How to Excel at a Skill?

What do you need to excel at a skill?

Wondering what it could be?

Too many people believe that to excel at a skill, they need to make revolutionary changes in the way they think, feel and behave.

That’s not true.

To excel at a skill, you need to make a small change but on consistent basis.

To make a small change on a consistent basis, you need intentional focus and undivided attention to the task at hand.

BTW, Intentional Focus and Undivided Attention are the focus-keywords I’ve given to my team this year.

You need small yet consistent steps towards the apex of the skill-excellence.

Small is easy to start. Small is easy to measure. Small is easy to retrospect. Small is easy to correct.

Small is simple. Simple gets done, fast!

If you get better at your Photoshop skills 1% each day for next six weeks, you will see a 40% improvement in your Photoshop skills.

40% is a huge improvement, isn’t it?

It’s true for any other area of you life: Health; Cooking; Coding; Public Speaking … or any other area. You can excel at almost any skill you can think of.

Getting better by just 1% does not require you to make revolutionary changes in the way they think, feel and behave.

That’s less scary too.

So now you’re not scared, who’s stopping you from getting better at any skill you want in just about six weeks?

Any skill?

In 100 Words: Gladiator of Radiance

A Gladiator of Radiance needs courage and agility at the same time.

Two surefire ways to an error-prone strategy are:

  1. Act without thinking enough
  2. Think too much and delay the actions

To avoid making these errors, the gladiator deals with each state as if it were exclusive; applies no predefined rules or is driven by the sentiments.

“Then why do you always succeed?” asked a fellow.

“I have never fought a battle without first thoroughly understanding its purpose; on the other hand, I have never left any battle without giving my 100% and winning it,” answered the Gladiator.

Love the Starting Line (Regardless of the Attempts)

Maybe the worst result of a failed project is rebeginning the same. Going back to the starting line.

Post failure, starting line seems like an infelicitous target. Very remote. Apparently.

Think: if you’ve failed, if you’ve traveled the wrong path, does it make sense to keep chasing something down the wrong path? Isn’t the logical step is to go back to the starting line and start running your race again?

Beginning is good. Rebeginning is wiser. At least, it has one less chance to fail.

Love the staring line. It’s fancier than you thought.

Entrepreneurship 30

What’s entrepreneurship all about? Here are thirty some thoughts on what it is and what it is not. For some people, its very cool move but in fact, it takes a completely different kind of commitment and ability to act beyond reasons.
It is:
  1. Glamorous, in the beginning;
  2. Hard (in fact, very hard), soon after;
  3. Needs a groundbreaker (pioneer, go getter, fireball kind of) mindset;
  4. Not for you if you:
  5. …get disturbed by things you cannot control in your job;
  6. …need very clear objectives from your management to perform;
  7. …need very co-operative people to get things done;
  8. …always need someone to listen to your complaints. Ah…you complain??
  9. …are reasonable, well at least 90 percent;
  10. …think one has to lose in order for the other to win;
  11. …think that honesty was the best policy in 20th century, maybe. This is 21st – isn’t it?
  12. …think you need a perfect plan to get started (does perfection exist? Where?);
  13. Sure for you if you:
  14. …don’t depend on your MBA degree to take decisions;
  15. lead beyond your title to get things done, always;
  16. …want to take the pain of making the road;
  17. …know that someone else is going to travel that road later, but anyways;
  18. …don’t complain. About the dust. About bad people. About crazy clients. about anyone;
  19. …take responsibility for the problems created by other people;
  20. …have persistent determination; a completely different level of commitment;
  21. …listen to criticism about what you do; look at the things from multiple perspectives but still move ahead;
  22. …think you’re smart – you always learn from everyone’s (mostly others’) mistakes;  not necessarily your own;
  23. …understand multiple contexts well; better if you apply lessons learned in one into the other;
  24. …believe in creating win-win business prepositions (Haven’t read 7 Habits from Stephen Covey? Huh?);
  25. …are a (the best) people magnet – someone said ‘like attracts like’ …isn’t it? Are you?
  26. …are unreasonable;
  27. …begin with the end in mind (Covey, again) but having (smart) goals is must;
  28. …understand what ‘empathy’ means. It means: how people feel about things. It leads from hiring right person to producing great products to selling not so great products what you wanted to. Not so easy but simple.
  29. …enjoy reading (and acting upon, most important!) what Jobs or Seth or Bate have to say.
  30. …start something, right now!

 

Profit from Conflicts!

A zero-conflict workplace is like living in fool’s paradise and wiser is one who is able to make profit even from the conflicts.
To do that, your primary focus should be on how to prevent it. Once, Max Lucade wrote,

“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.”

So prevent it. Here are some tips:

  1. Have people with integrity on board: Make sure your people have integrity and character.  Team is not a team but just a group of people if team members cannot trust one another.  Remember, trust without integrity is just not possible.
  2. Invest in developing listening skill: Make sure they possess good listening skills. If you recognize that some people lack such a skill, work on it. State clearly what specific steps they need to take in order to develop listening skills. For example, encouraging them to attend Landmark Forum could be a good option.
  3. Have them read the One Minute Manager: Make sure that they have not only read The One Minute Manager, they really understand it from its deepest insights. Remember, we are just not an individual but an individual managing our own behavior – and this book focuses on some of the most powerful management principles.
  4. Don’t accept anything but solution focused approach: Many people have a habit to complain or criticize about something. That’s okay when they also come with the possible solutions. In fact, a problem presented with a possible solution is a key weapon in grinding success faster. Encourage people to look at problems as opportunities to go to the next level.
  5. Encourage Life-long relationships: Make sure your team members have nurtured internal relationships which are going to stay alive for their remaining life. Situational leadership is good not situational relationships.
  6. Develop tools to pre-handle conflicts: Invest in developing tools and techniques which handle conflicts even before that happen. For example, you can have a list of the causes of conflicts or invest in team-training where team members are taught how to self-handle conflicts etc.
  7. Choose leadership over bossism: Choose to be a leader over just being a boss. E.m Kelly said, “The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says, ‘Go!’ while a leader says, ‘Let’s go!’.” Leader leads regardless of a title and takes accountability for what his people are doing. He leads from the front and makes optimum use of techniques like Responsibility assignment (RACI) metrics to prevent conflicts.

If prevention doesn’t work and still you find yourself in the middle of a conflict, next best thing is to systematically attack the problem, resolve it, record the lessons learned and prevent it the next time. Here’s how:

  1. Develop Problem Charter: Understand the problem very precisely. Go to the maximum possible detail level and get the clarity. Develop a problem charter which clearly states Who, What, Why, When Where and How of a problem.
  2. Develop a plan: Develop a plan which clearly states how you will perform steps to overcome a problem.  Meet the entities identified in the first step, collect other relevant information, keep alternatives ready and be ready to attack the problem.
  3. Execute: Now you have two good things. Necessary clarity about what the problem is and one or more ways about how you will act on it. So execute. Call meetings, exhibit different situational leadership styles and management practices.
  4. Evaluate the outcomes: Captivation of execution is such that the executor forgets to pause and think about how he is executing. So monitor and control your execution. If you feel that your execution needs to be altered, do that. Nothing is permanent and ‘execution’ should also not be an exception. If needs be, restart from step 2 and refine the plan.
  5. Close the problem: Once planned outcome has come, close the problem. Make all the required people aware about the updated status of the problem and record the lessons learned.

You don’t need to always formally develop problem charter or a plan but you need to do that process mentally in order to execute from the correct context.

So profit from it. Like a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung said,

“The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed. It is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed to produce valuable and lasting results.”

Are You Heading Towards Ending-up At A Known Exit Point?

To live a richer, more meaningful life, you need to become a source of thoughts and actions which provide meaning to your life. You cannot take control of your life just by following others. Instead, you need to play your own game.

Perhaps most of us know that, but in practice it’s not commonly seen.  You surrender to the customs of the family, workplace or society at the cost of your singularity and start doing things which nobody cares about. Or you feel like being caught in an Unconstructed Action Space.

(Photo Credit: Bill Ward’s Brickpile)

A common pattern of world’s most successful people is not to worry about what other people think of them.  M K Gandhi didn’t worry, Nelson Mandela didn’t worry, Bill Gates didn’t worry or Steve Jobs didn’t worry. Instead, they played their own game powered by their own instincts; took the road less traveled and created the history.

So today is a good time to pause and think about it. Reconsider how you operate. Are you doing some things just because everyone else is doing?

Observe your daily routine. Right from the time your day starts to the time your day ends.  Take a stock of all of your routine actions. Are all of your actions your conscious choices? Or there are some actions you take just because your family, friends, neighbors or colleagues take.

Consider what Caryl P. Haskins quoted,

“It is the gifted, unorthodox individual, in the laboratory, or the study, or the walk by the river at twilight, who has always brought to us, and must continue to bring to us, all the basic resources by which we live.”

And Robin Sharma looked at the same from different perspective,

“If you follow the crowd, the place you will most likely end up at is the exit.”

It is up to you to decide whether you want to follow the crowd and make sure you’ll end up at a known exit point or you want to construct something which has never before constructed and leave a trail.