Previous month:
March 2010
Next month:
May 2010

April 2010

Be interested not interesting

Powerful nugget from Jim Collins

Management consultant; author, "Built to Last" and "Good to Great".

I learned this golden rule from the great civic leader John Gardner, who changed my life in 30 seconds. Gardner, founder of Common Cause, secretary of health, education, and welfare in the Johnson administration, and author of such classic books as "Self-Renewal," spent the last few years of his life as a professor and mentor-at-large at Stanford University. One day early in my faculty teaching career -- I think it was 1988 or 1989 -- Gardner sat me down. "It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be interesting," he said. "Why don't you invest more time being interested?"

If you want to have an interesting dinner conversation, be interested. If you want to have interesting things to write, be interested. If you want to meet interesting people, be interested in the people you meet -- their lives, their history, their story. Where are they from? How did they get here? What have they learned? By practicing the art of being interested, the majority of people can become fascinating teachers; nearly everyone has an interesting story to tell.

I can't say that I live this rule perfectly. When tired, I find that I spend more time trying to be interesting than exercising the discipline of asking genuine questions. But whenever I remember Gardner's golden rule -- whenever I come at any situation with an interested and curious mind -- life becomes much more interesting for everyone at the table.

Urgent & Important

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I got a chance to listen  to a successful entrepreneur and what  he shared during the training is extremely important and vital and can make a big difference between being successful and an average mediocre person. He asked us to do a matrix of urgent and important.



  Everything you do fits into one of four categories determined by your own values and circumstances:

  •     Important and urgent — fighting daily fires. Most people spend here much of their time. What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. Try to minimize the amount of tasks here and complete them as soon as possible.
  •     Important but not urgent — this is the "big picture", strategic plans. This is where you need to spend quality time.
  •      Not important but urgent — these are the tasks with near deadlines but not relevant to your own goals. Delegate them and give them as little time as possible.
  •      Not important and not urgent — this is where you waste your time. Try to minimize, or trash them. Examples: Web browsing.

The difference between someone who is successful and the one is not depends on which quadrant they spend most of their time in.

Let us focus on WIN.

WIN stands for What’s Important Now? Not what was important…last week, last month, last quarter or last year.

Use your best thinking and intuition to determine and then implement the things you should be doing now.


I always understood this intuitively and if you examine your day you usually will find all 4 quadrants at work. But even if you understand it and recognize your tasks as important and urgent, how do I profit from the matrix? ;) How can I make practical changes to get better in my productivity?

The value lies mainly in the awareness of what is important and what not. And then in moving more and more into Quadrant 1 (important and urgent) and with all the rest into "The Zone" (Quadrant 2): into what is important but not yet urgent.

If you do this, you will master time-management and produce not only good results but also balance. Success will be much likelier and seem more natural and effortless. Someone who is good in time-management is not someone who is constantly managing the tasks in stress. In fact that is definitely a bad time-manager, since he is constantly in quadrant 1 and possibly 3. It may be important, but it is urgent for sure. That is bad time-management and the "cure" is in quadrant 2 – The Zone . Let us focus more of our activities towards Quadrant-2.

Four steps for learning better

-Karthik Gurumurthy

As leaders we live in a learning rich environment…

…but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are learning.

It is easy to think that we’re learning as we go, but in reality we are often just gathering experiences and extracting little in the way of lessons. Learning requires intentionality, and if you don’t make it an overt objective in your journey, it probably won’t happen consistently.

To be a better, faster learner you need to do these things:

1. Slow down. If you are moving too fast, information is getting passed over or filtered out.

2. Reflect. That means contemplating not just on what happened, but what it means.

3. Record. Keeping a journal will help you capture lessons to review or reconsider in the future.

4. Share. You’ll gain additional insights and notice nuances when you share what you’ve learned with others, whether your team or someone you mentor.

So what have you learned this week?

Share it with someone who needs to know.