For most of my school life growing up in a suburb in Maryland, I was a lonely, quiet girl. People who know me now are always surprised to hear it.
Throughout my childhood, I went to my local public schools in Howard County, near Baltimore. Unfortunately, it turned out in my district, I was the lone Indian-American amidst a majority white and black kids.
While it was surely more complex, what I remember is a clear division at school that everyone acknowledged: there were the “popular kids,” and “unpopular kids,” or “nerds”.
Back in those days, I was more into…
A thriving organization depends so much on its people — and yet developing a strong talent and HR strategy is often an afterthought for early stage businesses.
The issue of finding and developing the right talent is often looked at too simplistically: “We just need to hire people with x skills to complete y and z tasks.” And the assumption is that “the right people will come along, and they’ll stay — since our company is so awesome!”.
The reality turns out to be much more complicated, as many early stage companies find out the hard way. For example, they…
A Formative Experience
One of my clients several years back while at Accenture was a media company that had just seen the incoming of a new CIO.
Now, this new leader was a true visionary: he saw the potential of the IT function to revolutionize the way it worked and to serve stakeholders across functions in new, agile ways. He was an inspiring and highly intelligent leader and was able to truly set the vision for the future of the company in a meaningful way. When he spoke at town halls, everyone listened with rapt attention.
As key to his…
If there is one point I try to make to my clients, it is that technology and culture change are two sides of the same coin.
Of course, leaders may know this intellectually. And yet, instinctively, when they hear terms like “culture” and “change management,” they may tend to brush them under the rug and de-prioritize them as HR “fluff.”
Despite the change management function growing in demand, change management is still almost always under-invested in, resulting in slower adoption of new technology, less alignment across the organization, and ultimately - more time to achieving ROI on technology investments.
Prior to my current career in organizational consulting, I was a Neuroscience Researcher in an MD/PhD program.
After that, I was a musician part-time in India.
After that, I was a Market Research Lead with Abt Associates.
After that, I did my MBA in France at a top international business school, INSEAD.
After that, I helped enterprise organizations implement new tools and facilitate organizational change to improve marketing and sales performance with Accenture.
Finally, I co-founded my own boutique consulting company for organizational change management and people analytics, CultureStrategy.
You are probably thinking one of two things now:
I know that the term ‘toxic masculinity’ is misleading and controversial. I want to make it clear that the way I define it has nothing to do with gender, more to do with a particular, unhealthy approach to leading and addressing situations, which can be practiced by any gender, race, political stance, etc.
I think it should be re-dubbed. “Toxic insecurity and denial,” maybe?
I am broaching the topic again after 3 different events this past week all had a similar theme and got me starting to think.
A Pushy Sales Call
The first was a high-pressure sales call with…
“Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Carl Jung
How many times have you watched some drama from the sidelines, with an imaginary bag of popcorn in hand, amused inside?
Yes, other peoples’ drama is fun and entertaining, when its not happening to us. It reminds us that, hey , its not just our lives that are weird and unpredictable — it’s everyone’s!
I also believe there is much we can learn from it.
But learning requires us to delve into another layer of reflection —a proactive layer, beyond “being entertained.”
What is this situation in front of me…
I believe it’s because no one really knows what it is. Or if they do know what it is, they are still not able to fully ‘walk the talk.’ Why is that?
Contrary to the narrow box in which companies define diversity today — diversity is actually much more than race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity.
True diversity is when we can fully accept and appreciate those who look, think, and act completely differently from us.
We Are Not Woke.
Many of us may consider ourselves very enlightened and “woke,” because we have friends and acquaintances of diverse ethnic origins…
“If people stopped trying to not make things worse, we have no idea how much better they would get.” Jordan Peterson.
A few years ago, I started noticing something interesting in my own behavior:
The more i wanted to impress someone — be it a hiring manager, potential collaborator, acquaintance, a man I found attractive — the less of myself I would be with them.
The more importance I would place on that person, the less importance I placed on just being myself.
I would try to suppress and filter my true self and act like my imagination of what…
A recent Linkedin study has shown that the most in-demand skill in 2019 is not data analytics, not AI, not app development— it is creativity. At the top also are collaboration and adaptability. Companies are hungry to hire people who can think out-of-the-box, respond and adapt quickly, and collaborate with others to find solutions.
It makes sense — the key to evolution is variation and adaptability. We have seen that too much ‘sameness’ in nature results in weaker inbred species, diseases, and death.
Yet why do we humans still constantly try to be around the same people, doing the same…