Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do You Have A "Stop Doing List"?

We all have a "To-do list".  We write and write and our list goes on expanding.   As a result, it turns out that it is a never ending list.  And then it makes little sense.

I have made many and also on the way developed some nice ways to tackle "To-do lists".  This post is about a "Stop-doing list".

Great companies balance their "To-do list" with "Stop-doing list".  You won't achieve focus until you list things that you have to stop doing.  

Stop Hours of Facebooking, Twittering, Unnecessary Social Gaming and so on, fall into one of the stop doing lists.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Networking: What's Your Group?

Common Scenario Seen at Networking Events.  There are different groups of people attending networking events.  They can be classified into five groups.

Group 1:  Never talks to people.  They come, listen and go.  

Group 2:  Hesitant to talk but would love to get into conversation.  They wait for a chance but they miss it.

Group 3:  They make the first move, they talk for a while, exchange business cards and disperse.

Group 4:  They have done their homework. They know the people, their likes, dislikes, projects they are working on, they have done Google search, LinkedIn and even Facebook search.    This group has the capacity to engage the other person in a conversation.

They have the power to build long term relationships.  Of course this group comprises of less than 10% people attending these events as it requires hard work and diligent effort to know the other person.  This group has a purpose.  This group ends meeting by fixing another meeting for a lunch or dinner.

Group 5:  This group is genuinely interested in what you do.  This group of people know the networking mantra.  When they are not there for any specific purpose, still they know how to start a talk and end a talk, which might result into a relationship.  This group is willing to help.  This group is open to everything.

You either want to be in Group 4 or 5.  Rest is not in the game.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Egolessness

During free fall when we have no weight, we float in the air.  It is because we are going against the gravitational force.  It is called weightlessness.

I coin weightlessness to Egolessness.  Both have distinct similarities difficult to ignore.  Compare gravity with self and weight with Importance.  In the state of Egolessness we go against  ourselves(the gravity).  In the presence of ourselves we try to gain weight(Importance).  When there is zero gravity we have zero weight(zero Importance).

Since not everybody have experienced weightlessness in this world, it is equally true even fewer people in the world have experienced Egolessness.  When you experience weightlessness you float in the air.  When you attain Egolessness you become Englightened.

Buddha achieved Egolessness.   Buddha achieved Enlightement.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Don't Motivate To Break

We certainly want our loved ones to achieve new heights in their career.  And we will do everything that it takes them to achieve their goals.  Our loved ones could be our spouse, friends, employees and even strangers.  We will provide all the possible resources but still no fire of passion.

For most of the time we think they are getting what we are saying.  But they don't.  We get so much passionate about their dreams or our shared dreams but somehow we cannot ignite the passion in them.  We try to motivate them so much that they finally break.  They give up.  The world breaks apart for us.

We certainly didn't wished for this one.  So how could we do it the other way?  Get them ignited without breaking them.  Get them passionate without becoming a hate figure.  Get them self-motivating without self-indulging.  Becoming a role model without being a road block.  Few things we can ensure to do achieve this.  Here.

1.) Stop Motivating.  Because you cannot.
2.) Provide a window to the world without being the window.
3.) Become less possessive about their dreams. So let them create their own dreams.
4.) Engage them in playing games and wining them.
5.) Identify and remove their fear.

These are not exclusive ones but I would like to quote a famous saying, "Never say Die" - Energizer Batteries.  If you give up then there is not doubt that they will too give up.  Keep doing it and Keep experimenting.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Simple Saving Mathematics

It bet you, you don't need to learn complex mathematics concepts like Regression analysis, Statistics, Trigonometry and algorithms, to figure out mathematics of saving.  Often it is only addition.

Addition is taught in first grade and they know that 1 + 1 = 2.  If you earn 10 dollars then 1 should go to saving. Every time you save and it gets added.  There you have a saving.

If you chase for earning more and more money, then it is a never ending game.  And probably it is easier to earn more money.  Tough is figuring out how to chase for saving.  That is under our control.  If companies suddenly decide to layoff people then it is not under our control but saving money is definitely under our control.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Its Never Too Late

Holidays ! What a time of the year!  When you have everything you wanted, holidays are celebrating.  We enjoy them.  But when we don't have what we need -the necessity, we are sad.  Holidays are unwelcoming.  Let's not make this Holidays boring and also sad for some one.

Giving can make you spiritually and emotionally rich person.  You will have a crash course on wisdom.  You will feel it.  It is the purest kind of happiness.  I am not talking about pleasure here which is you get by consuming food, playing xbox or surfing on iphone.   It is sheer happiness followed by soft heart.



If you are in Toledo, Ohio,  then you can join me in giving a food basket to someone whom we don't know this thanksgiving.  But we do know that it will make them smile.  You can volunteer by getting some food and I can figure out how to do it best.

Please drop me a line at my email mitulpsuthar@gmail.com with your contact information and I will get back to you.  We will have some fun and a chance to touch few hearts.  Feel free to get some friends involved.  Remember Thanksgiving is a day away.

It is never too late when it comes to giving.

Update:  It was a great experience shared with my soul mate my wife.  We donated food to Cherry Street Mission in Toledo.  It was great to find out people coming out and helping.  Amazing. I have now marked of this from my check list of things to do in life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not Where But How

I don't know where I want to go.  But I do know how do I want to go.  It is not about the destination but the way we fight for it matters.   The way we are leading our paths to excellence and innovation, it will will definitely open up doors to a brighter future.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Good To Great

Good to great by Jim Collins, what an amazing book to read.  I am half way through.  Many companies can become good it is not a big deal but only few companies can become great.  Jim has done excellent research to give some valuable insight into these companies.

Few insights from the book.

1.) When you need to make a people change, Act.

2.) People are not your greatest asset but the right people are.

3.) It is about getting right people on the bus and wrong people off the bus.

4.) Great Leaders are not ego centric.  They always believe in the right people company has.

5.) Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.

6.) If you feel the need to tightly manage someone, then you have made a hiring mistake.

This book is a must for everyone.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Hour Lunch

Your entire perspective can change after meeting a person with high ranks of wisdom.  He could be your mentor or a business leader.  It is so amazing to have one on one conversation for one hour.  It is personal, relevant and specific.  In other words from a mentor's perspective, this also means, "For one hour my attention is yours.  Ask whatever you want, listen to what I have to say and how can I help you."  It is not possible to have this kind of conversation in an email or phone.

Last week, I met with my mentor and it was exactly for one hour we met.  To my surprise I found out that he was booked for more than one month for lunch.  That was great.  I learned that leaders are always open for building great relationships and are open to mentor someone.  Just ask for it.

These meetings are not about giving your sales pitch or think about how to impress that person.  These meetings are mostly about building some great relationships.  Build now, ask later.   Just think if you are going to meet with your friend at lunch then what will you talk?  You will talk mostly about daily routine and some interesting topics which both of you like.  These meetings also follow the same protocol.   Just be personal, be human, talk something that interests both of you and be humble.

You never know when and how that person will be helpful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fill In The Gap

This is not an exam question that you will have answer by filling a Gap.  Every time I argue with someone about reading book they often say they are busy.  And I have even blogged on this before.  So you might even feel this talk redundant.

But I have an important insight.  It is also getting very difficult to manage your time and invest in reading when busyness is just a second nature.  But that is a challenge right.  And we knew about it.  But we never thought about a solution and just gave up.

The only way I am able to keep up with my reading is by just filling in the empty slots where I cannot do anything.  For example I take books along with me in bathroom.  It is an honest confession but in 10 mins I can zoom through lots of pages.  Even 10 mins before going to bed will get you reading more than 10 books in one year.  Isn't it a decent goal?  I think it is possible.

And also it is a matter of making a diligent effort slowly.  As the famous saying says, "Rome wasn't built in a day", I believe in doing small everyday.  Read a little, write a little but don't give up.  I think about every art and passion the same way.  If you want to do something different and new, then you will have to find out these gaps in your busy schedule and fill them in.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wow Capacity

Products like iPad, Kindle, iPod are so beautifully designed and packaged that you would want to gift someone.     Kindle on Amazon.com is the most gifted item in their catalog.  Companies creating marketing campaigns are heavily using slogans such as, "Participate in our survey and Win an iPad !".  Why only iPad? Why not any other tablet in the market?  There are hundreds out there.


These products have the power to wow people and that is why they are the most gifted products.  If you are in consumer products business then you should create a products that has "Wow" Capacity built in.  Wow power can surprise a person and make them happy.  Is Wow capacity an ingredient?  Yes it is.

Also you can Wow customers with superior shopping experience by providing excellent service.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Worth Paying Attention

When one product (Kindle, iPad) is disrupting many businesses and industries it is worth paying attention.  Every once in a while a technology comes that disrupts everything.  Those who were sleeping during the introduction of these technologies are sure to be left behind.  In our modern context I would say that innovator takes it all.  It would be stupid not to embrace mobile devices when they are challenging desktop pc sales.   Folks at Microsoft laughed when iPhone was released.  Did it changed the way we understand mobile?  Yes.

When innovation strikes it will not ask if you are protected or not.  It will just strike and take your lunch away.  There has been so much of buzz around Google TV because it is going to disrupt many businesses along the way.   There are implications in our life from the technology world which are worth paying attention.  When  innovation can change so many businesses' face then why not ours.  Why can't we innovate and disrupt?  How can we innovate ourselves out of this traumatic economic downhill?   Today only Innovation is worth paying attention and only innovation can cure our Global Economy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Need Only One

In a baseball game, sometimes you only need one Home Run to win the game.  One hit movie can cover up all you expenses and can change the game.  Avatar movie was the biggest grosser of all times.   Your brand needs that one piece of differentiation and excellence.  You don't have to focus on 1000 different aspects of your product.  Just one.  Get it right.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On Perfection

Perfection does not comes from knowing everything.  Perfection comes from knowing the fact that you know little and there is so much more to learn.  It also has to do with perception.  What you feel perfect is not perfect to others.

Assumption of perfection results into closing of many doors for opportunities.  Perfection is also misconception.  Instead try to become complete.  Completeness comes from being what you are.  In this complete moment you are contended with what you have.  That particular art of yours is complete.  It comes from satisfaction.

Moreover Perfection is just a snapshot of an ongoing activity.   There is always room for improvement.  Once you accept the fact that you art is perfect, you will not even try to see beyond what can be done.  What is next and what can be done more to it.   If everyone felt that they are perfect then the word innovation wouldn't have existed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

All Different And Still The Same

Everyone wants to be different than the other person, still we see the same mistakes.  Following a trend, believing in rumors is seen and repeated in different countries.

When I first came to United States within first few months I realized that its only the language and the way we look is different, other than that we all share commonality.  And we all are the same.

People are affected by multinational brands everywhere.  Corporates rules the modern society.  Brands have same power across the borders.

Why we fall into the trap?  We want to be different, wear different clothes, have a different career, have a nice house and interior different than our friend and have best gadgets.  But why still we are the same.  How could and entire nation (America) fall into such an economic crisis?  Where was our consciousness gone when banks were refinancing for nothing?

Obesity in America is worse and diabetes is catching up with the race.  If everyone(most of the population) is affected by these diseases then should we claim that we are different?  Wearing different clothes is not being a different personality.  Wearing an attitude that is different and thinking different than the group will make a difference.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Challenge For Creative Individuals

It has been a while since I have written something on creativity.  Let's address one of the challenge faced by creative individuals and how to overcome it.

The Challenge: How to get honest criticism for your creativity?

Recently I saw a performance from a guy in an event.  As an audience I bet it was boring for everyone present there.  But then when everyone met him they all said good things about his performance.  Why good and then still bad?  What if people around you don't say how exactly your perform? What is the problem?

There is one group of people around you who don't want to offend you over your creativity.  Hence they will always play safe and  won't criticize your work.  In turn they will always give diplomatic answers.  These responses should never be considered as a true judgement of your work.

Second group of people is the one who has never done such a work like never sung a song, never made a painting will feel amazed to see your work because it is out of their creative reach.  They will never say bad about your work.  Because they respect it.   Another group which you should ignore.

Third group of people is the one who is unaffected by your personal relationship and is out of your fan club.  This group knows the art, knows industry standards and knows what works out there.  This group of people will criticize your work and that's the group you should catch and care for.  Remember this group is neutral and sees things as they exist.  They don't belong to a particular fan club.

Many times it will happen that you will always get good reviews about your creativity.  But that's the right time for you to seek for honest criticisms from the third group of people.   Find out which is your third group.   You can improve if you have an industry standard to compare with.  But what will you do to improve when you are the standard.  How will you beat yourself?

Solution:  Once you are done with your work, pick up some random people whom you don't know.  Pick up different age and interest groups.  Show your work to them.  Don't disclose that this is done by you.  And then ask for feedback.  And then improve, improve and improve.   Sometimes even this group could be wrong.  But always seek for the third group.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Buzz Is Overrated, Trust Is Underrated

"I can tell you that my mom has zero buzz but when she says something I listen" - Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos.com.

He talks about how companies try to create too much of buzz in the market to get people's attention and market their brand to customers.  What truly companies should be doing is to build engagement and trust with its customers.

I have even blogged earlier on "How Do You Earn Trust?" by just one single line, "Make a hard promise and keep it".  Zappos.com and Amazon.com both are such companies which have earned trust of their customers.

In the world of fragmentation of consumer markets, it going to be increasingly difficult to market to consumers.  And if companies trying to focus too much on marketing and flooding their facebook or youtube pages with self likes, it is not going to win their customers' trust.

They have to build engagement and earn trust.  Do not focus on Buzz, but focus on trust.  How to get customers trust your brand?  How will you create a great experience for your customers that they will remember?

Trust, Trust, Trust......hard earned and easily lost.

Note: "Delivering Happiness", which I am currently reading, is one book that will change your perspective on building a brand.  If you haven't read yet, please go read it now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ART

You don't need Permission to execute your ART.

Find out what you are good at and show your talents in it to the world.

Because I tell you one thing, once your ART is out, it is not in your control.  If it is good it will travel places even after you are dead.

You can not even imagine where your ART will land up and who will see it.  A video on science and education captured in US has the potential to change lives in a small village in Africa through Youtube.

Don't worry if people close to you don't appreciate your ART, because there are billions of people and finding someone like you near you is tough.  But there will be someone who will like it, tweet it and share it to the world.

Isn't it Amazing?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fantastic Quotes

"First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,  then you win" - Gandhi


"Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb." - Hug Macleod


"If you have more than 3 priorities then you don't have any." - Jim Collins


" Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw


"When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny." -Bertice Berry


Note:  The above quotes are being mentioned in the book, "Delivering Happiness", which I am currently reading.  If you haven't read yet, please go read it now.  

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Problem

For most part in a meeting, it is difficult to reach a common consensus that says, "Guys we have a problem, What do we do about it? "

Everything can be sorted out if everyone agrees that there is a problem.  Many times that's not the case.  I have seen people arguing over tiny details about why things are going wrong and who is to blame.  When the roof of a building collapses we don't argue about why it collapsed or whose fault it was.  First we try to fix it.

Fire rescue teams will not start blaming the building owners.  Their job is to just save the building from fire.  Pour the water in and move out.  That's it.  

My concern in a meeting is the broken ceiling.  If you can see it then come forward to fix it.  Later we can discuss about what we should not do so that it doesn't happen again.  The hardest part is to bring everyone on the same page.  And that's the problem.

The Busyness Syndrome

Every once in a while you would have heard lots of people saying I am too busy.  Whenever you call someone to follow up on a task all you hear is, "I am so sorry I was so busy I couldn't get it done".  Hey this includes me too.  Even I was affected by this.


We are getting too much comfortable with what we are doing everyday and leaving little bit of time to do some thing out of the box.  It is not natural to hear someone say "I am very busy and I have no time to do all that stuff", when you tell them to see a movie, learn something, read some book or learn a new skill(cooking, drawing or dancing, playing music).

Well actually they are not busy.  They are just hiding themselves from doing the uncomfortable act of challenging their status quo.   And overcoming the fear.  We have taken the word, "Busy" as an industry standard, to use it whenever someone challenges us to do something different than what we are used to do.

I am not saying people aren't doing anything or just staying at home and spending their time.  They are working but the way they are working isn't working.  Everyone wants to do the same thing and expect different results.  It is not possible.

To do something radically different, you would have to break your existing working pattern and style. Sometimes you would have to quit what you are doing daily.  Of course it would require lots of guts but on guts later.  Being busy is not the solution.  It is just a part of life.  Being busy is not life.

There is so much interesting and cool stuff to do with life, I felt that my busyness cannot prevent me from doing it.  The stakes are high.  I can't let it go.  If I feel that I want to draw something, I will do it.  If I want to write something or create a new website I will do it.  I have a passion to draw but when I get old I don't want to say others that once upon a time I used to draw.  I don't want it to be a part of my life.  I want it to be my life. 


The word busy is powerful.  When someone says, "I was busy", naturally or unnaturally we feel that person would be definitely inventing some earth shattering technology or doing some outstanding research at MIT.  And we just don't argue with that person.  How easy to throw a word at someone that doesn't mean anything !  And surprisingly it works.  

To do something different and still important you will have to quit lots of your existing routine stuff that make little or no sense.  For God sake don't spend hours on Facebook refreshing and scrolling the mouse button to see what the heck is happening.  Nothing is happening except what you do.  Everything else is just there and will be there.

Every few months take some time to evaluate yourself and your life.  Evaluate whether you are doing those things that you should be doing or Is your lifestyle shaping you?  Go and ask others how is your performance.  See whether you are aligned emotionally, physically and financially. 

At 70 years of age don't feel regretful that I should have done something during those best days of my life when I was busy.  And those best days are now.  Right here, right now.

Go do something.

Do we speak same language?

Would you bother to learn French if I wrote this blog post in French?  No you will leave this page and jump on something that is comprehensible.

At a meeting, just imagine how difficult it would be to have a person who cannot understand what you are saying.   Working with someone who cannot speak your language is like pulling your hairs. Reporting to a boss who doesn't understand what you do is a similar situation.

While in grad school we did lots of team projects as a part of our course work.  It was natural to have lots of international students in a class.  I considered it a crime if two people with same nationality started talking in their native language.  Felt like I was discriminated even if the talk didn't involved me.  It was an insult to everyone else in the group too.  

If you are running into a meeting with your boss over a new project then learn the basic of the project first.  Know what is going to be discussed well in advance.  Do some research and go.  Otherwise they will start talking about something you don't know and you will feel discriminated.  It is similar situation like someone talking in Hebrew in front of you.   

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It Is 100% Customer Service

Believe it or not.  We all are in a business.  We hear complaints and service requests from many customers (different people like your boss, your subordinates, friends, spouse and many strangers too).  And we as a customer service representative try to solve their requests or problems, name it whatever you want.

We are in a serving business.  Now choose among your worst and best customer service experience till now and decide what kind of service you give to your customers.

You win if your customers are happy.  You alone cannot be happy.  Happiness is 100% customer satisfaction.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Networking Tip: Do Not Create Friends, Create Advocates

What if every person who knew you becomes an advocate of you instead of a friend who will never recommend your work to a potential recruiter, which he happens to meet every day.

Imagine you had a talk with a person in a public meeting.  You discovered that Mr. X has skills related to excellent web design and has interest in sports.  Next day you went to meet with a project team and discovered that you need a web designer.  Since you had a nice talk with Mr. X he comes immediately to your mind.  And you recommend him.

This is what I mean by an advocate.  When you had a chance you advocated for Mr. X.  Imagine everyone in your network is going to meet someone  in the next couple of days who needs to market their products.  Obviously they will need someone to do that.  If you are the marketing person looking for a job then all the people in your network should be lobbying for "YOU".

That is your advocacy group.  The Challenge is how you can create a fire among your friends, relatives and everyone whom you will meet during your course of life, who will recommend you.  That fire which a sales person possess, who is very desperate to sell your portfolio.

The top B-Schools exactly teach this.  The single biggest advantage of going to a Top Ranked B-School is "Networking".   Even if you just drop out after one year from Harvard still you will make a fortune if you diligently invest in networking.

Get it right.

Managing Self

MBA schools have always stressed the point that getting an MBA degree will get you a nice job.  Manage a company or a position and live happily.

They miss out the point.  It is not about managing companies or your job portfolio.  It is about managing your career.  Managing the self.  But it is not the focus of many schools. Case studies after case studies on companies successes and failures.   Ever presented or done a case study on yourself.  Did the entire class room critiqued on you?

You will learn maximum not by attending lectures but by volunteering, networking, building your brand, reading extra stuff like biographies, entrepreneurial books etc, leading and speaking.   And no body is going to teach you this unless you figure it out.

If you are able to do your job efficiently but you not efficient in your personal life then is it useful?  People with Master degrees were facing financial crisis during recession.  There has to be a balance in both of the lives: personal as well as professional.

To strike a balance is the real deal for managers.  Books after books are written on these topics.  And one course or lecture can't do justice to this.  Personal differences, emotional intelligence, ego, ethics, responsibility are some of the challenges one has to overcome in managing thy self.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Don't Scare Me Please

Halloween is over and I am amazed to see how much traditions and global brands are penetrating into sub-cultures.  Television serials in India are having episodes specially catering to Indo-American Culture who are familiar with the scary stuff.  

Am I scared due to Halloween?  No.  But the way corporates are promoting a tradition more than it is supposed to be, it is actually scary.

The reason they do it is simple, it results into more sales of their scary products(Sugary products, Halloween costumes and fast food.)

Tomorrow it is not wonder they will pick up another tradition and magnify it.  Because existing ones will max out.