Long ago, I was in a meeting with my team and a few other colleagues, including my boss. One of the team members presented a new project plan that she came up with. As seniors, my boss and I had a little more experience with the customer and we shared simialr approach to developing the plan.
My boss listened intently without interruption and then started asking the team some questions listened to their perspectives, and also sought out more information about the project, such as conducting research or talking to other experts in the field. He ended the meeting 30 min earlier and suggested we meet after 4 days and suggested a 30 minute meeting and take a decision.
I was curious, and after the meeting I asked my boss why he did not just suggest our approach and just come to the decision immediately and unnecessarily call for another meeting. I said that we could have just got the team executing right way with our approach. After all we had experience to support our logic.
He said that since it was ‘not time-critical and there was no right or wrong approach’ his goal was to understand the different perspectives’ and allow the team to come with a solution that emerged from themselves’ as consensus. He said if the ideas come from themselves, it would have higher ownership and build confidence for the future. “We are anyways there to provide guardrails”, he said.
I had been following that advice from that day 20 years ago and it has been one of the most valuable learnings. Much later in life, I came across the terms – advocacy orientation and inquiry orientation – I realised the power of these concepts.
Advocacy orientation and inquiry orientation refer to two different approaches to communication and problem-solving. Advocacy orientation involves taking a stance on a particular issue and arguing in favor of that position, while inquiry orientation involves seeking to understand multiple perspectives on an issue and finding common ground.
An advocacy orientation focuses on persuading others to accept a particular point of view and may involve the use of persuasive techniques, such as emotional appeals or logical arguments. This approach is often used in situations where there is a clear right or wrong answer and the goal is to convince others to accept the correct answer.
In contrast, an inquiry orientation involves asking questions and listening to others in order to better understand their perspectives and find solutions that can be agreed upon by all parties. This approach is often used in situations where there is no clear right or wrong answer and the goal is to find a solution that works for everyone.
Advocacy orientation and inquiry orientation are not mutually exclusive, and many people may use elements of both approaches in different situations. Which approach is most appropriate will depend on the specific situation and the goals of the conversation.
When building a successful business, the age-old question arises: Are good leaders the key to building good companies or vice versa? The answer, as it turns out, is a bit of both.
A case for ‘it depends’.
Good leaders are essential for any company because they set the tone for the entire organization. They provide direction, set goals, and inspire their employees to work towards a shared vision. Good leaders also create a positive work culture, which is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. A good leader will also be able to navigate the company through difficult times and make tough decisions that will benefit the company in the long run.
On the other hand, good companies also play a vital role in developing good leaders. A good company will provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop their leadership skills. They will also have systems in place for mentoring and coaching, which will help to develop the next generation of leaders. A good company will also have a clear vision and values that align with the leader’s, which makes it easier for them to lead the company in the right direction.
A case of how leaders built companies –
In my view, I tend to believe that good leaders make good companies. While good companies may attract good leaders or groom some, ultimately, it is the leadership at the top that sets the direction and tone for the organization. Good leaders have the vision, drive, and ability to make tough decisions that will benefit the company in the long run. They also create a positive work culture, which is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to a more productive and efficient workforce and, ultimately, to a more successful company. While a good company can certainly provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop their leadership skills, it is ultimately the leader that is responsible for leading the company to success.
One great example of this is Amazon. Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO, are widely considered one of the best leaders in the world. He has set a clear vision and values for the company and has created a culture of innovation and customer focus. This has allowed Amazon to become one of the most successful companies in the world.
Another example is Apple; under the leadership of Steve Jobs, the company was able to create a culture of innovation, design, and focus on customers. He was able to lead the company through difficult times and make tough decisions that ultimately led to the company’s success.
Yet another example of a leader who has had a significant impact on their company’s success is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter. Musk is known for his ambitious vision and ability to think outside the box. He has led Tesla to become one of the most valuable car companies in the world and has revolutionized the way people think about electric cars. Additionally, his leadership has also led to SpaceX becoming a leader in the private space industry with its reusable rockets and satellite launches. Even with Twitter, much as there have been different views on style, clearly, Twitter today is a lot more agile and a lot more shipping new stuff than the sumber it was in for almost 7-8 years.
Musk has also implemented a unique management style in both companies, where he sets very ambitious goals and encourages (pushes ;)) his employees to work towards them. This approach has led to rapid innovation and development, allowing Tesla, Twitter, and SpaceX to achieve milestones that were once thought impossible. His leadership has also been vital in fostering a culture of innovation and risk-taking within the companies, which has been a key driver for their success.
Bezos, Jobs, and Musk are prime examples of leaders with completely different leadership styles who have had a significant impact on the success of their companies. They have a clear vision, super ambitious goals, and an ability to think outside the box, which has led to rapid innovation and development. Their leadership has also been key in fostering a culture of innovation and risk-taking within the companies, which has been a key driver for their success.
A case of how companies building leaders –
While it is true that organizations like Unilever, GE, and IBM have built great leaders, it is less common that those leaders have gone on to build great companies. These companies are often established and have a long history, with well-established systems and processes in place. While the leaders of these companies have certainly had a significant impact on their performance, they are often working within the framework of an already successful organization.
For example, while leaders at Unilever have been instrumental in shaping the company’s strategy and direction, the company itself has a long history and has been successful for many years. Similarly, while leaders at GE have been able to drive growth and improve performance, the company has been a leader in its industry for decades.
It’s not to say that these leaders haven’t had a significant impact on their companies, but it is a rare case that those leaders have built great companies from scratch. Building a company from scratch requires a different set of skills than managing and leading an already successful one. It requires a more creative and innovative approach and a willingness to take risks.
Needless to say, while organizations like Unilever, GE, and IBM have built great leaders, it is less common that those leaders have gone on to build great companies. These companies are often established and have a long history, with well-established systems and processes in place. While the leaders of these companies have certainly had a significant impact on their performance, they are often working within the framework of an already successful organization.
In conclusion, the relationship between good companies and good leaders is a complex one. While both elements are important for a successful business, they play different roles. Good leaders provide direction, set goals, and inspire their employees to work towards a common vision. They also create a positive work culture which is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. On the other hand, good companies provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop their leadership skills; they have systems in place for mentoring and coaching. They have a clear vision and values that align with the leaders. Building a company from scratch requires a different set of skills than managing and leading an already successful one. It requires a more creative and innovative approach and a willingness to take risks. Both elements are needed to create a successful business, and one cannot exist without the other.
Keywords – Good companies, good leaders, business success, company culture, employee engagement, leadership development, innovation, risk-taking, leadership examples, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Unilever, GE, IBM, interplay of good companies and good leaders, building a successful business, good leaders key to building good companies, managing and leading successful companies, creative and innovative approach, leadership matters, building a company from scratch, key to business growth, key role of leaders in a company, relationship between good companies and good leaders, importance of good leadership in companies, impact of good leaders on companies, company success and leadership, developing leadership skills within a company, company vision and values alignment with leaders, company mentoring and coaching for leadership development, key elements for a successful business.
Tags: Leadership, Business, Success, Companies, Culture, Employee engagement, Development, Innovation, Risk-taking, Examples, CEO, Vision, Values, Mentoring, Coaching, Building a company, Key to growth, Impact of leaders, Company and leadership, Skills development, Alignment, Key elements, Business growth, Management, Business strategies, Entrepreneurship, Organizational development.
My two-wheeler was malfunctioning and I had to replace the spark plug. that is when I thought how leaders play a extremely crucial role in an organisation which is similar to a spark plug in internal combustion engine.
Here are six reasons why good leaders should be like spark plugs.
A good leader should be able to bring together the organization’s internal resources and the external market opportunities to create value. Just as a spark plug brings together the fuel and air in an IC engine to create energy, a good leader brings together the organization’s resources and market opportunities to drive success.
A good leader should be able to use high-pressure situations to ignite a spark and convert the team’s potential into momentum and the organization’s growth. Just as a spark plug is able to ignite the fuel-air mixture in a high-pressure situation within the combustion chamber of an IC engine, a good leader should be able to use high-pressure situations within the organization to motivate and inspire the team to achieve their potential and drive the organization’s growth. This requires the ability to remain calm and focused under pressure and to use that pressure to drive positive change.
A good leader should be reliable and consistent, just like a spark plug. In an IC engine, the spark plug must consistently ignite the fuel-air mixture to keep the engine running smoothly. Similarly, a good leader should consistently provide direction and guidance for the team to keep the organization moving forward.
A good leader should be essential for the smooth operation of the organization, much like a spark plug is essential for the smooth operation of an IC engine. A spark plug ensures that the fuel-air mixture is ignited at the right time, and a good leader ensures that the team is working towards a common goal and that the necessary resources are available to achieve it.
A good leader should be proactive in seeking out new opportunities and addressing problems, just as a spark plug is proactive in initiating the combustion process. A spark plug initiates combustion before the fuel-air mixture is fully compressed, and a good leader should be proactive in identifying and pursuing new opportunities or addressing problems before they become too large to handle.
A good leader should be able to spark creativity and innovation in the team, just as a spark plug is able to spark the fuel-air mixture to create energy. A spark plug provides the initial spark that ignites the fuel-air mixture, and a good leader should be able to provide the initial spark of inspiration that ignites creativity and innovation in the team.
When it comes to selling, the words we choose can significantly affect the outcome. While some words or phrases may seem harmless, they can be interpreted negatively by potential customers and ultimately hurt the sale. Here are seven phrases that should immediately be replaced in your sales conversations:
Replace Policy with the Process
Replace Cheap with Great Value
Replace Pitch with Presentation
Replace the Contract with the Agreement
Replace Fee with Investment
Replace ‘Let me tell you with ‘Let me share with you.”
Replace ‘our product is incredible’ with our ‘other customers realised these benefits.’
Here I explain why?
Replace policy with process: Instead of referring to a “policy” in your sales conversations, you should use the word “process” instead. While “policy” can make people feel like they’re being constrained, “process” suggests that there’s an orderly and organised way to get to the desired outcome.
Replace cheap with great value: You should never refer to your product or service as “cheap” in a sales conversation. Instead, focus on the value it brings to the customer. Describe it as “a great value” or “an excellent investment”.
Replace pitch with presentation: It’s important to avoid using the word “pitch” in a sales conversation. A “pitch” suggests that you’re trying to pressure the customer into buying, but a “presentation”, on the other hand, implies that the customer will be given a chance to ask questions and provide feedback.
Replace Contract with Agreement – Contract has a negative connotation and can create a sense of rigidity that could turn potential customers away. On the other hand, Agreement has a more positive connotation and suggests that both parties are willing to work together to create a mutually beneficial situation.
Replace Fee with Investment – Fee has a negative connotation and suggests that the customer is just paying for something without any return. On the other hand, Investment indicates that the customer is investing in something that will yield a return in the future.
Replace “Let me tell you” with “Let me share with you” – The phrase “Let me tell you” can come across as overly authoritative and can make potential customers feel like they are being lectured. Replacing it with “Let me share with you” shows that you are cooperative and willing to work together to find the best solution.
Replace “our product is awesome” with “other customers realised these benefits” – Touting your own product as excellent can quickly be perceived as boastful and can come off as self-serving. Instead, focus on how other customers have benefited from your product and how it has improved their lives.
The above article outlined seven phrases that should be avoided in sales conversations to ensure a successful outcome.
More often than not, the very purpose and foundation of starting a non-profit are driven by a strong association with a more significant cause or purpose, usually greater than their own.
Visionary founders in non-profits are often inspirational leaders themselves with an eye on the future and feet firmly on the ground. They usually build an organization based on deep values that resonate with the cause.
They depend on volunteers inspired by their vision and magnetism in the early stages and join the cause. Many volunteers may even be professionals with solid credentials and often play the role of scaffolding as the institution is being built. Ultimately, scaffolding is scaffolding; soon, the volunteers serve their time and often move on.
The 5 qualities that you should look for towards finding the right talent
That they have bought into your vision and ideology. This forms the core and is non-negotiable.
Demonstrate the ability to execute at the grassroots AND translate your vision to reality.
Possess foresight on the future AND imagination to innovate continuously.
Ability to work in the VUCA [volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world] that is becoming
To be a continuous learning organism WITH honesty to accept failures and work on what is right.
Attracting such talent is often a difficult task for the founders. But then, who said visionary non-profit founders take the easy path, ever?
What are key things to keep in mind for taking meeting notes and circulating them to all attendees for action and next steps?
Here are some key things to keep in mind for taking meeting notes and circulating them to all attendees for action and next steps:
Start by clearly stating the purpose and agenda of the meeting, as well as the names and roles of all attendees. This will help everyone understand the context and focus of the meeting, and ensure that all participants are on the same page.
Take detailed and accurate notes of the discussion and decisions made during the meeting. This may include key points, action items, and deadlines. Make sure to include the names of the individuals responsible for each action item, and any relevant references or attachments.
Use a clear and concise writing style to organize and present the information in the notes. Avoid using jargon or abbreviations that may not be understood by all attendees, and use bullet points or numbered lists to highlight key points and action items.
Review and proofread the notes carefully before sending them to all attendees. This will help ensure that the information is accurate and easy to understand.
Use a professional and standardized format for the notes, such as a table or template. This will help to ensure consistency and make it easier for attendees to quickly find and access the information they need.
Follow up with attendees after the meeting to ensure that they have received the notes and understand their action items. This will help to clarify any questions or concerns, and ensure that everyone is on track to meet their deadlines.
Overall, the key is to be organized, detailed, and professional in your approach to taking and circulating meeting notes. By doing so, you can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and able to take the necessary action to move forward.
Understand the difference between the decision maker, influence, and gatekeeper.
B2B sales calls come in all shapes and sizes. You might be reaching a single buyer or trying to get through to several people in an organization. Regardless of whom you are talking to, your pitch must be tailored to them and their role on the team. In this article, I will review the players you’ll likely encounter during your B2B sales calls: decision makers, gatekeepers, and influencers. I will also advise on how best to approach these different roles so you can most effectively sell your product or service!
All B2B sales calls have at least one decision maker and at least one gatekeeper.
In B2B sales, it is essential to understand the difference between the decision maker, influencer and gatekeeper.
All B2B sales calls have at least one decision-maker. The decision maker is the person who makes the final call about whether their company can use your product or service.
All B2B sales call also have at least one gatekeeper. A gatekeeper controls access from others in your organization to a person/department/group in another organization that has not yet bought from you (but may do so). Gatekeepers are often internal—for example, a marketing manager might be your gatekeeper if they control communications between you and their clients or prospects on behalf of their company. Porters can also be external—for example; an account executive might function as a gatekeeper because they know all of his client’s information, including what other vendors they use, how much they spend per year and where they spend it – information that could help him convince them that using your services would save them money!
The decision maker pulls the trigger on all sales decisions.
The decision-makers role is central to the sales process. They have the authority to make a purchase decision and have a budget to spend on your product or service. Their job is often high-level, so they do not need a lot of day-to-day operational details. They mainly care about whether you can solve their problem and how much it will cost them.
They often work alone in an office without any other people around them. They might not even speak with anyone else about what you are selling except for their assistant or secretary (a gatekeeper).
Suppose your company does business B2B (business-to-business). In that case, chances are you will need to contact a decision-maker at one point or another during your sales cycle.
Gatekeepers guard access to the decision-maker. They can be buyers, but they may not be.
Gatekeepers are not always buyers. They may be peers or usually a subordinate. They control access to the decision maker, who is typically an executive or decision maker with authority to buy whatever you sell.
Gatekeepers can be hard to identify because they do not always want their identity known—they may not want their boss to know they are stopping them. They prefer that you contact them directly rather than going through their superior. Gatekeepers also like saying “no” to people without anyone knowing about it (or having any record). This means that gatekeepers are often extremely careful about whom they allow into their inner circle, so if you do not fit into their social circle out of the gate (i.e., when trying to get in touch with them), then your chances of getting through are slim-to-none unless you’re very lucky or persistent enough
Influencers are the people who influence the decision-maker to buy a particular product or service.
Influencers are the people who influence the decision-maker to buy a particular product or service. They can be buyers or not, and they are the people you need to understand and influence to get your product or service sold. They can be anyone close to the decision maker whose opinion affects their decisions.
The influence may not be the person you usually talk to. They can be anyone close to the decision maker whose opinion affects their decisions. Influencers can include colleagues, friends, or family members. You need to identify these people when working with B2B salespeople because they are often highly influential in buying decisions for their company.
The buying team comprises three roles: decision-maker, gatekeeper, and influencer. The decision maker pulls the trigger on all sales decisions and usually takes responsibility for budgeting and authorizing purchases. The gatekeeper guards access to the decision-maker by filtering out unnecessary sales calls from people who do not fit into their organization’s culture or business model. Influencers can be anyone on your list which has some influence over the potential buyer’s decisions about what type of company they work for or what products they should buy from you (or not!).
What if you were your team’s biggest problem? How will you even know? Let alone fix it.
My friend and I were talking about what it means to lead a team. He runs a hands-on small business, and I do CxO on Tap consulting, usually working with CEOs and Founders on boring stuff like “business transformations”.
My friend talked about his challenges with his team and how he could improve the performance of his employees and his business. His team was talented and hard-working, but they weren’t meeting their company’s goals or delivering the high-quality work he expected.
We talked about all sorts of things he could do differently. He could change their workflow and different tasks, give them new tools, fire some, hire more people with expertise in specific areas, delegate more responsibilities to them and so on…
Then at one point, I heard myself blurting loudly – “Hey, What if YOU are your team’s biggest problem right now? Then how would you fix yourself?”
My friend was shocked at my brutality. I was stunned myself that I said that.
He immediately replied, “nothing”. Then there was radio silence on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Both of us said nothing—dead silence.
Then he got up and shook hands, left the meeting as suddenly as possible. He said, “Thank you so much… that last question …wow! … it was a killer. I don’t know why I didn’t ask myself all along…. I will call you back as soon as I crack this… thanks a bunch”, and he just left.
What would you do? Did it ever happen to you? What if you were your team’s biggest problem? How will you even know?
If you work non-stop beyond the 25th / 30th minute, your performance starts to dip drastically. And it a slide downhill on productivity. So, this is what you should do – Work in 25-minute intervals. Take a break for 5 minutes and do something fun – call a friend, talk to a child, speak to a parent or roommate, enjoy some music – something that is the reward for the 25 minutes of hard Work. Now go back to the next 25 minutes slot and finish the task. Keep repeating, and you will be amazed by this magic! Your efficiency is near 100% consistently. Most people work longer and longer without a break, and they do not realize that their productivity dips rapidly to even 20%. Hence, they now take much 5x longer and make much more mistakes. The frustration and exhaustion only compound. All this without their knowledge. So, the trick is simple – keep a timer/ work for 25 min/ take a break for 5 minutes/repeat.
This Pareto principle says that 80% of results get done with 20% effort. So, it would help if you had figured out that 20% is the driving agent of your 80%, and you can ignore the rest. Practising Pareto consciously allows you to focus only on the critical 80% in a short time.
Newton’s first law of motion says that an object is at rest or in uniform motion until an external force act upon it. So why not kick off something into kinetic action and START doing it? The momentum will take off. For example, if you want to start running for 45 minutes each day at 7:00 am, all you need to do is have the discipline of wearing your running shoes at 7:00 am. Automatically your momentum takes the song for the next 45 minutes. On the contrary, not wearing the shoe will build inertia and send you might not even step out for the entire day.
Oh, well, you may belong to the 5 am club. Or maybe you belong to the Night Owls club. Or you may pride yourself on sleeping 3 hours a day for months. And still, you are busy. Well, one of the reasons why those = who do 18-hour workdays are not productive is that they do not sleep well. Sleeping well, say 6-8 hours is what the body needs to function optimally and be productive. Mounting evidence suggests that a good night’s sleep seriously boosts productivity. Sleep deprivation leads to “significantly lower productivity, performance, and safety outcomes”. Well, this one should be easy to sleep well, well enough to recharge and nourish your mind and body.
Buridan’s ass refers to a hypothetical situation wherein an ass (donkey) equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. Since the paradox assumes the donkey will always go to whichever is closer, it dies of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision between the hay and water. We often do nothing because we cannot choose what to do first. We want to do both simultaneously and cannot decide what should be. Start –pick any choice and keep moving. You will have finished the task.
We do a lot of things every day. Do the laundry, cook, clean, email, and make phone calls. Each day you check everything off your To Do. That is efficient. Great. But to be ‘effective’, you need to do essential things. You may not do as many things, but you do one thing that makes a substantial difference. The Q2 quadrant is about doing things that are Important but not Urgent. This is where you should spend most of your time—planning, prevention, capability improvement, relationship building, recognizing new opportunities, etc. Spending time on these important things should lead to an unclouded vision, balanced life, discipline, control, and fewer and fewer crises.
Work expands to fill them if you want to get things done in a sustainable fashion here\. Parkinson’s law says Work expands to fill the time we allocate to it, so if you get something attractive giving us less time, allocate less time to it. Try to time-box it into smaller and smaller time capsules instead of giving yourself a liberal ‘evening’ or ‘post launch’ to do your task – slot yourself 230-255p or 415-440p. You will see the Work magically take a short time and contracts into that time.
We live in an age of infinite leverage. Your actions can be multiplied 1000-fold by writing helpful content, podcast, investing capital, having people work for you, or writing code. The impact of good decision-making on what can give the best multiplier effect now is that you can influence thousands or millions of people – through your decisions, your code, and your start-up. So, clear your mind to better judge the ‘infinite leverage’ you do with your mind. You will also be happy and calm with better decisions, peak performance, and outcomes. You must learn to tame your mind just like you train your body.
Why do you see your car everywhere after you buy it? Science has an answer for this, and it involves the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. There has not been an increase in similar cars around you — you rarely noticed it before.
Your subconscious can be quite powerful and yet be selective in what it gives attention to or ignores without you realizing it. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, more commonly referred to as frequency illusion, triggers your brain into a goal-seeking function. Where subconsciously, it will nudge and strive towards your goals. Now imagine visioning your definitive version of what you want multiple times; you will subconsciously start achieving the same.
10) The Magic Formula
Yes, the 10th is just consistency and following the above – take a break, follow 80-20, start and keep moving, sleep well, do not get stuck like a Bourdain’s ass, do important things first, time-box your Work, tame your mind for infinite leverage, follow visioning with absolute goal clarity, repeat.