What is the little voice in your head and what does it want?

Imagine this; you are outside an interview room waiting to be called in. The interview is for a job you really desire. You know you possess the right skills and experience. You are well prepared and dressed right. In spite of all that you are feeling a wee bit nervous. A close friend is accompanying you. As you look through the glass door of the interview room, your friend spots the interviewer and says, “That guy looks mean. He probably won’t like you. He may give you a hard time” Hearing this, your nervousness jumps up a notch. As you step into the interview room and come face to face with the interviewer you find that he does look intimidating. You somehow fumble through the meeting. As you walk out of the room you know that you’ve blown it. And your friend says, ” You are a stupid oaf. You couldn’t even get the simplest of answers right. Even if you did get the job you would probably have screwed it up.” By now you are probably thinking that this is not a great friend to hang out. But would you be surprised if I told you that this friend……

Read more

Procrastination can be good for you

Two weeks back one of my aunts asked me to pick up a book for her from a bookstore near my office. I had planned to pick up the book at lunchtime next day but by afternoon I was feeling too lazy to drive down. I told myself that I would pick it up at the end of the day because the shop was on my route home and I’d be driving past anyway. In the evening when I reached the store, I saw the long queue for the limited parking space in front of the store. I told myself that I would pick up the book the next day. My aunt had categorically said that it wasn’t urgent and I could pick it up when I had the time. Which would have been fine if the same sequence had not repeated itself for a complete week. A couple of times I even considered ordering the book online, but the delivery time was 3 weeks and it just seemed faster to pick it up from the store. After about a week, I got a text from my aunt asking if I had picked up the book. In the next 5 seconds, as……

Read more

Procrastination is NOT about laziness

Last week I had to prepare for an important presentation. I was pitching for a deal, which, if it went through, would increase my top line by a possible 30%. The presentation was on Monday and until the Friday before that, I was nowhere near getting started on it. I had known about the meeting a good 10 days in advance. I was completely aware of what the presentation could do for my business. To be on the safe side, I had even kept my Friday relatively free to ensure that I would be able to give time to the presentation. But when Friday came I couldn’t seem to get round to it. There were the constant emails to check. My desk had to be organized. Then I had to check my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to make sure I knew what was happening in the world. And then I got hungry and had to take a break. Then somebody sent me a funny video on WhatsApp that I had to watch. If any of this sounds familiar, these are the typical symptoms of most procrastinators There is an important task with a deadline. You know you need to spend……

Read more

What is your ugly duckling story?

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson is one of my favourite fairy tales. To me it is a story of hope, dreams and aspirations. I was recently reading the story to my toddler and as I read, it dawned on me how relevant the story really is to all of us and how many of our lives are shaped by similar experiences. Here is my interpretation of the story. A mother duck is incubating her eggs. One by one the eggs hatch except  the biggest egg which takes a really long time. The mother duck gets impatient wondering why the last egg is taking so long. The last egg finally hatches but the duckling is different. All of the other ducklings are yellow and pretty but the last one is ugly, large and grey. The other ducklings point and whisper because he is different. The new hatchling wants to be accepted and loved by his siblings but they shun him because he is not like them. The ugly duckling feels sad and lonely because he doesn’t know what to do. All of us are born with our own uniqueness but from the time we get some level of cognition the world……

Read more

Your career is a marathon. Are you sprinting instead?

I was recently working with a corporate executive . The brief for the coaching assignment was to help him manage his work more efficiently. I started by shadowing the individual in his work day. The one thing I noticed about him from day one was that he was a go-getter, was always looking to do more, achieve more and push himself more…all positive traits for someone who wants to grow their career or business. The feedback from peers, subordinates and supervisors reconfirmed this. As I continued to shadow him I realized that his strength was also his problem…he was taking on too much. If there was a project available he wanted either to own it or be a part of it. If there was a new initiative he wanted to lead it.  This wasn’t about bad time management. He was working 12-14 hours sometimes 7 days a week to make things happen and delivering brilliant results. It was just the sheer amount of work that he was handling that made me apprehensive. Think of a rubberband. When you stretch a rubberband it can expand and hold the tension. When this same rubberband is stretched beyond capacity for a long time……

Read more

7 Leadership Lessons I learnt from Game of Thrones

  Game of Thrones is a hot favourite right now for all TV buffs. Many claim that its popularity is because of the high drama, violence and sex depicted in the series. The serial does indeed have a high dose of fantasy (with dragons, warlords and wights thrown in for good measure).  But I believe that the one big reason many of us are quite addicted to the show is because of the strong characters that most of us can identify with. There is the noble bastard, Jon Snow, who rises to a high position inspite of his background or the witty dwarf Tyrion Lannister who is one of the strongest characters in the show inspite of his looks or the lack of support of his family. Then there is Jamie the King Slayer, who shows two sides of his character, first by pushing an 8 year old child off a high tower and in another scene returns to rescue his friend Breine of Tarth. And then there is the strong Danarys Stromborm, Mother of dragons, who grew from a  timid girl to a queen on-screen, who rules savages and believes in non-violence. Perhaps we feel a strong connect with Game of Thrones because we see bits……

Read more

When a past failure refuses to let you go

  When time does not heal Imagine this – One of your friends has approached you with a great business plan and asked you to partner with him. You have always had the wish to start a business. You love the concept. You believe the idea could be transformational and has financial value. You think of taking this on you are reminded of the last time you invested in a business and lost a big chunk of you savings…and you stop yourself.   Or picture this, you have finally met the woman/man of your dreams and she/he is everything that you wanted in a life partner, except you struggle to commit and be vulnerable because the last time you did that the person left you for someone else and the hurt though lesser is something that never really healed.   The deep well of “If only” excuses Not all failure stories have such high stakes. Some can be smaller but have similar patterns. We are talking of an area in your life where you struggle to take the next step even when you want to, because something from the past holds you back. Maybe you struggle to speak confidently at a……

Read more

When the need to win gets in the way of your success

  I have always seen myself as a go-getter. A winner no less. When I start a program my need to win makes me want to create and deliver at a high level. When I am working with a  client the need to win makes me want to help the client get to the goals they want. The clients I work with are also pretty much in the same league. They want to win. After all, leadership and the need to win is often seen as synonymous with each other. A leader needs to be able to take his /her team to new heights of success. Winning is good. It helps organisations, careers and businesses grow. It creates opportunities and development. The need to win is the cornerstone of all enterprises.   So if winning is good does it always make you more successful? Surprisingly the answer is no. There are often moments when I find that the need to win starts becoming a hinderance rather than a support for me and my clients The need to win can easily turn into the need to win at any cost We all know of successful sports people and drug abuse. Or of eminent business men……

Read more

Internal networking is not optional. Embrace it!

  Rajesh is a very successful sales manager. He is known as a people’s person and is highly spoken of by both his team and his customers. His biggest strength is managing relationships and building trust with his team and customers. This has got him ample success in the market space he operates in. At the same time Rajesh struggles to use this strength of building relationships within the organisation. Apart from his immediate team and manager not too many people know him well. More importantly not too many career influencers in the organisation know him. Rajesh sometimes feels that he may be missing out on opportunities because of this. He knows he needs to spend more time and effort on internal networking as but at the same time he felt unsure of whether he really wants to do it. Why internal networking is important Helps open up opportunities: Internal networking helps an individual make the most of the opportunities available in an organisation. People prefer to hire people they know. Connecting well with people across the organisation and outside your immediate team will also help you get your work done faster.  When you take on a new or higher role knowing the people you……

Read more

If you are a manager – get good at sharing bad news

The dilemma of sharing bad news Leaders are often the messenger and sometimes the creator of bad news. While the saying goes “Don’t shoot the messenger” unfortunately that is exactly what some employees want to do when they hear bad news. Bad news can be of different proportions and impact. It could range from mass lay offs and salary cuts to asking someone to work over weekends or asking a low performer to leave. Often the manager may have taken the decision due to circumstances or business needs. At other times the decision may be taken by someone else and the manager is expected to deliver it to the team. At such times leaders often feel uncomfortable with doing the job because at a human level they may not want to impact another human being. Often managers anticipate a negative reaction from the team or are uncomfortable dealing with emotional outbursts. Some managers avoid sharing bad news or delegate it to someone else. Some try to mask it with jargon or logic. At the same time there are a few who handle it with finesse . Why is it important to get good at sharing bad news: As a manager it is part of your job and it will be……

Read more