I have been on diverse teams and have had many bosses in my career–some leaders inspired me, while others didn’t. Those that did had one thing in common, they trusted the people who worked for them. Here’s a story to illustrate what I mean.
Continue Reading…Here is the link to my post on WomenWorking.com: Do people Trust You?
We all have seen two sides of President Obama, in 2004, he was the incumbent and had a valor in his narrative. In the last debate, we saw a President, who has been jaded by the system. And is defensive to the attacks of the opposition. It all makes sense that sometimes “Ignorance is Bliss”. In 2004, his agenda was to get elected and his daring and challenging posture inspired the nation. This time, he is wise to see the whole picture and to be focused on elections is not entirety of his being.
As I have enjoyed debates as a debater and as a spectator, I wanted to share what has worked for me:
Tell a story – In these debates, it is critical to narrate a story, be it someone you spoke to at a town hall or it is something from your personal experience – it helps people identify with what you are trying to convey. There is always an intrigue in the audience if there is a story – everybody is going “What happened next?”
Be Assertive – Yes, we need to say things with conviction and be very assertive in driving home the point we are trying to make. It is important to be respectful and at the same time it is important to make a compelling rebuttal to the opponent’s point.
Humor hails – It is natural that the witty humor takes you a long way. The audience likes a bit of entertainment and it is good to be able to provide some of that. This is where those on the fence tend to shift their positions in your side.
Look into the eyes – It is critical to turn yourself away from the opponent and the moderator and look directly at the audience. This is when your objective is to connect to people directly and acknowledge those who you can’t see.
Be Genuine – Be good in arithmetic. No one likes to be treated like a fool who cannot do math. If you are opposing something, back it up to demonstrate that it does not add up. Finally, share from the heart. It is likely people will see how much you care and that is the is what counts most.
Let the best man win!!!
Most recently, we heard a lot of about the Lance Armstrong in the newspaper. A cyclist extraordinaire who had numerous unparalleled accomplishments and just like that one day he was stripped off of all his laurels. It makes me wonder when someone who had worked so hard and relentlessly and surpassed human feats looses everything in a split second for their sudden lack of judgement. Here I mean to say – their lack of judgement of the people around them.
Let me elaborate, it is true man is known by the company he keeps. It is also true that man becomes like the people he is surrounded with. In essence, sometimes, pressure of the task ahead coupled with some misleading company has an adverse impact. If you are surrounded with well-meaning friends, mentors and coaches, their wisdom and intelligence will give you the foresight to do the right things. On the other hand, if you are surrounded with people who are short-sighted and self-centered, they will hurt your reputation for their short-term goals.
This brings forth the distinction between “clever” and “intelligence”.
Cleverness is short-sighted and is motivated by self-interest. Most business people and politicians are likely to be clever. Like the people surrounding Lance Armstrong who were invested in his success for their self-interest.
Intelligence is seeing everything connected as a larger whole. Intelligent folks do that makes sense for everyone in the group. They are more likely to keep you focused on the path to success without any shortcuts.
Making distinctions that help you make good choices is key to where your journey will take you. Are you looking for a clever, self-centered short-run or an intelligent and all inclusive long-run in your career and personal life. Surround yourself with people more intelligent than yourself!!!
I love salespeople – the good ones! I don’t mind talking to them, hearing their pitches and most certainly – they don’t bother me. Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that this is my experience with all sales people. They key distinction here is, I am referring to good sales people.
I am in conversations and negotiations with a lot of sales people everyday. And fifteen minutes into the meeting, there is definitely a point where it comes to making a choice between “go”, “no-go” and “maybe”. And do I need to elaborate on the “no-go”. One of the two things that gets us here. There is no compelling offer or they don’t communicate the offer compellingly. As a business owner or entrepreneur, I would be very vary of the latter effect.
During one such call, I was getting no where with the sales person even when I knew the offer was something worth considering. I had to ask all sorts of questions to get information. Right then, the business owner stepped into the call, she introduced herself and within five minutes was able to give me a concise, clear and compelling review of the product. At that moment of time, my frustration changed into a new sense of opportunity. And it was right in that instance – I knew why she was the one who was able to sell her idea of a startup to Venture Capitalists, employees and board of advisors.
We all are sales people in some way or the other. And this skill is key element in our business and personal relationships. The good ones know it is not what they think or feel that makes a difference. They make it all about the person on the other end of the line. And leave them in a state better than they found them…
Give up your perception of sales people that are a nag and just think about themselves. The Good ones are a class apart…And in their act they teach you a thing or two about the “art of selling”…And you find yourself SMILING!!!
Smart are those, who keep in touch with not only family but also their professional acquaintances and friends. After all, it is only by staying in touch you will have any idea what is going on in their lives. And only with that knowledge, is there any possibility for you to share, help or get-help.
I don’t deny then there are people who just have nothing to share or contribute and still want to waste your time. Now, these are the tough ones. Still the idea is to be as congenial as you can. Just make sure there is no drain on your energies. Being nice goes a long way. And in doing so, please remember to be nice to yourself too…
With the weekend here, who are you going to spend time with, what are your plans – whatever you do – please keep in touch with people who you care about and who care about you. Care here includes your wellness, happiness and prosperity.
Yes, man is a social animal – and he thrives on adrenaline rush . It is in the moment when your heart is beating, the risk ahead gives you the chills that humans come alive. I believe it is a meditative state – you are in the moment. There is nothing that matters – you are in action. Then there are many folks who are risk-averse. They will never leave the comfort of the known and familiar. They are happy and content in this state.
I believe there are similarities in these dissimilarities – in action or in in-action – be in the moment. Choose what story you want to make for yourself – non-risky or risky. And make it a story that empowers you and makes you happy.
And then plan your life in a way to make sure it is totally fitting your story.
And go with that…
Interestingly, anytime we start a project, an initiative or a relationship – we like to keep our options open. Subconsciously, we like to always have a “back door” policy just in case things don’t work out our way. Sometimes, it is to hedge our risks, sometimes to expand our options and sometimes we are just not sure.
Either way, we are busy thinking why things might not work rather than focusing on how to make it work.
Making things work is a skill that makes a business professional successful and humans fulfilled in personal lives. So, how does this work?
Have you observed that somethings and some situations in your lives happen repeatedly. You find yourselves running into the kind of people you want to avoid…Important to see is the “You” are in the middle of this always.
Helen Keller was the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Limited by an imposed isolation by a near complete lack of language and to blossom into an effective communicator, she had only one choice – learn to speak and communicate. She learned to “hear” people’s speech by reading their lips with her hands…there was no back door options she had to learn to speak given the challenges and spent much of her life giving speeches and lectures.
Point is – the only way to solve the problems is by facing them. The courage to face comes from “how badly you want to solve the problem?”. And once you get good at solving problems – your life’s narrative changes and you no more have problems or limitations just another circumstance and it is is your hands to change the circumstance in your favor. Are you ready to burn the ship, after you get off on the island?
In business and life, we tend to get focused on what we want and sometimes overlook the importance of giving. And when faced with the idea of “giving” for most part, we think it is money. At that moment of time, it is important to factor in “state” this thought leads you into – “I don’t have enough”, “I can’t help” OR even maybe “Can I vanish?”
Time and again, we feel constraint in our ability to help with money due to our own obligations. And we tend to be hard on ourselves for it. Good news is – You are NOT alone.
Here are some recent observations that might help in getting a breakthrough with this constraint:
1. In the recent Forbes list of “Wealthiest People” – Bill Gates was featured for the 19th year in a row. Even though, he gave a large chunk of this wealth away for philanthropic causes, his existing stock options got an incremental lift of 20% last year and that secured him the seat at the top in the Forbes Wealthiest list.
Bottom line, even universe reciprocates…
2. At the DreamForce conference last week in SF, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com gave free passes to conference Keynotes and Expo. Many those who didn’t want to go also went. And even if they were not interested in any of the products, they learnt. Guess! who are they calling when they have a need that matches a business requirement. And ofcourse! everyone blogged about the conference and the fact that “social business” is a reality and “relationships matter” as the core theme of the conference. Now, no money and no publicity can buy this kind of respect and credibility.
Final thought, reciprocation is voluntary and is priceless…
If you have been in love, you know that reciprocation is an automatic mechanism. You don’t plan for it or even expect it. But “get” it anyway…Reciprocation Rules in nature, business and life.
Attended Tony Robbins talk this morning in San Francisco. I have always wanted to see him speak. And when Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, created the possibility to hear him for FREE (all you had to do was “like” DreamForce conference on Facebook and answer one question survey), I was no going to miss it for anything.
One thing that resonated a lot with me was Tony’s statement – “Being weird is the new COOL”.
Now let’s looks at some of my favorite people – Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and most recently Lady Gaga. They all are weird is some sort of the way.
And the reason why they are weird is because of their view, values and ventures are very radical. Lets for a moment study them:
Views: They all had some hard obstacles. Most of them came from humble beginnings yet they accomplished what they did because they viewed themselves accountable for what they wanted. They viewed their obstacles as an opportunity to try something new.
E.g. Mahatma Gandhi had become convinced that India could never be truly free as long as it remained part of the British Empire. This view led him to demand independence as India’s price for helping Britain during the second world war.
Values: Some of them went through some really tough times. These trying times made them stronger.
E.g. Mahatma Gandhi stuck to his values on non-violence even when he was subjected to excruciating pain and physical torture. Nelson Mandela served twenty seven years in prison as a symbol of anti-apartheid movement.
Ventures: When the stakes are high, game becomes interesting. And if you come from a place of courage and wonder chances are you will make a big dent in the world (for the better). Playing a safe, predictable and small game, limits us to test out the power in us. Most accomplished people took on some crazy ventures. They have a HUNGER to make a difference, they stay hungry and foolish.
E.g. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, raised in a Brooklyn, N.Y., housing project. The Wall Street was dubious of the fact that consumers would be willing to pay $3-4 for coffee when it was available for $0.50 in other places. He wasn’t taking a “no” for an answer and today when you think coffee the first word that comes to your mind is “Starbucks” (2011 Revenue – $26.5B)
Being weird is NOT all that crazy IT is COOL!!!
It is easy to underestimate the value of “communication skills” for being effective in business and personal life. In today’s world, almost everyone has traveled (awareness), engaged with different cultures (exposure) and perhaps know more than two languages (empowered). About five years ago, these were pillars of being skilled in communication skills – being aware, exposed and empowered. Not any more!!!
You might think, it is a BOLD statement. Well! it is.
The world around us is changing rapidly. More than ever, we need to look inside and evaluate if we truly and genuinely know how to connect and listen to people. The only litmus test for a good communicator is “People act on his ideas”.
It is easy to blame cultural, mindset and language barriers for the lack of productivity in business but more likely the fact is lack of relationship of trust. People only work with people they trust. And trust is built over time. It takes years of work to build TRUST – there is no magic-wand. So, if you are dealing with a tough situation – Don’t be hard on yourself…
Listening is key to having communication skills – only when you are able to listen to what is being said AND NOT what your mind is interpreting or your bias is filtering or even your conditioning is evaluating – is when you become effective in listening. Believe me, people know if you are doing any of those things. And they are more likely to be shaking their heads, pretending they are listening BUT it is far from listening. Further, they feel disrespected and frustrated…and hence the delays.
If you can be in the person’s show who is speaking and listen to them and identify with where they are coming from and show genuine interest is when you will be perceived as a good listener. And if you master this skill, you will win over people and build TRUST at a velocity.
And it is then when your communication skills will take effect…because you listened first, people will be more willing to listen to you.
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With the current globalization and technological advancements, we are seeing an exponential growth in diversity in our world. People are transcending cultures and geographies and are embracing diversity in their experiences and interactions with others. Most importantly, this book is a thought provoking resource for managers and those who work with a diverse group of people, be it in the workforce, community projects, team building assignments, social gatherings, or business meetings.
Do people trust you?
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