Thursday, 24 May 2018

6 Powerful Questions To Ask Yourself Daily To Become A Successful Leader

1. Which goals did I accomplish today?
Setting long term and short terms goals are crucial to becoming a successful leader. Writing down goals helps you streamline your focus and channelizing your faculties towards an intended end.

In Leadership Axioms, Bill Hybels talks about the six-by-six strategy. Take an index card and write 6 areas/projects/tasks that you would like to complete in the next 6 weeks.  Put that index card in a prominent place on your desk or workspace, and review it each morning.  Use that list as a filter to determine what you’re going to spend the majority of your time and energy on during the next 6 weeks. Hybels says that every time he does this, he finds that he has made significant progress towards what he lists.

2. Are there any habits that are keeping me from achieving my goals?
In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares the maxim: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

It is always the small foxes that ruin the vineyard; hence our bad habits however benign at the beginning tend to become the reason for our downfall. It is imperative that these habits are recognized and nipped in the bud earlier on.

3. I am dependant on motivation to do the right things?
According to John Maxwell, ‘Motivation is not the cause of action it is the product of action’. If you wait for motivation to move you to do something you will be co-dependent on an external source for reasons to achieve your goals. You end up playing the blame game and not wanting to take the ownership for your results. Doing what you are supposed to do; because it is the right thing to do, gets you on the roll in meeting your day to day tasks on a daily basis.

4. Am I person of character?
Skills can be taught, talent is fairly common but character is formed. In essence it is character that protects your talent.  John Maxwell says “Character creates a foundation upon which the structure of your talent and your life can build. If there are cracks in that foundation, you cannot build much.”
Self discipline, truth, integrity, a sense identity are core values to an individual’s personhood. These take time to immerge but are prerequisites in making a person capable of living a life of influence and leaving a lasting legacy.

5. What did I learn from the mistakes I made today and can I forgive myself for them?
Mistakes are a part and parcel of your entrepreneurial journey. It is not only important to recognize those mistakes but to draw a learning and then to pardon yourself for them as well. Guilt is not your friend. To be able to look squarely at a problem and making the best decision in the circumstances you are facing at the moment takes wisdom and grit. While bad choices are made, taking onus for it and being response able as well as responsible is a rare quality.

6. What am I thankful for today?
It is a good practise before you retire for the day to list out three things that you are thankful for in the day. Gratitude is a quality that doesn’t come by easy but helps you to remain hopeful and gives you clarity on what is most important.  Gratitude is not something that can be taught, it is a virtue that has to be learned through practise.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

How To Select Right Co-Founder For Your Startup

There are so many challenges in a startup that no founder should try to go it alone. An African proverb rightly states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

If you are looking for a Co-Founder, it is best to choose someone you know and have had a lengthy relationship prior to founding. You would already know the kinks in each other’s personality and know how to work around it.

"The most successful true co-founder situations are ones where the people have known each other in other contexts, prior to the company at hand," said Andreas Stavropoulos, a managing director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Secondly, check if both of your motives align. It is said, true motivations are revealed, not declared. Take time to find out the real intentions. If one founder wants to build a cool product, another one only wants to make money; it might not work.

A start up is known for volatility until it reaches a stable state. Negotiate and document roles early on and ask the hard questions.  Any investor would look for a team that can get through the hard times, not just an impressive resume. They want founders to "get through their first couple of fights before the money is in."

Thirdly, define major milestones and metrics for the startup together. This process would test if you truly share a common vision and work approach. Building a start up involves a lot of unpredictability. Two people cannot walk together if they cannot agree on anything and expecting things to change over time would be only throwing caution to the wind.

Lastly, it is safe to establish a founder’s agreement. Here is a good resource Link:
Here’s to finding like-minded Co Founder with complementary skills; people with whom you’ll feel empowered and inspired to embark on the odyssey that is your startup!

How To Obtain Ideas From Your Team

It will always take intentional, thoughtful leadership to birth a creative idea. John Maxwell says Leadership is influence: nothing more, nothing less. Here are a few ways is making your team into an idea generating machine 
  • Keep an open door policy 
An open door policy means that every manager's door is open to every employee of the organization. The purpose of an open door policy is to encourage open communication, feedback, and discussion about any matter of importance to an employee. This helps to establish a trust based relationship where an employee feels their ideas will be heard and validated.
  • Individual Motivation
It is imperative to motivate each team member individually because each person is different and has unique needs. What might motivate one team member might not necessarily appeal to another. Build a rapport and exclusive relationship with member.

  • Go out of the office
When you need your team to come up with a new idea, take them out. It is always easy to get distracted and want to get back to your desk. Making it informal allows bending the conventional rules and helps to open the mind. Visit places that may be relevant to the problem you are solving. Consequently take them to a place irrelevant to the place our product would be used. 
  • Create a space for self expression and collaboration
Creating a collaborative office spaces where art is incorporated into the designing of the workspace. For instance, in 2012 Facebook's opened two cafes, a burrito bar, a pizza window, a sit-down restaurant and several different kitchens. It even has its very own coffee shop at the office at Menlo Park. It also has an artist in residency program that gives an outlet for new artists to contribute pieces. This helps to cultivate an atmosphere of collaboration and comfort that extends well beyond the desk.
  • Play 
In English another word for play is "recreation" which literally means to create again. The connection between natural creativity and play is important. John Cleese’s lecture on creativity sheds light on this aspect with humour:
  • Toys
Lego Kits are a good tool for team activities and require participation of every team member.  A regular an ideation session would have the entire team seated in a room and the team is expected to listen.  Incorporating toys helps to build nonverbal communication within the team and is also useful when you have a multinational team, where language could be a barrier in communication.

  • Role plays
Role playing is when a group of people act out roles for a particular scenario. For instance, you might train sales people by having two people act out a sale-scenario. One acts as the sales person. The other acts as the customer. This allows trainee sales people to practice their sales techniques.
  • Brainstorming and Think maps
Brainstorming session are great avenues for idea generation. Concept maps are a good tool to show the correlation between different ideas.

  • Respect for Personal Time
Most of the techniques require informal activities to be conducted while being away from the work space. Most management would prefer doing these activities outside of working, don’t give into this temptation. Everyone needs down time, when they are not solving problems and need to tend to personal and family needs. Requiring them to give up on that time creates negative feelings and would in turn hamper the creative process. Take genuine interest in your teams work- life balance.

  • Implement the idea
Finally, it is not just about keeping an open door policy and having your employees share ideas but the best way to encourage more creative ideas is to actually implement the ones that have already been shared.