Category Archives: Leadership
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell
Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy
Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker
The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard
A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell
Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates
Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey
Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. —Vince Lombardi
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy
Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley
There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage. —Fuchan Yuan
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)
Innovation is the creation of the new or the re-arranging of the old in a new way – Michael Vance.
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower – Steve Jobs.
Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity – Michael Porter.
Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure – Albert Einstein.
Innovation by definition will not be accepted at first. It takes repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. This requires “courageous patience” – Warren Bennis.
Innovation is the process of turning ideas into manufacturable and marketable form – Watts Humprey.
Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress – Ted Levitt.
Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it – Steve Jobs.
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”— Dr. Linus Pauling
So for the past few days I’ve been mulling about what exactly determines your follower base on Twitter..
Is it predominantly the topis you tweet about? For e.g: Marketing, Leadership, Social Media
Is it your online brand image?
Is it your offline brand image?
is it your Profile description on Twitter?
Is it your Twitter profile photo ?
Is it the quality (read as relevant and valuable information) of your tweets?
Is it the quantify (read as frequency) of your Twitter activity?
Is it having some Twitter activity every single day?
Is it a complex equation with all of the variables above?
What’s your view? Leave a comment to let me know
I published a post about the possibility of an Afternoon Nap being made an office perk a few weeks back. That post triggered a lot of discussion and debate (Both offline and online), and as a result I have had the opportunity to hear what employees dream / want / need as “Office Perks”.
In this blog, I am listing the one’s which I personally found interesting.
(1) An Afternoon Nap on all working days (15 mins)
(2) House Cleaning and Maintenance Services (at least once a month)
(3) Creche / Child Care facilities within the office premiss / close-by
(4) Work from home 1 day a week (Mandatory)
(5) A weekend outing (at least once a quarter) – Movie, Good Food and More!
(6) An annual vacation planned and paid by the company
(7) A reliable domestic help (especially in India)
(8) A reliable cook (especially for working mothers)
(9) A beauty parlor within the office premises (Both the boys and girls wanted this)
(10) A paid massage (head / body) at least once a month
(11) A spa within the office premises
(12) An mandatory “business hour” every week to pursue a hobby of your interest (sport, painting, art, dance, music, etc.)
(13) Low Calorie Food at the Office Cafeteria
(14) A Dietician within the office premises
(15) A paid health check-up within office premises once a year
(16) A qualified medical practitioner within the office premises
(17) Music playing in the background at work through a speaker system
(18) Mandatory 30 minutes of walking time every day (Say 30 mins after lunch)
(19) Yoga sessions 3 times a week (within office premises). And continuous yoga sessions in office campus
(20) Discounts with retailers for popular goods (including groceries, clothes, foot-wear, accessories, etc.)
(21) Financial Support in terms of any personal exigency
(22) ZERO Hour every week (1 hour a week) where you don’t have to work
Did you find your dream perk in the list above? If NOT, leave a comment …
NOTE: I know that some organizations (especially in the IT sector) already provide one / many of these to their employees.
If you are a leader / influencer in your organization, the list above is food for thought
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
It’s that time of the year when many students have to make important choices with respect to their future education – Especially the decision of the Graduation college (after completion of 12th standard).
A lucky few students (by virtue of their academic performance / personal wealth & affluence/ personal networks) manage to secure an admission in a college of their choice, and with a course (subject) of their choice. But this usually translates into very small percentage of the overall student base.
What about the vast majority of the students?
The dilemma comes down to a choice which they need to make
The Choice between the COURSE and COLLEGE..
And that’s a choice
Which can potentially change their life
Which can potentially change their earning potential
Which can potentially change their quality of life
Which can potentially change their way of thinking
Which can potentially change their views of the world..
Which can potentially change their HAPPINESS QUOTIENT in LIFE..
It’s a TOUGH CHOICE to make..
For students and for their parents..
Here’s my VIEW:
Having been through all these phases myself (right until post-graduation) & also having seen friends / colleagues / family / people around me go through the journey of life and how their lives eventually turn out – My personal and honest answer is “IT DEPENDS on the STUDENT“
Let me explain my point further..
At these phases of life, I have broadly seen students fall into 2 categories:
(1) Students who are deeply passionate about a subject / cause and know for sure what they want to study and eventually become. For e.g.: A friend of mine was very clear that she wanted to study Genetics; and be a researcher in this area when she was in 12th Standard. At that time though most of us knew vaguely what genetics was, her personal interest and passion on the subject was unparalleled. She would read extensively about the subject, subscribe to magazines / periodicals, etc etc & any conversation with her which lasted beyond 5 minutes would be steered to Genetics. Eventually, she went on to do her PhD in Genetics, and has dome some amazing research work in this area.
Whatever be the area of interest – Be it engineering, medicine, genetics, finance, yoga, fitness, fashion design, jewellery design, acting, music, cooking, etc. etc. etc. – If you are deeply passionate about it and are sure about it, that’s a GREAT PLACE and STATE to be in life.
So as a student / individual, if you are deeply passionate about a subject / cause, then my recommendation is one should CHOOSE the COURSE over the COLLEGE.
(2) Now coming to majority of the other students (Applies even to most of us even in adult life) – They really don’t know what they want to study or eventually become. Some of them have favorite subjects at school, but their not sure if that’s what they want to pursue further (For e.g.: It’s not necessary that if you like Maths, you want to become a Mathematician, or Accountant, or a Business Finance professional). For many, they don’t even have any favorite subjects – They just study everything because its part of their school curriculum.
For such students, my recommendation is one should CHOOSE the COLLEGE over the COURSE. Of course, you should try to look for a course in which you have some level of interest.
Simply because if you join a better rated college, you will have the following advantages:
One, the quality of teaching staff would probably be (And again, there may be exceptions here.) better; and a good teacher can sometimes do a phenomenal job in introducing you to new subjects / new worlds, make you curious about learning, open your to mind to new possibilities and help you discover subjects / passions which were waiting to be unearthed. Also recommendations from reputed / well-known teachers of good institutes adds up in your resume – for job applications / future studies.
Two, the overall quality of student base would probably be better. Interacting and building strong friendships and relationships with the right people at this phase of your life can make all the difference in how you think, the kind of activities you associate with, the experiences and exposure you get as a student and the lessons of life you learn as a student.
Three, and most importantly a better rated college would probably also expose you to options and possibilities after you complete a course by virtue of their associations and collaborations with other regional / global organizations, and these can give you a head-start in your career.
Fourthly and most importantly, the job / career prospects are better if you’ve studied in a good college. Organizations looking at recruitment usually tie-up with colleges which are ranked better. Of course, all organizations have their own criteria for identification of colleges that they will recruit students from, but as a general guideline the better ranked colleges are preferred.
Fifthly, the college alumni plays a very important role in the branding of the college in the corporate context, and the contributions they make to grow and improve the institute. Most good colleges have a dedicated focus on connecting, engaging and interacting with alumni, and do gain phenomenally from these alumni interactions. Consequently, the current student base do get to benefit for these alumni networks in terms of career counseling, guest lectures, industry connects and even job recruitment drives.
Lastly, 10 years after you’ve started working most people associate you with an educational institute than with a specific branch. So for e.g.: You’ll hear of Ms X as a Harvard alumni more often than Ms X as an Engineering student.
That’s my view. Would love to hear your views. Leave a comment to let me know
And if you need to make the decision now, GOOD LUCK to YOU
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