Monthly Archives: June 2018

“It’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” I responded. “And that might be one of the additional superpowers that women who don’t ask for the raise have, because that’s good karma. It’ll come back. Long-term efficiency solves it.” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft said in 2014 at a Conference of Women in Computing when asked what advice he had for women seeking a pay raise who are not comfortable asking.

The comment went viral and met with much criticism.

Nadella subsequently apologised and explained that he had received this advice from his mentors and followed it. But this advice, he noted, underestimated exclusion and bias – conscious and conscious. Any advice that advocates passivity in the face of bias is wrong. Microsoft has since gone on to link pay to diversity and progress.

Source: Fast Company

Nadella’s mentors had advised him that human resource systems are short term inefficient but long term efficient. However, underlying that efficiency are advocates or mentors in our career. If no one is advocating for you, then its important that you start doing so for yourself.

In a few months time, we will be preparing for conversations with boss, setting goals for the next quarter. Anticipating more work, ie job enlargement, how does one ask boss for raise, if deserved.

Are there magical words that I can say?
Or the magical resume that can open all doors.

Four seconds, all the time you need to stop counter-productive habits and get.the results you want” by Peter Bregman.

Bregman notes that” it is natural to think the performance review is the perfect opportunity to ask for a raise. But you need to prepare for that conversation a year in advance, zeroing on top priorities and delivering on them.”

I recall my own mistake of working hard without doing the work of finding out what matters to the organisation and delivering on those priorities.

Some things are more important than others. Are we clear on what those are?

Bregman lists a few areas sapping our time. Are you overloaded doing too many things.

Do you spend time:
♤Answering emails that dont matter.
♡Offering opinions that arent necessary.
◇Spending time on issues whose outcomes we cant impact.

Bregman’s formula:

1. At the compensation conversation – ask how you can add value

2. How does your department impact on revenue and what is important to your direct manager and the top leaders?

3. Keep a few of these areas on top of your #to do list#.

4. Share the to do list with your manager make sure you are on the same page.

5. Quantify the impact of the results.

6. If you have a manager who starts asking you to do things outside the top two or three things, have a conversation. (Interestingly I have heard of anecdotal accounts of managers who ask staff to run their personal errands and reward based on these assistance. Some balance is obviously necessary. You have to ask if this is your long term career goal. )

In addition, I have noticed that your manager may have a different scale from you. Do you know their heart beat?

For instance Hofstede observed that managers from collective (group) cultures reward based on trust, loyalty and your effort to build team culture. Those from individualist or achievement culture value individual performance.

Subtly observe what is important to your manager. Do you know his/her heartbeat? What priority keeps their mind up at night?

I am reading “Four seconds, all the time you need to stop counter-productive habits and get.the results you want” by Peter Bregman.


Source of picture: Manu Cornet’s spoof of Microsoft org structure in Wikipedia

Its 2018 June and I am re-reading Fast Company’s Oct 2017 issue of Satya Nadella who took over Microsoft in 2014.

One of the first acts of Nadella was for the top executives to read “Nonviolent communication” by Marshall Rosenberg. He also encouraged the company’s employees to embrace a “learn it all” as opposed to a “know it all” culture.

Indeed, as with Microsoft, we now need a more empathic and empowering culture.

You have to be able to say, “where is this person coming from?” Why are they excited or frustrated by something that is happening.

But lest we imagine Nadella to be a soft millennial, he has found mentors for himself, as well as strengthened Microsoft’s ties with Silicon Valley.

Nadella inspires for me, what it means to fail forward and be resilient, recalling his Q and A at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women where he issued an apology and explored his biases. “We are going to learn and we are going to get a lot smarter.”

Are you reading any biographies lately? Who inspires you in your career journey?

An interesting piece reprinted in Fast Company issue is his piece on “The C in CEO stands for Culture.”, adapted from “Hit Refresh“.

Like Ozawa I also get up at four in the morning and concentrate on my work, alone. In winter, its still pitch dark …

I spend five or six hours at my desk, sipping hot coffee and single mindedly tapping away at the keyboard. Ive been living like this for more than a quarter of a century. During those same hours of the day when Ozawa is concentrating on reading his scores, I am concentrating on my writing. ….

It often occurs to me that this life of mine would not exist if I lacked the ability to concentrate. Without concentration, it would not be my life. I suspect that Ozawa feels the same way.

“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets“.

Absolutely on Music, conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami

“Maslow was right when he postulated that there was a hierarchy of needs, that when you had enough material goods you moved your sights to social prestige and then to self realisation.

Perhaps however his hierarchy did not reach far enough. There could be a stage beyond self realisation, the pursuit of an ideal or a cause which is more than oneself.

It is this extra stage which would redeem the self centred tone of Maslow’s thesis, which for all that it rings true of much of our experience, has a rather bitter aftertaste.”


齐白石 QiBaishi’s Crabs, at the 古树新芽exhibition. Photo of block print taken by me

As George Bernard Shaw put it, in Man and Superman: This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the one being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy</em>.”

“Service to others is the rent we pay to live on earth”

“Those who invest only to get rich will fail. Those who invest to help others will probably succeed.” Arthur Fry

“It is hard, in the conditions of comfortable democracy to find a cause which lifts the efforts of the comfortable ones. That is why some fear a return to war as a way of putting some energy back into our peoples. Making money not war has turned out to be less inspiring. …

It is better to look smaller, to our now smaller organisations, to local communities and cities, to families and clusters of friends, to small networks of portfolio people with time to give to something bigger than themselves.

We have to fashion our own directions in our own places.”

The Empty Raincoat by Charles Handy

Ice-Breaker: Paper Tearing Activity Team building Games at the Workplace or with your kids on a rainy day Objective: Communication and being a good listener.  Materials: A4 sheet of paper per person. Time: 5 minutes Directions: 1. Tell the participants to pay close attention and perform the requested task. 2. No one can ask questions during this activity. 3. Close your eyes during the activity — no peeking! 4. Fold your sheet of paper in half. 5. Tear off the upper right-hand corner. 6. Fold your paper in half again. 7. Tear off the lower right-hand corner. 8. Fold your paper in half. 9. Tear off the upper left-hand corner. 10. Fold in half a final time. 11. Tear off the lower left-hand corner. 12. Unfold your paper and hold it up. 13. Open your eyes, look at the product and compare it with the other participants’ products."   Debrief:  Remember, when you communicate with others, they may not receive the message you sent. Individual perceptions vary. Have table groups debrief and discuss. Here are some possible discussion topic(s).  If you were given the same directions, why were everyone’s products different?  What does this mean to you as a communicator? Now you can try writing your own directions for this exercise. Regroup into listening teams. Each team member should read his or her directions aloud as the remaining members do the paper folding and tearing. After all the team members have taken a turn reading directions, determine whose directions were the easiest to follow. Consider the following: What did or did not work in your directions? What did you do to communicate more accurately in the second exercise? Why are good communications needed everywhere in life? What kinds of real-life situations could be avoided if clear communication were always possible. Variations: This can be done with eyes open, but only oral directions. Industry examples for children Air traffic control and aviation Traders and hand signals Cross-cultural miscomm, time, space, gestures, facial expression. Source: Active Training by Mel Silberman, 658.3124 SIL (BIZ) Submitted by:  Jennifer Arns