Strength of weak ties decides the future of work

You belong to a group or build one at work. You may call it by different names – team, department, business unit and so on. Broader the name, wider the diversity. Add the time-distance-virtuality of people involved. You get the real unified world, divided by every parameter possible to hold them together. Multiple dimensions come-to-play at once to get anything done.

Intergroup coordination is considered one of the most important aspects of effective project management. When organisations and work streams are functionally divided for efficiency, we need additional glues to make them stick together as unified workforce. Autonomy and functional depth makes them grow as silos needing a lot of negotiation and supervision for getting-things-done.

It is a common practice to make all possible attempts to get every team concerned, buy-in the overall priority of your project and accept dependencies, deliver-in-time. Since they have their priorities and conflicts, how strong is your relationship with other groups matters the most. You should establish these relationships ahead and away from the project you are currently driving. You should know the people in those groups as people. Should develop genuine appreciation for their work and contributions. Without the context of a project or initiative, these ties are weak ones. But they have the greatest strength when you are in need.

Get-to-know your organisation well. Well ahead of any work-relationship/requirement shows up. Nurture all functional weak ties and be useful. In places where your organisational interfaces, work-relationships and conflict-resolution-techniques fail, the strength of weak ties you have with those teams wins. It decides the future course of work.

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Integrity is the fabric you should wear to work

Most of the companies you work for and build, will have Integrity as one of the foundational values. Everyone agrees. Everyone expects the other to follow. Unbelievable business fall-outs and roll-of-heads in the history, circle around the pivot of integrity – the breach of it.

Integrity is all about being unified and undivided. Integrity has no greyscale. Integrity is the fabric you should always wear to work. But strong fabric requires interlacing – one thread in one direction with other at a right angle. Courage is that thread – which is required to hold the thread of integrity. Most failures around integrity happens slowly and in small steps. Especially when no one is watching. Lack of courage to face and correct it, makes it crack fast and the fabric will be fully torn. How far can you ignore noticing the one wearing a torn cloth?

Integrity and courage should go together. Make it single value. Practice it well and support everyone around you to do the same. This helps in your endeavour. Don’t cut corners while laying the foundation. The strength of what you build depends fully on that.

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Obstacles are opportunities to find better solutions

You make a promise. Make every possible attempt to keep it. During the course, you might encounter obstacles, additional or unanticipated problems. When we face issues we are not ready for, it is natural to feel dejected. When the pressure of keeping the promise builds more than you can handle, it becomes tougher. You might say “if only, this had not happened life would’ve been so good.”

Life is all about obstacles. There’s no path that’s free of roadblocks/ obstacles. Our job is to navigate through them and stay on course. You learn the tricks as you pass one obstacle after the other. Let the drive to keep the promise make you smart and help you find intelligent ways to circumvent well. That’s how you find new solutions that make your toolbox a bit more richer by the day. If you quit in the midway, you miss the opportunity to find new ways and new solutions.

Find a coach, a mentor who can guide you to navigate well. Read books. Follow sports, sportspersons. Keep a journal. Build courage to stay on course and make obstacles – opportunities to discover new possibilities. Make them remarkable!

be a dreamerdoer.

Making and keeping promises is an essential element for being effective at work

At work, either you are a CEO or work for one. In both cases, you deal with people. Human relationship stems around promises. It can be a routine task of a project where your output influences another’s work and final outcome or your commitment of sales targets. It’s a promise. It influences several chain reactions. Mostly, irreversible.

Every time you keep the promise, organisation moves ahead. Every time you meet and exceed the promise, your company accelerates further towards excellence. Folks who hesitate to make promises, quite often are hesitant in keeping as well. If they do it for three times in a row, it might become a trend. A dangerous one.

When you make and keep promises routinely, it scales your game. Builds confidence – leading to competence and the flow that is an essential element for being effective at work. Be brave. Make and keep promises.

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Effective communication tricks for being on top of performance

Communication plays a vital role in performance at work. To connect, to get details, to work-out useful solutions and to build a cohesive workforce, communication becomes the catalyst.

More than the means of communication, the choice of words become a critical part of forming the meaning. The messenger of the value. Some ticks to improve the effectiveness of communication and be on top of your performance include the following:

  1. Build and use a simple, unambiguous vocabulary. It helps to connect quickly. It helps in getting the other person to start thinking and acting swiftly. If you have to use complex words, do explain. Don’t let the other person make their own meanings.
  2. Use big thinker’s vocabulary. Use big, bright and cheerful words. Use words that invoke hope, happiness, and pleasure. Avoid words that create unpleasant images of failure, defeat, and grief.
  3. Don’t trivialize important things. At the same time, don’t focus on trivial things. Focus your attention on the core, big objectives. Everyone’s time and energy are precious.
  4. Every opportunity for communication is the best time for adding value – to things, to people and yourself. Keep the focus on value addition, always. Even when you are escalating an issue, reporting status or seeking help.
  5. Beware of the self-deprecating style of communication. You might end-up selling-short and limit your effectiveness. You’re better than you think you are.

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What fuels effective decision making and problem solving?

Decision making and problem solving occupies significant portion of your time at work. Most customer facing team members believe that it is their full-time-job. Though, you might be responsible for the decision you take, the process of decision making and problem solving involves quite a few others. How well they perform and how timely they respond, decides the effectiveness of the decision and the problem-solution.

Both involve analysis-synthesis-evaluation cycles to identify an effective path-forward via triangulation of options. This requires analytical skills – one that individuals are trained to do, creative intelligence – one that evolves over time and timely application of knowledge & experience in a creative manner. Creativity plays a significant role in the entire process and effectiveness of the result.

Creativity is like a delicate flower that blooms with praise and discouragement often nibs it in the bud. Remember how well you feel and produce better ideas, when your efforts are appreciated. Do the same. Appreciation of efforts fuels better and more ideas from all involved, to help decide well and identify solutions that effectively solve the problem, mostly in record time!

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Perform where it counts the most to stay on top of your game

While at work, remember that it is your public-performance. If you are an artist-in-demand, people pay and come to watch your performance. At work, you are paid to perform and people watch you and your work. So, you are in-demand. But, unlike performance on stage where people are focused on you and your work, here they are equally busy with themselves and their work. When people are engrossed in their own ways, it is hard for them to notice how well you are performing – unless it matters to their work/life! Like the Joshua Bell’s experiment, there are many to prove that people’s attention and your performance have little correlation otherwise.

Choose a platform where you are challenged to perform better than your best. Work on items that matter most to people around you. You will grow and your mastery over the craft of building remarkable things. Picking a company, a project or an idea, just for the sake of it has little impact on you and to those who you intend to target.

Perform where it counts the most – to stay on top of your game, always.

be a #dreamerdoer


What determines how much you’re worth?

Excelling at work comes naturally to a few folks. They appear at the top of high-potential-talent-list. They get considered for the most important and challenging jobs at the company. Their projects and ideas get the best-sponsor-support and of course, best results too. They are considered and treated as the-most-worthy. How does this happen? What determines how much you’re worth at work?

Value you add to things –  tasks you work-on, artefacts you build – your craft – irrespective of how small or important it is. It reaches all people-in-the-chain, and of course, the customer, the user and beneficiaries. It has the most latent reach both in distance and time you can imagine. Valuable articles are kept well, used well and distributed well! Your work-product becomes your signature at work!

Value you add to people – those who work with you, those who work for you, your bosses and the customers, users. Every interaction with individuals should be a value-adding-experience to remember. Keeping it short, sweet and focused makes it highly-valuable. How you learn, share the learning and genuinely help others excel in their jobs and goals, makes you more valuable. They in turn, add value to your career.

Value you add to yourself – the skills you learn and use, the subjects you master, the promises you make and keep to yourself and that big-smile you carry on your face all the time – makes you more valuable for yourself. When you realise the self-worth and its impact on you, the people and the things, you get to the flow-of-performance. A freewheeling effect prevails. This takes you places.

Practice adding value to things, people and yourself. This determines how much you’re worth, at any point of time.

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Dealing with difficult people is an essential skill

Dealing with people is what you do at work, most of the time. They come in different shapes and forms. They come with their own views of their life and yours as well. Dealing with them effectively, ensures that you are on-track with your mission. Some people are difficult-to-deal-with. Irrespective of the role they play at work, they definitely have an influence over how you work, sometime on what you work with. Learning to deal with difficult people is an essential skill.

Difficult people are predictable people. They are not just difficult with you. They are into themselves and are difficult with everyone. Study them. You will notice that they are stuck in their ways. All you have to do is manoeuvre. You have to use your brains with them a lot, more than emotions.

If you encounter that nit-picker, give them enough detail. Be factual. If you see the other person as abrupt/ impatient, get straight to the point – kill the story. If the guy is full of ego, tell them how good they are from your idea/solution point of view. Strategy is Simple. You won’t be able to change them. Just focus on your outcome through the encounter and manoeuvre. Imagine being on the line-of-fire. Sidestepping is a good thing.

Focus on your craft. Keep your brains active and emotions at rest.

Be cautious in not letting difficult-people get under your skin. When you encounter too-many of them and too-often, they have a greater influence on you. Guard yourself from being one-difficult-person to deal-with.

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It takes good practice to be the best at career athletics

Look at athletes and sportsmen/ women. They start early in life to train, compete and participate in events that lead them to a fulfilling career. It takes a lot of work and a series of small sacrifices to become good at what they choose. Being best at work is no different. The field you choose and the work you do, presents similar set of challenges and opportunities like that for an athlete on a track or field. The difference is how an athlete goes about building the career and the way people do while working at their company.

Finding and pursuing dream jobs require the career athleticism and perseverance like that of making it to olympics. You should be in the greatest shape and fitness to win. So, start early, practice hard and stay fit. Participate in small, but meaningful initiatives to start-with. But continue to compete and contribute in challenging tasks that impact the business the most. Choose a mentor/coach. Train regularly and build new skills and techniques that help you stay at the peak of performance. Like sports, you might miss some and win some. But stay fit and compete well. Play remarkably.

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