Protect Your Downside, the Upside will take care of itself

In high school, we were always told by the teachers to start preparing for the subjects in the reverse order- start with the subjects you are not so good with, and then do the ones you like. In this case, you put in more direct efforts on the difficult subject- you practice more and more so that by the end of preparations you are comfortable with all the subjects. But, it is definitely not a good idea to ignore your weak subjects. That is exactly how a business runs. You have to be humble, realize your mistakes, accepts you were wrong, cut the losses and move on.

Sometimes the most important thing to do is to stay out of the harm way. Rather than focusing on your strengths and on being absolutely flawless and perfect, just make sure you don’t put yourself in any situations where you overdo it. If you miss a day or two from your gym schedule, you don’t have to miss the whole week to ‘start fresh’. Or you don’t have to always treat your bad mood with a chocolate ice-cream. Some people allow one treat to become a 50-shades-of-chocolate-3-month-binge-of-fast-food, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you fall “off the wagon”, cut your losses, don’t worry about it, and get right back on the track. Immediately. Sometimes, the damage isn’t minor, but everything can be sorted to make things better. Invest in things you can understand, and don’t chase rainbows. Always have a back plan in place. Lower your expectations, and raise your standards. When I say lower your expectations, I don’t mean you stop dreaming. Don’t expect things to go perfectly. Be realistic and dream the impossible.

While we spend all our time imagining our future victories and focusing on what we are already good at, we tend to forget to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenarios. People would trust your product or service when you assure them a lot of downside protection. You have to spend some time calculating the worst-case scenario valuations. We do this because we hate, absolutely hate to lose. If we prepare ourselves to deal with the worst, we may be actually successful in avoiding the potential for a permanent loss, which becomes difficult for the company to cope up with. As long as you can ride out the waves, and are correct in your downside evaluation, then you don’t have much to worry about.

You increase the probability of success by taking informed decisions to eliminate risks

The Key to a Productive Business Meeting

Conference roomSteve Jobs introduced to us (the Corporate World), a term called DRI or Directly Responsible Individual- insisting that every item on the meeting agenda should be handled by one person, who is going to follow it up even later and only that person is responsible for it. He felt that this kind of arrangement ensures that the task is actually done in an organized pattern. Assigning one person to one job? Sounds easy! Yet so many leaders and managers often fail to fulfill to the goals discussed in the meeting. SO where did the heat go?

There are many reasons why productive meetings don’t often lead to productive results. Most times, attendees have to immediately run to another meeting, where the attention is diverted to another set of issues. Also, people sometime have no clarity about what was agreed upon. So a totally overwhelming and fun conference can drain if there is an absence of flexibility, organization and preparation. The 21st century conference attendee has a lot more technology, social media and content options that can be used to share and highlight experiences and takeaways.

So the two points that has to be kept in mind: make sure all attendees have jotted down the important points that were discussed in the meeting, all of them have been appointed to a specific task, and the lastly, a thorough follow-up on the commitments made in the meeting.

Even the best memory isn’t as efficient as a written note. If you don’t capture the conversation and put into a form that can be easily retrieved later, the thinking and the agreements can be lost. Not only can you use them for yourself, notes are a powerful way to inform and influence others. These points can be used to keep everyone on the same page and focused. Meeting notes are extremely beneficial if you are planning to call a few people for the meeting, because the brief summary of everything discussed during the engagement can be shared with the rest of the employees without missing any important point. Remember, the intent is not to recreate the meeting, but to capture only the essential everything that was said and discussed. These notes should state each topic you discussed, the key takeaways, and a list of specific actions that will be taken, by which people, and by when.

The real problem is the follow up commitment. If you really want some result, the key is to follow up. It is not wise to assume that all people are self-starters, ho only need a raw idea to pursue the best. People don’t always do what they say they will, because most times they are pulled in different directions. Without being accused of not trusting your employees, a consistent and careful follow up is necessary for all kinds of businesses. Don’t just give in blunt deadlines, allow negotiations with the deadlines. Make clear that you expect each commitment will be fulfilled as agreed upon, and if something comes up, you expect they’ll reach out to discuss the change.

Designing and leading meetings is also a very important step in managing the company. So make sure your meetings aren’t very long and the results are strong!