Archive for December, 2009

Top 25 Companies for Leaders

December 18th, 2009 No comments

Press Release title:  Hewitt Associates, The RBL Group and FORTUNE Announce Global Top Companies for Leaders

Here are some excerpts from the press release that caught my eye:

“even during the economic downturn, Global Top Companies remained committed to building leadership capability within their organizations. In other words, tighter budgets and fewer resources forced these organizations to think and act smarter and more creatively about what really mattered when it came to leadership — but they didn’t lose focus.”

“Strong leadership is a critical element in helping global companies successfully compete, yet many organizations lack the know-how and infrastructure to create a robust pipeline of leaders for future success. Simply put, they lack the discipline to build leaders”

Here are some of the key elements of the companies that leverage Leadership:

  • Leadership remains a critical priority — in good or bad economic times
  • Succession planning is deliberate and consistent
  • Leaders clearly understand what is expected of them as leaders
  • Developing the next generation of leaders is a priority (formal program in place)

According to the panel, the Top Companies for Leaders are:

  1. IBM
  2. The Procter & Gamble Company
  3. General Mills, Inc.
  4. McKinsey & Company
  5. ICICI Bank Ltd.
  6. McDonald’s Corporation
  7. General Electric Company
  8. Titan Cement Company S.A.
  9. China Mobile Communications Corporation – Shanghai Ltd.
  10. Hindustan Unilever
  11. Natura Cosmeticos S.A.
  12. Colgate Palmolive
  13. TNT N.V.
  14. Deere & Company
  15. Whirlpool Corporation
  16. 3M Company
  17. Cargill, Incorporated
  18. Olam International
  19. Eli Lilly and Company
  20. PepsiCo, Inc.
  21. American Express Company
  22. Lockheed Martin Corporation
  23. Intel Corporation
  24. Infosys Technology
  25. FedEx Corporation

The full press release can be found here:

Top 25 Global Companies for Leaders
Categories: Leadership Tags:

December 15th, 2009 1 comment

There are no short-cuts, it takes a life time of hard work, preparation, and continuous learning!

– Warren Buffet –

Categories: Quotes Tags:

Free Stuff – iPhone Applications that can help you grow

December 13th, 2009 No comments

In an effort to utilize some of the time that goes to waste everyday, I decided to download some non-fiction books for my iPhone.  My plan was to put the various time slots that are normally spent not being used productively in a more constructive manner.  And so my search started and found some free applications.  I approached with caution because I was not expecting much from free stuff.

I found a number of applications created by the folks at Tapstack where they have taken a number of non-fiction books and converted some of the core content into flash cards that are easily viewable on the iPhone.  Here are some of the books that I downloaded from the AppStore.

SparkPilot.com_Iditarod_Leadership image SparkPilot.com_New_Art_of_Managing_People image SparkPilot.com_100_ways_to_motivate_others image

The application provides selected content specifically formatted for the iPhone screen.  Here are some screen shots of the applications.

SparkPilot.com_Iditarod_Leadership_card_image image SparkPilot.com_NAMP_card_image image

There are a number of books available and I found the best way to find them was to search for “tapstack” using the search function in the appstore.

Now, you can continue your personal growth whenever you have some exra time that would normally have been wasted.

10 Reasons why we fail? Plus 3 from me for an unlucky 13

December 8th, 2009 3 comments

I recently came across a post regarding 10 reasons why people fail.  For the folks that know me, I prefer to focus on the positive but in this case I do believe that there are some great points raised. I have taken the liberty of changing the ranking sequence listed in the original post slightly.  I also inserted a number of  items of items of my own in the list.  Please refer to the original blog post for details on the reasons that are from the original post that can be found here:  10 Reasons Why You’re Probably Going to Fail

And the 13 Reasons…..

  • It’s not your passion
  • You don’t have a plan.
  • You’re waiting for it to be perfect
  • You’re afraid of failure
  • You’re not willing to work hard
  • You don’t have the skills or knowledge
    • Not knowing what to do becomes  tends to cause more paralysis the longer the challenge stays without a solution.  Here are some tips that can help:
      • Break the problem into smaller pieces
        • Large problems generally consist of lots of smaller issues/challenges.  Think of the problem as Thanks Giving dinner – eat it one mouthful at a time with a smile
      • Separate the problem from the solution
        • Define and understand the problem first.  When the problem is defined and clear, then work on the solution for each problem.
      • Put your ego away and ask for help
        • To soften the blow on the ego, you can do brainstorming sessions to elicit help from others.
        • Discuss the situation with your mentors and get their input.
        • Enlist help from team mates, when part of a team, it is less about asking for help and more about collaborative teamwork.  Remember, your baby is never ugly, so get people to help you make the baby.
      • Fill in the skills Gap
        • Attend a class
        • Do research and Read – books, blogs, Internet searches
        • Ask for help
  • You don’t trust yourself
    • Or put differently, I don’t have the self confidence
      • The first thing here is to stop stabbing yourself with the butter knife!!!  Come on, putting yourself down like this is no different from stabbing yourself with a butter knife.  Your get to stab but no one knows that you are stabbing yourself because it is not life threatening.
      • Build yourself up through supportive statements
      • Trust in your instincts / gut, afterall in most case, your manager would not have hired you if you could not deliver the goods
      • Start small and build up slowly and regularly.  Succeed at least once a day!
  • You do not have the support
    • We cannot succeed alone and we all need support.
      • Start by supporting yourself!!!  When others see that you are supporting yourself, they will follow your lead and support you too.
      • Support generates support other in a genuine manner because then they will support you
      • Ensure that you goals align with your manager’s because then they are incented to support in return
      • Teamwork and collaboration is the best source of support
      • Get a mentor(s) and/or a coach
  • It’ll outgrow you
  • You’ve had success in the past
  • You’re unwilling to stop doing something else
  • You won’t build a team of friends
  • You won’t have the tough conversations

Categories: Behavior, People Tags: ,

Vampires and Wolves: No, watch out for the Zombies?

December 6th, 2009 No comments

With the current Twilight craze going on, everyone is talking about Vampires and Wolves.  This got me thinking about the various “personalities” that we encounter at the office, more particularly High Performance Teams.  The three that came to mind, are the Vampires, Wolves and Zombies.

Vampires – there are different types of vampires.  The vampire that comes to mind is the blood sucker or the Sang Vampire or Sanguinarian Vampire as the smart people call them.  There are a number of other types but the one that I will touch on here is the Psychic Vampire or Psi Vampire.  These folks will either conscious or unconsciously feed on the life-energy of others.  In the majority of cases, they will feed from the energy from groups but the ones that we need to be aware of,  are the ones that suck the energy from us individually.  For me, the best way to handle these folks that come to drain our energy is just to say “No!”.   It does not make them bad people and often they do not realize what they are doing, they just find it energizing to be around you or in large groups.

Wolves – These guys & gals have their territories and search for food in those territories, they run in packs and will defend against anything that they perceive encroaches on their turf.  Because they are pack animals, the key is for them to see you as part of the pack and to achieve this, the key is to remind them that the enemy is not inside the company.  The enemy is outside the company and in most cases it requires management support to define the common enemy.  That is why they are called competitors.  Internally in the company we call the people that we work with colleagues.

Zombies – these are the folks that come to the office because they need the paycheck.  I am not judging this behavior, I am pointing out that the problem with this behavior is the impact on the rest of the High Performance Team who are busting their humps to solve the business need in the most expedient manner.  Therefore as managers, these folks are our biggest challenge because we need to help them with their self awareness, so that they can see the impact of their behavior on the rest of the team.  I have found that they tend to be blissfully unaware of the impact that their behavior is having on the on the team.  They tend to be horrified when they see how their lack of commitment is impacting the team. They are stunned when they see that their team mates are having to fill in for them not being fully engaged.  In certain cases, some of the team are putting in 110% to make up for them just cruising at 60%.

If the zombie chooses to make the transition back the land of the living, they will struggle with the change in priorities.  Often they are unprepared to handle the sacrifices that the changed priorities demand.  Managers need to be there for their folks to help them and coach them through these new challenges.  As the zombie reengage with the High Performance Team, often they will dedicate a significant amount of time and effort, they need to search for alternative techniques and skills that will allow them to meet the biz needs in a more efficient and sustainable manner.

Categories: Behavior, People Tags: ,

Learning to ride a bicycle

December 3rd, 2009 No comments

Here is an extract from a recent conversation with one of my mentees, let’s call him Larry.  First off,  a little background:  I have been mentoring him for about 8 months and we work at the same company.  He is a manager of a team individual contributors that consists of engineers and project managers; the team is focused on solving various tactical business issues and therefore they tend to have 2 or 3 projects running in parallel with each project taking up to 90 days in duration.

Larry: “I never seem to have any time and I am working 60 hours weeks.”

Me: “Why, what are you spending your time on?”

Larry:  “I am super-busy ensuring that the projects that I am accountable for are getting done.” ………..he shared a lot of the details that I have removed from this post.

Me: “Humor me please, while he take a little detour into your past.  Can you remember when you learned to rides a bicycle?”

Larry:  “Yep”

Me:  “I assume that you rode a bicycle with training wheels for a while?”

Larry: “Yep and then my dad took them off.  He ran next to me a couple of times and I cannot remember when he let go.  I realized that he had let go when I started to turn around to ride back to the house and saw him standing in the street in front of me.” – he had a big smile on face while he shared this memory from his youth.

Me: “Did you fall?”

Larry: “Ouch, quite a few”

Me: “Was your dad there to pick you up when you fell?”

Larry: “Nope, but my Mom did provide the Band Aids”

Me: “So back to work:  Regarding your team, when are you going to let them go and allow them to ride by themselves?”

Larry, with a very started look on this face”  “But I cannot let them fail!”

Me: “Why not?”

Larry: “They might not recover”

Me: “Really?  Do you doubt their ability to learn from their mistakes?

Larry with a big smile on his face  “No!  But what happens when they fail?”

Me: “You give them a Band Aid and ask them how they are going fix things.  You just need to watch out for the cars to ensure that they do not get killed.”

Larry: “I get it!!  Thanks”


Management is similar to teaching someone to ride a bicycle.  The trick is not to let go too soon because they will crash.  Too late and their learning will be stalled.  Once we have let go and they are off riding, we need to keep a look out for the cars to ensure that they are not hit by any cars.  In business terms, we need to give our people the room to make their own mistakes, and learn from them.  We must resist the urge to stifle them.  If they have the self awareness to stop and ask for feedback, then we need to be prepared to provide them with feedback on their behaviors to help them learn and grow.

Categories: Behavior, Management Tags:

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