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Faith and Humility in Leadership

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A few months ago by a bunch of professionals and then a few days ago by a bunch of human resource practitioners, I was asked, “What makes any professional move from being good to great?”

The answers to such a question usually are ‘experience, character, courage, persistence, passion etc.’ My quick and candid response to the first time it was asked of me was ‘Faith and Humility.’  First their jaws dropped instantaneously and, as I began to defend my thesis their eyes kinda’ glazed over. But people generally being nice as they usually are, especially here in the Philippines, they all smiled and nodded their approval. In my gut, I knew that I hadn’t sold my idea well enough. But the second time the same scenario occurred, I got several ’Whoas’ and ‘Awesomes’ to my defense of ‘Faith and Humility’ to move from being good to great.

Now, the why and the how of faith and humility in business and life:

First when I say faith, I mean trust and acceptance mixed with some loyalty. Second, I mean faith in oneself, faith in your perspectives and faith in your deeper intentions. And, by saying this I am also not excluding your faith in any structured form of religion. The neuropsychological benefits of all kinds of faith are amazingly similar.

The faith I am talking about is not surrendering of reason and logic and neither the blind acceptance of reason and logic.  I am talking about the power of goodness hammered into us, into humanity which constantly yanks us towards our higher self.  Yes, the synonyms can be trust and confidence in self. Yet, the faith I am referring to hails and applauds a much larger system, intelligence and consciousness.

A business leader that carries this special chip on his shoulder doesn’t just increase the chances of his own success but also inspires the growth and evolution of others around him.  A quick story that comes to my mind is that of salesman from a small town was out beating the streets of New York seeking work for a small graphic-designing business. Three days of being turned away and offered no work his morale took a plunge. He began to lose ‘faith’ in himself and in the system. At the end of the third day, his wife who also worked in the business said to him on the phone, “Honey, I just made it big in our small town lotto this afternoon, so worry not about bringing home any business. We are rich!”  The next morning, back on the streets of New York, very strangely, business did not just pick up for him but it began to pour in. Back at home on Friday night with a load of work in his bag as he hugged his wife, she told him that she really hadn’t won any lotto and she’d just said that to cheer him up.

I admit that her approach may not have been all too right but it did act like a placebo to attitude delivered positive results. His faith in himself, in the system and the world had jacked up and so did his business.

My way to reach such a state is that before every important interaction, I step away from the hustle and bustle of life, find a quiet place and pause. In that moment, I ask myself: Do you have faith in yourself? Have you done all the homework that needs to have been done? Will your agenda create value for others? Do you care for the people you are going to deal with? Are your objectives more selfless than selfish? Do you have faith in the system and in the world?

When I get a ‘yes’ as an answer to all of them, I open the door and step in and miracles happen.  That is my way to faith. That is my first step I take when I do not have a glimpse of the whole staircase.

Now for the ‘why and how of humility’ for moving from good to greatness in life and at work:

One of the best explanations of it was probably a quote on the walls of my daughter’s school, Colegio San Agustin, in the Philippines. I cannot remember the exact words but the gist of it was that the moment your mind highlights for you, or even others, that you are being humble then all humility flies out of the window.  If and when you say you are being humble, you are not.

Yes, the moment you make a claim towards it then it fizzles and turns into the monstrosity of overconfidence, pride and arrogance.

Thus, humility needs to be exercised quietly and with strength towards the very same reasons from which you gather and accumulate your faith. So, not just before, during and even after of all interactions and interventions the questions I ask of myself in quiet moments are: Are you even-minded and true about you and your achievements? Do you have quiet confidence in the homework you have done and are you ready for it to not serve you? Are you prepared to be rejected, turned down and left out? Are you open to the possibilities of failure? Will you be able to accept that however selfless your ideas and intentions are they may still be regarded as self-serving by others?

These questions serve me well in failure and success. I am not claiming that I always succeed at practicing these habits. I am not claiming that these practices will guarantee growth and will catapult us into everlasting greatness. I am saying that in my observations and study of leaders these habits are a huge part of their natural traits. Some of my favorite teachers, consultants and leaders of faith straddle these two paths of faith and humility to move from being good to becoming great.

Raju Mandhyan

P.S. Catch me at Dubai, HR Summit in November

 

Authenticity and Influence in Sales

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The other day at a business gathering someone asked me, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?” Slightly offended by the inclusion of the word decades in the question I quickly brushed it aside by saying “nothing has changed” and moved on. Late at night, I lay wondering and thinking about my experiments and experiences in selling.

At my first honorary job with my father, which was to run errands and try selling for his small school-bag making business, I’d sell nothing at every interaction. I’d walk into his customer’s shops and stand against the wall; tongue-tied praying the shop-owner would leap out from behind his glass counter and beg me to send him school bags. That never happened. I sold zilch. Dad lost hair worrying about my future as a business person.

At my second job, after making it as an engineer, I was assigned to sales. Sales in the engineering company I worked for meant filling up a large wad of papers with numbers, descriptions and a covering letter called proposals. There were templates to follow, listed prices to tally up but there was barely any people to people interaction. The wheeling, dealing and the closing was done by those big-bellied guys called bosses.

At my third job selling futures in pork-bellies, orange juice, barley, copper and gold my then ‘balikbayan’ boss Ricky Ho saw me suffer at selling and called me aside and said, “Hey Raju, recognize this, people sell for two reasons: one to get rid of something and two to make a profit. What do you want to’ do?” I owned nothing and thus nothing had to be gotten rid of, so I supposed I’d had to make a profit. After that epiphanous moment I learned to sell.  The need to survive taught me how to make cold calls, how to qualify, analyze, integrate, pitch, offer, present, solve, offset objections, sooth, meander, negotiate, upsell, cross-sell, resell, negotiate, close, re-open, serve with maximum subtlety and suaveness.

Thus, decades ago, uh-oh, there is that word decades again. Decades ago, or before the turn of the century, the “ABC” selling was, as Alec Baldwin screamed in the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, was to “Always Be Closing.” But as the previous century began to wind up entered the ‘internet of things,’ and Alibaba, and explosions of access to all avenues of humongous information. The days of just selling to get rid of something or make a profit out of something began to slowly and steadily began to be replaced by terms like relationship selling, consultative selling, solution selling, ethical sales, selling to serve, selling to solve, selling to not just create value but to co-create value. Sales and selling had merged into resolving needs and serving customer desires. No, it really had moved beyond finding solutions and serving needs. The seller and the buyer had to tear down walls of privacy and secrets between themselves. It wasn’t just one against another but both, together, towards a faster, better and a cheaper world.

Individuals and companies which did not adapt to this reset got covered in cobwebs and then in white sheets. Rest in peace names like Kodak, IBM, Mattel, Tower Records, Sears, etc.

Yet there was a certain element of truth to my response of “nothing” to the question, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?”

Yes, the sales environment has changed. Yes, the rules of the game in the marketplace are different. Yes, the tools of the trade are niftier and swifter. Yes, even the attitude has taken a turn and is still transforming for the better. What hasn’t changed is that every transaction whether it is to get rid of something, to make profit out of something or to serve a need and find mutually beneficial solutions is that all of them require trust. Trust, raw and unadulterated trust.

The oldest profession in the world requires a certain element of trust. The used car salesman, no matter how sleazy, requires to become worthy of trust. Ricky Ho my former boss, needed to earn a lot of trust to sell bellies of pork upon which all his big time investors never laid eyes upon. The guy who sells Boeing airplanes to the airlines of all nations needs to acquire trust and so does every other sales and service professional that sits behind a monitor and hacks away at a keyboard to sell unseen products to unmet customers.

The why and the how of earning trust from one to another hasn’t changed and might never change till the end of time.

The prelude into earning trust is authenticity. Here, not just the salesperson but every person and every leader needs not just have an attitude but believe and act out of a hutzpah made out of originality, honesty, openness, courage and vulnerability. A person with that kind of a hutzpah stands out because he stands up and steps in the right direction consistently. He now becomes trustworthy. To earn trust he needs to blend consistency with competence and compassion for the customer, for the stake-holders. Overtime such a leader becomes a champion at earning trust.

The obvious postlude to trust is that your people, your followers, your partners, customers gently and surely move in the right directions that you and them take together. That is influence.

In the coming decades and eons all that we see and hear as innovation, may innovate further, but the backbone of all growth and positive change in sales or any service will always be authentic influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

http://twitter.com/RajuMandhyan

Strive or Surrender in 2017?

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On my mind always has been the question “how much should we strive and how much should we surrender?” The world is filled with free-flowing advice on how to “never, never, never give up!” or how to “let the storm rage on and let it go, let it go!”

Yet the wisdom and ability to choose and then draw a line between the two extremes has never been an easy one. Faith, beliefs, values, culture, habits and personal desires always get in the way. In fact, the biggest struggle is not what to never give up or what to let go but the struggle to find that wisdom, courage and ability to make and act out our choice.

Strive or Surrender?

The simple rule of thumb that I follow is that I give my choice-making efforts maximum intellectual, emotional and social impact thought and then I act upon that choice. You might say, “Hey that really is no different from what everyone does, how is your strategy any different?”  My strategy is different because I put in the measure immediately after the first few action steps I take.  If the action steps stir up any toxicity, negativity, fear, doubt or guilt right after then I withdraw and take up plan B. I carry no shame in saying I was wrong. I carry no shame in giving credence to the opinion of others when it is better and will bring better, holistic results. I listen in and tune in to my emotions acutely and “let go of ego and authorship of the initial idea.” What I never, never, never give up on is the wisdom and ability of making another choice, as soon as possible, after the lack of success of any and all previous ones.

I believe in living out the moment to the best of my ability and that of staying in motion for the immediate future.

At the end of this 2016, I intend to exercise this personal competency of mine less for material, measurable goals and more for the not so easily measurable ones like kindness, compassion and big-picture achievements for and towards others.  My belief is that my world changes as I do. When I warm up, it warms up. When I soften towards it, it softens back at me and when I treat it with love then it pours back love onto me. The struggle between striving and surrendering ceases to take any credence.

 

Raju Mandhyan

Speaker, Coach & Learning Facilitator

www.mandhyan.com              A World of Clear, Creative & Conscientious Leaders! 

http://twitter.com/RajuMandhyan

http://www.youtube.com/user/RajuMandhyan

www.expatinsights.com                  External Views of Internal Successes!

 

 

 

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Octogenarian Thrives on Measurable Action

Octogenarian Thrives on Measurable Action!

Octogenarian Thrives on Measurable Action!

In a world where talk is cheap an 84-year old takes inspired action and impacts the lives of scores of school going kids in Albay, Philippines.

Sunder Mukhi, a former businessman and an active Rotarian in his 80s was done with cutting cakes and drinking wine on his birthdays. He’d had way too many of them, he claimed. Just before turning 84 he set out on a mission to do something else, something different and something that would serve and cater to something bigger and larger than himself and his normal reach in life.

He knew he had scores of family members and friends spread across the globe and across his beloved domicile-the Philippines. He knew that come his birthday he’d get greeting cards, gifts, poems and all the usual things that pour in from loved ones when one does love a lot of people like he did.

He chose to give a creative twist to this ritual and asked all his friends and family to donate a brand new bicycle on his birthday which, in turn, he’d pass it onto school-going kids in small town, Albay, Philippines. He set a goal of 84 bicycles to match his turning 84 in February 2016. His idea and request was creative and yet simple and the gifts/donations began to pour in. People thought this was fun, and their generosities would take shape and serve a deserving community not just in the short term but would also leave a long lasting impact on young hearts. It would tell them that the world is not scarce, not mean and tough but a world that is beautiful and abundant.

The results?

Instead of 84, a whopping 142 gifts in the form of bicycles poured in. The whole transaction, now, will not just make it easy for kids to commute to school but will also fill their hearts with the exhilaration of living in a beautiful world. Here’s more about this story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/762273/no-more-walking-for-albay-kids

As a leadership skills trainer and a life coach, I profess and preach about the power of action, about doing things rather than just talking about things. One must learn and make it a habit of getting up, moving and giving the future a little nudge that becomes measurable and leaves a long-term, positive impact. From that perspective 84-year old, Rotarian Sunder Mukhi’ s action becomes a bench-mark of affirmative action for me and all of us to emulate. He didn’t just talk about driving change, he walked, no, he biked himself into a brand new world of hope and happiness.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

A World of Clear, Creative and Conscientious Leaders!

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli! I hate the sight of it. I hate it’s name. “Brocolli?” What is that? It sounds like some tropical disease. Like, “He’s got brocolli between his toes. She’s got brocolli in her armpits.  But then again, we do know its good for us. Its green and healthy for our insides and for our cancer fighting cells. And, some claim, it adds and multiplies brain cells.

Similarly, in my work-life there are things that I know that there are things we must do which will be good for us. Like learning to and keeping proper accounts. Learning to and keeping proper records and files of projects and programs. And, for professionals and small business owners like me, learning to build an active website and sustaining, nurturing it over time.

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli!

I knew this. I was told this, many a times, years ago by colleagues and friends in the industry and yet I kept thinking _assigning this to a professional or a professional team would be the smart thing to do. And, boy was I ever wrong! Nearly every other year, I’d look for to outsource this work and they’d come back and pick my brain, have me do the thinking, the brainstorming and making the website work for me and my business. ” At first I was doling out money in spades and getting aesthetically impressive returns. Then I tightened my fist and began to get function but no charm and no ease. All through, in the back of my head, I kept thinking…”I wish I was computer savvy. I wish I understood the internet as well as they do. I wish I were Generation X or Y or Z. I wish I weren’t a late-bloomimg baby boomer baby! Grrr!

Website building, maintenance and the world of internet marketing loomed over me like a huge clump of rotting brocolli.

Yet, a small voice kept telling me, “Go ahead, take a bite and start chewing. Go ahead, roll up and your sleeves, tie a nappy around your neck and dig in!

So, two week ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put a nappy around my neck, put on my reading glasses, plugged in the earphones and hauled my lap top closer to me and began clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, taking a power nap in between, and clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, listening until it began to make sense, until it began to take shape.

What you are browsing through right now is a still a rough draft, a skeleton of what is yet to come and grow. In essence, not only am I learning to eat my brocolli but I am also learning to plant, grow and make it flourish organically. That’s the way to go when it comes to learning and succeeding at something you consider hard and something that you figure you can set aside and a let divine intervention resolve it for you. No sirree! It doesn’t happen that way.

Can this same principle be applied for accounting, book-keeping and or maintaining records. Yes!
Nothing is more empowering and liberating than tackling any and all kinds of huge, ugly brocolli clouds that loom over you and slow you down. Hate that brocolli? Eat it first! It’s good for your soul;)

Inner Sun

An Unbalanced Life.

Most everyone is focused on living a balanced life. What exactly is a balanced life? Twenty fours divided equally between work, play, family, personal needs and service to the world? Or, is it stress at work, peace at home?

InSights on InSights

I didn’t start out to be…but over the years, I have become a serious learning addict. I started out as wanting to teach, train and inspire others but the process required taking in, processing, reflecting, accepting, experimenting and acting upon concepts and applications. Over the years, my capacity to do all this_ taking in, processing, reflecting, accepting, experimenting and acting upon grew massively. Today, at the close of nearly fifteen years of doing this the neural synapses continue to cut deeper pathways and the pleasure I keep getting out of this continues to grow. This, little act of putting out a blog is a part of the journey.

Some people may ask, why do this, to what end and purpose? To that I’d respond “Great question, many times I ask that of myself too!”

The answer is simple: If one is a farmer then they farm so that they can eat and feed others. If one is a mason, then one builds so he has shelter and others have a home. And, if one is an architect then he builds bridges so people can cross and get to where they have to go. At the core of my heart, I love teaching and this little act of blogging is one of the necessary tasks of a modern day teacher. It is supposed to challenge me then nourish and develop others at work and in life.

Yeah, that’s the insight on these InSights!

Appreciative Inquiry