Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sponsors : The New Corporate Heroes

Sponsors: The New Corporate Heroes

Forget the Mentor Get A  Sponsor

By Dr. Sathya Menon

If you are stuck in the corporate maze, the best way to negotiate it might be to cultivate a long-lasting relationship with a sponsor. Mentors are instrumental in building self-esteem and providing a safe sounding board to all your ideas—but they might not necessarily help you navigate your way to the top.

What you need instead is a sponsor--a senior-level champion who believes in your potential and is willing to advocate for you as you pursue that next raise or promotion.

Sponsors have the power to deliver you to your next destination and they are the ones who make the vital difference between good talent and real outcomes in an organization.

Sponsorship is however a two-way programme. Protégés have to deliver, too: through stellar performance, loyalty to the sponsor and the organization, and by  offering “value-added”  services that helps to strengthen the sponsor’s brand across the organization.

In the Middle East corporate culture, finding a courageous sponsor might be a difficult task, a person who believes in your talent so much that he is willing to put his reputation at stake to sponsor you. 

But increasingly senior and middle-level managers are emerging as corporate sponsors and are being hailed as “heroes” for making a huge difference to the careers of young individuals and also to the bottom line of the company.

“The head of the organization must be the change leader, the evangelist,” K.V. Kamath, Chairman, Infosys Technologies, went on record saying.

Worldwide research has revealed that those who are advancing in a satisfactory pace in their careers are individuals with a sponsor. A book authored by modern day economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett and titled “Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-track Your Career” shows that 81 per cent of multicultural professionals need navigational help at the workplace.

If mentors help define the dream, sponsors are the dream-enablers. Sponsors deliver: They make you visible to leaders within the company  and to top people outside as well. They connect you to career opportunities and provide air cover when you encounter trouble. But sponsors also demonstrate commitment and expect the same from their protégés.

Handy Hints

·       It needs courage and commitment to be a corporate sponsor

·       Young and multi-cultural professionals need sponsorship to navigate their careers.

·       Protégés must display stellar performance to show loyalty.


Dr. Sathya Menon is the Academic Director of Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's easier to make decisions when there are fewer choices

Management gurus have now discovered that our brains can only handle about seven options before we’re overwhelmed. It’s easier for us to make decisions and act when there are fewer choices. Looking at the 33 items on your to-do list will either paralyze you or send you into default mode: checking email for an hour instead of doing real work.

Monday, October 28, 2013

HR Forum Workshop on Stress management

It is not stress that kills us but our reaction to it. Blue Ocean Training Consultant, Ms. Ramona Singh sheds light on the new & silent killer in today's strive-ridden modern world : stress.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Junk To Do Lists, Opt for a Daily Calendar

Junk To-Do Lists, Opt for a Daily Calendar

Allocate ‘Real’ Time to Accomplish ‘Real’ Tasks


By Dr. Sathya Menon


Dubai : If you are struggling with an exhaustive ‘to-do’ list and burdened with deadlines, here’s a piece of steady advice – it’s time to junk the traditional post-it. Instead create a more user-friendly daily calendar, allocating a realistic time and a date to accomplish ‘real’ tasks at hand.

 Management gurus have now discovered that our brains can only handle about seven options before we’re overwhelmed. It’s easier for us to make decisions and act when there are fewer choices.  Looking at the 33 items on your to-do list will either paralyze you or send you into default mode: checking email for an hour instead of doing real work.

While living in a daily or a weekly calendar, it is important to keep a few hours free every week, in case you are unable to finish a task within the deadline, those empty hours will help in overcoming the backlog.  The level of responsibility remains the same — to set expectations about what can be accomplished with the amount of production time you have available.

 Most of the items on a ‘to-do’  list are not necessarily  ‘’order for lunch” or “fix the punctured car tyre”. They are those that need serious planning and are time-consuming. So unless you set a priority among the tasks and allocate time for them, creating a huge to-do list is bound to end up in failure and frustration. 

 This is primarily because most of us tend to take up tasks that can be accomplished fast while the other more serious ones tend to be ignored. For example the task of a business review meeting might be accomplished without a hassle but that of reading through a employee benefits handbook might remain in cold storage for a fairly long time.

 While making a calendar, ensure that there are self- commitment devices in place, that lock you in your course of action. In ancient days of war, soldiers use to stand against a river wall to ensure that they don’t run away from the enemy. You can impose similar penalties  on yourself to ensure that you are on the right track.

Handy Hints


·         Junk to-do lists, create a daily/weekly  calendar instead.

·         Allocate real time for real tasks.

·         Keep self-commitment devices in place.


Dr. Sathya Menon is the Academic Director, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai


Star Student Speak -- Kaveh Gharachorlou

In Star Student Speak, this week, we have Mr. Kaveh  Gharachorlou, Director of Human Resources at DynCorp FZ LLC who says that his training at Blue Ocean and certification by International Quality Federation has helped him to lead projects and initiate change management at the workplace. He is a certified Green Belt Six Sigma practitioner.

Different Hues of Happiness

Best Speaker : Mr. Abdul Azeez, Best Table Topic Speaker, Ms. Gina Amoyen Monis, Best Evaluator Mr. V.P. Menon

Happiness is the Key to Success” –set the theme for the 13th Blue Ocean Toastmasters’ Club meeting at the Park Regis Hotel recently. It was presided over by Toastmaster of the Day, Pankaj Abhimanyu Khankal, who explained how happiness can come to people in different ways  and that there is no specific definition of happiness .

“There are 7 billion people in this world live in different environments and have different notions of happiness  : 400 million  are entrepreneurs, 430 million are unemployed,  577 million are older than 64 years, 800 million work in industrial jobs, 1.9 billion are too young to work,”

The President  of the Blue Ocean Toastmaster’s Club, Mr. Abdul Azeez, set the pace with his power-packed and awe-inspiring speech. He talked about his happiness derived from his family consisting of his father, his wife and four daughters –how his family supported him through as good times and bad. How as a young boy he would clean trucks to add a mere Rs. 50 to his wealth to the time he shaped himself as a major business player in the UAE.  

Mr. Azeez, said he learnt more from his father than any management book. “In those days he used to practise what management gurus are writing about today”, he recalled.  

Ms. Amrita Singh a champion public speaker and Blue Ocean Toastmasters Club Best Speaker talked about “How to Communicate Effectively at the Workplace”  --focusing on the different nuances of public speaking. She highlighted in particular the importance of voice modulation and pause while driving home a point in any speech.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Practise Compassion to Boost Productivity

Practise Compassion to Boost Productivity

Kind Managers, Lead Better

By Dr. Sathya Menon

That the UAE topped the United Nations list of Happy Arab nations is largely due to a new trend of compassionate management that is on the rise in this region. Managers are increasingly looking at developing human resources and utilizing it as their ‘conscious’ working capital.

Business productivity, profitability and customer loyalty are all enhanced when employees feel cared for and supported at work and there is an increasing acceptance about this doctrine, particularly in a resurgent, post recession economy in the Middle East.

Unmitigated self interest and bare-knuckle competition is being discarded in favour of a more progressive management style that is already yielding profits.

Even economists – the traditional torchbearers of self-interest – have begun to incorporate more than self-interested behaviour into their theoretical models. Some are studying happiness – and finding that altruistic behaviour is among the most effective means of increasing it.

What separates sustainable companies (particularly those that sailed through recession) from the rest of the pack, is the compassion of its leaders, according to a new study conducted by the Australian School of Business. The best managers tend to be great motivators and promoters of success, but compassion may have a far greater underlining impact. In the 77 organizations studied, researchers saw a direct relationship between compassion and productivity translating into profits.

But being compassionate doesn't mean avoiding difficult situations. As leadership expert, Geoff Aigner found in his own research, the biggest roadblock, managers encounter is their reluctance to engage in tough conversations for fear of being unkind.
Linkedin CEO, Jeff Weiner noted : “Managing compassionately doesn’t come naturally to most managers. It requires spending the time to walk in someone else’s shoes — to understand his stress, strengths and weaknesses.”

In high-pressure environments, time investment might be difficult. This is actually synonymous to the work of a carpenter who carefully measures a piece of wood three times before cutting it once.
However, spending such compassionate time with an employee, Weiner says “pays off”. It’s not just altruism: as it turns out, companies that practise ‘conscious capitalism’ perform ten times better than companies that don’t.


Handy Hints

·         Compassion increases productivity translating into profits.

·         Employees work better when they are cared for and supported at work.

·         It is profitable to take time to talk to employees and understand their stress.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Contemporary Global Logistics Challenges

Contemporary Global Logistics Challenges

Mohammed Sharaf, Group CEO, DP World

“We believe that logistics challenges are opportunities.” Dubai is well placed at the crossroads of the world trade to host World Expo 2020 and mobility by land, sea, air and rails is vital to the staging of such an event. The UAE has more than 12,000 kilometres of roading –and growing –and 75 kilometres of light rail, the Metro.

For the supply chain, the future will see even greater multi-modal connectivity with the Etihad rail development underway, and the further development of the Dubai Logistics Corridor and the Al Maktoum Airport. This linkage of sea, air, road and rail is unique in the wider region.

The Dubai Trade electronic portal further enhances the capabilities of supply chain. It integrates more than 800 e-services of DP World, Economic Zones World, Dubai Customs and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, in addition to several leading banks cutting red tape and oiling the wheels of business. More than 70,000 companies in the trade and logistics sector are now plugged into the system conducting nearly 15 million online transactions – a growth rate of 21 per cent over 2011.

Both the physical and virtual connections are what makes Dubai the ideal base for trading across borders. This has been recognized internationally with Dubai now being ranked no. 1 for facilitating trade in the region and fifth in the trading across borders category of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2013.
excerpted from CityScape.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Star Student Speak : Pankaj Abhimanyu Khankal


In Star Student Speak this week, we feature Pankaj Abhimanyu Khankal, HR and Staffing Manager, Unity InfoTech Solutions who says his stint with Blue Ocean gave him good value for money and an insight into the latest industry trends.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Championing the Cause of Public Speaking in the Middle East

President of the Blue Ocean Toastmaster's Club, Mr. Abdul Azeez gives away "Best Speaker" trophies to Blue Ocean students

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.
The lack of public speaking skills on the other hand has disrupted careers and resulted in sleepless nights for many professionals. Studies show that the fear of being tongue-tied on stage is the most common of all phobias. Some people dread public speaking even more than death and some live with this fear throughout their lives.