Student Engagement + Customer Engagement = Inspiration

I have been travelling to India for the past 4 years now at the end of November/early December to visit our India Campus Team, meet with internal customers and go to the IIT’s for Oracle’s IIT hiring. This trip while I am only half way into my itinerary has been such a productive, humbling and inspirational trip for me.

I am so proud of our India Campus Team, I always wanted our team to be known for providing outstanding customer service and for leading the way in campus recruitment. There are always challenges in a large corporate environment but our team has so much positivity about them it is contagious and I see this in the conversations I have with our customers who believe in what we do and the direction we are going. From so many conversations with our team and with our customers I am very excited for the future of Oracle Campus Recruiting in India (stay tuned for more :) ).

 

Equally inspiring is getting the chance to talk to students and hear their stories and hear about their experiences here at Oracle. Earlier this week, I had the chance to meet about 50-60 of our graduates who started earlier in the year with us. In Asia-Pacific we hire a large volume of students. It was so great to be able to meet some of our recent graduate hires and hear from them the positive impact of getting the chance to work at Oracle has given the them. I also had the chance to meet a group of graduates who joined us earlier in the year, who give their time, effort and resources to help under privileged children locally in Bangalore. To see such generosity and maturity from students to give back to the community they way they do is really a humbling experience. We assisted and donated a number of Oracle backpacks that will be used and welcomed.

Our Campus Function in India has come a long way and I feel we have really matured our go to market strategy. After a few days with the team locally brainstorming we have further plans to make a bigger splash in the India Campus market next year and I am very confident we have the right people who can make this happen. Students, if you have any ideas, suggestions or comments please let me know how you would like to engage with Oracle – your inputs would be welcomed.

Any Team Members who come across this postread I just want to say – amazing job everyone, I am so lucky to have the chance to work with all of you, you all are campus rock stars!!!

Corporate Leaders…..For Every Best There Is a Worst

I have been in the corporate world as a Recruiter for over 15 years. During that time I have had the opportunity to work with a range of Business Managers and Leaders either as a direct report, an indirect report, as a consultant or in some other way, shape or form. Over that time I have had the opportunity to work with and observe Business Managers that I have really respected and learnt a lot from. Some managers have the right balance of demeanor and business capability that always seems to lift those around them. This type of Manager that I have seen is very motivated and driven to succeed but they drive success through their own actions and work well with others to get others to achieve the best they can.

They do not drive the success of the organisation at the expense of individuals. What I mean is that these Managers make time for each member of an organisation as a person and do not necessarily see others as a dollar sign or means to an end. They give the same amount of attention whether they are talking to a fresh graduate or a high level executive.  I think you would see a Manager like this trying to lift others up when they have fallen down and help people in the way they do their work. When you work with Managers like this they tend to have a calming effect on a team and they help people take a deep breath and refocus when the pressure is on to get through things whether it is quarterly results, difficult customers or incoming sales pipeline. It is easy for employees follow to these Leaders as people want to help make things work in this situation. It is easy to want to work with people who share the same values as you do.

Just as I have seen some great managers as mentioned above, I have also seen the flip side of the coin and seen some managers at their worst whether that is by trait or circumstances. Unfortunately there are some managers that rely on the old top down management approach that worked many years ago. I am certain we have seen or heard of managers with these traits. These are the folks who believe the louder they yell the better the results will be from others. It is like one of my kids when they have a temper tantrum and stamp their feet thinking this will create change. Whether this is a Manager you work directly with or a Manager in your organisation, it is hard to get behind this type of Leader. If employees provide results it is often as a result of fear which is not a sustainable long term way to manage your work force. With a rapidly changing workforce employees in today’s world not only want to work for great companies but they want to work with others (or to take a quote a word from Seth Godin – people want to be in tribes) who share their same beliefs and ideals. There is nothing wrong with being competitive in business it is what pushes us to develop ourselves out of our comfort zone but great leaders are able to demonstrate the same traits that they want to see no matter what level of person they are working with in an organisation.

Everybody makes mistakes or has moments where they do not act at their best that is part of being human. Moving forward managers and leaders need to understand that they are leading tribes who follow people based on their values. Leaders may find their tribe less responsive to them if they try to lead through fear rather than if they understand that everyone is dependent on each other to be truly successful.

Big Ideas Are Good, but Every Plan Needs Building Blocks

A few years ago I attended a training course which was designed to help participants understand how they think and behave to help them make better decisions both individually and as part of a team. In this training I completed an Emergenetics Profile which helps you understand the way you think. There are 4 Distinct Categories which are Analytical, Structural, Social and Conceptual which are fairly self explanatory. The training was really insightful and helped me better understand the way I tend to approach situations and also better understand how others approach situations as well.

eg_profile_1

 

When I took the test my profile was heavily weighted to ‘Conceptual’ thinking which has thinking attributes and traits such as Imaginative, Learns by experimenting, Enjoys the creative process, etc…. Looking at my work I can see this reflected in the projects and work that I do. While it is great to have a conceptual approach to creating solutions that has to be counter balanced with activity from the other categories – any plan needs elements of the other traits involved as well to be successful. What good is having a big plan if you do not take care of the basics or learn how to translate your big ideas into bite size action items.  Everyone has an idea, the hard part is taking those ideas and turning them into reality.

 

Our campus team has implemented a number of changes over the years to improve the services we provide which has been a great challenge and very rewarding for all of us.   Looking back at my blog post from 2 weeks ago, helped me realize that for all the articles out there talking about being innovative, driving change, etc…. we must also stay level headed and make sure that we focus on the building blocks and basics of our work as well.

All the good ideas in the world will not be of much use if you cannot execute or maintain them. The challenge is in translating what is in your head to the real world and taking care of all the things involved in your work including the tasks that may not necessarily be fun. Once you have your big idea and you get the building blocks right then you have a much better chance of success then just going head first with an idea and a prayer.

The Shift From an Individual Contributor to Manager – Some Thoughts

I have been in my current role managing the Campus Recruitment Team and function here at Oracle for the past 3.5 years or so. I was previously an Individual Contributor for 5 years here before I made the shift into a management role. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to take on this current role as I have learnt so much both personally and professionally.

I am constantly challenged (in a good way) to push myself out of my comfort zone and on reflection the last 3-4 years has led to real growth for me. During this time I have made plenty of mistakes and had many growing pains but I think that I have learned from them and I think I am now starting to find my own management style. As an Individual Contributor all the projects I worked on together with my colleagues was done collaboratively and I find that I have taken that approach to my current role as well.

A few things I have observed/learned as a relatively new manager over the past 3-4 years has been that:

1)      Be transparent with your customers and with your team – The best approach is to make sure that people know what is happening and why something is happening. Some people may not like or agree with something but it is better to get this out in the open so at least everyone understands why a certain action is being taken.

2)      Work with People That Share Your Passion/Belief – I love our Campus Team, each Recruiter in the team continues to surprise me with new ideas and approaches they are using to source the best candidates. We have challenges that we need to overcome but we all share the same belief in doing a great job and a team that is committed to each other and believes in their work is so much more successful than those that are just going through the motions.

3)      Trust Your Team – My boss gives me the flexibility to manage my work and I have taken a page from his book and try to share the same principal with the people I work with. There are great people in our team who know what to do – I try to guide people and keep them focused on our larger goals but also I have learned to step out of the way to let them do what it is they are good at.

4)      Walk the Walk – Do the work with the team – The old approach of top down management does not work. I enjoy working side by side with our team not on top of them. We have a team of great individuals who know what needs to be done, I try to be there to support them achieve their goals them not tell them what to do.

5)      Be Clear and Concise – I like big ideas but I also know sometimes I talk in big picture terms and the message of what needs to be done individually can do gets lost in my enthusiasm or not properly communicated. This is something I have learnt about myself and continue to work on.

theoryxyThere are a number of other observations that I can write down but I have just written 5 that came to my mind as I started writing this. I think management is changing for the better – as we continue to shift to an information/services based economy the way we work with people is changing, people that can adapt to change and be open minded will be successful. I have interviewed a number of Recruiters over the years for our team and many people that interview with me are surprised or not able to get their head wrapped around a different style of management outside of the old fashioned manage down and micromanagement style that still exists in many organisations. I think to be successful I need to make sure I surround myself with people who love customer service as much as I do and people who will challenge the status quo with me and be open to new ideas which we do really well.

 

I am sure I will make more mistakes, but mistakes can be good – it means you are trying something new and you can only keep developing yourself if you keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and not become complacent.

Random Thoughts From a Corporate Recruiter: The Book

 

I have been blogging/writing online for the past 5 years. Five years on from my first post and when I look back I would never have thought that I would create so much content or that blogging would introduce me to so many new people and ideas.

title_pageWhen I started blogging in 2008 my initial focus was work related as I wanted to give people a window into what working at Oracle could be. I quickly found that I was writing more and more about information that would help people in their job search in general.

For me, writing regularly has been a great creative output for me to take some of the thoughts that have been in my head and put them onto paper. I hope that in some small way some of my thoughts may have helped someone, somewhere.

I have recently compiled my corporate related blog posts from 2008 into an eBook that I have just published online via Leanpub.com. The book is called: Random Thoughts From a Corporate Recruiter

 

This is not a self help book or a book showing tips and tricks on how to find a job or how to hire great people. It really is as the title suggests – random thoughts from a  Corporate Recruiter on either Recruitment, Job Searching or Social Media (for job searching).

 

One of the main reasons I wanted to create this book is for my own personal use. Looking back at all the posts I have written, I wanted to find a way to not lose those thoughts in time that I have had. I hope some of these posts are relevant, useful or entertaining for you as well. I would love to hear your feedback.

 

As a side note the great thing about publishing on Leanpub.com is that you can buy the book within a price range. Unlike Amazon where there is a set price for a book at Leanpub a reader can pay a range of prices that they feel is fair for the book they buy which I think works well.

Anyway I hope you like the book. Happy Reading.

Google Glasses Certainly Seem Exciting, This Video Makes Me Think Twice

I have to admit, I am a bit of a tech geek, I love my gadgets and when I think of how some of them have changed how I work, where I work, how I gather information, track data, etc… we really have seen technology go in leaps and bounds in the consumer market.

When I saw the initial introduction of Google Glasses I was intrigued and excited at the possibility of what this may mean with how we interact with technology. One of the big things that really grabs my interest with this is to see if these glasses can help Augmented Reality take the next leap in its penetration into the market. So in concept Google Glasses seemed really exciting.

I say seemed because earlier this week I saw this video by Con Agra Foods. Besides the horribly scripted lines the voice actors had to read, this video really made me feel that maybe Google Glasses could potentially be really underwhelming.

In the video we see two friends go about their day to get ready for a party at the end of the night. They add items to their grocery list through out their day, measure how far they walked this week (see my last blog post – you tend to know if you sat on the couch all week or actually did any exercise) and voice texted each other as well as check the news, etc…

One of the main examples that made this video make me think how underwhelming Google Glasses has the potential to be was the “map my grocery list” comment at the approximately 1:40 mark of the video. Really – map my grocery list?? I am sorry but who is that time poor or grocery shopping challenged that they do not know to find the frozen peas in the freezer section of the grocery store? When has grocery shopping become such a complicated task to achieve that I need a map on where to find the milk?

Maybe someone thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread (if only I had Glasses and this amazing App so I could find sliced bread) but this seems to me like people trying to peddle apps we don’t need or make our lives seem so busy or us seem to be have zero life skills that we need an app to measure how to think.

I hope Google Glasses becomes something really innovative. I think the potential really is there to do some great things sadly I don’t think this video demonstrated much of that at all.

 

 

WHY I STOPPED USING NIKE+ AND STARTED ENJOYING RUNNING AGAIN

I wrote a blog post about 3.5 years ago titled Nike+ iPod Why Didn’t I Buy You Earlier

I have been running for about six or seven years and while I go through ups and downs of motivation that I think happens to everyone, I try to average about three to four runs a week. When I first started using Nike+ and measuring my runs, it was really great to be able to look back on my runs and measure my performance either over time or over a specific period.

Since that post I don’t think I have used Nike+ for maybe two or two and half years. What, why would I not keep track of my exercise so I can see if I am doing all the things I am supposed to or not or imporving or running faster/longer, etc…

Even though I am not tracking how far/long my runs are, I think a runner tends to know if they have had a good run or not. When you finish a run you know if you have really put in a good performance without having to verify it by distance or time. I think I have started taking a more wholistic view to running the past few years. So even though I am not measuring my distance – I know roughly if I am running 5 kms or 10 kms and I still have the motivation to keep improving my performance.

For me running serves a couple of purposes. The first is to keep some degree of healthiness. I work from home full time so I have made a conscious effort to make sure I get out and keep moving to stay healthy in some shape or form (maybe a better description is to avoid from becoming unhealthy). The second reason is I find running is a good time for me to tune out to the world and focus my thoughts internally. Life can be quite hectic with 3 kids and working full time and all the other pressures of a normal day. I find when I go for a run my mind tends to wander and I often come up with some of my most creative ideas to problems I am trying to solve. I am a believer in the saying that your best ideas don’t necessarily happen sitting a desk.

I run for the enjoyment of it and all the benefits I get both physically and mentally, I am just not sure I need an application to tell me if I have had a good run or not.So Nike+ it was great having you on my runs for a period of time but I am glad to say that my love for running probably has only become stronger since we have gone seperate ways.