I enrolled for Megha Bajaj’s Online writing workshop “Wonder of Words” with the primary objective of expressing myself with ease. Publishing my articles was never something that I thought of. I just held on to my Teacher’s hand in and dived into the journey. The result – here I am looking at the Magazine, that is close to my Heart – Infinithoughts, carrying an article I wrote. There will certainly be many more articles in future, but the FIRST is always closer to heart and here is where it all started.

Here is my article …

Yes – name is mis-spelt but who cares, this is my article and I am very excited :-). Here is the article…

Everything was going calm, easy and predictable at work. In the middle of the week, there was a luge layoff where 1600 Team Members were terminated and the rest of the Organization went through a huge restructure. We were very used to the routine work and know the expectation from our work and everything changed overnight. Teams that were together for years were split, reporting to multiple different Managers.

Once I got to know my Manager’s name – my friends said he is very tough to work with, very black and white, is not someone who understand people’s emotions, has very very high expectation of everyone in his team and so on. Some of them even felt that it would have been good to be let go and be impacted in the lay off than reporting to him. Though, I wanted to stay away from being influenced by perceptions, it was difficult.

In my first 30 minutes, Get To Know You meeting with him, we talked just 3 minutes about personal stuff and rest was about work. That made me think what my friends said was true.

A month later, I was presenting to him about the approach we are doing to measure success of our Software rollout that impacted over 10,000 people across the Country. Half way through our presentation, he made a point that our approach is very Subjective and open for misinterpretation and he wanted an Objective evaluation backed by Numbers and Statistics. This meant around 3 months of my work was not useful anymore.

Two months in one of our volunteer event, he recollected the Car model that was driving. I had shared it with him in our very first meeting and he seemed to remember that. That made me think – this is not a common characteristic. When he is involved in a discussion, he is fully focussing and remembers the topic. This was re-inforced multiple times for me – when something is shared that is objective, he remembers those very clearly. This was a big learning for me.

If there was one subject in my School that I hated, Maths was undoubtedly the Winner. Now, I am sitting in front of a guy who wants to me to learn Numbers and Statistics and implement that in my work. Though, I felt it was weird and crazy, I had to agree to his point because what he said made total sense. It was so different for me to even contemplate that someone could think like this.

I learnt basic Statistics and became the early adapter of a tool that was being rolled out by our Organization. Instead of asking people what they “feel” about the Software, we started measuring Number of issues people reported and in fact encouraged people to raise issues if they did not like it. We started backing all our decisions based on Numbers and data points. Emotions were kept outside the table while taking key decisions.

I would go to a meeting with him and tell what all we have accomplished, but come back getting more input on what we should be doing. I thought – looks like there is nothing in the World that would satisfy him. Kept learning new things and doing things differently. Started questioning my own decisions based on data.

Now, it was that time of the year, for me to write my Self review as part of our Annual appraisal process. When I started writing my accomplishments I realized, I have learnt, grown and accomplished the maximum in the last 12 months of reporting to him, compared to all 15 years of my Career put together. I rated myself at 88 / 100 (just in the border of being an over achiever and extraordinary).

In the final meeting, where he had to score, I was surprised to see him Score me at 90 / 100 and clearly mentioning I was an exceptional resource. This was the best appraisal I have ever had. Yes, he is the same Manager who people thought was difficult to work with, black and white, does not understand people etc, but I realized his ways are his ways. He knows how to get the best out of me. Every time he sees me achieve something, he knows I can do much more and was constantly pushing me to learn new things, implement new things, be an early adapter in the Organization for new tools, make my decisions backed by data etc.

I realized, what I have read a long time back – when your Mentor is pushing you from TOP of the Cliff, one of two things will happen – he will be there at the bottom to catch you or most importantly, he is teaching you how to fly. Yes, my Manager was teaching me how to fly. His way of doing that was pushing me from the edge of the cliff. Omar knew he can teach me flying and I am enjoying flying in that aspect.

Do you want to join in my flight of triumph – Find someone who can push you out of your comfort zone.