“To be, or not to be, that is the question…”

These opening lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Prince of Denmark) words were meant to help Hamlet contemplate whether it was better to suffer through life or to put an end to life! In the corporate context it is a choice between succumbing to negativity or thriving against the odds. True leaders do not allow themselves the luxury of pessimism or adopt a fatalistic acceptance of any negative circumstance. They adopt the right attitude to work through a crisis. They take charge. They choose to thrive. A past manager (a leader) of mine had a distinct bias for action when faced with decision making under uncertainty or intense pressure. I learnt a lot by observing him and talking to him to understand his ability

sense of urgency…..

There seems like a singular common trait that distinguishes highly successful and productive people from the rest, one that differentiates between average and superior performers. This common trait is a sense of urgency that drives people to work much smarter and harder than normal. Having said that, the dilemma I am constantly battling these days is – how much urgency is good enough. If you move extremely fast you may not be able to carry the organization and if you are just a shade slow, a lot of opportunities may get missed. Tricky, and responsiveness is clearly emerging as a competitive advantage – how you out manoeuvre, out flank and out think others. Small organisations are inherently more agile and nimble. Their

Be like the Bougainvillea …..

The sight of trees like Gulmohur and Amaltas in full bloom during the hot summer months is always wonderful. There is another plant that grows in parks, on the roadside, in the terrace gardens and balconies of homes whose fresh and vibrant colours always attract my attention and lift my mood – the Bougainvillea. It blossoms in an array of vivid colours from the white to pink, red, magenta, orange, yellow, purple and all hues and shades in-between. The bougainvillea somehow always inspires me and I believe we can learn a few lessons from this humble flowering plant. These are my thoughts and I am sure you can add more… - it teaches us to be tolerant because it generally grows in

integration blues…

Mumbai Indians lost the match to Delhi Daredevils and I the bet and had to take a few friends out for a nice meal. A bunch of passionate people always makes for an animated conversation. While I have dealt with characteristics of “A” players earlier, this one was intense about qualities that make an employee desirable – and remarkable – in times of uncertainity and change. We are living in an era of mergers and acquisitions. Market forces are leading to the formation and shaping of new organisations all the time. Some necessitated by a desire to grow and become bigger, others forced by an instinct to survive. Whatever be the reason, welcome to the new reality of business! By an unusual

my attitude…..

One of the determining attributes I look for while recruiting is attitude. Not to undermine ability and brilliance as crucial ingredients for success. Clearly brilliance alone does not matter but what you actually do with that brilliance, how you put it to use is the big differentiator. And application is always a function of attitude – affirmative attitude that seperates life’s winners from losers. Isn’t it then hugely comforting that we have the ability to choose our attitude – almost on a daily basis. It is a mindset and research has indicated that our mind works like a switch. You can OFF it to literally become a bundle of gloom and negativity or ON it to spread cheer, happiness and positivity

Reunion …..

One phone call from a long lost college colleague (I was hearing from her for the first time in 25 years) transported me back to the days spent in college. The campus, all my friends, exchanging notes to complete our files and registers, the professors, mass bunking to watch a movie, night duties in the hospital during internship and the numerous cups of tea sipped with friends sitting in the winter sun after the OPD — all flashed in front of my eyes. Now there was a chance to meet some of these colleagues after a gap of 25 years ( I was in touch with only a couple of them). This was not to be missed. A quarter of a century

count your marbles…..

So much of what we accomplish in our life is due to the selfless support and immense sacrifices of the immediate family – our spouse and children. Almost impossible to make any meaningful progress in the absence of that. Not sure if this fact has dawned on you, even more unsure if we do enough for them and one of the things that makes me sad is not having spent enough time with my son in his formative years. I was so caught up in work that all else seemed secondary. Ruchi more than covered up and therefore Samarth has become a lovely boy. But that does little to soften my miss. Life needs to be really balanced – a good

leading today…..

Wow! what an enriching discussion I had over the last weekend at Pankaj’s house with a bunch of highly animated friends. All immensely successful in their own ways. And the topic, it turned out, seemed very close to their hearts – what does it take to lead in today’s hugely complex, interconnected world. The world around us has become less predictable and much more uncertain. Information required to make critical decisions is sketchy at best and non-existent at most times. Almost 60-70% of decision making happens in the grey zone. So what determines a good outcome now is the speed of execution – at least you have the possibility of altering the course quickly if things do not turn out as

new learnings…..

My current job is waking me up to many leadership behavioural subtleties. Conflicting at times and almost always on the edge. How to be strong but not rude, be kind but now weak, bold but not a bully, be humble but not timid, thoughtful but not lazy, proud but never arrogant! In fact, the key to a successful leadership today seems like INFLUENCE and not AUTHORITY. Use of positional power is turning out to be far less productive. After all people have emotions and super performance gets delivered through a heady combination of heart and passion! Sustainability of organisations is increasingly becoming contingent upon the quality of leaders. The environment is so dynamic with things changing at such a frenetic pace that

just a glass of milk…..

Wish you all a very joyous festival season. Hope you have wonderful celebrations and all that you cherish and desire may become yours! While there are so many, many people in the world, amazing how we keep meeting the ones we know so often. And a great learning in life therefore is – be always nice to people. No matter how adverse the situation, how difficult the circumstances. The recent past has made me marvel at the proverb “what goes around comes around” even more. Philosophy of Karma in a way! A little bit of kindness, a small good deed, putting a smile on someone’s face… Everything goes a long way in improving the happiness quotient. A recent true story I read reinforced my convictions. One day, a