Sunday, September 13, 2009

Embrace Change

In the recessionary economy of today, the companies that achieve success are the one's that do not believe in status quo and welcome change. Look at the growth rate of Pepsi in these times. One thing that i learned while being at blue shield of ca was to be adaptive and dynamic in response to changes around you. Budget cuts, priority disposition etc. are few of the words that one would hear in any company these days and health care industry is no different.

We were working on a project where we were entrusted with a task to suggest a solution that would make the life of our sales team much simpler. Being from an IT background also, I was pretty confident of a solution and we were working closely with the vendor to come out with an optimal solution. After 2 week's of due diligence, I prepared myself to present the case to my senior manager who in turn was to present it to the budget approver (THE BOSS). While my manager and I were convinced of the solution, the reply we got was " I need a solution that fits the budget. Let's do the optimum next year. I do not have the money right now." The business priorities had changed and money was not flowing. Keeping my IT sense aside, I was really able to appreciate what our boss had told. More often than not one should strike a balance between what is optimal and what is feasible. Because we had prepared ourselves for that, we were running a parallel track of discussions to build a solution that fitted the budget. It was the readiness to adapt to changes that helped us formulate and propose a new solution which was immediately accepted. The crux and learning from the whole exercise for me was that for any proposal one should have at least a couple of alternatives with pros and cons so that decision makers can choose the best considering all the constraints.

One thing that also helped me during the whole internship was constant feedback sessions. Every week, i used to have a one on one with my senior manger who used to discuss things done over the past week, challenges and tasks for the next week. We also used this session to know about things other team members were doing . I found the last part to be very rewarding as due to it I was able to contribute to several other projects as well. So do not live in isolation and communicate as much as you can. You might stumble upon a project which is tailor made for you.

One last thing that I would suggest to anyone taking a 10-12 week internship is that one should document everything to avoid any sort of dependency later. Because you would be moving out of the company, you should detail the work you have done so that someone else can take over and continue. Their is a big chance that your work might get lost if your work is not documented.

Enjoy,have focus and establish your takeaways from the internship. These three mantras surely helped me make my summer experience a truly memorable one.