How business leaders THRIVE and not merely survive in the VUCA world

In the VUCA world, companies adapt to the changes, survive. But few leaders thrive in this environment. They pull everyone forward along with them. What lessons could we learn from those leaders? BE THE CUSTOMER

a) Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, asked employees not to be representatives of customers but become customers themselves. She herself visited retail stores as a typical customer and experienced the business from a consumer’s mind. She encouraged everyone to do the same.

b) Amazon was so successful in selling books because Jeff Bezos was an avid reader. He himself is an extreme user. He knew the desires, needs of his targeted user segment.

c) iTunes store was an essential reason for iPod’s massive success. iTunes store solved a lot of problems and gave a wonderful experience to the music fans. One reason — Steve Jobs himself was a huge music fan -a hardcore Bob Dylan fan. Being an avid user, Steve knew what were the real needs of a music listener.

d) Harley Davidson promotes a culture where employees are encouraged to become riders so that they could understand the customers.

e) Nike’s founders Phil Knight and Billy Bowden were track athletes. They knew the problems faced by professional athletes with the shoes as they had experienced themselves.

How business leaders thrive and not merely survive in the VUCA world?

Source: Article by Shah Mohammed

6 Features of Hurry Sickness

If you are constantly racing to cross items off your to-do list, juggling several tasks at a time and easily agitated by small delays, you might be dealing with “hurry sickness”-a term coined by cardiologists Meyer Friedman & Ray Rosenman

6 Features of Hurry Sickness

1. You treat everything like a race

You find yourself treating even small, everyday tasks like shopping, eating or driving as a race; delays cause anxiety

2. You find it impossible to do just one task at a time

Focusing on just one task, feels unbearable to you. You’ll try to figure out what you can squeeze in while you brush your teeth

3. You get highly irritable with delays

Traffic, waiting at the doctor’s stresses you out. You’re the kind of person who presses the “close door” button in the elevator repeatedly

4. You feel perpetually behind schedule

There are never enough hours in a day to accomplish what you need to do. You always feel like you’re playing catch-up

5. You interrupt or talk over people

You may not intend to be rude, but you’ve been told you have a habit of cutting people off mid-conversation.

6. You’re obsessed with checking things off your to-do list

You love the burst of satisfaction you get when you complete a task and get to cross it off your list. But that high doesn’t last long, you quickly move to the next thing.

How learning helps companies beat Covid shocks

#Learning helped Mondelez India advance product entry of cakes into India, during the 2020 lockdown and pandemic, as well as shift an entire chocolate line from China to India without the machine manufacturers coming to the floor. #Unbelievable but #true.

Mondelez decided to launch its entry into cakes in 2020. The process was complicated due to covid restrictions. Well before the pandemic, Mondelez India had been experimenting and getting their personnel trained on running the production line remotely.

“We would have had no option but to shut the line for 3 weeks, had the shift engineer not run it from his laptop” says Mondelez International President (India) Deepak Iyer.

#Machinelearning and #ArtificialIntelligence helped Mondelez move the chocolate line, without any delays or glitches. Instructions were provided over cameras and mobile platforms on how to dismantle the line, package it, ship it, unpack it and assemble it. Deepak Iyer says all this is possible because Mondolez is focused on learning.

#Learning has clearly moved from a one time event to a life long affair. If we are to stay #relevant, individuals, teams and organizations need to learn and upgrade themselves continuously. The #VUCA world has necessitated this change. The pandemic and the increasing use of technology has hastened the process.

KEY TO INNOVATION – Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella, Says This 1 Trait Is More Important than #Talent or #Experience. It’s Something Anyone Can Learn. You would think the leader of a company like Microsoft would look for talent or creativity or experience. And, I’m sure he does. It’s just not the most important thing.

Nadella, used just one word to describe where he thinks innovation comes from: #Empathy.

Nadella says:

“To me, what I have sort of come to realize, what is the most innate in all of us is that ability to be able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and see the world the way they see it. That’s empathy. That’s at the heart of design thinking. When we say innovation is all about meeting unmet, unarticulated, needs of the marketplace, it’s ultimately the unmet and articulated needs of people, and organizations that are made up of people. And you need to have deep empathy.

So I would say the source of all innovation is what is the most humane quality that we all have, which is empathy”.

Businesses, as Nadella observes, “are made up of people.” Truly innovative companies are made up of people. Those people aren’t just focused on spreadsheets, product design, software code–they’re focused on people who use the products, software, or spreadsheets. They’re focused on empathy.

The one trait that Satya Nadella thinks is the Key to Innovation

A successful experiment to reduce GENDER BIAS

How an organization was able to substantially reduce their #genderbias in their hiring process through a simple cost-effective method.

Till the 1970’s, the top five orchestras in the U.S. had fewer than 5% women. By 1997 they were up to 25% and today some of them are well into the 30s.

How did this happen?

A simple change in the procedure…

Candidates are situated on a stage behind a screen to play for a jury that cannot see them. In some orchestras, blind auditions are used just for the preliminary selection while others use it all the way to the end, until a hiring decision is made.

Even when the screen is only used for the preliminary round, it has a powerful impact; researchers have determined that this step alone makes it 50% more likely that a woman will advance to the finals.

It may not always be possible to have a completely gender blind interview. If we think out-of-the-box, towards this objective, we are likely to definitely make an impact!!!!

Daniel Kahneman’s decision making test

Given an option to choose between which of 2 events is likely to happen, how do you decide? How do you take decisions? How accurate is your decision making? Take a #test

#Option1: Delhi Airport is closed. Flights are cancelled.

#Option2: Delhi Airport is closed due to critical VIP movement. Flights are cancelled.
Is #Option1 more likely or #Option 2?

Most of us will choose option 2, even though it is more unlikely. The airport could be closed due to any number of reasons accident, strike, bomb threat, bad weather.
Why? The #conjunctionfallacy. When faced with details that are more #convincingly and vividly #potrayed, we believe them

Even #experts are not exempt from the Conjunction fallacy. In 1983, at an International

conference for future research, experts were divided into 2 groups

Group 1 was told “Oil consumption will decrease by 30%”

Group 2 was told “A dramatic rise in oil prices will lead to a 30% reduction in oil consumption”

Groups had to indicate how likely they felt the forecast was.

Group 2 felt much more strongly about the forecast than group 1

#DanielKahneman believes 2 types of thinking exist:

1.Intuitive, automatic and direct

2.Conscious, rational, slow logical

Intuitive thinking draws conclusions long before the conscious mind does

The Winners Curse

Why does #WarrenBuffet recommend you should say “no” to auctions? From Google Ad words to eBay, from auctions for telecom spectrum to submitting tenders as suppliers, #auctions are ubiquitous.

At a personal level, several studies show, we mostly end up #payingmore for goods, during an auction. Even companies are not immune to this phenomenon.

According to a #McKinsey study, mergers and acquisitions (the ultimate auction) destroy value in more than half the cases. The acquisition brings losses ultimately

The winner gets the goods but they have to #pay for it. Sometimes, much more than the true value

It’s the winner’s curse!!!

So why do we fall victim to the winner’s curse?

1.The real value of many things is uncertain. The larger the number of parties, the higher the probability of an over enthusiastic bid

2.We want to outdo competition

Take Warren Buffet’s advice on auctions. “Don’t go”. If you are in an industry, where auctions are the norm, set a maximum price on it and deduct 20% to offset the winner’s curse.

The MARSHMALLOW experiment at Stanford

40 Years of #StanfordResearch Found That People with This One Quality Are More Likely to #Succeed. In the 1960s, a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel conducted the #MarshmallowExperiment.
Children (aged 4-9) were left in a room with 1 Marshmallow. The instructions given:

If you wait for 15 minutes, you will receive 2 Marshmallows. The researcher left the children alone in the room for 15 minutes.

Some children waited for 15 minutes to receive the 2 Marshmallows, some did not.

The #interesting part of the study came several years later The researchers conducted follow up studies for over 40 years and tracked each child’s #progress

The #results showed that the children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up with

1. Higher academic scores

2.Lower levels of substance abuse

3.Lesser marriages ending in divorce

4.Better responses to stress

5.More job stability and higher career trajectories

6.Generally better scores in a range of other life measures

Important question to ask:

1.Are we able to resist the first Marshmallow and reap the rewards of delayed gratification?

2.Do we have the patience to stay the course for the grand prize?

3.Are we resilient to the pressures of instant gratification that will often tempt us?

Everyone is beautiful at the top

What makes an ace sports player, an expert to give us advice on mutual funds? Or an actor, to tell us which food brand is best? We are so used to seeing #celebrities promote products, we never stop to consider why their #support should make the product better suited to us.

This is the #haloeffect. We subconsciously associate the “success” of people with the “success” of products, even though there may be no correlation.

Edward Lee Thorndike discovered the halo effect, a 100 years ago. His conclusion, a single quality viz beauty, social status, age produces a positive/negative effect that #outshines everything else and the overall effect is disproportionate.

Several studies have shown, we #automatically regard good looking people as more pleasant, honest and intelligent.

Physical characteristics logically, have nothing to do with #inner behaviors. Yet, our mind believes differently.

The halo effect obstructs our view of true #characteristics. We need to go beyond the surface. #Digdeeper and then form an opinion.

How to get others fired up and ready to get THE BARACK OBAMA WAY

I came across an old and brilliant clipping of #BarakObama. This is before he won the Democrat nomination to stand for President. Remember, here, he was a relatively unknown African American Senator from Illinois. This clipping demonstrates a brilliant #storytelling, building a #sharedvision and #passion that touches the audience.

It’s a great lesson for all of us as managers, leaders and influencers. The #principles are common. My take aways:

1.He paints a #detailedpicture of the scene. It’s like you have a ringside view of the scene

2.Extremely #specific. This allows you to feel the emotion he want you to see

3.Clear #calltoaction, without being pushy

For me, this is a must watch for all of us that use storytelling to build a common vision and shared understanding….get teams all #firedup and #readytogo