Freedom of expression at work

Freedom of expression is a human right. At work, concern about how well an idea can be described and if it will be accepted will inhibit the sharing of ideas. The expression allows the communication of ideas, the development of concepts through constructive interaction and questioning that is free of embarrassment. Ideas often can be challenging to conceive. The expression of those ideas may threaten those individuals who cannot separate idea from the person – leading to rejection of both.

If you are leading a team or business, it is your responsibility to ensure that freedom of expression is maintained well. If you are in a place where you believe the freedom of expression is questionable, you have an opportunity to catalyze a fundamental change. It’s your right. An essential element of success – of your company and yourself.

be a #dreamerdoer

Technology innovation and illusion of value

Innovation for a pre-defined purpose amounts to finding effective and intelligent solutions to a known set of problems. Boundaries of innovation and its application are either pre-defined or established early in the process of innovation. But in technology companies and for technologists, innovating for the sake of producing new technologies and solutions turn-out to be an exciting opportunity.

They may have a clarity on the piece of technology or solution they are building and totally lack how it can be put-to-use to extract economic value. Some of them may be ahead of time. A few may be incomplete from deployment point-of-view. A few may not have any obvious fitment to current customer situations.

Finding a problem to solve with this innovation becomes the challenge. Monetising innovation then hinges heavily on finding those problems and customers willing to pay for the same. When it becomes too difficult to find possible problems and application areas for these innovations, the value perception fades away. This hurts further innovation programs and pursuits. Innovation efforts turn out to be happy-engineering programs.

Pursuing technology innovation is important for overall progress. New Industries and businesses are formed due to intelligent application of technology innovations. It is hardly the same company innovating on both dimensions. To realize the true potential of the value of technology innovation, product, process and business model innovations become necessary.

When you are proposing, pursuing entrepreneurial journeys within a company or outside, make sure that you are clear about the innovation dimension relevant to your company and industry you are addressing. To monetize, you have to look for options for licensing, productizing, process-reengineering and building new business models as appropriate to the dimensions – technology, product, process, and business respectively. Else, the entire value of the innovation remains illusive.

When Technology innovations are easy to integrate & deploy, specific to a set of identified users and work on simple business models, finding appropriate problems and customers might become easier. Since the value of a solution/ innovation is seen only in the use of it, finding and engaging with potential customers and users early in the cycle is very important to keep your pursuit on track and build a remarkable craft.

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Fear of rejection is the biggest impediment

Intrapreneurs propose and pursue new ideas, solutions, initiatives routinely. When you propose something to others without their consent, the chances of rejection is the highest. If you fail to propose due to the fear of rejection, you remain where you are if you are lucky. The difference between high-performers, intrapreneurs and the rest lies in their ability to face rejection and move forward with grace.

Rejection is everywhere. You get hate mail. You get rejected for opportunities you think you are the best fit. You get people who don’t understand you, who are upset with you, angry with you, don’t recognize/respect what you’ve done for them. You can’t hate people who reject you. Definitely, you can’t let them get the best of you. Nor you can praise/bless the people who like you. Everyone at work is acting out of their own self-interest.

The key to being on-top-of-your-performance levels is to build a strong foundation to face rejection, choose yourself and act positively. Some may say – You find strength through rejection. But, rejection hurts. Continuous hurt has to do some damage. Yielding to damage will create more hurt and damage. Face rejection. Choose yourself to win-over rejection. Know what you want from every interaction, proposal and build a base that leads to what you want. Be genuine with your approach. Pursue it with confidence. Never be tentative in your efforts. Fear-of-rejection is the biggest impediment for high-performance.

Rejection and fear-of-rejection force people to stay away from trying, from being. Unless you try, you never know what works. Those who act without the fear, tend to get accepted. Once one of your ideas is accepted, you are accepted. Courage builds Confidence. Your craft becomes remarkable.

be a #dreamerdoer

Regulating your flow is critical to achieve more

Going for too much, too fast, in too many dimensions at work can lead to overcommitment. Trying to be at your best since you want to be a high-performer, can put a lot more stress on your system. You might start ignoring several other dimensions of life – health, wealth, family and so on. Regulating your flow of work is critical to stay fit, focus better and achieve more, consistently.

Unregulated flow leads to priority-conflicts, impatience, dissatisfaction with own and others’ work/contribution, negligence, and not-so-healthy-relationships. This triggers a negative spiral that only leads to the bottom too hard to get-up.

When you regulate your flow, you will have the ability to slow-down and gain-pace as required, be more strategic, and happy-helping-hands around. Heroes are recognized and rewarded at war-time. Hero-behaviour is discouraged and ignored during peace-time. In order to regulate, you may have to say NO more often and reflect on the item on the YES list, routinely.

Budding Intrapreneurs have the urge and tendency to do too much, too fast and be busy always. While you pursue this journey, be watchful of what you are becoming through your passion. Regulate your flow and stay a high-performer, building the remarkable craft.

be a #dreamerdoer.

Finding and nurturing the potential

What do you know about a subject before taking it in your course? What do you know about the feel of driving your dream car without getting in one and really driving it? What do you know about the terrain and the taste of firmness on the ground while climbing a mountain, without stepping on one? What do you know about the potential of a person in your team without assigning that task, job or a challenge and letting them perform at their best?

Potential of a person can be seen through their willingness to perform, ability to learn,  adaptability to changes, ability to work with ambiguity, ability to provide clarity in the context of complexity, ability to work with the resources available and ability to challenge the status-quo subtly by results than talk.

You will be able to identify high-potential people in the team easily. If you have to put a lot of effort to find it, maybe you are looking at a wrong person or using a wrong lens. Change the frame-of-reference from what they are doing today or what they did yesterday, to how they will be doing the next level task. You will see the best in people. But to nurture that, you need to get this potential show-up in regular work. Treat them the way they will be functioning at the next level. You may be pleasantly surprised with how they perform.

When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.

~ Johanna Wolfgang von Goethe

People who are willing to perform will always find a way to deliver best results irrespective of their capability and context. You should make yourself assume/accept challenges of doing what you have not done so far, routinely and deliver the best. As an intrapreneur, you will need your potential converted to kinetic act and have the ability to find and make-use-of potential of others too. This makes you resourceful and effective. Your craft becomes remarkable.

be a #dreamerdoer

Perspective gaps are critical ones to fill

While you are busy working on your project, idea, initiative, it is natural to get engrossed and form opinions of what’s the best – especially for the users. Experts at work, believe they are the ones who have the liberty to decide, push and get-it-done – as they perceive to be thinking and acting in favor of the recipient. When you are the expert, you tend to ignore the feelings and perspectives of the user as you are doing the job the way it is required, in good faith of making it useful for the recipient. 

You can relate to the actions of an expert doctor and reactions of a patient and his/ her family. Though patient and the family feel and resist a procedure, a specialist might go-ahead or threaten with the consequences of missing the same. As an expert, specialist, it is good to stand-in for what’s good from the technical point-of-view. But the perspective gaps this creates has an adverse effect on the whole process and mostly the result. As an intrapreneur, while you propose a solution, idea or a business that you think is the best and your sponsors, peers, and others reject the same, you tend to ask the question – what do they really know about what I am proposing? I’m the expert. Not anyone out there. You fall into the perspective gap and let your performance suffer. This affects relationships and what you intended to build. 

When you encounter these perspective gaps, it is important to fill them, bridge them and cross-over. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes is one way of doing it. Role-plays and one-on-one discussions help too. When you are convinced about your solution, it is important that you convince all those – who should support and receive that solution. Avoid using authority and expert label. Adopt a consultative selling approach. Remember – the value of your expertise and solution is in the acceptance and use of it. Bridge the perspective gap and make your craft remarkable. 

be a #dreamerdoer

How to make collaborations work

Collaborations, everyone agrees is essential to move-forward, achieve-greater-good and be successful. Collaboration is all about working with someone to produce something remarkable. For an intrapreneur, collaborations are the critical element of the system to build a remarkable craft.

Collaborations succeed when the contributions and associated value-additions from all parties are mutually respected and recognized. Though well-intentioned, many-a-times, you end-up meeting people, partners, and peers who tend to overvalue their own contributions and undervalue those of others. Many professional relationships disintegrate when people involved, feel that their partners are not giving them the credit they deserve or doing their fair share.

Responsibility bias – exaggerating our own contributions relative to other’s inputs has to be curtailed for making collaborations work. Cut the desire to see and present yourself positively at every possible opportunity. Instead, learn to be factual and make your partners’ contributions shown and perceived positively, at every possible opportunity. 

You naturally have more access to information about your own contributions than that of others. You will see all your efforts, but will only witness a subset of partners’ efforts. When you think about who deserves the credit, you have more knowledge of your own contributions. To make collaborations work, develop insights into partners’ inputs and contributions; understand their constraints and dependencies too. Develop mutual respect and extend-helping-hand in all steps of collaboration. 

The multiplicity of the value of contributions makes your craft, remarkable. Keep that as the core purpose of collaboration. It helps in keeping responsibility bias away and information deficits at check. Build bridges than barriers for collaboration to work.

be a #dreamerdoer 

Using your ability is your responsibility

You are gifted with a few traits. You possess a set of skills, tools, and techniques. You are talented. You have proficiency in a set of areas. You are in a position to acquire some more, whenever required. This makes you well equipped to succeed in what you choose to be. But that becomes seamless only when you use them. Only when you use your ability. It is your responsibility to use your ability for being remarkable at work.

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Self-image is the first asset to build a remarkable craft

The image of your abilities, appearance, and personality in your own mind forms the self-image. It is the mental picture of who you are and what you can do. This is the reference-image that forms the basis of every other picture you draw – through words, actions, and relationships. How you perceive yourself is how you project yourself. A positive image takes you on accelerated growth/ success path.

5 steps to build a positive self-image

  1. Know what you like about yourself – Stop criticising yourself for everything/ anything. Build on what you like about yourself. Believe in the strength of your strengths.
  2. Know what you are comfortable with in wearing, reading and carrying around – Stop imitating. Start building your own portfolio of clothes, accessories, and tools. Be Yourself in every sense. Groom yourself as a winner.
  3. Know what you like to do – Stop copying routines of others. Build your own. Make it a routine to test what you like to do. Check how it fits building your craft. Keep what works. Clean what adds a drag.
  4. Know who you like to work with – Stop wasting building and keeping relationships that do not help you in your mission. Know what kind of people you like to work with – those who can supplement and complement your abilities in a respectful way. Work only with those who mutually respect and continuously improve.
  5. Know how to deliver value – Stop suspecting the value of your work, yourself. Deliver something of value, every day. Make sure every interaction builds trust and adds value. Be valuable, always, as much as possible.

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Irreplaceability stuns your growth

Being irreplaceable at work gives a false sense of security. Job insecurity creates defensive behavior. Working to be irreplaceable alienates you from others. You create more distance between work and result. People around you will try their best to ensure that not much of new work comes around you. When people relate you to a hoarder, chances of getting critical work becomes closer to zero. This stuns your opportunities for growth.

Let go being irreplaceable. Focus on being capable.

be a #dreamerdoer