Day 1

A few weeks ago I had an amazing opportunity to visit Amazon offices in India. This was an eye opener with so much to see and learn about how this building is designed for providing Amazon employees maximum comfort as they spend many hours in these facilities developing new innovative ideas.

In the four buildings that I have visited it was very clear what are the expectations and the emphasis on creative and ideation from their employees. The message is very clear, we deliver results and with phrases such as: “Work hard, play hard” or “Free your imagination” you get the drift. In return, the facilities provided to all team members includes plenty of nice breakout spots to choose from, top of the art scum areas, large cafeteria and games room.

At the reception area, there is a large sign of “Day 1” and when I asked what does it mean they explained how in Amazon they want their employees to come to work and feel like it is their first day in the company. The idea is to preserve the motivation and avoid any bias influence on creativity and innovation.

This approach made me think about how companies communicate with their employees. Should it be a bold and outgoing statement or more of a subtle approach…I presume it is come down to the company philosophy and strategy. That’s what makes the differentiation between business. Plenty to learn from this driving company.

Dealing with perception

A few years ago, I participated in a leadership program and part of the introductions we were required to introduce ourselves following a feedback session on how we went. I remember that when delivered my elevator speech the feedback that was given by my fellow colleagues was that I looked younger and the perception might be that I don’t have enough experience.

This was the first time I came across the power of perception and what it means in term of my career path. Later on, as I progressed and moved into more senior roles I had to deal with perception and find creative ways to influence how people think and operate.

Recently I was privileged to travel again to Bangalore, India and had the opportunity to explore the surrounding and experienced it through the eyes of the local team. Every time I travel to India, I’m discovering a new gem and I know that there is so much more to see. What I have discovered every time that I’ve been here is that people will go above and beyond to make sure you have been looked after. Beside the fascinating sightseeing and the incredible food, I encourage everyone to travel to India at least once in a lifetime.

So next time before forming a perception about somewhere or someone, try to give it a go and really see things for what they real are. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Embedded yourself in local culture

Recently I was privileged to be part of a large project that was landed in India and I have had the opportunity to visit in India a few times.Initially, I knew only a little bit about this country and from a perception about what I’m going to see based on what other people have told me. With some concerns and a lot of excitement I travelled to India for the first time. I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that most of the concerns I have had proved to be wrong.

The colours, the friendly people and the beautiful views made feel culturally connected. It almost felt that I have already been here before. In my last visit I had the opportunity to extend my visit and to explore what Bangalore city has to offer over the weekend. Initially I was recommended to visit the tourist places such as the beautiful palace and the temples which I did but I kept on asking to experience the city as a true Bangalorean.

Luckily for me it was Krishna birthday and I went to the Sri Radha Krishna temple. This was an amazing experience, one that I will be remembering for years. This project, people and journey through the cultural challenges taught me the importance of understanding of the small nuances and local gestures.

My role model

Often I’m asked who is my role model and if I can name a few people that influenced me and shaped my leadership style.

From a very young age, I was raised to stand up for myself and for the things I believe in and have developed a strong personality. Growing with four other siblings and being no. 4 was a great lesson about becoming resilient and determined.

For many years I was asking myself where those attributes came from and the deeper I dug into my soul I noticed that there were some similarities to my Grandma. This amazing woman that wasn’t a career driven person had an amazing story to tell and was one of the most unique people I have ever met. She taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life.

From her I have learnt to respect others and respect myself. She had strong ethics that belongs to another generation with incredible manners.

Her modesty and simplicity was remarkable and sometimes I wish I will be half as good as her.

Faith and hope

We all familiar with those days when things don’t go as planned and you become frustrated and start questioning your ability to plan ahead.

These days bring me back to my childhood and I’m greatful for the skills my parents taught me. My dad loved to write and compose and during the last decade he wrote dozens of songs. One of the songs was about faith and to acknowledge that there are sunny and grey days.

In the song it says: “The most important thing is to have faith, this will keep you moving forward on the right path.

Sometimes it is hard to find the inner strength and in those grey moments to see the light. That’s why it is so important to have faith, because it doesn’t matter what type of day you have it will help you to stay focused and motivated and assist with keep on going towards and achieve your goals.

My proudest moment

It is quite rare to have this sensation of mix emotions that vary from being extremely proud to deeply humbled.

In the last few weeks I was focused on the tasks that I needed to deliver which affected my main focus, my amazing kids, and no I’m not a biased.  After an extremely busy week overseas, I finally got back home to find an amazing surprise from my dearest daughter.

As a rule, every time I travel I make sure that at least once a day I get to see or speak with my family. Throughout the week, my gorgeous daughter said that she has a surprise for me, and what a wonderful surprise it was.

When I arrived home, she gave me a wrapped gift with a 3 page document. The document heading was: “50 things I love about my mum”. When I unwrapped the package I found 9 little gifts that had been chosen carefully. From coupons she made to a little bag with M&M chill pills.

The most amazing thing was to read the things she wrote and the way she described me through her lenses.

This made my day and I was touched. I truly believe that it is the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me. When I told this to my daughter she replied that it made her day too.

Everyday I am grateful for my amazing family and it has always been and always will be my rock and the reason to do everything I do.

Leverage a flat situation

On Monday it was one of those days that didn’t go as planned and in my head felt like a total chaos.

On top of the crazy day when I finally got in the car to make my way back home in the first traffic lights someone knocked on my window advising me that I have a flat tyre. A bit frustrated, I turned around and got back to work car park.

Determined that I would be able to replace the tyre based on watching my husband doing it numerous times. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and I was concerned that I will be staying in the car park for a while. As it was late afternoon, few people had home and saw me fighting with the car tyre. They offered assistance, a lovely lady named Natalie who tried to assist me and called her husband to come through to assist and Gareth who actually replaced the type and made it looks so effortless.

Thanks to these amazing people I managed to be on my way back home. Truly appreciate the amazing culture where people help each other even though it means that they will need to stay back and late for their own plans.

It is up to you on how you handle the circumstances, from a poor situation I met amazing people who reminded me that I’m in the right place.

Can’t thank them enough.

When there’s a will there’s a way

So many times we”ve heard that life is short, that the time is now and don’t hold back on things that you want to do.

In the last few years I lived by this and pursued my own dreams and things that I want to achieve in life both personally and in terms of my career. Sometimes, I hear people saying that it’s too late and if I haven’t done it by now it’s not going to happen.

Unfortunately, I have to disagree with that as I honestly believe that there is no age limitation to pursue your dreams whatever they may be.

My mum is nearly 70 and most of her life she was there to support my dad who pursued his own dreams even though it was at the expense of her own. Today my mum decided that she wanted to treat herself and get a tattoo.

It was very symbolic that she chose a tattoo with the word family on her left hand. At the age of nearly 70, my mum said for the first time that she does not care what other people think even if they convince that she’s lost the plot.

My mum showed me today that there is no such thing as too old or too young and nothing should stop you from doing things you want to do.

On that note, all I can say is: Mum, you are a champion.

The Chinese Bamboo – Learn to be patient

In one of the conversations with my husband I told him that now that I’m getting closer to my 40th birthday I truly feel that this is the time for me to shine. My husband shared with me the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree and identified the resemble of the bamboo parable to my journey.

It was fascinating to learn how this amazing plant is growing and the story behind it. In the first 4 years of a Bamboo plant you will not be able to see anything on the surface. In the 4 years you will need to do the same thing every day: water the plant, fertilise and nurture it without any evidence of your hard work.

In this time , you are setting the foundations but you won’t receive any rewards, this is the time where the plant grow its roots and become stronger. In the fifth year, you finally see a small bamboo sprig, then the next day an even bigger one and within 5 weeks it will grow up to an amazing height of 27 meters.

At the age of forty I’m starting to realise that the last ten years have been the foundation of establishing my career path and the direction I would like to pursue. Life long goals are not about racing to the finish line. It’s about learning new skills and meet new people who I can learn from every day. At this point of my life I truly looking forward to continuously building my skills set and gain knowledge to be able to take on new challenges and reach my true potential.

Proud to be persistence

So many times in life we tend to give up midway through when things go wrong or not the way we have planned.

Forming a plan is the first step towards achieving your goals. The plan should be simple and concise with clear direction and measurable goals to keep you accountable.

Last year we were challenged with a new budget that seems unlikely to be achieved. At the beginning, most of the team was sceptical about our chance of reaching the new goals. We then sat down and start forming our plan of attack.

We map who are the key stakeholders that we will need their support and have created a critical path with key milestones, responsibilities and potential risks. Once the planning stage was completed we started to develop our communication strategies to ensure that all teams are on board.

At the start, it was difficult to bring everyone together and get them to see the bigger picture and understand the potential for each department. We experienced some high and low and witnessed a slow progress with many obstacles thrown upon us which we not always knew how to overcome. The one thing that kept us going is the belief in the vision and the desire to create a meaningful change for the future.

By being persistent and not given up midway through we not only achieved our budgetary goals we were able to assist multiple teams to achieve theirs with a cross functional true collaboration.