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In Formula 3 Plus 1, Everyone Wins

formula 3 plus 1 vivek blog


Photo credit: avrene via CC BY


As managers, we tend to be so busy spotting problems and suggesting improvements at the workplace, that it becomes a part of our personality. I was quite taken aback when my wife said to me one day, ‘you point out problems all the time, is it possible for you to sometimes see what’s good?’

That was an ‘Aha!’ moment for me, and made me pause in the midst of my march towards improvement.

I thought about the effect of my style of functioning, and all other managers who are constantly saying, ‘this is not right, this should have been done this way…’ and never talking about what’s going right.

There could be a better way. So I came up with this formula: 3 + 1.

What this formula means is simply that anytime we want to suggest 1 improvement to anyone, we stop ourselves and ask, ‘have I told them 3 things that they are doing right?’

I’ve now set this discipline for myself, only when my ‘account balance’ is 3 – having appreciated 3 things that are going right, can I suggest 1 thing that needs improving.

Changing Myself

Adopting Formula 3+1 brought about a change in my way of looking at things, suddenly I’m more attuned to spotting and speaking about the good things that are happening around.  I will share some of the amazing changes this simple formula brought about in team members and culture, but while we want colleagues to improve in specific areas, we as managers need to question our own natural instinct – are we just overly critical? In that case, the Formula 3 + 1 can also help us to improve!

When managers are overly critical, their teams are often not empowered. They wait to just execute orders, because they cannot afford to take initiatives, in case they fail.

In fact, managers could try to just focus on the positives, and invite team members to identify the 1 area of improvement! That will help to create an effective team, where the manager is not just an auditor of problems.

This is a little different from the sandwich method of giving feedback, where the negative is sandwiched between 2 positives. I find that a lot of team members today see-through the sandwich technique, they just wait for the criticism to come up. The technique is used in an ‘event’ called feedback, is seen as a process, and lacks authenticity.

I’m asking managers to make a real change in their perception, not just use 3+1 as a technique.

Most of the time, when you have to give the 1 negative, you find the 3 positives are so strong, your whole approach towards your team changes, and they also respond differently.

Helping Teams to Change

An amazing outcome of the formula 3+1 is, once adopted, is that suddenly that 1 thing that didn’t seem right, starts correcting itself.  I believe this results from the perception that we create, in colleagues and ourselves, that there are so many, many good things that are happening. It also changes the team’s perception about what kind of manager and leader you are, and actually changes the culture of the team.

Even in a team that’s apparently not performing well, on certain parameters, you can always find something to appreciate. That makes the team much more open to improving on the 1 area that you point out. But if you only harp on what’s wrong, people get demotivated and disengaged.

Let’s look at the people we criticize. We see them only in their professional roles, but each person, in their own personal lives, is going a lot of good, and is dealing with a lot of stuff. They are taking care of personal and family responsibilities, they have unique talents, or maybe creative hobbies.  When we, as their managers, find 3 good things that they do, it improves their self-esteem, and they gain the confidence to deal with the 1 thing that’s wrong.

Actually, appreciating leads to a person further improving in that area. If I tell a colleague, ‘you’re a good listener’. Maybe she has been listening only partially, but there’s a chance that she becomes more aware, and becomes a better listener.

Whatever you appreciate appreciates!

Whether you are appreciating or criticizing, ensure that you are genuine and not going overboard, or people will see through your words. Maintain a balance. Formula 3+1 can bring about a change in your team as well as yourself.

By Vivek Yatnalkar

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Spir-IT Summit Coming Up: My Thoughts

India’s Transformation will depend upon three ITs :  Information Technology, Inspired Teaching and Inner Transformation.

India’s Transformation will show the way for International Transformation.

A closer  look at the IT Industry in India shows a pressing need for Inspiration, Integration and Innovation.

We need to see a thriving of Wellness in all areas.

At the heart of a thriving IT industry is thriving people. People who are  healthy, joyous and professionally excellent in their domains. They work in green and nourishing environments with some of the best talent you can find. The IT industry  also needs some people to collaborate across domains/ areas of expertise and traditional verticals.

Maybe even across different organisations which specialize in different areas.

This will enable them to co-create Innovative Solutions which deliver more value at lower costs for global clients.

Pragati Leadership has always believed that there are vast Inner resources in all of us which can be tapped.

Research on Meditation and Presence shows direct links to higher creativity, more equanimity and better health.

The SPIR-IT summit is an opportunity to listen to the wisdom of gathered CXOs from the IT Industry in Pune…what has worked for them, what is their vision, and what we can all do together.

When we all work together for the well-being of people in the IT Industry, Pune will come even closer to showing the rest of India, that there is more value in collaboration and co-creation than in competing.

by Arun Wakhlu

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Leaders by example Vs Leaders by default

‘I have a dream’ – such a simple line, yet it moved millions to act like never before. When Martin Luther King uttered these famous words, he announced to the world that he was their visionary leader who saw a better future and would therefore lead by example to that end. He inspired his followers to dream with him and turned them into believers who would go on to realise this dream collectively. He didn’t say ‘I have a plan’ – to quote Simon Sinek. Think about it. How many leaders can you recollect coming across who have ‘led by example’ and were not leaders ‘by default’?

What then goes into making a good leader? There are some traits that a leader must have to be able to lead his/her team effectively towards success. Let’s look at these qualities as personal and professional traits.

Personal traits

Confidence: A must-have since only a person who has confidence in his/her abilities can help others know their true worth and perform well. It’s the confidence that helps a leader fight problems and come out of them successfully.

Honesty: A good leader will always be honest and straightforward. It’s this honesty that gains the respect and trust of others. Success is always a team effort and it cannot be possible if the team members do not trust the leader’s abilities and respect his/her judgment.

Will power: Resilience or will power is what makes or breaks a leader. A true leader will always have that extra source of will power to dig in and never give up in spite of troubles.

Professional traits

Person-focus: No two ways about it – it is the team that gets the work done and a lot depends on them. Team members look up to a leader who has a person-focus and not only goal-focus. A leader needs to be able to be a part of the team progress, understand problems and give solutions.

Motivating: A good leader is one who constantly keeps the team motivated in spite of all the troubles and is able to derive performance out of them. But for that, one needs to be motivated oneself in order to lead form the front.

Visionary: A good leader must be able to see the future and decide what needs to be done to realise that vision. This leader thinks out of the box and sees opportunities that others do not. He/she creates plans that work and makes everyone believe in the power of cohesive-thinking.

Disciplined: A true leader will always be disciplined and will know what has to be done and how it has to be done, be it personal or professional. This is what makes him/ her stand out – being equipped with the right mixture of personal qualities and professional skills that are hallmarks of a true leader.

Wanted: Inspirational Leaders

Now more than ever, employees are starving for a sense of feeling connected to a higher purpose than just meeting this month’s sales and profit figures. An inspirational leader can really make the difference in improving the confidence of people, who will in turn enhance the organization’s performance.

This seems to be the perfect time to bring more personal meaning to the team’s work and inspire to shine, despite difficult business conditions. This effort doesn’t cost money and will certainly lead to better long-term results. So how can one become an inspirational leader?

The key is to look within. Inspirational leadership is a fundamental shift in one’s state of mind. It is not a cheerleading exercise but an effort to activate the inner passion of people. Everyone has something within them that serves as a personal motivation for their own level of success and satisfaction. Inspirational Leaders can tap into that source of energy and unleash the full potential of individuals and teams.

We must constantly remind ourselves that everybody wants to feel like they are part of a movement, rather than merely cogs in a wheel. Whether they are in accounting, information systems, human resources, sales, or operations, people who understand the holistic goal of the organization can quickly see how their work is connected to the ultimate outcome. It is not difficult to see that leaders who can establish this type of emotional connection to goals are invaluable to the organization.

Last but not the least, as a leader, it is imperative that one encourages full participation and ensures that all voices are heard. Traditionally there are a handful of people who are comfortable with being very outgoing and such individuals will clearly contribute. Yet the quietest people often have some of the most insightful suggestions. Inspirational leaders have the ability to bring out the best from all types of people. Yes – the old debate about extroverts and introverts resurfaces again! But we must remember that everyone is different and as leaders we must be the ones to adapt styles to produce the best results.

Now comes the best part – celebration and recognition! People need to understand how they are doing. Recognition is very important because once people are inspired towards a common goal they will want to be informed about progress. Inspirational leaders know how important personal appreciation and recognition is to maintaining a motivated work force. Small celebrations when key milestones are achieved are great tools to help them team reflect on the journey and correct the course where necessary. These celebrations allow leaders to not only acknowledge the people who have crossed another great hurdle, but to share best practices so others may benefit from the learning along the way.

That also brings setbacks into the picture. Inspirational Leaders who motivate teams also know how to deal with setbacks. They use such situations to show visible support for team members who may have taken a large risk and fallen a bit short. More importantly, they use setbacks for key teaching moments so as to minimize future shortcomings.

In the end it comes down to a few choices that separates leaders from inspirational leaders. Can we embrace the mind-set that we will bring out the best in people? Can we take the disparate actions of many and create a common cause greater than the sum of the parts? Only then will the organization benefit in a truly wholesome manner thanks to a culture committed to developing people who will accelerate performance.

So go ahead – Lead by example by choosing to be an inspirational leader and converting work into purpose.

Source: Article by Jerry S.Wilson, senior vice-president of the Coca-Cola Co., where he serves as chief customer and commercial officer. He is a personal branding expert and co-author of Managing Brand YOU: 7 Steps to Creating Your Most Successful Self.

Before we sign off, here’s something that is straight out of our dreams of an ideal leader! Till next time, happy reading and happy leading!

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