• EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Caterpillars to Butterflies : Human Maturity Stages

    When I ask “What do YOU want” people sometimes get confused.  Common responses are: “Wouldn’t that be selfish”? “I always think about others, I want others to be happy; am I not supposed to do that way”? Awareness of renowned development psychologist Robert Kegan’s Human Maturity Stages may help understand the dilemma. Kegan said humans go through several major stages of maturity in their lifetime. And not everyone reaches all of them in their lifetime. Ego Centric Self (Stage 0-2) This is typically the stage from birth to adolescence. At this stage, the earth revolves around them. Others are there to fulfill their needs. They hardly have the capacity to feel…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  Leadership,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Organization Politics – How We See It Can Change the Meaning

    “I like doing my job, but I hate politics. Almost everyone says that they hate politics. If no one likes it, then who creates it in the first place”? My friend Barb sighed as she and I were catching up over coffee on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon. We commonly use the term “politics” to describe people’s actions to advance their self-interest at the cost of their coworkers’ interests. It is a win-lose game driven by the intention of gaining something for a selfish purpose. As someone who spent 20+ years inside organizations and then coaching organization leaders, I get curious about this. Barb’s comment made me ponder even more.…

  • Will Smith hits Chris Rock on Oscar Stage
    EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Self-leadership

    What Can We Learn From Will Smith’s Oscar Debacle

    Since Sunday, my newsfeed has been flooding with the news and commentary about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage when he made a rather insensitive joke about Will’s wife, Jada. Smith later apologized to Rock. “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness… I am a work in progress.” While this is a piece of celebrity news, we can relate to such incidents in our lives. Maybe not every one of us gets out of control like Will, but…

  • Chess board - Strategic thinking
    Executive Presence,  Leadership

    You Were Asked To Be More Strategic, Now What?

    Engineering and STEM Leaders often receive this feedback, “you need to be more strategic,” when they are passed up for a promotion. Yet, they have minimal idea of what that would look like for their context. I shed some light on what it means to be strategic and improve our strategic thinking while staying true to our authentic selves. What Does Strategy Mean  This article, Strategy versus tactics: the difference is execution, defined it as A strategy is your overarching plan for achieving your goals, but it doesn’t get bogged down in specifics. You can think of this as your compass, guiding your organization toward your objective. On the other…

  • A Cat Image by Heinz Hummel from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Coaching,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy,  Time Management,  WorkLife balance

    Are You Sabotaged By Your Inner Hyper-Achiever?

    A high-tech leader, let’s call him Jason, said, “I can’t relax; I always have to do something useful. Nobody makes me do so; it’s me. This is how I am”. Jason is not alone. Many of us have such hyper achievers in us, pushing us to do more. This trait may have helped us be where we are, yet its overuse can cause more harm than good. Growing up, we all developed different traits that kept us safe, got us what we needed, and helped us achieve success. Other than the hyper-achiever, there are several other traits; pleaser, perfectionist, victim, are to name a few. My top two are hyper-achiever…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    “Never Looked Back” – Is a Myth

    Recently I was sharing the story of my career change and someone commented, “…and you never looked back”! I was caught by surprise. The fact is, I did look back, many times. The past 10 years of my new career was anything but easy and many times I doubted and regretted my original decision. That comment invoked a deeper insight in me though. “I never looked back”, gives us the impression that the person found their ultimate path and everything became better afterward. It is like those “lived happily ever after” fairy tales. This is far from reality and I am yet to meet someone with significant successes, who never…

  • EQ,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Feeling – A Vital Missing Part from the Thinker’s Head

    “What do you feel now?” I ask my client Tom in the middle of our session. “I think it is, …”, he replies. “What do you feel”, I ask persistently. “Well, I think it could be …”; little baffled, Tom reiterates his thoughts. In Tom’s mind “feeling” is a synonym of “thinking”, he(who is an engineer) lives and breathes in his head, the rest of the body underneath merely serves as a pedestal for his head! Tom is not alone. When I first came for my coach training I had a hard time with these “feeling’ questions. I didn’t know much about it other than, feeling good or bad. Then…

  • Two people talking
    Coaching,  Communication,  Leadership,  Neuroscience

    Do You Dread Giving Feedback? There Is A Better Way.

    Giving feedback is a regular part of a manager’s job responsibility, but most of us are uncomfortable with it. David Rock and his colleagues from the NeuroLeadership Institute wrote in this article, “Typical feedback conversations are about as pleasant as a root canal. Managers dread them because it’s often unclear what feedback the employee wants or needs. Employees dread them because even light criticism can feel like an assault on their status and credibility.” David Rock, The Neuroleadership Institute People want feedback. A feedback loop is what makes organisms survive on this earth. In a podcast, Oprah Winfrey mentioned that all her guests, including Beyonce and President Obama, asked her…

  • Patterns and Tools: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Coaching,  Personal Brand,  productivity,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Time Management

    A Workshop Emerged from the Themes of Coaching Tech Clients

    After 12 years of coaching software engineers to VPs in the tech industry, I found this common theme: feeling fulfilled about our work and contribution is challenging. Managing a thriving relationship with the boss, peers, and other stakeholders is not easy. They would always want more from us; our passion would be interpreted as aggressiveness, our analytical thinking style would be seen as a lack of executive presence. And the list goes long. In addition, managing a family, kids, along full-time demanding work becomes a losing battle at times. No wonder 55% of the adult population feels Languishing, a lack of zest. As high-performing, high-achieving leaders and individual contributors, all of my…

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
    Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Self-leadership,  Success Strategy

    Entrepreneurial Spirit : Build The Product YOU

    “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.” – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. If you are itching to create something and share it with the world, you must be thinking about the product and possible funding. While those are crucial, we often ignore that we need to work on ourselves, the mindset, learn, and improve how we operate  – the product, YOU. To start, ask yourself these three questions – WHY, WHAT, and HOW. The Why Why do you want to do this? Some of the answers I heard before are:  “Everyone else I know is…