Archive for February, 2012

Negotiating at Work

February 23, 2012

The interview with Piya Mitra, HR Director and Business Partner at Cadence was on the topic of Negotiating at Work showcased her deep experience and wisdom in the area of HR and business and market trends. Her passion for technology and for people really came across in her interview, and her practical advice for candidates, hiring managers and HR professionals showed the need for coordination and collaboration to find that win-win: an alignment between employees, and management to meet professional goals of our workers and the corporate goals for the organization. Below is her advice on how each partner can better coordinate to achieve these win-win results:
1. Candidates should have a good understanding of the job description and know how he/she fits that job description and whether that specific job fits into their overall career path. Having all parties ensuring this initial fit is the first big step to a successful hire.
2. Hiring managers and HR professionals should collaborate in writing the job description to meet the needs of the manager, the team, and the overall corporate goals.
3. Hiring managers and HR should coordinate in terms of range for salary, benefits, stock and other compensation items.
4. Factor in not just the salary history for the candidates, but more importantly the value he/she provides in the job.
5. Treat HR like a science with measurable objectives and results and processes.
6. Negotiation is part of your day-to-day life, at home and at work, whether you’re in HR or not, whether you’re in job transition or not. So find a common ground with whomever you’re negotiating, and practice a little give-and-take and collaborate, compromise and create alignments to achieve bigger goals.
7. As a hiring manager, first evaluate the job, and then evaluate the fit of the candidate to the job, factoring in everything from resume to interview to references and salary history.
8. When negotiating for a promotion as a candidate, be clear on what the next position would look like in terms of skills, requirements, responsibilities, resources, etc. Consider also the compensation and/or resource adjustments which might come with a promotion. Then bring the issue up with your manager, being prepared to see additional information about the potential promotion, reflecting larger corporate perspectives in terms of strategy/direction and budget.
9. In building a successful global organization, consider the advantages and disadvantages for ‘ex-Pat’ attraction strategies for countries such as India, who are attracting seasoned, educated talent to return to their home country and lead younger, less experienced, yet fully trained staff. There’s a potential for a win-for-all with strong development, R&D and management abilities on both sides, serving the overall corporate objectives for their organizations.
10. Negotiating is a part of communication, a part of life. Rather than focusing on always persuading someone to your point of view and intentions and objectives, focus instead on negotiating toward a common ground.
The bottom line is that negotiating at work is about thinking strategically, communicating transparently, and focusing on finding that win-win, that common ground for yourself, for your team, for your organization.


Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Time

February 11, 2012

FountainBlue’s February When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of How to Throw More Balls Up Higher: Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Times. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a panel of such highly-evolved women, women who are powerful and effective, yet grounded and real and practical. In this conversation, they stimulated to our minds, inspired our hearts and spoke to our souls.
Our panelists encouraged us to have realistic objectives of what we want in life, at work, at home, and to set boundaries and expectations and communicate them in partnership with those who are affected by our decisions. So it’s not having being SuperWoman, having it all, *all* the time, it’s more about choosing when to be SuperMom, SuperLeader, SuperWife, SuperFriend, and engaging 100% in that objective at the moment.
This may involve leveraging resources to ensure that you focus fully on the people and objective at the time. It may involve changing your own definition of what’s good enough. It may involve making a plan, but rolling with whatever happens despite your plan, because life generally interferes with your plans!
Our panelists encouraged us to make proactive, considered choices in our life, and then sticking to those choices, parking the guilt, while constantly monitoring whether the choices you’re making still work for you and others involved.
They continually remarked on the importance of surrounding yourself both at work and at home with people who make you be more efficient, partner with you on shared goals, make you feel good at the perfections and imperfections of you. These people in your close network will help you navigate the fuzzy line between work and home, and support you as you navigate those lines, making you and the whole team more effective overall.
Our panelists specifically cautioned about the toxic people in our lives who just don’t bring us energy, who look down on us, or make us feel less good than we do. They may be good and well-intentioned, but this type of negative energy is draining and unnecessary.
Another common theme was the emphasis on being the best *you* you can be, without constantly comparing yourself to others, without meeting the media-introduced ideal of ‘perfection’, a perfection which is plastic and hollow at best, and beyond achievement for just about everyone.
When the theme of having children came up, we had many enlightened and considered perspectives. We got the advice to wait until you accomplished some professional goals to the opposite extreme of getting the kids out of the way. But the message was do what’s right for you, what works for you and your objectives and your value set, without the guilt and judgments.
One of the questions raised was about making the time to do something for yourself. Our panelists each stated the importance of doing this, something most people put last, and said that if you don’t take care of yourself, it is so much more difficult to take care of everything else. But everyone gets energized in different ways, so consider first what energizes you and keeps you going forward, juggling everything in front of you, and poised to take on more, while enjoying what you have (in doses).
Our panelists gained their experience and wisdom through real-life choices and experiences. Whether it’s additional managerial responsibilities, a birth or death in the family, an opportunity for a bigger, more comfortable house and materials goods, an opportunity to move closer to family, or other circumstances, the stories these women shared were a direct result of the choices they made and the reasons for these choices, and how these choices impacted their lives, and the choices available going forward.
Below are some ideas they had for working toward that work-life integration:
• Know what really matters to you and those dear to you and keep your objectives focused on what really matters.
• Consider bartering with others in your network.
• Don’t try to do it all yourself – engage the spouse and kids at home.
• Find a way to be calm and centered.
• Have realistic, yet high expectations.
• Act and think and work with intentionality. If you know precisely what you want and why and plan accordingly, you are so much more likely to move in that direction!
• Consider working with corporate for flexible time and hours, or just your management and team to set expectations about deliverables, not about specific hours worked.
• Plan for what you can predict then work with the ebbs and flows. And for goodness sakes, enjoy the ebbs, don’t add more to your plate during those ebbs!
• Be clear on your choices and manage any guilt you might have, knowing that you made a considered, measured choice.
• Try compartmentalizing your guilt and decide to park it until late, negotiate with yourself on when you can feel guilty.
• Watch your attitude and the way you set up dichotomies; try not to make it an either-or, or a this versus that, but a blend of both, a new possibility and perspective even.
• Be proactive and plan things out, but don’t freak out if it doesn’t work according to plan. Be happy and confident with the plan; don’t second-guess it or feel guilty because of it!
• Always have open, honest communication with spouse and employers.
• Know your value and what you won’t compromise on, and stick with them as a high priority.
• Fire that guilt voice, but listen and invite the voice of feedback from your trusted circle.
• It’s not easy, and it shouldn’t feel easy. Celebrate little successes and be proud of what you’ve accomplished, even if it didn’t quite fit that master plan!
• Take the words of Mother Theresa, and trust that you are where you were meant to be.
• Build that circle of friends, role models and supporters, sponsors at work.
• Don’t plan your career based on what *might* happen in your life.

• The documentary Miss Representation, by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and aired on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.
• The report Award-Winning Career Timelines In Computer Science and Engineering from the Anita Borg Institute This report provides a biographies of a variety of successful technical women whose careers can serve as a touch point and model for other women working in technology.

The bottom line is that our panelists encourage us to live an integrated life based on our passions, values, abilities and desires, without looking at the judgments imposed on us by others, and surrounding ourselves with the people and resources to help us make it so.
FountainBlue’s February 10 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of How to Throw More Balls Up Higher: Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Times, and featured:
Facilitator Melissa McDonell, Brand Voice Marketing Consulting
Panelist Gina Diaz, Director, License Management Services (LMS) Group, Oracle
Panelist Irena Halsey, Director Women’s Initiative, eBay
Panelist Jane Helfen, Director, Human Resources, Huawei
Panelist Shilpa Kolhatkar, Engineering Manager, Cisco
Panelist Cheryl Miller, Sr. Director, Product Management, Symantec
Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at Symantec.

Negotiating Across Silos

February 10, 2012

Savitha Srinivasan is one of those authentic, effective leaders anyone would want as a colleague, mentor and friend. She consistently advocates for working passionately and strategically to further a cause, a technology, an idea, and does this as part of her work as a partner at the IBM venture group. Through her 20-year career at IBM, she focused on opportunities in many different areas, from research to venture financing, and currently leads the development of IBM’s services venture ecosystem, fostering partnerships, pilots and M&A insights with a wide range of stakeholders.
As someone who began her career at IBM’s prestigious Watson Research center and having earned 15 patents in unstructured information management, Savitha’s technical knowledge is extensive and her decades of experience in this area in many capacities gives her key insights on the trends in data analytics and its practical applications to the complex problems of today in the areas of health care, financial services, CRM, telecommunications and other areas.
Savitha generously shared her advice for negotiating across silos:
1. Be fact-based and speak to objective, quantifiable things like numbers and evidence.
2. Be entirely honest with yourself, and with those with whom you’re communicating. Do it, even if you don’t look good in the short term!
3. Know your strengths and your limits and surround yourself with people and resources who can complement what you have to offer.
4. Consistent honest, direct and transparent communication will build you a reputation as someone reliable with integrity and people will want to work with you.
5. Stretch your comfort zone and communicate with people who represent other divisions/silos/viewpoints.
6. Find and work for the win-win.
7. Communicate and negotiate with passion for something you believe in.
8. Continue to grow and expand the scope of what works for you.
9. Be customer-centric and negotiate on behalf of the customer.
10. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and speak a vernacular and language they understand.
The bottom line is that advancement and effectiveness will always be dependent on thinking strategically about the value you provide for the people that you work with, and understanding the needs of the ‘other side’ will help you create that value, and find a mutually-beneficial path forward.

Negotiating Secrets for Growing, Building and Running A Successful Startup

February 3, 2012

FountainBlue’s February 2 Women Leaders in Conversation topic was Negotiating Secrets for Growing, Building and Running A Successful Startup, with Amita Paul.
Amita Paul shared the ins-and-outs of social media and its revolution while sharing the story of how it drove the business choices she made. She advised us to focus on something that you’re passionate about, then strategically build relationships with those who can help you nurture a shared customer-centric vision, leveraging technology and relationships, insisting on excellent execution, and collectively building momentum and brand around the cause.
Amita affirms that negotiation plays a key role throughout the process, whether you’re just articulating that vision that will-not-be-denied, or whether you’re working with partners to build prototypes, collecting initial customers or investment dollars, or strategizing on the best exit path forward. And throughout the negotiation process, she emphasized the importance of clear communications, of building relationships and constantly focusing on making something bigger than it is, creating something from nothing. Specifically, she mentioned that when negotiating with corporates as an entrepreneur, always charge your value, while enlisting their support in making your solution better!
Amita said that it is the consumer shift which has brought social media to the forefront for her, recognizing early that consumers will progressively become more dependent on connecting with each other through social media solutions to make purchasing decisions for themselves, and to inform others in making their decisions as well. And this shift in the way consumers do business is a global trend that’s growing quickly. Indeed, the whole social media phenomena started globally, not in the Silicon Valley or the US as many technology solutions have, and will explode not just with online social media solutions but will extend beyond the web well into other real-world purchasing patterns and decisions.
For those who have not ventured down the social media path, Amita’s advice is to get connected! For those stuck with the privacy and security questions, her advice is to be strategic and thoughtful, but do have a presence, a brand, a voice. We will conclude with a top-10 list of things entrepreneurs should do:
1. Do everything with passion.
2. Insist on excellence.
3. Tell your story.
4. Make up your own rules to overcome obstacles, especially around budgets.
5. Sometimes it’s about taking a chance, and doing something that you’re passionate about that takes you out of your comfort zone.
6. Empower your loved ones and make a good choice for a spouse.
7. Believe that your thoughts and actions can change the world.
8. Look for early adopters.
9. Be customer-centric.
10. Always focus on building momentum.
For more information, follow Amita’s blog