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Sunday, November 15, 2009


Do you want to find solutions to complex issues or goals that need to be dealt with yourself? Then mind-storming might be the answer.

You probably would have heard about brain-storming a million times by now. But may wonder what is “mind-storming” after reading the title.

Well, both follow the same concept. Both are techniques used to solve problems that we encounter in our day to day life. Brain-Storming invented by Alex Osborne, the author of Applied Imagination in 1945.

Brainstorming is done with a group of people with a primary objective of just collecting ideas as a solution to a problem. There are many rules that needs to be followed in a brainstorming sessions. No ideas should be criticized, should not judge or evaluate any ideas, should not encourage or discourage an idea and some of them.

I am a big fan of Brianstorming and have given presentations on this subject. Sometimes I had used brainstorming with no one else, but myself generating ideas. But I know that there is a name to this process :- Mind-storming.

Mind-storming is called as 20 idea method that is a very powerful tool that could help transform anyone’s life. Whether it is a problem to solve or to create an execution plan for a goal that you had set to achieve, mind-storming would help anyone progress quickly. I heard about this powerful tool in one of the books of Brian Tracy Thinking Big: The Keys To Personal Power and Maximum Performance. It immediately attracted my attention as I felt it is a very powerful l tool that would help generate ideas.

1. Take pen and paper and write down the problem or goal at the top of the page. Try to be as specific as possible. The objective is to find a solution to the problem or generate ideas as to how to achieve the goal.

2. Now start to come up with ideas through solo brainstorming. Goal here is to come up with at least 20 ideas / answers / solution. Do not judge or think whether it is a good idea, bad idea, stupid idea or practical. Objective is to generate as many ideas as possible. Weirder the idea is, the better it becomes.

This process should be very free flowing. To me this step felt like the key to the entire process. During this process we should not bring any constraints to any ideas that may appear not feasible.

3. Now go back to the list of ideas you have, pick one of them based on your gut and act on it immediately. You may optionally want to mind-storm again on the one you had picked. Depending on the complexity of the issue you had begin, the process might become recursive.

Mind-storming is a excellent tool that uses creating thinking to break through the complex issue or goal. Happy mind-storming...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Charities struggling to meet demand

Charities are struggling due to lagging donations. I planned to use my blog mostly for leadership and management news, trends and tips. But this was a headline that was hard to ignore for me.

It is true that economy is struggling and people do not have money to donate. Everyone understands that. But is it more to do with anxiety than their current situation? If so, donations should not be stopped as long as we make some money that is more than sufficient to run our family.

Donation to charity is a promise and a commitment. There are a number of people who are less fortunate due to a verity of reasons. They count on our generosity just for basic necessities like food and a place to stay.

Bad economic condition is another reason for us to start donating if we have not yet started. If we do not have $100, then it may be $10 or even $1 a month. Again, if we do not have any cash, then it could be old cloths or giving our time.

This is my first blog in this New Year. Wishing you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Create a criteria for winning

How can we create a criteria for winning in an organization. In a sense that can we let any one win who works very hard, by creating a criteria. Many organizations have the habit of choosing one winner for a team. One person gets additional week of vacation. May be gets a car or a TV or an iPod. That really means, no matter how hard others worked, the big prize is not attainable.

I had been thinking about this for a long long time. Many companies have competition by which they choose one winner. I never liked it since no matter how well everyone performs, there can only be one winner.

My school where I studied always went by ranking system to measure academic performances. I always scored very well, but missed Ist rank since I had many intelligent friends in my class. Let us say some kid scored 100 out of 100, then he is Ist rank holder. If there are 3 kids scored 100 then all of them get Ist rank. Then if I score 99, my rank would be 4. I felt it is really unfair!!!

At the same time, the school nearby, a kid would have scored 85 and he could be Ist rank holder. There is a saying in my native language that "In a kingdom of nose-less people, a half nosed man is the king". Same kid in my class would be ranked 15 or less for sure.

I was a Ist rank holder most of the time, but a little lapse in my concentration during the test would lead anyone to 3rd or 4th rank. Then it would reflect badly as I was under so much pressure to be a Ist rank holder. But after a while, I really got tired of the competition as I saw no point. May be after my seventh grade, I never tried to be a Ist rank holder. Though I performed very well, not being the rank holder had many bad consequences.

I often asked my parents if I can join the school nearby to be the Ist rank holder so that I could be the half-nosed king. My parents knew and told me that the other school is not as good. Their standard of education is rather very poor and way below average. That did not motivate me enough as lot of other family responsibilities started falling on my shoulders due to my dads bad health. I do not want to burden you further on what I went through in my senior school and college years. But I do not wish that happening even to my worst enemies.

I worked as hard as possible. A firm believer of God, it was miracle that I am now at this position. I consider myself very lucky to have God on my side in this amazing journey.

Coming back to the point of subject of this blog, I always think about the school system. Years passed and now I work for Corporate America. But the system seems to be very similar to the school system.

I moved to many exciting opportunities. Life has been great, but never really get over from the thought that why big corporates cannot create a criteria for winning. Competition needs to be very healthy, but at the same time, if one person can only win, then at some point in time, many are going realize that they cannot be number 1. And only one person get to enjoy the benefit of being #1. Others slowly become complacent and lethargic.

I was listening to Dr.Steven Covey's 8th habit of highly effective people on tapes. Or may be it was 7th habit or highly effective people, but I am not sure. I am a big fan of Dr.Covey and his management and leadership methods. You can see more about his work at either at or

May be in one my future blogs, I wish to write about his another famous book on time management - First Things First. This book can alter the way anyone looks at time management. He tells us that time management should be aligned to our goals and values that we set in our life.

In this book about habits of highly effective people, he did talk about an organization that did not perform well. The CEO of the company hired his firm to fix the problem.

He had his first meeting with the CEO and everything appear to go well. The leader of the company seemed to be very sensible. Dr.Covey could not understand that under such a leader, why the employees were not motivated.

During one of his meeting with the CEO Dr.Covey noticed that there was a screen behind the CEO. The screen a poster that had many horses that were movable objects. Each of them representing a salesman trying to reach the finish line. One who finishes first will go to vacation to an exotic place with the CEO.

Dr.Covey immediately tells him that this is the problem. Every one had a stiff target, but it really does not matter they achieved or exceeded. He said to the CEO that he was choosing only one winner no matter how well others performed.

The CEO gave many motivation speeches to the sales force, but at the end of every sales meeting, he opened the screen and asked, "So who is coming with me to Hawaii?".

Dr.Covey asked the CEO why would he want to create only one winner. This is how the world operates, CEO answered.

Dr.Covey totally disagrees with him. Basically just think for a second on our own. Each sales persons have their own targets to achieve anyway. Whether they achieve or not they do not get to go for the outing with the CEO. Each of them could achieve way more than they are asked to, but that would not guarantee the coveted honor.

It is clear that only the guy who reaches the finish line gets the the prize money. It is just like a state lottery or a running a marathon as odds of reaching the finishing the line before others is bleak for the most. So naturally nobody attempted to be first to reach the finish line. Imagine If you were the CEO, what you would have done in this situation.

I do not have the wisdom of Dr.Covey. But if I would have been the decision maker, it probably might have been one of the easiest decision. Let us do a case study. In a company with huge pressure on sales, there has to be support staff, including marketing. What is in for them if all the extra benefits are going to go to just one individual in the organization.

This method of selecting one winner works against motivation. Even a self motivated staff member might feel very much let down. Anytime if we want to make a case study, you can think of your favorite sports team, soccer, cricket, basketball to name a few. Let us say every win is projected as a result of the great play by a single player and management made him as a hero. Team will not last long as a unit. Soon the team will start loosing. I have studied this phenomena again and again and observed teams going down the drain due to a solitary hero worship.

Am I a day dreamer? Well, sometimes it helps to imagine a situation and get prepared to tackle when a real life scenario occurs. I am running a small company consists of 5 sales persons and around 10 support staff. Target for each of the sales person is 1 million dollars an year. That should bring a total sale of 5 million to the company. Do I set a criteria saying the top sales person will go with me to Hawaii? No, absolutely no.

I could consider creating couple of criteria. I could say that 1 million is a realistic target, but if anyone achieving 1.25 million, will go with me to Hawaii for a week long vacation. But the top salesman will stay in a special suit. That is because, I still want to create a healthy competition in my company. I do want to recognize the topper

And in the case of combined achievement exceeds the 5 million target and achieves above 8 million, everyone in my company gets bose home theatre system as a gift or a gift card of equal value. This one including the support staff. Now you see, the sales guys cannot win all the deals on their own. Support staff plays a major roll in the achievement of sales force, even though sales team are ones go to the battle field.

Now every one in my staff would not be feeling bad that they working so hard and contributing to the achievement sales people. I know I over-simplified the situation, but this is the model I want to follow. I want to make everyone in the company is feeling a sense of worthiness. Their hard work is acknowledged in some fashion.

After all everyone makes an impact in any organization, weather it is a CEO or a store clerk. But it is always important to create a criteria for winning. A criteria that when achieve, there is some reward waiting for them. Reward simply could be a 25% discount in the company owned stores instead of normal 15%, or may be in iPod, computer or a television. With that I am closing today's blog. Would appreciate your comments.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Why am I blogging

I am new to internet blogging. Though I had a lot of interest in blogging, somehow starting my blog took time. I find it a perfect place share my viewpoint on wide verity of subjects.

Also, I needed a place where I wanted to share what I have learnt over the years. Whether it is from books, media, internet or a practical experience.

Apart from that, I want share my experience in day to day life. I realized I could use the same media to reach out.

I want to use my blog to promote high standard of thinking, methods that can be used to improve ones thought process.

I have a lot of interest in strategic planning, leadership and management, but I am not a part of management. I do have other interests, like cricket, books, movies, browsing and traveling. Blogging also might help me to keep an open web log.

Having said that, let me start and see how it goes….