How to have happy and engaged employees

Business Growth Pillar #3- Employee Engagement

The number one challenge that I’ve seen with entrepreneurs as they grapple to scale up their enterprise is people. In my last blog, we saw how important a second line of management is but still overall people struggle on that particular front.  So how do you have happy and engaged employees?

Employee Engagement

In this blog , I share 3 Specific challenges that entrepreneurs struggle with.

  1. Hiring the right people 
  2. Building a formidable team that’s able to independently grow
  3. Retaining the particular talent 

In my last series of blog, I share some very specific ways in which we can do that.  The number one way in which you can address a majority of these people-related issues is making sure that you have an employee-engagement system in place.

According to a recent EY report, If you are able to invest in a total-rewards mechanism, then you will find that you have a 15% higher employee productivity than companies that don’t.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Massive Business Growth

There are 3 specific ways in which we can have happy and engaged employees:

  1. Right People in the Right Place:
    • Make sure that you have the right people in place. Develop a hiring process in which we are able to get across the long term vision of your company and get your people excited about it.

    • Seek to understand what are the aspirations of your people and make sure that these are aligned with you. Show how by meeting the company’s goals, the company’s visions, they are able to also positively impact their aspirations.

    • The best advice that I’ve got as far as people go is this: Hire slowly, fire quickly. Make sure that you have a very specific way in hiring people and invest in that particular process. It may take some time and effort to do that but don’t cut corners there because it’s really important.

Imagine if you were hiring a partner, just not an employee and if tomorrow this person is going to be a partner in your business. What are the kind of interview would you want to conduct? What kind of things that you would want to ask?

I am also providing a link here on the three specific things that I look for when I’m hiring people.

2. Up-skill Your Team:  Make sure that you are investing in upskilling your team. You’ve to define the Key Results Areas for each particular role. Have an assessment to identify the skills gap between a person’s current ability and what the job will demand. This will  figure out what training you require for your team to help bridge the gap.

Help your employees become more successful in their job. If you are able to do that, then you are able to get happier and more productive employees.

3. Retaining the Talent:  To retain top talent you need to have a total rewards system. It’s not just making sure that you have a good salary package in place but there are many other things that come into play here. For example do you have a recognition system in place? This is an important way in which you are able to retain and engage talent.

Do you have a process of performance review and feedback? This will help you and team to know how well they are doing.  You need to have a process of continuous feedback.

These are 3 simple ways in which you can have happy and engaged employees.

Leave a comment below about how you keep your employees happy and engaged?

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Massive Business Growth

How To Develop Your Company’s Second Line Of Leadership?

Business Growth Pillar #2​ – Leadership

Do you have a second line of leadership in place which is independent and accountable? Initially when entrepreneurs start their business, they are busy working “IN” the business. But if they want the business to scale up, then they would need to, set up a second line of leadership and have more time to work “ON” the business. In 2014 Gallup study, showed that entrepreneurs that delegated actually grew much faster, and they could even set more aggressive growth targets. In this blog we discuss how to develop your company’s second line of leadership (SLoM).


An EY India report recently showed that entrepreneurs who had a second line of leadership had 3.5X higher revenues than companies that didn’t. It is very crucial to be able to develop the second line of leadership.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Massive Business Growth

Here are three things that you can do to actually develop a second line of leadership for your business:

  1. Build a complimentary Team
    It’s important to make sure that you have complimentary team who shares your vision. It does not make any point having people of the same strengths and doing same sort of things.  To run a business it requires many different skill sets coming together, so it’s really important to have a complimentary set of people and the people who share the same vision.
  2. Delegate effectively
    When it comes to delegating, there are some key important things that need to be in place.

    1. Define Roles. Demarcate the responsibilities. It’s very important that everyone knows where does the buck stop, and what specifically they’re able to do.
    2. Instill Accountability. Identify Key Results Areas (KRAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each area. Begin to monitor and measure them. Create benchmarks about what good performance looks like. Have a weekly meeting where these numbers are reviewed and action plans to move them forward are committed to. It will be very clear if someone is doing a good job or not. Achievement and recognition of achievements are key motivators of human behavior.Identify the current skills of your team and what skills will be needed for them to succeed. Develop a training plan to upskill your team so that they succeed
    3. Allowing your team to do day – to – day management. Finally, and this is difficult for entrepreneurs allow your team to take charge and do the day-to-day management.

      Yes, there will be mistakes that will happen but the kind of advantages that are there for having a good team in place, far outweigh those, and over time those things will only get better and better.

      For more details on delegating click here for the 7 steps to become an effective delegator.

  3. Treat your team as partners
    Finally the last thing is to look to treat your SLoM as partners. Is there some way in which you can involve them in key strategic decisions so that they feel part of the group? And also the other thing is that, is there some way in which you’re able to help them get an ownership? It could be in terms of employee stock options or profit sharing.  If they do good work then their company grows, the value grows, and the benefits for them also grow.

So these are the 3 simple ways how you can develop your company’s second line of management so it can scale up faster.

You can access the other Growth Pillars here:

Business Growth Pillar # 1:  Be Customer Centric

Leave a comment below about how you develop your second line of leadership.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Massive Business Growth

Top 5 Entrepreneurship lessons from Uday Kotak

How Your Business Can Thrive in Uncertain Times

Uday Kotak shared his top 5 lesson on entrepreneurship at the Ascent Conclave 2016 #ascentconclave16.

One of the keys to success is to build a customer centric business. Uday highlighted how he was able to spot opportunities in the bill discounting and car financing businesses when he started. He understood the customer pain points and developed profitable solutions that met customer needs.

1. When something is too good to be true, it usually is.

It may not sting now, but will sting later. So go into the details carefully and keep watching it carefully.

2. It is never as good as it looks, it is never as bad as it looks.

When things look up it’s never that good, ditto when things are down. The ability to not get carried away is important. Go after opportunities but he grounded. Getting over optimistic leads to the downfall. Keep an equilibrium.

3. Your biggest enemy is success.

Because you are successful in the past, don’t believe you will be successful in the future. Never live in the past.

4. Cultivate 3 human qualities

A good company needs to have 3 human qualities in place to succeed in an uncertain future:


The 7 Pillars for Massive Business Growth

How Many of These 7 Growth Pillars is Your Company Using?

Are you ready to grow your business even faster? Then you need to have these seven pillars of business growth in place.

In this particular blog, I’m going to give you an overview of the seven pillars and then in subsequent blogs, I’m going to go into each pillar in more detail and give you some very practical tips that you can deploy right away in your business to start scaling up.

Having worked with over 10,000 small business owners across 21+ cities in India, I noticed that there were some very specific things that the most successful of them did to get consistent business growth. I have identified 7 specific business growth pillars.

We have put together the Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Massive Business Growth (download) – Read below to get it.

So let’s look at the 7 pillars of business growth: (more…)


The Ultimate Goal Setting Guide

This is the ultimate guide on how to achieve any goal in 2017. It’s that time of year when we start looking forward to the new year. Create unstoppable momentum for 2017. I have used these to achieve major life and business goals.


HOW TO ACHIEVE ANY GOAL IN 2017 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires


“Obstacles are the frightful things you see when you take your eyes of the goal.” – Henry Ford

One of the biggest challenges to achieving any goal whether it be working out or a business goal, is finding the motivation to stick with the goal

If you stick with something long enough you will eventually achieve it.

Here are 15 proven steps to achieve any goal in 2017!

1. Master Your Inner Game

To win the outer game you have got to master your inner game. Success is an inside job.

A key distinction I learned is that there is a difference between inspiration and motivation.

Motivation comes from outside, but inspiration comes from within and inspiration is much more sustainable in the long run then motivation.

Motivation is external. It’s like a hot bath, after a while if gets cold.

2. Start where you are & appreciate what’s working.

No matter how bad things are there is always something in your life or business that is working out.

Appreciate that. Give thanks to that! It starts you out with an attitude of gratitude. That’s one of the most powerful attitudes you can have. it will lay the foundation for more good things to come into you life.

It will allow you to amp up your inspiration. I start any goal setting with writing down all my wins over the past year and relishing them. (more…)

A powerful new tool to be more fulfilled and productive

We are working longer and it’s burning us out! Most of us respond to the rising demands in our businesses by putting in longer hours. Entrepreneurs end up working 12-14 hour days. This inevitably takes a toll on us physically, mentally and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, lack of results, and soaring medical costs as our health suffers. Warning: This is a longer blog post than normal, but I think it will add massive value to your life.

I think there are some inherent problems with the way we view productivity that actually hinders our productivity. In this blog I’d like to look at 3 key assumptions that many of us hold and challenge them. I suggest 3 new ways for looking at productivity that will shift your paradigm. I will share a tool that will help you feel more fulfilled, satisfied and productive than ever before.

Much of what we understand about productivity has come from the industrial age. The focus was on maximising output and production efficiencies. As a result we have taken on three key beliefs that hinder modern productivity:

  1. Productivity is about getting the most done.
  2. Productivity is about doing it all.
  3. Productivity is just about doing it fast.

The current scenario

We have moved to the knowledge and connection economy. Our work is radically different. The current scenario is that entrepreneurs with smart phones are working more than 70-80 hours a week. We operate in the distraction economy that is killing our focus. We are constantly being bombarded by emails, whatsapp messages and social media notifications.
We don’t have time to get it all done. We go to bed overwhelmed. We are stressed and this is affecting our health and personal relationships.

Opting out is not an option for entrepreneurs. Yet you’re not getting the kind of results that you want in your business. You don’t have time for those projects that can really grow our business. You are working more than ever, but accomplishing less than ever.

Your business seems to consume all your time. You don’t have time for yourself, doing hobbies that you once enjoyed. Maybe you can’t even remember the last time you took a decent holiday and completely switched off? This cannot go on forever!

Time for a new paradigm in productivity

If this sound familiar then I’d like to introduce you to a new paradigm called Super Productivity. Underlying this new paradigm is 3 new beliefs:

  1. What if productivity is not about getting the most done, but about getting the most important things done?
  2. What if productivity is not about doing it all, but doing the things we love and want to do?
  3. What if productivity is not just about doing it fast, but about executing with excellence?

Buckminster Fuller said, “if you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”

I’d like to share a new tool that will help us in this new way of thinking with regards to productivity. I call it the Flow Matrix.

Let’s look at what it means to be in the “flow.”


How to grow your business by managing the right numbers

Management guru, Peter Drucker famously said “what gets measured gets managed.” I’m a great fan of managing your business by key numbers. It gave me a clear pulse of the business and gave me clarity on what I needed to focus on before it’s too late. The challenge is that many times entrepreneurs don’t measure these important numbers or they end up tracking the wrong numbers. In this blog I’d like to share four key learnings in this matter:

  1. Leading vs. lagging indicators – My biggest “AHA” moment came when I learned this distinction. I will give you a simple example of weight to illustrate the point.If you want to manage your weight then getting on the weighing scale will only tell you the current situation. No change will happen by getting on the weighing scale daily. This is a lagging indicator. It is the result of all your previous decisions and actions.If you want to change your weight then you need to focus on monitoring and measuring 2 key numbers that can proactively help the end result of managing your weight. These would be considered leading indicators. Take for example you can focus on:(a) your calorie intake – you could limit your daily intake to below 2000 calories per day.
    (b) amount of time you exercise in a week – you could decide to jog for half an hour three times a week.You could set goals here on the amount of calories you burn. It’s easy to measure these days with various watches in the market.

    Both are measurable and both are actions that you can proactively take in the future. If you focus on taking actions on these two indicators daily or weekly, then over time they will impact your weight (lagging indicator).

    For example in a business context, one of your goals this quarter could be to generate 1 crore of new revenue. This is the Lag measure.

    The lead measures or Income Producing Activities (IPA’s) that can impact the business generation are:

    (i) Number of Qualified New Prospects that you have contacted.
    (ii) Number of existing customers you have met or called today to upsell.
    (iii) Number of people on your database or social media channels.

    In one of my earlier blogs I shared a slidedeck on how to get teams to execute key goals in more detail. Have a look at how to lead and manage winning teams.


How to make easier and better business decisions

I was brainstorming with my sales team on how we could massively increase our sales in our rice business. We came up with a number of promising ideas and then we ran into a challenge – what was the best idea to pursue. This is a common struggle most entrepreneurs face – how do you know which one? We, entrepreneurs are a driven bunch and love opportunities, but we also take on too much and get overwhelmed.

In this blog post I share a powerful decision making matrix that will help you make decision making easier and better. The AERR method is a tool you need to know what business idea to pursue. I take you through 4 simple steps of the AERR method that will help you make the right decision that will have the best impact for your business. Run each individual idea through these 4 steps:


How to create a compelling vision for your company.

Recently I was working with a group of business owners helping them craft their compelling vision.  Every great company is powered by a compelling vision. It usually is an expression of the founders of the company. It energizes everyone in the company to become more and strive for more. It clearly communicates the WHY that powers the company.

A powerful vision inspires you and your people. It gets their juices flowing. It attracts others to you, be it clients, vendors, partners, employees and investors. It gives us tenacity to strive forward even in the midst of adversity. The pursuit of the worthy vision transforms you into a better expression of who you can be. It grows you as a person. It helps contribute beyond yourself, thereby giving you deeper meaning and satisfaction in life. It helps tap into your spirit! So how does one create a compelling vision for your company?

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, bestselling authors and management gurus, say that there are 2 components to every great vision:

  1. A core ideology
  2. An envisioned future

Each of the above can be broken down into a further 2 parts:

Parts of a core ideology

  • Core values – These are values that the company lives by. These are ones that they value is good by themselves and they would even consider changing their business model to ensure that they are living by these. For example one of Tata’s core values is trust. One of Disney’s core values is wholesome entertainment.
  • Core purpose – This is the key reason why the company exists. For example Tata Group is committed to improving the quality of life of the communities it serves. Disney’s core purpose is to make people happy. What’s your core purpose?

Parts of the envisioned future

  • BHAG – The Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a term coined by Jim Collins, refers to a goal that powers the company and it looks to achieve in the next 10-30 years.My BHAG, when I first started BNI India, 11 years ago was simple – to help 100,000 entrepreneurs become crorepatis through the BNI referral system, so that they could employ 10 more people in their company, so that we could create 10 lac jobs and thereby we could positively impact 10 lac families across India. At the time, when I set the BHAG, BNI worldwide had 90,000 members in total, so my BHAG was a real stretch. My colleagues laughed at me.

    A good BHAG should have a “gulp” factor. It should equally excite and scare you. Part of you should say “That’s nuts!!” and part of you should say “imagine for a moment if we achieved that – how incredible would that be?”

  • A vivid description of the envisioned future – Paint a clear picture of what the world would look like when you complete your BHAG.Who would we need to be as individuals and as a team? How would the world or our target market be better as a result of us?What are some of the key milestones we would have achieved on the way to achieving the BHAG?

So what’s your compelling VISION? How are you positively going to impact the world? Leave a comment below.