Decision on Data

Data keeps growing. There’s no shortage of data.

Some data is valuable than having no data at all. However, a lot of data doesn’t necessarily mean better decisions and outcomes.

It comes down to making decisions on the data that you have. Decision making skills play a critical role here.

How much data is needed to make a good decision on it?

What insights can we gather from the data we have?

How did we collect the data?

What’s the quality of the data?

These are some helpful questions to make decisions on data.

 

Accelerating Curiosity at Work

The company culture impacts our behavior at work, with peers, customers, and other stakeholders.

With AI doing many mundane tasks that humans used to do before/until now, we need to evolve or hone the “human centric skills” that computers cannot do so easily/replace us on. One very important characteristic of human beings is our curiosity. While we all start out being very curious as babies, as we get older and get through school, home, and our surroundings, the almost “natural” curiosity seems to fade away or underutilized immensely. It’s no surprise then what happens at workplaces when new hires join at a company.

To reignite and accelerate curiosity at work, we need a paradigm shift. To make curiosity a part of the company culture, it has to be encouraged and incentivized at every level of the company. Management has to be curious and ask thoughtful questions in meetings and encourage active participation and questions from meeting participants. Team leads and managers should approach their team meetings with questions, empathy, and active listening. Eventually, curiosity will flow through the company and become an integral part of its identity. Until then, the road ahead can be challenging but the end result will be magnificent!

Better Habits

Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. 

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits writes on his website that “Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.”

Generally speaking, who you are today can be traced to what your habits are.

Want to live a healthier lifestyle? Learn and implement good health habits.

Want to become better in client management? Learn and implement good client management habits.

Want to become really good at asking thoughtful questions at work and in school? Learn and implement good inquisitive habits.

Our habits are our secret authentic superpowers. If we want to achieve our goals and visions, we need to have the best habits in place and not only rely on daily motivation, discipline, and will. Habits will take us further than we tend to realize. Establishing better habits early in our development years (health habits, financial habits, social habits, and more) is key to living our authentic greatness!

Thoughts on Skill

The word “Skill” gets used very casually these days.

It’s a Skills driven world. It’s about Skills. Skills over Degrees.

A skill is the ability to complete a set of tasks well.

In a workplace, people use their various skillsets to get a task done. A designer will use her/his design skills, knowledge, and experience to work on a website, app, or do design work. A training coordinator will use his/her training knowledge, skills, and experience to develop training programs and assessments. The college degree can help land the job but the skills learned and polished overtime will certainly help to accelerate your personal and professional growth.

With technology, devices and tools changing how we live, communicate, and work, professional skills will continue to be important and the differentiator between getting ahead and getting left behind in the workplaces.

Personal growth

Personal growth is your responsibility.

Schools, colleges, and workplaces can help facilitate our personal, intellectual, social and professional growth. However, the main responsibility for our personal and professional growth is in our hands. With technology disrupting our daily lives and changing how/where/with/way we work, the continuous self learning is the key to remain competitive, relevant, and ahead in today’s world.

Schools, colleges, and workplaces can become a foundation for our growth but not the ultimate places.

Few places to get started or continue on your growth:

https://www.khanacademy.org/college-careers-more

https://www.coursera.org/courses?query=free

https://www.udemy.com/topic/chatgpt/?price=price-free&sort=popularity

 

Giving feedback

Giving feedback is both an art and science!

There are different ways to put the content together to give constructive feedback. Constructive feedback will combine both good/positive and negative/improvement areas of the person you are giving feedback to.

Several ways to provide feedback:

  1. Go through all the good/positive parts first and then cover the negative/improvement areas second
  2. Combine good/positive parts as well as negative/improvement areas
  3. Ask the person you’re giving feedback to on which one she/he like to hear first
  4. Use the feedback sandwich method (positive, negative, positive)

The feedback content is as important as the style, tone, and way you are providing feedback. Practice providing feedback with a colleague or a manager, reflect on where you can improve on providing feedback, and then deliver feedback frequently to become a skilled feedback giver.

Building inquisitive young minds

In Warren Berger’s book, A More Beautiful Question The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, he brings to light how parents can help make their kids better questioners. Warren mentions Hal Gregersen who studied “master questioners” and found that most of them had “at least one adult in their lives who encouraged them to ask provocative questions.” A home environment where questions are welcome, encouraged, and addressed can lead to curious and creative young minds.

Clayton Christensen thinks parents can help their kids be more inquisitive by posting “what if” questions and also encouraging them to solve problems in a hands-on way, via challenging household tasks and chores.

Which muscles are getting exercised?

Creativity gets better when creative muscles are getting exercised.

Writing gets better when writing muscles are getting exercised.

Presentation gets better when presentation muscles are getting exercised.

Painting gets better when painting muscles are getting exercised.

Dribbling gets better when dribbling muscles are getting exercised.

You get the idea!

 

Excellent Work Quality

For our work quality to be excellent, we have to focus on more than the work itself.

To get the most out of your focused time at work or craft, we need to get plentiful rest, energy, and “intentional” time away from work. If you feel the most productive in the mornings, you should do your important and high priority work in the morning times. You can take care of the not as important or other priority tasks in the second half of the day. Likewise, if you feel the most productive in the evenings, you should do the important and high priority work in the evening times and do the not as important or other priority tasks in the first half of the day. You organize your day based on how you work best!

In addition, finding and doing recreational activities beyond our work enables us to be more energized and creative when we get back to the work again. Great creative ideas can sometimes come when you’re moved away from work or not thinking about work all the time. Natural sunlight, walks, music, arts, healthy food, meaningful relationships, and many more contribute to producing excellent work quality.

How do you bring about the best version of yourself everyday?

Required course for high schools and colleges

An important course that’s urgently required and needed in high schools and colleges is Lifelong Skills.

The Lifelong Skills course will cover why certain skills are important no matter what career a student chooses to pursue after their academic years, how to build productive habits for personal and professional growth, and why no matter what educational degree someone holds, gaining skills will be a lifelong journey. Skills will take students and professionals further in their career than talent alone!

Certain skills are valuable lifelong skills: communication, listening, writing, creative, team work, curiosity, authenticity, personal finance management, selling, teaching, coaching, learning, reading, adaptability to name some. If we become aware of these skills and sharpen them early in our professional journey, we will be better suited and authentically successful in the dynamic world that we live in. Technology will continue to become better, faster, cheaper and the more we hone our “human” skills, the better prepared we will be.

Besides the academic subjects we teach in high schools and colleges, it’s high time that we teach students Lifelong Skills and cover the basics to get them ready for the next chapter in their academic and professional careers.

Characteristics for Excellent Customer Success

No matter what industry, product/service your company sells, your company stage and more, there are certain characteristics that are foundational to providing excellent customer success.

Empathy.

Care.

Positive Attitude.

Proactive.

Creative.

Open minded.

Organized.

Team work.

Flexible.

What more would you like to add?

 

 

Productive work days

Each work day can feel the same yet be so different.

Monday comes around, meetings and more meetings, and then we’re already planning for the weekend and beyond.

To make our working hours count and make our days productive, we can start our days with intention and finish with learnings and reflections from the work day.

What’s our intention today? Intentions could be I want to become better at doing client presentations or I want to learn more about Generative AI through meaningful discussions with colleagues. The intention helps set a goal for the day.

What did we learn today? We can learn a lot in a given day. We don’t have to be enrolled in a course or a seminar for us to learn something new each day. At the end of the work day, we can take a few minutes to write down what we learned today and reflect on how the day went.

 

Work from home/office

Once upon a time on a weekday, people got up, got ready, and commuted to a physical work location.

That was the “normal” work routine in many places globally.

On Monday morning, individuals got ready, had breakfast at home/in their commute to work, worked for 8 hours, and then returned home. Same routine for 5 days a week. 2 day weekend and long weekends on certain holidays. Lots of time and money spent on commuting to and from work. How productive this “system/structure” has been is up for debate. Working from home was way less common than it is today.

These days, individuals get up, get ready, and work from their home work station all 5 days of the week or commute few times to their physical work location or still commute 5 days a week. A hybrid work model seems to be here to stay and both employees and employers benefit from this.

Are leaders born or made?

Leaders are made.

Leadership is a skill.

Individuals become better leaders by honing their leadership skills.

To hone leadership skills, take the lead wherever possible-community, company, family etc.

We all start from somewhere and become better with practice, smart work, learning, and reflecting.

Startup Founder Credit

Do startup founder(s) get more credit for the startup’s success or blame for its failure than other members of the startup (managers, technical leads etc)?

We know of founder(s) who started companies but what about the initial 5 to 50 employees who helped the startup grow.

What contributes to a startup’s success? Is it the founder(s)’ idea, their execution, their initial key hires, or just the timing of their idea(s)?

How much should we praise founder(s), recognize their successes and failures, and attribute to the startup’s growth?

Travel Tips from Road Trips

Road trips are fun and adventurous with a good group, couple or on our own.

If we’re driving to a destination, we can choose some places to stop along the way that interests us : local eats, city attractions, must-see locations/landmarks and other interest(s) we have.

A good mix of planned activities/stops along the way and unplanned stops to see if certain locations/ landmarks seem exciting can make the journey memorable.

Few good music playlists, podcasts, and audio books can make the travel fun and entertaining.

Packing healthy snacks and drinks provides needed fuel and energy to our body!

Useful college workshops

Workshops that could provide tremendous value to current college students especially after they graduate are:

Financial Management

Priority Management

Skills Development

Health and Fitness

Leadership

Networking

I Asked A Ton Of Questions.

One of my favorite parts from Kobe Bryant’s The Mamba Mentality How I Play book is the page with the heading I Asked A Ton Of Questions. In that page, Kobe shares:

I asked a ton of questions.

I was curious. I wanted to improve, learn, and fill my head with the history of the game. No matter who I was with—a coach, hall of famer, teammate—and no matter the situation—game, practice, vacation—I would fire away with question after question.

A lot of people appreciated my curiosity and passion. They appreciated that I wasn ’t just asking to ask, I was genuinely thirsty to hear their answers and glean new info. Some people, meanwhile, were less understanding and gracious. That was fine with me. My approach always was that I’d rather risk embarrassment now than be embarrassed later, when I’ve won zero titles.

Image by : Andrew D. Bernstein

Are workshops the way to go?

Workshops are focused, interactive, and the results can be immediate.

With the current pace of technological advancements, workshops are more effective than year long programs to get faster and effective results.

The format of workshops enables participants to learn a new skill, become more knowledgeable about a topic/subject, interact with other team members etc. in a short time frame.

Online workshops can be as effective as in person workshops and can have participants from various parts of the world.

Which workshop(s) have you attended recently or planning to participate in?

Beauty of Simplicity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The commonplace about Italian cooking is that it’s very simple; in practice, the simplicity needs to be learned, and the best way to learn it is to go to Italy and see it firsthand. – Bill Buford

To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is. – Bruce Lee