5 Questions To Answer Before Starting A New Career



Some jobs are a big drain on you, they simply cannot be repaired. Whether you have lost the drive or you simply feel unfulfilled in the job or business you currently have, may be it is time to think about something new. If you feel embarrassed to talk about your work with others or if you can’t imagine to be at the same place few years or decades down the line, it is the time to make a move for the second inning.

Let’s admit many a time we make some bad decisions, but it is never too late to correct those mistakes. I have seen people feel embarrassed  to acknowledge their mistakes resulting in their being stuck at the dead-end jobs. But if they accept these and start on a new journey, they will definitely be able to avoid a situation of continue living their mistakes and hating their life for next 10 or 20 years.

Yes it is a very difficult decision to leave the known territory and start something new, but it will definitely increase the chances of finding something that you really love.

It gets even more difficult if you have to make such a move in your midlife. You have responsibilities on you, your situation is complicated but the biggest obstacle is that it is emotionally difficult for you. You fear the consequences, whether you will be able to make it big or just end up being a laughing stuff for the others.

Well it may just be time to stop hearing to the noises and start hearing to your heart. What you love to do is most often actually your strength.

According to the Gallup studies that has surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement, studies indicate that people who focus on their strengths are six times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.¹

But before you think you are ready to make a move, it is important to have some serious introspection. You don’t want to be in the same state of despair again. Before you take the leap, start with some brainstorming:

What do you want to accomplish?

Identify your core beliefs and true love, so that you don’t change from your current job to another job that you hate equally bad. This could be severely detrimental for your confidence and self esteem. Most of the people find it difficult to specify in very clear terms about their real passions, so take your time in identifying your true beliefs. Be absolutely clear about what you are looking forward to in the new job before making any further move.

Are you prepared to take the hit?

Any thing that you start or the career-change process will not make a smooth sailing. The whole situation will evolve slowly. There will be new obstacles in your path that you had never thought of before. You may be required to take a cut in the salary, your friends and family may not support you or you may lose some of the status you currently enjoy. Are you prepared to take the hits on your face with chin up. If not, think again, you may be better off in the current job than any new venture. Only if you move to a job that you are really passionate about, you will be able to face the difficulties.

Do you have the skills?

The marketplace today is very competitive and if you take a plunge without assessing whether you have the necessary skills that are required in your new job, it will sure turn out to be a recipe for disaster. Invest in knowledge first, take some online or evening course while continuing in the current job. This will make you skill-ready for the coming challenges.

What value can you add?

World is filled with mediocre performers, if you also work like them then making it big will remain only a dream. Think deeply about the value you can add that the current players are not offering. whether it be speed of delivery or better quality product at the same cost, you should be absolutely clear the manner in which you will be able to add value to everything you do. Think about improved customer service or the convenience you can deliver.

Do you take on a partner or go solo?

You would want to have a feeling of security if you go in the new career along with some partner or have a mentor. There are benefits of different ideas, contacts, work division and accountability when you have a partner or a team. You will gain new perspectives and gain valuable advice. A mentor can help you get necessary knowledge and skills required and help advance your career. However this partnership should be based on mutual trust and respect, and also be a win-win proposition for both parties.

It is never perfect at the start

You won’t get all the answers in the beginning and it is almost a given fact that you will screw up somewhat at the start. It is not possible to be perfect in unknown, but you can always course-correct and find the right track for you. While it is important that you don’t take a crucial step of career-change blindly, it is equally important not to get too busy with analyzing and making the situations perfect to jump in. Trust me nobody achieved perfection with thinking alone. Have faith and take the leap, your destiny may well be calling you.

Related article: 9 Success Factors For Growth

References: 1. Strengths Finder 2.0 from Gallup – Tom Rath

10 Ways To Make Employees Productive


In order to succeed, productivity remains the lifeblood of any company. If you could figure out how to make your employees more productive and efficient then you can significantly increase the profits of your company and may well become a major player in your category. It is very difficult to make employees productive and efficient but in today’s work environment when meeting deadlines and getting work done are extremely critical, it is very necessary and prudent to give enhanced attention to this area.

To keep your employees motivated, happy and at peak state for enhanced productivity and boosting performance take care of these few things:

1. Lead From The Front

People will follow you quite naturally if you have the personality that inspires them. For a motivated and inspired team, leader has to be charismatic. As a leader you should be able to show them a clear vision of where you want to go. Try to develop a culture that is collaborative and values each team member. It is vital that your team sees that you live the life you preach. Lead from the front and you will be amazed how the productivity can take a quantum jump. Be a visionary, show them the way and then quietly step aside and let them accomplish the tasks on their own.

2. Set Clear Goals

Most of the times employees are able to achieve remarkable things when they have clear goals to focus on. It is said, ‘you get what you focus on.’ Just take care that the goals for your employees are specific, measurable and with a timeline attached to it. The goals that you set for them should be realistic. They should not be too low that they don’t inspire them, at the same time they should not be too high that people think them to be too stiff and don’t find them attainable.

3. Make Them Feel Important

Take good care of your employees. As entrepreneur Richard Branson says, “Clients do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of clients.” When you take genuine interest in their interests and personal lives, they feel more like part of the big family and when employees are happy, they in turn will make all efforts to make company productive.

4. Make Them Feel Secure On The Job

Yes, it is one of the most neglected aspect of the corporate culture these days when profits for the shareholders are more important than the job security to own employees. But it is to be understood that the employees who feel secured and comfortable in their job; who know they have the back of their leaders are far more productive and innovative in their work. It is better to select candidates after due diligence rather than hiring and firing casually to the detriment of the company.

5. Acknowledge Good Efforts

The most productive employees are those who are happy and motivated. One of the most effective way to encourage your employees for their efforts is to acknowledge them and do it early. Once workers feel they are appreciated they will work with enhanced vigor. For rewarding people you may publicly recognize them or provide some financial incentive or a raise. Remember that deep down everyone wants to be appreciated and feel important and a true leader knows How To Motivate Your Employees. When you satisfy this need of the people, they develop a strong bond with the company and work with much more enthusiasm and conviction, which in turn leads to higher productivity and efficiency at the work place.

6. Focus On Ongoing Training

One of the strongest desire in all people is to grow and progress. Offer your employees the opportunities to improve their skills and capabilities by arranging coaching, courses, and workshops. This will also help the company as employees become more talented which brings more efficiency in working. Many organization tend to save on the expenses by not looking into this vital aspect of skill development, but this could backfire and make the workforce redundant over long period of time.

7. Give Feedback

For enhancing productivity it is important to give timely feedback. Develop a culture of periodic performance review, through which you can provide information to your employees about what they are doing right and what needs to be corrected. Keep the communication two way where you also ask your people about the areas where you can help. Show them that you are also open to critical feedback and value the opinion of your people.

8. Say No To Favoritism

Never ever let your employees think that they are not treated equally. A leader who has his favorites in the team will soon have a team which will be split on personal levels and soon it will reflect poorly on the productivity front.

9. Offer Them Life Balance

In today’s fast paced life everybody is stressed and if the office offers the employees an atmosphere or work conditions where they can find respite from such pressure, they are sure going to love it. Allow your employees some fixed number of days to work from home or flexible hours. Offer child care facilities and maternity benefits for the female staff. These steps have been proven to decrease absenteeism and improve productivity.

10. Equip Your Office Right

Comfortable and pleasant atmosphere, correct supplies and decent everyday work equipment are some of the basic necessity that you need to take care of, to optimize the productivity of your office. Do not give your team any excuse to be inefficient. If the work atmosphere is airy, well lit and fresh, it creates a feeling of joy in the team. Output of such people is definitely going to be far better compared to others who work in some substandard office.

Only those employees go the extra mile for their customers and company who feel they are essential part of the team. When they are treated well, valued for their talents and given chances for growth, people get into an entirely different frame of positive mindset. This naturally helps to increase employee retention and increased efficiency in the company.

Related article: Best Ways To Retain Your Good Employees

How To Make Employees Accountable


One of the most important aspect of management is to hold its employees accountable. If you are unable to hold employees accountable then be prepared to have a stagnancy in your business. For higher productivity in any organization responsibility has to be shared between all employees. Employees who are accountable will deliver on the commitments and those who are not will give excuses.

Task of a leader is clearly to hold his people accountable without resorting to aggressive methods that reduces motivation and further decreases performance. Keep in mind that most of the people want to remain responsible and achieve their goals. But many a times organizations gets trapped in the culture of mediocrity and most often it starts from the top. If the bosses tolerate poor results, it starts breeding the culture where employees lose their sense of accountability.

If you want your employees to be accountable take care of these few things:

1. Hire The Right People

Accountability starts and ends with the talent of the people we hire. Right from the beginning do not accept the culture of mediocrity and hire only the people with the best talents and skills. At the same time management will do them good if they don’t allow mediocrity in their senior employees too. If the new employee sees that everyone else at the job is working to best of their potential and are held accountable, they adjust to the environment accordingly. On the other hand the new employee who comes bubbling with enthusiasm and energy will quickly fizzle out if the culture of the organization do not reward merit of its people.

2. Define Expectations Clearly

It is known to all that communication is the key to productive workforce. Spell clearly to your employees, what are your expectations from them. When employees have a well defined job profile, their productivity takes a quantum jump. It is advisable that you get these expectations documented. Make it a two way conversation and let people write them down themselves so that they get full clarity. Ask them to give their own strategies and how they will judge their success. It will be useful if you make them understand how their responsibilities are in line with the corporate goals. When held accountable to specific and measurable performance employee motivation and productivity increases.

3. Supervise Regularly

Out of sight is out of mind, and it holds true for enhancing employee accountability too. If you don’t supervise regularly, not only your employees, but you also will lose sight of the goals. It is advisable to keep an eye on your employees on a consistent basis. Allow enough freedom to your employees that they make their own decisions in the areas that affect their work. Don’t define how you want a task to be completed but define what and why that is significant to the company. You need to be productivity focused while still allowing enough breathing space to your people that they enjoy their work and don’t suffer burnout. Don’t attempt to micro manage their affairs.


4. Reminders And Follow-Up

A good leader is like a gyroscope that is useful for maintaining orientation and direction. Whenever you find some of your employees are going astray, it is time for you to intervene. This require a lot of patience and practice. Remind them about the final outcome that is required and how they need to correct their behavior. It helps if you incorporate these reminders and follow-ups into a system. Periodic performance reviews are essential for increasing employee efficiency.

At the same time it is equally important that you make it clear that you also are willing to grow and change with them. Any critical feedback that you receive regarding yourself, should merit equal attention. Let your employees know that their opinion matters. Ask them how you could help them get to their goals. This culture of open dialogue and feed back will help the company in increasing accountability and continued development of the workforce.

5. Be Transparent

To maintain accountability in the team, leaders are required to be transparent about the responsibilities, success and shortcomings. Use data and analytics to hold your employees accountable. Workers should know clearly that they are judged against solid measurable data rather on the whims of bosses. A business that relies on analytics and intelligence always breed the culture of accountability.

6. Disciplinary Actions

There are situations when despite giving adequate opportunities, support and feedback there are some employees who do not correct their behavior. Disciplinary actions become necessary against such unproductive employees, though this needs to be the last resort for a great leader. When taking such an action, take care that you reprimand the employee for their unproductive or faulty behavior and do not say something against them personally.

An organization with the culture of accountability makes clear to its people the consequences of not being up to the prescribed standards. Disciplinary actions become necessary in many cases and you as a leader are required to make the company policy in such conditions very clear, so that people know that they are being penalized because they have failed to follow company norms. Once the norms are in place it is equally important that you don’t just announce but implement them too. For high efficiency get rid of lethargy in the employees and show that you are serious about the outcomes. Remember many a time it is not the people who we hire but people whom we don’t fire cause biggest damage to business.

These all steps work together to enhance the culture of accountability in the company. You as a leader must ensure that you follow all these to avoid a situation where team feels demotivated instead empower your employees so that they think themselves as the integral part of the company and take all the responsibilities for the desired outcome.

Related article: How To Motivate Your Employees

6 Pillars of Successful Business


All successful businesses are based on the solid foundations of age old principles. New ideas, commitment, attitude and perseverance are all very important for the success and growth of the organizations. In the context of the challenges faced today, we need to shun the easy steps and short cuts. Today is the time for us to reinvent ourselves. For a successful and sustainable business we need to bring our focus to the core principles. We have listed here some important pillars of the business that you can take care of:

1. The Leader

Any business that goes on and become big and successful owes a lot to the man on top. Great leaders are rare and any company which is blessed to have a great leader at the top will succeed for sure. A leader is the visionary who sees in the future and gives a direction to his company. He is the one who create the big picture. The fundamentals and the values that company follows irrespective of the conditions and circumstances are the brain child of the leader. He is the one person who ensures that these set of values are not to be compromised at any cost.

He guides his team and develop success mindset in them. Leader has to be honest who is fully transparent in his actions and practices. The trust a great leader is able to generate in his people is the main driving force in the growth of the business. A leader who is firm, honest, visionary and lead by example is the great motivation for the employees who are prepared to give their sweat and blood to the organization. Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Leader

2. The Manager

A leader is one who is visionary but for the day to day working any business require to have the services of a good manager; A person who is responsible for the actual implementation of the strategies and vision as decided by the leader. The manager is the action man but he is more often concerned with the short term priorities of the company. He is required to oversee or administer the operations he and his team is responsible for.

A good manager should understand that he is measured more by his ability to get work done by the team than by doing the work himself. He is required to have the skills of genuinely praising the deserving person and effectively reprimanding their behavior (not the individual) if it is not aligned to the vision and policies of the company. He should have the necessary skill of delegation important work to his staff and then follow up on a regular basis to ensure time bound completion of the tasks. Delegation helps manager to leverage his resources and devote more of his time depending on the importance of work. Best managers are always proactive and have clarity of goals. They possess the essential 3 Qualities of an Effective Manager

3. Customers

Customers are the back bone of any organization. A business that does not take good care of its customers is doomed for failure. Keep in mind that it is all about them. For any company to be successful it has to see with the view point of its customers. Their needs and values have to be most important and it should be ensured that those requirements are met at very reasonable cost point. Stand out from the crowd and tell your customer clearly how your company is distinctly better in meeting their demands.

Every organization has its own customer base which has the capacity to make or break the company. It is always advisable to stick to your existing customers and think in terms of their satisfaction more before reaching out to the new customers and markets. Customers are most loyal to the businesses with which they can relate individually.

4. Treasury

Finance is the extremely important resource for any company to survive and grow. The strong treasury is the backbone for any organization. When finances are concerned remember bottom line or the profits are more important than the top line or the turnover. As the famous quote goes, ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity but cash is actual king.’ The liquidity or the cash position gives the company a tremendous edge as they are able to take advantage of any new opportunity that comes their way. If a business is not cash rich it will not be able to grow with these new opportunities.

A good business leader has the sense that they are not seduced by just the numbers but they keep a strict vigil on the actual profits and liquidity. Cash flow implications of any deal has to be very carefully worked on before starting and getting struck later in the cash crunch.

5. The Team

The team or the foot soldiers of the company who actually do the tasks are another vital pillar for the company. It is said that there is a difference between building a team and creating teamwork. A successful business will keep big focus on developing good teamwork. The team members should have the sense of unity and enthusiasm to make good of the opportunities that comes their way. When individual team members see themselves a part of a bigger unit they are able to create synergy where the sum is greater than the parts. When properly managed teamwork has the capacity to bring out the best in individual team members and increase the strength of the organization.

A good business ensures that its team members are taken good care of and they feel like family. A bonding has to be developed for higher productivity and response from the individuals. To develop this camaraderie and keep the team motivated, leaders need to make them feel secure in their job. Team members when they believe that they have the back of their management they get creative and their capacity to work with higher output increases.

6. Consultants

Another vital pillar for any business is the consultants it hires. Most of the time the managers of the company have a single way to look at the problems at hand. When a company hires outside consultants it brings in a fresh perspective to the table. The professionalism and competitiveness is increased.

Many a time there are some specific challenges and situations in the business for which there are no qualified people on the company’s payroll. At such time solution can be best provided by outside consultants. Also these professionals can give their expert opinions on the various ideas that are organically created in the organization itself. Management consultants can provide information and opinions that may be critical to the success.

Businesses in this age are constantly changing and the business owners have to remain totally alert to the these requirements, but if these few segments or the pillars are taken good care of, then success and sustainability of organizations is very much ensured.

The Power of Persistence


Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently – Henry Ford

Successful people are usually blessed with many qualities but the most important among them is the quality of persistence. It requires that one remain on course even in the face of all adversities and opposition, not to be demoralized by any difficulties or hurdles. Successful people never give up.

History is filled with people who failed innumerable times, but driven by their vision and passion they persisted against all odds and finally got the taste of success. Take the examples of Colonel Sanders, Thomas Edison, Howard Schultz, J. K. Rowling, Michael Jordan and many more like them. They all have one trait common among them and that is the power of persistence. These are the people who had the tenacity to stand up every time after repeated failures they faced, but they never accepted defeat rather they learned from them.

Here are some of the steps to develop persistence:

1. Set Clear Goals

At the very outset be absolutely clear about your goals. What is that you want to accomplish and even more importantly why do you want it? When faced with obstacles, which everybody does for sure, your reasons will pull you through. You need to have clear, unambiguous goals. It is always advised that you write them down so that you can refer to them on a regular basis, preferably daily. Your goals will act like the lighthouse to show you the direction during the storm of difficulties and adversities.

2. Plan Out The Path

Before you start with your task it is wise to have a plan ready. Planning beforehand prepares you for the efforts that you have to put in. When you are in the thick of the things and overwhelmed by the challenges, it is very difficult to think rationally but if you already have plans chalked out, it makes the job so much more easy. Keep in mind that there are always multiple ways, even thousands to do the same job. Be prepared, anticipate obstacles and have contingency plans with you in advance. Keep reviewing your progress analytically and adjust your approach accordingly. If you persist with your endeavor in this manner you will be successful, for sure.

3. Just Do It

Nothing could be said in better words than how Nike says it, JUST DO IT. Take action towards your goal without any procrastination or any fear. Nothing will be achieved unless and until efforts are done towards the fulfillment of your goals. It is always better to start with an imperfect plan and adjust it as you move ahead rather than not doing anything at all in search of a perfect plan. The world we live in is continuously changing and everyday there are new challenges and we need to adapt accordingly, so don’t wait, just make a start.

4. Develop Positive Attitude

Huge volumes have been written about the importance of the development of positive attitude. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, positive thinking won’t let you do anything, but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Our attitude towards work determines our approach and efforts. If we are positive and hopeful, we will be more energetic and focused. On the contrary if we are fearful or think negatively we are sure doomed for failure. It is said that we become what we think.

5. Seek Help

There is no shame in asking for help. Seek advise from those who are experienced and have done it before you. You can save great time and effort if you get the benefit of other’s expertise. Bear in mind that you don’t need to invent the wheel again. Learn from other’s experiences or from books, this may give you a head start. If you get to know about their struggles and how they came through, it will give you great courage to persist when you face the difficulties.

6. Focus

One thing that has a huge bearing on increasing your power of persistence is your ability to focus. All activities that you do are not definitely productive, many things just keep you busy, and due to this in the long run you get frustrated when results are not achieved. Successful people persist because they have this unwavering focus on the goal. For your own benefit depend on the famous Pareto principle. It says that 80% of our results come from only 20% of activities. For significant success it is important that you find out what are your vital few tasks that gives you maximum quantifiable results. Stick to those vital tasks and success will be yours. As Dr. Steven Covey has advised in his book Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, to focus on the activities that are important though they may not be urgent right now. He described them as quadrant II activities. Learn how to make best use of 4 Quadrants Of Time Management  Make it a purpose to first focus all your time and energy on these vital few things.

7. Motivate Yourself

In your journey towards the goals, rest assured there will be some occasions that will test your patience. Develop the habit to motivate yourself with positive literature and affirmation to keep your morale high. Nothing can be accomplished with a demoralized spirit.

If you follow these steps, it will lead to the development of the power of persistence in you. Keep in mind that without persistence your achievements will be insignificant compared to your true potential. Failure is not a permanent state, if you have the tenacity to get back on your feet when life knocks you down with it’s challenges, then you already are a winner.

Don’t lose heart, don’t ever give up for you don’t know how close you might be to your goals.

Related article: How To Have A Winning Attitude


Master The Art Of Listening

Art of Listening

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”   Greek philosopher Epictetus

The master skill and the foundation of all interpersonal relations is the skill of effective communication. We are always communicating with the people around us, not only verbally but also with our body language. If we want to be successful in connecting with people and improve our influence with them, effective communication is the master key.

Most people understand this thing but a very few are able to master it, and the most common reason is that they are not good listeners. It has been commonly observed that people are not aware of the importance of effective listening. They listen to respond rather than to understand, and if one doesn’t understand the other person, how well will he be able to connect with him. Just reflect back on your own life, you have been trained to speak, read, handle objections and many other skills but have you ever received any training that improves your listening skills?

Most people even when they make an attempt to listen, they listen to only the words with attention. But as we all know that if we want to understand the situation and the person right, we not only need to listen to the words said but also what has been left unsaid. You need to give proper attention to the body language and the emotions behind those words. You need to develop advanced concepts like reflective and empathic listening. This will require a lot of practice and patience. We summarize here some of the suggestions that may come handy:

1. Communication has to be two way

Realize that effective communication is not about you dominating the discussion, but when all parties get their due share of time and opportunity. Rather it will be beneficial, if you let the other people talk before you, as that will give you more insights into the other person’s views. I have seen many bosses who love their voice a bit too much and have a bad habit of indulging into monologue. These are the same people who later complain that the staff is mostly indifferent and there are no new ideas. Prefer to have a constructive dialogue always for bonding with your people. In the words of Simon Sinek, “A leader is the one who speaks last and acts first.”

2. Don’t just focus on listening the words

Albert Mehrabian in his book Silent Messages published a study which said that 55% of the messages are conveyed through body language, 38% through the tone of the voice and only 7% through the words. Now this study has been challenged a lot, but still it is very evident that a majority of our communication is non verbal. If you want to have a effective listening experience then develop the habit to pay close attention to the speaker’s body language and attitude. You will be able to read much between the lines.

3. Don’t judge others

Steven Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says that many of us are in the habit of listening others while reading from our autobiography, that is we see the things from our own perspective. Due to this we have a tendency of judging people based on our own expectations and experiences. It is said that we don’t see the world as it is, but as we are. For being able to connect with other people you need to see their world, be non judgmental while listening to them and try to understand their views.

4. Be in the current moment

It is a known fact that our mind is faster than our speech. Most ineffective people are impatient and they start to think ahead about their reply even while the other person is still speaking. This causes problems that our attention is shifted from the other’s speech to our own thoughts and perceptions. We are simply unable to grasp the point that the speaker is trying to convey. Practice the habit of remaining in the present moment and be attentive.

5. Ask questions to gain clarity

If in a conversation you are unable to understand something or have a question, it is always better to ask it then and there, rather than moving on to the next topic and not getting to know the concerns of the speaker. Most people will be more than happy to repeat what they said and with greater clarity to ensure that you understand the actual meaning behind their words. When you ask questions it gives the speaker confidence that you are interested and are listening to him with full attention.

6. Be sensitive to the emotions

Just visualize and understand the difference in the meaning of the same answer (‘I am fine’) when someone asks the same question (‘How are you’) in two entirely different situations. One where someone who has just escaped unhurt from an accident and the other one is a depressed person who has just faced another setback or rejection. I am fine, coming from the person who escaped the accident moments ago carries with it the emotion of gratitude whereas the same answer coming from a depressed person carries with it the feeling of helplessness and despondency.

For effective listening you have to understand the emotions behind the words. Try to assess the mental state the speaker is in and you will be able to get to the core of their thoughts and perceptions. This is called listening with empathy. Once you listen in this way, it gives confidence to the speaker and they open up more in front of you and connect more deeply. It leads to the development of bonding and strengthening of relations.

In the end realize that our speech gives us expression and our listening gives us understanding. Listen well and make your communication skills more effective. Tupac Shakur was right when he said:

“If you let a person talk long enough you’ll hear their true intentions. Listen twice, speak once.”

Related article: 5 Keys for Effective Communication

4 Quadrants Of Time Management 

Time Management

Time management is the planning and allocation of time to various activities one does to increase the efficiency and productivity. Time management encompasses the personal as well as professional works. It is basically the skill of managing yourself to the best of your capabilities within the 24 hours that have been provided daily to each of us.

So many people have given their own principles but the whole division of concept of time management into four generations as has been done by Mr. Steven Covey is just extra ordinary. He developed his whole theory starting with the concept that time management is to organize and execute around priorities. Mr. Covey has explained the natural evolution of time management in very simple terms

First Generation Concept

This earliest concept of time management revolves around only the tasks that are required to be done. This may consist of various to-do lists or reminders. The main purpose of this was to put some order into the day and more importantly put all the tasks to be done at a single place so that they are taken care of and not forgotten.

The major drawback of such a system is that it just doesn’t give precedence to any task over other. The most important task of the day is as equal as the task which could be least important. We need to consider here that being busy and being productive are two entirely different things. Purpose is to become more productive and less busy so that you get more time for yourself. Due to these shortcomings there was a need for the more developed system of time management principles which followed soon.

Second Generation Concept

To look into the future and plan anticipating the events that are expected to happen, this second wave of time management principle added the tools like calendars, schedulers and appointment books. Immediately this system turned out to be a better system as it gives some control over the future. Whereas the first generation principles were just about each day, this concept talked about planning better one’s weeks or months ahead. This gave some sort of control over time but still there was no consideration about the ranking of importance of tasks. It simply recorded future commitments to be honored.

Third Generation Concept

These time management principles started the prioritization of work based on the importance of the activities. It involves looking into the future and setting various goals and classifying them into long term, intermediate and short term goals. Teachers like Jim Rohn advocated the planning based on goals when they said, “Never start a day without planning.” They talked about the concept of setting priorities.

To prioritize various tasks is one of the very important time management skills. In the earlier concepts there used to be day lists or week lists with a lot of tasks to be completed and the most common trap people fell was to start with the smallest and easiest tasks right in the beginning. In place of this new principles taught that a better strategy is to start with the most important and difficult tasks right in the beginning of the day or the week. Reason is the Pareto principle that says that usually 80 percent of our results are because of 20 percent of activities, which may be difficult but are of higher significance. So always prioritize. In the planner always mark ‘must’ items and face them head on at the start.

These principles have given a lot of control but the drawback with these is the inherent rigidity of such tight scheduling. These concepts are in a way counterproductive to the opportunities for the development of good interpersonal relationship. They may give a boost to the efficiency but for most people satisfaction is the bigger need which can come only from doing all the tasks in such a manner that it gives fulfillment and richness to the quality of life.

Fourth Generation Concept

This latest principle of time management as taught by management guru Mr. Steven Covey divides the tasks into four different quadrants depending upon the mix of two factors, urgency and importance as given in the diagram below:


This concept clearly shows that efficiency of most people is low because they focus more on the urgent things rather than the important ones. Most people spend their time and energy on the the urgent things because they are visible at the moment and captures their mind so completely that they are not even in a state of thinking about the things which are not urgent and pressing but may be of the most importance in the long run.

Some of these tasks may be urgent as well as important (Quadrant-I activities) and they definitely deserve your attention but come to think of it if one gives adequate attention to the important but not urgent tasks (Quadrant-II activities), these tasks will diminish automatically. Mr. Covey suggests that best time management principle focuses on the Quadrant-II tasks. He goes on to explain that when one fails to acknowledge the Quadrant-II, the size of Quadrant-I or the crises will keep on increasing and you will not be able to work on your long term goals or the dreams.

Quadrant-III tasks are those which are urgent but not important like checking mails or answering all calls. These are the task that fill your day with the ‘busy’ work and still you accomplish nothing. Lastly the Quadrant-IV activities that are neither urgent nor important are the sheer waste of one’s time and energy. These may include the leisure or pleasant activities which most people get involved into thinking them as relaxing but not realizing that they are missing out on the opportunity of working on most important Quadrant-II tasks.

It is suggested that to begin with one needs to identify and segregate his various tasks into different Quadrants and then start focusing on the Quadrant-II activities. Initially that time has to be taken out from the Quadrant-III and Quadrant-IV activities. Slowly and gradually you will realize that the efficiency and productivity gets a substantial boost. Even the quadrant-I activities that are urgent as well as important or the crisis will also decrease in number and will result in much more calm and fulfillment in your life.

With these better time management principles you will be able to improve your quality of life and add value to all the work that you do. It takes away or reduces the stress component in your life. You become more happy and healthy, and achieve better results.

If you are also one of the persons who are struggling with increasing your business efficiency, or work and personal life balance, start focusing on Quadrant-II. Think ahead, work on the basics and do all the preventive things that keeps the number of your problems small. In short, don’t get caught in the thick of thin things.

Related article: 8 Time Management Tips

Effective Delegation For Success


Many people specially those involved in running their own businesses find themselves responsible for everything their business involves and multitasking most of the times. From purchasing to marketing, from financing to billing, every aspect of their work is controlled by them. But it is a known fact that there is a limit to your time and capacity to work. When you keep controlling all the things even as the work load increases, it leads to many problems like delays or improper handling. Your work starts to suffer and to correct that ,you try to work even harder. If you find yourself stressed and stuck at such situation often, read on to gain insight into the very important skill of delegation that will free up your time and bring more efficiency into your work.

What is Delegation

Delegation is passing on the authority and responsibility of work-related tasks to a subordinate. This empowers the subordinate to make decisions in relation to the successful completion of the tasks. This skill is very vital for the managers to learn, as otherwise it will lead to stunting of the company’s growth. Delegation helps by way of increasing the efficiency, completing jobs in time bound manner and most importantly it frees up the leader from micromanaging day to day working and focus on the larger task of providing vision and direction for the company’s future growth.

Why to Delegate

The most precious resource in any business is the time. Everyone has same 24 hours in a day and if someone has the habit of micromanaging everything in their business or job then they will always end up feeling short of time. You can not make more time but you can definitely devote more of your time to the tasks that are most productive for your business rather than getting caught up in the whirlwind of doing all the other routine but less important tasks.

The power of delegation is that it allows you to focus on what you love to do and what you specialize in. The success of your business will always be limited if you don’t master this essential skill. When you take help of other people, you in a way leverage your resources and are able to find many more opportunities than you will be able to do after a long time if you try to do it all single-handedly.

Delegation also helps to increase the morale of the subordinates when they feel they are looked up to by the seniors and that they are responsible. It helps them to grow and reach their full potential.

Many people fail to delegate as they fear loss of control. They feel it is easy to do the job themselves rather than getting it done by the others as it is time consuming in the beginning. You need to pass on your vision and train the subordinate, how you want the job to be finished. It is imperative for you to realize at this stage that it may require some of your time and attention in the beginning but in the long run this will be one of the most beneficial steps for your organization.

When to Delegate

You should consider delegating a task when you feel that it is no more the best use of your time. If your skills in other areas can provide more value to the company then it is time that you delegate the current task to another person who has the necessary skills to complete it. If the task is of the routine nature and is not so much critical for the long term success of the organization then that is the task suited for delegation.

You should delegate when there are occasions that a task is required to be finished in a time bound manner and you need the help of other people to meet the deadline. Availability of trained person with the expertise to complete the task is another factor that determines whether it can be delegated or not. Lastly when you don’t have the know how of performing a particular task yourself, you need to delegate it.

How to Delegate

Once you have decided to delegate you need to clearly convey to the employee, what are the desired outcomes, restrictions, responsibilities and accountability in the new position. Provide them all the support and as Nike co-founder, Phil Knight says, “Tell your people what to do and not how to do. Let them amaze you with the results.” Keep your focus on the results as actually that is the whole purpose of delegation.

While delegation it is vital for you to see that the people to whom the responsibility is being delegated are skillful and have adequate experience in the relevant field. If the person is not already trained, arrange for providing training before transferring the responsibilities. Give them some time to settle in and observe them for sufficient period of time before you make any opinion about them.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that no two individuals are equal. The new employee might have a different approach or method of working. You should give them enough freedom to complete the task in their own style without compromising on the net outcome. Do inform them how you want the work to be done but don’t interfere too much. Let them learn on their own.

You need to ignore some initial shortcomings of the other person, keep in mind that you have been doing this task for a length of time whereas the other person is just a beginner. Your patience is required in understanding that a person who is very successful and capable in one task may not be equally successful in a different situation. Understand that someone’s output is not guaranteed forever, so if you find that the person is not up to your expectations even after giving training and time to settle, it will be wise of you to think about his shifting to another position where his talents are better utilized and he could excel.

Lastly bear in mind that delegation is neither an activity that you do and forget, nor it is the abdication of your duties. Delegation in fact is a fine art that all successful businessmen and leaders have perfected. Delegation helps to make you free to spend your time more judiciously and increase the productivity, but in the end as you move up the ladder you become even more responsible for the final outcome.

Related article: How to 10X Your Productivity


How To Motivate Your Employees


Motivating your employees can be one of the biggest input you can provide in your company to increase productivity. It is a well known fact that the work force that is motivated and driven is more productive than those who go around doing their jobs in a routine manner. Every day people are exposed to various negative influences and failures, making it vital for the management to keep the morale of the staff high and utilize various motivational methods regularly. Keep your workers happy and results will always be achieved.

It is not difficult to motivate your people if you follow these steps:

Have A Two Way Communication

It is very easy to give the directions and demand results, but a true leader will ensure that the communication channel is not one way. It is vital that you let your employees feel that they are important; that they are heard. When you try to understand them and seek their opinion they feel they are valued and important part of organization. This sense of belonging motivates employees to work at a higher level of productivity.

Be With Them

If you lead by example, it will be having a very positive effect on the working of your people. When they see you working hard along with them and being excited about the job, they themselves will be motivated and will give more energies to their work.

Make Them Feel Significant

Remember people work primarily for themselves and their families. Their job must be fulfilling so that they feel that their talents and capabilities are being put to proper use and they are growing into better person. They should not be overloaded with work for which they need to compromise with their family time like regularly taking work to home.

Provide Incentives

Monetary benefits like incentives have always been great morale booster. Provide incentives to the employees who have done truly outstanding work. It is not necessary that these incentives be expensive but even your genuine appreciation in the form of small gifts or a handwritten note will go a long way. It will be doubly effective if you show your appreciation in front of other staff members.

Give Them Independence

Your employees feel motivated when they understand that you have faith on their abilities. As the founder of Nike, Phil Knight said tell your people what to do, not how to do and let them amaze you with the results. Instead of interfering in their job and telling them how you would have completed this task, it is better if you give your staff independence to complete the job in their own manner. It may turn out to be even better than your expectations.

Celebrate Their Wins

When you celebrate the wins of your people it is highly motivating for yourself as well as for your team. They feel driven when they see you have acknowledged their achievements and are happy for them. They bond with you more. It also give them some time to relax and recharge for the next assignment.

Treat Them Like You Want To Be Treated

One of the most motivating things in an organization is when you treat your employees in a manner you yourself want to be treated. Don’t be too hard on them for some temporary failure if you would not like yourself to be dealt with severely had you been doing the same job at the first place. Recognize and give credit to them for their smaller achievements also as you would like for yourself. In short put yourself in their shoes and then decide.

Have Worthwhile Goals

No amount of efforts will work to motivate your people if you don’t provide them with a long term vision and clear cut goals. Your goals should be clear like bull’s eye backed up with reasonable plans to achieve them. Everyone feels motivated in a powerful manner when they see progress being made in moving towards their goals. Long term vision will provide your staff with purpose and a sense of fulfillment on achieving their goals. Being bound by a common higher purpose is a highly motivating factor.

Encourage Creativity

If you encourage creativity in your organization by giving your people freedom to do tasks in their own way, they will come out with innovative ways to complete the job. They will share the resources, find new ways to use them more frugally or judiciously. They will feel themselves to be important part of the company. Encouraging creativity of your employees can turn out to be a win-win situation. On one hand it will motivate the employees, on the other hand it will benefit the company by developing a culture of mutual trust. Remember culture and values can substitute for money and resources.

Create Friendly Work Atmosphere

Your office should be having a comfortable and friendly work environment as your employees spend a significant part of their day there. Pleasant atmosphere will lead to increase in their productivity. Look after the comfort of your people by providing comfortable furniture, food or beverages and even flexible work hours if that is possible. A friendly work environment is a great motivator.

Provide Appropriate Resources

As a leader it is your responsibility that you provide the necessary resources to your team. They may be good at their work but their final outcome can be marred due to non availability of the appropriate resources. Keep in mind that no army will be able to win a war against a strong enemy in the absence of a suitable armory.

Motivating your employees is not a challenge if you seriously look into these things. Apart this just keep in mind that it is all about the relationship that you develop with your team. take out some time from your busy schedule and spend some time with your employees and know their difficulties, their ambitions, get the feed back. All these will help you to develop a stronger relationship with your employees. Not only this will help in you knowing what makes your people work, but your staff also will be motivated knowing that they are valued, respected and trusted by you.

Related article: Best Ways To Retain Your Good Employees

How To Maintain Positive Attitude

Happy Kid

For achieving any worthwhile success, maintaining a positive mental attitude is the most critical requirement. Positive attitude will let you do everything better than you could do with a negative attitude. Positive attitude will make you more resilient and happy. Even various medical studies have proven that the quality and duration of life is better for positive thinkers than those who are hopeless and have gloomy view of life. Though it may be difficult at time to maintain positive attitude when you are facing life challenges, but following tips may be helpful in doing so:

1. Enjoy Pleasure

You will do yourself a great favor once you realize that the little things are the big things. You will find that the best things in life that gives happiness to you are most often the small things we take for granted like time spent with the family, a good laugh with the friends, hugs and kisses from a loved one, a good night’s sleep and so on. Enjoy these pleasure in small things and don’t let them slip by. If you focus on these you will immediately feel bright and get in a positive frame of mind.

2. Practice Gratitude

Make it a habit to carry a gratitude journal. Don’t take the blessings that you have in your life for granted. Always write them down and relive the positive sensation whenever you feel down by reading it. It is a common human tendency that we tend to overlook many positive things and crib about one negative thing or event. So just practice gratitude and thank your creator for all other wonderful things that you have in your life.

3. Cultivate Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice when you focus on the present and accept whatever comes your way. Once you become mindful you work on development of skills in order to improve yourself to face the adverse events coming your way. By focusing on the present you are able to relieve yourself of the anxiety associated with the unknown events in future.

4. Retain A Sense Of Purpose

When there are some adverse events or you have some sense of loss it is vital that you retain your sense of purpose. Train your brain to accept that life is a mix of ups and downs, that everything just doesn’t work as per our wishes. Instead of being bogged down by the event try to focus on what you can control. Maintain your health and have regular exercise, regular sleep and healthy meals. Spend more time with family and friends. It is important to view life change as a challenge or opportunity to do something new.

5. Emphasize The Positive

As we have already talked about the habit of many people of overlooking many positives for a single negative. To maintain a positive attitude it is required that you consciously focus on the positive aspect. Have the desire and ability to bounce back from bad time. Actually it is only you who have to determine your reality, how you react to the outside world. The mental state that you are in decide how you perceive a thing as positive or negative, whether it is end or a new beginning. Make it a habit to emphasize the positive and you will be able to lift yourself to a level of higher happiness and productivity.

6. Start Your Day On A Strong Note

Just when you get up from sleep, be aware about your thoughts. Your morning thoughts can make or break the day. If you start with some kind of positive rituals by which you reinforce the blessings in your life, be hopeful about the future, inevitably you will have a rocking day. Your morning ritual can be as small as of 10 minutes but it will give your mind a positive direction. As it is said “well begun is half done.”

7. Do Some Exercise

One of the most effective and natural method to lift up your mood is to engage in some physical exercises. Follow up your morning ritual with a routine of exercise that help release into blood some mood elevating chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. These are the natural chemicals that give you a feeling of well being and you gain an added advantage of healthy body.

8. Saturate Your Brain With Positive

Negative emotions are like weeds. They do not require planting, nor do they ask for fertilizers. Whereas sweet flowers are slow and require care, like the positive emotions. It is absolutely necessary that you saturate your mind with positive material on a regular basis. This will ensure that slowly and gradually you will develop such a strong positive attitude that you will not be worried about small difficulties or adverse events. Stand gaurd at the door of your mind and don’t allow any garbage inside.

9. Hang Out With Positive People

We as social beings are greatly impacted by the company we have. It is said that you are hugely impacted in life by the 5 people with whom you spend most of your time. This holds good in the matter of attitude also. Positive attitude is contagious, so if you hang out with others who are happy and have a positive outlook, it will rub on to you too. This can be a great advantage at the time you are feeling bit down. Be careful that this holds true other way round also. You will have a bleak view of life if you hand out with toxic people with gloomy outlook. Make a judicious move and choose your friends wisely.

10. Visualize Positive Future

One of the most positive emotion is the feeling of hope. If you visualize your future in a positive manner, it will lift your mood even in the face of difficulties. Train your brain by giving positive affirmation and a bright future for a happy life. Let the hope of success and achievement; love and affection; fulfillment and joy turn you into a person who radiates positivity all the times.

Related article: 9 Most Powerful Positive Emotions

11. Watch Your Words

Words have the power to make or break anyone and that includes yourself. Watch out the vocabulary that you use on a consistent basis. If you speak words that are toxic or negative, it is but natural to have a feeling of unhappiness. Speak in a manner and the words that are self assuring and positive. This also include that little self-talk that goes on inside you. Do positive self-talk to boost your morale and attitude.

12. Re-energize Yourself

When you are all stressed up with a hectic lifestyle or have a deficient sleep pattern, it is next to impossible to have a positive attitude. Give equal importance to your eating and sleeping habits. Your body is not a machine, it needs rest and to refuel. Taking a small break or a weekend away from usual routine can do wonders for you. Spend some leisure time doing things that you love to re-energize yourself on a regular basis.

Finally I would say that in life when you develop the habit of accepting your limitations and minimizing the negative thoughts, you will be able to accomplish much more. More importantly you will be able to lead a more fulfilling life. Try out some or all of these habits and find a difference in the quality of life you live.

Related article: 7 Essentials of a Happy Life