Effective Leadership Needs a T-Shaped Skill Set

Effective leadership requires many different skills. The way to organize these skills and be effective is to have a T-shaped skillset. 

A T-shaped skillset basically consists of a broad understanding of different functions and depth in a particular area. The way the T-shaped skillset works is you need both – you need a broader understanding of the business and the depth in a particular area.

Just having a broad understanding is not really effective. There might be people out there who might have just a broad understanding of a couple of areas, but that doesn’t provide enough traction. And there might be people on the other end of the spectrum who have a lot of depth in a particular area, but they may not have a broad view or understanding of all the broad areas of business or technology.

This is a very siloed skill set. It is also a siloed approach to work, thinking, and design. This is how leaders can be effective. They can keep the big picture in mind while...

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Identify stakeholders to ensure project success

When we work on projects, it might be a bit confusing to identify between team members and a stakeholder. Those people who work on projects, whether within a single team or a cross-functional project, across different functions are all the team members. 

Stakeholders, on the other hand, are individuals or they might be teams. They have a vested interest in the outcome. So they are less involved in the activity. They are more interested in the outcome. So they are likely going to be the recipients of the outcome of the project that you’re driving. Or they will likely be impacted by the project that you’re driving positively or in some cases negatively. So they’re not just merely participants on the project. They have to be engaged in the outcome. 

So they could be your customers, they could be our partners, they could be our employees, vendors, different functions within your company, et cetera. The identification of those stakeholders is critical. And...

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Urgent vs Important – Prioritize Your Work

Leaders often have to prioritize between those important tasks and urgent tasks. So, you can use this framework to prioritize your work and the more you use it, the more you exercise it, the more it will become part of your muscle memory and it will come naturally to you. When you think about this framework, think about important as ‘strategic’ and think about urgent as ‘immediate’. 

So, to apply this framework, draw a quadrant while marking the lower axis important and the left axis urgent. (Watch the video for more clarity on the structure and working of the framework.) 

So, if the task is important and not urgent, it is recommended that you work on that. It means the task is low on urgency, and so you have to work on that because it is strategic and it has a lot of value. 

Now the next part. Let’s say it is urgent, it is required immediately, and it’s not important. In this case, it is recommended that you either delegate it or...

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Exceed expectations and do a great job

When it comes to job performance, we all want to do is neither an okay-job nor just a good job but a great job. But it’s pretty hard sometimes to figure out what does it mean by doing a good job v/s doing a great job.

One of the best ways to understand this a little bit better is to understand the expectations of your job. If you do not know the expectations of your current job role, it’s time to approach your manager or stakeholders to understand your job requirements. The best way to do this would be to take your best guess, write them down, share with them, and ask for feedback. 

And if you are not comfortable asking directly what the expectations are, go out for lunch with your boss or with your stakeholder and just ask what it would mean for your role over the conversation.

The next step

Once you understand the expectations of the job and the outcomes that everybody’s looking for, those become your baseline expectations. If those expectations seem okay to...

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Your job is BORING! But why?

Do you find your current job boring?

A lack of interest happens to any job over some time. It’s natural. However, before you take any extreme steps, it’s crucial to figure out what the root cause might be and how we can solve this problem.

Here are the root causes:

You are not learning anything new

Your learning has stagnated. That means, since you’re not getting any fresh input, you may feel like hitting a plateau, which will force you to do something else.

You are not being challenged

This means your abilities are not being stretched. The muscles that are in your professional body are fully not being exercised. Your growth as a professional is again, plateauing or stagnating.

Your work relationships need some improvement

Maybe there have been some changes in your organization, or maybe things have not really gone right with some of your colleagues, peers, boss, or higher-ups. It is time for you to look into those relationships and figure out what needs to be...

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The Best Time to Start Something New is Now

It is your favorite project, your favorite topic. You’ve always wanted to work on it. Maybe it’s the blog that you wanted to start. Or that book you wanted to write. Or perhaps it’s that app you wanted to develop. But it has been sitting in your mental shelf for a long, long time. Because you’ve been waiting.

You’ve been waiting for things to be perfect or for the market to be ready or for your stakeholders, your customers to be ready. Or maybe you’re looking for other people’s approval. However, unknowingly you paid a pretty penny for all of this waiting. You paid a massive price because you’ve been waiting for too long.

Waiting will cost you

The inspiration for that project has gone. Or the more the market has moved to a different place. Or the customers have moved on to this new shiny object. How many times have you seen something come across your desk or on your phone or your device, and you’ve seen that, and you’ve...

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How You Complete a Task Determines a Great Leader

Here is a quick leadership hack for you. Let’s say you’re accomplishing a major milestone and you’re turning around a customer account, or about to make a big sale, or you’re delivering a major product. What you are doing is very important. At the same time, how you do is also important. What you are doing is the outcome or the result that you’re after.

How do you do it?

It’s very important to make that milestone. As a leader, it’s not just important what you’re doing and what you’re achieving. It’s also as important in terms of how you do it. Did you take others along with you? Are you open to new ideas? Are you learning from your mistakes? Are you showing empathy to customers and your stakeholders? Are you growing and contributing to the people that are around you?

As you are getting success, are you institutionalizing that process and approach so that others can use the same process and approach? These are the things...

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How to drive an innovation culture in your team (leadership hack)

Driving innovation in our team is fundamental to the modern digital leader. Here is a method to help you foster innovation and provide forward-looking feedback to the team. 

The Innovation Economy = an Idea Economy

As leaders, we are always dealing with ideas and concepts. We’re living in the idea economy, an innovation economy. And in an innovation economy, we must keep coming up with great ideas, see which ones we want to test, test them out. And then, when they’re proving themselves, you roll them out as products or projects. And in any organization, when you look at all the ideas that are generated, not all of them become great products or great projects, only a small percentage of them become meaningful.

What does that tell you about most of the ideas that are created at the workplace? Are they all good? They’re not. So what do you do when you hear ideas from others and how do you, how does a great leader provide them feedback so that you know those...

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Leaders Don’t Coast Along the Curve, they Push to Challenge

You are a leader. There could be multiple scenarios for your job performance. One scenario is where you’re making progress. You are driving change; you are driving transformation. That is the high-performance scenario. There could be another scenario where you’re not participating; you’re not engaging; you’re not contributing. Maybe you’re not interested, or perhaps you’re not incentivized for that role. Regardless, that is a low-performance scenario.

There is another scenario. It’s right in the middle. And, this is the scenario where you are doing just the minimum required for the job. You know, you’re just getting the checkmarks, you’re just doing the bare minimum thing needed for that job, and that is coasting or cruising. Unfortunately for some people, this becomes sort of the primary mode of operation. Let’s just do the minimum and just coast along.

The modern, transparent workplace will eradicate coasting


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Business Transformation Represents New Opportunities in Saas and Cloud. Know-How to Grab it

One question I get a lot is, “I’m an industry expert, how do I get into SaaS and Cloud.” The answer is right in front of you. As you know, software is eating the world. This means industries are just going through massive digital transformation, whether it’s healthcare, financial services, manufacturing. This is not just like a digital transformation or changing the technology.

This is a fundamental business transformation, a business model transformation. And that’s why this represents a massive career pivot point and an opportunity for so many industry experts, domain experts, management consultants out there. Because you’ve wanted for so long to ride on the SaaS and Cloud wave. You wanted to get into that business.

Growing fast, disrupting everything

It’s a high growth business, and it’s disrupting everything. On the other hand, a lot of these companies that are in the SaaS and Cloud business who are trying to address those...

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