The 4 Qualities of Great Leaders

Leadership is the biggest need of the world right now. We need to more leaders who can chart unknown seas and inspire more people to their greatness. For me leadership all about dreaming big, inspiring others and leading by example.
Warren Bennis wrote one of the best books on leadership called “On Becoming a Leader.” I liked the 4 qualities of a leader he identified, and I think it will stand the test of time. Here are the 4 qualities of great leaders.
They create shared meaning: This is all about having the vision that uplifts people to their greatness. You need to find that vision which will move you and others. John F Kennedy’s vision of putting a man on the moon is one of the best examples of an audacious vision. The best part of it was it was so compelling that it outlived the visionary. Vision is the first step to becoming a great leader.
They have a distinctive voice:  This is all about confidence and emotional intelligence. As a leader people must see your unique voice coming o…

5 Books on Leadership, Innovation, Change, Future, Joy and Decision Making

September has been a great month to read some terrific books. Here are some good ones I liked reading recently.
Leadership in Turbulent times by Doris Kearns Goodwin: This is one of the best books on leadership you will ever read. 4 leaders Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson are dissected right from their childhood through their adversity to their leadership philosophy. This is truly a tour de force. I loved the last section which has great leadership tips for all of us. Some of these types of books can be dry to read but this is so engaging I couldn’t put it down.
Imagine it forward by Beth Comstock and Tahl Raz:  This is all about unleashing the imagination of the people who work in your organization. Of course, it is a part biography and even if you ignore those parts there is enough here of value. The main thesis is the change is never going to be slower than it is today. The only way to play in the future is to embrace change as Tom Peters l…

15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

There are so many books on leadership. I found the 15 commitments of conscious leadership by Jim Dethmer and Diana Chapman to be one of the best for individual leaders who want to get to their best. Here are the 15 commitments with my brief take on each.
Responsibility:  This is all about having the buck stops with me attitude. As a leader you don’t engage in any form of blame. You take full charge of every aspect of decision making and ensure the team knows you take ownership. This can also be applied to our personal lives and it ensures you are in control most of the time.
Curiosity:  This is a wonderful principle which is applicable for our personal lives. Be totally open to differing viewpoints. Never be bound by your own assumptions. Being open to feedback and other ideas will enable you to become a great leader.
Feel feelings:  This is all about understanding all your feelings like anger, joy and other emotions. Understanding how those feelings relate to you in your body. Once yo…

7 Timeless Lessons from Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker has written so many books but the two I really enjoyed which covered most of his teachings is “The Essential Drucker” and “The Daily Drucker.” Here are the seven lessons I gleaned from the teachings of the legendary Peter Drucker.
The purpose of business:  This is a very important lesson to learn. The purpose of business is not to make profit, but it is to create a customer. This is a key distinction as any successful organization concentrates on its customers. This will eventually result in profit. For example, one of the key values of Amazon is customer obsession. Focus on creating customers and keeping them. This will ensure you are profitable for the long term.
Creative abandonment:  This is a wonderful principle which is applicable for our personal lives. Ask yourself if you would still be in this business knowing what you now know. I believe this is the principle that Jack Welch used to make the decision that GE will remain only in businesses where they can be numb…

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership

There are so many leadership books that we don’t know if there is anything new to be said that hasn’t already been said. The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Pozner is one of the best books on the subject. To become a better leader this is a wonderful resource.
Here are the five practices of exemplary leadership with my take on each.
Model the way:  This is a very important step for everyone on their leadership journey. As a leader this practice is all about defining clearly the values you want to be known for and stand for. Some of the values could be integrity, caring, honesty, courage and passion. Defining your unique values is inspiring and keeps you more fulfilled. Once you define your values it is also adherence to the values that is the key. So, keep measuring yourself against the values you have set. Finally, you can set the organization values as well.
Inspire a shared vision:  Leaders are generally great visionaries. They can dream a better future that …

Innovation is Everybody's Business

Innovation is on everyone’s lips these days. It is probably the most overused word in the lexicon of a business executive. Though that maybe true it is still critical to put our best foot forward as we navigate the uncertainties of the 21st Century. With so much talk about automation I think the one thing that can truly help us be relevant in the market place is to be innovative in whatever we do both in our personal and professional lives.
Innovation is Everybody’s Business by Robert Tucker is one of the better books I have read on this subject. This book is all about individuals becoming innovative not just the organizations. First you need to know who you are and where you want to go. So, project yourself 5 years from now and decide where you want to be.
Here are the seven fundamental innovation skills with my take on each.
Embrace the opportunity mindset:  Successful people see opportunities where others see problems. Of course, every innovator we know whether it is a Steve Jobs…

3 Pillars of Inner Success

In my opinion there are 3 key pillars of inner success. If we develop these we can truly achieve what we want while also experiencing the inner peace that is needed to lead a successful life. Here are the 3 pillars in my opinion if developed can truly help us get what we want.
Self-Discipline – I love this word because all of us have enormous talent bestowed. However, to really make sure that talent sees the day you need the all-important quality of self-discipline. Self-discipline is a quality that can be developed by having a clear idea on what we want and then ensuring the desire to succeed is greater than the consequences of not doing it. If we want to exercise 5 times a week then we can imagine the enormous benefits of exercise and visualize that while trying to keep the end goal in mind. If we want to achieve all the things we want, then self-discipline is the best place to start and we have 100% control on this. It is resolving to do what we have set out to accomplish in both o…

6 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck is famous for writing about the growth mindset vs fixed mindset. Fixed mindset is when you believe that your talent is fixed, and you close yourself to learn new things. Growth mindset is all about keeping your mind open and believing that your potential expands and is not something that is finite. Here are some ideas on developing a growth mindset.
Stay Curious – I love this word curiosity because all of us have need to exhibit this trait to win big in the current era of enormous disruption. Apart from that we can also enhance our talent with knowledge. We only act on what we know and once we increase our knowledge base the chances of our success increase exponentially. When you have a growth mindset you keep your mind open to new knowledge which can enhance your life and it will also enhance your creativity.
Question your assumptions – A great leader never settles for what they believe in. They always question their assumptions. They don’t take things for granted. They m…

9 Ways to get Super Motivated

Getting Back to Happy by Marc Chernoff and Angel Chernoff is one of the best books I have read in recent times. Reading it did make me happier which is always a good sign. Read books and articles that make you feel better about life and yourself. There were many hacks which are worth your attention. One chapter I liked was the one on how to get motivated. If you think about it most of the people in work are generally very skilled in their area of expertise but it is motivation that separates high performers from the rest. Here are the motivation hacks with my take on each.
Get motivated by finding your why – Your why in my opinion is the mission of your life. Once you have a personal mission in place you will automatically feel motivated. So, take the time required to come up with a mission statement for your life. This requires some introspection and soul searching but I think it would be an effective use of time.
Get motivated by eliminating distractions – I agree with this because …

9 G's of Happiness

Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. It is not something you arrive at. It is something that comes because of taking positive actions. So, it is better not to pursue happiness directly. Instead focus on doing high leverage activities and you will be happier. Here are my 9 G’s of happiness.
Gratitude – This is truly the first step to any type of happiness. Whenever you are feeling down take your journal and write down everything you are grateful for. This exercise will make you feel a lot more peaceful and any temporary pain will reduce. Gratitude truly is the gateway to a happier life. Some people suggest writing down the things you are grateful for the first thing in morning. I have already written it down and review this in the morning. It sets your mind for a good day.
Goals – Goals are something very personal to every individual. The key to happiness is to go after your goals and not something the others around you want. This is the key to happiness. Decidin…

10 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

We can learn a lot from successful entrepreneurs. In the recent issue of Inc Magazine there was a mention of the 10 traits of entrepreneurs as identified by Gallup. Here are the 10 traits with my take on each.
Knowledge – I love this word because all of us have to perform with the talent we have. Apart from that we can also enhance our talent with knowledge. We only act on what we know and once we increase our knowledge base the chances of our success increase exponentially.
Risk – I think everyone knows that to get different results than what we are getting now it is important to take risks. The level of risks taken by each person is different. So obviously self-awareness helps in ensuring you don’t take a risk that is not aligned with the person you are.
Delegation – Top people know where they need to focus on and they build great teams with awesome people to work on the other activities. Delegation is the key to a successful leadership journey. No one person can do everything and i…

5 Books on Careers, Happiness and Creativity

Here are 5 books I liked reading recently. They cover the gamut of careers, happiness, creativity and much more.
Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino - I really enjoyed this book. This makes you think differently. The tag line is why it pays to break the rules at work and life. Some of the suggestions are to seek out the new, encourage constructive dissent, have open conversations and find freedom from constraints.
An Audience of One by Srinivas Rao – I loved this book. It is simple to read and basic point is to create for creations sake. The point is don’t write to build a following. Instead write to satisfy your curiosity and then if you get a following great. Also, your environments play a role in your creativity. Practice solitude, remove all unnecessary newsletters, make fewer decisions and live by your own values. There is a lot of good stuff in this book which I enjoyed.
The Meaning Revolution by Fred Kofman – While the subject matter has been well covered by many books I still enjoye…

5 Business Books I liked Reading recently

Here are 5 business books I liked reading recently.
The Mind of the Leader by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter – I really enjoyed this book. This is particularly useful for our current times with many distractions. The first tool is mindfulness which is all about focus and awareness. Self-awareness is the need of the hour for all leaders. Getting to know your strengths, weaknesses and values is critical to your success. The second tool is selflessness which is all about reducing your ego while leading. This will enable greater team work and ensure trust is enhanced. The third tool is compassion which is a requirement to lead others successfully. This also promotes greater joy and engagement. I found the tools provided excellent and practical.
The Human Advantage by Jay W. Richards – The book starts discussing about the American Dream. The first one was all about agriculture and the second was all about owning a home. The third one is creating and sharing of value itself. There are…

The 5 Champion Qualities of Rafael Nadal

I had written earlier on the champions mindset of Federer and Djokovic. Here are the articles Djokovic Champion Qualities and Federer's Champion Mindset. However, if I don’t write about Nadal I would be leaving out my favorite player Nadal. While some Federer fans might not want Nadal to win and vice versa I take a nuanced approach to sports. My philosophy is to learn from every winner even if you are not rooting for them. So, I love all 3 of them and all of them are great champions. Here are the 5 Champion qualities of Nadal.
Self-Belief – I love this word because all of us need to have this if we want to win big. He believes in himself even if no one else does. In 2005 he was considered a clay court specialist and he was someone who had a good chance only in the French open. How he turned that around to win multiple Wimbledon championships, US Opens and Australian Opens is the stuff of legend. The key is never put limits on yourself based on others opinion. As Henry Ford said if…