Thursday, May 31, 2012

The success code!

If you want to become a winner you were born to be, it is going to take changing your daily actions until they become a habit. The fact that you created a vision and understand the true value and purpose of that vision will energize you and give you personal motivation you need to finish well- and achieve exceptional results. Mahatma Gandhi, who led India’s independence, was an average person with limited success in his early career.  Some life changing experiences he had in South Africa as a young attorney discovered his “purpose in life” which motivated him to “persist without exception”. With that vision and purpose he led the entire nation to independence without firing a shot!

Much about success is just the result if simply the ability to follow up, follow through, and finish what you started. You are not beaten by being knocked down. You’re only beaten if you stay down. You are what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind, but you can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind. Choices determine that action you take, and action produces the results of your life. You can only think in ways consistent with the information you have in your mind. So to change what you do, you have to change the way you think, and to think differently, you need to change what goes into your mind.

There are six characteristics that comprise the foundation stones of your life and success. They are: honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty. These six foundational stones essentially provide the raw material for your thinking. As such, they become the core characteristics of what you be, do, and have, which ultimately determines the results you get in life. These stones form the code for success or failure because you are thinking and your actions must be consistent with the characteristics of the foundation you build. The idea of value and purpose is linked to the concept of discovering a great good, a mission, or higher calling. This is applicable at individual and at business level. High performing individuals and organizations have discovered this higher calling. Fundamentally, we need to understand one universal principle: You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. This is an other-centered strategy; not self-centered.

Finally, to have success, one must develop the following three dimensions of life. The first dimension is spiritual, the second dimension is mental, and the third dimension is physical. Each dimension is separate, but they work together to create a total person. The most important and the most neglected dimension is spiritual. It is out of our souls our attitude flows, and our attitude defines our altitude in life. The depth of our spirit will determine the height of our success. Our mental abilities are housed in our brains, and if you think our brain as a muscle, you need the importance of exercising it daily to keep it in top condition. The best exercise for brain and your mind is to force it to think which is enabled by continuous learning and education. Taking care of physical condition and health is very essential for our overall success. We need to have good eating and wait control plans and regular exercise. If we want to provide our spirit and mind a top notch house to live-in we need to keep our body in excellent shape.

Our success greatly depends on how we align these three dimensions, viz; spiritual, mental, physical. This is my personal testimony. I believed in all three dimensions from very early age in my life, but my priorities were in different order. Some life changing experiences gave me deeper insight which helped me reprioritize the dimensions to the right order: i.e., spiritual, mental, and physical. This change in priority clearly brought greater success and happiness in my life.

I wish you good luck and see you next week!

Saju Skaria

Friday, May 25, 2012

Words and destiny!

“The words you consistently select will shape your destiny” - Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and leadership coach.

Your words have incredible power. They can make or break you; they can help you build a bright future, destroy your opportunities, or maintain the status quo.  You may wonder how such bold statement can be made. Your words reinforce your beliefs… and your beliefs create your reality. Let me share the logical reasoning and how the process flow works.

Thoughts >> Words>>Beliefs>>Actions>> Results

Every end result begins with a thought, positive or negative. Let’s assume someone have a thought that he is not good at his work. He run such thoughts on a regular basis may be hundreds of thousands of times in his life. He starts words that support such thoughts to his friends and colleagues. Here again he repeat these self-talk again and again thereby reinforcing the beliefs. These beliefs get strengthened over a period of time and get embedded in his subconscious mind. What this lead to be taking little or no action in his work area to improve, since he has already resigned to fate based on the belief which is embedded in the mind. To make things worse, he will have more negative words on his activities, reinforcing negative beliefs.. and getting more negative results. It is a vicious cycle! The whole situation would have reversed if he started with the right thoughts, which then lead to right beliefs and actions which will end up with right results.

Rudyard Kipling has famously stated, “words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind". Don’t underestimate the role of words in our destiny.  You can’t keep repeating the negative words and expect to be high achiever, whereas positive language moves you towards your goal. According to Plutarch, “in words are seen the state of mind, character, and disposition of the speaker”. What obstacles you are facing in your life right now? Imagine the power you could unleash if you saw them as “just barely an inconvenience” instead of an insurmountable barrier.  

Words and accountability: When it comes to personal and business relationships avoid “burning the bridges”, but sometimes the only way to move forward in life – and to achieve an ambitious goal – is cut off from the negative people. Always discuss your plans with people who can render an intelligent opinion on the subject.

Words and emotions:  Our vocabulary affects our emotions, our beliefs, and our effectiveness in life. Aggressive words like “furious”, “livid”, “enraged” etc. would infuriate you and add more blood pressure and change in your physiology. Replace them with lighter words like, “annoyed”, “ peeved” etc. which would break the negative emotions completely. In a positive sense, instead of saying “ I’m determined”, why not say, “I’m unstoppable” and instead of saying “I’m OK, try “I’m phenomenal” or “I feel just tremendous”. Always choose words that will point you in the direction of your goals.

Fortunately, you can control your words – which means that you have the ability to build a positive belief system.. and produce the results you want.  Remember, it’s up to you to speak in a way that will toward what you want in life. Therefore, use words that are consistent with the path you truly wish to be on.. take action along the lines.. and watch yourself begin to travel in that wonderful direction!

I welcome your feedback and comments.
See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Risk Management Strategies in the Global Environment

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.” – Bruce Barton
            Today more than ever before, business professionals and leaders are challenged with increasingly difficult and diverse responsibilities, including understanding and employing decisions based on intense and complex business theories. Leaders also face a myriad of internal and external factors driving success or failure in enterprise business. In the age of dynamics and diverse global business enterprise, business professionals need to expand their existing base of knowledge related to various risk management strategies to be successful in the marketplace. Risk management process involves assessing, or evaluating risk and developing management strategies to mitigate them. These strategies include risk transfer, risk avoidance, and accepting some or all the risk. Financial risk management strategies focus on risk managed through financial instruments.
            To achieve sustainable competitive advantage, the organizations have to be creative with innovation and adaptable to dynamic risk management strategies. Today more than ever, the premium comes from the fusion of invention and insight into how to transform how things are done. In addition, the spread of shared technologies and business standards is creating an unprecedented opportunity for global integration, not just within each sector of society, but across them all. As the boundaries between the traditional "estates" become more porous, new businesses can contribute new forms of commerce, learning, and good governance.  One of the way to handle the risk is to integrate the business in a global level.
Globally Integrated Enterprise Approach
            The globally integrated enterprise will require fundamentally different approaches to production, distribution, and work-force deployment. Apart from off- loading non-core activities, the efforts are used for integrating the organization in multiple ways among suppliers, and customers.
Opportunities and risks
            The globally integrated enterprise can deliver enormous economic benefits to both developed and developing nations. The integration of the workforce in developing countries into global systems of production is already raising living standards, improving working conditions, and creating more jobs in those countries. Small and medium-sized businesses everywhere, particularly, are benefiting: as new services— from back-office administration to sales support—create infrastructures once only affordable to large organizations, these businesses can now participate in the global economy.
            Shifting to the model of globally integrated enterprises also presents big challenges for leaders in every sector of society. The very fact that so many more people all over the world are gaining equal access to the production process and the marketplace means much more trade and competition. Although this will create wealth and opportunity, it will also bring disruption and fear, both of which could threaten global integration. Legitimate concerns about job loss and skill shortages must be addressed in realistic and constructive ways.
            The single most important challenge in shifting to globally integrated enterprises—and the consideration driving most business decisions today—will be securing a supply of high-value skills. Nations and companies alike must invest in better basic educational and training programs. New kinds of managerial skills are also needed. Hierarchical, command-and-control approaches simply do not work anymore. They impede information flows inside companies, hampering the fluid and collaborative nature of work today. This is a key consideration in modern day organizations.
            Globally integrated organizations are seen as the next generation which optimizes operations and reduce cost by cutting down non-revenue generating expenses and reduce risk in a global context. Early adapters of this approach like IBM have proved the efficacy of this model.
            Success of any organization depends on organizational leaders. So this discussion brings in challenging questions to board members and senior executive leadership. Are they looking for only short-term financial results or long-term organizational results by handling global risk effectively?  In a fast-changing world, organizations are looking for transformational leaders who have the vision to translate the organizations into high performing cultures in a globally integrated enterprise. This is a challenging task worth emulating.
I welcome your feedback and comments.
See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Friday, May 11, 2012

Some leadership thoughts in troubled times!

I am a student on leadership studies and also a practicing leader with varying degree of success.  There are umpteen numbers of definitions on leadership. My intent is not to define leadership, but share some views on how leadership shapes up individuals and organizations.

Turbulent times build great leaders. Hard conditions reveal a person. Crises contain exceptional opportunity.  The best leaders are the product of most uncomfortable conditions.  We have numerous stories to share on this count from the early days of recorded history.

Average mortals avoid confrontations and in the process miss the glorious chance of our buried potential. Doing nothing in turbulent times is the worst one can do. Failures make us afraid to take bold steps.  In a professional / leadership setting, resisting what make you feel uncomfortable at work and playing safe at wild times seems to be a safe bet, but in long term it’s a very dangerous maneuver.  A great skier achieves his greatness by trying at super-hard terrains regularly. There is no bigger truth than this; when you go to your limits, your limits will expand. The more time you spend outside your comfort zone, the wider it grows. True leaders eat their fear before the fear eats them.

In an organizational setting, deficiencies get amplified in turbulent conditions.  The recent economic conditions really tested many individuals and business organizations. While several organizations got folded up, the smart and agile ones excelled and even grew at a faster pace than the industry standards. In reality, intelligent enterprises got free consulting advice during these stress tests. The key takeaway from our recent experience is that the organizations must learn to become comfortable with discomfort.

How can someone become dramatically more effective? In a leadership and personally development context, this is what I would recommend. Take bold steps. The very things that make you afraid are the doorways into your leadership best. Our natural tendency is to hang on to the safe harbor of the known. Then we’ll never conquer new land or reach the summit. Setbacks are nothing more than tests to see if you are ready for rewards that are available to you. Most people give up while seeing a wall. You please don’t.

Please remember; if you have not failed, you have not tried enough. You can’t get a break through without going through a period of breakdown. Change is always messiest in the middle. Everything in your past, including the hard times and bitterness you experienced, was necessary preparation to bring you to the edge where you are finally ready to make the true leader you are capable of. Looking silly feels uncomfortable for a minute, but letting your doubts and fears own you feel uncomfortable for a life time.

Let me close this blog with a statement from the legendary world cycling champion, Lance Armstrong, who faced several adversities. Armstrong said, “pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever.” He fought hard the cancer pain and made a huge comeback to life and to his beloved spot of cycling and never gave up. Great leaders and organizations never quit. They are not afraid of failures or initial setbacks. So in this troubled economic times, let’s keep our focus on the goals for the better future for all.

I welcome your feedback and comments.

See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Positive Intelligence: A game changer for your potential and performance!

Your potential is determined by many factors, including your cognitive intelligence (IQ), your emotional intelligence (EQ), and your skills, knowledge, experience, and social network. But it is your Positive Intelligence (PQ) that determines what percentage of your vast potential you actually achieve. When your mind is on your side, you flourish; when your mind works against you, you flounder. People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge.

Shirzad Chamine, Executive Coach and NY Times Bestselling Author of ‘Positive Intelligence’, shares compelling reasons for focusing on, measuring, and improving your Positive Intelligence. Positive Intelligence is ultimately about action and results. Its tools and techniques are a synthesis of the best practices in neuroscience, organizational science, positive psychology, and Co-Active® coaching.

With Positive Intelligence you can significantly improve the percentage of time that your mind is acting as your friend, rather than as your enemy. This will permanently shift the balance of power inside your mind so you can achieve more of your vastly untapped potential and help others do the same.


Current breakthrough research in neuroscience, organizational science, and positive psychology validates the principles of Positive Intelligence and the relationship between higher PQ and both performance and happiness. As mentioned, PQ measures the percentage of time that your brain is working positively, in your best interest, versus negatively, in self-sabotage.  Though different researchers have used different methods to track positivity and calculate positive-to-negative ratios, the results have been remarkably consistent.

Here are some of the research results reported by Shirzad Chamine in his book ‘Positive Intelligence’.
  • An analysis of more than two hundred different scientific studies, which collectively tested more than 275,000 people, concluded that higher PQ leads to higher salary and greater success in the arenas of work, marriage, health, sociability, friendship, and creativity.
  • Salespeople with higher PQ sell 37 percent more than their lower- PQ counterparts.
  • Negotiators with higher PQ are more likely to gain concessions, close deals, and forge important future business relationships as part of the contracts they negotiate.
  • Higher-PQ workers take fewer sick days and are less likely to become burned out or quit.
  • Doctors shifted to higher PQ make accurate diagnoses 19 percent faster.
  • Students shifted to higher PQ perform significantly better on math tests.
  • Higher-PQ CEOs are more likely to lead happy teams who report their work climate to be conducive to high performance. Project teams with higher- PQ managers perform 31   percent better on average when other factors are held equal.
  • Managers with higher PQ are more accurate and careful in making decisions, and they reduce the effort needed to get their work done.
  • A comparison of sixty teams showed that a team’s PQ was the greatest predictor of its achievement.
Besides impacting both performance and happiness, higher PQ can also literally impact your health and longevity:        
  • Research has shown that higher PQ results in enhanced immune system functioning, lower levels of stress-related hormones, lower blood pressure, less pain, fewer colds, better sleep, and less likelihood to have hypertension, diabetes, or strokes.
  • And, most amazingly, Catholic nuns whose personal journals in their early twenties showed higher PQ lived nearly ten years longer than the other nuns in their group. Higher PQ can literally help you live longer.

If your PQ score is 75 or higher, then your mind is on your side, and it can help you spiral up.  Shirzad writes: “… the PQ score of 75 is a critical tipping point.  Above it, you are generally being uplifted by the internal dynamics of the mind, and below it you are constantly being dragged down by those dynamics.”

To measure your PQ, you can do so at

A high measurement of the PQ score is not a bad sign at all. It is a wakeup call to realize where you stand and what action you need to take.

I welcome your feedback and comments.

See you next week!

Saju Skaria