Posts in ‘Uncategorized’

Week In Review : Feb 27 – Mar 5, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on March 6, 2011

5 Reasons why IT Outsourcing may not be living up to the hype!

by Matthew Carmen, Feb 28, 2011

Large and small companies alike find out very often that their own cost savings due to outsourcing do not match the case studies they were sold on. Several reasons can result in your company essentially leaving dollars and services on the table with respect to outsourcing.  There’s no such thing as too much thought when evaluating an outsourcing initiative.  If you need help, there are many experts available to you who can provide guidance. more…

Project Reality Check #11: Frame of Mind

by Gary Monti, Mar 1, 2011

“Everything is simple” if you have the right frame of mind. “What happens when you follow the rules?” is the question that will determine the frame-of-mind appropriate for a project. Gary describes 6 of them in this post. The reality and challenge are the fact that all 6 frames-of-mind or some subset can be present on a given project. The goal, then, is to make sure the project terrain is gauged accordingly and the style(s) adapted are appropriate. more…

Ready to be Enchanted?

by Himanshu Jhamb, Mar 2, 2011

Enchantment is Guy Kawasaki‘s 10th book and according to him, “Enchantment is about transforming situations and relationships to invent new possibilities; ones that you probably did not think were possible.” There is something in this book for everyone and is full of practical advice. An actual review of the book will be coming out on Active Garage, on March 08, 2011 – the official release date of Enchantment. Go ahead and pre-order your copy right away! more…

Flexible Focus #43: 8 Levels of Consciousness

by William Reed, Mar 3, 2011

There are 8 levels of consciousness. The first five are the five senses: VisualAuditoryOlfactoryTaste, and Touch. The sixth is Ideation, our conscious thought. These six levels of consciousness then make up the conscious mind, the part that we are mostly aware of. The next two layers are part of the sub-conscious mind, which are the Ego, and the Seed (Storehouse) consciousness at the core. Our subconscious mind is a garden, which bears fruit according to the seeds which are planted and cultivated. The practical application with the Mandala Chart, is to cultivate a flexible focus and select positive and harmonious seeds to plant in our unconscious. more…

Leader driven Harmony #14: If you are Civil, you will get (more) beer – Part I

by Mack McKinney, Mar 4, 2011

People listen more attentively to civil persons than to rude or boisterous people. Humans seem to be drawn to calm, collected people.  They have a calming effect on persons around them. Cultivate the ability to always be civil even (maybe especially) to people with whom you totally disagree.  This is a powerful skill. In our next post Mack will talk about the remarkable benefits of following the Desiderata. It is a powerful document that will show you how adding just four simple rules at the dinner table will get you labeled diplomatic and get you invited to dinner parties a lot more often! more…

Week In Review : Jan 16 – Jan 22, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on January 23, 2011

Still busy? – Even with all the productivity enhancing gadgets

by Vijay Peduru, Jan 17, 2011

A recent article in NYT  talked about how kids are wired for distraction by always being online . Every Gadget they use is connected to the internet and the kids are always distracted. It is not just the kids even we grown-ups do this. Each one of us wants distractions and these tools are just another avenue for our distractions. We want distractions because we want to escape from things which are bothering us. Choose to face the problem and use the time previously used for distractions for more enjoyable tasks. more…

Free eBook: Freedom, money, time and the key to Creative Success

by Himanshu Jhamb, Jan 18, 2011

In Mark McGuinness’ own words: Creative people are those who work hard, but because they love what they do, it doesn’t feel like work. Your key to success doesn’t cost a dime… Get your FREE copy of Freedom, Money, Time and the Key to Creative Success by clicking here OR by going directly to the download page. It’s a light read – 34 pages in all. And it’s full of practical advice you can apply to your own situation. more…

Project Reality Check #5: The Devil is in the Details

by Gary Monti, Jan 19, 2011

Expected Monetary Value (EMV) connects the customer with the team. This tool is very powerful. At the core, an EMV calculation comprises probability times impact to get a weighted number. The EMV model is a great way to connect with stakeholders and work rationally while keeping relationships intact. more…

Flexible Focus #37: Navigate with Nanba!

by William Reed, Jan 20, 2011

Earlier in this series in an article called Mobile Mandala, we introduced an exciting new iPad Application called theMandalaChart for iPad, which is available in the iTunes Store. We are proud to announce the first of these templates, a set of 30 Mandala Charts for the iPad application called the Nanba Diary. These pages explain how the MandalaChart and Nanba Diary work for you. more…

Leader driven Harmony #8: Get a FIRE going in Your Belly!

by Mack McKinney, Jan 21, 2011

Let’s pretend you have a major, life-threatening disease and are seeking treatment.  Do you want to be treated by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse who just kinda likes their job?  Who just muddles through the day?  Who is about as good at the job as most other physicians?  OF COURSE NOT! Same applies to you if you are providing some service or product to someone. In this article Mack tells you how do you get to be the best and how you can rise past the others in your field and become the “go-to” person?. more…

Last week, I went through a surgery and was sentenced to BED REST. Yes. Right, I was “sentenced to bed rest“. I believe God dialed the wrong number for picking someone for Bed Rest. I normally have Bed Rest knock my door every year on multiple occasions and I tell this pathogen that I am not going to surrender and to go find someone else. So, most of the time I am able to escape. This time the buster got me.

So, here I am on two weeks of Bed Rest. First week, the pain killers kept me from staying awake. Second week, I could not make up my mind as to what to do while on bed. I am not much of a TV watcher. Friends kept me a lot of company BUT still a week is a long time (at least I think so). So, it left me with options like reading a book, spending time on internet and writing. The usual ones…and of course! working. Still it is isolating and I needed some external stimulation…

But the more time I spent online, I realized how much I had to catch up on my online activity and discovered some cool things.

Here is how social media was a boon in this time.

  1. A Facebook message informed me that a company where a friend of mine was working got acquired so I wrote to her congratulating her. And we caught up.
  2. A Tweet about my eBook prompted a friend to call. We had so much to catch up on since she lives in the East Coast and is going to launch a magazine early next year. Bear in mind, I have never met her, We are cyber friends. Met on Twitter, did a radio show together and now are friends.
  3. Caught up on some Youtube videos of Eckhart Tolle while reading his new book “A New Earth“. Boy! it was really profound to get his interpretation about the book.
  4. Helped a friend pick lights for his kitchen. Went online to pick some designs and sent him my suggestions.
  5. Ordered Christmas gifts online since I am not able to drive. Made sure that the delivery date was prior to Dec. 24th. Not sure how this one will turn out. Keeping my fingers crossed. My New Years dress is part of this and I am hoping it will fit me.
  6. Shared pictures with friends those were much due.
  7. Chatted with family in India, who seemed to be keeping a tab on me through blog posts and FB updates. A friend of mine called to check on me after a common friend pointed to her to my FB update.
  8. Blogged, blogged and blogged….
  9. Browsed Amazon.com for some equipment I want to buy. Got some refurbished deals that fit the budget.
  10. Downloaded music from iTunes and got my CDs ready for the Holiday season. Music Anyone?

Christmas Wishlist

  1. Social media gets Starbucks on your bed side.
  2. Social media makes you chicken soup.
  3. Social media takes you for a spin.
  4. Social media charges cell phones and laptops.
  5. Social media gives you incentives like reward points for using it.

Well! these are impractical, Maybe. But that’s why it is called ” A WishList”

I was presently surprised on how text messaging is more popular in India than any other place I am aware of. Most of the business and family communication which had been previously a telephone call has become a text message. This is a great leap into Mobile 2.0 in India. It is common to set business meetings over a text message. Coordinate with family about your whereabouts, get movie coupons and change ringtones on your cell phone over an SMS.

Interestingly, there are sites like smsgupshup.com that boasts 25M users. Looking for domestic help (very common) in India, check out babajob.com, a SMS based social networking site for household help. Imagine! hiring a cook, a driver and many other things over SMS.

Some interesting observations:

  1. SMS NOT text message: Most people are familiar with the word “SMS”, say text me and they know you are from “OUT of town”.
  2. OK to text: For most part when the phone rings in meetings, people hold the handset close to their mouth to have a conversation in a conference room but the most widely acceptable format to communicate in such a setting is TEXTING.
  3. Traffic makes it a necessity: Imagine! being stuck in a traffic jam in a big city like Mumbai and Delhi. You need help with directions, you will request a text message with landmarks to identify a location e.g “behind the videocon building, look for the PVR cinema on the right OR make a left Raheja towers”. Almost a small personal navigation system.
  4. Text for voting: India is big into “Indian Idol” and programs where the community needs to vote to pick a winner. This adds more fuel to the SMSing community who take this responsibility seriously to caste their vote.

I loved how many things I used to SMS for while in India. The most important fact is the cultural aspect – where giving your phone number is not a BIG deal. People are comfortable sharing this information and are more trusting in this regard than the western cultures where email is more popular. I enjoyed the personalization of SMSing…

Week In Review: Oct 10 – Oct 16, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on October 17, 2010

Developing your financial management talent

by Brian Superczynski, Oct 11, 2010

IT financial management has not evolved into a discipline with its own academic programs and certifications. In addition to learning on the job and tailoring programs for your organization, ITIL and PMI courses/certifications will help. But the first step is to recognize this as a  unique area that needs to be developed in your organization. more…

Chaos and Complexity #5: Chaos vs. Complexity

by Gary Monti, Oct 12, 2010

When patterns emerge in chaotic environment, adaptation happens. This is called complex adaptive behavior. This is driven by self organization. The hallmark of emergent, complex adaptive behavior is it brings about a change from the starting point that is not just different in degree by in kind. more…

Social Media and Tribes #16: LinkedIn gets a local makeover in India!

by Deepika Bajaj, Oct 13, 2010

India’s economy is growing by leaps and bounds and it’s professional class is utilizing social media to keep up. Brijj is the local equivalent of LinkedIn, but it has some local twists. more…

Flexible Focus #23: Manners make the man

by William Reed, Oct 14, 2010

Some of the Japanese traditions from the Edo period are still relevant. It shows how to live with respect, culture and style. In this article William has a short list of some key aspects of the Edo manners. You can also download the EDO SHIGUSA MANDALA to start integrating Edo Manners in your life. more…

Worry and Anxiety – Can we really overcome them?

by Vijay Peduru, Oct 15, 2010

We worry about a lot of things. But if you carefully analyze those worries, you will realize that more than 90% of them are needless. Worries only lead to bad situations like relationship problems are health issues. Overcome your worries by understanding that worries are stories we invent about a future situation. These stories will more than likely never happen. On a positive note, invent a good future situation and deliberately think about the good things that will happen in the future. more…

Week In Review: Sep 26 – Oct 2, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on October 3, 2010

Doing what is Right Vs. Being the Best

by Brian Beedle, Sep 27, 2010

Is it good enough to do the right thing? Certainly not. We as individuals and companies should constantly strive to be the best in our fields. This is necessary to survive in the highly competitive times we live in. For individuals it takes patient parenting from a young age and mentoring as adults to gain this ability. Companies achieve this via Six-Sigma, ITIL, etc.  more…

Chaos and Complexity #3: Managing Expectations

by Gary Monti, Sep 28, 2010

Project managers out there… this article is for you. When a project encounters a rough spot, the project manager is held accountable. Anybody expecting projects to be smooth and trouble free is living in utopia. But there are certain things which if you do consistently, you can manage such situations gracefully. more…

Social Media and Tribes # 14: Taking Dinosaurs Online

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 29, 2010

Deepika is not irreverent when she uses dinosaurs as an analogy for our older generation. In fact the opposite is true and it is out of fondness for them. The past few decades has seen tremendous progress in technology and it has been especially tough for the older generation to keep pace with. But still they are a hardy bunch excited to adapt with the times and open up to social media albeit slowly and cautiously. more…

Flexible Focus #21: The 8 frames of life: Finances

by William Reed, Sep 30, 2010

Peter Drucker observed that people who chased money were all utterly miserable, without exception. Money should be part of the plan, a means to an end, not an end in itself. So pick a career in something you love and have some talent in. Then understand how economics is tied to everything else. You can do it if you view it with a flexible focus perspective. William’s Mandala chart can help you do it easier and better. more…

Alternate Sales Partnerships #3: The Sales Contract

by Tina Burke, Oct 1, 2010

Direct sales teams are expensive to maintain. Alternate sales teams do not cost any money up front. But there are challenges with either one. It may be an effective strategy to employ both channels, but there are thing you need to be aware of when you choose this path. more…

Week In Review: Sep 19 – Sep 25, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on September 26, 2010

Retaining employees: Structuring a Stock Appreciation Rights program

by Steve Popell, Sep 20, 2010

Stock options have historically played a key role in helping retain key employees. Their attractiveness has taken a considerable hit in the past few years. But a Stock Appreciation Rights (SAR) program can achieve the same purpose with few drawbacks if any. Here is what you need to know to have an intelligent conversation with a professional to implement a SAR program. more…

Chaos and Complexity #2: Fun house mirrors and strange attractors

by Gary Monti, Sep 21, 2010

Strange attractors distort systems. If not addressed they can damage or destroy the system. A good visual metaphor for strange attractors is a fun house mirror. Capitalistic economies thrive because of strange attractors. Something new and different is always coming out. For example, a team can be working well and following project principles when – bang! – a competitor with a new product shows up and changes the game.. more…

Social Media and Tribes #13: Social tribes connecting Youth

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 22, 2010

Deepika is currently visiting India and witnessing the phenomenal impact of Facebook driven social networking in India’s capital city Delhi. Fueled by ISAC (India Study Abroad Center), students from all over the world come here to study. They become a member of a tribe based on their needs and circumstances, enabled by Facebook. more…

Flexible Focus #20: The Principle of Optimization

by William Reed, Sep 23, 2010

You can deal with a problem or crisis in two ways. First is Plan, Do, Check, Action (PDCA). This is the fire fighting approach. Though not suitable for emergencies, the better approach for most situations is CAPD (Check, Action, Plan, Do). This method focuses on understanding the root cause and so will help create long lasting solutions. Flexible Focus enables this and Mandala Chart facilitates flexible thinking. more…

Alternate Sales Partnerships #2: Ways to keep a healthy sales relationship

by Tina Burke, Sep 24, 2010

Tina’s company has had a good partnership with a client. It’s been a fairly stable environment with the same key players in place, good commissions and together they had great clients. Everybody was happy. But still, going into the sales convention, they are welcomed by the new VP of Channel Sales introducing a new program. And that’s because the past program was unsustainable. Who would have known? Stay tuned for next week’s installment from Tina to find out what happened. more…

Week In Review: Sep 12 – Sep 18, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on September 19, 2010

Integrity – Looking oneself in the mirror

by Matthew Carmen, Sep 13, 2010

Matthew’s recent vacation to Hawaii gave him some for reflection. And BTW, he highly recommends taking a break every so often to able to clear the mind of professional stresses. On this trip, mulling over Integrity, he finds that it is the foundation on which your career and business exist. If you don’t possess integrity, you will not be able to build trusted relationships and move up in your chosen field. more…

Chaos and Complexity #1: Coyotes, Chaos and Complexity

by Gary Monti, Sep 14, 2010

We have to be good at dealing with Chaos and Complexity in order to survive and thrive. Let’s not confuse Chaos with Random. Chaotic systems follow definite rules, but depict non-linear behavior. Coyotes have mastered the art of survival in the complex system created by human beings. They have been able to do so using Adaptability, Connection, Interdependence and Diversity. more…

Social Media and Tribes #12: Bollywood movies get a facebook uplift

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 15, 2010

Deepika is in India and is experiencing the Social Media movement there first hand. Bollywood movie personalities play a very important role in marketing everything. And they are increasingly using facebook as a channel to promote movies. Deepika has valuable suggestions on how to make facebook pages more effective. more…

Flexible Focus #19: Path to the Eureka moment

by William Reed, Sep 16, 2010

Eureka moments happen when you have moments of clarity. This happens only if you have total and complete engagement in your endeavor. You can achieve this by meditation. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to practice it in modern life. William suggests an alternate method that combines walking and writing with a Mandala. more…

Alternate Sales Partnerships #1: I am thinking of joining the dark side…

by Tina Burke, Sep 17, 2010

Direct Sales and Operations organizations are so different that moving from one to the other is like Sarah Palin choosing to become a democrat. And that’s what Tina’s long time colleague wanted to do and she thinks it’s a great idea. Read the article to find out why. more…

Flexible Focus #18: Engage visual thinking

by William Reed on September 9, 2010

In the art of flexible focus, dimension is more important than sequence. To emphasize this point I have selected for review eight of the Mandala Charts which have been featured in earlier articles in this series. Like a card deck that can be shuffled to create new combinations, these Mandala templates can be reshuffled and reviewed for a new perspective. In a world where change is constant, this is one way to stay on top of the wave.

Through the links below you can download the Mandala Charts, as well as reference the articles in this series where they first appeared. Each one contains a visual image in the central frame which was selected as a visual anchor for the central theme. These images resonate powerfully with the sub-themes, and can stimulate new images by association.

The images can help you recall and recreate new ideas around the central theme, as well as serve as a connecting bridge between the surrounding sub-themes. Images keep your Mandala interesting and alive, and if you print them out, you can also sketch images of your own inside the surrounding frames to enhance the key words, phrases, and text which you will add.

The images are assembled in the Mandala shown here, referenced from the articles and downloads below. In the conventional Mandala fashion, they are marked A (bottom center), B (left center), C (top center), D (right center), E (bottom left), F (top left), G (top right), F (bottom right).

Here are a few notes to set your thoughts in motion. For easy reference, and to trigger new insights, download the Mandala Charts and review the original articles from each of the links below.

8 Fields of Life (From Flexible Focus #3: The Principle of Interdependence)

Happily interwoven?…or a tangled mess?

The image of a Celtic Knot is a powerful icon of the 8 dimensions of life interwoven in perfect balance. The weave of the knot is loose enough that each dimension is distinct, and yet each strand crosses through every other. Look at this knot as you consider each of the 8 fields of your life, and ask yourself if they are in balance. Which fields need more time, care, or attention?

Mandala on Health (From Flexible Focus #4: The 8 Frames of Life: Health)

Radiantly connected?…or bent out of shape?

The image of a radiant tropical sun symbolizes the radiant quality of health. It includes what you eat, how you move, your attitude, and your relationships. It makes no sense to sacrifice your health for the sake of profit or convenience. Consider all of the factors that contribute to your health, and you will have many leverage points to improve it. Are you neglecting one or more of these factors in your life?

Refocus Your Business (From Flexible Focus #11: The Principle of Comprehensiveness)

Focus on the spaces between…and the possibilities therein

The optical illusion of flashing dots is a reminder of how we need to look closely to see what is really there. If you keep your eyes open you will discover many opportunities to make improvements. It is not enough to make a living. You must also make a life. Business and work can easily dominate your life, occupying an unreasonable amount of time and energy. The irony is that working harder is not always working better. If your work does not support your mission and identity, it will create conflict and sap your energy. Look for better, smarter ways to work. Find ways to work with others to accomplish more than you can by yourself.

Empowerment Mandala (From Flexible Focus #10: Become the Change)

Are you receiving fish?…or learning how to fish?

The image shows the moment of catching a fish, not asking for one. Empowerment is the ability to fish and fend for yourself. It is the opposite of entitlement, which is expecting others to fish for you. Constant preoccupation with receiving confines creativity. It is better to build momentum through action, than to succumb to inertia through passivity. To quote Dr. Seuss, with brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

Magic of Mindset (From Flexible Focus #9: The Magic of Mindset)

Rabbit or duck illusion…and mental perception?

This image appears to be a rabbit, until you shift your focus and it appears to be a duck! It is a reminder that mindset is truly magic. The way you look at things determines what you see. Life tends to live up to our expectations as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t be taken in by first impressions, because things and people are not often as they seem. Both positive and negative judgments can be contagious. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude, and you will attract people of like mind.

Opportunities for Engagement (From Flexible Focus #12: The 8 Frames of Life: Business)

Keep your ideas flowing…Keep your passion high

The image of a fountain of ideas spiraling from an open mind is enhanced by the color of red for passion. The flow of ideas is a measure of your interest, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Keep it strong by looking for new ways to engage with people in your work and private pursuits. Business is a dynamic process, and you are better off being an active player than a passive spectator. Look at the Mandala and ask yourself, where are there opportunities for greater engagement?

Decision Mandala (From Flexible Focus #16: The Decision Trap)

Learn from others…with a better perspective

The image of question marks lost in a labyrinth shows the difficulty of making decisions in complex circumstances. Many of life’s challenges do not lend themselves to simple logic. Sometimes it is best to lift yourself out of the labyrinth and seek wisdom from a higher perspective. Well selected quotes can provide that perspective, but the inspiration of a quote depends on timing and its relevance to the problem at hand. Working with the Mandala chart you will find that eight quotes can be better than one.

Karma Connections (From Flexible Focus #15: Karma and Connections)

Act, action, performance…not fate or consequences

The image shows the interplay of opposites, the balance of yin and yang. It also shows the dynamics of interaction. The more actively you engage in the game, the more opportunities you have to take advantage of critical moments. The pitch on which you play is where you are here and now. When you see that negative words and thoughts lead to negative results, it is easier to leave them behind. Karma is a dynamic and ongoing process. Your actions are the script for your life.

The visual images in each of these Mandala charts help you to engage visual thinking. Visit them often.

NOTE: The articles in the Flexible Focus series are updated with graphics, links, and attachments on the FLEXIBLE FOCUS Webbrain, a dynamic and navigable map of the entire series. It has a searchable visual index, and is updated each week as the series develops.

Week In Review – Aug 1 – Aug 7, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on August 8, 2010

Integration: Keys to the successful merger of companies

by Matthew Carmen, Aug 2, 2010

Companies merge to increase profits through increase efficiency. But according to CNBC, nine out of ten mergers do not fully meet the goals of their acquisition. The main task that takes place in successful integrations is proper reparation within operational areas. This includes putting together processes and procedures that will need to take place to reach the corporate goals. In this article Matthew describes how he participated in a merger at a large entertainment company and what contributed to its success.  more…

Character and Personality #5: Don’t pull that trigger!

by Gary Monti, Aug 3, 2010

Sometimes you don’t want to confront your fears and uncomfortable situations. This causes blind spots into which organizations can fall an disappear. Instead of taking short cuts and jumping to action we should explore options, analyze our assumptions and manage risk. more…

Managing a project requires actions

by Guy Ralfe, Aug 4, 2010

Just because the project has a plan does not mean we simply have to conform to it. A plan is created when certain realities are true. But as the project is implemented, things change and new realities open up. We need to constantly update our plan and make adjustments based on changes that occur through out the implementation phase. Guy sites an example from his recent experience in this article. more…

Flexible Focus #13: Finding focus in the frames

by William Reed, Aug 5, 2010

Creativity happens much better when you are in your favorite cafe than when you are in your cubicle. Even better, the Mandala Chart offers a fresh approach that helps you find focus in the frames. Once you understand the value and attraction of working with the Mandala Chart on paper, you can increase your skills and improve your results with practice. Here are 8 steps that can help you get started.  more…

Author’s Journey #33: 7 Keys to Profitable Special Events

by Roger Parker, Aug 6, 2010

Last week, Roger discussed some of the ways authors can attract profitable speaking invitations. In this week’s article he takes the idea of “speaking for profit” to the next level, which involves creating, marketing, and producing special events like conferences, seminars, and workshops. more…