Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

6 Ways to get Your Customers Saying – Please take my Money!

by Himanshu Jhamb on December 10, 2012

Right. You don’t hear that very often. In fact, you probably don’t even think it! In fact, the reverse is usually what we hear – in stories, from our friends, from our colleagues and pretty much every where from customers.

“Please don’t take my money”

“It was not worth it”

“It’s too expensive”

… and many variants of the above.

But, this post is about great customer service. No, wait! It’s about excellent customer service.

I was recently in Peru with my better half and it was the first time I had set foot in the continent of South America – different people, different language, different food – everything was different and yes, being that it was a self planned trip, the “different” was expected. We had planned to be in Lima for a couple of days and like typical tourists, were looking to do the touristy things – experience the food, the people, visit the historical landmarks ‘et al. Yet, at the same time, we wanted to do something that would give us a taste of Peru; something the locals would do. And that happened on our 2nd day when we met a local couple – Sam & Lucas. OK, it was no accident that we met them; they run a culinary tour company, called Capital Culinaria Lima Gourmet Tours and I found them from their almost perfect TripAdvisor reviews.

It’s true that there are many lessons in business one can learn from others, only if we observe them. And observe I did  and here is what I learnt about great customer service:

  • Make a promise… and then keep It. They promised on the experience (which, I believe is what the adventurous traveler seeks the most) and then delivered on it… multiple times over in the tour.
  • Listen. And get to know your customer. Their tours are designed to listen to the customer. For instance, they do not take more than 6 people at one time so that they can create the space to listen to the customer.
  • Give Personal Attention. Lots of it. Well, there is no dearth of that given that they run quite a few tours themselves and I am sure the ones they are not able to, are no less personal!
  • Run Smooth Operations. Given that it’s a 5-6 hour culinary tour, it can be a bit of a tricky proposition to time 3-6 touristy stomachs for that time! Also, since they visit quite a few establishments in the tour – the timing needs to be exquisite with the local providers, too.
  • Be Nimble. They are immensely flexible. Even though they hit an issue in the morning and had to quickly readjust plans – Lucas was right on time to pick us up.
  • Win the Customer. Yes, with the great stories (they have a fantastic entrepreneurial story on how they started off), the mouth watering cuisine, and (ahem) the fabulous Pisco – it is a sure shot recipe to win the customer.

To be brutally honest, they had won me over as a customer half way through the tour. The rest of the time, they were just winning a friend! Now, how do you put a price on something like that…

Himanshu JhambThis article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of ActiveGarage and co-author of #PROJECT MANAGEMENT tweet. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.
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When Bob Dylan released his third studio album in 1964, The Times They Are a Changin’, the powerful message spoke to the times. But this message was hardly anything new. The ancient Greek Philosopher Heraclitus (535~475 BC) was a philosopher of change, famous for the saying that, “You never step into the same river twice.” And well before that the ancient Chinese compiled the I Ching, or Book of Changes, dating back to the 2nd and 3rd Millennium BC.

It is almost redundant to say that it is Time for a Change, except that this is a universal and timeless theme, always true, and always relevant to you. Nevertheless, the tools and means of change vary with the times. It is never too late to review who and where you are as the world changes.

Even change itself is changing, through the process of Accelerating Change. Futurologists from Buckminster Fuller (Geodesic Dome) to Alvin Tofler (Future Shock) and John Naisbitt (Megatrends) have delineated the process and the paradigm shifts in technology, social, and cultural change. Change is no longer in the domain of specialists, because we all experience it deeply in our own lives.

Ask yourself what you were doing 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, and chances are you have experienced major changes in your career or personal life, many of which you had no idea were coming. It is fair to predict that the same thing will be true 5 to 10 years hence. The purpose of this new column is to provide perspective on change, and introduce innovative ways in which we can navigate and benefit from it.

Following the structure of my previous column Flexible Focus, this weekly column will also cover topics in 8 major categories:

  • Goals and Flexible Focus
  • Problems in Goal Pursuit
  • Creative Ideas and Focussed Action
  • Presenting Goals to Others
  • Secrets of Collaboration Success
  • Templates for Problem Solving
  • Goals in the 8 Fields of Life
  • 8 Principles of Mandala Thinking

Many people think that they need to get ready for change, or even try to prevent it. Yet once you recognize that change is inevitable it makes sense to shift your thinking and find ways to be ready, to welcome and initiate change.

Think of it as a paradigm shift from being passive to staying proactive.

Our constant companion in this process is Time. We will look at ways in which to measure, manage, and manipulate time through your attitude and the use of powerful tools for Goal planning and implementation.

We do not travel alone. We will look at the importance of communication and partnership in achieving great things that you could not on your own.

Learning from experience is not always the best way to leverage your success. We will look at guiding principles, tools, and templates that can reduce the long journey of our predecessors to a shorter path for our ourselves that those who follow us.

While change can be wrenching and hard, it can also be invigorating and inspiring. So much depends on how we view and engage with it. Join us in this journey, and let us join you in yours.

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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Flexible Focus #66: Change the World, Change Yourself

by William Reed on August 26, 2011

In the last eight articles we have looked at themes related to significance and focus, finding what matters most. Revisiting these articles will help you re-explore the territories where we have been, and see also how they fit together. These selections also correspond to the primary eight categories covered in the series, so this review provides an overview of one trip around the wheel, and also reflects the amazing range of topics possible to address with the Mandala Chart.

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.

THE BOX OF PERCEPTION (From Flexible Focus #57: Unlocking the Box of Perception)

A recurring theme in the Mandala Chart is the use of frames for flexible focus…One of the benefits of flexible focus is mental health and resilience.

We refer to a frame of reference, the belief system or perspective which frames our perception and values. Reframing is a core concept in psychology, both in the ability to reinterpret a problem as an opportunity, or the ability to listen to differing opinions with an open mind. It is one of the principles behind meditation and hypnosis, where silence and suggestion reframe the way we see and experience the world. Reframing is what moves our mind in art and in advertising.

Leonardo DaVinci frequently would draw the same object from at least 3 different perspectives. We should not be so quick to think that our current perspective is the only one. This folly is magnified when we try to impose our limited point of view on others, whether it is through education, propaganda, or persuasion.

Scientists, artists, and inventors develop the ability to change perspective in visualizing solutions and solving problems. In business and training, creativity is encouraged through games that help the group achieve a new perspective.

 

A LENS ON LIFE (From Flexible Focus #58: The Principle of Objectivity)

The Mandala Chart is a multi-faceted lens through which we can observe ourselves and all phenomena…Flexible focus is fast moving, physical, and multi-dimensional.

The Principle of Objectivity, the 7th of 8 principles for the Mandala Chart, takes this process into a deeper, more reflective mode, in which you gain crystal clarity of perception and insight by examining things from multiple perspectives. Like the crystal cube shown in the illustration, which could also be called a Mandala cube, when the laser beam passes through, it refracts and reveals new surfaces both inside and outside the box. When the light of insight passes through our mind, the Mandala Chart acts in like a lens to reveal new facets and perspectives. This becomes a driving force for creativity and innovation.

Objective thinking is usually associated with science, observation, and experimentation. The effort to measure and get repeatable results works well under controlled laboratory circumstances, but is far less predictable in real life. Complex systems are impossible to describe in terms of linear cause and effect. Hence the quote attributed to MIT Meteorologist Edward Lorenz, “When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world.”

Instead of the phrase, cause a hurricane, it might be easier to understand if we say it is connected to a hurricane in another part of the world. Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus recognized this in saying that, “A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one.”

 

LEARNING IS FOR LIFE (From Flexible Focus #59: The 8 Frames of Life: Learning)

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

In the Mandala Chart, the 7th Frame of Life is Learning. The problem that has plagued both students and educators from the beginning of time is that learning is hard to come by. It doesn’t seem to stick very well. Perhaps this is because learning is often imposed on us more or less by force. The lucky ones discover that learning is not for school; learning is for life.

Learning by doing is the shortest route to retention. Once you learn to ride a bicycle, you will still be able to do it even ten years later without any practice. However, it is likely that you have forgotten most of what you learned for tests in school, often within hours of taking the test!

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell gives numerous examples of what he calls the 10,000-Hour Rule, for which he claims that the key to success in any field is largely a matter of extensive deliberate practice. It certainly makes sense in fields like music or the martial arts, but turns out to be true in just about anything we call talent. Even those gifted with a natural genius often turn out to have been at it in one form or another since they were small children.

Clearly though, it is not just a matter of clocking in 10,000 hours, or we would all be geniuses in our field after just 5 years of work experience. It isn’t about hard work, which is another word for hard won experience. It is the quality of experience and engagement that makes the magic happen.

 

PUT YOUR PASSION ON A PLATFORM (From Flexible Focus #60: Writing Tips and Tools)

If we don’t stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”~Peter Marshall, Chaplain (1947)

One of the best ways to develop a platform is to write. Whether it is a diary meant for your eyes only, or a published platform for the world to see, the very act of putting your thoughts in writing gives your thoughts wings, and sets your mind in motion. Writing not only gives shape to your thoughts, but the process of writing makes you a proactive producer, rather than a passive consumer. Writing puts things in perspective by requiring you to take a point of view, while at the same time considering the points of view of your readers, an excellent recipe for flexible focus.

Although we all learn to write in school, few people continue to write, and many resist the process as a tiresome task. Even people who want to write often experience writer’s block, a state of mental congestion in which words jam and fail to communicate what is inside wanting to come out.

Oddly, chances are that you are never more fluent when it comes to talking about your passions. But when you try to write about them, you often find that your thoughts have clipped wings.And yet putting your thoughts on paper is one of the best ways to put your passion on a platform, because it is lasting, and reaches much further than your voice. Your writing can be the core element of your personal brand.

 

ANATOMY OF A FAN (From Flexible Focus #61: The Art of Folding Time)

The Mandala Chart can free you from the tyranny of living by the illusory objectivity of the clock and the calendar.

One of the best representations of flexible focus in Japanese culture is the folding fan, invented in Japan between the 6th and 8th centuries. The folding fan can open as a fan, or fold for easy storage. Its radial form is symbolic of opening out to new possibilities, of victory, and of good fortune. It is a product of the same culture which invented origami, the art of paper folding, the quintessential art of Folding the Square.

The anatomy of a folding fan is work of genius. It is both simple and complex, an enigma of Japanese design. It fits in the fingers as an organic extension of the hand. It was used in Japanese dance, and could double as a weapon for the samurai. The range of designs and materials available make it a perfect product for infinite variations on a common theme. Moreover, the art of folding has been applied in Japan to everything from umbrellas, bicycles, eyeglasses, to keyboards, as well as clothing, and even the joints of the human body in the martial arts.

Pay closer attention to your experience, and show greater appreciation for what you have. Lend a helping hand to others in need. Open the fan.

 

MONKEY MIND (From Flexible Focus #62: Discipline Your Thinking)

The practice of Zazen is a discipline for mind and body, but one which joins them in a higher degree of freedom.

One of the most delightful, and most confounding aspects of our mind is that it is undisciplined. The mind is so susceptible to distraction, so easily seduced by its surroundings, that this aspect of the mind is referred to in Zen as the monkey mind. While it is very much a part of our everyday experience, we rarely sit down to confront and discipline this creature of consciousness. Try sitting still for even 10 minutes without any purpose other than to sit, and you may come face to face with the monkey, who will try to distract, persuade, or plead with you to let it run free.

However, this freedom is an illusion, because the monkey is in fact bound and attached to anything and everything that comes along. One purpose of Zazen, or Zen meditation, is to discipline the mind so that you actually realize more by thinking less. This seems counter-intuitive when convention dictates that you have to think more to understand more, and do more to achieve more. However, you can set that concern aside by realizing that much of what we call thinking, is actually mental flotsam and jetsam, unoriginal and unproductive. It is worthwhile to spend some time each day freeing yourself from this by entering a deeper level of mindfulness.

 

SEE YOURSELF ONE YEAR FROM NOW (From Flexible Focus #64: The One Year Plan)

Taking care of what is important in one area can make life easier in another. Likewise, neglecting one area can negatively affect another.

Using a traditional linear To Do List puts you at risk of achieving one set of goals at the expense of another, succeeding in your job, only to ruin your health. Or you might set yourself an unrealistic task list, and end up giving up before you make progress on your truly significant goals. In other words, this format gives you perspective as well a focus, something not easy to achieve with traditional goal setting tools. You may also wish to set a theme for each of the 8 fields, a short phrase or key words which helps you focus on the big picture for that field.

Ideally you do this at the beginning of each year, but even if you start late in the calendar year you can still use it, though your focus may be on a more immediate set of objectives. It is still worthwhile, because it gives you practice in thinking in this way, and each year you will get better at it.

The image in Step 3 is quite important as well, because it gives you a visual anchor, a point of mental focus. It also breaks the monotony of pure text. When you create your One Year Template, be sure to leave enough room to list 5 to 8 phrases, as well as to illustrate your goal. You can write small, but you don’t want to feel cramped in when thinking about your future.

 

SEE YOURSELF ONE YEAR FROM NOW (From Flexible Focus #65: Shaping Your Future)

Therefore why not create images of beauty and abundance in your mind’s eye, awaken the sleeping statue, and see your dreams come to life?

We have seen how abundance, as well as lack, can be experienced in each of the 8 fields of life: Health, Business, Finance, Home, Society, Personal, Learning, and Leisure. The Mandala Chart can help you gain perspective in each of these areas, as well as in how they enhance and complement each other. In effect, we tell our life story in the way in which we integrate and excel in each of these areas. Without a tool such as the Mandala Chart for viewing and balancing our life, it is all too easy to get caught up in the challenges of one or two areas, at the expense of the others. No wonder it takes a lifetime, maybe several, to get it right.

The first step is to seek continuous improvement, not perfection. Living is a dynamic process, and balance is achieved by continual adjustment, not holding on to a status quo. Think of how you keep your balance on a bicycle. At first you wobble, but gradually your adjustments become so smooth that the wobble seems to disappear. Balance is easier to maintain in motion than in standing still. After you learn to steer, the next question is where do you want to go?

So much of our experience is conditioned by our expectations, that we sometimes mistake them for reality itself. The first step to leading a life of abundance starts with your mental outlook. The way our expectations condition our experience is known as the Pygmalion Effect.

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.

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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Week in Review: May 02 – May 06, 2011

by admin on May 8, 2011

Use a Manifesto to build your brand, grow your list & sell more books

by Roger Parker on May 2, 2011

If you’re a business owner or an author using a sample chapter of your book, a report, or a tip sheet as a list-building incentive, consider replacing it with a manifesto. A well-written manifesto can do a better job of helping you build your brand and grow your list, paving the way for you to sell more books.

Manifestos are better list builders because they take a stand. Because manifestos strongly advocate a position, and are usually passionately written, they operate on an emotional level, tapping into the power of commitment. Read more…

Project Reality Check #20: Beware of Addiction to Agile

by Gary Monti on May 3, 2011

Can Agile cause damage?

Yes.

Is Agile a good method?

Yes.

How can both statements be true?

Let’s look.

First, let me say I have a great respect for RAD, Extreme Programming, Agile, etc., because the methods reflect acceptance of and dealing with a common reality. Read more…

As the Paradigm Shifts #D: Dignity, Denial and Detachment

by Rosie Kuhn on May 4, 2011

Whether self-employed, employed by organizations, whether retired or unemployed, we all engage with companies and organizations that support us or we support them. In our interactions with these organizations, what we are wanting is to experience qualities of dignity, first and foremost. This means being treated as a sovereign individual of value, worthy of respect. I want people to communicate authentically, with curiosity and interest. Read more…

Flexible Focus #52: A sense of Significance

by William Reed on May 5, 2011

Stephen Covey provided the world with a significant dimension of perspective when he proposed the Time Management Grid in his book First Things First (1994), using a 2×2 Matrix juxtaposing Urgency vs Importance. Though it has now become common parlance, it was revolutionary at the time when Covey made this distinction, and plotted it in four Quadrants. Read more…

Leader Driven Harmony #23: Five Stressful Behaviors and How to STOP them – Part 3

by Mack McKinney on May 6, 2011

In our last post we looked at two scenarios where, even though other people were causing us stress, we did not ask them to stop because we could not do so safely.  Here is the last scenario before we move on to subject of “is it worth your time to intervene”?  What would you do here? Read more…

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Week In Review : Apr 17 – Apr 23, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on April 24, 2011

The Origin of Leaders #6: Focus. Eliminating Distractions

by Conor Neill, Apr 18, 2011

The truly scarce resource of humanity is Attention. Distractions are overwhelming in the current Web 2.0 world. Context switching is an expensive operation and had detrimental effect on productivity. Great leaders posses the ability to focus. Read this article to learn some great tips on how to eliminate distractions and improve your focus. more…

Project Reality Check #18: Humility

by Gary Monti, Apr 19, 2011

Francis of Assisi had some excellent advice on what it means to lead a good life. He stated “First do what is necessary, then do what is possible, and you will awaken to doing the impossible.” In order to put this to practice in project management today, you need to posses humility. If you stick to this moral and consistently deliver on your promise, your reputation will spread. Your trustworthiness increases and leads to an environment of abundance. more…

As the Paradigm Shifts #B: Business, Breakdowns and Breakthroughs

by Rosie Kuhn, Apr 20, 2011

Common assessments that business is ruthless, unethical, etc are incorrect. Big Businesses have contributed incredibly to the society and the world is a much better place. But the practice of bad business is still a challenge. Breakdowns in business like daily life are inevitable and we are in a huge global economic turmoil now. While breakdowns are not looked forward to they bring out new thinking and invariably a lot of good comes out. The breakthroughs they engender are things we will rejoice. more…

Flexible Focus #50: The Art of Idea Capture

by William Reed, Apr 21, 2011

Capturing your ideas on paper is the first step to capturing your dreams. While there may be many methods of capturing ideas, the age old pen and paper is the most effective. You can draw inspiration from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book, The Wish List, which contains close to 6,000 wishes as an inspiration, a virtual to do list for life. Capture your ideas on paper in a notebook or wish list, organize them on a Mandala Chart, and share your dreams with those who can help you, and whom you can help in return. Don’t simply admire the Dreamcatcher, become one. more…

Leader driven Harmony #21: Five Stressful Behaviors and How to STOP them – Part 1

by Mack McKinney, Apr 22, 2011

The actions of some people often cause you stress and frustration. Interacting with certain colleagues, bosses and/or direct-reports in the workplace cause your blood pressure to sky rocket. We have identified at least five distinct types of stress-producing behavior:  Day Dreaming, Comparing, Time Traveling, Gut Reacting and Grade Schooling. Mack illustrates examples of each and in upcoming posts will provide ways to deal with these behaviors. more…

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You will not finish reading this post.

Its in the statistics.

You will not make it to the end of this article without being distracted…

The true scarce resource of humanity: Attention

Nicolas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains”, says that it is extremely hard to manage attention.   We will get distracted before the 3 minutes that it will take to read this post.  This problem is growing as distractions multiply exponentially in our always-connected, web 2.0 world.

I look around me now as I travel on the underground train (the “tube”) through London today.  I see the person sitting across from me reading a newspaper, white ipod headphones in her ears and sms-ing on what looks like an Android touch screen phone.  She is receiving stimulus from the world, mainlining stimulus through all senses, maxing out on input.  I look up and around the carriage.  Everybody has a mobile out and sending and receiving electronic updates.  It is so very easy to pass through life in constant reaction to stimulus.

Distractions are Costly

“Distractions are costly: A temporary shift in attention from one task to another – stopping to answer an e-mail or take a phone call, for instance – increases the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25%, a phenomenon known as “switching time”. It’s far more efficient to fully focus for 90 to 120 minutes, take a true break, and then fully focus on the next activity.”  Tony Schwartz, Manage your energy, not your time – Harvard Business Review.

The evidence from psychology is clear.  Interruptions have a major detrimental effect on your productivity.  School does not have classes on focus, on cutting out the email, facebook, twitter, mobile phone calls and concentrating for extended periods on something driven by me, something that is not a reaction to a tweet or a status update or a call.  This is a skill that you need to decide to learn for yourself.

There are times for distractions

There are times when letting the distractions in can be fun and necessary.  Total focus is not a state that you will want to spend all of your time in.  Responding to email, being aware of the action around you, twitter, facebook are part of being connected to the world around you.  However, in order to move beyond a permanent zombified state of reaction to incoming stimuli, you must develop the ability to create windows of focus in your life, where you really dedicate your attention for a specific time to one important task.

The ability to focus is something that great leaders and those that make a positive, lasting difference in this world need.

How do I improve my ability to focus?

Here are 10 ways of improving your ability to focus:

  1. Decide it is important - nobody else can do it for you.  Begin with small steps, your ability to focus will grow with practice.
  2. Cut out Obvious Distractions – Close down email, browser; clear your desk; get a glass of water.  Jim Collins talks about creating non-stimulus time.  He does not allow any electronic device in the same room as him before midday.  Start small. Do just 10 minutes today removing sources of distraction and focussing on one important task.
  3. Write things downReflective writing gives 3 powerful benefits:
    • Mindfulness
    • Improves clear thinking and
    • Allows perspective
  4. Set a timer – use the Pomodoro technique.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and do not let yourself stop working on the one task until the timer finishes.  Attention fitness takes time to grow, do less than you think you are capable of and accept that your capacity to focus will grow with time. Meditating Buddhist monks take 30 years before they are able to calm the flow of noise in their head and reach total focus.  Don’t get frustrated early on.  It will take time to grow your capacity to focus.  Like self discipline, focus grows with use.  Train like athletes preparing for a marathon: add 10% per week.
  5. Divide Actionable from non-Actionable itemsScott Belsky of Behance says that an actionable task starts with an action verb: “call A”, “buy a gift for B”, “follow up contract with C”.
  6. Take proper breaks. When you finish with your focus time, get up from your work area and really take a break.  Stretch, take a short walk, go outside and be with nature.  Opening a browser window and reading news or email is not a real break.
  7. Anticipate your physical needs. Go to the bathroom before you start your focus time.  Get a drink of water and put it on the table.  Make sure your chair is comfortable.
  8. Use Music – Listening to music helps me focus and cut out other distractions.
  9. Reward yourself. Celebrate small successes.  Eat some chocolate when you finish an important task.  Have a coffee only when you finish another 10 minutes of total focus.
  10. Do what Nike says – “Just Do It”.  Don’t let your resistance win.  When I start writing, I will not stop until I have written 500 words.  If I have to, I will write “I will keep writing, I will keep writing” until another idea comes to mind…  but I will not let myself stop.  Repeated practice has reduced the little voices in my head that say “why are you doing this?  Who is going to read this?  Who are you to be writing this stuff?”

You made it here?  3 minutes of attention?  That puts you in the small percentage of people who have found strategies to manage their attention in the overwhelming swarm of distractions that make up a typical life in the modern world.

The Origin of Leaders series

This series of posts has now looked at 6 of the powerful keys to unlocking leadership in your life and in the communities which matter to you:

In the next post I will start to look outside to how you affect those around you and scale and magnify the changes you wish to effect in the world

Conor NeillConor Neill is the professor of Leadership Communication at IESE Business School in Barcelona and an entrepreneur who has founded four companies. Years ago, he was a manager in the Human Performance consulting practice of Accenture. He loves rugby, mountain climbing and will run a marathon next march. Conor frequently blogs at conorneill.com and tweets as cuchullainn
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Week In Review : Mar 27 – Apr 2, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on April 3, 2011

Business Intelligence in a Wiki World!

by Linda Williams, Mar 28, 2011

Often the development of Business Intelligence insights is closely guarded within the company to ensure at least a temporary advantage in the marketplace. Secrecy in all areas of analytical review is no longer possible or even preferable in a world that is increasingly transparent with the pervasive use of social media. But the decision to tap into the networked intelligence to speed up problem solving or make breakthroughs cannot be rote, but must rest with the complexity of the use and the expertise of internal resources to meet that need.  more…

Project Reality Check #15: The Requirements Game

by Gary Monti, Mar 29, 2011

Nailing down requirements is the number one complaint of project managers. Addressing this requires two skills: political adroitness and finding a balance point between exploring solutions and exploiting what is known and available. A mantra regarding project requirements goes something like this: “Requirements are stated needs, expectations are unstated needs. Clients tend to judge based on expectations.” So, in order to be a successful PM, it isn’t enough to simply say the client should be realistic. The PM and team need to push as far as they can working with the client in developing a realistic solution – one that will save reputations, relationships, and pocket books as well as produce the desired deliverable. more…

How to create your own good moods?

by Vijay Peduru, Mar 30, 2011

Whenever we meet certain people, they trigger a mood within us… Anxiety, flow, joy, fear, exhaustion, etc. Is there a way where we can choose our emotions? Yes, just like we choose to enter any room in our house, we  can choose our moods ourselves instead of getting triggered. This is a key skill for all, especially entrepreneurs when dealing with situations that might trigger default moods. more…

Flexible Focus #47: Clearing your Clutter

by William Reed, Mar 31, 2011

One of the things that prevents us from seeing life in this way, that shields our eyes from the wisdom in natural simplicity, is that we are surrounded by too much clutter. The recent events in Japan has triggered going back to basics and clearing the clutter. It has brought out the goodness in people. Mandala Chart can help us shift our focus. You can start by answering the following questions:

  1. What are 8 ways in which I can serve the most important people in my life?
  2. If I had to keep or choose 8 things, what would they be?
  3. What are 8 things I can do to clear the clutter in my life?
  4. What are 8 goals or values by which I choose to navigate my life?  more….

Leader driven Harmony #18: Gen-Ys need Special Handling when entering the Workforce – Part 2

by Mack McKinney, Apr 1, 2011

Upon arrival at a new job, every new employee is judged.  They will be scrutinized by established members of the organization in three areas: Talent, Reliability and People-skills. Give them the strongest possible start in each area. Basically, sharing of values and standards, repeated and demonstrated over time, is how individuals are brought into a team with shared goals, interdependencies and mutual rewards. more…

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How to create your own good moods?

by Vijay Peduru on March 30, 2011

Whenever we meet certain people, they trigger a mood within us. Same with objects, places, smells and a lot of other things in our life.   Anxiety, flow, joy, fear, exhaustion… different moods are triggered. We human beings are hijacked by our surrounding emotions. When we watch a movie, we laugh, we get tensed, bite our nails etc i.e we get deeply involved in the movie and allow the same emotions to be in us as the actors. If you look at these situations the common thing is we allow emotions to be triggered in us.

Is there a way where we can choose our emotions?

Just like we choose to enter any room in our house, we  can choose our moods ourselves instead of getting triggered. We humans have the amazing capacity and ability to think before we respond but most of us are not aware of this. How do we use this in our everyday life?

  1. Be aware that there is always a mood that is triggered in you, in any situation. All of us have this – it is one of the things that comes along with being human.
  2. Decide our mood before-hand: We can choose our mood prior to our encountering something, like beginning of the day or beginning of an interaction. In the morning, we can say to our self that today I choose to be optimistic, happy etc. When we encounter any situation or person the default emotion/mood is triggered, but we can stop it and remind ourselves about the choice we made and immediately choose the mood we desire.
  3. Consistent Practice: The difference between a Pro and an amateur is the pro practices his skill everyday rain or shine.  If we treat this habit like a game and practice it daily, it will eventually become a habit.  It will initially be difficult, so, we can try this for an hour or so every day and slowly increase it for a day, then week.. months and then years, until this practice becomes second nature to us.

This is a key skill that entrepreneurs stand to benefit from. Why? Well, lets just say that entrepreneurs have their share of “Situations” to deal with that might trigger the default moods.

Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.
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Should you always persist?

by Vijay Peduru on March 7, 2011

We all have heard many successful entrepreneurs and successful people talking about persistence and how persistence is one of the main ingredients for success.  The famous quote by Vince Lombardi “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Has perhaps been quoted many times by many people!

But if you look at any successful person – along with persistence comes also the wisdom to quit if something is not working out well.  In fact, business laws like chapter 11 and Chapter 7 are setup for this, Chapter 11 just means “We are going to stop doing what we were doing because it is not working out well for us and start with something new.  Chapter 7 means “We give up”

Declaring bankruptcy is sometimes good, so we can continue without the baggage from before. Here is a good example of a  19-Year-Old kid taking On Google. If you read his story, this kid Daniel Gross worked for 3 months on several ideas but nothing satisfied him and when he had 48hrs left he built a new one and continued to work on it for the next several months.  This is a good example of when to persist and when to quit.

This “quit or persist” works in anything in our life… A startup idea, a habit, an addiction. At any point of time, we can decide if we need to quit or persist.

Quitting is painful and is not fun, but perhaps it is better to acknowledge the failure, so we can start with fresh ideas and fresh perspectives.  When we know where we want to go and if what we are doing now does not seem to get us there, it is good to quit and maybe just maybe we will discover a better future than we anticipated.

Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.
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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…

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