• Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    How Coaching Can Increase Employee Engagement

    I have worked within the high tech industry for over a decade and I have always wondered why a large number of the great hires end up disengaged, identified as below average performers so soon after hire! First as a manager and now as a coach, my observation is the raw potential the employees bring often gets underutilized because of the chaos in the workplace. Despite the relative maturity in the high tech industry we still depend on Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” theory. I believe a coach can be a catalyst to increase the odds for each employee to be of the “fittest” species in the corporate jungle. Below are the stories of two…

  • Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    Want to Take your Career to the Next Level? Manage Your Attention Wisely

    “I don’t have the time to pause and think, my days are filled with back to back meetings. When someone asks me a question, I just tell them what I know and I go to my next meeting. I feel like I am fire-fighting”. Adriana, a senior director of a fortune 100 company was telling me this during our recent conversation. She is not alone. If you are even moderately successful, back to back meetings is a sad reality of your life. The more damaging part is, this kind of constant demand on our attention reduces our ability of deep thinking. We end up exhausted creating the same old results…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Organization Politics – How We See It Can Change the Meaning

    “I really like doing my job but I hate politics. When I ask others, everyone says the same thing, they hate politics. If no one likes it then who creates them in the first place”? My friend sighed as she and I were catching up over coffee on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon. We commonly use the term, “politics” to describe an action people engage in to advance their self-interest at the cost of their colleagues’/team’s interest. It is a win-lose game driven by the intention of gaining something for a selfish purpose. As someone spent 20+ years both inside organizations and then coaching organization leaders, I get very curious…

  • Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    Courage From Within – How Conviction And Trust Can Help

    Growing up, I didn’t think I had much courage. One day I saw this quote saying: Courage is not the absence of fear it is acting despite — because something is important to us. That made perfect sense! Fear will always be there, and that might be a good thing as it forces us to prepare well by doing the due diligence. Conviction is an essential part of courage. I can bring courage because my conviction about the matter is stronger than the fear. Twenty-two years ago, when I first came to the US for my grad school, it was the very first time for me to be in a foreign country, it…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Reactivity To Thoughtfulness- A Corporate Leader’s Journey

    “He doesn’t work well with others.” “He has issues dealing with bad news.” “He is a star performer, but he is lacking executive presence.”  These are some of the typical “pain points” in organizations. Leaders often spend a lot of time, energy and money on these symptoms, throw expensive training with very little sustainable impact. My experience says these are mostly symptoms, a coach approach can help uncover and address the underlying issues to create a long-lasting positive change. Here is the story of a mid-level manager at a large tech organization. Let’s call him Peter. Peter’s issue was poor conflict management. He had a hard time letting go. Hearing the…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    What A Car Can Teach Us About A Successful Career

    I was talking to Andrea, a leader in a big corporate here in the Seattle area. Very smart and hardworking she was, her resume spoke for itself. As a senior director role in this new job, she was facing some challenges. The main feedback was, others didn’t know what value she was bringing to the organization, they were not aware of her contribution. The solution in her mind was simple. Only if she had the skill of being vocal in meetings she would have been prolific enough to blow her own horn. Deep inside though she was not feeling confident about her contribution either. All her time was spent getting…

  • 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 put others needs ahead of me, am I not supposed to do that way”? Awareness around renowned development psychologist Robert Kegan’s Human Maturity Stages might shed some light on this. 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,  Leadership,  Personal Brand

    Managing up/Self-promotion : What To Do About It

    In my recent survey, an amazing 79% of people said that Managing-up/Self-promotion is the most challenging aspect of their work. I didn’t expect it at all! I then started thinking about it more and realized it is the tip of the iceberg. Based on my experience the real issue underneath is our reactive mode.  A more effective approach is to be purposeful of our engagement and align it with our bigger vision and core values. Deviations are fine as long as they are exceptions rather than the rule- as it doesn’t sustain for very long. Interpretation of the Data A good majority of people thinks Managing-up/Self Promotion is their biggest challenge As a manager or a…

  • Living from inside out
    Happiness,  Leadership,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    How are you setting your goals, Inside-out or Outside-in?

    Last week I was describing the concept of “Living from inside-out” to my class participants in a high tech company. The example I gave – If you target to become a VP of a company that is an “outside-in” way of seeing your goal. The “inside-out” approach could be – I want to innovate, drive a product (what kind?) that I care (fill in here with why you care…) and I am willing to take risks, sacrifice my comfort to make it a success (define it using your values). Basically you are defining your intention qualitatively; you are not attached to a certain form of it. There is a good…