Saturday, June 30, 2012

Return again

My return to this space is akin to the governance of India, they seem to exist but they don't exist while they are there.I hope to make a sincere attempt to start off and see how far I can go on from here. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Robin’s 73 Best Business and Success Lessons

The 73 Best Lessons I’ve Learned for Leadership Success in Business and Life 
By Robin Sharma, author of the international bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”

Hi There,

I’m skiing in South America but have also been doing a lot of thinking. I wanted to thank you for all your kind support of my work. So I have summarized the 73 best ideas/insights/lessons I’ve learned for winning in business and life below. I hope they help you. And I hope you’ll share them with others who will benefit from them. Again, thanks for supporting my mission to help people in organizations around the world Lead Without a Title. I’m grateful. 


  1. You can really Lead Without a Title.
  2. Knowing what to do and not doing it is the same as not knowing what to do.
  3. Give away what you most wish to receive.
  4. The antidote to stagnation is innovation.
  5. The conversations you are most resisting are the conversations you most need to be having.
  6. Leadership is no longer about position – but passion. It’s no longer about image but impact. This is Leadership 2.0.
  7. The bigger the dream, the more important to the team.
  8. Visionaries see the “impossible” as the inevitable.
  9. All great thinkers are initially ridiculed – and eventually revered.
  10. The more you worry about being applauded by others and making money, the less you’ll focus on doing the great work that will generate applause. And make you money.
  11. To double your net worth, double your self-worth. Because you will never exceed the height of your self-image.
  12. The more messes you allow into your life, the more messes will become a normal (and acceptable) part of your life.
  13. The secret to genius is not genetics but daily practice married with relentless perseverance.
  14. The best leaders lift people up versus tear people down.
  15. The most precious resource for businesspeople is not their time. It’s their energy. Manage it well.
  16. The fears you run from run to you.
  17. The most dangerous place is in your safety zone.
  18. The more you go to your limits, the more your limits will expand.
  19. Every moment in front of a customer is a gorgeous opportunity to live your values.
  20. Be so good at what you do that no one else in the world can do what you do.
  21. You’ll never go wrong in doing what is right.
  22. It generally takes about 10 years to become an overnight sensation.
  23. Never leave the site of a strong idea without doing something to execute around it.
  24. A strong foundation at home sets you up for a strong foundation at work.
  25. Never miss a moment to encourage someone you work with.
  26. Saying “I’ll try” really means “I’m not really committed.”
  27. The secret of passion is purpose.
  28. Do a few things at mastery versus many things at mediocrity.
  29. To have the rewards that very few have, do the things that very few people are willing to do.
  30. Go where no one’s gone and leave a trail of excellence behind you.
  31. Who you are becoming is more important than what you are accumulating.
  32. Accept your teammates for what they are and inspire them to become all they can be.
  33. To triple the growth of your organization, triple the growth of your people.
  34. The best leaders are the most dedicated learners. Read great books daily. Investing in your self-development is the best investment you will ever make.
  35. Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.
  36. Change is hardest at the beginning, messiest in the middle and best at the end.
  37. Measure your success by your inner scorecard versus an outer one.
  38. Understand the acute difference between the cost of something and the value of something.
  39. Nothing fails like success. Because when you are at the top, it’s so easy to stop doing the very things that brought you to the top.
  40. The best leaders blend courage with compassion.
  41. The less you are like others, the less others will like you.
  42. You’ll never go wrong in doing what’s right.
  43. Excellence in one area is the beginning of excellence in every area.
  44. The real reward for doing your best work is not the money you make but the leader you become.
  45. Passion + production = performance.
  46. The value of getting to your goals lives not in reaching the goal but what the talents/strengths/capabilities the journey reveals to you.
  47. Stand for something. Or else you’ll fall for anything.
  48. Say “thank you” when you’re grateful and “sorry” when you’re wrong.
  49. Make the work you are doing today better than the work you did yesterday.
  50. Small daily – seemingly insignificant – improvements and innovations lead to staggering achievements over time.
  51. Peak performers replace depletion with inspiration on a daily basis.
  52. Take care of your relationships and the sales/money will take care of itself.
  53. You can’t be great if you don’t feel great. Make exceptional health your #1 priority.
  54. Doing the difficult things that you’ve never done awakens the talents you never knew you had.
  55. As we each express our natural genius, we all elevate our world.
  56. Your daily schedule reflects your deepest values.
  57. People do business with people who make them feel special.
  58. All things being equal, the primary competitive advantage of your business will be your ability to grow Leaders Without Titles faster than your industry peers.
  59. Treat people well on your way up and they’ll treat you well on your way down.
  60. Success lies in a masterful consistency around a few fundamentals. It really is simple. Not easy. But simple.
  61. The business (and person) who tries to be everything to everyone ends up being nothing to anyone.
  62. One of the primary tactics for enduring winning is daily learning.
  63. To have everything you want, help as many people as you can possibly find get everything they want.
  64. Understand that a problem is only a problem if you choose to view it as a problem (vs. an opportunity).
  65. Clarity precedes mastery. Craft clear and precise plans/goals/deliverables. And then block out all else.
  66. The best in business spend far more time on learning than in leisure.
  67. Lucky is where skill meets persistence.
  68. The best Leaders Without a Title use their heads and listen to their hearts.
  69. The things that are hardest to do are often the things that are the best to do.
  70. Every single person in the world could be a genius at something, if they practiced it daily for at least ten years (as confirmed by the research of Anders Ericsson and others).
  71. Daily exercise is an insurance policy against future illness. The best Leaders Without Titles are the fittest.
  72. Education is the beginning of transformation. Dedicate yourself to daily learning via books/audios/seminars and coaching.
  73. The quickest way to grow the sales of your business is to grow your people.

Robin Sharma is the bestselling author of “The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and Life.” Buy it now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What is Competition or what may be competition?

Who sells the largest number of cameras in India?
Your guess is likely to be Sony, Canon or Nikon. Answer is none of the above. The winner is Nokia whose main line of business in India is not cameras but cell phones. Reason being cameras bundled with cell phones are outselling stand alone cameras. Now, what prevents the cell phone from replacing the camera outright? Nothing at all. One can only hope the Sony’s and Canons are taking note.

Try this. Who is the biggest in music business in India? You think it is HMV Sa-Re-Ga-Ma? Sorry. The answer is Airtel. By selling caller tunes (that play for 30 seconds) Airtel makes more than what music companies make by selling music albums (that run for hours). Incidentally Airtel is not in music business. It is the mobile service provider with the largest subscriber base in India. That sort of competitor is difficult to detect, even more difficult to beat (by the time you have identified him he has already gone past you). But if you imagine that Nokia and Bharti (Airtel’s parent) are breathing easy you can’t be farther from truth.

Nokia confessed that they all but missed the Smartphone bus. They admit that Apple’s I phone and Google’s Android can make life difficult in future. But you never thought Google was a mobile company, did you? If these illustrations mean anything, there is a bigger game unfolding. It is not so much about mobile or music or camera or emails?

The “Mahabharat” (the great Indian epic battle) is about “what is tomorrow’s personal digital device”? Will it be a souped up mobile or a palmtop with a telephone? All these are little wars that add up to that big battle. Hiding behind all these wars is a gem of a question – “who is my competitor?”

Once in a while, to intrigue my students I toss a question at them. It says “What Apple did to Sony, Sony did to Kodak, explain?” The smart ones get the answer almost immediately. Sony defined its market as audio (music from the walkman). They never expected an IT company like Apple to encroach into their audio domain. Come to think of it, is it really surprising? Apple as a computer maker has both audio and video capabilities. So what made Sony think he won’t compete on pure audio? “Elementary Watson”. So also Kodak defined its business as film cameras, Sony defines its businesses as “digital.”

In digital camera the two markets perfectly meshed. Kodak was torn between going digital and sacrificing money on camera film or staying with films and getting left behind in digital technology. Left undecided it lost in both. It had to. It did not ask the question “who is my competitor for tomorrow?” The same was true for IBM whose mainframe revenue prevented it from seeing the PC. The same was true of Bill Gates who declared “internet is a fad!” and then turned around to bundle the browser with windows to bury Netscape. The point is not who is today’s competitor. Today’s competitor is obvious. Tomorrow’s is not.

In 2008, who was the toughest competitor to British Airways in India? Singapore airlines? Better still, Indian airlines? Maybe, but there are better answers. There are competitors that can hurt all these airlines and others not mentioned. The answer is videoconferencing and telepresence services of HP and Cisco. Travel dropped due to recession. Senior IT executives in India and abroad were compelled by their head quarters to use videoconferencing to shrink travel budget. So much so, that the mad scramble for American visas from Indian techies was nowhere in sight in 2008. (India has a quota of something like 65,000 visas to the U.S. They were going a-begging. Blame it on recession!). So far so good. But to think that the airlines will be back in business post recession is something I would not bet on. In short term yes. In long term a resounding no. Remember, if there is one place where Newton’s law of gravity is applicable besides physics it is in electronic hardware. Between 1977 and 1991 the prices of the now dead VCR (parent of Blue-Ray disc player) crashed to one-third of its original level in India. PC’s price dropped from hundreds of thousands of rupees to tens of thousands. If this trend repeats then telepresence prices will also crash. Imagine the fate of airlines then. As it is not many are making money. Then it will surely be RIP!

India has two passions. Films and cricket. The two markets were distinctly different. So were the icons. The cricket gods were Sachin and Sehwag. The filmi gods were the Khans (Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and the other Khans who followed suit). That was, when cricket was fundamentally test cricket or at best 50 over cricket. Then came IPL and the two markets collapsed into one. IPL brought cricket down to 20 over’s. Suddenly an IPL match was reduced to the length of a 3 hour movie. Cricket became film’s competitor. On the eve of IPL matches movie halls ran empty. Desperate multiplex owners requisitioned the rights for screening IPL matches at movie halls to hang on to the audience. If IPL were to become the mainstay of cricket, as it is likely to be, films have to sequence their releases so as not clash with IPL matches. As far as the audience is concerned both are what in India are called 3 hour “tamasha” (entertainment). Cricket season might push films out of the market.

Look at the products that vanished from India in the last 20 years. When did you last see a black and white movie? When did you last use a fountain pen? When did you last type on a typewriter? The answer for all the above is “I don’t remember!” For some time there was a mild substitute for the typewriter called electronic typewriter that had limited memory. Then came the computer and mowed them all. Today most technologically challenged guys like me use the computer as an upgraded typewriter. Typewriters per se are nowhere to be seen.

One last illustration. 20 years back what were Indians using to wake them up in the morning? The answer is “alarm clock.” The alarm clock was a monster made of mechanical springs. It had to be physically keyed every day to keep it running. It made so much noise by way of alarm, that it woke you up and the rest of the colony. Then came quartz clocks which were sleeker. They were much more gentle though still quaintly called “alarms.” What do we use today for waking up in the morning? Cell phone! An entire industry of clocks disappeared without warning thanks to cell phones. Big watch companies like Titan were the losers. You never know in which bush your competitor is hiding!

On a lighter vein, who are the competitors for authors? Joke spewing machines? (Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, himself a Pole, tagged a Polish joke telling machine to a telephone much to the mirth of Silicon Valley). Or will the competition be story telling robots? Future is scary! The boss of an IT company once said something interesting about the animal called competition. He said “Have breakfast …or…. be breakfast”! That sums it up rather neatly.

The moral of the story is be nimble on the head, on action and on the feet.

If not this then something else..but anticipate developments in the near term. There is a reason why Apple that was languishing at less then $10/share for 8-10 years suddenly took off - Steve Jobs. Honestly I hate apple products, except for their PC/Lappy. But I admire the vision, a stupid phone which does nothing right still hold millions in its grasp - courtesy Steve Jobs vision.

Very few people are like this - visionaries..
Look at MSN, well they introduced windows (copied it), but look whats happened after that.. they thought garnering 95% of market share was good enough. what they forgot was this number was for 1st world.. The future is BRIC, Far east and Latin america. Here people are not going to buy official copies of MSN - pirating and now the cheaper Linux option. So MSN didnt anticipate this and kept assuming W hemisphere is enough to drive its growth. Germany in all public office/uni is pushing for Linux. UK in Univs, lots of companies are moving towards linux based systems..

Kodak was a classic example!! and its true of Japanese culture too.. They are slow moving behemoths.. Sony, Toyota, Panasonic, Nissan etc etc..

Probably, That is one reason why Sony would be under immense pressure because of a simple fact that they did not anticipate Samsung create a ripple in people's imagination. Nokia again clearly saying they missed the bus they have to kick their back side for all the crap they have been loading into their new phones just to stay alive. Apple thought Nokia was the competition then again, by the time Motorola realized it was all over Razr came in - the only saving grace. Little did they think that a smaller or lets say an inconsequential firm - HTC would be snitching in with some of the awesomest ideas. Today they are a kick away from iPhone and which is why Apple would be under immense immense pressure to relase the products this April. Trust me, if Apple is not going to come with better versions on their iPhone or iPad - they are in some serious trouble in the market - now that Jobs is going on leave for a while again. The charisma the guy had is unparalleled

Rightly so most organizations get into the slack mode - IBM did. It was about to be made a Chinese melon, then the sensibilities prevailed and it started dismembering and started working on how to return the stock market investor that extra more for what he invested in. Fantastic thought process when diversification was getting to be the mantra in the world. IBM started dismembering. Everything out of the window, if the investor is investing on me because I am good in producing this, I will make money and return the money back. It worked like a charm and today IBM in the 100 years of existence, a 99.7 billion dollar revenue, a 18 billion dollar bottom line. FANTASTIC stuff. What IBM does, is what is followed by the rest of the world. Now where was this idea - who was the competition?

It is also about being ready to think on the run, work with many things and yet not miss on the objective. I kind of like the fact that Microsoft is challenged more, said more they were the elephants around pretty much entering the heart and soul of everyone. Then what happened? They took it easy with UNIX, tried to kill Linux Today we have a zillion OS's and the funny thing is IBM also started selling multiple OS's in their mainframe. Competition is such a funny funny word. If something is a blessing in the 21st century is the fact that the offshoring/nearshoring. Totally changing the playground big, just then people realize what is their worth for what it is in true sense.

So bottom line - keep improving - the day it is about being happy doing the same thing again and again because there is no pressure, no need to learn - stop think again - think Phillipines, think Argentina. Think competition. Think life.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011


I want to shift gears from leadership to a pure focus on crafting an exceptional life for this blog post. Ultimately, life goes by in a blink. And too many people live the same year 80 times. To avoid getting to the end and feeling flooded regret over a live half-lived, read (and then apply) these tips:

1. Exercise daily.

2. Get serious about gratitude.

3. See your work as a craft.

4. Expect the best and prepare for the worst.

5. Keep a journal.

6. Read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.

7. Plan a schedule for your week.

8. Know the 5 highest priorities of your life.

9. Say no to distractions.

10. Drink a lot of water.

11. Improve your work every single day.

12. Get a mentor.

13. Hire a coach.

14. Get up at 5 am each day.

15. Eat less food.

16. Find more heroes.

17. Be a hero to someone.

18. Smile at strangers.

19. Be the most ethical person you know.

20. Don’t settle for anything less than excellence.

21. Savor life’s simplest pleasures.

22. Save 10% of your income each month.

23. Spend time at art galleries.

24. Walk in the woods.

25. Write thank you letters to those who’ve helped you.

26. Forgive those who’ve wronged you.

27. Remember that leadership is about influence and impact, not title and accolades.

28. Create unforgettable moments with those you love.

29. Have 5 great friends.

30. Become stunningly polite.

31. Unplug your TV.

32. Sell your TV.

33. Read daily.

34. Avoid the news.

35. Be content with what you have.

36. Pursue your dreams.

37. Be authentic.

38. Be passionate.

39. Say sorry when you know you should.

40. Never miss a moment to celebrate another.

41. Have a vision for your life.

42. Know your strengths.

43. Focus your mind on the good versus the lack.

44. Be patient.

45. Don’t give up.

46. Clean up your messes.

47. Use impeccable words.

48. Travel more.

49. Read “As You Think”.

50. Honor your parents.

51. Tip taxi drivers well.

52. Be a great teammate.

53. Give no energy to critics.

54. Spent time in the mountains.

55. Know your top 5 values.

56. Shift from being busy to achieving results.

57. Innovate and iterate.

58. Speak less. Listen more.

59. Be the best person you know.

60. Make your life matter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Show me the money but how to get to my kwan?

Oh well well, before you start riding that imaginary thought, I am talking about the new era of Indian sports, that is new to the sportsman, the citizens, the critics, the failing-to-accept-retired sportsman and so on. The new version of Indian sports (or should I say the only sport India follows), is what the money can get you. Yea, finally it has caught up with the people in the East as well how sportsman get auctioned like some objects for money they would not never thought they would be earning for a short tenure. Welcome to the new age, welcome to new India, the mullahs sure know how to show the player the "kwan" [Rod Tidwell says in Jerry Magquire]. Kwan is the package - the money, the respect, the family, the community, the everything that makes the person complete.

So what has this new age "Show me the money" done to industries beyond the intellectual one or the labor centric one is to keep pushing their luck against the 'more the better' adage. I mean, if a random player gets signed for a contract for 2.4 million dollars for 3 years and each year they play for 40 days, this contract sure is a very sweet deal after all. Rod Tidwell was the one who always worried about what his worth in totality be when the contract was to be renewed, Jerry tells him, "You should learn to play the game with your heart and not for money". This is a very powerful principle, can be something that can be applied to many things outside the game as well. Sometimes, be it the CEO or a VP of an organization or a president or a sportsman, it does not matter what they can perform unless they got their worth valued significantly better regardless of the circumstance. Show them the money, they will show you what they got.

Picture this, every person who works in a thought centric industry such as IT, thinks their command or the net worth will increase not linearly but exponentially every year without making that extra effort to improve their on the job competitiveness. Now the Karma centric decision makers a.k.a the franchise owners in an auction system (reason I say Karma is because they let you know immediately what is your worth , the old Bengal horse got peanuts for a reason after all) when they choose their team can relate to them boundary riders in the field. Their presence is their but it is still OK if they don't exist. They are going to be needed in the selection to make the numbers. They are the paper weight to many whose presence is nothing worthy after all. Now the person, who has the ability to upskill himself or herself and start to become worthy of more money directly or indirectly - though after a while money doesn't matter as your lifestyle cannot change any more dramatically. Sometimes, talent alone does not work, it is all about how well you market yourself that people will know your worth. Relating this episode, Wassim Jaffer a surviving cricketer, once made a remark why another cricketer be getting more money during the initial IPL series than him despite the fact that he scored heavily , the guy forgot what is called "entertaining" the crowd. That is one element of winning the attention. Even the gladiator won his life not by surviving the attack in the arena but purely by entertaining the crowd that directly influenced the decision of the king whether to give him his "kwan" - freedom.

That said, above and beyond, did you find your kwan yet? If not, the simple principles of life, continuing education, the sensibilities, marketing your self to know your worth, that will get you the money you need. But beyond that it is the passion with which you operate will get you to the kwan. Go find your Kwan - today.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

What am I going to achieve in 2011? - Accountability note

My things to do for 2011
  1. I want to transform my inner self to accept everyone for who they are
  2. increase my tolerance especially with my old parents and grand parents
  3. Lose 10 KG of weight, avoid procrastination
  4. Accomplish certain incomplete education certifications
  5. Not to leave things in the middle
  6. Put my health in front of everything else I think is important
  7. Get a better job role.
  8. Plan my finances better
  9. 3 overseas vacation
  10. Read 100 new book titles (given I read a bit but lost the reading habit because of putting undue importance on other things)
  11. Learn to share more of what I like the most
  12. Express myself to people who love me. .
  13. Learn Guitar
  14. Attend and participate in a live concert
  15. Reduce alcohol intake to once a quarter.
  16. Expertise my swimming techniques
  17. Learn a new language

I have this in my TO-DO's for the year. I will come back and say what I did by the end of the year :-] This is going to be my accountability tracker to see how responsible I am with my supposed accomplishments.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year world

Wish you all a great, happy, prosperous new year that is going to give you and your family lots of peace,happiness, pride, pleasure, success,wealth, health and importantly peace of mind. I am going throw my weight around in my blog this year to make my presence felt more than last year for unknown reason.

2010, has been a year with lot of things that happened. Lot of emotional changes, relationships and job, fun and finally begin the life to live by myself again after a brief halt in my parents since I got back to India. Not that I can complain but yea it is a different experience all together.

Another eventful thing of this year was the fact that I finally decided after pursuing and never stopping in the middle thinking whether I will ever the Mr Right for someone. Again in that sense this year was momentous, for I met many interesting women and who have become great friends of mine but some I don't even want to think further. I realized at the end of it all, it is about meeting the person and you say and feel - yes, this is where I want to park my car, and I did find that spot. So in that sense 2010 would be a very special year. Finally, getting hitched for real unlike the relationships in the past. And you go on to say after you meet the person

Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you
Why can't I speak whenever I talk about you
It's inevitable, it's a fact that we're gonna get down to it
So tell me
Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you

So thank you god for making me believe that I was in for something good.

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