Going to work this morning the city was almost abandoned. A few cars were out, even fewer motorcycles and I only saw one auto rickshaw. The yellow and black three-wheeled auto rickshaws are usually the most common vehicle in Bangalore, but not today! In all of India there’s a one-day strike, or bandh, against the high fuel prices. Bangalore is greatly impacted as the political opposition on the national level, who has ordered the bandh, is the ruling party in the state of Karnataka.

Apart from the standstill, today also marks half time for my adventure in India! I have now spent exactly three months here and have another three to go before hitting Swedish ground again. (Maybe the Bangalorians are striking to make me stay longer, or is it to make me leave sooner?!) Therefore it’s the perfect time for reflection.

Lessons learned
1. Expect change and learn to live with it! I keep talking about change in nearly every blog post, and I probably will continue as it’s ever so present. Since my last blog post, a month ago, I have once again changed my main work task. The pan-Indian launch of mobile number portability got postponed till end of October, due to lack of readiness mainly by the state owned operators. This event left me jobless, once again, and quickly I was assigned a new task; to bring our retail stores up to speed with the original business plan. As a project manager I’ll lead a 90 day turnaround which will give me great insight into how to run and operate a retail business.

2. Go outside your comfort zone. Since coming to India I have devised Go-To-Market plans in marketing, improved our procurement process in Commercial and currently I’m heading a project in Sales, but my background is still that I’m an electrical engineer. By doing want I initially thought I couldn’t, I have widen my horizon and acquired valuable knowledge for the rest of my life. But it was only possible by not being afraid of trying.

3. Be patience. Last week Sigve Brekke, Head of the Telenor Asia operations, visited Bangalore and in a Q&A session, he shared his view on Uninor as a long term player in the Indian telecom industry. In the long term perspective patience is important. Many times over I have tried to figure out where I will end up after the trainee program, without much success. Instead I have realized that patience and making the most of the current situation will put me in the best position after the trainee program. But patience is equally important in the short term, something I have learnt here in India; may it be waiting for someone’s input or just the fact that the different work cultures makes my thinking different than my colleagues.

Next time I’ll give a update on the retail project (assuming I’m still working on that by then :-)) and hopefully I have some pictures to share from my planned vacation to Kerala, the southwest coast of India