Categories
Leadership Lesson

Imagination – Why will dreamers rule the world?

Imagination is underrated

An imaginative mind is an active mind.

An active mind is multi-dimensional

A multi-dimensional mind explores all possibilities.

More possibilities mean more creativity.

More creativity is more innovation.

More innovation makes the world a better place.

An imaginative mind is key to making the world a better place.

In a world full of uncertainty, imagination plays a more pivotal role than ever before. Imagination allows us to innovate and change the world for the better.

Rajesh Soundararajan

Imagination is underrated

We should use imagination more often and in more ways than we do today. But then, isn’t it weird to try to just imagine something out of thin air? At least, that’s what I thought for most of my life until I learned about the ‘power of imagination and how it works.

Instead of asking “Why?” all the time, why not we start asking “Why Not?”; instead of “What?” what if we used “What if”? Could these open ourselves up to new possibilities?

Imagine this: You are standing on the edge of a cliff, looking down at your own body lying motionless on the 100ft below you on the ground. How would you feel? Would you be scared or excited? Would you want to jump or stay put? What are you feeling now? What are the thoughts running at that point?

Imagining things from various uncomfortable perspectives and possibilities helps us understand ourselves better. And we gain new insight into our own lives by getting outside ourselves for a moment—the above was just one bizarre (imaginative) example!

Instead of asking “Why?” all the time, why not we start asking “Why Not?”; instead of “What?” what if we used “What if”? Could these open ourselves up to new possibilities?

An imaginative mind is an active mind.

An imaginative mind is a mind that can think of many things at once. Imagination is the ability to create new ideas, experiences, and situations in our thoughts. Imagination helps us to solve problems and make decisions. It’s also vital to foster creativity!

The more we use our imagination, the better it works! We have seen this happen before: When someone tells us a story about something they did with their friends or family, do we imagine what it would be like if it happened to us? This is because our imaginations are highly active all the time!

An active mind is multi-dimensional

All minds are active minds. An active mind is multi-dimensional. An active mind is multi-dimensional. It can work on many ideas at a time; it can hold multiple ideas in its grasp and turn them over like so many stones, seeing what lies beneath the surface of each one. Is it a surprise then that an active mind is so powerful:

The active mind can consider the different facets of an issue without feeling overwhelmed or having to choose between them. Instead, it can look at them all at once and see how they relate to each other individually and as part of a larger whole.

This is why a multi-dimensional mind is invaluable—it can take the most complex problems and simplify them to become manageable.

A mind is like a garden full of flowers of different hues and colors, with different blooms and fruition cycles. Still,  they co-exist. And like in a garden, where each plant needs specific attention, one’s multi-dimensional mind needs specific nurturing to each of the dimensions.

All minds are active minds. An active mind is multi-dimensional.

Rajesh Soundararajan

A multi-dimensional mind explores all possibilities.

All of us have a little voice in our heads. It’s the one that asks “what if?” and “why not?”. We call it our imagination. It keeps us asking questions, exploring options, and thinking outside the box. It’s also the thing that makes us human.

Yes, sometimes our imagination can feel like it’s getting a little too loud in our heads—we get overwhelmed by all the ideas we’re trying to juggle at once. We start feeling like we’re just spinning wheels on everything because we don’t know where to start. What if we practice quietening the mind to co-exist with those multiple ideas like a garden full of beautiful flowers?

The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

More possibilities mean more creativity.

The more possibilities there are, the more creativity we have. Resources are finite, but our mind is infinite. We can create something out of nothing while using our imagination to help others and ourselves.

Innovation and creativity are at their highest when we have an open mind to the many possibilities to arrive at a solution. As our society becomes more dependent on technology, we will need more people who can think outside the box, look at more possibilities and draw patterns. This is precisely what humans do with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – exploring increased possibilities to find hidden intelligence.

So, what do human-made machines do, can’t humans do better?

More creativity is more innovation.

In a way that creativity and innovation are two sides of the same coin; it is like art and science.

The creative mind is more open to new ways of thinking and perceiving; it sees things in new ways, bringing about innovation. Innovation is an integral part of human progress because it enables us to create tools, products, systems, and ideas that help us live better lives.

Innovation comes from a combination of imagination and knowledge—it’s not enough to know how something works if we don’t also have some insight into how it could be used differently or improved. This is where imagination steps in: if we can imagine a better way for something to work, we might be able to make it happen!

More innovation makes the world a better place.

The world is a complex place. There are infinite problems that need to be solved, and we need creative solutions to solve them. So the more imaginative and innovative people there are, the better our chance of making things better for everyone.

Innovative people come up with new ideas, which lead to new ways to solve problems – be it products and services; these things create jobs, create a better standard of living, feed the poor, cure the diseased, and a lot more.

But innovation doesn’t just stop there! It also means being able to help out those in need by finding better ways of doing things so they don’t have as much pain or suffering anymore. This is good for saving the planet since we use fewer resources and are more efficient.

An imaginative mind is key to making the world a better place.

An imaginative mind is key to making the world a better place. A good imagination is critical and can help us achieve our dreams and goals. We must imagine ourselves achieving them before they become a reality, so we must know how to use our imagination properly.

We need more people with imaginative minds to make the world a better place.

Rajesh Soundararajan

Maybe the United Nations should hire fiction writers?

You can find more articles from this author at https://in.linkedin.com/in/rajeshsound

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Fix Employee Attrition: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Fix Employee Attrition: It's Not as Difficult as You Think

Employee retention is the most important topic for managers and management in 2022.

INTRODUCTION

Post-COVID, companies are reporting extreme rates of attrition. According to one of the most extensive surveys of the global workforce, one in five workers plans to quit their jobs in 2022. Of course, some of those happen because of demand and supply and the force multiplier of salaries. But 90% of the other attritions are fixable and can be fixed with a focus on a few areas.

Each company has a different way of retaining employees. For example, some companies pay well but don’t give freedom and flexibility; some give freedom but don’t pay well; some respect their employees but don’t provide training or tools needed for success; some provide training and tools but do not give freedom/flexibility, etc.

In short, there are many moving parts because of which an employee can feel demotivated. Here are the ten areas that can address 90% of the scenarios.

  1. Have role clarity for each member of your team
  2. Respect the individual irrespective of their job/ level
  3. Skill each team member for role and success
  4. Shift to remote working/ flexible work arrangements
  5. Provide requisite tools to succeed
  6. Build a culture of trust and positivity
  7. Give employees adequate freedom
  8. Have formal reviews monthly/ quarterly
  9. Help them build their career plan
  10. Build positivity and abundance

EACH MEMBER OF YOUR TEAM

Role clarity is the foundation of a successful team. It helps each member understand their role in the group, what they are responsible for, and what their teammates are doing. When they have role clarity, there are clear expectations about how to do their job and where they fit into the bigger picture. This reduces stress, leads to better communication, and helps avoid misunderstandings or confusion among team members.

It also means providing clear guidance on who’s responsible for what tasks so there aren’t any surprises when an employee has a question about their responsibilities at work—or if they need help with anything.

RESPECT THE INDIVIDUAL IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR JOB/ LEVEL

Everyone is a human being. Each human being expects respect. Each of those in your company – the ones with less education or experience than others, those on a different pay scale, those who do their jobs differently than others—are all human beings with feelings and emotions like you and me!

For us as leaders to create an environment where employees want to stay, we must stop seeing people solely as job titles or salary levels. Instead, we look at each employee as an individual with their unique background and personality traits that make up who they are as an employee (and as a person).

It will become easier for us to keep them engaged and retain them long-term as necessary. The key here is respecting employees irrespective of their role/job title within the organization; showing them that they matter regardless of whether they’re “at the top” or “at the bottom” should be something we emphasize continually for this approach to work properly.

SKILL EACH TEAM MEMBER FOR BOTH ROLE AND SUCCESS

To stay competitive, you need to focus on building the skills of each of your team members. Skills are the foundation of a career; without them, an employee cannot succeed at their job – here or anywhere. And unable to do their job well leads to stress and frustration.

Skills can be broken down into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills can be taught in a workshop or through on-the-job training. These include technical training such as computer operation or job functions like managing a restaurant or performing surgery.

On the other hand, soft skills are those learned through coaching and often require practice to become effective in the workplace. Examples include communication skills (both written and verbal), teamwork, problem-solving ability, and adaptability.

SHIFT TO REMOTE WORKING/ FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Research shows that remote workers can be two to four times more effective than office-based employees. Employees are more productive. Employees are happier. According to a recent study at Winona State University[1], “employees who work remotely report having significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement than in-office employees.”

Employees are more engaged with their work tasks and company overall (because of increased happiness). They also report feeling less stress about juggling their responsibilities as parents/family members/spouses when they can take care of these things at home. Employees have better work-life balance

PROVIDE REQUISITE ‘TOOLS’ TO SUCCEED

Tools are vital to helping your employees succeed in their roles, careers, and lives. These can include:

  • Providing training on how to do their jobs well
  • Giving feedback, so they know what they’re doing right or wrong
  • Mentoring or coaching that helps them meet their goal

BUILD A CULTURE OF TRUST AND POSITIVITY

Trust is the foundation of every relationship. If people don’t trust each other, they can’t work together effectively. If you want employees to communicate openly and honestly, everyone needs to feel that their voices are heard.

The best way to foster trust is through effective management. That means making time for coaching sessions, offering constructive criticism without being critical, and not holding employees back from reaching their goals because they’re “not ready.”

Focus on positivity rather than negativity; focus on solutions rather than problems; celebrate successes instead of dwelling on failures.

GIVE EMPLOYEES ADEQUATE FREEDOM

When you give employees the freedom to make their own decisions, they’ll feel more ownership over their work. They’ll also appreciate that you trust them with the ability to accomplish tasks without oversight.

Giving your workers opportunities for growth is one of the most important things you can do as a leader (and it’s especially effective when it involves letting them fail). For example, you might try giving employees projects requiring them to take on new roles or responsibilities or simply giving them autonomy in performing their jobs. This gives people ownership over what they’re doing, improving how well they do it—thus reducing attrition rates!

HAVE FORMAL REVIEWS MONTHLY/ QUARTERLY

It would help if you had formal reviews with your employees at least once a month. Good managers will do this, but many don’t. You can also use quarterly reviews to check in on progress or give feedback on how things are going.

The purpose of the review is not just to grade them but to share information and express appreciation for what they’re doing well while offering suggestions for improvement. This also helps you understand their strengths, weaknesses, and goals as individuals so that you can help them grow as employees and leaders within your organization (more about this later).

Reviews should be done by managers both individually and collectively: one-on-one with each employee; in team meetings with everyone present; or even during board meetings if there’s enough time allocated for such discussions

HELP THEM BUILD THEIR CAREER PLAN

  • Help them build a career plan. Help your employees understand what they need to do to develop their careers and how you can support them. Ask them to define their brand, and identify the skills they need to build and areas where they want to grow professionally.
  • Could you explain what you expect from them? Make sure that your employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them at work, how they will be evaluated on their performance, and how this tie into the larger goals of the organization.

BUILD POSITIVITY AND ABUNDANCE

Positivity, abundance, and gratitude are the unspoken foundations of a workplace environment that will keep employees feeling valued and stimulated. To ensure your team stays happy, fostering a positive mindset in all aspects of your business is essential. While there will always be adverse events in the current dynamic world,  there is still room for hope and positivity within your organization. People want to feel appreciated and supported by their coworkers and their jobs to be fun!

Celebrate accomplishments often—and make sure everyone knows about them! Even though employee attrition may seem inevitable at times because of external factors like increased pay,  there are things you can do as a manager to reduce these problems before they get out of hand.

CONCLUSION

It is essential to understand that these steps are not an end, but a means to develop an organizational culture where employees will feel empowered and want to stay with your company. The key takeaway is that employee attrition can be avoided if organizations recognize their role in creating a positive work environment for their employees.


[1] https://openriver.winona.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1069&context=leadershipeducationcapstones

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Want to become better at your job? Follow these 3 things. [A beginner’s guide]

I addressed a group of young people in their early twenties and in their first jobs, on building their careers.

During the conversations, when asked about how they were contributing to the company’s success, most said they were not aware of the management team’s plans, and that I should ask their super bosses.

The same week, I met a few more mid-level managers who had decent experience and were reasonably good in their functions and jobs. I curiously asked them again how they were contributing to the company’s success. Again, the answer was almost similar to what the rookies in the first jobs said.

In both cases, this is what I shared with them, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share in this post –

All businesses need three things.

  1. Revenue maximization
  2. Profit maximization
  3. Operational excellence

Everything and anything that you do as a business or in your job will fall under one of these things. All functions – sales, marketing, finance, technology, operations, customer support, or human resources – focus on one more of the above three. That is the purpose of their existence.

So, if you are the CEO, a rookie, or a mid-level manager, when you wake up every morning, you can ask yourself these questions (or similar) and work towards them during the day.

The questions you may ask each morning?

  1. What are my revenue sources?
  2. How can I increase my sales?
  3. How can I add more customers/ partners ?
  4. How can I go into new markets?
  5. How can I increase my profits?
  6. How can I reduce the costs of my operations?
  7. How can I do more with less?
  8. How can I build efficiency when to all the things that I do?
  9. How can I build effectiveness into all the things that I do? Can I do something better or find a new way to begin things that can help me become faster, cheaper, or better.

Revenue maximization

  • How can I get closer to my customer/ partner?
  • How can I address my partners/ customer’s unsolved problem?
  • How can I get more share out of the customer’s wallet?
  • How can I increase the sales?
  • How can I get into new markets?
  • How can I get new customers’ questions?

Profit maximization

  • What can I do to cut costs?
  • What can I do to increase profits?
  • What can I do to play better with the pricing?
  • How much should I increase the product’s price to bring in 25% more in absolute profits?
  • How much will a decrease of 5% in the selling price affect my profits in absolute terms?

Operational excellence

  • How can I build efficiency and effectiveness in the system?
  • How can I hire better people?
  • How can I write a more efficient code?
  • What technology or framework should I deploy to give better response time to my users?
  • How can I motivate people so that they deliver their best every day?
  • What can I do play build a culture of continuous improvement in the organization?
  • What can I do to improvise on a current way of doing things so that I can increase more sales or get into new markets?
Categories
Leadership Lesson

FAQs: First 30 Days

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Frequently Asked Questions from Readers

If you have any questions please feel free to write to me at peoplefriday@futureshift.com.sg. You can also subscribe to http://peoplefriday.xyz/the-first-30-days/ or bookmark http://peoplefriday.xyz .

  1. Hiring people is essential, yet I have heard it is an easy way for a manager to get into trouble. Is this true?

You are correct. As a manager, it is your responsibility to hire the best-qualified candidate based on a total assessment of each applicant’s qualifications within the framework of your organisation’s diversity programs. To get the best and make sure you do it right. Speak to your HR partner on hiring external candidates, as well as policies and practices to guide you through the entire process.

  • Besides the recommended meetings with my predecessor, manager, and employees, are there others I should schedule meetings?

Yes. Successful managers rely on a network of colleagues outside their immediate organization who can provide the much-needed information and share best practices on how to get work done and solve everyday problems. To learn more, read Business Networks in your organizations.

  • How should I handle employee requests, such as letters of reference and employment verification?

Employment and income verification requests should be referred to the Human Resource Function

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Bonus: Chapter 9 – Traps – First 30 Days

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Traps – First 30 days

  1. Do not assume that you know what motivates your employees.
  2. As you are undoubtedly aware, the workload is the biggest issue in your organisations, based on our employee surveys. The following is easy to say, but hard to do: Be a role model for your employees’ work/life balance.
  3. Do not try to solve difficult personnel issues by yourself. Draw on the expertise of the HR staff and your manager for advice and counsel.
  4. Do not ignore your “best” employees while dealing with those who need more attention. All employees need to know that you appreciate their contributions, even your top-flight performers.
  5. They also can help by mentoring those who need help.

Tools

As part of our best practices review, we have provided a few links for New Leader Assimilation. More links and updated content is available online. You can subscribe at http://peoplefriday.xyz/the-first-30-days/  We have a resource section on that URL. These and many such links to new will be updated continuously.

“Management isn’t what it used to be. Chaos has replaced order, mobility has replaced security, and cynicism has replaced trust. Men and women entering business or government today need to be savvy in ways quite different than their predecessors.”

Rajesh Soundararajan
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Bonus: Chapter 9 – Six Things to Remember While Receiving Feedback

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Six Things to Remember While Receiving Feedback

As any leader would say – receiving feedback is far more comfortable than writing feedback (the right way). Receiving feedback is much simpler, though it requires discipline. Once mastered, you will be amazed at your ability to convert any interaction into an opportunity.

So, What Is the Secret of Receiving Feedback?

Receiving feedback is an easy process that can be cultivated with intention and discipline. It is crucial for building one’s own career. The secret of receiving feedback is less to do with the content than about the method you receive one.

The six points below can help in all scenarios. The right recipient of feedback will get to know more about how others perceive him/ her and take appropriate steps to correct or build that perception.

1. Be Open-Minded

Listen to all content in the feedback; suspend judgment about its value. This adage is perhaps the toughest to follow. As humans, we come with our own biases and egos, which affects how we are open-minded. The more you are aware of this trait, the easier it is to fix. When the mind is closed and judgmental, any feedback that goes against your natural inclination tends to trigger emotions and expressions that can be detrimental to benefit from such feedback.

2. Treat feedback as an Opportunity

Feedback – good or bad is an opportunity. This is your opportunity to understand your reviewer’s thinking process. You will miss that opportunity to improve if you interrupt. When the reviewer gives their feedback, be an active listener and try to understand more about the context and what they are saying.

3. Clothe with Receptiveness

Adopt an attitude of 100% receptiveness. Don’t begin to defend or even justify your action. If there is one way to kill your chances of making your point heard – it is defending or justifying. When you are receptive to the other person’s point of view, the same will be reciprocated when it is your turn to put your point across.

4. Ask for Clarification. Always

Clarifications are to improve your understanding, and not to defend or negate the feedback. Clarifications make for active listening. You can and should politely ask for more information if you’d like to understand the context. A clarification is to help your own understanding of the feedback and not to put up your case.

5. Do not Debate

Whether or how you use the feedback is for you to decide, later. Do not debate. Any argument will only worsen your chances of getting your point across. The idea is not to take positions. You can listen in and note down the point. To act or when to act on such feedback is for you to listen later.

6. Finally, Let silence do the Heavy Lifting

Silence is a potent tool. Every good negotiator would vouch that that people tend to underestimate the power of silence. “Saying nothing is way more powerful than spoken words.” Silence during feedback defines alpha roles and builds the readiness to assimilate, process, and draw on an action plan in the receiver’s mind. You must recognize the five signs that indicate silence is needed

  • Interrupting by talking over someone else
  • Formulating your response while someone is talking
  • Using a break in the conversation to create a distraction to change topics
  • Talking in circles
  • Monopolising airtime
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Bonus: Chapter 9 – Six Things to Remember While Writing Feedback

Bonus: Chapter 9 – Six Things to Remember While Writing Feedback

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

If you are a manager or a team leader — you are solely responsible for the feedback you are giving your team, both on content and method. So, what is the secret of giving/ writing feedback?

Feedback giving/ writing is both an art and a science. It is an extremely critical component of team building and as much as it is for developing one’s own career. I have condensed the feedback process into six points that can work in any situation. Good feedback will help your team be high on energy and ideas, become extraordinary in execution, and develop a great attitude.

The secret sauce, ironically, is not about the receiver of the feedback. It is about asking yourself (feedback giver) these six vital questions.

1. Am I being specific?

It is incredibly critical to be as specific as you can be. It is easy to get carried away with analogies and incidents related to the point being discussed. Such meandering, however well-intentioned it may be, often leads to dilution of the message. It may even lead to a defensive mindset being triggered for the receiver. State facts and give examples in support of the feedback being given—nothing more, nothing less.

2. Am I showing the way to grow and develop this person?

Your job as a reviewer is to develop and grow people. Pointing to shortcomings does not help in any case. It would work counterproductive as the receiver pulls up the defenses and closes their mind to any suggestions.

3. Can this person do something about this?

Think before if this person can do something about this or help change this behavior? If the answer is not that specific feedback is best left unsaid. Yes, think about it. What is the purpose of feedback on which the person cannot act?

4. Will this add value to this person?

Focus your feedback on its value for the receiver. If your feedback does not add value to the receiver in the current state, resist even saying it. Often, it is for us to offer some advice because it is dear to us and (however well-intentioned) do not think of the value it would add to the other person.

5. Does this represent facts?

Write feedback promptly when the incident is fresh in your mind. Do not let other unrelated incidents influence your feedback. Good managers maintain a small notepad, to jot down incidents when they occur. This small notepad is worth terabytes of data that may be residing in our memory. Maintaining and referring that small notepad, will always bring us back to the facts at hand.

6. Finally, let silence do the heavy lifting.

Silence is a potent tool. Any good negotiator would tell you that people tend to underestimate the power of silence regarding sales and social dynamics in general. “Saying nothing is way more powerful than spoken words” they would vouch. Silence during feedback defines alpha roles and builds the readiness to assimilate, process, and draw on an action plan in the receiver’s mind. You must recognize the five signs that indicate silence is needed

  • Interrupting by talking over someone else
  • Formulating your response while someone is talking
  • Using a break in the conversation to create a distraction to change topics
  • Talking in circles
  • Monopolising airtime

With these six simple steps, you will see yourself a lot more effective and sought after by your team, and people try it out!

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Bonus: Chapter 8 – Meet Key Customers and Partners

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Bonus: Chapter 8 – Meet Key Customers and Partners

What should be covered in my meeting with my key customers and partners?

If you have a client-facing role or a partner-facing role, the first 30 days offer you an excellent opportunity to have an outside-in view of your own organization and your priorities.

Your organization depends on the revenue coming in from your customers and partners. It is, hence, crucial that you address this audience comprehensively and clearly before you take any significant decisions.

I would suggest that you spend your days on the road and planes for the first 30-90 days. You should make it a point to meet all your top customers and partners and some of your second-level clients and partners.

The earlier you do this; you can understand the reality from the field. It is also crucial that you are well-versed with your teams, your people, and your business unit’s priorities before meeting your customers and partners.

When you meet these as external entities, your clients and partners would expect you to come prepared and even may raise issues a few pending issues for resolution. You should not find yourself to be sounding helpless or clueless.

As a manager, you are expected to address the issue comprehensively with alacrity. Too many statements like “I will get back to you after checking”, would not auger well for the first impression.

1 – Prework Before the Meeting – Status of Work/Projects:

In your new role, you are already seen as a capable replacement of your predecessor. There will always be, as in all relationships, open issues that your customers and partners would raise in your very first meeting.

You should also not be surprised if your predecessor had not met the customer or the partner for a long time. Your predecessor may also have consciously taken a step back from meeting your customers and partners in the last few months.

Hence, your customers and partners would have a few pending issues ready for you in the first meeting. To help create the right first impression, you must have a complete understanding of the history of engagement with the client or partner, from your sales or account teams. You must take stock of the current projects, pending orders, and future projects in the pipeline. You would need to quickly understand the critical milestones and the essential items to focus on.

2 – Review Your Mission and Aims.

This would be one of your first conversation starters with your customers and partners. Towards, this end, it is a good idea to have your account manager or relationship manager in the meeting and allow them to drive the conversation. Here are a few things you may address in your first meeting.

  • Your background and understanding of their business and how you are willing to take the relationship to the next level
  • Being new, it allows you to ‘listen’ to their issues with a fresh perspective, and you may encourage them to open up
  • Reiterate the key objectives of the relationship and your assurance to maintain any previous commitments, if any.
  • Reiterate your organisation’s mission and aims.

3 – Clarify Expectations.

Setting and meeting expectations are essential for the relationship between an organization and its customer. Having clear expectations from your customer or partner helps you start your path to have a better plan of action with your team subsequently. 

Establish some basic ground rules for how you will work together. Discuss topics, including the most effective way to communicate with each other.

4 – Show Your Openness to Be Available at Any Time and Schedule Any Checkpoint Meetings.

Regular checkpoint meetings, help clear the air and continue to refine expectations. If you want your customer to have direct access to you for escalations, you can share your contact. While the half-yearly or annual one on ones or an excellent way to go about it, you may want to choose the frequency of meetings

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Confidence vs Knowledge Debate – and the Winner is…

Source: http://krishiyengar.in/and-the-winner-is-the-confidence-vs-knowledge-debate/

The Confidence vs Knowledge has been there since eternity – And here I am reproducing the writings of an 11-year-old on the subject.

My take – The last line sums up a lot of scenarios where a confident speaker may pass off as being knowledgeable – but that again is a representation of the audience’s ignorance – not the speaker’s knowledge.


Confidence stems from knowledge.

Confidence vs. Reality

If you know about something about a subject well, you would be confident – say for a test. There are some cases of #underconfidence, meaning you understand the material but feel that you don’t, but that differs from person to person.

The corollary that knowledge comes from confidence is not necessarily true. Confidence may be overconfidence at times. That is, you feel that you know the subject when you don’t.

On the other hand, knowledge is more critical since a lack of confidence doesn’t matter if you have subject expertise. Sure, you might forget what you’re supposed to remember. Yet, I don’t think that would happen much if you have a thorough grasp of the subject.

Let’s take the example of a pop quiz. You could be confident you know the material, but in reality, you don’t. So you end up getting, say, an 8/15. Alternatively, if you know the subject extremely well and are still unsure, you will still score, say a 14 /15.

What’s more, as you start answering the questions right, your confidence builds up. Needless to say, knowledge builds confidence and not the other way round.

Yes, without knowledge and with confidence, you might wing your answers and sound knowledgeable, but it can only take you that far – and only where your audience is ignorant as well.

Krish’s Verdict: Knowledge trumps Confidence

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Chapter 7 – Meet Your HR Partner

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 7 – Meet Your HR Partner

What should I go over with my HR partner?

Your HR partner is a member of your team and is available to work with you throughout your career as a manager. Find out who these Topics you may want to review could include:

  • earlier personnel issues you should be aware of
  • any unit HR history that could be helpful to you
  • HR processes and tracking
  • earlier Employee Survey results
  • current HR plans in place
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Chapter 6 – Meet Your Employees

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 6 – Meet Your Employees /Reportees/ Associates

1.1       What should be covered in my meeting with my employees?

The Group Meeting:

As soon as possible, plan to meet with your unit as a group to get acquainted. It is crucial in setting the tone of your relationship. Some points to cover in the group meeting:

  • Discuss your first order of business and ask for their help.
  • Tell them that you will meet with them individually.

Individual Meetings:

Individual meetings provide an excellent opportunity to prove that you are interested in each employee as a unique person. These individual meetings may be done after the group meeting. If the team is large, you might want to pick your team’s critical members and start having one-to-one meetings. If you have a small group, make it a point to meet all the members individually.

  • Focus your attention on understanding their key roles, responsibilities and assignments
  • Enquire about their business and career aims, specific areas of interest,
  • Be curious about any critical issues they may be handling.
  • Look for any issues or problems on which you can take prompt action.
  • Remember to listen, suspending your judgement

This can start your reputation as a responsive leader.

1 – Review the Department’s Mission and Aims.

Akin to your manager’s meeting, you would review with your department’s aims and the KPIs. This would be a formal way in which you be communicating your objective and outcomes with the team

  • Give all your employees a copy of your KPI to stress the unit’s aim and to enable them to align their KPI commitments.
  • Stress the organisation’s area of focus.
  • Ensure that every employee is aware of the organisation and unit financial commitments.

2 – Review the Employee’s KPIs.

As we saw in the earlier chapter, KPIs are central to your success. Similarly, you may want to ensure that your employees have absolute clarity on expected outcomes and what they need to do.

Their KPIs must be aligned with yours.

  • In the first meeting, discuss KPIs, in general, to understand each employee’s assignment and help set up a rapport.
  • In a later meeting, ensure that each employee’s KPIs is aligned with the unit’s aims.
  • Establish boundaries of authority for responsibilities, assignments, and tasks.
  • Discuss any personnel issue.

3 – Review the Employee’s IDP.

This is one of the most crucial steps that a new manager must focus on in the transition. Akin to you having the individual development plans that help you chart your career, every employee in your team too aspires and has personal development goals.

Your predecessor may or may not have focused on them. You will do an excellent service to yourself if you help your team in their development plan.

Ensure that each employee has a current Individual Development Plan.

  • IDP is critical to both the company’s and individual’s success.
  • Individually discuss their short- and long-term career goals with your employee and ensure that their IDP is aligned with their goals.
  • Discuss the employee’s assignment and the skills needed to do that job.
  • Ask the employee to design a plan to develop those skills and close any gaps identified by a skill assessment.
  • Show your support. Inspire a shared vision, encourage individuals to set high, yet attainable goals.
  • Have clarity on how their development plans to align with business and individual objectives.
  • Enable them to achieve their goals by providing meaningful work and development opportunity and always ‘walk the talk,’ modelling how to ensure a continuous learning environment.

4 – Clarify Expectations.

Establish ground rules for how you will work together. Chart out on:

  • the most effective way to communicate with each other
  • how to manage work/life balance issues
  • preferences for handling recognition and reward
  • feedback requirements
  • individual motivations

5 – Schedule Regular Employee/Manager Meetings

As you would with your manager, you would need to schedule a regular one and one or checkpoint meetings with your direct reports. Such regular meetings help you see if your team is aligned and do a course correction when all other checks and balances in the system fail. Usually, these meetings with clear the blind spots.

  • Schedule regular employee/manager meetings over three months.
  • Decide on the mutually agreeable frequency and content
  • Including time for KPI and IDP updates and Fit for You discussions.
  • Be conscious of the frequency and duration of these meetings. While meetings are essential, they must not become a mundane routine with no value add. If you see less value, decrease the frequency. If you see more blind spots in each meeting, increase the frequency.
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Chapter 5 – Meet Your New Manager

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 5 – Meet Your New Manager

What should be covered in my meeting with my new manager?

Your new role’s success will depend significantly on the relationship you establish with your manager. Both of you need to begin by establishing a shared understanding of expectations and goals.

1- Review Your Mission and Aims.

Review the organization’s mission and aims and how your objectives fit within the context of your manager’s overall objectives.

  • Ask for a copy of your Manager’s KPI to help you understand these priorities, measurements, reporting requirements, etc.
  • Understand the department’s focus area and how it aligns with the organisation goals.
  • Understand the department’s financial situation and your fiscal responsibilities.
  • Ask about any critical situations or current concerns.
  • Establish authority boundaries for your responsibilities, assignments, and tasks. In which cases would your manager prefer to be consulted.
  • Discuss the HR Processes and how they are managed and tracked:
    • resources and headcount
    • executive resources
    • ranking and rating
    • hiring
    • contracting
  • recognition and rewards
  • Discuss any personnel issues you are aware of.

2 – Clarify Expectations.

Setting and meeting expectations is an essential step in a relationship between a manager and an employee. Having clear expectations from your manager helps you start your path to have a better plan of action with your team subsequently. 

Establish some basic ground rules for how you will work together. You must discuss the following topics:

  • the most effective way to communicate with each other,
  • preferences for handling recognition and reward,
  • how you each can give the additional feedback
  • the frequency or cadence of your regular meetings

3 – Review and Agree on Your KPIs.

KPIs are the bedrock of any organization. They give you absolute clarity on the expected outcomes and what you need to do to achieve those outcomes. Review your KPIs to ensure they are aligned with your manager’s.

It is crucial that you also understand the 2nd-line manager. Usually, the HR policy that describes that role. I would suggest that you also read up and discuss with your manager to have a mutual understanding of your 2nd-line manager’s role.

  • Agree on the priorities.
  • Determine the local orientation programs available to you as a new manager.
  • Close-out your evaluation with your previous manager. This evaluation will be used to calculate your variable pay or salary increments.

4 – Review and Agree on Your IDP.

Most organizations have individual development plans (IDPs) to chart goals and work towards every employee’s personal development. That includes yourself as a new manager. You might need to fortify your skills in certain areas and learn specific competencies.

You must add them to your individual development plan and work to watch the same. Your meeting with your new manager can open the areas where you can build your development plan. Based on those discussions, you can update your Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Besides, consider other technical or functional education you need in your new assignment.

5 – Schedule A Series of Checkpoint Meetings.

I am personally a big supporter of regular scheduling one-on-one or checkpoint meetings. These meetings help clear the air, continue two refined expectations, and have direct access to your manager to align on your job.

Monthly one-on-ones are an excellent way to go about it, though you can choose some more frequent meetings as well. More important in this aspect, is scheduling a series of sessions upfront so that both of you are prepared for that conversation.

  • Agree on how often you should meet and use that time to your mutual benefit.
  • Schedule these meetings for the next few months. Be sure to include meetings for the department’s HR
  • assignments and KPI reviews.
  • Tell them about yourself, including something personal. In most cultures, this tends to build trust and confidence.
  • Discuss your goals and values.
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Chapter 4 – Meet Your Predecessor (Part 2)

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 4 – Meet Your Predecessor (Part 2)

What should be covered in my meeting with my predecessor?

5 – Communication Procedures:

Every business unit and the team will have its unique communication procedures and methods. It is good to understand what was working in the past and the department/organisation’s culture. These wouldn’t be written in stone, and you need to follow them.  It will be a good idea to understand these new answers from your predecessor. Determine how your predecessor communicated with

  • on-site and remote employees
  • contract personnel
  • key customers
  • suppliers
  • other key contacts

6 – Key Contacts:

While this might seem too trivial and straightforward, most new managers struggle of not having the list of critical contacts when they start on the job. They start reaching out only long after they settle in. They then seek the information in bits and pieces, which delays their decision-making abilities.

As a manager, it is vital that you control things and reach out the right people and have the contact details at the tip of your fingers. New managers often miss the step and then spend the rest of the next few months, trying to get hold of the contacts and reach out multiple times to the predecessor for specific contact details. That does not show professionality in your approach. The predecessor would have moved on to the new role and might be caught up in their new role and forget the earlier contacts making it difficult for you to do your job.

Here is what you need to compile as a list of critical contacts. These may include:

  • project contacts
  • internal/external vendors, key customers
  • your HR advisor, or Human Resource operations manager
  • Local security,
  • Legal, (HR and Business)

7 – Folder/ Folio and Mail Procedures:

Familiarise yourself with your predecessor’s routines and procedures so you can maintain continuity and have minimum disruption.

  • Ask your predecessor to forward ‘notes’ folder/ folios.
  • Determine what mail requires immediate action.
  • Sort and sift through any operational folder/ folios and organise them to suit your needs.

This is an effective way to learn about the background of your area.

8 – How to Collaborate with Your New Manager:

Your predecessor has a good understanding of the styles and methods of working of your new manager. Each manager has their quirks, and it is vital to be aware of some of these key aspects before you meet the person. Here are the few things you can ask about:

  • working style
  • level of detail and information preferred, “hot buttons,” and any outstanding commitments
  • communication preferences
  • pre-set meetings
  • anything that may help you quickly build the relationship

Note: Check the status of each employee’s KPI ratings in your group. As a thumb rule, you should not conduct a KPI rating session until you have been a manager for at least three months. Ratings that are past due, now due, or will become due in the next three months should be conducted by your predecessor. Verify this plan with your predecessor and your new manager.

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Chapter 4 – Meet Your Predecessor (Part 1)

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 4 – Meet Your Predecessor (Part 1)

What should be covered in my meeting with my predecessor?

The very first step is to meet with your predecessor. For every manager, this step is critical to providing continuity in how employees are managed.

Below is a checklist you can use to ensure you cover the critical aspects of your new role. If you do not have a predecessor, cover these topics with your manager.

1 – Status of Work/Projects:

When you take on a new role, your idea is to hit the ground running. This means you need to quickly take stock of the current projects and work on the pipeline to understand the critical milestones and essential items to focus on. This should be one of your first conversation starters with your predecessor.

  • Assigned roles and responsibilities
  • Key objectives
  • Previous commitments
  • Critical personnel issues
  • High-priority business issues
  • Action items in the first 30 days

2 – Personnel Folder/ Folios:

Good managers typically keep a ” folio ” for each employee. It carries information that varies, depending on your organization’s requirements and a manager’s discretion. Review all such information to determine what should be kept.

You may not find all this information in a structured fashion in some cases and new start-ups. There may not be an existing process that will give you all this. However, it would be a good idea and precedent for you to set by initiating some of these good processes into the new business unit or organization.

This folio would, at the minimum address:

  1. a current profile dockets
  2. current and two previous KPIs and Individual Development Plans (IDP)
  3. payroll, vacation, and attendance records (depending on the organisation and country requirements).

It may also contain:

  • Documentation related to the condition of employment
  • Performance improvement programs (PIP) if any
  • Medical condition alerts [note: medical information is confidential]
  • Performance appraisal
  • Recognition and award information
  • Letters/notes from customers, colleagues, or other managers

3 – Other Planning Documentation Should Include Current Year:

Apart from the above documents mentioned earlier, there may be other planning documentation in physical or digital format. Do not underestimate the ‘plans in mind’ or ‘between the ears’ of your predecessor. You would need to get a dump off the thought process, the written and unwritten plans.

  • salary plans
  • award plans
  • promotion plans
  • certification plans (if applicable)
  • vacation plans
  • Compensation Administration Manual (if required at your location)
  • remote or temporary assignments

4 – Staffing and Hiring:

A clear understanding of staffing and hiring is key to building your star team. The current team may be understaffed, overstaffed, or right staff. Since your success is primarily dependent on your team, this becomes a crucial conversation.

  • Review any open positions in your department
  • Discuss internal candidates under consideration and any transfers who are joining your department
  • Discuss external candidates under consideration and any new hires who are entering the department
  • Understand who your predecessor has been working with on external hiring
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Chapter 3- Schedule Key Meetings

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 3- Schedule Key Meetings

The first thing you need to do is schedule meetings with the four stakeholders to make your job successful.

  1. Your predecessor
  2. Your new manager
  3. Your employees
  4. Your HR partner

Think of these initial meetings as fact-finding sessions. In each case, explain that your intention is to learn and understand. Be prepared to ask questions — and to listen. While you are waiting for these meetings, determine.

Get acquainted with the HR partner for your new team. They will be a valuable resource for you throughout your career. They have seen many a manager like you come and go into the group and seen team members join and move out. They may have been involved in staffing the team, including possibly the discussions where you were shortlisted for your new role. A good relationship with your HR partner would help go a long way in understanding many hidden dynamics that may not be visible first.

Similarly, you may want to talk to other reportees of your new manager. While you need not take their inputs at face value, it will give you a good background and contextual understanding of your new manager.

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Chapter 2 – 6 Key Questions to Ask

FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 2 – 6 Key Questions to Ask

When you start a new role as a manager, these are the six questions that you must be answering yourself addressing in your first 30 days. These six questions relay the foundation to your subsequent interactions. This will mean you will have meetings with your predecessor, new manager, employees, and with your human resources function. Here is what will get you started.

  1. How do I schedule my meetings?
  2. What should be covered in my meeting with my predecessor?
  3. What should I discuss in my meeting with my new manager?
  4. What are the key things to ask in my meeting with my employees?
  5. What should I go over with my HR partner?
  6. What tips will make me successful; what traps do I need to be aware of?
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Becoming a New Manager [First 30 Days]

FIRST 30 DAYS  Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series
FIRST 30 DAYS Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

Chapter 1 – Becoming a New Manager

Congratulations on becoming a new manager!

The first 30 days of taking on a new role as a manager will be the most defining thirty days for that job and lay the foundation for your success on that job and possibly the next.

This Fight or Flight – 10X Leader Series is designed to help you get started quickly in your new role and become successful. This book is intended to help a new manager. And then some of you may want to use this as a guide every time you move into a new role as a manager into a new team, department, or new organization.

This book outlines the necessary steps to help you during your first thirty days as a new manager. Working on those steps, you will gain insights that will help you pursue your department’s mission and business objectives. You will build a productive working relationship with your employees.

The bonus resources section at the end allows you access to online resources that are specifically available for readers of this book. This section consists of up-to-date resources across the internet. It will make you familiar with the many management tools available for you.

Categories
Leadership Lesson

First 30 Days – Foreword

FIRST 30 DAYS 
Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series

I am happy to share with you one of my books absolutely FREE. The idea is to help nurture young leaders to be successful today and with practice make successful transitions a habit. Hence this!

The idea for this book started decades ago. Yes, literally decades ago.

Over a career spanning 25 years, from my first job to the last, I have meticulously been observing and taking notes on the job’s challenges in the first month. Over the decades, I have coached and mentored hundreds of people, including first-time managers or managers in a new role. Over time, I saw myself sharing tips and suggestions that will make them successful.

The names of organizations changed; the job roles varied; the backgrounds of candidates were diverse. Yet, over time, I realized that the steps required to succeed were straightforward. There were very few things that differentiated a successful manager from the rest.

The trick was all about scheduling the right meetings in the first thirty days. Meeting the right employees in the first thirty days and doing a few things well was the key. The primer sets the ground. Yes, as simple as that.

The central essence of this book is the simplicity of what one needs to do. Everything that needs to be done is just a few specific things and, wow! You will be sailing your way to success.

Towards the latter part of the book, I have added some cool bonus chapters on receiving and giving feedback, traps, and tools that will help you chart your individual path.

Those tools can also be used as a workbook which we are working on for the next version. We have also created a universal resource weblink – http://peoplefriday.xyz/the-first-30-days, where we will share new approaches with some incredible online resources. As the reader of this book, the secret is available to you first-hand.

I encourage you to bookmark the above URL and visit the website regularly. Do sign up for the resources, newsletters, and updated content. They will help you in your ongoing journey towards success.

I love feedback. I appreciate if you can share a line or two on what you think and include it in the upcoming versions. The URL link above also allows you to write to me directly.

I am looking forward to being engaged with you! Please do give your feedback for the second edition.

Categories
customer General productive revenue

You should fire your Product Manager if…

Are your customers jettisoning you by the hordes? Or are they leaving you in a trickle? Is your product revenue becoming a sinking ship or a leaky bucket?

Customers will soon turn too busy for your product only when your product manager becomes too busy for the customer.”

A product manager is responsible not just for building a product that works, but more importantly, one that sells and sticks.

1. Building the nuts and bolts of a product that works is probably the easier part (oops! engineers, no offence). That is engineering.

2. To make sure a product indeed meets the needs and aspirations of customers is challenging.

3. Creating an ecosystem of product+experience (support and service) is where the magic is created. That is where the rubber hits the road.

And this activity cannot be 100% outsourced to Marketing, Sales, Support or Service functions.

When customers decide to swear by your product, it is crucial to understand the why

When those customers decided that your product is not worth their wallet, it is vital to understand the why.

When those key prospects are still undecided, to test your product, it is still essential to understand their why too.

Listening to customers and users is a vital part of product management. Much to the chagrin of many organisations, l product managers tend to be internally focused on product engineering only. Product engineering is a ‘part role’ of a product manager.  What is core is to listen, to meet and to interact with the product’s long time users, customers and, (more importantly), the ones that dumped the product after the first few uses.

This is what good product managers do. Understanding the customer, listening to them, and bringing in the right features functionalities in the product they are building is the key. And these cannot be done by being internally focused.

Meeting customers is a part of the day job of a product manager. It is just as important or more than looking at the spreadsheets for sales and profitability or those slides for marketing or the PRD for engineering. I would add first-hand interaction and information collection with the customer gives life and purpose to the product.

And product manager who becomes too busy for a customer will soon see customers who become too busy for the product. #LawOfKarma or #CommonSense

Thoughts? What is your experience?

Categories
Leadership Lesson

It’s time to share happiness: welcome the new!

It is that time of the year when we at PeopleFriday are thankful for the beautiful way 2020 has turned out, for, so much learning has happened for people in general, despite all the drama. 

We look forward to 2021 as great year ahead, with all the hope, enthusiasm and gusto. Life is good! And we keep becoming a better version of ourselves each day. 

Wish you and your family a Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year 2021.

To many more hours and years of learning and becoming a better version of yourself.
Categories
Leadership Lesson

Here’s your gift for the Holiday Season!

FIRST 30 DAYS: Fright or Flight– 10X Leader Series; available on Kindle Unlimited (India)

The first 30 days of taking on a new role as a manager will be the most defining thirty days for that job and lay the foundation for your success on that job and possibly the next.

This Fight or Flight – 10X Leader Series is designed to help you get started quickly in your new role and become successful. This book is intended to help a new manager. And then some of you may want to use this as a guide every time you move into a new role as a manager into a new team, department or new organisation.

The bonus resources section at the end allows you access to online resources that are specifically available for readers of this book. This section consists of up-to-date resources across the internet. It will make you familiar with the many management tools available for you.

Happy Holidays!

Here’s the  Amazon Link for free download under kindle –https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08R7CDRRC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_ait6FbZAFBS12

Categories
Leadership Lesson

“Why do you want to do what you want to do?

“Why do you want to do what you want to do?

In my interactions with clients, they come with an absolutely ‘clear ask’ on the requirement and want us to fulfil that ‘immediately’.

It is most comfortable for me to give them what they asked. However, I almost always pose this question.

“Why do you want to do what you want to do? Not that we cannot do that x thing that you ask for, but would love to understand the why of it is the right thing to do.”

7 in 10 times, during the process of discussion, their ‘clear ask’ has now changed a few times, and the new request is more practical and commonsensical. Sometimes that ‘urgent need’ itself is nullified, and I have possibly lost that ‘immediate business’ of what they were initially planning to give us.

I do this because I put myself into the shoes of my customer’s business. And gives me a vicarious experience of ‘being a core part of their business’ during those conversations.

That is the value I seem to bring to the table. It has often, at times, saved millions.
But more importantly, asking the right questions, seemed to be the right thing to do.

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Why Making Mistakes is Important in Life

I have written about Of learning, failure and my perspective. I had also spoken about it on Prodcast on Leadership Lessons – Learning to Fail and Preparing for a Fail .

There was so much interest that I have tried summarising the same with 9 reasons on why making mistakes is okay, and 6 ways on how to recover from a mistake.

  1. Mistakes are an unavoidable part of life and are vital to a person’s growth.
  2. Everyone makes mistakes.
  3. Mistakes make up most part of our lives. And it is because of the mistakes one learns. A child makes mistakes a thousand times and falls as many times before her first step.

Reasons why making mistakes is okay

  1. Mistakes give you valuable life lessons.
  2. They say mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Behind each mistake is an important lesson to be learned.
  3. You are only human, and humans are not made to be perfect. It is what makes each of us unique.
  4. Mistakes help you grow. The first time that you will smell success is after the last time you learnt from your earlier mistake. Mistakes they say is a steppingstone to success.
  5. Mistakes push you to do better, be better. They help you become a better version of yourself.
  6. Mistakes help you know yourself more. It allows you to figure out who you are as a person.
  7. Mistakes do not define you. In fact, errors do not stand for anybody.
  8. You will never find anyone who has never made a mistake in their life. If someone said they did, that not telling the truth.
  9. When you make a mistake, you know one more way in which it should not be done

How to recover from a mistake

  1. Accept it – Accepting that you have made a mistake is the first step towards correcting it. What you do not accept, you cannot correct. Accept that mistake. Learn from it.
  2. Know what you did wrong. Understanding your mistake helps you make amends and rectify the situation.
  3. Remember the lesson
  4. Mistakes are normal. Fret not! Everybody makes mistakes.
  5. Accepting the mistake is the first step towards correcting them in the future.
  6. Do not be afraid of making mistakes. It should not prevent you from taking risks or doing anything worthwhile.

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow.” – Mary Tylor Moore

Here is a Spotify Prodcast on the subject

Spotify Prodcast on Failures

83 -second Video on Making Mistakes

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Timeless Time Management Hacks

Time Management has become more crucial than ever before. With Work from Home options, employees and managers alike are more stressed and more time strapped than ever before. How can you master this – here are the Time management hacks.

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Writing meaningful performance appraisals

Writing performance feedback is one of the most demanding tasks for many, but then with these simple tips, you can make it enjoyable for yourself and the employee.

Writing meaningful and effective performance appraisals
Categories
Leadership Lesson

What does ’being fair’ really mean?

What does being ’fair’ really mean?

How can you ever be fair to both sides? It will always be an eternal argument.

Here I’ll share two life stories, 25 years apart and how fairness can be achieved.

When we were young, my sibling and I used to fight for the larger piece of the cake. We accused the other of not being fair and taking the bigger slice for themselves. This happened each time.

Most parents would know that a straightforward rule fixes this forever. One child gets to cut the cake, and the other child gets to choose the piece. As you would guess, the cake gets cut with laser precision each time, and the problem solved forever.

One child gets to cut the cake, and the other child gets to choose the piece.

Twenty-five years later, in one of the large American tech organisations that I worked with, our contract negotiations (C&N) team drew up a services agreement for our client. Once, one of our large Japanese customers – was handed over a voluminous 30-page services contract to sign.

The client requested for an editable word document and returned it for signing in 48 hours. My C&N team was shocked and angry at the ‘massively edited’, ‘totally one-sided’ version of the contract. In a subsequent meeting, their CFO said they just did ’find and replace’ of the and interchanged the two organisations names. They wished to highlight how one-sided company’s contracts were. They asked us to re-draft an agreement that was ’fair to both’.

My company learnt a lesson, but for me, it was a complete revelation on what can be fair in business and still a guiding principle as an entrepreneur.

Being ’fair and honest’ to both sides is not a difficult thing to do if the ’intent’ is to be fair and have win-win thinking. The problem arises only, and only when that ’thought of fairness’ is corrupted. Even a trace of corruption, the big idea of being fair goes out of the window.

What are your experiences?

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Leadership Lesson on Apple Prodcasts

Now on Apple Prodcasts. Please subscribe and share your feedback


https://podcasts.apple.com/in/podcast/leadership-lessons/id1520396721

Leadership Lessons
Categories
Leadership Lesson

A new baby – Prodcast Channel on Anchor

I seem to be loving this medium and talking to you on leadership lessons from life. What is your feedback on this? I would like to hear from you.

Please hear, subscribe and give me your feedback.

Categories
Leadership Lesson

Of learning, failure and my perspective.

I was recently engaged in a heated debate on ‘learning’ and ‘failure’, and how failing in public is the mark of weakness in professional and social situations. For one’s own good, it was argued that it is best avoided to even talk about failures in public. A logical extension is that one avoids asking questions in order not to demonstrate ignorance. Since they do not ask questions. My argument was. Hence they learn lesser – and so the case goes.

Personally, I learn all the time from all types of people. I can not comment for others, but the more I learn, the more I know that I do not know much. I am never too old to learn or too young to ask questions.

Yes, we live in a society where asking questions means either ignorance or arrogance—but seldom associated with learning as a process.

We live in culture where failure is mocked upon. Failure is discouraged and hence people stop trying. One may not hold ‘failure as a badge of honour’ as the Silicon Valley adage goes, but not failing and hence not learning and that is a bigger dishonour.

As a life -long learner, who tries, who fails regularly and learn from those failures, I have no shame in saying if I am learning, I must be doing good. I make mistakes all the time, and I accept the mistakes and learn and try and become better.

I own my mistakes, and no one is responsible for my failures. No one else. Yes, it may be fashionable for larger than life leaders for whom projecting infallibility is a virtue. They do not accept a mistake and claim that never made a mistake, and they are the best and even blame everyone else but themselves for all the failures. Good for them. Their life choices. That is not me.

And I am happy I am not them. I fail, and therefore, I learn. And that makes me me.

Categories
Leadership Lesson

How can you have fun running, on that corporate treadmill?

*Watch this 40 second and your life will never be the same again. *

I always quote in my talks on how most people have a corporate career that seems like running in a treadmill. You start running, and you cannot stop. You keep running, often faster, sometimes slowing down, yet you realize that you remain in the same place after all the running.

For an entrepreneur, life is, however, a different experience. It is like running outdoors in the open. You can choose any path, unchallenged and uncharted trails. You can go the beaten path, yet no two runs are the same. You observe new things and get distracted, slow down smell the flower. However, then, it is not routine, and it is not for everyone. The journey can be bumpy, traffic or an oncoming truck might kill you, much as you may enjoy. The best part is when you run, you move forward, move around, and have fun.

But then, how do you work in the comforts of the corporate life and yet not fall into the routine?

However, then how do you work in the comforts of the corporate life and yet not fall into the routine? For that, you need to be creative, crazy. You need to love what you do or learn to do the routine the way you like to do. How do you do that they ask? I usually struggle to give a straight answer. However, then I stumbled on this video, and this guy summarises how you can and must have fun when things are boring.

Watch this 40 second and your life will never be the same again.

Categories
action Boss CEO Leadership Lesson manage mastery organization people Uncategorised

The Upside of Situational Leadership That Everyone Is Talking About

Leadership differs from management in a very fundamental way. Management doesn’t have to involve inspiring or motivating others. Situational leadership is a specific style of leadership, where your leadership style is dependent on the situation. You could be leading b either delegating, supporting, coaching o directing depending on the team and complexity of the task.  Which essentially makes you practice one or more of the 4 popular leadership styles. The image here is self-explanatory.

Situational Leadership
Situational Leadership

What You Can Do About Situational Leadership Starting in the Next 11 Minutes

Leadership programs are appropriate for supervisors, managers, entrepreneurs and company executives. A leadership development program can help the company leaders in receiving new capabilities. This is a good 10-minute video on Hershey Blanchard situational leadership that you must watch

Now that you’ve understood, it’s vital that you take one of the critical projects that you are heading and see what amongst these leadership team would require at this point in the current situation.

The Number One Question You Must Ask for Situational Leadership

Leadership is more than only a word, it’s the action of leading. It can also cause a company’s demise. Situational leadership or the one size doesn’t fit all method is all about adapting your style to the particular circumstance.

“Knowing all that I know about this team and this project, what is the leadership that is required to help the project move to the next level, project right now?

Leaders help ordinary folks achieve extraordinary outcomes. They should be sent to various countries and allowed to learn that way. Superior leaders identify great talent, give them direction, then escape the manner.

The Hidden Truth About Situational Leadership

Leaders will need to function as a catalyst for change. Thus, a situational leader should have the needed aptitude in order to adjust their actions in order that they may fit with the present situation as a way to assist and meet the requirements of the faculty. Today, the leader with one principal leadership style can’t survive.

Categories
CEO change differentiate future Leadership Lesson manage organization people risk-taking

3 Steps towards Building an Amoeba Organization*

Is your organization structured like an Amoeba?

Successful businesses can continually alter its organizational structure to meet the changing demands of the environment in which they are operating. Each of that change helps them propel forward to achieving the goals the organization has set for itself. And finally, it is not bound the rigid boundaries that are prevalent in the industry or in other industries. Let us take each of these with an example

Business is no Biology, Why then are we talking of Amoeba, here?

An amoeba (/əˈmiːbə/) is a type of organism which

  • can alter its shape, primarily by extending and retracting pseudopods.
  • propels forward (and feeds) by using and extending a pseudopod and let’s go its rear portion
  • do not form a single taxonomic group and are found among the protozoa, fungi, algae, and animals.

A successful business means these 3 things

1. Altering the structure:

Altering the structure of an organization is usually a daunting task. It requires a leader to think out of the box and often begets undesirable resistance from HR and other units that look for status quo for ease of administration. Even in the many cases where an organization undergoes reengineering and restructuring, it often is a laborious exercise and involves months of planning and years of execution. It is anything but simple. But then creative leaders know can get this done.

In one exceptionally large organization that I was working, it was boom time and the business team was quite successful in meeting and exceeding targets. We had an extremely capable sales team and marketing team. The technical team was terrific. The Unit was on a super-fast growth. Yet, burnouts and the low compensation started to take its toll. The Business Unit leader was fully aware of the consequence and had many meetings with HR in vain. So, in this case, he hired a ‘marketing manager’ and the job role was clearly defined as an ‘excitement specialist.’ The measurement was about creating excitement in the team and help the unit be a fun place. The new-hire, an ex-advertising professional from a reputed Advertising Agency exactly knew what to do to build that excitement in the team. She was successful and the need for that position had been done away within 12-18 months when intended results of retentions and motivation were achieved.

There were other times, what was needed was ‘just a process to be set in place,’ or entire unit was to be focussed on ‘competitive win back.’ The organization structure changed countless times, where the required people were brought in or moved out and/or roles changed dynamically. Such changes could not have been reflected under the rigid structure, but with a creative leader, we were able to achieve none the less. The organization not only survived one of the worst dot com busts but propelled forward to be a leader in the industry as competition floundered. And that brings us to the second point.

2. Propel Forward:

To propel forward is a simple term but then defining the forward is the key. The forward could mean winning competition even at a short-term loss or it might earn profit maximization. It might mean the need for PR or need for better sales closers. There can be a couple of areas where one needs to move forward, and it only means adequate resources are deployed in those areas for that duration to make them successful. Any less, the effort would go waste. Any more, we might not be doing it efficiently. Propel forward for an organisation unit may be different from the standard industry practices.

The key to propelling forward is to let go of the past that is holding us back. We could have had an organization that was great and successful in the past but continuing the same activity and being tied to the past will slow the unit down. The key to propelling forward is to let go of the tenets that gave success in the past and unbound and unleash itself.

3. Unbound and hence Unleashed:

The core tenet is being unbound and unchained by the dogmas that exist in the organization and unit. Any change like this is seen as maverick and would lead to eyebrows being raised and questions being asked. The only way to address such criticism is to continue to deliver on outcomes. The team would need to be fully aware that they are being taken into full confidence and it needs to work on ‘a mission mode.’ Goals are pursued as a mission, and the team sees itself as a task force and a crack team. Call it permanent beta, disruptive innovators – any name that you wish. The idea is to take the team along and make sure they are unbound and unleashed all the time to deliver their best.

Go ahead try it! Build your own Amoeba Organization*.

If you like such articles – You can follow some great resources on

 This above article first appeared in the Times of India on April 03, 2019

Rajesh Soundararajan is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Futureshift Consulting, a boutique consulting outfit that helps organizations chart their business, marketing and technology strategies that generate demand, drive predictable revenue and achieve impactful outcomes.

____

*I am not talking here about Amoeba Management, which is a system designed by Kazuo Inamori, the creator and current honorary chairman of Kyocera. Amoeba Management is different from building an Amoeba Organization that I am talking of and is primarily composed of personnel in a company, with a clearly defined purpose of making a profit for itself.

Categories
Boss career Leadership Lesson manage organization people success temper time

Six Things to Remember While Writing Feedback

Over the two decades in the many leadership roles, giving/writing feedback was one of the most arduous of all jobs — across dozens of roles, organizations, countries, and cultures. If you are a manager or a team leader — you are solely responsible for the feedback you are giving your team, both on content and method.

So, what is the secret of giving/ writing feedback?
Feedback giving/ writing is both an art and a science. It is an extremely critical component of team building and as much as it is for developing one’s own career. I have condensed the feedback process into six points that can work in any situation. Good feedback will help your team be high on energy and ideas, become awesome in execution and develop a great attitude.

The secret sauce, ironically, is not about the receiver of the feedback. It is about asking yourself (feedback giver) these six vital questions.

  1. Am I being specific?
    It is extremely critical to be as specific as you can be. It is easy to get carried away with analogies and incidents related to the point being discussed. Such meandering, however well-intentioned it may be, often leads to dilution of the message. It may even lead to a defensive mindset being triggered for the receiver. State facts and give examples in support of the feedback being given. Nothing more, nothing less.
  2. Am I showing the way to grow and develop this person?
    Your job as a reviewer is to develop and grow people. Pointing to shortcomings does not help in any case. In fact, it would work counter-productive as the receiver pulls up the defences and closes their mind to any suggestions.
  3. Can this person really do something about this?
    Think before if this person can do something about this or if you can help to change this behaviour? If the answer is no, that specific feedback is best left unsaid. Yes, think about it. What is the purpose of feedback on which the person cannot act?
  4. Will this add value to this person?
    Focus your feedback on its value for the receiver. If your feedback will not add value to the receiver in the current state, resist from even saying it. Often, it is for us to offer some advice because it is dear to us and (however well-intentioned) do not think of the value it would add to the other person.
  5. Does this represent facts?
    Write feedback promptly when the incident is fresh in your mind. Do not let other unrelated incidents influence your feedback. Good managers maintain a small notepad, to jot down incidents when they occur. This small notepad is worth terabytes of data that may be residing in our memory. Maintaining and referring that small notepad, will always bring us back to the facts at hand.
  6. Finally, let silence do the heavy lifting.
    Silence is an extremely powerful tool. Any good negotiator would tell you that people tend to underestimate the power of silence when it comes to sales and social dynamics in general. “Saying nothing is way more powerful than spoken words” they would vouch. Silence during feedback not only defines alpha roles but also build the readiness to assimilate, process and draw on an action plan in the receiver’s mind. You must recognise the five signs that indicate silence is needed
  • Interrupting by talking over someone else
  • Formulating your response while someone is talking
  • Using a break in the conversation to create a distraction to change topics
  • Talking in circles
  • Monopolizing airtime

With these six simple steps, you will see your self a lot more effective and sought after by your team and people Try it out!

This article first appeared on the Times of India Blogs on March 22, 2019.

_____

Rajesh Soundararajan is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Futureshift Consulting, a boutique consulting outfit that helps organizations chart their business, marketing and technology strategies that generate demand, drive predictable revenue and achieve impactful outcomes.

Categories
aspire calm career contribute differentiate dream enthusiasm failure future great happy Leadership Lesson mastery

6 things that I learnt from a devastating accident

I share my experiences from a devastating accident in which I almost lost three fingers, and what I have learned from this miracle ordeal.

Three years ago, it was late Sunday evening in January when I met with a freak yet devastating accident. As I was working on a 12,000 RPM rotary metal cutting tool, a momentary lapse of attention and I severed my three fingers on the right hand.

This jolted my family and threw life out of gear. With three small beautiful children and a family that is dependent, an entrepreneurial journey, and a whole life ahead, a useless right hand, was the last thing one would want on.

By the time I was wheeled into A&E, the situation was grave, and more than one hospital in the area refused admission as they did not have the doctor on call over that weekend. It was a weekend night, and Bangalore roads were choked with heavy traffic.

The Two-Wheeler Ride To Eternity:

And clutching the tree dismembered fingers of my right hand tightly with the left. I rode pillion on a two-wheeler, and my wife was the ‘ambulance’ driver. The blood loss was significant as The body gushed out blood to the fingers. Sitting in the pillion, the one thing on my mind was to keep myself awake, come what may, and not become unconscious and fall off. I hugged my feet to the sides of the scooter, much like how you would on a horse and kept talking to my wife, lest i fall asleep. The notorious city’s traffic was not helping and a good 30-40 minutes later, and what seemed like an eternity, we reach a hospital that would admit us.

What happened during that ride was nothing short of awakening and rebirth.

What happened during that ride was nothing short of awakening and rebirth. My mind was filled with an intricate mix of self-doubt and self-acceptance on what-if and how I will live with just a thumb and a little finger for the rest of my life. A billion thoughts crisscrossed my mind. Would this be the end of me? Will I be accepted in this world? How will I have an opportunity to pursue my hobbies and passions for which I came back to India? How will I do as an entrepreneur? Would this end my professional life forever?

The Surgery And The Recovery

It was an intense 4-5-hour surgery under general anesthesia, and I remained drugged for hours afterward. I still remember the light banter in the Operation Theatre with the surgeon. He informed me that he would need me to sign the consent form, as he said, “….we can save one finger, be ready to lose two of them, but we will try to save the second one”. This was before the General Anaesthesia, and I replied, “Doc, without those three fingers, I cannot sign. How about you fix them, and then I can have the form signed in no time.” After a good guffaw, they got the consent form signed by my wife, who was there through out the phase not sleeping a wink.

Cut forward to 6 weeks later – As we went for the removal of cast and stitches, my doctor was awed and euphoric – for this recovery was beyond all his expectations. He mentioned I was ‘one big lucky man‘; While I was relieved, I knew deep within that the hundreds of prayers and positive energy from many well-wishers and the doctor’s dedication would not go waste.

And all that was backed by a rock-solid backbone by wife and children, strong support of family, prayers, blessings, and encouragement from many friends. Over the next few months – life had ‘raced back to normalcy – in 6-8 weeks, much earlier than the expected 6-12 months.

I was welcomed from the hospital with a cake, and the little ones were more excited to see me, than to have a piece of that cake.

I was welcomed from the hospital with a cake, and the little ones were more excited to see me, than to have a piece of that cake.
I was welcomed from the hospital with a cake, and the little ones were more excited to see me, than to have a piece of that cake.

I have learned a lot in those few months and unlearned many more. It indeed was a rebirth. With many cobwebs in mind removed, the mind knows what is essential in life. In retrospect, this was the best exerience in my life, yet. Couldn’t have been luckier to have this experience.

Here’s a summary of the six most important lessons that I’ve learned:

1.  Love And Respect:

Throughout the adventurous journey, I realized the importance of having the love and respect of family, whom you could always depend on. My parents-in-law were all the time and my parents flew in from Dubai immediately after hearing this. With that confidence of the support of my family and friends, I would sail through this life. I was also fortunate to have support in the form of many hundreds of telephone calls and WhatsApp inquiries from all corners of the world. Many of them dropped by for a visit. Words of encouragement, flower bouquets, courier packages with holy water, ashes, and prasadams (similar to holy water, in the form of solid or liquid) from holy places were pouring in.

2.  Acceptance:

Within minutes of the accident, and immediately after the shock, I had mentally prepared to accept whatever was on the cards and whatever googly life threw at me. If it means living with just my thumb and the little finger for the rest of my life. I was ready for a life the way it was dished out to me.

3.  Gratitude:

Gratitude was the most important of all the learnings. Through the process of a long recovery, I was filled with immense gratitude for all the amazing things that life had to offer. I was grateful for all that so many people have done for me. Through the countless solitary moments, I thanked thousands of people, yes, thousands of people. I could vividly remember the faces of the many persons I had encountered since childhood. And, I believe that act alone was the single most significant contributor to my miracle recovery, a record of sorts.

Let alone not losing any of the fingers as the doctor had said, the recovery was much lesser than six-twelve months; I was ready and kicking and six weeks. In fact, just a day after the bandages removed and even without physiotherapy I went ahead and did what I love to do – an 800 km Road trip, more than half-which I was at the wheel.

I could vividly remember the faces of the many persons that I had encountered in life since childhood.

4.  Law Of Attraction:

If there is one important thing other than gratitude, mentioned Earlier it is the law of attraction. Much I was accepting each day for what it was; I was not willing to let go of the optimist in me and the fighter in me. Each day, I would visualise miraculous healing and see the senior surgeon tell us that he was amazed at the speed of recovery.

5.  Amazing Adaptability Of Human Body:

Through my journey, I was able to be aware of and observe remarkable aspects of the internal workings of the human body. The experience of ‘electric shocks’ from nerve endings as they try to heal, regrow and reconnect to the nervous system, the incredible way my left hand took over seamlessly, much like a doubles partner, to compensate for my every weakness. The reflexes had dramatically improved. Never in my entire life would I have experienced such a level of alertness and strong reflexes .

6.  Mindfulness, Dramatic Increase In IQ Tests

Here, I’m going to speak about something incredible that happened and is beyond imagination. This was more of an unintended consequence, serendipity if you may, for what you are about to hear is not something even I foresaw in my wildest dreams.

I am a regular player of online brain games like Lumosity. After that break of about 6 to 8 weeks, scores consistently surged way higher than any previous of the high scores. Not believing this magical twist, I took 20 -30 different brain tests. The scores were consistently 30-70% higher than my earlier high scores. On further research, I learned that sudden use of the left hand for the considerable amount of time helped activate the other half of the brain.

Today, I am so grateful to the people around me, my life, and the universe. When I play badminton, play with children, pick up those weights in the gym, or make that 10,000 km road trip – and all of them are still a bit of effort, nonetheless – not a day passes without feeling how blessed life has been.

Categories
Uncategorised

Ask Me Anything: 10 Answers Before You Turn Entrepreneur

  • Where Will Entrepreneur Be 1 Year From Now?
  • The 10 Most Understated Facts About Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship Explained in Fewer than 140 Characters
  • 10 Undeniable Reasons 2019 is the Year of Entrepreneurship

In my article in 2016, I had written “Turn Entrepreneur in 2016 (8 Reasons)”. 2 years later, I revisit those reasons and see if it is still valid and see what has changed?

1.   Entrepreneurs Are The New Black – $100bn In VC Investments

Despite all the uncertainties in the global markets, entrepreneurship continues to be much sought after even in 2019. And it is not without a reason.   Globally, the U.S Venture Capitalist Investments are on the steady rise from 2009(US$ 20+ billion) to over $100 billion by the end- 2018.  Investments into India alone have tripled from just over US$ $4b in 2015 has grown to a massive 12.65 billion in 2018, a record of sorts.

However, on further analysis, you will note that late stage start-ups with a proven record of success took the lion’s share of funding raised, even as the industry welcomed new ‘unicorns. What this means is that if you get to have success at every stage of your start-up, money is not a big issue for scaling.

https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Screen-Shot-2018-10-09-at-9.52.23-AM.png
Source: https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Screen-Shot-2018-10-09-at-9.52.23-AM.png?resize=768,694

2. The Age Of Garage Entrepreneur Is Dead

Entrepreneurs are no longer just folks starting out of a garage.  You will find that the new age entrepreneurs are well educated, are either freshers or those with experience of working in the industry, have a few skill, capabilities, and competencies up their sleeve. And they are aware of that too. You will find that they come with a passion of Garage Entrepreneurs and have ring-fenced that passion with a lot more practicality in combining strengths. They will usually partner with like-minded co-founders who fill the gap their own skill gaps required for business. This age of entrepreneurs has their feet firmly on the ground in understanding the real problem that they are trying to solve. Yet are dreamers with their own idols like Elon Musk or Sachin Bansal or a Jack Ma.

3. Lifelong Employment Is A Myth Busted, Forever.

I said this in 2016, and this holds truer in 2019 than before. The age of lifelong employment is dead – and buried. With the security of lifelong employment and associated pensions gone, more people are looking to get into the driver’s seat and take control of their destiny. They may not be quitting their day-jobs to start off but are cranking their start-ups with the luxury of income from the day jobs funding their passion in part or in full. If you are contemplating, don’t spend the rest of your life contemplating, no do you need to take that leap by quitting the day job when you will face revenue pressures to even sustain yourself. You can well do both, by spending a few more hours on weekdays and dedicate weekends to get the start-up off ground. Once you are confident of taking of jettisoning the mother-ship you can.

I said this in 2016, and this holds truer in 2019 than before. The age of lifelong employment is dead – and buried. With the security of lifelong employment and associated pensions gone, more people are looking to get into the driver’s seat and take control of their destiny. They may not be quitting their day-jobs yet, but are cranking their start-ups with the comfort of regular income from the day job, that funds their passion in part or in full. If you are contemplating, don’t spend the rest of your life contemplating. Nor should you that day job, when you now that will face income pressures to sustain yourself.

A blended approach could be that you can do both, by spending a few more hours on weekdays and dedicate weekends to get the start-up off ground. Once you are confident of taking off, jettison that mother-ship and raise your sails to the headwind.

4. Unemployment And Underemployment Continue To Be Triggers For New Ideas Take Shape

Student unemployment combined with gross unemployment and underemployment seems to be the first ‘triggers,’ though not necessarily the reason for success of many entrepreneurs. The education industry is churning out graduates and postgraduates at alarming rates and the number of big corporations that can absorb such talent is far too less. Education has become expensive, with student loans mounting, yet with no assurance of campus placement, entrepreneurship seems to be the only recourse if you have that fire in the belly.

Since supply far outstrips demand, it is logical that more students are seeking out entrepreneurial experiences with self-funding from friends and family to start with – many with aspirations to build the next Facebook, Uber, or Tesla. The others go through basic education simply to better equip themselves or in anticipation of one day taking that big leap from a cushy corporate job on to an entrepreneurial journey.

5. Disruptive Innovation Seldom Happens In Large Companies.

A lot more disruption and innovation happen today than ever before. And yet, most such disruptions have started with the new entrepreneurs and not the big corporates.

The very fact that the big companies went on to acquire the smaller players at high valuations goes on to prove the value created by new entrepreneurs. When was the last time a Google disrupted the industry? YouTube was an acquisition. Facebook acquired WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus. Microsoft did that with Skype and LinkedIn.

The pace of disruptive innovation has been accelerating since 2005. The new biggies are barely teenagers, the 100-year legends are far and few. New disruptors are disrupting previous disruptors.

6. Failure Is The New Badge Of Honour

The Silicon Valley’s adage on entrepreneurial spirit, ‘Failure is a Badge of Honour,’ is no more restricted to the Valley. In the past, Asian economies like India, China and Indonesia that constitute over half of the world’s population rewarded formal employment and had a social stigma attached to failure.

This new decade had changed all that. Today, you have the wealth created by entrepreneurs from India and China. It is more like this generation of Asians are getting back vigorously and challenging the tenets.

Even as the likes of Jack Ma (Alibaba), Sachin Bansal, Binny Bansal (Flipkart), Aggarwal (Ola) have either diluted their stake to move into philanthropy or the next big thing, there is a new generation like Rashmi Daga (Fresh Menu), Ritesh Agarwal (Oyo), Nandan Reddy and Rahul Jasimini (Swiggy), Deepinder Goyal (Zomato) that have filled in those spaces with fairly big shoes. The spirit of failure does not seem to perturb them, and they are reinventing, realigning from their mistakes along the way.

7. Freemiums Break The Jinx Of Entry Barriers

Starting a business is hard and one needs to be systematic and efficient. Hiring external resources cost money. On the other hand, buying software which you may not use or may find limited use at exorbitant prices is a big deterrent to productivity. A lot has changed in the last few years. I have compiled some of the world’s best software and tools that makes it easier for any entrepreneur–  Analytics (Google Analytics) , Collaboration (Slack, Trello) , Communication (Skype) Design Tools (Canva) , Document Storage (Dropbox/ One Drive/ Google Drive) , Email Marketing (MailChimp) , Invoices And Billing (Zoho), Social Media Schedulers (Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck), Spreadsheets (Google Sheets), Survey Tool (Survey Monkey) , Word Processing (Grammarly, Google Docs).

Thus, all components of your business that requires software tools are available for free to start off and then ‘pay as you grow.’ This is a great boost for entrepreneurs and start-ups who can use world-class tools with zero spending.

8. New Marketing Models Shackle Traditional Stongholds

Acquiring new customers and ‘spreading the message’ is no more limited to expensive newspaper advertisements and television spots. The online marketing channels are all about creating inbound leads and low-cost outbound reach, to targeted audience at extremely optimised and affordable costs. Imagine reaching out to your new prospects at budgets as low as low as $10 (Marketing on Google Facebook, Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn) for advertising each day.

The new marketing models with digital marketing and content creation techniques using some of the tools mentioned above, have spawned the imagination and amplified the marketing capability of every entrepreneur.

You can now, target, reach out and engage your audience for the right demographics and geo-focus. This translates for you into a theoretically unlimited market size with hyper-local targeting. Since markets have democratised and entry barriers for distribution busted, you have infinite opportunities as a new player that offer value to your audience.

9. You Don’t Even Need That Permission To Start

This is the best part. The world has changed and has changed forever in the last decade. Governments across the world are waking up to the new reality of changing demographics and have opened ‘Start Up’ and Incubation Centres in every part of the world to encourage and give a boost to the new entrepreneurs. The painfully expensive permissions from the Government and regulators are long outdated for most new set-ups.

Social structures have changed, sources of funding have changed and most of them are an advantage for the new entrepreneur

10. There Is No Better Time To Start

The Internet has flattened the world for 2 decades now. That the advances in mobile telecommunication, increased bandwidths and broadband penetration have led to a convergence of idea centres a decade ago. Together, they have unleashed a potential that is available today for you- in all its magnificence – for you to start. If you must start, there is no better time to start than now. A journey of a thousand miles – starts with the first step, they say.

The question today then is not: “Can we build this?” but rather, “Should we build this?”

 _______

You might also like

#Hiring: The Fallacy of Job Descriptions…

Why Do Entrepreneurs Fail? (8 Reasons)

The #1 Reason on Why Products Fail

*****

Please do share your thoughts and feedback and I will be glad to learn from you.

**The author is an entrepreneur with two decades of senior leadership experience in India and Asia-Pacific and now runs Futureshift, a boutique consulting outfit that helps businesses chart their digital marketing strategy with the @ZMOTly framework to achieve impactful outcomes. He is available at rajesh@futureshift.com.sg **

Categories
Uncategorised

The most popular word in PeopleFriday is…

The most popular word in PeopleFriday is…