Saturday, August 27, 2022



I recently stumbled upon and reread an article I wrote on the topic "Introversion at Workplace" ( 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:



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:


 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 ?