Greg Peters

Greg Peters, CEO, Zilliant, Inc. is a seasoned executive with direct experience in building early-stage companies with a customer-centric approach.

Gurcharan Das

Gurcharan Das served as the CEO of Procter and Gamble India, and later as the Managing Director of Procter and Gamble Worldwide.

Jeff Snedden

Jeff Snedden, the head of analytics at MSN talks about the key drivers of decision making at Microsoft.

Aman Verjee

Aman Verjee, former CFO of Ebay, NA talks about decision making and analytics strategy.

Brett Hurt

Brett Hurt, CEO of Bazaarvoice, Wall Street Journal's Top IPOs of 2012. Founder and former CEO of Coremetrics, Inc.

It Is Not Over Yet....

Believe and act as if you exist for the greater good of humanity. I am not prescribing a value system. I am communicating what is efficient in our system. For example expression of loyalty means giving up your self interest, However, in the long view, loyalty correctly practised is self serving. It is a group behavior and we are all part of a group. Taking selfish short-cuts will show you direct and immediate benefits but some group norms help you achieve more. You are not alone... you are part of a social system and perceptions are reality.
Nothing is more empowering than that value where all your actions are seen through such a filter - that your actions will improve the world. It cuts through clutter and difficulties like a surgical knife. Then whatever you do becomes purposeful and easier. You have taken out the self as the primary motivator and you are out of the equation of feelings. Because it is feelings that mar your judgement and execution. No wonder lawyers do not fight their own cases.

Moreover, there is an internal dialog within you that is instrumental in your performance. That is what separates the great leaders and athletes from the rest of us. This internal dialog needs to be managed so that you achieve your peak performance. It is about creating that dialog that I am talking about. This will apply to most people and most situations. Your job is to influence positively but you must do so without an expectation or desire to control the outcome. Then and only then will your actions maximize your impact. Because you will not stop and you will not harm.

So, I ask - What kind of a sales person, negotiator, or a leader are you? Are you going to give up on the change you wish to see occur, or are you going to not worry about the outcomes because you are making a difference no matter what?

I for one like to say.... I am not going to give up and I am selling you nothing. You choose if you wish to buy because I do not control that. I simply try to maximize my 'influencability'.

You May Be Ignoring And Resisting An Awesome Idea

Many widely popular ideas, initially were so incredibly unpalatable, I think George Bernard Shaw said something like this once. New ideas find mental resistance in our psyche.... well because they go counter to our intuition. It is natural. Drinking blood soup sounds ridiculous and abhorable. Such is the case with pretty much all ideas that initially have no basis in our experience. Prior to 1687 the concept of black swans was as alien as flying cows. However, the reward to those who can see the black swans coming or be ready to accept the possibility, or go further embrace and leverage the black swan can be astronomical. One of the top 5 entrepreneurs of our time, Steve Case, told me of how reluctant people were of AOL when he started. He saw what others did not. We must retrain your brain to deal with possibilities quickly before we miss the opportunity.

Beliefs are sticky, don't get glued to them. Most beliefs do not serve us well. Keep good values and dump needless beliefs. Keep an eye open for the black swans or flying cows. For the sake of inconsistency and training, entertain contrarian ideas in your head as often as you can so that you can develop your creativity and leap at opportunities. Creativity and innovation is at the center of business and personal success. If you are innovative, you can find solutions to almost any problem. Learn to play with possibilities in your mind with any idea. Stretch it beyond its limits to see where it goes. Don't let needless beliefs hold you back from what could be. Comedian are masters of stretching. And they create fun.

History is replete with ideas that were met with fierce resistance. Who knows if the world at large had been more open to new ideas, humanity would have progressed and evolved much farther than were we are today.
  • The fundamentals of genetics discovered by Gregor Mendel were ignored for close to a century before being "rediscovered" in the early 20th century to form the foundation of the new field of genetics.
  • When the automobile was invented people were reluctant to travel on it. They thought that riding on an vehicle with an internal combustion engine was like sitting on a ticking bomb that could explode any time.
  • We originally thought we were at the centre of the universe. The church believed in the idea so much that in the early 1600s they burnt Giordano Bruno at the stake and later sentenced Galileo to house arrest for supporting the Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the sun. 
  • Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.
  • Oprah Winfrey was an evening news reporter and apparently got fired because she couldn’t sever her emotions from her stories. Eventually she was fired from the producer of Baltimore’s WJZ-TV.
  • After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley was told by the concert hall manager that he was better off returning to Memphis and driving trucks (his former career).
  • Socrates was a visionary but at the time he was living, his innovative ideas labeled him an “immoral corrupter of youth” and lead him to his death sentence. Despite this, he persevered until the moment he was forced to poison himself.
  • Women dressing up like men (jeans/t-shirts) or even working alongside men were initially looked down upon but now they are accepted by and large.

Are you at the risk of losing all that you have built?

Many people let fear, pride and greed mar their judgment and affect their choices. Comedian Craig Shoemaker learned this the hard way when he was chosen to be the sidekick in a television show featuring basketball legend Magic Johnson. He was a caged bird with scripted jokes and he hated it. He felt like he was on the Titanic without a lifeboat, but couldn’t bring himself to quit. The show tanked and his career suffered.

As a leader, building your Emotional Intelligence should be your first priority. There is no point trying to build an empire only to lose it on the way.

Business Is A Performance Sport - Grab A Donut

Find out why donuts are good for the executive and the entrepreneur.

Why You Should Have A Donut Before Your Next Important Meeting

I can't imagine anyone who does not like a donut or two.  But almost all of us of responsible,.. shall I say disposition, also try and avoid the confounding cousin of this devil food as some would say.

Now I am going to tell you something that is going to make you happy today. I will give you an irrefutable, incontrovertible reason to grab a donut and feel awesome about it.

Did you know that solid experimental research has abundantly, clearly established that your performance as a negotiator improves substantially beyond any doubt if you consume sugar just before the meeting.  In fact, during intensely cognitive tasks  or decision making your brain really needs that fuel to function well.... I mean statistically significant and practically meaningful with a massive effect size (being a statistician I like to throw the big words).

What you may not realize is the magnitude of the difference in performance on decision making tasks that sugar right before can make.

Recent research has discovered that when you have low blood sugar levels it changes the way you make decisions. You may rely more on intuition than reasoning. And why is that? Because reasoning is real hard work and consumes a lot of energy in the form of the blood glucose stored in our brain. Now a days we are bombarded with information right from the time we wake up and have to make sense of things pretty much throughout the day - the sugar levels in our brain can deplete pretty fast leaving us mentally below our best.

In the study, it was found that participants who had something sugary before a decision making test performed better compared to those who had something with a sugar substitute, like diet coke. And we are not talking about simple day to day matters, blood sugar levels can even affect critical decision making as found in yet another study where it was observed that parole judges who spent entire days reviewing applications for parole tended to give their approval more right after they had food, and would take the safe path of denying when they were nearest to their meal time that is when they were significantly depleted.

SO for your next important meeting do not forget to pick up the donut  and also feel good about it.

Dr. Khalsa of Harvard Medical School on the Science Behind Yoga


It is my distinct pleasure to bring to you one of the most prominent yoga researchers in the world - Dr. Khalsa from the Harvard Medical School.

Yoga is not like the other alternative medicine/therapies that have been debunked by many academics. Dr. Khalsa is a yoga practitioner and a researcher. That may lead some among us to think of possible biases in his work, but those familiar with the academic world can tell you that this is really not possible in this type of investigation.

Listening to him you will realize that yoga is not just a routine. It does have almost magical benefits as you will recognize by the end of the conversation. Indeed all of it is not yet validated but there is enough evidence for anybody to get started and literally transform one's life - physically, mentally, and emotionally - you do indeed become a better person with the yoga lifestyle.

If you need scientific validation before you can be convinced for getting onto the yoga mat, or to meditate, please take time to view this video. After listening to Dr.Khalsa, there will be little doubt that yoga practice is more powerful than any other regimen. How much it can change your life remains to be understood properly but it is clear that yoga needs to be a part of our daily rituals just like brushing and bathing.

Leader vs. Leadership

There are leaders and there is leadership. Those are two very different concepts. It is important to know that difference because a clear understanding can spearhead growth for those who seek.

So what is that "such a big difference" that I have to talk about it. Oh! It is big. Very big in fact.

A leader is about other people - someone who impacts other people's lives because his or her decisions influence their lives. Most people want to be leaders because it is a powerful and ego boosting position - it's something to aspire for. Our culture fawns over the rich and powerful. we not want to be in those positions? Unless you are on the fringes in your heart, almost all of us have such aspirations. Unfortunately, being a leader tells us nothing about leadership - Kim Yun Sung is a leader.

Leadership, on the other hand, has nothing to do with leaders. Of course, it would be nice if our leaders had true leadership qualities. But leadership is not about leading others. It is primarily an individual pursuit - a personal pursuit over and above anything else. It is your ability to have the skills that are critical to succeeding in life and work. The ability to manage situations and people. The ability to create more of something. The bigger your goals, the more powerful leadership qualities you need. Leadership does not have to start with you having a team to manage, nor does it stop at any point in time.

Leadership is about developing skills on a continual basis to better serve whatever cause you support, or the purpose you have set for yourself. It is about value clarification, learning, and adapting. But most importantly it is about serving a purpose to the best of your ability, with complete dedication and humility. That is why Gandhi made decisions that bewildered a lot of people. He was authentic and true to himself above all.

Do not wait until you have a team to manage, or a project that you care for. Start building your leadership skills from now on, and keep at it everyday. Read, engage, and experiment on a daily basis...there is so much to learn and grow.

Don't focus on being a leader. Choose to acquire leadership. That is in your hands and you do not have to wait on anything to do that.

A friend is the New CEO of The American Marketing Association

I'm happy to announce that my friend Russ Klein has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the American Marketing Association today. Kudos to him, here is a video where Russ talks about the evolving role of the AMA in the future.

Russ bring an illustrious career of 30 years, managing top brands, revitalizing Burger King with one the worlds largest viral marketing campaign, and winner of the Ad Age's Marketing of the Year award to the AMA.

What I really liked the most is his response to my question - what are you going to do to take AMA forward during such tumultuous times ? His response was classic.

Watch and learn from a master of his game.....



Nick Vaidya

Simple But Effective In Making Things Happen

If we were to stop and listen, everyday in our lives, we would be reminded of important lessons that make us successful in our endeavours. I for one learn a lot from my kids because it is unblemished human nature in full visibility. Piaget's theory of child development, I believe is based on his own experiences and introspection as a result of his interactions with his own children to a large part. So here's my recent experience.

The last couple of weeks I have been blessed to be watching over my children all day long. They are 6, 10 and 14 year old girls. My work life has gone topsy-turvy in these few days. Although I must admit that my personal life is a lot better. I wish I didn't have to work and could be with these kids all the time until they grow up. Now that would have been a wonderful goal to have set years ago. But that discussion is for another time.

My children are not used to being alone doing nothing. And I'm not used to managing them. For all this while I had been spouting instructions - do this, do that, this is the reward, this is the punishment. And pretty much failing at getting much traction. Most of the time they'd be grumpy and so would I. None of the standard advice on management and leadership really worked with my children. And I am reasonably smart. Trust me when I say I applied a lot of theory into practice. And they did not work.

Then I discovered the power of playing with them. Not exactly playing parts, but actually demonstrating to them how they might be able to do certain things rather than telling them to do it. Of course they know how to jump on a trampoline. They also know how to read a book. And they do know card games. But it was that act of being with them, hand-holding, walking with them into activities that really got them started in engaging independently with things besides watching the television.

We often do not realize that the difference between insight and action lies in an experience with a trusted partner. There are so many things that we do not do that we want to do, but never get around to doing them for some obscure reason. Looking back into our life experiences we should realize that no matter how competent a person is, for certain actions, it becomes so much easier when someone else is walking with you, hand-holding you, and getting things done until such time that you're ready to continue on your own.

If something is important to you, and you're not making progress, I think it is very important to find a partner and do it together. You can pay for it or look online. There are so many ways available now a days to find the right person or group to match up with in order to make progress. Make a proactive decision and move forward.

How He Took A Regional Firm to Create A $2 Billion Firm In 10 Years

Bill Whitmore is the CEO of AlliedBarton, a company with 55000 employees that grew within 10 years from a regional player to one of the largest players in the industrial and organizational security business. Bill is an amazing character and an amazing leader. What Bill has done to his company and how he has done it is not comparable to anyone I have talked with before. Bill is the ultimate professional manager; he has the ability to go anywhere and get things done, and succeed extraordinarily. That's because he has his ideas and principles so finely aligned that he cannot make mistakes. He is the kind of guy you would want as a mentor.

When you talk to most people about leadership and skills development, typically they have an approach like that of a doctor who would give 5 different pills - one for blood pressure, one for this, one for that. But when you go to a yogi, he will say change your lifestyle - this is how you should live, this is what you should eat. Bill is a yogi of training and development. Ignore the programs, when you go for programs you are going for pills. That doesn't give you health it only controls the symptoms. What gives you health is a healthy lifestyle. You can't just do it by talking about it; you have to "do it".

Anyone who is interested in growing there company, and they are reasonably big sized - if you've got 500 people in your company, you have to watch this. If you want to be successful, you have to watch this. It's about action, it's about walking the talk. Bill walks the talk.