I believe that the next stage of evolution of the human consciousness is through business. Its through building great businesses that the leaders at the helm of those businesses and employees who are part of that journey find themselves on their own journey of inner transformation. Both the outer journey of creating a great business and the inner journey of personal transformation are intrinsically inter-connected. One journey cannot happen without the other.
Michael Gerber does genius level work in making the complex business of building an extraordinary business into a simple step by step process. In all the research on why 9 out of 10 start-ups fail, there's very little that captures the human element. There's very little that tells the story from the heart, mind and spirit of the business owner. That is why The EMyth connects, educates and inspires a shift needed for the founder to get the business out from the '9 out of 10' statistic to '1 out of 10'.
This is one book that spends more time telling you what and how to make that shift instead of merely stating 'why' of failure. It also gives a whole new perspective on the 'why' that leaves you with quite a few 'aha' moments.
The EMyth is one of the essential reads from the recommended book list in the entrepreneurship program I run for business owners. Running a business without having read this book is like committing entrepreneurial hara kiri.
Here's an extract from the first quarter of the book to give you a taste of what this book is about.
Wishing you the deeply fulfilling joyous journey of building a great business.
The first stage of stepping into authentic leadership is building your Agility of Mind leadership muscle. As I work with leaders to step into discovering what is authentic leadership and making that a way of life to lead their lives, professionally and personally, from good to great; I find that from good to great is a 5-stage journey. Each stage is about elevating one’s consciousness by developing a specific leadership muscle. Each subsequent muscle requires the preceding muscles to be at the highest level of fitness.
Here are the 5 muscles in the order in which they need to be strengthened. Actually, the right word really is ‘can’ be strengthened and not ‘need’ because human consciousness can only be elevated in that order as below:
Gear 0 - Good Life. Good Business. A vague sense of emptiness; and disconnect with oneself and others. Living life as a Victim or a Fighter. Stress and not being at the highest level of fitness is an accepted part of life.
Evolve to Gear 1 by strengthening A. Agility of Mind™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 2 by strengthening B. Being of Service™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 3 by strengthening C. Communicating in the world of others™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 4 by strengthening D. Delivery on your word™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 5 by strengthening E. Excellence™ leadership muscle. Great Life. Deeply Fulfilling Successful Profitable Business. Loving Harmonious Relationships at Work and at Home. Happy Responsible Kids with their Genius Joyfully Expressed. Nourishing Nurturing Me-time. Highest level of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual fitness. Making a Difference. Creating an Impact. Making a Dent in the Universe. Peaceful Warrior.
The above is the journey from being a Victim or a Fighter, both limiting ways of Being, to being a Peaceful Warrior, a Gear 5 Leader.
The way to evolve is to work at the level of habits across the 4 bodies of our Being - physical, emotional, intellectual / mental, spiritual. Bit by bit working at the level of habits across the 4 bodies of our Being, we grow from inside out, get connected to our own authentic self experiencing coming home to ourself. Our consciousness evolves when we go beyond understanding a concept intellectually to experiencing it viscerally and living from there.
Before moving forward, let me explain what is a Distinction. Imagine an Object inside a ball. How many points are there on the ball to view at the Object? Numerous, isn’t it? At each point on the ball to view the Object from, won’t the Object look different. At two points on the ball, the views will even be contradictory. Then, which view is the Truth? What if I tell you that the Object inside the ball is Reality. View from which Point, alternatively which Point of View of that Reality is the Truth?
The point that you choose you stand at determines what you see. What you see determines your actions and therefore your outcome.
How do you decide which point to stand at?
The point from where you can access your inner power (Power to Create™) to fulfil your highest intentions and realise your greatest dreams is the point to stand at to view the Object called Reality. That Point of View is called a Distinction. My job as a coach is for you to discover the Distinctions on your own as your own Truths so that you become them instead of you learning them by heart because I tell them to you. Though I will still tell you the Distinctions so that you know what you are looking for. You know you have discovered a Distinction when you get an INSIGHT (sight turned inwards instead of outwards), an AHA or a Eureka moment when you discover something about yourself that you hadn’t known before and that gives you the missing key to unlock part of your inner power. The discovery may be as quiet as a ‘Hmmm’ and silence afterwards. Coaching is a skill for you to access insights, uncover Blind Spots and discover Distinctions to live from a place of power.
A leadership muscle is a state of consciousness defined by a level of physical, emotional, intellectual / mental and spiritual fitness achieved through letting go of limiting habits and taking on growth habits across the 4 bodies of our Being. By consistently working on habits on a daily basis, Distinctions associated with that leadership muscle begin to become a way of life.
Today, lets discuss what is Agility of Mind™ and its relationship to Leadership Development. This is the first stage of leadership development. Your Agility of Mind™ leadership muscle is fully developed if you can live moment by moment the below 5 Distinctions, or 5 Distinct Ways of perceiving reality:
a. I am responsible for all that happens in my space.
b. Being able to experience one’s own self as whole, complete and perfect with nothing to fix or change. Living in the authentic experience of - I am extraordinary and I love myself. Being able to make the choice to be happy and fulfilled, irrespective of situations and people.
c. Being able to see 360 degree view of any reality. Being able to stand in a place where you can see that your deepest beliefs are really your points of view; and that contradictory beliefs are just as valid. To live in the joyous experience of - Your point of view is just as valid as my point of view.
d. Being able to recognise your own upsets and have the agility of mind to drop them by recognising that the source of your upsets is not out there but in here, that you are not upset because of how people are and how they are not or because of adverse circumstances. You get upset because your expectation didn’t get fulfilled, what you want to communicate you could not, your intention didn’t get realised. When you can understand that your expectations, communications, intentions belong to you, not to others; then you can laugh loudly when Upset tries to take you in its grip.
Being able to recognise your Small Mind™ hiding behind every upset and strengthening your Agility of Mind™ to shift it to your Big Mind™.
e. Recognising all your complaints as your Small Mind™ in disguise and being able to use your Agility of Mind™ to see positive aspects instead of giving in to complaining.
There are 3 levels of competencies in strengthening your leadership muscles. Before we start our journey of inner leadership development, we are unconsciously incompetent.
a. Starter: This is when we live from the Distinctions of the Leadership Muscle or Gear of Evolution only 20% of the time. The reason you progress is that 80% of the time when you are not living the Distinctions, you are aware that you have fallen off your path and get back every time. You fall off and yet you make the choice to come back to the path. This level of competency is also called Conscious Incompetence.
b. Champion: At this level of expertise, you are living from the Distinctions of the Leadership Muscle or Gear of Evolution 80% of the time. The 20% of the time you fall off, you make the choice to come back to the path of living from the Distinctions. This level of competency is also called Conscious Competence.
c. Mastery - At this level, you are living from the Distinctions of the Leadership Muscle or Gear of Evolution 100% of the time, without even being in conscious awareness of it. You become the Distinctions. This level of competency is also called Unconscious Competence.
Inner Leadership Development can only happen at the level of habits across the 4 bodies of our Being. Let's explore few daily habits that will support us to strengthen Agility of Mind™ leadership muscle to elevate our consciousness to Gear 1 of Evolution:
i. Exercising - Yoga, Martial Arts, Functional Training
iv. Acknowledgements - Viscerally experiencing your wins
v. Gratitudes - Viscerally experiencing your blessings
vi. Buddy Conversation - Experiencing being listened to by a committed listener
vii. Reading Books if you don’t read books and stopping to read for some time, if you are an avid reader.
viii. Identifying what you resist, fear, hate to do, get embarrassed doing, don’t want to do, makes you uneasy and uncomfortable; and then doing exactly that.
The journey to your highest self, to the highest expression of your inner genius is a journey which is both deeply fulfilling and joyous. Wishing you the strength to choose that path.
May you choose this gift of Life. That is my intention for you. That is my prayer for you.
Further Recommended Reading:
1. How to use Gratitude as a Leadership Tool for Business Growth?
2. How Reverence for all of Life Supports you to Lead your Business from Good to Great?
3. Without Integrity, nothing works; not even your business. Why, and What to do about it?
4. Why Must You Deepen Yourself in Mastery Consciousness to Lead your Business to Market Leadership?
Met an ex-colleague after 10 years. He looked younger than he had then. He retired few years ago after contributing massively to one of the largest multinational IT companies. Originally from India, now an Australian citizen, living for most times in Singapore, he keeps coming back to India. Though, he is on multiple boards, is a serial entrepreneur successfully and profitably running several businesses of his own, is a mentor to numerous start-ups; he is most passionate about a give-back project he is doing in Udaipur (his place of birth, his home town) of bringing world-class technology education to a local college.
I love having joyous, real, authentic conversations - as much with the drivers of the electric rickshaws, drivers of Ubers / Olas as with my client community from around the world, with the people from the various communities that I have the privilege to be a part of, with anyone with whom I have the fortune to share a bit of a journey this lifetime, whichever the context. And, from all these conversations, I uncovered a secret that I will share with you today. You will find it hidden in the brief story I told you about my ex-colleague above.
Our degree of happiness is a function of how deeply we are connected to our roots, how much contribution we have made to the communities that we come from. We are tribal at heart and our tribes define us. It is only in coming home to our own village that we can find our way back to who we are as human beings.
No tribe is better than the other, just that my tribe gives me a sense of belonging that no other tribe can; just as it is for you. I can only have deep respect for all tribes if I can reconnect to the deep respect within me for my own tribe. I can contribute to other tribes powerfully when I have contributed to my own first. Just like, only in finding a deep connection with my mom and dad can I find the deep connection with my own self; and then only can I uncover a deep connection with all beings in the world.
The reason the programs I run create massive outcomes for my clients is because apart from coaching them to create business success; among other things, I also work with them on their relationship with their parents if I smell a disconnect. There always is a little bit of disconnect, that is part of our coming into adulthood. Unfortunately, this disconnect is part of our human design.
Even as a coach with all my deep understanding of human behaviour, psychology and the rest of it; I will still end up creating disconnect in my kids’ hearts. Though the story should not end there. The story must continue with me working on myself and creating an environment for the kids to work on themselves to remove the disconnect. It is important to remove the disconnect because it comes in the way of our experiencing ourself and other people in our lives as whole, complete and perfect; which is the source of troubled relationships at work and at home. This is also a hidden source of stress which messes up our health, well-being, productivity, performance, creativity, innovation and impact.
It doesn’t matter whether our parents are with us or have transitioned to another realm, it is always possible to reconnect powerfully with them with love, gratitude and reverence; not from a sense of obligation but from a deep visceral sense of joyous embrace of the source from where we sprang forth.
A deep connection is only the first step to come home to ourselves. The next step is to contribute to our mom and dad. In doing that, we will find the energy and strength to contribute to our own self by nourishing and nurturing our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual bodies. That will get us reconnected to the primal need to contribute to our tribe, the communities that we are a part of, our country’s consciousness that flows through our blood. In that contribution will we experience being whole and stand tall to let our inner Sun shine brightly to light up the world. In our doing so, our children will learn to do the same, the people who are entrusted to our care at work will learn to do the same. From there will spring forth unimaginable levels of health and fitness, performance, productivity, creativity, innovation and the massive impact that we are meant to make through our lifetime.
I highly recommend to all coaches, leaders and parents to understand this part of the jigsaw puzzle called leadership development. Before moving forward, let me tell you that another phrase for leadership development is “elevating human consciousness”; in people entrusted to our care at home and at work, by elevating our own first.
And, yet, beyond physical tribes, we belong to intellectual, emotional and spiritual tribes that may as well be globally dispersed. We can only find higher connection by laddering up from physical (our roots), intellectual, emotional to finally, spiritual tribes.
We are meant to belong to each other, though first we must belong to our own self. When we evolve to experiencing ourselves as whole, complete and perfect, we will find every relationship whole, complete and perfect. The problem is we are seeking relationships, external success, wealth, fame, creative hobbies, sports and everything on the outside to make us experience wholeness, completeness and perfection on the inside. That’s what we are really seeking.
The only way to get there is not by trying to create something outside of ourselves, it is by going within to do the deep inner work to evolve from the stressful forceful ’survival consciousness’ to the restful, joyous, soothing, tranquil, equanimous, lyrical, poetical, melodious, gently flowing ’abundance consciousness’. That transformation within shifts you from good to great, professionally and personally.
May you choose this gift of transformation. That is my intention for you. That is my prayer for you.
This perhaps is the most frequent question I am asked by my clients. Here is my answer to this question, trusting it will serve not only my clients but all in the world of business to generate big sales and become prosperous.
1. If your intention is to sell, you will not close the sale because people don’t like to be sold to.
2. The only reason someone buys a product / service is because they have a genuine need for it; not because you are a smart salesperson who managed to hoodwink them into parting with their money.
3. The purpose of a sale is to fulfil a need, not to make the sales person earn money.
4. If to whom you are trying to sell does not experience an authentic human connection with you, he / she will not trust you. Without TRUST, a sale cannot happen. Whenever a sale falls through, ask yourself the question - How do I rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how much the potential customer trusts me?
5. If you think all you have to do to make a sale happen is to create a snazzy website, a cool visiting card, create hoopla on social media and send messages to all your family, friends and various groups you are a part of on WhatsApp; you will soon shut shop as many numerous startups that I have seen go bust with either their passion or their cash burning out much before they found their profitable, repeatable, scalable business model.
6. Understand if you are starting-up, phase 1 is about discovering working in which field will fill you up with joyous passion that no amount of downs in your business can dim its intensity. It is about discovering what your purpose is, what makes your heart sing, feet dance on their own to a song that never stops.
Having found such a business idea, your next job is NOT to sell. The next stage is about deeply understanding your target customer community. Selling becomes the pretext to facilitate that. You don’t sell in this stage to earn money. You sell in this stage to design your product / service that has customers chase you, instead of you chasing the customers to buy from you. This 2nd stage is about discovering a profitable business model, not by closing the sale but by connecting with people in your customer community, inviting them for a conversation to make a difference to their lives through the 1st iteration of your product / service, making a difference to them if they say yes to having that conversation with you, proposing to them if it feels what you have to offer will contribute to them.
You learn at every step how to design that Blue Ocean product / service - when they refuse to connect, when they say NO to your invitation for a conversation to discuss how you could make a difference to them through your product / service, when they say NO to your proposal. Every NO here is more valuable than the one chance sale that you may make in this stage, because you are getting valuable information on what the customer community really needs.
Please don’t try to close a sale at this stage because this stage is not about closing the sale. This stage is about really understanding who your customer is, what does he or she wants (Can someone innovate the English language to get us one word for He and She?), what does he or she needs, what are his / her hidden desires, what is her / his problem that you are trying to solve.
Business building is an iterative process. There is no such thing as overnight success. Legendary success is created over 10 to 20 years. If you cannot enjoy the long-drawn step-by-step iterative ambiguous process of building a great business, it may be better to pick up a job instead.
7. Assuming you have discovered through the iterative process the product / service that has your customer community chase you because you are solving a problem that they really want to solve and are willing to pay you money to solve it. At this stage, your business model is profitable.
The next stage (Stage 3) is to make your Business Model repeatable and then scalable. How do you make your Business Model Repeatable - by ensuring that with the same input, you get the same output which is a 'super delighted customer who can’t wait to talk about your business with his family, friends and colleagues'. Yes, this stage is about defining processes so accurately that you can pick up anyone from the road and they can run your business.
Scalability is built into the business model by making yourself redundant. Please understand making yourself redundant is not about finding the right resources. Let me keep this burning topic for the next day to discuss.
How do you close a sale at this stage? You do that by having a pre-defined step-by-step process on how to make a sale happen based on your experience of successfully doing it. You figured that process at the end of stage 2 and continued to refine it in stage 3. It is time to train your people on that process.
Closing the Sale becomes a completely different process in stage 4 (Scaling up) and stage 5 (Corporatizing) of the business-building process.
Here are few excerpts from the book by my favourite teacher of Starting-up - The Start-up Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank - interspersed with the teachings of Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™ on building a great business.
Wishing you deeply fulfilling, successful, abundance-creating business that contributes to your customer and employee communities, and to you and your family.
Have you ever experienced that you have so many ideas to solve a problem and yet when you give them all to your people, nothing happens. Nothing gets implemented. The problem remains just as unsolved as before, even growing bigger. You end up being frustrated and irritated because you did tell the solution and you know that your solution will fix the problem in its bud and create amazing results. But, the people to whom you give your ideas to continue to resist you and resist doing what you tell them to do.
And, then, you begin to face the same problem with your kids. They have so many more opportunities than you had. And, yet, they are floundering these opportunities and the resources that you are working hard to provide to them. Leave alone being grateful, they don’t even listen to you. You know exactly what they need to do. If they did exactly that, their lives will begin to shine. And, yet, they continue to resist you, resist doing what you tell them to do.
What’s happening here?
So far, while you were an Individual Contributor at the workplace or your kids were not pre-teens as yet, your brilliant ideas supported you to create success because you were implementing them. Now, that your role has changed. Instead of an Individual Contributor, you are a Leader at work and at home. Your success is a function of other people (your team or your kids) implementing your ideas, your old model of Being will not only not support you to create the success that you dream of, it actually will hinder you from moving forward as you will come face to face with a wall of resistance from those who you are privileged to lead, both at work and at home.
You may use the brute force of your charisma, the power of your personality and conviction to get people to follow your lead but that’ll take you only that far. You may end up leading your organization to climb the tree but flying to the moon will escape you.
If you are committed to creating impact, making a massive difference, making a dent in the Universe by leading your business from good to great, have loving harmonious relationships at work and at home, raise happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, nourish and nurture yourself to connect with your highest self; then listen.
Yes, LISTEN and not tell. Yes, LISTEN and not TELL. Don’t tell them what to do. I know your ideas will make them fly so high, but they cannot fly with your ideas. Just as a baby bird can only fly with her own wings. They can only fly with ideas that are their own. They can’t see with your Light. They can only see and walk with their own inner Light. Giving them all the knowledge and information to convince them to do what you are telling them to do is making zero difference to them because they are not listening. They are not listening because they haven’t become leaders as yet and don’t know how to listen. The constant chatter in their head about the limiting view of themselves, of you and of life itself are 3 big walls that does not allow anything to enter.
You are privileged to be a Leader. It is your privilege to grow beyond the default design of a human being, become aware of your own chatter in your head and STILL it, so that you can LISTEN. It is your privilege to drop your 3 walls so that you create a space for them to drop their 3 walls. Then you can really step into their world and communicate in their world so that they really understand what you are saying.
Till that time, you will say, they will resist because they haven’t as yet learnt to LISTEN. It’s your privilege to grow your inner leadership, to increase your leadership depth to listen, understand and lead your people at work and kids at home to their own ideas, to their own solutions so that they can implement them. Your job as a leader is no longer to be a star performer, it is to create a space for star performers to grow to their highest potential.
Next time, someone comes to you with a problem, create a space of listening by asking questions. Not questions to make them wrong but genuine questions, sourced in deep love and care for who they are as human beings. As you ask questions which uplift and expand them, their inner wisdom will trigger and yes, they will come up with solutions that are much better than yours. That is our privilege as leaders and as parents, to raise our people and our kids to become better than us by letting them find their own answers and solutions rather than creating fixed structures for them to follow based on our own knowledge and information.
As leaders and parents, it is our privilege to do 10 times of what we ask our people and our kids to do.
As leaders, it our privilege to unconditionally give our love, acceptance and care to our people as we would give to our kids because just as we are custodians of our children, we are custodians of our people. They have been placed in our care and it is our privilege to provide them a space of loving kindness, total acceptance and gentle caring for them to throw the lampshade off their inner Light to fearlessly shine brightly.
As leaders and parents, it is our privilege to coach our people and children to fulfil their highest intentions and realise their greatest dreams; not by telling them what to do but by leading them with questions and guiding them to uncover their inner wisdom to find their own answers, their own solutions.
To be such a leader, it is our privilege to be on an inner journey to come home to who we authentically are.
Wishing you the self-awareness, courage and strength to be on such a journey.
Further Recommended Reading:
1. How to use Gratitude as a Leadership Tool for Business Growth?
2. How Reverence for all of Life Supports you to Lead your Business from Good to Great?
3. Without Integrity, nothing works; not even your business. Why, and What to do about it?
4. Why Must You Deepen Yourself in Mastery Consciousness to Lead your Business to Market Leadership?
I went to watch the final day of the top golfing event of the country yesterday - Hero Indian Open. I followed the leader of the first 3 days. After a dissatisfactory tee-off at one of the holes in the back 9 of the golf course, he beat the ground with his club. At that moment, I had an inner knowing that he will not win the tournament. After almost being an easy winner based on first 3 days performance, he ended up 4th earning only USD 80,850 instead of USD 291,660.
My 10-year old son was volunteering at the event and had the fortune to be with the 3-ball that the tournament winner was a part of on one of the 4 days of the event. I asked him to describe his experience and he described the tournament champion as having so much humility, being kind and cool even after a particularly bad shot.
I heard other stories of other players cursing or throwing their club down or at the caddy, when a shot didn’t go their way.
I have seen this as much in Business, as in Sports and in all other areas. Your craft mastery only takes you forward that much. Beyond a point, how much of an expert you are no longer counts. Of course, it is what gives you entry to the top league in the first place but to be the leader of the top league and to stay there; you need something more.
After you have worked your way up the pyramid, everyone is now working just as hard with almost similar resources. Let’s call Craft Mastery (being a master of your domain, a super expert) the first lever in the game of Life. You have to put in the 10,000 hours of purposeful, persistent, deliberate practise (made famous by Ericsson) for you to reach at the top of your industry.
Once you are top 100 of your field, what then gives you the leverage to be number 1? It is no longer Craft Mastery. What got you to Top 100 or Top 1000 league will no longer take you forward.
What, then, is the second lever? Compare the 2 players above, the one who could have been number 1 and the one who did become number 1. Notice the difference between the two players’ response to an adverse situation and their way of Being. Observe the stupendous difference between their earnings. That is what the second lever does - push you to Top 10. I call the 2nd Lever - Leadership Depth which is who you really are on the inside. Humility, kindness, still calmness in the face of chaos are all characteristics of people who have worked hard at growing on the inside. Their success and prosperity on the outside becomes a mere reflection of the shine inside.
You can beat the ground, people around you, yourself but all that will not get you to win the tournament of life.
Lets say, you made it to Top 10. The 2nd Lever will no longer take you forward. You need a 3rd Lever. What could that be? For fans of Bollywood and Indian History, what made 21 soldiers fight a heroic battle at Saragarhi against 10,000 to 12,000 Afghans? What made the Indian Women underdog hockey team win in Chak De, one of my favourite Hindi movies?
Let's take an example from Business. Under JRD Tata’s leadership, the assets of his business assets grew from Rs 62 crore in 1939 to more than Rs 10,000 crore in 1990. He is a founder of many landmark Indian businesses - Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Salt, Voltas and Air India - contributing significantly to the economic prosperity of our country.
What is common between the 21 Sikh soldiers of Saragarhi, the Chak De team and JRD Tata that had them be so successful in their own domains?
Each one of them were not playing their game for personal wins, they were instead standing up for a cause so much bigger than who they were.
There are JRD Tata’s words - If I were to attribute any single reason to such success as I have achieved, I would say that success would not have been possible without a sustained belief that what I did or attempted to do would serve the needs and interests of our country and our people and that I was a trustee of such interests.
The Chak De Team weren’t playing for themselves. They weren’t playing to earn money. They were playing for the freedom of the spirit of womanhood, which they experienced being denied to them. They were playing for their country, for the sense of belongingness to their country beyond the region, state or religion they belonged to. The Saragarhi bravehearts were fighting for the honour of their community, for the honour of their country.
That is the 3rd Lever. I call that lever Business Excellence or Sports Excellence, depending on the domain. As long as you are running your business or playing professional sports to earn money for yourself and your family, so much of your inner power is denied to you. When you can evolve to be a stand for a cause, have your work be a way for you to live your purpose to make a difference in the world; you have unlocked the 3rd lever.
Wishing you 'all the 3 unlockings' to experience deep joyous fulfilment and abundance at levels unimaginable before.
Infact, the real question is - How to stay inspired to continue building your Business with passion and joyous energy inspite of the ups and downs in Life? There is no escaping from the trials and tribulations that Life invariably throws up to test one’s commitment to realise one’s impossible, unimaginable dreams.
How does one then continue walking the path with unbridled and unstoppable energy? All of us have the seed of genius in us. Only those of us are able to nurture it to fully blossom, who keep walking on the path towards our highest self; irrespective of chaos inside or outside.
Chaos is the Universe’ way of supporting our growth. Therefore, expect chaos, confusion, self-doubt to be your constant companions as you build your business. If that be the case, then it would be more effective to befriend chaos, confusion, self-doubt and their various other avatars than to resist or struggle against them. Imagine pushing a wall with all your might. Can you feel the wall pushing you back? Can you see you are still standing where you were before? You see, half your mind is struggling against the wall, resisting the wall and you are only left with half your mind’s capacity to creatively figure out a solution to go to the other side of the wall.
What if instead of pushing the wall, struggling against it. resisting it; you simply stood still and accepted it the way it is and the way it is not. You may get a brilliant idea to take support from the wall by resting your back against it. In that moment of mental and physical restfulness with your mind’s energy fully available to you since half of it is not struggling against what is, how likely would it be for stroke of creativity to unfold a solution for you to gracefully and effortlessly walk to the other side of the wall.
Therefore, in the moments of chaos, confusion, self-doubt, criticism, illness, lack of support from those who really matter, loss of energy, scarcity, financial ruin or any other limiting experience; drop your armour and embrace what is. Fully own it and accept it. Receive it with gratitude as a gift from the Universe to support you to be bigger than who you are at this moment so that you can create much bigger outcomes than you have ever created. I call this leadership ability - Childlike Trust and Faith. Childlike trust and faith in the Universe, childlike trust and faith in the process of Life, childlike trust and faith in Life as it unfolds.
It requires leadership depth to live in the experience of this childlike trust and faith. Without this ability, nothing of life may make sense; sucking away energy from the onward march on the path that we feel most connected to. Once we stop struggling in the ocean of Life, we realize we already know how to float and that more we struggle to not drown, greater our chances of drowning. Its when we trust the Universe (which includes all of Life, all Beings and ourselves) and become still, we will find ourselves floating.
Why is it a leadership ability? What has childlike trust and faith got to do with Leadership or Business? Everything because the mind is then fully available to finding creative solutions. There is unleashing of undiscovered creativity, locked-in productivity and high level of performance. All of this put together creates effortless customer creation, operational excellence and extraordinary service delighting customers; resulting in greater profitability in a Business ecosystem.
The next question is how to build this childlike trust and faith in ourselves and our team members. Leadership development is inner work, requires growth on the inside instead of something that can be hammered in from the outside. Therefore, you cannot train people to become leaders. You can only coach them to be on the inner journey of personal transformation to grow in leadership depth. And, that journey begins 2 stages before:
Stage 1 of Leadership - Gear 1 - Coaching your people to discover what their fears are, what they resist the most and supporting them to step outside their comfort zone to fully experience themselves as whole, complete and perfect.
Stage 2 of Leadership - Gear 2 - Coaching your people to relate to others as whole, complete and perfect. Coaching them to viscerally experience what it means to be grateful and stay immersed in that experience.
Stage 3 of Leadership - Gear 3 - Coaching your people to step up from Gratitude to Childlike Trust and Faith in the Universe, in Grace, in Life or any other word you want to use.
All these shifts require shifts across all the 4 bodies of the Being - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual; dropping of limiting habits and taking on Growth Habits at each of the 4 bodies.
Before you can coach others, you have to model it yourself. That is why coaching is effective because it is not about Telling, it is about Being.
The above journey is a strategic long-term growth path to be the kind of person who remains motivated through the ups and downs of building a business, through the inevitable vicissitudes of Life.
More tactically, here’s what you can do to deepen yourself in the Leadership ability of Childlike Trust and Faith:
1. Be a part of a mastermind group of positive people on their journey to their inner genius. We become who we most spend our time with.
2. Build a structure for yourself to be continually growing, to be continuously on the Leadership path to your highest self - from Gear 1 to 2 to 3 and onwards. Having your own coach is a critical component of this structure.
3. This should have been the first, actually because the above 2 make sense only if you have this - a purpose, a dream, a personal inner commitment to be so much bigger than who you are right now to create so much more than you are creating right now.
4. The ritual of daily prayer, which I am finding slowly eroding, is a powerful way to immerse yourself in childlike trust and faith. The process of a heartfelt prayer allows us to unmask to commune authentically with our own self through the Universe. A prayer is not when you beg the creator for something, it is when you seek nothing and open yourself to the Grace of God. The true meaning of prayer became alive for me when I read about a doctor whose wife was delivering a baby with both the mother and baby at high risk. He didn’t pray for the well-being of his loved ones. Instead, he prayed to God to give him strength to accept with Grace whatever He decided as the outcome.
5. Praying before eating is another ritual that is powerful in shifting the Being. The act of praying before eating helps us to become more mindful, connects us to our inner self which not only increases the nutritional value of what we are eating but also helps to still our mind and empty us of limiting emotions and thoughts, if the prayer is heartfully offered; resulting in better decision making ability, greater creativity in problem solving and better communication. This way, every meal is an opportunity to get in touch with our Source of productivity, performance, creativity and innovation.
Here’s a variation that I did on St Francis of Assisi’s prayer that powerfully reminds me every meal of what my personal inner commitment is, what my values are, what my promise is to be, the place I want to come back to every time I fall off my path. I end the prayer with Gayatri mantra, which is a prayer in Sanskrit for strength to transform the mind from darkness to light. Create your own version of the mealtime prayer and include your whole family in the process to support your children to start their leadership journey to their highest self as early as possible.
Grace, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me be love.
Where there is injury, let me be forgiveness.
Where there is doubt, let me be childlike trust and faith.
Where there is despair, let me be optimism.
Where there is darkness, let me be light.
Where there is sadness, let me be joy.
Where there is negativity, let me be soothing joyful positivity.
Where there is chaos, let me be peaceful order.
Where there is confusion, let me be clarity.
Where there is struggle, let me be joyful effortless creation.
Where there is lack, scarcity, yearning; let me be abundance and prosperity.
Where there is lethargy, boredom, inaction; let me be enthusiasm, passion and powerful, effective action.
Where there is judgement, let me be deep understanding and reverence for all points of view.
Where there is anger and hurt, let me be loving tenderness.
Where there is arrogance, let be me grateful humility.
Where there is treachery and betrayal; let me be childlike trust & faith, integrity, unconditional love & acceptance.
Where there is bitterness and resentment; let me be forgiveness, gratitude and joy.
Where there is indifference, let me be love.
Where there is fear, let me be loving embrace of all of my fears and joyous effective action.
Where there is humiliation and rejection; let me be love and grace.
Oh, Divine Grace, grant that I seek to console than to be consoled.
I seek to understand that to be understood.
I seek to love than to be loved.
For, it is in giving that we receive.
It is in forgiving that we are forgiven.
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
is a sanskrit prayer to transform one’s default small limiting mind sourced in fear and darkness to our Big Mind sourced in Love and Light.
ओम भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।
भर्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।
धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥
om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt
Wishing that you break free from your inner and outer shackles to come home to yourself to create success, fulfilment and joy on the inside and the outside.
Here’s how you build Great Teams with the Right Talent:
1. Have a cause so powerful that it brings tears to your eyes because your passion for what you stand for and how you live that through your business is the glue that holds a Great Team together. It’s been proven time and again, it is not the money that draws people to an organization and makes them stay.
2. Know what your team member’s dreams are and make them your own that supporting them to realize their greatest dreams becomes more important to you than your own dreams. Be your team member’s coach, not their boss.
3. Have a relationship of equals with each of your team member that you are comfortable with them holding the mirror to you, creating the space for you to be their Leader not by authority or external power but by your inner power to inspire them to choose you as their Leader with their mind, heart and soul.
4. Choose to hire those as your team members who love learning and are passionate about their domain over those who are from top-notch colleges.
5. Check during the interview if they do household chores. If they do, you have found a valuable team member who understands what responsibility is, owns it fully and is not afraid to roll-up their sleeves to do what has to be done.
6. Assess before deciding to hire what their values are. Hire only if there’s a match between your values and theirs. Teams usually are ineffective and unproductive more often because of values mismatch than for any other reason. Therefore, ask yourself what are your values before stepping out to build a team
7. Know what your cause is, making what dent in the Universe would touch, move and inspire you. Hire those who are touched, moved and inspired by your cause. That is the super glue that holds the team together.
8. Bring those people in as your team members who want to join you not because they can earn a salary but because what you and your business are upto creating in the world inspires them and gives them an opportunity to make a difference.
9. Right Talent are people who are committed to be the best in their domain and yet have an endearing humility of a beginner.
10. Great Teams are formed around great leaders. Ask yourself the question - "How can I become an even better leader than I am today to inspire the formation of Great Teams with the Right Talent?"
Wishing you a joyous and a deeply fulfilling ride as you build a great team with the right talent to lead your business from good to great.
Want to build a massive business empire, create great amount of wealth, be wildly successful? Live the laws explained in this book - The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. It is truly a little story about a powerful business idea, just as the tagline says.
Bob Burg is a former top sales professional, now a highly sought-after conference speaker world-wide and an author. He was named by the American Management Association as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Thought Leaders in Business for 2014.
John David Mann is a successful entrepreneur and award-winning co-author. His ‘Take the Lead’ (with Betsy Myers) was named by Tom Peters and the Washington Post as Best Leadership Book of 2011.
Wealth creation is the outcome of being a giving person, according to the authors, inspired from their own business experience. The book weaves a beautiful, unputdownable story to elucidate what they call “The 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success”. My own experience bears out the truth of these laws.
If you are looking to transform your organization's culture to create the foundation for exponential growth and success, gift this book to every employee.
Here are few excerpts from the book to inspire you to read the book end-to-end. It is a few hours read, not only because the book is 122 pages short but also because it is written in a very engaging style. Read it and it may as well become the turning point in your life.
1. … be a giving person, period: one who gives thought, gives attention, gives care, gives focus, gives time and energy - gives value to others. Not as a quid pro quo, not as a strategy to get ahead, but because it is, in and of itself, a satisfying and fulfilling way to be. - Arianna Huffington
2. … the more successful <people> are, the more willing they are to share their secrets with others.
… The interesting thing is, the bigger they are, the nicer they are.
… I believe that a person can reach a certain level of success without being particularly special. But to get really, really big, to reach the kind of stratospheric success we are talking about, people need to have something on the inside, something that’s genuine.
3. … the majority of people operate with a mindset that says to the fireplace, “First give me some heat, then I’ll throw in some logs.” Or that says to the bank, “Give me interest on my money, then I’ll make a deposit.” And, of course, it just doesn’t work that way.
4. Most of us have grown up seeing the world as a place of limitation rather than as a place of inexhaustible treasures. A world of competition rather than one of co-creation.
5. In life, you often don’t get what you want. But, here’s what you do get - You get what you expect.
6. Go looking for the best in people, and you’ll be amazed at how much talent, ingenuity, empathy and goodwill you’ll find.
7. Ultimately, the world treats you more or less the way you expect to be treated. … you’d be amazed how much you have to do with what happens to you.
8. A very useful thing to remember: appearances can be deceiving. … Truth is, they nearly always are.
9. … the Golden Rule of Business - All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.
10. … the point isn’t to have <your customers> pay you more, it’s to give them more. You give, give, give. Why? Because you love to. It’s not a strategy, it’s a way of life. And when you do, then very, very profitable things begin to happen.
… but I thought you said you are not thinking about the results.
That’s right, you are not. But that doesn’t mean they won’t happen.
11. All the great fortunes in the world have been created by men and women who had a greater passion for what they were giving - their product, service or idea - than for what they were getting.
And many of those great fortunes have been squandered by others who had a greater passion for what they were getting than what they were giving.
12. It means that you get to determine your level of compensation - it’s under your control. If you want more success, find a way to serve more people. It’s that simple.
… It also means there are no limitations on what you can earn because you can always find more people to serve.
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, once said, ‘Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.’
Another way to say that might be, ‘Everybody can be successful because anybody can give.’
13. “There are people who get rich, and there are people who do good. My belief system said you are one or the other, you can’t be both.”
… “And I saw that my old belief system was only getting in the way. It wasn’t serving. So I decided to change it.”
“Have you ever made up a story? … Life works the same way. You just make it up. Being broke and being rich are both decisions. You make them up, right up here.” She tapped her finger to her temple. “Everything else is just how it plays out.”
What you focus on is what you get.
14. There are three universal reasons for working. Survive - to meet your basic living needs. Save - to go beyond your basic needs and expand your life. And serve - to make a contribution to the world around you. … Unfortunately, most people spend their entire lives focussing on the first. A smaller number focus on the second. But those rare few who are truly successful - not just financially, but genuinely successful in all aspects of their lives - keep their focus squarely on the third.
15. Changing my focus from seeing what I could get to what I could give was when my career started to take off.
16. … by a network I don’t necessarily mean your customers or clients. I mean a network of people who know you, like you and trust you. They might never buy a thing from you, but they’ve always got you in the backs of their minds. … They are people who are personally invested in seeing you succeed, you see? And, of course, that’s because you are the same way about them. They are your army of personal walking ambassadors.
… You want to know what makes that kind of network happen? Stop keeping score. … most of the time, what people call ‘win-win’ is really just a disguised way of keeping track. Making sure we all come out even, that nobody gets the advantage. … When you base your relationships - in business or anywhere else in your life - on who owes who what, that’s not being a friend. That’s being a creditor.
… Make your win about the other person … Forget win-win - focus on the other person’s win.
… if you place the other person’s interests first, your interests will always be taken care of. Always. Some people call it enlightened self-interest. Watch out for what other people need, with the faith that when you do, you’ll get what you need.
17. Money. Position. … a history of outstanding accomplishments. …. These things don’t create influence. - influence creates them. … Putting other people’s interests first <creates influence>.
18. Have you ever wondered what makes people attractive? I mean, genuinely attractive? Magnetic? … They love to give. That’s why they are attractive. Givers attract.
19. I believe there is one reason, and only one reason. that we have stayed together so long and are as happy together today as we were forty-eight years ago - more so, in fact. That reason is this: I care more about my wife’s happiness than I do about my own. All I’ve ever wanted to do since the day I met her is to make her happy. And here’s the truly remarkable thing - she seems to want the same thing for me.
20. “Besides, ladies.” She tapped her index finger a few times in her temple. “It’s what’s inside that makes you beautiful, not the wrapping.”
… My husband gave me the most surprising gift of all. He gave me the wake-up call of a lifetime - when he walked out of the door and never came back. … It took me one full year to unwrap, open, understand and use that gift.
… When I said that my life as a mom, wife and household manager left me with nothing the marketplace wanted, I was wrong. There was something else I’d learned over those years, and that was how to be a friend. How to care. How to make people feel good about themselves. And that, my friends, is something the marketplace wants very much - always has, always will.
... What I am here to sell you on is you.
People, remember this: no matter what your training, no matter what your skills, no matter what area you are in, you are your most important commodity. The most valuable gift you have to offer is you.
Reaching any goal you set takes 10% specific knowledge or technical skills - 10%, max. The other 90 plus percent is people skills.
And what’s the foundation of all people skills? Liking people? Caring about people? Being a good listener? Those are all helpful, but they are not the core of it. The core of it is who you are. It starts with you.
As long as you are trying to be someone else, or putting on some act or behaviour someone else taught you, you have no possibility of truly reaching people. The most valuable thing you have to give people is yourself. No matter what you think you are selling, what you are really offering is you.
… You want people skills? Then be a person. … It’s worth ten thousand times more than all the closing techniques that ever have been or ever will be invented. It’s called authenticity.
21. He thought about Gus’ long, rambling conversations, his easy manner with potential clients, his erratic, extended vacations. He smiled. “You just love what you do. You love talking with people, asking them questions, learning all about then, finding ways you can help them, serve them, fill a need, share a resource …
22. It’s not better to give than to receive. It’s insane to try to give and not receive.
Trying not to receive is not only foolish, it’s arrogant. When someone gives you a gift, what gives you the right to refuse it - to deny their right to give?
… In fact, every giving can happen only because it is also a receiving.
23. … if the secret of staying young, vibrant and vital throughout life is to hang on to those precious characteristics we all have as children but which get drummed out of us - like having big dreams, being curious and believing in yourself - then one of those characteristics is being open to receiving, being hungry to receive, being ravenous to receive.
… having big dreams and being curious and believing in ourselves - those are all aspects of being receptive, they are all the same thing as being receptive.
… Inside every truth and every appearance, there’s a bit of opposite tucked inside. … So, the secret to success, to gaining it, to having it, is to give, give, give. The secret to getting is giving. And the secret to giving is making yourself open to receiving.
24. The point is not what you do. Not what you accomplish. It’s who you are.
25. I just told you we are giving this contract to your competition. Your response was to thank me and give them a compliment. You’ve got heart.
26. And, the 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success are:
i. The Law of Value - Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
ii. The Law of Compensation - Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. Your compensation is directly proportional to how many lives you touch.
iii. The Law of Compensation - Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first.
iv. The Law of Authenticity - The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. In other words, your authenticity is the most valuable gift that you can offer.
v. The Law of Receptivity - The key to effective giving is having the humility to stay open to receiving. Having big dreams and being curious and believing in ourselves are all aspects of being receptive.
These are not new ideas. Just that most of us understand them only intellectually without living them at a much deeper level - emotionally and spiritually. One of the reasons my clients have created wealth and fulfilling business success is because they get coached to live these principles viscerally instead of these being mere intellectual ideas in the head. That's the magic the authors have weaved with their book. They have made available to us, through the enchanting story, the age-old wisdom in a way that it awakens us from deep within and connects us to our inner knowing. As a result, who YOU are shifts and then everything outside shifts.
Wishing you the joy of deeply fulfilling, joyous stratospheric success. It is not given to a few special ones. It is available to all of us. We are at the source of it. It is an act of creation. Each one of us has an equal opportunity to make the choice to create it in our life.
Then, let me end with wishing you the courage to make that choice.
Contrary to popular belief that CEOs just need to be great leaders and that domain expertise is not critical for their success, my experience tells me that truth lies elsewhere. Look at the top 6 largest companies in the world by market cap:
2. Alphabet (Google’s parent company)
6. Berkshire Hathaway
Each of the CEOs - Steve Jobs, Larry Page / Sergey Brin, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet - in the above companies were / are the best domain expert of their business. The creativity, innovativeness and customer impact displayed by these businesses which led to their market dominance is the direct outcome of the craft mastery / domain expertise of the founders, their commitment to make a difference to their customers implemented through the process of business excellence and the courage sourced in leadership depth to go where no one had gone before.
You could be a Founder CEO or a Professional CEO hired to manage and grow the business. Founder CEOs usually start their journey with a focus on craft mastery / domain expertise but as their business scales up, the founder CEOs get busy with growing the business and lose focus on learning and growing their domain expertise. If growing your business ongoingly is your commitment, then continue to lead from the front by continuously learning to remain the best expert in your business, not only in your own country but in the world.
Professional CEOs, if external hires, may even be hired from another industry and therefore may not have the sound grounding in the business of their company. If you find yourself in such a situation, the best is to don a student’s hat and learn with velocity and vigour about your new domain.
From examples below from a referenced article in INC, it is evident that it is more than a co-incidence that super successful companies are usually headed by domain experts who also have strong business leadership skills instead of only business skills.
“Instagram's CEO Kevin Systrom was a self-taught programmer. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg began writing software before entering high school, and still keeps a hand in coding today.
Dropbox CEO Drew Houston wrote the first lines of code for his company from a Boston train station. WordPress co-founder (and founder / CEO of WordPress's parent company Automattic) Matt Mullenweg used his technical skill to help build the democratic publishing platform from the ground up.
Microsoft's Bill Gates, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google's Larry Page...the list goes on. Each of these leaders possessed a deep understanding of the technology that their business was built upon.”
Quoting from articles in Harvard Business Review:
“Studies suggest that the best leaders know a lot about the domain in which they are leading, and part of what makes them successful in a management role is technical competence.
Another study found that employees are far happier when they are led by people with deep expertise in the core activity of the business. Happier employees means greater productivity. One study found that quite small boosts in happiness went on to produce a reliable 12% extra in employee productivity. It has recently been demonstrated that firms with happy employees go on to have better stock-price growth in the future.”
All the above research does point in the direction of the importance of craft mastery / domain expertise along with leadership depth and business excellence skills for the CEO to successfully navigate and lead their organization successfully and profitably from good to great.
Even without these studies and huge amount of research to understand the importance of the CEO being a domain expert for business success, there is a very logical reason why it is so. You see, your business will scale up only if your people are best in whatever domain they are in. And, we know that the only way to inspire a certain behaviour is by modelling that behaviour. It also has a phrase for itself. It’s called ‘leading from the front’. Is there any other way to lead than to do 10X yourself of what you want your people to do?
Therefore, if you choose to be a domain expert apart from being a leader and a business manager, your people will choose to be experts in their domain besides displaying business excellence and leadership depth at their work.
I often meet business owners bored of the business they are running and looking to do something else. On digging deeper, I always come up with someone who stopped learning on the journey somewhere. When I meet a CEO full of life and still in love with their business, it is usually someone who is continuously deepening their understanding of their craft / domain by learning on a daily basis.
You may love your craft, your domain but to have your whole Being lit up by your passion and joyous pleasure of working, you want to have the commitment to learn something new daily to grow and evolve to be the best in your field.
Take inspiration from the CEOs of the top 6. They spend large amount of their time learning. Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway spends 80% of his time reading. Steve Jobs was a self-confessed avid reader. Bill Gates reads one book a week.
“Still, reading books is my favourite way to learn about a new topic. I’ve been reading about a book a week on average since I was a kid. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out a lot of time for reading.”
Jeff Bezos has a habit of reading books too. He is very passionate about books and reading. Mark Zuckerberg is also a strong believer in reading to learn and grow.
These CEOs read not only to expand their horizons within their specific domain but also to go beyond the blinkered view of one’s work. It is the potboiler of ideas sourced from different variety of reading that expands their creativity, innovativeness and ability to see an opportunity that most miss.
So, here’s the recipe of success for an aspiring CEO and for current chief executives, a roadmap to increase their impact in the world:
a. Stay ahead of your industry by learning and growing to be the best in your domain. Learn all you can to master your craft to become the key person of influence of your industry.
b. Learn and implement Business Excellence by giving your employees a purpose, a cause to work for; starting with yourself. Deeply understand your customer community to make a dent in their Universe so that you spot Blue Oceans that most CEOs chasing sales targets would miss. And, if you can build your organization to function even better after you, you have truly implemented Business Excellence.
c. Increase your Leadership Depth to nurture a culture of trust, vulnerability, compassion, collaboration and contribution because all these are the critical inputs for enabling performance, productivity, creativity and innovation at all levels in the organization; which ultimately results in exponential profitability.
Michelangelo, the Master Artist, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art is supposed to have said at 87 years of age - I am still learning.
Wishing you and your team the joy of the journey with purpose, mastery and impact.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.