Employee engagement and leadership development

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Building a completely engaged workforce in the face of high stress and tight schedules seems like a distant dream for most of today’s top leaders. Today, it is the relationship that employees share with their managers that influences employee engagement and productivity. Since employee engagement is critical to maintain a competitive position for the success of any organization, it becomes necessary to invest in the development of leaders at all levels within an organization.

Weschool understands that employee engagement is essential for business. Hence, we have devised several leadership development and executive education programs that would not only help leaders develop and grow, but also help retain employees effectively. This involves the ability of managers to effectively interact with employees, while overseeing that employees receive all resources required to get the job done. It is important for middle managers to motivate and encourage their employees consistently, in order to achieve their best performance on a daily basis. Great managers understand what motivates their employees, and constantly look for ways to derive a superlative quality of performance from them. It is essential to unlock everything that provides meaning and purpose to an employee, and the only way to achieve this is constant motivation.

Managers must consider showing a level of interest beyond transactional conversations. This can be accomplished by simple tasks like a casual 5-minute talk after a client meeting, or a tea break with a team member. These informal actions are highly valued and the relaxed environment can be used to provide insights, to help strengthen performance ability. The Leadership Development Program at WeSchool also arms leaders with tips to accelerate employee engagement and utilize their capabilities. Some of these are highlighted below:

> Focus on quality, not time: It is desirable for managers to focus their attention on the quality of the conversation they have with their employees, rather than the amount of time they spend with them.

> Flexibility: Managers need to be prepared to adapt their style and approach to different individuals and different situations. It is imperative to provide a new perspective to individuals towards opportunities, in order to succeed in the organizational task.

> Provide insights: Managers are encouraged to find creative ways to provide insights and opportunities to their employees. It is important to understand each and every employee to provide them insights, as each person responds differently to situations.

WeSchool aims at providing leaders with an insight and skillset to develop the ability to coach their employees effectively in order to increase employee engagement for the benefit of the employee as well as the organization. For more information about our courses, please visit www.welingkarexedp.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How successful people handle workplace stress

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going!’

This famous English expression distinctly defines a class of people who can handle stress and conflict exceptionally well, with a postive mindset.  Contrary to popular belief, anxiety is actually absolutely necessary for each one of us, as the human brain is unable to function without a certain level of stress. While there may be varied degrees of stress among individuals, somehow, successful people learn to maintain and manage their stress and anxiety just within the required optimal levels, in order to achieve top performance.

These successful individuals are determined to take the bumpy road by redoubling their efforts in order to overcome a stressful situation. Especially in the corporate world, such people deal with conflict in a constructive way by getting to the root of the issue, invigorating their team to perform to the best of their abilities, deriving the best outcomes and creating an environment of openness as part of the company’s culture. They demonstrate a conduct that will make a company more productive and profitable, even in the face of critical failures and overwhelming odds. Weschool has identified some tools used by these individuals to overcome adversity and manage stress better.

  • Acknowledge the present and the future

Successful people make it a habit as well as a priority to be grateful for what they have. These people think of the bigger picture and remind themselves of what is important, so as to keep their perspective in the positive realm.

  • Positive perspective

These individuals maintain a positive outlook so as to remain happier and become more productive. This attitude brings about favorable results, as their thoughts have the ability to transform energy into reality. They use language that evoke strength and success and practice positive affirmations. Successful people visualize what they wish to achieve and draw an immense amount of inspiration from the same.

  • Prioritize personal care

Successful individuals consider themselves as the most important asset and they prioritize healthy habits. They abstain from caffeine and alcohol, exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough sleep and periodically switch off from technology. They strive to find balance to help moderate stress.

  • Smile

It is close to impossible to remember to smile during a stressful situation. However, smiling is the simplest, easiest and fastest way to deal with stress. At a stressful meeting a smile induces the other person to reciprocate, thereby bringing about a positive feedback cycle and acts as a great tension release.

Prin. L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research offer individuals a powerful integration of knowledge, experience and resources. Our programs help develop and transform the organization by directing skilled leaders to achieve strategic business initiatives that require new ideas, methods and techniques allowing them to handle workplace stress with ease. Visit our website www.welingkarexedp.com to know more about our courses.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Building a high-trust organization

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]What is at the crux of a successful business organization? There can be many equally significant answers to this question, as every organization consists of a multitude of essential elements. One of these elements is a trustworthy team, as Steve Jobs rightly puts it.

“Great things in business are never done by one person.

They’re done by a team of people”.

Trust is an invaluable part of not only a team, but also the organization. It is believed to be more powerful than power itself, andtherefore, it becomes mandatory to develop an internal culture that values, builds and supports trust.

When an organization runs on low levels of trust,they tend to place a hidden tax on every business transaction, as low productivity brings the speed down and costs go up. Contrary to this, high-trust organizations operate as performance multipliers by increasing speed and decreasing costs.

We at Welingkar have identified the secret sauce to create a high-trust organization, with the below ingredients:

  • Integrity among Leaders: It is essential for leaders to demonstrate competence that is aligned with the company’s values. They are expected to display their trustworthiness, as leading by example is a key to building a high-trust organization. Leaders must be thoughtful and consistent with their actions to ensure follow-through of the same behavior.
  • Effective communication: The communication process within an organization plays a key role in building a high-trust team. It is important for leaders to encourage and maintain communication along both ways of the hierarchy, in a constant flow.  Leaders need to build transparency within the system and must communicate not only the positive, but also the negative scenarious with their employees.
  • Practice what you preach: Organizations need to focus on associating with companies that have a good reputation,as employees want to know that their work matters and that they are doing business with other prominent organizations. It is important to maintain trustworthy relations outside the organization as well, and leaders need to take cautious decisions, in order to sustain an ethical and honest organization and drive these values internally within the employees through leading by example.
  • Articulate a higher cause: Exceptional leaders drive people towards fulfilling the mission and vision of the organization. Team members need to be actively involved in defining and shaping the organization’s vision, goal and objectives for the present and future.

After the team’s overall purpose has been defined, each member needs to understand their unique role in the contribution towards the team’s success and identified goals. When individuals are provided the power and autonomy to do their job within a team, they begin to mutually respect each other as well as the organization and tend to contribute in more ways than one.

Building and maintaining organizational trust can be tricky, but embracing these principles will help to lay the foundation for a trusting environment within. We, at Welingkar believe that trust is a result of multitude of actions and it is the repetitive and consistent nature of these actions that helps create a culture of reliance. To explore from a host of our leasership and management programs, please refer to our website www.welingkarexedp.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Managing millennials in the workplace

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Millennials can be categorized as young adults born between 1980 and 2000 (The date range is up for debate). These individuals however, are largely believed to be independent, outgoing and decisive. The young adults of this milleniall era were raised by parents who focused on structure by providing planned activities and constant encouragement, thereby turning them into individuals with high self-esteem and fulfilment. Therefore, they do not prefer being micro-managed. Instead, they tend to seek ‘freedom at work’ in a quest to learn and explore. They are individuals who prefer to be ‘taught’ over being ‘told’, and they seek out opportunities where they are allowed to make their own decisions and do not encourage any form of control.

Millennials tend to work well with diverse co-workers, they prefer working together in teams and tend to grow their relationships beyond just work with their co-workers. These free-spirited individuals prefer taking up challenges instead of abiding with monotonous work daily. Though they seek guidance and structure from their older counterparts, they also expect to be duly respected for the decisions they make. They are considered to be one of the most well-connected generations, which opens up a host of opportunities. In this case, it is all the more important for the management to retain these young individuals in the workforce. They are an asset to any organization as they possess the natural ability and motivation to manage numerous tasks. The question however, would be whether it is possible to manage these individuals? Let’s find out how:

Listen before you speak: This would be an important trait that millenials seek in their leader. A leader is someone who must be keen to ‘listen’ to their followers. They believe that a good leader is one who hears out every individual opinion, before making a decision that affects the entire team. These individuals have been raised with high amounts of self-respect and this is clearly reflected in their attitude. They have been encouraged to think right from when they were children and prefer their thoughts and ideas to be heard by someone in authority.

Provide flexibility: Millennials naturally tend to bring their personal life into their work environment. They are a vocal generation, who have been encouraged to speak out their mind. They prefer having a relaxed work-environment, where they are provided flexible work hours. Family is a priority for these individuals and they have various extra-curricular interests that they like to pursue. They are also of the mindset, that as long as the work gets done in time, providing flexibility should not be a concern for the management.
Introduce in-between promotions: The millennials are eager to progress in their career, they do not like waiting for promotions, as they receive career growth and better prospects when moving from one company to another. Hence, it is ideal to encourage and motivate them by providing faster promotions and titles. Doing this makes them feel appreciated for their work and they have a will to stay with the organization.

Provide on-the-job training and education: Msot millenials are largely multi-taskers and like taking up new roles, beyond their day-to-day tasks. They like to contribute much beyond their set roles and responsibilities and like to step out of their roles once in a while. They stay motivated only when monotony is taken out of the routine. They seek to learn and appreciate knowledge, as they are constantly trying to build themselves and their growth curve. Therefore, these individuals like to gain any form of on-the-job trainings. They also expect companies to support their further education and short-term skill upgrade and development courses, by allowing them to pursue the same. The organization could help by providing flexible working hours and also grant leave during such examinations.

Weschool believes that these are small ways to relate with this young and important workforce, to keep them engaged and motivated constantly. For more information on leadership skills and training programs, please visit our website for details at www.welingkarexedp.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Reasons why leaders fail

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Reasons why leaders fail

Amidst all the havoc of aiming to unravel what makes one a better leader, or the traits of a good leader, people tend to overlook leadership failures and the reasons why it could occur. Leaders are quick to recognize their right moves, while being oblivious to the things causing them to fail. It sometimes becomes essential to know what not to do as a leader. The phrase ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’, seems to play a significant role in understanding why certain leaders fail. It is easy to get caught up in the act of leadership, as one not only gains confidence and control, but also absolute power. The reasons for leadership failure can be associated with the ability of each individual to successfully inspire and guide the team. Hewertson, the author of “Lead Like It Matters…Because It Does”, named five major reasons that make leaders unsuccessful, 3 of them are amentioned below:

Overconfidence or under confidence

Most workers envision themselves in a leadership position and have the confidence required to find an answer to an ongoing problem. The real act of decision-making however, can be a little distorted from their daydream. The overconfident leader falsely believes in their leadership capacity above what is true, while the under-confident leader believes their capacity is lower than what is true and tend to perform safe and manageable roles. Overconfident leaders tend to make impulsive decisions and under confident leaders tend to be timid and unoriginal; both the leadership styles lead to loss of opportunity to shape decisions and effect change.

Approaching leadership with the wrong expectations

Hewerston said “Rarely do new leaders have a clue about what they are really getting into”. Leaders are often unprepared to face the realities of leading and managing a group. They either do not possess the skills and competencies to lead or do not have the desire to do so. Due to their inability to gauge the problem, they end up ignoring them or react inappropriately.

Failure to listen

Most leaders presume they need to have the answers for all queries. This false notion could lead to their inability to listen and comprehend various situations. Listening is not a strong suit for many leaders and they tend to jump to conclusions, rather than learning and building. It is necessary for leaders to have clarity, vision and understand the purpose of what they are doing.

An essential part of leadership development is to understand the warning signs that indicate potential problems. WeSchool helps leaders to learn the warning signs and ways to combat them in order to reduce the risk of leadership failure. To know more about our executive education programs, please visit our website www.welingkarexedp.com
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Why startups fail

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Silicon Valley’s of the world have witnessed innumerable success stories of startups that made it big. The bitter truth however, is that most startups fail to succeed and their end is often mysterious or goes unnoticed. In a competitive environment such as that of a startup industry, it becomes difficult to thrive and prosper, which leaves entrepreneurs in a cloud of complete misery. The most common reasons that surface would be the inability to get appropriate funding at the right time, or a completely disorganized business structure or lack of market analysis. Welingkar Institute of Management Development would attribute the failure of most, if not all startups, to management mistakes. WeSchool believes that entrepreneurs play the most significant role in the making or breaking of any organization. A few reasons why startups might fail due to the top level management’s incapabilities are discussed below:

Lack of Focus

Focus as we know, is critical for the success of entrepreneurs. Lack of focus can cause them to prioritize insignificant things, thereby leading to a downfall. It is important to keep the goals aligned both, of people as well as processes. Unfocused entrepreneurs tend to lack the drive to execute. It is essential for budding entrepreneurs to have clarity, direction, desire and drive to overcome obstacles objectively.

Lack good mentorship

Entrepreneurs sometimes lack having a good mentor to guide them on numerous key business aspects. Understanding new concepts, ideas and technology along with the way to deal with obstacles, is what makes an entrepreneur successful. These lessons can only be learned from an experienced professional, a senior in the industry and someone who has the experience and insight to take a business to it’s maximum potential. Mentorship, is therefore an essential part of helping a startup to succeed and attain the next level.

Lack of general and domain specific knowledge

Entrepreneurs often feel that leaders would be making quick decisions in the face of ambiguity. Although this is an important trait, managers and entrepreneurs need to focus on developing domain-specific knowledge or take opinions and advice from people with expertise in that relevant field. Each domain like finance, marketing and operations require a varied skill set. It is impossible for one individual to overlook functioning of each domain with expertise; hence it is advisable for entrepreneurs to be open to acquire knowledge. General knowledge about a specific busines cannot take the business too far, without domain expertise and in-depth knowledge of the industry.

The reasons why startups fail in any industry could be numerous. WeSchool focuses on providing mentorship and knowledge to new entrepreneurs, helping them develop adequate skills to steer a business entity forward. For more information about our courses, please visit our website: www.welingkarexedp.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How to apply Design Thinking in your organization

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Design Thinking is defined as a human-centeric and prototype-driven process for innovation that can be applicable to any product, service or any kind of business design. In the words of Rolf Faste, it is “a formal method for practical and creative resolution of issues, with the intention of an improved future result”.
The very concept of Design Thinking is continually evolving, just like the creativity it is trying to foster. The process consists of several stages like empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. This human-centered methodology enables individuals to quickly identify, build and test new concepts and innovative solutions. WeSchool’s Design Thinking program is specially tailored for executives, helping them with the opportunity to incorporate these concepts in their day-to-day functioning. The few ways to apply the basic elements of Design Thinking are as below:
Research and Definition of the problem
Design Thinking seeks to solve a problem. This user-centered research technique emphasizes on the importance of empathy. It becomes essential to understand one’s customers and users, before designing a product or service. Customer satisfaction must invariably be at the helm of a Design Thinking approach.

Ideate
This phase helps in generating ideas that represent potential solutions. It could include the use of various techniques such as brainstorming, mind-mapping and sketching to help individuals to come up with a creative solution to a complex problem.

Prototyping and Iterating

After identifying a creative idea, the next step is to make it tangible. Prototyping helps in pushing ahead, the making process that is ideal for Design Thinking. It is imperitaive to create prototypes to demonstrate and validate the output of any ideation process. These prototypes can be in varied forms, but it needs to convey the flow of the experience.
A Design Thinking process helps organizations to become collaborative and customer centric. It allows for decision-making and provides new perspectives and opportunity windows to organizations.
For any organization to thrive, they have to transform into a company with a design-centric approach. WeSchool empowers executives, managers and senior leaders of organizations to develop a customer-centric approach that would help the organization to meet its goal. For more information on our design thinking and innovation programs, please visit our website: www.welingkarexedp.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ideation for everyday design challenges

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ideation is defined as a process of generating a broad set of ideas on a given topic, with no attempt to judge or evaluate them. It is a phase in the Design Thinking process that allows individuals to translate the knowledge acquired during the inspiration phase, which is the initial step of the Design Thinking process. This model gets every team member involved in the process as they can experience, evaluate and brainstorm various challenges related to innovative ideas. The focus of ideation is quantity not quality, as the wide number of choices increases the likelihood for one of the ideas to be the seed for a great design solution. It is important to understand various factors before embarking on the journey of ideation and WeSchool helps participants understand these factors and how to make optimum use of the same. Here are a few fundamentals of the ideation process:
Brainstorming
The brainstorming part of the ideation phase allows individuals to debate and discuss different ideas, to create a bank of ideas and solutions. This bank can be filtered and analyzed during the later stages of the Design Thinking process. The brainstorming session needs to be free of negativity and biases. This can be achieved if the facilitator keeps the session neutral.

Reversed Brainstorming
In a complex situation, when there is a dearth of creative and inefficient ideas, the team is encouraged to employ the reverse brainstorming mechanism. In this method, the members of the group reverse their mindset, they focus on creating the problem rather than the solution or make existing problems more complex.

Lotus Blossom Diagram
This mind-mapping tool allows individuals to organize ideas and visualize the categories of each one of them. It is an organized form of mind-mapping. The Lotus Blossom Diagram, looks like the following image:

The main problem needs to be addressed in the centre of the diagram.
The eight themes related to the problems needs to be addressed in the squares around the central problem.
Each of the main themes need to be separated in a new subset and used as the core for a new set of ideas.
The process needs to be continued until ideas are visualized and linked.
Leading innovation projects in large organisations is challenging, but the ideation process allows the team to build on hidden opportunities, revenue streams and ideas. WeSchool understands that the main quality of the ideation stage is that it is collaborative and participatory. We realize the creative potential of each individual and encourage them to put forward innovative solutions to tackle the problem effectively. For more information on our design thinking program, please visit our website: www.welingkarexedp.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why everyone needs Design Thinking

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The most prominent thought that occurs when one thinks of a creative organization is probably a design firm, advertising agency or a tech startup. Building a creative workforce is important to every industry and this creativity requires a mindset shift that begins with leadership. Leaders need to allow each and every employee to participate creatively and invent new solutions. While venturing into the unknown together, it is important for both leaders as well as the combined team to hold a curious mindset in order to generate, embrace and execute and be open to new and innovative ideas.  It is the role of the leader to unlock the creative potential within an organization, in order to stay ahead of the game.

Leaders often tend to reject creativity and ingenuity, in favor of more practical and safe models. The consequence leads to a loss of ideas that could generate long-term value and new ideas. Design Thinking however, plays a key role in decision-making and delivering value to stakeholders. It helps build ideas from scratch, by meeting customer needs through creative and insightful solutions, with consumer-based strategies. Design Thinking therefore offers the best possible outcome to set a competitive advantage in the ever-emerging market. Regardless of the work environment, it is imperitive for all employees to develop and practice Design Thinking. Weschool understands and stresses on the reasons below:

Design Thinkers are problem solvers

Design Thinking is a concept that is applicable globally, across organizations and all industry verticals. It helps to provide solutions to various problems through means of a structured and well thought-out framework. Design thinkers are capable of thinking effectively, by building and expanding their concepts to provide highly efficient and out-of-the-box solutions. It does not fall in the pathway of traditional problem solving methods, as design thinkers tend to create solutions based on iteration and learning.

Innovation becomes a part of life:

The Design Thinking approach can help individuals create new, different and innovative ideas that are novel to a situation – be it at work, or in personal life. It helps businesses to differentiate from one another by bringing new and innovative ideas to the forefront. Design Thinkers focus on creating new markets with new possibilities to gain a competitive advantage.

Beneficial for leaders

Design Thinking can be used as a key driver of organizational strategy to overcome business problems and gain a good amount of customer insight. When one is encouraged to think creatively, they develop several leadership qualities like rapid processing of information, flexibility and the ability to rethink, evaluate an idea and restart a task.

Welingkar Institute of Management Development encourages all members of the workforce, irrespective of the industry or organization to undertake Design Thinking Learning. WeSchool believes that in today’s times, thinking creatively is the only way to exist in a technology-driven world. The training we provide equips employees with tools to make a tangible difference across various scenarios. To know more about out Design Thinking and Innovation Program, do visit our website: www.welingkarexedp.com for more details.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Top 5 common negotiation mistakes and how to overcome them

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Negotiation is a term that makes many of us uncomfortable and uneasy, but, excites the rest of the folk. Why is this a coveted skill? Why do some of us fear it and the rest embrace it? Veteran negotiators refer to negotiation as an art. They claim that anybody can become a skilled negotiator with the right set of tools. You need to use these tools repeatedly in real-life situations in order to crack critical deals. Before we learn the solution to the problem, we need to understand the problem in detail. Below are the top 5 common negotiation mistakes we have identified along with simple solutions for each of them:

Mistake #1: Lack of preparation

“Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail”

This popular quote by Benjamin Franklin holds true in negotiations. You need to be completely prepared to not only answer questions, but also ask questions on the subject. If you’re not completely prepared and if you mention incorrect information, your client won’t take you seriously and your credibility will be highly affected.

In case your entire team is present for the negotiation, you can have a mock negotiation session and decide which team member will discuss which point. This way you can present a united front during the negotiation.

Mistake #2: Lack of confidence

The effect of a negotiation conversation ends up with most people either fumbling, losing their trail of thought, feeling insecure or obligated, or at a loss as to how to participate in the conversation, thereby either saying something wrong, or not saying anything at all and maintaining silence.

Most of us relate to these emotions and actions during a negotiation. The root cause of all these emotions is the lack of confidence in such situations. We either tend to overlook a vital piece of information or we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the deal. Due to these factors, our confidence levels tend to dip drastically during a negotiation.

In order to avoid such situations, you need to predict the favorable outcomes for both parties beforehand, identify your opponent’s weak points, and anticipate the sensitive subjects. When one is prepared with facts, figures and numbers, the confidence level boosts tremendously, as the ground work is already done and you feel prepared for the conversation. One can also gauge the kind of questions and terms the client may set during the negotiation. Having the counter responses for these before hand puts you at ease before the meeting, as you already know what you are going to discuss.

 

3) Brief listening skills

Veteran negotiators agree that the easiest way to lose a deal is by not listening to the other person and talking endlessly about your requirements. By speaking continuously without listening to your opponent, you are being aggressive and this quality can put off even the most voluntary client.

Consider negotiation as a conversation between your opponent and your team. Listen intently to the points made by your opponent and then put forward what you have to offer. This way, you can understand your opponent’s point of view and negotiate accordingly.

4) Revealing vulnerability

In a negotiation, it is imperative to stay calm and keep emotions in check. It is synonymous to a poker game. You shouldn’t reveal all your cards in the beginning itself. When you show a sign of weakness – impatience, overconfidence, irritation or even angst, your opponent can use it to their advantage. This can also affect your thought process of reaching an amicable decision.

In order to prevent ending up in such a situation, you need to take a few deep breaths, reflect on your points and then continue the negotiation. You can also request a short break to freshen up and take this time to think about your next step.

5) Hesitation to walk away

The primary concern most of us have while entering a negotiation is that we have to strike a deal, come what may. This mindset can stop us from tapping into our potential and obtaining the best deal for the organization. The desperation to close the deal can at times lead us to unfavorable situations.

You should never succumb to the opponent’s pressure and conclude the deal based on their terms entirely. Instead of settling for their offer, politely state a number that works for you and inform them that it will be difficult for you to go below that. You can also adjust and alter your deliverables according to the price the client is willing to pay during the negotiation. Sometimes, instead of reducing the fee, one can include more deliverables as part of negotiation. This ensures that the client receives more than what he asked for, and you still get the money you asked for.

If you are looking to master negotiation skills professionally, WeSchool Bangalore is one such business school that offers the Negotiation Program to working professionals, leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners. The 2-day program is conducted by veteran negotiator Mr. Abhay Dixit, who is an expert at the art of Negotiation. To know more about the the course details, click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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