Sunday, September 18, 2022

FOLLOW THESE QUESTIONS FOR WRITING CLEARLY


I am quite fascinated by the concept of 'Digital Body Language' that Erica Dhawan introduces in her book by the same name.

The premise of this book is that humans rely on body language to connect and build trust, but with most of our communication now happening from behind a screen, traditional body language signals are no longer visible. The new signals and cues like how an email is written, liking a post, using emoji, responding promptly etc. have replaced traditional body language

In summary, digital body language is so incredibly relevant now, something that cannot be ignored. Of many ingredients that constitutes digital body language, the writing skills have particularly become quite important in the digital work era.

Like building any muscle, one must constantly hone writing skills to positively augment one's digital body language. How does one nurture writing skills ?

There is a plethora of advice/books available on this subject but i quite liked the ideas shared by Shreyas Doshi in his twitter thread https://bit.ly/33kxJN4

For clear writing, answer these questions

- What am I really trying To say ?

- Why should people care ?

- What is the most important point ?

- What Is the easiest way to understand the most important point ?

- How do I want the reader to feel ?

- What should the reader do next ?

For better retention and comprehension, sharing my sketch summary here.

What are the writing tips that have worked well for you ?


My LinkedIn Post:


Saturday, August 27, 2022

HOW INTROVERTS CAN PREPARE EMOTIONALLY FOR OFFICES REOPENING

 

I recently stumbled upon and reread an article I wrote on the topic "Introversion at Workplace" (https://lnkd.in/darykgtM) This was written way back in the year 2008. One positive change that I have seen since then is that workplaces are increasingly becoming more inclusive. One gets a lot of hope when topics like inclusivity get the airtime in leadership meetings. On the other hand, arguably, the inclusion based on personality types is a topic that isn't talked about as much as it probably should.

Introversion and Extroversion are considered different ends of the human personality spectrum. An introvert person draws their energy from their internal world of ideas and emotions whereas an extrovert person gets energized by the external world through socializing, meeting people, going places, doing outward bound things.
 
In her book- "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", Susan Cain emphasizes that companies should not create workplaces tailored only to extroverts. She suggests that to provide both extroverts and introverts with a suitable environment, make your workspace more flexible: give employees the chance to exchange ideas but also to withdraw and be alone.
 
Work from home truly provided ample spaces for introverts to recharge and reenergize. However, with the offices reopening (even though partially) we usher in truly into the hybrid work era. While organizations need to do their bit to make employees with introvert personalities feel more inclusive, the onus. to an extent, also lies with introverts to tune-in for a return to work scenario.
 
Harvey Deutschendorf, the author of a recent Fast Company article (link in comments) shares the simple strategies for Introverts to prepare for return to office scenarios. Summary of the points below-
 
1. Practice self-care: “When introverts practice good self-care and tap into their unique ability to listen deeply, collaborate, problem solve, and build trust, they can leverage their subtle but powerful abilities.” 
 
2. Ask for what you need: Having a frank conversation with your manager about how you work best can go a long way to quell nerves about a return to the office.
 
3. Reach out to others for support: Many introverts have a small close group of people in their lives outside of work that they can reach out to for support during a difficult transition time.
 
4. Gradually expose yourself to new situations: Slowly exposing yourself to new situations before the actual event will help ease the transition
 
Catch the summary of the article in my sketchnote.
 
What ideas do you have to make workplaces more inclusive based on different personality types ?


LinkedIn Post: 
https://www.linkedin.com/posts/anujmagazine_how-introverts-can-prepare-emotionally-for-activity-6909683782904074240-K8ps/?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web

SEEK LEVERAGE. ALWAYS

 

I recently recalled a 2006 Davis Cup Tennis match between India and Pakistan. A 5 match series was tied 2-2. Indian captain Leander Paes, a doubles specialist by then, took a call to play the decisive last match against top Pakistan player- Aqeel Khan. All was going well for Leander when he won the first 2 sets. Things took turn when he started getting symptoms of cramps. He lost the 3rd set and his situation deteriorated by the time 4th set started, which he ended up losing 6-0. He took a medical break, came back and put up an extraordinary display of grit and determination to win the last set and the tie 6-1. Leander was later asked about the 4th set where he got a bagel (in Tennis parlance, losing the set 6-0), I remember being astonished by his response that he played that game with sub-par performance deliberately so that he could preserve his energy (till he got medical attention and stayed fresh before the start of decider set) and also stretch his opponent a bit more.
 
I felt astonished because we are tuned to always hearing that the sportspersons are wired to give their best every moment. But sometimes, as Leander showed, it is prudent to take a view of larger goals and not put 100% to win smaller events along the journey.
 
The context with which I got reminded of this match was when I recently read about Shreyas Doshi LNO effectiveness framework (source in comments). This framework is based on the premise that time management is more about effectiveness than about efficiency. It calls for breaking down work tasks into 3 categories that I summarize below (and also in my sketchnote)
- LNO stands for: Leverage Neutral Overhead tasks.
- Leverage tasks 10x your impact. Neutral tasks get you 1x results. Overhead tasks are like necessary evils.
- The framework asks you to plan your focus, spend your energy and decide your level of perfection depending upon the category of the task. For Leverage tasks- do a great job. Ok job for Neutral tasks. Just get the overhead tasks done.

High leverage activities gets you more bang for your buck. A few examples: Getting product vision/strategy right, automating a daily part of your work, mastering public speaking. Thinking about leverage helps you factor opportunity cost into your decision making. As a rule, the highest leverage activities have the lowest opportunity cost. For Leander (in above example), preserving his energy in the 4th set and getting to medical help faster was an act of high leverage.

All your tasks are not created equal. All of us start our day with limited bank of energy. The fine act of categorizing the tasks and being intentional about our focus, energies, perfection on select (high leverage) tasks can help us create more impact in lesser time.

What do you think ? Do share examples from your career where you can seen the concept leverage work.


LinkedIn Post: 
https://www.linkedin.com/posts/anujmagazine_seek-leverage-always-i-recently-recalled-activity-6908234944141774848-aieA/?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web

HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR MOST POWERFUL STORIES

 One of the most impactful commencement speeches was delivered by Steve Jobs at Stanford University in 2005. Jobs made many powerful points but people still remember and talk about them till date is arguably because of one reason- Steve Jobs used personal stories to drive home the key points.


He included three stories from his life: one, in which he tells an anecdote about dropping out of college; another, about the lessons he learned from being fired by Apple in 1985; and lastly, his reflections on death.

That stories make presentations memorable is a well-known idea but one of the aspects of story telling that many struggle with (atleast I did) is how to recall stories from our own lives and leverage them to authentically drive home the point.

What mental models should one follow to recall and deliver stories from one's own life ?

Nancy Duarte in her effective Harvard Business Review blog (link in comments) shares about quite a useful framework to unleash stories from our own lives. Key points from the article:
1. Most people try to recall memories chronologically, which may not always be effective.
2. Sit down with a notepad and think through the nouns that are important to you.
3. Unleash stories from your life via the nouns- People , Places, Things- that matter to you.
4. Take the story kernels you arrive at, write one line summaries and catalogue them.
(Find the summary in my sketchnote)

Simple points, but like with anything meaningful skills, it will require rigor and discipline to master.

As Jobs later says in his speech- “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards."

Cataloging our own life's stories gives us a better chance to look back and connect the dots.

What do you think ?

Saturday, July 9, 2022

EVERY PROBLEM IS AN OPPORTUNITY IN DISGUISE

Sharing three short stories that I came across via the casual reading pursuit over the last weekend.


In Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Penny Oleksiak became Canada's most decorated Olympic athlete (with 7 medals in swimming). After this feat, she tweeted-
"I just googled “Canada’s most decorated Olympian” and my name came up. I want to thank that teacher in high school who told me to stop swimming to focus on school bc swimming wouldn’t get me anywhere. This is what dreams are made of."

Beau Jessup, as a 16 year old, went along with her Dad to China. During the trip, they met Dad's business colleague who asked Beau to suggest an English name for her daughter. Beau took that request seriously since naming a child is an important event in one's life, something that stays for rest of their lives. She asked the family various characteristics they wanted their kid to have and suggested an apt name. Upon returning, Beau did some research to figure out that there wasn't any organized business (a gap!) that helped Chinese families name their kid in English language. She found an unmet need, while all Chinese babies were given traditional Chinese names at birth, there was a growing demand to name kids in English language too. (an opportunity!) In the next few years, she has helped name 670,000 babies.

Finally, the story of Brian Fitzpatrick from Google, which appeared in HBR a few years ago. Brian joined Google as an Engineer. In his quest to better the end-user needs, he identified strategic gap in the organization. He felt that Google wasn't doing good enough job in giving users better control of their personal data. His efforts led to Google building a product called Takeout (https://lnkd.in/geu4sSDw) that allowed users to export the captured user data from various Google Services. So much was the impact of this project that the then CEO Eric Schmidt started highlighting Takeout to regulators and customers to build a strong case for Google's non-monopolistic practices and focus on user's privacy.

To summarize:
1. Gaps (problem areas) are all around us, it just takes a courage and a bit of situational awareness to embrace them and turn them into opportunities).
2. Ravi Venkatesan aptly describes in his recent post (link in comments) "Those who see an ‘π—Όπ—½π—½π—Όπ—Ώπ˜π˜‚π—»π—Άπ˜π˜†’ in every problem have often built things that have pushed the world forward."

Quoting Stephen Covey-"Effective people are not problem-minded. They are opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems."

What's your take on this ? Do share more examples from from your experience.



My LinkedIn Post:

A GOOD REST IS HALF THE WORK

Recently, came across an interesting article from The Guardian that rekindled my memories of a TED Talk that I reference later in this post.

The article titled "Rise and shine: how footballers are harnessing the power of sleep" (link in comments) argues the importance of sleep and it's direct correlation with performance of the top footballers.

"Sleep is the ‘most important aspect of health by a country mile’ so clubs are doing everything to ensure players rest properly. "

Why is it that the sportspersons value rest so much and we as a professionals undervalue it to the extent that we ignore it ? We somehow take regular late nights as a sort of badge of honour, something synonymous with working hard. Why doesn't rest and recovery feature in a professional's calendar as much as it should ?

Sharing this eye-opening TEDx talk by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith ~ Work-Life Integration Strategist (link in comments)  in which she unshackles many myths about rest and looks at it in a holistic way suggesting 7 types of rest:

1.Physical
2.Mental
3.Sensory
4.Creative
5.Emotional
6.Social
7.Spiritual

Catch the summary of the talk my sketchnote but would urge you to spend ~9 min to listen to the talk. More than ever the concept of rest needs to be understood and inculcated in today's times.

My bonus learning:
Sleep and rest are not the same thing, although many of us incorrectly confuse the two.

Which of these types of rest do you practice ? Do share your experiences.


My LinkedIn Post:


WHAT REALLY IS PASSION ECONOMY...

Just finished reading a book titled- "Booming Digital Stars", which captures the journey of 11 successful digital creators from India. The common theme that appeared in all the featured stories was that of people choosing to back their with innate passions, strengths and talents and making it big as creators. They are the ones who found their calling as digital creators and jumped on the bandwagon of passion or creators economy.


Jaspreet Bindra in his insightful LiveMint article on Passion Economy (https://bit.ly/3LMHLu5) traces back the history of web's business and shares a wonderful insight. When the original World Wide Web was conceived, Time Berners-Lee and his team intentionally left an error code 402, which stands for 'Payment Required'. The original intention was that every visitor must pay something to view a web page, but the schema was never built. Web business models evolved in an alternate sequence (as outlined in my sketchnote based on Jaspreet's article below).

Li Jin (from a16z) delivered an influential work in the field of Passion Economy and says - "In the past decade, on-demand marketplaces in the “Uber for X” era established turnkey ways for people to make money. Workers could easily monetize their time in specific, narrow services like food delivery, parking, or transportation." This lead to an era we know as Gig Economy. If Gig Economy was about mass standardization (think Uber drivers, Food Delivery crew etc.), Creators Economy helps one monetize one's individuality. (think YouTube Influencers, eBook writers, Digital artists).

Creators Economy (often interchangeably referred as Passion Economy) brings forward as new model of internet-powered entrepreneurship. While often compared with Gig Economy, Passion Economy is co-existing in the same ecosystem. With the tools for creation (such as YouTube, SubStack, Patreon etc.) becoming better and the payments getting frictionless (think UPI, Square, Stripe etc.), Passion Economy promises to be bigger in the time to come.

What's your take on the Passion Economy ?


My LinkedIn Post: