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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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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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……

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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……

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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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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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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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4 mistakes that could make you feel stuck in life

“Feeling stuck in life” – that feeling that we all know. When you are in a situation that you hate but you don’t know how to get out of. It may be a job that feels monotonous or purposeless, but you need the money to pay the bills.Or it could be the business or career you have been working very hard at but, it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It could be a relationship where you feel unloved but you stay for the sake of the children/family/parents/society. If any of these sound familiar, you are not alone. All of us struggle with these or similar situations, which seem to take over our lives and there seems to be no way out. The worst thing about feeling “stuck” is, that it is generally in a part of our lives that matters a lot to us and we have to deal with everyday. As a result it starts draining, what one of my clients define as, our “life-blood”. Even if that sound a bit dramatic, there is no denying that situations like these are stressful and take a toll on our emotional and mental energy What gets you stuck to start with? It is easy……

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Is internal competition killing your organisation’s effectiveness?

Most organisations have evaluation systems that measure employees against their goals and how they performed vs their peers. The obvious intent of the performance measurement system is to have a tracking mechanism to know how each of the employees’ is contributing, towards the organisations growth. This gives a comparative measure to reward good performance. This method stems from the grading systems in schools and colleges, that measure a student’s comparative performance, on various subjects. Parents have used this approach for years with children, to push them to perform better, by comparing them with siblings and peers. However, based on research, educators and child experts say, that, comparing a child constantly is not only bad for his/her self esteem but also leads to longterm performance and psychological issues. So if this system does not work for kids can the impact on adults be really that different? While the intent is to drive performance using competition among employees, the unfortunate truth is that, it is detrimental to the overall performance of the organisation.  To understand how this happens, let us start by understanding the meaning of competition Competition, is a contest between organisms, animals, individuals, groups, etc., for territory, a niche, or a……

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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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