Tag Archives: blogging

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.

Arroyos in Barranquilla are real and dangerous and very very beautiful!

It was a hot but lovely afternoon yesterday as we headed out to have lunch at the Crepes and Waffles. I loved the pita bread dish they served! After eating our lavish lunch and sumptuous dessert, we headed back to our client’s office. As we walked out of the restaurant, skies got a little murky but there wasn’t any warning of imminent downpour.

The moment we sat inside the taxi, it poured like crazy, which was cooling and a welcome respite from the hot sun. But, a cooling moment or two aside, we realized that the legendary arroyos weren’t the fiction of anyone’s imagination but a real and present danger. In fact you have to see it to believe it!

As we crossed lanes and roads, it was evident that we were going to witness something elemental. While we still could see the funny side of it (see the video below), everything escalated really fast.

It was water water everywhere and reminded me of the movie Waterworld. We managed to continue towards our office and at one point the rain stopped and so did all the cars. Pretty anxious to get back to dry land now, I checked with the driver, who was a cool one. He quipped, “The arroyo won’t let us pass!”

I got out of the taxi and made a video to capture how strong the current was and how dangerous it all really is. And I learned my lesson – while in Barranquilla when it rains, stay high, stay dry and stay inside!

Hola, Mi nombre es Khalid

Barranquilla has been a great host so far, with sumptuous food and amazingly warm people. The impression with which we came, has transformed into a delightful experience. The rich culture and the amazingly aromatic coffee makes this place THE place to be.

But wait, there is a catch. All is not awesome when it rains in Barranquilla! Arroyos (intermittently dry creeks) can become dangerous. We were advised by our security officer to be alert and careful with arroyos when it rains and we all wondered if the warning held any merit. Everything looked so calm and peaceful.

But, things do change in a heartbeat. We were out last night for dinner and it started drizzling. When we came out after an hour, the streets had formidable water streams (reminds me of Bangalore lol), although it did not really rain at all! I wonder what happens when it really rains. And today I found this sign on the road.

BxtTi1JIQAEoAUMGoing back to what we came here for, on Monday we met our clients, the Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración (ACR) team, and spent a day at their office in Barranquilla. This government agency office was different and all the employees greeted us with a bright smile. Of course learning ‘mi nombre es Khalid’ really helped. In the coming days I will pick up some more Spanish as Dani has been super kind to teach me some of it already.

The Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR) is a subordinate entity of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia. It is in charge of coordinating, advising, and executing, in partnership with other public and private entities, the social and economic reintegration of the demobilized people from the Organized Illegal Armed Groups (OIAG).

It is really painful to hear the stories of how OIAGs have tormented the canvas of the society and comforting to see that agencies like ACR are relentlessly working on a solution despite all odds. We (Dani, Jordan and I) are fortunate and honored to be working with the ACR team and helping not just local society but entire Colombia change for the better.

2014-09-16

Our CSC team and ACR team: (L to R) – Khalid Raza, Andres (ACR), Leena (ACR), Dani, Diana (ACR) and Jordan

After two days of unlimited experience-rich moments, I am looking forward to the rest of my assignment. Keep reading and Hasta Mañana!

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

In MOOCs, are lecture videos more important than discussion forums?

MOOCs are in – no doubt about it. And, now it is reaching further into the corporate sphere, allowing organizations to tap into this platform and reach out to wider employee base thus keeping them engaged. The advent of technology which allows my five-year-old niece, Maira, to make videos, also helps employees to reach out, connect and create learning networks. Organizations are also using MOOCs to disseminate those boring mandate information chunks in a more enjoyable yet engaging manner. Read What is a MOOCs and why you should care to know more about MOOC.

Few weeks ago, my friend and IBM colleague, Silvia, showed us how to go about Glamourizing your blog with videos in one of her guest blogs on SocialGlamor, where she posits that there is so much to say about videos. And, through her work in Communications she has learnt that although they can be excellent message carriers, very few people dare to play with videos and especially record themselves. With her efforts like the 3-minute-manager (IBM internal project) she is spreading the awareness.

I am currently attending a MOOC on Introduction to Public Speaking from University of Washington, taught by Matt McGarrity. We were asked to make a few videos and there was an impromptu one and I chose the topic of MOOCs from the list provided, highlighting how the lecture videos are equally important as the discussion forums. Watch the video.

I am sharing the video with you to share the concept further and also seek feedback on my Public Speaking skills *chuckles*. Please share your feedback by commenting on this blog.

Edited by: Vanitha Poojary

Glamourizing your blog with videos

Hi everyone,

vlogI’m Silvia Mihailescu, Khalid’s colleague and friend from IBM, and this is my response to a request of contributing to the super social glamour blog 🙂 There is so much to say about videos, and through my work in Communications I learned that although they can be excellent message carriers, very few people dare to play with videos and especially record themselves.  Sometimes that’s a probably a better choice (kidding…or not) but in some many cases we’re missing a lot by not experimenting with videos.

Hopefully my vlog today will encourage you to be brave and try it at least once.

And don’t worry too much when you try- think of it as an exercise. Look at youtube, not everything has to look great to be consumed and shared by thousands of people,  nobody is expecting you to succeed with your first attempt and you’ll have the chance to practice your storytelling in a new way 🙂

PS: no need to say you need a camera, software etc either- nowadays you can use your smartphone, youtube editor, videolicious and many other free stuff. Really, there is no excuse not to try 🙂 Just remember to have some good natural light around!

Everyone around me is stupid!

Everyone is stupidAah it’s Monday and the first day of the week – the most loved one by all office goers and people like me who work from home – thank you IBM (I miss going to office sometimes…not always but sometimes. Also read how working from home can work against you). Going to office is fun, especially when you have a good crowd around you (now this is subjective). The definition of good is debatable, so let’s not focus on that.

We all whine that everyone around us is stupid and how impossible it is for us to work  productively. We tend to forget that these stupid people are the ones we have to work and live with. I always laugh at the perception and more so when I came across this fascinating article by Suzanne Lucas – 5 Signs That You’re the Problem.  It made me realize that people are never stupid, our perceptions are. We always try and measure people against our capabilities and our expectations.

We always brush a speaker aside if he/she makes a mistake while reading out news, but we wet our pants if are ever asked to speak in public. 🙂 The bigger problem here is that this unwilling and unwitting ‘perception-rollercoaster’ makes the work environment unhealthy. We start judging our colleagues and eventually feel that we need to move out/away, not realizing that we will be encountering the same species, everywhere!

People will always be stupid and “I” will always be smarter, Tweet: People will always be stupid and but we need to work in teams and we need compassion and understanding to deal with others. Think beyond your ego and see how good everyone is. Otherwise we get stuck in a vicious ‘everyone is stupid’ spiral.

The question that comes up here is of course is what can organizations do to create an engaged workforce who is productively active at all the times. I feel ‘social’ has the answer. The differences or perception of friction appears when people stop communicating. Social platforms like communities and forums allow people to communicate constantly while harnessing mutual knowledge and promoting collaboration at all times. Whiners are always shunned away!

But the answer to the question lies within each of us – how we treat others when they are not watching us. Are there people around you who you think are stupid? Are they really stupid? What impression do they have of you? I will be interested in knowing more about your stupid bunch – do share through comments.

Edited by: Vanitha Poojary

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