Everything I know about delegating

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Delegating must be one of the toughest leadership/management challenges, considering that almost everyone seems to struggle with it. Delegation affects people development, business growth, team motivation and success of the organization. Here’s a summary of what I’ve learnt about delegation…

Why we don’t delegate:

  • Insecurity – if they do it well I won’t be needed
  • Status – it’s ‘my’ job
  • Fear – what if they do it well; what if they can’t do it well
  • Love – it’s my favorite task

Why we must delegate:

  • To be a leader/manager, instead of a doer
  • To develop people – build trust, improve their self esteem, opportunity to reward/recognize others
  • To manage our time better; get more done in less time; focus on our own strengths
  • To build happy, motivated and successful teams

How to delegate effectively:

  • What – pick the tasks to delegate (considering the reason to delegate)
  • Who – find the best person to delegate to
  • How and when – communicate and establish clear objectives, expectations and deadline
  • Track – monitor progress and offer support if required; be patient
  • Recognize – give credit

And finally, some quotes to inspire you to delegate more and better:

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.

When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.

The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.

When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.

If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.

A star wants to see himself rise to the top. A leader wants to see those around him rise to the top.

And a final word: You can do anything, but not everything.

5 More Tips to Get Results!

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I continue to apply the four steps to achieve anything with great results. I also get excellent feedback from people who have learnt this and accomplished much! When I see someone struggling with four steps without much success, it is usually due to a dream they don’t believe in, a goal not specific enough, a plan not detailed/clear enough, actions not consistent or persistent enough. The most common challenge is with the action (or lack of). So here are five additional tips to get result while working on your dreams, goals, plans and action:

  1. Make it a priority. Once you have figured out what you need to do every day, make it a priority. Allocate a particular time of the day for the action necessary to achieve the goal. Whether it’s time for exercise for your fitness goal, time for phone calls to achieve your sales goal, time for study for your personal development goal, or time for family for your relationship goal, you must block off the required time to do what’s necessary. And do nothing else in that time.
  2. Get back to routine. If you miss a day of the necessary action, get back to the committed routine the very next day, not next week or next month. It’s so easy to tell ourselves, ‘I missed a few days this week, so what’s the point; I’ll start properly next week, or next month.’ Never listen to that crap!
  3. Be persistent. You can’t plant a seed today and expect a tree tomorrow. You need to water it every day for a few days/weeks before you see the first bud. If it took years to put on that weight, it will take months to get rid of it. If you are learning something new, commit to the plan and stick to it until you succeed. Giving up is not an option if you are really committed to your goal.
  4. Change the plan. If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal. If your consistent and persistent actions are not producing the expected results, stop and think, get some advice, check if you are doing it right. Maybe you need a different strategy, a change of direction or a modified plan. Make the necessary adjustment and go after your goal with renewed commitment.
  5. Stay positive and happy. Happiness is the foundation for all success, and positivity is essential for self-motivation. While you are working towards your goals, continue to acknowledge and be grateful for what you already have. Get inspiration from your dreams, and your ability to pursue them. Believe in your self and be positive about the outcome of your actions.

A little progress each day adds up to big results!

7 Essential Apps for Traveling

IMG_4526.jpgOver the last few years, I’ve tried quite a few apps related to different aspects of traveling. And deleted most of them. Currently I have nine apps in my travel folder, seven of which are extremely helpful:

  1. Hopper. This is one of the best apps I have ever used for finding the best airfare deals, and buying tickets straight from the app. Unlike most airfare apps, it starts with the date of travel and shows you the most expensive to the cheapest dates in that month, marked as red, green and yellow!
  2. Airbnb. If you are looking for inexpensive and unique places to stay, or a homestay with a local family, nothing can beat Airbnb. Also great for getting local advice from hosts through the built-in messenger, even before you book.
  3. TripAdvisor. Great to find local local attractions, restaurants and things to do in that city or in cities nearby. Or to read other travellers’ reviews about the suggestions you hear from the locals, and write your reviews to help other travellers.
  4. Google Maps. Indispensable whether you are walking, cycling, on a taxi or even on a public transportation. You know where you are, and where you are going, especially for people with poor navigational skills (like me).
  5. Speak & Translate. The fastest way to communicate to anyone in almost any language. Click, speak in your language, click. Then it repeats in the local language selected! I still have the Google Translate app when I want to practice speaking the local language, or showing the translation to the other person. But I miss the days of communicating just through body language, actions and expression 🙂
  6. PowerPlug. Helps you pack the right plugs for your devices. I don’t carry the bulky universal adapter any more. It also tells you the voltage and frequency for the country you are traveling to, though I don’t know what to do with that.
  7. Currency. Check exchange rates before changing money, or instantly convert local prices to your home currency, and multiple currencies at the same time.

The most recent addition to my travel apps is Travelpod, the online travel journal which I started using to keep all the photos, videos, maps and stories in one place. Needless to say, you need to have a local pre-paid sim with Internet access to make full use of all these apps 🙂  Hope you find this useful. Please share your most useful travel apps too.

Mush Talks #11: ‘Three Benefits of Waking up Earlier’ by Mush Panjwani

I could script these talks, do a few rehearsals, record professionally with mics and lights, edit better, put music and effects and titles and captions… but then I wouldn’t be able to do one a week. I hope these zero-cost productions are still good enough to inspire some.

You may watch Mush Talks #1-10 here. And please feel free to leave comments below 🙂

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation

I just heard one of the best TED talks about conversations. Celeste Headlee covers everything I try to include in my 1-3 hours of training on communication skills, and even more, in just 12 minutes!

The ten tips are:

  1. Don’t multi-task. Be fully present.
  2. Don’t pontificate. Set aside your personal opinions.
  3. Use open-ended questions.
  4. Go with the flow. Let your own thoughts come and go.
  5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. It’s not about you.
  7. Don’t repeat yourself.
  8. Stay out of the details.
  9. Listen! Be interested.
  10. Be brief.

I also loved these quotes from the talk:

  • “If your mouth is open, you are not learning.” -Buddha
  • “No man ever listened his way out of a job.” -Calvin Coolidge
  • “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand; we listen with the intent to reply.” -Stephen Covey

Mush’s Lessons from the Himalayas: The joys of disconnecting (being offline)!

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My two weeks in Nepal were full of inspiration, with some important lessons learnt and many beliefs reinforced. Through this series of blog posts, I am sharing some of those thoughts and hoping to inspire some of my readers.

There are many things that we take for granted in life. When you are up in the mountains or in villages, a network on your phone is a privilege and Internet access a luxury. Imagine waking up in the morning completely offline, with no emails, messages or FB to check. And going through the day, using just the camera function on your phone. Once I accepted the reality, I began to see the beauty of the situation and the many benefits of disconnecting, unplugging and being offline:

  • Connection. I was better connected to everything and everyone around me. I was able to better appreciate the beauty of the nature; I was more aware of the presence of other human beings and the opportunity to talk to them, listen to them and learn from them.
  • Inner voice. By ceasing the flow of information and news, and other people’s opinions and updates, I was more in tune with my inner voice. I became more aware of my own thoughts and feelings. I even found solutions to some of my problems, within myself, due to the clarity and focus.
  • Mono-tasking. The increasingly unusual state of doing just one thing at a time. I was reminded of the pleasures in simple things when done with mindfulness – a sip of coffee, a hot shower, breathing with awareness, a bite of wholesome food, an eye contact, a smile, listening to someone with 100% attention!

I was still connecting to the Internet for an hour or so almost every evening after the trek. I was posting photos to Facebook, blogging my daily diary, and even uploading my daily 2-minute videos to YouTube whenever the connection was ‘good’. And I found that even my connected time was so much more productive and efficient due to the focus, and the awareness that I only had an hour or two to get everything done.

Since getting back from the trip, I have incorporated some of these ideas, yet again, into my life. I have switched off many ‘push’ notifications on my phone, so I can better control the flow of information. I have again started doing emails in blocks of an hour, 2-3 times a day. I have again limited my social media time to the bare minimum, and only twice a day. I have again started switching off my phone after 7pm. It’s only been a week, but it’s working out so well then I’m unlikely to go back to the old habits.

What do you think about disconnecting, unplugging and going offline for scheduled periods of time every day? How will that affect your productivity at work and the quality of your time with yourself, friends and family?

Please also check out Dinchack Facebook page for daily inspiration.

Make 2014 a Dinchack (Fantastic) Year!

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For many of us, New Year is a time to make some resolutions and commit to bring positive changes in our lives. See if you would like to include any of the following to your goals and to-do lists for 2014:

1. Learn to be happy! Happiness is the foundation for all success and achievements. Happier people are more productive at work, better at relationships, healthier and have more energy. Practice the happiness principles daily:

  • Be grateful. Acknowledge the good things in your life. Being alive, having the comforts, doing a job, having a family… are not things to be taken for granted, but to be thankful for.
  • Accept what you can’t change. Don’t get angry, frustrated or disappointed at things that are beyond your control: The weather, traffic, the colour of your skin, your height, your past, other people’s thoughts and actions…
  • Make others happy. Compliment more. Acknowledge when someone does something well. Be kind and helpful. Help someone solve their problem. Give your time.
  • Find out what makes you happy and do that. Whether it’s nature walk, some form of exercise, volunteering, learning something new… Change your job if you have to.

2. Become more productive! Do the right things, do them well, on time and with ease. That may seem too ambitious but here are some of the ways to achieve that:

  • Prioritize. Do less to get more done. Ask yourself whether you can drop it, delay it or delegate it, before you do it! Distinguish between important and urgent. Develop the habit of ‘first things first’. Do what matters most first.
  • Simplify. Unclutter. Get rid of useless stuff that just occupies space – in your office, on your desk, at home, your wardrobe, book shelf, even the desktop of your computer and the number of apps on your phone. Don’t accumulate excess in the first place, and keep cleaning. When you buy something new, give away the old one. Go paperless!
  • Cut your Facebook time. And other social media time. And emails. Do them in batches instead of 24/7. Switch off the push notifications.
  • Sleep less. Waking up an hour earlier in the morning can be the single most critical change you can make, adding significantly to your productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. Use this time to exercise, plan, read, learn… no more ‘I don’t have the time’ excuse!

Do you have any additional tips for the two lists above? This is part 1 of a series. Can you guess what’s coming up next?

For daily inspiration and resources on happiness, motivation and success, please also see Dinchack on Facebook.