Start with WHY..

#makeTheShift: Start with WHY, and End in their (your customers) Hearts!

Simon says…

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.

In his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Simon Sinek talks about what separates APPLEs from the TIVOs of this world, and why it is important to start with the purpose behind what you do. 

Looking at it from another angle, they are the vision, mission, and plan. Here is my very simple and minimalistic definition:
  • Vision is WHAT we want to become. It is the Destination. It is WHERE we want to get. 
  • Mission is WHY we want to become that entity, it is the reason why we are on that journey.
  • Plan is the vehicle that gets us there. It is HOW we intend to get to our destination. 

As @simonsinek says, we often start with the outer layer going in. Most of us are focused on showing the product (WHAT), without connecting with the audience on emotional level with our WHY. 

WHY is the soul of any product, any organization. Trying to sell the product without clear WHY is like selling hollow product(s) without any ‘soul’ in it.

start with Why

            People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

On the other hand, starting with WHY, you are connecting with the audience on an emotional level, on a much deeper level. As Simon indicated in the video, you buy with your heart, and then rationalize your purchase with your mind. You got to have a cause before you create a product and (try to) sell it. Start with the inner circle, start with WHY and everything else will fall in the right places

Case in point from the recent history, look at Tesla. Mr. Musk sold the WHY to us, simple. The company spends very little, next to nothing in the advertising money. Instead, people have bought into the WHY of Mr. Musk, and the companies he is leading. 

#makeTheShift:  Start with WHY, and End in their Hearts! Click To Tweet

Start with the mission and then build products around it, products that help you satisfy your mission.

Back from my mini retirement..

I wrote about “taking Sagmeister” in my earlier post last year. This is based on a book I read about two years back. In this book, Drive, author Daniel Pink talks about “taking Sagmeister”, inspired by designer Stefan Sagmeister. Essentially, it is about taking mini and micro retirements NOW rather than deferring the big retirement. 

This year, I took about two weeks off from routine life, and was on European vacation. We went on to Portugal-Spain tour, and it was amazing! I highly recommend visit to these two beautiful countries, filled with lots of history, architecture, and natural beauty.

Tree hugger in #Barcelona

A post shared by Nimesh Soni (@soni_nimesh) on

Now, snapping out of the vacation and back to work! Rather, start working towards the next mini-retirement!

Remember, we work for living, and not living for work. You got to have fun, so sprinkle the mini vacations in your year. Have fun!

The Wright Brothers (New York: Simon & Schuster, May, 2016)

the-wright-brothers-by-david-mccullough

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Remember Wright Brothers if you ever catch yourself complaining that you cannot get there, you cannot achieve that big thing because ..

  • you don’t have the resources
  • you don’t have the money
  • don’t have the connections
  • you don’t have the experience
  • etc.. etc..

Pick up this book and know why you cannot complain for lack of those resources. What you need is the resolve,  what you need is the attitude! Pick up this book, read it, and I can ascertain that it will lift your spirits. You will soar through the world if you keep the Wright Brothers on your side!

If you ever feel down, if you ever feel that you are not going anywhere, just remember Wilbur and Orville, and how they achieved such big feats with such modest, humble beginnings in their life.

The Wright Brothers” – very well written book. I felt like I was walking with them (the Wright Brothers) as they were inventing their flier that would change the world.  And, I felt that I was walking with them as they demonstrated their flying machine on two sides of the Atlantic. I was really sad at the end of the book when each member of the Wright family exited this world as their lives came to an end, as they left this stage, what we call this world.

The two brothers supported by the silent partner, their younger sister Katherine, are an inspiration. An awe inspiring story of family love, the tenacity, perseverance and above all following one’s passion.

The Wright Brothers” – a must read. It will definitely be a pick me up!

True Catalysts of Change

True Catalysts of Change. At beginning of 2016, this was one of my goals. As we draw it to close, I am happy to look back to a list of books I have read. These are the true catalysts. They have the power to change your world!

When you review this list. Notice that I do not have agile/scrum related books on my list. That’s easier to learn. The harder part is shifting the mindset. These books will help you there. With the right mindset, you will go further than you can imagine now. You will surprise yourself!

I read about two books per month. And, spend almost $0 for reading those books. [Hit me if you want to know how]

For now, here are the top 5 books from my list with tremendous power to influence and change your world in 2017.

  1. Creativity Inc – Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
Creativity Inc - Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Creativity Inc – Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

2.Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch, Transformation,GetHyper, Agile, Get hyper

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

3.Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown 

Essentialism, Agile, transformation, getHyper

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

4.Onward: How to Starbucks Fought Its Life without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz 

agile, gethyper, transformation

Onward: How to Starbucks Fought Its Life without Losing Its Soul

5.The Rich Employee by James Altucher

True Catalysts of Change

The Rich Employee

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (New York: Penguin Group, December 29, 2009 )

In this book, author Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) makes a strong case for us to upgrade to Motivation 3.0 !
It’s time to #makeTheShift from Profit-driven (Motivation 2.0) to Purpose-driven (Motivation 3.0). He also talks about different types of personalities such as Type X, Type Y, and Type I. He goes onto providing us a toolkit if we want to #transform into Type I personality, along with the list of books that can help us on that journey.

A must-read!

Animate with purpose, don’t motivate with rewards

Three Quotes from the book:

  • Warning: Goals are Toxic! Goals may cause systemic problems to organizations due to narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking, decreased cooperation, and decreased intrinsic motivation. Use care when applying Goals in your organization.
  • Sawyer Effect: practices that can either turn play into work or work into play
  • Motivation 3.0 doesn’t reject profits, but it places equal emphasis on purpose maximization. Employees are not Resources, Employees are Partners

Three tips from the book:

  • Replace IF…Then motivation with NOW…That.. motivation
  • Management is a Technology, and we need to update it to new operating system Motivation 3.0
  • Turn company-wide meetings to FedEx days

Tools/techniques mentioned in the book:

  • FedEx days
  • Goldilock Tasks
  • Now..That rewards
  • Autonomy Audit
  • ROWE
  • Sawyer Effect
  • 20% Time
  • Flow
  • Sagmeister / Take [365-day] Sabbatical
  • Brain Bombs
  • Take a Page from Webber and a card from your pocket
  • Make it ‘no competition’ zone
Type I personality draws on resources that are easily replenished, inflict little damage, inexpensive… Click To Tweet

TED Video

Type I toolkit

  • Flow Test
  • Ask BIG question
  • Ask Small Questions: Small Improvements, Was I better today than yesterday?
  • Sagmeister – Take [365 day] sabbatical
  • Performance review: Set smaller goals as well as larger goals
  • Unstuck by going oblique
  • Take a Page from Webber and a card from your pocket
  • Promote Goldilocks for Groups
  • Convert Offsite to FedEx days

Books for Type I

In summary, Type I personality draws on resources that are easily replenished, inflict little damage, inexpensive, and clean.

Question: Are you Type I, Type X, or Type Y?
You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Book Summary: Linked to Influence

7 Powerful Rules for Becoming a Top Influencer on Linked In

Book summary

Linked to Influence

You will find at least a few tips that you can implement right away to maximize your presence on Linked In. And, if you are not on LI, you better get started! Act now!

If you want to build and strengthen relationship with your client. If you want to share your knowledge and experience with the world. And in the process build your influence over the community you are serving.

You will find at least a few tips that you can implement right away to maximize your presence on Linked In. And, if you are not on LI. Better get started now! You should not ignore this book if you want to build and strengthen relationship with your client. And in the process build your influence over the community you are serving, if you want to share your knowledge and experience with the world.

In this book, @stephsammons provides 7 powerful rules that can serve as guide posts as you work towards building your influence. You will find at least a few tips that you can implement right away to maximize your presence on Linked In. And, if you are not on LI, you better get started! Act now.

You should not ignore this book. If you want to build and strengthen relationship with your client. If you want to share your knowledge and experience with the world, and in the process build your influence over the community you are serving.

In this book, @stephsammons provides 7 powerful rules that can serve as guide posts as you work towards building your influence.

Three Quotes from the book

  • Linked In is a global, virtual, perpetual networking event!
  • Influencers do not try to help everyone. They know exactly whom they can help.
  • Remember this! Business is personal. People do business with people.

Three tips from the book

Post It for creating highly effective and fun workshops

We talked about Post It note as my Swiss Knife tool, and I introduced you to several interesting uses. It can be used as a Doodling canvas as well as Yellow Card to short circuit an unnecessary, unwanted discussion. And THE most important use is as Note taking tool. Let’s look at Post It as a tool that can help you create effective and fun presentations and workshops.

Last year, I was engaged by a client in Ohio area, to jump start their Agile journey. As a first step towards that, we wanted to train the staff of 300+ people. Not only we wanted to give them basics of Agile but we also wanted them to experience those events and artifacts while in the workshop. So, we decided to do one week long workshops: Two days of classroom training and three days of ‘experience’ where they go through Release planning and be ready to start their first sprint from the following week.

To create the presentation deck for this workshop. We started with a brainstorming session: four coaches in a room with long wall, several multi color post it notes, and thinking hats on.

Starting with just a Straw man structure of the workshop; listing the days as columns and breaking each day in four sessions; each session having a main topic.

We iterated through this a few times. With each iteration adding additional post-it notes with a different color, focused on different aspect of the workshop. We added topic details (sub topics) on a different color Post Its, and then in the next iteration, added Games and fun activities using yet another color.  Here is what our Whiteboard looked like after end of this ‘ideation’ session.post it
We used this outline as a starting point for creating presentation deck in electronic form. Post Its enabled us, the four coaches, to bring together their expertise and experience, working collaboratively to create a fun and engaging workshop.

Oh! by the way, this workshop was hugely successful!

What are the ways you have used Post Its? What are the other techniques you have used to create fun and engaging workshops? Share your thoughts in the comment below.

Essentialism, Agile, transformation, getHyper

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Book-Essentialism

Essentialism by Greg McKeown @GregoryMcKeown

If you want to de-clutter your everyday life, if you want to be able to focus on things that are important to YOU, if you want to get more done with less effort THIS is the book. Read it, digest it, implement it and YOU will find more joy and happiness in the journey where you are headed. It will give you more clarity as to where you want to go.

Three Quotes from the book

  • The Wisdom of Life Consists in the Elimination of Non-Essentials
  • STOP Majoring in minor activities
  • If you don’t prioritize your life, some one else will

Three tips from the book

  • Less but better = Essentialism
  • Constantly asking: Am I investing in the RIGHT activities? Is this the most important or valuable thing I could be doing right now?
  • If you don’t prioritize your life, some one else will

Practice 'load the Tape', 'Think Week' and 'Monk Mode' - inspired by Essentialism by @GregoryMcKeown… Click To Tweet

PostIt for taking notes

Take notes, while still being part of the conversation

We talked about the WHYs of Post It notes in the earlier post. I have used this simple tool many different ways in my quest to transform organizations to deliver value.

I have used Post It notes as my ‘Swiss Knife’, bending it in many different ways to meet my needs as an Enterprise Transformation Coach. For me, Agile is not about complaining (as to what you don’t have) but making the most of what you have been given. It is all about being resourceful!

Let me introduce you to several ways I have used this simple tool in my quest to transform organizations to deliver value. I guarantee that you will have new insights and new found respect for this tool:

Here is the first and THE most important role Post-It plays in my world.

Taking notes: 

I almost always walk around with Sharpie pen and a pad of PostIt notes. When I am having discussions or conversations, I am taking notes, capturing important points and action items. PostIt allows me to take the notes while still being part of the conversation. This is comforting and ensuring at the same time for my client.

It is calming to see you write on your PostIts. For me, it is a confirmation that you are listening, and there will be a follow through (on action items identified) -AP

I have, in fact, developed my own ‘short hand’ language that allows me to capture the essence of the discussion, quickly without any distraction [more on it in a separate blog post]

Did you think of using it in this fashion? If you have, what has been the response from your colleagues? Share your experience in the comments section below.