in Great Quotes, Leading People, Leading Projects, Leading the Self, Random Thoughts

What have you learned in 2008?

Year 2008 is coming to an end. Each year in our lives is like a chapter in a book that teaches us something. We evolve with each year and 2008 was no different. I would remember 2008 as a year that taught me a great deal about life and people. I met a lot of new people, travelled new places, tried different things and tried to make the most of my time with family – in the process I grew as a person. So what have I learned in 2008?

I have learned that…

work and life are not two different things – if you follow your passion, boundaries between work and life fade away. Work is love made visible! Retirement means loving what you do.

… leadership is about being adaptable and taking up new initiatives. To grow as a leader, one has to adapt and move with evolution in the organization.

hard work matters. Planning is important but results can only be generated by execution and hard work. As Tom Peters says – “You only get oil if you drill wells” – rephrasing this means that “You only get results if you execute”.

persistence is the key in sticking to the initiative and see it through. As Seth Godin says, “Persistence is having the same goal over and over.”

… if you wait to be happy, you will never be happy. If you are happy now, you will be happy forever. Joy is an outcome of pursuing your passions. Joy is instant. We chase happiness and fail to be joyful.

doing more on less is certainly more productive than doing more with less. More focus on less priorities delivers outstanding results.

getting into a comfort zone is dangerous (for business as well as for careers). Managers/Leaders need to constantly introspect, ask difficult questions to self and be on the edge.

… naysayers are important people who will push you to do better. Sometimes, cost of lost opportunity is more than cost of failure. Pursue your convictions and ignore the naysayers.

… if you want initiatives, give independence. 3M is a great example of how innovation happens with independence. Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative.

perfection at anything has to be an ongoing process. Initiatives, decisions or progress on project cannot wait just because you are trying to attain perfection at first go. Do something and then perfect it should be the mantra.

… if leaders/managers embrace some core properties of motherhood (care, nurture, help, support and be compassionate) – workplaces can be much different.

learning to say no is a very important career skill – more so in case of project management.

effort and execution is even more important in troubled times. We have no control on external economic situation. But we do have control on what we do and how we do it. Excellence in execution is very crucial to survive and thrive in troubled times.

… one has to break the mental chain that keeps us from taking certain decisions. When we don’t do this, our decisions heavily depend on old facts and outmoded conventions. This is referred to as “elephantine decision making”. Decision making is largely about mental programming.

people need to be treated well when they make mistakes. This just reinforces their trust and confidence.

Each year, I learn that life is a gift – I learn to cherish this gift. I learn be thankful.


  1. Hi
    Wish you and your loved ones a wonderful year ahead. This, as always, is a great post.
    I am currently reading: Creativity- Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention.
    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in the last few lines in this book states: And what really matters, in the last account, is not whether your name has been attached to a recognised discovery, but whether you have lived a full and creative life.

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