A little thoughtfulness goes a long way

I have house help, she comes in once a day and cleans the place in an hour. I can’t communicate with her very well – so I let her do her thing.

This morning I was reading a book on my bed when someone rang the bell. I ran out to the door and left the book face down at the page I was reading – no bookmarks. I forgot about the book and it was soon time for cleaning. My bed had been neatly laid out and the book kept to the side. The book though, while it was closed – also had another book in the middle. No bookmark, but another book to mark the page I should continue from.

Needless to say, i am very happy with my house help!

Hotha hai… C’est la vie 

Two months in Pune and I’ve had to dig deep with my hindi skills. One of my favorite quotes has been “hotha hai” or it happens. I find its usage very close to “C’est la vie” or “such is life”.

These phrases are amazing resets for when things are not going your way. It becomes the immediate response when sh*t hits the fan and builds a “yes, and” mindset- a mindset that doesn’t question the rationale for the situations but one that explores the available options given the situation.

Stage Time is not Limelight

There are some who are shy of the stage, others not so much. The latter decide that for better visibility & more recognition they should take to the stage. Unfortunately, once you put yourself on the stage you will be judged closely. A bad judgement takes times to fight back from. If you do well, you can enjoy the limelight & the stardom. If you are not up to the mark – you merely enjoyed stage time & created no positive impression – often even created a negative impression.

Stage time is important and the means to achieving limelight.Fortunately though, there are many stages.  Some stages are frequent & more forgiving. Choose your stages wisely.

My super-public habit tracker 

May: Exercise 1 Blogging 8 Meditation 4

Fighting to end fighting?

We fight, we all do. Countries call them war, you may call it a passion for change or a quarrel with your neighbour. It’s important to avoid them , but sometimes we have to fight.

It’s important though to remember why we fight. We need to fight to end fighting – in which case small punches don’t help. In fact they may even cause more harm.

So if you are annoyed by your friend/partner’s habit of pointing out when you leave the dishes out, it doesn’t end the fight when you start pointing out he/she does it too. While we think this is a dose of their medicine, it usually adds more fuel to the fire. So the fight doesn’t end. To end the fight, you may need to change the paradigm of argument or find another way to demonstrate the frustration.

My super-public habit tracker 

May: Exercise 1 Blogging 7 Meditation 3

Training & Management

I am reading “The Hard thing about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. I love the importance he provides to people. He says “Take care of the people, the products, and the profits – in that order”. In the book he pays a lot of importance to one-to-one meetings as well. I’ve always believed that an easy way to measure the importance a manager gives his people is by looking at the number of hours he/she spends on one-to-one meetings & grooming talent. Personally, I’ve had a huge difference in performance when managers spend more one-to-one time with me. Ben Horowitz goes a step further and says that CEOs (and managers) should design training courses about the company, its product and other decisions taken by the company. He argues that while McDonalds has a training course for its staff, how come more complex jobs in our organisations don’t have job specific training schedules?

This is his case for why training (conducted by the manager – as other trainers don’t know much about your company) is a high priority:

Training is, quite simply, one of the highest-leverage activities a manger can perform. Consider for a moment the possibility of your putting on a series of four lectures for members of your department. Let’s count on three hours preparation for each hour of course time—twelve hours of work in total. Say that you have ten students in your class. Next year they will work a total of about twenty thousand hours for your organization. If your training efforts result in a 1 percent improvement in you subordinates’ performance, you company will gain the equivalent of two hundred hours of work as the result of the expenditure of your twelve hours.

Wonderful perspective to keep in mind.

My super-public habit tracker 

May: Exercise 1 Blogging 6 Meditation 2

Director of Operations

Perhaps not too many words and not too many wordsmiths can do justice to the impact mothers have had on our life.When you don’t have the words, at least not the right words and can’t weave a message to wish your mom… Just go simpleton and say “Thank you for everything, Director of Operations”.

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My super-public habit tracker 

May: Exercise 1 Blogging 5 Meditation 1

Face the sun & you will never see the shadows!

Whether it is life or a person – if you always face the sun, you will never see the shadows. While there is a bit of innocence to it – it really helps a person grow.

On people: Frankl explained with his metaphor to crabbing that if you take a person as he/she really is, the default negative “crosswinds” in our mind make him/her worse. If we overestimate people, however, we promote them to what they really can be.

On a lighter note:

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best…
And…

…always look on the bright side
of life…

The original Hellen Keller quote : “Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows”

Thank you Vishal

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My super-public habit tracker 

May: Exercise 1 Blogging 4

Nudge Nudge Nudge – to the finish

In an ideal world, if we need to go from A to B – I would make a grand plan, execute it to perfection and we’ll go to the party.

In our world though, a lot of execution depends on people. People have different agendas, people have different emotions. Nudging i’ve found is very useful. I now plan to go from A to “somewhere close to B” – and each step of the way nudging people towards B. There are 2 outcomes:

1) If time is not urgent, this allows the other passengers to enjoy the journey to B. Better still, they start finding better ways to get there.

2) When people are initially hesitant to come with you on your journey – It helps keep the relationships while yet nudging them to the finish line.

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My super-public habit tracker – (looked through my archives  & the no-snooze shall be successfully retired) 

May: Exercise 0 Blogging 3

Public Goal Tracking

Earlier this year, I was counting 3 habits – Daily Exercise, Daily Blogging & waking up without snoozing. To my blog posts, i added a daily count like below:

My super-public habit tracker –

Mar: Exercise 4   Blogging 3   No snooze 4 

Feb: Exercise 13 Blogging 13 No snooze 28 

As you fall off the habit wagon, you stop reporting your numbers 🙂

The good thing with such “Super public” habit trackers is that it is “Super public”. Eventually someone asks sheepishly – “What happened to your super public habit tracker”. Good reason to bring it back 🙂

My super-public habit tracker – (looked through my archives  & the no-snooze shall be successfully retired) 

May: Exercise 0 Blogging 2

Apr: Exercise 5   Blogging 9   No snooze 30

Mar: Exercise 18   Blogging 11   No snooze 30

Feb: Exercise 13 Blogging 13 No snooze 28

Delegation & Micromanagement

Micromanagers can be painful. Previously I had only thought about micromanagement as a disease and suggested ways to get around it. I thought of autonomy was the way to go – empower people to do their work.

This matrix puts things in a slightly different light. Autonomy happens when you are working with a High Skill + High Will person. In other case you need to manage differently. My big mistake was to expect and to provide autonomy on Day 1. I’d provide some support wheels but it definitely centred around autonomy. Often though, this autonomy gave the person some high initial motivation & when things went sour they move into a very low will quadrant(“I cant do anything right”). This meant that micromanagement would start & we’ll have to build upwards from there.

Useful to realize that micromanagement has its place – perhaps on route to autonomy.