Category Archives: Communication
Yesterday (14 May 2013), I had the opportunity to conduct a session on “Corporate Innovation” to a diverse audience (3 to 10+ years experience). It was an interesting, and interactive session. The one strong view which was echoed from the participants was that there is VERY LITTLE INNOVATION happening at the ground level within most organizations!
Sharing below the key messages from my session
Overview to Corporate Innovation
- Innovation has evolved from “Nice to Do” To “Good to Do” to “Must Do”. Innovate to survive
- There is no “universal / standard definition” of Innovation
- Innovation within an organization can happen at any time, at any place and from anyone. Innovation can occur at any level within an organization – from entry level to executive management
- Innovation can be of technology, process, business, delivery methodology, product or user experience
- What the wise have to say about Innovation. To read a set of interesting Innovation Quotes, click here
- Focus of Corporate Innovation is how to “Simplify” / “Solve problems” / “Make things easier and better” / “Improve efficiencies” for internal (employees) and external (customers , partners, suppliers, vendors) stakeholders. Of course, corporate innovation initiatives focus on “Reducing costs” / “Improving Revenues”
* Innovation Life Cycle : Every innovation typically follows a life cycle as depicted below
* Importance of Corporate Innovation
- Getting employees to “Think”, “Learn”, “Reflect”, “Experience”, “Comprehend” and “Apply” : Build a culture of innovation
- Key Differentiator ; Competitive Advantage in the market
- Additional “Revenue Potential” ; Non-Linearity
- Better Customer Engagement
- Market Positioning & Thought Leadership
* Lessons from my Corporate Innovation Journey
- There are three distinct phases in the Innovation Life Cycle and each requires a different mind set
- Your idea need not be unique; How you position your innovation makes all the difference
- The Business Plan is just a baseline plan
- When you start the GTM [Go-To-Market] activities can make all the difference
- The first customer is the most crucial in your journey to success
- Corporate Innovation should be a priority from the top
- Internal communication and collaboration is critical to succeed
Extracted from paper published in the IIMB Summer Magazine (2012)
I’ve been actively writing (as a part of my post-graduate studies, through my blogs, at work, as a part of publications, etc etc etc ) for the past 5+ years. As I write more, I have also started to read more.. They both go somewhat hand-in-hand.. And as I read more, I am more aware and conscious about the writing styles of different authors; and also my own writing style…
In this post, I have listed down the key factors which may influence one’s writing style – This is purely based on my observations, analysis and inferences!
(1) Your self-confidence
(2) Your view of the world (in general) – Good, Bad, Ugly
(3) Your past – Experiences, Life
(4) Your future outlook of life – Optimistic, Pessimistic
(5) Why do you write? – For yourself or for others
(6) What does “Writing” mean to you?
(7) Your basic personality / nature
(8) Your view on “sharing” – Writing is one form of active sharing
(9) Your educational background
(10) Your language skills (Command on the language) – You can write in any language!
(11) Your age
(12) Your culture
(13) Your upbringing
(14) The writing habits of people you know (friends / family / others)
(15) Your reading habits
(16) The reading habits of people you know (friends / family / others)
(17) Your immediate living environment
(18) Your teachers / mentors – especially during impressionable / vulnerable years
(19) Your inner network – friends / family
(20) Your self-discipline
(21) Your creatvity
(22) Your observation skills
(23) Your imagination skills
(24) The times (era) you were born in
What’s your view? What do you think influences the “writing style” of an individual.. Leave a comment to let me know
World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. [Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Book_Day ]
On the occasion of World Book Day, I wanted to write a post on books which are my personal favorites. After all, Books can be your best friend for life, if only you extend your hand in friendship!
I started reading as a hobby rather late in life.. But once I discovered the magic and beauty in the world of books, I invested significantly in buying diverse books from diverse authors, and voraciously read them. Like they say, Diversity is the spice of life – And this is so so TRUE for books.
The other important observations / discoveries / realizations that I made about books are as follows:
* At what age you read a book makes an ocean of difference in what you take away from the book and how it can impact / change your life. If you read a book in your teenage years it can influence your thinking in unimaginable ways. The same book if you pick up well into your 30′s – you already have amassed a range of personal experiences, which can greatly influence your book take-aways.
* If you like the first book you read from any author, chances are you will end up reading and buying all their subsequent work.
* There are many benefits of reading. Personally, the top one’s are – They enable you to learn, open your mind and world to dreams, options and possibilities that you never knew existed.
So coming back to why I started this post… Well listing below my personal favorites.. Looking back at my reading journey, I think when I read these books made all the difference in my life – And hence they figure on this list..
(1) Mutation BY Robin Cook
This book opened me to the world of Medical Science and Genetics in a way that I could never imagine. Till date, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Excellent story, very well written and above all, it takes you to a world which many of us cannot ever imagine. The book was written in 1990, and I read this book for the first time in 2000. And I fell in love with the subject of Genetics after reading this. Over the years, genetics as a field has evolved significantly and it continues to be a fascinating area for me to read about!
(2) The Other Side of Midnight BY Sidney Sheldon
I loved this book for the excellent story telling skills. While the focus is on the life of 2 women who fall in love with the same man, the book beautifully brings out a range of human emotions which can transform your thinking, your values and your life when in LOVE! A powerful story with powerful characters, and unthinkable actions which drive human behavior. Again, looking back I read the book in my teenage years, and the story stuck in my memory!
(3) The KiteRunner BY Khaled Hosseini
This is by far one of the BEST fiction books I have read till date. While the book has elements of history, war, politics, migration, – the overarching theme is around human relationships. Some of the most important lessons that the book re-inforced are below
(a) that there are very few people for whom we can do anything anytime anywhere – No preconditions, No questions, No thoughts – Just pure action. The underlying emotions are usually love, fear or respect.
(b) Some bonds can never be defined – They just exist. And there is uniqueness in the beginnings, in the evolution and in the conclusion…. Or there is never really an end.
(c) Division and Discrimination are all in the mind.
(d) Honesty is a great virtue. You need courage and strength of character to be honest & stand up for honesty
(4) Jonathan Livingstone Seagull BY Richard Bach
What can I say about this book which simply makes you realize how it is OK to be different,and non-conforming to the masses. That is when you truly discover your calling in life.
(5) Man’s Search for Meaning BY Viktor Frankl
I read this book when I was looking for some answers to deeper questions of life. This book provided insights, perspectives and views from someone who had truly experienced the highs and lows of life. Not too many people experience true highs and lows, but those who do end up TRULY understanding the deeper meaning of life – And this book captures the essence and wisdom from a man who has lived it all!
(6) All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten BY Robert Fulghum
A classic which focuses on things about life that many of us tend to forget as we become adults. And the most important lessons of life are the most basic one’s, those that we learnt in kindergarten
(7) The Secret BY Rhonda Byrne
An excellent book with a powerful message on the “The Law of Attraction”. The basic premise of the book is that whatever happens to you in life is really a function of what and how you think. And I can vouch from personal experience that it’s TRUE!
(8) Outliers BY Malcolm Gladwell
The book opened my eyes and mind to data, facts and information which was truly interesting. And I personally loved the writing style as the book tickled both the left and right brain . And all of Malcolm’s books went into my Reading List!
That’s all for now.. What are your favorite books, and WHY?
Event Participation is an important marketing activity for any organization. The key benefits of participating in any event include:
- Ensuring your organization’s presence in multiple external / relevant forums – This is vital for the company’s brand image
- Business Networking – An opportunity to build new relationships and strengthen existing one’s
- Lead Generation – Identification of prospects to position your service offerings
- An appreciation of industry trends and perspectives from multiple views
- Insights into where your competitors and partners are headed
Many organizations invest significantly in participating in events. However, do they get the real return on their investments? After all, event participation comes at a price – both in terms of the event participation fee and absence from work for the identified attendees. If you / your organization are participating in an event, do keep in mind the following:
1) Objective of Event Participation – It is important to have clearly defined objectives of why you / your organization are participating in an event. Whatever be the objective, it is vital that this is explicitly communicated to the team attending the event and to the management who is approving the budgets for event participation. For e.g.: If you are participating in a Marketing Conference, then the primary objective for an organization could be to understand how to effectively utilize modern marketing platforms and social media as a part of your organization’s marketing strategy. On the other hand if you are a participant at Technology Product Event, your objective could be to understand the new offerings from the product vendor, build / enhance networks with peers / partners / customers & analysts and lead generation. While some of these objectives cannot be really quantified and measured, for other’s it is worthwhile to set an explicit target. For e.g.: Speak to at least 3 direct competitor’s to gain insights into their offerings OR to identify at least 10 qualified potential prospects who would be interested in your service offerings.
2) Selection of the Right Event Attendees – Any organization can get maximum benefit of its event participation if they identify and invest in sending the right individuals / teams to attend an event. For e.g.: If an individual who is playing a Marketing / Techno-Marketing role within an IT organization attends A Marketing event, then he / she will be able to appreciate, contribute and also possibly apply the learning’s from the event.
Also, Soft skills are an extremely important pre-requisite for the choice of an attendee – The key one’s being an ability to effectively communicate (and this really means an ability to be clear and brief in expression. And the pre-requisite for this is clarity in thought), an ability to build new networks with peers & strengthen existing relationships and most importantly, an openness to listen, learn, express and discuss your view-points in a larger forum. Of course, knowledge in the specified area needs no specific mention.
3) Action Plan for the Event – Many events tend to have a combination of speaker sessions, discussions, a networking lunch / dinner, etc. Based on the objective of your participation in an event, it is imperative to distribute the activities among the attendees. An internal discussion before the event is worthwhile as this enables in building a rapport among the attendees, and helps in articulating expectations within the team. A well-thought action plan provides a guideline to attendees on how they should structure their time during the event
4) Post-Event Activities – While there is great enthusiasm and fervor before and during an event, this usually dies down after an event. It is however valuable to invest some time in the following:
- Post-Event Review with the attendees and management to assess the success with respect to the stated objectives
- Consolidation of Event related materials in a common space which is a good reference for the future
- Knowledge sharing among colleagues / peers / teams on learning’s, insights, trends, interesting observations, data points, etc. One good best practice is to send out an event update communication (could be a simple mail) providing event highlights and key take-away’s
- Continue to maintain relationships with the event organizers, peers, analysts, customers, etc. This is vital for both professional and personal growth
5) Lead Conversion for the identified prospects - Very focused efforts are required to qualify the list of potential prospects. A set of 5 – 10 criteria can be used for qualification. For e.g.: Level of interest in your services, budget availability, historical spend-trend patterns, alignment of your offerings with customer’s requirements, etc. Once the qualification is complete, a discussion with the potential prospect is the next logical step to plan the way forward based on the customer’s need, priorities and interest.
What do you keep in mind before your participate in an event? Leave a comment to let me know
One point which has emerged again and again and again in all recent discussions I’ve been a part of is this “The IMPORTANCE of FOCUS“
Be it at home or work, If you are FOCUSED about what you WANT, you will most LIKELY GET IT!
If I look at the world around me, I see the following impediments :
(1) Lack of clarity on what to focus on? – For many of us, we don’t know what to focus our time and energies on. We don’t have any personal goals in life, and hence every day is like the one before – & we get caught in the monotony and drudgery of the “mandatory chores”.
Take a moment to think – What are your goals and dreams in life? And focus on them
(2) Too many distractions on a daily basis - Ok. You’ve done some thinking and soul-searching and have figured out your goals and dreams for life? You also took the next step and created a “workable plan”. And you are determined to get there.. But there’s just one little problem – There are just too many distractions on a daily basis – TV, Twitter, FaceBook, News, Movies, etc etc etc – The list is endless. Just how to stay focused amidst all this.
Well there’s no easy way apart from making a few choices and letting-go of what’s not important. Just focus on what you really want. It’s OK if you don’t know / see everything there is to see. You will be just fine!
(3) Lack of focus in the long term – Most of the really good things take time to get there. And somewhere along the way, the focus gets diluted for many of us. For e.g.: Let’s say you want to author a Research Paper. You start the research work, and then something more important / exciting cries for your attention. So you de-focus from the paper, and focus efforts else-where. Before you know, a week / month / year has elapsed, and the research paper is still in “draft mode”
Be aware of your personal life patterns. When you find yourself getting off-the-road, gently push yourself to come back on track – In whatever way it works. Key to success is LONG TERM FOCUS!
Ending with a few quotes from the wise:
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” BY Tony Robbins
“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” BY Steve Jobs
A few days ago, I had written a post on this blog Working Mothers – The “Real” Issues. The post got a lot of readership (Thanks to all those who read it) and also many people wrote back, and asked if there were any suggestions on how to deal with some / many of these.
Looking back at my own life – Ever since I became a mother myself, I have a new found respect and admiration for all working mothers.
No matter what you do
No matter where you live
No matter what else you do
If you’re a working mother
Hats off to you
Simply because every working mother had to deal with several “mini-projects” as I call it on a daily basis
Project 1 : Kids (A to Z)
Project 2 : Work / Career
Project 3 : Food and Cooking
Project 4 : Husband (Yes! A full time project )
Project 5 : Friends
Project 6 : Home Maintenance
Project 7 : Family
Project 8 : Self
Project 9 : Miscellaneous / Others
Just listing it down exhausted me! Then imagine how exhausting it would be to manage every single one of them, every single day!
Well, thankfully along the way I figured a few Mantras to make it easy for myself. In this post I am sharing my mantras with the hope that it may resonate or help you
Mantra 1 : Re-define Perfection
One of the most important milestone in my journey as a working mother was when I let-go of “PERFECTION”, rather I re-defined it. Yes, I accepted that everything and everyone will NOT be “perfect” all the time (even in my own eyes). And that’s OK! It’s OK if you don’t look your best always, It’s OK if you don’t have the cleanest house always, It’s OK if your cupboards are not the best organized always, It’s OK if you don’t get the BEST MOM Award everyday, It’s OK to say “No” at work – when the situation warrants, It’s just OK……. That single moment was the “Nirvana” moment
Mantra 2 : Let Go of Control
There is a strong co-relation between women and their need to control OR feel in control of things. Up to a point, it is good! Beyond that, it is ?.
As a working mother, it is important to acknowledge and accept that you will NOT be in control of everything all the time. Just re-calibrating your own expectations of what in in your control, and what is out of your control helps tremendously.
Next, finding realistic and practical ways to deal with situations which are beyond your control helps tremendously in finding balance between professional commitments and personal priorities
Mantra 3 : You are not a SUPERWOMAN ; Accept limitations
Yes! You are not born a SUPERWOMAN. You have your set of limitations, constraints and realities to live with. You have only 24 hours in a day, and only 2 eyes, 1 nose, 2 ears, 2 hands & 2 legs – like everyone else! You have your share of highs and lows, ups and downs, emotions, trials and tribulations.
(1) You cannot possibly make everyone happy all the time
(2) You may not be able to live up to everyone’s expectations all the time
(3) You may put yourself before others – sometimes or many times
All the (3) above are perfectly OK.
Mantra 4 : Ask “Will this REALLY matter 10 years from now?”
One of the most powerful question I ask myself when I have a tough time deciding things is “Will this REALLY matter 10 years from now?”. More often than not, I see the situation in a totally different perspective, and find satisfactory answers to whatever situation I am facing. Try it the next time you are up against a brick wall, and you will experience the difference.
Now I’d love to hear your Mantras. Leave a comment to let me know