Friday, March 23, 2007

"Basics" In stints

As I write this Indian cricket team is playing Sri Lanka in world cup. India, as usual, have got themselves into a hole early in the tournament by losing to a minnow team. What happened in that match often happens with Indians. To put it simply, India went wrong in basics. The cricketing basics were simple; bowl straight, close to the batsman, get a little bit of swing and field well. Indians went wrong in these basics while trying more esoteric ideas and experiements.
Importance of "Basics"
While Srinath discovered this fundamental truth in final series, yours truely has discovered this a long while ago. (If only the cricket team would ask me). Yet the question remains if I have discovered the "basics" related to my work. Frankly, I am not sure! As apalling as it sounds, I am not alone. Almost everyone knows only a part of the real basics required in the job. So how can we ensure that we get out basics right everytime.

Know the basics
It is not so simple as it sounds. We almost never know what are our employers basic expectations from us. This is primarily because the expectations keep changing often and we are not informed as frequently. Unfortunately we never take the initiative to ask! Also it is important to ask often enough.

All basics Right All the time
I often found myself incorporating too many "experiments" into my project work. These take up lot of monitoring, focus and therefore energy. This induces a loss of foucs on basics. I have found an easier way by limiting "experiements" and giving adequate focus on basics.

Find an "articulate" mentor!
Often the immediate supervisors may not be able to help us. We need to find enough people who can give us the organisational view-point and explain the changes in the role expected of us. I really have never found mentors who can articulate "basics" (thats "spoon-feeding"!), but the perspective really have helped me in getting closer to what are the base level deliverables.

It has been a learning process for me till today. I believe I havent even scratched the surface. Feel free to let me know the secret if you have found it already!