Just One hour A Day…

It takes the discipline of just one hour (or even half an hour) a day of learning or practicing to improve life….exercise and you will enjoy better health, meditate and you will have a calmer mind, learn any new skill for doing things which you like or for things which are vital to you and you will have rewards coming your way.

Read this as an example  http://www.thesimpledollar.com/one-hour-a-day-keeps-the-pink-slip-away/

If learning leadership skills is vital for for you here a self learning program book http://www.learning-leadership.com/blog/lead-to-regenerate/  Also, there is web based program which comes with optional coaching support www.learning-leadership.com


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How I coach minus jargon and leadership theories

The reason I try to avoid jargon and why I don’t ask people to remember a particular framework is that they either believe that they know the stuff or they get put off by it all. In both cases the jargon or frameworks come in way they putting these to use. For this I suggest workouts which incorporate underlying principles. This is a very experiential method of learning and practicing.

Read this : The Trouble with Leadership Theories http://feeds.harvardbusiness.org/~r/harvardbusiness/~3/GSJhJiIjH7s/

Even if you don’t read the above, do take look at http://www.learning-leadership. com and book Lead to Regenerate (info at /blog url of the site)

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Bullets as a tool for expression and thinking

Bullets at best are just checklists.

At their worst they are…. read this : Most presentations aren’t bullet proof http://feedly.com/e/m6fvvA5F

Since almost all presentations are based on bullets they are all suspect: they can’t express coherent thoughts. Nor they promote better thinking.

Bullets may be handy time saving tools,  but what they save -the time- doesn’t get used for thinking better.

For more on the subject of thinking and expression read my book ‘Lead to Regenerate’

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How to make time for things which you wish to?

Your hear this often
“I didn’t have time” http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/62839531/0/sethsblog~I-didnt-have-time.html

You say this to others too. But you can’t do worse than believing it. If you need other’s time you need to create urgency, as Seth says.

To make time for yourself:
Check what you really wish to be doing. There aren’t many things which will make the cut. So go ahead and do that thing immediately. You will eliminate some because your may not find them interesting.
Handle other must do things through deletion. delegation, preparation, procrastination, avoidance, or plain inspiration which will come to you if you go through all other options.
But never keep away from doing things you really wish to do and from finding them through trial and error.

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Make clearing reading & comprehension test mandatory along with executive health checks

A senior executive working for my client sent an email to me asking “Can we touch base on the document which you sent last week?” I agreed, though I wasn’t sure what this meant. During the call, the Exec asked me to walk through the document. I did this explaining what was already there in the document. Incidentally, the document had a one page executive summary too. The Exec kept on mumbling ‘OK”, ‘makes sense’, ‘true’.
After the whole document was discussed he asked me questions which clearly revealed that he hadn’t understood some core aspects at all. I said I would explain it again but that would need a face-to-face meeting.

Incredible amount of time is often spent in explaining what is already there in the documents circulated before meetings. Time that could be used and should be used for discussion and debate is spent only on explaining. I can understand some need to explain some complicated charts or tables, but often meetings gets converted into ‘classes’ !

There are the ‘smart’ ones who don’t read anything at all knowing fully well that in the meeting anyway the whole will be ‘read’ out. But there are a large number of Execs who find it seriously difficult to understand anything unless explained by someone in flesh.

Long email threads which eventually need meetings to ‘come on the same page’ is one outcome. Low managerial productivity is final result.

Therefore I would recommend reading & comprehension tests (of natural English text) for Execs along with their physical health checkup.

Next on the agenda would a listening test :-)

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Enhancing Leadership potential: what kind of a leader are you?

Are you a Task Oriented Leader or a Directive leader or a Participative Leader?

Are You a Telling or a Selling or a Collaborating or a Delegating Leader?

Are you a Visionary Leader or a Servant type of Leader or a Values Based Leader or a Charismatic Leader?

Which of these traits do you have as a Leader: Vitality, Stamina, Intelligence, Responsible, Great people skills, Motivating or Inspiring Presence, Achievement Orientation,  Courage, Trustworthiness, Resoluteness, Decisiveness, Confidence, Assertiveness, Humility, Flexibility? Huh!

If you keep looking, you will come across many such leadership models, styles, traits, levels, and classifications.  Confused?  Assuming that you determine your “leadership type” or “style” what do you do next to get your promotion or to do better in your current position? If you are looking to select people for that important assignment which of the types would need? Confusing indeed!

It is better to find out what you can do well(enough), what you can’t do well (enough). No, I am not talking about ‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’ in the way they are usually talked about. I am talking about doing things. For example:  Can you ‘feel’ peoples’  feelings? Can you handle them?  Can you de-risk your project?  Can you achieve an important breakthrough in your process? Can you develop people for your needs?  Can you innovate? Can you develop a coherent agenda for your purpose? and many more…..Your leadership depends on the sum of such abilities and the way they are used in real situations. And this sum is greater than the parts.

The programs in Lead to Regenerate book  and on the web site www.learning-leadership.com help you find answers to above kind of questions. They help you improve your abilities through practice and enhance your leadership potential. They allow your leadership coach to assist you in your learning.

Try them.



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From the coaching room: An uplifting experience

I am just out of some really absorbing, and at times grueling coaching feedback sessions with people and their respective bosses.  These sessions were part of an exercise to understand their leadership potential and ways to enhance it.

The feedback being given was based on facts and logic coming out the participants’ workouts covering all areas of their work and emotional aspects. Therefore it was detailed and pointed. Responding to our feedback needed careful thinking and handling of the inevitable stress.

Now take into account the fact that all of them are senior executives in their late 30′s or 40′ with some solid experience in R&D, or engineering, or manufacturing, or marketing, or accounting, or HR.

I was amazed by the participant’s candidness and willingness to come to terms with the ‘new’ picture of themselves.  There was struggle. There was defense.  And there was willingness to change and do better.

When you see the human spirit in action like this, it is uplifting and humbling at the same time. It makes me think: “Am I doing enough?”

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What is not ‘good work’ ?

We assume that we know what is work. But it is interesting to see what is not ‘good work’. Good Work is not:

1. Redoing something that was done with errors. You may have to do it but it is not good work because it is wasteful. (e.g. your report comes back to you with comments on missing parts, errors, etc.)

2. Reminding people. You may have to do it but it is not good work because it wastes your time. (e.g. you remind your colleagues for same work again and again. Your project management becomes a de facto reminder service.)

3. Reinventing the wheel. It is not good work because you are not using what has been done before. You haven’t prepared and planned your work well. ( e.g. You know that someone has done a similar engineering analysis and you haven’t simply cared to find it and your deadline has passed. Now you are breathlessly working on it.)

4. Meetings that are only for information sharing. No sooner than the presentation is over the meeting is declared to be over, may be with just one or two questions. Information is best shared through write ups, charts, pictures or videos. Discussion based on a previously shared information and agenda is much more efficient. Attending such meetings is definitely not good work even if you are ‘colluding’ with boss in this!

5. Any discussion on a complex subject through email threads is not good work. E mail threads are difficult to assimilate because information in it is scattered. People find it difficult to read all comments on each point and may repeat what someone else has said, increasing burden on others to read it all. All this is not good work. This is best done through shared documents.

6. Reading and replying to emails: You will find that much of your email efforts belong to things related to 1, 2 or 5

7. Calling and answering calls: You will find that much of your email efforts belong to things related to 1, 2, 4 or 5

How much of your ‘working’ time goes in above activities?  What do you do to spend most of your time doing good work?

My book Lead to Regenerate (see http://www.learning-leadership.com/blog/lead-to-regenerate/) has some useful discussion and practice workouts on this subject.

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What is not ‘teamwork’ ?

Teamwork is not:

1. Accepting inferior work from other team members.

2. Getting together in office canteen, cafe, or a pub for the so called ‘bonding’ (gossip). It is alright to do it though.

3.  Avoiding disagreements (though helps to express them with aim of communicating your point logically)

4.  Doing someones’s work who has simply vanished for a while without a trace

5. Not having anyone owing up the responsibility when something goes wrong

Do any such things take place in your teams?

More on teamwork:

Teamwork? Don’t lecture:  http://wp.me/p35bVL-es  and

Lead to Regenerate tip: Everyone hates the word ‘teamwork’, then what? http://wp.me/p35bVL-aU

Practice incorporating above in your work. Use program book : http://www.learning-leadership.com/blog/lead-to-regenerate/

or Enroll in http://www.learning-leadership.com programs for interactive coaching

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Determining leadership potential, and doing something about it

Yes, that’s what we do at Learning Leadership through our programs ( see www.learning-leadership.com and in book form http://www.learning-leadership.com/blog/lead-to-regenerate/)

We do this by encouraging people to think about themselves and their work and we then help them in finding out for themselves how well they are able to:

1. Look at themselves

2. Improve their operational effectiveness without burning themselves out

3. Mobilize their team members

4. Use regenerative properties of feelings , attitudes, learning, teaching, and creativity

5. Frame their actions for all above

6. Bring  focus and logic to their agendas

Going through the above experience is good learning and the added benefit is that you get a good snapshot of where you are and what you should be doing to get better and better at leading.

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