How the world’s top business leaders motivate their teams

top business leaders

Image source: AOL

Motivation is a key element of good leadership. That’s why some of the world’s finest business leaders are also the best motivators.

They encourage their employees to excel in whatever they do with a highly effective combination of incentive, encouragement and inspiration.

Clearly, it makes good business sense to keep employees motivated. Here’s how some of the tallest business leaders do that job.

1. Mark Zuckerberg

Much has been written about the 34-year-old Facebook CEO’s motivational methods, including how he is completely approachable, believes in removing barriers among employees, and does not have time for pointless traditions. Zuckerberg is also generous with perks and believes in empowering his employees. Famously, he sits in a cabin with glass walls to signal to his team that that he is available should they ever need him. All of which add up to make Zuckerberg one of the most admired tech CEOs in the world.

2. Richard Branson

The flashy Virgin Group founder seems to have worked out what keeps employees happy to the level of a formula. His advice? Well-designed office spaces with ample natural light, work that stimulates employees, a credible rewards system and a focus on health. More importantly, he makes it a point to keep workers invested in the company through various methods. And of course, he celebrates the achievements of his employees like nobody else does—or can!

3. Vineet Nayar

The erstwhile HCL CEO did the unthinkable when, in his quest to make the company more competitive in the 2000s, he turned the traditional management structure upside down, placing power in the hands of the workers. This philosophy, which came to be known as the “Employee First, Customer Second” policy, led to phenomenal growth in HCL, leading to profits even during the challenging recessionary years of the late 2000s. On the ground, the policy meant making managers and enabling services—like HR and Finance—accountable to frontline employees.

4. Azim Premji

Azim Premji took a $2 million hydrogenated cooking oil company and turned it into a $7 billion business with offices in 60 countries. His mantra for success? An unflinching commitment to values. The Wipro chief is a strong believer in the fact that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things when they work in a motivated environment and take a personal interest in their jobs. In addition, Premji puts great emphasis on the pursuit of excellence.

5. Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum

Also known as Sheikh Mohammad, the current Prime Minister and Vice-President of Dubai is also the owner of Dubai Holdings with interests in Dubai Healthcare City and the Jumeirah Group, among others. He motivates those who work under him by inspiring them to be nothing less than No. 1. “We, in the UAE, have no such word as ‘impossible’; it does not exist in our lexicon. Such a word is used by the lazy and the weak, who fear challenges and progress. When one doubts his potential and capabilities as well as his confidence, he will lose the compass that leads him to success and excellence,” he has said.

Better productivity, lower levels of absenteeism, lower turnover and a positive environment are some of the advantages that motivation brings to an organization. The best business leaders understand the true value of a happy workforce. As a result, each of them have found their unique way to motivate employees so that all of them work as a team for the greater good of the organization.

There are more interesting reads below to get you  going and help you Find Better!


5 workplace lessons to learn from Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

The frontrunner of India’s Independence movement, M.K. Gandhi is synonymous with nonviolent civil disobedience. But that’s not all he’s known for. Gandhi also stands for honesty, truth, compassion, service and sacrifice. He may have preached these ideals in another era, but his legacy remains relevant today and in every sphere of life.

Here are five lessons that you can learn from him to get ahead at the workplace:

Create a talent pool

One of the most important lessons any leader or manager can learn from Gandhi is that to take your plan to fruition, you need a talented team. Leading India’s freedom struggle wasn’t easy but Gandhi’s talent pool – Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad, Sarojini Naidu and C. Rajagopalachari – helped him every step of the way.

Tip: Being a boss is easy, but being a leader means you need to be capable enough to lead from the front and keep the team with you every step of the way.

Communication is critical

Gandhi knew the importance of communicating his vision of a free India to the common man. To further this, he chose to travel a lot – always in third class train compartments to get connected to more people. He started magazines and personally replied to most of the letters he received to get his point across to people.

Tip: Communicating and sharing plans with the team makes all the members feel connected; they feel the leader is talking to them, not at them – a factor that can lift their morale and productivity.

Manage conflicts calmly

Gandhi led a team of stalwarts, each of who had their own thoughts, ideas and plans. But Gandhi did not let the many differences in opinion affect the way ahead. He ensured that he resolved each and every conflict – big or small – so that his team did not deviate from their mission: winning India her independence.

Tip: Work to neutralize or minimize conflict at all times. If you allow it to grow and run rampant, you run the risk of creating silos and internal disruption.

Seek growth for all

Gandhi coined the term Sarvodaya, meaning “universal uplift” or “progress of all” in 1908. Back then, he meant it to be a social movement in post-Independence India to ensure that self-determination and equality reached all strata of India society. The thought behind it was universal growth and progress opportunities for all so as to develop everyone’s potential.

Tip: Growth doesn’t come from pulling each other down. If you help a colleague, be it a superior, co-worker or junior, get ahead, it will ensure new opportunities for you.

Stay the course

In Gandhi, India had a leader who could have commanded her millions to war with no protests. But he chose to be patient and take the path of non-violence. Fast after fast, rally after rally, others may have dithered but Gandhi never lost his patience. In his own words: “To lose patience is to lose the battle.”

Tip: Patience is a virtue that’s often under-rated at the workplace. Whether you are a newbie or the boss, being patient will see you through tough situations, sudden challenges and tricky issues.

Last but not the least, it’s important to remember to “be congruent, be authentic, be your true self”. Gandhi thought nothing of attending round table meets and meeting viceroys in his loin cloth. And ultimately it was this frail little man in the loin cloth who gave the British the biggest beating they ever had to take.

Inspired to take your work to another level? Search for something that gels with your ideology here.

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What Baahubali-2 can teach you about managing your team more effectively

What Bahubali-2 can teach you about managing your team more effectively

Kattappa ne Baahubali ko kyun mara? 
If the mighty Baahubali himself had pondered over this question before the tragic turn of events, his career could have soared to new heights. Instead, his dream run ended abruptly because he couldn’t see through his trusted lieutenant’s mind.

From strength and resilience to strategic thinking and humility, the hero of the blockbuster film Baahubali 2 embodies several qualities every leader should emulate. His one drawback, however, was his inability to read the people around him. 

If you want to succeed as a manager, understanding the weakness of your team members is as important as gauging their strengths, in order to best manage them.

Take a look at Baahubali’s inner circle. Do any of these people sound familiar?

Devasena: Quick-Witted but Arrogant Star Player

Devasena’s beauty has no bounds, but it’s her battle skills and sharp thinking that capture Bahubali’s attention. What he fails to see is her haughtiness and that proves to be his undoing.

Fix it: Every manager dreams of finding a star player who is really good at the job. But that can quickly turn into a nightmare if the employee is arrogant. 

Sit down with the team member and explain that even though the work is excellent, his/her interactions with other people are unacceptable. Outline the behaviour you find impermissible and suggest how it needs to improve. Set a deadline to see if these changes in attitude and behaviour have been implemented. Also, keep other team members in the loop about the actions you are taking to show them that you’re being methodical and fair in your dealings.

Sivagami – Gullible Senior

The queen of Mahismati is both a brave warrior and tender mother. But Sivagami is also easily emotionally manipulated. Unaware that she is being used as a puppet, she orders Bahubali’s death. He, on the other hand, reveres her to the end.

Fix it: Having someone on your team who is easy to deceive can prove extremely harmful for you. So equip them with the tools they need to ensure they are not exploited to serve someone else’s agenda. 

Encourage them to trust their gut, recommend they take time on the big decisions and show them how to say no, diplomatically but firmly. Also, teach them to question whether they have enough information about the situation, and ask them to reserve judgement until they have more proof.

Kattappa - the blind loyalist

Kattappa: The Blind Loyalist

‘Mama’ is Baahubali’s most trusted aide, but their relationship is jeopardised by Kattappa’s oath to the queen. The seasoned soldier’s inability to challenge her authority, and put a stop to what he believes is a bad decision, eventually leads to Bahubali’s downfall.

Fix it: Blind loyalty is actually disloyalty, because it ignores things that can bring a leader down. Make it clear to your team member that, if you’re about to do something incredibly damaging to your career or company, you want people around you who will tell you that. 

Bhallaladeva: Co-worker Who Secretly Hates You

Bhallaladeva: Co-worker Who Secretly Hates You

Powerful and ambitious, Bhalladeva believes he is the rightful successor of Mahismati. But realising the futility of making a direct play for the throne, the scheming young prince engages in some underhand moves to unseat Baahubali, hiding his true feelings under the guise of concern.

Fix it: A smart co-worker won’t overtly display their disdain for you because they don’t want to cause trouble or jeopardise their own careers. But there will always be subtle red flags that indicate they are not out for your best interests. The only way to continue working with such people is to manage their enviousness. You can do that by allowing them to function with a degree of independence. 

Bijjaladeva: Master Manipulator

Bijjaladeva: Master Manipulator

Baahubali’s uncle harbours a great deal of resentment dating back to the time he was denied the crown because of his disability. The fact that his wife chose her nephew over their son, as her heir, only added insult to injury. Instead of confronting her head-on, the wily Bijjaladeva manipulates events that lead to Baahubali’s tragic end.

Fix it: At some point in your leadership journey, you are likely to find yourself having to manage a manipulator. These type of people are usually battling their own insecurities, so tackle the problem with compassion. Ask direct questions to avoid putting them on the defensive. Mentoring or mediation to help the manipulator gain awareness of their behaviour is the most productive way to resolve the situation and prevent future unpleasantness.

Weaknesses are inevitable, and if you’re not prepared for them, you’ll be blindsided by your team members. As a manager, you can’t just look the other way. Instead, let Baahubali inspire you to create a stronger workforce. 

There are more interesting reads below to get you  going and help you Find Better!

Workplace lessons we can all learn from SRK’s Ted TALK

Workplace lessons we can all learn from SRK’s Ted TALK

Image Source: Marla Aufmuth/TED

He’s Bollywood’s quintessential lover boy: Rahul, naam toh suna hoga? One of the Hindi film industry’s biggest hitmakers, Shah Rukh Khan stands tall as an example of how a simple boy from Delhi can hit it big in the City of Dreams, without any godfather. His journey, which began with 1989 TV series Fauji, led him to more than 80 films and has earned him numerous accolades, including the Padma Shri, the Légion d’honneur and 14 Filmfare Awards.

King Khan continues to enthrall, providing inspiration and motivation to all age groups across the world. His locker-room speech in Chak De is pretty much unforgettable but so are the many speeches he delivered at educational institutes such as Yale and Dhirubhai Ambani International school.

At the recent Ted TALK held at Vancouver, SRK was in august company. Elon Musk and Serena Williams were also sharing life lessons at the conference. But the Badshah of Bollywood had some special lessons that seemed just right for the workplace.

Believe in yourself, all the time

High self-esteem is your first step in believing in yourself. It shows that you respect your own self and builds self-confidence. Over time, it has an intense effect on your emotions, thinking, desires, values, happiness and goals. It’s important to think highly of yourself for people with high self-esteem uplift, inspire and empower. Shah Rukh has never shied away from believing in himself. “I sell dreams, and I peddle love to millions of people… I’ve been made to understand there are lots of you here who have never seen my work, and I feel really sad for you… “[I’m] completely self-obsessed, as a movie star should be,” he said at TED.

Tip: Make sure your self-esteem isn’t setting you up for obnoxious narcissism. 

Humour can almost always provide a way out

We all know a smile can connect faster than long introductions and shared laughter can create a bond. In Humor As A Tool In Conflict Resolution, Michael Nagler and Karen Ridd wrote: “Humor can be very effective in establishing a human connection between parties in a conflict, and thereby defusing the conflict itself, though it can be very hard to remember when the heat is really on.” No one knows and wields the power of humour better than SRK. At the TED talk, he shared some personal and professional anecdotes, but his lungi dance was what brought the house down.

Tip: Remember to poke fun at the behavior or attitudes that are causing problems, not at the person.

As you age, look for ways to better yourself

SRK made his debut as a gangly youth in Fauji; he’s come a long way now – he’s 51. But the actor knows that he needs to keep on “shining nevertheless”. The first Indian film star to give a TED Talk, compared his “ageing” movie star persona to humanity. “Humanity is a lot like me. It’s an ageing movie star, grappling with all the newness around it, wondering whether it got it right in the first place and still trying to find a way to keep on shining regardless,” he said. Over time, SRK has consistently tried to explore new avenues and break away from expectations. Apart from being an actor, he’s a producer, co-owns an IPL team, is a frequent TV presenter and stage show performer, and endorses quite a few brands. But he’s still exploring. He returns to TV as the host of TED Talks’ Hindi version, titled TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, where he will play the role of curator Chris Anderson.

Tip: Keep working on yourself – this is one investment that will always pay off. 

Make an effort to balance duality of a manager’s role
Why is Superman a hero? He has power, it’s true, but more than that it’s that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use that power wisely. The same is true of any manager or supervisor. InThe Manager: Master and Servant of Power, an article in the Harvard Business Review, Fernando Bartolomé and André Laurent write that most managers are action oriented and “don’t fully realize, for example, how power differences can disturb interpersonal relations at work and, consequently, undermine organizational effectiveness”. As SRK said in Vancouver to loud applause: “You may use your power to build walls and keep people outside. Or you may use it to break barriers and welcome them in. You may use your faith to make people afraid and terrify them into submission. Or you can use it to give courage to people, so they rise to the greatest heights of enlightenment.”

Tip: Use your power as a manager wisely. Remember that blatant use of clout can never lead to effective working relationships. 

“I’ve learned that whatever moves you, whatever urges you to create, build, whatever keeps you from failing, whatever helps you survive, is perhaps the oldest and the simplest emotion known to mankind, and that is love,” Khan said at the talk, putting into words what we all know to be true.

“The present you is brave. The present you is hopeful. The present you is innovative and resourceful. And, of course, the present you is annoyingly indefinable.” Let that be true…  

There are more interesting reads below to get you going and help you Find Better!

5 leadership lessons one can learn from Nelson Mandela

Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela
 Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela

One of the greatest leaders throughout history, Nelson Mandela left behind some great sound bytes on how to be a better leader. So the next time your motivation’s running low, turn to these words of wisdom and renew your passion to lead:

You rue a bad day at work or a run-in with your boss, but think of Mandela whose leaders put him in prison for life. It was his ability to persevere that kept him going despite punishment designed to break his spirit, be it back-breaking work in a lime quarry or solitary confinement during his prison term.

The lesson: When the going gets tough, the tough must get going.

In an interview to Time managing editor Richard Stengel for a cover story – The Secrets of Leadership – in 2008, Mandela admitted that there were times when he was afraid. But, he said, as a leader, if you are afraid, you must never show fear. “You must put up a front,” he said.

 Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela
 Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela

The lesson: Be brave and courageous, or learn to put up a front.

Mandela believed that it was wise to “persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea”. In his 1994 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela wrote: “I always remember the regent’s axiom: a leader, he said, is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

The lesson: Learn to lead from behind and put others in front.

His life may not have been easy, but in picture after picture, Madiba — as his countrymen fondly called him — can be seen smiling. A project gone wrong may leave most of us in a bad mood for weeks, but Mandela walked out of jail after 27 years spent in a harsh environment smiling and waving to thousands of supporters. His smile indicated that he was at peace with himself and put others at ease.

 Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela

The lesson: Spread happiness through your team with a smile.

The workplace often puts us in situations and amidst people/team members we don’t get along with. But it’s essential for a leader to find common ground so that you can work with them for the greater good. Mandela recognized early on that the development and progress of his country could only be achieved through collective action, and chose to work with people who had once oppressed him.

The lesson: Focus on converting the office enemy into a frenemy.

Martin Kalungu-Banda, author of Leading like Madiba: Ten leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela, says leaders need to believe in the power of their dreams. Mandela believed that his vision of a free South Africa would one day become reality, and his movement “grew out of the collective efforts of individuals who believed in their dream of freedom—a dream that was represented by one man’s larger than life vision for his country”.

So go out there and lead like Madiba – with a “good head and a good heart”. 

There are more interesting reads below to get you going and help you Find Better!

Here’s what you can learn from badminton champion Sai Praneeth on how to build consistency

Image Courstsey: Telangana Today

“I finally got the monkey off my back,” said B Sai Praneeth following his Singapore Open win in April 2017. This maiden victory makes the 24-year-old badminton player only the fourth Indian to come away with a Superseries title, but Praneeth isn’t resting on his laurels. Instead, he is working on his “lack of consistency” by concentrating on his fitness levels and practising hard.

Whether you’re playing on court or working in a company, consistency is what will eventually define your success. Praneeth, for instance, has always played a good game. But despite having talent, without consistent effort he’s been unable to accomplish great results until now, says his coach Pullela Gopichand. “If you look at his career, Praneeth has some big wins. He has the quality but he needs the consistency,” Gopichand has said.

Why is consistency important?

The best way to explain this is with the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise works steadily every day, but the hare accomplishes more because he is more talented than the tortoise. However, the hare is lazy and slacks off, so in the end it is the steady tortoise that wins the race.

At work, being consistent allows you to:

• Measure the effectiveness of new initiatives, processes and organisational structures. By trying something new in a consistent manner over a certain time period, you can decide if it works or not.
• Hold people accountable. It becomes easier for employees to follow through when there is a systematic and consistent method in place. Also, consistency in your leadership style will serve as a model for how employees will behave. 
• Maintain a good track record and build a solid reputation.
Consistency eventually adds up to more work done, and therefore, in the long-term, will give you lasting results that you can be truly proud of.

How to be more consistently, consistent

Becoming a consistently high performer isn’t easy, especially since we’re all prone to procrastination, getting side tracked and stuck on unproductive tasks. But the good news is, you can train yourself to be consistently, consistent. Here’s how:

First, make sure you #LoveWhatYouDo

Praneeth was only 8-years-old when his aunt, a national level player herself, introduced him to badminton. He fell in love with the sport instantly.

Your takeaway:
 It’s always easier to be constant if you #LoveWhatYouDo or at least like what you are doing every week. So find what suits you best.

Set a routine

Coach Gopichand’s advice to his players has been practice hard every day. Praneeth, whose daily routine includes five hours of practice, proves that indeed is a mantra for success.

Your takeaway: Set up a consistent routine like, say, a morning ritual, which can give order and structure to the rest of your day.

#GoOutAndBe, even if you are not in the mood
Praneeth’s most challenging task was letting go of fears caused by the frequent injuries that impacted his game. Sports psychologist Mridu Sharma helped him push past his mental barriers and take action. 

Your takeaway: At times, you want to do something, but your mind will find reasons not to. Instead of over-thinking the situation or remaining paralysed by doubts, force yourself to just act. This can help you build a positive momentum, which in turn will help you progress much faster.

Focus on the process, not the results
Discipline and regimentation are key to success, according to Coach Gopichand, who makes all his students train hard, day in and day out. Being committed to his daily practice helped Praneeth give what he calls “the best performance of my career” at the Singapore Open.

Your takeaway: Don’t stress about results, instead be fully engaged in the task at hand. You’re more likely to stay motivated and get better results from consistent action. 

Let go of old self images
Frequent injuries, his inability to win matches and rise in the rankings led Praneeth to doubt his abilities. He admits he had a confidence issue, caused by his frequent losses. 

Your takeaway: Don’t dwell on your past failures. Instead, build a consistent self-image that focuses on your successes.
The one thing that separates successful people from the rest is their ability to deliver sustained excellence. So get inspired by Praneeth’s success to work towards a consistently high performance today! 

There are more interesting reads below to get you going and help you Find Better!

Wrestling with your career? Dangal shows you how to persevere and achieve your goals

Wrestling with your career? Dangal shows you how to persevere and achieve your goals

Aamir Khan’s Dangal is breaking box-office records and is all set to be one of the actor’s – and India’s – greatest commercial successes. The biopic on the real-life story of Commonwealth Games Gold-winning sisters Geeta and Babita Phogat is gritty, realistic and inspiring. Trained by their father, Mahavir Singh Phogat, the girls realised his dreams through sheer grit and determination.

If you find yourself wrestling with your job and sorely lacking motivation, turn to Dangal for inspiration.

Here are seven ways director Nitesh Tiwari directed Dangal inspires you to persevere and persist:

If Plan A didn’t work, there are 25 more alphabets

Thwarted by circumstances and unable to fulfil his dream of winning an international gold for India, Mahavir Singh Phogat pinned his hopes on having a male child who would realise his dreams. He was blessed with four daughters instead and one fine day, after his girls beat up the neighborhood boys for abusing them, realisation dawned on the wrestler. “Mhaari chhoriyan choro se kam hai ka,” he asks his wife, and proceeds to work on his girls’ talent.

So remember, when one door closes, another one opens. Don’t waste time feeling resentful and angry about your career situation. Instead, think of it as an opportunity for personal growth and positive change and channelise your energy towards finding an even better position.

Set the bar high and your goals higher

Average goals will lead to an average career. If you want to rise above the rest, you will have to set the bar higher. The national coach sets Geeta the goal of bringing back a bronze, but Mahavir Singh wants her to win gold. As he explains to his daughter: “Je ek baat hamesa yaad rakhna, beta. Gar silver jeti toh nahi toh kal log tanne bhool jaavenge. Gold jeeti toh misaal ban jaavegi aur misaal di jaati hai beta, bhooli nahin jaati.”(Always remember – if you don’t win at least a silver medal, people will forget you tomorrow. But if you win gold, you will set a precedent that people will never forget.)

Shun mediocrity, aim for the top slot and keep persevering till you win. 

Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day

Even if you have the talent and the skill set, you can’t expect success overnight. Geeta and Babita’s journey to the international wrestling ring wasn’t easy. They had to give up simple pleasures and follow a rigorous routine for years, expending blood, sweat and tears before they made it big. 

Don’t expect things to be handed to you on a platter – be it a new project, a promotion or a raise. Work towards it, and you’ll have it. As Mahavir Singh says: “Medallist ped pe nahin ugte…unhe banana padta hai…pyaar se, mehnat se, lagan se…”(Medal winners don’t grow on trees; they are cultivated with love, hard work and perseverance).

Use the resources you have to forge your path

A resident of a small village in Haryana, Mahavir Singh doesn’t have too many resources to help train his daughters for the big league. But the intrepid coach makes do with what he has – he creates a makeshift akhada (ring) for his girls, haggles over chicken prices to stay within his budget, makes his girls wrestle with boys so they have ample competition, and won’t be fazed even when he can’t take them to a wrestling ring – he just makes one with mattresses. This helps his talented daughters skill up and become champions.

At work, try and emulate this philosophy and use whatever resources are at hand to skill up and get ahead.

Look back and analyse

Whichever industry you work in, the collection and analysis of data is critical to reviewing past work, understanding work and team dynamics, and staying agile. When Geeta fails time after time in international contests, Mahavir Singh studies videos of her past performances to understand the reasons behind her failure. This helps her minimise mistakes, after which he suggests to her the best plan of action for future matches.

Modern trappings can’t always replace old techniques

When village girl Geeta lands in Patiala and is exposed to the vicarious charms of a small town, she forgets all about the path that got her to this high point in her career. She also begins to feel that her new coach and his modern techniques will help make her a champion. But over time, when she ends up losing a series of international wrestling matches, she turns to her father for help. His traditional techniques that got her into the competition help her win.

It’s important to remember that technology can’t always replace the human mind and spirit.

Keep persevering till you make it

Mahavir’s elder daughter, Geeta, may have moved to the National Sports academy to train under a new coach and may have forgotten all that Daddy Dearest taught her, but Mahavir Singh doesn’t for a moment believe that his dream won’t be realised. He steps back for a while, but leaps into the forefront when his daughter approaches him for help. Together, they win India the gold medal.

Always remember that a rejection doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road. Persisting will slowly, but surely, take you to the top. 

There are more interesting reads below to get you going and help you Find Better!

5 Things only working in a StartUp can teach you

Working for a StartUp is a steep learning curve. With limited access to manpower, there’s plenty of work for everyone. It’s not unusual to find employees juggling between different roles and responsibilities. Add to this the fact that everyone’s new at their jobs and you have a workplace that’s as chaotic as it is exciting.

A small team, flat hierarchies, irregular work timings, multi-tasking and a vibrant work culture are some of the things that define StartUps. Unlike large corporations where you’re just another cog in the wheel, each worker in a startup is at the forefront of the business with every act of his/her making a difference to the company’s fortunes.


Working in a startup provides you with an experience that is truly unique. Here are five lessons only working in a startup can teach:

You’ll learn to multi-task
A perennial manpower crunch in StartUp organizations means you’ll be drowning in work. Apart from handling your own share of the work you’ll also have to chip in with other tasks and duties. A software developer, for example, could well be asked to double up as a salesperson pitching the product to potential buyers. And you can’t really complain about the workload because everyone around is pulling extra weight. Working in a StartUp will teach you some valuable lessons in how to deal with work pressure and juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. 

You’ll develop self-learning skills
StartUps by definition are new entities, so everyone is new to the job. Like you, other employees are also struggling to get a handle on their professional roles. So don’t expect people to ease you into the job or do any handholding. You’ll have to learn the ropes yourself figuring out things as you go along. The self-learning skills you develop as a result will prove to be invaluable over the course of your career.

You’ll learn to take failure in your stride
Nine out of 10 StartUps fail, according to Fortune magazine. When you join a StartUp, you sign up knowing fully well that there’s more than an even chance of the venture not succeeding. Being part of a team that walks the thin line between success and failure gives you the chance to observe failure up close and fear it less. Also, learning on the job primarily occurs through a trial-and-error method. The two together will teach you to accept failure gracefully and emerge stronger, wiser and more resilient from every fall.

You’ll learn to trust your instincts
Taking calculated risks is a skill every professional needs to learn. Consider what Mark Zuckerberg has to say: “In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” If you’ve chosen to work in a startup, you’re not afraid of risk-taking. Working for a period of time in a startup will hone that skill. 
As you progress in life, there will be instances where you will have to take decisions without all the information necessary at your command. Trusting your instincts and making a decision based on calculated risk-taking is a skill that will prove valuable at this time.

You’ll learn to be adaptable
The constant ups and downs and juggling between roles will teach you the virtues of adaptability. This is a core skill that is increasingly sought after in today’s workplaces where there’s a growing emphasis on flexibility and agility, both for the company as well as its workers. The experience of working in a startup, where things are changing every day, will teach you to embrace and adapt to change rather than resist it.

StartUps are risky business, but can also be an exciting journey. You’re part of a team that’s building a new product and the experience will teach you to be independent, flexible, resilient and make the most out of scarce resources. In fact, a tenure at a startup can add considerably to both your professional as well as your life skills.

Wanting to start a StartUp: It all starts with an Idea!

You have an idea of what you want your startup to be but you don’t know how make it happen, and even if you do, you have more than one idea. “I need funding, I don’t have someone to do a website, I don’t, I don’t…I need, I need, I need…” They’re the thoughts that go through all of our minds when we’re just starting our entrepreneurial endeavors.

You have an idea.

Now where to go? It’s time to invest.

startup idea

The smartest thing you can do is to invest in your idea on your own or look for programs or individuals that may like your idea and fund you.

This doesn’t necessarily mean bootstrapping lakhs of rupees immediately, but instead, this means using your own time and resources to lunge your idea forward.

If you’re in college, you have an incredible advantage in terms of access to social and financial capital.

You have people around you who are looking to create and be a part of something greater than the tasks they have at hand; it’s a matter of finding the right individuals.

It doesn’t mean running around and sharing your ideas with everyone.

After the “Social Network” came out, there seems to be a fear among college students as to “who to trust with your idea.” You’re right in not trusting everyone but you’re also not taking full advantage of what you have if you’re not sharing.

We live in an age where everything we do is shared. Instead of looking it as a place where your ideas can be taken, think of it as a place where your ideas can be expanded.

But first — know your idea. Often, people pitch their product without having any substance to their ideas (a.k.a no execution plan). With the glorification of entrepreneurship among young people there comes a tremendous amount of ideas that haven’t been given the proper attention they need by the creator, first.

Yes, you have world changing, game-gearing ideas but don’t forget the idea at its core.

Seek people who you trust, first.


Reach out to people who may be interested and share the idea. If you’re looking for a partner in the venture or a developer seek people who you trust, first. 
This is especially wise in the ideation stages because you can get honest feedback before you hit the big pitching stages.

As you continuously work it may not look like what you want it to look like but know that with the passing of each day you are so much closer than you were yesterday.

Even if it’s one small thing, continuously work and share. Sharing holds you accountable for what you’re doing and if you’re not pushing yourself perhaps the pressure felt around those you surround yourself is enough to get you started.

With feedback, your idea may change but don’t forget about the mission of your organization, project or product.

Focus on the core of your idea — what are you trying to solve? What are you building that makes things easier?

Work on that.

And if you first want to get a feel of how it is to work in a startup and what all you can learn – start here!

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Aspire to build a ‘Brand’ not ‘Product’

When I was running my first café, there were at least 10 other places to get coffee in our town. Though the quality varied, generally speaking, our competitors offered a pretty similar product ‒ caffeine.

So how did we get people to come to our shop?

We made ourselves more than just a café.

We positioned our business as a place where you could connect with the heart of what was going on in town. In addition to our own live bands and art shows, we hosted nonprofit organizations’ meetings, gave aspiring musicians a place to rehearse and helped promote local events. The coffee and pastries we offered, in my mind, were ancillary to what we were really doing ‒ building a community. This was the heart of what drove our business.
Unfortunately, this alone didn’t get us to the finish line, but it did bring me to a very poignant epiphany: Successful, long-lasting companies have powerful brands that evoke an emotional response from customers.

build brand

Did Apple make “the best” MP3 player when they released the iPod? Not necessarily but they did make the one people thought was the best. Apple created a product that, in consumers’ minds, embodied a set of values and aspirations they connected with.

Now, it’s no easy task to achieve that same level of brand loyalty but utilizing the

“Brand First” mentality can help to begin to separate you from your competitors.
Here are some things to consider when transforming your product or service into something people genuinely care about. A brand.

Who are you?
I don’t mean this in an existential, drop of out society and join the League of Shadows way. Though that couldn’t hurt. What I mean is, figure out what your business stands for. Or more importantly, what doesn’t it stand for?

Are you dedicated to entirely eco-friendly business practices? Will you only source materials manufactured in India? Or are you an ardent supporter of human space exploration?

Whatever your company’s platform is, make sure people know about it. Even if it has nothing to do with the specific product or service you sell, consumers want to know what kind of business ‒ and people ‒ their money is supporting.


Who are your customers?
I don’t mean your “customers” in the traditional sense. I mean, who are the people who’ve never heard of you ‒ but if they did ‒ would rally behind you?

The people who most patronized my coffee shop were young mothers and their children. However, “our people” were music and culture aficionados who raved about our avant-garde late night shows. These were the people that were excited about our coffee shop. Now, they didn’t buy as much as the early morning moms with kids did but these fans got online and helped spread the word about what really made our shop special. Find out who’s going to do the same for you.

Tell your story
Part of the beauty of being a startup is that you don’t have to behave in the same way a stodgy multinational corporation does.

You can be a real person connecting with other real people. Namely, your customers. You can be personal and involve them in the process of creating and running your business.

Look at kickstarter
Businesses are being launched with the help of strangers from the very beginning. If you’re honest with people about the state of your business, what you’re objectives are and why you’re doing it, often times the public will reward you. In fact, they’ll feel an authentic affinity towards your brand much in the same way people feel a connection to a sports team. Help people root for you.

Entrepreneurship isn’t about being infallible. It’s literally the embodiment of the human condition: success in spite of adversity. Show your human side, flaws included and get people involved in your story.

Be bold
American architect and urban designer, Daniel Burnham once said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” Meaning, go for it!

If you’re launching a startup, you’re likely putting your entire livelihood on the line. If that’s the case, you ought to make sure the gamble is worth it.

Take Goodwill’s vision statement for their company: Every person has the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential and participate to all aspects of life.

That’s epic. Now, it doesn’t mean they’re currently achieving that, or ever will, but it’s the North Star guiding the spiritual mission of the business and inspiring its employees and customers to help make it a reality. Consider this when deciding what promise land your brand trying to inspire people to reach.

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