Happy October! It is now officially the last quarter of the year that we will all remember forever.
First off, I’d like to thank you all for the overwhelming love and positive feedback I received on the first issue of Victory Vitamin. Your support has reaffirmed my decision to put my thoughts and experiences in a newsletter — and I hope to continue curating and sending you the best on leadership and professional growth each month.
I found myself in dire need of some humour and positivity over the last few days. So in this issue, you’ll see that reflected in my recommendations and round-ups. Hope you enjoy the issue!
A Sunday snippet
A writer is happiest writing — whether it’s an anecdote, an observation or a true story. A couple of Sundays back, inspiration struck, and I put my pen to paper (well, I opened up my laptop) to jot down this little snippet. Fact or pure fiction? That’s for you to guess!
Writers don’t just love telling stories — they like hearing them too. And I am keen to hear some from you. That’s why I am hosting a story contest on my Facebook page.
Every day from 7th to 9th October, I will be posting a quote from my book Father of Your Team. If any of these quotes remind you of a story or anecdote, write it down in 100-150 words and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by . The winning entries will be on my author website! Watch out for the winner announcements in my newsletter next month.
- The Pause and Pan. Your audience expects you to start your speech as soon as you step on the stage. A little pause here has the power to break this expectation — thereby raising their curiosity. Look at your audience and mentally segment them into 3 sections — right, left and centre. Then, deliver a confident smile and begin.
- Memorise strategically. We often memorise scripts from the beginning — so we remember the first part of our speech well and become less confident as we go along. Overcome this by splitting your speech into 4 sections. Write down the hints and pointers for each section on a separate cue card and rehearse each section in a random order as if they are a complete speech on their own.
- From Mirror to Mobile. Refrain from practising your speech in front of a mirror. After all, when you actually deliver the speech, you won’t be able to see yourself and alter your expressions accordingly, right? The better way to go about it is to record your speech on a mobile camera and replay the recording to enhance your expressions.
The world is your oyster
Long (and I mean very long) gone are the days when medicine, law and engineering were the only respectable career options. Last month, I attended a weekend workshop on career transition coaching, and I was thrilled to see the variety of options and choices available to students today. Here are a couple of key facts I learned:
- The new National Education Policy gives a variety of subjects for college grads to mix and match, leaving them with a wider array of career options to thrive in. For instance, those interested in majoring in Biology may not know that there are 190 career options in the field! Likewise, there are 47 domains associated with law — think aviation law, public policy law, social work law and so on.
- Many of us watch IPL, but have you ever thought about how many roles come together to make it a reality? The answer: 700! Yes, the IPL wouldn’t be so successful without the application engineers, sports data analysts, physiotherapists, photographers, sound engineers, copywriters, travel managers, catering managers, ad creators and brand managers among others.
- 2 crore students will be appearing for their Class 12 board exams next year. With so many options available to youngsters, India now has a requirement of at least 1.5 million career counsellors to guide students through their career journey. That’s a potential vertical for professional growth or making some extra bucks in case you are interested!
Events that touched me
Culture of caring
- At a time when we are reading about layoffs and pay cuts, this comes as a breath of fresh air! This company has truly instilled a culture of sharing and caring — and it extends to everyone within the firm. From the Anna who brings tea with a smile every morning to the Akka who helps maintain the office space, nobody is forgotten in these tough times. Now that is what true leadership is all about.
My take on leadership this month:
When the going gets tough…
What do condolence cards and worm-infested chocolates have to do with iconic leadership? This article holds the answer — as told through two inspiring stories of leaders who handled the worst kinds of crises that fate could throw at them.
Forgetting something in your texts?
Ginger is to chai what this vital ingredient is to text messages. If you are about to send a quick message to your employee, boss or colleague, don’t press send just yet. Make sure you have added this ingredient that will most likely get you an enthusiastic response. Read this article to see my recipe for successful communication.
The march of the millennials
You can’t be a good manager if you fail to understand 75% of your team. And that’s approximately how many millennials you will have in the workforce within the next 5 years. So if you are keen to learn more about your millennial team members, here’s a good place to begin.
My reading list:
Articles I loved:
4 strengths of family-friendly work cultures
You’ve heard them in the background on calls; you’ve seen glimpses of them during video conferences. Over the last few months, as your employees worked from home, their families have become de facto extensions of your team. Now might be the best time to start making your workplace culture more family-friendly — if you haven’t done so already. This article explains it all.
How Bill Gates Learned To Be An Empathetic Leader
Think of a person (real or fictional) whom most people would call a genius. Is this person awkward? Distant and brusque? Does this person have poor interpersonal skills?
Chances are, you answered yes to at least one of these. We are often taught that geniuses are so busy changing the world that they have no time for empathy or social niceties. This article explains why that brand of leadership is no longer cutting it in the tech world (and beyond).
The Dilbert Future — Scott Adams
What with office uncertainties, extended work hours and the stress of managing remote teams, your work life might seem like the least funny thing right now. But who better than Dilbert to help you bring back the humour in workplace situations?
Heads up, though — some of Dilbert’s comic prophecies might seem closer to reality now than ever before. For instance, Prediction 43 says that ‘In future, the science of advertising will improve to the point where buying what you see in an advertisement is no longer optional.’ (SEO, affiliate marketing, recommender systems — we’re almost there!)
The Miracle Equation — Hal Elrod
The cover of the book tells you the equation right up front — ‘Unwavering Faith + Extraordinary Effort = Miracle’.
Sounds a bit simplistic, right? But when you realise that the author of the book overcame everything from unachievable sales targets and near financial collapse to even life-threatening situations (road accidents, cancer) using this formula, you’ve got to at least check it out! I did, and found myself hooked. Go ahead and pick it up — it’s interesting and convincing too.
The Tao of Warren Buffett – Mary Buffett and David Clark
The world offers a buffet of options — not everyone has the same taste or appetite, but they all find something they love. And so it is with this book.
This brilliant read contains some of the best Buffettisms, philosophies and common-sense prescriptions that are relevant to people from every industry and vertical. My personal favourite nugget of wisdom: ‘It is easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.’ So true, isn’t it?
Find your pin
With so many social media apps at our fingertips, communication has become more immediate. Unfortunately, so has criticism. At a time when you are surrounded by so much noise and opinions, how do you cut through it all and take away something useful?
On Gandhiji’s birth month, let us take a cue from Mahatma himself. Watch this video to know how he handled the harshest criticism and managed to retain the one useful thing from it.
Inspired by Mahatma’s witty philosophy? This month, put that into action in your own life. Recollect the incidents in which you were treated unfairly — and find your pin in those situations.
I have composed a song with the theme of reconnecting with our teachers in the classical language Tamil. Rendered by the one and only Sowmya Ramasamy, the Carnatic Music artiste, I am excited to add this to your collection of favourite videos on my YouTube channel. You can also find it here on my Facebook page.