Thursday, July 29, 2010

Plan For Achievable Goals




There are lot of statements to keep your confidence level high, like, "Nothing is impossible in this world", "Even impossible says i m possible" etc. Good to hear! These are statements to boost your confidence so that you can reach your achievable goals. Thinking that everything is possible in this world, one should not indulge in activities and goals which are really impossible because, there are things which are really impossible. Man cannot defeat nature. You might dream to become the richest man in the world within a month, or become a body builder overnight, but you will fail because you knew that they are impossible. Why I am saying this is to make you understand a very important concept for your life. That is
"Set measurable and achievable goals after assessing your strength".

The point has a lot to tell you from its side. A leader is the one who is capable of analysing the actions and the consequences of those actions to act accordingly. He must be able to analyse his strengths and find a better way to improve it and then set the best goal for him which is achievable with his out-of-box planning. A leader has to plan rather than just dream. Anyone can dream, anyone can plan but only leaders will execute. And if something goes wrong in your plan, you must be able to pull yourself back on track to continue working for your goal.

The message that I want you to take home is, "Set a measurable goal which gives you satisfaction. Assess your strength and chalk out a plan to achieve the goal in shortest possible time. Execute the plan by working hard and diligent till you achieve your goal". Here, the point to be highlighted is planning. You may be a positive thinker, an optimist but things may go wrong anytime in your career path. You need to have that pessimistic attitude also to excel in your career. You need to know what would happen. Don't just blindly do anything without a plan or without analysing the consequences at least to some extent so that if the consequences bother you later, you could handle easily. In his book 'Thirukkural', the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar says,
Those who do not assess their might, but overshoot
on ambition, invariably fall out on the way.
He demonstrates the importance of assessing one's strength and then acting accordingly through those beautiful lines. And also he says that it is not good to put too much burden on yourself which is beyond your strength. He says this through the following lines,
Be it the feathery light peacock's flume, an excess
load breaks axle of the cart carrying it.
Look at the beauty of explaining things. Even if it is very light as feathers, you cannot carry in excess, more than what you can.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rain Water Takes The Color And Quality Of Soil It Falls On

-->


Long back, somewhere I read, "to make a child into a footbal player, you need to make him see football everywhere". This means, it is our duty to mix him with game gradually. This is done by asking him to carry a football wherever he goes, pasting posters of football players playing on the ground with passion, making him interact with football players to make him learn. If you want to shape your child the way you want, don't tell him; just shape him without making him aware that that is your intention. Why I am saying this is because, when he learns things naturally, instead of learning for some purpose, his mind would be trained better than you have expected. I always insist people to do things in a natural way. Similarly, if you want to become a great leader and excel in your career, you need to mix yourself with leaders. It matters with whom you go around with, with whom you talk and learn.

Generally speaking, if you want to learn things in a better way, catch a big fish in that particular field and go around with him wherever he goes and watch and learn whatever he does and speaks. If you learn this way, you would learn things quickly, which you would have learnt after an year, if you had started it by yourself without a guidance.

A leader can lead better when he learns from the mistake of his seniors. Always go around with leaders, talk with them and learn from them. Try to avoid bad company, which may ruin your career by diverting you from your career path. Be careful in choosing people and that too, friends because they mean a lot for you. It is useless to worry after somebody hit hard on your head with a brick. The world will identify you with the kind of friends you roam around. Thousands are out there to criticize you; don't give way for them to make their job easy. The importance of good company is well said by the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, in his book 'Thirukkural',
As rain water takes the color and quality of soil it falls
on, wisdom is moulded by quality of one's company.
Look at the beautiful comparison he makes with the rain water. It all depends on with whom we live with all the day. And he also tells us how one can acquire purity of thoughts. Thiruvalluvar says,
Purity of thought and action has its origin in the integrity
and merits of the society one moves with and lives in.
He talks about the imporatant traits of a good leader. A leader, needs purity and clarity in his thoughts and actions, as you knew, one of the most important qualities of a good leader is honesty. It never comes to people easily. It comes only from the way an individual was brought up. It depends on the people with whom he lived with. So, having good leaders with you, always helps you in achieving your goal with ease and also helps you much when you face adverse situations which you cannot handle.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cultivate Human Relationship To Lead Better




When we make a decision, we think that we are always right. We are not aware of the fact that some decisions are out of our level and we need someone else to guide us in making those decisions. When you are in a position to lead a group of people, your decisions are going to directly impact their lives. The reason for not seeking guidance of the worthy might be two. Either you might not have good relations to ask or you never ask. Both of the reasons are highly dangerous to have one of them with you. If you are of this kind, then try not to follow this at least after reading this post.

Not every decision we make would be right. There are times when your decisions might go wrong and what if the impact could not be undone? You would be in a big trouble. Do you want to afford to such risks? Never do that. In such situations, the guidance of worthy people would help you a lot. They are always ready to take you in a right path and would not let you face tough times as they did. Think of the essence of knowledge you are going to get out of their experience without you getting hurt to learn that. You will get a lot of practical ideas that can be immediately implemented in your life to make it colorful. The importance of having relationship with elders is well said by a great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in his book Thirukkural. He says,
To develop and cultivate friendship of the worthy, and
To follow their noble path is strength of strengths.
The relationship gives to strength and confidence to lead. You will not face the risk of misleading your team to failure. You will know the effect of your actions and how it’s going to affect all of you, as it is well measured. Even if you are good at making decisions, at least to make sure that your decision is right, you need the help of your elders who are proficient in your field. For example, I use to exercise daily and I have my own creative set of exercises which are different from what others usually do. But, I always had a doubt, what if something go wrong? Am I doing it in the right way? Then I started to make relationship with elders who had such experience in work outs and verified my work outs with them and I was happy that they are perfectly accepted to use. Now, my confidence level soared and I can practice it henceforth without the distraction of doubts. Even if someone asks me, I can lead them with my own methods without having fear of failure. This is a simple example to make everybody understand the importance. In his book ‘Thirukkural’, the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar says,
The leader who has no regard for advice of the
Wise to play safe, leads his own way to ruin.

He asks the leaders to play safe with the help of elders by taking measurable risks, whose effects are well determined. So, start making friendship with worthy people. Nowadays, you are blessed with technology and you can make friendship with anyone in and around the world without even seeing them. Social networking sites and blogs make your job much easier. You can spend time in making good relationships through them.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Information Technology Skills Are Part Of Your Soft Skills




Information technology has become a part of our life. Nowadays, people are dependent on IT directly or indirectly. You pay your electricity bill from your home, purchase products online, book tickets in a single click without waiting in a long queue, get information about whatever you want around the world just by sitting in a room. It's IT which made all these possible. The Indian government is trying to educate people through IT by harnessing its power. In short I would say, it's all about computers. I told you all those examples to make you understand the importance of IT and in turn, computers.

Alright, now let's come to our own life. Are you using your computer as much as you can? Are you aware of what your computer can do for you, for your friends, for your education, for your business? I am asking this because, most of us would be searching a solution for our problem without noticing that a great solution is very near to us.  Yes, computers and IT can give you beautiful solutions and you just have to search and use them. So, I would say, to be a person with best soft skills, you need to acquire IT skills also. IT skills are part of soft skills in this IT dependant world.

From the word 'IT skills', I don't ask you all to go and learn C, JAVA and all those programming stuff. I want you all to familiarise yourself with the basic tools used in day to day life. You need to know how to create a Word document, how to create your personal budget template in a spreadsheet, how to create a PowerPoint presentation for your students, how to send a mail, how to transfer money online, how to purchase products online, how to edit or beautify your own photograph in your computer, and more. The list goes on. Apart from this you can also use the free tools available online to create your own website for free and can boost your business. By creating a website, you are exposed to a huge market of around 1,802,330,457 people in the world online and of course, the count increases day by day.

The social networking sites like twitter,facebook,orkut, helps you in sharing your personal thoughts with others. You can even make money online by signing up lot of money making programmes online for no cost. You can also discuss your problems with a lot of people, who are facing the same problem or have found a solution for the problem.  You don't have to depend on anyone for any information as search engines like Google or Yahoo! comes in handy for you. You have thousands of quality tools available online free of cost for your use. All you have to do is, learn it and use it for your personal improvement. After all, I told you, IT skills are part of your soft skills.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Improve Your Communication Skill




When people talk about the importance of soft skills, the first skill that their mouth would utter is the communication skill. What is this communication all about? Does it mean only speaking or anything else? Does it refer only to communication in English? You will get the answers for all these questions here in this post and you are at the right place to get started.

Communication skill is the ability of expressing your thoughts to your audience in a clear and unambiguous manner. It may be through writing or speaking and it is not language-specific. Let it be any language, but you need to carry your thoughts clearly to your audience. Language is a tool used to carry your thoughts and deliver it to others. So, to deliver it in the form of speech or black and white, you need proficiency in a language that could be understood by your audience. This is one of the basic qualities needed for a good communicator.

Well, now let me tell you the basic components that are needed to build good communication skill and how to acquire them. The first and the foremost component is your thoughts or ideas, without which there is no meaning is communicating. You must have something to say to your audience. They are there to observe some of your ideas and it is very important for you to have the correct flow of thoughts to express whatever you have planned to express.

The second component is the proficiency in a language that could be understood by your audience. Language, as I told you, is a tool to carry your ideas to the listeners and is better than non-verbal communication lke expressing your ideas using some actions. If you are not familiar with the commonly used words in a language then, you will fail to express your thoughts clearly to others. Apart from familiarising the words, you should be able to put those words together and form a sentence that means something what you have planned to say. When you speak before your friends, no matter whatever mistakes you do, they do not care. But, in case of others, you need to be careful in using words if you are not quite familiar with the language you are speaking with them.

Both these componenets are essential for building good communication skill. Even if you say, you are good at one of these, I am sorry, your quality becomes useless without the other. Both, your thoughts and language, are tightly coupled and you need to master both to survive in this competitive world. In India, we talk a lot about employability, This communication skill is the first and foremost trait to achieve employability.

IMPORTANCE OF ENGLISH:

As we were discussing, there are a lot of languages out there to express your thoughts to a wider audience. But, the most commonly used and appreciated language is the English language. It has become essential for everyone of us to learn this language to survive in this world, since it is widely used in and around the world. There are lot of reasons available for you on the earth for why you should learn English. But, the point is you have to learn it. Some of the useful and justified reasons are,
  • English is used widely.
  • Most of the materials are available in English language only.
  • It is used as a common language to communicate with each other if two persons of different regions meet.
You might hate English but you have no other choice. If you are not interested, then simply develop interest. Start from your interested areas and then read wider. You have to read read and read to master this language. As I told you before, you need to be proficient in reading, writing and speaking to be a good communicator. I will tell you how to acquire this altogether by following some simple steps daily,

Read a newspaper daily and don't forget to read the editorial page. If you find it difficult to understand, have a dictionary with you always while reading.

Subscribe for a monthly or weekly magazine and read it regularly.

Read your favourite novels and stories.

Subscribe for dictionary.com 'Word of the day' to get a word daily in your mobile or mail box. This will improve your vocabulary. Remember, contextual learning of words will improve your vocabulary that remains in your mind forever. Don't memorise hundreds of words overnight to acquire mastery. It is an attempt to fail.

Watch English movies. This helps you in your speaking style and accent. While referring a dictionary also you need to refer the pronunciation for the word you refer.

Try to use the words you learnt by writing to or speaking with someone. This will fix the words firmly in your mind.

Write a snippet daily and correct it by giving it to someone else who is good at these skills.

Speak a few words about a topic daily and try to analyse your flow of thoghts and how difficult it is for you to express.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Asking Too Many Questions Will Not Demonstrate Smartness




Last week I went to a leadership seminar in which a big fish from the top management of a well know enterprise shared his knowledge. I went half an hour earlier and was having a chat with some of the professionals and managers who came there for the seminar. Surprisingly, they were discussing about how to ask some reasonable number of questions to the guy who was yet to come to share his knowledge on the importance of leadership and his company's strategies for the future. I wondered why these people are preparing questions that too with a motive to impress him with questions. Can questions demonstrate smartness and impress others? I don't think so. Not only in this programme, but also in most of the training programmes that I have been attending so far, people are planning to shoot out questions with an attitude that asking questions will create a good impression in the trainer's mind. Of course, it does but not every time and if you ask questions intentionally to impress him, you will be caught soon.

Asking a question is good but it should not be used as a tool to grab others attention towards you or to make others think that you are the only person who has the knowledge of the subject discussed. Questions should be posted only with an attitude to learn new concepts or clarify concepts that you have already learnt or currently learning. When you attend a leadership seminar or training programme, you should always keep your mind open for new ideas to come in. Do not stick around with what you have learnt in the past and sit with those thoughts in the programme. It will not let you get the core idea of the programme. One thing you can do is to relate the ideas which are in your mind to the current ideas being taught and answer the questions posted to you. This is the one which is going to demonstrate smartness and your interest in the subject thereby creating a good impression in the mind of the person who is standing in front of you to make you understand his ideas.

First of all, a leader needs to be good listener. If you are in a training program, try to observe whatever is taught to you and make sure you come out of the presentation hall with clarity in thoughts. To ensure this you may ask questions. This is a healthy approach. And remember, in any training programme, your answers should be more than your questions. This is going to impress everybody around you. People always follow the person who resolves an issue rather than raise an issue. You should solve problems rather than raise problems.

The way you answer also counts. A perfect leader's answers should be unambiguous and to the point. It should not be evasive at any point. He should be able to extract the essence of idea from his mind and express it in a crisp and precise format that can be understood by everyone. This is one of the best soft skills a leader has to acquire to demonstrate his clarity of knowledge.

The feel of satisfaction and happiness fills up a teacher's mind when he or she comes to know that his or her ideas have reached the students successfully. You try to give it by your answers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Learn From Others' Mistakes




Learning from mistakes is a key to success for a leader. This is a well known fact. A leader has to analyse his mistakes and work on himself to make sure that the next time it doesn't happen. Alright. If one has to learn from his own mistakes alone, then it would take hundreds of years for him to learn something. Then he has to confront all the problems on the earth to learn the necessary lesson. The point I am trying to make here is, please learn from others' mistakes. This is a 're-use era'. There is a lot of meaning in this sentence and I am going to give some useful examples to make this point clear.

You are facing a lot of problems in your day to day life from a small AC repair to a big mistake in your office document and many more. You might have problems with your girl friend, your parents, friends or in office. Do you think, you are the one who has all these problems? Do you think that these problems are unique to you? Never. Almost all the problems had been faced and solutions had been recorded in peoples' minds, books, blogs, social networking sites. You just have to make use of it. Even the great leadership guru Robin Sharma says this in his first best selling book.

Why do our elders are very eager to advise the younger generation? They don't want them to make the same mistakes that they had done when they where young. Whenever elders express their opinion on an issue, don't forget to listen to it as you might get a better solution than your solution for a problem you are currently facing. Of course, one of the leadership traits is listening and responding to your fellow beings.

Even in management studies, why should they go for case studies rather than mere theory subjects? A Case study is an essence of ideas that carry a solution to a particular problem. As I told you, every issue has been resolved and in near future the probability of occurence of a unique problem is zero. People, who resolved, are ready to happily disclose their solutions to you. Why not you take it? Go out for peolpe, autobiographies, blogs to observe the experience of others so that you will not put you or your family in risk. Suppose, you want to buy a car and if you never consult with others for their experience then you not only put yourself under risk but also your family.

Don't think that discovering a solution to each and every problem by yourself is like achieving something great! You are putting yourself into tuff times. Trying everything by yourself and then learning from that is not a good idea for this generation which adopts to changes quicker than the previous did. If you want your child to be a perfect individual, you can't just leave him to experience everything and learn. If so, then what is the point in caring him? Why do you need to advise him? To make him perfect, let him learn some lessons by himself but there are some lessons which you have to sit and teach.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why Do You Need FOCUS?




I have seen people posting a lot of reasons for their failure in achieving their goals and more often than not, they blame the so called ‘fate’. Some ridiculous statements posted by them make one to think that, these guys never walk their talk. Most people just talk but don’t do what they talk and they give a lot of excuses and reasons for their incapability. They never analyze the cause for the failure and try to rectify it. In software industry, we call it as root cause analysis, which can be applied to a real life problem also. Without analyzing the root cause of a problem, people just mull over the top layer of the problem and having thought that it would not be possible for them to solve, they leave the scene. Their conclusion will not only affect them but also the future generations who would also follow the same solution given by their ancestors.


ROOT CAUSE:

Well, what is that root cause, which makes people to fail in their attempts, even if it goes to tens of attempts? I’ve the answer for this question and you would be surprised to see that simple answer. In most cases, the root cause was, LACK OF FOCUS. Quite simple, isn’t it? Yes, of course, but it has tons of meaning in it. Don’t think ‘FOCUS’ as a usual word uttered by your father, mother or your teacher. They say because they knew the importance of the word and now, you will also come to know why I emphasize on ‘FOCUS’.

WHY ‘FOCUS’?

Let me explain you with a simple example. Suppose you have a task to be completed in ten days and you’ve started to work on it from today. You have a very good plan with you to execute it so that you can finish it well before the deadline. During this ten day tenure, think of the number of obstacles and temptations that might drag you out of your path and drive you away from your goal. Your friends might call you for a party or tour which might kill a couple of days. One of your relatives might fall ill and you might be the person to take care of him/her. Your girl friend would need some time from your schedule to spend with her. Apart from all these external obstacles, you would have some internal temptations to spoil your work. Your favorite novel would be waiting for you with the last chapter to be completed. You might be dreaming of the brand new Yamaha that is going to be delivered to you in a couple of days. And no doubt, the dream of what would happen if you complete your task successfully. You would dream as if you completed the task successfully and your boss is appreciating you in front of your colleagues with a pack of a thousand bugs. Amidst all these obstacles, how are you going to stay focused on your task? Is it possible for you? Or is it possible for anyone? Yes, it is possible, but, it is your talent to make it possible for you. The one who gets through amidst all these obstacles deserves to have the title, ‘WINNER’. He will reap the benefits for the hard work he made to fight these obstacles and temptations. After all, his FOCUS would give him what he wanted.

PHILOSOPHY:

I always try to explain you from a philosophical perspective. Simple concepts can be used to determine bigger theories. That’s why you learn mathematical induction. That’s why you write a simple computer program before writing a complex one. The point here is both are going to work in a similar way, so with a small sample you can frame the entire theory, no matter, whatever size may be the program. In the similar fashion, by observing simple things you would be able to derive amazing truths and realities. I will tell you an example to make you understand the importance of focus from a simple example. If you cut an apple with a sharp knife, you can cut it easily than with a blunt one. Do you know why? Science gives you the answer. In case of sharp knife, pressure is applied at a particular point, whereas in blunt knife, it is distributed and not focused at a particular point. This simple thing will help you in deriving an amazing theory which is,”If you focus all your concentration on a particular work, you will get through”.

Even meditation follows the same principle. During meditation, you will face a lot of obstacles which are in the form of images that would not let you focus on a particular point. In spite of all these obstacles, one who focuses his mind will reap the benefits. I tell you, there is no better medicine in this world than meditation. It has the power to fine-tune your body and soul to perfection. It has the solution for all your problems. This is the one which our ancient saints were trying to teach us. In all their messages to mankind, there will be a direct or indirect reference to meditation. If I talk about meditation, I need some tens of posts to explain you. Now, all I want you to take home is just ‘FOCUS’.