The Haja Sheriff Blog

How Work Life Balance can be more successful!

Posted by in Personal Effectiveness




As part of a project I was doing on Work-Life Balance, I asked this question in LinkedIn on what some of the members thought of Work Life balance and what one thing they (or their organization) did to build the Work Life Balance.

I got some very good responses. Many came back with specific items that they were doing to achieve this goal. During the last week, having read some books & thought through this, I have changed my perspective on WLB a bit as well 🙂

In my opinion- Work Life Balance is not the responsibility of the Organization only. For this to be successful, it needs every employee’s involvement (and commitment) as much as the Organizations direction.


I got the feedback from a host of people across the world from various spectrums of life. Click here for LinkedIn Answers. However, one of the elements that was highlighted was what the company should do … not many mentioned that the responsibility is as important from an employee’s point of view as it is from the company.

The employee needs to-

a) Have a VERY Clear and defined GOAL to create the balance in his life. It should be written down, clearly defined, and followed through very closely. If for example, the goal is to ensure that I attend all my daughter’s school functions, it should be defined clearly upfront, and shared with the manager well in advance. This way the employee also demonstrates his planning plus ensures that the company’s interests are not compromised in any way.

b) Aware of the policies of the company so that he can make a clear and education decision on the next steps.

c) Be sure that he will use the right schemes to ensure that he gets the right benefit.

d) Commit to ensure that he/she will NOT misuse the scheme (this I think is one of the main reasons many companies are averse to thinking of more such schemes).

From an Organization point of view- it is important to note that many of them already have policies. In many cases, these are well-kept secrets and neither the employee nor the managers know or offer them. HR & the Top Management play a key role to share this information on a regular basis + this message then percolate to the Field Managers who need to execute.

– Another element for an Organization is to constantly lookout for potential areas of improvement- and share it with the customers. This should include gathering feedback from employees & looking at new models to adopt every year.

Here are some of the great tips I saw…

– Ask Roger Federer, Robbie Williams or a farmer or a painter. Are they living or working or doing both or doing nothing? While they are doing nothing they do 99.9999999 percent of their work. Concentration, focus, waiting, reading the situation, looking for that magic instant. Living the moment. Catching the wave. Alex Rotenberg

– Going home. :). Seriously, I agree that Work-Life balance only arises when the work we’re doing is out of alignment with our expectations of life. A best-practice work-life balance would then be one that re-contextualize my work as an outpouring of my life.

– Quote from Donald Trump – "Do not worry about work – life balance, just make your work more pleasurable.

– No surprise that few Corporations are including Gyms at premises as well as day care centers to try to phantom the creation of balance for their employees – Sahar Andrade

– Getting up, walking thru my kitchen to my office – now that is work-life balance. It’s about loving what you do and not forgetting your priorities. For me, it was about getting out of corporate, and doing something more meaningful to me – something that I could control. For others, it could mean something else. Ideally, though, I agree with Trump’s quote – don’t worry about the balance – just make your work more enjoyable! – Emily Kuhl

– The availability of a wellness centre, onsite masseurs, yoga classes, a concierge service, the assignment of points to be used to hire people to run errands, $500 toward elder or childcare, plus three ‘balance’ days to be taken at any time. – Judy B Margolis

– Insisting that employees take a lunch break. Creating excuses for the office to celebrate. Encouraging at least a leisurely walk during a lunch break. Discouraging long work hours. Providing gifts for client’s and their families (i.e., gift certificates at family restaurants) – Juan Garcia Ph.D

– Flexible working hour policy and the option of occasionally work from home facility. – Nipsy Jhamb

– We permit parents to bring children in for brief parental transfers. – Jane Plank


2 x 2 Matrix for better Time Management

Posted by in Management, Personal Effectiveness


A recent project I looked at was around Work Life Balance. A great project by itself, but it did end up changing my view of Work Life Balance- and what it entails (but that is a different topic).

One of the key issues causing Work Life imbalance is time management. In today’s world, getting your job done, on time, is the one key element to success. When that does not happen, then you end up in a catch-up spiral.

A super effective tool to handle the time management pressure – and for you to prioritize your tasks effectively is Steven Covey’s 4 quadrants.


I have faithfully followed (the model) and for the best part, it works (worked) very well. However, the challenge comes in because I look at tasks from a slightly different perspective. A role which you do, can be done in multiple ways- either you treat all you do as “tasks” and continue to put them in the quadrants OR you think of other ways of creating impact by focusing your energy on the “high impact” items.

After much testing to see an effective model, I have started using this model based on Strategy & Impact. I am frankly not sure if anyone else has tried it, but I am working on this for some time and I find it to be more relevant for my use.


I do appreciate if you any of you can shed some thoughts and send me your comments on whether it works for you as well.

Courtesy Picture:


Building Trust in an organization

Posted by in Management

LinkedIn offers an opportunity to change your perspective when you take the time to explore their Q&A Forum. Some of the questions are great and more importantly the answers you see there open your eyes to perspectives and experiences which are vastly different from those that you are accustomed to!

During a recent journey into the world of LI, I came across a question on Building trust within an organization and the factors that are required to achieve that.  I started writing the response off-line- and for some reason, lost the link to the question. However, since I already had prepared some ideas.. here are some thoughts. I am sure there are a lot more that could be added to this. Do add to this if you have more ideas around this.

1. Management culture/ethos – A Management that is dedicated to build a culture of openness, and a culture of respect for each other, is critical to set the tone of trust within. With bosses who are not trustworthy, it is almost impossible to build a climate of trust within the organization. (I am sure there is no debate here)!

2. Leadership style – A leader who is open, and demonstrates trustworthiness, is key to build trust within the team. Someone who shares his perspectives openly, seeks feedback, gives credit, jointly builds the strategy, are critical elements of the leadership style that will set the tone of trust.

3. Openness to feedback and ideas and change – Feedback is critical to self-improvement. Any team that is open to feedback, (good or bad) and consciously makes efforts to improve, will get members more open to suggest ideas freely and be willing to accept feedback in return.

4. Leaders who are accessible – Leaders who are willing to walk the talk- and meet their team lower in the organization

5. Ability to accept mistakes – Leaders and a management team that is ready to accept mistakes made, and willing to apologize, rectify them is a key element to build trust.

6. Proactively seek ideas and share with the team– and acknowledge the owner of the idea. One of the key elements why lack of trust pervades many organizations – that of people who steal others’ ideas and push it off as their own. By acknowledging the owner of the idea, they could help in building trust and open the door to more brilliant ideas that will start pouring in. 

In my experience, both Microsoft & IBM, companies I have worked with (and still working in :)) showed this openness that helps build trust in the organization and the people one works with.

Picture Courtesy:


Seven Secrets of Networking

Posted by in Personal Effectiveness

I recently came across an article called: "Seven Secrets of Networking"
Basically, the author talks about lessons he has learnt over the years-

1. Have an honest intent to help others. If you have a genuine desire to help others, this will be immediately picked up by your contacts. What are you doing to demonstrate that you have their interests at heart?
2. It’s a process, not a transaction. Relationships develop over a period of time. It’s better to have the relationship already developed than trying to build it at the same time as you need to influence the other person.
3. Give to get. It is far easier to get others to spend time with you if, in the past, you have helped or provided value for them.
4. Be provocative. Don’t be a yes man or woman. People are attracted to those who have a new angle, new ideas and a different point of view. The top executives in one of my clients constantly seek out a particular senior manager, as he is always able and willing to offer interesting, innovative and inspirational ideas.
5. Connect others together. I recently organized a meeting between a client of mine who leads a team with a wide variety of backgrounds, with a US expert on managing diversity. The meeting was successful and both thanked me for bringing them together, even though I wasn’t there.
6. Keep in regular contact. Little and often is the best way.
7. Don’t watch the clock.

With the advent of tools like LinkedIn and other online Social Websites, networking has taken a new meaning- and I am beginning to realize that one should go beyond their standard network and reach out to people beyond their  zone.  Whilst one can get a lot of insights & inputs from the people within their network, one should consciously approach the broader world and build a bigger connection- one never knows what one misses otherwise.




Smartphones & PC’s Converge!

Posted by in Technology



While the PC prices have been going south over the last few years, smartphones have become smarter at the same time and more compelling to a mobile user. It appears that many hardware vendors are going to be racing to build the other engine of growth going forward- Smartphones that extend the power of the computers to the mobile world! Phones running Win Mobile (HP, Acer etc), Blackberry, Apple (of course, the uber cool product of all) all vying for the customer’s ears & purses.  This was an interesting article in The Economic Times recently, that suggested that many vendors will be using the Mobile strategy that most of them cannot afford to ignore.

Not too far away from a scenario when you see ads like this – Buy a Smartphone & get a Computer free!