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……

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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……

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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……

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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……

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How your success could set you up for failure

  What are your reasons for success If I were to ask you, “What makes you successful?” what would you say? Whenever I ask this question to any successful person surprisingly the answers are very vague. Sometimes I hear about hardwork, commitment, focus while some people just assume that their success was meant to be. Others give credit to mentors, well wishers, luck or God. But the real fact is that successful people rarely spend time asking themselves what makes them successful and those who do are mostly unclear of what “REALLY” makes them successful.   Infact the more successful the person, the less time they spend on understanding what makes them successful. On the other hand people who feel they are not successful spend huge amounts of time dissecting their performance and analyzing why they have not reached their goals. This is both a result of human nature as well as the way most systems are set up; to look for the cause of the problem and not the reason for why something works. Logic also dictates that if something is going well why worry about it. Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. – Bill Gates Why……

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Why goals fail – even the SMART ones!

  Look back on all the years that you set New Year resolutions for yourself. If you do not believe in setting New Year resolutions then instead look back at the goals you set for yourself. How many of them have you really achieved? If you’ve achieved all or most of them – Congratulations!! You rock! But if you are like 80% of the people out there, you would probably not have met a lot of your goals. Even the ones that were really important to you. Statistics show that only 8% of people hold on to their New Year resolutions and only 20% people who set goals actually meet them! The surprising part is that this is also true of SMART goals. That is quite a deviation from what most of us think, isn’t it? Do you know why you did not meet your goals? Perhaps you got too busy doing other things and you never got around to getting started on your goals. Or maybe you started working on the goals and then something threw you off track and you never got back to it. Or maybe you had a moment of weakness and gave up.   Behind all of these……

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Introverts as leaders- why it works!

  “I’m not sure I can be a manager, because I am an introvert.” said Anjali. This was her response when I asked about her career plans Anjali’s view on things  is common. We often picture a leader as the quintessential Alpha male or female- flamboyant, visible and extroverted. It is easy to assume that to be a leader these qualities are critical.  For people who don’t “naturally” have these traits, it can be daunting to step into leadership. Introverts often tend to write-off leadership as a career option without even thinking about it. Why people assume leadership equals being extroverted The internal conditioning often starts early. At school and in the playground,  the loudest and bossiest kid in class, most often gets his/her way.  So quiet and introverted kids assume that to be a prefect or class captain you need to be loud. Organisations and media often project a leader as being an extrovert. A lot of political leaders are great orators and socially proficient. In traditional businesses like construction or shop floor management  the leader or supervisor often needs to be commanding and visible.  The image of the extrovert leader holds true in most of these circumstances but in the white……

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If your team does not follow your directions- here’s what’s wrong!

  Leadership is defined as the ability to get others to follow you. The key responsibility of a leader is to get the team to follow the path that he/she sets for them. The success of a leader depends on being able to build followers and getting them to deliver on the vision he/she has. All successful leaders are masters at this – getting the team to connect with their vision and owning it as their own.   However, not being able to get the team to follow the leader is a big challenge for many organisations today. Because of this, leaders, both new and experienced ones, struggle to deliver on assignments and targets. When this happens the logical deduction is that either the leader not communicating right or there is a problem with the team’s understanding. The organization may decide that the leader or the team needs evaluations, feedbacks and trainings. All of these remedial approaches work well depending on the context that they are applied to. Yet again sometimes they don’t. This is because this approach is based on the premise that if the communication is not working either the communicator or the recipient is at fault. What……

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You’ve successfully met your big goal – and that is your problem!

John is one of my clients. We came in contact, after his organization hired me to support his transition into the new role of a Vice President (VP). He had been part of the succession plan in the organization and had been a high performer for a longtime. After a few sessions, John confessed to feeling low and empty after his promotion. He had always aspired to become a Vice President in his organisation.  He had been working there for close to 8 years and the last few years had been focused on the goal of making it to VP. But once the euphoria of becoming a VP vanished, the reality was not what he expected. He broadly classified his issue in 3 categories: The excitement and elation of working towards a big goal had kept him going. But now that he had reached the goal he missed the focus and anticipation. He had assumed that when he became a VP, he would love the job but instead he felt out of his depth and was struggling to keep up. For the last few years he had worked really hard and had subconsciously hoped to take it slow after he……

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The one reason you may not have got a leadership promotion yet

You are really good at what you do. Your management, peers and subordinates agree that you do a great job and you have the awards and appraisal ratings to prove that. You have had a fairly steady career growth in the past till you got stuck at the level you are at now. You know you are working with the same efficiency and getting great results. So why isn’t your career graph moving as fast? More importantly why haven’t you got that coveted leadership promotion yet? How career growth happens at entry levels in an organisation Lawrence J Peter formulated the Peter’s principle that states, “ In an organizational hierarchy, every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence.” This means that employees in an organisation will continue to rise to the next level based on their current performance till they reach a position where they stop performing. Most careers start out this way. People joint at entry level positions. Those who work hard (or smart) and perform well grow to the next level. This continues to happen for quite a few levels up in the organisation including first few levels of management. Often people start assuming that……

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