Lead to create
Lead to provide
Lead to protect
Lead to propel
Lead to create and generate value
Lead to nurture people
Lead to fulfill a dream
Lead to bring a positive change
Lead to make a difference
Lead to structure / re-structure
Lead to align / re-align
Lead to create a law or policy
Lead to solve a problem
Lead to question and answer
Lead to bring hope
Lead to show the way
Lead to be the light
Lead to leave a legacy
“Passion is the genesis of genius.” BY Tony Robbins
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” BY Oprah Winfrey
“Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.” BY Joseph Campbell
“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life.” BY Federico Fellini
So what is PASSION?
According, to the Wikipedia, passion is derived from the Ancient Greek verb πάσχω (paskho) meaning to suffer. Passion is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something. The term is also often applied to a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love – to a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion, a positive affinity or love, towards a subject.
yes, I have to agree that passion is an important ingredient in the journey of life.. And one can be passionate about anything – People (Family, Friends, etc), Hobbies (Art, Writing, reading, Cooking, Food, Dreaming, etc.), Specific causes (Empowerment of women, Wealth Creation, Primary Education, Affordable healthcare for general masses, Quality of eduction, etc.), Creating and building enterprises…
So is PASSION important in Leadership?
The BEST and most SUCCESSFUL leaders are I know are fired by passion – By day and night! In thought, word and action
Leaders exhibit passion…
Passion to solve a problem
Passion to serve a customer need
Passion to lead
Passion to learn and un-learn
Passion to create value
Passion to generate wealth
Passion to make a difference
Passion to build world class enterprises
Passion to nurture and groom next generation leaders
Passion to leave a legacy
PASSION and LEADERSHIP go Hand-in-Hand
I can’t help but end with one of my favorite dialogues from one of my all-time favorite movie “The Legally Blonde” – The graduation speech given by Elle Woods. And I will sign off leaving you with the excerpt of this.
“On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise Professor quoted Aristotle “The law is reason free from passion”. Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law, and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct, you must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”
“Decision Making” Skills are important for any leader; and sometimes this can be the one and only thing that truly DIFFERENTIATES you from others, and DETERMINES your level of success..
For any leader, the following aspects of decision making are key:
(1) Speed at which you can make decision (under normal circumstances)
(2) Speed at which you can make decision (when in the HOT SEAT)
(3) What do you rely on for decision making (data & analysis or intuition or a combination of both)
(4) How you communicate your decisions with those who need to know?
In an attempt to understand what others had to say, I did some research. And found some great quotes which I am sharing on this blog.. Some of them are really food for thought from the wise!
“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another.
The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.
If this sounds too mystical, refer again to the body. Every significant vital sign- body temperature, heart rate, oxygen consumption, hormone level, brain activity, and so on- alters the moment you decide to do anything… decisions are signals telling your body, mind, and environment to move in a certain direction.”
― Deepak Chopra,
Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
― Peter F. Drucker
“The greatest accomplishment began as a decision once made and often a difficult one.”
― Michael Rawls
“You will rarely make wise decisions if you surround yourself with fools”
― Rasheed Ogunlaru
“Many people fail in their career, business and relationship, and others get stuck because of their inability to make quality decisions.”
― Nkem Mpamah
“Accepting trial and error means accepting error. It means taking problems in our stride when a decision doesn’t work out, whether through luck or misjudgment. And that is not something human brains seem to be able to do without a struggle.”
― Tim Harford
“Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ‘ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome’. You must be willing to fire.”
- T. Boone Pickens
“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.” – - Dr. Robert Jarvik
“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.”
- Jim Rohn
“It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.”
- Antony Robbins
“More than anything else, I believe it’s our decisions, not the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.”
- Antony Robbins
“Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.”
- General George S. Patton
You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
― Michelle Obama
Looking back at my life for the past few years, the one thing that has made a REAL DIFFERENCE is CLARITY on my PRIORITIES.
I don’t think I was so clear about my priorities till a series of events (which included loss of a loved one, becoming a mother and a couple of other “life-changing and thought-provoking” events) compelled me to introspect and reflect on my own life.
As I go down memory lane and look at my own life; and also see people around me, I note the following:
(1) A vast majority of individuals DO NOT have clarity on their priorities in life – Be it as a part of their personal life or professional life. So if you ask yourself or someone to list the Top 3 Priorities for the day / week / month / life / home / work, majority will struggle to respond. And those that do will not be so sure about their answer.
(2) Those individuals who do have clarity on their priorities in life don’t translate these priorities into everyday action. For e.g: In my priority list, health and fitness was a TOP Priority. However, if I looked at my everyday routine, I had not really factored any time for any physical exercise. So, there was a fundamental gap between Thought and Action.
(3) A vast majority of individuals have too many items on their list marked as TOP Priority. And hence over a period of time (say monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.) – They are not able to show or see or demonstrate any visible / tangible difference in progress. And hence wonder what went wrong and where?
The other important aspects about PERSONAL PRIORITIES are:
- Your priorities are personal to you – No one can decide them but YOU!
- Your priorities WILL change as you journey through life – Be aware of these changing priorities and model your life accordingly!
How can CLARITY on your PRIORITIES help YOU?
Having clarity on your priorities can help you in umpteen numbers of ways. From my personal experience, the most important one’s are:
(1) Focus: If you are clear on your priorities, it enables you to focus better on what you’re doing. Simply because you know what’s TOP on your priority list and what’s not can be truly empowering; and can aid you to focus on the task at hand.
(2) Decision Making: Decision Making becomes a lot simple and easy if you have clarity on your priorities. You know whom to say Yes / No to and Why?, You know what can / can’t wait and Why?, You know
(3) Letting-Go: Many times we hold on to things simply because that’s how it’s always been or because we don’t know any other way or because we don’t know what else to hold on to. But the minute you have crystal clear clarity on your priorities – You will recognize what you really need to hold on to, and letting-go becomes a lot easier – in the emotional and intellectual sense.
(4) Expectation Management: Many of us live our lives living up-to “expectations” of others. Nothing wrong with that, but maybe it is also good to live of our lives up to our own “expectations”. And your expectations of yourself become a lot clearer if they are driven by your priorities of life!
(5) Saying NO: NO are two simple letters, but form an extremely powerful word. NO can make our life so simple if we just use them more often. And yet the fact is that most of us complicate our lives way too much simply because we find it so hard to say NO. And why are we conservative in the usage of NO? – Because we are not used to saying it or we worry too much about the implications of saying NO.
But when you have clarity on your priorities, it is a lot easier to say NO. Simply because you know that what’s being asked of you does not figure in your priority list, so it’s better to refuse! This one benefit is probably the most liberating!
The fact is all the above are critical for anyone playing a LEADERSHIP ROLE. And hence being clear on your PRIORITIES is of paramount importance for any LEADER
Call for ACTION Now
(1) Write down (on pen & paper preferably) your TOP 3 priorities for your Personal Life
(2) Write down (on pen & paper preferably) your TOP 3 Priorities for your Professional Life (Ignore if you don’t have an active professional life)
(3) For each of these priorities, ask yourself
- “Are these PRIORITIES taking you closer to your GOALS”
- “Are you taking any specific action on a regular basis (daily, weekly, etc.) to address these priorities?
(4) If yes, Great! You are on the right path. Best Wishes and Good Luck to you
(5) If no, then Pause & Reflect. And make the required course corrections. It is NEVER too LATE!
As I end, I’d like to leave you with a few quotes on prioritization from the wise.
“Action expresses priorities.” BY Mahatma Gandhi
“Good things happen when you get your priorities straight.” BY Scott Caan
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” BY Stephen Covey
One of the most important characteristics of “great leaders” is the fact that they have mastered the ART of DELEGATION. I call it art because art is usually considered as something which involves SKILL and IMAGINATION, and trust me! You need both to master DELEGATION.
As I look back at my own career, and observe the delegation patterns of some of the leaders I have worked with, I recognize the following:
* Knowing what task to delegate and to whom is a great virtue for any leader. Simply because when a leader delegates work, he / she should have a realistic assessment of the capabilities of the individual the task is being delegated to, should trust him / her and should be willing to take complete responsibility for the outcome of this delegation.
* The BEST leaders delegate at least 80% of the work. What this simply means is that they have identified a “competent, trust-worthy and efficient” next level leadership : Which is an important aspect of growth and succession planning
* Knowing what NOT to DELEGATE is also very important for any leader, as this is a clear reflection of the “individual VALUE” you bring to the table as a leader. If all your work can be done by your next level of leadership, then either you are “redundant” in your role OR you are ready for the next rung in the corporate ladder
* As a leader, you should be cognizant of the co-relation between “delegation”, “responsibility”, “authority” and “ownership” – And should be able to clearly distinguish these in your own mind, and to those you have delegated work to.
* Many leaders have been at the firing line simply because of wrong decisions in DELEGATION! As a leader, if you get this wrong – It could cost you your job and your reputation!
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I love quotes.. In the recent past, I’ve been doing some reading and research on “Entrepreneurship” and came across a couple of AWESOME quotes.. And so this blog was born..
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” BY Steve Jobs
“This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship – the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” BY Peter F. Drucker
“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” BY Nolan Bushnell
“Entrepreneurship rests on a theory of economy and society. The theory sees change as normal and indeed as healthy. And it sees the major task in society – and especially in the economy – as doing something different rather than doing better what is already being done. That is basically what Say, two hundred years ago, meant when he coined the term entrepreneur. It was intended as a manifesto and as a declaration of dissent: the entrepreneur upsets and disorganizes. As Joseph Schumpeter formulated it, his task is “creative destruction.” BY Peter F. Drucker
“Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.” BY Anita Roddick
“What is great about entrepreneurship is that entrepreneurs create the tangible from the intangible.” BY Robert Herjavec
“To me, entrepreneurship means something different. I think of it as identifying and valuing opportunity.” BY Glenn Hubbard
“My son is now an ‘entrepreneur.’ That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job.” BY Ted Turner
“Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.” BY Niccolo Machiavelli
What’s your favorite quote on Entrepreneurship? Leave a comment to let me know
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
Over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to work with several leaders – Leaders at organizations, Leaders within the 4 walls, Leaders in society, Leaders in groups & communities…
As I ponder over leadership, I can’t help but wonder about What is LEADERSHIP?
I think LEADERSHIP is a CHOICE….
A Choice to LEAD
A Choice to take RESPONSIBILITY
A Choice to INSPIRE
A Choice to make a DIFFERENCE
A Choice to DECIDE
A Choice to IMPROVE
A Choice to INFLUENCE
A Choice to EMPOWER
A Choice to DEFINE
A Choice to DESIGN
A Choice to CREATE
A Choice to MAINTAIN
A Choice to TRANSFORM
A Choice to ACT
A Choice to DREAM…..
What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know
I recently had the opportunity to attend a corporate training on Women in Leadership.. The first program I am attending in my career which was all women, about women and for women…
* Great to see so many women in leadership roles in the corporate context . The diversity in individual profiles, roles and their journeys is incredible!
* In terms of profile of attendees on this training, majority were in the age group 27 – 40 and about 90% were married and with kids
* If I had to summarize the top 3 points that were echoed in this session, it was around:
(1) Flexibility at work during phases of life when there was a major change in a women’s life – For e.g.: Birth of a baby
(2) Importance of ME time – Some time for themselves apart from professional and domestic responsibilities
(3) Availability of the right opportunities in the corporate context – Aligned to one’s profile, aspirations, growth – both individual and organization growth
* For a question on “What do you really want in your future?” – It was interesting to note that majority of the women wanted:
(1) Happiness – Though the definition of what makes one happy was personal
(2) Time for work and life out of work
(3) Peace of mind and harmony
* The most powerful message was that You cannot be a superwomen / supermom all the time – Being a women / mother means that you play many different roles and have many stakeholders who will expect different things from you.. What is important is to accept that you will not be able to give your 100% all the time to what everyone expects from you & you will not be able to make everyone happy all the time.
For this, you need to be clear about your priorities and make choices. You win some, you lose some.. But then! That’s life
* Life is eventually about choices – and every choice you make has a trade-off. You may not be aware of all the trade-offs when you make a choice – But be sure that there will be some positives and some negatives. You have got to accept it and move ahead!
* Identify your leadership style – Be aware of it, Identify your strengths and consciously work on your improvement areas
* Who moved my cheese? – I’ve read the book and watched the movie several times; and yet every time I see it, it will inspire. I guess that’s the beauty of a true classic. The key messages that I took-away this time are:
(1) Have clarity on your goals – personal or professional
(2) Change is inevitable ; Plan for it & Be prepared for it
(3) Move out of your comfort zone ; It’s important for learning, growth and progress
(4) Your life journey and destination is yours – It’s personal, It’s a choice…
(5) Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people; Keep at bay negative thoughts, people and energies
(6) Invest some time and effort in observing your environment (personal / professional) – That’s the only way to be aware of changes around you
(7) Don’t over analyze everything in life; Lest it leads you to the analysis paralysis state
* Sheryl Sandberg’s TED Speech on “Why we have too few women leaders” @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18uDutylDa4 is inspiring!
(1) ‘The Most Important Career Choice You’ll Make Is Who You Marry’ @ http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-12-01/strategy/30462131_1_powerful-women-sheryl-sandberg-facebook-coo.
I agree with this completely; especially as you grow in any organization and especially once you have children, a women realizes the importance of having the right partner
(2) “Until Women Are As Ambitious As Men, They’re Not Going To Achieve As Much’” @ http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/07/sheryl-sandberg-women/
(3) “Women unlike men encountered tradeoffs between success and likeability” (Excerpt from Sheryl’s interview) – So true!
(4) “Women are not dropping out to have a child. They’re dropping out because they have no opportunity” (Excerpt from Sheryl’s interview) – Again very rightly said! Given the right opportunity, flexibility and back-end support goes a long way in women joining the work-force and ensure a different level of work commitment and loyalty
* A talk from a senior successful women leader highlighted on the following for women in the corporate world:
1) Choose your life partner wisely (and this includes your in-laws as well)
2) Stay fit, Stay healthy – Important for the long haul
3) Build a network of strong friends and networks – both at work and outside work. Very critical for life
4) Have a mentor (formal / informal)
5) Focus and lay emphasis on personal grooming and etiquette – key for a women
6) If you are invited for a meeting, make sure you are well-prepared. Have a well thought point of view which you will express during the discussion. If you don’t have anything meaningful to say, be quiet rather than saying the wrong thing. One wrong word or statement from a women in a leadership role has the potential to change the course of your career forever
* Wise words from Indrani Nooyi which I felt were appropriate to quote in this blog (All from published sources)
(1) It’s something my mother used to tell me. She said: “They can take away the CEO from you, but they can’t take the woman away from you, they can’t take your husband away from you, they can’t take your children away from you. So don’t forget that– don’t forget how you have to be anchored in your family.” Honestly, I’m not sure how I can be a CEO without being a wife, a mother and a daughter. Because that’s who I am at my core. I love my family, so I work hard to make sure that part of my life that makes me who I am is always true. I work at it.”
(2) “I’m so secure in myself, I don’t have to be American to play in the corporate life”
(3) She views PepsiCo as an extended family and everybody at the company is there to help in every way possible. Sometime ago, when Indra was traveling, her daughter would call the office to ask for permission to play Nintendo. The receptionist would know the routine and ask: “Have you finished your homework? Have you had your snack? OK, you can play Nintendo for half an hour”. She then left a voice message for Indra saying “I gave Tara permission to play Nintendo”. Unheard of in most corporations, it’s a team Indra has built up at PepsiCo which knows each other so well.
(4) When I became the president, at 10 o’clock in the night I went home and said, ‘Mom I have some very important news’. To which she said ‘leave that important news, just go buy some milk’. To which, I said, ‘Raj is home, why don’t you ask him to buy the milk?’ She said, ‘he is tired’. Typical mother you know, can’t disturb the son-in-law! I was very upset, but I went and bought the milk and banged it on the kitchen table in front of her and said, ‘Tell me, why do I have to buy the milk and not somebody else.’ She just looked at me – and I will never forget it and it was a powerful lesson she left in me and said – ‘look, when you pull into the garage, leave the crown there. Don’t walk in with it, because you are first a wife and a mother. And if the family needs milk, you go get the milk. That is your primary role in life. Everything else is what you acquired or what you got because I pray for four to five hours a day.’ That is the only thing she tells me. She says, ‘what did you accomplish? You sit in a meeting on a chair all the time, and I pray for 4-5 hours.’
* It is important to have a personal action plan for learning and growth – You can choose the areas, But focus on at most 2 areas for every 3 months
Over the recent past, I have been part of the audience when employees at different levels in the organization hierarchy made presentations (Different situations and different audiences and different intent) – Starting from employees at the entry level to very senior business leaders.
• In terms of length / number of slides, senior business leaders had very short presentations (typically less than 10 slides) – irrespective of the topic; while entry level and less experienced employees had very long presentations (more than 25 slides) – again irrespective of the topic
• Content on each slide for senior business leaders was very limited. Of course, they were able to speak on 1 slide on which they had 1 sentence for 10 minutes – This is a function of clarity in thought, presence of mind, knowledge and a wealth of experience on a subject. On the other and, entry level and less experienced employees found it tough to speak even for 1 minute on a slide which had at least 10 detailed points
• Senior business leaders made an effort to know the audience profile before they began the presentation; while entry level and less experienced employees made no specific / explicit efforts to gather audience profile
• Senior business leaders made significant eye contact with their audience and modified the presentation flow based on the pulse of the audience; entry level and less experienced employees made significant contact with the presentation (and minimized / avoided contact with the audience) and followed the flow as outlined in their presentation. Audience engagement, queries and connect seemed to be of lower priority in comparison to completing the presentation by walking through all the slides
• Senior business leaders had at least 15% of the overall time scheduled for audience questions, inputs and feedback; entry level and less experienced employees mostly did not want to have any specific time for questions
• Senior business leaders typically focused on ensuring that the audience left with at least 2-3 key messages / take-a-ways; entry level and less experienced employees did not have too much focus on audience take-a-ways. Again focus was on completing the presentation
NOTE: All above have been based on my experiences only.