Declaration of Independence – Here is to the Crazy One’s

 

One of my favourite ads of all time is the Apple ad – “Here’s to the crazy one’s“. This advertisement is a call to action to all of us who have a creative spark, an idea, the yearning to do something good, the frustration that we are wasting our lives the way we are living them. A lot of us are making a living not living the life that we truly want to live.

I am not calling all of us to leave our jobs or to start a company or to disrupt everything. No. That is not the idea. And yes, if that is what we want to do, by all means we should be free to do so.

The idea is that we should not restrict ourselves and our creativity but embrace and celebrate our creativity and be comfortable with our weirdness or our onlyness. As James Victore says – “What made you weird as a kid is what makes you great now”

The idea is not to conform to a specific stereotype, just because it is the safe thing to do.

The idea is to bring our full selves to whatever we are trying to do and allow or inspire others to do so as well.

The idea is that we allow our ideas to come to life in whatever shape, form or factor that they want to come out.

The idea is about bringing a lot of energy and having fun in whatever we are doing for the majority of our lives (work).

Declaration of Independence:

So, here is the Declaration of Independence for the crazy one’s:

  1. We believe that it is our fundamental right to have fun, be creative and be happy at work.
  2. We believe that it is our right to bring our ideas to table irrespective of our race, colour, sex, designation, experience or sexual orientation and get a fair hearing.
  3. We believe that it is our right to do work that is meaningful to us (as part of our regular jobs or outside of the jobs).
  4. We believe that it is our right to be treated based on the merits of our ideas and actions and not based on any other criteria.
  5. We believe that it is our right to question the status quo.
  6. We believe that it is our right to attempt to change the world – one person, one idea and one day at a time.
  7. We believe that it is our right to question & stand up against things that we believe are not right.
  8. We believe that it is our responsibility to create this culture ourselves and stand up for other creatives and crazy ones.
  9. We believe that it is our responsibility to promote other crazy one’s in their journey.
  10. We believe that it is our responsibility to spread the word and help every crazy one sign-up to unleash their creativity and craziness on this world.

This declaration of independence is as much important for each one of us, the crazy one’s, but also to every one of our family members,  friends, colleagues and the managers. If you know someone who wants to unleash themselves and their creativity in the world, allow them the freedom to do so. Instead of convincing them to take the safe and secure way and to conform to a sterotype, encourage them take their own path to their own future.

Lets go change things!

Lets go change the world for the better!

Most importantly, Lets start doing and being !!

Avoiding Overwhelm – Managing the Workload of Being a Leader

One of the challenges that all entrepreneurs face is managing the workload. Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It takes a lot of time, energy, effort and attention.
In this short video, Amy Jen Su, shares her perspective of how can we manage our workload and still have peace of mind and not get overwhelmed.
She shares the 4P’s that we need to work on individually in order to achieve the 5th P (Peace of Mind):

Personal Operating system:

What she means is how we do operate as an individual.
  • Do we have a single place where we capture everything that comes our way (Landing Pad or Operating System)
  • Do we have a way to sort through this and identify what needs to be done today and now?
  • Do we know what time in the day are we most effective? Can we use this time to tackle the most important and the highest value adding items on our list? Do you manage your calendar in such a way so as to maximizing this energy rhythms?
  • Have we built-in habits and rituals to deal with the highs and lows of our physical energy through the day?

People:

In this part of our professional lives, she talks about the importance of having boundaries.
  • Have we set up your personal boundaries (times when we are available, times when we are not available, when can people expect a response from us, etc. Do you have an emergency protocol (what needs to be done in case of an emergency?)
  • Have we helped the people who work for you set up their own boundaries?
  • Are we comfortable with these boundaries?
  • Does our team have a go-to person for a lot of things? How over-worked are they? Are they becoming bottle-necks for our team and our own productivity?
  • How can we help our people to improve their productivity so we can have more leverage and thereby become more productive?

Priorities:

In this part, she explains the importance of having clearly defined priorities in our lives. She also uses a 2×2 (Passion * Contribution or value) matrix to talk about different tasks and shares a recommendation for each one of the tasks based on which quadrant they fall in.
One could use this matrix or the one that Stephen Covey made famous or any other matrix. I believe the core purpose of each one of these matrices is to force us to look at each of the task that we do and think about it critically and make a choice:
  • Try to eliminate what can be eliminated
  • Try to Automate what can’t be eliminated
  • Try to delegate what can’t be automated and what is not your area of contribution
  • Train to become more efficient at doing tasks where we have the potential for high levels of contribution
  • Enjoy tasks that we are good at, love doing and those that add a lot of value.

Presence

In this part, she talks about one of the things that most of us struggle with. This is about being present in the moment,  giving someone or something our total attention and focus.
  • How long is our attention span? Can we increase this using meditation or training?
  • Do we have any “visible or invisible tells” that can inform us about our attention waning? Can we identify this and learn to bring our focus back.

Conclusion:

Amy shares that once we take care of all of these 4 P’s, the 5th P, which is peace of mind can be achieved. I personally believe that this is an ongoing process. One that each of us would benefit from doing at least every quarter. And as we get more and more intentional about not staying in overwhelm territory, we will become more and better at staying calm and at peace. This also offers an additional bonus by increasing our ability to observe opportunities that are present all around us, if only we were present enough to notice them.

Your First 100 Days

Premise:

I was teaching a set of people principles of intrapreneurship and at the end of the class, some one came up and asked me for help. He said that he has got a new role as a product manager in his current organisation and is not sure what he can do in the first 100 days to help put him on the path of success in his new role. Here is the advice I had for him.

Be a Visionary Leader:

This works if you are being brought into the role from outside of the organisation. One reason why this is done is to infuse new ideas and vision into an already mature or a struggling product. If you know that this is the case, then you may want to play the role of a visionary leader. You need to know enough about the product and its target market so as to come up with a bold new vision for the product. You need to be ready with a clear action plan for the first 30 days, 60 days and 90 days and communicate the same with confidence.

Be a Student:

If you know that you have not been brought in to shake things up, there are two approaches (Inside-out and Outside-In)that you can take to learn about your product and the people building, marketing and selling the product.
Inside-out approach to learn:
When taking this approach, you need to try to absorb all kinds of information about the following:
  • The product: What were the core decisions that made the product what it is today? Why were they made? Who made them? How is the product sold? How is development decisions being made? And everything else (technology, architecture, marketing, branding, etc)
  • The people making the product: Who are the key stake holders? What is each one of their traits? Are they data driven or gut driven or driven by customer feedback? How open are they for change? What are their aspirations? Who works best with each of them? What can you learn from stuff that these stake holders approve about their preferences?
  • The people marketing the product: How do they market the product? Do they highlight something specific about the product? How do they find prospects? Where do they find the prospects?
  • The people who sell the product: What aspects of the product do the sales folks use to position the product? Is it consistent with the way the product is marketed/created? If not, why? What kinds of conversations do the sales teams have with the customers? How long is the typical sales cycle?
Outside-in approach to learn:
Understand everything about the customer that the product is being made for.
  • What are they using the product for?
  • What delights/irritates them about the product?
  • What is the job that the product is doing?
  • How easy is it for these customers to discover/purchase/use the product?
  • Who is your competition – not just direct competition but indirect as well (using the jobs-to-be-done framework)? Where do they find their prospects?
  • Would they miss your product if it is gone? Why?

In Conclusion:

Ideally, you would need to do all three, but the sequence in which you do them may depend on a variety of factors. How customer centric is your organisation, how open it is for change, why have you been brought in (to disrupt or to maintain the status quo), how well aligned the organisational parts are and most importantly, where your comfort level lies. While I have created this for a product manager, you could use the same checklist if you were a CEO or a business unit head to plan your first 100 days in your new role.

PBTO55: Unleashing Human Performance with Jason Forrest (@jforrestspeaker)

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is on the show:

In this power packed episode, we host Jason Forrest, the CEO and the Chief Culture officer at the FPG group. As a sales professional, author, speaker, and coach, Jason’s job is to empower professionals and executives to unleash their human performance and master their leadership skills in sales, management, culture and service; for the purpose of increasing profit through people.

Why is he on the show:

He is a salesperson first, a behavior change expert, a national speaker and a coach who pushes organisations to become highly profitable while creating a “best place to work” culture. Every year, Jason delivers approximately 92 keynotes/seminars and conducts 850 group coaching calls with sales teams, managers, and executives.

What do we talk about:

In this power-packed and a free-wheeling conversation, we talk about the following:

  • What holds back people from success?
  • How can we hire people for their belief system and cultural fitment?
  • Once we hire good people, what could be done to make them succeed and get them to peak performance as quickly as possible?
  • The importance of coaching and how to transform your managers to become coaches?
  • The difference in the approach of a manager vs a coach
  • How does FPG build and maintain a high performance culture?
  • His formula for growing their top-line of any sales organisation’s performance
  • Books that had a profound impact on his thinking
  • His approach to self development
  • What he thinks is so obvious but people always miss

How can you connect with him:

You can find more information about his award winning team and coaching program at FPG. You can also connect with him on twitter @jforrestspeaker

 

 

PBTO53: Deep Work: How to do work that Matters with Cal Newport

Who is on the show:

In this episode we host, Cal Newport. He is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.

In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work.

Why is he on the show:

His most recent book, Deep Work, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace and that the ability to concentrate without distraction is becoming increasingly valuable. He previously wrote So Good They Can’t Ignore You, a book which debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice, and three popular books of unconventional advice for students.

What are we talking about:

In this free-wheeling conversation, we talk about:

  • What is deep work? Why is it important to do deep work?
  • Why is Deep work the killer app for the information economy?
  • His own practice of deep work and how it has helped him in his own work..
  • How he doubled his academic output with less hours to work and writing the book simultaneously and yet not take work home.
  • How does one go about learning to do deep work?
    • Conditioning: Tolerate or even bring some amount of boredom in your life.
    • Active training: Productive meditation. Take one professional problem and go for a walk and try to solve the problem.
    • Integrate in your schedule: Put an appointment with yourselves on your calendar to do deep work.
  • His own way of integrating deep work in his schedule.
  • Monk mode mornings for business leaders..
  • The quality of work = What you are working * How you are working on it?
  • How deep work is related to Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of highly effective people?
  • What could potentially derail your practice of deep work?
  • How we have allowed the communication tools to take over the actual work in organisations?
  • How does he learn and stay up-to-date?
  • How can deep work help entrepreneurs in their work…
  • How can entrepreneurs embrace and create a culture of deep work in their organisations?
    • Ratio of Deep work hours vs Non-deep work hours of work
    • No emails after work hours?
  • Who apart from himself has he seen do significant amount of deep work (Adam Grant)
    • How Adam builds his deep work practice
    • Examples of Businesses who are incorporating the principles of deep work in their culture
  • The work that he is most proud of…
  • Things that got left out of the book but he thinks is an important idea to spread..
  • What was the most difficult thing for him while writing this book?
  • What is his next project – the role of technology in our personal life (Digital Minimalism, future of knowledge work)
  • His thoughts on how behaviour altering products will evolve
  • His thoughts on how machines are doing deep work and men are doing more shallow work and what impact will it have in the future of work…
  • What is it that he thinks is so obvious but people miss and hence becomes non-obvious
  • His experience of running a business and what he learnt from it
  • Whats on his reading list
  • One of the books that had a big impact on him:
  • One thing that he can change how he works – Remove Emails from his life..
  • One thing that you can do immediately after you listen to this episode – Take an hour off and work on something important without any distractions.

How can you reach him:

As he indicates in the conversation, he has made it not so easy to reach him. You can find out how you can reach him and read his blog here.

Patreon:

If you like what you hear, I would request you to head over to my patreon page and become a patron for the show. You could do so by contributing anywhere from a single dollar to about 1000 USD depending upon how much you like the show.

Think of it like the following – I will bring thought leaders to your door step and in return all I am asking is for you to spend just enough get us a cup of coffee.

I would like to keep this podcast ad-free and need your support regarding the same. You can also find some very interesting artists whom you can also contribute for. I myself support James Victore as a patron. If you are an artist yourself, consider becoming a patron for James as well.