3. Identify a partner – anyone who can observe your behavior and provide feedback to you. Seek feedback at all times. The person should know the activity and the results you are expecting.
  4. Observe yourself at all times. No one can improve you unless you give it your 100%.

be-better-600x338That’s it – you will see results, in the form of compliments, better relations and best one – the confidence and happiness that comes with being a better person. You can do this for anything you do not like in others. If you do not appreciate people rushing in when the elevator door opens, you stop rushing in. If you do not like people honking on the road, you stop honking. If you do not like getting rude emails, you must stop writing them. We know that leaders are never born, they become. But before becoming a leader, we must become better human beings and professionals.

Thank you for being part of my leadership journey. 2014 was amazing and 2015 looks bright already. Will you stay blind or get better? Share your thoughts with me.

Leaders are never born, they become!

Illness teaches you a lot about yourself. And it teaches you a hell of a lot about others: Khalid Raza

You all must be wondering why I have not written for so long. Well, those of you who are connected on social networks know that I have been extremely unwell. It all started, in the last week of my CSC assignment, with a very unnerving but harmless fever, which was taken care of by half a tablet of paracetamol. Within a day, I was touching 39.5 degree Celsius (103.1 degree Fahrenheit), with severe pain and burning eyes, body pain, and shivering. We visited the clinic, which in itself is a big story (maybe I will share it some other time), and I was put on drips (first time in my life) and all blood tests were done. Everything turned out to be normal and we came back to the hotel, but I was far from normal.

Dani, one of my CSC assignment members and now a very good friend, took care of me almost all the time. Sometimes it meant that she had to sleep less to get work done, but her care and support made me feel better. This is where she became a leader.

It was difficult for me to stand up for five minutes, I could not keep my eyes open and my body was burning. In the middle of all this, our assignment’s final presentation and report were due. The work had to be done and the team made a checklist. To my dismay, surprise and shock, the work was divided equally. I had two choices – either to make my team take into consideration my obvious and horrendous condition and seek empathy or pick up the gauntlet and deliver. I chose the latter. I was writhing in pain, crying for some relief, working the laptop, even though the screen made my eyes burn. This was the moment; someone from the team had to be a leader. Leadership #SocialGlamor Khalid Raza

Finally the last day came and I stayed away from the press, videos and talking, as my body was giving up on me by then. By this time, I had been to two different hospitals, four visits, thrice on drips but all the reports were still fine. While my team was enjoying the last evening by the pool, I was waiting to die as the temperature touched 40.2 degree Celsius (104.4 degree Fahrenheit). We all were to fly next day and I wanted to go home to people who love me.

One of our clients, Maria’s husband, who is a doctor himself, after knowing my condition, asked me to get hospitalized immediately. We met a specialist who finally diagnosed it to be a severe infection of Pneumonia in my left lung. He said, if I would have flown, it would have been my last flight as my lungs would have collapsed. I am in hospital since the last five days and I am recovering. I still cannot breathe normally and get breathless when I walk some distance. While I was hospitalized, I was constantly visited by Alex, who bought a lot of stuff for me to eat, Wendy, who graciously shared her Netflix account with me, Dani, who has done more than one can for me already and Tushar, who understands that the presence of a friend in difficult times is all we need to gain strength. They are all leaders as they are ready to sacrifice for people they care for. Others may have fancy roles with shallow characters and they hang the values card on their chest, but are driven by only one motive – self. And that my friends, is a sure sign that they are never leaders.

IMG-20141015-WA0007Olivia, who is our local contact from Pyxxera Global, along with her husband Julian have been God sent angels. They have been extremely caring and patient with me. They visit me twice a day, not to put a tick mark on a report, but to spend time with me. They are a lovely couple but more importantly, amazing human beings.

I must also mention how amazing IBM has been. I have received complete co-operation and support from my company and leaders who are actively engaged in knowing how I am recovering. I am honored, proud and privileged to be an IBMer.

I am writing this blog to you from Clinica Del Caribe, from the bed where I have now spent five days. Within a week I will be off to my country, but everything I learnt during my illness will stay with me. In one of her blogs, my wonderful friend and guide Maureen Monte shared a story of how a sleepy employee did not get her recommendation for his behaviors in one of the projects. She suggested that we all are being seen by others. If we wish to become leaders, we need to behave like one.

Those of us who did are on their path to become and those of us who did not, will never become. Remember: Leaders are never born, but become one.

Are you a Walter Mitty?

Find that what makes you happy; work should always be a labor of love! – Khalid Raza

Think about this…80 percent of the 18-44-year-olds check their smartphones as soon as they wake up. It’s highly likely that your networks are reaching for their phones and scanning their newsfeed as they start their day. No wonder every Monday morning, the social networks are mostly buzzing with ‘I hate Monday’ posts. Today, of course was no different.

monday-bluesI, for one get seriously excited about Mondays. Productivity gives me a buzz and therefore the start of the week finds me bright eyed, raring to go.

And that makes me wonder, why is today’s workforce so disengaged? What is missing? It isn’t that the organizations do not have those fancy activities and programs to ‘try’ to make them happy. Organizations are trying to do everything under the sun to keep employees engaged and excited about work. For example: Quiz contests, team outings (the worst of all), cricket tournaments, some flash mobs (I seriously do not get it), potlucks, dance, fashion fests, so on and so forth. Do they work, maybe yes, maybe not! I am not suggesting all this is a waste of time, but what about before and after these activities? How would you sustain the buzz and the engagement?

I was talking to a few young millennials (Yes, I am a millennial too) and for us the ‘experience’ is more important than anything else. I asked this guy, “The org is doing so many events, why do you still want to leave your job?”, and he looked at me, wondering if I am from Mars and quipped, “Dude, my job sucks! And these events won’t take that away!” He was right. These wonderfully orchestrated colorful events are worth zilch when it comes to ‘real’ employee engagement. Employee engagement is not an event, it is a state of being, and you won’t get there with events! (Tweet this)

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty SocialGlamorLast night, I was watching, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a light but enjoyable film by Ben Stiller where the protagonist (Ben), a day-dreamer escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.

I am not saying we all should become Walter Mitty (why not though) but why are we stuck in jobs which do not inspire us, but may have promised us fatter packages? Why is it that only compensation inspires us while we know that money would never be enough? Why do we want organizations to keep us engaged? Why can’t we be engaged at work?

I am interested to know your thoughts – Do Mondays make you happy or sad? There is a discussion happening on Facebook, feel free to add your bit.

Read this blog on LinkedIn

4 steps to Career Advancement

Career Growth

This image was clicked in 2007, hence I look different, say younger!

Last week, I was invited by Anurag Mohit, Vice President – Compensation & Benefits, Growth Markets to speed mentor IBM Compensation Professionals in Growth Markets on ‘Career Advancement using Social’, as part of Velocity – the Career Fest. It was really interesting to talk to IBMers across the globe and provide them with guidance.

I was honored to be a mentor along with some real heavy weights, like Shantanu Jha, VP, HR Integrated Services Team, Anil Jalali, Region HR Partner Leader – Asia, Aruna Padmanabhan, Director (HR) – Area South and Nickle Lamoreaux, HR Vice President, Growth Markets.

One key theme which emerged from the conversation was, “How do I create my career advancement plan?” I am sharing my thoughts with you all.

Career is not your next role – it is your overall plan. Your next role may help you get there. As Nickle Lamoreaux aptly puts it “Your career is not a sprint; it is a marathonTweet: Your career is not a sprint; it is a marathon! http://ctt.ec/8au81+ via @khalidraza9 #career #growth #socbiz.” Lemme share a simple plan that I follow:

Set a goal: Career advancement starts with knowing where to go – having a plan for your career. Most of the time we fail to do that and then we wonder why, that too after losing considerable time! This sounds like a cliché, but having a plan allows you to see the goal clearly.

Plan your moves: Once your goal is set, understand and work with your career mentor (now you know you should definitely have a career mentor) to see what will be the next few roles you would need to get there.

Get skilled: This goes without saying. As you plan your next move (discussed in point 2) you would need skills to make you eligible and competent for that role. Again, your skills mentor (now you know you should have a skills mentor) should be able to help you here but the onus lies with you. I am glad that a few IBMers reached out to me to mentor them on Social Media after the event!

Network: I cannot stress enough on this point. This is a key point in career advancement. Now, if you look at the word, it clearly says Network = Net+Work. Don’t just add people to your circle and feel happy about it. You need to invest time and effort to nurture those relations. Social Media allows you to showcase your work and engage with your network and that in return will allow people to know your skills and help you grow further.

The more your share, the more people will recognize you. If you stay in your silo and do awesome work, only your manager and team will know. So go out there and shine – create your SocialGlamor which will allow you to showcase yourself.

Lemme share what Aadil Raza Mansoori, my elder brother, told me once, “You know you are good, but you gotta show them that you are good!” Tweet: You know you are good, but you gotta show them that you are good! http://ctt.ec/YcU52+ via @khalidraza9 #career #growth

Edited by: Vanitha Poojary

Free whitepaper: Social learning through communities

Is your organization looking gain value from social learning communities, but you’re not sure where to begin? IBM’s Center for Advanced Learning can help you start managing communities using practical tips and “secrets” of IBM’s own successful community managers.

Social Learning

Learning communities have become and imperative in the Learning Ecosystem and I am sharing this whitepaper on Social learning through communities. This brief paper is designed to get started with managing communities and is based on practical tips and ‘secrets’ of IBM’s Center for Advanced Learning’s own successful community managers. It focuses on

1. Social learning: what is it?
2. How to create a successful online community that enables social learning?
3. The community manager’s role
4. How to hire an effective community manager
5. Value Creation of a community
6. Measuring the success of social learning through communities

Please reply to this blog to let me know your thoughts and share your stories on how you manage communities.

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