How to get the team to move well through difficult times

Difficult times are common in large projects and long pursuits. The team that set out to achieve the set goals, might falter under pressure.  A key dependency or module going not as per plan can jeopardize entire program. Defects discovered through every-cycle of test can add more fuel to the boring issue. This is the time, you need a stronger bond with the team to wade through and deliver well.

Great leaders move us. They ignite passion and inspire to deliver the best even in tough times. Is it their strategy, vision or experience that helps them achieve this? Though this helps, the primary difference stems from the approach, how they do it. Great leaders connect with people, emotionally. Though they focus on the task at hand, they drive emotions of people in the right direction. Emotions play a significant role at work in ensuring remarkable results for all.

Keeping a large project and longer pursuits on-track require you to engage with the team emotionally and gracefully. You have to become part of the team in every respect. Followup and carry out all your actions to reinforce the value of responsiveness. Help those choking due to pressure with clearer / definitive work with less dependency. Discover heroes and support them to carry a little more load. Respond to queries, concerns, and suggestions through participative discussions weighed-in by the emotional intelligence. Emulate a war-leader. Lead with emotional intelligence. Your team will sail well and craft becomes remarkable.

be a #dreamerdoer

How to learn from things that you already know

It is nearly impossible for people to learn what they think they already know. Once you feel you know everything about something, you’re done. If you open the possibilities of knowing another side of what you think you know, new perspectives show-up.

When you apply what you know, you experience. All valid knowledge comes through experience. When you think you know a subject, a trick or a way to get things done, try if it really works. Acquired knowledge through studies, other’s discovery and teachings, most of the time stay as surface coats. As with tough coats, they create a barrier to let new perspectives enter. This also makes them stale.

Try to learn from what you think you already know. The best way is to adopt them into your routine. Once you start using it routinely, the depth of what you know becomes visible. Gives you an opportunity to go deeper, add fresh perspectives and soon master the art. Imagine that your vessel-of-wisdom is always half-empty. Keep an open mind even with things you feel you are a master. Exploring further begins with an open mind. Your craft becomes remarkable.

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Make the best use of power of new

New gives a fresh perspective. New brings an opportunity to shed something old – the one that has outlived its purpose or not helping in progress. New helps in touching those edges, otherwise never exercised. New is welcome. New also triggers curiosity and anxiety. If you nourish curiosity, there’s a great opportunity to make something remarkable.

Best use of the power of new is when you make it a catalyst. One that brings natural progression to those existing for a while. Try adding a new task to your daily routine every day. Take a new route to work. Adopt a new tool to get everyone on the same page. Add a new member to your next project; every-time you start a new project, idea or business. Propose a new way-of-working with existing client. Consistent pursuit of new makes you an explorer. Keeps the energy levels high and helps you stay on the course of your mission. When stuck with a problem, explore solutions with new people, new way, and new setups. You might find a compelling solution and also opportunities hitherto uncovered.

You can use new effectively when you let go something else and make way for this. Else you accumulate and create clutter. Given that we all have only 24hrs in a day and definitive goals to achieve at work unless you make room by giving up something, new cannot take its place and help you with. When you give up something or someone for making way for new, don’t dump. Do it gracefully. Graceful exits are critical to keeping the value of association live through different phases of time. You are helping it or them to be included as new in another project or idea. They will continue to be active catalyst elsewhere. Just for the reason you are giving up, it does not mean that they have lost value. You are re-newing them as well.

Make the power of new work for you and others too.

be a #dreamerdoer

How to sell your idea more effectively at work

NO is typical word salespeople hear all day long, every selling day. For average salespeople those words signal loss, defeat. The gut triggers failure and rejection. If salespeople just accept that word and mentally pack away their sales materials and start thinking about the next appointment, no sale ever would have happened.

When you are out to sell your idea to sponsors at work, situation is not very different. You will get “No” through different words. A series of them. In a typical sale, you might have to cross at least five NOs. Converting each NO into a micro-yes is critical to move ahead. Sales process is more like an inverted funnel, working against gravity. A series of micro YESs make it a big YES. Each NO has a different meaning. Attending to that carefully by providing relevant information helps you gravitate well towards YES.

The NO sign is not a stop signal. It is just a signpost. The buyer/ sponsors will know what’s going on your mind. If you don’t like sales, they’ll know it. If you don’t believe in the value of your product/service they’ll know it. If you don’t like something about your buyers/ sponsors, they will know it. If you have indeed given up on the sale, your buyer/sponsor will sense that. As a result of your nonverbal communication, your buyer/ sponsor loses interest.

Buyers like to buy from confident people. Sponsors like to support confident people. Confident people continue exploring all options after they hear the word NO. That gets them to operate on next gear, to find and use missing elements, to make the offer complete and compelling enough to get to YES.

Don’t undersell. Don’t oversell either. Sell right. Make the offer, proposition relevant and its impact, significant. Keep your confidence and let it play for you. This helps you sell ideas more effectively at work.

be a #dreamerdoer

Make passion work for you

Passionate people work only to realize the dream, they made it as a mission. You can not miss noticing a passionate person when they are with you. When you are touched by their work, you will feel the intensity and care with which they built that craft. Everyone has the latent power to be passionate and remarkable at work. Finding and letting it work for you will be very useful to stay at the top of your game.

There are a variety of mechanisms available to find your passion. It can be a skill that comes naturally to you. It can be a desire stemming from your childhood or a role model you worshiped/ followed. It can even be a social cause you are deeply concerned with. Your education, necessities of life as assumed through growing up years, the work you chose, and the friends you move with have greater influence in letting your passion work for you or otherwise.

Passion is a small spark hidden in the belly, refusing to get extinguished no matter how well it is covered or how long. All it needs is a bit of careful nurturing to become a fire to cook something remarkable. When you let it ignite the real you, the glow it creates is impossible to ignore – on you and the craft you build.

Do a quick assessment of what you are passionate about. Else, build a caring and undying interest in a subject you think is good for you and people around. Don’t chase the passion. It isn’t a goal. Become passionate. Let that guide your thought process, action and relationships. Keep the grace. You will find the flow. That helps you navigate smoothly and progress well. Passion will start working for you.

be a #dreamerdoer

Let your team guide you to be effective at work

Fully engaged workforce is one of the dreams senior leaders hope to see in reality. On an average they find that seven out of ten employees are not fully engaged in the workplace. Under half do what is expected of them but feel undervalued and are unwilling or unable to put in any extra effort. When business value creation is your job, employee engagement becomes the most powerful lever.

Most employees know what is expected of them, but the opportunity to grow and develop new skills and try new things drives engagement. People want to feel they belong to a community that shares their values. When the values of the organisation and the employee align, and when employees see organisational behaviours that reflect those values, they are engaged.

Take a quick look at the value system you are practicing. You might find some valuable tips to improve engagement. If feedback is a tool you are using to build and reinforce a participatory culture, check how open you are to receive unsolicited feedback from your team. They watch you everyday through your words and action. Also, they exchange notes amongst themselves. Being closer to the craft they are building, they know the possible impact of mis-direction and course correction options. When employees feel that their managers add little or no value to their work and are not open for feedback, they disengage slowly and steadily. If you are on a big-initiative, new business or at the beginning of a new organisation structure implementation, you will be busy and have all chances of missing the right, timely tips from your fellows. Catch their valuable insights and build on to make your journey remarkable.

If you just inherited a new team or turning-around a tough project, consider setting-up a grey-suggestion-box on your desk. Let your team drop their feedback into it routinely, whenever they feel so. Let it be anonymous. Take note, review and take action. When they see how seriously you take what comes in your way and deal-with gracefully, they feel part of making it work for you. They get firmly engaged at work.

Letting your team guide you to be effective at work is a powerful lever, you should incorporate gracefully.

be a #dreamerdoer

Setting and resetting expectations

When you start something, you are setting expectations with people around you. Your performance history plays its role. It might create anxiety or curiosity. Expectations stem out of imagination. It is easy to imagine something as perfect, and difficult to achieve it. Imagination coupled with desire, raises expectations beyond limits of realisation. Reality always fails to catch up with imagination.

Good beginnings serve to awaken curiosity, not anxiety. When you notice anxiety with your starting of new idea / business or a new initiative, make it a point to listen and reset expectations to measurable levels. Focus to bring down the anxiety. Especially if that is with your sponsors and supporters. If you notice a lot of curiosity, listen and set expectations right, and to manageable levels. You are better off when reality exceeds expectations and things turn out better than you thought it would. When you fail to deliver as expected, those who were curious feel disappointed, the imagination feels cheated. But those who were anxious, feel relieved. What was felt disastrous comes to seem tolerable.

Make it a practice to quickly assess and set/reset expectations, as quick as you can.

be a #dreamerdoer

Bringing the best out of mediocre

Mediocre performance is mostly attributed to average capability. It might be acceptable to be mediocre at an unimportant job. You can find ways to get out of such tasks. But to be mediocre at simple jobs and not being excellent at higher jobs has no excuse at all.

Willingness to perform, coupled with the application of self to the job gets the best out of even mediocre people. People with greater willingness to perform, learn, stretch and work-hard to deliver better results beyond their core capability. People who are not willing, are unable to apply themselves to even the simplest tasks. Mediocre people who apply themselves go farther than the superior people who don’t.

To get the best out of mediocre members of the team, even before finding interventions to improve their performance, check how willing they are. If you can find a way to increase their willingness and application skills, they will be able to perform better than their latent best.

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Changing the way to retain the edge

Changing the way to change the results is a known fact. This is important when you are not able to get the intended result. Once you find a way to achieve the result, it is a tendency to keep the method unchanged. Philosophy of don’t touch the one that’s not broken. But how do you know the method you are using is the best unless you try other options?

Creative people keep changing the way they achieve outcomes. You can try this too. This keeps you challenged and truly gets the best out of you. This might confuse people, especially your rivals, and awaken their curiosity and attention. If you play or follow a sport, you will understand the power of changing the way to get results in a competitive environment. A business you build has competition. The way you build, deliver and maintain your craft matters the most in creating that winning differential. You will discover hidden nuggets and effective methods which helps you and your customer. Start small and play well. Once you bring the courage to work, confidence comes naturally. You anyway have the backup of a working method!

Keep changing your style of doing things. It adds multiple dimensions to your personality and supports building remarkable things.

be a #dreamedoer.

Servant leadership in the knowledge era

We have been trained to respect and follow those who are knowledgeable. At work, there was a time when many shrewd men mustered power through their knowledge, earned over years of learning and practice. Several folks became leaders through the knowledge they used, to serve others. The first generation of communication networks ensured the fall of the barrier to information access. The second generation of networks over internet enabled free access to information. Digital tools of today make learning, building and applying knowledge on any subject, very seamless. In this context, how valuable is Knowledge and those knowledgeable?

Traditional “top-of-the-pyramid” leadership that generally involves the accumulation and exercise of the power is becoming irrelevant with the abundance of knowledge and knowledge-workforce. This, in turn, is pushing – sharing of power, putting the needs of others first and adoption of inclusive business models. Servant leadership is taking center-stage without any fanfare.

Any business or project you are part of today will have a significant part of knowledge-based work. All stakeholders and customers are also equally knowledgeable or have access to relevant knowledge. Note the frustration of doctors working with patients who meet them with own knowledge acquired through online research and public opinion about their possible disease, conditions, and course of action. To be on the top-of-your-practice, you have to quickly assess how much of knowledge the person already possesses and build/ correct the same to help them with the problem they are facing. Practice servant leadership more actively to be effective in this free-knowledge-era.

be a #dreamerdoer