aspire career CEO Leadership Lesson

What do I want to be?

Ask this question constantly!

  • What do I want to be?
  • What do I love?
  • What will I never tire of doing?
  • What do I want to be in 5 years?
  • What do I want people to remember me by?

In today’s world, it is important that you aspire to do something that you really love!  There are numerous opportunities & if you are one of the real few, who really know what to do, by when, then you are already halfway there. 

The secret to life is to have a task… something you bring everything to. And the most important thing is – it must be something you cannot possibly do.    Henry Moore, Sculptor

What are you waiting for?

action aspire career CEO Leadership Lesson mission success

Make Your Life a Masterpiece

This is the age of achievement. You have all the tools required to succeed in life. To create a masterpiece, that other can look up to.  It is for you to use these tools and make the most of what you have and achieve your true potential.
This is an article by Brian Tracy.
The Seven Ingredients of Success
Peace of Mind
The first of these seven ingredients of success, and easily the most important, is peace of mind. It is the highest human good. Without it, nothing else has much value. In corporations, peace of mind can be measured in terms of the amount of harmony that exists among coworkers. The wonderful truth about peace of mind is that it is your normal natural condition. It is the basic precondition for enjoying everything else.

Health and Energy
The second ingredient of success is health and energy. Just as peace of mind is your normal and natural mental state, health and energy is your normal and natural physical state. If you achieve all kinds of things in the material world, but lose your health then you will get little or no pleasure from your other accomplishments. So imagine yourself enjoying perfect health, and think of how you would be if you were your ideal image of physical fitness. Then strive for your mental goal of fitness and health. 
Loving Relationships
The third ingredient of success is loving relationships. These are relationships with the people you love and care about, and the people who love and care about you. They are the real measure of how well you are doing as a human being. At almost any time, you can measure how well you are doing in your relationship by one simple test: laughter. This is true for companies as well. High-performance, high profit organizations are those in which people laugh and joke together. Examine your relationships, one by one, and develop a plan to make each of them enjoyable and satisfying.

Financial Freedom
The fourth ingredient of success is financial freedom. Achieving your financial freedom is one of the most important goals and responsibilities of your life. A feeling of freedom is essential to the achievement of any other important goal, and you cannot be free until and unless you have enough money so that you are no longer preoccupied with it. When you decide exactly what you want your financial picture to look like, you will be able to use this system to achieve your goals faster than you might have imagined possible.

Worthy Goals and Ideals
The fifth ingredient of success is worthy goals and ideals. To be truly happy, you need a clear sense of direction. You need to feel that your life stands for something, that you are somehow making a valuable contribution to your world.

Self Knowledge and Self-Awareness
The sixth ingredient of success is self-knowledge and self-awareness. To perform at your best you need to know who you are and why you think and feel the way you do. It is only when you understand and accept yourself that you can begin moving forward in other areas of your life.

Personal Fulfillment
The seventh ingredient of success is personal fulfillment. This is the feeling that you are becoming everything that you are capable of becoming. It is the sure knowledge that you are moving toward the realization of your full potential as a human being.

aspire career CEO enthusiasm Leadership Lesson phone

Answer the Phone with Enthusiasm

Always answer the phone with enthusiasm in your voice and show your appreciation for the caller.
In today’s times where telephonic conversation are over mobile phones and VOIPsare a norm, this aspect has become even more crucial in creating the first impression.

We all are very perceptive when the person at the other end is just not listening to us in the conference call or he is just bored.

How many times have you got disappointed with the apathetic approach with a call centre?

How would you react when you call 900 and the person at the other end answers with lethargy and disinterest?

Yes, these are extreme examples. Good phone manners are essential.

    • To convey authority on the line, stand up. This will instil further confidence in your voice.
    • To convey empathy, get closer to the phone – switch off the speaker phone – and pick up the receiver.
    • To convey friendliness, smile. The other party can sure hear your smile.

Practice this for a week and you will see the difference in the way people react to you.

aspire career CEO Leadership Lesson productive rewarding sleep

Sleep Less

Sleep less.
Yes, you heard me right! Sleep Less.
This is one of the best investments you can make to make your life more productive and rewarding. Most people do not need more than 6 hours to maintain an excellent state of health. Try getting up one hour earlier for 21 days and it will develop into a powerful habit. Remember, it is the quality not the quantity of sleep that is important. And just imagine having an extra 30 hours a month to spend on the things that are important to you.

A story: I was about 8 years old and it was an excruciating pain to get up in the morning to attend my class. My dad once took me aside and showed me a newspaper article about Indira Gandhi, who was then India’s Prime Minister. I vividly remember the article talking about her canvassing for elections and her hectic schedule. I used to admire her as a leader. My dad then asked me if I knew how many hours of sleep she had. He went on to add that she required three hours of sleep a day. I have not checked the veracity of that statement to date – but can vouch that that statement changed my life. I seldom sleep for more than 6 hours and this was instrumental in me doing more with my own life.

action aspire career CEO goals Leadership Lesson mission success

Mission Statement

You must have a mission statement in life. Everyone must have one. Imagine a company, an organization or an institution without one.
This is simply a set of guiding principles which clearly state where you are going and where you want to be at the end of your life.

A mission statement embodies your values. It is your personal lighthouse keeping you steadily on the course of your dreams. Over a period of one month, set a few hours aside to write down five or ten principles which will govern your life and which will keep you focused at all times.

Examples might be to consistently serve others, to be a considerate citizen, to become highly wealthy or to serve as a powerful leader. Whatever the mission statement of your life, refine it and review it regularly. Then when something adverse happens or someone tries to pull you off course, you quickly and precisely return to your chosen path with the full knowledge that you are moving in the direction that you have selected.
Related Suggested Reading: Goals by Brian Tracy (Link to

Personal Example: Many years back in 1996, I attended a seminar where the speaker quoted this example.
[Paraphrased] Mission Statement is like a flight path. As most of you would realise the flight path looks like a smooth curve. In reality however, this is just a guiding line. A whopping 90% of the time the pilot is trying to get the plane aligned to the flight path -must be before the auto-pilot days- thanks to the tail winds, head winds, side winds. He constantly adjusts his direction subtly but surely to stick to the path.
Imagine pilot flying out a plane JFK – Heathrow without a plan. Your life is similar. You need a mission and a plan. You may not always get it, but you would be the first to know if you have missed it and make course corrections.

Leadership Lesson Uncategorised

Understanding Fiscal Stimulus

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Understanding Fiscal Stimulus

aspire career CEO Leadership Lesson Uncategorised

# Selling [Blurb] Be proud of the world’s oldest profession

Oldest profession – did you hear that?

(Repost from an earlier post in 2010)

Yes, the world’s oldest profession is selling. While your guess is as good as mine as to how the adage about “the oldest profession” being prostitution, a little more thought and you will realize that even prostitutes had to settle on the (sale) bargain, making the solicitation as it were (prospecting, qualification), before surrendering to the act (order fulfilment).

Well, the intention is not to get into those details but, more importantly, to say why selling is an excellent profession for those seeking excellence. Selling is a profitable career. This is the one career where you are rewarded for your abilities and not normalized to the bottom-most performer on the ladder.

Think about it –

You have the enviable pride that you help solve your prospectus’s problem. You are assuaging their pain or removing it for them.

  1. A good salesman’s employment is guaranteed in boom and even more during bust times.
  2. And yes, your company may have the best product. Unless it is sold, and profitably at that – there is no way your company will make money to pay for those salaries or even manufacture that product.
  3. To sell possibly is the most rewarding decision in your life. It gives you unlimited potential for your personal and financial growth.

Happy Selling!


5 Leadership Lessons at 160 kmph

5 Leadership Lessons at 160 kmph

Published on 2016-01-22 15:45

Recently, I drove solo from Chennai – to Bangalore. The distance of 340 km was covered in a record 3:40min. Not once in the journey did I have to honk or slam brakes (Anyone who has driven in India will understand the impact of this statement). In all, it was a smooth drive from start to finish line.

I was running a temperature of about 102 deg F, was down with food poisoning, and hardly slept the previous night. And yet, I bettered my previous 10-year-old record by a good 300 seconds.

I was running a temperature of about 102 deg F, was down with food poisoning and hardly slept the earlier night. 

#Shaving300seconds – Shaving those 5 minutes from 3h:45m is akin to breaking the 10-second barrier in a 100 m race. While 9:58 is just .02 seconds off 10, Usain Bolt took almost a decade to crack that. So yes, it is a big deal, and it was exhilarating to better my earlier personal best.

And here are the analogies to business leadership –

The Driver Leader

A driver is pretty much akin to a leader in an organization. Four qualities make for the capability of the leader.


Core Skills



In this case, the driver (yours truly) had an experience of over 500,000 miles, which is a crucial factor. Such experience helped the driver maintain calm and pursue the goal with a singular purpose of doing the right thing each time. In addition, the core skills ensured the seamless interplay of the man, the machine, the road. At speeds of 160kmph and 140kmph, anticipation and reflex must be on high alert all the time.

In business, it is all about the experience of the industry, of channels, leading people and organization with a singular purpose, and not being deterred by distractions of Quadrant 3 and 4 activities (of Eisenhower Matrix Fame). It also means a small error in judgment can represent a significant consequence to the organization and the thousands of people who believe in your leadership. It also means you must take risks and yet know the limits.

The Machine/ Team

In 2004, I drove the 1.4L first generation Tata Indica the last time I clocked 3:45. This time around, it was the second generation 2.5L Toyota Innova. I was going these ten years apart. So you may want to add the advances in infrastructure and technology while also compromising the potential traffic increase (read competition).

But one of the core success factors is that the driver and the machine are 100% in sync. You and your team must work in synergy for super-optimal output in business. You may always not get to hire the best-of-the-best people, but you can always get the best-of-the-best from the resources that you have.

Timing it Right/ Timing it Right

It is essential to start early to avoid traffic that builds up as the day progresses. Beginning at 5 am was not the easiest thing. But then that is how you can avoid the early rising Chennai Traffic, yet have a day-time driving. Reaching Bangalore early morning makes sense, as Bangalore is usually a later riser on Saturday, and a 9ish morning entry means most of Bangalore is snugly wrapped under their blankets.

Similarly, it is critical to get started in business and be ahead of the competition. Then, of course, the competition will catch up. But when you start early and set the pace, you get to reach the leadership before others and continue to up the game.

One Vehicle at a Time/ Solve One Problem at a Time

There were stretches where there would be a line of trucks to overtake, and there were curves and culverts. The best thing is not to plan to overtake the ten trucks. Just focus on the one truck at a time and continue moving on. Eventually, you will cross these hurdles but looking at the hell lot of hurdles together confuses you and slows you down. Pretty much similar in business, where you work optimally by solving one issue at a time while keeping the overall objective in mind.

Luck/ Luck

Well, for all that, there could have been traffic jams or accidents and crowded toll fee junctions. I was lucky that nothing of such happened.


Close That $1,000,000 Deal

Close That $1,000,000 Deal, Published on 2016-01-21

“Million dollar deals have a magic of their own.”

This statement would resonate, with both a rookie sales person, as well as a seasoned sales leader, a million times over. Million dollar deals are unique in the life of a sales person. They definitely get you noticed in the crowd. They make you a rock star.

But then, what makes you that million-dollar rock star? Here are the 9 hacks.

1. Meticulous Planning and Hard Work

Million dollar deals do not happen just-like-that. No one wakes up from bed one fine sunny morning and viola – million-dollar PO lands on their desk. Such deals require some meticulous planning and bloody hard work. Yes, there is just no shortcut here!

2. Build Trust Within and Outside

You must build trust at multiple levels within their own organization as well as the buyer’s organization.

You must build trust at multiple levels within their own organization as well as the buyer’s organization. Building trust in your own organization is the first step, for your organization needs to believe that you can indeed close the sale. Else, remember, the account will unceremoniously be shifted to some other more capable (perceived) sales person.

You must definitely build “personal trust at multiple levels” within buyer organization as well. Beyond one’s personal equations, you may even be required to bridge trust deficits between vendor and the buyer at organization level. And yes, it is your job to maintain it trust-positive at all levels.

3.Build a Definable Mutual Value

Mutual Value Creation is the core of your very existence. It is your responsibility to articulate the value of your solution and why it is a good investment at $1m or more. You must definitely be able to cogently articulate the value to the various entities in the buyer organization.

Similarly, it is important for you to get the right compensation for your product from the buyer. Unless the long term interests of your organization are met, it might be a lose-lose for your organization. Items like under-pricing services, maintenance, labour etc. through ‘side-letters’ and ‘verbal-deals’ and unrealistic commitments will not only turn out more expensive, but will come to bite you hard in your career even if you have moved on.

4. Patience and Perseverance

Million dollar deals are not like fast food. These deals do take time. Yes, they do. You would need to be ‘at it’ even at times when your own boss may not believe in the ability to clinch the deal. Your organization may even be too impatient to wait till next quarter and hence drop the focus.

You, the must build personal resilience mechanisms to be patient and perseverant. Patience is not about sending out a proposal and waiting for the PO to come by email. It is about meticulous perseverance to help buyer make a good buying decision.

5. Accepting Rapid Change and Status Quo with Equanimity

Phases of rapid change and status quo are just a given, usually because of the prolonged natured of such deals. Accepting such dynamics as reality will be one of the must have attitudes to be successful.

In all cases, expect changes in management team, people, product, environment or even the initial need (in both your and buyer organizations). The deal is big enough and many to get involved. So you must expect sudden activities of frenzy at times. There are equally good chances that someone would want to play safe, wait and watch. Accept both with equanimity. Inaction during the former and hyperactivity during the latter spells a definite doom.

6. Address Uncertainties Candidly

Uncertainties are the biggest stumbling block to closure on either side. Understanding any real or perceived uncertainties and addressing them is a must. A deal cannot be inked ever, with uncertainties looming around it. The quicker and complete your approach is towards closure of such uncertainties, the faster are you on track to have that signature on the dotted line.

7. Respect Competition

Competition is a given. It would be naïve not to expect any competitor or challenger.

You must respect your completion, not deride them.

You may still sail through the deal with very little resistance from competitor. But for that you must understand the competition very well and not fear them. You must respect your completion, not deride them. Such approaches show the strength of your character and easily earn respect from your buyer.

8. Honesty and Integrity

At the core of all sales, is honesty to yourself and your acting with integrity. There can be many short-cuts. But it is important to understand that these deals do not happen by pushing important things under the carpet. There are enough smart people to smell the rat. You can then forget your deal and your career forever

As long as you are acting with integrity and you know you are doing the right thing, you are on the right path.

9. Be a Lucky Wizard

Believe that you are lucky. Even after have done all the things right, the luck factor pretty much determines between your hit and miss. Lady luck only comes to the rescue of those that they believe are lucky. Seldom does she encourage negative mind-sets. Get her on your side. Believe that you are the lucky charm to grab the deal.

History is replete with Army Generals who were (believed to be) lucky. Major Roy Franklin from The Guns of Navarone [fiction] or for that matter George Washington who was considered Either Lucky or a Wizard, and no one will ever know. They did win big time.

All the best!


The author has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry in sales and marketing, leading large sales teams in Fortune 100 companies. As Managing Partner at Futureshift Consulting, he often advises large businesses and new start-ups to optimise their sales resources to and generate predictable revenue.


The #1 Reason on Why Products Fail

Created on 2016-01-11 05:04

Published on 2016-01-17 10:00 –

This is the last part of the three-part series on Entrepreneurship.

In my earlier article on LinkedIn “8 Reasons to Turn Entrepreneur in 2016“, I had shared the both environment factors as well as the that are conducive towards becoming an entrepreneur. In next article I spoke about “8 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Fail”.

In this final article in the series, I will talk about the central essence of any start-up – their product. Start-ups today are building more products than ever before. The ill-fated reality however is that the success rate of these products hasn’t changed much. The odds are still heavily stacked against starting a new business and most of these products unfortunately still fail.

And therein lies the crux of the problem. Start-ups pour way too lot of our time, money, and effort into these products. Especially for a first-time entrepreneur, these failures can be a real setback both emotionally and also financially.

You could have any number of reasons that can be attributed to failed ideas. I am not elaborating them as they are self-explanatory.

But they are not the #1 reason why products fail. The Number One Reason Why Products Fail is because – We simply build something nobody wants. The other reasons are off-shoot and mediocre justifications to this core.

The Number One Reason Why Products Fail – We simply build something nobody wants.

Why does this happen?

In my view this largely happens because most-times new-entrepreneurs are fixated to their ‘singular idea’ and fall ‘madly in love’ with that idea. And love is blind. I personally have been a victim a few times on this bias.

I am not talking of “passion for making the start-up successful here”. I am talking of the blind love for the product that makes us ignore what the market wants.

Look forward to your thoughts and ideas.