Sunday, 12 October 2014

Schedule like the CEO

"Since I have started a family and know that I need to close the office doors sharp at 6, I have become far more productive than the times when I had every opportunity to sit there till late . . .
However, it doesn't deter me from going out of the way for a client in a different time zone or if a special request comes up"

--- Rohit Thakral
Target Integration Ltd.
Dublin, Ireland
It is boring for some, difficult for others but the bottom line is- To lead a more fulfilling and productive life, Scheduling is an absolute necessity. A lot of us might think that this is a very rigid, inflexible & boring way of living life- stuck in the same everyday routine of hourly tasks; but surprisingly- 'It is Not'. As a matter of fact, people who stick to a schedule and are good time managers are found to lead a far more fulfilling & successful life. The secret- "By staying completely focussed on the work at hand in that designated time, they reach a whole new level of mastery in performing & completing that task. Which leaves them with enough time for all the other things they want to pursue (like socializing)"
Of course it is important to be flexible to avoid monotony, to make space for personal commitments, special engagements or events which might suddenly pop up one morning; but compromising upon your priority list might not be a very good option to go about it.
The ability to say- "NO" also greatly helps in managing our time effectively and prioritizing our commitments. But isn't it rude?? Isn't it difficult to 'Refuse' a proposal, an invitation or even a project (which you know you won't be able to fulfil)- Probably Not! A recent article in the 'Business Insider' by Brian de Haaff recommends four ways that can help us become more comfortable while saying No. It says that if a person a) Has a well defined vision and a well structured priority list, b) Genuinely understands the other person's request and the reason behind it, c) Responds quickly to the request and above all d) Explains his/her point well; then there is an extremely less chance that his denial will be perceived in a negative manner. In fact, one of the important identifiers of the fact that you are surrounded by sensible friends and great business associates is that they value your time as much as they value theirs.
In my personal opinion, if there is a single quality that can help us become superb time managers and greatly improve the other avenues in our life, it is DISCIPLINE.  Leadership expert Jim Rohn has rightly said- “Disciplined action is what gives birth to ideas, enterprise and values". But why is it that we are always reluctant to inculcate Discipline in life? Majorly because the results are not immediately visible, but they surely lay a more permanent foundation for success & productivity. When we look at the best & the most productive professionals in the world like the best CEO's, best sales professionals, best consultants we look at the "End Result" & assume them to be 'Gifted'. But we ignore the amount of relentless effort, the amount of discipline that they have followed throughout their lives to be where they are.

Thakral's value for his time, perfect balance between work & family life as well as the ability to go out of the way for a client  reminds me of a superb quote from the Lead Without a Title philosophy- "A commitment to mastery doesn't close at 5 p.m.". (It is just that in his case, it is 6 p.m. !)
'Discipline & Effective Time Management' to 'Success & Productivity' is like 'Rhythm to Music'. Without proper rhythm, even the best composed piece of music would lose its lustre. Times are changing and so are people along with it; but sometimes following pre-modern rules of living is the best you can do. I decide to live in accordance with the age old saying of- "If you don't value time, time will not value you". What about you ? ? ? 
Aim for Nothing but the Peak!
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Monday, 28 July 2014

INTERSTICES- Our Gateway to Productivity

"We have a lot of empty spaces in our lives. I call them INTERSTICES. Say you are coming over to my place. You are in an elevator and while you are coming up, I am waiting for you. This is an interstice, an empty space. I work in empty spaces. While waiting for your elevator to come up from the first to the third floor, I have already written an article"

-----Umberto Eco
Author- The Name of the Rose
These are the words of an award winning Globally recognized writer whose book 'The Name of the Rose' sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. We all can agree that becoming an award winning writer cannot just be a matter of chance or luck, it needs dedication, commitment and perfect utilisation of one's time.

Experts, philosophers and expert philosophers across the world have wisely said that Time is our most valuable possession; but they have also argued that it is our most wasted resource.
But talking realistically, aren't we always out of time, how can we waste time? We are always busy, so busy- meetings, work, socialization. Yes of course we are "Spending" time in some or the other way so sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate between the time we are wasting from that we are spending. Unknowingly, we come across a lot of interstices and before we figure out what to do, they are already gone.

Let's identify some ways in which we can fill these interstices to live a more productive, more fulfilling and a more successful life:

1) COMMUTING- Our commute time is practically the best but unfortunately the most underrated example of an interstice. No matter which mode of transport you take- public or private, commute time can be leveraged in so many ways. While you are on the bus or train, read that best selling book which you always wanted to or listen to that piece of new instrumental music which your colleague recommended. Enhance your motivational levels, be more productive or learn the art of living a contended life by listening to some great audio programs while driving to work. Above all, light music is known for making people calmer so can it can be highly beneficial while driving where it is important to be patient and keep al your senses active.

2) WAITING- In the world of smartphones, tablets and on-the-go internet, it is easy to find something interesting anytime & anywhere you want to. So the next time you are waiting for your cab at the office reception or for you loved one at a restaurant; check out the latest research article on a topic related to your profession so that you can stay ahead of your competition, take a quick look on the latest blog post on how to make your loved one feel special or take the initiative to make that phone call to an old friend to whom you wanted to talk for so long.

3) QUEUING UP- Right from depositing our utility bills to the check-in process before a flight, waiting in queues have become a part of our daily routine and that's again an interstice which most people cannot fill up. Robin Sharma recommends a good way to fill this gap- 'Carry a book wherever you go'. Yes it might seem awkward at the beginning to start reading at every place where you expect to stand in a queue, but think about it, isn't it worth it? So while the person in front of you is shouting on the top of his voice due to an extra cent charged on his last international call, you would be improving your patience levels with some wonderful meditation harmonies, visualising a beautiful scene from a story or might just make a new friend by simply striking a conversation with a person next to you.

4) CREATE YOUR OWN- Good people are a blessing and communication is a gift. We should consider ourselves lucky if we get an opportunity to spend time with some good friends over lunch or at a social gathering. But something equally sacred is- "Silence". Yes, you can create your own interstice and use it the way you want to by simply saying a Strict NO to Distractions and a Polite NO to people when something more important has to be dealt with. Don't worry about sounding offensive just because you turned down a dinner invitation to take a long walk in some fresh air or to write a beautiful poetry. A "True Friend" will always understand and respect your situations which require some personal time and will support you with the same.

So now that we have identified our 'Time Robbers' let us avoid making excuses about our so-called busy schedules and start spending that quality time doing the things we love, with the people we love or simply just simply for your own love.

Aim for Nothing but the Peak!
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Friday, 16 May 2014

The Leaders Who Value What They Hated

"To instil good work ethics in me, my father made me take a job as a clerk for $40/month in the small town of Shahjahanpur. All I had for transportation was a bicycle & the nearest movie hall was 12 miles away. I hated everyday at work...."

                                                               -- Dr. Vijay Mallya
                                                                  Chairman- United Breweries Group
                                                                  Team Principal- Force India Formula 1 team.

Surprising- Isn't it??
Who would have imagined that the billionaire "King of Good times", who is a paradigm for lavish living, would have earned $40 a month and commuted on a bicycle at some point in his life. And it has nothing to do with money, because his father- Vittal Mallya was equally wealthy at that time as well. Vijay Mallya surely had every reason to hate his work, but his father, being much more experienced most likely looked at the bigger perspective and decided to condition his son in this way, to prepare him for the bigger roles in life.

The internationally acclaimed leadership expert- Robin Sharma has rightly said- "Most of us focus on what we are getting rather than what we are becoming" but eventually the latter matters more.
If we take a quick look at our past experiences and that of others, we will surely recall many instances that the moments which we once hated turned out to be the stepping stones for our physical, mental or psychological conditioning and made us stronger in one or more of these aspects. As a child, I hated it when my father forced me to walk many kilometres in one stretch just for letting me get used to it. Today I appreciate the fact that he made me walk long distances as it conditioned my stamina & has turned out to be extremely beneficial in terms of my health and also whenever a mode of transport is not easily accessible to me. Its like any other challenging situation, tough at the beginning, and much easier when you get used to it.

Lakshmi Mittal- the billionaire steel magnate, believes that his present day achievements are the results of his childhood hardships. Hailing from a small village in the Indian state of Rajasthan which lacked even the basic amenities, Mittal mentioned in one of his interviews- "When you live in a joint family, you get less attention from your parents, which persuades you to study hard, work hard and makes you more independent".
An important quality that can be learnt from successful leaders is- "Persistence". Legend has it that great people never tried to escape a situation no matter how much they hated it. They endured it, fought with it, lived with it but giving up was probably the last thing on their mind. It was persistence that helped Lakshmi Mittal secure admission in a top notch English medium college despite of the initial reluctance of the principal due to Mittal's Hindi speaking background. This young boy who was initially at the verge of getting rejected eventually topped the college.

Another key to having a successful business and an amazing personal life which most leaders follow is- "Humility". And the lessons learnt from these so called times of hatred, prove to be extremely beneficial in keeping their feet firmly on ground even after achieving tremendous levels of success and thinking about the well-being of people working under them or those are not unfortunately at that level as they are today. Mallya enjoys quality time on his yacht (The Indian Empress) yet humbly pats the back of his security guard as he knows what it is to ride a bicycle. Despite of owning the most expensive home in the world, Mukesh Ambani is involved in a number of charities for the betterment of the poor & needy as he knows what it is to live in a 2BHK apartment; and steel baron Mittal would still pay attention to even the minute details of his multi billion dollar business as he knows what it is to live in a small village with no electricity.
If at all for once, just once we try to introspect the toughest times of our lives, we would be amazed to find striking improvements it has made to our present day personality.

"It is the Challenge that makes you work harder, when you have so many challenges, you become more determined" says Mittal...

Aim for Nothing but the Peak!
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Thursday, 20 March 2014


Leadership Story

A very talented poet, who mostly wrote about beauty was once asked the secret of the perfection he portrayed in his writings:
"There is no secret" he said, "I am just like any other person blessed with this extraordinary gift of writing; like we all are blessed with some or the other gift. The only open secret I can share is INSPIRATION. I listen music from different parts of the world and songs in the languages which I don't even have a clue of. Right from Arabic, Baloch, Pashto to my favourite- Turkish (The faint sound of the song "Boş Bardak" by Fettah Can could be heard in the background). It makes me feel lost in the inner joy which resides in the heart of every human being and helps me bring a sense of divinity, purity and depth in whatever I write."
It is natural for us to think that such wonderful lines might be a result of a lot of hard work and burning the mid night oil for many hours, but the perfectionist poet has a different opinion towards it. "Frankly speaking it does not take that much time for me to actually write a poem" he says. "Yes it takes a lot of time to 'think' about it but that thinking is effortless. My qualities of being a keen observant and living in the moment allow anything and everything to inspire me and I just need to incorporate these in my poetry. Even the thought of writing something fills positive energy within me, so much so, that I sometimes even wake up early morning with excitement to perform some lovely experiments with beautiful words.
He continues- "There is so much, honestly, so much inspiration in the world in the form of good music, good poetry, good literature and even scenic natural beauty, that it has the ability to take us places both with respect to our imagination, our creation and in our personal as well as professional lives. And as per my own personal experiences- 'The music you listen to doesn't necessarily has to be in the language you know'. Music is beyond the barriers of language and any piece of beautiful music inspires me to see the world around even more beautifully. It also sub-consciously inspires me to write more & more wonderful pieces of poetry"
On being asked what he himself thinks about his quality of being a superb writer & poet and also about all the appreciation he receives from the people who read his work or from those who are actually the subjects of his writings, the  Perfectionist Poet smiled and  humbly replied- "It is less about my skill and more about the beautiful creations of God for whom I write because- Every beautiful piece of  poetry has an even more beautiful inspiration behind it"....
Aim for Nothing but the Peak!
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Friday, 14 February 2014


The credit of this post goes to a couple I observed a few weeks back having frequent arguments during their entire duration of shopping at a super store with two cute kids with them observing every reaction and response of their parents.
And I said to myself- "How many times do we create an impression about things and situations by looking and idealising just ONE PERSON"

So many people out there lose trust in relationships and the institution of marriage just because they have seen a few couples fighting ignoring the ones who have lived and are living a great life with each other. So many of us lose faith in our superb business ideas just because we have seen a few people fail in business, ignoring those who have become super-successful with the power of their ideas and creative innovations. So many of us leave the hope of finding the right partner just because many others didn't get one and above all, so many of us never try anything new and keep living the monotonous life we always have just because a few others failed while trying something new, once again, ignoring those who dared to go beyond conventions and eventually lived a more fulfilling life. It all happens only and only because we idealise the wrong people in all these aspects.
It zeroes down to a single quality- "Focus". Leaders across the world firmly believe in this superb quality and also in the power of attraction- 'You will attract only what you firmly believe in and focus upon'. So once again I leave the decision in your hands- Focus on the most ideal people in Business, people living those ideal lives and couples portraying a perfect example of that Ideal relationship and you will undoubtedly become a walking example of that yourself.

Aim for Nothing but the Peak!
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Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Young Future of Leadership

For so many decades, the word "Leadership" has been inherently associated with the word "Corporate". Think about leadership and you think about well dressed, senior businessmen discussing and negotiating with equally smart and well dressed people.
But there is a category of people, some selected individuals who are RE-DEFINING the art of leadership. They have made the world realise that leadership is not just about running billion dollar business and wearing three piece suits. They have redefined leadership by including it in even the smallest scale of work that they do by wearing a pair of casuals and giving it its true meaning- "Giving your absolute best at whatever you do", which is what true leadership is all about. And that category is- "YOUTH".
Many members of the Gen Y took a bold step by starting to 'Convert their Passion into their Profession' which can be considered as a crucial decision towards leading their way to the top. They broke the cliché of just pursuing the conventional way of living and followed their dreams without considering the thoughts of the world as they truly believed in their passion and above all, had the burning desire to excel in the same.
Surely the society up to a good extent deserves the credit for that as it started accepting these unconventional professionals in a more comfortable manner by removing the word "Just" from the sentences- "Oh, he is 'just' a painter", "He is 'just' a guitarist" or "He is 'just' a theatre actor"; which in turn is encouraging more and more people to follow their hearts. But this shift ultimately was initiated only by those young leaders who had the strength to go beyond convention and showed the world the power and importance of these so called "not so famous" professions.
The youth may be considered as irresponsible by some and careless by others, but it gives me immense happiness to see that they are laying the foundation of a new and better society; a society in which people would not be scared to follow their passion, a society where everyone would deserve equal rewards for their profession and above all, a society of the NEXT GENERATION LEADERS...

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Universal Leadership

While pursuing my Bachelor's degree in Engineering, I studied a subject called Fundamentals of Management. A wonderful concept learnt from that subject was- "Management is Universal". That is, right from an NGO to high end corporations and from a restaurant to an airline, management is everywhere and at every level of the organizational hierarchy. And why I consider this concept as "wonderful" is because it is relatively simple, we go through it everyday, we manage things everywhere every moment but still don't realise it until we 'Read' it.

The same applies to Leadership, but with a small difference. Management is inherently present everywhere, but leadership- "You have to instil it Boss!" There's not much of a rocket science involved, in fact, it is pretty simple, while you are managing something, just do it in the best possible manner, in a way better than no one ever did, in a way so excellent and so impeccable that you become an example, an inspiration for others and before you know it- "You start LEADING".

After reading- 'The Leader who had no title' by Robin Sharma, I realised that you don't need to be the CEO or any top management position holder to portray Leadership. Even at the 'seemingly' unimportant designations, you can inspire others simply by doing what you do in the best possible manner and moreover, staying inspired by your ultimate goal in life- Being the absolute best!

We cannot even imagine how many creative initiatives we can take to condition our smallest of passions and make our professions even more interesting. And furthermore, we also can't imagine the extent to which our creative initiatives can inspire others.
So this new year 2014, stop thinking that you are ordinary, stop thinking that your work is unimportant and stop thinking that you are too young or too old to do something significant. But start feeling that YOU CAN LEAD AS YOU ARE, WHEREVER YOU ARE & AT WHATEVER YOU DO.

Aim for Nothing but the Peak!
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