• Interview with the International Voice
    Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    My Interview with The International Voice

    A few weeks back, Japnit Sethi from The International Voice, reached out to me to be a guest in his new show on YouTube. Japnit, a Computer Science graduate student at Virginia Tech (my alma mater), founded this with a mission to inspire the next generation of international leaders from all over the world who aspire to make their mark within the North American Tech Industry. We talked about a wide range of topics, starting with how I got into tech, my early days in the US, Job interviews, learning from my career at Microsoft, and finally, my work as an executive coach with leaders in technology. Japnit did an…

  • Work from Home
    Leadership,  productivity,  Work Culture,  Work-life integration

    COVID-19 Amplified The Working Parents’ Struggles: What Can We Learn?

    This pandemic has exposed the vulnerability in every system, both large and small. Working parents with young children are one example. Three key points came up from the parents’ and thought leaders’ messages lately. Parenting should be a societal priority, not only the parents’ problem. Risk of burnouts, mental health issues are more eminent than ever. Work culture needs a rehaul in both organizational and personal levels. Parenting should be a societal priority, not just the parents’ problem. Three things lockdowns have exposed about working and parenting: Parenting happens at all hours, Parents can’t do it alone, Raising children is not just a personal choice. The United States has always…

  • Superhero
    Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    Working on Your Confidence? Watch Out Your Go-to Words and Root Cause

    Confidence is a common topic my clients bring to coaching. Anyone working on it knows that confidence is not a simple binary thing. It shows up as a part of a complex set of behavior that stems from inside more than outside. Our word choices often can hinder how confident we appear. “Think” is one such word that got my attention lately. The ability to think – about complex problems, gives us an edge as knowledge workers. Ironically overuse of the word may not serve as much. This tendency is common among women and people who are more analytical. One of my clients, let’s call her Tatyana, is working on…

  • Happiness,  Leadership,  productivity

    Managing a Virtual Meeting – Learning from my “Big Fat” Family Zoom Call

    This pandemic has done one magical thing; families, far and near are coming together via video calls. Like many others, my family is spread globally across six time zones spanning three continents. We have had a Messenger group, mostly for updates, memes, and occasional group calls that very few participated. During this late March, we wanted to have a planned video call and brought Zoom for the first time because of the technical limitation of Messenger.  It went ok despite some glitches; most of the people came in and participated. Even though everyone thanked me for the initiative, I had a nagging feeling that I wanted to make it better. We…

  • Work from Home
    Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  productivity

    Working From Home — The Employees Are Leading The Change (Guest Post)

    Tara (not her real name) from our finance recently rang me on a late evening for online approval of a bank transaction. It was unusual because we encourage people to complete their works during regular hours. I overheard her only daughter, 4, saying something to the dad in the background. The mom was enjoying her family life, and her daughter was having fun with her dad. I felt happy for her. But she was breaching the Working from Home (WFH) policy; it doesn’t permit other members of the family in the same room. Something is amiss in the policy, then. As the world is going through the COVID-19 turmoil, the corporates everywhere…

  • Leadership,  productivity,  Work Culture

    We Now Can Relate To The “BBC Dad” – How Covid19 is Reshaping the Way We Work and Live

    A few years ago, the BBC Dad video went viral on the internet, evoking compassion, some criticism, and mostly, amusement. Ironically, in these last two months of home quarantine, we all got a taste of it during our Zoom calls – It is now a lived experience for every young parent and pet owner. Covid19 pandemic has changed the world – one big shift is the way we do our job as knowledge workers. According to the author and thought leader, Daniel Pink, we are going through a “massive experiment.” It will be interesting to see how it reshapes our perceptions in terms of remote work, the separation between work and home life,…

  • 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…

  • Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Leading in the Era of AI

    How far are we from machines replacing humans? While much of the corporate research and development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is happening under Non-Disclosure Agreements, a recent demonstration of a personal assistant by Google CEO Sundar Pichai illustrated how advanced their AI research is . Similar research by Microsoft and a plethora of other technology companies, suggests that the impact on humans and our work will be profound. AI is developing as a powerful driver for good; in the field of medicine, for instance, it is already accelerating the development of cures for diseases. At the same time, AI releases human potential for higher-level jobs as robots are already replacing…

  • Courtesy: Prawny from Pixabay.com
    Leadership,  Success Strategy

    The Essential Qualities of Leadership – Examples from My Grandmother and Other Situational Leaders

    What are the most common traits among successful leaders? What process did they all go through? What’s the must-have quality of a successful leader? How my grandmother became a leader? Leadership training doesn’t make leaders. But still, such training programs are quite common in the corporate world. Perhaps this is how they ensure a continuous supply of loyal managers, in the same way as the British colonialist power introduced English in India to create a new class of clerks. Genghis Khan, Ho Chi Minh, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, or my late grandmother, were all extremely successful leaders who crossed insurmountable barriers in leading those around them. They were successful in…

  • EQ,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    You were given Feedback to Improve your Executive Presence – What do you do now?

    The other day a senior leader contacted me to hire as his coach. His LinkedIn Profile was immaculate – multiple graduate degrees from top-notch schools, a strong track record of professional work in his relevant field. He was given feedback to improve his Executive Presence (EP). He didn’t know what that entitles. After further conversation, we found out that in meetings with senior leadership, his challenge was thinking on his feet and being clear and concise in his delivery. Here is an example from another client, let us call him Joe. Joe was doing a presentation on the next direction of their product. Towards the middle, his VP comes in…