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Articles | Insight

To Be, Or Not To Be – The Perils of Decision Making

After an exhausting Diwali shopping with her family, Sunita plonked down on her favorite sofa. Her phone rang. She looked at her eight year old kid imploringly to help find her phone, which he did as usual. The kid noticed the expression on his mother’s face change from tiredness to amazement while talking on the phone. As soon as she disconnected the call, she started dancing and celebrating. The kid asked her “What happened mom?” Sunita said “That call was from the shopping mall. We are the lucky winners of an exotic holiday!’

Her kid and husband also started celebrating as this was the first time they had won anything like this. The husband excitedly asked “Where exactly?” She said “They have given us three choices, first is a cruise party in Goa, second is Kerala and third is Ladakh”.

Diwali holidays came and went by and Sunita’s family did not go anywhere. They celebrated Diwali at home. Shocked why? They missed the date for reverting on where they wanted to go.

They kept debating amongst themselves and didn’t notice that their time was up. The kid was excited to go to Goa as every young kid would have wished! Sunita wanted to spend quality and peaceful time in Kerala and her adventurous husband wanted to do something different. Ultimately they were not able to make any firm decision and lost the free holiday opportunity.

So what’s your story of missing out on opportunities just because you have not taken the right decision at the right time?

Research reveals that emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making. Decisions serve as the conduit through which emotions guide every attempt at increasing positive feelings such as pride, happiness, love and avoiding feelings such as guilt, fear, regret. We lack awareness of these process while taking decisions in our life but emotions and decision-making go hand in hand.

For example, you may feel afraid of flying after reading about some airline crash and decide to drive instead. However, it is a fact that the base rates for death by driving are much higher than base rates for death by flying.

Our emotions are a strong influence on our decision-making even when we have facts and data that support the alternative course of action as more logical. Understanding this and taking this into account can help us get better at decision-making.

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a powerful tool which allows emotion and skepticism to be brought into what, on the surface, might appear to be a purely rational process, and it opens up the opportunity of creative decision-making.

The six hats represent six modes of thinking and provide directions or guidelines to think from different perspective on any situation or problem. The best approach is to use this tool proactively rather than reactively. The six hats and the perspectives they represent are:

White Hat: The neutral White Hat focus on the available data, analyze past trends, and look for gaps in knowledge. It offers objective facts and figures.

Red Hat: The emotional intuitive Red Hat is used to get people’s gut reaction. You also tend to be keenly aware how others may react emotionally to a decision.  On the other hand, you can struggle to see a problem logically.

Black Hat: The cautious Black Hat is used when you want to get the critical viewpoint. You can identify the risks that may occur and can also identify potential pitfalls as this well help to decrease the chances of making poor decision. And will make your decisions stronger.

Yellow Hat: The sunny and positive Yellow Hat helps to counterbalance judgmental thinking of Black Hat. It can be used in looking forward to the results of some proposed action, but can also be used to find something of value in what has already happened. It will an optimistic viewpoint of the decision when everything looks difficult.

Green Hat: The creative Green Hat comes on when you want to generate fresh ideas, changes, and innovation. It is a freewheeling way of thinking without criticism.

Blue Hat: The Organizing Blue Hat sets objective, outlines the situation and return at the end to summarize and draw conclusion.

So what are the benefits of using something like the six thinking hats? This approach helps us take into account various factors and perspectives before arriving at a decision. So they help us avoid jumping to conclusions based on only one or two perspective.

Ask yourself following five questions before taking any decision:

  • Do I understand the context?
  • Do I know what is wrong and what decision is required?
  • Do I know what the options are and the consequences of each?
  • What will I regret for each decision?

Every problem you experience has a purpose and message for you. See each problem as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. See it as an opportunity to become more effective and efficient in your daily activities and a chance to more another step in your journey towards success.

Diwali is a time to turn inward and light the lamps of knowledge and truth in our hearts and minds so that we can dispel the forces of darkness and ignorance within us and allow our innate brilliance and goodness to shine forth. It is a time to acknowledge and better understand our prejudices, negative behaviors, and bad habits so that we may begin the process of transforming ourselves. Diwali is, most importantly, a time to celebrate and appreciate life and to look forward to the coming year with a renewed sense of purpose and passion.

On this auspicious festival of lights, may the glow of joy, prosperity & happiness illuminate your days in the year ahead… stay confident and positive…Happy Diwali from SoaringEagles.

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Articles | Insight

The Secret Sauce for Success

That day I learned something. And that is a learning I decided to apply to my life.

It was the new years’ eve and the entire family had gathered together to ring in the New Year. I decided to whip up something new, something different that evening. I began with confidence but each time I tasted the dish, I had the sense that the dish was lacking in something. Some 3 tastings later, I decided that there was an inherent weakness in the recipe. I kept trying to correct that weakness and in the process ruined what could have become a perfect Master Chef worthy experimental dish.

A couple of hours later, just as the clock was about to strike twelve, I reflected over what went wrong with the dish. I had looked at the cooking process all wrong. I was so obsessed with correcting the weaknesses in the dish that never once did I try to work on the strengths of the recipe. I could have done so much to enhance the taste, some of the flavours were so spot- on and the colour did look perfect.

That night I realized that we tend to focus on our weaknesses way too often when instead we should focus on our strengths, the actual secret sauce for success. I realized that if I want to excel in whatever I do, I need to focus on my strengths and draw out the best from myself.

According to Gallup Database of Strengths- based Interventions, employees who learn to use their strengths are 7.8% more productive on the job and have 14.9% lower turnover.

In fact, during the 1950s, Nebraska School Study Council carried out a state- wide research to identify which teaching method could help improve rapid reading speed. While the statistical results to identify the teaching methods did remain insignificant, two interesting results came to light. The data revealed that performance increased 1.6 times for average performers and performance increased by 8 times for students who were naturally able to read fast.

So what are the ingredients for this secret sauce?

Identify your Capabilities

Think about all your life experiences (the good and the bad) and ask yourself these five questions.

  1. What was so exciting about that experience?
  2. How did I handle that experience?
  3. What did I learn from that experience?
  4. What was unique about my experience?
  5. What exciting words can describe how I handled that situation?

Seek Feedback

Ask any five people you trust what they think are your strengths. Ask them to answer these three questions.

  1. When do you think I was at my best?
  2. What did I do well?
  3. What was unique about the way I handled myself/ the situation?

Invest Time in Developing the Capability

Once you have identified your strengths, invest time in honing them. Practice consistently so that you can perform better.

According to studies conducted by Gallup, an Employee who regularly applies her strengths at work is 5.1 times as likely to strongly agree that she knows what is expected of her at work and 6.2 times as likely to strongly agree that she has the opportunity to do what she does best every day.

Leverage your Strengths

Restructure your roles in such a way that you take on tasks which capitalize on your strengths. Are you excellent at creating presentations? Why not share a presentation with colleagues highlighting processes followed in the department? This will let the concerned people identify your strengths and the same time will highlight how you take initiatives.

So go out there and shine the light on your strengths and expertise and see success follow you around. If you want help in figuring out your strengths, you can explore the coaching programs offered by SoaringEagles. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Entrepreneurship

It’s Your Turn to be the Intrapreneur

Yes! I am talking to you...enough of blaming others for limited career growth, poor management, etc. It’s high time to be that 'irreplaceable' employee. It’s your turn to develop Intrapreneurship in you.

Ken Kutaragi was working in the sound labs at Sony Corporation (1975) when he bought his young daughter a Nintendo game console. When he saw his daughter playing with the new Nintendo game, he was not at all impressed with the quality of the sound. Ken believed that a digital chip, dedicated solely to sound, would significantly improve the quality of the Nintendo gaming system.

Ken successfully developed a CD-ROM-based system for Nintendo. Ken Kutaragi visualised the business opportunity of computer gaming systems for Sony. With his Intrapreneurial spirit, Ken pushed hard to convince the Sony Corporation to enter the electronic gaming business. His persistence paid off and he went on to lead the effort to help Sony develop its own gaming system. This went on to become a blockbuster product success we all know as ‘PlayStation’.

Sony backed Ken’s Intrapreneurial venture by investing $2.5 billion into the PlayStation start-up, and has gone on to build over 70% market share in the global home video game console market. Ken’s Intrapreneurial success has been called one of the greatest new business creations and launches in business history.

Animator John Lasseter was fired from Disney after suggesting the company get into computer animations. After all, he was just an artist. He went on to work for a division that later became Pixar. Here his interest in CGI was not only appreciated, but led to several hits like Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. Eventually, Pixar was sold to Disney. Lasseter went on to become Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

There are many examples of employees who has shown Intrapreneurship. Cheryl Pohlman (Kodak), Jeri Yoshizu (Toyota). If they can...then what is stopping you?

Entrepreneurial employees don’t always make it at large old-world companies. But, as the ability to innovate has now become a competitive advantage, even a requirement for survival, such large legacy companies need ways to retain people who can pull off innovative ideas. These employees recognize opportunities, and have the drive and persistence to make them happen.

If you want to be the ‘Irreplaceable Employee’, adapt the following 3 traits of ‘Intrapreneurs’

Driven To Come Up With New Ideas:

They are not satisfied with a job where they show up every day, follow orders, and go home. They want to do more, to achieve more ultimately, to have some degree of control over what they are doing. You will find these employees willing to follow through on their ideas with passion, taking ownership of some small part of the organization.

Willing To Take Risk:

Every business that exists represents a risk that someone was willing to take, and it’s similar for Intrapreneurial employees. They are not paralyzed in situations where the outcome is unclear and potential failure presents risks. If anything, they are energized by that sense of desperation and driven to come up with the best solution. Intrapreneurs aren’t afraid to change course, nor do they fear failure. They have an inner confidence and courage to believe that every step takes them closer to their ultimate goal.

Focused On Results:

They want to know how they are doing, what they are doing well, and where they can improve. That thirst for information spreads to the rest of the business, too, and they are always looking for ways to do things better. An entrepreneur “gets it” and does their work in a way that shows the organization they are someone it can’t afford to lose. The money and advancement finds them.

Konosuke Matsushita, one of the business titans of the 20th century, said: “Think like an entrepreneur, not a hired hand.

Apple, Motorola, Mitsubishi, 3M, and Johnson and Johnson are all well known examples of large organizations that practice and develop intrapreneurship today.

If you want to become that irreplaceable ‘Intrapreneurial Employee’, check out the coaching programs offered by Soaring Eagles. This program helps you develop into a highly productive, creative thinking leader who can communicate their ideas with confidence and influence people. Those who have stayed the course and followed the strategies, have risen from a sea of mediocrity in the workplace and emerged as Intrapreneurs!

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Articles | Time Management

Interruptions, Interrupted

It is Monday morning and Marcia starts her week all committed and determined to deliver on all projects before deadline. She reaches work with a spring in her step and a song in her heart (Marcia loves her job and can’t wait for Mondays) and starts her laptop with gumption and alacrity. And lo behold, her colleague pops in and says, “Do you want to grab a cup of coffee before you get started?” And although there is a voice inside her head which is squeaking and pleading with her not to go, a huge monstrous desire to have that coffee and the amazing sandwich to go takes charge, thus quelling that squeak to a non- existent silence. And so, the day goes by with a phone call here, an email there and questions popping in from everywhere. And before she knows it, a whole week has flown by and the deadlines have all been again revised because they couldn’t be met. Does this sound familiar?

Basex research conducted in the US reveals that interruptions can impact an individual’s productivity, energy and work satisfaction and the estimated cost of this impact is close to $588 billion a year. The results of this study are startling given that a large part of our day just gets spent getting interrupted. This estimated figure does not include the rise in error rates and the resulting costs from these errors. 

According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, error rates doubled following a 2.8-second interruption and tripled after a 4 and a half-second distraction. So, you can imagine the cost implications of interruptions.

So, who creates these interruptions? Others or do we create them? Dr. Gloria Mark, Associate Professor at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California conducted a survey of employees at Microsoft and found that 44% of the time employees ended up interrupting themselves.

So how do we deal with this huge problem of interruptions? You can use the ICAP strategy to deal with interruptions.

ICAP Strategy for Dealing with Interruptions

Identify

We all have To- do lists which help us identify what needs to be done. But we seldom create the Not- to- do lists. Identify all the things that you should not be doing such as peeking into your phone, randomly checking social network updates, compulsively refreshing to check for emails. Interruption could also be in the form of a person reaching out to you with requests. Identify all the elements that are interrupting your work.

According to a study conducted by The Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, when you spend your time constantly on emails, text messages and calls, your IQ drops by 10 points. This loss is the same as the loss you would experience when you miss a night’s sleep. (Yoga Journal, p. 22, 12/2005).

Control

Take control of the situation. Tell people when you will be available to talk to them. Show that you respect time and treat it as a valuable resource. You can do this by valuing others’ time. You can take efforts to show people that you value time by requesting for time on their calendar or being time- bound and not exceeding time allotted to you. Set up a time to check emails. And I know this may sound very drastic but keep your phone switched off during office hours. That way you won’t feel compelled to check for updates.

Assert

Learn to say no. Most often we allow ourselves to be interrupted because it is more difficult to say no or because we feel guilty when we say no. Learn to be Assertive. Remember that you are saying no to the request and are not rejecting the person. It is important to understand that when you are saying yes to this person, you are saying no to your work and the cost implications of saying no to your work are a lot higher that saying no to this person.

Plan

Sometimes, interruptions are unavoidable. You can however plan for these interruptions in your calendar. Most people get overwhelmed due to the ad- hoc tasks that come in and which don’t allow for planned tasks to get done. This is why planning is so critical. When you have your day planned and prioritized, little else can deter it. If the interruption at hand does not lead you closer towards your long-term strategy, it means you must not let interruption get hold of you. If the interruption leads you towards that long-term goal, go ahead and welcome the interruption. Plans can be more fruitful when you have clear understanding of your goals.

This ICAP strategy can help you manage interruptions much better and can help you be more productive. If you don’t have a long-term strategy sketched out yet, now is a good time to work on it. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “The future depends on what you do today.”

Are you struggling with finding time to do strategic things? Do you find yourself mostly caught up with day-to-day execution challenges and firefighting? How is this impacting your performance and movement towards your goals? Do you want to get a hold over your time and focus on strategic initiatives? A coach can help you with this goal. Feel free to schedule a free consultation with us. 

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Articles | Training

SoaringEagles Named A Top 25 Most Promising Learning & Development Consultant 2017

We are thrilled to share that SoaringEagles has been named as one of the top 25 Most Promising Learning & Development Consultants 2017 in the Consultants Review Magazine.

Consultants Review is the one of the leading business magazines that features information, trends, developments and insights on the consultancy scene in India. The magazine provides a platform for distinguished Industry leaders like CEO, COO, CFO, VP- Marketing & HR heads to share their views, experiences, successes, best practices and industry trends.

To quote Consultants Review -

"In this edition of Consultants Review, we have listed ‘25 Most Promising Learning & Development’ Consultants that are assured to bring the most value to the organization by maximizing the profitability of the business and attain sustainable growth in the long run."

We are elated to be recognized as one of the most promising Learning & Development Consultants of 2017 as this is a recognition of the quality and effectiveness of our customized corporate training programmes which deliver results for our clients.

Here is an excerpt from the article -

"SoaringEagles has a strong learner-centric approach and arouses intrinsic motivation to learn in their trainees. The company believes in delivering quality content consistently. The company has seized every opportunity that has presented itself in the talent development space. Explaining the importance of their services for companies, Sonali avers, “Disengaged employees and high turnover rate impact the productivity of the business, its level of innovation, and ultimately the bottom line. One of the key reasons for attrition is a lack of opportunity for self-development of employees. Bringing on board an innovative and agile talent development partner like SoaringEagles can dramatically improve performance over a few months of engagement.”

To access the full article click here.

To know more about our programs, visit https://soaringeagles.co/coaching

To contact us click on the Request Consultation or WhatsApp button above.

Resources
Articles | Communication

How to Communicate Well With Others: Top 5 Tips

Communication is at the core of our existence. Whether we know it or not, we are all communicating with others all the time – be it through words or through our body language. As a social animal, we cannot survive without communicating with other. Why do you think solitary confinement is one of the most stringent punishments in prison? So the first thing to acknowledge is that you can communicate. Don’t ever say or think that you cannot communicate, you will only pull yourself down.

The quality of your communication determines whether you get what you want or not. If you find yourself in situations where people just don’t get what you are saying, it is time to reflect and understand where the communication is not going right –

  • is it that your idea is not clear; or
  • is it that your words are not appropriate; or
  • is it that you are not able to get the attention of the listener; or
  • is it that you are not able to get the listener interested in what you have to say; or
  • is it that you know what to say but just don’t have the confidence to say it well?

It is important to know where you may be getting stuck so that you can improve the quality of your communication and achieve your objectives. The top 5 tips to enhance the quality of your communication with others are as follows:

Enhance Your Active Vocabulary Vocabulary tree

It is important to use the appropriate words in our sentences to get our ideas across. If we do not have a strong vocabulary, we will struggle to express our ideas clearly and succinctly. If we have to use a lot of simple words to get across one idea which could have been expressed better with one appropriate word, we run the risk of the listener losing interest in what we have to say or worse our ideas get buried under a bunch of random words. So it is important to have a large active vocabulary, i.e., words that we can actually use while speaking and writing.

Everyone has a much larger passive vocabulary than an active one, and that is perfectly alright. However, if you make efforts to listen to how more advanced or difficult words are used by others and try to use it in your communication, you will develop your active vocabulary and then not be at loss of words. Focus on the type of words you will actually use or that are used actively in your industry.

Be Clear about what you want to say and what you want to get out of it

People have very short attention spans and they don’t like to listen to someone who rambles on without any clear purpose. So before you can engage anyone in a conversation, it is important that you are clear about your own thoughts and ideas. When you have that clarity of thought, you will be able to structure your message better.

Einstein on Explaining Simply

It is important to be clear on what is it that you are trying to achieve while talking to someone so that you can guide the discussion towards getting that end objective. This does not mean that you show no interest in the person you are talking to. You objective could very well be to get to know the person better and understand what their challenges are so that you can then see how you can help them. At times we make the assumption that the listener knows what we want and will do the needful without us actually specifically asking for it. This approach may not get you the desired outcome. The better approach is to have a clear ‘call to action’ so that the listener knows what you expect or want them to do.

Grab the attention of the listener

Has this happened to you – you are sitting with a group of people and when you try to say something, you realize that no one is listening and then you just stop talking. Believe me, it happens to almost everybody. The important thing is to not give up and start believing that no one wants to listen to me. You have to make an effort to grab the attention of the listeners and say what you have to say. There are many ways of doing it. You can interject when there is a slight pause in the conversation or when one topic that was being discussed has reached its logical conclusion. You can use phrases like – “I want to add to that” or “I had a similar experience” or “Do you want to hear another perspective” or “I agree and ….” or something on these lines.

Phubbing

Another scenario very common these days is when you are trying to say something and the listener starts looking at their phone or doing something else. Before you can get your message across, you need to grab their attention.

Make it interesting for the listener

If you want to engage with someone and have them listen to your ideas, you need to make sure it is interesting for the listener. You need to look at things from their perspective and present your ideas in a way that makes it meaningful for them. If the listener does not see anything of interest to them in what you have to say, they will eventually switch off and your efforts would be wasted. So it is better to understand your audience and tailor your content so as to make it about your audience and not about you. This simple strategy will see your quality of communication improve dramatically.

Work on building your confidence

When you have confidence in yourself, it shows and it attracts others to you like a magnet. People want to get to know you and your self-confident attitude shows that you are worth their time and effort. A self-confident person also makes others feel better about themselves. People who lack confidence tend to avoid connecting with others, they avoid eye contact and project disinterest. This turns people off. For good conversation to take place, people need to make eye contact and need to show interest in each other. So to become a good conversationalist, work on building your self-confidence. When you feel good about yourself, you will be able to make others feel good about themselves.

Remember, a conversation is always a two–way street so both sides need to get to speak and should listen when the other person is talking. Being a good conversationalist is not only about speaking well but also about listening well. When you listen actively and understand the other person’s perspective, you will be able to present your ideas in a much more attractive manner.

SoaringEagles offers a range of courses on enhancing self-confidence and improving communication skills. There are also courses on public speaking and presentation skills. The courses help you to enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence, build better rapport, think more creatively and critically, and present your ideas with conviction and clarity. To find out more and benefit from our programs, click on the Request Consultation button above.