Straight From The Heart

Leadership development, organizational transition & transformation with executive coaching

A good executive coach is not merely a behavioral change agent but an invaluable transformative business asset who can help senior leaders unlock their full potential as well that of the teams and organisaitons they lead. “At its core, leadership development is really about growing the complexity of people’s minds, enhancing their self-awareness and linking that behaviour/belief systems to how it impacts business,” says Pratap Nambiar, Chartered Business Coach and Chairman of Thought Perfect, an executive coaching & leadership development company.

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Characteristics of “engaging” leadership

Despite the proven correlation between employee engagement and sustainable business growth, the former often does not get as much attention as it should. An ongoing study by Aon Hewitt of organisations that score highly on employee engagement measurements while performing better than their peers, business-wise, attributes such dual success to the presence of ‘engaging leaders’ throughout different levels of these organisations.

A blog post on HBR.org describes some of the characteristics of such leaders and how organisations that work at making engaging leadership a part of their culture do so. We’d like to list some of the key takeaways from the above-mentioned blog post.

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Business & leadership advice: 15 gems from top leaders

The November 17 issue of Fortune magazine is called ‘The Advice Issue’, in which they featured lessons and advice from 40 business leaders on various aspects related to business and career success.

Their advice touched upon some of the most important challenges that business leaders have to face: decision making, organisational values, hiring and retaining people, leadership styles, people/talent management and so on. We present below edited excerpts of the advice from 15 such leaders.

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Getting the most out of executive coaching

In many progressive organisations, executive coaching is a strategic investment in developing human capital and an essential career and leadership development tool. With greater measurability of outcomes from professional coaching, the business case for executive coaching has never been stronger.

However, businesses need to understand that the success of a coaching engagement is not a foregone conclusion; it is a function of several factors such as the skills, competence and experience of the coach; the effectiveness of the coaching methodology; the level of participation in the process by the coachee; and equally importantly, the enabling environment provided by the organisation.

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Propagating an innovation culture for business growth

The Awaken Group conducts an annual Global Leadership and Innovation Survey (GLIS) of business leaders in the United States, Singapore and a few other countries. Its 2012-2013 survey explored the key challenges and priorities these leaders face, how they are responding to these challenges and emerging trends related to business growth strategies and organisational development.

Not surprisingly, “people”, “values” and “organisational culture” are among the most important and recurring themes that get significant attention from CEOs and other business leaders surveyed for this report. Continued success in business requires organisations to constantly innovate and become better; it is clear that this can be achieved only by building a culture of innovation that permeates through the organisation. So, what can organisations do to build such a culture? Here are some useful insights from the GLIS report.

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Preparing business leaders to fill the leadership pipeline

It is widely acknowledged in business that the demand for top-notch leadership talent far exceeds available supply. This demand-supply gap is attributable to several macro-factors such as globalization, the “New Economy” and of course, the Information Technology revolution. Equally important is the fact that too many organisations don’t invest in the time, resources and the processes required to build a “Leadership Pipeline” and develop leaders at all levels that will provide the organisation with more people prepared to take on leadership roles.

In their hugely successful book, “The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build The Leadership Powered Company”, authors Ram Charan, Steve Drotter and Jim Noel show how companies can keep this pipeline “filled and flowing to ensure a steady supply of skilled leaders throughout the organisation”.

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The Board’s dilemma

I wrote this article to address one of the many difficult decisions a Board has to make when it is confronted with a conflict between corporate values and financial performance metrics. They have to make quick choices in a complex, ever changing, and competitive world. In fact the perplexing challenges they face can sometimes seem like a choice between the devil and the deep sea. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

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Leadership and emotional intelligence

Leadership in organisations is demonstrated through the interaction of the leader and the followers in a given situation. It reflects the value of the people in the organisation. The kind of leaders that emerges will depend on the decisions made in the group which in turn reveal what balance has been achieved between the mind and the heart.

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Talent and fulfillment of potential: Not who you are as much as what you do

Some years ago when I was coaching my son to play competitive tennis, he lost a close match that he should have won. Clearly he had more talent. Shot for shot he was the better player. A senior pro who was watching the game, came over and consoled me. He said that he knew my son and the boy who beat him. Sure my son was the more attractive player but his competitor had just hit more balls in training. His muscle memory allowed him to keep more balls in play and so he made the fewer mistakes. It was that simple. Practice, dull boring drills perfecting every shot again and again and again.

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The six elements of decision making for business leaders

BNET carried an interview with Carl Spetzler, CEO of the Strategic Decisions Group and Director of the Strategic Decision and Risk Management program at Stanford University. Spetzler is credited with developing a decision-making framework used by managers from leading MNCs for all types of decisions: strategic, typical and on-the-fly.

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Entrepreneurship success with clear thinking

N.R.Narayana Murthy, presently the Chief Mentor of Indian IT major Infosys, was asked recently: “What five things should young entrepreneurs do to succeed?”.

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Leadership development and self-awareness

A couple of months ago, TrainingZone carried an exclusive interview with Ken Blanchard, the co-author of the famed One Minute Manager series.

His interview touched upon several points that are at the core of what we try to do at Thought Perfect: self awareness for leaders for performance enhancement, leadership development and human capital management.

Below are some excerpts from the interview that business leaders will do well to remember.

Self-awareness is key to good leadership
“You have to teach people in the heart not just the head. …. one of the reasons why people make lousy leaders is that they don’t know who they are. …. If you don’t have your heart right, you don’t realise you are here to serve, not to be served.”

Leaders set the right goals and articulate their vision well
“Leading at a higher level involves setting the right goals. It is also crucial to set a compelling vision that tells people who you are, where you are going and what is going to guide your journey. The first part of leadership is showing direction.”

Leaders help people achieve desired results
“I define leading at a higher level as a process of helping people achieve worthwhile results. Leadership should take into account the needs and concerns of everyone in the business and not just think that profit is a worthwhile goal. Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people.”

“If you don’t treat your people right, they will not take care of your customers.”

The first two points listed above epitomizes what we do as part of our leadership coaching. We help leaders become better aware of themselves and achieve complete clarity of thought, which enables them to make the right decisions and actions that result in perfect outcomes.

Are we creating a better world?

Our world is changing as it has never done before. Our challenges are more complex, more varied, and more global. We need to take a moment to pause and ponder, ask ourselves some basic questions- questions that will tell us if whatever we have achieved so far has really contributed to more happiness or less? Do we really comprehend the implications of all that we are driving towards, all that will irrevocably change the way we live in this world. What are we creating for the next generation? Are we creating a better world?

Do People Really Matter?

In the last 35+ years including the last 15 in professional service firms where the biggest asset is “ people” I have observed that at the very first pressure on the business all investments in the long term development of talent goes out the window. That is the first cost that CEOs decide has to be cut. The very fact that it is viewed as a cost and not an investment tells you that in the larger scheme of things this is not a real priority.

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Building Trusted Relationships- Journey to Becoming a Trusted Advisor

We recognize that the process of building relationships is an art, but there is also a science to it. Based on extensive research in the realms of social psychology, Dr. Robert Cialdini, Regent’s Professor of Psychology & Marketing at Arizona State University, has developed six key principles that can help us recognize the trigger features that increase the probability of success. Building trusted relationships with integrity involves a critical set of behaviors which can help ensure consistent success on the journey to becoming a Trusted Adviser.

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HR And The "Dao" Factor

In the words of Sun Tzu, “To assess the outcome of a war, we need to examine the involved parties and compare them in terms of five fundamentals.”  The very first of them he lists is Dao – (The Way). By this he means the moral influence or that which causes people to think in line with their leadership, so that they will follow them through every challenge, to live or die, without any fear of mortal peril.

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Changing Perspective With Coaching

When you take an action, and it does not produce the desired result- the coach helps you to answer the question” what was the thinking process that made me do that?

This is the process of developing greater self awareness, greater personal insight. The biggest contribution a coach makes through reflective dialogue is to help clients  get a strong understanding of the way they think and act. It helps shape their perspectives.

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Protected: Ten Undeniable Business Truths

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