Friday, 12 May 2017

#1 method to achieve Employee Centricity and Customer Centricity

Leadership has always been fond of talking on centricity - most often Customer centricity followed by Employee centricity. Every leader wants to hold his flag high enough for the world to see that he has customer centric team in a employee centric organization

One can find immense literature on how, why, what and what not on both aspects. You can even find comparisons between both or how one leads to another.
However since the origin of these term the #1 method to achieve still is to: LISTEN
Yes, Listen..the "Act NoW to Listen" and "Listen NoW to Act" is the only secret sauce to be the front runner on roads of everlasting success.

For Customer Centricity:

Listen to your customer who buys the product, listen to actual end user using the product, listen to people who are using the outcome from your product, listen to field or sales, listen to the support, listen to quality assurance, listen to engineering, designers and everyone who has built the product or is ever going to use it.
Ask them to show you how the product has returned hours to their life? Yes, returning hours to life - is only outcome of any successful product or service. - We will definitely talk about it in next article.

For Employee Centricity:

Listen to your employees - every one of them , everyday - FTE, Non Payroll workers, Short term employees, teleworkers, employees who step into office every single day in thunder, showers or rain..employees who are working from far lands or across the ocean, whom you may never meet or see.

Listen to all of them - 'coz everyday they bid goodbye to family and kids to come to work. All the extra hours beyond the call of duty to build a successful product or service comes from the same 24 hour rolling window.
It never matters whether the employee is sitting in some small cube at branch office in India or headquarters in US or Europe. They all must have access and entitlement to exact same facilities, exact same policies, benefits, accreditations and applause.

What to Listen?

Listen to small humming sounds coming from employees about - cafeteria, conference rooms, temperature in the cube, transportation worries - issues with these will brutally delete effective hours and engagement.

Listen to small humming sounds coming from customers about - logout, faint text - which cannot be read, too many clicks, ineffective upgrades or frequent patches - issue with these will brutally delete reputation and respect.

There are numerous tools for outreach, But nothing is comparable to picking up the phone and listening.

So pick up phone and don't be shy to..

Ask your customer - how is it going? Has the product or service returned some hours to his life back ?

Ask you employee - how is it going? Has the facilities or policies returned some hours to his life back?
Remember: Everyone on the planet is granted 24 hours everyday and none of us can create 25th hour. 

Listen and Act

Act and then Listen again...

More about Act in next article, till then "Learn to Listen."

You can follow me on twitter: @hirdug

All posts are also published on my blog: Linkedin :

Monday, 15 June 2015

Mix Models for traveler in Corporate Jungle - Part 1

Corporate presentation writers are fond of using jargon of mix - like 4P of marketing, 7S or creating new English acronyms like SWOT, SMART Goals. The answer to why is simple - they catch attention, are easy to remember and often successful in leaving a mark on the audience.

I thought of collating couple of interesting mix models I have used in my presentations. While most of these are inspired from writings of great authors and researchers, couple are from my corporate experience.

From the surface these may be regarded as mere jargon, however each combination in itself holds the true truths to achieve. Without further ado, I present Jargon which a traveler in Corporate Jungle would hear every other day.

  • 3 Ts to achieve project goals:

  1. Talent : Always have motivated talent around. Above the ladder, On the ladder & the ones holding the ladder
  2. Technique: Never stop enhancing the techniques you use to deliver. Keep chiseling the processes, keep identifying better, faster and cost-effective techniques to build.
  3. Tools: Always use finest of tools available. Train and motivate staff to use better tools to minimize human intervention and effort.
  • 3 As to consider when we hire talent

  1. Attitude: Every HR rule book will talk about it, however seldom hiring manager are able to look beyond the resume. I insist however to spend time with candidate to look for subtle clues on attitude. It's the attitude which brings in statements like "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth".
  2. Aptitude: is inherent, though there are methods to actually improve and reach new highs. I recommend to see how good are real world problem solving and critical thinking skills person has.
  3. Altitude: is something that is beyond halo effect, it's the real metal with which a person is made of. The technical acumen, the art and ease to address defines the altitude (=depth) of the person.
  • 3 Goals for CEO: ABC = Attract Build Connect.

  1. Attract Talent: This goal in itself  is large enough to consume new CEO's first 90 days on Job; keep him busy for most of his tenure. Great Talent on CEO's list wins all battles for him. CEOs who fail to attract and inspire talent fail too soon.
  2. Build Visibility: Visibility of everything, transparency in everything being done, envisioned to be done and dreamed to be done.
  3. Connect Clients: All CEOs know this goal and enjoy, however only when it's done with passion face to face it makes all the difference.

  • 5 Step Transition Plan across shores.

  1. Attach: Send probes (=talent with tools) across the shore and attach them close. The only task for them is to collect data and send it home.
  2. Build: Bring & Build resources at home, across shore and around the ecosystem. Deep dive in data from probes and use hardened analytical techniques to formulate ahead strategy. Begin Advertising...
  3. Convert: Convert both people & process for higher efficiency. Send enhanced probes further across the shore. Keep converting, deploy larger tool-set for deeper impact and flourish. Transition is complete by now.
  4. Drive: Drive the culture of execution and getting things done. Bring in specialists, use data collated so far and establish models for larger than life goals.
  5. Enhance:Enhance models driving excellence and building bases for next transitions. Add business values on both shores, enhance capabilities around, sharpen probes, reward, celebrate and get ready for next upcoming transition.

  • The Real 5 Whys ?: These are actual 5 Whys, to which a traveler in corporate jungle must find answers. They define the reason for his existence, for his desire to move on and reach. 'Start with Why' is the first step on the journey of collective excellence.

  1. Why Now ?: Is this the correct moment ? If Yes, then fire on all cannons.
  2. Why Here ?: Is this the place where the mind is without fear and head is held high ? ~ Ref: Rabindranath Tagore.
  3. Why This ?: Is this what is actually desired ? Is this the real goal ?
  4. Why Me ?: Am I the right person to accomplish and achieve, If not what/who is required ?
  5. Why Not ?: This is what answers the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. The "Why not?" clears the doubts and propels the function and person forward. Keep asking why not to move ahead.

  • 6 Cs to form High Performance Culture:

  1. Connect: with every individual on the team
  2. Communicate: with passion, with enthusiasm - the reason,Answer WHYs, answer why it is so important deliver excellence, what are the differentiators, and how to achieve them.
  3. Cross-train: for newer advanced tools, processes and technologies.
  4. Cultivate: values, trust, energy.
  5. Conclude: achievements.
  6. Celebrate: with all on the floor. It's mandatory to establish sense of completion.
This is end of Part 1 of 3 part series. In part 2, I will Decode the code: Corporate Meetings and Townhalls.

You can follow me on twitter: @hirdug

This post was first published on Linkedin:

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Write your wishlist today: #1 advice for Leaders & Followers

There can never be better collation of thoughts than to write about 'wishlists' on birthday. :)
In dictionaries worldwide wishlist are defined as 'a list of desired things or occurrences.' This is something that has ability to sum up all expectations - from now to then, from present to future, even for the future so distant that no one has ever seen before.
Writing a true wishlist requires clarity and purity in thoughts, it requires courage and confidence to publish it to the world and sometimes it may take years to strike off each item after fulfilment.
The reason to emphasize on writing a wishlist is simple - unless there is a wishlist, there is a little chance of clarity on the goal to achieve or destination to reach. Without a wishlist leader cannot guide and follower cannot follow the path. A CEO will surely miss the mission and Project Manager will keep crying foul on scope creep :)
Wishlist published at the beginning of the project will keep teams on precise path during execution and sponsors delighted at the closure. In my opinion managing the wishlist is all what 'project management' is all about.
I encourage to screw around vigorously (Way # 108 S.A.V from The little big things by Tom Peters)  to get your reporting staff, your manager, your leadership, your CEO, your board, even your wife & kids to write true wishlists and publish it to you. Begin by asking - what is it that you truly desire ? Ask this question openly in townhalls, in your quarterly reviews, or weekly meetings or simply whenever you meet next.
Once wishlists are written and published - there is zero confusion on scope, expectation, the destination or the goal forever. Next steps become simple to take and that too on correct path - from the wishlists leaders & followers both know - whether to take the road less travelled or just keep treading on the beaten path.
Getting wishlists written becomes the forward step to take after Next Natural Step of Start with Why (preceding post). It settles dust & confusion, and is capable of getting everybody sign up for team.
Wishlists are important tool for everybody - from CEOs to Employees, from Head of the family to junior of the family, Wishlists have the ability to make or break a relationship.
In the chapter of humanity - relationship is all that matters - it's beyond the contract.
For tweets follow me on twitter: @hirdug

Friday, 17 April 2015

Start with Why: Next Natural Step

Once the soul is written, the next natural step is to anoint the team. For this, I recommend to 'Start with Why' ~ Simon Sinek ( of The Golden Circle fame. Here is his TED Talk : How great leaders inspire action

I use 'The Golden Circle' from Start with Why (ISBN-13: 978-1591846444) to set perimeter on my efforts to build high performance, for the inception of excellence and to naturally align all around in the discipline of getting things done. Here I strongly recommend Execution: The discipline of getting things done ~  Lawrence Bossidy and Ram Charan (ISBN-13: 978-0609610572).

As leader one must be able to inspire people to act. Quoting Simon, "The golden circle finds order and predictability in human behavior. Put simply, it helps us understand why we do what we do. It’s for the leader (the Senior Manager) to be the guardian of this Why, enabling the team to align and bond around that belief."

This human quest of being curious is the key. Everyone on the team is curious - curious to know why they are there, what are they suppose to do, how it is to be done, where is the goal, how big is the reward, why is the purpose.

This is how I apply the principle:

I Connect with each and every individual on my team,

I Communicate with passion, with enthusiasm - the reason, I answer their WHYs, I answer why it is so important deliver excellence, what are our differentiators, and how to achieve them. I tell them "It's not luck (yes, I am referring to E. M Goldratt - I recommend to read both The Goal & It's not luck whenever you are missing the link in that Critical Chain.)."

I Cross-train staff to open them up to newer advanced tools, processes and technologies.

I Cultivate values, trust, energy in them.

I Conclude achievements and

I Celebrate with everyone on the floor.

Always remember and use these 6 C's to create your team viz Connect, Communicate, Cross-train, Cultivate, Conclude and Celebrate.

As a leader do not just sign off on a plan. Always ask an explanation, and drill down until the answers are clear on execution.

Quoting Execution - "Dialogue is the core of culture and the basic unit of work. Good judgments come from practice and experience". The building blocks of execution culture are defined with utmost clarity by Ram & Lawrence. I am quoting them as follows:

  • Know your people and your business: Show up & connect personally. Show up on conference calls, prefer video (skype, gtalk, OCS etc.), Listen first & Talk next.
  • Insist of realism: Regularly do SWOT Analysis - with Direct Reports, Skip-levels, be it Directors, Sr. Managers, Technical Team. Introduce these tools to your ground work-force (even Band X/Zero)
  •  Set clear goals and priorities: Involve people, focus on max 4 priorities, always set time-bound goals. Set measurement scale. Speak Simple.
  • Follow through: Take a walk, wander around, see your people on the floor, walk across the assembly line, take clues from MBWA - Management by Wandering Around (Tom Peters). Video: Narrative: .
  • Reward the doers: Always reward in public with applause. Speak with passion about the good work and how it adds to the discipline.
  • Expand people’s capabilities: Carefully choose people on the team, craft the structure and invest to build capabilities. Provide a fertile environment and people will grow. Encourage tools like wiki to share and collaborate. Induce automation for mundane tasks.
  • Know yourself: This is of utmost importance. Teams you build, culture you establish, achievements you make are all replica of yourself. Be-Aware - it's the first life-skill. Refer to my blog: Be Authentic & contain your ego.
Establishing high performance, building a culture of execution, driving excellence is always done with people. 

Be Human...Always

You can follow me on twitter: @hirdug 

This post was first published on LinkedIn:

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Top 10 TED Talks on my index

 Quite recently, I became aware of TED talks and soon my mornings began to start afresh with a TED Talk. Today morning at 6 a.m, I finished watching 200th TED Talk. This is when I thought of indexing.  Here is my index of top 10 TED Talks :).

These are the ones, that have influenced my consciousness & my thought process in big way. In future post, I will talk more on these talks and many other TED talks that keep influencing me and many other. Till then, visit and enjoy the joy of listening to great talks and presenters.

1. Sir Ken Robinson  How schools kill creativity

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. 

In his words "kids will take a chance. If they don't know, they'll have a go. Am I right? They're not frightened of being wrong. I don't mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original -- if you're not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this. We stigmatize mistakes."

2. Shawn Achor : The happy secret to better work

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.

3. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers. Simon is an immensely passionate speaker. I use his "Golden Circle" to build my  strongly knitted team.

4. Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend -   -

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

5. Amy Cuddy:  Your body language shapes who you are

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

6. Susan Cain:  The power of introverts

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

7. Guy Kawasaki  The art of innovation:

Guy Kawasaki is a special advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google. He is also the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. In Top 10 format talk he talks in detail on art of innovation through very interesting frame. Hugely passionate talk keeps you bound. "Great Products polarize people & Perfect your Pitch"

 8. Richard St. John : 8 secrets of success
Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.

9. Angela Lee Duckworth:  The key to success? Grit

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

10. Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory

Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness

Step Zero: Writing the Soul of your own High Performance Team

Every time, I talk on building a high performance team, people are curious. And all want to know if there is an stone carved step by step guide to build on, or if there is a secret sauce at a store nearby they can buy and add to team, or what's the first step to begin with. On all these curious questions, more often than not I briefly smile, and I say, "There is no guide, no secret sauce or the first step, but there is Step Zero, and that's the biggest leap of faith one can take. The journey begins with actually writing the soul of your own High Performance Team."

The soul of your High Performance Team is true-copy of thyself, it's not a shadow (a darker shade which vanishes when times are dark) and it's also not a reflection (mirror images are vice-versa). One has to personally write the soul and publish to all the world around, for every one to acknowledge it's presence & bring it to life.

The soul of my High Performance Teams is written around the central idea to - "enjoy the joy of togetherness" and the "view" each individual has of another in the team.

Once the soul is written, rest is not Utopian to achieve. Publish the soul to each & every individual and frame all other expectations around it. Building a high performing team is different from carving a high performing leader, it is different from hive-mind thought process, it's collaborative incremental effort, bit like building each muscle in the body.

I have kept this post short on purpose to establish the simplicity & importance of writing the soul. In future post on the series, I will talk in detail on many other aspects of High Performance Team building methods (not sequential steps :) )

Couple of those are published in presentation at slide-share: Anthem - Raise the Bar

This post was first published on my LinkedIn.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Wishing the World a Very Happy & Spectacular 2015 ahead.

Wishing the World a Very Happy & Spectacular 2015 ahead.   
May Lord continue to shower happiness, joy & delight.  

In 2015 - Be Awesome. Engage & Enjoy to have immense fun.