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4 Ways Games Can Help Your Company Innovate

Innovation produces employees who think fresh thoughts. The more innovative your team is, the quicker it can solve problems, as it's constantly anticipating potential roadblocks. Equally as important, an innovative mindset engages your employees in a way that makes them feel connected to their work. They not only feel more satisfied within their roles, but they also become more service-oriented toward customers.   However, in the hustle and bustle of a startup, innovation isn’t easy. Companies find themselves either stuck in a creative rut where they’re unable to push past initial visions or plagued by “shiny object syndrome.” Thankfully, practice makes perfect -- just take a look at Google. The company enacted a “20 percent rule” that encouraged employees to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects. Some of Google’s best products -- Gmail, AdSense and Google Talk -- came from this initiative. Related: How Gamification Is Engaging Customers and Employees Alike A policy like …
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How Successful Leaders Think

We are drawn to the stories of effective leaders in action. Their decisiveness invigorates us. The events that unfold from their bold moves, often culminating in successful outcomes, make for gripping narratives. Perhaps most important, we turn to accounts of their deeds for lessons that we can apply in our own careers. Books like Jack: Straight from the Gut and Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done are compelling in part because they implicitly promise that we can achieve the success of a Jack Welch or a Larry Bossidy—if only we learn to emulate his actions. But this focus on what a leader does is misplaced. That’s because moves that work in one context often make little sense in another, even at the same company or within the experience of a single leader. Recall that Jack Welch, early in his career at General Electric, insisted that each of GE’s businesses be number one or number two in market share in its industry; years later he insisted that those same businesses defin…

The Best Leaders Are Great Teachers

Kundapur Vaman Kamath was a teacher. But he didn’t work at a school or stand in front of a class. Instead, he delivered his lessons at the office—to the employees who served under him during his four decades as a senior executive at, and then CEO of, India’s ICICI Bank. Whether he was offering tips on stakeholder communication or explaining the importance of ambitious goals, Kamath treated each day as an opportunity to provide his direct reports with a customized master class in management. Over time, this approach transformed the company into a hothouse of leadership talent, accelerating its growth. ICICI became one of India’s largest, most innovative banks, and Kamath has been credited with molding a whole generation of the country’s banking executives. I’ve spent more than 10 years studying world-class leaders like Kamath to determine what sets them apart from typical leaders. One big surprise was the extent to which these star managers emphasize ongoing, intensive one-on-one tutori…

Cultivating The Essential Ingredient In Leadership: Energy

There is a very simple measure of the health and culture of any team or organization: its energy level. Among high-energy groups, we witness motivation by inspiration. There is a buzz in the air. Individuals and teams are innovating, displaying enthusiasm and optimism about their work. In lower-energy organizations, we see motivation by tasks and timelines. There is a sense of busy-ness, but little excitement about the business of the group. In this article, we will examine the role of energy in leadership, including the novel perspectives of a military Special Operations leader who has lived leadership on the battlefield and in the boardroom. Leadership As Focused, Directed Energy When we examine the writings of those who have worked extensively with leaders and organizations, the energy factor pops up repeatedly. Tom Peters, in his book The Little Big Things, explains that “the ‘business’ of leaders at all levels is to help those in their charge develop beyond their dreams” (emphasi…