Engage Energize Evolve

June 25, 2006

Not such a nice place after all....

"Transportation was provided for them, but it came at least an hour early. When they asked their managers for dinner breaks, they were routinely told to "take a few more calls." One call can last for 10 minutes, or it can last for hours. They told me that most agents ended up with one 15-minute break in a 10-hour day. Once the work day ended, they were required to attend a two-hour meeting to discuss ways of improving productivity. Then, exhausted and hungry, but finally finished with work, they had to wait another hour before they could get a ride home."

- Jane Galvin writes on call center conditions in a Chennai call center that she recently visited. Read the full piece here.

Physical working conditions can be improved, but what can be done about the fact that their Indian identity is held against them?

June 23, 2006

Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder

“The scarcest resource for today’s business leaders is no longer just land, capital or human labor, and it certainly isn’t information. Attention is what’s in short supply,” say authors Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck in their book The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business (Harvard Business School Press, 2001).

-- Link - Worthwhile Magazine

In their post titled Hey! Look Here - Worthwhile Magzazine talks about Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder - a term used to describe the difficulty in holding attention spans of corporate executives long enough to get something done.

In other words, it's not about managing time effectively, its about managing attention spans. I may have the time, but I dont have the attention span required to scan a 4 pager. So make it a 1 - pager. Or better still, make it two power point slides.

I'm all for bulleted pointers and crisp narratives. The problem arises when I need dialogue. I need more authentic responses than just a quick glance sealed with a stroke of the pen across the paper. The approval that is doled out is what the oranization needs, I need involvement.

While the article suggest a toolbox of actions that can hep reduce Corporate ADD - i think this one question there has both the problem and the solution -

If all of these “get in touch” devices are so integral to our sense of worth, why does it feel like nobody’s listening?

Its nothing but the world we have created for ourselves.

I'm best when I'm uncomfortable!

I recently got told - "If you are not making people uncomfortable, you are not creating culture".

I barely got to recover from the intensity of that statement, when via Gautam I chanced upon this post by Seth Godin where he says - The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable

In almost immediate succession, I read "How have you stretched your comfort zone" at Occupational Adventure, which expands on a similar theme.

And as I try to "settle down and get more comfortable" with my new job (which also explains why I havent been able to blog for nearly a month), Ive been wondering whether comfort is such a good thing to aspire for after all.

In my current discomfited state, I have been
  • Asking a lot of questions
  • Finding answers
  • Making innumerable notes - mental and otherwise
  • Struggling
  • Absorbing
  • Keeping pace
  • Trying to stay ahead

And in hindsight, it appears to be a great phase to be in - after all arent these what characterise someone in a learning mode?

So i guess I wouldnt want to change anything about the way things are right now - except maybe find more time to blog!

Challenges: How do I keep maintaining this state especially since learning curves will flatten at some point? How can we build organizational structures and processes that can create and manage this discomfort?