Thursday, November 26, 2009

Leaders- Help Others, Help Yourself !

To be a successful leader, we need other people’s intelligence and other people’s cooperation. We need to be able to attract into our life and work the help, assistance, influence and active involvement of lots of other people in achieving our goals. Let me narrate a funny but interesting story which tells us the importance of being useful to others that makes us lovable & respectable in our organization.

Once a stranded tiger entered the washroom of a corporate office and hid itself in a dark corner. As there was always human movements outside, the tiger was afraid of coming out. Many persons frequented the washroom, but the frightened tiger did not attack any one.

But after four days it could not bear the pangs of hunger and caught the man who went in and ate him up. This man happened to be an Assistant General Manger of the organization, but nobody noticed his disappearance. Since nothing happened by way of attacking, the man-eater tiger became more daring and after two days caught another man and ate him. This man was the General Manager of the organization. Still nobody worried about his disappearance (some people were even happy that he was not in the office).

The next day, the tiger caught the Vice President who was a terror in the organization. Again, no one tried to finish off the tiger. The tiger was very happy and decided that this was the right place for it to live.

The very next day, the happy tiger caught a man who had entered the washroom with a tray of teacups. The frightened man fell unconscious. Within 15 minutes, there was a big hue and cry and everyone in the office was out in search of the missing man. The search team reached the washroom, flushed out the tiger and saved the unconscious man. He was the tea supplier to the office!

The story tells us, it is not the position but usefulness to others that makes one lovable and respectable. We need to realize the fact that, no matter how independent we are as individuals, we depend upon others to define ourselves and create purpose in our lives.

Let me share with you seven things we need to do in an organization which form the basis for effective work relationships. These are the actions we should take to create a positive work environment for people:

1) Talk about solutions- not just the problems: Most of the people spend lot of time identifying only problems. That's something any one can do. But the solutions to the problems are the challenge that will earn respect and admiration from team members and leaders.

2) Never play the blame game: We tend to alienate team members, subordinates, and people reporting to us. But, we may need to identify who was involved in a problem. We also need to understand about the work system which caused the team member to fail. Instead if we say, it’s not my fault and publicly blaming others for failures will earn enemies. These enemies will only help us to fail. All we need is allies at work.

3) Our communication matters: If we talk down to another team member, use sarcasm, or sound nasty, others hear us. Once a senior manager of an organization told me, "I know I shouldn’t scream at my team member. But, sometimes, they make me so mad. Tell me when is it appropriate for me to scream at the team members?" My answer is simple- Never! Giving respect for our people is a hallmark of our organization.

4) Don’t blind side a team member, manager, or people reporting to you: If a team member hears about a problem related to him through an email sent to his superior, we have blind sided that team member. It’s better to discuss problems with the people directly involved. We will never build effective work relationships unless our team members trust us.

5) Keep our words: In every organization, the jobs are interlinked. When we fail to meet deadlines or commitments given, we affect the work of other team members. It’s important to keep up our words, and if we can't, make sure all affected team members know what happened. Give a new due date and make every possible effort to honor the new deadline.

6) Give full credit for accomplishments, ideas, and contributions: Can we accomplish a goal or complete a task with no help from others? As a leader, how many of the great ideas we promote were contributed by our team members? Take time and energy to thank, recognize, reward the contributions of the team members who help us succeed.

7) Help other team members to find their potential: Every team members in our organization has talents, skills, and experience. If we can help them to harness their best abilities, the entire organization will grow. Let’s compliment, recognize, praise, and value contributions. By doing this, team members do find and contribute their best.

Like Brain Tracy says, we can accomplish anything we want in life by simply finding ways to help other people to accomplish their goals in life. And the more creative we are in leveraging and multiplying our talents and abilities times the talents and abilities of others, the higher we can rise and the faster we can move forward in our life.

Want to help yourself? Then be ready to help others!


Monday, August 31, 2009

"Working Together Hand In Glove"

Working with others, whether as an individual or as a leader of an Organization, is an essential part of every individual, manager's and entrepreneur's remit. Team working is rapidly becoming the preferred practice in many organizations as traditional corporate hierarchies give way to flat, multi skilled working methods.

Whether we are Entrepreneur's, CEO's, Manager's or something else, there's a pretty good chance we'll interact with other people along the way. Unless our plan is to work in a vacuum and be unknown to anyone ever, we'll have to factor these people into our equation of success - partners, patrons, investors, bosses, colleagues, clients, customers, and / or critics. Depending on our goal, working with others may be a big factor or a little factor, but it almost certainly counts.

The famous quote by Ryunosuke Satoro, " Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean " reminds me of a good Chinese story which tells us the importance of working together.

In ancient China, during the period of the South-North Dynasty, there was a kingdom called Tuguhun, which was established by the Xianbei ethnicity at the Northwestern border region. The legend Acai was the emperor of this kingdom.

Acai had twenty sons, each one of whom was strong and skilled at fighting. Each had his unique expertise. When Acai was very ill, he called all of his sons together and asked each one of them to give him one arrow. He then said to his younger brother, Mu Liyan, "Please take one arrow here and break it." Mu Liyan easily broke the arrow. Acai then said, "Please take nineteen arrows here and break them." Mu Liyan could no longer break the bundle of arrows. Acai said, "Now do you understand? One arrow is very easily broken, while a bundle of arrows is hard to break. As long as all of you work together with one heart, our kingdom will be stable."

Acai's words, "One arrow is easily broken, while a bundle of arrows is hard to break," tells us the same thing that has been said by the ancient people, "When people's hearts are joined together as one, even a Mountain can be moved,". The story points out the importance of people working together with one heart.

In his best seller book " Success ", J.Pincott talks about how we can successfully work with others. Let me share with you these simple tips which can help us in effectively working with others :

1) Realize that we need others : No matter how independent we are as individuals, we depend on others to define ourselves and create purpose in our lives.

2) Get them to identify with us : Finding out how successful people get others to work with them or for them is always interesting. The bottom line is that we need to make an effort to identify with others and to get others to identify with us.

3) Don't worry so much about getting credit : We may need to work with others as partners or in teams, or working under another person or within a company. Our job, always, is to make that person above us look good at the same time that we get what we need from the job. Actually, the better job we do, the better it is for the person above us. Don't worry about the boss getting credit for what we do.

4) Earn the respect of others : Respect is a strong motivator for success. But it's not easy to achieve the kind of success and respect we wanted. It requires a consistency of behavior that is truly impressive. It requires that we treat others in a honest and caring way.

5) Watch our words : To successful people, working with others means knowing what to say - and what not to say.

6) Handle difficult people with care : Some jobs require better social skills than others. From those who must constantly interact with others, there's a good chance we'll encounter difficult people. Sometimes people say unkind or thoughtless things, and when they do, it is best to be a little hard of hearing - to tune out and not snap back in anger or impatience.

7) Have a healthy skepticism of authority : Like Buddha says, " Do not believe in anything simply because we have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. But after observation and analysis, when we find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. "

8) Don't be afraid to depend on others : Don't be afraid to ask for help; our success might depend on it. There is a magic that results when a person invests in us. He becomes a big-time investor in our success, a stockholder in our dreams. Because, when we ask someone for help, we are implicitly asking him to place a bet on us. The more people we get to bet on us, the larger our network of investors and the shorter the odds.

It goes without saying, the basic principle of working together with our team should underpin how we operate. Managing people doesn't just mean acting as a watch dog but it to see that they get their work done satisfactorily. It also means involving people throughout in a creative role, to ensure that together we are all able to succeed.

When we involve people on broad issues, it will motivate them. Let's not underestimate our people and always remember, their views can enhance everything: methods, standards, processes and overall effectiveness. The managers are not paid to have all the ideas that are necessary to keep their section working well in a changing world, but they are paid to make sure that there are enough ideas to make things work and go on working. Let's use our people and make it clear to them that we want and value their contributions.

Like Henry Ford said, " Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. What are we waiting for, " Let's come together, keep together and work together to be successful in personal and professional life.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Decision Making - The Bridge Between Failure & Success!

Decision making is the foundation of every management and business activity. It goes with out saying better management decision making and problem solving can greatly improve an organization's profits and goals. But the studies show that Entrepreneurs and Managers do not achieve more than 50% correct results in their decision making and problem solving.

In today’s complex business scenario, decision making is one of leadership’s greatest challenge. In fact, decision-making ability differentiates between a poor and a good leader. Many bad decisions are made simply because leaders move through the decision-making process too hastily, basing conclusions on emotions, bad information or impulses.

Before we talk more about it, let me share with you a funny story on decision making which tells us how good our Managers are when it comes to decision making!

The story is about a manager of a large company who got a heart attack, and the doctor advised him to go for few weeks to a farm to relax. The guy went to a farm, and after a couple of days he was very bored, so he asked the farmer to give him some job to do.

The farmer told him to clean the shit of the cows. The farmer thought that to somebody coming from the city, working the whole life sitting in an office, it will take over a week to finish the job, but for his surprise the manager finished the job in less than one day.

The next day the farmer gave to the manager a more difficult job: to cut the heads of 500 chickens. The farmer was sure that the manager will not be able to do the job, but at the end of the day the job was done.

The next morning, as most of the jobs in the farm were done, the farmer asked the manager to divide a bag of potatoes in two boxes: one box with small potatoes, and one box with big potatoes.

At the end of the day the farmer saw that the manager was sitting in front of the potatoes bag, but the two boxes were empty. The farmer asked the manager: "How is that you made such difficult jobs during the first days, and now you cannot do this simple job?"

The manager answered: "Listen, all my life I'm cutting heads and dealing with shit, but now you ask me to make decisions!!! "

Jokes apart, this could be true with many of our Entrepreneurs & Managers - when decision making is too complex or the interests at stake are too important, quite often we do not know or are not sure what to decide. As an Entrepreneur or Manager, sometimes we know everything we can know. Sometimes we know only somethings, but not everything. And sometimes we know absolutely nothing - but we still have to decide!

A "good" decision-making starts with a purposeful, consecutive, strategic-thinking process. A correct decision makes our life better and gives us some control over life. On the other side, a bad decision may force us to make another one which could be even worse! Like the old saying, if the first button of one's coat is wrongly buttoned, all the rest will be crooked.

Good decision making invites lot of thinking and thinking is the ultimate human resource. The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.

We may have great plans that have been studied and worked out in great details, but if we do not take decision to act on it, they can be of no use to us except to be sorry reminders of wasted time, lost opportunities and unrealized goals.

So a good decision is not an accident, it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and represents the wise choice of many alternatives. A significant part of decision making skills is in knowing and practicing good decision making techniques. With that note, let me share with you some simple decision making steps as under:

1) Assign priorities : All the things that need to be decided on are not equal in importance. As we do with time management where we prioritize, rank the importance of the decisions we have to make. At least by setting priorities, we'll be going in a direction. If it turns out to be the wrong direction, we can always make a course correction.

2) Set a time frame : Decision making boils down to the gut thing. And faster is better. Be 80 percent right and first rather than 100 percent correct and last. By setting a time, we have an idea on the deadline to take the decision.

3) Gather and review up-to-date, cold, hard facts : Collect as many facts as possible, but not too many. Organize them. Based on the priority, we can either wait until it's perfect and we have all information possible or we just have to go with our judgment.

4) Paint a scenario of desired outcome : What do we ideally want? If we haven't thought about it, how will we know whether we get it?

5) Weigh the pluses against the minuses in getting where we want to be : There will be trade offs and compromises. Weigh the costs and the effects.

6) Explore the ramifications for all involved : Who will be effected? Understand the impact of decisions we make on people concerned.

7) Keep emotions out of it : Don't let our emotions to effect our decisions as much as possible.

8) Use our wisdom, have courage, go with our gut instinct and decide : Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases risk. If the analytical approach ends up different from our instinct, we really should stop and take the time to figure out why the difference exists. We'll probably end up going with instinct but at least we considered the analytical approach.

9) Put the decision into action : Transfer our decision into specific plan of action steps. Execute our plan.

10) Evaluate the outcome of our decision and steps of action : What lessons can be learned? This is an important step for further development of our decision making skills and judgment.

Many a times, decision making may not be as simple as we think and it can be hard when it involves some conflicts or dissatisfaction. The challenge is to pick one solution where the positive outcome can outweigh possible losses. Avoiding decisions often seems easier. But remember, making our own decisions and accepting the consequences is the only way to stay in control of our life, business and its success.

Like Jim Rohn says, " It doesn't matter which side of the fence we get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. We cannot make progress without making decisions ".

Ready to make a decision ? Do it – success is just across the bridge. Trust me it will be a great decision !


Reference : How To Act Like A CEO by D.A Benton

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is " Success " Like A Trip To Mars?

Success is the topic we often talk about and something that we all aspire for. The interesting thing about success is, it has a different meaning for all. For some, the path to success is crystal clear but for many it's like a trip to mars! Even though we don't see many who are successful, the most encouraging reality about success is that it is attainable by all, irrespective of who we are, what we are or where we are! The question is what can drive us to success ? Well before i get in to that, let me share an interesting story with you on success.

The story is about a famous guru and his two disciples. Once their education was complete, and they were ready to leave, the guru called one of them and asked, " Now that your education is complete and it is time for you to leave and find your own place in the world, what plans do you have for your future? " The disciple said, " When I go into the world I will look for success and prosperity. "

With a smile, the guru gave him a bag full of gold coins, blessed him, and allowed him to leave. Now the guru called the second disciple and put the same question to him. He replied, " I will go into the world and achieve success and be prosperous. " The guru gave him one silver coin, blessed him, and let him go.

There was a pedestrian resting a few yards away. After both the disciples had left he went up to the guru and asked him why he gave a bag full of gold coins to the man who was going to look for success and prosperity for himself, while he gave only one silver coin to the man who wanted to achieve success on his own.

The guru smiled and replied, " the man who is going to look for success and prosperity is unlikely to find it as he will be dependent on external forces for his accomplishments. He will need this bag of gold; it will not last long with him. The second man, he said, " is set to achieve success on his own, he will get it. He will also be at peace with himself. He does not need gold from me; he will earn enough for himself. I gave him one silver coin which is what he need for his bus journey to his destination" .

The story tells us that, success is achieving one's chosen goals. Success requires its share of hard work, dedication and perseverance. To be successful we just have to know the rules and apply them in our life. Now let's talk about the golden rules of success which are the universal rules of attaining meaningful success. Let me share with you the following simple rules for success which is easy to understand and follow. We just have to assimilate these rules with determination and let them do wonders for us.

1) Find our passion : If our motivation is to fulfill another person's expectations of us, or simply to make money, chances are that we won't be a great success. Pick our passion- or let it pick us - but don't let others pick it for us! Let's not conflate the pursuit of success with the pursuit of wealth. Success transcends dollars and cents.

2) Set our goals : Now that we know what we want to do, it's time to set our goals. Passion alone won't guarantee success. Just don't look for consensus about how detailed our goals must be, it's all about getting started and find a medium that works for us. Remember- Goals are dreams with deadlines!

3) Cultivate character : What motivated us to choose our goal? What inspires us to succeed at it? What pushes us to keep trying? Our answers to these questions comprise our character; they define our interests, values, strengths, and means of support. The stronger our character, the more stable our success.

4) Be determined : Determination is ambition fueled by will. Do we have that to achieve our goals? If we do, we'll use everything at our disposal to succeed. Realize that if we really want to succeed at something, we'll make the time for it, take the risk for it, and do our best to ease any doubts about it.

5) Work hard : No matter how passionate we are about our work, it may test our stamina and resolve. We need to determine what sacrifices we're willing to make to be successful. Hard work requires uncommon discipline. Ask ourselves if we're willing to do it, and to what extent. But take a step back if we begin to feel that our hard work ceases to be meaningful.

6) Lead others : Success isn't always an individual achievement. In fact, it often isn't. Our success may depend upon countless others, especially the people who support us in our day-to-day work. Good leadership skills are always key to success. Knowing how to lead others and sharing our vision will help us to reach our goals. If we inspire the people working for us, they will be more inclined to be accountable for the work they do for us.

7) Take risks : No risk, no reward. It's no shock that the most successful people seem to be those who take significant risks. They jeopardize their personal comfort. They challenge the status quo. They put their money and time at stake. Taking risk is a creative act and we need to dare to approach a situation in unconventional ways.

8) Get feedback : Just when things start going well and our ego starts to swell, there's another force you'll reckon with: feedback. It comes in many forms, including criticism, advice, and hard numbers. It will ground us, keep our ego in check, and help us refine our goals and make improvements. Don't let criticism eliminate our drive. At the same time, don't let our fear of criticism prevent us from seeking feedback.

9) Survive setbacks : Midway in our pursuit to success, something may happen and we may think that we had been deluding ourselves about a happy ending. Every successful person has experienced failure. It's just part of taking risks. Surviving setbacks means stepping back to see the whole of a situation. This gives us perspective, which in turn gives us control.

10) Stay successful : Is success like a mountain; once we peak we can only go downhill? We need to make our success a series of peaks. The most important factor for this is to keep growing by acquiring new skills and dreaming up new ideas. Like Lily Tomlin said, " The road to success is always under construction. " Remember success breeds success. Use our momentum to stay always successful - with a little luck, effort, determination, support, good habits, hard work, and character.

Achieving success is our right and we can realize it with ease provided we go about it in the right way. There are no reason why we cannot conquer the heights of our aspirations. There always is, and will be, room at the top; we just have to know our ways. Let's start to realize our full potential. To be successful, we don't need a bag full of gold - all we need is a silver coin to reach our destination. Whether our destination is moon on mars nothing can stop us to be successful.

Success is our right, Work for it and Get it!

Reference : 'Success' by J.Pincott / Rules of Success by Mridula Agarwal

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Want To Be A Stupendous Speaker? Speak Like Obama!

Imagine you are scheduled to say a few words in public in the very near future. You are probably nervous. Maybe you are even panicking. Possibly you are starting to think of how to skip this speech. Relax. You are one among millions who gets butterflies in stomach when asked to say few words in public. We do admire several people who possess this wonderful skill - public speaking and one of my favorites off late is the American President Barack Obama.

With his excellent public speaking skills President Obama connects with millions of people. It may be a good idea to consider learning from him on how to influence our audiences. No doubt Obama is a master in inspiring his audience’s, which is the number one goal of any public speaker.

He captured world's attention on 10th February 2008 through his famous speech announcing his candidature for the President ship given on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Illinois. The whole world watched his historic victory speech on 4th November 2008 when he became the 44th President-Elect. Obama's speeches remind us the power of words but we know we may not be able to speak like him. Rather we may not even want to speak like Obama. But may be we can learn from the way Obama speaks in order to influence and inspire our audiences.

In an age of accelerating change and increasing uncertainty, people are looking for clear direction, and we need to provide it. Whether we are shaping a new vision, spearheading an initiative into an untried market, speaking to the media, addressing a social function or simply conducting a business meeting, effective public speaking is frequently the margin of difference between success and failure.

I have read several surveys which indicate that most people are not listening to the words being spoken at business meetings. The listeners minds are wandering because the speakers have not made their talk interesting and relevant for the audiences. No doubt there are lot of great "natural" speakers but I believe great speakers aren't always born - they can also be trained. If we work to develop our skills, we can become much better at speaking. Once we have the right perspective, know a few tricks of speaking, and have found a good line or two, things will seems a log less challenging.

Let me share with you some simple tips which can help us to be an effective speaker.

1. Define the audience : To create interest among our audience, we must give them a good reason to listen to us. Their time is valuable, and that means that from our audience's viewpoint, our speech has to answer a simple question: " What's in it for me? "

2. Develop the speech : To make a great speech, we need to start by building a great outline that includes timing along with the what's, why's, and how’s of the speech. Keep in mind the audience and objectives of the speech while preparing it.

3. Practice, practice, practice : Having a solid outline for the speech is absolutely necessary, but the next critical step is rehearsal. It helps in anticipating and avoiding troubles before they happen. We can also join Toastmasters, volunteer to speak at local events and practice at work. The more we speak, the better we will be.

4. Nervous to natural : Be ourselves. An audience will know if we are trying to be someone we are not. Relax - our best self is our real self. Our audience is almost nervous as we are. Involve them as soon as possible to calm everyone's nerves.

5. Breath : Before we open our mouth, take a deep breath and look at the audience. Connect with their eyes, take in their energy and begin.

6. The first three minutes : The first three minutes of the speech is crucial since our audience's attention is naturally high. We have only one chance to make a first impression and we need to grab the audience attention, build rapport, and ensure that they will buy-in immediately to what we are saying.

7. Keep it simple : Have few main points and use numerous real-life examples for each one. Our audiences are keen to learn something new and they are not waiting to test our knowledge.

8. Make all movements purposeful : Moving just to move or out of nervousness is annoying for the audience. There is no need to move all the time. Try standing planted from time to time.

9. Slow down : People often speak too fast when they are nervous. Slow down. Take something to the podium with us that will serve as our reminder to slow down. Obama is a master in this and remember how effective it is.

10. Bring a visual : Place something on the podium that makes us smile. It could be a picture of our family, a silly toy or a rock from the ocean. It might sound silly, but it really works!

11. Close it right : A fine closing will make our audience feel good about what they've learned. Try to inspire them to act and leave them with something by which to remember us and our key message. Make sure to end our speech with a bang!

12. Take feedback : Have someone in the business of speaking to monitor our performance as a speaker. Ask for two or three ways to improve. Then implement their suggestions.

I am sure If we follow the above simple tips we can become a more effective speaker. But the road to true success in any endeavor is the will to continually improve. The first step is a commitment to continuous improvement. Audience evaluations are also useful tool for improving our performance and gauging how effective our speech has been. But when we do this, it is important to avoid the temptation to take reviews personally and defend ourselves. Remember, we can even learn from a crank if we are willing to listen!

Obama is a master at grabbing and keeping his audience’s attention. We may not be able to talk like Obama, but we can always be ourselves and be - A stupendous speaker who can inspire any audience.

Ready for the next speech?


Friday, May 8, 2009

Who Pays Our Salary ?

Have you tried asking any one employed or in business, who pays your salary ? Well, you are likely to get answers like - " my company, my boss, my accounts department, my finance goes on and on. But how many will realize that, it is the " Customer " who pays our Salary! Profits for Entrepreneurs, Salary for Employees, Wages for Workers... the basic survival of an organization itself is at the mercy of customers.

In a period were terminologies like Globalization, Open Economy, CRM etc. was alien to people, Mahathma Gandhi had the wisdom to say, " A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work, he is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business, he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so ".

Today, when our economy is going through turbulent times, I guess its time for us to go back to the basics. Go back to doing those things that gave us success in the start-up days of our business. Strive to build strong relationships with customers and make them buy our products and services. But sometimes, we tend to get carried away with technology and forget basic principles of customer service and understanding of what customers really need which is indeed vital to a company’s success.

You buy a product or service, in two days its faulty, you call the aggressive Sales guy who convinced you to buy it. He gives you a recorded message, " please call our customer care number xxxxx " ! He will not even take the pain to ask what the complaint is. Sounds familiar ? We can't blame them, they are programmed like that by the companies.

We fail to realize that, our employees can be our ambassadors or our assassins. They need to consistently display behavior that can satisfy customers and even exceed their expectations at all times. Everything that our people say and do has an effect on whether our company will be able compete and win during this tough economy. I know it is easy to talk about the importance of customer service and make employees accountable for that etc., but how do we practice it ?

Well, let me take you to the world of Zappos, the company which re-defined the word, customer service! Founded in 1999, is the biggest online Shoe store, with over $1 billion in sales. They have grown from zero to $1 billion in just 9.5 years! They have got over 7.5 million customers and interestingly, on any given day, 75% of sales come from repeat customers, and those repeat customers spend much more than the first time buyers! The majority of sales happens through word of mouth.

Zappos offers customers a huge selection- more than four million pairs of shoes (and other items such as handbags, apparel etc.). What makes them unique is, they offers free delivery and free returns and if you don't like the shoes, you box them up and send them back to Zappos for no charge. They promises free, four-day delivery. Sounds good ? But most of the time they deliver it next-day, a surprise that leaves a lasting impression on customers: "You said four days, but I got them the next morning !"

Zappos are experts in handling telephone service- a black hole and nightmare for most companies. Zappos smart and entertaining call-center employees are free to do whatever it takes to make you happy. They work with no scripts, no time limits on calls, no robotic behavior, and plenty of legendary stories about Zappos and its customers you can read on the net. Zappos goes out of their way to make it easy for customers to do business with them like 24/7 1-800 toll free number, 365- days return policy etc.

Hundreds of touching customer experience stories about Zappos are available on the net and the most popular of it is from a blogger, Ms.Zaz Lammar. She ordered 7 pairs of shoes from Zappos for her mother who was sick. Once the goods arrived, out of 7 only 2 pairs fit. The rest were waiting to be returned. But unfortunately her mom got hospitalized and she being away, the shoes were never sent back. There’s a time limit on the return of shoes which is 15 days. When you do a return to Zappos, they pay the shipping, but you have to get the shoes to Courier company by yourself.

Sadly, Ms.Zaz lost her mother and once she got back home, she got an e-mail from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn't received them. She replied that her mom had died but will send the shoes as soon as she could. They e-mailed her back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes.

Here is what happened after that in her own words - " Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I'm a sucker for kindness, and if that isn't one of the nicest things I've ever had happen to me, I don't know what is. So…IF YOU BUY SHOES ONLINE, GET THEM FROM ZAPPOS."

But here's what makes Zappos even more interesting. As we know, the toughest job is answering phones and talking to customers to solve their complaints. When Zappos hires new employees, it provides a four-week training period that immerses them in the company's strategy, culture, and obsession with customers. During this period, People get paid their full salary.

Once the training is over, Zappos do something unique which they call as "The Offer." The company, after taking the pain to recruit and train, says to its newest employees: "If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you've worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus." Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit! Surprised? Well they have a reason. They believe, if you're willing to take the company up on "The Offer", you obviously don't have the sense of commitment they are looking for.

Zappos today employs more than 1500 people. They know how important it is for every employee to feel like they have a stake in the culture. As a result, they have defined a set of core values that act as a formalized definition of company culture. Their core values weren't formed by a few people from senior management that sat around in a room at a company off site. Instead, they invited every employee at Zappos to participate in the process, and here are the core values that help to keep them focused on the right things:

1) Deliver "WOW" Through Service
2) Embrace and Drive Change
3) Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
4) Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5) Pursue Growth and Learning
6) Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
7) Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8) Do More With Less
9) Be Passionate and Determined
10) Be Humble

Zappos is interested only in employing people who truly care about their customers. If you ask Tony Hsieh the Zappos CEO or any Zappos employee for that matter - to describe the company, they would tell you that, " Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes "! At Zappos, Customer care is not a department but a culture!

The success story of Zappos clearly tells us that, creating a great customer experience is about getting back to basics - simple human kindness. It also tells us, if we want our employees to treat our customers like stars, then we need to give our employees a little red-carpet treatment of their own.

Its time for us to realize that,our business wouldn't exist without the customers, and all it takes to win them over is thoughtfulness. We need to get that through our head and if we can win them over, they will will be our best advocates. Like Ms.Zaz, they'll tell everyone about their good experience, and our business will grow.

I think, if ever there was a time to engage and reach out to our customers, it’s now. When we do that, it will come through loud and clear that we do care about them. When they are ready to order, it will be from our company and not from our competitors. And once they order, we get paid - Yes Customer pays our salary !

Ready to serve our Pay Master ? Then lets go Zappos way!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Want to be a Good Leader? - "Lead by Example, Not by Extortion"!

I got a short message in my mobile phone today morning which says, " If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” This is the famous quote from former American President, John Quincy Adams. What a simple way of defining a " leader "! When we zoom in, it takes us to an interesting topic, " leading by example ".
As leaders, we have a choice either to lead by example or by extortion. Leadership by its nature bestows us with powers and many of us lead by enforcing the powers and influence we have. But we forget the fact that leadership by extortion don't make people to follow us but probably chase them away from us. When we set a good example through values, we illustrate the behavior we expect from others as they interact with each other and conduct their business.
We all have read the saying, "practice what you preach, do not preach what you do not practice". The statement explains it all when it comes to effectively leading by example. If we want to be efficient leaders, we need to “walk the talk” and not only “talk the talk”. Interestingly, there are two types of leaders: Those that lead by their words, and those who lead by their actions. The ones who lead by their actions are leaders who lead by example, or getting people to follow them based on what they do, and not what they tell others to do.
Let me share with you today an inspiring true story from the life of Mahatma Gandhi which tells us how important it is to lead by example. The story is about Mahatma Gandhi trying to counsel a child for removing a bad habit.
One day a lady came to Mahatma Gandhi with her 10 year old son. She told Gandhiji, " my son has a bad habit of eating a lot of jaggery ( a special kind of Indian sweet ). I have been telling him to reduce eating jaggery but he does not listen to me. Mahatma ji, the whole nation listens to you and you are a revered personality. I am sure my son too will follow your advice. Please tell him not to eat too much of jaggery."
Mahatma Gandhi thought for a while and asked the lady to bring her son again after a week. After a week , the lady again took her son to Mahatma. Mahatma Gandhi put his hand on the head of the boy and told him, "My dear child, don't eat jaggery too much. It can be harmful".
The conversation ended. The puzzled lady asked Mahatma, " Bappu, this was simple. You could have told him the same thing last week itself !! Why you made us come again after a week ?" Mahatma told the lady," I myself used to take jaggery till last week. I needed a weeks' time to quit eating jaggery so that I could counsel your son with conviction".
That's Mahatma Gandhi ! No wonder, he lead millions and walked our country to independence with his simple leadership style - leading by example! Many great leaders of the past walk the talk. Another example is Winston Churchill, who led his country to victory by uniting and inspiring the whole of Britain. The truth is, effective leadership does not come easy. An effective leader is someone who earns respect, not someone who demands it.
Paramahamsa Sri Nithyananda says, Leadership is not a quality. It is an experience that an individual who has undergone personal growth and transformation radiates. He says, Leadership is a state not a status. Most of us achieve the status of a leader, but not the state. State is totally different from status. Status comes from society. When he use the word 'state' he mean our inner space. Our inner space should be matured enough to handle the responsibility, which we assume.
The question is, how do we most effectively lead by example? No doubt, leading by example boosts morale, and it helps us gain a sense of control over those we are managing. When we are willing to get our hands dirty to show others what has to be done, we are not only making people respect us, but we are helping others learn skills that they will need to be better employees as well.
Let me take you through some simple tips which can help us to lead by example.
1) Think before we talk : Think before we speak or act. As a leader, our words and actions will be looked upon and criticized or emulated by others. People want to believe in their leaders.
2) Believe in ourselves : Believe in what we do and do what we love. If we don't believe in our goals, then convincing others that they should work towards them will be very hard.
3) Be fair & honest : Treat others as we would like them to treat us. If we treat others fairly and justly, we can expect that they will treat us the same. If we treat them unjustly, expect that they will treat us unfavorably. A good leader is honest and respectful.
4) Be pro-active : Create chances and be pro-active. Don't wait for opportunities to come to us. Being pro-active instead of reactive enables us to be ready for difficult situations and take advantage of positive circumstances.
5) Give our ears : Listen to others. Listening is a key communication tool. Showing others that we are interested in what they have to stay will help gain their respect. If they don't respect us, they won't want to follow our lead.
6) Decision making : Stay firm in our decisions. If we aren't committed to our decisions, we can't expect others to be committed to theirs.
7) Be a team player : Stand behind our team. If a team member makes a mistake, take the blame for the mistake. Don't point fingers. Figure out why the mistake was made and how it could be prevented in the future.
8) Be a role model : We have to speak the part, dress the part, act the part, smile, be appropriate and do not complain. Sounds difficult, but we have to build up our reputation as a strong and well balanced leader that others will want to emulate.
9) Be Positive : Be consistent and do so with a positive attitude. Being fair with everyone and if someone needs to be corrected for something then do so in private.
10) Take care of ourselves : Of course to be productive as a leader, we must take care of ourselves and find a healthy balance. That balance differs from one person to the next, so finding our own will be up to us. Take care of our mind, body and soul to create a positive person.
It is said that, great leadership takes strength of character and a firm commitment to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. Which means, doing what we say, when we say it. If our team can't trust us, we'll probably never lead them to greatness. I am sure, leading - and living - by example isn't as hard as it might sound. It's really the easiest path. If our team knows that we'll also do whatever we expect from them, they'll likely work hard to help us achieve our goals.
Remember, great leaders model how they want to be, to their people thus developing a level of relationship which is truly astounding - be ourselves, be natural and enjoy our work and our life - and be prepared to show it!
How about making our organization filled up with "inspired people" in an "inspiring atmosphere" led by an "inspirational leader"? Let's be a leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way - A leader who leads by example not by extortion!
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mobile Phone - " The New External Human Organ ! "

A friend of mine recently quoted to me, he lost his Mobile phone for a while and till he got it back he felt as if he lost a vital body part ! Well, it's true with many of us, Mobile phones whether we like it or not has become a part of our body. If it's missing we feel isolated, If it's not ringing for a long time, we will check our phone, " something wrong? " No doubt, Mobile phone revolution is probably the most important tech development of the past two decades.

Incidentally, I started my Sales career in Mobile phone Industry during late 90's and it was really tough selling a Mobile phone connection those days since it was a concept selling. I still remember the then C.E.O of Escotel Mobile Communications Ltd., Mr.Manoj Kohli's words, " A day will come where our people will not be able to live their lives without Mobile phones " . Time proved it - we are addicted to Mobile phones and today with the advent of mobile phones and international connectivity, the world is indeed shrinking rather making " geography a history "!

It's true that mobile communication provides many benefits, including convenience, flexibility and personal security, but sometimes it can be intrusive to others. One of the biggest social issues with Mobile phones is privacy. The fact is, we have become so accustomed to using our phones for everyday tasks - talking to friends, running our business, keeping up to date with news, events etc. But we don't realize that, Mobile phones are at times a distraction for us and others. I fear, an epidemic of inconsiderate Mobile phone use has given the device a bad reputation.

At times, Mobile phones turn people into rude non-connective human beings. Text messaging, E-mail, Internet - Mobile phone capabilities are amazing, however, many people have forgotten their manners when they use Mobile phones. Look around - A Rude Mobile phone user is everywhere - driving in cars, walking on the street, in Cafes and Restaurants and even at the adjacent cubicle at work place.

We live in a time where, many of us need to answer calls when they come in, no matter where or when because people expect us to answer their calls. We even need to make calls no matter where or when because people are expecting us to be able to carry on our business no matter where we are. The fact is some people use their Mobile phones politely and effectively. But some need a helping hand. Often without realizing it, some phone owners alienate and irritate those around them by the way they use their Mobile phones.

Mobile phone rings in Cinema Theatres, Restaurants and other public places are really annoying the people around. On the other hand unsolicited calls from Telemarketing Executives have become a nuisance for every single Mobile phone user.

I guess it's time for us to use Mobile phones with certain degree of etiquette especially in places where we might appear impolite if we use or even when our Mobile phone rings. The underlying principle of any good manners is the thoughtful consideration of the interests and feelings of others. Given with the fact that, Mobile phone has become the most important business communication tool, we need to understand, if we don't set proper etiquette, it can lead to misunderstandings, bad impressions, anger and some times embarrassment.

In this article let me try to explore the Mobile phone etiquette, discovering that it is as often our unconscious actions that are bad manners, as our more obvious errors.

1. Know the basics : Be prepared when we answer the call or make a call - before we even touch the phone. Speak clearly that the other person can hear our voice properly. Always stick to the subject than wasting time beating around the bush. Most importantly, know how to use the equipment properly. Saying, " sorry, I haven't a clue how to use this phone " or cutting someone off mid-sentence are signs of incompetence.

2. Have presence of mind : Be always alert. Let's don't stay on the phone and ignore someone waiting to talk to us. Take a call only if it won't interrupt. Generally, don't accept calls during lunch, dinner, a movie or when we are in an important meeting. Excuse ourselves if we must take a call. Remember to carry on one conversation at a time. Let's don't attempt to talk on the phone and with another person simultaneously.

3. Have control when we talk in public places : Let's keep our volume under control. If we are a loud talker, then we will need to learn how to speak quietly on the phone. Remember, the whole world isn't interested in our phone conversation, so the less of it they can hear, the better ! Never speak on our phone in a public place while on speaker phone .Turn off our Mobile phone before entering Movie Theaters, Worship places, Restaurants, Public Transportation or any other place where it may be irritating and disruptive to others. If we don't wish to turn it off it's better to set our phone's ringer to vibration or silent mode.

4. Respect others time & privacy : Let's not make or take calls while we are out to dinner with others. It is so rude to be on the phone when we are at dinner with others. Think about how we would feel if someone invited us over to their house for dinner and then they proceed to talk on the phone throughout the whole dinner. It is also important that, we don't continuously check our phone while out with others. Checking our Mobile phone repeatedly while we are out with others will leave them feeling like we have something better to do. Another important thing, some people don't like to be photographed. When using a camera phone it’s important to respect the rights of others and not to intrude on their privacy.

5. Ring tone - Make it pleasant : We know unattended Mobile phones and left to ring out with annoying jingles, both cause major distractions especially in public places and offices. I read recently that, irritating Mobile phone rings have been voted the top ten workplace annoyances ! It is better to set the ring tone at a low level with a tune that is soft, gentle or put it in to vibration / silent mode in any situation like a Worship place, a Hospital or a School or a Meeting where a ringing sound would prove disturbing to other people.

6. One thing at a time - No Multi-Tasking : Among us, some people are better at juggling many tasks at the same time than others, but there are some things in life that deserve our full attention. The busy person multi-tasking at a desk can be a wonderful model of efficiency, handling - phone, keyboard, coffee cup and remote control all at the same time, but at other times, multi-tasking can be hazardous, rude and inefficient. Talking over phone and doing several things together will invite error in all the things we do and it's better to avoid it.

7. Switch off Mobile phone where it is prohibited to use : It goes without saying inside Aircraft it is mandatory to switch off our Mobile phones. We will almost certainly be reminded by the cabin crew, we must switch off our mobile phone since Aircraft contain electronic devices, some of which may be sensitive to interference. People are asked to switch off mobiles in some areas of Hospitals, as a precaution to avoid interference with sensitive equipment's. There could be several other places where the Mobile phones are prohibited to use, watch the board, follow the law !

8. Avoid Mobile phone while driving : It's said that Mobile phones can kill. No, I am not talking about frying our brain by constantly using it. I am talking about using our phones while driving. It can be a killer. People using Mobile phones while driving are much less attentive to the road and road conditions rather we can say they have one ear and eye on their conversation and one on the road ! Remember, it can kill them & us !

9. Time - No Mobile phone before it's time : The question is, do we really want to be accessible for anyone and everyone on a twenty-four/seven basis? The fact is, the more available we make ourselves; the more available everybody will anticipate us to be. By making ourselves available day in and day out, we create our own nightmare! It's better to fix the time when to turn the phone on or off. The Mobile phone will continue chasing us on all the time in all places regardless of the situation. Remember, we need some private time with our family with out the disturbance of calls.

Hope you feel that the above thoughtful use of our Mobile phone – or in other words the correct Mobile phone etiquette – is important both in considering others and helping to keep us and those around us happy and safe. I also feel it's time for the Mobile Service Operators to provide a leaflet on Mobile phone etiquette along with the regular Mobile phone user / service manual.

No doubt, worldwide the Mobile phone users are growing fast and today the Mobile phone is not just a communication gadget, but a Music System, a Digital Camera, a Mini Computer with Internet connectivity, and it's even a Television. All these features eliminates the need for carrying different gadgets and no wonder it has become an external human body part for many of us !

When the whole world is getting connected and more and more people are getting hooked to Mobile phones, don't you think it is important for us to realize that being unmannered isn't part of modernness? Let's abide by certain degree of etiquette, which will be really useful to us and our society. We can't let the Mobile phone etiquette to be a forgotten concept any more and we need to help every Mobile phone users to use it politely and effectively.

I am fully geared up to take that call, how about you?


Monday, April 13, 2009

Procrastination - " The Real Villain in Time Management "

Are you always short of time? Do you wish you had more than 24 hours in a day? Well, if you make a list of things which leads to your poor time management, you will find a monster in it - Procrastination!

Procrastination has become one of the biggest challenges for professionals and individuals alike in managing time. The word procrastination comes from the Latin word, ‘Pro’ meaning “in favour of” and ‘Cras’ meaning “tomorrow”. It is defined therefore as “The act or the habit of delaying or putting things off’. No doubt it is a one way ticket to stress, guilt and overwhelm.

Let me share a funny story I read which can be linked with procrastination and it's impact. It's the story of a turtle family. The family consists of Dad, Mom and the Baby turtle. The Baby turtle was very lazy and always postpones anything and everything assigned to him.

One day Mom, Dad and Baby turtle go on a picnic. When they arrive at the park, it appears that it’s about to rain. Mom turtle asks Baby turtle to run home and get an umbrella so that they can enjoy the picnic as planned, rain or shine.
Baby turtle as always said, " No I can't go, why don't you go and get it? ". Dad turtle got annoyed and gives the Baby turtle an angry look. With a pale face Baby turtle finally said, “If I go home and get the umbrella, do you promise you won't start lunch without me?” Mom turtle assures Baby turtle that they will wait for him before eating.
With this confirmation, Baby turtle leaves. Ten minutes go by and Baby turtle has not returned. An hour passes. A full day. Neither Mom or Dad turtle have eaten anything and become very hungry. They wonder what is taking Baby turtle so long, and hope he is okay.

Finally, Mom turtle says to Dad turtle, “Well, he hasn't come back yet. We might as well eat something.” At which point Baby turtle pokes his head out from behind a tree and screams, “If you eat, I won't go! I know you will do this, that's why I was hiding and watching what you will do! ”

Now, I know this is a silly story, but there is some important message in this story. The lesson is in the fact that Baby turtle reminds many of us and our habit of procrastination. His mom told him they would wait for him, but he chose to hide behind a tree and take rest. He wasted everyone’s time, and ruined the picnic that was planned, all because he was lazy and did not take the action required of him.

The question is how can we stop procrastination? If procrastination is a problem for us, it is important that we learn tools to handle our procrastination. Procrastination occurs when we are faced with too many decisions and are unable to complete matters of importance. There are many reasons why we avoid doing things, sometimes it seems strange that, we know what we have to do to be successful but we don't do it.

Mark Twain once said that, if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long! In his best seller book, " Eat That Frog", Brain Tracy talks about several ways to stop procrastination. He says, our " frog " is our biggest, " most important task ", the one we are most likely to procrastinate on if we don't do something about it. It might be the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on our life and results.

Hence the first rule of frog eating is this : if you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first! This is another way of saying that if we have two important tasks before us, start with the biggest, hardest, and most the important one first. The second rule of frog eating is: if we have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn't pay to sit and look at it for very long!

The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success and a wonderful feeling of personal power and effectiveness is for us to develop the habit of eating our frog first thing each day when we start work. Brian Tracy says this is a learnable skill and we can acquire it through practice. According to him here are the great ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster :

1. Set the Table : Decide exactly what we want. Write out our goals and objectives before we begin.
2. Plan every day in advance : Think on paper. Every minute we spend in planning can save our five or ten minutes in execution.
3. Apply the 80/20 rule to everything : 20% of our activities will account for 80% of our results. Always concentrate our efforts on that top 20%.
4. Practice creative procrastination : Since we can't do everything, we must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so that we have enough time to do the few things that really count.
5. Focus on key result areas : Identify and determine those results that we absolutely, positively have to get to do our job well, and work on all day long.
6. The law of three : Identify the three things we do in our work that account for 90% of our contribution, and focus on getting them done before anything else.
7. Prepare thoroughly before we begin : Have everything we need at hand before we start. Assemble all papers, information, tools, work materials etc. we might require so we can get started and keep going.
8. Take it one oil barrel at a time : We can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if we just complete it one step at a time.
9. Leverage our key skills : The more knowledgeable and skilled we become at our key tasks, the faster we start them and the sooner we get them done.
10. Identify our key constraints : Determine the bottlenecks or choke points, internal or external, that set the speed at which we achieve our most important goals, and focus on alleviating them.
11. Put the pressure on ourselves : Imagine that we have to leave town for a month, and work as if we had to get all our major tasks completed before we leave.
12. Motivate ourselves into action : Be our own cheer leader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on solution than problem.
13. Get out of the technological time sinks : Use technology to improve the quality of our communications, but do not allow ourselves to become a slave to it.
14. Slice and dice the task : Break large, complex tasks down into bite-sized pieces, and then do just one small part of the task to get started.
15. Develop a sense of urgency : Make a habit of moving fast on our key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well.
I am sure you must have come across several articles teaching us how to stop procrastination. Sometimes, we follow it, and some other times we loose track after a certain time. It's all about being disciplined and strong willed regarding managing this crucial aspect of our life in an efficient way. The best way to do it is just start the new regime with immediate effect. Once we are successful in overcoming procrastination - " the villain in time management ", we will find more time at our disposal and we will emerge as a winner in every phase of our life.

In the epic " Mahabharatha ", addressing King Yudhishthira, Bhishma said, " the one that provides for the future, and the one who possesses the presence of mind, always enjoys happiness. The man of procrastination, however, is the looser ".

So unlike the Baby turtle, I'm on my way to get that umbrella, and I can't wait to return to a feast with those I love. I better get on it, as they are hungry and waiting on me!

How about you?
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Ways to stop procrastination adapted from: " Eat That Frog " By Brian Tracy

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ANGER - " The Human Suicide Bomb! "

Do you get angry often in your life that makes you loose focus on what is right and wrong? Is there been a time that you failed to see reason because you were very angry at something or someone? Do you scream at your spouse / children / friends / subordinates when you are angry? Welcome to the party - you are one among millions who are victims of this much devastating emotional volatility which is as good as a human bomb ready to explode any time!

Unfortunately this deadly virus in us harm us badly - with stress, high blood pressure, relationship getting spoiled, at times even getting isolated among friends, colleagues & family. Anger makes us to forget who we are, what we are, to whom we are talking and why we are talking. Interestingly once we take out our anger by way of screaming at some one, most of us regret- "oh god i should have controlled my tongue!" We fail to understand anger is a double-edged sword that can inflict us with personal pain in the same way it does pain others.

Let me share a short story which I have read recently on how anger can damage us and others.This story is about a father and his son. The little boy had a bad temper and the father decided to find a solution for this. One day his father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say " I'm sorry', the wound is still there."

A simple story- but is it pinching us some where? It will ! When we look back and count, many a times we have created lot of such holes and conveniently forgotten about it. Our inability to control our anger would have created several wounds in others and we never realize it !

"Speaking when angry" is one of the bad habit which holds us back from success says, Marshall Goldsmith in his bestseller book, " What Got You Here Won't Get You There ". Anger has its value as a management tool. But this emotional volatility is not the most reliable leadership tool. When we get angry, we are usually out of control. It's hard to lead people when we have lost control. We may think we have a handle on our temper, that we can use our spontaneous rages to manipulate and motivate people. But its very hard to predict how people will react to our anger.

The worst thing about anger is that, it restrain our ability to change. Once we get a reputation for emotional volatility, we are branded for life! If we are an angry leader, we have a special place in the minds of our colleagues. When they talk about us, the first words out of their mouth are, " I hear he has a temper "

Can we stop getting angry?

Its a billion dollar question ! Marshall Goldsmith tells us a good story in his book about a young farmer who was going upstream in his boat through a river to deliver his produce to the village. The young farmer was in a hurry. It was a hot day and he wanted to make his delivery and get home before dark. As he looked ahead, he spotted another boat, heading rapidly downstream towards his boat. This boat seemed to be making every effort to hit him. He rowed furiously to get out of the way, but it didn't seem to help.

He yelled at the other boat, " change direction, you idiot! You are going to hit me. The river is wide. Be careful!" His screaming was to no avail. The other boat hit his boat and he was enraged as he stood up and cried out to the other boat, " You moron! How could you manage to hit my boat in the middle of this wide river? What is wrong with you? "

As he looked at the other boat, he realized that there was no one in the other boat. He was screaming at an empty boat which was going downstream with the current!

The lesson is simple- There is never anyone in the other boat. When we are angry, we are screaming at an empty boat! All of us have people in our lives who dive us crazy, whom we hate with a passion. The best course of action for dealing with people like this is not let them make us angry. Getting angry doesn't improve the situation and life's too short to waste on feeling bad. It can only help us to loose our reputation as a person who gets always angry. When we are angry, if we keep our mouth shut, no one can ever know how we really feel !

There are thousands of books, articles and websites which tells us how to control the anger. But let me try to give the most simple and the best among all these I have read. Paul Deeds of Crystal Concepts suggests, when the anger runs through our blood streams, try doing the following :

1) Calm Ourselves : Take a deep breath, picture a relaxing scene we like and tell ourselves," relax,take it easy "

2) Think twice before we say anything : When angry, it is easy to start cursing or saying wild things to our target. Pause a while and think is it worth picking up this fight. Is it better to be silent?

3) Take a small walk : Walking makes our brain to release endorphins which gives a sense of well being and makes us relax.

4) Work with people who made us angry : Do this when we are calm to make sure that the person or people who have angered us will also be calm. This way, we will all be able to focus on the problems at hand.

5) Don't hold grudges : Be forgiving to the people who have angered us. This is a great way to show them that we are not angry anymore. But don't think that the other people will follow our example. It is unrealistic to think that all people should behave the same way like us.

6) Make an " Anger Log Book " : Write down all situations that set us off in an "anger logbook". This keeps track of our reactions to everyday situations. This is a very useful tool in keeping our anger in check as we can review the situation and try to solve it on a latter date.

7) Learn some relaxation skills : Learning relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercise or meditation or yoga can help us to control our anger.

8) Let go our anger : Now that we have our anger under control, we can start expressing it without damaging any relationships or properties. Always remember, anger can really damage our health and its better we let it go than bringing our blood pressure up.

So next time when you start to speak out of anger, better you look in the mirror. In every case you will find that the root of your rage is not "out there" but "in here". You are no more a human bomb who carries anger- the deadly weapon which is the biggest obstacle to our personal and professional success .

Keep smiling and welcome to the " anger free world " !