Life Experiences – A Great Teacher Distinguish yourself #1 – #10 · Care as if it is your own Few people care as if its their own. This is a road less traveled · Do what you do but with passion Passion is a great catalyst to increase productivity · Build strong relationships Strong relationships provide a significant competitive advantage · Dream BIG! If its anyway a dream, why not dream BIG? · Set the right expectations The first step in trying to exceed the expectations is to set them right in the first place. · Ask for help Everyone needs it. Why pretend that you don’t? · Celebrate small victories You don’t always need to win a lottery to celebrate! · Set higher standards Raise your standards higher than the general norm and watch miracles unfold! · Know your values Values provide the foundation for your decision-making. Get to know them well. · Pursue the right memberships Its not what you know but who you know. Its just not who you know but how you know who you know. Distinguish yourself #11 – #20 · Help people help themselves Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime! · Be a reader They say all leaders are readers. Are you? · Plan by outcomes Activity is not always equal to productivity. You can either have reasons or results and reasons don’t matter. · Think long term The temptation will always be to gravitate towards what is right for the short-term. · Embrace uncertainty After uncertainty is the only thing that’s certain. Why fight it? · Ask the right questions Its not always the answers! · Engage with a coach Sportspeople have figured this out long back. Coaching works! · Be relevant Who will you listen and pay attention to? – the one that’s relevant to you or the one that’s not? · Get back on your feet – FAST! It’s not the falling down that’s the problem but not getting up every time you fall down · Lead a volunteer effort Most volunteers are there by choice. If they still have to follow you, you must be something 🙂 Distinguish yourself #21 – #30 · Balance innovation and continuous improvement Innovation and continuous improvement are not mutually exclusive. · Learn to sell Nothing happens in vacuum and things are more interconnected than you can imagine. · Learn systems thinking Nothing happens in vacuum and things are more interconnected than you can imagine. · Influence the influencers All effort and no results will get you no points! · Walk away from free There is *really* no free lunch! · Expect recognition for the results not the effort All effort and no results will get you no points! · Avoid complacency at all costs There is nothing like maintaining status quo. You are either rising or falling! · Know where you are Otherwise how do you know how far you are from where you want to go? · Watch your standard practices Simple things that you do CAN make a huge difference! · Watch the shelf life of your skills You MUST set aside time to develop long-term skills Distinguish yourself #31 – #40 · Use your “thinking bandwidth” wisely Observe what thoughts are you recycling day in and day out. · Focus on service at the core Service comes before anything else · Keep promises that you make to yourself Making promises to yourself is easy. Keeping them is VERY hard! · Focus on increasing ROII Time is precious for everyone. Ensure that you provide the highest value for anyone investing time in an interaction with you · Don’t take credit when its not due As we talked before, there is no FREE lunch! · Reduce the “façade difference” What if your public and private faces were almost the same – wouldn’t that be wonderful? · Learn the art of managing multiple projects You can’t avoid getting involved in multiple projects in life. You might as well learn to manage them · Ensure that WIIFT > WIIFM : If there is no WIIFM, you are sacrificing a lot and if there is no WIIFT, you are being too selfish. We need a fine balance here. . · Make it easy for people to help you One thing is to ask for help. The other thing is to be ready to receive help! · Learn to estimate well Estimate wrong and pay a big price during execution of any project. Distinguish yourself #41 – #50 · Selectively forget things Selectively forgetting things will lead to less clutter in your mind! · Maintain visibility Out of sight is out of mind! · Show discipline on small things Temptation would be to not provide enough importance on small things. · Connect your projects You automatically get higher leverage by connecting your projects. · Increase your rate of learning There is so much out there to absorb so speed with which you absorb stuff is key · Manage your monkeys Delegate effectively! · Simplify Make it easy for you and others around you · Handle criticism with grace Or else you may not get ANY feedback · WAG WAG = Watch your attention-getters! · Imagine Imagination may sometimes be more powerful than knowledge Distinguish yourself #51 – #60 · Work on your mile-high factor Is your network growing or shrinking? · Continue to gain respect from people close to you People who are close to you know your strengths and weaknesses as well as the good and bad sides of you. So, you need to really work hard if you need to continue to gain respect from them. · Always be ready to win the boxing game Whether you like it or not, people will “box” you. If you are prepared, you can ensure that they put you in the right box. · Expand your “100% Trust Network” How many “100% Trust” relationships do you have? · Commoditize your work at regular intervals You don’t have to wait for someone else to commoditize your work · Craft a compelling elevator speech Every business has an elevator pitch. If you treat yourself as a business, what would be yours? · Focus on the last mile Less traffic on both the last mile and the extra mile! · Understand the law of the bucket and the glass In simple terms, remember that you can’t pour a bucket of water into a glass. · Avoid passive resistance Passive resistance is a nightmare for any change management initiatives. · Recognize and respect potential It takes special talent to recognize and respect potential Distinguish yourself #61 – #70 · Package information for easy consumption How can you package information so that the other person spends minimum time to get what you are trying to say? · Stop comparing with the ideal scenario Ideal scenario is just that – it is ideal. No point in comparing to ideal scenario · Avoid the CSS trap CSS = Continuous Spiral Syndrome · Smile Smile. It improves your face value! · Be grateful There are so many reasons to be grateful · Keep “Your story so far… ready” Everyone has a story. What is yours? · Understand the 3T rule Things take time. They do! · Generalize (very) slowly Generalizing is easy. Everyone can do that! · Balance home runs with small wins Home runs are great. But small wins are important too! · Increase the “shelf life” of your power relationships It takes a while to build power relationships. Once you build them, how long can you sustain them? Distinguish yourself #71 – #80 · Expand your capacity to receive help Rather than complaining that everyone is selfish and nobody wants to help, should we not focus on expanding the capacity to receive help? · Be willing to step back to move forward Talk to people who you think have made it and ask them if they had to step back sometime in their life before reaching the heights they reached – you will be surprised how many will answer in the positive. · Watch how you say “what you do. ” Do you take pride in your job? · Activate the catalyst : Intensity Intensity makes a big difference in life and in work. If you turn your intensity a notch higher, you will probably see a jump in your productivity. · Provide early warning signals Bad news is not all the bad if delivered on time. · Follow up Try again! · Treat your competition with respect Good competition will help you to lift yourself up. Competition is good! · Think Set aside time to “think” · Gather the right puzzle pieces You can’t do everything alone. But do you know what all resources you need to get where you want to go? · Don’t chase exclusivity without a clear plan to leverage it You need to pay a price for exclusivity. So before paying the price, determine whether you need that exclusivity Distinguish yourself #81 – #90 · Develop cultural sensitivity The playing field has no borders anymore. Developing cultural sensitivity is a MUST! · Connect the unknown to the known Fastest way to learn is to connect the unknown to the known! · Be comfortable being alone If you can enjoy your company, may be others will too! · Stretch playback cycles Think about the payback cycles for your current projects. Can you stretch them? · Bring the right puzzle pieces into the game What can you bring to others to help them in their quests? · Spread your payback horizons Design your projects so that you spread payback horizons. · Manage your filters well We all have filters. The key is to manage them well. · Close the loop Closing the loop consistently takes a lot of hard work. If you are committed to closing the loop on tasks assigned to you, you will watch your commitments carefully. You will think before you make promises and you won’t over-extend yourself. · Avoid the SEABE trap! Tie up loose ends as quickly as possible. · Question the question Temptation would be to answer the question. Sometimes it may be wise to question the question Distinguish yourself #91 – #100 · Be comfortable to say no It is impossible to know everything, anyways · Watch with whom you spend most of your time The company you keep plays an important role in where you are going! · Be comfortable contradicting yourself We all make mistakes. When you make one, just admit it! · Learn to meditate Manage your stress the most economical way · Never forget any help Most people do. You can be different! · Let go first Sometimes before you reach out for something, you need to let go of what you have! · Use power appropriately One thing is to get power. The other thing is to use it appropriately! · Clarify your intentions Intentions have great power. Have the right intentions · Forgive and forget To forgive, you need great courage. Do you have it? · Get 100% OFF the way! Ensure that you don’t put a lid on someone’s growth Distinguish yourself #101 – #110 · Master the art of handling disagreements It will be odd to even expect everyone to agree on everything that you have to say. The question is – “Do you know how to handle when they disagree?” · Get off the JIMP syndrome JIMP = Just Interrupt Me Please. Are you screaming to be interrupted so that you can avoid doing something that you planned? · Validate your private reasons We have private and public reasons for many important decisions. While you can justify public reasons, you need to take a hard look at your private reasons · Set and use anchors and triggers Anchors and triggers act as catalysts. Are you using them appropriately? · Be entitled for nothing Entitlement is scary. If not used appropriately, it can be a cause of inaction! · Increase investments in private growth You need to be growing everyday. For that, you need to make investments on your personal growth · Detach the idea from the source Don’t let your perceptions on the messenger taint the value of the message · Face the problem If you keep running away from problems, you won’t get to learn how to solve them · Fight the right battles Before you answer the question “How do I win this battle?” ask yourself “Why am I fighting this battle in the first place?” You may be surprised 🙂 · Contribute to the growth of the entire network If you contribute to the growth of everyone in your network, you will automatically grow! Distinguish yourself #111 – #120 · Don’t look to get drowned in positive feedback So, generally whenever you have a reasonably good idea you get a ton of positive feedback – so much that you can drown in it. The key is to not get carried away by the positive feedback. What you need is not a pat on the back but for someone to rip your idea apart and expose the flaws within it. That way you don’t burn more money or time on a “dumb” idea. · Drop “One time use” policy If you drop the “One time use” policy for the rest of your life, I won’t guarantee that you will make more friends but you may have a better chance of retaining existing friends. · Fine tune your accountability structures The accountability structure that you have setup for yourself and people around you will have a big impact on results you produce. What could you and your team members do to fine tune these structures to produce better results? · Improve your Net “Caring Critics” Score Net “Caring Critics” Score = “Caring Critics” – “Non-caring Critics” · Get the real question please Remember that even if you get the right answer for a wrong question, it’s still of no use 🙁 · Aim to become a transformer Go ahead, aim to be a transformer. That will be the biggest gift you can give to your teachers. · Understand the power of incentives Incentives are extremely powerful. There are incentives for you to behave the way you do and there are incentives to make the people around you behave the way they do. Understanding the power of incentives will help you to understand people’s behavior. · Make a difference, however small it is… Next time, when you find yourself in that situation think about the starfish story and make it a point to make a difference, however small it is. . . · Avoid the “0. 9 Extra Mile Syndrome” You usually don’t get credit for partial “extra mile” journeys that you take. · Create memorable experiences Everyone is busy in their own lives. Unless you work very hard to create significant value in that interaction for the other person, there is no reason for that person to remember that interaction. Distinguish yourself #121 – #130 · Learn to exploit innovations If your competitor is not innovating but is great at exploiting innovations you are still at a disadvantage. · Overestimate people with potential minus experience If you want to get the best out of these people, best is to “overestimate” what they can do. That will make them stretch and reach beyond what they could do if the expectations were “normal” or “watered down. ” · Find a second reason to do anything significant Find a second, third or fourth reason for any significant initiative in your life. This will help you gain higher leverage. · Don’t rush to a solution New problems or opportunities of a reasonable size and especially those that extend longer time horizons need a different kind of treatment. There is no point in rushing to a solution quickly. You won’t find a good solution and you may dismiss the whole thing prematurely or find an alternative that is not good in the long run. · Periodically re-visit your Plan B Having a Plan B and re-visiting it periodically will be your partial defense against “Unknown. ” You can never have full defense against an unknown. However, something is better than nothing. · Don’t get promoted to a job that you may not enjoy Now, go ahead and refuse that promotion if it does not make sense. · Synchronize your configurations Just being aware of the synchronization issues will cause you to look at the right places when there is a synchronization breakdown. · Set yourself up to focus better Investment in preparing to focus better will create wonders. · Stop treading in the “blind spots” of others When you are hurt by someone else, there is a 50-50 chance that it was unintentional. · Watch your daily vocabulary I am not saying that by changing your daily vocabulary you will succeed faster (Personally, I think you will) but by having a bad daily vocabulary you can almost be sure that you are setting up your own roadblocks on your path to success. Distinguish yourself #131 – #140 · Know your rules for small things What are your rules for simple and trivial things? If you don’t have any rules, why not set up something and see if it really makes a difference. If it does, you can stick with them. If they don’t, you never had rules before so you can always go back to the earlier state without any loss. Does that sound like a deal? · Be influenced Having great teachers on your side can be a competitive advantage for you. However, if you are not a good student and won’t allow the teacher to get through to you, it won’t be of much help · Find the intersection of your passion and “current world needs” Constantly be on the lookout of the intersection point where your passion and the current world needs. When you find it, latch on to it as if your life depends on it. · Learn to deal with (office) politics You can wish that office politics was not there or it just disappears one day from your office. The chances of that happening are the same as you winning a lottery. · Never discount “timing” Be it in winning or be it in losing, timing plays an important role. · Never take people for granted Would it be any fun if other people took you for granted? · Stop smell the roses Stopping to smell the roses is your personal reward for celebrating life. It is one kind of reward where you either use it or lose it as it is directly connected to time. · Stop trying to please everyone Just remembering that your success does not lie in pleasing everyone will give you some freedom. If you bought into this argument, the tricky part is also to remember that you should not expect everyone around you to please you. The same rules apply both ways, don’t they? · Align your agenda Observe your own team agenda and see if it conflicts with the team members’ individual agendas. · Watch who your refer It is DEFINITELY better to say that you don’t have a referral (if you don’t) rather than giving a wrong referral. After all nobody will have all the answers to everything 🙂 Distinguish yourself #141 – #150 · Pass the baton smoothly Transitions are VERY important! · Count your blessing everyday The first step is VERY important – you got to start loving what you have! · Surround yourself with thought amplifiers I am sure that wherever you are, you will find “thought amplifiers” around you. The point is – do you have the time to invest in building the relationships with these thought amplifiers to make it worth their while to lend their power to you? · Know your escape Now may be a great time to review whether you are moving fast on all your initiatives and most important to check “is your fast – fast enough?” · Create an environment Know that it is easy to be “more” present if you take time to create an environment where you CAN be “more” present. · Master the “criteria audit” It is a simple exercise (but requires great practice) where you learn to elicit the underlying criteria to satisfy someone’s need. · Be in the right place If what you bring to the marketplace is not relevant, you are not bringing much · Invest in your future What actions can you take today to find, connect and nurture your future clients? Do you see that you are really investing in your future competitive advantage by investing in your future clients? · Practice working with minimal resources Working with minimal resources is like taking your mind to the gym. If you succeed here, you are way more prepared to do your job when there are adequate resources. · Drop conditions to engage to engage in core craft Whatever be your core craft (that you love and are passionate about) make it “condition-free” – meaning you should be able to practice that craft without any conditions, wherever you are and whenever you want. Even if you succeed partially, you would be better off than where you are now! Distinguish yourself #151 – #160 · Enroll people to provide positive feedback You need a new set of eyes (smart ones) to look at a project at every crucial stage. Progressive feedback requires discipline and planning but works like magic. · Re-visit your un-documented rules at regular intervals We all have undocumented rules in our lives. These rules play a big part when making decisions. While it is good to have simple rules for simple things (where consequences of our decisions won’t have a far-reaching impact) blindly following the rules may not be a good idea when it comes to decisions that matter most to us – be it in life, career, relationships or anything that matters most. · Use humor right Humor can make others laugh. It can also hurt them if used wrongly. · Never invalidate contributions Never invalidate contributions. That will put you right in the middle of the commodity crowd. · Watch your insurance policies Insurance policies are required. However, insurance policies should not cripple you. Not taking any risk may be the biggest risk that you are taking. · Manage perceptions of you You are busy and you just want to get your work done. You may even think that if you execute your job brilliantly, perceptions will be automatically managed. Wrong! It is your responsibility to manage them. · Pay for ideas A few years ago, one of my teachers taught me to “pay” for ideas. The world has never been the same once I started putting that into practice. · Avoid the dangerous trap: “Use and go” The cost of the “short-term advantage” you will gain by the “Use and go” attitude is not worth it. · Know when you are lucky It is important for you to know when you are lucky. Personally, I have been lucky many times in the past and I hope that I will get lucky many more times in the future. When I do get lucky, I just thank GOD and I have no problems with it. Luck is a gift and we should be thankful and accept it with grace when you do get it. · Manage your automatic subscriptions Be conscious of your automatic subscriptions. Under subscription may mean that you are not available to people that are close to you and over subscription may mean that you are beating yourself to death to please everyone (except you) A balanced approach is what is required. Distinguish yourself #161 – #170 · Discover your “Niagara Factor” What do you bring to the table today that will exceed the expectations of the marketplace by a wide margin? · Provide options but not too many The winning formula, typically, is to provide options but not too many of them. · Watch your “Fix Them” to “Fix Me” ratio Watch your “Fix Them” to “Fix Me” ratio. The number of times that thought of “Fixing Them” crosses your mind compared to the thought of “Fixing Yourself. ” · Don’t rationalize your emotional decisions It is common to make an emotional decision and look for rational justification so that yuo are prepared to explain it away. This is OK as long as you know that this is what you are doing. When you don’t acknowledge it, you might start trying to find logic when there is none. · Leave a door open at the corner You may never push anyone into a corner in your life (I doubt it but let’s play the game anyway) but you can’t guarantee that for everyone that you know. It may so happen that someone is being pushed to a corner in a group and you are a silent witness. Here is your chance to open a door for the person who is looking for help. · Get people to respond; not react! Think about some of your recent “difficult” conversations with people. When the other person made an inappropriate comment, Was it a reaction or a response? · Be thoughtful They say that we are either thinking about what happened in the past or worrying about what will happen in the future. So where do we have the time to be “thoughtful” in the present? Let’s do a quick check – how thoughtful were you today? Whatever be your answer if I ask all the people that interacted with you about your thoughtfulness, would they concur with your conclusion? · Take responsibility for what you communicate Think about scenarios in your own lives when something more than words was very important. It will be a different world out there once you start taking responsibility for what you said overall (with and without the use of words) · Know when to be absent Being present and being in the present are both very important. However, there are times when you are better off being absent or in other words, you will create more harm by being present · Stop using prime time for questions of wonder I think there are some questions for which it is hard to find “good enough” answers. These, for me, are questions to wonder about. I am not suggesting that you should not think about them (if those areas are of your interest) or avoid them. You do what you choose to do based on your priorities in your life. My only advice is that if you are getting carried away by these questions during your prime time, please be aware that you are knowingly engaging in this activity. Distinguish yourself #171 – #180 · Be willing to enjoy the incomplete I can confidently say that one of the biggest time-savers in the last decade for me is this philosophy of having a willingness to enjoy the incomplete. · Manage cost associated with your contribution Whether you want them or not, there are costs associated with your contribution. If those costs exceed the value of the contribution, there is no reason to celebrate. · Capitalize on your accidents Am sure your life is filled with accidents (good ones). How are you planning to capitalize on them and who do you have on your team to help you capitalize on these accidents? · Surprise someone positively (at regular intervals) How many people can you positively surprise this week in a memorable way? · Create the ultimate lasting impression Are you one of those people that people that matter most to you miss you in their past? If not, what can you do today and for the rest of your life that will take you to that stage? · Stop believing in your own (weak) excuses The fact remains that the best excuse is still an excuse. By fully believing in that excuse, you have reducing your level of responsibility and accountability to your own promise. When you do that, nobody else, but YOU will get hurt. · Be (truly) there for someone If you are truly there for someone and make them feel that they are not lonely, you give them a new life. You give them new hope. You give them a gift that only another person can give. · Welcome new rules If you are a knowledge worker and want to progress in your career, it is guaranteed that every “step up” in your career will require you to play the game using the new rules. This looks like change management 101 where you try to “adapt” to change. What I am referring to is slightly different from change management. Rather than “adapt” to change, you need to “welcome” change. You need to welcome the new rules and eagerly wait for them. · Invent new possibilities daily The problem with knowledge and resources is that the more you have them, more you realize how much more of them you need. If you are looking to accumulate more resources before you an ACT on your dream, you may be WAITING for a long time. Why not change the game and start inventing possibilities with ALL the resources that you ALREADY HAVE? · Build flexibility into your future Current flexibility is shaped by your past actions. Similarly today’s actions will shape your future flexibility. Past is over but the future is yet to come. Think about some of your actions today at work and at home. Have you given enough thought about the implications of these actions on your future flexibility? Distinguish yourself #181 – · Remember your friends when you don’t NEED them If you don’t want to be treated by your friends like an ATM machine, you should not expect your friends to be treated like one too. · Structure yourself to get high-quality help requests If you are constantly getting requests that are of “high value” to the stake holders, you are automatically getting a premium.