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Becoming a Better Judge of People

  - on 7/14/2013 03:32:00 PM - No comments
In business and in life, the most critical choices we make relate to people. Yet being a good judge of people is difficult. How do we get better at sizing up first impressions, at avoiding hiring mistakes, at correctly picking (and not missing) rising stars?
The easy thing to do is focus on extrinsic markers — academic scores, net worth, social status, job titles. Social media has allowed us to add new layers of extrinsic scoring: How many friends do they have on Facebook? Who do we know in common through LinkedIn? How many Twitter followers do they have?
But such extrinsic credentials and markers only tell one part of a person's story. They are necessary, but not sufficient. What they miss are the "softer" and more nuanced intrinsic that are far more defining of a person's character. You can teach skills; character and attitude, not so much.
Judging on extrinsic and skill-based factors is a relatively objective and straightforward exercise. Gauging softer traits such as will or attitude is much, much harder, and takes one-on-one contact, attentive listening, and careful observation. That's why it's important to approach a job interview more as an attitudinal audition than a question-and-answer period around skills.

Over the years, I have been collecting and reflecting upon questions that have helped me improve my people judgment, especially around personality and attitude. Here are ten key questions to help you better understand the intrinsic "why" and "how" behind a person:
1. What is the talk-to-listen ratio? You want people who are self-confident and not afraid to express their views, but if the talk-to-listen ratio is anything north of 60%, you want to ask why. Is it because this person is self-important and not interested in learning from others — or just because he is nervous and rambling?
2. Is this an energy-giver or -taker? There is a certain breed of people who just carry with them and unfortunately spread a negative energy. You know who they are. Alternatively, there are those who consistently carry and share a positivity and optimism towards life. There is a Chinese proverb that says that the best way to get energy is to give it. Energy-givers are compassionate, generous and the type of people with whom you immediately want to spend time.
3. Is this person likely to "act" or "react" to a task? Some people immediately go into defensive, critical mode when given a new task. Others jump right into action and problem-solving mode. For most jobs, it's the second kind you want.
4. Does this person feel authentic or obsequious? There is nothing flattering about false praise, or people trying too hard to impress. Really good people don't feel the need to "suck up." Those who can just be themselves are more pleasant to work with.
5. What's the close friends like? One of my business partners gave me a great tip for interviewing a super important hire — go out with their partner or closest friend. We are known by the company we keep.
6. How does this person treat someone she doesn't know? At the other end of the spectrum, observe how a person treats someone she barely knows. This is what I call a "taxi driver or server test." Does the person have the openness and yes, kindness, to have a real conversation with a waiter at a restaurant or the driver of a taxi? Does she ignore them or treat them rudely?
7 Is there an element of struggle in the person's history? History matters. In our research for the book, Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), my co-authors and I found that around two-thirds of people who were "Guts-dominant" — those who had the desire to initiate and the ability to persevere so crucial in entrepreneurial ventures — had some financial hardship or other challenges in their formative years. Early failures and hardships shape one's character as much or more than early successes.
8. What has this person been reading? Reading gives depth, helps one understand one's history, frames ideas, sparks new thoughts and nuances to existing perspectives, and keeps you apprised of current events. It's a generalization, but the more interesting people I have met tend to read a lot — it's a mark of intellectual curiosity.
9. Would you ever want to go on a long car ride with this person? This is a variant of the "airport test." Years ago at my first job, I was told about the thought-experiment of asking if you were stuck at an airport with a candidate, how would you really feel? In a similar fashion, is this the type of person with whom you could imagine going on a cross-country drive?
10. Do you believe that this person is self-aware? My colleagues and I believe the most important pre-requisite to great leadership is self-awareness. Does this person have an intellectual honesty about who he is and his strengths and weaknesses? Does she have a desire to learn and take appropriate actions based on that awareness? It is usually a more difficult question to answer than the rest — but look for humility, and congruence between what the person thinks, says, and does.

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Ask these ten questions about someone, or even a subset of them, and you'll be on a path to being a better judge of people.

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

by FinerMinds Team
The following article was written by one of our very own Mindvalley Team members, Dana, and is a piece from the heart. After receiving an astounding 318,000 shares we felt that it was only fair to share this with you so you too can identify the 15 practices, beliefs and habits that may be preventing you from being happy. The article is a little longer than usual but it is seasoned with powerful insights and peppered with inspirational quotes. Enjoy!¬
Here is a list of 15 things, which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and you'll feel much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering ì and instead of letting them all go and allowing ourselves to be stress-free and happy, we cling on to them.
Well, not anymore. Starting today, we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go!

1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can't stand the idea of being wrong ì wanting to always be right ì even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain for us and for others. It's just not worth it. Whenever you feel the úurgentù need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question from Dr. Wayne Dyer:¬ úWould I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?ù What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control.¬ Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you ì situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, co-workers, or just strangers you meet on the street ì just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
úBy letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.ù¬ Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blame.¬ Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don't have, for what you feel or don't feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk.¬ Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don't believe everything that your mind is telling you ì especially if it's negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
¬ úThe mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.ù¬ Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs¬ about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
úA belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind.ù¬ Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining.¬ Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things ì people, situations and events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It's not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism.¬ Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others.¬ Stop trying so hard to be something that you're not just to make others like you. It doesn't work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you're not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change.¬ Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change ì don't resist it.
úFollow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.ù¬ Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels.¬ Stop labeling the things, people or events that you don't understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open.
úThe highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about.ù¬ Dr. Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears.¬ Fear is just an illusion, it doesn't exist ì you created it. It's all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
úThe only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.ù¬ Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses.¬ . A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck and lie to ourselves, using all kind of excuses ì excuses that 99.9% of the time, are not even real.
13. Give up the past.¬ I know, I know. This one's hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening. But, you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for ì the past that you are now dreaming about ì was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all, life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment.¬ This is a concept that, for most of us, is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too (it still is), but it's not impossible. You get better and better at it with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things (and that doesn't mean you give up your love for them ì because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another. Attachment comes from a place of fear, while love¶ well, real love is pure, kind, and selfless; where there is love there can't be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot co-exist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words
15. Give up living your life to other people's expectations.¬ Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them; they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them; to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people's expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need¶ and eventually, they forget about themselves.¬ You have one life ì this one right now ì you must live it, own it, and especially don't let other people's opinions distract you from your path.
Dana is the Product Development Manager for Mindvalley and the founder of Purpose Fairy Blog. A student of art, economics, and psychology, Dana¬ draws inspiration from novels by Lao Tzu with The Tao Te Ching to the lives of leaders such as Wayne Dyer and Carl Jung. She infuses life-changing and mind-transforming approaches in the works she does,¬ challenging¬ people to challenge themselves

7 Mistakes New Employees Make

Have you ever wondered how some people can begin a new job and seem like they fit in immediately?  What about those new employees that seem to hang themselves before they have had a chance to get their feet wet.  Below are the top 7 mistakes new employees make that can make them look bad.

1.  Talking about your personal life.

This is never a good idea.  Even if other employees talk openly about their lives, unless you are asked a question, keep it to yourself.  I know a woman who was honest to a fault.  She was young and very social and would openly talk about her children, lack of income, car trouble etc…  She was unfairly labelled a poor worker who had to many personal issues to be dedicated to her job.  Although she worked hard and got along with everyone, she ended up being bullied by her manager and left the company feeling miserable.

2.  Looking unorganized.

You know that employee who has a completely messy desk?  They might be getting their job done, but the impression left is that they are not efficient and lack the ability to do assignments well.

3.  Gossiping.

A new employee might feel good when other workers invite the new employee into their group.  Even if this group openly gossips and you just throw out a mildly negative thought about the company or another employee, you will look like you are starting drama.  Plus you don't want to be linked to the group that gossips anyway.

4.  Not staying for a full shift.

Life can get in the way of staying for a full shift.  You are ill, a child has an appointment or you have finished your work for the day might all be valid excuses.  The problem is that you look like a slacker when you miss time at work.  Do your best to work around issues that may come up.  Find some back-up support and a plan in case something unexpected were to arise.

5.  Not participating in company activities.

I am not a fan of using up my free time by going to company events.  The company picnic, Christmas party or charity bowl-a-thon might not seem like a big deal to miss, but it is.  Management likes to see their employees taking not only their job, but the company seriously.  Plus, you get an opportunity to connect with employees that you might not get a chance to speak with on a regular day-to-day basis.  Who knows how valuable that might be when you are looking to move into another position.

6.  Avoid personal time while you're working.  

Personal phone calls, friends or family stopping by or balancing the checkbook are not looked upon favorably by management or other employees.  Save personal activities for lunch break or better yet, at home.

7.  Decorating your desk.

It's one thing to put up a family picture or have a favorite motto at your desk.  It's another thing completely to decorate your desk with funny little toys, a candy jar and several pictures.  Look it's understandable that you want to feel some comfort at your desk.  You spend so many hours at work that it might give you a bit of relief.  When you don't have space to do your work because your desk has to many knick-knacks, it's a problem.  Toys in general don't give off a good impression to management.  It looks like you are more likely to goof off instead of getting your work done.

When you are beginning a new job, be extra respectful of your environment.  Be that hard worker who doesn't spend company time gossiping, playing with toys or attending to personal matters.  Be a team player even after work hours.  These days jobs are harder to come by.  Having an attitude that is professional is a sure way to make your new job a lasting job.

Inspirational Quotes on Goals

Inspirational Quote: What Are Your 10 Year Goals?

  1. “In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are.” – Arnold H. Glasgow
  2. “When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.” – Greg Anderson
  3. “The most important thing about goals is having one.” – Geoffry F. Abert
  4. “The only reason we don’t have what we want in life is the reasons we create why we can’t have them.” ~Tony Robbins
  5. “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland
  6. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn
  7. “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things” ~ Stephen Covey
  8. “You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.” – Zig Ziglar
  9. “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” ~ Benjamin Mays
  10. “People with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them can ever imagine.” - Unknown
  11. “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” ~ Napolean Hill

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The 6 Essential Business Communication Skills

The arena of Big Business is a big stakes affair, where clarity and understanding are at a premium. One mistake, one false step could be the difference between success and failure with untold fortunes hanging in the balance. The worst mistake you could possibly make is losing an account or getting the raw end of a deal because you gave it away in the board room.

The key to business success is not data analysis or out-of-the-box strategizing. The key is clear, effective communication skills:

#1 – CONFIDENCE: Whether you're negotiating contract terms, brokering a six-figure deal or simply pitching your company's latest plan, successful business communication rests almost exclusively on how well you exude confidence in your speech and body language. If it's in any way apparent that you lack full and total confidence in what you are saying, your audience will pick up on this, and don't be surprised if they then agree. Posture, eye contact, clear annunciation, and a positive disposition are crucial to any business presentation.

#2 - KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Make it a point to always understand whom you are speaking to. This will help you tailor your approach, cut through the bull and make effective use of everyone's time - theirs and yours.

#3 - KNOW THE JARGON, AND HOW TO USE IT: Effective business communication has its own vernacular, and it's absolutely imperative that you know this "insider's language" as well as you do standard English, more so for business since so much of the terminology is applied in short-hand to save time and keep pace.

#4 - KNOW YOUR FACTS AND FIGURES: Your communication skills will be quickly rendered meaningless if you don't show a thorough command of the pertinent data. Be prepared. Don't be the peon rummaging through notes trying to find something. KNOW IT. This underscores the confidence angle from point #1. Know the data from memory, master it and you will exude confidence and convince your audience of your skill and acumen.

#5 - DON'T WAIT TO TALK, LISTEN: Business communication, like any other, requires give-and-take. It is a two-way street. Listen to the person you're talking to and be ready to absorb their input. This not only helps you seem engaged, it helps you stay mentally focused on the discussion at hand.

#6 - BE CLEAR, BE CONCISE: "Brevity is the soul of wit," Shakespeare famously said. What he meant by this is don't waste people's time. If you can say something in one sentence, then by all means do so. Effective communication is most often simple communication.

Be prepared, be confident, know your facts ahead of time and look everyone in the eye, and you will master the board room in no time.

The arena of Big Business is a big stakes affair, where clarity and understanding are at a premium. The worst mistake you could possibly make is losing an account or getting the raw end of a deal because you gave it away in the board room. The key to business success is not data analysis or out-of-the-box strategizing. The key is clear, effective communication skills. Read on to learn the six most important business communication skills to develop or you'll suffer the consequences.

Keep building your business communication skills with more tips by visiting:

Junaid Tahir 

9 Tips To Make Effective Decisions

By Junaid Tahir
Its true that you are the product of your own thoughts and decisions. Whatever you decide on daily basis, whatever you do in your routine life is directly or indirectly linked to your future. That means you are making the foundation of your destiny with your decision and actions in your routine life. So by looking at the bigger picture, it is right to conclude that decision making is critically important for your success and achievements of lifetime goals.  Given below is the list of insightful factors which you need to considere while making decisions.  Article written by Junaid.Tahir

1.     Consider the short term and long term consequences: Whether the decision is materialistic or a sensitive family matter.  You have to consider short terms and long terms benefits.
2.    Cost Vs quality if applicable. If you intend to purchase something, consider cost, quality, warranty perspectives. Usually cheep products have less life and bad quality but is not the case always. To cope up with this, define your budget and then carefully analyze all the options which are falling within your budget.
3.    Need Vs wants analysis: Are you purchasing for pleasure or it is your long term need. Remember this is a difference between pleasure and happiness. Sometimes pleasure dost not last long so you don't want to spend a lot for the sake of short time pleasure. If you are in Need of something then consider point-1 and point-2. Article written by Junaid.Tahir
4.    Consider emotions: This is quite sensitive aspect. You have to put yourself in everyone's shoes to understand his/her emotions. You don't want to hurt someone with your decision,  instead you want to keep your stake holders emotionally satisfied. Emotional Intelligence is an art; learn it by reading on internet. To understand people you have to have true sense of judging people
5.    Consider Win-Win:  A balanced approach in which everyone gains is always recommended.  
6.    Consider all options: Don't stop your brain on one idea or approach. Think about more options. Seek advice from others on different possible solutions of the given situation/problem. to the problems which need decisions.
7.    Ask for criticism: If possible ask for criticism before implementing the decision. Although it's never too late to ask for criticism even after your decision. Feedback always helps in your future.
8.    Learn to differentiate between Urgent and Important tasks. Read my article Urgent and Important.
9.    Closely observe others: Think about what your friend/colleague/acquaintance did under a specific condition. A wise man always learns from the mistakes of others. Article written by Junaid.Tahir

Good decisions require good analytical skills. Read some tips here to improve your analytical skills.

Junaid Tahir, a telecom engineer and a blogger, writes articles on wisdom, happiness and stress management at his personal blog. His personal Google Group can be joined here. He is reachable at for any kind of suggestions and comments

10 tips to improve interpersonal skills

1. Practice Smiling Often. No one wants to be around someone who is always frowning. Maintain a positive, cheerful attitude about work and life.

2. Pay Attention to People. Make eye contact and address people by their first names. Ask them for their opinions and suggestions.

3. Be Generous with Praise and Words of Encouragement. If you let others know that they are appreciated, they will want to give you their best.

4. Keep Your Promises. If you promise something to someone, follow up on it.

5. Treat Everyone Fairly. Do not play favorites and avoid talking about others behind their backs.

6. Pay Close Attention to Your Body Language. This and the tone of your voice have a lot to do with how people feel about you. Think before you speak!

7. Make other's Laugh. Most people are drawn to a person who can make them feel better.

8. Try to See Things from Another Person's View. Empathy is about being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and understanding how they feel.

9. Keep an Open Mind. Remember there is always room for discussion and compromise.

10. Don't Complain. There is nothing worse than a chronic whiner. Try to focus on helping other people solve their problems and it will be remembered.

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16 Tips to Manage Politics In Office

  1. Understand the role of each manager clearly
  2. have a best friend at work
  3. learn the art of public speaking
  4. be prepared for the tough and hard talks
  5. keep any eye on the sharks
  6. master your political tools (compromise, arbitration, escalation)
  7. Know your limitations and boundaries about giving comments on others
  8. Be a positive minded professional
  9. learn to read the winds of change
  10. Dont overspend your time on small events/things
  11. Speak last
  12. Absolutely no favoritism. Treat everyone logically, respectfully and fairly.
  13. Always think before you act.
  14. make friendship with like minded group of professional
  15. seek out a mentor
  16. have a best friend at work

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