Archive

Celebrate it more often

In an earlier interview with The Smart Manager, author Hap Klopp explained why Silicon Valley companies are a class apart—they recognize the fact that excellence is only achieved via radical action, and that radical action has an incrementally higher probability of failure. They keep ‘failure’ in perspective and do not let it overwhelm them.
It is not something to be averse to—‘failure’ could be the winning mantra if seen as a strategic step along the growth path.

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The biology of change

A hundred small ripples make a big wave. Likewise, several motivated employees can create a cumulative effect, and drive change and growth. However, even when fully aware of the benefits of employee engagement, many fail to fathom its biological depths. It is high time organizations catered to the demands of their ‘seeking’ systems and kept them more ‘alive’.

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Decode it right

‘Leadership’ is a much-misunderstood construct. Dismiss long-held beliefs and approach it differently, opines Chris Lewis, co-author, with Pippa Malmgrem, of The Leadership Lab: Understanding leadership in the 21st century, and founder of LEWIS.

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Soaked knowledge

If approached as an exercise in listening and learning, powerful conversations with clients and customers can offer long-term lessons. A challenging client may seem like an obstacle but can also turn out to be someone who will motivate you to do quality work, by giving eye-opening ideas and concepts. A radical new way of engaging with clients and customers, the SPONGE process focuses on listening as a means to gain diverse, insightful perspectives.

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Create not pools, but an ocean

Innovation is a relentless pursuit for every successful organization, cutting across geographies and industries. And many are driving disruptions by promoting intrepreneur teams too. Doug Hall argues this is a flawed approach, benefitting only a select few. Innovation needs to operate in a broader realm—one that encompasses all and promises a level playing field.

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Stepping stones

John Lunney, Sue Lueder, and Gary O’Connor of Google write in an article on re:Work, “We use postmortems to carefully document and disseminate learnings from any mistakes… A postmortem is the process our team undertakes to reflect on the learnings from our most significant undesirable events… For us, it’s not about pointing fingers at any given person or team, but about using what we’ve learned to build resilience and prepare for future issues that may arise along the way.”* It is this attitude that startups and entrepreneurs need to develop to face failures and bounce back.

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How to tame your ‘victim voice’

Our lives often take unexpected turns—landing us in difficult situations, fighting unforeseen odds. However, rarely do we comprehend that what has led to the crisis could be our own flawed approach and we wallow in self-pity. It takes a lot of courage and self-belief to accept and acknowledge that the fault lines lie within.

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A case for a second chance

A 2016 Harvard Business Review article refers to Pixar’s president Ed Catmull’s view on mistakes. “They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new….and should be seen as valuable.”*
‘Failure’ is a relative term, but there is one aspect that is almost universal: flight from failure. One needs to overcome this temptation—to succeed.

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Power of data

When it comes to using data to drive business, organizations such as Google or Facebook are iconic… When they started in 2007, big data was not what it is today. All four Vs that define big data—volume, variety, velocity, and veracity—were at lower levels. But perhaps more importantly, there was not much previous experience of working with big data and using it to drive decision making in organizations. At that time, the question was still out as to whether having all that data is useful. Today, the feeling is that the value of data has been proven, and it’s more of a question of how to get it.1

Diligent businesses are those that ensure data privacy and security while leveraging its multiple advantages.

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‘Politics’ of failure

Nokia’s once-stellar performance was undermined by misaligned collective fear: top managers were afraid of competition from rival products, while middle managers were afraid of their bosses and even their peers. It was their reluctance to share negative information with top managers—who thus remained overly optimistic about the organization’s capabilities— that generated inaccurate feedback and poorly adapted organizational responses that led to the company’s downfall.*

It is not just Nokia, but many others who have fallen prey to complacency and turned risk-averse. New technologies are growing pervasive by the day and organizations can ill-afford to ignore its implications.

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