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!

– – – – –

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

– – – – –

Image Source: Someone I so admire – Hugh McLeod

Also Check Out: All Posts at QAspire with Visual Notes

Friday Five: Leadership, Learning and Intrinsic Motivation

 

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 motivation, leadership, future of work and the multidisciplinary mindset.

Is intrinsic motivation at work overrated? – Susan Fowler

“Perhaps no single phenomenon reflects the positive potential of human nature as much as intrinsic motivation, the inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one’s capacities, to explore, and to learn. Developmentalists acknowledge that from the time of birth, children, in their healthiest states, are active, inquisitive, curious, and playful, even in the absence of specific rewards.”

Not all kind of work can feed intrinsic motivation. Good news is: There are more ways to create conditions for better engagement and motivation.

The Restless Multidisciplinarian – An Interview with Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin at e-180 Mag

“As big picture thinkers and why-seekers, neo-generalists shine light in unfamiliar places. We need that to solve interconnected and complex challenges. Neo-generalists are driven by a deep desire to understand how the dots connect and question the status quo relentlessly. By living in more than one world, they are exposed to a diverse set of interests, people and ideas. Their experiences as critical thinkers, shape shifters, constant learners and boundary crossers make them uniquely qualified to help shape tomorrow’s world by thinking the unimaginable, exploring the unknown and doing what seems impossible to others.”

This is one book I am really looking forward to read and review. I collaborated with Anupam Kundu to write an article titled “The Future of Work and Multipotentialites” – Do check it out!

Don’t Replace People. Augment Them – Tim O’Reilly

If we let machines put us out of work, it will be because of a failure of imagination and the will to make a better future!

The future of work is really about engaging people in a way that they can be more of who they really are – humans!

A Leadership Conundrum: Unexpected Sources of Leadership by Jesse Lyn Stoner

The conundrum is that although you can’t force leadership, leadership often emerges under unexpected circumstances. Sometimes unrecognized or unappreciated, it is leadership nonetheless.

It is a common misconception that a title precedes leadership. Leadership happens in unexpected places and this excellent article offers visibility into unexpected sources of Leadership. As an addition, here is a round up of chat on topic of Emergent Leadership at a Tweetchat (#IHRChat) where I had a privilege to be a guest along with Jesse Lyn Stoner.

On Best Practice – via @JessRuyter

‘Best practice makes a great starting point but a mediocre end game.’

This one is so true! If everyone else is doing it, best practices is the same thing as mediocrity.

– – – – –

Image Source: Tom Fishburne

QAspire Blog 2012: Essential Posts Redux

2012 was a fantastic year.

Lot of writing, a few speaking engagements, many inspiring conversations some recognitions made this year a memorable one. This year, I contributed a 23 page chapter in “The ASTD Management Development Handbook” published by American Society for Training and Development. 2012 also bought me the recognition amongst “Top 20 Indian HR Influencers on Social Media (at #4)” by Society of Human Resources Management, SHRM India. Lot of good things happened on professional and personal front too. As I retrospect, I have a feeling of deep gratitude.

As I look back at 2012 in terms of blogging, here are some of my important lessons, one for each month along with a respective snippet. I hope you enjoy and revisit.

– – – – –

January 2012 : What We Need The Most in 2012?

A new year is a time when most of us reflect on personal/organizational changes we seek in the coming year. My submission: when you think of a change, also think about making it happen. If you have ideas, give it a life. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Develop a discipline to execute your art regularly.That is the only way I know to achieve excellence.

February 2012: In Praise of Comprehension and Meaning

Comprehension is important. Understanding nuances of your work, its implications and clarity on overall context is as crucial in knowledge world as understanding others on the team. Style can enhance the presentation, but without substance, style itself cannot make you a better communicator.

March 2012: Great Story: Improvement and Tending the Garden

Improvement is not a product. It is process. On the journey to improve constantly, you can never announce that you have arrived because there isn’t a destination.

April 2012: Lifelong Learning: Lesson From A Cab Driver

That only pre-requisite to learn new things is to have an open, willing, receptive and curious frame of mind. That you learn the best when you learn it for yourself, not for a degree or an external certification.

May 2012: Team Performance: Keeping Ego at Bay

When you encounter an ego situation, quiz your goals. Ask yourself (and others) this question: “Am I (are you) focusing on ‘who’ is right, or doing ‘what’ is right?”. In teams and projects, doing what is right (and actually doing it) is more important than proving who is right.

June 2012: Leading Projects: Balancing Rational with Emotion

Every project we execute is a glorious opportunity to practice leadership, to make a difference in a customer’s business, to nurture the talents of our people. As a project manager, you can make that happen only when you focus on the emotional aspect as much as the rational one.

July 2012: Usman Riaz and Attitude of Self-Directed Learning

Learning starts with an intent, an inner force to know more, dig deeper and understand. It expands as we internalize what we learn and then do something about it. Learning is not one-time-4-year-degree-course, but a lifelong commitment.

August 2012: On Accountability: A Story and a Few Lessons

Never hold people accountable for following the steps and rules, but always hold them accountable for a goal – a big WHY.

September 2012: Comfortable With Chaos 15

One thing is clear: We need to get comfortable with chaos. Comfortable doesn’t mean that you let chaos happen around you and choose not to respond. Being comfortable with chaos means being more responsive to chaos and creative in spotting opportunities around.

October 2012: Agility in Process Improvement Initiatives

In an agile business environment where change is not only constant but rapid, we need agility in how we improve. We need to fail fast, learn fast and adapt quickly.

November 2012: The Promise of Gemba

Gemba allows leaders and improvement managers to appreciate what people really do on the floor and more importantly, how they do it. You cannot take any meaningful decisions about work unless you know how the work is actually performed.

December 2012: Project Management: Science? Art? Common Sense?

Understanding the science of project management is the “least common denominator” for anyone to get into project management. It is the art of understanding the context, dealing with people/situations and putting things in right perspective that make great project managers.

– – – – –

More than anything else, I am grateful to YOU, the reader of this blog – without you, this blog cannot exist. Your comments, links and mentions only encourage me more to share my lessons. I will see you in 2013. Stay Tuned!  Wish you a Happy Holiday Season!

– – – – –

Also Read: Bite-sized lessons, stories and parables in 100 Word Posts at QAspire Blog

Food For Thought – April 2012

From a number of GREAT bloggers and authors I read, here are a few snippets of thought provoking insights – straight from my feed reader. Note: Important take-aways marked in bold+italics.

Michael Wade on “What Managers Can Learn from Novelists

Recognize that life is not a novel. At least, not in most cases. The most powerful characters in life are the quiet heroes who support families, meet obligations, hone skills, and fulfill civic duties. The same is true in the workplace. Your most important employees are not the charismatic home run hitters. They are your base hitters who, although devoid of drama, win ball games.”

Nicholas Bate suggests, “Spend Time With The Best

The best will remind you that nothing’s guaranteed but more is predictable when you take responsibility for you career rather than leaving it to your CEO, take responsibility for you life rather than leaving it to a smooth-talking politician and start reading every day. Hang out with the best. Listen to the best. Read the best.

Wally Bock knows “Where Greatness Lives

Like great companies, great business teams are excited about the work they do. Foster excitement in the work. Revel in it.”

Dan Pink shares “50 Centuries of Work = 5 Important Lessons”. One of them below:

“Choose a career for the intrinsic rewards, not the financial ones.

Chris Guillebeau thinks, “It’s Not the Process, It’s Not the End Result, It’s the Act of Making Things

No matter what, you’ll encounter setbacks and experience disappointments. But when you encounter them, your response is to keep creating. Use the setbacks for greater good. Write your 1,000 words, paint your painting, build your business, lead your team—whatever you do. Focus on the act of making things. The act of creation is where joy and effort intersect.

April 2012 Carnival of Leadership Development: Earth Day Edition

Namaste! Welcome to the April 1st 2012 Carnival of Leadership Development. I’d like to dedicate this edition of Carnival to Earth Day 2012, celebrated every year on 22nd April as a movement to protect the beautiful planet we all have inherited.

This month, we again have a great line up of posts on leadership, management and talent development. BIG Thanks to carnival leader Dan McCarthy from Great Leadership for allowing me to host this event. So here they go, in no particular order:

Dan McCarthy guides us on How to Discuss a Problem with Your Manager. Dan was recently reminded by a younger employee how intimidating it can be for an employee to bring up an issue with a manager. In this post, he explains why it’s important to be able to address a problem with your manager and how to do it.

Jesse Lyn Stoner outlines 5 Important Leadership Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten. Whether you are facing challenges as a result of changes in the economy, new opportunities because of advances in technology, or already have a good idea you want to implement, these five leadership lessons can make the difference between a successful outcome and a false start. The good news is: you already learned them in kindergarten. All you need to do is remember to use them.

Mary Jo Asmus tells us “Don’t Leave Your Heart at Home”. Many leaders feel they need to be serious and tough at work. This post is an argument for the importance of leading with your heart as well as your brain.

In her post titled “Of Money, Trust and ElephantsMiki Saxon points that focusing on profits doesn’t make a company more profitable, while focusing on customer service usually does. Great customer service rests solidly on a foundation of trust and its lack is the elephant many bosses choose to ignore.

Wally Bock has been training and coaching first-time bosses for more than a quarter century and has learned some things along the way. Wally shares this wisdom in his post “What I’ve learned from 25 years of working with first-time bosses

At Lead Change Group, Kate Nasser helps leaders question their values via her post “Leaders, Do Your Pet Peeves Disengage Employees?”. Pet peeves masquerade as values giving them hidden power over your leadership style.

Tim Milburn presents “Three Traits Of A Lifelong Leader

In his post “Leaders, Change What You Pay Attention To”, Blanchard’s culture guru S. Chris Edmonds outlines why leaders should apply time, attention, messaging, and reinforcement of BOTH performance expectations AND values demonstration.

David Burkus at LeaderLab presents “How Good Leaders Become Bad Bosses” outlining leadership burn out and entropy.

Bret Simmons takes a fresh look at leadership and management in his post “The Difference Between Management And Leadership

Leaders often think that enthusiasm alone will help them get their teams lined up behind a vision. Jennifer V. Miller, in her post “How To Gain Buy-In from Your Team” outlines why this isn’t true and describes two other key components needed to gain buy-in from team members.

Gwyn Teatro presents Leadership Lessons from Ernest Hemingway’s story “The Old Man and the Sea”.

Robyn McLeod at The Thoughtful Leaders Blog presents “Bucket filling as a leadership competency”. Bucket filling technique is used in schools to teach children the value of compassion, respect and kindness. This post looks at how leaders can be more effective by practicing “bucket filling” in the workplace.

Mary Ila Ward at Horizon Point Consulting presents a post titled “Queen Bee Syndrome” with an interesting take on women and leadership.

Flashing back to his days in the headquarters of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Michael Wade of Execupundit.com outlines 10 key qualities of effective staff officers (equally applies to great leaders)

Art Petty at Management Excellence presents “At Least 10 More Things to Stop Doing if You’re the Boss

Jane Perdue presents “7 Ways to Maintain Momentum”. The next time you’re cruising down the highway and see the road sign that reads “keep moving, change lanes later” – smile and follow these seven tips!

It is easy to feel victimized when your ideas are rejected by your Boss. Soon, you will be in a leadership position and people that are following you will start feeling the same. Rajesh Setty offers a fresh look at the problem in his post “Is Your Boss Killing Your Ideas?

Laura Schroeder’s post “Think Moneyball” emphasizes on important fact that the war for talent is won from within.

Lynn Dessert at Elephants at Work blog presents How to introduce an assessment to the team.

In his post, Sustainable Means More Than Recycling, Mark Bennet nudges us to think what can happen when leadership is focused on how they manage talent and shape behaviors to the same extent it is focused on strategy and structure.

In his post “The Truth About Your Time”, Kevin Eikenberry dispels the myth that leaders don’t have enough time and challenges us to have a proper perspective of time.

Utpal Vaishnav states that if we learn to look beyond what’s normal, if we learn to be unreasonable, we can enter into realm of new possibilities and make a difference. Check out his post: Want to Make a Difference? Be Unreasonable.

Linda Fisher Thornton writes about “The Adaptability Paradox” – difficulty we have as leaders staying current and “learning through” change.

Many leaders are afraid of change rather than seeing it as an opportunity to move forward and build a stronger organization. Are You Ready for Change? by Guy Farmer provides some signs to assess “change readiness” of your organization.

Kurt Harden in his post “On Reaching Out” suggests that we speak clearly in business world rather than succumb to the urge to fall in the herds of business men and women who speak jargon.

That’s it for this month’s edition. Thank you to all the bloggers who submitted their posts this month and I hope you enjoy reading/learning from these brilliant posts!

A Round Up of My Writing in February 2011

At QAspire Blog, January 2011 started with a post on “excellence”. Organizational excellence is not possible without balancing people, process and leadership aspects. In February 2011, we explored these areas a bit further.

In case you missed any of these posts in Feb, here is a quick round up of all my writing in February 2011. (Also check out the posts written in January 2011)

My Writing at QAspire Blog

Other Recognitions/Inclusions

Have a wonderful start into the week!

A Round Up of My Writing in January 2011

January 2011 – a new year that started with new energy, new hopes and new aspirations. A year to take our endeavors to the next level and relentlessly chase excellence. Perhaps a reason why I started my year with this post on Excellence.

In case you missed reading any of my posts, here is a quick round up of all my writing in January 2011.

My Writing at QAspire Blog:

Other Recognitions/Inclusions:

Have a wonderful start into the week!

Gratitude – 2010

I am filled with gratefulness as I think about 2010 coming to an end. The reason I love blogging is that while I express myself, I meet some very interesting people – meet them through the words we write and through our passion of sharing ideas to make a small difference in the world we all live in.

I am thankful to my friends Rajesh Setty (for being my guide and mentor), to Lisa Haneberg, Phil Gerbyshak and Utpal Vaishnav (for being such cool friends), ActiveGarage team (for hosting series of my posts on Quality), Nicholas Bate (for his profound insights), Kurt Harden (for his generous mentions) and Michael Wade (Nicholas, Michael and Kurt are awesome threesome).

I am very proud to be a part of a wonderful community of leadership bloggers and am grateful to Dan McCarthy (for his insights and for hosting Leadership Development Carnival), to Mary Jo Asmus, Becky Robinson (be sure to check out her new blog) and Wally Bock.

John Hunter is a passionate improvement expert who shares some profound lessons on management, leadership, lean and Deming. Ivana Sendecka is a remarkable individual who is working really hard shipping inspiration and making a difference. Her blog is an interesting collection of thoughtful questions, experiences and stories that inspire. Thanks to both of them for enlightening and inspiring.

I know that the list is incomplete. It will run into pages if I list everyone who interact/make a difference via their  tweets, blog posts and videos (Just a stat: I have more than 220 amazing blogs in my feed reader)

This blog is a skeleton, a tool. Whatever I write here is flesh and blood. But readers, i.e. you are the soul. So, a BIG THANKS TO YOU for being an ardent reader/supporter of QAspire Blog. I have enjoyed all the interactions with you via my posts, comments and interactions through QAspire Facebook page. You validate me, correct me, inspire me and above all, allow me to be myself.

I wish you all a REMARKABLE 2011!

A Round Up of My Writing in August 2010

August 2010 came to an end, and once again, I didn’t quite notice it in frenzy of everything going around. August was a fantastic month when rains enlivened us. The earth suddenly turned greener and merrier. September, for me, would be a breakthrough month in many ways.

In case you missed reading any of my posts, here is a quick round up of all my writing in August 2010. (You can also visit monthly round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010, Mar 2010, April 2010, May 2010, June 2010 and July 2010).

My Writing at QAspire Blog

Recognitions

Have a GREAT weekend!

Friday High-Five: Posts I Loved Reading Last Week

Friday again – time to share some of the most profound posts that I loved reading last week. These brilliant posts hit the point and leave us with some excellent lessons. A big high-five to these amazing folks.

  • Six Thoughts About Middle Management – by Lisa Haneberg
    Lisa says, “Management is a social act. Conversations are your currency to generate excellence and bring out the best in others. Erode relationships, erode results.”
  • 10 Things: Addressed And Your Awesome Potential Will Be Unleashed- by NICHOLAS BATE
    Professor Bate says, “Believe in Yourself. You don’t have to be liked by everybody to do great things, to live the Life you wish, to change the world. AGREE THAT WITH YOURSELF.”
  • How to Discuss an Employee Performance Problem – by Dan McCarthy
    Dan reminds us, “Knowing how to sit down with an employee and have an effective conversation about a performance problem is one of the hardest things for any manager to do, new or experienced, and should never be taken for granted.” He also offers practical tips to handle a performance problem.
  • Three Years of CO – by Kurt Harden
    Cultural Offering blog completed three years and Kurt ruminates on the journey so far. He says, “That is the deal that is blogging. You take a shot at it. Put some thoughts down. Words to sentences to paragraphs, all to hone your skills – writing, reading, thinking. Sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss. But over time there are more hits than misses.”
  • The performance value of total concentration – by Tim Sanders
    Tim Sanders posted a small and important reminder that working on one thing with total concentration has tremendous performance value. He also reminds that we can’t excel at all things at a time. Must read if you are struggling with your productivity.

Have a Fantastic Friday and a refreshing weekend!

A Round Up of My Writing in July 2010

July 2010 – another spectacular month came to an end, and I didn’t notice that in frenzy of things going around. In this month, we welcomed monsoon and said good bye to the sweltering heat. Monsoon continues in August as well, and I look forward to another exciting month.

In case you missed reading any of my posts in July, here is a quick round up of all my writing in June 2010. (You can also visit monthly round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010, Mar 2010, April 2010, May 2010 and June 2010).

My Writing at QAspire Blog

Free Stuff

25 Things Managers & Leaders Should NEVER Do” (Download PDF)

Recognitions

Have a terrific Tuesday and a productive month ahead!

A Round Up of My Writing in June 2010

June 2010 – a brilliant month as far as blogging is concerned. I wrote on a wide variety of topics and a lot of my writing was recognized by the blogosphere. That was satisfying. Recognitions raise the bar and help us to do better. June was also a month of anticipating some respite in heat with monsoon setting in. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet – but it seems it will set in soon. So, I look forward to July 2010.

In case you missed reading any of my posts, here is a quick round up of all my writing in June 2010. (You can also visit monthly round ups of Jan 2010, Feb 2010, Mar 2010, April 2010 and May 2010)

My writing at QAspire Blog

Recognitions

Looking forward to July 2010 – Wish you a GREAT one!