The Girl & her Basket

The Girl & her Basket

> My best friend at night and my business partner by day
With me always, be it work or play.

> We go around all day, traversing many roads,
Life is not easy, it comes with its many loads.

> I don’t lead a normal life, like the children of my age,
We just keep working and all that matters is the wage.

> We make good progress, We work hard together,
Alas, I understand, the fun cannot be for ever.

I don’t want to be alone, never let you out of my sight!
We may be poor, but to be happy is still our right! 🙂

Bharath_GirlWithBasket

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Workshops that work! (Part 2)

brainstorm

This post follows from the part 1 at:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workshops-really-work-bharath-balasubramanian-pmp?trk=pulse_spock-articles

Part 1 deals with,

– identification of workshop objectives

– classification of participants

– Dealing with each category

This part deals with the preparation for ensuring a super workshop!

‘Be Prepared’, the boy scout motto applies itself well in our case! Workshops that deal with organization level changes have much higher rate of success when the participating audience is comprised of individuals across the organization. While this ensures a high quality of discussion and a wider coverage of options, this also necessitates that the workshop preparation is at an organization level. Imagine having to switch topics (production – sales – supply chain – general management – product development-…) while discussing a single idea or impact!

An interesting introduction ice-breaker that we could use to bring out the value of each participant would be to pair the participants and have them ‘sell’ their partners to the audience. The selling terms would be in terms of expertise, roles & responsibilities and hobbies – this ensures that the audience understand the value that each individual brings to the workshop while also establishing a personal connect!

From experience, 8 preparation activities that have helped me connect well with the audience and conduct a great workshop:

  • Research, research & research:

Understand the industry, the players and the latest happenings in the industry. How is your customer going to be impacted?

Ideas and the suggestions that will make the Senior management sit up and take notice (‘Wow! That’s interesting – we never thought of it that way!’) are important. The quality of interaction could make or break the senior management commitment to the workshop.

  • Who’s who?

Use LinkedIn and other social networks to really understand the participants better. Using their name as they walk-in and referencing their experience works wonders. A simple ‘Hey Mark, how’s your whitepaper on predictive analytics going?’ warrants a focused participant and a great contact!

If you can’t find them on the social network, the organization’s intranet could help you with the photos and the project details, so that you have a ready greeting for them!

  • Be value driven:

Workshops could actually result in a massive waste of time and money if not properly channelled. A 2-day workshop with 15 participants could be a massive 240 hours wasted if not conducted properly and if it fails to meet the expectations. Ensure that the expectations are set forth and the objectives clearly communicated before the start of the workshop. Time checks and course corrections are a must!

  • Be prepared:

Prepare for exigencies – non availability of meeting rooms, workshop materials, food and beverages (very important – hunger is a big distraction), reduced availability of key participants…. could all feature in your list of risks. Plans B & C really help!

  • Ensure mutual respect:

More the participants connect with each other, the easier it is to conduct and achieve the objectives. One fun way to ensure that each individual understands the importance and the value of the other participants is to conduct a ‘Sell him’ introduction. Participants in pairs, sell each other to the audience at large bringing out the best that they have to offer in terms of their experience.

  • Have Fun!

Workshops need not be morose, sullen affairs where the focus is merely on coming up with an organization strategy or defining the requirements for the next state-of-the-art trading system. The idea is to not only come up with the best of plans but to also ensure that the participants are at their creative best. You would never believe some of the great ideas that come up as a result of participant letting go of their constrained thinking.

  • Hold individuals responsible

Walking away from a workshop and forgetting what happened is a very common occurrence. Workshops should be followed up with action items and status reporting to ensure that the learning and the actions do not go waste. Institutionalizing a desired trait needs the best of nurturing and directions and of course, follow-ups.

  • Ground rules rule!

Laying down the rules for usage of electronic devices, breaks, expression of views and attendance helps in setting the context and ensures a workshop with minimal interruption.

Enjoy your workshops!

This article on LinkedIn

Chin up Chennai!

 

chennai-rain_650x400_41449135195

With water shortage, we prayed for the heavens to pour,
Now its time to pray – oh God! please, no more!

The houses are getting flooded,
so are our hearts with the love and gratitude exhibited!

With incessant rains, the water level does rise,
so do, our levels of patience and resilience!

Corruption and encroaching spoiled our reservoirs,
we brave out this situation, an experience fit for memoirs!

The rain water is certainly not welcome inside our homes,
but the hungry and the homeless, they certainly are!

You may be afraid concerning the well-being of a known one,
Don’t worry, for Chennai’s motto is now – One for all & all for one!

We are at war with Nature, you might say
Our brave soldiers of peace are here to save the day!

We are not afraid of any waves of a Tsunami striking us,
we only fear the fizzing out of the waves of Humanity in us!

Hold in there, chin up, help is at hand!
This too shall pass, as does the hourglass sand.

Tomorrow, when the sun shines and life moves on,
We will sing, we will dance, with our best clothes on!

Amazing people and an amazing city!

‪#‎Chennaithebest‬ ‪#‎Chennairains‬ ‪#‎Chennai‬ ‪#‎ChennaiUnites‬
Love you Chennai – My native & the best city in the world!
With Love & Prayers – Bharath Balasubramanian