CategoriesSales Consulting

The McKinsey Mind By Ethan M. Rasiel & Paul N Friga

Framing the problem: Break the problem into component elements. MECE (Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive) is the way we should look at problems. Sometimes similar problems have occurred and provide a good guideline for problem solving. We should be able to form an initial hypothesis in first sight. This will help us to focus, and to save the time. This is based on intuition and works successfully. The last is that a problem is not always a problem, so decide what exactly a problem is. Quick and dirty test (QDT) on hypothesis: what assumptions need to be true in order for the hypothesis to be true

Design the Analysis: Just focus on the key drivers responsible or the problem. Then look at the larger picture from different viewpoints. Don’t strive hard to find that the stage you will find the solution. Sometime the solution just flow to you during the process. Don’t boil the ocean. 20/80 rule applies. Get the analytical priorities straight: Which analyses are indispensible and which is just gravy.

Gathering the Data: Write an interview guide, find out the specific persons, decide on methods like interview, feedback from interviewer, thank you notes, careful planning of the interview process are important for data gathering. Don’t make your interviewee uncomfortable.

Interpreting your results- Find out the useful data. Usually 20 % of data will fulfill your 80% needs. Make charts for everyday progress, work according to your facts and be prepared to leave your solutions. Always ask “so what?” i.e. the implication of the insights. Perform the sanity check on data

See through the client’s eyes, and respect the limits of the client’s ability in implementing the result

Presenting the Data – Be structured, know your audience and act accordingly. Know the solution thoroughly that we can explain clearly in 30 seconds. Keep it simple, one message per chart. Avoid overloading the information. Pre wire everything, get the client to buy-in during the process to avoid surprise

Managing your Team – Get the right kind of people. Look for diversity, not in academic terms but also in terms of behaviour. Communicate. Keep everyone in the information loop. Always promote the team bonding. Spend time together and reward well. It helps in long run.

Feedback and evaluate frequently, and make it balanced

Managing your Client-

Sell your solutions to clients without letting them know. Just be careful about structuring your promises and engagements. The client should be encouraged for participatory role than a listener. Engage the client in the process. Keep the client team on your side. Learn to deal with liability client team members. Pluck the low hanging fruit. Get buy-in thorough the organization.

Share and transfer responsibility with the client. Make them heroes in the company.

Managing yourself – Most important part is you, give ample attention to yourself. Find out your own mentor in the organization, make your boss look great, encourage your subordinates. Delegate around your limitations. Make the most of your network.

Respect your time and say ‘No’ if necessary. Share the load. Lay down your rules for family and yourself and stick to them. Manage your work life and family life balance.

CategoriesSales Consulting

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Our character is a collection of our habits, and habits have a powerful role in our lives. “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” 

Habits are intersection of Knowledge—what to do, Skill—how to do it and Desire—motivation to do it. Habits CAN be changed. For that one needs to overcome gravity of old habits, and one will require much effort in the initial stage (just as a Rocket needs thrust to overcome Earth’s gravity pull)

The 7 Habits progress us thru’ 3 stages: (a) Dependence (b) Independence & (c) Interdependence

First 3 Habits help progress from ‘Dependence’ to ‘Independence

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

Next 3 Habits help progress from ‘Independence’ to ‘Interdependence

  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize

The 7th habit is Sharpen the Saw—for one’s renewal and continual improvement. To be effective, one must find the right balance between ‘Production’ and (improving one’s) Production Capability

Habit-1: Be Proactive

“Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions”

What distinguishes us as humans from other animals is self-awareness and ability to choose how to respond to a stimulus (Animals respond to a stimulus like a computer responds to a program).

“Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose”—Victor Frankl (Freedom to choose self-awareness, imagination, conscience, or independent will). If you’re unhappy, unsuccessful, etc., it’s because you chose to let something make you that way instead of choosing your own response. Being Proactive means assessing situation and developing a Positive response for it

Everyone has a “Circle of concern,” representing all the things that one cares about. In order to be proactive, focus on the things that one can influence—Circle of Influence—rather than by simply reacting to external forces. The more one focuses on things outside your “Circle of Influence,” the fewer things one will be able to control, and circle of influence shrinks. In contrast, if one focuses only on those things within one’s control, the Circle of Influence grows
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

In everything you do, begin with the end in mind. Start with a clear destination— clear picture of your ultimate goal. That way, you can make sure the steps you are taking are in the right direction

The best way to start is to develop a principle‐centered# personal mission statement. It describes what we want to be (character) and to do (achievements). Extend the mission statement into long‐term goals based on personal principles

  • People can be spouse-centered, family-centered, money-centered, work-centered, pleasure-centered, friend or enemy-centered, or self-centered. Whatever is at the center of your life will be the source of your security, guidance, wisdom, and power. But, you must center lives on correct principles. Other centers subject to frequent change, correct principles don’t! You can depend on them. (The difference between values & principles—Robbers can have good values, but they are wrong in principle. Values govern behaviour, but principles ultimately determine the consequences)


Habit 3: Put First Things First

“The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

We are caught between the urgent and the important, and quite often we react to urgent matters—whether important or not. But one must act to take care of important matters, even as urgent things scream for attention. When you focus on Quadrant II, it means you are thinking ahead, working on the root-cause, and preventing crises from happening! To focus energy & time on Quadrant II, you have to learn how to say “no” to other activities, and to delegate effectively“Think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things”

Manage your life according to your needs & priorities. Focus on doing what fits into your personal mission, & maintaining the proper balance between Production & Production Capacity

Practice this regularly:

  • Identify your key roles—business, family— whatever you think is important.
  • Think of 2-3 results for each role that you will achieve in a week (Think ‘Week’—Thinking Days will get you to focus on tasks and Thinking Month reduces the sense of urgency)
  • Decide actions for the week
  • Act

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

With Win-Lose, or Lose-Win, one appears to get what one wants for the moment, but in long term the results negatively impacts the relationship. For effective Relationships, we must commit to creating Win-Win situations. Relationships are like emotional bank account. By proactively making deposits, you can be sure that when the time comes, you can withdraw from it

You must develop the three character traits essential for Win-Win

  1. Integrity: Stick with your true feelings, values, and commitments
  2. Maturity: Ensure the balance between Courage and Consideration. “To go for Win-Win, you not only have to be nice, you have to be courageous”
  3. Abundance mentality: Believe there is plenty for everyone

If no Win-Win, then use No Deal option as a backup. No Deal option liberates you from needing to manipulate people and push our own agenda

To ensure the spirit of Win-Win within an Organisation, align the reward system with goals & values

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Here are his 5levels of listening: (1) Ignoring (2) Pretending to listen (3) Selective listening (4) Attentive listening & (5) Empathic listening.  And, quite often we tend to listen from our frame of reference (even if we are listening attentively) and have these “autobiographical responses”: (1) Evaluate—agree or disagree (2) Probe—ask questions (3) Advise—based on our own experience “We prescribe a solution before we diagnose the problem and (4) Interpret—explain people’s actions based on our own motivations

If you want to interact effectively with people and influence them, you must first understand them. And, it is always in your Circle of Influence to seek first to understand (Needs stop motivating people once those are satisfied. Satisfy the need to be understood, and you can move on to being productive)

Empathic listening is with the ears, eyes, and heart—for feeling, meaning & understanding. Listen to people not with intent to reply, to convince, to manipulate; listen simply to understand —emotionally and intellectually—to see how the other person sees things. Empathic listening is a powerful emotional deposit, because it provides the speaker with ‘Psychological air.’

The other half of this habit, then, is being understood. Use the Greek approach for your communication of Ethos—character, Pathos—relationship, and Logos—logic of what you’re saying

Habit 6: Synergize

“The basis of synergy is that two people can disagree, and both can be right. It’s not logical. It’s Psychological.”

The real essence of synergy is valuing the differences— the mental, emotional, and psychological differences between people. “The key to valuing differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are.”

By understanding and valuing the differences in another person’s perspective, we have the opportunity to create synergy, which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and creativity.

Synergy can be created as the culmination of the first five habits and confidence, integrity, and empathy

Synergy allows you to:

  • Expand your perspective “If a person of your calibre and intelligence has a different opinion, let me understand it”
  • Have courage to be open and encourage others to be open
  • Avoid negativity, and look for the good
  • Solve conflicts and find a better solution(than individual solution)

Once people have been through synergy, they’re not the same again.  They know that the possibility of such mind-expanding adventures always exists

Habit-7: Sharpen the Saw

7th Habit surrounds all of the other habits and makes each one possible by preserving and enhancing your greatest asset— yourself

To sharpen the saw means renewing ourselves, in all four aspects of our natures:

  1. Mental: To renew mental health & expand mind. Action: Read, visualise, write, plan
    Physical: To enhance our capacity to work, adapt, and enjoy. Action: Exercise, nutrition, stress management, rest and relax
  2. Emotional: To develop meaningful relationships. Action: Seek to deeply understand other people, make contributions, maintain an Abundance Mentality, and seek to help others find success
  3. Spiritual: To provide leadership to life and reinforce commitment to value system. Action: Meditation, communicate with nature, immerse great literature or music
CategoriesSales Consulting

Insanely Simple by Ken Seagall

To  Steve Jobs Simplicity was religion. It was a weapon. It is Core Value No. 1 that permeates every level of the organization. The obsession with Simplicity is what separates Apple from other tech companies making it the most valuable company on earth. Simplicity in how Apple is structured, how it innovates, how it speaks to its customers.
People Prefer Simplicity. And as it becomes more rare, it also becomes more valuable

How to keep it Insanely Simple: The Steve Jobs’ Way
1. Think Brutal= Be brutally honest.

Just say what you have to say. Straight. No restraint. No partial truths, And hard reset between meetings. Make honesty the basis of all interactions. Being straight like that, everyone knows where exactly they stand. understanding what was done right, what was wrong, and what needs to be done. That clarity- propels organizations. Simplicity has a merciless side. Good enough isn’t enough. Submit only work that you believe 100% in. Every manager has to be a ruthless enforcer of high standards. Accept no Compromises, make no compromises. Be vigilant as honesty can be replaced by calculation and relationships can get ‘managed’ rather than nurtured.

2. Think Small=Work with a small group trustworthy of smart people

Simplicity’s best friend is Small groups of Smart People. Start small, keep them small. Everybody present in a meeting should be essential. Small Project teams with talented people given real responsibility- which drives them to deliver quality thinking. No Big Company behaviors. Apple is organized like a startup- the world’s biggest startup!
– The quality of work is inversely proportional to the no. of people involved in the project
– The quality of work increases in direct proportion to the degree of involvement of the ultimate decision maker. Not at the very end but on-going.

Simplicity is an all-or- none proposition. No picking & choosing allowed. Creativity came before process. Be the sworn enemy of idea-killing processes. When process is king, ideas will never be. Understand & appreciated the creative process- which, in certain ways, is the absence of process. Know that if you enable a small group of smart people, good things would happen. Be a cultivator, nurturer, hirer of creative people.

3. Think Minimal=Focus on one thing, one idea. Weather product or ad cut the crap, cut it down to the essence. When in doubt, subtract, ie. Minimize.

Focus is saying no to the 100 other good ideas that are there. You have to pick carefully. Customers demand & appreciate choice. It is the overdose that becomes confusing and hence damaging. Consumers appreciate a simple shopping experience. The faster & simpler you can make the buying experience, the more business you will do.

Being complicated is easy. It’s simplicity that requires serious work. For this, the organization must be willing to take a serious hard look at itself. And it never happens by itself. Simplicity needs a Champion

Minimizing can be a tremendously powerful tool- but often it requires great audacity. For good ideas to not get lost, minimize the processes thru which these ideas must travel
To capture the attention pick its most compelling aspect and present it in the most compelling way. People will always respond to a single idea expressed clearly.

4. Think Motion = Aim realistically high, have a plan and don’t give ‘enough’ time.

Simplicity never stands still. Put a small team of smarts to work on a plan and put the plan in motion. No time-outs allowed. Only when people are kept in constant motion do they stay focused with the right kind of intensity. Work isn’t supposed to be easy; it’s supposed to be gratifying- and keeping a team in motion is what gets you there. Progress is more important than process. His bottomline was that the ship had to be moving forward every day. If you weren’t helping, that’s when you get into trouble

5. Think Iconic = Find a conceptual image that actually captures the essence of your idea.

A single iconic image can be the most powerful form of communication. Like Einstein, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King. The press ads just had a b&w portrait of an Apple ‘hero’, an Apple Logo & the words ‘Think Different’. Think different defines Apple .

6.Think Phrasal= Express an idea in simple words, simple sentences, simple name

Product naming is the ultimate exercise in Simplicity. It requires one to capture in a single word or two, the essence of a product or a company- or in some cases, create a personality for it. Human beings are naturally programmed to identify products by single words. Apple makes great use of Common Sense when it names products. It also aims for consistency (iMac/iPod/iPad/iPhone!)

7. Think Casual= Not formal, not slick but straight, to the point. Don’t Present: Converse

No slick presentations to Steve. He preferred straight talk and raw content. Brief & interactive presentations between a small group of smart people meeting in a casual atmosphere: Just simple conversations. Steve considered most meetings to be brainstorming sessions. He never asked the agency for a formal presentation- He just wanted the agency’s best thinking! The only formal presentations he made was when he was on stage unveiling a new Apple product.

8. Think Human = Allow your heart to have a say in the matter.

The genius of Apple is that it often sees human potential where other companies do not, and it has the design & engineering skill to bring its vision to life. Apple does not actually invent the idea from scratch. The concept may already exist but be missing only one thing: Simplicity. The curse of Simplicity it looks deceptively Simple. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. It took something that was inherently complicated and made it wonderfully simple. Simplicity is what makes people feel like they know you, understand you and ultimately trust you.

Apple doesn’t dilute its marketing plan by segments. At the end of the day it is about people: what stirs their imaginations, what keeps them satisfied, and what makes them smile.The customer has to get it in a second-’it has to improve our lives by an order of magnitude over what’s already available.

9. Think Skeptic= Be sceptical about the skeptics, the No-Sayers, the ‘experts’

Never take no for an answer. ‘F… the lawyers’ ‘Take advice, not orders’ . If somebody says ‘It can’t be done’, they mean ‘It can’t be done without extraordinary effort’

10. Think War= Use every available weapon; and the most effective: your passion

Simplicity allows people to focus on one thing. Conversely, focusing on one thing helps achieve Simplicity. Simplicity is the greatest business weapon of our time. Technologically, Apple has established itself as a master of miniaturization. Philosophically, it has established itself as a master of Simplicity. ‘When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions’

Simplicity is not the goal. It is the guiding light that can help a business achieve its goals. Simplicity is a concept. It’s a way of looking at every part of your job, the jobs of those around you, and the way your entire company operates. That involves taking a look at the processes that are in place and figuring out how to reduce them- not reinforce them.

Once you start seeing the world thru the lens of Simplicity, you will be astounded to know how many opportunities to improve the way the business works.

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