Move And The Way Appears

I am a big fan of taking small, daily steps in the direction where your energy takes you. I started this blog 11 years back with very insignificant posts that no one read. My first sketch note a couple of years back was far from being good. My first steps towards a health and wellness were slow and tentative. But how does that matter?

Because, those first few insignificant posts did not deter me from moving forward. I wrote, and wrote more. And as I did that, I learned how it works. I did more of what worked and here we are – a blog with tens of thousands of readers each month, sharing their encouragement to me via comments, likes and shares on several social channels. This blog has a life of its own.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things bought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

I remember I was hesitant in sharing my first sketch note. But less than 2 years after I shared the first one, the sketch notes have gone viral – from social media to global conferences to office walls to being included in books. When I started, did I have a purpose to make them viral? I just knew that I enjoyed making them, learning along the way and improving all the time. I was pursuing joy and suddenly, the way started appearing. 

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of only standing still.” – Chinese Proverb

I lost significant weight (nearly 12% of my total body weight) in past 4 months.  My big plan was to move one small step at a time – read a bit about what it takes, take small steps towards cleaner eating, do small changes in lifestyle, get more active and suddenly, it all started revealing. Lessons came to the fore as a result of moving forward slowly, daily and steadily.

My biggest lesson in learning is:

It doesn’t matter what you wish to do. It never happens in one big bang. Instead, it happens in a series of small steps taken with an open mind, learning along each step and putting that learning back into the next step. And then it grows, purpose reveals and you are on a journey before you realize. Forward motion, however small, feeds our esteem and inspires us.

Purpose may not always be the starting point of your journey. Sometimes, you start the journey and the purpose reveals itself.

And who knows, small steps you take in the direction of your heart may open up new paths for you and inspire others? Small is never insignificant, but a powerful step towards a higher purpose.

Move, and the way appears! 


A Round-up of Related Posts at QAspire to add to the conversation:

Sketchnote: What Rebels Want From Their Boss

At the heart of a meaningful change is someone who thought beyond the boundaries. Someone who challenged the status quo. Someone who exerted emotional labor to pursue, fight for their ideas and convince others. And then they bring about change. You can call them rebels or change makers and they are inevitable for growth and positive change.

Rebels may not be a very popular lot and many bosses I’ve seen work overtime to subdue the rebels. But great leadership is about providing right channels to direct this energy, nurturing a mindset of continuous improvement and supporting people as they execute their experiments and ideas. That’s what rebels expect from their bosses.

“…it’s just another one of those things I don’t understand: everyone impresses upon you how unique you are, encouraging you to cultivate your individuality while at the same time trying to squish you and everyone else into the same ridiculous mould. It’s an artist’s right to rebel against the world’s stupidity.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

In this context, I love the work that Lois Kelly and Carmen medina do at Rebels at Work community. I have sketched their ideas here before and here’s a quick sketchnote of their recent blog post “What Rebels Want From Their Bosses”.

This may help you as a leader if you really intend to support rebels in your teams.

Related Sketchnotes/Posts at QAspire.com

Friday Five: The Art of Intentional Leadership

Friday Five is a new weekly series at QAspire where I curate five articles (with excerpts)/quotes/tweets/visuals shared on my personal learning network each week that I found particularly useful, and hopefully you will find some of them valuable too!

This edition features insights on authentic leadership, change, rationality and transformation.

Quote Via Neil Walker

Consistently investigate what gives other people energy. Be the fan that fuels it. – Darren Rowse

Isn’t this the essence of being a good leader and hence a good human being in all spheres of our life?

You Can Only Get There From Here – The Art of Intentional Leadership by Scott Mabry

The hardest part of any change, personal or organizational is, of course, starting. We wonder if we’re ready. If the time is right. If we have what it takes. The answers will always be uncertain.  What is certain is that if we don’t act, nothing will change.

The key to leading in an uncertain times is not to aim for a perfect start, but starting – and then iterating, understanding, aligning to create a change.

Aligning the Organization for Its Digital Future – MIT Sloan

Conversely, cultural mindsets that relate closely to digitally maturing companies value experimentation and speed, embrace risk, and create distributed leadership structures. They also foster collaboration and are more likely to use data in decision making.

Responding to an uncertain future of work dominated by bots, AI and automation is really all about mindset change. This article provides a very detailed view on the mindset change within organizations to survive, thrive and grow in a digital world.

Ambiguity and Emergence – Sahana Chattopadhyay

A top down, hierarchical organization where information is filtered through the chain of command is especially ill-equipped to thrive in ambiguity. Only when the unspoken and tacit patters are seen, sense making happens, and emergence takes place. And emergence leads to those seemingly small but powerful innovations and practices that disrupt the established  order of things.

Sahana is one of my favorite bloggers and in this post, she throws the light on dealing with ambiguity in a way that leads to emergence, ideas and innovation.

Pure rationality is a myth we should not aspire to – Dionne Lew

The ability to think and act autonomously is at the heart of rationality, yet mind wandering suggests that much (not all) of what we think is involuntary.

I love it when I read strong argumentation that alters my own belief system and offers a contrarian perspective on things I already believed in. Dionne Lew did just that with this post!

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Special thanks to Jane Hart for including my post/sketch in her selection of posts from August 2016.

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Image Source: Someone I so admire – Hugh McLeod

Also Check Out: All Posts at QAspire with Visual Notes

Two Ways to Respond to Anxiety

The anxiety we feel when we are worried about an uncertain outcome (or guessing our failure before it happens) can be very disabling. We fight it out to an extent that the only thing we really do is defend our ground. When we are focused on defending, minimizing our exposure to anxiety, complying and cruising along the path of minimum resistance, we can hardly create anything meaningful.

Then there is another kind of anxiety that results from your eagerness to do something – to make something happen. Sure, there is a strong element of apprehension here as well which is why it is a kind of anxiety. But the focus here is to beat anxiety by raising the bar, changing the frame of reference and explore newer boundaries. 

If you are set out to do anything meaningful, anxiety is a part of the game. Embrace it and you will make it. Let it embrace you and you stall.

Fear of failure in advance is very human. It is our response that makes it a limiting force or a creative force. In fact, history tells us that no meaningful creation has ever happened without anxiety.

As Henry Ward Beecher very aptly said,

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.”

So, what does this mean for leaders?

If you are a leader at any level, choosing your response to anxiety (your own or your team’s apprehensions) is so critical. Your team can only do better when they are encouraged to acknowledge the fear and look beyond it for possibilities.

The Place to Improve the World

“The social values are right only if the individual values are right. The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then to work outward from there. Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value.”

– Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

In 100 Words: Invisible Chains

Once there was a circus Lion who was so tamed/trained that he never knew about his real strengths. He was then left in the jungle where real Lions lived. Upon seeing other Lions, the tamed Lion started running fiercely driven by fear until he saw his own reflection in a pond. He realized that he was also a Lion as powerful as others.

Metal chains are easier to notice but mental chains of our past experiences, fixed beliefs and perceived limitations are invisible. Mental chains are best broken with curiosity, openness to new experiences/ideas and an attitude of lifelong learning.

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Also Read: Other Insights and Parables in 100 Words

Great Quotes: We Are Made of Star Stuff, Carl Sagan

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff”.

– Carl Sagan

From – “That “we are” – The Connective Tissue of Humans Being” by Bernie Nagle which is a must read. Here’s one more:

But it all begins with acknowledgment and profound appreciation for the most rudimentary fact of human existence: “we are”. Joni Mitchell said, “we are stardust, we are golden” and in the workplace we are so much more than “Humans Doing”…we are “Humans Being”, with all the wonderful gifts of our unique person-ness right there for the sharing.

Do I need to say anything more?

Organization Life: Insights from Michael Wade

There are a few bloggers who inspired my blogging journey that started in 2006 and Michael Wade tops that list. His blog Execupundit offers a daily dose of  provocations, ideas, inspiration and links to great content on leadership and life.

Here are a few insights on organization life extracted from posts that I loved reading.

“Technique alone will not suffice because there will be moments when strong character must intervene.” – from the post More Than Technique

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“Leaders can talk about goals and missions as well as plans and techniques but until a single version of reality is established, effectiveness will be hindered or thwarted.” – from the post Getting Real

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“When problems make you want to withdraw from the world, usually the best strategy is to engage.” – from the post Random Thoughts

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“There are few things more powerful within a group than that which is understood but never spoken.” – from the post Random Thoughts

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“Poor indeed is the organization where there is a widespread lack of: Honor, Knowledge, Wisdom, Courage, Ambition, Humility, Humor, Fairness, Opportunity, Energy, Loyalty, Initiative, Caring, Cooperation, Flexibility, Imagination, Objectivity, Toughness, Decisiveness.” – the post titled Lack

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“The savvy employee studies the organization, both the people and the beast itself, and pays closer attention to what is done than to what is said.” – from the post Informal Rules

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There are times when we get more productive ideas on the drive to the office than in the office. – from the post Get an Idea

These are very astute observations that generally come from a wide and deep experience in navigating through the organizational jungle.

The Guy in the Glass: Dale Wimbrow

My friend Utpal wrote a blog titled “Your Mirror is a Powerful Tool”. While his post is about reflecting upon the right questions in life, it reminded me of one of my favorite poems “The Guy in the Glass” by Dale Wimbrow.

It is a powerful poem that emphasizes on being integral and true to our own selves. Right from the time we start the school, we are taught to meet external expectations like grades and ranks. We grow up learning how to meet external expectations and somewhere along the way, lose the sight of what is truly important to us.

So, here is the poem.

When you get what you want in your struggle for *pelf,

And the world makes you King for a day,

Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,

And see what that guy has to say.

 

For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,

Who judgment upon you must pass.

The *feller whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the guy staring back from the glass.

 

He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,

For he’s with you clear up to the end,

And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the guy in the glass is your friend.

 

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,

And think you’re a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum

If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

 

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,

And get pats on the back as you pass,

But your final reward will be heartaches and tears

If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.


* Pelf = Wealth, Feller = Fellow

In this context, I learned a very important lesson recently. To be able to make friends with your own self and being comfortable with solitude is a great source of strength, wisdom and confidence. People who are not integral with their inner selves constantly strive to remain externally engaged.

So next time you stand in front of the mirror, pay attention your inner self. Look at yourself in the eye.

Then listen to what that guy in the mirror has to say!

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Indispensable Traits of a Collaborative Leader: Part 1

Being in a band is always a compromise. Provided that the balance is good, what you lose in compromise, you gain by collaboration. —Mike Rutherford

At the core of being an effective leader is ability to analyze the situation and then lead in the most appropriate manner which is best suited for that situation. A leader knows that there is no single optimal style to lead everything. Experts have defined this as “situational leadership.”

In that context, not all situations demand collaborative leadership. There are situations when directive leadership is required and the ones where focus is on coaching and supporting. Collaborative leadership style works best in almost all situations but in following scenarios, it becomes very essential.

  1. When there are team members/stakeholders with diverse interests.
  2. When team members/stakeholders are cross-functional and geographically distributed.
  3. When the problem at hand requires effort from diverse groups/communities to solve.
  4. When a leader does not have formal authority over the people involved in the team.
  5. When complex problems require everyone’s creativity and insights.

However, one thing is clear – pure command and control leadership where people are simply expected to follow the instructions does not work anymore. Even when other leadership styles are adopted, the collaborative elements of leadership are still a vital source of competitive advantage as a leader, as a team and as a business.

What makes a leader collaborative? What are the absolutely essential traits of a collaborative leader? Let’s dive into what I call “indispensable traits of a collaborative leader”. In a series of posts, we will cover traits that make leaders truly collaborative.

1. They are passionate about the cause: Without passion for the intended outcome, no amount of collaboration will yield desired results. Before even initiating, a collaborative leader gets absolutely convinced about the desired outcomes and value they will add to the business. This clarity is important because vision, outcomes and benefits have to be re-iterated (read sold through influence) constantly through the execution. This clarity is the glue that keeps team focused on the results.

2. They lead their own selves before leading others. Unless a leader knows the self better, understanding others is very difficult. Collaboration with others requires prompt responses, focus on objectives, relationship building, creativity and perceptive abilities. The only way to lead others is to lead self – explore the self constantly and keep learning.

3. They look at “power” differently. For a collaborative leader, definition of power is to empower others. A collaborative team is the one where power is decentralized and everyone owns the final outcome. This also requires a collaborative leader to give up on their ego and need to be “in control”. They understand that “power with people” > “power over people”

4. They listen. Really. If a leader does not know how to listen, collaboration fails. Everyone wants to express themselves and be understood. A collaborative leader fulfills this essential human need by listening – what is being said and what is left unsaid. What is said through words and what is said between those words. All that is said through the body-language and tone of language.

5. They are generous in sharing credits. This also goes back to power. This is also perhaps the most difficult part. When team achieves great feats, it is easy for a leader to fall into a temptation to take credits when they should be generously sharing them. They recognize performance, remain thankful of others contributions and let the team be proud about themselves.

6. They know how to balance tasks and relationships. The objective of leading others is to generate results and get the tasks done without adversely affecting the relationships. Relationships are important, but not at the cost of progress. Excessive focus on relationships means that a leader becomes weak and tries to avoid conflict. The key is to remain objective in communication and constantly align others to the vision, mission and values.

In the next post, we will outline 6 more traits that make a collaborative leader successful. Stay tuned!

Tell us what you think about the 6 traits outlined above. What would you like to add?

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In the series so far:

The Foundation of Collaborative Leadership

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Photograph by: Tanmay Vora, Seagulls

In 100 Words: No Strength Without Struggle

The caterpillar was turning into a butterfly. In that biology lab, the teacher explained how butterfly struggles to break the cocoon as students curiously observed this metamorphosis. Before leaving the class, she urged students to just observe and not help the butterfly.

After a while, one of the students took pity on the struggling butterfly and broke the cocoon to help. But shortly afterwards, the butterfly died.

When the teacher returned, she saw what had happened. “Your help killed the butterfly. Struggle helps butterfly in developing and strengthening its wings,” she said.

“Our struggles are the source of our strength.”

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Also Read: Other 100 Word Parables

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Photograph by: Tanmay Vora, Butterfly in the Park

In 100 Words: Humility, Life and Leadership

Humility

In that leadership workshop, the trainer and the participants were discussing about the importance of humility in life and leadership. Some people defined humility as ‘modesty’ while others said it was about ‘seeing the self as a means to an end and not an end in itself.’

After listening carefully, the trainer said, “Humility is like the banks of a river that gives direction to the flowing water without possessing it.

“In life and leadership, we are only great to an extent we empower others without having any pride in possessing them. It’s about standing with people, not above them.”

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Also Read: Other 100 Word Parables

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A Note of Gratitude: to our friend Kurt Harden (at Cultural Offering) for including QAspire Blog in his annual list “25 Blogs Guaranteed to Make Your Smarter

Great Quotes: Luc de Brabandere on Change, Innovation and Perceptions

When we encounter a change, we first perceive ourselves in a changed situation. So, our perception of the changed situation actually precedes the actual change and shapes our response.

In the same context, I read two quotes by Luc de Brabandere. The first quote comes from Forbes India article by NS Ramnath about N. R. Narayana Murthy being re-instated as Infosys Executive Chairman, where he quotes Luc:

“We believe that to really make change happen, changing the reality is of course necessary – this involves developing novel ideas for change, and the implementation of those ideas via project management and measurement, templates and the like. But changing reality is not sufficient – we must also change peoples’ perceptions .

This happens on much more of an individual basis; each stakeholder’s needs and biases must be taken into account. This can only be done through careful preparation and communication. So to really make change happen, we must change twice – reality and perception.”

Second quote comes from Luc’s 2011 interview with Boston Consulting Group, where he shares story of how Philips, a traditional electronics company,  executed “new box” thinking to realize a new world of possibilities. He concludes the interview with this thought:

That’s why I have completely changed my mind about brainstorming. I don’t think a successful brainstorm is a meeting at which a new concept suddenly arises. Rather, a successful brainstorm is a meeting at which an existing concept suddenly makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.

This really boils down to what Peter Senge defines as a mental model – our thought process about how something works in real world. When we change our perceptions, we may end up realizing that most of the constraints that we see may not be existent in the real world, except in our minds.

In 100 Words: Brian Dyson On Life Priorities

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.” Brian Dyson, CEO, Coca-Cola

A good life is all about balancing these balls!

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Image Courtesy: Joe Juggler: The Art of Juggling

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Also Read: Other 100 Word Parables

Great Quotes: Bill Watterson on Life and Success

Bill Watterson, creator of comic series Calvin and Hobbes, gave an inspiring commencement speech at Kenyon College in May 1990 and it made for a very interesting read. Here is an excerpt from this thought-provoking speech:

Selling out is usually more a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you’re really buying into someone else’s system of values, rules and rewards.

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Glorious words of wisdom that got me thinking.  People work long and hard, achieve the so-called success and still feel desperate and incomplete. Why? Probably because they keep doing something they don’t love, just because it pays.

There are plenty of jobs for people who prefer money over meaning. The key to professional success, fulfillment and happiness is to find work you love and a way to get paid for it. Making meaning (and difference), it turns out, is the most potent way to make money.

Watterson concluded his speech with this brilliant quote:

Your preparation for the real world is not in the answers you’ve learned, but in the questions you’ve learned how to ask yourself.

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Bonus: Here is Seth Godin’s view on Doing what you love. He says,

Doing what you love is as important as ever, but if you’re going to make a living at it, it helps to find a niche where money flows as a regular consequence of the success of your idea. Loving what you do is almost as important as doing what you love, especially if you need to make a living at it. Go find a job you can commit to, a career or a business you can fall in love with.

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In 100 Words: Perils of Blind Conformance

In one of the TED talks, James Surowiecki shares:

“If army ants are wandering around and they get lost, they start to follow a simple rule: Just do what the ant in front of you does. The ants eventually end up in a circle. There’s this famous example of one that was 1,200 feet long and lasted for two days; the ants just kept marching around and around in a circle until they died.”

Blind conformance to rules and beliefs without internalizing them can be as dangerous. It hinders your growth.

If you walk in another’s tracks, you leave no footprints.

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Also Read: Other 100 Word Parables

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Interesting Stuff: There is a new magazine on personal branding titled “Me Inc.” and I am glad to have contributed to the first edition in form of my article “The Passion Equation” (read web version or read full article in magazine, page 24).

Understanding Quality: Duty Towards Self

Core of a Kiwi Fruit : Photograph By Tanmay Vora

Gross definition of quality is externally oriented – meeting and exceeding customer expectations, satisfying their implicit and explicit requirements, the degree of excellence, and conformance to specifications. They all refer to something outside of us.

At a subtle level, quality stems from what is inside of us. More than deliverance to others, it is deliverance to our own selves. If what we do makes us happy, it will make them happy too.

In his timeless classic “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, Robert M. Pirzig captures the cultural correlation between ancient Greek and Hindu mythologies and quality.

Consider this snippet:

“What moves the Greek warriors to deeds of heroism is not the sense of duty as we understand it – duty towards others; it is rather duty towards himself. He strives after that which we translate ‘virtue’ but is in Greek arête, excellence. …. Phaedrus was fascinated too by the description of the motive of “duty towards self” which is an almost exact translation of the Sanskrit word dharma.”

A lot of self-help material talk about “living up to one’s full potential” – in Greek mythology, that is exactly what arête or excellence means. And it starts from an intense desire to do whatever you do in the best possible manner – not for someone else, but for the self.

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.” – Robert M. Pirzig

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My other attempts to understand Quality from a different lens:

1) Quality is Human. Quality is Love.
2) Quality? Excellence? What?
3) Quality is Happiness
4) Quality and Quantity – Compliance and Excellence

In 100 Words: The Art of Seeing Possibilities

Benjamin Zander’s book “The Art of Possibility” starts with this story:

A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business.

One sends back a telegram saying, SITUATION HOPELESS. STOP. NO ONE WEARS SHOES.

The other writes back triumphantly, GLORIOUS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY. STOP. THEY HAVE NO SHOES.

How often does fear win over our hopes and dreams? We constantly keep thinking about our frustrations but not about the potential that we still have in us. Don’t let your failures so far interfere with what is still possible for you to do.

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Also Read: Other 100 Word Parables

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Bonus: See Benjamin Zander in action in this Pop!Tech 2008 Video where he shows what it means to live in a world of possibilities.

Bite Sized Insights on Personal Branding #IndiaHRChat

For the first time, I participated in a Twitter Chat (#IndiaHRChat) on the topic “Personal Branding for HR Professionals“. People from diverse backgrounds shared their views on personal branding in presence of special guest Mr. Anand Pillai, Chief Learning Officer of Reliance Industries.

It was fun to share my insights on personal branding and they were well received. Gautam Ghosh, an eminent blogger and HR Professional, storified the entire chat where you can read all the ideas shared by others. Here are the bite sized ideas on personal branding that I shared.

On definition of personal branding

Personal Branding: a unique perception that marketplace associates with you based on your work/results you deliver.#indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Real accomplishments are a starting point of creating a personal brand. Establishing thought leadership is a way to grow it. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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When you begin the journey of creating a personal brand, it has to be a pro-active effort to differentiate yourself. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Proactive means thinking about what sets you apart, identify critical intersections with gaps and then execute. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Personal Brand happens when what you think, say and do are aligned with consistent set of values as reflected in the outcomes. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

On pre-requisites for creating a personal brand

Pre-requisite for creating a personal brand: A history of ‘real’ accomplishments’ and thought leadership. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Blogs, social tools are just ways to create personal brand. It is important to be intentional and have a unique voice. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Thought leaders are the ones who disrupt established thinking/habits about issues that concern organizations. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Personal branding, in my experience, happens at the intersections. Small areas where two important things intersect. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Mainstreams are crowded and noisy. Intersections are opportunities to dig deeper and differentiate. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Strong brand happens when you are deeply interested/curious abt your work and explore possibilities that others cannot see. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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To create a personal brand, you need to see nuances of your work, the subtle part of it. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Most professionals grow by staying on top of the explicit knowledge. Personal brands, almost always, focus on the implicit. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Personal brand is created when you focus on your contribution more than getting something out of it. It’s a selfless pursuit. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Also, if you have to declare that you are a brand, you are not. It is something others bestow on you! #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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The question is whether you have built it by default or by design. RT @_Kavi: EVERYBODY has a personal brand. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Personal branding, just for sake of branding may not help in long run, if it does not provoke a meaningful change. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

On How to Create Personal Brand

For #HR, every single interaction with other people is an opportunity to build a personal brand. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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To create a reliable and strong personal brand, be focused on real accomplishments. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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@_Kavi: Our quest to be should stem from our understanding of who we are. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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The world needs your ideas, understanding of nuances & insights. Be authentic in sharing them & you start building a brand. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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No shortcuts in life & no shortcuts in building a brand. It takes time & discipline. It is a journey, not a destination. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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Use social media wisely to provide maximum value.Focus on what you can “contribute” not what you can “extract”. #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

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If personal branding is a journey, passion for work and learning are the fuel! #indiahrchat (Link to Tweet)

Ability to differentiate yourself and build a strong personal brand is important to grow and flourish in a competitive environment. More than that, the journey of differentiating yourself is deeply fulfilling and enriching.

BONUS: If you are someone who is interested in differentiating yourself, you might like the free PDF ebook titled “Personal Branding for Technology Professionals” by Rajesh Setty and his super-useful series on Differentiating Yourself.

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Great Quotes: Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

I just completed reading Scott Belsky’s (Twitter: @scottbelsky) book “Making Ideas Happen – Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality”. It is a fantastic book for those who have great ideas but struggle to give those ideas a life. This book bridges gap between the spark of an idea and all that goes into turning the idea into reality.

I read the book with great interest and here are some of the quotes that I particularly liked. I hope these quotes/snippets will help you get the gist of this book and prompt you to read it:

Managing the Work

“The term ’project management’ makes most creative people cringe. Elaborate Gantt charts and byzantine procedures plague bureaucracies large and small. Depending on your approach and your mind-set, the experience of organizing and managing a project can be miserable or deeply satisfying. Nevertheless, ideas are made to happen only as the result of a well-managed workflow.”

On Progress

“The inspiration to generate ideas comes easy, but the inspiration to take action is more rare. Especially amidst heavy, burdensome projects with hundreds of Action Steps and milestones, it is emotionally invigorating to surround yourself with progress.. Why throw away the evidence of your achievements when you can create an inspiring monument to get stuff done? As you successfully reach milestones in your projects, you should celebrate and surround yourself with these achievements.”

On Our Insecurities

“Along the journey to making ideas happen, you must reduce the amount of energy you spend on stuff related to your insecurities.”

On Productivity

“…productivity is not about how efficient you are at work. Instead, your productivity is really about how well you are able to make an impact in what matters most to you.”

On “Project Approach” to Ideas

“Everything in life should be approached as a project. Every project can be broken down into just three things: Action Steps, Backburner Items, and References.”

On Managing Your Energy

“The way you organize projects, prioritize, and manage your energy is arguably more important than the quality of the ideas you wish to pursue.”

On Taking Charge

“You can’t rely on others—especially your managers and clients—to engage your strengths. In an ideal world, managers would constantly be thinking about how to best utilize their people—and clients would always unearth your greatest potential. Unfortunately, the reality is that bosses and clients are as worried about their own careers as you are about your own. You must take the task of marketing your strengths into your own hands.”

On Rewards and Status Quo

“The rewards system of the traditional workplace keeps us on track, in line with deadlines from the higher-ups. If we adhere to it, the deeply embedded rewards system of our adult lives is likely to keep us employed and secure within the status quo. . . However, these tendencies become destructive as soon as we begin to pursue long-term goals or attempt something extraordinary”

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The Series on “Traits of a Collaborative Leader” continues at All India Management Association’s Blog. Here is the second part outlining 6 key traits.