Sunday, July 18, 2010

Go Green at the workplace

Most of us are very prompt and eco friendly when we talk of our homes but leave our ecp friendly attitude behind when we reach our workplace. Its high time we start adopting environment friendly habits at workplaces as well. Some people do argue that it is the duty of the employers to install green products in the office and they do not have much say in these matters at office. Let’s see if we can make a difference.

1. Turn off your lights: Lights are the biggest killer of energy in the corporate world. Many offices have a mall staff working nights but they leave the lights on in areas where there is no one working. The simplest thing you can do is to turn off your lights when you don’t need them. When you go out of the office for lunch or to some other room, turn your lights off.

2. Turn things off at the power : We generally leave the power on while switching off the computers. Sometimes it may be necessary for charging them, but leaving them on all night is not a good idea.

3. Optimize Energy Settings on Your Computer: Use energy settings that will put the machine into sleep mode if not used for a certain period of time. This helps to shut off the monitor when not in use and helps to save electricity. Remember Screen savers do not save power. If you are going off for a longer period, it is best to shut down the computer.

4. If you are planning to replace older computers at work, switch to using laptops and notebook computers. They use around fifty percent less electricity than desktop computers. True, they may be costly, but in the long run, they will be more cost effective along with the being more friendly to environment.

5. Refill printer cartridges rather than throwing them. Refilling them is cheaper than buying a new one. Moreover, you are not buying more and more plastic.

6. Trying being Paperless: There is no point in printing out every notice, memo or email that you get. Store them online and use less paper. If it is really important to print, then use both sides of the paper for printing. Use smaller left over papers for making notes. Try to use the back side of old documents for drafts and notes. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever feasible.

7. When buying paper, try buying greener options such as chlorine-free paper or alternatives made from bamboo organic cotton etc.

8. Do not use disposable cups, plates, or other such items in your office.. Bring your own reusable cup and plates and avoid using plastic utensils. Bring a reusable bottle filled with water which can be filled up from the water cooler.

9. Catch the bus to work : Not only do you save on petrol and money, you also end up lessening the carbon footprint. Each car that you take off the road saves thousands of liters of greenhouse gases ever year. Moreover, it relieves you from the driving hassles every morning.

10. Recycle : Depending on the kind of waste you generate, recycle whatever you can. These days, we have the concept of e-waste for electronics such as old cellphones, chargers, DVDs, CDs, inkjet cartridges, and computers. Even these items can be re used and recycled.

It is said “ Be the change you want to see in the world” So, do not wait for others, but take the action now. Small things add up. If 100 people do 100 small things it starts to make a big difference.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What is your SQ?

High IQ is passé, Having High EQ is still needed, but it is SQ that will lead you to the top. Research has revealed that most admired and charismatic leaders have highly developed SQs. So, let us find out what exactly is this SQ?

It has been an old practice to measure intelligence and qualify people on the basis of their IQ (the Intelligent Quotient). Societies like MENSA International only allow members who score highly in their IQ tests. But these tests measure the rational intelligence that is used to solve logical problems. It was believed that the people who have higher scores are more intelligent.

But then authors such as Goleman came up with another measure that not only makes us aware of our feelings but those of others too. This was called the EQ --.Emotional Quotient. According to experts, a highly developed EQ can help people become better at understanding and managing others. It makes them more empathetic and compassionate towards others.

But recently, authors such as Dana Zohar and Ian Marshall have introduced a new dimension to human intelligence. It is called the Spiritual Quotient (or SQ). This is the intelligence used to answer questions on meaning and value of life, it seeks fulfillment and happiness at the workplace. The concept of spirituality at workplace is increasingly becoming popular. Till now, workplace was considered a place to earn money to live a better life – but not as a place where you can connect with others. This created a conflict between values of life and working only for money. All humans in general are spiritual – to curb these tendencies in workplace to be able to move forward was becoming the ultimate paradox for all. No wonder, then we tend to feel curbed, and choked, unable to unleash our true selves to our colleagues as the workplace for long has been considered as a place of race towards the top rather than for peaceful co existence.

In such circumstances, IQ is totally inadequate while EQ can still help create more meaningful relations at work, but what is needed is the ultimate intelligence of compassion, balance, peace and a belief in good for all. In more direct terms, spiritual intelligence motivates people to balance their work schedules to spend more quality time with their families. It will help executives understand the importance of ethics in business and CSR (corporate social responsibility) will not remain just another yardstick to measure performance.

Thus where IQ solves the logical problems, EQ helps us in more meaningful relations with emphasis on self awareness and social skills. SQ helps us to understand our core values and makes us more active to create new situations according to our desires. These qualities sustain long term business development and build strong corporate cultures that promote high morale and prevent loss of talent.

SQ is transformative in nature. It provides the necessary courage and conviction in times of paradigm shift and chaos. Creativity, Innovation, Clear communication, being Visionary are some of the key indicators of a High SQ personality.

Many people falsely believe that being more religious makes you spiritual. Wrong. Religion has nothing to do with spiritualism. Nor is SQ related to any particular religion. Spiritualism is a way of life. It is more to do with their inner self and giving wings to your true nature. Naturally, if you are able to work in a place which gives you full freedom to work and unleash your creativity.


Much has been written about the importance of having a mentor in the workplace, a person who can guide you through the ups and down take you under his or her wing, and nurture your career. But in reality, finding a good mentor can be a tough ask.

Traditionally, A mentor is an individual, who is more experienced and generally older, who helps and guides another individual’s development. Generally, this terminology is used to refer to the person who guides you in the workplace. These relationships usually evolve depending on the need and requirement of the mentee. Many a times, we start following a senior person in our offices whom we admire. This may happen unconsciously or consciously. But the more we admire a person, more we try to act like him or her. But the actual mentor-mentee relationship takes place only when the senior person (the mentor) starts taking interest in your career and gives his/her guidance. Usually this guidance is not done for personal gain.

Although the major benefit from this association is drawn by the mentee, even mentors have much to gain from a mentoring relationship. This is an opportunity for mentors to showcase their ability to identify and develop new talent. Talking/discussing professional and personal issues with new and young professionals helps them keep in touch with the latest happenings and brings out new perspectives for them as well. Moreover, being able to share their expertise, or just wanting to help out, be a positive influence, or give back something to their community is an important motivator for mentors. But no matter what the reason for being a mentor is – people find it a very enriching and rewarding experience that also contributes to the organization and the profession.

But whether you are a mentor or a mentee, it is important to keep few things in mind as that this beautiful and life enriching relationship is not soured. Trust is the basis of a mentoring collaboration-a base on which all other aspects of the relationship is built. And it should never be broken.

For a Mentor, it is useful to draw the boundaries of the association. There are certain things which should be avoided such as :

• Financial help in mentee's business or life pursuits Doing so in a formal mentoring partnership changes the relationship and causes a conflict of interest. You are unable to be neutral and objective to the performance and have a higher stake in his/her success propelling you to do more than required. The mentee could even become totally dependent upon you or start taking your support for granted.

• Doing the actual work for your mentee – Sometimes in order to be more helpful, the mentors start doing the work of the mentee such as handling projects, writing reports etc. But this practice is more harmful rather than helpful. Not only are you as a mentor doing extra work, you are making the mentee dependant without teaching him anything.

• Playing personal counselor –Usually, a true mentor will not limit their helping to work-related issues and provide advice for life situations as well but it is important to maintain a thin line which should not be crossed. It is one thing to advise the mentee regarding situations and another to get involved personally. Thus mentors should never get personally involved in the lives of their mentees.

For a Mentee:

• Decide what you need in a mentor – It is better to choose someone working in the same functional area as you are, as well as someone who shares your values. Many organizations have started formal mentorship programmes, but it is still not much in vogue in Indian companies. So, you might have to do your own matching.

• Never ask your direct supervisors to be your mentor – There is too much of a conflict in this relationship. Better have someone with whom you can talk freely about career and workplace issues. You do not want them asking about your latest project when you need advice on another issue.

• Avoid a mentor who is too controlling, judgmental, or a know-it-all – You do not want to be controlled like a child. Some mentors become too possessive. Stay away from them. Look for someone who is positive and will be happy to guide you and share his/her experience with you.

• Look for someone who is trustworthy. You must feel safe in order to reveal your weaknesses. The role of mentors is to help mentees feel comfortable. Make sure the person you are choosing as a mentor can keep things confidential. Or else all your weak points and mistakes that you shared will become part of the office gossip.