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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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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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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4 ways to master that task that you don’t like doing ……but need to do anyway

Susan(name changed) is one of my clients. We have been working on her transition into a job role she got promoted to recently. In the course of the conversation she mentioned that one of the things that her new position requires is to host relationship building events with customers. She feels extremely nervous just thinking about these because she believes that she is  not good at public speaking. She feels worried about how she speaks on stage and that her lack of oratory skills will show her in a poor light. She is also pretty sure that other than this one thing she can handle the role perfectly and is excited about the opportunity. This is something I hear frequently with my clients. Part of their job that does not feel right and more importantly does not feel like them.

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The difference that makes the difference

This week in India was marked with the sudden demise of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the Missile man, the extraordinary scientist and most importantly the man dubbed as the People’s President during and after his tenure in the Presidential office. What made him so admirable was not just his academic and career success, his knowledge and simplicity but everything that he stood for. He came from a poor, rural, Muslim family in Tamil Nadu and rose to the highest office in the country, through sheer determination and hardwork. For young India he is an Icon of what is possible. In the midst of scam, corruption, high competition and unequal opportunities Dr. Kalam’s life was an inspiration of aspirations, dreams and success. This post is a dedication and a reflection on the great man and his greatness. What makes someone who comes from a life of hardship and challenges make it the way someone like Dr. Kalam does? And more importantly what prevents others in similar circumstances from doing the same?   The biggest difference is not what the world throws at us but how we perceive it. Perception is the way we see and experience the world and it varies from person to……

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Leadership VS the Myth of the Perfect Leader

 “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves” – Ray Kroc Who is a Leader? At a recent leadership workshop I asked the question, “ Who is a leader?” I got many answers and perspectives largely catergorised into leadership presence, knowledge, vision, team management and business sense. All answers together told me 2 things: There is no single definition of a leader. Each of us want something different from the people we perceive as leaders and we want them to be “perfect” in matching our definition. We all want strong leaders and we want them to deliver! We all like to fantasize about that glorious human being who will change the world. In politics we have seen Obama( Yes We Can!) and more recently Narendra Modi being put up on that pedestal where they are expected to turn around the economic situation. We don’t care about facts or what the challenges are. We just want outcomes. In the workplace, employees often look at their manager and expect that he/she replicate an image in their mind. When this leader fails to do so, they often feel let down, if not outright cheated. Organisations too have guidelines and criteria for leadership that……

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The achievement treadmill – why pausing it is so hard and what to do about it

“Sometimes you need to press pause to let everything sink in.” –  Sebastian Vettel Being a high achiever means that you are on a constant journey to scale bigger and higher mountain heights.  But as you move from one achievement to the next you may find yourself unable to stop, even momentarily, before moving on to the next pursuit. When you experience fatigue you probably dig deeper and keep on going. And as you do that you may experience an inner niggle that tells you to pause. This may either be in the form of exhaustion, loss of concentration or something bigger like an impact on your health. More often than not you will ignore the niggle and continue to push yourself to perform at the same pace that you always have.  I can already picture a lot of you nodding your heads when you read this and I know that I myself have been guilty of doing this. Most of us even take pride over being on top of our game inspite of what we may be experiencing. Before I continue, I want to clarify that this discussion is not about being driven in your career or wanting to……

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Imposter syndrome – The nemesis of all high achievers

The good news first. If you find yourself relating to this post chances are you are a high achiever or a leader in whatever you do. High achievers and leaders generally thrive on their achievements. While power, wealth and fame may also be strong motivators, the high of delivering on a difficult outcome is generally unmatched. The world of a high performer is also very different from that of an average performer. There is a lot more activity and a very strong commitment to the outcomes. Most high achievers thrive in high-speed, high stress environments.

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Why “Purpose” is the most critical factor behind the success of your enterprise.

 “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker    Off late, I have been interacting with a lot of entrepreneurs, both first time startups and seasoned entrepreneurs. The thing that I find common with each of these individuals is the passion they feel for their enterprise. If you are or have been an entrepreneur , you will know that entrepreneurship is a world full of rushed timelines, funding constraints and struggles to keep the lamp burning. It is exciting to see how these dynamic men and women trudge along bravely in the face of adversity and actually take strength from it. What does surprise me however is that while each enterprise is born of passion, there is huge ambiguity to the  purpose of each of these. And that brings me to the topic of this blog. As an entrepreneurs your passion will give you the momentum

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Are you “playing to win” or “playing not to lose”?

chess kings

“ In order to succeed your desire for success need to be higher than you fear of failure” – Bill Cosby While we would all want to be always consistent in our performance unfortunately professional and personal effectiveness like life does not come in absolutes. As most business leaders grow in an organisation there are subtle changes that start happening in their personal mindsets.  

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