Showing posts from 2014

20 Great Books to Read

Some of the best books that I have read and which have had a profound impact on me are shared below.  1. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey This is one of the best management books of all time. What Stephen teaches is very practical, insightful and more importantly can be followed by anyone from any walk of life. Though I read this book 10 years back when I again came across it recently it offered a lot more material and is always fresh. My favorite habit is Begin with the end in mind. All the habits are based on timeless principles and the book has stood the test of time. 2. Linchpin -Seth Godin This is an incredibly powerful book and it communicates that all of us have genius potential. It really got me thinking out of the box. He also emphasizes that great artists need to ship and not keep trying for perfection. This is surely an uplifting book. His question is "Are you indispensable" and his plea is that everyone is an artist and has ex

6 Ways to keep Employees Engaged

According to a Gallup study the bulk of employees worldwide are not engaged and if this is true then it provides us a great opportunity to understand what factors enable greater employee engagement. From time immemorial we have had motivational theories going the rounds from BF Skinner, Fredrick Herzberg, Sigmund Freud, and Abraham Maslow. I am not going to labor on all these but they do provide a good idea of how motivation has progressed. Of course the need for managers to know what motivates their employees is a key determinant for employee engagement. This is not meant to be a complete list because human emotions are too widespread to have a cookie cutter approach to motivation. However some common needs of all can be used as the starting point towards greater engagement which eventually leads to better performance. Purpose beyond the paycheck  – Lot of studies have been done and concluded that pay is not the most important motivator. Challenging work and responsibility comes

Define your Success

We all have reservoirs of potential to be unleashed and to recognize our unlimited potential is the first step towards getting the best out of ourselves. Talent is a strange word that we use to describe only the uber successful like multimillionaires, sports superstars and other public figures but we all have talent that can be unleashed. Talent is not something most of us are born with, it is something we develop through thorough soul searching, self-analysis, practice and deep learning. It is a cinch but worth repeating find out what ignites your passion. Passion ignites reservoirs of talent that is hidden within our vast reservoirs. The main obstacles in our path are our self-doubt and lack of patience. Let’s face it once we embark on a journey we get a little overwhelmed with the effort that is required to get to our summit. There are no guarantees in life and the journey is going to be hard but we have to realize it is worth the effort. We have to really deeply think wha

Only the Paranoid Survive

Andy Grove is credited with saying the phrase “Only the Paranoid Survive”. I happened to read his book of the same name. It was an interesting read. The main premise is that every company/industry will experience strategic inflection points at which they can be knocked off or use that to spur them on to further growth. Strategic inflection points are what happen to a business when a major change takes place that could shake up your company. It is when the balance of forces shifts from the old structure, from the old ways of doing business and the old ways of competing to the new.   An example is what happened to Intel in mid-1980’s. At that time Intel’s main market was in memory chips but the Japanese stormed the market with much better quality levels and nearly swept Intel of its perch. Intel was competing with the Japanese producer's high quality, low priced, mass produced parts. It is at this time that Andy Grove while with Gordon Moore famously said he looked out of the w

The Path to Success and Mastery

The best definition of success I have come across is “ Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal.”  In other words everyone can define their success according to their predefined goals/outcome and each individual's road map will be different. I believe strongly that personal growth ties in strongly with an individual's success and that's what I am expanding on below.  I have also heard a lot of people say "Do what you love" but I have a slight variation on that. I might love playing guitar but if Iam not any good at it then it doesn't matter how much I love it. I think it is better to live by the motto “ Love what you do and keep getting better at it.”  Not all of us can do what we love but we have the choice to love what we do for a living.  What is the requirement for success and mastery? I believe it is the ability to keep getting better and better at what we do for a living. When we really think about it that’s all it boils

How Google Works

I read the book “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt and Jonathon Rosenberg. It is a great read and has some great learning. Following is what I have gleaned from the book with my insights as well. We have all heard of the term “knowledge worker” coined by Peter Drucker but the authors argue that this term was for an earlier era. They have coined the term smart creative now. Smart creatives are curious creative, never satisfied with the status quo, not afraid to fail, have deep technical knowledge and more importantly can do multiple things. They are not averse to taking risks.    Culture Culture is the most important aspect of an organization. The authors also argue that a candidate should not only look at the pay but look at the organizations culture before deciding on the job. One example at Google is the rule of seven the authors mention in which managers were allowed a maximum of seven direct reports.   They advise organizations to determine which people are having the bigg

10 Traits of Highly Successful People

Successful people have a few common characteristics that make them great. Not every successful person can be a master of all these but awareness of them can help in increasing these qualities in ourselves.  Following are the 10 common traits exhibited by successful people that I have observed across various fields including sports, business, and arts. Self-Discipline I put this at the top of the list simply because without self-discipline nothing is possible.  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 bo