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Showing posts from January, 2018

Kacharagadla Featured Article

5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

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…

The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…

5 Things to Research Before Working With a Startup

You've poured your heart and soul into building your company. Make sure any newcomer you bring into your business has done the same -- and has the processes in place to protect your investments. When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get in over your head. Taking something from concept through execution to successful brand never sounds easy, but there’s always something you overlook at first glance. Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs work with others to cover their bases.
Niche startups and outsourcing exist precisely to fill business-needs gaps in specialized expertise. It’s also why software as a service (SaaS) solutions are as popular as they are, and why there always will be new, agile startups hitting the field.
Working with a startup is very tempting. Smaller businesses are more likely to cater to your needs rather than offer you a one-size-fits-all option. Smaller shops can focus on customer service, with potentially less on their bottom line. These startups want to pl…

10 Traits of Innovative Leaders

Many organizations would like their leaders to create more innovative teams. But how exactly should they do this? If you ask highly innovative leaders what makes them effective you are apt to hear, “Well, I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.” Or they will make something up that sounds compelling. But the fact of the matter is that people who excel at something aren’t usually very good at pinpointing exactly what accounts for their skill. So to find out more, we conducted our own study. We began by collaborating with a respected organization in the telecommunications industry whose leaders scored well above average on most managerial competencies. We identified 33 individuals who scored at or above the 99th percentile on innovation, as measured by their peers, subordinates, and bosses in a comprehensive 360-degree feedback survey.  We believed these closest colleagues would have the most accurate view of what made this group of leaders stand out from the pack in this large organiza…