Tag Archives: #Anubhawalia

 THE PRACTICE OF INNOVATION

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The first step to understanding entrepreneurship is realizing that it is futile without innovation. Innovation is the means by which an entrepreneur exploits change as an opportunity for a new or different business or service. As such, innovation is very much a discipline that can be learned and should be practiced.

Learning the discipline of innovation starts with the seven sources of innovative Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.28.41 pmopportunity. While they could be considered symptoms, they are actually highly reliable indications that changes are happening in any given industry.

Source #1: The Unexpected

Perhaps the richest of opportunities for innovation success comes from unexpected success. This is the path by which entrepreneurs meet the least amount of risk and least arduous pursuits. More often than not, unexpected success appears in an existing company’s blind spot. Currently, management teams are trained to comb through reports that highlight expected results, so that unexpected success is left unexplored and vulnerable for exploitation. Drucker advises that reports must be revamped to include all results so that people can analyze their businesses properly and, more importantly, look for innovative opportunities.

Unexpected failures rarely go unnoticed; however, they are seldom seen as symptoms for opportunity. Executives typically call for more reports and more studies to analyze failures, but instead should be stepping out to investigate possible situations. Understanding customers’ experiences (i.e., the true reality of a product) is how to exploit opportunities of an unexpected failure.

Source #2: Incongruities

Stemming from unexpected failures, the second source, incongruities, appears when there is a dissonance between what is and what “ought to be.” It invites innovators to investigate why results are not lining up with expectations and what can be done to exploit opportunities. The only major downside to this source of innovation is that it is largely only apparent to industry insiders. Someone from the outside is not likely to spot or understand any type of incongruity, no matter which form it takes. Incongruity appears in several different ways, including:

*Incongruity between the economic realities of an industry.

*Incongruity between the reality and the assumptions about an industry.

*Incongruity between the efforts of an industry and the values and expectations of its customers.

*Internal incongruity within the rhythm or the logic of an existing process.

Of all the incongruities, that between perceived and actual reality may be the most common due to the fact that producers and suppliers almost always misinterpret what customers actually buy and why.

Source #3: Process Needs

New and existing businesses alike can lead innovation in their industries using process needs as a source for opportunity. Here, existing processes are perfected, replaced, or redesigned around newly available knowledge. Sometimes it gives light to a whole new process by providing “missing links” for different industries. Drucker, however, advises that the most common place to look for process needs are not missing links, but demographics and incongruities–both of which give ample opportunity and are largely overlooked.

Innovators seeking to exploit process need opportunities must understand that they will not be successful unless their processes are self-contained, there is only one missing or weak leak, clear objectives and solutions are defined, and there is a widespread belief that there could be a better way to do business. Without a thorough analysis and strategy of all these criteria, innovations are likely to be unsuccessful.

Source #4: Industry and Market Structures

Next, Drucker moves onto the sources of opportunity that can be seen by industry outsiders–the most critical of which are the structures that comprise industries. Indeed, industry and market structures appear so solid to people within specific industries that they are likely to consider them certain to endure forever. However, Drucker points out that most industry structures are actually quite brittle. To most outsiders, industry structures are highly visible and predictable and can innovate under the radar quickly and with relatively low risk. Meanwhile, insiders continue to assume their positions are permanent. There are four near-certain indicators of industry structure changes that individuals must keep an eye out for:

  1. Rapid growth of an industry.
  2. Changes in the way the services or products are perceived in the market.
  3. Convergence of technologies that before had seemed distinctly separate.
  4. Rapid changes in the way business is conducted.

Innovators must always scan for these four indicators if they want to be at the forefront of their industries’ structural revolutions.

Source #5: Demographics

Demographics are part of the external changes that lead to innovative opportunities. Of all the external changes, demographics are the most unambiguous. They include any changes in population, including its size, age structure, composition, employment, educational status, and income. Executives in any industry typically do not pay close attention to demographics because they have the most lead time; that is, they occur over such a long time span that they appear to be of little concern.

Source #6: Changes in Perception

Changes in perception include any shift in public opinion. While the facts often do not change, their meaning to the public does. This can lead to innovative opportunity, but Drucker warns that it is a dangerous source because it is hard to distinguish between a genuine change and a short-lived fad. However, done correctly, this can be an excellent source of innovation for entrepreneurs.

Source #7: New Knowledge

New knowledge is perhaps the flashiest of all innovation as it gets the most publicity. While most sources for opportunity have overlapping themes with one or more other sources, new knowledge differs greatly from the rest. First, it has the longest lead time because innovations are essentially started from scratch. Secondly, knowledge-based innovations are almost never based on one factor, but on the convergence of multiple knowledge sources. Not until these sources of knowledge are analyzed and understood will innovations be successful.

Knowledge-based innovations also carry great risks. They must be solid both in product and business structure when they hit the market, otherwise a company will have introduced a new technology which other, more stable businesses will couple with their strengths to render the new business obsolete.

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Project Oxygen

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Convincing high-achieving, independent, autonomous engineers that managers are valuable assets that can improve the work environment is a daunting task, but Google set out to do just that with its multi-year Project Oxygen research initiative. Based on the belief that the best way to win the hearts and minds of knowledge workers was through scientific methodology, the initiative was heavily data-dependent and constructed to test assumptions.

Project Oxygen sought to identify the behaviors representative of good managers and provide actionable guidance for managers so they could improve going forward. According to the data, the most effective managers:

  1. Are good coaches.
  2. Empower their teams and do not micromanage.
  3. Express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being.
  4. Are productive and results oriented.
  5. Communicate well, including listening and sharing information.
  6. Help with career development.
  7. Have clear visions and strategies.
  8. Possess key technical skills that enhance advisory capabilities.

The program has won great favor with both employees and managers, convinced skeptics, and yielded significant and measurable improvement results.

TRUST : Hard to build

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People perceive the world today as a very untrustworthy place. Statistics indicate that only 46 percent of survey respondents trust business to do what is right. Furthermore, only 20 percent of Americans trust the country’s financial system. The federal government’s inability to hammer out a deficit/debt solution, and the ongoing European Union debt crisis, has led to an historic lack of trust in government as well, leaving the world seemingly without trust.

The headlines and statistics leave no doubt that the world is in a trust crisis. Yet, paradoxically, trust is more important than ever. The bottom line is directly connected to trust. The 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that more than three-quarters of informed respondents refuse to buy products or services from a company they distrust. Even more eye-opening, high-trust organizations outperform low-trust ones in total returns to shareholders (stock price plus dividends) by 286 percent. From 1998 to 2010, high-trust organizations outperformed the market by 288 percent. Trust has become the new currency of the global economy.

There is a direct connection between trust and prosperity because trust always affects two key inputs to prosperity: speed and cost. In low-trust situations, speed goes down and costs go up because of the many extra steps that suspicions generate in a relationship, whereas two parties that trust each other accomplish things much quicker and, consequently, cheaper. The authors call high trust a “performance multiplier.” High trust creates a dividend, while low trust creates a wasted tax.

However, trust affects more than just prosperity. It has a positive impact on creativity, health, emotions, and overall well-being. Trust dramatically improves employee engagement, leading to such benefits as increased innovation. Trust also improves joy, which has become more and more important to people. The authors point out that Denmark, the most trusted nation on earth, is also the happiest country in the world.

In the same way that trust quantitatively changes prosperity, it qualitatively affects energy and joy. Some examples of flourishing high trust companies are Wipro, a large IT company in India, and Zappos, the Internet shoe retailer. These are just two of thousands of teams and organizations fueling the renaissance of trust.

Trust has many facets, one of which is creating a climate that benefits all stakeholders not just shareholders. PepsiCo, where CEO Indra Nooyi started a movement for the company “to deliver sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet,” is one of the many examples of companies trying to improve the world just as much as the bottom line. The CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, another example of a business with an enlightened sense of corporate responsibility, Andrew Witty, says “If you don’t have the trust of the societies you serve, you don’t have a long-term sustainable business model.”

However, even as people come to realize the importance of trust, there may be reasons why they find it difficult to trust. It all has to do with which glasses they are wearing.

DREAM TO REALITY

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Maxwell describes six characteristics associated with people who experience fulfillment as they pursue their dreams:

* Fulfilled people understand the difference between a dream and its realization. The idealized image of a dream that everyone carries in their head is usually not achievable because it depends on everything being perfect. The ideal vision can be helpful for establishing goals and stimulating internal motivation, but it also needs to be tempered with reality.

* Fulfilled people understand that the size of a dream determines the size of the gap. Large dreams are potentially more fulfilling than smaller ones. However, large dreams also come with a big gap between birth and completion.

* Fulfilled people keep dreaming while making the journey. People must continue dreaming in order to maintain inspiration, motivation, and fulfillment.

* Fulfilled people appreciate each step forward in the journey. Most dreams are achieved slowly, and sometimes the results emerge in subdued ways. As a result, it is important to take joy in the journey and find fulfillment in the small steps along the way.

* Fulfilled people make new discoveries while living in the gap. People have the potential to make many great discoveries while pursuing their dreams. Often, the greatest discoveries are the ones people make about themselves while pursuing a dream.

* Fulfilled people buy into the natural law of balance: life is both good and bad. To reach a dream and to find fulfillment in the process, people must be proactive in both good times and bad. Even when individuals do not feel like working toward their dream, they must persevere anyway.

DREAM BIG

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Maxwell suggests that the first vital step to fulfilling a dream is to take firm ownership of it. In his experience, he has found that there are three common reasons why people do not pursue their dreams:

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 7.04.24 pm1. Dreams do not come true for ordinary people. Although it is a widespread belief that dreams are only for special people, the author is convinced that everyone can pursue a dream. A dream can serve as a catalyst for making important life changes, no matter how big or small those changes.

2. If a dream is not big, it is not worth pursuing. The size of a dream does not determine its worth. While a dream does not have to be big, it should be bigger than the dreamer.

3. Now is not the right time to pursue the dream. Some feel it is never the right time to pursue a dream, and instead wait for permission from someone else. In fact, only the dreamer can grant permission to follow a dream. Alternatively, people think it is too late to pursue a dream and they give up.

Rather than falling victim to these pitfalls, Maxwell offers five tips for taking ownership of a dream:

  1. Individuals must be willing to bet on themselves. Owning a dream requires people to believe in themselves in a way that outweighs their fears.
  2. It is necessary to lead one’s life, rather than just accepting it. Attaining true personal potential means taking responsibility, and taking an active leadership role in life.
  3. People who own their dreams love what they do and do what they love. Individuals who take ownership of their dreams allow their passion and talent to guide them.
  4. It is not productive to compare a personal dream to others. When people focus too much attention on others, they lose sight of their dreams and what they need to attain it.
  5. Even if others do not understand, it is important to believe in a vision. Dreams often seem outrageous to others. To pursue a dream it is necessary to go beyond limitations, whether they are imposed from within or by others.

HIGH PERFORMANCE COMMUNICATION

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High performance communication is necessary to ensure that when people speak, their voices will rise above the ceaseless chatter and infinite information people will be bombarded with each day. There are three requirements necessary to achieve high performance communication:

1. A clear strategy: Speakers must develop a clear strategy for their presentations based on the desired outcome of the speeches.

2. Practice: As with any skill, mastering high performance communication requires practice. Meyers and Nix provide a self-assessment to help identify which areas speakers need to improve upon as well as a tool to help interpret their scores on the self-assessment.

3. Feedback: When communicating, the only thing that counts is the listener’s experience. Therefore it is essential that speakers elicit feedback from others. Understanding what the audience is experiencing is the only way speakers can fine-tune and improve their messages. The authors provide a “Communication Feedback” form to help speakers easily capture the impressions from their audiences.

The three parts of high performance communication that need to be mastered are: content, delivery, and state.

MAKING IT WORK with GENY

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Making Work Meaningful

Millennials want to know that what they do matters. They want to understand the context and contribution of their work, particularly if they feel the work is menial and entry level. Management can help keep these workers interested by involving them immediately in an onboarding process. From the start, a new-hire Millennial should be enlightened about the organization’s mission and how his or her job, however mundane, fits into those goals.

Older workers often complain that they never had to be told how their job fit into the big picture. They were willing to start at the bottom and work their way up, regardless. However, those in Generation Y need to feel that they belong and make a difference. A company that welcomes Millennials into the workplace will freely share and reinforce its vision with workers. It will delineate how the work of an individual and team affect the company’s mission. Finally, it will acknowledge a larger purpose by being actively engaged in the community. This can be achieved by:

  1. Offering employee match donations.
  2. Focusing on one to three nonprofits that are aligned with the company’s mission.
  3. Replacing client gifts with donations to charities.
  4. Assisting employees in their volunteer efforts.
  5. Sponsoring volunteer team days, where employees spend a workday helping in the community.A Good Fit on a Good Team

    Chemistry in the workplace is an important aspect of company culture. Many Millennials have seen their working parents deal with people they do not respect or do not want to associate with, and prefer not to do the same in their own careers. A Millennial wants his or her job to be a good “fit” from the start. Management can help make that fit work for everyone involved by clarifying the team’s and the company’s values. Fit can be determined even before the application process. For example, the company’s values, and a description of the company’s culture, should be stated on the posted job description.

    Employees’ personalities also play a part in whether they are a good fit for their teams. Personalities can be assessed using a variety of tools, such as a personality indicator (e.g., the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Strength Finders assessment). Once the personality of each team member is better understood, it will be easier to make adjustments to ensure that everyone’s contribution is maximized.

    It is a good idea for managers to review the team dynamics on a regular basis. They should check in after 30, 60, and 90 days to determine how new team members are fitting in.

    Meaningful Acknowledgement and Appreciation

    Parents, coaches, teachers, and camp counselors of Millennials gave them trophies, ribbons, and medals to reward them for just participating. Many Millennials have been conditioned to expect that same level of acknowledgment and appreciation in the workplace. Because of this expectation, they now have a reputation for being needy.

    Showing appreciation in the workplace is beneficial for employees of all ages; however, it must be authentic to be effective. Managers need to establish a culture of true appreciation that reinforces real contribution. Once such a culture has been established throughout the organization, it can significantly improve morale and performance for the entire team.

    The words “thank you” go a long way in reinforcing true appreciation in the workplace. Expressions of such appreciation can take many forms, such as an email, text message, or handwritten note; a group thank-you at a team meeting or a planned team celebration; company appreciation days for support staff or those in particular roles; and recognition of a birthday, anniversary, or other personal milestone. Regardless of the method used, the acknowledgment must be sincere to be effective.

    Give Clear Direction

    Just as Millennials need to know why their work is meaningful, they also need clear direction about how to accomplish that work. While conveying those directions, managers can use the opportunity to solicit Millennials’ input and ideas.

    Ambiguity can be avoided by providing clear and specific directions to all employees. When deadlines are given, there should be enough specific details that they cannot be misinterpreted. For example, instead of saying that a task needs to be completed by the end of the day, a manager should give a specific time. Terms like “shortly,” “end of day,” “end of the month,” or even “tomorrow” are ambiguous and can be interpreted differently by team members.

    Generation Y in particular has a different sense of time than older generations. For example, a Millennial may not anticipate that a particular task will require as much time as a manager expects. He or she may have a different view of what defines high-quality work. Both Millennials and their managers should never make assumptions; rather, managers should describe the quality of work required and the specific time involved, while Millennials should ask for further clarification when needed and communicate any delays or unexpected results.

    Feedback Is a Gift

    Millennials want and need feedback. Managers are constantly asked for check-ins so their Millennial employees can make sure they are “on the right track.” On the other hand, these same managers cannot understand why their Millennial employees appear to be so clueless. This, of course, has been a common theme among managers and young employees for many generations, including with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

    Feedback can be a gift, given to employees and coworkers, to help them capitalize on what they are doing well and improve other skills. Feedback does not cost anything, but it can prove invaluable in reducing time and frustration for all involved.

    Timing is extremely important when providing feedback. Corrective feedback should be given as soon as possible to action that required it. This makes the feedback more meaningful to the employee and allows for immediate revision; also, it prevents a manager’s frustration from growing and influencing the conversation.

    Managers and coworkers can use effective language to provide feedback in a constructive manner. The communication circle, developed by two executive coaches, separates facts, feelings, reasons, and blame. People offering feedback should be careful to avoid accusatory questions, such as “why” questions, and instead use questions that get to the matter at hand, such as “how” and “what” questions.

Succeeding at Job Interviews

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The following characteristics and behaviors are likely to appeal to an interviewer:

*Being well-rounded, interesting, and curious about the world.

*Caring about more than just the specific job and showing interest in the entire business.

*Sharing a passion for something.

*Demonstrating a willingness to admit to mistakes and embracing them as learning opportunities.

*Having opinions on current affairs.

*Showing initiative.

Interviews provide individuals with opportunities to bring their experiences, qualifications, personalities, and unique skills to life. For the company, the interview is an opportunity to assess a candidate’s fit with company culture.

The techniques below can help ensure a successful experience before, during, and after the interview.

Before the Interview

Interviews are like class assignments–they require research. Candidates should spend time learning as much as possible about the company and the specifics of the job. The goal is to be able to have an intelligent and informed conversation about the company. They should practice these conversations with fellow students to get comfortable.

Candidates can learn about the interviewers from online sources like LinkedIn and Google. This research provides common ground and topics for conversation. They can anticipate questions that will be asked and develop responses in advance. Candidates should also come prepared to speak very specifically about their three top strengths, with reinforcing examples.

It is important to bring questions to the interview as well. This is another opportunity to show thought and interest in the company. Candidates should just be sure their questions have not already been answered elsewhere.

During the Interview

First impressions are very important. Candidates must dress professionally, be on time, behave politely, and use body language that reflects calm confidence. When invited to share information about themselves, candidates should present that information clearly and concisely, without rambling on. They should avoid the tendency to talk too much and too fast. In an interview situation less is always more.

Sometimes candidates will make mistakes when answering questions. In this scenario, they should keep calm and ask for the opportunity to restate an answer. Sometimes candidates will simply not have answers to certain questions. They should be honest and admit they do not have a good answer.

Candidates should ask questions that show interest in the company, not an interest in themselves, including questions that extend beyond the company to the industry and global affairs.

After the Interview

Candidates should always follow up with personal notes thanking interviewers for the opportunity to meet.

CREATE YOUR OWN UNIVERSE

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In the business world, individuals must attempt to understand their unique gifts and contributions and use that understanding to effect change in their organizations. This process requires self-reflection and having the determination to follow one’s “passion, imagination, and vision.”

Study–Finish What You Start

For many, the path to success begins with formal education. Lessons learned in that process can be applied to the business environment as well. Succeeding in college requires:

*Doing due diligence and carefully selecting the right school and program.

*Properly finishing what is started. Even if a class or program is dropped, it should be dropped in accordance with established procedures.

*Trusting one’s instincts about continued education (i.e., graduate school versus joining the workforce).

*Learning to love the concept of studying (education does not stop at the school doors).

The following practices will help make the most of the formal education experience as preparation for a successful career:

*Tailor curriculum to the business sector one seeks to join.

*Create a written plan for managing both school and non-school commitments.

*Develop and maintain a good study environment.

*Know and use one’s best learning style (i.e., auditory, visual, kinesthetic).

*Ask questions and build relationships.

*Gain experience and volunteer.

*Celebrate successes.

Networking for Novices

Networking is a business fundamental, and it is all about showing an interest in others. Networking can occur both in-person and online. The college campus offers abundant opportunities for networking. It is as easy as striking up a conversation with the person in the next seat in a lecture hall. Lastly, networking is mutual; it is not about getting something but about helping one another.

Students can build their networking skills by:

*Leveraging friends and family as resources for new contacts.

*Tapping online resources like LinkedIn to identify potential new connections.

*Spending time meeting people at face-to-face events like conferences, workshops, and social activities.

*Not being deterred by nerves; feeling nervous about meeting new people is natural.

*Creating personal business cards.

*Being real; authenticity should be at the core of everyone’s behavior.

*Remembering that networking is not an opportunity to brag; it is an opportunity to listen and share.

Get LinkedIn

A great networking first step is to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has become a highly regarded professional networking platform that regularly adds value for professionals, not only in terms of making connections that can further their career goals, but also in terms of idea and opinion sharing.

Some ways to make the most of the LinkedIn experience include:

*Posting a professional-looking photo.

*Creating a strong headline and summary statement (look at other profiles for examples).

*Maximizing experience, including volunteer and extra-curricular activities.

*Including education and related activities.

*Asking for endorsements from others (and endorsing them in return).

*Highlighting achievements, honors, and awards, but only if they apply to career goals.

*Getting recommendations from teachers, employers, and fellow students.

*Joining LinkedIn groups, companies, and influencers.

Creating a Résumé That Gets Read

A résumé is much more than a list of skills and achievements; it is a view into an individual’s personality. Revealing personality in a simple, meaningful, and engaging way is what will make an individual’s résumé stand out from the crowd. Some tips for creating a standout résumé include:

*Avoiding clichés.

*Proofreading carefully.

*Including a well-crafted cover letter that is job-specific, showcases personal achievements, matches key job requirements to personal qualities, and illustrates potential contributions.

*Listing all contact information.

*Syncing online profiles with the résumé; and keeping them professional.

Engaged employees

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Highly engaged employees know that their contributions and levels of engagement are significantly influenced by how they approach their work. A person contributes within an organization in five ways:

1. The Private: Like a military soldier of the lowest rank must learn, the basic requirements for making a contribution are first to show up and then to follow through. Sadly, those employees who do indeed show up and follow through could outperform over half the working population.

2. The Learner: When acquiring knowledge and skills needed to perform the basic and building tasks, learners must be willing to observe, ask for and receive feedback, and practice until they can accomplish those tasks on their own. They have to be coachable.

3. The Expert: As they accomplish tasks with expertise, employees build confidence and increase their level of engagement. They deliver high-quality results with a sense of pride and ownership.

4. The Coach: Expert employees naturally have the opportunity to become coaches by training, mentoring, guiding, and developing others. Highly engaged employees make deliberate plans to do so and set these goals as personal priorities. Thus, they multiply the scale of their influence and magnify the impact they make to the organization. They unselfishly seek to help the motivation and development of others.

5. The Visionary: Highly engaged employees choose to become visionaries, seeking opportunities and solutions to build the future. They understand that success is never final and that continuous improvement is a way of life. They want to make a difference and contribute to the progress and direction of an organization. They anticipate trends, network with others inside and outside the organization, and bring people together to solve problems.

As employees progress through the different levels, they spend more time behaving in ways that increases their contribution and value to the organization, as well as their level of engagement.