Sunday, May 30, 2010

Your Best Me Times a day

Me Times ! From the time I heard about "Me-Time" phrase, I was excited.  Everybody has to spare some free time with themselves everyday.  It is as necessary as doing your job, spending time with kids, wife or your project team.  You have to be with yourself and yourself most of the times.  You have to talk with yourself.

Stupid as it may sound but most of the people are sacred about loneliness.  Because when they are alone they have to face themselves.  Their own feelings, beliefs, attitudes, ego and more of such feelings.

You have to spend some Me-Time in order to get organized.  You need time to read something, play some music, or game or just do nothing and be yourself.  You need it.  The "I am Busy" culture has penetrated so much into our lives that we do not have time for self-evaluation or self-reflection.

I was a workaholic person and used to work till my body couldn't take it anymore.  My health deteriorated,  I was frustrated, professional life got affected, lost focus, and used to get angry a lot.  "Busyness" is not a solution to neglect yourself.

My best "Me-Times" were the long walk to college for about 20 minutes each day, talking shower, driving on a free way, sitting in toilet and get lost in thoughts,  reading books and while eating food.  I enjoy those moments very much.  The best moments which everyone gets everyday.  Don't miss them.  Grab those "Me-Times" and reinvent yourself.

Note: Previous related post "Spare some "Me-Time everyday"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Are you Creative?

I am very fascinated about Creativity.  Creativity can ignite the spark in you.   Creativity is awesome.  It gives you a high.  Adrenaline rushes into your blood when you are creative.  Creativity to me is doing something different.  Creativity is breaking the mold and challenging the status quo.  It is not only applicable to people who are in entertainment, marketing, or advertising business but to everybody.

Creativity is everywhere.  You can be creative even while cleaning the floor.  You can be creative in presenting your ideas to your friends, to your boss, to your consultant or professor.  All you need to do is think differently and execute it irrespective of your fear and resistance.  Creativity is so simple to understand yet difficult to realize.  It is just being yourself and nobody else.

Last year my father gifted me the greatest gift of all times.  He gave me a book on creativity(Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within (Osho, Insights for a New Way of Living.).   This book had a profound impact on my life.  I was recovering from all the feelings I had after spending month in India.  When this book gave me the strength to be myself and become self conscious.  Self-awareness and consciousness are two very important facets of creativity.

The fear of judgment from your peers and unknowns is the greatest killer of creativity.  For example, while I am writing this blog post, if I am worrying about whether you would like reading it or not is a fear of judgment.  I am self-imposing limits from thinking fearlessly.  When you were kids you were more creative, because you were fearless about anyone's judgment.

No one can judge your creativity better than you.  How can someone criticize about your work who hasn't done anything?  Can anyone know you 100%?  No right.  So it is clear that nobody will ever know about your art.  If that is the case then why worry about their judgment.  Their judgment is totally reflecting themselves.  Just being yourself is the biggest step towards creativity.

Creativity Check : You are more creative amongst your friends.  Because you don't care about their judgments.  You simply want to share your thoughts with them.  Stop fearing from judgment and start sharing your ideas with everyone.

By asking question "Are you creative?", I meant are you self-aware? do you worry about others' judgment about your work?  do you fear?

 Lady Gaga (left) is the most creative person in business according to Fast Company(Read here).  If you read she says "I am a fearless person".  You have to be a fearless person in order to be creative.  Fearless from yourself and others' judgment.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The best way to learn anything

I have a very interesting story to share with you and it is very personal.  Three years ago I finished my undergraduate degree in engineering in Electronics and Communication.   Through second year, I was literally struggling to learn the principles of semiconductor devices.  It was nightmares for me.  I never remembered it.  Tough subjects came over me, one by one and I couldn't take it.  As a result, I flunked in my second year.   I was terrified and had never failed before in my life.

So I started again and third year came in and was bombared with more difficult subject like Microprocessors.  Same situation, couldn't get it but didn't flunked this time.  Somehow I passed it.  When final year came in I got an opportunity to teach few students.  They wanted to learn microprocessors and controllers.  I was clueless but I had some good mentors who taught me processors before.  So I thought I could do it.  

Students kicked in and my small class room was on.  Before I could teach them I understood that I had to study first to teach them.  I was prepared in each class and taught.  Sometimes they didn't understood and they stared at me with blank faces.  I figured out how to make it easier for them to understand.  As classes went by, it became more interesting and students (now my friends) were enjoying it.  I realized that what I learned in my college days was just "remembering it hard" to get through the exams.    I never had a real learning experience.

Suddenly I was able to see immense opportunities in the field of micro controllers and microprocessors.  I was so happy to see that I could do it.  And so can you.  I am not saying that you all have to start teaching students to learn everything.  We encounter so many friends who do not know few things, in which we are very good at.  You can grab that opportunity.  You can even volunteer in a community school to teach a few lessons on anything. 

Teaching others is the best way to learn anything.  If you ever had a true learning experience then you would be so excited to tell others that you did it.  In teaching if students don't understand any concept then I used to alter the way I used to teach them.  So simple lesson, if you didn't understand anything alter the way you learn them.  So I adopted the best way to learn anything is to teach.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Leaders never complain

Our Dean of the business school walks in a class room or a meeting with the same energy all the time.  He is always positive and we have never heard him complain.  He never said like my week was bad or the food was not ok.  Or atleast he doesn't project his image like that.

Our professor Dr. Clinton Longenecker always mentions that leaders never complain.  He has never complained about food.  He always appreciates whatever has been given to him. 

If leaders start complaining then the whole tribe would start doing so.  We need to accept the challenges the way they are.  And fight for them.  As a leader you need to take charge.  You will see the world the way you are. 

Leaders never complain about life and they take charge for their life and the tribe.  The quote "Leaders never complain" had a lasting effect in my life.  I mentioned to my wife once and now she reminds me all the time whenever I tend to complain about anything.  And I have changed since then.

You are a leader in your family, at your workplace, in your community and amongst your friends.  Imagine what if you entered in a room where everybody was just complaining.  Doesn't look good right.  So is the case if you enter the room or start off your day complaining.  Everybody who surrounds you doesn't feel good.

This is an act of reciprocity.  Think about ripple effect in a water and consider yourself in the center of the ripple from where it originated.  The act of complaining spreads like the ripples.  As a leader your job is to start ripples of positivity, generosity, humbleness, honesty, integrity and creativity.

Remember once again Leaders never complain.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Millions of Leadership Opportunities Lost

From centuries we have been taught to work the way it use to be.  The way everything works is the only way to work it out.  From the day mass production was introduced we introduced standardized way of doing things and parted our ways from doing things in a different way.   We were taught to go to school get education and work for someone in a factory. Thinking different was not allowed.  Thinking of Leadership was not in our surroundings.

With this great mentality we have created millions of doctors and engineers along the way.  The way it used to work.  We created cogs who work 8-5PM shifts and return homes.   And simultaneously lost millions of leadership opportunities.  The society forced kids to go to follow, follow and follow all the times.  Nobody told them to LEAD from the front.

There are millions of leaders in demand.  And nobody want to be a leader.  Because nobody is ready for the challenge.  We have pampered our status quo since ages to adopt what has been given to us.  We have been trained to see a catastrophic event and do nothing about it.  We could have avoided most of the worlds problems with true leadership.

There are more bigger problems and life threatening problems in the world today then they were before.  Today we need more people to collaborate and to work in groups and tribes.  To lead those tribes we need leaders, leaders and leaders.  The Gulf Coast Oil spill could have been stopped much earlier if a true leader would have been in charge of. 

To solve 21st century problems we need true leaders who can motivate, inspire and transform lives.  If you feel from the bottom of the heart the need to change the world then Leadership is your kind of a deal.  If you are deeply concerned about a cause then leadership is the answer and only you can do it.

Your society needs your leadership....your family needs it...your friends need lead.....the world needs it....

There are millions of leadership opportunities lost every day.   Millions of people gave up and never fought for what they believed in.  The time is now to accept the job of a LEADER.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action ? Video

Simon Sinek argues in this Ted video, how great leaders inspire action.  Great video and my favorite one. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Three Words Can Kill

Three words can kill an entire organization, whole company, even entire country and our planet earth.  Those words are "NOT MY JOB".

Yes this is not killing each other with weapons.  It is killing without doing anything.  Do you wait to see if it is your job to fix your house's water leak?  Do you blame it on somebody and do nothing about it?

It is not my home so why worry?  Right.  Perhaps everyone is thinking the same and same thing is repeated and multiplied in numerous organizations, companies and countries.  Why should I fix it when I didn't do it in the very first place?

If you child does "PEE" in your house, don't you wash it or not?  If you consider yourself as a father of this planet and every creature its son then wouldn't you fix others "PEE". I know it is tough to imagine.

It takes love to clean your son's shit but it take guts and a true selfless act to save an organization and the planet earth. 

The longest developing story right now is Gulf of Mexico's Oil Spill in the ocean, and it is running for over 3 weeks continuously.  Yes ! it is still flowing and nobody is taking the leadership, I mean true leadership to tackle the problem.

Blame Game, Not my job, They did it, they will have to pay for it, We are not responsible for this and on the mighty to find more of such statements on every page. 

It is irrelevant to see whose job was to fix it.  It is irrelevant to see who is right and wrong at this point of time.  Because at the end of the game...."EVERYBODY HAS TO PAY FOR THIS".   Government, People, Earth and Ecosystem.  

There has to be an emergency backup plan for any disaster that occurs in a company, organization or our Planet Earth.  And it goes like this.....Irrespective of who did it...if they are not able to fix it within preventable damage time frame, then it becomes everybody's job to fix the problem.

The company or individual who fixes it, gets rewarded and the one who couldn't do it and were supposed to do it gets penalized.  Treat your company as your family, Treat every employee as your son or daughter and your will realize whose job is to fix it. 

In the U.S. Oil spill case,  BP is going to get penalized but Everyone is affected right now.....nobody is coming forward to accept leadership....and blame game is still on....and United Nations is non-existent in this whole issue. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Forget Demand Think Desire

If you are running your company then many times you will be concentrating on generating demand for your product.  How can I get more consumers?

If your product is remarkable by all standards then you don't have to worry about demand and how to create one.  Product will have enough demand.  Worrying on numbers is all secondary when your product hits the stands.  You should not worry about demand before you design the product. 

What you should be working on is creating a desire for your product or a service.  Apple Inc. was successful in creating a desire to own an ipod.  "If had the money I will only buy an ipod" - Is a Desire of a wannabe apple tribe member. 

Can you create a desire in 100 true fans?  How can  you create a desire to possess your product to million people or billion people? 

Answers is simple but not simpler : Build remarkable and desirable products.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reinvent your life through sailing and blogging

Have you heard stories of great sailors?  JOURNEYS of Great sailors teach us a heck of a deal on blogging and reinventing life through blogging.  I found a great co-relation between sailing and blogging.  And both are ideal way of living your life King Size.

So what happens when your boat is off track or struggling in a storm or is struck with an ice berg?  You feel helpless.  What you do when your boat has lost direction and is wandering about in the ocean?  Your hope is someone will come and help you out.  Someone will show you the way of survival.  Some one will rescue your JOURNEY.

So in that hope you start sending signals in the air hoping somebody in the world will receive, interpret it and eventually send rescue teams to save your boat.  Blogging is very similar to sailing and we can learn great life lessons from sailing and blogging.

So you start sending the signals (write blog posts) and wait sometime.  As time passes by you see no help is coming your way.  You become nervous and frustrated.  Now what ! Either you give up or you continue sending signals.   Somehow you hope that someday will definitely come.  And you keep sending signals.  Few hours passes and now you meet some fellow men who have lost the track just like you.  They will either help you or pass by with no clue or even ignore you.

Similarly in life, you have lost direction in quest or you are failing or you want to reinvent your life.  And  you don't know what you do.  You identify the cause and start sending signals.  Some never do.  They are satisfied with their status quo.  Few accept the challenge and fight.  You don't give up and continue sending signals in the ether.   You keep posting  your thoughts on a blog and keep sending signals. 

Finally the boats arrives you get people who will be able to relate to your cause(interpret your signal).  They will support you to find your way and reinvent yourself.  They will comment on your thoughts.  Along the way you too will grow and become a learning individual.     

The great life learning lesson here was contributing to this world without expecting something and just hoping that somebody will recognize your work.  There will come a day when the boats will arrive and take you ashore. 

Key Points :
1) Identify your passion or your problem
2) Starting sending signals -write blog posts
3) Persistence - Continue sending signals
4) Hope - Hope somebody will relate to your feelings
5) Challenge your status quo

Picture: I drew that picture for an exhibition in my undergraduate studies.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish - Steve Jobs

How Apple has managed to stay on top and still managed to look foolish?  Why is Steve Jobs staying with this philosophy?  What is so great about it?

What is being so great about being foolish?  I have thought over and over again about this philosophy and I am able to discover how great it is.

Apple launched Ipad in January with a lot of buzz.  All over the world, people tuned into popular blogs to see what Steve Jobs has to offer.  And thousands were waiting to comment on the Ipad.  After the launch, most  people were hugely disappointed.  Lots of criticism floated around the web including the famous Hitler Video Series.

People thought Apple has launched a mediocre product with not so many features and hugely disappointed the early adopters.  Apple looked foolish again.  But the catch was Apple made people hungry along the way for a better version.  It didn't gave away all the features at once.  They wanted to remain foolish and make people hungry for more.

If someone invited you to a dinner and you don't eat much and left hungry, what would most people think.  He is foolish and he didn't ate to fulfill his hunger.  Or He doesn't know how to eat.  To enjoy the food you don't have keep assaulting your stomach until it can't take anymore.  Don't eat too much so that you can eat your next meal.  Don't skip your meals because your body needs small junks of food at regular intervals.

Don't ship all your product features at once.  Because people need frequent updates of better versions.  They need it and you need to provide it.  That simple it is.  Don't write a lengthy blog posts so that you can't write any more and you start skipping.   If I am taking someone to a tour of USA, I will not show them everything at once.  It is overwhelming and it looks over done right. 

Keep people hungry for the next one.   Don't start reading the book to finish it all at once.  Read a little and allow some gap while reading next chapters.  Because you need to grasp it, understand it and grow along with it.

Be foolish and do little.  Be foolish and speak little.  Be foolish and become great.  It's not at all bad to be foolish. 

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish - Steve Jobs

Saturday, May 15, 2010

There is no room for excuses

There is absolutely no room for excuses in this world.  Now people need results and they have higher expectations.  They need better results.  

Failure to meet them means falling to our own prey.  In professional life there is no room for excuses.  Failing means you are weak.  Simple as it may sound but think about every reason and at the end it narrows down to just one sentence "You couldn't do it". 

Corporations can't afford excuses.  If you boss is kind enough then he will listen to you but will still fire you or shift you to another department.  Excuses means you hated your job and now you are ready to be shipped off to another job or department.

Don't give excuses because it reveals your weaknesses.  Don't give excuses because you couldn't ship it but give feedback on process improvement.

Stop thinking excuses and start thinking results.   Delivering desired results with discipline is the mantra today.

Nobody expects but demands results

Can you get me better results?  

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Loss of a Linchpin

What happens when an organization losses a Linchpin - The Indispensable?  A person whom you cannot replace, tough to find a person like that to fit in your organization.  If your firm or organization has such a person then think of that person leaving the job.  As a leader, I can only think of nightmares Or You shall see everything falling apart.

You certainly don't want a linchpin to quit their work.  But you only realize Whether an employee is a linchpin when that person quits his/her job.  You start realizing their true value.  You cannot a buy a linchpin off of a Wal-Mart shelf or off a stack of thousand resumes.  They are not a factory worker and they are certainly not a commodity.  So tough to regain those employees with such high value.

So what are you going to do now when that person quits? Or what are you going to do before that person quits?  What if you knew in advance whether your employee is a linchpin or not?  All these questions should help you identify a linchpin in your company or help you identify things you could have done to prevent them from quitting.

You can conduct a regular Linchpin Checkup on your employees to see they are linchpins or regulars.  Below are the few things you can do as a leader to realize what value an employee brings and what you can do to prevent them quit.  Sometimes you will realize that some things were in your control and you could have done.

1.) See what value an employee brings to an org apart from their job descriptions
2.) What are the different people skills that an employee possess
3.) Are they contributing their ideas to save an organization?

4.) Start looking for linchpins within your org and outside
5.) Either make job positions replaceable or make linchpins replaceable.
6.) Give empowerment to Linchpins
7.) Burn your free fuel -Appreciation, Recognition and Encouragement
8.) Start giving Gifts to a linchpin - because they certainly don't work for money.  They are artists and artist love gifts.  Embrace the culture of gifts.
9.) Sometimes simply asking them what they want can solve the problem
10.) Read book "Linchpin - Are you indispensable"  By Seth Godin.This book has transformed my thinking by leaps and bounds on how you can become a linchpin.

I am writing this post because I have witnessed a linchpin quit and some devastating consequences to follow.  This post is very close to my heart.

Losing a linchpin is something you cannot afford in a 21st century because employees will become less dispensable in coming years. 

Identify Linchpin and do the right thing.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Scarcity of disciplined thinkers

My last post focused on maintaining focus at all times to succeed.  In this age of absolute distraction when you have so many like and conflicting ideas we need absolute focus.   You have so many ideas, thoughts, friends, feelings, desires and distractions going on, and in the midst of it you need to preserve your best one and organize them.

We need to start thinking as a disciplined thinker.  A disciplined thinker is a person who fights continuously with one's conflicting ideas in the mind.  He is a person who gives attention to his ideas and listens carefully to them. 

A disciplined thinker is a person who organizes various ideas into pools of categories.  He then organizes those categories to refine his own ideas and makes them sharper.  He writes them down as soon as they come to his mind. 

He is a person who storyboards his ideas into series of pictures with the help of sticky notes to make a big picture.  A disciplined thinker is a person who continuously ships his ideas to others irrespective of their craziness.

We need disciplined thinkers who can map complex thoughts and ideas into a one Big Picture to solve world problems.  And the chaos is increasing day by day in our society.  Bring discipline to your thinking.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Absolute Focus

What happens when you do things at the last moment?  Why you feel that I will do better next time?  What happens when absolute focus kicks in? Result: You will work with undivided attention.  Undivided attention brings creativity and results.  You are very creative when you are very focused  in your goal.  The ideas behind this post is not to encourage you work at the last moment but to bring light to benefits of absolute focus.

Why apple is considered to be the most creative company?  The company with remarkable products.  Because they are a very focused company.  They are aware of their extreme focus.....high gains and high productivity.  highly creative individuals...preventing themselves from average products.  Most companies are distracted by too many things.  Trying to do just about everything.  And as a result nothing gets done.  Products with average quality, performance and lots of complains.

I am writing a paper on organizational change implementation and business leaders confronted that focus is the key behind a company's success.  And the lack of focus behind failure.  Are you trying to do too much everyday? STOP... "Stop being average, start being remarkable" as frequently quoted by our Seth Godin.  In this age of absolute distraction where there are too many products, too many websites, too many ideas to success, we need absolute focus.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Motivation : BOTW - Video

Share this video with all those whom you feel can make a difference in this world.

Write it down now

Are you keeping track of your ideas?   Can you recall those wonderful ideas you had once in the past about the future?  Did you ever had this feeling? "You see I had this concept while I was young."

Our mind thinks amazing and crazy ideas everyday and of which some are really revolutionary.  But the average mass don't write them down.  People when confronted to write they hated to write even a single line forget about pages about a product concept or new marketing idea. 

It might seem impractical to write down every small idea some of them could be really crazy ones.  But the catch is you need only one to hit the home run, only one big idea to get promotion, one great idea to get you job or your next marketing idea.

Because they might be not practical now but in the future everything is a possibility.  You could be the first person in your company to come up with a new project concept. You can either become the darling of your organization, next generation leader with a vision for the future whom people will follow.

Carry a pen, an ipod, phone, piece of paper anything where you can store your ideas and then re-touch them.  This is an age of Ideas and you cannot afford to lose an idea.  And Idea can change your life.  Ideas that spread wins.  If you have a great idea while reading this post then write it down.