Be Yourself

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How many times do we read this? How many times to we hear “Be Yourself”? We may even have advised few people that they should be themselves and not pretend to live someone else’s life. But every now and then we may forget this message ourselves, especially when we are rushing through life and chasing “things” that may not necessarily add a long term value to us. Write this piece of advice for yourself, etch it in your mind and heart, put this as a background on your phone. Being yourself will make you happy, you will feel the freedom and feeling of liberation.

And yes, you can always keep on improving “Yourself”.

Value of Complain

Complaining might make you feel important, but that in itself does not add value to yourself or others.

So should we stop complaining? Yes, if we can but at the very least try to have a solution for a problem when you complain about something, someone or someplace. Complaining might be a birth right to most and a privilege to some. If you hold that privilege then make the most of it to bring about a positive change. Make your complains matter that will make a difference to someone.

Don’t be rude, talk in a common language

I recently watched a movie called “Water for Elephants”.

A circus owner buys an elephant and expects the elephant to behave and obey his order in and outside of the ring. The circus owner makes the elephant part of his show and orders her around. The elephant does not obey the orders, the owner pokes her harshly with bull horn before she runs out of the ring. The owner is angry and then beats her badly with the bull horn. She is badly wounded and in a lot of pain. This is when, accidentally the “Hero” of the show discovers that the elephant does not understand English but was previously trained in another language. From there on, the story was sorted out and kind of had a happy ending.

Getty Images - http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/515020333
Getty Images – http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/515020333

This reminded me of various situations that I have witnessed where people are not talking in the same language – i.e. common intentions, perspectives or common understanding that both parties would appreciate. From this point onwards, most situations go downhill, even if it was for a short while.

The key lesson – talk in a language that the other person/team would understand. See the world from her perspective first before putting down a proposal of mutual benefit. When selling a solution, see the problem from a customer’s angle and then propose a mutually beneficial solution. The sale will certainly become easier then before. Before blaming or punishing a child, put yourself in that child’s shoes and think why he/she did what was done. This could lead a different conversation all together. As a project manager try to wear the glasses that a developer wears to see the challenge/world through her eyes and why something is taking longer than it should. May be, this will allow you to come up with a better solution and improve your relationship with that developer too!

Open up your network – Don’t be scared

Open up your network to your friends and acquaintances. Sharing is caring. Don’t be scared about the fact that your friends will get better deal than you. This will mostly improve your credibility from both the parties you are connecting. You will get a chance to learn from this experience. If the connection allows someone to get a new job, solve someone’s burning problem or help someone to start a long desired project – you will receive a lot of blessings no matter how long it takes for them to arrive. The law that says “Give to get” applies here too.

Managing Change

Dealing with Change/Transformation Programs for organisations I am constantly managing change and dealing with change.

Here are some of my take aways for managing change:

  1. Almost everybody is scared of change, even people dealing with change on a regular basis. Everyone has their own comfort zone and managing change is about expanding the horizons this comfort zone. Explore ways to expand this.
  2. Management and Leadership teams should re-inforce again and again and yet “again” that change is good and the only way to move forward. Only change is constant and the way to future success.
  3. Link change with opportunities and excitement and remove/eliminate team and individual fears of how it will impact them. Change is implemented for a brighter future. Explore and talk about their future often.
  4. Get the leaders on your side. Even better get end-users on your side first.
  5. Empower people to ask questions.
  6. Leaders need to be firm on their stance on change. It is either “Change” way or take the “High” way approach. Negativity and people hanging onto status quo can be a massive impediment in implementing change.
  7. Managing change is just not a leader’s role. Empower individuals to be change champions and to be change advocates.
  8. Strengthen the change muscle of individuals, teams, business units and organisation.
  9. Implement appropriate and engaging training to the right people at the right time.
  10. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Worse news must be communicated before good news. Link good stories to the upcoming and future possibilities.
  11. Don’t forget to smile.

Build your ideas bank

Few days back I wrote about collecting ideas but focusing on one (or very few) ideas or projects at a time. I got few messages agreeing and some that did not. Couple even went to say that “Ideas are dime a dozen.” OK, may be or may be not. I don’t know as I have never bought ideas for a dime!

I have always maintained an ideas note – what I call it my “Ideas Bank”. Initially I used to jot only the ideas that were relevant to what I was doing or what I wanted to focus on and was very picky of what I added to my ideas bank. Initially the intention was to capture my ideas (my moments of brightness) so I could select them on the future and potentially use them and execute them when the time is right.

Then late last year I read few tweets about strengthening the ideas muscle (tweets that I should have saved but did not). This got me thinking of expanding the scope of my ideas bank. A bit more research and it made sense to strengthen the ideas muscle and give it a regular exercise. Very recently, I have started to jot ideas of all sorts. Things that may or may not be of any use to me at this given time. Over time (consider time frame in years) this should serve me atleast two purpose, 1) I should improve my problem solving/solution finding skills, 2) I will have this massive collection of ideas, some of which can be applied to a problem that I or others have at hand.

So you may want to focus on one task at a time but don’t let this stop you from building up your “Ideas Bank”.  You never know what future problems you might be solving today in your notes! Go strengthen your ideas muscle.

Smile please

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If you do one thing this week – make a decision to smile more. Laugh more. Smile when looking at yourself in the morning. Smile at a stranger. Smile in a meeting. Make it a personal resolution to smile at least 4 times for each waking hour. Once done see for yourself how much difference did it make.

Ideas Unlimited

Ideas are in abundance. You are smart if you can look around and identify ideas and opportunities. You are doing yourself a huge favour if you make a notebook of all your ideas and visions and keep adding to the list as frequently as possible. But thinking of ideas and making a notebook will not make it a reality neither working on 10 different ideas at the same time. This is what I have learnt and re-learnt many many times over the last many years.

Almost everybody  have multiple constraints on why they cannot work on 10 different ideas at the same time. If there are no other constraints then time certainly becomes a constraint. Be an ideas individual but become a doer than a thinker. Think and Do. Focus and make an idea a reality. That is what’s going to add value to your life and to the world.