“How do I grow” is a question that all of us grapple with. The recipe for success is also changing as we move from an Industrial paradigm to a Digital paradigm. This is all the more pronounced in a start-up context where the job outgrows you very quickly. Successful leaders talk about the role of mentors, coaching, listening and more in scaling up one’s capability.
Role Of Coaching In Development
Vijay talks about the role of coaching at various stages of a person’s life and how as a person evolves, the coach that works with you to help you go to the next level might change. He also talks about how much can get accomplished through sheer will power using the fascinating example of Richard Williams who (with limited background in tennis) through his sheer resolve coached Serena and Venus to become world champions.
Transitioning from Playing to Captaining
Viren talks about his journey from being a player to a captain including some of the non-game elements that are required to move from being a successful player to an effective captain. He discusses how important it is for the captain to lead by example. He also talks about how one has to use different approaches to motivate and develop different players with varying personalities.
Unlocking the potential
Prakash talks about what sometimes comes in the way of people achieving their full potential. He talks about the importance of hard work (however clichéd it may sound) but also talks about the key element of enlisting others on the “bus”
Evolving as a leader
Leading a start-up through all the change and complexity can be quite a challenge. Avnish talks about how he grew as a leader when he was at Baazee and shares some insights on how entrepreneurs could scale up with the organization.
Building the leadership muscle
We all know the traits and characteristics of a good leader but what does it take to become a good leader? In this nugget, Kartik enumerates three things that you can do or cultivate to harness your leadership potential.
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Hyper-development of a leader in a Start-Up
Start-ups often grow at a rate faster than the rate at which people build the leadership muscle. This leads to the risk that your job may outgrow you. Hence, it is imperative to keep growing as a person and as a leader. Ravi lays down three aspects you should focus on in order to grow with the times and your organization.
Like everything else in the business landscape, leadership development also has undergone a change in this digital age. Think of the instances today where augmented reality is being used for skill building! Hear about this and more way the digital realm is influencing leadership development in this nugget.
Scale-up and transitions at Infosys
As an entrepreneur, staying relevant as the company goes through turbo-charged growth can be a challenge. Nandan talks about how he had to reinvent himself and his style at various points as Infosys grew from a start up to IPO, to listing on the NASDAQ and when it hit USD 1 Billion in revenues.
Dealing with hyper-growth and scale-up
Organizations often outgrow the entrepreneur very quickly. Unless the entrepreneur is proactively thinking about scaling up himself/herself and proactively getting the right people who can drive scale, the start up can very quickly taper off. While 1 out of 10 startups succeed at a Venture stage, he talks about the patterns from the other 9 that don't "make it"
Scaling up the leadership muscle
Scaling up the leadership capability of the entrepreneur and the top team needs to go hand in hand with the business scale up for sustainable growth. Karthik talks about the role of vision, purpose and culture in the early years of a start-up.
Building leadership capability in entrepreneurs
Staying relevant is one of the key challenges that is facing the leaders of this generation. A few decades back, they could check into a career on graduation and check-out at retirement. Pramath talks about how leaders (entrepreneurs and otherwise) should think about scaling up their capability as they go through their journey.
Personal Board of Advisors
We all benefit from mentors at different points in our careers. Pramath talks about his approach to configuring his personal Board of Directors. He describes how he has leveraged his Board of Directors at various points in his career.
Leadership Development in a turbo-charged environment
Dheeraj talks about how he thinks about evolving as a leader and discusses the criticality of breathing and staying present even during challenging times. He describes his approach to pause and remind himself of the key elements that are core to him and his effectiveness. An interesting insight in the context of the overloaded lives that a lot of leaders are living.
Staying relevant in the future
Anu talks about her take on Leadership Development in the context of the Future of the workplace. She discusses the need for "start-up like" projects and initiatives that need to cut across functions and hierarchies.
Developing as a leader
KV Sridhar (Pops) talks about the downside of being competitive in a space like Advertising where it is critical to create a climate where the members of the team can be creative and come up with impactful ideas that work. He also talks about how he has approached learning and his self-development as he has gone through his career.
Being effective in the Gig Economy
Devdutt talks about what it takes to thrive in the Gig Economy. At the surface level, quitting a steady job and taking the plunge to be a player in the Gig Economy can be attractive and seductive. Devdutt cautions people against the peril of ignoring Goddess Lakshmi in the pursuit of passion. He talks about the criticality of securing of Gomata before diving into the wild world of marketplaces and gigs.
Building Habits vs Enhancing Awareness
Devdutt talks about the distinction between building habits and enhancing awareness. He mentions that habits are often relevant only in a certain context and it is critical not to become a slave of the habit. He also elaborates on the notion of “Darshan” and “Para-jiva” and makes the distinction between self-awareness and awareness towards the other. He urges us to think about what we would do when presented with Sophie’s choice (where you have to pick between two equally deserving alternatives).
Understanding fear to decipher beliefs
Coaching is often about understanding the deeply wired beliefs that drive leadership behavior. Devdutt shares that understanding people’s fears might provide insights into people’s beliefs. He talks about the fears that often puts people on a hedonistic treadmill with materialistic markers along the way. He also talks about the notion of staying relevant and talks about the notion of rendering yourself irrelevant consciously as we move through life, something that people are often not open to dealing with.
Turbocharging your growth -TMRR
Mouli talks the fact that the time people put in a job is not an appropriate indication of the experience they have gained. He outlines TMRR (Target, Measure, Review and Reflect) as a process through which people could derive a lot more experience than what the average person might get in that time period. He also talks about how people can build in the habit so that they practice it on a regular basis.
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Raising the game when it matters
Mouli talks about the concept of Learning Cycles and how it is critical for people to focus on completing large learning cycles to build significant distinctive capability. He also makes the distinction between major and minor learning cycles and talks about how effective leaders often kick their game up a notch when it comes to a major learning cycle. The concept of learning cycle is also relevant when we think about processing opportunities that come along in our journey.
More from Chandramouli Venkatesan
Playing the 1st half of career to win the 2nd half
Mouli discusses that a lot of the wins in the first half of the career are often on the back of low hanging fruit but the wins in the second half are often harder. He mentions that apart from solving for successes in the first half, we should all build the muscle and resilience to be able to go after the complex win or the high hanging fruit. And that sometimes might require us to go slow and learn than run fast and miss out on building this muscle.
More from Chandramouli Venkatesan
Growing through the ranks at CRISIL
Roopa talks about how she drifted into CRISIL and how she was not necessarily career oriented in the early years of her professional life. She talks about the notion of focusing on excellence and on topics that are outside the realm of responsibility and how the culture at CRISIL ensured that her efforts were noticed and rewarded. She also talks about the transformative impact that one of her overseas stints had on her in terms of developing a “bird’s eye view”.
Managing time, unfettered curiosity and resilience
Vinay talks about Narasimha Rao spent his time at various points in his career. More specifically, he breaks down the pie chart of time across different phases - when you are campaigning, when you are in power and when you are in opposition. He talks about how Narasimha Rao had unfettered curiosity that helped him indulge his curiosity when he was in opposition which helped him evolve as a person but also ensured that he did not make any hasty decisions in the short-term out of anxiety that would hurt him in the long run.
Training for the Olympics
Deepa talks about her pursuit of excellence led her from one place to another and eventually to a medal in the Olympics. She talks about the 68 National Golds and 21 International Medals including medals from Asian Games, Para Olympics, World Championships and Common Wealth Games.
Picking an effective Coach
Deepa discusses her approach to picking a Coach while training for Rio Olympics. She mentions that given the uniqueness of her body condition and the training need, the traditional coaching approaches did not work. She talks about how she worked with a biomechanics gym trainer, watched her diet and worked on her psychology as preparation for the Olympics.
Leadership in an open system
Arun talks about his perspectives on Leading in an Open System where you do not have money, authority or power to wield as a source of influence. As we move towards a world where more and more value is being added by an ecosystem of players around a corporation (rather than value chains residing fully inside the company), how CEOs of today navigate this shift and create the right culture in the organization is critical.
Ensuring Board members add value
Mr. Bhatt talks about the criticality of a Board review to ensure Board members get tailored, actionable feedback that can raise the bar on the performance of the Board. He talks about the importance of the role of a Chairman in processing the feedback that he/she is given as part of the process and in how he/she leverages that to get the most out of each Board member.
Seeking and giving feedback
Mr Bhatt talks about the tact with which Board member should provide and seek feedback. He specifically underscores the criticality of the role of the Chairperson in ensuring that he/she doesn’t have a blind-spot in the way he/she is performing. He discusses how some effective Chairpersons find the subtle opportunity and timing to elicit timely feedback from some select Board Members.
Attitudes that have driven his career
Mr Bhatt talks about how in every role he has done, he has tried to look for a “plus” which is an additional dimension beyond what is expected in the role. He also talks about the importance of understanding the criticality of the service you provide in the life of the consumer.
Leadership Development in the Digital economy
Rich talks about how Google things about spotting potential and about Leadership Development. He quotes an interesting statistic from a piece of research by Corporate Leadership Council. He said that they found that that in 71% of the time people who are high performers were not high potentials but conversely 93% percent of high potentials are also high performers. He also goes on to talk about “Googliness” a term that encapsulates some of the softer aspects of an individual that flourishes inside Google.
Origins of SIY
Rich talks about the origins of the Search Inside Yourself programme. It started out as a quest for Googlers looking for a solution to stay agile and resilient while you are on a “rocket-ship”. He also goes on to talk about how SIY brings in wisdom from multiple domains ranging across Neuroscience, Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence to help people develop a new kind of intelligence that enables them to cope with the roller-coaster ride of a tech driven company
Positivity and Psychological Safety
Rich speaks about why we have a negativity bias as a default setting. He traces it back to human evolution and talks about the fact that for us to survive, it was critical to attach a higher weightage to negative signals in the environment than the positive ones. He links it to the criticality of ensuring psychological safety in a team (results of Project Aristotle in Google) to drive business performance.
Evolution as a leader
Rajat speaks about how he grew as a leader through his tenure in the firm. He speaks about the combination of mentorship, apprenticeship and entrepreneurial space where there is a vacuum that one has to rise upto as a recipe for developing leaders effectively and speaks about how that played out in Scandinavia for him.
HR - a department with teeth
Sudhir speaks about what makes the HR function in HUL effective. He speaks about the structure of HR where it is an independent function but is embedded in the business. He also speaks about why HUL doesn’t label people as heroes or villains too quickly. He speaks about a process where for about 10-12 years, people grow gradually but subsequently, they accelerate or decelerate based on their potential.
Identifying and nurturing potential
Sudhir speaks about Judgment, Influence and Drive as the three markers of potential and how the emphasis shifts across these three during the career of a professional in HUL. For the first few years it is Drive, then it moves to Influence and eventually in senior management it is judgment. He also speaks about how HUL thinks about what is a considered a good hit rate with judgment. He goes on to speak about how HUL filters for caliber and character, often two orthogonal dimensions.
Mavericks, Company men and Rogues
Sudhir speaks about these three types of people and goes onto say that one of the secret sauces of HUL is its treatment of Mavericks. He speaks about the output-oriented nature of KPIs that let some of these mavericks flourish despite not conforming to the “play-book”. He also speaks about HUL being an empathetic meritocracy where people are given some latitude if they are delivering the results (as long as they are not rogues and have issues with ethics and integrity).
Stages of human development
Jennifer speaks about the 5 stages of Human Development. Stage 1 – Magical mind: When we are a young child. Stage 2 – Self-sovereign mind: When we are the king or queen of the kingdom of 1 (teenage years). Stage 3 – Socialized mind: When we take our cues from the people around us. Stage 4 – Self-authoring mind: when we take charge of our narrative. Stage 5 – Self-transforming mind: Seeing every interaction as an opportunity for co-creation and growth
More from Jennifer Garvey Berger
Humans - an outdated OS
Jennifer speaks about the fundamental disconnect between the human operating system that has evolved over thousands of years and the current world we find ourselves in. She says that in order to survive in the jungles, we had to cut out complexity, make quick decisions and not over-finesse our responses. But that approach is not going to cut it in the world we are in given the number of moving parts. She also speaks about how our home life has evolved over time and that has led to additional complexity in our lives.
More from Jennifer Garvey Berger
5 traps that leaders fall into
Jennifer speaks about 5 traps that leaders often find themselves in as a result of the disconnect between the operating systems they have and the way the world works. 1) Our preference for simple stories 2) Perceived rightness 3) Need for agreement 4) Desire for control 5) Shackled by who we are now than who we could be.
More from Jennifer Garvey Berger
Art of asking good questions
Marshall speaks about the 6 questions that he often asks the leaders he works with. 1) Did you do your best to set clear goals 2) Did you do your best to make progress towards achieving your goals 3) Did you do your best to find meaning 4) Did you do your best to be happy 5) Did you do your best to be fully engaged 6) Did you do your best to build positive relationships
Opening the aperture of learning
Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi speaks about how we sometimes limit the learning opportunities by trying to look “within the box”. He suggests us to surrender to the teacher/coach/guide/mentor and the process to derive the value from it.
Discerning the "mandate"
Ramesh speaks about the construct of the Bower Forum – McKinsey’s program for CEO learning. He speaks about some of the themes that come up in the Bower Forum and specifically speaks about the notion of discerning the mandate and how leaders from within or from the outside can do this in a thoughtful way.
Learnable elements from Jeff Bezos's leadership
Bill speaks about some of the elements of Jeff Bezos’s leadership that make him distinctive. While some of those elements are in-born and hard to replicate, he teases out some of the elements that we could learn and imbibe as we go through our journeys.
How women often respond to feedback
Sally speaks about two phenomena which are often at play when it comes to feedback. She speaks about how women sometimes can take the developmental feedback to heart and start to question themselves in often unproductive ways. She also speaks about how men can often have double standards and for the same set of behaviours, they might have a different interpretation depending on the gender.
Reluctance in accepting credit
Sally speaks about the phenomenon where women, when given positive feedback, might unnecessarily divert it to other causes or shine the light on other team members without adequate acknowledgement of their role in the outcomes. She speaks about the downsides of this behavior.
Delivering performance vs unlocking potential
Sally speaks about how women often end up getting assessed for performance in their current role while men are seen for their potential. She says, this coupled with women often focusing on loyalty to the role often leads to a double whammy that keeps women stuck in their current place hampering their progress. She speaks about how we can avoid this phenomenon.
Providing thoughtful feedback
Dan speaks about the nuances in delivering feedback that could help people activate their best self. In organizations, feedback is often the key lever for development but very often, no formal attention is given to how people deliver the feedback. He also speaks about the role of gratitude as an emotion in galvanizing a group of people around you.
Role of feedback loops
Tom speaks about the limitations of learning a skill on an online platform like YouTube where there are several videos to learn various skills. He talks about the role of feedback in the way we can grow our capabilities in a certain area.
Darleen speaks about how leaders and organizations have thought about apprenticeship in these times. Rohit Kale (who leads SpencerStuart in India) speaks about how peer mentoring has been impacted in these times but also goes on to speak about the silver lining here as this provides opportunities that didn’t exist earlier for some colleagues to experience the “moment of truth”.
Growing through feedback
Harsh speaks about how he has grown as a leader over the years and how he has gone about seeking feedback from the people around him. He speaks about the criticality of setting the right climate for feedback for people to tell him what they think of him.
Rajiv speaks about how leaders can be thoughtful about what they delegate thereby creating bandwidth and mind-space for themselves to engage on the most impactful set of activities.
How Kings and Queens were groomed
Pradeep speaks about how potential rulers were encouraged to patronize the arts and the humanities. He refers to the Hitopadesha and Rayavachakam (written by Krishna Deva Raya) and the wisdom contained in them.
More from Pradeep Chakravarthy
Counterpoints to each archetypes
Raghu goes into depth about how for every Pandava Archetype, there is a Counterpoint on the Kaurava side who has similar set of skills but the difference is the orientation (dharmic vs adharmic). He also goes on to speak about how each of the Pandava archetypes has a shadow side that they need to get in touch with to be effective as a Leader (as a King in those days or as a CEO today).
More from Raghu Ananthanarayanan
Learning Zone vs Protective Zone
Michiel speaks about how our behaviour comes in the way of our learning when the stakes become higher. He speaks about the link between how team members listen and the link with learning.
Trusting despite scarcity
Stephen speaks about how a lot of us grow up in the context of scarcity in our early years but as we grow to leadership levels, we need to embrace a very different paradigm of abundance to lead by trusting and inspiring. He speaks about how we might have scarcity of resources but we all have access to an abundance of possibilities.