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Reflections and Visual Notes on Leadership, Learning and Change!
Updated: 2 hours 30 min ago

The Smart Side of Rewards and Recognition

Sun, 08/11/2019 - 20:30

Appreciating people at the right time and in a meaningful way is the fuel that keeps them going. With automated work processes, real time metrics and sophisticated HR technology available, it is easier than ever before to recognize people for their efforts in the right direction.

Rewards that tap into an individual’s intrinsic motivation are real rewards. The growth one experiences after a rewarding role change, a premium learning experience, a key role in a project, a lateral movement into desired role etc. (and long term career impact of that reward) may outlive the joy of receiving a one-time project bonus. It also builds a culture of growth and learning. 

Here is an excerpt from my 2012 post titled “Building Engaged Teams with Power of Appreciation” –

People work for reasons beyond pay. They want work that challenges them. They want to contribute meaningfully and make a difference. They want to grow and learn. They want a ‘connection’ with organization’s vision, values and their own peers. When they are striving hard and run out of fuel, they need someone to pat their back and validate their direction. They seek acceptance.”

With technology integrated with work, how do leaders approach rewards and recognition and raise the bar to make them truly smart?

When folks at DarwinBox – a leading HR Tech company requested my views on this topic, I created this sketchnote outlining journey to the smart side of employee recognition that was published in their Newspaper styled bulletin launched last week at TechHR19 conference by PeopleMatters.

Here is a sketchnote summary of key insights I shared and I am glad they included my insights in form of sketchnotes instead of a typical wordy article.

Also Read:

Categories: Blogs

Taking Charge of YOUR Learning

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 23:16

Working with so many people, I have come to a rough observation that professionals broadly fall in two categories – ones that ‘have a plan’ around their learning pathways and the ones that don’t.

We live in a world of infinite possibilities and sometimes, the very breadth of choices available to use can blind us, paralyze us into inaction. I have seen many professionals who choose to simply coast along the current context. They usually end up being the victims of their circumstances (crushed by the wave) because they never could think ahead and plan “their own thing”. In a strange way, they almost surrender themselves to their current work context and remain stuck in finite set of activities.

On the other hand, there are people who map their internal potential and interests with opportunities outside. They “pick” their battles ahead of time (ready to ride the wave), prepare for it, invest proactively in learning both explicit and implicit aspects of the subject, seek out c0mmunities of learning and leverage opportunities in current context to practice their learning.

Lewis Caroll famously said,

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

In a world where shelf life of knowledge is continuously shrinking, we need

Organizations are in a state of constant flux with business models becoming obsolete, new models emerging  and new technologies disrupting businesses/individuals.

Thriving in such a world means actively managing your future, learning at the speed of change, making quick sense of big shifts and responding accordingly.

As business theorist Arie de Gues said in his 1988 HBR article titled “Planning as Learning”,

“We understand that the only competitive advantage the company of the future will have is its managers’ ability to learn faster than their competitors.”

This was true in 1988 and it is even more relevant today.

Also Read:

Categories: Blogs

Social Media for Better Leadership and Learning

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 21:44

Leadership in a connected world is a complex sport. Leaders risk relevance quite fast if they continue to operate in an isolated box within a tight hierarchy.

When the complexity around us increases, we need more connected leadership that is constantly making sense of evolving patterns, thinking and mindset.

Leadership that is social in approach when it comes to building communities, enabling engagement and participating in knowledge flows across the network (both inside the organization through corporate social tools as well as external social media).

I was fortunate that when I started leading teams in 2006, I started my blog to document my lessons and share them along. Little did I know then that I was stepping into something that would totally transform how I think about leadership and learning. Fellow bloggers, people who commented on this blog, authors and later communities of learning on Twitter groomed me as a leader and shaped a lot of my thinking.

Thanks to social engagement, I am able to stay in touch with current thinking, participate in conversations/tweet chats around topics of my interest and become a part of an empowering network. I could learn, absorb patterns, prepare for the waves of changes likely to come, put some of those lessons into practice at work, and share my reflections back with community. In my case, social media made me a clearer thinker, better leader and a curious learner.

In the spirit of learning from community, I recently followed Twitter backchannel of #SocialNow conference in Lisbon to absorb key insights.

In one of the talks, Celine Schillinger referred to her Forbes article titled “Three Ways Social Media Make You A Better Leader” where she writes,

“In times of deep social and technological change, social media enables leaders to take advantage of the radical cognitive and relational transformations that are taking place everywhere. Social media creates within leaders and through them more capacity to metabolize the complexity of our modern world and turn it into a strategic advantage.”

A lot of insights she presents in the article resonated with me and my own journey as a leader so far. In the article, Celine outlines three ways social media can enable sensemaking for better leadership and engagement.

You can read the full article here and here is a #sketchnote summary of key insights from the article.


Here are a few posts and visual notes I have created in the past touching upon the mindset shift required for organization transformation, critical competencies for leadership in future, social mindset for better engagement and role of organizational leader as a social architect.

Categories: Blogs

SHRM India HR Influencers 2019

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 03:20

I am so glad to be sharing the space with HR leaders and fellow learners in the latest SHRM Influencers Report 2019 unveiled at SHRM Tech APAC Conference at Hyderabad yesterday. I am humbled to find a spot in this report for sixth consecutive year.

Real Influence is a By-Product

I strongly believe that influence can never be the goal in itself, but a by-product of doing meaningful work and sharing your journey along the way generously. When the cycle of doing and sharing enables others to do better, influence is more likely to happen.

Evaluation Method

The ranking in the report is done based on parameters of Power (Quantum of reach in the community) and Interest (Engagement of Community with the activity). Influencers are placed on a 2×2 matrix comprising of broad categories like Expert (High Power, High Interest), Generalist (High Power, Low Interest), Specialist (Low Power High Interest) and Newcomers (Low Power Low Interest).

I continue to be inspired by a wonderful learning community I am a part of online and offline. Recognitions like these provide a gentle nudge to continue this journey (and do it better), curate insights that take us forward and share it all meaningfully.

You can read the full report here (2019, PDF).

Categories: Blogs

The Fog

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 22:49

Our train encountered heavy fog on that winter morning. At one point when visibility was less than 100 meters, I thought the train will not move forward. We had little choice but to stay put and trust that things will start moving. And it did, although quite slowly.

It was an interesting setting. When I got down of the train at a quaint station to click some pictures (and also stretch a leg after hours of non-stop journey), my mind went on a train of thoughts as it usually does during travel.

The train. Dense fog around. People moving here and there on the platform. The hazy trees at a distance. It all seemed very familiar. I felt as if I had seen this before. We all have probably seen it before.

A lot of our life is like this. If you can clearly see the path before you, you may be among the lucky few. For the rest of us, it is mostly difficult to see past the haze and uncertainty of the very next moment. But we move on, even if slowly, with a hope to get to clearer views. We trust something within ourselves and something beyond us and that keeps things moving. We persevere and keep the faith and suddenly, the vistas clear up offering magnificent views. The struggle through the fog makes it even more special.

The next time I am surrounded by fog in life, I will remember this – that the tracks are still in place, the green hazy trees at a distance will get clearer, hope will guide me there. That I need to trust the process.

That I need to just keep walking.

(Written: 2016)

Categories: Blogs