Tag Archives: Executive coaching

Why health should be priority for leaders - organizational transformation

Why Health Should be a Priority for Leaders

We grew up learning ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise!”. In the last century though, while we have become wealthier and wiser, we seem to have received a beating on the health front. Many problems like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cholesterol, Thyroid etc. hitting individuals at a very young age. Senior leadership is expressing concern over lack of energy and enthusiasm in team in the second half of the work. They were found to have very poor attention and participation in meetings. Client calls were more like a ‘tick-in-the-box’ lacking much involvement. The main challenge was that all of them were mid-senior level and in their 30s to 40s of age, rather very commonly found in almost most of the organization.

Why health should be priority for leaders - organizational transformation

Another observation from HR is a remarkable rise in sick leave, peer-level conflicts over minor topics, short-temper etc. among employees. Now, this again is not unique to a particular organization or geography, but very common across all levels and age. The intention behind sharing the above issues is to get closer to the reality of health challenges and its impact on our daily personal and professional life. This also is a major challenge on desks of leaders, since it will impact the individuals, client, productivity, performance, and business.

So what can the Leader do to address the challenge and bring about an organizational transformation?

The first & foremost step all leaders need to take is to ACCEPT the fact that health is important and needs to be addressed at all levels. Acceptance is the key step in dealing with the challenges. Most of the times, everyone asserts with the words “I am fine, it will not happen to me, my employees are fit” and so on, until one-day reality hits them hard.

Once as a leader you accept that health is a priority and needs to be addressed, 80% of the job is done. So what next after Acceptance, you may ask? Well once we accept, we can then take the next steps to have a Good Health Development. It can be done in a multi-pronged approach.

Create Awareness of Good Health

This can be done by the way of posters, mailers etc. Make individuals realize the advantage of Health and its impact on Personal and Professional life. We have heard of the famous Quote” If you don’t take care of your customers, competitors will”, but “If you don’t take care of your health, who will?”

As a leader, you have the power and ability to impact many, who will further impact many more.

A leader must drive this message followed by his own tangible actions. Everyone should undergo a medical check-up at least once a year. To ensure that we don’t miss, we can make it a habit to do so on our birthdays. We never forget our birthdays and it can also be a gift to ourselves. We can reserve one day like the last Friday or the first Monday of the month, to implement innovative ways to foster good health. We can try implementing basic changes in our lifestyle in simple ways like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, conducting stand-up meetings, avoiding sugar etc.

Today we have such wonderful apps on the smartphone which we can leverage in many ways. Leaders can encourage various individual and group/team/pair challenges. The participants can be rewarded for challenges such as walking the most number of steps in a day, holding a plank position for the longest time, etc. The more the diversity, the higher the participation and the greater the fun.

Good Health is not just about exercise.  Such myths also need to be addressed by creating awareness with the help of experts. What we eat and drink, is what contributes to health.  Leaders can create awareness on the importance of various elements in our diet which impacts good health of all and good health of organization. Rest / Sleep is another very important aspect. It should be encouraged and attention must be drawn to proper and sufficient sleep. For e.g.: 5 min rest after lunch can be made mandatory at a scheduled time.

Individuals look up to the leaders and follow them. As leaders, we lead by example in meetings, executive coaching sessions, project discussions, client negotiations, business presentations, etc. We should also lead by example in various good health habits. We can share success stories, benefits, and incentives due to good health practice. Leaders can create that ripple effect and initiate it as a movement. I would like to sum it all up on a poetic note by quoting the below:

“If we can’t fly, we must run.

If we can’t run, we must walk.

If we can’t walk, we must crawl.

Whatever it is we must keep moving.”

Leadership Facilitator - Manoj Vanjiri

Pragati Leadership - She is the Real Shero

She is the Real Shero

Women are approximately 50% of the world’s population and therefore should be in a position of tremendous power, responsibility across all sectors. Women should be in major decision-making and influencing roles. Whether to sanction sanctions on another country or create policy changes in the nation or be part of the merger/demerger decisions, they should be in a position to opine and to execute the same. Women are considered ideal teachers. They are highly active in conducting executive coaching and leadership programs in India and are more popular than men in the corporate training sector.

Pragati Leadership - She is the Real Shero

There is no question that we have seen the tremendous change in the “breaking of the glass-ceiling “over the last 30 years in this. We have a woman Defence Minister and a woman Foreign Minister. We have also many women CEO’s, bureaucrats, athletes, musicians –all making a difference to the nation, the world and to their respective organizations. The question to ask is “Are they enough?. Even today when I go to many corporations who are intrinsically liberal and forward minded, the number of women leaders in decision-making roles are limited. We still need women to come forward to play and work with their full strengths and potential so that we can create a different set of thinking paradigms which can bring about positive and inclusive change.

I think this is the reason that even today we celebrate “Women’s day”. It’s a day to remember and celebrate the contribution of women in nation-building and create a humane world. Celebrating women’s day does not on the ground change any reality for women –but it brings awareness about the strengths of women and acknowledges the same. It’s a day for women to introspect, look at their lives-their aspirations, their strengths and create plans for their future. It’s a day also for organizations to acknowledge the contributions of women and recognise them. Give them opportunities to grow. Give them a challenge. Give them the platforms to perform. Recognise that women play multiple roles both at work and outside of it and have the ability to harmonize this. Be there for them.

Ready and Capable Leaders - Organisational Transformation

How Do You Know Your Leaders are Ready and Capable?

In a recent conversation, the CEO of a well-run organization expressed this question and it got me thinking – is leadership development addressed sufficiently well by organizations and the owners of the organization?

Let’s begin with the CEO’s question. Common sense thinking would be to have a competent person for the job. But in the era we live in, a continuously changing and evolving landscape of business and competition make things very unpredictable. What kind of competencies would really be needed to navigate the maze becomes the single most important question to really bring about new thinking?

Ready and Capable Leaders - Pragati Leadership

Would past experience and knowledge not be sufficient? Think about, explorations of the space. Would knowledge of having been in space be sufficient to travel to Mars? Very unlikely! Important but not sufficient. One has to apply forward thinking of the unknown challenges and risks and yet be bold enough to actually jump into it.   Elon Musk, a very unconventional leader has a penchant to deviate from the normal and take risks. Does every organization need an Elon Musk type leader?  Or can they continue to win with proven horses and strategies? Organizations need a blend of both type of leaders, but it’s evident that we will need a bigger pipeline of leaders equipped to deal with the future.

So how do we approach this problem?   Clearly current day skills and knowledge will get outdated and organizations will have to reshape on a continuous basis.   The question is not when but how? Building agility and strategic mind-sets,  using executive coaching developing big picture thinking,  encouraging creative problem solving, creating inspiring workplaces, leading strategic change are few things the organization’s leaders will need to develop and demonstrate.

In one business review meeting with a client, I asked leaders if they could think what the business landscape would look like after 3-5 years, and their responses made me shudder.   The inability to foresee new challenges and taking comfort in the known situations could make the organization and the individual vulnerable to the external environment. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is upon us.  Futuristic competitive forces are a good starting point to know if the organizations and it leaders are ready and capable to address them, if not all at least some of them. Having leaders who are not just good in doing what the organization can and wants them to do, but also equipped in doing what its future competitors will do, will define whether the organization will succeed in future or not.

And yes, organizational transformation, leadership and talent development is a continuous journey.   An evolution!  And it has to happen at an increasing pace because the environment is changing faster than what we might prefer.

Executive Coaching : The way to create medal winners

Coaching : The way to create medal winners?

Thanks to the quadrennial Asian Games, working professionals all over the world are paying attention to the world outside their cubicles. There’s a lot of excitement in India as many sportspersons are bringing home medals in different disciplines.

If you look at India’s performance at the Asian Games, we have historically been most successful in athletics. Our success in other disciplines has been only a fraction of what we have achieved there.

Executive Coaching : The way to create medal winners

Why is this the case? One reason could be that other disciplines require access to sporting facilities. For instance, at the 2010 Asian GamesIndia had their best-ever haul of 65 medalsA fifth of these were in athletics, more specifically in running events where facilities are less necessary. In events like the high-jump or pole vault where facilities are mandatory, we didn’t win anything.

The other events in which we have won (far fewer) medals are wrestling, boxing, shooting, tennis, rowing and badminton. It’s clear to you that each of these sports requires a facility and skilled coaches.

Take badminton for instance. The frequency with which Indians have won medals in this sport has increased recently. Two women have already won medals for us at back to back Asian Games. Both women are from the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, where they had access to not just facilities but also highly skilled international coaches. (The academy requires significant investment to hire foreign coaches and could do better if it had access to more funds.

This year too, our medal winners like Neeraj Chopra, Dutee Chand and Muhammad Anas had access to good coaches during their long pursuit of glory.

In sport, we celebrate the winner, often oblivious to the systems that enabled the individual to become a winner. In the corporate world too, we perpetuate the myth of the superstar, never realizing that it is facilities, systems and coaching that actually turns individuals into winners.

If you want more winners, in sport or in your organisation, pay close attention to whether you have systems and coaches that are enabling your players to excel.

In organisations, it is usually the manager that has to play the role of a coach. If you manage people, developing them into stars is your responsibility. If you want to develop skills in executive coaching and enabling people, request your manager to get you trained on the subject. At other times, you might want to engage an Executive Coach to help you increase your impact. Look for a coach who has a track record of helping people discover a new level in their performance.

Aman Zaidi