Fountain of Wisdom

Rose & Robert Skillman Library in Detroit has engraving “The Fountain of Wisdom Flows Through the Books“. To drink from this fountain, I continue to read books and here are some that I have completed recently and would like to share with my subscribers and visitors.  I have more detail posted here.

These 3 books are totally unique but fit in for a balanced approach towards any leadership or managerial role that you play in your life.

  1. Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down John P. Kotter, Harvard Business Press, 2010
  2. Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t Jeffrey Pfeffer, HarperBusiness, 2010
  3. It’s Not Just Who You Know: Transform Your Life (and Your Organization) by Turning Colleagues and Contacts into Lasting, Genuine Relationships Tommy Spaulding, Crown Business, 2010

Why Should You Read These 3 Books?

Buy-In:  A leader or manager has to sell the idea, proposal or get an agreement.  Getting people buy-into is the critical task.  You will learn two things – first, how to protect your good ideas from being shot down and second, how to win the support of stakeholders when it really matters.  Naysayers will use 4 strategies of fear mongering, delay tactics, confusion and/or ridicule to derail the idea.

As we all know that good idea alone will not survive. This book offers 24 major attacks or objections (that people use time and time again) and how to handle them properly. Link provides 24 responses to these attacks.

Skillman Library in Detroit
Skillman Library in Detroit Courtesy: Wikimedia

Power:  For a leader or manager, being power less is not an option. If you can influence any decision, you got some power. Projects and initiatives of people who are associated with people of authority gets their way in any organization.  Some might have the different opinion of the use of power (i.e. Machiavellian style), but lets use the perspective that if you have power, you can do more good to your cause, organization and society. I will add quote from Baltasar Gracian:

The sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.  The Art of Worldly Wisdom, 1647

This book contains excellent advice and analysis about gaining power in corporations and politics.  You may not agree with all that is said like perception is reality (but for how long?), but its a good read and use what you feel appropriate with good intentions.

It’s Not Just Who You Know: Leaders and managers accomplish a lot by building rapport at all the levels, they are resourceful and get the work done for greater good.  This book fits right where both other left.  If you believe that great relationship in life make all the difference, you will enjoy it. Author does not give out any specific formula but shares his own experiences and then elaborates on how one should apply them in life. I used this book to learn from someone’s life how genuine interaction helps build great relationships.

This book is not you scratch my back and I scratch you back type but follows Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends…

Author shares many inspiring stories and all underscore that relationship building begins with your genuine and sincere attention on the others and it’s not about you. Do not push for the things that you want, figure out what they need.  Also, author stresses that exploiting relationships for quick personal gains or favors will eventually ruin the foundation and it soon becomes transactional business relationship.

As a leader, you do not want to accomplish a lot in business but also would like to have strong relationships similar to great balance sheet or super annual report.  If you miss out building genuine and sincere relationships at all sectors of life, work and business included, you will be alone at top.

References:

  1. http://www.kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/BuyIn/AttacksAndResponses.aspx

Elected President of the Chapter

I am extremely pleased by the confidence that Board has expressed in me to take PMI-GLC to next level of volunteer and stakeholder engagement, trusting me with opportunity to formulate and lead operational vision, strategy and direction while working on to provide higher membership. 

Last night at Skyline Club in the board meeting, I was elected president for 2012 term by Board of Directors of Great Lakes Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI – GLC), one of the largest project management member association in Michigan.   I will serve as President Elect for 2011.  I have been involved with the chapter earlier as Direct of Webservices and then as Vice President of Communications.

I look forward to enhancing our strategic relationships with organization and businesses leaders to highlight the importance and benefits of Project Management and role PMI-GLC plays in the region.  I hope to engage more stakeholders to broaden our network of practitioners, while continuing to support a passionate and dedicated volunteer community.

I would encourage all professionals to get involved in their community or professional organizations, it benefits both, the volunteer and the community/organization.  And, if you are a professional living/working  in Michigan or Metro Detroit area, please get in touch with PMI-GLC at www.pmiglc.org.  Let find out how can we make project and program management work for your community, organization or for you.

Building Brand Through Follow-up Actions

Everyday we make so many commitments talking near water cooler, during networking event, in a meetings or over the phone.  Some of our commitments are urgent and important and we follow-up properly.  There are other few commitments that we know are not so important for us or our job since we made those casually by saying that, ” I will get back to you on this” ….. and then we drop the ball. 

While searching my twitter handle using online tool called topsy.com, I found out that Tim Sanders had selected my retweet and asked to have him contacted (How a retweet can enrich your library) to give out a book.  This was a contest he ran during September 2009, and I found out about results in May 2010.  I follow Tim on Twitter and had retweeted him.

Anyhow, I sent him a note in May 2010 referencing the contest and asking if I can still get the book although I was very late to contact?  Guess what, I got an email from Tim enquiring about my mailing address so that he can ship me the book.  I provided it and almost forgot about it.

Few days ago, I got another email from Tim checking if I have received the book or not?  I actually have not.  But the point is taking the time to follow-up.  This follow-up raised Tim’s stock in my mind even higher.

Going the extra mile (by a person who might be super busy and owes nothing in return) reflects that person practices what he preaches. He is true to his brand.

Here are 4 points to remind us on closing the loop on our commitments we make casually – 

  1. Always make a note of your commitments: I keep a small notebook handy and make a note against a hand drawn box that can be checked (kind of to-do list).
  2. Prioritize and record follow-up action: I evaluate what can wait and what should be attended right away based on my schedule.
  3. Take the action or delegate it: Do it and check the box on notebook by recording observations.
  4. Check that commitment is fulfilled: This is what I will be implementing.  I will follow-up after I fulfill the commitment. If you delegated the task, verify that person delivered the results.

If you have made a commitment and its low in priority or you have found out that you can no longer fulfill it, just inform the person expecting from you and close the loop.  Remember to follow-up and close the loop.  Do not leave anything with loose ends. I guess this is one of the key ingredient to build brands.

7 Step to Effective Networking At Any Event – For Starters

I have been a shy networker before.  I attended the meetings/conferences with many business cards in my pocket but I rarely exchanged business cards and developed any new contact. I had good questions in my mind to ask but hoped that someone else would ask.  It wasn’t working out for me.

After reading many books, studying other successful people and learning from some of my friends – I found out where I was failing.  I was mainly staying in the group of people I knew.  I had objective to gain from the event but not to contribute something in some way.  I hoped someone else will show interest in me and will strike conversation and only phrase I used to initiate conversation was, “How are you today?”.  I got rid of shyness, gain confidence and equipped with knowledge by knowing that we all have unique styles of interaction and capabilities.  Asking question or solution proposed to clarify any issue will not only help me but many others.   We all benefit from each other thru interaction.  Now, one of my friend says, if I am not working then I am networking.  I guess, its good compliment!

It’s not what you know but who you know that makes the difference. – Anonymous

Networking is the must-have capability for any professional these days.  We all need good networking skills and should take advantage of connections we develop at any professional symposium or meeting.  Networking is absolutely the primary technique that is used to find new job opportunities, career transition or career advancement.  While we all attend various meeting, active on LinkedIn (and social media) and attend seminars with networking as one of the objectives; but many times it is not accomplished that well.    

Here are 7 points to keep in mind for effective networking at any event –

  1. Setup your agenda for the event & find what unique perspective you bring.
  2. Choose your sessions in advance if its multi session event and jot down your questions on the topic.
  3. Arrive early to meet people; also participate in the sessions by asking questions or sharing your perspective.
  4. Sit with strangers and introduce yourself – don’t wait for others to make move.
  5. Initiate conversations – go beyond “Hi, how are you?”.  Show interest in others and listen.
  6. Share expertise and help people solve issues discussed, make note of what you offered to the new contact.
  7. Follow-up with your new contacts after you get home.

Other Useful Link –

http://www.cio.com/article/164300/How_to_Network_12_Tips_for_Shy_People

Power of Social Media and Customer Service

You might have heard that someone got very bad customer service one day and no one would resolve the complaint at this company.  This person gets upset by the treatment received and decides to write a complaint letter to the president of the company.  In few weeks he receives a note and the issue is resolved by president’s interference.  Everyone gets back to business and few people in the town heard of the story and thats it.

Now go to Web 2.0, someone got bad customer service and received no reasonable response  to the complaint.  This consumer feels mis-treated as his complaint is not treated fairly.  This person sings a complaint song, and shares it on YouTube.   Word about this customer service story circulates the internet through the song shared on YouTube, people in millions watch it and it hurts the organization’s bottom line (over $100 millions) and the brand.  And then this individual gets an apology from the company and complain finally gets  resolved.

This is the power of social media if used correctly. It works both ways.

Here is the complete story  about singer Dave Carroll incident and whose guitar was broken by United Airlines (Link to Huffington Post story) . Watch the  song. 

Here are some key points (and some Customer Service/Help Desk experts can add more) –

  1. Consumer expects good service all the time, although doesn’t give reward or recognize it publically, but indirectly rewards by doing business again and again.
  2. Consumer is generally prepared to handle good and bad customer service; in case of bad service, do not expect more business.
  3. Consumer is wowed by exceptional service only and you can find 5-star reviews online and strong brand following is built/maintained. Facebook Fan page and twitter following of brand can tell something.
  4. Consumer is offended by horrible customer service.  You can find 1-star reviews online and some dedicated websites to complain about product, brand or service can be found.  Some may get creative like David Carroll and make a dent on your brand.
  5. If not sure how to handle the complaint or issue, do not just say No.  Let your boss help you.
  6. If you face customers, genuine attitude determines consumer behaviour to a bigger extent.

I have noticed that consumer tolerance to bad service is inversely proportional to size of brand or organization.  Bigger the brand or name of the organization, higher the expectation of consumer in terms of service.

 Here is another blogger with the same story- http://adgablog.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/how-to-ruin-a-reputation-in-4-days-on-youtube/

What are your thoughts, please share.  Have a great day.

How does it go up the communication chain?

In the beginning was the plan, and then the specification.

And the plan was without form, and the specification was void.

And the darkness was upon the faces of the implementors;
And they spoke unto their managers, saying: “It is a crock of cow manure, and it stinketh.

And their manager went to the second level manager, and he spake unto him, saying: “It is a crock of excrement, and none may abide the odor thereof.

And the second level manager went to the third level, and he spake unto him saying: “It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, such that none may abide before it.

And the third level went to the division manager, and he spake unto him, saying: “It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.

And the division manager went to the assistant vice-president, and he spake unto him, saying: “It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.

And the assistant vice-president went to the vice-president, and he spake unto him, saying: “It promoteth growth and it is very powerful.

And the vice-president went before the president and spake unto him, saying: “This powerful new product will promote growth of the company.

And the president looked upon the product and saw that “It was good!

What lessons can we draw from this funny tale?  I am interested to know.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Reference- ‘Project Planning, Scheduling & Control’ by James P Lewis, Irwin Professional Publishing, Burr Ridge, IL.

11 Principles of Leadership

 I came across 11 leadership principles of Marine Corps in Guide Book for Marines on the Internet and here is my interpretation of 11 principles.  I am interested in hearing from Marines about their leadership experience. 

  1. Take responsibility – we need to seek and take responsibilities if we need to grow; never shy away, whatever seems challenging will help you expand your perspective.
  2. Know yourself – reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses; seek improvement and understand that you can achieve only those goals that you set.
  3. Set an example– conduct your business in a professional manner; do not loose temper – small minds are bothered by small problems; not only work in your job but also work on your job as well.  Be a brand that people want to associate with.
  4. Develop your subordinates– consider this as part of your job; learn to delegate; as Zig Ziglar said “You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want“; give them opportunities to learn & grow;  guide them if they fit somewhere else.
  5. Be available – in every respect; be available to listen to problems and challenges people are facing; to motivate, to lead and to show right direction; to hear criticism; to take decisions and to act on time.
  6. Look after the welfare of your employees – the way you want your boss to look after your welfare; develop emotional intelligence; connect with people and find out what motivates them; do something that touches their lives; help them when they are in need.  Arrogance and ignorance will not take you to the top or won’t keep you there for long.
  7. Keep everyone well informed  – right communication is the key; make sure that the tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished on time and tell why you need all this done; do no assume –  aks and tell.
  8. Set goals that are achievable – always set the goals – people need to know what they are expected to deliver and by when; let people figure out how;  goals should motivate teams to act; measure the results and reward people.
  9. Make sound and timely decisions– that are aligned with the core principles of your organization and with your job descriptions; there will always be more than one right answer – choose the one that benefits the most and not only you; take decisions like a servant leader.
  10. Know your job – be technically and tactically proficient in your job; know your people; know the processes and challenges; know how can you add value to the organization or your department.
  11. Build teamwork– not all people can perform equally but they should complement each other while working towards a common goal; promote team work and diversity; shield your team from external pressure; be flexible with team.

“Leadership is intangible, hard to measure, and difficult to describe. It’s quality would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, self-confidence based on expert knowledge, initiative, loyalty, pride and sense of responsibility. Inherent ability cannot be instilled, but that which is latent or dormant can be developed. Other ingredients can be acquired. They are not easily learned. But leaders can be and are made.” – General C. B. Cates, 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps

Thanks for reading and welcome your input.  Have a great day.

Time to Thank Entrepreneurs

July 30th is Mr. Henry Ford’s birthday.  He was born in 1863.  He was one of the great entrepreneurs America has produced.  He was leader of automobile industry and a great inventor.  His dream of gasoline engine was realized into industrial revolution and a company that is employing thousands globally and improving millions of lives for over hundred years.

To create a new business that makes money, and more significantly, employs others, and more significantly, gives a product to a customer that improves their life, is our greatest challenge, our greatest opportunity, and the greatest gift, far greater than any charity that we can give our fellow person.”  – Paul Zane Pilzer

What a powerful statement it is!  Entrepreneurship is the backbone of social and industrial development.   There are thousands of entrepreneurs like Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Howard Schultz, Sam Walton, Jeff Bezos and Jeff Gitomer who continue to work hard to fulfil the dream of others while they achieve their own personal goals.

Time to thank all the global entrepreneurs who dedicated their lives for the growth of their organizations which in turn support the communities and nations; and are innovating to get the economy out of recession.

Thank you for reading and have a great day.

7 Blunders of the world

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was a great leader, lived his life for others and his words of wisdom have given direction to many.  Doesn’t matter what we do or where we stand in life, these 7 mistakes, if committed will result in ruined life or career.  These 7 mistakes are called 7 blunders of the world.

  1. Wealth without work
  2. Pleasure without conscience
  3. Knowledge without character
  4. Commerce without morality
  5. Science without humanity
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Politics without principle

For more info on Mahatma Gandhi, please visit http://www.mkgandhi.org/

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Happy 4th July

Happy independence day to all of my friends and visitors. 

On July 4th, 1776 US got independence from Britain and a democracy was born.  This is the land of opportunity and freedom.  This is the time of barbecue, picnics, and a bit relaxing.

Click here for some facts on July 4th ( USA.gov)

Here is a short quote from the address of President Obama on 4th July, 2009.

“We are not a people who fear the future. We are a people who make it. And on this July 4th, we need to summon that spirit once more. We need to summon the same spirit that inhabited Independence Hall two hundred and thirty-three years ago today.
That is how this generation of Americans will make its mark on history. That is how we will make the most of this extraordinary moment. And that is how we will write the next chapter in the great American story. Thank you, and Happy Fourth of July.”
 

Anais Nin on Change

  1. There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
  2. Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
  3. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Happy Canada Day!

Wishing all my Canadian friends a happy Canada day!  July 1st is Canada’s birth date and it was originally known as Dominion Day.  Later in 1982, it was changed to Canada day.  Its 142nd birthday of Canada.  Here is the small list of Canadian Inventions (source – www,publicboard.ca booklet)

  • 5 Pin Bowling – 1909 – T.E. Ryan
  • Basketball – 1891 – James Naismith
  • Chocolate Bar – 1910 – Arthur Ganong
  • Electric Light Bult – 1874 – Henry Woodward (later sold patent to Thomas Edison)
  • Electric Organ – 1928 – Morse Robb
  • Goalie Mask – 1960 – Jaques Plante
  • McIntosh Apple  – 1796 – John McIntosh
  • Paint Roller  – 1940 – Norman Breakey
  • Snowblower – 1925 – Arthur Sicard
  • Television Camera – 1934 – FCP Henroteau
  • Telephone – 1876 – Alexander G Bell
  • Walkie-Talkie – 1942 – Donald L Hings
  • Zipper – 1913 – Gideon Sunback

Have a happy Canada day!

Don’t Settle – Stay Hungry – Stay Foolish

Who does not know Steve Jobs? His vision and life has made a huge impact on our generation. I came across this post. He shares his life lessons with students at Stanford in 2005. No doubt he is wonderful person around and I wish him good health.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005)Posted using ShareThis

Leadership Sans Ego & Insecurity

Photo courtesy : cultivategreatness.com

Everywhere we turn our focus to, we hear something negative and how leadership should come forward.  Leadership at every level is already faced with some difficult choices.  It is of paramount importance that when leaders make decisions to change the course, decisions should not have been plagued by personal ego and due to insecurity.

As John C Maxwell says that Ego and Insecurity are the two greatest landmines of leadership; think about any world leader and if he stepped on these landmines or not.  Do you want to?  After a long time when we reflect on the decisions we make today should be matter of proud.

As a leader, we get a chance to serve our people, I mean serve genuinely.  In these times how we act will shape our organizations and societies.  Lets take the right actions while we overcome the short-term issues, we keep long term objectives in our minds.

Thanks for visiting, and have a great day!

Life is bigger than that!

2008 is nearing the completion of business work days and it was one of the eventful year.  We have seen all from US election to Canadian elections, Wall-street meltdown to Automotive bailout, Saturday Night Live comedy to economic worries.  All the stuff, never thought of. 

But when it comes to our professional life, one needs to make sure there are no unexpected surprises.  I have mentored and provided guidance to few people over the year and have also asked for advice from my peers.  Some people either make small issues into big problems or do not even have clue what is wrong.  Here are some of the points to consider-

  1. Get feedback from your boss; have 1 on 1 regularly (weekly or monthly) to align objectives.
  2. Grow your professional network by volunteering at work, in community or join any organization.
  3. Understand that everyone is different; workplaces are diverse.
  4. Totally messed up? If you are honest, you’ll get another chance.   Life is bigger than that!
  5. Do not just focus on getting credit of everything you do or say.  Give credit where deserved.
  6. Be careful about sarcastic sense of humor.  It may be wise to stay quiet.
  7. If you do extraordinary job you get promotion as a result. Its not the other way.
  8. Help others grow and learn.  Don’t be afraid that someone will steal your idea.
  9. Take vacation or take time out.  Its must to revitalize your energies and focus.
  10. Try to listen.  Pay attention to your superiors and peers.
  11. Dress according to your job profile, at least.
  12. Do not make ‘difference of opinions’ at work your personal issue.

I firmly believe if we are serious to improve ourselves, we can start afresh anytime.  Its never too late and Life is bigger than that! 

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.

Elected – Board Member @ PMIGLC

When  I checked my inbox this morning, I found an official email from PMIGLC election committee congratulating me that I have been elected as Vice President – Communications for the 2009-2010 term.

Some of you might know that I volunteer at  Great Lakes Chapter of PMI (Project Management Institute) in Detroit. I started volunteering as ‘Director of Webservices’ almost over 2 years ago. 

It is very unique and enriching experience when you are leading a team of volunteers for an organization that is non-profit; and I hope I will be learning much more next year when my term begins as Vice President.

I am delighted that I will have the opportunity to work with highly accomplished professionals at the board-of-directors and to contribute to the project management community. 

Thank you!

… life is how you react to it!

Today I heard first time of Charles Swindoll.  He is an author of over 70 books, educator and a preacher.  I have not read or listened to him but his quotes (found over the Internet) are very valuable. 

I am believer of the fact that where ever we get life lessons, learn from them and implement in life.  I save the motivating quotes so that I can refer again and again to align myself.  Here are 5 quotes to start the work week.

  1. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
  2. The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.
  3. Alleged impossibilities are opportunities for our capacities to be stretched.
  4. We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
  5. We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

Thank you for reading and wish you a wonderful week.

Fast, Cheap AND Good

Good, Fast or Cheap

Can’t pick any two? You also need all three – fast, cheap and good? 

It has been very commonly used set of options in I.T. when offering an alternative or usually when dealing with issues from outsourced service.  Someone will come and say – “Pick any two!” 

Sometime ago I was involved in a project where we had to pick any two options and it was very hard to leave out the third one.  Many times we had to leave ‘cheap’ and other times ‘fast’,  for us ‘good’ was essential and paid the price accordingly.  We had to compensate for third left out option through continuous improvement.  I kind of thought that this is the  dilemma every one will be facing.  But it is not the case as I am finding out.  Things are getting better.

Continue reading “Fast, Cheap AND Good”

Power Quotes – 2

Learning from the words of the wise and getting more out of our life should be our goal.  As someone said, knowing and not doing is as good as not knowing. 

  1. Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. – William James
  3. You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not. – Isabel Allende
  4. The world will shape you if you let it.  To have a sense of yourself as you live, you must make conscious choices. – John Donahoe
  5. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. – William Jennings Bryan

Thanks for your visit and reading the post.  Have an excellent day!

Practical Wisdom – three types of people

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar @ Detroit
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar @ Detroit

I attended “Practical Wisdom For Getting the Most Out of Life” seminar by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Detroit on July 9th.  It was good to see and listen him in person.

His way of talking is like giving sutras (formula) for something.  I know condensing some information and giving it in the short form is not easy.  Some people enjoy detailed discourses and some enjoy condensed info i.e. sutras.  Remember, different strokes for different folks.  His daily sutras (link) are available in many languages.

On the lighter side, when someone asked the secret of happy married life – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar summed up for men – “nurture the emotion of woman” and hint to women – “pump the ego of man”.  We did some breathing exercise, learned about Surdarshan Kriya (a form of yoga) as well.

Here is a short paragraph from one of the books that I picked up “Celebrating Love“; –

“There are three types of people – the wise, the crooked and the immature.  The wise man continues doing good work whether he is scolded or praised.  Crooked people need to be praised to get them to do good work.  And from time to time immature people need to be both praised and scolded for them to do something good.”

(isn’t it a good management tip from a spiritual guru?).   Here are some links if you want to explore more –

Official website – http://www.srisri.org/
More info          – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Sri_Ravi_Shankar
His initiative     – http://www.artofliving.org/

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

The 7 Habits For Managers

Stephen R Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is classic and most of us have read and learned from it. 

 This week, I listened to his another audio book The 7 Habits for Managers: Managing Yourself, Leading Others, Unleashing Potential. Its based on ‘classic 7 habits’ and with focus on management. 

I would recommend to listen to this audio book to refresh 7 habits and learn how managers can apply these habits.  If this is new to you,  here are classic 7 habits and start with reading ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

Habit 1 – Be proactive
Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind
Habit 3 – Put first things first
Habit 4 – Think win-win
Habit 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Habit 6 – Synergize
Habit 7 – Sharpen the saw

These habits are to be used as pointers for our actions.  We got to make sure that our employees understand the value of these habits and learn from these. 

Thanks.

DiSC model – Management Styles

I completed DiSC (stands for Dominance, influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) training last week and fount it interesting.   DiSC confirms one thing, different strokes for different folks.

DiSC is a system to help you find out similar and unique characteristics among people.  It also shows person’s behavioural preferences and helps to identify different management styles that can lead to obtain better results through interaction. 

According to the DiSC model, there are four management styles – by Dominance, by influence, by Steadiness, and by Conscientiousness.

Series of questions lead to a specific DiSC profile, that tells you what is your score and what is you dominant style of management and what are your supportive styles. 

D – Dominant : these people are active and questioning; these are direct and competitive in nature.  These people want to ‘get it done’.

i – Influence : these people are active and accepting; motivated, enthusiastic, sociable and lively. 

S – Steadiness : these people are thoughtful and accepting; patient and even tempered, accommodating. 

C– Conscientiousness : these people are thoughtful and questioning; kind of private with analytical abilities and task oriented.  Main objective is to ‘get it right’.

As we know everyone is unique and all have different ways of interacting.  Imagine, I interact with a person who has dominant  style of ‘Conscientiousness‘ (private and task oriented).  I pretend to be of ‘influence‘ (sociable and enthusiastic) dominant style; my interaction with that person can not be productive as I may not be providing the specific instructions that other person needs. 

Why is that?  Because people with dominant ‘infulence’ style mix personal talk with business discussions, becoming informal and emotionally expressive leaving the ‘Conscientiousness’ style person unclear or confuse as Max requires specific task oriented info and does not express himself emotionally.

How it will help me?  It lists what are key strengths, what things are overused, what could be the limitations and what changes should be made in management style that make one more effective.

Have you ever taken DiSC and Meyers-Briggs assessment?  What are your thoughts? Did you benefit from it?  Please share your thoughts.  Thank you for reading. 

More info –

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DISC_assessment 
  2. One of the best books on the application of DiSC is by Keith Ayers titled “Engagement is Not Enough.

Five Powerful Leadership Quotes

Five very powerful quotes, read and ponder. 

  1. “A leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of credit.” – Arnold Glasow
  2. “There are no bad soldiers, only bad officers.” – Napolean
  3. “The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say.  It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved.  Our best ideas come from clerks and stockboys.” – Sam Walton
  4. “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
  5. “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is.” – Wayne Gretzky.

Know what to emphasize

PM Tips – 1

What points we emphasize make a big difference in our communications. 

How do we do that? We got to know the expectation of the audience and what we want to convey.  Over emphasizing something or emphasizing meager issues may dilute the effect of conversation. We develop this skill with experience, paying attention to the audience and listening how others do it.

Certainly there are key things that you want to emphasize.  Make sure what you want to emphasize is really relevant and audience has some clue about what you are talking.

Notice how you emphasize? Do you find yourself keep repeating what you want to communicate in different phrases or you cleverly divert every topic discussed and then associate to what you have in mind? 

Observe if you are getting your point across.  Use some relevant example to explain your point.  Do not give frustrated look. You may have to do more work to refine your point.

Thank you for reading. Any suggestions or feedback?

Cheese Moved? Doesn’t Matter.

We, as a professional, are hired by organizations to deliver results and perform. As time passes, our daily job becomes our universe.  We spend our energies resolving problems, improving processes, saving money and many other good things.  Sometimes we are ignorant and sometimes we are so busy handling all the situations at the job, we do not realize that whole world has changed and we are still there.  We find that new technologies, processes, ideologies, concepts and trends have taken over what we used to do.  And when we realize, then blame our employer for not guiding us, showing us the right path, etc.  Remember, we are professionals and professionals know all about their field of expertise.

 When I see clueless people in the situations when their cheese (i.e. work) is moved (or gone), I tell them to stop complaining but learn the lesson from it and take action. 

Here are 11 points I tell (and remind) people to avoid becoming obsolete

  1. Subscribe to professional/trade  magazines and journals and read ( or go to library, but stay up-to-date on what is happening).
  2. Bookmark and frequently checkout websites dealing with news & views related to your field of expertise.
  3. Read some good books on the subject.  Check Amazon.com’s ratings and views before buying. 
  4. Become member & get involved in professional organizations in your chosen field.
  5. Volunteer your time & services in your chosen field or for any good cause.
  6. Mentor and guide other people, help people grow, offer help selflessly.
  7. Attend seminars or conferences; it does not matter if you got to spend few hundreds from your own pocket and on yourself.
  8. Read some good self-help books on personal development and personal finance.
  9. Grow your network, if good people can not find you; you go out and find for your networking.  Interaction is the key.
  10. Always keep learning new things in your chosen field, and
  11. Change with time.

You will find out many successful people are already doing these above mentioned things to grow their professional network and knowledge base. 

I am certainly interested in what you got to say on this subject.  Everyone has unique experience and lets share our thoughts and learn from each other.

 Thank you for visiting and reading the post.  I appreciate it.  Have a good time.

Positive Quotes

These words of wisdom reaffirm an optimistic view towards our life and work.  These words once said by great minds ask us to develop positive attitude, take action, believe in ourselves and make our word more beautiful place to live.

  1. Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears. – Rudyard Kipling (English poet and author)
  2. It is worth a thousand (British) pounds a year to have the habit of looking on the bright side of things. – Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784
  3. If there were nothing wrong in the world, there wouldn’t be anything for us to do. – George Bernard Shaw
  4. To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France
  5. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. – Abraham  Lincoln
  6. A man is what he thinks about all day long. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stroke Warning Signs

My mother suffered minor stroke(s) last week and she is in hospital recovering as right side is affected by it.  Reason for my this post is to make readers aware of the signs of stroke so that if someone else has these symptoms, quick help can be arranged. 

In my case, I was not aware of any symptoms and thought she is expeiencing numbness due to high blood pressure.  We went to see one doctor in walk-in clinic and he suggested that she needs some more rest and continue with blood pressure medicine. Later that day we took her to emergency in hospital when she had problem walking as well.  After talking to Triage nurse, I realized that she might be having stroke.  Here are symptoms of stroke, If you notice one or more of these signs, do not wait. Stroke is a medical emergency.

Classic Stroke Symptoms (as per MayoClinic.com May’07 report):

  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of your face, arm or leg — usually on one side of your body
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech (aphasia)
  • Sudden blurred, double or decreased vision
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
  • A sudden, severe “bolt out of the blue” headache or an unusual headache, which may be accompanied by a stiff neck, facial pain, pain between your eyes, vomiting or altered consciousness
  • Confusion, or problems with memory, spatial orientation or perception

 Reference – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke-symptoms/BN00055

Update (05-Jan) – My mother has been discharged from hospital, and recovering at home.  Thanks all for good wishes.

Good Bye 2007

Its been a wonderful year for me, and I hope the ditto for you all the readers. 

When I look back and see the things that happened; I believe that I have learned a lot, accomplished a lot and I am a better person today. 

Things that looked major challenges turned out to be minor things that I could handle very easily; the things that I thought were distractions proved to be stepping stones for success.  I had opportunity to read many good books of personal development, leadership and management.

New year comes with some resolutions that we thing should be accomplished in the year.  My take is to have your goal accomplished –

  1. Write down your resolution on paper and method explaining how will you do it.
  2. Must be realistic.
  3. Must have dates associated such as 20% by March.
  4. Read your resolution and review the success often.
  5. You must believe firmly that you will accomplish it.
  6. And start doing it …

I wish you all very happy and prosperous 2008.

Power Quotes

  1. In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the human spirit. – Albert Schweitzer
  2. Know when to speak; for many times it brings danger to give the best advice to kings. – Robert Herrick
  3. The best motivation consists of getting a player to understand that his self-interest and the team’s are inextricably bound up. – Walter Kiechel III
  4. Success is not the result of sponteneous combustion.  You must set yourself on fire. – Reggie Leach
  5. It’s not whether you get knocked down.  It’s whether you get up again. – Vince Lombardi