Tag Archives: Persistent

Six leadership lessons highly worth learning from psychology of a physician

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Be your own physician?

We all know that medical practice in any field is a noble profession; but what is little known are unique lessons that we should learn from the mindset of a medical practitioner. We are talking about just a good physician, leave alone successful ones.

Let us look at what does psychology of a physician teach us:

  1. Managing conflict of interest
    Getting into medical profession entails lot of efforts, time and money worldwide. It is natural that motto of getting into this field for most is earning name, fame and wealth.
    It is also clear that every visit to or by a physician fetches a fee for him/her.
    Now, a physician is faced with conflict of interest – treat his/her patients or customers for self-interest or serve them selflessly. Good doctors would always manage this conflict by rising above self and greed, and serve customers keeping in mind their interests. They prescribe minimum medicines and pathological tests and discourage patients to make frequent visits. Many have grace to charge less fees from those, who can’t afford.
    Let us draw a parallel to above the stock options scheme in corporates for employees and top management. Such options have a singular motive of driving employees to perform well, so that company profitability improves, which in turn would reward employees with more options. But, when it comes to top management, conflict of interest creeps in – should company performance improve to increase value of his/her substantial stocks or should it improve to increase values for customers and employees, even if it means slight dent in company’s profitability? Many CEOs allegedly and subtly act in favor of the former – serving self-interest.
  2. Maximum availability
    A physician is available 24×7 to his/her patients, at least in India. Their work-life balance is heavily tilted towards work.
    I am not suggesting that it is good for them, although it is good for their customers. What is more significant lesson is that they don’t make any excuse for non-availability. Their dedication for duties is total.
  3. Memory management
    Did you notice that a good doctor’s memory is very good. He/she would remember history of his/her patients correctly, correct medicines’ name, spelling (usually complex), potency and names of manufacturers for innumerable number of ailments and case histories of other patients.
    What is the key – inbuilt sharper brain or they pop up some pills to sharpen their memory? Not any of these. It is registering the information without any conflict in mind and recalling it without any stress.
  4. Motto of service to customers
    A physician’s actions are completely oriented towards his/her customers and obtaining the results for which they have approached him/her. They never compromise their attitude to serve.
  5. Maximum confidence and concentration
    Successful practitioners give their advice or prescription with total confidence and rarely side or back track. Their focus on duties is deep.
    They are never shaken by patient’s condition, however adverse and do maintain their composure effortlessly. They are attached to their duties but detached from their customers while serving them unflinchingly.
  6. Marvelous understanding of their own body
    In leadership programs or schools, reference to this quality is by and large missing. It is extremely important to understand how you or your body would react to different situations, what triggers your emotions and how to manage the same.
    Doctors do very well on above count and hence, rarely fall sick or fall prey to sickening situations.
    A good leader needs to understand his/her body (including mind) well in order to be robust, consistent and persistent in his/her pursuits.

So, a good physician is a great case study at business schools and organizations!

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How to beat age to acquire maturity and tenacity!

Matured by age or virtue? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Young people, however dashing and dreamy they may be, are saddled with one limitation – lack of maturity and at times tenacity, which time alone can teach in normal case. At younger age, you have energy, motivation, drive, initiative and fresher mind. However, paradox is that when you have energy, you lack experience and when you gain experience, you lack energy!

Experience comes when you go through various phases of life, face a variety of situations and encounter real life examples. It is invaluable in learning lessons, making you sober and seasoned and teaching you tenacity, especially to face and manage the contradictions and crisis with candor and calm.

Take instance of Satya Nadella, 47 year old current CEO of Microsoft. Recently, he triggered a major controversy in a conference at Phoenix, Arizona by stating that women should trust “karma”, instead of asking for pay raises. I am sure that Mr. Nadella was not unaware of sensitivities around discrimination in pay packages of female and male employees in USA and elsewhere! Then, what prompted him to make such unsavory remark? How come earlier CEOs of same organization – Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, who is known for his flamboyant personality, never got into such controversy? Has that something to do with maturity, which comes of age? May be that this episode has given a good ground to Mr. Nadella to be more matured in public communication!

I must mention here that age or experience is not a guarantee for maturity or tenacity. Several experienced leaders or celebrities around the world have been seen to put their foot in mouth. What really matters is the quality of experience and its application. Yes statistically, younger ones take more beating by getting involved in controversial or catastrophic decisions, expressions or behaviors, as compared to their senior peers.

Bright and blind spots of young age!

Substantial research findings are documented below, with bright spots on left and blind spots on right side at young age. Please bear in mind that some individuals may be different; but overall scenario at corporate or community level for young executives or leaders is as follows:

  1. Plenty of prompt actions; but paucity of prudential thoughts
  2. Good salesmanship; but grim entrepreneurship
  3. Active as a boss; but passive as a leader
  4. High ambitions; but with heavy emotions
  5. Lot of energy; but also lot of ego
  6. Broad on short term outlook; but narrow on long term objectives
  7. Great at communication; but poor in content and conviction
  8. Loud talks; but little to walk
  9. Significant breadth of information; but shallow depth of knowledge/wisdom

Above are few salient blind spots, which can be attributed to lack or absence of maturity and tenacity. These fade away with age or experience for who have bent of mind to observe, learn and imbibe.

What does age or experience actually bring!

Now, this is an important revelation:

On an average, beyond age of 26 years which includes 4 to 5 years of professional experience, future age or experience does not bring any additional knowledge or wisdom. What it brings is wealth of information!

What really happens beyond around 26 years of age is that it consolidates your knowledge, refines and structures your ideas, firms up your conviction, removes self-doubts, validates or rectifies your notions or perceptions through examples, incidences and images!! There are vague thoughts or theories in your conscious or sub-conscious mind from earlier time; these either get vindicated or vanish, as you pass through time!!! All of these teach you how to respond to a given situation. One may learn a right response and others may capture a wrong one; but when many of them face heat of wrong response, they revise their earlier perception or practice.”

This process is what precisely world has come to call as experience. The resultant qualities are called as maturity and tenacity. I can vouch for the above by recounting what last 40 years have given me!

Now, how to beat age or time!

If you have understood that you have hidden treasure – knowledge and wisdom, then it is not difficult to defeat age and time. Few people are able to do it at an early age; we call them genius, intellectual, talented or extra-ordinary. Some don’t do it despite age; we term them weak, dumb, immature and so forth.

Here are the keys to beat time and unlock talent, hidden in you:

  1. Develop focus and consciousness.
  2. Don’t judge; just observe!
  3. No action on 1st reaction.
    Pause and chose your response only after contemplation.
  4. Dismantle your preconceived notions.
  5. Drop your ego and biases.
    That would make you open and flexible.
  6. Develop attitude for gratitude.
    It would make you humble.
  7. Choose company of persistent and consistent people or a coach.

I am sure, you don’t want to create a mess or face music, despite your mastery on several subjects and skills. Only way to avoid that is to be matured and tenacious and you have now seven keys to acquire the same, breaking free from barriers of time and age! 

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Being poor in fulfilling promises makes you poorer!

A promise to keep! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Statistics shows that 9 out of 10 people are poor in delivering promises. Nearly all of us are prompt in making promises, committing to do something; but when it comes to doing it, delivering it, we take a backseat. Promises could be as small as “I shall phone you back” or as significant as “I shall help you to develop and grow”. I have been frequently witnessing that way too many people commit or promise small or big things out of good intentions or emotions; but they hardly care to fulfill. Yes, when promises are self-serving or would help make money, those would be fulfilled promptly!

Promising people are those, who would fulfill what they commit at 1st very attempt! You would find that if you don’t do it when it is due 1st time, you may deliver it on 2nd occasion but with reluctance. If you fail on 2nd occasion, it would be harder for you doing it on 3rd one i.e. resistance. If by any chance you skip to deliver on 3rd occasion, you would go in reverse gear. Instead of delivering promise, you would deliver “excuse”! So, amazing rule of 1-2-3 & Go applies!!

If “considering promises casually” becomes a habit, worst casualty would be no one but you! On other hand, “drive to deliver what is promised” is one of the foundation pillars of true leadership!

Why people make promises which they don’t mean to deliver!

There are varieties of reasons why most are tempted to make false promises, primary reasons being:

  1. To create good impression, especially on bosses, beloved or buddies
    Political class would do it to masses.
  2. For one-up man ship over bête noire or rival
  3. For fear of offending a person or being seen in bad light
  4. To avoid arguments
  5. Yielding under pressure or compulsions
  6. Under bout of emotions
  7. Out of superficial respect or empty obligation

Naturally, people find it difficult to deliver promises made under above situations and therefore, they make easy escape routes through excuses! 

Managing or mismanaging promises reflects make up of a person!

It is very important to understand that the manner in which one commits or promises and then fulfill his/her obligations has a lot to do with personality of that person. Here below are some clues:

  1. Men, who make and honor nearly 100% of their promises!
    Population of such people is not big – probably less than 5 %. Highlights of their characters are:
    1. They would not rush to make a promise. They would contemplate first and then make it consciously.
    2. If they cannot deliver a promise given, they would revert back in advance, share reasons about their inability to fulfill and be apologetic for same!
    3. They are consistent and persistent!
    4. They are upright and sincere.
    5. They are decent and dependable.
    6. They are confident and eloquent!
    7. They are committed and caring!
    8. They are highly successful and prosperous!
  2. People, who deliver some and dodge some!
    Such people are in majority and you can watch out for the following:
    1. They pretend to be serious in making promises.
    2. They are emotional and deceptive at the same time!
    3. They have split personality.
    4. What they talk would not walk.
    5. They are extra humble many times but hollow from inside.
    6. They are opportunist and therefore, can bend easily, which most people or companies confuse as flexibility!
    7. They appear sensitive on surface; but vindictive underneath.
    8. They are political and play games.
      They change color like a chameleon – one for making promise, another for delivering and third for avoiding it!
  3. Men, who can promise a moon but deliver miniscule!
    Their number is not small; but less than category 2 above and far more than category 1.
    1. They are ever eager to make promises and that too promptly.
    2. They are boisterous and loud talkers.
    3. They can laugh a lot and heavily!
      One can easily confuse them as jovial!!
    4. They reflect overconfidence, which is often misunderstood as expertise by companies or communities.
    5. They appear extra respectful; but could be equally revengeful in disguise! 
  4. People, who hesitate to promise and deliver!
    There number is next down the line after category 3; but their personality is opposite:
    1. It is not easy to extract promises or commitment from such people.
    2. They lack courage, conviction and commitment!
    3. They are short on initiative and usually introvert.
    4. They are pessimists.
    5. They communicate less.
    6. They lack transparency and consistency.

Be a person of promise!

So, it is very poor idea to be poor in fulfilling promises to self and anyone else! Delivering promise, be determined, dedicated, committed and resolute are part of same trait, without which leadership qualities just can’t survive! So:

  • Never rush to make a promise.
  • Make promise, what you can deliver.
    It is best to make written note of all promises, you have made and review time to time to monitor your performance.
  • If you realize anytime that you can’t make it or would be delayed, go back immediately to concerned person and make him/her aware with apologies.
  • Deliver 100% of your promises on 1st occasion or attempt.

If you want to stand out of the crowd and establish/enhance your credibility, your natural choice should fall on “Being a Person of Promise”!

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How good is to serve same employer life time?

In comfort zone? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Those, who serve an employer for long time, hesitate to ask this question to self or others! And those, who keep hopping from one to another employer, obviously don’t want to ask this question. Irony is that all of us want to be under the illusion of belief that what we are doing is good!!

There are several large multinational or iconic organizations, to name a few – General Electric, Siemens, IBM and Exxon Mobil, which most employees enter after their education and exit only on retirement. They cannot imagine their life outside of such organizations.

How good is getting addicted to what you consider as good?

Blessings of serving an employer for long term or life time!

  1. You get fully accustomed to company culture and values.
  2. You gain formidable expertise in the way company operates.
  3. Higher job security.
  4. You gain trust and respect of company management.
  5. Company considers you as dependable and loyal.

Banes of sticking to one employer!

  1. You get too much used to what you have been doing and hence, would be averse to changes.
    This would put you into comfort zone and its consequent perils.
  2. If you are dynamic and diligent, you would be hungry for changes, which same organization may not be able to offer at least in the time frame, you may aspire or desire.
    This would bring you into conflict with your seniors and you would lose congenial work environment.
  3. Often, you would lose opportunities to those, who are equally or even less good performers but more likely to quit the organization. Management of companies always prefer to retain them, ironical though! At that time, you would feel hurt that you are being taken as granted and your loyalty is of little value!
  4. If your career path, if worked out by company, does not foresee eventual promotion to one of top executive positions, you definitely run the risk of being sidelined in due course.
  5. You would be prone to get drawn in company politics.
  6. You would tend to be conservative and risk averse.
  7. Time would make you aloof from outside corporate world and market dynamics.
  8. Your overall personality development would take a severe beating.
  9. At a later stage of employment, your intimate knowledge of how company operates would be treated more as liability than asset by your management!
  10. Over time, you would create more adversaries than admirers!

What can make one employer tick!

If the organization you serve is large in size, transnational, has multiple vertical businesses and your management is progressive in developing employees, rewarding for their loyalty through opportunities and job rotation, then sticking to one and same employer could click.

You have to be careful in evaluating above factors. There is lot of lip service in the name of career opportunities and job rotation. If you are too good in certain function/s, your reward could be that you stay put there!

Ideal course for an employee!

Don’t stick around at one place for too long. You are bound to lose respect and race!

Life is all about Change! Change brings you colossal possibilities. 

Set your goals where you want to be in a defined time frame and make sure that every step that you take is an incremental movement in direction of your goal/s. Focus on being smart and savvy, persistent and passionate.Then, any employer can turn out to be the best for you and you should give your best to employer. Demand duties commensurate with your competence and deliver results. If everything works well, continue to deliver but not more than about 10 years and then seek change to a new employer; but leave current one with grace and on a good note. Gain experience with 2 to 4 employers.

Now is the time to introspect. Be rational and not emotional in giving merit rating to employers you have served. Communicate with no.1 rated employer and see the possibility of joining him back or otherwise his competitor no.1!

If you do the above, your stake and stock would see multifold rise!

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