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On Creativity and your Creative Self

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The Pursuit of Happiness - Un-clutter your brain for decision making

Niel Pasricha author of NYT bestseller 'The Happiness Equation' proposes nine secrets of happiness in his favorite book. I disdain or at least am suspicious of step by step program or book titles that deal with life in purely quantitative process oriented levels. They usually start with seven steps and four disciplines etc., but this one is an excellent read because of its simplicity, and the amount of research Niel has put in.  The sub-title of his book surmises the equation as "want nothing + do anything = have everything" is an interesting, eye-catching adage with some truth embedded in it. Actually, I am "The Lord is my Shepherd, and I shall not be in want."   To "want nothing" and to be "not be in want"  are two different things. To want nothing is a misleading idea, a false positive, a half visible diorama.  The idea of not being in want is entirely operating from another place, a place of abundance. Discussion of this idea is for …

How Dashboards can mislead

Read an interesting article from John Shapiro professor at Northwestern Kellog on how dashboards can mislead executives and I cannot agree more. To be honest, I love visualization of data and have pushed my data architects and report writers to give me snapshots of various measures but how often the rich data didn't mean anything as it did not align with organizational goals. Even more, what information is important to me is not necessarily relevant to other executives in the organization.  Data analytics visualized on dashboards typically describe existing measures on past phenomena, some better ones predict future events and past data and the best one prescribe a course of corrective or strategic actions.

Shapiro talks about three types of traps executives can fall for:

1. The Context Trap:  We equate empirical data to the objective. I have blatantly used the cliche "numbers don't lie." But this belief can be dangerous because we can track wrong measures or metrics…

10 Things I learnt last week that I never knew

I am starting a practice. Hopefully, it will hold up to record every week 10 things in my readings and watchings that I never knew about. Kind of like "wow" it's good to know this or something like the lines of thinking that "it's a neat reason or is fascinating how this came together, and now I understand in my mental models how it all fits together." So here we go:


1. The first typewriter was first called the "The writing Harpsichord."

2. Cerebral spinal fluid in the brain is responsible for cleaning waste from brain cells. And there are no lymphatic vessels in the brain (who knew :)). The brain's ingenious system of cleaning - creator's design.

3. Benjamin Rich's definition of 'white opia.' His TED talk is humorous and brings home the message racism can exist even without racists.

4. 10 nations have more that 15000 or more nuclear weapons. This stockpile has to be dismantled and converted to use nuclear power.  When Russians…

HR functions during M&A

The last decade has seen substantial changes in the HR landscape. As a consultant, you get to see organizations trying to wrestle with the ideas of placing HR correctly for alignment reasons or sometimes plainly not knowing what to do with HR professionals. Some senior executives will attempt to keep it as a separate department or sometimes as a function of Operations or as a  function of Executive or even explode it to call it something like 'HR services.' Some  attempt with hybrid
Approaches where HR may be reduced as policy police agent where all its other primary functions are outsourced to internal departments who may or may not have the necessary time or expertise to do everything HR is supposed to do.  I am fascinated by all this as the most important resource of any organization is human resources, yet HR is almost viewed as a sidelined activity necessary to please the law and comply with regulations. Even in mature organizations development and training are segregated…

For Global Leaders - When Culture does not translate

Last year at Global leadership summit I heard Erin Myer professor at INSEAD, Paris talking about her book 'The Culture Map'. I recommend it highly as the read is rich in data points analyzed by professor Myer's research on implicit and explicit communication;  and how different cultures
communicate and understand the same things differently. For Global leaders understanding these nuances of high context and low context, cultures is an important skill to have when they are leading cross-cultural global teams.

In a summarized  HBR article 'When the culture doesn't translate'  Erin gives 5 approaches a global leader should be aware of when managing cross-culture communications. These are:

1. Identify the dimensions of difference
2. Give everyone a voice
3. Protect your most creative units
4. Train everyone in key norms.
5. Be heterogenous everywhere.

Communication breakdowns can be avoided as we plan for international cultures. Asian cultures like Thai's and I…

9 Things

Recently read an article by Heidi Grant who listed 9 things successful people do differently. Though I will not elaborate all details of each of the points here, I will summarize and list for my benefit and comment on what I took away from this.  She suggests successful people do things differently when they define goals and they do this by being extremely specific.  For me, personally a goal that reads "study and read good books" is vague, however "read 50 books in 2017" is a very specific goal.

Secondly, successful people seize the moment to act on their defined specific goals. Grabbing opportunities through techniques like time blocking for me have been extremely helpful. This is easier said than done but disciplined application will turn this practice into delight; however awareness that time does slip away, or the urgent will always take precedence should keep you on guard in protecting your most valuable asset 'time'.  The "whirlwind" as the…