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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WORKPLACE SPECIAL...Make workplace INTERACTIONS count



Make workplace INTERACTIONS count 

DRIVING WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY THROUGH HIGH-QUALITY INTERACTIONS

WE are so focused on improving productivity, as it is directly linked to revenue and other tangible business goals, that we forget that human beings are social animals and they come to work with a strong need for interaction and collaboration with others. There exists a core set of skills everyone needs to master in order to effectively build relationships and get work done.
THE FIVE KEY PRINCIPLES ARE:
Maintain or enhance self-esteem; Listen and respond with empathy; Ask for help and encourage involvement; Share thoughts, feelings and rationale to build trust; Provide support without removing responsibility to build ownership.
PRACTICAL NEEDS
Leaders can meet practical needs and structure the discussion by using five interaction guidelines. Open: In this step,you ensure that the discussion has a clear purpose and that everyone understands the importance of accomplishing it;  

Clarify: There are two types of information to collect in this step - facts and figures and issues and concerns.Both are essential to building a complete picture;  
Develop: When developing ideas,it is important to ask questions and include others in the process;  
Agree: It is important that leaders and the people involved agree on a plan for following through on the ideas that were developed and for supporting those who will take action;  
Close: This is the final chance to check that everyone is clear on agreements and succeeding steps and committed to following through.
SIX INTERACTION SINS
A close study of these interaction essentials highlights a number of common mistakes and tendencies.While leaders may demonstrate strengths in one aspect,it is the combination of elements that lead to high-quality interactions at the workplace.  

HERE ARE THE MAIN ROADBLOCKS: 
Rushing to fix the problem:Many managers sprint to fix problems;they miss out on listening to issues and involving others relevant to the task;
One-size-fits-all approach:Some managers tend to have one single approach to addressing issues. They might end up building a blind spot;
Avoiding tough issues:
Many managers just can’t deal with tough issues,especially performance issues.They put these under the rug and the problem amplifies over time;
Inconsistent application across different contexts: Sometimes,managers surprise us by solving issues innovatively;but in similar situations,on other occasions,they fail;
Spotting opportunities for change but forgetting to engage others:Many managers are too focused on identification of the need rather than inviting ideas from others and assuming people would come on board by themselves;
Neglecting to coach in the moment:Many managers believe coaching is a long-term agenda and completely fail to coach their direct reports for ‘here and now’. While these problems are very common,the good news is these are behaviours,which are highly ‘trainable’.Mastering interaction and leadership skills is like every other discipline.It takes practice.
AMOGH DESHMUKH ,key member - leadership, Development Dimensions International TAS130424

HEALTH SPECIAL...Fire in your tummy?


 Fire in your tummy? 

Milkshakes and even a poor posture can cause acidity. Read on to find out what’s burning your stomach 

Acidity is not only a minor, embarrassing or slightly painful condition. Known medically as dyspepsia, if not treated or taken care of, it could lead to arthritis, osteoporosis or even kidneys stones. And before you reach out for that bowl of curd to soothe your burning tummy, be warned: all dairy products contribute to acidity. Nutritionists say eating a balanced meal at the right time and regular exercise will not keep the burps at bay so long as you are not careful about the food combinations you make.
KNOW YOUR Ph BALANCE
A pH number — potential Hydrogen — is reflective of the acidic or alkaline nature of a liquid and our bodies are by nature alkaline. However, our stomach secretes acid to digest our food. Dr Purshotam Vashishtha, consulting gastroenterologist at Mulund’s Fortis Hospital explains, “Whenever we eat, cells within the lining of the stomach pump acid to liquefy the food; acid is secreted in the presence of food in the stomach as a normal physiological response.”
ALKALINE AND ACIDIC FOOD
Nutritionist Anju Venkat from The Health Awareness Centre, Worli, says all foods are alkaline by nature. It is when their natural state is altered — through cooking, preservation processes or wrong combination in digestion (see box) — that they become acidic. On most occasions, Venkat adds, the stomach can neutralise the acid, but some times the work load becomes too much to handle.
SIT UPRIGHT
It might come as a surprise but even incorrect posture could lead to high acid levels in the body. Venkat says when our body’s muscles are contracted, lactic acid levels rise. Thus slouching over your desktops and wearing heels constantly can. 
>>Painkillers lead to excess , antibiotics production , blood of acid thin . - ners » Those can also suffering cause hyperacidity from lung disease . , renal failure and diabetes are prone to acidity 
>>Gallstones . can also cause excess gastric
 » Sleep acid is the in the body stomach ’s cooling . mechanism to balance acid and alkaline. Lack of sleep, sleeping late, increases acid levels
>> Drinking the body too . much water dilutes the nutritional balance within the bodyleading to lack of energy available for neutralising 
» Acidity is the sometimes acid. also a sign of tumour in the stomach and intestine, so do not take it lightly. Consult a gastroenterologist 
» Over exertion if the problem can also is get persistent those cells . in your stomach to start churning out of turn.
FRUIT SALADS ARE A BIG NO
Mangoes are served as deserts, but insist on eating them half an hour before meals or two hours later. Experts say fruits must always be eaten on an empty stomach. Milkshakes, fruits as desserts, fruit juices with meals — all lead to fermentation.
DON’T GO NUTS OVER DRY FRUITS
Dry fruits are fruits with the water removed from them like dates, figs, raisins, cranberries, prunes and have high glucose content. Nuts — seeds of plants like almonds, cashews, walnuts — are oily in nature. The two don’t mix and when eaten together ferment; thus producing acid.
MULTI-GRAIN? NOT A GOOD IDEA
You thought a little bit of nachni and jowar in your atta was healthy. Experts differ. They say the new fad of eating multiple grains together (multigrain breads and multigrain attas) extends the process of digestion, generating more acid in the stomach.
EAT YOUR GREENS
Salads help the stomach produce digestive enzymes (which are alkaline), that neutralise the acid created when the stomach is digesting cooked food

Reema.Gehi MM130424

GADGETS AND GIZMOS SPECIAL...COMPACT CAMERAS



COMPACT CAMERAS

Visual Delights

Compact cameras that pack in a wishlist of features are here

NEX 6
HIGHLIGHTS 16-50mm f/3.5-V5.6 lens).APS-C sensor, 24.3MP, 16-50mm power zoom Interchangeable lenses (additional) OLED Electronic viewfinder, tilt LCD 3" screen New hot-shoe for more standard accessories
Sony has been doing quite an amazing job with its cameras lately, not only firming up its place in the imaging market but taking forward the compact camera category by adding advanced features.
 
The NEX-6 is an affordable version (if you can call Rs 49,990 inexpensive) of the NEX-7, a mirrorless camera that has been received very well by photography enthusiasts and pros who want DSLR-like features in a portable and light body. That means some high-end components. You could get an entry-level DSLR for that amount, but not always the combination of advanced features and light weight.
 
The NEX-6 looks solid, rugged and is very comfortable to hold. It has a textured grainy feel which makes sure you don’t find it slippery, and a deep groove into which your fingers can curve. Facing you is a nice 3-inch LCD screen which tilts up and down and extends — but doesn’t swivel.

Additionally, there’s an electronic view finder (EVF) for precise framing. I thoroughly enjoyed using it. Right on top, the hot-shoe now lets you use more than just proprietary Sony accessories.
 
The one thing you’ll find almost straight off is that the NEX-6 is Wifi-enabled. Not only can you wirelessly transfer your photos but you can use apps via Sony’s Play Memories. But the process of getting this going is rather clunky and cumbersome.
 
The 16.1 megapixel large APS-C sensor used in other models in the NEX line, which got a good response from those who are not satisfied with casual point-and-shoots but need more (read portability and accessibility), is on this model as well. These sensors are usually in DSLRs. It comes with a basic lens but supports optionally available E mount lenses. Sony promises firmware upgrades for more lenses. The NEX-6 takes great pictures (1920x1280p) and HD video. There are lots of manual controls. The ISO extends to 25,600. It has a built-in flash. The zoom is mechanised so it’s easier to use. 

Canon Powershot S110

HIGHLIGHTS

Built-in Wifi, 3-inch touch screen
12.1 MP with 5x optical zoom 25mm wide angle f/2.0 lens Digic 5 image processor

With the S90, S95 and S100, really tiny cameras went from mere automatic point-and-shoots to including better manual control and higher image quality. The S110 was launched a few months ago and is now available for Rs 29,995. Looking at the slim pocket-sized camera, you wouldn’t think it contains the features it does. The first surprise was that it has a 3” bright and vibrant touch screen — a pretty responsive one too. You can use the dials and knobs or just touch the screen for actions, including touch-to-capture, if you choose. This, of course, makes the device much more novice-friendly. The other surprise is that it has Wifi. Both these should become hygiene factors on cameras now. You can also print from this camera.
 
The S110 has a sandpapery feel to it to improve your grip. There are no other aids except a little raised edge on the top right. The controls, mode dial, settings ring around the lens, and the usual controls on the back, are solid and clicky. That ring can, however, be set to whatever controls you need for different modes. And because this can be selected from the touch screen, the access is quick.  The one true annoyance is a tiny hard power button that’s too close to the shutter release button.
 
BenQ GP10

Watch That Wall
Take the paintings off the wall and move the cupboard aside. You need some good clean picture space. If you and your family are movie buffs, photo enthusiasts or fond of music videos, you might like to consider turning a wall into a giant screen, ready for a show anytime. BenQ, an India-based company that makes projectors and  sometimes cameras, recently launched a 720p LED HD-ready home projector, the BenQGP10. About the size of one of those tiny room heaters, this projector is designed to be portable and plug-and-play. It weighs in at 1.5kg, so it’s lighter than most laptops. So, whether you move it around at home or take it somewhere with you, this projector is meant to be very portable — though I wish it had a smaller footprint.
 
You can attach it easily enough to anything, including a DVD player, which you can get optionally with it. It has the usual essential HDMI and USB connectivity and an SD card slot. Considering these tiny cards can hold 32GB, you can carry whatever content you need without feeling it when you’re on the go. There’s support for different file formats for movies, pictures and audio.
 
The picture from the GP10 is nice and bright and vibrant at 550 ANSI lumen brightness. Its native resolution is 1280 x 800. The colours look rich and contrasts are good. You can move the projector back to fill the whole wall without losing out on the experience. It has built-in stereo speakers but, of course, it’s best connected to a sound system for impact. Price: Rs 59,990

Mala Bhargava BW130422

PERSONAL SPECIAL...Four Ways to Give Good Feedback



Four Ways to Give Good Feedback

When effectively administered, feedback is a powerful way to build knowledge and skills, increase skills, increase motivation, and develop reflective habits of mind in students and employees. Too often, however, the feedback we give (and get) is ineffectual or even counterproductive. Here, four ways to offer feedback that really makes a difference, drawn from research in psychology and cognitive science:
1. Supply information about what the learner is doing, rather than simply praise or criticism.
In “The Power of Feedback,” an
article published in the Review of Educational Research in 2007, authors John Hattie and Helen Timperley point out that specific information about how the learner is performing a task is much more helpful than mere praise or, especially, criticism. In particular, research by Hattie, Timperley, and others has found that feedback is most effective when it provides information on what exactly the learner is doing right, and on what he or she is doing differently (and more successfully) than in previous attempts.’
2. Take care in how you present feedback. 
The eminent psychologist Edward Deci has identified several conditions under which feedback may actually reduce learners’ motivation. When learners sense that their performance is being too closely monitored, for example, they may disengage from learning out of feelings of nervousness or self-consciousness. To counter this impression, the purpose of observing or supervising should be fully explained and learners’ consent obtained. Better yet, learners should be involved in collecting and analyzing data on their own performance, reducing the need for oversight by others. (And as the popularity of the “Quantified Self” movement has demonstrated, many people seem to enjoy keeping even minute records of their own behavior.)
A second risk identified by Deci is that learners will interpret feedback as an attempt to control them — for example, when feedback is phrased as, “This is how you should do it.” Empower learners rather than controlling them by giving them access to information about their own performance and teaching them how to use it.
According to Deci, a third feedback condition that can reduce learners’ engagement is an uncomfortable sense of competition. To avoid this, emphasize that you are sharing feedback with students or workers not to pit them against each other, but rather to allow them to compete against their own personal bests.
3. Orient feedback around goals.
Information about performance means little if it’s not understood in relation to an ultimate goal. Hattie and Timperley have formulated three questions that feedback can help answer: “Where am I going?” (That is: What is my goal?) “How am I going?” (That is: What progress is being made toward my goal?) Lastly, “Where to next?” (That is: What actions must be taken to make further progress?) Feedback is most effective, research has found, when it directly addresses the learner’s advancement toward a goal, and not other, less-pertinent aspects of performance. (If it’s not relevant to the goal, don’t bring it up.)
Once a goal has been clearly specified, feedback can help learners see the progress they’re making toward that target. Find ways to help learners represent this progress visually, in a chart or graph that they update regularly.
4. Use feedback to build metacognitive skills.
The most profound and lasting benefit of sharing feedback with students or employees is the development of their awareness of their own learning. Having access to information about their performance creates opportunities for learners to recognize when they’ve made mistakes and figure out what to do to fix them. It also helps them to monitor their own motivation and engagement, and take proactive steps when they feel these flagging. They can learn to identify when to work harder, when to try a different approach, and when to seek help from others. The ultimate goal of feedback, in other words, should be to teach learners how to give feedback to themselves.
By Annie Murphy Paul This article is from the Brilliant Report, a weekly newsletter written by Annie Murphy Paul.