Are you working in your self interest?

There was a time when I used to believe that human beings act with their own self-interest in mind. After all, every person should want to take care of their own well-being unless you are one of the few driven by an altruistic need. Surprisingly, I have come to realise that this is not always true. We do not always work in our own real or perceived self-interest. Here I am not talking about not knowing what is right for you. Rather the focus is on when we know what to do and still don’t do it. Human beings are perhaps the only species that can act against their self-interest in spite of having all understanding and knowledge of what they should be doing. One of my clients needs to speak to his manager about his promotion but keeps putting it off every day in spite of ample opportunities to have the conversation. He also knows that if he does not speak up he may lose out on an upcoming opportunity. A clear case of not acting in his interest. We all know of people continuing to stick to a job that they hate and not doing anything about it. Some……

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What your manager means when he says that you need to be more strategic?

The most common developmental goal for executives today is that they need to be more strategic. If you are part of the middle management and aspiring to be a senior leadership, there is a strong chance that at some point you have already received this feedback- that you need to be more strategic. Some managers get this feedback either in a 360˚ assessment or performance appraisal. Others realise this as a shortfall once they step into a leadership role. As one of my clients put it, “I’m great at fixing things and solving problems; but now I seem to be required to create a strategy and vision for the business; I’m not sure I know what I’m doing.” What does it mean to be strategic? In a nutshell, becoming more strategic means moving from an execution mindset to that of thinking and creating. Managers are often great at executing tasks derived from someone else’s strategy but not effective in developing their own strategy for their business. In individual roles “Getting things done” is what counts. In leadership roles developing the vision of what needs to be done counts. This is a critical metamorphosis in thinking that needs to happen when an……

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Understanding purpose and why it’s not what you think.

A lot of clients come to me to figure out their true purpose in life. Many of these individuals are bored and frustrated with the work they are currently doing. And they want to know if there is more to life than the monotony of the daily grind. There is also a category of people who meet me almost in a panic because they don’t have a grand purpose in life. Everyone around them seems to have it all figured out but they are still unclear on their intent. The premise seems to be ” I don’t know what I want in life but since everyone else seems to know what they want something must be drastically wrong with me. Hence I need a coach to “fix” me.” I believe that clarity of purpose is important but I sometimes find that the question people want an answer to is not “What is my purpose in life?” but “What is my purpose that will lead me to glory, fame, fortune and stardom?” What is purpose? The dictionary defines Purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” This implies two things. Firstly, purpose gives……

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Authenticity in the presence of power

In a recent leadership event that I attended, there was a segment on Executive Presence. The speaker addressed the importance and impact of a strong executive presence. He also shared ways to develop an effective presence. Executive presence is one of the most invested in leadership development area today. After all,  as Ken Blanchard says, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” While there is much written about leadership presence, it is interesting to see that not much is said about how strong leaders react to another person’s power presence. Although having an effective executive presence is important, the true mark of leadership is to be able to sustain that presence in the company of a perceived stronger presence. It all about purpose One of my clients Prakash once told me about how being in the presence of his MD made him nervous and he would start stuttering while communicating with him. Prakash was otherwise a very confident and mature individual who was known in his organization for his excellent business results. Being in the presence of someone who exudes power and charisma can often be intimidating and can leave people feeling unsure of themselves. We have……

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Newton’s first law of motion and how it applies to your career

Recently Prashant came to me seeking support in his career. We discussed the goals for the coaching engagement which were primarily about reviving his focus on his career.  Prashant told me that his career had been going great till a couple of years back. Then a new manager who was both demanding and dominating took over. Prashant found it difficult to adjust to the new boss’s working style. His performance dipped and he lost interest in the job that he used to love earlier. He needed the paycheck so he stuck with the job. Two years later the boss moved on but Prashant continued to experience a lack of interest in his job. Something like this is a very common with career professionals. They are doing great when something triggers a dip in performance, interest, and motivation. In this case, we were able to identify the source of when and where Prashant lost interest but for most people, it is not always so simple. They just know that something has shifted and they no longer get any pleasure from the work they do. They define the time when they liked the job as” I use to feel charged up”, “I was excited……

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3 steps to start breaking free when you are feeling stuck in a rut

We all go through phases in life when we feel stuck. Getting stuck  generally happens when: You are emotionally part of the situation and are not able to look at it objectively. There are negative emotions attached like anger, frustration, boredom. You feel you have no power/control on what’s happening. It could be in your career or business or in your personal life but the feeling is pretty much the same. Of being caught in a situation where you feel you have limited control in breaking out. Below are some powerful ways to break out if you are feeling stuck   1.Take back your power and the responsibility: When we start feeling stuck it is easy to fall into a victim mindset or accept the feeling of no control. It then becomes a vicious cycle of getting further pulled into the situation and feeling an even lower level of control. The first step is to connect back to the most powerful version of yourself. Ask yourself, “When I am feeling powerful, who am I?” We all have moments of strength and weakness. Taking on a more powerful mindset puts you in a more resourceful state where you find it easier to find solutions. Understand that the situation is not you. Like everything……

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“I hope someone notices my good work” is not a career progression strategy

There is no substitute for skill and hard work. Both of these are an absolute must to get ahead and stay ahead in your career.  At the same time there are enough and more people who work really hard but never get ahead. They put in the effort and hope that someone will notice their work. They are occasionally recognized because their efforts lead to business results. But they also have a whole load of achievements, strengths, and skills that nobody knows about. This is because hard work can often go unnoticed. Unfortunately hoping someone notices your good work is NOT a career progression strategy. Having said that there are a large number of people who are very uncomfortable in talking about their achievements. They may feel unappreciated and disrespected but will still not make the effort to communicate about their achievements. The most common reasons for not communicating achievements are the following beliefs: If I do good work it should be recognized. That’s my manager’s job after all! I don’t like to brag about myself and blow my trumpet. I’m too busy to spend time on talking about my work. All of the above are limiting beliefs that we carry……

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Saying no without feeling like a jerk

Anupam’s boss constantly keeps dumping last-minute tasks on him. Because of this, Anupam ends up working late on a lot of days. He feels angry, frustrated and tired.  His boss seems to like him a lot and keeps telling him he is a great employee. Anupam feels that if he turns down the extra work he may offend his boss. So he continues to slog even at the cost of his health and personal life. Gita is part of a team which is very close-knit. People like to hang out together on coffee breaks and share food during lunch. While Gita loves their company there are times she feels that her work suffers because of the time she spends on breaks with others. This does not seem to affect others as they are more experienced on the job. But Gita continues to go for these breaks even when she doesn’t need a break because she does not want to say no to them. If you are one of those who struggles to say no to people chances are Gita and Anupam’s situations sound familiar. You should also know that you are in no way alone. A lot of people struggle to……

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3 Key steps to ensure success in your new role

You have just been promoted to the new role you have been aspiring for the last 2 years. It has taken you sustained effort, commitment and focus to get there. But as you step into the new role you realise that unlike what you thought, getting this job is not the end of a journey but rather the beginning of a new and bigger one. For any executive the first few months are critical and setting these up well can ensure that you not only settle into the new role but also start delivering results quickly. Where do you start? Often executives find that their calendar is swamped with either meetings or the pending tasks handed over from their predecessor. It is easy to let these take over your schedule and start directing you rather than the other way round. For any new executive, it is always a priority to do well and prove themselves in the new job. So starting right is important. Step 1: Start with yourself The first question to ask yourself is, “Who do I want to be in my new role?” Many organisation have planning methodologies in place to assist their executives. Unfortunately, most of these……

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Is leisure your guilty pleasure?

Let’s say, you are asked to sit for 10 minutes in the room without doing anything. Not check your phone, not think of things you need to do, not plan. Just sit back and relax. Some will find this easy to do. But my guess is that there are many who won’t be able to sit still for 10 minutes. Just sitting idle for 10 minutes may probably seem like a stupid idea to some especially when they have so many things to get done. Many of us would love to sit and relax if only they had the time! We live in a world where our to-do lists are long and our time and energy are limited. It is not surprising then, that many of us feel that we are constantly running against the clock. Keeping busy. Trying to get more done. And constantly struggling to do so. I have many clients tell me that they have too much on their plate. Some feel that the time they have is not enough and they are frequently overwhelmed by what they need to get done. Unfortunately, the bad news is that busyness is now a global epidemic. The even more unfortunate news is that……

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