Email Overkill: A Case Study in Credibility Crisis

How Redundant Messaging Can Destroy Brand Trust

Rajesh Soundararajan on LinkedIn – 

I’ve received hundreds of emails from Amar Chitra Katha, all with the exact same message: “As part of our ongoing efforts to improve our services and offer you a better user experience, we will be retiring the current lifetime subscription plan in a few days,” and urging me to act by the end of the day.

Amar Chitra Katha (Eternal Pictoral Lessons) from Amar Chitra Katha

I want to write a post about what every social media person should learn about not spamming email boxes with the same thing hundreds of times. These actions by junior staff can destroy the credibility of an organisation when they fail to stick to their own statements. If a deal is to be withdrawn by the end of the day, it should be. Continuing to send the same message for weeks or months indicates a lack of sincerity.

This also reflects poorly on the senior management at ACK. Such persistent issues are not just mistakes by low-ranking employees but point to the colossal mismanagement by the sales head and, ultimately, the CEO of ACK. Every email and direct mailer that goes out from ACK should be their responsibility. If senior managers are ignorant of this, it’s shameful. They are entirely unaware of how their brand is being compromised, which is sheer incompetence.

It’s possible that senior management is aware but doesn’t understand that this causes brand erosion or is simply unprofessional. In this case, they should be held responsible for incompetence.

Alternatively, they might be aware and still allow this to continue. In that case, they should be accountable for the complete failure in maintaining the organisation’s reputation.

Unsubscribing was easy for me, and I did it a long time ago. However, I wanted to observe this as a marketer to see the extent of their foolishness and use it as a case study on what not to do in email marketing.

Three points 

  1. Authenticity and Honesty**: Ensure your messages are genuine and truthful.
  2. Overuse of Urgency**: Avoid creating false urgency, like “limited time offers” that recur frequently.
  3. Repetitive Messaging**: Don’t send the same email content repeatedly.

Marketers should be truthful to their word, only promise what they can deliver, and follow through on what they say. Spamming emails harms the brand more than builds it, and marketers should be aware of that.

#EmailMarketingMistakes #BrandTrust #CustomerExperience #MarketingEthics #CommunicationFail #CredibilityInCrisis #DigitalMarketing #MarketingStrategy #SpammingBlunder #MarketingIntegrity


Leadership Everywhere: Mastering Life’s Boardrooms

Explore how the art of leadership in the boardroom can be a powerful tool in enhancing every aspect of your daily life.

Rajesh Soundararajan on LinkedIn: 

Building Leadership Traits in Daily Life

Building Leadership Traits in Daily Life

Leadership isn’t confined to titles or boardrooms; it’s a series of traits that can be cultivated and displayed in everyday life. Whether steering a project at work or managing household responsibilities, leadership is about taking the initiative and inspiring those around you.

Taking Ownership: Embrace Every Challenge

Taking Ownership involves embracing both successes and failures. Recognise that each setback is a chance to learn and each victory a stepping stone to the next challenge. It’s this cycle of continuous improvement that forges strong leaders. Determination and resilience are the backbones of this trait, empowering you to stay the course even when the going gets tough.

Taking Ownership is as much about leading at work as managing a home. For example, when an unexpected issue arises with a client, a working professional might stay late to ensure a resolution, much like at home when her child needs help with a last-minute school project. Or assuming leadership in a restaurant while placing the order, lwhen one sees a prolonged debate when the rest of the 10 people are unable to decide or come to a conclusion on choices. Here, ownership is assertively suggesting a ‘good enough’ choice that satisfies various tastes and dietary preferences, respecting the group’s time, and ensuring that everyone spends time on deeper conversations (the purpose of get-togethers) rather than just debating on food order.

This is not about controlling others or being authoritarian in thoughts and actions. The balance of taking ownership towards resolution, personal and professional, exemplifies authentic leadership. 

Getting Involved: Leadership Through Action

Getting Involved means engaging with your tasks with passion and commitment. Leadership manifests when you roll your sleeves and dive into the trenches alongside your team. This hands-on approach not only bolsters your own experience but also inspires confidence and respect from your peers.

Getting Involved means rolling your sleeves and diving into the day’s tasks. A  parent can lead by example, initiating a recycling program in their locality or organising community events. That will demonstrate to his children to get involved in cleaning up their room or pitch in to reduce water wastage at home. Being involved with focus and passion on a task goes beyond inside homes into workspaces and boardrooms and is the trait of a leader.

Speaking Up: The Power of a Leader’s Voice

Speaking Up is crucial. A leader’s voice is their most influential tool. By sharing what you believe in, asking questions, and raising concerns, you contribute to a culture of transparency and innovation. It’s not about being the loudest in the room but about making your communication count.

Speaking Up is about having a voice and using it wisely to stand up for what is right. A mother rating the issue of bullying at school with the school management, even if the majority is silent, is leadership. Similarly, rising to present alternative ideas cheaper, faster or better in a team meeting is leadership. Raising disagreements backed by logic and speaking up is leadership. Instead, put the other way, being a mute spectator and going with the majority even if you believe otherwise is not leadership. Again, the characteristic of standing for what is right, being free and fearless is a leadership trait. There will always be situations where there will be consequences for actions, yet speaking up for what is the right thing to do, for short-term, medium-term, and long-term, as the case may be, is leadership. 

Effective Communication: The Leadership Language

Effective Communication extends beyond speaking; it’s about listening, understanding, and responding appropriately. Whether sharing bad news or celebrating team achievement, how and when you communicate can build or erode trust.

Effective Communication is a skill that plays out in one’s daily interactions, from negotiating with one’s child to securing the best deal for her company. She handles delicate family matters as efficiently as navigating complex negotiations at work, always with a transparent, empathetic approach. This requires one to have the crucial conversations being authentic yet respectful. Communication that is direct and yet cushioned so that feedback is taken positively. Feedback that is immediate yet timed appropriately. 

My 50 word summary 

In conclusion, Leadership isn’t just for the executive suite; it’s for everyone, everywhere, every day. Leadership is an art that thrives on practice. By taking ownership, getting involved, speaking up, and communicating effectively, you integrate leadership into the fabric of your daily life. Embrace these traits, and watch as they open doors to new opportunities and foster an environment where everyone is encouraged to rise to their potential.

Keywords: Leadership, Daily Life, Ownership, Involvement, Effective Communication, Speaking Up, Personal Development, Professional Growth.

#LeadershipInLife #EverydayLeadership #LeadByExample #CommunicateEffectively #SpeakUpLead #TakeOwnership #LeadersInAction #LeadershipSkills #LifeLessonsInLeadership #EmpoweringLeadership


Finally my own AI who doesn’t even have a name

Finally, I have an EA that aligns with my exacting expectations – here’s how I hired and trained her.

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT,, Bard and Bing bring the phenomenal power of ‘executive assistants’ at fraction of effort and resources, for execs like myself.

I trained them once (may have shared over 200 pieces of my emails and memos and articles and corrected my expectations) on my style of letter writing, report writing and even external communication. I did this over 2-3 weekends almost 8 months ago. I told them that this is ‘Rajesh Soundararajan style’.

Human AI assistant

Today, I spend fraction of my time on any of these many tasks and makes me wonder even if 4 human EAs together will do what these AI tools do. Often times, I make her (my AIssistant) rewrite and fine tune 6-7 times, often pivot on a different angle for different audience, change the content to bullet points, expand to a two page reading document, 6 page white paper and even have 50 word summary cover letter and emails. These tools tirelessly work so patiently being apologetic for each feedback, willing to learn, try to do better each time.

I just spell out the key points and the specific words, tones and purpose in my prompt and ask these tools to “write in Rajesh Soundararajan style”. I have eschewed personal secretaries in my past life because I know that I am extremely demanding. I would experiment different angles of same message and it would have been exhausting to my assistants and me as well for the time and effort.

I needed to keep them motivated and yet being micro-manager on any communication that goes out from my desk it was a challenge. And if I had tasked them even 10% of what I do with AI tools, they would have quit in 24 hours. My deepest salute to the generative AI industry.

PS: My next test will be driverless cars. A finicky driver myself, no other driver ever suited my style. No I am inclined to test driverless cars. Hopefully I can train them too like how I did with my Executive Assistant.

AITransformation, #ExecutiveAI, #DriverlessFuture, #DigitalRevolution, #AIExecAssistant, #TechDrivenLeadership, #InnovateWithAI, #FutureOfDriving, #AIinAction, #EfficiencyEvolved


How to Create a Personal Brand That Will Make You Stand Out from the Crowd

Rajesh Soundararajan on LinkedIn –

Personal branding is the process of creating a unique identity that sets you apart from others in your field. It’s about developing a strong reputation and becoming known for your expertise, skills, and values.

Why Personal Branding

Personal branding is important for a number of reasons. It can help you:

  • Attract new opportunities, such as job offers, speaking engagements, and consulting projects.
  • Build relationships with potential clients and partners.
  • Increase your visibility and credibility in your industry.
  • Command higher fees for your services.
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.

How to Build Your Personal Brand

There are a number of steps you can take to build your personal brand:

  1. Define your brand. What do you want to be known for? What are your unique strengths and values? What problems can you solve for others?
  2. Identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your brand? What are their needs and interests?
  3. Create a content strategy. What kind of content will you create to share your expertise and insights with your target audience? 
  4. Create a communication / channel strategy. Where will you publish your content? What groups and forums (online and physical) will you participate in to listen, learn and share with your target audience? 
  5. Be consistent. It takes time and effort to build a strong personal brand. Be consistent in creating and sharing high-quality content, and in engaging with your audience on social media and other platforms.

Tips for Personal Branding

What you want to be known for

  • Clarity on what you want to be known for.
  • Clarity on target audience and progressively expand.


  • Be credible by learning thoroughly on the subject and share your deeper insights that are not easily available. In this aspect, sharing authentic content, examples, and experiences is important.
  • Understand that your credibility on the subject and topic is different. Being authentic is about yourself, and being credible is about your topic of conversation.


  • Channels – Look for opportunities to share and communicate your ideas. Engage in forums, LinkedIn, have conversations on the subject with people online and in the physical world, add your own topics in such discussions, join interest groups.


  • Consistency – Whatever you are doing, be very consistent. If there is one thing that sets you apart from 99% of others who are on a similar path, it’s your discipline to create your views, opinions, and conversations. Have a calendar and adhere to it strictly. It’s vital to post or participate in the platform so regularly that you might forget to breathe but not forget this activity. Start with a weekly routine, then increase the frequency as you become more comfortable.

(Personal) Connection

  • Make it personal and authentic. We are humans, have our own experiences, and are fallible. It’s not about being a hero who never falters but being an honest, authentic person who learns, cares, and shares. Over time, people will connect with your authenticity.


  • Break the clutter. With so many people expressing similar ideas and thoughts, there’s no point reiterating the same things. Add your experiences, your unique insights, your personal touch. It may seem odd initially, but over time, both you and others will realize that you have a distinct pattern, style, and thought process that becomes your brand.


  • Persist in your efforts. Building a brand is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take significant time, sometimes even 12-18 months of daily, consistent efforts. Achieving notable results, like getting a toned physique, requires persistence and commitment.


  • Find moments of inspiration to evolve and refine your ideas. For some, long drives or traffic jams are opportunities, while for others, long walks, conversations, long-distance cycling, gym sessions, or even showers can be sources of inspiration. Once an idea is formed, develop it further, consider different angles, and make it comprehensive. Jot down complex thoughts as they come to you.


  • Quality should always be a priority. If inspired by an idea, find fresh angles and perspectives.

(Power of) Connections

  • Power of Connections – For instance, if you love driving and find parallels between driving on a highway and running a business, share those insights. Or if a skating instructor teaches you how to fall, relate that to the importance of learning from failures in life and business.

(Innovation) Creativity

  • Be creative and find new methods or perspectives, pushing your thinking boundaries.


  • Always remain authentic; there’s no substitute for genuine content.


  • Ensure your content is pertinent to the industry and target audience. Listening actively to others helps in achieving this.


  • Your message should resonate with and appeal to the audience. Authenticity is crucial, but so is the manner of presentation.


  • Ultimately, the goal might vary from person to person: be it money, power, fame, or simply the joy of influencing and connecting with others. Regardless of the motivation, building a personal brand is a long, fulfilling journey with its challenges and triumphs. It requires authenticity, continuous learning, adaptability, and perseverance.

How to Write

  • Capture all thoughts, be it on paper, Google Keep, Siri, Apple Notes, or postcard-sized notes.
  • Use mind maps to structure your ideas.
  • Break extensive points into smaller articles.
  • You might begin with one idea that expands into many or find that multiple ideas distill into a few core concepts.
  • Make lists of your thoughts. Often, your mind might generate ideas faster than you can record them.
  • When writing, stay focused on one main point or a cluster of related points.
  • When writing for external readers, employ the rule of three.
  • Craft compelling headlines. Consider using headline generators for assistance.
  • Test your content and learn from feedback.
  • Avoid using AI to write your thoughts. It lacks authenticity and personal touch. Moreover, some readers can instantly tell if an article is AI-generated.
  • Define and stay true to your unique writing style. Embracing a contrarian viewpoint can also be beneficial

**Tips for Personal Branding**

**1. Defining Your Brand:**

– Clarity on what you want to be known for.

– Clarity on target audience and progressively expand.

**2. Credibility & Authenticity:**

– Be credible by learning thoroughly on the subject and share your deeper insights that are not easily available.

– Share authentic content, examples, and experiences.

– Understand that your credibility on the subject and topic is different from being authentic. 

– Always remain authentic; there’s no substitute for genuine content.

**3. Content & Communication:**

– Channels: Look for opportunities to share and communicate your ideas, engage in forums, LinkedIn, have conversations on the subject with people online and in the physical world, and join interest groups.

– Add your own topics in discussions and comment on conversations consistently, adding value.

– Break the clutter: Add your experiences, unique insights, and personal touch to differentiate from common ideas.

**4. Consistency & Commitment:**

– Be consistent in all your activities and set yourself apart with discipline in expressing your views and opinions.

– Use a calendar for regular posts or participation, starting with a weekly routine and adjusting frequency as you get comfortable.

– Personal branding is a marathon, not a sprint. Dedicate significant time and effort.

**5. Personal Connection:**

– Make connections personal and authentic, understanding the human aspects of experiences and fallibility.

– Emphasize that it’s largely about what the world wants and not just about you.

**6. Quality & Relevance:**

– Always prioritize quality and strive for fresh angles and perspectives on familiar ideas.

– Ensure content is relevant to the industry and resonates with the target audience. Listen actively to remain pertinent.

**7. Creativity & Innovation:**

– Find inspiration in daily activities and events, such as long drives, conversations, or gym sessions. Refine ideas as they form and consider various perspectives.

– Be creative and find new methods or perspectives. Relate personal experiences, like driving or learning from an instructor, to broader lessons in life or business.

**8. Goal & Journey:**

– Understand the various motivations behind personal branding, whether it’s for monetary gains, influence, or connection. The journey is long, requiring authenticity, continuous learning, and adaptability.

**How to Write Effectively**

**1. Capturing Ideas:**

– Use various tools like paper, Google Keep, Siri, Apple Notes, or postcard-sized notes to capture thoughts.

**2. Structuring & Organizing:**

– Use mind maps.

– Break down extensive points into concise articles.

– List your thoughts, noting that ideas might come faster than you can record.

**3. Writing Techniques:**

– Focus on one main point or related points per piece.

**4. Authenticity & Feedback:**

– Avoid using AI for personal thoughts due to lack of authenticity.

– Engage in A/B testing and gather feedback to refine your content.

**5. Unique Voic


Navigating the VUCA World: A Dual-Framework Approach to Success in Business

Managing in the today’s world of business demands both an experimental and execution-focused mindset; a balance that reinvents the established norms and enhances the growth potential of any organization.

Embrace the Transition: From Isolated R&D to Integrated Innovation

Gone are the days when R&D was isolated, left for a few dedicated people to deal with. The present Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) world demands a broader perspective, one that integrates experimentation with execution, thereby enabling businesses to navigate the landscape effectively.

Experimentation and Execution: Two sides of a Coin

Experimentation and Execution: Two sides of a Coin

In today’s era of unprecedented rate of change, the successful individuals and organizations are those who elegantly orbit between experimentation and execution.

Why Experimentation Matters:

  1. Outside-In Learning: Embrace the unknown, take inspiration from outside to challenge the status quo and create innovative solutions.
  2. Process Definition: Develop a robust framework for structured and productive ideation and problem-solving.
  3. Failure Tolerance: Building an environment where failure is seen as a doorway to new understanding, not as a setback.
  4. Path Finding: Identify the most effective way to move forward.
  5. Building for Sustainability: Recognize the need for long-term thinking and sustain the momentum brought about by experimentation.

The Importance of Execution:

  1. Inward Focused Learning: Understanding our strengths, weaknesses, and possible growth areas.
  2. Outcome-Driven: Ensuring efforts are geared towards substantial results.
  3. Task Completion: Implementation is key, bringing ideas to fruition.
  4. Lower Failure Rate: Enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of operations.
  5. Adherence to Process: Ensuring consistency and standards in delivering services or products.
  6. Building to Scale: Acknowledge the need to grow and adapt to meet demands of our expanding businesses.

Successful management in contemporary times requires an agile, balanced approach. A blend of experimentation and execution, a commitment to ongoing learning, and an innovative mindset helps individuals, teams, and organizations to thrive in the face of constant change and uncertainty.

My 50-word take:

The key message here is not to choose one approach over another but to do experimentation and execution together. As we continue to leap into the world of more unknown, it is super critical to see how ‘exploration with the intent of delivery’ and ‘delivery with the intent of exploratoon’ can coexist. By doing so, we are not just evolving with the world but also shaping the new norms in this evolving VUCA landscape.

Our biggest innovation will be in the way we approach and engage with this world and its opportunities, continue to learn, experiment, execute, and shape our world for a sustainable and scalable future.


9 Qualities to Seek in a HumAIn Hire for A(I)uthentic Marketing

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, the buzzword on everyone’s lips is “HumAIn” – the fusion of Human and Artificial Intelligence. As we step into fascinating world of generative AI today, the demand for HumAIn talent is skyrocketing. But what qualities should you look for when hiring a HumAIn for driving spontaneous and authentic marketing organizations? Here are the key attributes that will set your team up for success.

A HumAIN Representative

1. Multilingual Mastery: In our globally connected world, speaking the language of your audience is paramount. Look for a HumAIn who can effortlessly communicate in multiple languages, with proficiency in English + local language as a minimum. This linguistic versatility opens doors to wider audiences and ensures your message resonates authentically. The current language translators are still unable to pack that punch or humor in translations.

2. Storytelling Savvy: The heart of marketing lies in storytelling. Your ideal HumAIn hire should be a natural-born storyteller, capable of weaving narratives that captivate and engage. Seek someone who can craft narratives that feel spontaneous and authentic, connecting with your audience on a human (yes no AI here) level.

3. Curiosity and Continuous Learning: The marketing landscape is a playground for the curious. Your HumAIn should possess an insatiable thirst for knowledge, staying up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, and consumer behaviors. The ability to adapt and evolve is key to short, medium and long-term success.

4. Outside-In Perspective: Effective marketing requires seeing the world through the eyes of your audience. A HumAIn who adopts an “outside-in” perspective can better understand the needs, desires, and pain points of their target demographic, resulting in more authentic and relatable content. The problem today is 90% of marketers are inward focused – on their products, their culture, their TLA (Three Letter Acronyms), their features – little or no relevance to what their user needs.

5. Analytical Acumen: Data is the lifeblood of modern marketing. Your HumAIn should be adept at analyzing content performance, identifying what works, and what doesn’t. Data-driven decision-making ensures your marketing efforts are not just spontaneous but also strategically sound. I don’t like numbers is no more a cool thing for the arty-marketing soul. Spreadsheets, data and numbers, pivots and percentages form the core of measurement of each action and its consequence.

6. Proficiency in Written Communication: A strong command of the written word is non-negotiable. Whether it’s crafting blog posts, social media updates, or email campaigns, your HumAIn hire should be a wordsmith, able to convey messages with precision and impact. Even while using AI tools, the message should be pithy, precise and pertinent; plethora of plausible platitudes don’t work anymore.

7. Social Media Mastery: The modern marketer needs to be comfortable navigating various social channels, from the ever-popular Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram or X to messaging platforms like WhatsApp and email marketing. An adept HumAIn can engage and interact seamlessly across these platforms – where the target audience can be engaged.

8. Building Audience Communities: Beyond creating content, your HumAIn should have the knack for building and nurturing audience communities. This involves fostering a sense of belonging, encouraging discussions, and responding authentically to audience feedback. Listening and listening without bias or prejudice is the key here. Encourage transparency.

9. Tech-Savvy: Embracing technology is crucial in today’s marketing landscape. Look for a HumAIn who is willing to learn and use a suite of tools, including creative aids like Canva and marketing automation platforms like Buffer. Additionally, familiarity with generative AI tools such as Copy.AI, DALLE, ChatGPT, and Bing AI can supercharge content efficiency, potentially boosting effectiveness 10x.

50-word Summary

The next HumAIn hire you seek for driving spontaneous and authentic marketing should be a versatile, data-savvy, and tech-savvy storyteller with a genuine curiosity about the world. With these qualities, you’ll be well on your way to crafting marketing campaigns that not only capture attention but also hearts. Welcome to the future of marketing – the era of HumAIn.

Note: The term “HumAIn” refers to the fusion of Human and Artificial Intelligence in the context of marketing and content creation. It is not a word in the Webster Dictionary – yet.


Communicating Factually, Assertively, and Optimistically: A Generic Approach

Mastering the Art of Precision: How to Communicate Effectively in Brief Written Exchanges.

Effective communication is a cornerstone of any successful project or organization. While many excel at verbal interactions, the art of crafting precise written responses—especially in platforms like email or WhatsApp, where brevity often matters—can be a different challenge altogether.

Mastering the Art of Precision: How to Communicate Effectively in Brief Written Exchanges.

This insight was triggered by a recent conversation with a colleague, a highly skilled orator, who struggled to convey the same clarity and impact in written form. Lengthy, convoluted messages sometimes missed the crux, diluting the value of the communication. In a fast-paced world, where every word counts, mastering the skill of delivering concise, yet comprehensive written responses is indispensable. This blog post delves into how to achieve this balance, drawing on real-world examples from interactions between grant givers and grantees.

Here are the tops for effective written communication.

Preparation Phase:

  1. Have Absolute Clarity: Understand the exact requirement, pain point or the hidden need (ask as many questions as you should to identify them without annoying the other or sounding directionless) the facts and data related to the subject. Be ABSOLUTELY clear on what you want or what you want / have to offer as you thought, advise or ask.
  2. Research Thoroughly: Understand the facts and data related to the subject.
  3. Know Your Audience: Tailor your language, tone, and content to the listener’s needs.

Communication Phase:


  • Briefly outline the topic and why it’s important.

Present Facts Clearly:

  • Use bullet points or lists to separate facts.
  • Cite credible sources when possible.

Be Assertive but Not Aggressive:

  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Don’t use qualifiers like “I think” or “maybe”; state facts directly.

Maintain Control:

  • Stick to the point.
  • Use pauses effectively to control the pace and allow absorption of information.

Optimistic Conclusion:

  • Highlight the positives or opportunities without disregarding the challenges.

Answering Specific Questions:

  1. Listen Carefully: Make sure you understand the question fully.
  2. Be Concise: Answer directly, covering key points.
  3. Cite Evidence: If applicable, provide facts or data to back up your statement.
  4. Reiterate Optimistically: End with a positive note to signal the conversation’s forward momentum.

Follow-up Phase:

  1. Summarize Key Points: Recap what was discussed.
  2. Provide Additional Resources: Share links or documents that support your facts.
  3. Invite Further Questions: Be open to more discussion.

Email & WhatsApp: Short Response Strategy

Email & WhatsApp: Short Response Strategy
  • Start Directly: Jump into the point.
  • Use Numbers: For multiple points, number them for clarity.
  • Be Clear & Concise: No filler words.
  • End Positively: Close with a constructive or optimistic note.

Example 1: Question from Grant Giver to Non-Profit Grantee

Question: Can you update us on the progress of the literacy program?

Grantee Response:
We’ve reached 200 schools, directly impacting 10,000 students. Challenges: teacher training. Solutions in progress. Optimistic about meeting annual goals.

Example 2: Question from Implementation Partner to Principal

Question: How are the new tech platforms working in your school?

Principal Response:
Adoption rate at 70%. Teachers and students adapting well. Minor tech glitches, but fixable. Overall, very promising.

Example 3: Question from Principal to Vice-Principal

Question: Are the teachers ready for the new curriculum?

Vice-Principal Response:
80% of staff trained. Confidence high. Need to revisit lesson plans, but we’re on track for a successful rollout.

In each of these examples, the response is factual, direct, and ends on an optimistic note. It adheres to the word limit while still conveying essential information and a sense of assurance.

By adopting this approach, you not only convey information clearly and assertively but also instill a sense of optimism and control in the conversation.


Working with the Know-It-All Gen Z: The Art of Guiding without Dictating

Working with the younger generation, individuals in their 20s or early 30s who often carry the confidence of knowing it all, can be both exhilarating and challenging. They bring fresh perspectives, boundless energy, and tech-savvy expertise, but also an audacious belief in their own abilities that can sometimes make it difficult for them to accept guidance. As a seasoned professional myself, I can confidently offer some insights on managing and mentoring this talented, but at times, headstrong lot.

First off, I choose to see their high confidence levels as an asset, a catalyst propelling them towards uncharted territories with fearlessness. They are bold innovators, ready to question, debate, and argue. And as much as it seems they are resisting your inputs, they are ultimately seeking logic. They have a keen appetite for reasoning, and when offered, it is generally well received and duly respected.

Working with a know-it-all.

Granting Freedom with Defined Goals

Chaos breeds in ambiguity. The young generation craves freedom — freedom to explore, experiment, and even falter. However, if parameters are not well-defined, it could lead to confusion and derailment. So set clear goals but also provide a large canvas for these young minds to paint their own interpretations. The freedom within a framework kind of approach works best here.

The Role of Respect

It’s a golden relationship rule that applies superbly here as well – respect begets respect. Value their space, their personality, and their uniqueness. Foster a nourishing environment where their voices can be heard without the fear of judgement.

The Power of Constructive Feedback

For the ones who think they know it all, feedback, when given artfully, can be a game-changer. Feedback should be structured, meaningful, and respectful, even when it is negative or critical. There’s no better way to build trust and convey that you indeed have their backs.

Share, to Inspire

Guide them through your journey. Share stories of your triumphs and failures with full candor, narrating how a particular misstep you took years ago led to learnings that you carried forward. Anecdotes from your life can offer valuable learning experiences and inculcate a more open mindset.

Teach the Balancing Act

The ability to see both the big picture and the minute details is a competence that is often hard won. Instruct them to observe, to understand how a small font spacing change in a document can dramatically alter its impact, and how an overarching strategy can guide a project’s direction.

Authenticity and Transparency

To ensure their growth and success, teach them about corporate values. They should witness the authenticity you bring to your work, the focus on shared success, the outside-in perspective, the power of fine-tuned storytelling, and the pervasive practicality of corporate life.

The New Prophesy

Interestingly, they’ve begun to say that I can foresee the future. I take it as a compliment. It reinforces the importance of experience and wisdom. Young or old, we are all constantly learning, earthed on the past but looking towards the future.

A creative journey

Engaging with the younger generation at the workplace can initially be a roller coaster ride, but by focusing on mentorship and creating a space for open conversations, you can easily turn this ride into a journey of shared growth and success. Provide them with insight, not just directions, and the ‘know-it-all’ will transform into the ‘eager-to-learn’.


Unlock Your B2B Powerhouse: #CrucialConversations for Everlasting Partnerships and Soaring Success

In the dynamic landscape of B2B sales, forging long-term partnerships relies on fostering open dialogue, shared understanding, and a commitment to achieving common goals. Dive into the most crucial probing, or discovery, questions designed to drive productive conversations and uncover new avenues for growth and collaboration.

A questioning mind has endless possibilities figured out

Essential Probing Questions:

  1. What has sparked your interest in partnering with our organization?
  2. How does our solution fit within your existing systems or processes?
  3. What benefits do you expect to gain from our collaboration?
  4. How do you see our offering addressing your current pain points or challenges?
  5. Can you describe the urgency and importance driving your investment in this solution?
  6. Are there any hindrances preventing you from moving forward at this stage?

Additional Probing Questions:

  • How do you envision integrating our solution into your long-term growth strategy?
  • Can you share examples of past successful partnerships that could guide our collaboration?
  • What challenges do you foresee in implementing our solution, and how can we collaborate to overcome them?
  • How does our proposed solution align with your company’s values and commitment to social responsibility?

The Value of Probing Questions:

Strategic questioning uncovers critical information, enabling Futureshift Consulting to tailor services that align with each partner’s unique requirements, goals, and objectives. These questions nurture deep connections, empower effective decision-making, and propel businesses towards sustainable success. By fostering an environment of trust and collaboration, our partners can reach their full potential.

Skipping these questions may lead to inefficient solutions and missed opportunities for growth. It is vital to involve each partner in the dialogue and decision-making process.

Optimal Time and Tone for Asking Questions:

Business relationships are built on clear communication and mutual understanding. As a forward-thinking, innovative, and socially responsible brand, Futureshift Consulting should engage in probing questions throughout multiple stages of the partnership.

From exploring possibilities to evaluating the impact of ongoing projects, these pivotal questions establish an open, empowering, and approachable environment that cultivates synergistic growth.

Striking a tone that is professional yet empathetic, the questions should be adapted and rephrased to suit specific conversational contexts while maintaining the core objective of establishing a strong foundation for understanding and shared success.

In conclusion, B2B relationships thrive on insightful questioning and open dialogue. By investing in this approach, Futureshift Consulting and its partners can achieve sustainable growth, drive innovative solutions, and uphold shared commitments to social responsibility and sustainability. Together, we can create a brighter future for all.


India’s Quantum Leap: An Inside Look at the Technological Transformation

Rajesh Soundararajan on LinkedIn –

In my previous article, “Happy 75th, India – Next 25,” we paused and reflected on India’s journey of seven and a half decades. We celebrated India’s 75 buoyant years and anticipated the promising next 25.

Many lived through the iconic turning points and paradigm shifts, particularly those from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, when India was perceived as a slow-paced, industry-unfriendly zone. Today, the canvas that India paints could not differ more. Through the lens of the cognitive biases that often cloud our collective memory, this article delves deeper into the significant chapters of India’s transformative journey – from being a talent supplier to starting to become a global leader in technology.

As one among the 1.3 billion hearts beating in India today, I felt compelled to extend the narrative, especially for those who bore witness to the transformations from the 60s to the 80s. As the memory of India being a slow, socialist, industry-hating economy still lingers, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the reality couldn’t be more dissimilar today.

From Trishaws to Chandrayan3 ?

Unhooking from the Cognitive Biases

Often, the human mind clings to the present, succumbing to cognitive biases, such as the ‘recency effect’ and ‘bandwagon effect’. In this 24×7 social media era, these biases get amplified, subtly nudging us to ignore or undervalue the path tread. The transition from the reluctance to reveal our Indian identity overseas back in 1999 to assertively proclaiming one’s origin as “Bangalore” by late 2001, is a testament to the sea change in perceptions. This shift underpins the impact of major events like Y2K on our collective psyche and, indeed, the global image India projected.

Banking, Investment, and Technology: the Early 2000s

It was during 2002-2007 that the seeds of massive transformation were sown. As the new millennium unfolded, India emerged as a major investment hub, fueled by an influx of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the technology and automotive sectors. This period ‘marked’ the initiation of full-scale banking reforms in India. Banks across the country adopted and integrated cutting-edge technology, creating an incredible foundation for the banking sector in the years to come.

Resilience also became India’s middle name amid global crises: the expensive crude oil at $200 a barrel, the 2008 financial meltdown, and health scares from SARS to swine flu. Despite the odds, India managed to keep inflation within check – a noteworthy achievement considering the global economic scenario.

Telecommunication Revolution in the Palms of the Common Man

Fast-forward to 2005. A small, mobile device, courtesy of the stunning ₹500 Monsoon Hungama offer, began reaching the majority of Indian households. This significant turning point signaled a shift in business models, particularly those aimed at the ‘Bottom of Pyramid.’ Cellular technology’s diffusion had a profound influence not only on the way businesses operated but how society communicated, engaged, and consumed services.

The initial charm of feature phones gave way to a thirst for smarter, faster, and more versatile devices. By 2013, 3G-enabled smartphones were no longer the toys of the affluent but tools of necessity. This rapid evolution helped pave the way for services like home delivery of groceries. A concept pioneered by Fabmall in 2000-2001, paralleling the services offered by Amazon Pantry in the present day.

Buffaloes and Cycle Rickshaws and Space Race

The Aerial Revolution – Making Everyone Fly

In parallel, the aviation sector was undergoing its transformation, catalyzing the idea that everyone can fly. Low-cost airlines emerged as a game-changing concept between 2003-2014, toppling the traditional paradigms in domestic travel. Airlines like Air Deccan started offering tickets at jaw-droppingly low costs – as affordable as ₹500. The Indian sky was teeming with choice and the potential that affordable travel could unlock across the Indian landscape.

Auto Industry Transformation – Becoming the World’s Workshop

In the auto sector, the revolution was no less significant. Major car manufacturers – GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, and Mercedes Benz – expanded their operations in India, setting up vast factories. We moved away from being net importers to significant exporters of vehicles across the world. Brands like Hyundai became synonymous with quality and affordability in international markets, making their Indian plants major export hubs.

Companies in the auto ancillary sector, such as Sundaram Clayton and TVS groups, furthered this growth. Tata Motors’ audacious acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover, glorified India’s prowess in auto manufacturing on the global stage.

Expanding Footprints – The Forays of Airtel & Tatas

Indian companies didn’t limit themselves to just enhancing domestic capacity–they went global too. Airtel set an example by spreading its operations into Africa, providing affordable cellular services to millions. Likewise, Tata Group, with its vast array of business interests, expanded its footprint into Europe and other global markets.

Embrace and Scale: The Story of Aadhaar, UPI, Direct Cash Transfer & More

Concepts that were pilot-tested during 2012-2015, such as Aadhaar, UPI, Direct Cash Transfer, established the potential that technology had in transforming governance and public services. These initiatives presented scalable models that could positively impact the lives of millions, further strengthening India’s standing in global technological innovations.

The Unseen Backbone – How Global Tech Transformation Enabled Local Growth

If a billion wishes were hoses, the cows did indeed fly.

Behind these triumphs lies an unsung contributor that fueled India’s technological ascendance – the silent revolution that internet and global technology transformation brought. WhatsApp, bought over by Facebook, evolved from being merely an instant messaging app to a platform that enabled small businesses to connect and interact with consumers like never before. The rampant penetration of 3G, followed by 4G networks, pushed the envelope, transforming India into a mobile-first nation.

In this context, key sectors’ convergence, visionary leaders, and competencies of Indian scientists, engineers, and technologists came to a crucial juncture. The driving message behind this narrative is acknowledging every football field run, every player’s agility, every strategy employed, and every triumphant goal that has brought us to this juncture – from the Y2K-stimulated IT revolution and telecom wave to the banking reforms, auto industry leap, advancement in mobile Internet, Aadhaar integration and beyond.

India, as we witness today, is a significant actor on the scientific and technological world stage—a testament to several decades of consistent toil, tenacity, and innovation. As we derive pride in today’s breakthroughs, let’s also pay tribute to the journey that has brought us here and prepare to navigate the exciting new chapters yet to unfold.