Wasted Life.. T…

Wasted Life.. There is still time.

I see life slipping through my fingers as every minute passes with me staring at the screen, as every minute that leaves me sleeping, as every minute that I worry about not doing enough, not being enough..

Alas, when illness now touches me, I wonder if this is the last day of my life, have I lived enough?

Only, If only I could see the joy in every minute and feel the gratitude for the wonderful things I am blessed with in this life. It would have turned into a beautiful journey towards a mature soul.

Aha, what if there are still minutes left and I make the most of it? It is so wonderful, I still have a chance.

Break through Barriers with Emotional Intelligence

The benefits of using emotional intelligence at workplace are immense.

I would like to put emotional intelligence in simple terms as “the ability to think beyond our assumptions and to realize the perspective of others as well as being aware of our own perspective of a given situation”

How to put this emotional intelligence into play to gain at workplace:

In a given situation:

1. Keep track of your emotions

2. Be aware of the assumptions that you are making about the situation or about the people involved.

3. Make the most of any meeting or appointment. Do not hesitate to bring up your point or questions, just because you assume that the other person is not interested or does not like you OR because you are emotionally overwhelmed. Or because you think your idea is not good enough.

4. Make the move to setup an appointment or bring up your point. Do not hide or make yourself invisible.

5. If you have the feeling that the other person is placing a barrier to your communication, break through anyway and make your point. If he/she does not agree, that is ok. At least you made your point. It boosts your confidence.

6. Finally, Trust your instincts.

Difficult times…

Difficult times come to remind us of how insignificant we are, yet how Significant our purpose in life is.
They come to remind us how vulnerable we are, yet how strong we can be and how we can be strong.
They come to remind us how tough life is, yet how flexible our goals can be.

It is time we start realizing women leaders as women

I always come across leadership or management favoring a woman who displays the traits or characteristics of men, over other women. Example, one with an aggressive behavior will make a good leader(really?) OR one who can ignore feelings/emotions of others/subordinates.

I agree that men have traditionally run businesses. And they are the frontrunner, purely because of the undue advantage of starting early and having all the necessary resources(and beliefs). Man’s way of doing business and treating people seems to have become the norm. If you cannot emulate it, you cannot reach it seems to be the way. Isn’t there always a different way, an alternate way of doing anything. Why can’t there be one for running business? People keep talking about diversity, and how it can benefit organizations. Well, it is time you make use of this diversity advantage guys.

Thankfully, people these days understand the gender bias, the stereotypes. And more women keep moving up the ladder. Though the difficulties of women have not eased up. As they still have the enormous responsibility of taking care of children, keeping home in order.  I am hoping that things keep changing and present a more natural way of progressing and breaking that so-called glass ceiling for women.

Book Review – The Steve Jobs way

I picked up this book which has been lying around for quite some time now in my home, over the weekend. All these days what made me not pick this book was fear. Steve Jobs is the name which did this. However, when I started reading this book, I was totally engrossed. If I learned anything from this book, it would first be about perseverance. Other important things being steadfastness, innovation, intuitiveness, Selflessness and the courage. I would like to call Steve now, “The Intuitive Leader” and a powerful visionary.

Many interesting phrases used throughout this book like “Evangelizing Innovation, Pirates!Not the Navy, Holistic Product Development”. The excitement that is projected in the book is infectious.

Though I would have liked a story which builds up gradually. It was interesting in one way that the Author has segmented the book into different sections like “Tapping Talent, Rewarding, Brand Building etc”. The book goes back and forth between happenings in Steve’s life, not in a particular order. Once, I was left wondering if in this scenario, Steve had already met Steve Wozniak. Probably it is due to my lack of familiarity with the characters and their lives outside of this book.

The author, Jay Elliott, explains how Steve, the consumer himself understood the needs of consumer better and worked to satisfy their needs. The ultimate way of Steve unleashing his potential is when he decided to jump into retail – selling Apple’s product. He hired the right guy to do the job. This was one of the many examples of Steve’s excellent recruiting capabilities, as the author projected.

This is not to say Steve never had setbacks. He did have setbacks, including being away from Apple for a considerable amount of time. He was graceful about these as his focus never wavered from what he wanted to get to the consumer. He would make a come back to Apple as a CEO this time, while he was only leading Mac team while he left Apple.

Steve’s courage is another significant item to be discussed, when the author says Steve slashed down the number of products Apple was producing, though they were classic.

Very touching scenario was when Steve walked in to the factory to hand out $100 bills to the factory workers, when Apple first launched Macs. This is only one small part of the rewarding system that Steve setup for his people, the author says. Who would not want to be rewarded ūüôā

Role of Executive Coaches

Executive Coaching

If you are a manager or executive looking to improve your performance, increase your productivity, build your leadership skills, manage your team better or advance your career, coaching can definitely help you do that.

Your coach can help you get very clear on what you want to accomplish and what’s holding you back, set clear compelling goals based on that, develop strategies and action plans, and help you execute while providing the support and accountability you need to bring the best in you.

Bob Nardelli, CEO of Home Depot said this about coaching “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential.”

  • Set goals that are so remarkable, they appear too good to be true.
  • Gain clarity in your vision
  • Become the leader you always wanted to be
  • Develop a winning team to assist you to achieve your vision
  • Set and achieve proactive, powerful goals rather than just reacting to life!
  • Travel through the minefields of the executive world with confidence and results
  • Breakout of self-defeating behaviors!
  • Gain a totally loyal partner to assure that you achieve executive greatness!
  • Unleash the powers within you, to accomplish more than you ever thought possible!

The Role Played By Executive Coaches

Coaches help clients and their employers set realistic development goals. They create practical action plans to reach those goals. And they monitor their clients’ progress to ensure they are taking responsibility for their commitments.
Coaches help the client identify causes and solutions when objectives are not being achieved.
Coaches ask questions. Sometimes they play devil’s advocate, asking tough questions that force their clients to review their own progress, assess what’s gone wrong, and decide what actions to take next.
Coaches review a client’s experiences, successes and challenges, to help them understand what kinds of behaviours generate the best results.

Show that you are upto the higher job

So One Job Isn’t Enough For You?
Tara Weiss, 01.08.08, 3:00 PM ET

Sometimes you’ve got to show the higher-ups you can do the job before they give it to you.

Forward-thinking employees know that and are taking on additional responsibility to prove they should get promoted or switch departments altogether. Yes, it takes additional planning–and lots of extra hours at the office–but the effort can pay off.

“It’s like having a business plan for yourself,” says Janet G. Lenz, an assistant professor and career counselor in Florida State University’s career center.

Take Greg Topalian. He started working at Reed Exhibitions 10 years ago as a salesman, and now he’s a senior vice president at the Norwalk, Conn., trade-show operator. His steady climb up the corporate ladder is a direct result of asking himself what it takes to get to the next level.

“This wasn’t about how I could steal my boss’ job,” says Topalian. “It was more, ‘What skills does he have that I don’t?’ When I started as a salesman I realized my sales director does things I don’t, so I’d offer to help. I’d say, ‘How can I make your life easier? Can you show me?'”

Prior to getting his current job, he served as group vice president at Reed. Once he had that job under control, he analyzed what it meant to be a senior vice president. One of the job’s main aspects is thinking globally. Topalian demonstrated that mode of thinking by creating a training model for all exhibitors on how to get the most out of their trade shows.

“It made our most senior management feel that I clearly grasp the nature of the senior vice president role,” says Topalian.

And that’s what all hiring managers want. As Karen Rohce, vice president of human resources at Sun Microsystems, puts it: “Experience is the best classroom.”

To get it, employees need to set up a supportive structure. First, explain to your boss that you greatly enjoy your job, but you want to take on new responsibilities. (It helps if you scout new projects or find a mentor to give you added tasks.) Employees should assure their supervisor that their current work won’t suffer and that these new responsibilities will make them a “value-added staffer.”

Once you find a mentor or supervisor to work with, set up the parameters of the additional projects, including its length of time, along with ways to measure success. Also, get feedback from your “part-time” boss. Was he or she happy with your work and are there skill sets you need to strengthen? It also helps to have your two managers communicate. Ask your part-time boss to send your regular manager periodic updates on your work. This is a great way to remind your supervisor that you’re working two jobs.

The biggest challenge is getting burnt out by the additional hours spent at the office. Avoid that by taking on small projects until you feel comfortable with the new workload and unfamiliar skills. But the bottom line is, if you want to make it to the next level, you’ll need to work more. “There are times when you’ll be doing a 10-plus hour day to get to the next level,” says Topalian. “That’s a reality.”

You can alleviate some of the workload by encouraging your subordinates to do the same thing. “They’re able to take on your lower-end work, which is high-end to them,” says Topalian “There’s a synergy there that’s very important.”

Rational thinkers will be Assertive communicators

Assertive communication is becoming very important in today’s world. We need to recognize how we respond to any situation, analyse if that is how we want to respond. Is our response in line with the goals we have for our future. When I think back after 10 years, would I feel proud of my today’s response?

There are three types of communication

1. Passive

2. Aggressive

3. Assertive

There is a fourth – “Passive Aggressive”

An example:

The boss requests an employee to do some extra work over the weekend. The employee has already planned a family trip on the weekend. How does the employee  communicate his concern to the boss.

1. Passive – “Yes, Sir. Sure Sir. No problem.”

                     Accepts whatever is told. The problems he might face at home he thinks he will deal with later.

2. Aggressive – “No. I have other plans. I just cannot work on the weekend”

                      There is no room for discussion left. Employee is angry. Boss is angry.

3. Assertive – “If it is urgent, I would definitely do it. I have a family trip planned for the weekend. If it can wait till monday, I shall do that first thing on monday.”

                      There is room for discussion. The boss might as well accept for his request. Or might consider an other person to do the work.

4. Passive-Aggressive – “Yes Sir, No problem”.

                      Employee then goes to the rest room or to the tea point and starts talking negative or shouting or crying or complain continuously with colleagues, based on the type of person he is.

So, we can see that if I think rationally, I talk assertively. Because, I understand the following:

1. The boss is also human.

2. I am human. And the boss knows that I have my personal obligations.

3. If I accept the work, and not able to do it. It would be a problem for the organization.

4. If I refuse the work, It might be damaging to the organization if it is really urgent.

5. Instead of assuming the work is urgent.  I can confirm with the boss if it is urgent and take the next step.

6. Moreover, my boss is my boss. So he might very well come up with an alternative if he knows that I have genuine reason.

We all are leaders irrespective of our job role. And an Effective Leader is Assertive.

Wikipedia definition for Assertiveness is¬†¬† ” a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.”

It takes time to develop assertive behavior. Let us start it today.

The Extraordinary Boss

An interesting article by Geoffrey James on inc.com

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

¬†Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

¬†Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community‚Äďand company‚Äďat large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

 Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

 4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

¬†Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people. As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

¬†Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

 Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

¬†Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable‚Äďand believe therefore that the most important job of manager is,¬† as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

Using Palmisano’s questions

Inspired by the 4 questions of the ex-CEO of IBM, Sam Palmisano. I wanted to see what questions an employee can ask himself to get what he/she wants from a job:

  1. Why would any organisation pay you?   so What is unique about you?
  2. What skills do you bring to the job to add value to your work?
  3. Why should the organisation carry you along in its growth path? In other words, what are you doing to make sure you evolve along with the organisation?
  4. What uniqueness are you adding to your skillset regularly so that you are entitled to hikes and promotions?

What do you say? Please share your thoughts.