Monday, June 24, 2013

Prioritize Work, Optimize Time

Prioritize Work, Optimize Time

Implement a Significant Time Management Strategy

By Sathya Menon

“Time has no meaning in itself unless we choose to give it significance” – said American author and motivational speaker, Leo Buscagila.

Many of us spend the entire day at work in a frenzy of activity but end up nowhere near our goal simply because we do not use our time significantly.

 This is where time management skills come into play. This when we learn to prioritize work and optimize life. Effective time management also helps establish better control over our lives and offers the key to corporate success and life-time achievement.

The dictionary describes “time management” as an act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.

The idea is to make conscious decisions and act on them — to decide what is important to accomplish, to decide how something can best be accomplished, to find time to work at it and to get it done.

And if all these seem alien words for you, maybe it’s time to implement a significant time management strategy.

You can start by planning your day. Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.

The second step is to prioritize your tasks. It is important to say no to non-essential tasks or delegate them to other people.  Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall.

The third step is to break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done. Practice a 10-minute rule. Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it. Evaluate how   you're spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to determine how you're spending your time.

The fourth step is to look for time that can be used more wisely. For example, could you take a bus or train to work and use the commute to catch up on reading? If so, you could free up some time to exercise or spend with family or friends. Limit distractions.  Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone and computer.

Finally if your employer offers continuing education, take a time management class. If your workplace doesn't have one, find out a local college, university or community education program that does.



Handy Hints

·         Effective time management reduces stress and restores life work balance

·         Prioritize tasks and delegate unimportant ones to reduce stress.

·         Break-up huge time consuming tasks into smaller ones in order to complete them on time.



Monday, June 10, 2013

Blue Ocean Toastmasters Club Draws Popular Response

June 9, 2013

Press Release


Blue Ocean Toastmasters Club Draws Popular Response

Professionals groomed in public speaking

Dubai: Public speaking is a powerful leadership tool, one that helps professionals fast-track their careers. Blue Ocean, UAE’s leading professional training institution has taken a small step in the right direction—launching the Blue Ocean Toastmaster’s Club – to help students learn this all important professional skill.

 “This is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself ” explained Mr. Abdul Azeez, President of Blue Ocean Toasmasters Club, a life-changing opportunity for students to develop their public speaking and presentation skills,” he added.

In the UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East, the power of rhetoric and public discourse remains grossly underestimated. Very few educational and professional institutions actually train professionals to speak eloquently and confidently. 

A flair for public speaking can actually land a professional in a win-win situation. He not only succeeds in a job interview, but is also regarded by the management as an asset to the company, often called upon to make presentations to clients, and address the audience from the podium during seminars and conferences.

Drawn from diverse backgrounds as varied as information technology, engineering, healthcare, retail, HR, cabin crew, logistics and supply chain, quality control, the members of the Blue Ocean Toastmasters Club have come together to create an effective learning platform. They are taking valuable lessons in confidence, poise, vocabulary, time management and a host of other English speaking skills that are imperative to succeed in today’s fast-paced competitive world.

For the first time in the UAE, a professional training institution, recognizing the need for individuals to transform themselves as public speakers has taken this non-profit initiative. Admission to this club is completely free of cost for Blue Ocean students and all are invited to come, see, and learn from the speakers who introduce themselves and speak on topics designated for the day.

A Blue Ocean Professional Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere.


Members learn communication skills by working in the Competent Communication manual, a series of 10 self-paced speaking assignments designed to instill a basic foundation in public speaking.


Members also learn leadership skills by taking on various meeting roles and working in the Competent Leadership manual. In the learn-by-doing approach, members are not lectured about leadership skills; instead they are given responsibilities to mentor and help.


Blue Ocean has roped in expert speakers from the Dubai Chapter of Toastmaster’s International, to train and evaluate students on their speaking skills.  Since 1924, more than 4 million people around the world have become more confident speakers and leaders because of their participation in Toastmasters.



Editor’s Note: Blue Ocean is an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization and a leading management training and educational consultancy firm. Blue Ocean has sparked the careers of thousands of professionals drawn from different industries who have displayed rare leadership qualities in challenging scenarios. Blue Ocean specializes in designing courses that bridge the gap between infrastructure and knowledge, imparting futuristic skills to a new genre of industry leaders, shaping them into dynamic professionals in an increasingly competitive world. Headquartered in the UAE with a strong presence in the UK, KSA, Qatar, Sri Lanka and India, Blue Ocean stands on an enviable reputation built on 16 years of training, 40,000 alumni worldwide, a global network of certified trainers, international affiliations and multinational partners. For further information pls log onto



Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Changing Face of Procurement Professionals

The Changing Face of Procurement Professionals

By Sathya Menon 

After the global financial crisis, companies are actively looking for skillful, qualified procurement professionals who can cut costs, optimize global supply chain functions and deliver potential savings.

Internationally qualified procurement professionals are the key to creating a cost-conscious culture in the organization. They are poised to become change leaders instead of mere order takers.

Ineffective governance, policies and procedures or a lack of appropriate procurement engagement usually result in faulty purchasing decisions. Companies who are not fully leveraging their spend, are leaving themselves open to business and commercial risk.

In many procurement departments, there is no sufficient focus on monitoring and tracking compliance with companies facing real challenges in maintaining control over both direct and indirect spend, and in supporting demand management activities.

Marketplaces worldwide are witnessing an unprecedented pace of change. As a result, businesses are rapidly re-evaluating their operating models and market strategies not just to withstand these market forces, but also to capitalize on them.

 Procurement professionals have a significant role to play in helping organizations achieve their objectives and prepare for the uncertainty ahead.

 Highly mature procurement departments have stepped-up their game, fundamentally changing the way they work with the business and – as a result – are increasingly taking a leadership role in helping drive growth and reduce costs across the organizations.

For the Procurement function to achieve a place at the table, more work should be done to align to key stakeholders and understand the business operations.

This means moving up the value chain to ensure that the function is involved much earlier in the decision-making processes and clearly demonstrating how active involvement adds tangible value to both the bottom and the top lines.

 The procurement process needs to be reoriented to include other value-added services to the business. This requires a culture-shift, taking procurement away from the tactical, category-focused culture that seems to dominate most functions, to one that is fully aligned with the organizational goals and active in the strategic decision-making processes of the business.

No doubt, Chief Purchase Officers (CPOs) and Supply Chain Directors will increasingly find themselves reassessing their operating models to squeeze greater value from their activities around the world.

 Handy Hints

·       Companies not fully leveraging their spend, are at risk.

·       Skilled procurement professionals can deliver potential savings for the company.

·       The highlight is on transforming from mere order takers to effective change leaders.  



Sathya Menon is Director, Academics, Blue Ocean Academy.

Focus on creating “women-friendly” workplaces

Gender-Sensitive Policies Needed to Boost  Emiratisation

By Sathya Menon
Training and development of national women for gainful employment in the private sector is a key area of emiratization, one that needs to be highlighted and prioritized.

Female nationals face a higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts. This is surprising when national women graduates from UAE universities largely outnumber the men. More than 2,000 - 3,000 women graduate from university every year and can contribute freely to the country’s economy.

The private sector will do well to offer employment incentives to this largely educated and talented pool of female graduates –wooing them into the private sector, tutoring and mentoring them for appropriate roles. This will leave a positive and long-lasting impression on the country’s social and economic framework.

Established in 2006, the Dubai Women Establishment (|DWE) has strived in its noble mission to help Emirati women balance stimulating careers with a satisfying family life by evolving appropriate gender-equality policies and initiatives.  

The private sector needs to partner the government in such laudable ventures displaying a  certain sensitivity towards women’s role within the workplace.  For years men have monopolized workplace ethics, setting rules that have intimidated women.

In the past, a majority of decision-makers in private sector companies were completely unaware about the need to accommodate this new breed of intelligent, articulate and well-educated women who if groomed and developed could become important assets for the company.

The time has come to build more “women-friendly” workplaces in the private sector. Incentives for women need not be limited to compensation packages alone but should also include flexible work hours, training and mentoring of women, transport and crèche facilities for women employees and gender-sensitized managers who can deal with high women achievers.

Worldwide, women are known to opt out of the workplace when they hit the proverbial “glass ceiling” or at childbirth. However, gender-sensitized managers can be a big help in creating a challenging and nurturing environment for women employees at the workplace. After all the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!


Handy Hints

·       Focus on creating more women-friendly workplaces

·       Gender-sensitized managers needed to create a challenging work environment.

·       Constant training, tutoring and mentoring important to motivate female workforce.

 Sathya Menon is Director, Academics, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai.