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Playing to Win - 5 Great Choices of Strategy

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Playing to win is one of the best books on strategy I have read. It is written by Roger Martin who was Rotman School of Business Dean (He was also voted as the number one thinker for 2017 by Thinkers50), and the former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, A.G. Lafley. Roger Martin’s recent book is Creating great choices which is also a delightful book on thinking.
Strategy was made famous by the redoubtable Michael Porter who said that “strategy is all about creating a competitive advantage over your rivals by deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver unique value.”
The authors in the introduction talk about how ineffective leaders think about strategy:
1. They define strategy as a vision.
2. They define strategy as a plan.
3. They deny that long-term strategy is possible.
4. They define strategy as the optimization of the status quo.
5. They define strategy as following best practices.
The book is based on five choices which every firm needs to make to win in the market…

The Optimist's Manifesto - 10 Commandments of Optimism

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Optimism is one of the key traits of successful people. All change or innovations that have happened in the world are due to people willing to see something more than others see. Where others see roadblocks, successful people see opportunities. I have come up with ten commandments which can help us be at our optimistic best.
I resolve to take 100% responsibility for my life – I am not the first to suggest this nor will I be the last. Taking full responsibility for your life both personal and professional is the starting point of feeling great about yourself. When you feel you are in control of your life you are more optimistic. You also respond to life rather than react to it.
I resolve to learn from setbacks – Napoleon Hill famously said, “Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent benefit.” It is not easy to stay positive when things go wrong but that is the truest test of your optimism. When you learn from every setback you join the pantheon of greats.
I resolve to lo…

7 Ways to Lead yourself Exceptionally Well

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Self-management is the name of the game. How you manage yourself over a sustained period is the greatest predictor of your success. I have a read a lot of John Maxwell books. One book I liked was “The 360 Degree Leader” and it has a chapter which talks about 7 keys to take care for self-management. Here they are with my take on each.
Manage your emotions – Emotions is nothing more than energy in motion. A leader can’t afford to lose their cool often. The ability to manage your emotions is one of the keys to become a top leader. For example, when you are angry don’t take any action and don’t send an email. If you are angry you can get out of the conversation or go to another place. Do something which makes you feel better.
Mange your time – Irrespective of our background all of us get the same time 24 hours a day. It is how we manage ourselves within the time is the key. I have identified 10 keys for effective time management. Please check it out. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-time-…

12 Books I liked Reading in 2017

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Happy Holidays to everyone. As the year ends I wanted to share some of the books I enjoyed reading this year. I would say this year has been one of the best in terms of terrific books. I love reading and it is one of my favorite hobbies. Please check out my favorite books of 2017 below. Most of them are business books which is my preferred genre and I have also reviewed some of them so if you are interested you can check it out by clicking the related links.
Principles by Ray Dalio – Ray Dalio is called the “Steve Jobs of investing.” I skipped part 1 of the book as it was about this journey. The second part is where the meat of the book is. It is about the principles of life. I found it to be useful. Basically, life doesn’t care what you like. It is up to you to do the things needed to get what you want. Set goals, diagnose the problem, put plans and act. You cannot do everything but you can choose the ones you want most. You can savor life or you can make an impact or you can do both…

26 Ways to Stay relaxed during the holidays and enjoy life

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Happy thanksgiving to everyone. We are in the biggest holiday season of the year. For most of us this is a time of reflection to see how our year has been, what we can do better and how we can make next year even better. A lot of us also go on vacations which is great but sometimes we need a vacation after the vacation. So, my aim with this article is to give simple suggestions to stay relaxed and enjoy the holidays. At the same time, I also share strategies which can reduce our stress levels and enjoy life more.
Stress is one of the leading causes of depression and considering the pace of our modern lives we should pause and reevaluate our lives on a constant basis. As Mahatma Gandhi said "There is more to life than increasing its speed."
Here are some simple strategies to be relaxed, stay happy and enjoy life in general.
Create white space - What I mean by this is there is no need to cram every single activity in a 10 hour period. Allow some space as you cannot get to every…

10 Qualities of a True Champion

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Champions are born but they are also made by relentless practice, clear goals, never say die attitude and a willingness to learn something new every day. I loved the book “The Way of the Champion” by Jerry Lynch. It has a lot of examples from sports but a lot of it can be applicable to us as well. Here are the lessons I gleaned.
Self-acceptance: The first step in being a champion is being comfortable with who you are. Accept yourself unconditionally and remember all champions have weaknesses. Understand your strengths focusing on those while complementing your weakness are with the strengths of others.
Self-definition: Define what you want to be known for. For example, you may want to be known for your discipline, passion, persistence and ask yourself every day if you are doing these things. Decide what message you want to send to your team or stakeholders.
Modesty:  If you know you are a champion you don’t need to show off. You will be totally comfortable with yourself and you can affo…

Life is truly a Numbers Game

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I have realized that life is truly a numbers game. It is wonderful to look at all the numbers of your life and see where you stand versus where you want to be. As they say the numbers tell the whole truth. Here are the areas where I like to review the numbers in my life. See if this applies to you
Sleep - This is so important that I want to put it at the top of the heap. Measure the number of hours you sleep. 7 hours at a minimum is a must so if you are not getting enough sleep see which activities you must stop to get the extra sleep. You may have to forego some activities to get this sleep in. However, this is an absolute must if you want to get the most out of yourself.
Exercise – Barring any health conditions you need to see how much exercise you are getting on a weekly basis. Again, if this means sleeping a little earlier so that you can exercise first thing in the morning then you can do that. Or if this means taking 30 min during lunch to get that exercise routine in you can do …

A to Z of Personal Development

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Jim Rohn said work harder on yourself than on your job. He also said formal education will make you a living while self-education will make you a fortune. So, personal development can serve as a spring board to your greater success. Here is my A - Z of personal development.
A for Acceptance: Personal development doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with who we are. So, the first step is to unconditionally accept ourselves just the way we are. Accept everything about you and that will serve as the spring board to further success.
B for Blueprinting: It is like the carpenter’s motto “Measure twice cut once.” The basic point is visualizing in minute detail the person you want to become and take daily steps to be the person you visualized. The first image is the mental creation and then follow it up with action.
C for Continuous learning: There are two types of learning maintenance learning and shock learning. Shock learning is when something happens in your industry that disrupts your worl…

A to Z of Happiness - 26 tips to be truly happy

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As Earl Nightingale said "Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." In other words, you feel happy when you are progressing towards something important to you. This is very important because happiness is a journey not a destination. If you will be happy only when you achieve something it is going to be tough most of the time.
Most of our life is invested in the process and if we wait for the result to be happy we will be striving for the elusive pot all the time. Happiness is a state of mind and you can be happy just to be alive.
While setting lofty standards for our work and life is always a good sign, it is not good if we are never happy with what we achieve. Therefore, happiness requires a balance between striving for more and enjoying the current success.
I believe the recipe of happiness can be baked with the following ingredients. Here is my A - Z of Happiness.
A for Attitude: Your attitude is the true barometer of your happiness. If you have a posit…