Thursday, August 6, 2009

Worklife Balance is not a myth

A few weeks ago there was a Wall Street Journal article and Jack Welch went on record saying there is no such thing as a work life balance and the jist of the article was most women have to make a choice between taking care of family priorities and rising in the corporate ladder. Much as I respect Mr Welch, I do think he took a very traditional point of view and while this might have been true 20 years ago, I find more and more evidence of the quite the opposite being true. Here are 4 reasons why I believe Mr Welch might not be entirely accurate in his disposition

1) Sheer Numbers: In my immediate organization, 6 of the 9 senior leadership are women. Outside of that, there are enough and more examples of women across the organization who are at executive levels. Also, knowing some of them personally, I know what great moms and wives they are. Its really the attitude and the openness of the organization to let people make choices which help them strike that 'work life balance'

2) Virtualization of Work: In this virtual world where more and more people are working from home, working non traditional hours is the norm and the 9:00-5:00 paradigm is pretty much gone. So people work when they want to, when they can. So if that means plenty of moms around the world are writing their MRD's, data sheets and product roadmaps at 9:30 PM when little Neal or Matt or Ishaan or Rhea are bed- so be it. So they are great moms when they are with the kids and work finds a way to get done in times outside of that

3) Inclusion and Diversity Best Practices: There is a greater recognition in organizations to drive practices that are employee friendly and that create an environment of inclusion and diversity. Again, to attract a diverse workforce and to retain it, management and organizations are very clearly making room to accommodate people to be able to balance family life and work life

4) Technology over Travel: Use of technology solutions like TelePresence and other forms of videoconferencing, virtual seminars and conferences are reducing the need for executives to be on a plane and living out of a suitcase- which was a norm a few years ago. That translates to families spending more time with each other. The reduction in travel is also a response to a company wanting to enhance their "green' footprint as well as reduce expenses.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Is it me or has the world gone Bing?

Has bing just taken over the world? Does anyone else feel they are in Bing jail? Last few days- any website I have visited which needed me to look for a map or store location - the default map was bing. First off, being an avid google user, it created a wee bit of consternation to me to try and get the hang of this 'new' thing bing. Second off, the user interface is not all that great- its a bit clunky and reminiscent of mapquest. Third off, if I have to copy and paste the address in google maps in another window- its not the best use of my time.

So with all this media hype and publicity around the new deal between MSFT and yahoo, synergies, partnership in search, and all the rest- it seems like Microsoft is using its tried and tested tactics of getting in your face to rule the world. The question is will it really work this time or put people off (it is beginning to put me off)? Now granted that over the years Google has become a typical 'big corporation' and I am not too thrilled about all their practices, ethics etc- but lets face it. They have a great quality product- its reliable, its predictable, its fast and it gets the job done. Any new search engine has to be significantly better for me and other users to switch over. Seemingly the company chose the name bing since its very much verb-able. I guess thats not really a word- but you get my drift.

To conclude, it will be interesting to see how the 'search wars' will play out, I will be an interested bystander watching and probably still be googling and not binging.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Viral Marketing and Impact on Box Office

I heard a pretty interesting dialogue on the radio about the impact of viral marketing and word of mouth on movies today. Seems like a year or two back, even a bad movie could manage to stay around and make reasonable box office numbers before the word really got around that the movie is bad. So it had a shelf life of an average of 10days-2 weeks. In this twitter, facebook age of viral marketing, if a movie is not good it takes folks 2-3 hours and they tweet about it and the word spreads. So a bad movie today has an average shelf life of 2 days now. Sure bodes bad news for movie producers. Seems like now its more important than ever to make a good movie. Seems pretty self evident- doesnt it- duhhh!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More on Flat Workspace

Follow up to my previous blog which generated some interesting questions- like some of you asked so what is the implication to folks who are used to their cubes, offices etc- well yes you guessed right. A lot of change management and preparation is needed to make this transition smooth. Need to ensure the concept is socialized with the employees, they are shown use cases on how this workplace use is optimized and how it will make people more productive. It is a journey- but not as difficult as more people think. Also, if you think about it this move makes sense. As we move to more virtualization of the workforce, more people choosing to work from home, from their hotel rooms, from the coffee shop they are sitting in- really having a dedicated cube in the office becomes less important.

Here is a link to the earlier post to which this is a sequel:

Monday, July 6, 2009

The World is Flat- and so is my Workplace

So I work in a truly evolved work environment here in Cisco. We call it a "Connected Workspace'. It is open, no cubicles, no offices- a very open plan with plenty of desks and chairs each equipped with docking stations, monitors, and phones that enable mobility (ie any desk I sit at I can log into a phone to make it my own- my setting, my extension etc). No fixed seats and better still no visual evidence of any hierarchy. It is truly flat and collaborative. All levels, all seniority, all ranks sit right next to each other. Gone are the days you can tell a VP by their plush office. Talk about a truly open door policy- we have taken it a level further and got rid of the door altogether :-)

So whats the implication of this to work, to productivity, to professional interactions? Significant- to say the least. Once you get used to the noise of talking, typing etc- it is really liberating. I feel I have easy reach to all my colleagues. We have dens and lounge spaces to encourage interaction and meetings on the fly and an environment like this fosters collaboration. It is good for the company too- since it brings down costs. Rather than have dedicated offices and cubes for each employee- here is a way you have a collaborative, connected workspace- where no real estate gets wasted if employees choose to work from home for say 50% of their time.

In this new workspace, I have seen people come together, have impromptu discussions, generate creative solutions more than ever before. So - in my mind having broken the cubicle barrier is a great breakthrough in this 'Brave New World' of collaboration, web 2.o and being connected.