Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skip It And Don't Waste Your Time

Have your ever taken an entrance exam?  Just like GMAT, GRE, CAT.  You have an idea right.

What you do when  you are stuck on a problem in such a exam?  You juggle on it for a while.  If you feel it is taking too much of your time, you skip it and move ahead.  A smarter you, will try to take points on easy ones and move ahead.

That's the key of this post.  If you feel you are not going to get something within reasonable amount of time then move on.  Don't waste your time.

You can argue with me on this one.  You know you cannot finish reading "How to do everything" in one day.  Get the low hanging fruit first.

Even if you feel something you will be able to do it, still "Time" factor matters. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Productivity

Employers hire project manager because they want to have a definite outcome of their project.  And that too good one.  They want a productive work force.  We all want to do so many things in a day and simultaneously be good at everything. In my earlier post I have written on getting things done on time. 

Doing things on time is the number one rule of productivity.  You have to decide which emails you want to reply now, before end of the day or end of the week.  Multi-tasking is overrated.  It is not smart eating on one side and driving on the other.  You will crash.

Being productive is doing only one thing at a time and getting good at it over time.  How can I park my car with minimum time?  Production manager's priority is how can they minimize overhead time.  It is a challenge definitely.  Are there any rules to become productive?  Yes there are.

1.) Write it down whatever you want to do and follow your to-do list.
2.) Doing it on time is the number one two priority
3.) Third is ignoring everything that comes in your way of accomplishing it.
4.) Keep it simple and remember the rule of 3.
5.) Always ask  yourself how can you minimize repetitive tasks.
6.) Always follow best practices at your work place.

I cannot be simpler and clearer than this.  In one of my post(Smarter not Harder) I have already written this one but that list was more definitive.  Use Sticky notes if you do not want to invest on a white board.

Simplest Rule: List, Prioritize and Do it. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Three Ps Of An Organization

...are the most damaging ones. 

These 3Ps  are Power, Prestige and Position. 

If given in excess, they act like drugs. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Frequently Used On A Monday

Hopefully hundreds and thousands of people working will use them often on a Monday.

"How was your weekend?"

"I hate Mondays"

"Why weekends are so short?"

"I am running late for the meeting"

"It is going to be a long day"

Is this a trend? Yes.  Why?  Because they don't like what they do.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Don't do right thing at the wrong time

Tony Robbins, "Do the right thing at the right time".  He further says, "If you do the wrong thing at the wrong time or the right thing at the wrong time then you will get hurt".

Exercising and taking care of your health is good.  But exercising at night when you are already tired will hurt you.  So exercising is a good thing to do but not at the wrong time.

Applying for the right company at the right time with proper skill set is a smart move.  Not applying for a job at the right time will hurt you.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

On Time

Once I asked my professor on how he was able to manage so many things.  He was doing many things from teaching to consulting, social work, sports, charity, etc.  At the other end we wondered what kind of person he is and how could he be like that.  The coolest response he gave was "I am not great, I just do things on time".

Simple but not simpler yet smarter.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It is hard to settle down

Common scenario after people get their first job.  They get settled.  Happily they start adding weight to their lives.  Suddenly everything stops.  Many stop doing the very same things that initially got them there.  It has been working like this because everyone did this.  No wonder.

Few years back life came with a well paying job and then with it you could afford everything.  Opportunities were less and the learning curve was very high.  So for you being a factory worker was very hard to learn two or three new skills.

With the advent of YouTube and such wonderful web technologies it has become very easy to learn new skills.  And with new skills comes many opportunities.  Opportunities that you wouldn't have imagined 10 years back.  Companies don't want people who are know only one skill.  They want people who can do many jobs(because of competition and recession).

So if you can see these opportunities, I bet it is very hard to settle down and do nothing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Idea Can Change Your Life. Really?

Definitely an Idea can change your life.  Forever.  But only if you will do something about it.

You are not the only one having a crazy idea everyday.  There are millions of people who have an extra ordinary one.  But how many will do something about it.  Very few.

You might be able to make a burger better than Mc Donald's, but will you sell it.  To atleast one person.  They have sold it to billions of people. 

Zuckerberg had an idea.  He invented facebook.  And the rest is history.  More than 500 millions users on it.  An Idea change your life but only if it will sell to millions of people. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Go Take A Break

Just in the midst of everything, go take a break. Why?  Your computer will hang up if many applications are running simultaneously.  It needs a refresh, a restart button.  Once restarted a computer will start working like new one.

We human beings are different from everything.  Once we take a break we start seeing everything differently.  Have you noticed that after returning from a long vacation everything appears different.  There is a newness to your surroundings.  And even people appear different.

Actually everything is just the same.  Nothing has changed.  Your view point changed.  It changes every time  when you look at a particular relationship, surrounding, a piece of art work hanging on the wall, a book.  You are a different person from morning to evening.  Even after sleeping you are a different individual, because you must have seen dreams.

As an artist I have observed an important human behavior.   Many times I was trying very hard to find an error in my sketch but I could not get it.  No matter whatever I did, it didn't work.  Sometimes it got even worse.  So I used to leave it as it is and come back after few hours or even days.  Now I could easily make out my errors and improve the drawing.

The thing is when your mind gets stuck into certain problem, you wont be able to see different aspects attached to it.  In my drawing example, my eyes got set on a particular portion of drawing which I drew excellent.  And then I couldn't see the mistakes.  And after certain time, my eyes were able to distinguish between what was error.

Seeing things as they are is the toughest challenge.   Natural human behavior doesn't allow you to do so.  You will realize the importance of your country when you are away from it.  You will miss somebody when that person is away from you.  If you feel nothing is working out, go take a break and give a fresh start.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Power of Web Video

The Power of Web Video. See this video by Chris Anderson of Ted.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Operational, Mangerial, Strategical

Different levels exists in an organization which maintains its competitive edge in the market.  Operational level consists of people who are in charge of daily operations.  These are the line workers who put in those hours that produce the actual meat. 

Managerial level manages line workers and other supervisors who operate the daily activities.  Their role is crucial in getting the job done on time and with quality.  Without them it would be chaos in the company. 

Strategical level is the top most level which is not only concerned with internal operations of the company but also how company is placed strategically in the market place.  They analyze marketplace and make strategies for the future.  Without them companies would be out of business in the long run. 

All the these three levels are equally important in our daily lives.  However we do not take them as seriously as companies do.  If we incorporate these three levels in our daily functioning then we can place our personal brand in a much competitive position. 

In everyday life we are unable to spare fixed amount of time to these levels.   More than 90% of our daily work is operational, hardly managerial and invisibly strategical.  If we spare more time on strategical and managerial then our operational efficiency can be maximized and we can do more work in less time. 

Always remember 80/20 rule when you find yourself overdoing something.  Only 20% of your time is actually productive and 80% of time is wasted in doing irrelevant things.   Have you ever realized how much time is spent in just checking emails while working?  

So my argument is if only 20% of my time is productive then why not spend some time on doing something else which is equally important in getting my work done.  Let me give some important things which you could do or think.

Strategically you can 1.) plan on whom to collaborate with on your next project 2.) how to acquire a new skill to get a new job or do existing job faster 3.) how to increase networking and 4.) analyze what are your strengths and weaknesses and what can you do about it.

In Managerial activities you can include 1.) managing your time equally on the above three levels 2.) manage your calendar of activities that gets you going.

Operational activities you are already doing so bring efficiency in everything you do. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sundays Should Be

...for getting organized.  On a Sunday, you should get back in sync with your activities.  I catch up on reading, organize documents, filter all articles on news and blogs and plan something cool for the evening.  On Sundays get up early and enjoy full day.  Then you won't feel like, why the heck Monday came so soon. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Worry About Bill

Don't worry about money in any case, in whatever you do.  From many years, people have brainstormed us to think about money first.

What will I get if I do this?  What is in for me?  How do I benefit from this?  "I" is always kept at the center of everything.  Some benefits are not impacting "the self" directly.  Intangible benefits are difficult to see.

Of course for a living we need money.  But most people lose their chance to learn something when they keep money at the center of everything.  

For example,  Will you volunteer to teach in a private school for nothing? Will you get $10,000 immediately?  No.  Will you learn public speaking, teaching, presentation, fear?  Hell yeah.

Will you volunteer to sell few concert tickets or products to someone?  Will you get anything?  I doubt.  Will you learn something about "selling"?  Yes more than you can learn in a traditional MBA school.

Stop thinking about money or any kind of benefits if you want to learn something.  In a small firm, you will be paid less no doubt about it.  You share lots of responsibilities and work beyond your job description.  What a learning ! And is there any doubt your resume won't look stunning.

Had it been a multinational company, you will  > Sit in a cubicle > Don't do anything beyond you are told > Don't learn anything > Happily live for the money you get >  Don't expect your life to change dramatically.

Last word : "In life somethings come without a price tag.  You have to grab it." 

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Next Leader

Imagine this.  Take all famous leaders, personalities, celebrities, brands, media outlets and organizations, and pack them in one room.  Lets call it a waiting room.  Now what they are waiting for?

They are waiting for the one who will make a difference in this world.  The one who is the next generation leader. A leader who is willing to walk those miles with the people.  The one who is able to connect and build relationships with people.  But you can also be an engineer, a designer, a marketer and still lead a tribe. 

Common haven't you seen many unknown people coming on CNN on Larry King Live.   And you see unknown people becoming CNN Heroes.   Why is that?  It is because they have been discovered by the media for their hard work, for their leadership, for the difference they have made in this world.  If you have it in you they will find you.  

They are waiting for the next leader who will walk the talk.  Go do it and live it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You Cannot Motivate Anyone

How many times you have told your friend, a student, your elder sister or brother to do something you felt would be life changing?  And they didn't even listened to you. 

The fact is "You Cannot Motivate Anyone".  You can only create an atmosphere so that someone will take any action.  What does that mean?

It means that if your sales leader is biggest fan of sport car, post a picture of sport car right in front of his desk.  And write the sales target below it. 

It has a lot to do with setting someone's focus.  Create an atmosphere that will keep his/her focus on the goal.  Let me ask you one thing.

Which is your favorite company and you just want to work for that company?  The web page of the company should be your default homepage until get into that company working.  The way you behave, act, think will dramatically change.

So next time don't motivate anyone.  Think how to set someone's focus on the goal and not lose it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Will You Write? And Why?

Why will you write something on your blog, status update on facebook, twitter, in your diary? 

Is it because you really want to share something?

Some write because of sorrow, joy, anger,egofrustration, jealousy.   Has it affected your identity online?

Will you write the same way for a company? 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg Rejected A Billion Dollars At Age 22

Most of us are money oriented and we always focus on money.  So we think everybody else is.  Really.  How about world's richest people?  Did they always thought about money in the first place?  They worked hard and had passion for what they really loved.  And also knew that money would follow.

In a recent interview with New Yorker's Jose Antonio Vargas, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook had some interesting insights about his personal life.  One thing interested me the most and that was the following section which says that Mark Zuckerberg rejected $1 billion when he was at the age of 22.  Unbelievable!!

Terry Semel, the former C.E.O. of Yahoo!, who sought to buy Facebook for a billion dollars in 2006, told me, “I’d never met anyone—forget his age, twenty-two then or twenty-six now—I’d never met anyone who would walk away from a billion dollars. But he said, ‘It’s not about the price. This is my baby, and I want to keep running it, I want to keep growing it.’ I couldn’t believe it.”

To read more (click here)

Money is the last thing you should care while deciding about your passion.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why middle class will continue to struggle?

You can call it average or middle class.  It will continue to struggle.  It is neither full nor empty.

A child is born > Goes to an average school > Never got first in class or learnt anything excellent > Remained average throughout > Landed a job with an average salary.

Is it any wonder why he/she would get paid an average salary?  This is no surprise.  Most of the world population is in middle class.

The middle class never realized what it takes to get to the top.  This class never had to give up something they truly loved to get their focus set on one thing.  (The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

This class is highly affected by distractions which take away their focus and attention.   There are too many of them unfortunately.  Want some name of those distractions?  Here

1.) Social Circus
The middle class is continuously affected by societal affairs.  Always they believed that in order to survive you have to satisfy and follow all the traditions of society.  And to be in that circle you have to be a part of that circus.  Rich people didn't got rich because of continuously satisfying everybody.  They had to ignore most of them.  Some people from middle class with high ambitions are able to ignore them.  For example an ambitious student would say, "I cannot attend your birthday party because I have some important work".  You have to leave this circus for the time being.

2.) Attractions which are distractions
This class lives in a social setting.  Which is they are in touch with people and are affected by what other people say and do.  If a friend buys a SUV or a 51 inch Plasma TV, then he has to buy it.  Such a mentality is best at preventing you from being you.  Everything everybody is doing is not necessarily meant for you to do it.  You have an intelligence, use it.  People attracted by Facebook, Iphone, Social gaming, TV, Social meetings, Movies, Parties are unable to focus on what they have to do.

When nothing works in their favor this class goes to the rescue of society.  They feel when anything happens society will help them survive or will hold their hand in times of misery.

Unless the middle class gets used to giving up their "attractions which are distractions" they won't be able to become rich or achieve success.

An ending note to remember, "Give up everything that is preventing you from being you and from doing your art".

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Manipulation: Game Businesses Play

Most people never think before they start believing into something.  The fear makes them believe in all carefully crafted marketing messages.  The fear of being left alone, fear of doing a mistake, fear of looking dumb and you name it. 

The crowd psychology rules when big brands are playing games with people's foolishness.  Big newspapers, TV Channels, Brands have been making a living out of it since decades.  Its a whole one system at relentless work until it crashes by someone's innovation(Internet, Ipods, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Kindle, Iphone)

People with business background understand these games quickly in one second.   But still their minds stop working when they decide on buying or selling.

Just one game you need to understand businesses play with people's mind.  And it is the game of manipulation.  They are good at manipulating the crowd. 

Crowd is easily manipulative.  Show them an advertisement, a movie, a sports game, a concert in group over and over again.  As much as you can.  Over time they will talk about the only product, the only program and the same movie. 

When they go to buy, their mind is set on the brand and they buy the advertised product.  So simple.  The rule of this game is simple: Find a crowd > Find a Channel to market them > Exploit the channel with no juice left in it > Find a different crowd. 

Imagine this.  One TV Channel,  one network, few programs to see, and the TV is the only thing to watch.  Everybody is watching same commercials, same program and same brands over and over again.  The crowd is helpless but see them and believe them.  This is what happened in the 1980s and 1990s.  People had no choice.  It was so easy to play these games. 

"Now it is becoming harder and harder to manipulate people's mind with ample of choice many channels to market", is what most marketing people would say.  It is partly right and partly wrong.  Not doubt it is harder than before to manipulate.  People whose products used to suck are sucking dust big time.  But the game to manipulate crowd is still on.  The rules haven't changed.

The difference is that the crowd is now divided into many smaller groups.  But the rule is same, Find a crowd > Then channel > Exploit it like anything > Find a different crowd.   And the crowd psychology will do the rest. 

Crowd has no mind.  Only thing that works in crowd is Fear.  And an individual in a crowd fears of being left alone. 

Think twice before you decide.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fast Learners required now

How did  you learned when you were in school?  Ans: Printed books.  How are you learning some key concepts now?  Youtube, Wikis, Blogs and Free articles available online.

The effort required to learn something is reducing with every innovation on web and in class room technologies.   Younger generations will learn same concepts even faster.

Is it any wonder why companies favor recent college graduates to experienced candidates? (Read this article).  Don't get bogged down when  you see many years of experience in a job description.  Prove yourself that you are a quick learner and you can do the same job.

If you feel innovation is catching up and you can't keep up the pace, then here is reality: become a quick learner and learn how to collaborate with people.  Because if you won't learn fast you will have to collaborate eventually on the next innovation your company undertakes.  Or get fired.  (Read: Change fast or die)

One person with one skill days are gone by.  Companies need people with multiple skills and who can learn faster.  Become a fast learner.  (Read : 77 Brain Hacks to learn faster, deeper and deeper)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Changing Clothes

Your wardrobe may be filled with hundreds of clothes and a dozen pair of shoes.  May be a pair of lipstick to match every dress you wear.  You can put them on and off as and when you want.

You will definitely look different.  But what is the point if you are ethically wrong.  Will any kind of jeans make a difference to what your personality is?  You cannot change yourself internally by just changing your clothes.

An organization can change their buildings, business processes, softwares, clients, products and be different.  But what about the culture.  Will that change instantly?  No.  How much time it will take to change an entire organization (bottom-up)?

When American High school education will change?  Is giving them new technology with new infrastructure solve their problem?  Can obesity be cured with one Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver?

Fundamentally something is wrong.  The self is wrong.  The system is wrong.  And the change shall not come easy.  No by changing clothes at least.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Why are we doing things the way we are doing it? 

Why tweet or be on facebook? 

Why ride the same route to work?

Why take same courses given to you? 

Why spend time staying with same group of people everyday?

Why are we the way we are? 

Ask yourselves every possible "Why" of your life and get yourself out of the programming given to you by the society.

Challenge your beliefs and systems you follow without doubt and change your life.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Getting Desired Results: Matching Expectations

To get desired results the first and foremost thing you have to do is know what is desired.  Without knowing the target it is impossible to hit it.

So easily said by not easily done.  Lets' examine what is knowing the target actually means. It is knowing what are different stake holders demand from you.  Knowing what your immediate boss requires from you, what your project team is demanding from you.  What are their expectations?

If you are new to a project or a newly appointed manager then you immediate duty should be to listen to different parties involved in getting your job done.  Just listen and take notes.  Many things will be clearer to you.

After you are fully aware of the situation, get all relevant parties on the table and collectively decide on things which you cannot deliver or certain project deliverables are out of scope.  And as Seth Godin says "Just ship it". 

Most people just rush to the launch and they never hit on the target.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Leave out all the rest

Filter: One of the most important verb.  Very few use it effectively in their daily lives to filter the unwanted.

Here is how they used them to focus on the essential.

1.) Uses email filtering effectively.
2.) Filters out useless connections and builds relationships with important people.
3.) Filters important books to read
4.) Filters important information(trust me there is so much information out there, you need a filter)
5.) Creative individuals filters out bad and good ideas to choose the best one (Steve Jobs)

Act like a "Filter", Choose the best and the only best things, connections, people, movies, books and whatever you choose to focus on.

And just leave out all the rest.  Because it is useless and unwanted, waste of your time and attention (2 of the most scarce resource in the world)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Born Genius

Are people born genius?  There are who had great talents and found their way to become great artists, doctors and philosophers.  For some system just worked perfect.   For example, the timing was right, got the right people, had the right skills and pushed themselves really hard. 

For some it took them time to figure it out the system.  Truly they weren't born genius.  They had tough time to figure out how things actually worked.  Once they figured it out, they were kings of intelligence in their own field. 

The key in both the cases is they maintained their focus on one thing and really pushed their boundaries to achieve it.  You might take some time to figure out how computers work or Einsteins' theory of relativity.  But what will you do once you knew what it is.  What will you do and how far will you go? 

Its' ok if you are not born with it.  Nobody was either born with it.  But what will you do about it does matter.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Why Sundays should have all the Fun?

Sunday = Fun-day everyone know this and is on their mouth.  The "no-tension" day declared by collective social intelligence of people.  Why and how has this happened?  Any guesses?  Because usually lots of playfull activities are associated with a "Sunday".  Since you were a child you played several games and those memories are still alive.

Moreover, you want to do nothing, just sit and relax.  You want to do your favorite things on a Sunday.  Suddenly "Monday comes and all fun is gone", why? Nobody knows.  How about changing things we do on a Monday?

For example, let's do our favorite things at work, lets take some time to add some playfulness.  How about converting your meeting with your boss into a little bit fun.  Can you think of some games?  Are you continuously working?  Then how about taking some frequent breaks to get back with full energy.

Do what you do on Sunday, everyday and there shall you see enthusiasm.  Do things you love and after all why Sundays should have all the fun.  lets' make everyday a fun day.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

MBA schools will not teach you

How to... 
1.) Manage your own career
2.) Work for your own brand
3.) Optimize your daily work load
4.) Go do it faster and with efficiency
5.) Life long learning skills

Friday, September 03, 2010

Few important words

4 Most important words in an organization: "What do you think?"

3 Most dangerous words for an organization: "Not my job"

2 Words everybody should pay attention: "Active listening"

3 Easiest words to say: "I don't know"

3 Most damaging words: "I don't care"

2 Words use more than you can: "Thank You"

Most important word for every organization: "Customers"

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Everybody will learn but when

Wisdom comes to everybody and everybody will learn life lessons eventually.  Here is an example, you will realize how important relationships (some call it networking) are only after major setbacks or after a certain age.  The cost of one error in your email, your code or a service is realized when you have witnessed people getting fired for that.  Getting to know that ahead in time so that it can be avoided is the challenge civilizations have faced continuously.

The challenge is to pass on that wisdom to as many people as we can and as quickly as we can.  Some have mastered the art of passing it to masses through their leadership, movies, inventions, sports and social work.  One movie can have dramatic impact on people's life and can change culture of countries.  The toughest part of an organization to change: Culture. 

In India movies have been an integral part of its culture.  They are changing the face of the Indian middle class.  People are more open now than in year 1998.  What has created impact in their lives is not age certainly but the way "culture shift" has been depicted in movies, TV Serials, Internet and Education.

All the above mentioned venues where culture shifts happen are being controlled by visionaries and leaders.  These visionaries bring the change to masses if they wish in an un-controlled manner.   When will everybody realize and act in coherence on Green revolution, Food revolution and Education evolution?

Few have envisioned it long before and have started creating communities, tribes and pitching their messages to the world.  The challenge is not on if masses will know or not, but it is when and how faster they will act on it. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Why categorize ?

My blog doesn't fit into any one category and should I be worried about it.  No.  Social media pundits have long favored of finding a fitting niche category and blog about it.  "Niches can go crazy" says Gary Vaynerchuk of wine library tv on emphasizing the importance of niche categories.

My argument for not having a categorical blog is this, "In this creative economy, we should not be confined to some limits and not explore other possibilities."  I know fans of social media and leaders of specificity tribes will disagree with me.

There are many arguments and books written on being relevant to your audience while blogging and leading a tribe.  According to Seth Godin, your messages should be anticipated and relevant to your tribe.  Otherwise people will leave your site and tribe.  That is absolutely correct.  But should you find a category to blog and limit yourself to that particular category.

I believe that you should be free enough to explore and write on whatever interests you.  When you are creative and working with other people who are interested in what you do and the way you do it, there are no niches and categories. 

Take my word, categories and niches are dead.  If your brand is trusted, there is only one category you.  People believe in what Seth Godin has to say every day.  People crave for stuff that comes out from Apple

My blog will never fit in a category.  It is about ideas as they come to my mind.  I don't take a second to think if they are appropriate or they fit in.  Ideas come unbranded.  I can't tell every idea to every person I meet everyday so I blog.  And in this process I know some ideas will be better than the other.