Brandalyzer

The following is a post from http://www.entrepreneur.com and is written by Joe Judson, President and CEO of Fusion Logistics. The link to the original article is: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242288

In the game of life, I have never known anyone who achieved great success by simply being interested in what they do. The road to success is littered with people who are interested in achieving something, but it takes more than interest, or even passion, it takes commitment to be great at something.

This concept of interest vs. commitment is something I share with my sons regularly. At their ages, 13 and 11, this life lesson is easily illustrated through sports. My oldest son has played nearly every sport imaginable and has been interested in all of them. Guess whose time and money have been spent on his interests?

After many speeches about the difference between being interested and being committed, he now understands that I am not purchasing one more football, basketball, baseball or lacrosse stick if I don’t see a commitment to the sport. I now see him practicing a little more than he was just six months ago! He is starting to understand the difference and see the direct correlation between his commitment to practice and the newfound success in his athletic life.

This concept translates to all areas of life, especially business. As a CEO it is my responsibility to set expectations for our organization and show my commitment to those expectations. I suspect there isn’t a single employee at our organization who doubts my daily commitment to the company or to my own development and success. I expect the same from each employee who joins our organization.

When evaluating employees, you need to see commitment in their actions and not just hear a bunch of words about how great they want to be and what they want to accomplish. Talk doesn’t get the job done.

From a sales perspective, if you have a team of people who are interested in being successful or hitting their quota, trust that you will end up investing a lot of time and money for little return. If you invest in developing and helping committed individuals become great at their craft, you’ll surely see a positive yield from that investment.

Everyone has tough days, and there will be days when leaders in the organization will need to challenge personnel to be committed. How do you accomplish this? Find out what drives and motivates the team members, either personally or professionally. Ask them about their goals, what aspects of the job they like or find challenging, where they want to be professionally and even financially over a six to 18 month period.

Keep these conversations restricted to timeframes that are realistic. Talking to people about five years down the road is hard for them to get their head around, especially for young people who are accustomed to instant gratification. People want success now, and few are willing to be patient. However, if you can find those who are committed, you can help them build momentum and ultimately achieve great things for themselves, for you, and ultimately, for the organization.

Building a team or a company is no easy task, and if you don’t currently have committed individuals on your team, rethink your strategy and make the necessary changes. It really is that simple. To have a great organization or a great team, you need the buy-in and commitment of those on the team. Moreover, you as the leader must have an unwavering commitment to the success of yourself and those on your team.

Good leadership is invaluable to one’s career trajectory. Too often, people give half-hearted effort, leading to mediocre results. Success in anything is rarely accidental — ask any successful individual and I bet they would tell you there is no such thing as luck. Luck is created, and it starts and stops with commitment, not interest.

Commit to being successful or get ready to be passed by those who are.

The below article is a Harvard Business Review blog post written by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman. The link to the original article is – https://hbr.org/2014/04/what-a-players-do/.

Individual contributors sometimes ask themselves, “What will it take for others to recognize my potential?” They may simply want acknowledgement of the importance of the work they do. Or they may aspire to move into management. In some cases, they’ve been told that they’re doing fine and have been advised, “Just keep doing what you are doing.”  Yet they see others being promoted ahead of them.

To see what separates the competent from the exceptional individual performers, we collected 50,286 360-degree evaluations conducted over the last five years on 4,158 individual contributors. We compared the “good” performers (those rated at the 40th to the 70th percentile) to the “best” performers (those rated at the 90th percentile and above). The first thing that struck us was the dramatic difference in productivity, as the graph below makes vividly clear.

Individual Performers Chart

Which leadership skills distinguished the best from the merely good? Here they are, ranked in order of which made the most difference. Exceptional individual contributors:

Set stretch goals and adopt high standards for themselves. This was the single most powerful differentiator. The best individual contributors set — and met — stretch goals that went beyond what others thought were possible. They also encouraged others to achieve exceptional results.  And yet when we asked raters to select the four skills they thought were most important for an individual contributor to have, less than one in 10 chose high goals. It appears that setting stretch goals, since it’s not necessarily expected, is a behavior that separates top performers from average.

The less effective individual contributors are excellent “sandbaggers,” having concluded that the biggest consequence of producing great work and doing it quickly is more work. They fear their managers will keep piling on tasks until they reach a point where they can’t accomplish all that’s assigned. That’s a problem for them, surely —  but also for organizations that don’t want to penalize valuable people for making extra effort.

Work collaboratively. When we asked people in the survey to tell us what they thought were the most important attributes for any individual contributor, they responded first with “the ability to solve problems” and second with “the possession of technical or professional expertise.”  So it’s probably not surprising that these fundamental characteristics were shared by average and exceptional contributors alike. Third on the list, though, was “the ability to work collaboratively and foster teamwork.”  And this trait did distinguish the great from the merely competent.

Many individual contributors strive to work independently. Some believe that if they remain solo performers, their contributions will be more likely to be noticed. They may be thinking of some educational experience where they stood out because their effort was acknowledged with high grades and test scores.  If so, they fail to see that the main purpose of an organization is to create more value by working together than everyone can produce by working outside the company on their own.

Volunteer to represent the group. The best individual contributors were highly effective at representing their groups to other departments or units within the organization. If you want to stand out, have the courage to raise your hand and offer to take on the extra work of representing your group. In this way you will gain recognition, networking opportunities, and valuable learning experiences.

Embrace change, rather than resisting It. One of our clients describes her organization as having a “frozen middle” filled with people who resist and fear change. Change is difficult for everyone, but is necessary for organizational survival.  The best individual contributors are quick to embrace change in both tactics and strategy.

Take initiative. Often individual contributors, by the very nature of their role in the organization,  slip into a pattern of waiting to be told what to do. Great contributors develop a habit of volunteering their unique perspective and providing a helping hand.  Think for a moment about the projects or programs going on in your own company.  Which of them have your fingerprints all over them? Initiative requires more than doing your current job well.

Walk the talk. It’s easy for some people to casually agree to do something and then let it slip their minds. Most people would say that this is mere forgetfulness. We disagree. We believe it is dishonest behavior. If you commit to doing something, barring some event truly beyond your control, you should follow through. The best individual contributors are careful not to say one thing and do another. They are excellent role models for others. This is the competency for which the collective group of 4,158 individuals we studied received highest scores.  That means, essentially, that following through on commitments is table stakes. But exceptional individual contributors go far beyond the others in their scrupulous practice of always doing what they say they will do.

Use good judgment. When in doubt about a technical issue or the practicality of a proposed decision, the very best individual contributors research it carefully rather than relying on their expertise to just wing it. Making decisions takes up a relatively small portion of the day for this group, but the consequences of the decisions they do make can be enormous. Outstanding contributors are open to a wide range of solutions and careful to consider what, and who, will be affected if something goes wrong.

Display personal resilience. No one is always right. Everyone suffers disappointments, failures, and disruptions. If they make a mistake, the best individual contributors acknowledge it quickly and move on. They don’t brood on other people’s mistakes. They ignore slights and hurtful comments. They realize that what undermines your reputation is not making mistakes but failing to own up to and learn from them.

Give honest feedback. We tend to think of feedback as a manager’s responsibility. And it is. Since this is not a formal role or usual expectation of individual contributors, it’s one of the behaviors that can make them stand out. Even done imperfectly, feedback from peers can be valuable because it’s so rare. If done with kind intent, demonstrations of how you might approach some task, gently raising questions a coworker may not have considered, or perhaps pointing out some specific things a colleague did that was particularly helpful to you or somewhat distracting, can be highly prized. The best individual contributors were able to provide feedback in a way that was perceived not as criticism but as a gesture of good will.

If you want to stand out from the pack, excelling at any of these nine behaviors can make a substantial impact on the way others perceive you. So we recommend selecting the one or two that might matter most to your effectiveness in your current assignment to work on improving.  In making your selection, consider asking your manager and peers for feedback on how effective you are in all of these areas. Not only will they give you additional insight, but sharing your plans to improve will increase the likelihood that you will follow through. What’s more, if managers know of your improvement goals they may find development assignments that will help.

If you are a manager with individual contributors reporting to you, consider periodic coaching to encourage them to adopt more of the behaviors that will help them stand out from the crowd. It will strengthen their careers and will also help them to benefit your organization even more than they already do.

This is an Economic Times article published on 21 Jan 2015.

International Monetary Fund in World Economic Outlook said India’s gross domestic product is likely to grow at 6.3 per cent in the next fiscal year.India is set to become the world’s fastest-growing major economy in about two years from now, as China slows after tearing along at speeds in excess of 10 per cent at times over the past three decades or so, according to latest projections by the International Monetary Fund in the World Economic Outlook.

The IMF’s flagship publication said India’s gross domestic product is likely to grow at 6.3 per cent, marginally down from 6.4 per cent projected in October, in the next fiscal year and 6.5 per cent in year to March 2017, which will be the third year of the Narendra Modi government. The World Bank had said last week that it sees China being dislodged by its neighbour to the south in calendar 2017.

Stocks ended at record levels following the IMF data release with the BSE Sensex closing at 28,784.67 points, up 1.85 per cent, and the NSE Nifty rising 1.7 per cent to 8,695.6.

The likely role switch comes amid the Chinese economy stumbling on bad loans from excessive spending and investment drying up. While India’s growth forecast is broadly unchanged, that of China has been slashed by half a percentage point from October projections. Official Chinese government data released on Tuesday showed it posted growth of 7.4 per cent last year, missing the official target and slumping to a 24-year low, although this was better than the 7.2 per cent expectation. In India, weaker external demand has been offset by the boost to the terms of trade from lower oil prices and a pickup in industrial and investment activity after policy reforms, the IMF said.

In its global outlook released on January 13, the World Bank projected India to edge past China in 2017, clocking 7 percent growth.

Few questions are as fascinating as the questions about our origin of life. The quest for the truth of our origin and how science leads this quest really fascinates me. Science says that life on earth started with lesser forms of life like bacteria and then evolved to advanced forms of life like fish, apes and humans. The historic debate of Science vs. Religion has two sets of people: evolutionists, who believe in the scientific theory that life evolved slowly over millions of years, and creationists, who say that all life on Earth was created by God only a few thousand years ago.

One of my favourite books on evolutionary science is ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ written by the biologist Richard Dawkins. This book holds a very important place because it brings together all the scientific evidence for Darwin’s theory of evolution, an idea that dominated science and that was pivotal for scientific progress in the last century. I have special appreciation for Dawkins for making science so simple and interesting for the general audience.

Dawkins starts the book with a discussion about the problem of calling the evolutionary theory as a ‘theory’. He says that it causes people to misinterpret that evolution is not true in reality. The book then covers how humans created various breeds of dogs through domestication. If humans could transform a wolf into different breeds of dogs in just a few hundred years, then there is no wonder that nature could make different species of animals and plants in millions of years.

The book then covers a very interesting topic of how scientists measure long periods of time that run into billions of years. The author introduces us to carbon dating and tree rings, clocks that are found in nature and that can precisely measure time for a few millions of years. After providing a very comprehensive explanation on natural clocks, Dawkins draws out heaps of fossil evidence to show the strength of evidence for evolution. At times, Dawkins does accept that there are some missing links in the scientific evidence for evolution. He draws an analogy that evolution is like the hour hand of the clock; one never sees the hour hand move, but we know that it moves.

I especially like the way Dawkins brings together evidence from geology, physics, fossil evidence, cell biology, and cosmology and helps us appreciate the beauty of evolution. The book conveys that there is grandeur in the evolution of life, and the endless beauty around us is a direct consequence of natural selection – the greatest show on Earth.

Thank you.

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