I’m sorry Honey

Everytime you came to me to complain about how difficult our Moms are being with you.
Everytime you talked to me about how frustrating it was to plan anything with our (difficult) friends.
Everytime you wanted to discuss your challenges of disciplining our chipmunks.
Everytime you made an attempt to discuss your problems with building OneSkin.

I am sorry for trying to solve your problems and not listening to you.

I lost my skill of being a good listener among the multiple journeys I embarked as an entrepreneur, consultant, speaker etc. I forgot the skill that was ingrained in to me (thanks to my early stint at Google) – the skill of saying and living it by every word, “I understand how you feel….”

Little do we realize that when people (friends, colleagues, family, etc) come to talk to us, 9 out of 10 times, they are coming to us, not for advise (surprise, surprise) but to get heard (what is also popularly referred to as ‘to get validation’).

All they want to hear from you is those 3 golden words – “I Hear You.”

I Hear You by Michael S Sorensen

Side Note: I haven’t been very successful in saying ‘I hear you.’ It might sound cliche but the truth is it is difficult (but not impossible). Like any other skill, ‘validation’ needs practice.

Why vs What?

Don’t tell me ‘what’ you do. Tell me ‘why’ you do it. I might believe in what you believe then.

Your answer for ‘why’ might inspire me. ‘What’ is another pitch adding to the daily noise I am exposed to.

Most of the search engines focussed on ‘what to do,’ while Google focussed on why do it (to organize all of the data in the world and make it accessible for everyone in a useful way).

I have a similar feeling around Amazon vs Flipkart or other e-commerce giants in India.

Side Note: As a leader don’t tell me what needs to be done, tell me why it has to be done and see the magic happen (assuming I am aligned to your why).


Nunca te Rindas

nunca-nunca-te-rindasI’m a marathoner and love running. Couple of months back, I had some serious injuries and my physiotherapist asked me to hang my boots and look at alternatives like yoga or swimming. Nothing against the alternatives but they don’t come close to giving me the high that running does.

I must have been visibly affected by this as my daughter came up to me and said ‘nunca te rindas!’ Hearing these words for the first time, I asked her what she meant. She sweetly replied, “I kept saying this to myself when I was competing with higher belts at the Junior Karate Competition, Papa. It means ‘never give up’ in Spanish.”

Riya and I tried learning Spanish an year ago and gave up (at least I did). Apparently, my little one has been at it with the DuoLingo app. For being a Dad of a 3rd grade student who is competing at school and state level in Wado Kai Karate, Skating and Swimming, continues to get trained in Western Vocals and Keyboard and finds time for her interest of learning a new language, I had do better than hanging my boots.

‘Nunca, nunca, nunca te rindas.’

Side Note: I have started with a 3 km walk everyday and it hurts. But with a little help from my physio and a lot of help from my little one’s words, I am looking forward to my next marathon this year.

Let’s talk H2H

That’s the new buzz word and its just old wine in a new bottle. But its more important than ever before that businesses stop talking B2B and B2C and start thinking Human 2 Human (H2H).

Take a step back on all the decisions that you are about to take. Put the excels aside and put on a human lens. Will the outcome of your decision paste a smile on the face of the person who is going to be most impacted by it?

Don’t think long term all the time. Human’s don’t. If they did, our planet would have been better today.

Side Note: The time has come when we start talking acting H2H.

Workers vs Leaders

When you tell people to do their jobs, you get workers. When you trust people to get the job done, you get leaders. – Simon Sinek

Some of the coolest, successful and aspirational companies have one thing in common – their undying passion for hiring the right talent and keeping them happy. A vastly known and widely ignored truth about why employees leave an organisation is, its not a better pay or role but for not being valued. Its because you keep giving them a feeling that they are nothing more than a resource.

Side Note: You walk in everyday, look around and realise there is no potent chatter on the floor. Dude, you hired workers, what were you expecting.


Educate, agitate, Organise

When I was reflecting on Dr. Ambedkar’s last words – “Educate, agitate and organise,” I found its uncanny resemblance to leadership skills.

Your ability to stand out as a leader depends on how you empower your teams by educating them, agitating them (in a positive manner and read enabling disruption in the way they function) and then organising or aligning such tremendous energy to achieve a common goal.

Honestly, with the current generation, I found the first (educate) to be easy to achieve. The ‘now’ generation is willing to learn things (and in most cases, at a rapid pace). However, a test to your character comes when you are trying to disrupt and then organise post the chaos that agitation usually brings in.


True leaders are continuously inspiring their teams to live up.
Exhibit – 1

There is a no secret formula to achieving this, but one thing that I have experienced – it becomes a tad easier when you have the right team.

Side Note: Yes, there will be resistance, fear and anxiety but beyond that you will have success, freedom and sweet notes (exhibit – 1).

Let’s fathom This

We give more than we take.

We do more than we say.

We solve more than we complain.

We smile more than we frown.

We make more peace than we shout.

We connect more than we ignore.

We persevere more than we quit.

We thank more than we apologise.

We unite more than we divide.

We inspire more than we dissuade.

We live more than we survive.

Side Note: There’s nothing new here except that we invariably end up doing the opposite. Think about it, that’s not new either.

What was your 2016?

Was it about:
– Vulnerability vs courage to accept it
– Shame vs acting on the feeling
– Hate vs winning over it with love
– Failure vs enjoying it
– Fighting for vs letting go when you know it’s not worth it
– Being nasty vs embracing people
– Leading with open arms or clenched fists
– Victories vs being humble about them
– Learning vs sharing your learnings

Side Note: Was it about you or the eco-system around you. Make 2017 less of you for a better year and beyond.

Relationship vs Transactional

How do you interact with people?

Are you constantly looking at short term transactional associations or a long term relationship associations. In the current changing times, building any association based on a transaction might turn futile. Because such a model is so passé.

And this is so true right from your personal interactions to business models. Believe and invest in relationship backed business models over transactional models.

Next time when you are hiring your new recruit, let go off a couple of thousands if you see a long term value. Next time you meet a new acquaintance, read through this to see if you can foresee having a beer with him over sending an occasional Whatsapp message wishing him Diwali.

Side Note: When you believe in this, invest a margin of your profits, energy, time in nurturing this belief, because honestly, today’s entrepreneurs are expected to build beyond just a billion dollar business.

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