Lists – get and give

People whose help you need vs. people who would appreciate your help Things you haven’t achieved vs. successes you’ve been fortunate to have been part of People who are richer than you vs. people whose financial needs are much greater What you are upset about vs. what you are thankful for ….. There are always 2 kinds […]

Creative, constructive, corrective

A year and a half ago, Manchester United played Real Madrid in the quarter finals of the prestigious European Champions League. In a surprise decision a few minutes into the second half, one of United’s best players that day was sent off. It felt like injustice and was very unfortunate as United were leading 1-0 and […]

Sweating in peacetime

We go through high pressure periods and low pressure periods. High pressure periods are those times when we feel our backs are to the wall – a critical deadline, an examination, or a product launch. And, then, we inevitably face the low pressure period when things get easy again. We can afford to breathe easier, […]

The sumo state of mind

The average sumo fight lasts around 10 seconds. The preparatory rituals before the fight take much much longer than the fight itself. A fight is a culmination of intense preparation over the 3 months between the 4 major tournaments and rigorous practice for years before they qualified to fight in the highest division. But, all that ceases […]

Staples’ caution and optimism – The 200 words project

Here’s this week’s 200 word idea from Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.. Researchers studied companies and their moves in 3 big recessions – 1980-1982, 1990-91, 2000-02. Their moves were broadly focused either on “prevention” (e.g. job cuts) or “promotion” (e.g. investment in new products). They found that neither approach, when used too much, […]

Signaling and that glass ball

Our lizard brain works like Gmail’s priority inbox. It looks at our reactions to stimuli over time and then categorizes some as important and others as junk. For example, it learns quickly that a call from our scary boss ought to send our pulse shooting up and ensure maximum alertness. It does a magnificent job with this. […]

No, it’s not always a courage problem

Some panels and articles on entrepreneurship make it sound like the only difference between you and your potential million dollar start-up is courage. Panels that encourage you to find a career based on your “passion” tend to do the same. No, it is not always a courage problem. Sure, it can be at times. But, it is […]

Read the question

Since I’m back to writing exams as a graduate student, I’ve found myself re-acquainted to an old foe – the habit of making a mistake because of not reading the question completely. As a kid, this used to show in the number of “silly” mistakes I used to make. Copying a number wrong here and completely missing an important […]

Encouraging the devil’s advocate – MBA Learnings

In our pre-term class on Leadership in Organizations, we spent a few hours on personal and organizational decision making. A recommended tactic was to assign a team member to play “devil’s advocate” on all important decisions. This move is designed to eliminate confirmation bias and “yes-and-yes” decisions. As we spent a lot of time discussing the importance […]