Continuing To Foster Creative And Innovative Thinking Within My Organization:
In my experience, creative and Innovative thinking means taking risks! So, while a Start Up is driven by future trends and an ability to pivot their business model based on the circumstances, a large organization gets more conservative in taking risks. They stick to their business unit success model and start calculating every decision based on historical performance and future predictions, which dampens inspiration.
The culture of the company is dependent on senior managements perceptions of positive and negative factors, and is sometimes caught up between the realms of unconscious bias. Therefore, a leader must drive cultural change which fosters an environment that encourages strategic thinking and information sharing. These two factors create a critical core competency that forms the basis of innovation.
Whenever I am consulting with Large Organizations, I make sure that the senior managers reinforce programs that effectively help them build the social & human capital. For example, developing programs that promote work-life balance, paid time off for volunteer work, redistributing workloads when necessary and considering bringing in temporary professionals during peak demands to keep everyone fresh and focused. Aligning with this, I closely work with the leadership team to lead by example, be the model for the entire team by thinking creatively within their own work, and rolling it out (online / offline) as an example to inspire teams.
The Biggest Obstacles And Barriers That I Had To Go Through In Order To Find My Success:
A. That particular afternoon in May 2016 is etched in my mind, when I received the call to host the Rio Olympics LIVE for Star Sports. It was my birthday week & I was vacationing in Goa where the network was sketchy. I am probably the only female Anchor in India who has hosted Olympics twice for national television channels, so receiving this opportunity was a big win and a validation of my personal brand & achievements.
After a lot of rigmarole and preparations, the project graced me. Some of the biggest obstacles and barriers involved lack of sleep (since I was working round the clock while taking care of my business commitments as well) building content (not just for my own script but also for my guest speaker) and memorizing all statistics and data as well! While I would be in the studio for 8 hours, behind the scenes work was consuming easily 12 hours. It was a big ask on my mind, body and soul. Indeed, one ought to be physically tough and mentally robust to uptake such a challenging task and yes, It was an extremely gratifying experience!
On Developing The Passion & Skill For Public Speaking And Being Able To Sustain And Create A Relationship Between Me And The Audience By Keeping Them Engaged:
A. My parents have been a huge influence in honing my skills of Public Speaking, right from my childhood. My mother would push me towards participating in elocutions, debates, declamations and extempore speeches [I hated her back then for being so pushy, but can’t thank her enough today ????] Hailing from a defense background, my Dad would encourage me to indulge in small talk with Generals and other officers at various Armed forces events and ceremonies. This consistent practice eradicated my stage fright in a very young age and enhanced my confidence.
Acquiring this Skill, became a big differentiator for me at College & even at the Miss India Pageant. Wherever I went, it gave me an edge over others and helped me have ice breaker conversations with ease. It was through Corporate Events [where I got recognized as an MC Master of Ceremonies] that I was able to develop this skill even further. I learnt by experience how to sustain and engage the audiences with Elan and panache. And I backed it all up with studying the science of Kinesics & Proxemics. Of course today I share these secrets in my Master classes but certainly I’ve learnt it the hard way.
The Biggest Challenges That I See Leaders Facing Today And How Can They Overcome These Obstacles:
A. Digital disruption has blurred the lines between the online and offline worlds and leaders today are struggling with new age challenges indeed. One of the biggest challenges that they face is lack of relevant skills such as time - management, connected thinking, decision-making, public speaking etc... They also find it difficult to create a digital legacy, which alone is responsible for inspiring 95% of our young workforce.
In my opinion, there’s only one way to overcome these obstacles and that is to keep your learning curve alive and focusing not just on Employees development programs but also finding a befitting coach & mentor to Guide Change. Many leaders get caught up with their titles or online fame, thereby leaving their leadership & organizational culture in a flux. To manage, mobilize and lead change, one needs to be open to inputs & learning.
Creating A Coaching Model That Influences, Develops And Enhances Others To Grow And Generate Positive Driven Results:
A. As a Leadership Coach in the Indian Corporate Landscape, I've observed that mostly I am able to base my approach in the GROW model. The model was originally developed in the 1980s by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore. In its traditional application, the GROW Model assumes that the coach is not an expert in the client situation - This means that the coach must act as a facilitator, helping the client select the best options, and not offering advice or direction.
GROW stands for:
Options (or Obstacles).
Will (or Way Forward).
A good way of thinking about the GROW Model is to think about how you plan a journey. First, you decide where you are going (the goal), and establish where you currently are (your current reality). You then explore various routes (the options) to your destination. In the final step, establishing the will, you ensure that you are committed to making the journey, and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.
On Developing A Business Model Resilient Enough To Recover From The Impact Of The Current Crisis And Be Future Ready For Potential Crises In Times To Come:
A. Setting up a reliable crisis management process should be a top priority for every organization. Ensuring that the organization is aware and understands the crisis response procedures has become the need of the hour. Developing a resilient business model is equally important as updating the company's strategy for managing potential crises in the future. My top 5 insights are as follows.
1. Evaluating the impact
The work-from-home policy was a choice before this lockdown happened, but now it's a compulsion. All traditional & modern businesses will have to learn to do business virtually now. This implies a huge shift towards the internet, where mainly social media and e-commerce are booming. It will become more important than ever to put the correct customer touch points in place. Studies have shown that there has been a decrease in conversion rates by about 21%. The main reason is that consumers are more hesitant to convert during uncertain times. Therefore, mapping out the impact on your bottom line will have to be your top priority. Analyzing the data in entirety will help you secure a position to cope with any business crisis.
2. Re-defining your marketing focus
There isa shift from push marketing (pushing your products towards an audience you find relevant) towards pull marketing (drawing consumers to your product when they show interest). Assess the practical purpose of your marketing efforts and ask the right questions. If necessary, pause your digital advertising and then learn new ways to influence your customer. In most cases I expect the evaluation phase to last longer, which means that consumers might postpone their purchase due to uncertainty. This change in consumer behavior could be perceived as a threat, but when treated correctly, it can be turned into an opportunity.
Try to keep communicating with your potential customers. You can, for instance, send them more updates via e-mail, post more frequently on social media or put a news update on your homepage. Send out an update to your customers when a product is back in stock. Request customers to follow you on Facebook or Instagram, where you can also give them the latest updates on products or new services. Keep in touch with consumers who have shown interesting your product or service. Communicate with people who have, engaged with you on social media.
3. Automating Communication
Establish an information mechanism, which will allow for the gathering of accurate and up to date information from trusted sources and cascading it to all business functions concerned, thus minimizing the risk of misinformation. Ensure a systematic, transparent and positive communication with employees, clients, suppliers and all those that directly or indirectly depend on or are affected by the company. This is an essential step towards building the highest possible level of confidence and trust amongst all stakeholders.
4. Setting Up the right team
Building a crisis management team of key-decision makers not limited only to the company’s leadership but also including representatives from at least the strategy, operations, HR, communications and corporate affairs functions. This team should be empowered to make and implement decisions quickly while engaging with the employees. Making them feel safe & secure should be a top priority.
5. Creating a stronger digital presence
Be prepared for any business crisis by having a strong presence not just in the offline world but also in the online space. Use this extra time as efficiently as possible and adapt to your virtual space of work by carving inspirational corporate films, joining forums, engaging with employees and creating your own web series. Along with this re-write content with the right tone-of-voice on your website, improve your website, enhance your website, follow some interesting e-learnings or webinars about online marketing topics, tools and trends, clean-up your tracking and analytics data and take the time to automate that reporting which you’re currently updating manually on a weekly basis.
The Mentor That Helped Me Overcome Difficulties And Pushed Me Into Becoming A Successful Leader/Person:
A. I think in my life, the best mentors have been the naysayers and the people who have challenged me emotionally, physically and professionally. In every adverse situation, I have explored new skills and learnt new facets about myself. We all have ugly experiences and I feel that it is those people who deserve the tag of best mentors in life.
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