59 posts categorized "Books"

Nuggets from "9 things a Leader must do"

-Karthik Gurumurthy


I am currently reading the book "9 things a Leader must do" by Dr. Henry Cloud. The book is a must-read for everyone. Leading organizations is one thing, but the first person to lead is leading oneself. This book has lot of small stories which illustrates the point. One of the things which caught my attention after today's reading was what the author mentioned about how to be a successful leader. 

The author said,  "To be a successful leader, you many not keep everyone around you happy. In fact, if you are successful in any arena of life, you are guaranteed to tick some people off! When all people speak well of you, it means that you are duplicitious and a people-pleaser. You cannot speak the truth, live out good values, and choose your own direction without disappointing some people.

The key is not to count your critics, but instead to weigh them. Forget the popularity polls. Don't try to avoid upsetting people; just make sure you are upsetting the right ones. If kind, loving, responsible and honest people are upset with you, then you had better look at the choices you are making. But if controlling, hot and cold, irresponsible, or manipulative people are upset with you, then take courage it might be a sign that you are doing the right thing and becoming a deja vu leader!"

So true isn't it! It resonates well with what Bill Cosby said " He who pleases all pleases none".

Self Mastery


Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “the undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions”. And in the longer term, the undisciplined lack the freedom that comes with possessing particular skills and abilities – e.g. to start a new habit.

Self-Mastery involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel in the moment. Often it involves sacrificing the pleasure and thrill of the moment for what matters most in life. Therefore it is self-discipline that drives you to:

    * Work on a worthwhile idea after the initial rush of enthusiasm has faded away
    * Go to the gym when all you want to do is lie on the couch and watch TV
    * Wake early to work on yourself
    * Say “no” when tempted to break your diet
    * Only check your email a few of times per day at particular times

In the past self-discipline has been a weakness of mine, and as a result today I find myself lacking the ability to do a number of things which I would like – e.g. to update my weblog three times a week. But I have improved, and I can say that it is self-discipline that got me out of bed this morning at 5am to do my reading for half an hour and then write this article. Believe me, I would love to be curled up in bed right now, but this desire is subordinated by my inner sense of purpose.

If you struggle with self-discipline, the good news is that it can be developed. For example, it is only in the past  year that I have trained myself to workout three times a week. The following are what I have found to be the five traits of self-discipline:

1. Self-Knowledge

Discipline means behaving according to what you have decided is best, regardless of how you feel in the moment. Therefore the first trait of discipline is self-knowledge. You need to decide what behavior best reflects your goals and values. This process requires introspection and self-analysis, and is most effective when tied to written expression. I highly recommend taking the time to write out your goals, dreams and ambitions. Even better, write out a personal mission statement. I found that writing such a statement gave me a greater understanding of who I am, what I am about and what I value. Dr. Covey has an excellent Mission Statement Builder on his site.

2. Conscious Awareness

Self-discipline depends upon conscious awareness as to both what you are doing and what you are not doing. Think about it. If you aren’t aware your behavior is undisciplined, how will you know to act otherwise?

As you begin to build self-discipline, you may catch yourself being in the act of being undisciplined – e.g. biting your nails, avoiding the gym, eating a piece of cake or checking your email constantly. Developing self-discipline takes time, and the key here is you are aware of your undisciplined behavior. With time this awareness will come earlier, meaning rather than catching yourself in the act of being undisciplined you will have awareness before you act in this way. This gives you the opportunity to make a decision that is in better alignment with your goals and values.

3. Commitment to Self-Discipline

It is not enough to simply write out your goals and values. You must make an internal commitment to them. Otherwise when your alarm clock goes off at 6am you will see no harm in hitting the snooze button for “just another 5 minutes….” Or, when initial rush of enthusiasm has faded away from a project you will struggle to see it through to completion. My senior associate TD always mentions that "commitment to continuity leads to emotional stability."

If you struggle with commitment, start by making a conscious decision to follow through on what you say you’re going to do – both when you said you would do it and how you said you would do it. Then, I highly recommend putting in place a system to track these commitments. As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets improved”.

4. Courage

Make no mistake, self-discipline is often extremely difficult. Moods, appetites and passions can be powerful forces to go against. Therefore self-discipline is highly dependent on courage. Don’t pretend something is easy for you to do when it is in fact very difficult and/ or painful. Instead, find the courage to face this pain and difficulty. As you begin to accumulate small private victories, your self-confidence will grow and the courage that underpins self-discipline will come more naturally.

5. Internal Coaching

Self-talk is often and by default negative, but it can also be extremely beneficial if you have control of it. When you find yourself being tested, I suggest you talk to yourself, encourage yourself and reassure yourself. After all, it is self-talk that has the ability to remind you of your goals, call up courage, reinforce your commitment and keep you conscious of the task at hand. When I find my discipline being tested, I always recall the following quote: “The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret”. Burn this quote into your memory, and recall in whenever you find yourself being tested. It may change your life.

Nuggets from Laws of Lifetime Growth

-Karthik Gurumurthy

At what age, did we stop growing taller? The age when the human body stops getting taller is debatable, but it’s somewhere between the ages of 16 and 21. I often wonder at what age most leaders stop growing. Unfortunately,most people settle into average by the end of their twenties'. Rarely will you find a person committed to a comprehensive personal growth plan into their 30’s, 40’s, or beyond.

As children we grew year after year with some growth spurts, sometimes unnoticeably, but our bodies were always growing.

The growth of a leader can be similar. At times, it may feel like the wheels are spinning and no headway is being made. In other seasons, new breakthroughs and victories are clear indicators of a growth spurt. To grow consistently, the key is to manage your daily agenda. I wish I could pass along an easier solution or secret formula for leadership growth, but daily discipline makes all the difference between growth and stagnation.

I would like to share some nuggets from the book "The Laws of Lifetime Growth", written by Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura.


1.  Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past.

“The past is useful because it is rich with experiences that are worth thinking about in new ways-and all of these valuable experiences can become raw material for creating an even bigger future. Approach your past with this attitude, and you will have an insatiable desire for even better, more enjoyable experiences. Use your past to continually create a bigger future, and you will separate yourself from situations, relationships, and activities that can trap you there.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. We spend each day either repairing the past or preparing for the future. We can try to fix our past, but we can’t rewrite it; we can only author our future.

The future is that time when you’ll wish you had done what you aren’t doing now. Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.


2. Always Make Your Contribution Bigger Than Your Reward.

“As you become more successful, numerous rewards will come your way: greater income, praise, recognition, reputation, status, capabilities, resources, and opportunities. These are all desirable things, but they can be growth stoppers. They may tempt you to become fixated on just the rewards, rather than focus on making still greater contributions. The way to guarantee that rewards will continually increase is to not think too much about them. Instead, continue making an even more significant contribution.”

To make your contribution bigger than your reward, adopt an anti-entitlement attitude. Believe you must give before you receive. Expect to serve before feeling like you deserve a reward. Determine success by the seeds you sow rather than the harvest you reap. Each morning, I ask myself, “Who can I add value to and how can I do it?” It’s amazing how much I’ve been able to contribute by answering this simple question each day and following through to help a friend or colleague.

3.  Always Make Your Performance Greater Than Your Applause.

“The greatest performers in all fields are those who always strive to get better. No matter how much acclaim they receive, they keep working to improve their performance. Continually work to surpass everything you’ve done so far, and your performance will always be greater than your applause.”

To make sure your performance stays a step ahead or your applause, be growth-driven instead of goal-driven. I’m not criticizing goals, but if we aren’t careful, they can limit our growth. If we set them too high, they de-motivate us. If we set them too low, we are tempted to relax when we hit them rather than pushing for our best performance. Growth is a long and consistent process. No substitutions can be made or shortcuts taken which avoid the day-to-day process of growth.

4. Always Make Your Gratitude Greater Than Your Success.

“Only a small percentage of people are continually successful over the long run. These outstanding few recognize that every success comes through the assistance of many other people – and they are continually grateful for this support.”

We see the value in people and things through proactive gratitude. Once we see this value, we naturally treat these people and things with greater respect. People and resources are drawn to where they are valued most. The world responds to gratitude by making more of everything we appreciate available to us.

To adopt an attitude of thankfulness, Oprah Winfrey keeps a gratitude journal. She recommends her habit to others: “Every night, list five things that happened this day that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life. If you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see that the universe is abundant; you will have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.”

Nuggets from It's your time

-by Karthik Gurumurthy



I am currently reading "It's your time" by Joel Osteen. Lot of valuable nuggets from todays' reading. I would like to share whatever I could recollect from my notes.

You are closer to your goals than you think. Greatest difficulty always comes right before the birth of a dream. You may not realize that you are in labor right now. When you have struggle, you could say, " This is the greatest attack I've ever faced."

Instead of getting down and thinking, "Poor old me", learn to turn it around and say, "Yes, this is the greatest attack that I've ever been through, but I know it means that I'm headed for the greatest victory that I've ever seen.". Remember it's always darkest before the dawn.

It is so important to keep reminding yourself that Creator of the Universe is directing the steps. He has you in the palm of his hands. And even though this is difficult, I know it is a matter of time before it turns around. Just know that the payday is coming.

Remember to fan that flame. Thank you God that I will have strong finances. Thank you that you are leading me and guiding me.

God is in complete control- so be a prisoner of hope.

Get up each day expecting his favor.

God is breathing new life into your dreams.

Tell yourself each and everyday. The tide is coming back. Today is the day. I am closer to achieving the goals than I think.

It is always darkest before the dawn.

I know God is in control. At the right time, he will bring the right person and the right opportunity. Always remind yourself that your time is coming.

Don't let bad breaks change your meaning and purpose. You may been through unfair situations. Let me assure you God still has a great plan for your life. When you go through tough situations you can say, I may have been through a lot, but I have come too far to stop now. I refuse to get bitter. I refuse to live life in the negative. I know God has great things in store.

When you feel like dying, you should talk about living. When you feel like giving up, you should talk about pressing forward. My good time is coming. I am a victor and not a victim.

No matter how long it's been, no matter how tempted you are to get discouraged, get up every morning and just declare it by faith. "My time is coming, The promise is on me, and I will not die until I see it come to pass".

Your best days are not behind you. They are still out in front of you. God will open up new opportunities. He will bring the right people across your path because you've been faithful.

Stay in faith. Be a prisoner of hope. God will put the right people in your path. You must block out negative thoughts and say, "you know what, this is for me. With my faith, I will ignite this moment. With my faith I will bring forth the dream on the inside".  Scripture encourages us to fan the flame.

It is my time to come up to a new level. I have seen it happen for others, but it's my time to see God's blessings and favor. It is my time to accomplish my dreams.

I want you to have a bigger vision for your life. In your future there are God-ordained moments, he has them planned out for you.

David Psalm 31:15 "God, I already know you have supernatural breaks planned out for me. You have the right people, the right opportunities, so I will not be stressed out. I will stay in peace knowing that you will get me to my final destination."

God has preordained moments of favor for you. He has already lined up the right people, the right breaks, the right opportunities. He's prearranged them for your future.

You will look back one day and say, "Man that was a blessed opportunity. I could have never orchestrated that all on my own."

God has marked moments of favor for restoration. He knows how to get back on the right track.

So go ahead and get your hopes up. Believe that no matter what you have or your haven't done, your best days are still out in front of you. In God's eyes, your future is looking extremely bright.

Every setback is simply a setup for a comeback. God not only wants to bring you out better off than you were before.

God is not limited by the economy. God is not limited by our education or lack of it. God is not limited by the environment we were raised in. God is limited by your beliefs. Believe that things are shifting in your favor.

When you sense it is your season, you need to declare it. Words have creative power. You may not feel well., but it's good to announce."Health is coming my way. I will live and not die".

When you stay in faith, God will cause you to hear what you need to hear.

I can hear the sound of abundance. I can hear the sound of health. I can hear the sound of restoration. I may not be able to see it, but that's okay. I can sense it down inside. I know my set time for favor is coming. I  know my hour of deliverance is on its way.

You have been preprogrammed to live a victorious life. Each one of us has potential waiting to be released. All of us have gifts just waiting to be activated.

What others say and do cannot stop you from fulfilling your destiny. What somebody says about you doesn't change the DNA God put in you. You have a purpose. You have a destiny that is not given to you by other people. Your destiny was handed down by Almighty God.

If you'll stay in faith, no matter what has come against you, at the right time your seeds of greatness will activate and you will fulfil your God-given destiny.


What firres you up?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

How do you start your day? Do you jump out of bed? Do you get up and go running? Do you grab a giant hot coffee? Do you live for the moment? Do you have a reason to get out of bed?

That's the key... having a reason to get up each day. Do you have a goal in mind to make your day amazing? I try and get up every day early as much as possible. Some people think I am crazy... here is the thing, I have more energy than 90% of the people around me! Some of these people get 7-10 hours of slumber per night.

We spend so much time sleeping, waiting in line, watching TV, reading trash in the line at the store. We lose out on living. If you simply get up just a couple of hours earlier every day you add (honestly) years to your life!! Get up and live, the key to being successful is to find out that reason to get up. Is it to create a life of true magnificence? Do you want to create a better life for you and your family?

Words of Mr. Nike Shoemaker...Just Do It:)

Oh by the way it's 5:20 am and I got 1 hour of reading and checking my email... My day has already been on the go for over an hour, love it!!!

Definiteness of Purpose Part II

It is important to have "definiteness of purpose". The clearer your purpose is, the faster you will move on towards your goals. He also emphasized on daily habits which define your destiny. Shobana and I are making sure we work on our daily habits.

Your days are your life in miniature. As you live your days, so you craft your life. What you do today is actually creating your future. The words you speak, the thoughts you think, the food you eat and the actions you take are defining your destiny – shaping who you are becoming and what your life will stand for. There's no such thing as an unimportant day.

Each of us is called to greatness. Each of us has an exquisite power within us. But for this power to grow, we need to use it. The more you exercise it each day, the stronger it gets. The more this power gets tapped, the more confident you grow.

The best among us are not more gifted than the rest. They just take small steps each day as they march towards their biggest life. And the days slip into weeks, the weeks into months and before they know it, they arrive at a place called Extraordinary...

Nuggets from "It's not about the Coffee"

-Karthik Gurumurthy


In his book, It’s Not About the Coffee, Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks International, recounts a fascinating story about attaining the kind of culture every company wants. Behar says one concept that he learned and developed from Howard Schultz was, “The fundamental task is to achieve smallness while growing big”.

It almost sounds like a contradiction upon first glance. How does one actually go about achieving smallness? What does it look and how can it improve the culture of any company? How could it improve yours?

Behar relates one custom that became part of Starbucks culture. The writing of cards. Each month he would write birthday and anniversary cards to everyone in the organization. It started with about sixty cards a month. Behar says that by the time he retired he was sending out more than five hundred a month.

In a time when company culture and employee engagement are the buzzwords and people are trying to figure out what it means, is it possible that we are simply over thinking it?

Maybe it has nothing to do with how big we are thinking and the grand schemes and plans of making improvements. Is it possible that employee engagement and company culture is not working as it should because we are not thinking small enough?

At the end of the day here is what we must remember: it’s all about people. Call it company culture, employee engagement, call it whatever you wish- but it all boils down to people and how you make them feel. Do they feel appreciated? Do they feel valued? How are you showing it?

Growing big and thinking small is not a mutually exclusive goal. But it will require intentional thinking and action on your part as a leader. Here are a few ways you will have to do it.

Connect with the person

It makes no difference if your vision or goals are big or small, it only comes into existence through the dedication and hard work of your people. Every leader should take the advice of John Maxwell who said, “Always touch a person’s heart before you ask for a hand.” You must connect with the person before you can ask people to help you reach your goals.They must first buy-in to you before you can expect them to buy-in to your vision.

Think small serving

It was a brilliant quote I still remember from the late Sam Walton who said, “The bigger we get the smaller we have to think, customers still walk in one at a time”. Whether it’s your employees whom you are serving or the customer base your organization caters to, the way you treat each individual makes a world of difference. Too often we worry about pleasing the masses and forget we still serve our employees and customers one at a time. If you do right by one, you will do right with many.

Think small growing

Intentional smallness is what Behar modeled by writing hundreds of cards a month. It happens with random acts of kindness in recognizing your people. It’s being intentional about building relationships. It’s about ensuring that your people feel valued, respected, empowered, and trusted. It’s about writing that card.

Growth begins to happens when you take care of building a powerful culture of smallness that gives you the momentum to become a big organization that held true to its most sacred values along the way.

Are you thinking small enough?

What does your epitaph read?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

We all know that we need to be clear with what we want but what we always lack is that desire and emotion that is very much needed to drive us to our goals. Just think about this:

What would you want people to say about you when you move on and leave this Earth?

There are so many things that I hope to do but I cannot do right now due to time and money constraints. In our daily busy schedule, we often forget that in a blink of an eye, anything can happen and what you plan for the future may not happen. We often live or fill up our time with activities that does nothing for us except rob us of the time to do something more valuable and significant for others. Therefore, it is important to do what you want to do, live for today and do as much as you can today, because you might not be able to do so tomorrow. Just think about this the next time you feel like procrastinating.

So if you do not like something in your life right now, change. It is not that scary. Not all change is improvement but without change there can be no improvement. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.

However, you can make a choice today to change. And when that change is successful, you will look back at it and call it growth.

Reference: Developing The Leader Within You (John C.Maxwell)

Character of a leader

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I was browsing this amazing book "21 indispensable qualities of a leader" by John Maxwell. One chapter a day really makes you a leader if you follow that chapter & implement it. It begins with chapter 1 as character. He talks about a guy who manufactured small planes & successfully sold over 50 planes to companies. In that 50 planes he sold to, couple of planes crashed! So he asked every customer of his to ground their planes till they fix the problem.. After 2 years of investigation & zero business, he simulates the case where the planes could crash.. Now to try this he himself takes the flight & nearly crashes before he manages to escape & ground the plane. This is what the author calls as character.. He risked his life to make sure his customers are safe. That is really a test of character!