May 27, 2016 3:08 pm

Book review: Mindset – Psychology of Success

MindsetI am currently reading this beautiful book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, a psychology professor from Stanford University.  It is one of the great books I have read so far, from interpersonal awareness point of view. Being aware of “Fixed” and “Growth” mindset characteristics and the thought process that we cultivate are much imperative for building better relationship, better businesses and better teacher/student relationship overall. Author gives plenty of examples to get better understanding of what “Fixed” mindset is and what “Growth” mindset is. In an essence we all have both the traits in us, and we may use them to the context. We may also crossover these mindsets at times , in our circumstances.


It is great to see numerous examples in several categories from Kids/parents to School/Teachers to corporate culture, businesses and Leadership, sports – essentially all walks of life and roles. Essentially my understanding and key takeaways reading this book, goes towards two aspects –
(a) the thought process or the mindsets that we inherently come with or put an effort to change our behavior and thought process over a period of time and over different circumstances,
(b) Communication, being a bottom line, is a root cause and remedy for every kind of relationship hassles – be it with any type of relationships – kids, schools, businesses, home, sports, work teams, etc.

What is cool over all of this book is the last chapter, as a workshop of how to change mindsets. Plenty of pointers and notes would help refresh and work on those areas.

Though I am still reading parts of this book – what I like is , as you read along the book , you would relate those scenarios to your own circumstances and apply these observations as appropriate.

Our School system and parenting is an epitome of  nurturing “Fixed” mindset in children. We praise kids for their grades (“what”) but seldom for their approach to achieving the grades (“How”). The action re-iterates over and over so they get bogged down with getting scores as their target, and most often than not, the lessons learned are short lived. However, if the kids were to keep their lessons for life, they should be kept focused on the “How” part than the intended outcome. In other words, we train children with “Fixed” mindset towards academics for the most, but seldom for their life (“Growth” mindset).

One of the powerful quotes from the book – “”We are not looking to crown a few princes, we need to work as a team” – Lou Gerstner, IBM”. Author has taken 3 key CEOs in the history coming from “Fixed” mindset taking the company to a newest height and declining at the same rate , and from “Growth” mindset steadily taking the companies to the greater heights at the same time empowering their employees, instilling the similar Growth mindset teamwork in them. There are plentiful references to Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” and “Build to Last”.

Here isMindset Book review1 a little part of my notes from this book for the extent I have read so far.




Hope you will take time to get hold of this book and read it for yourself, apply the concepts and share with others.



May 27, 2009 6:44 am

Host’s role in setting the stage…

Filed under: Art,Communication,Events,Interview,Professional skills — ramsblog @ 6:44 am

it does really matter to have a great host in any events – specially for presentations. All this while until a few years ago, I thought Host/Hostess at the presentation would only introduce the speaker and end the meeting as appropriate. However, Hosts do a lot beyond this. What other things Hosts perform.

–> Ensure the lighting is right for both presenter and the host
–> ensure speaker’s accessibility needs taken care
–> welcome and greet both speaker and the guests as they enter
–> talk to few early birds at the meeting, about the speaker
–> when presenter is already inside the room, ensure to give all the time he needs and not steal away their time
–> Provide absolutely great credibility to the speaker. The way people listen to the presenter, most of the time, also depends on how the speaker was introduced at the first place
–> after speaker ends the presentation, make a decent transition to either another speaker or if the meeting is being ended, help speaker make a great exit from the podium and conclude as appropriate

I started thinking about these more and more due to a recent experience at one of the events. These are the things the Host did and it was very very distractive to the audience. Most people in the audience also expressed their (dis-)satisfaction after the meeting that the host was wasting a lot of time on podium.

1. Laptop computer: Being technical savvy is great. having a computer in hand might make you look great. But it was at the same time very distractive. She had her introductory lines typed in. I am not sure if she was promoting Apple mac-book there 🙂 As she would come to the podium, she would also bring the computer over and try to adjust the microphone set so it doesn’t blocks her view to the computer screen. No, the computer was NOT used to project anything while she was at the podium. She would scroll down her notes, and apparently scroll down too much and not knowing where she had stopped and going back and forth before hundreds of people in the room.

oh, after introducing the speaker, the person would take the laptop aside and sit on the staircase and start doing something with computer again. I don’t know if that person realized, but since the room was dark except the podium spot, audience could see the host/hostess’ facial expression while being worked on the laptop computer there.

Moral: Technical gadgets are great, but ensure it does not distract you or the speaker and the audience

2. Being Nervous: Yes, not everyone was born with a boon of not having the stage fear. pretty much everyone has the butterflies in their stomach when they get on the podium. Audience was able to sense that the hostess was nervous a bit – and the self disclosure/disclaimer was also made about nervousness, but it doesn’t have to be told every few minutes the host/hostess is on podium. It only emphasizes more while he/she is on podium and takes away other thoughts and the flow while the nervousness keeps lingering in the mind and only those words are repeated over and over again.

Key: It is ok to disclose about nervousness once, but do not repeat the same again and again.

3. Time on Podium: Understood it is a great opportunity to be on stage before hundreds of people. But if you are a host, ensure you are not taking as much time as the speech would take. Do not spend too much time on the stage. K.I.S.S (Keep it Short and Simple)

5. Smooth Entry and Exit for speaker: Keep an introduction to an extent of providing positive credibility to the speaker and not make it pages and pages or hours and hours to it. Ensure there is an arrangement made to take the speaker from podium safely. There could be darker ambience towards the sides of the stage and speaker might need some help getting off from the bright light to the darker side.

6. Personal Stories: Give out your personal stories if it is appropriate or if it is absolute necessary and if you would like to share personal stories that provides credibility to the speaker, and your positive experience with the speaker or if it is some humor that you would like to share while speaker is on the way to the meeting, so that audience can be engaged with some entertainment.

7. Q&A: Facilitate question and answer session. At times Speaker might prefer to take questions offline and so mention about it. But do not take away the Q&A session and replace with your photo session with the speaker. Oh, Yes! this has happened at this recent event. Host was busy taking pictures with the speaker on the stage, and audience were left out, audience were disappointed for not having the Q&A session. Their response was, at least 2 to 4 questions would have been great instead of hosts taking pictures for 15 minutes on the podium. A short Q&A would have taken approximately about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the context.

It makes me think about these other perspectives now that I have been involved in Toastmasters program more and more and really helps to understand such Do’s and Don’ts for some of the meeting etiquettes.

May 20, 2009 7:02 am

Toastmasters: speech #10

wow! 9 speeches under Competent Communicator series are complete and one more to go to complete the Competent Communicator program with Toastmasters. I have been with Toastmasters.org for several months, it is really awesome that you would tend to learn so much about public speaking and moreover it also helps to gain the confidence and overcome the stage fear that we often develop as we grow up. Agreed, there are handful of people who fly out without any fear, but majority of us have those little butterflies in the stomach soon after we get on to the podium. Anyways, tomorrow is my 10th speech, and this will be part of a speak-a-thon that we have organized at our club. Series of speeches in a two-hour slot. this will be fun…


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June 10, 2008 12:17 am

You are in sales…

Filed under: Personal Development,Professional skills — ramsblog @ 12:17 am

Mike Lally points to Tom Peter’s vlog on the very topic. It has been conveyed really well on no matter what field one is in, it is still sales one has to get good at. It is an amazing 3 minute video – take a look. [link]


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April 6, 2008 11:08 pm

TIPS: Tipping for Services offered…

Filed under: Customer Service,Professional skills — ramsblog @ 11:08 pm

I was recently browsing few blogs I normally read, this post on Nita’s blog caught my attention.

I am confused about Tipping and computing the percentage. I didn’t know about the word tipping while I was in Bangalore although I was born and brought in Bangalore and lived most of my life there until I came to the United States. Although, I remember at times, in the smaller restaurants, the people with whom I went along, used to leave a rupee or so while getting out of the restaurant for the boys who used to wipe off the table after we left – but never knew the reason.

Anyways, after coming to the States, I left the place without tipping and one of my friends pointed me about that and provided me a list of guidelines for tipping – x% at restaurants, y% at salons, z% at so and so place for so and so service offered, etc etc… well, since then I have started 10 to 15% at the local salon I go to, but it varies between 5% – 15% when I go to the local restaurants.

Tip before or after?
        It is interesting that we usually tip for service offered and leave the place. We may never ever go to that place or even if I do the frequency is much longer and perhaps the individuals would not remember me at all. So, what is the purpose of Tipping? Is this to get a better service while we are there or pay for the service offered? It is a fine line, I think, from the customer point of view. However, thinking on the other end, ideally, the waiters at the restaurant need to do the duty to the best possible and the results come in much better way in some form from the Customers. Customers do observe the service being offered anyway. Two recent instances as I remember:

  • 7 of us from my team went to a lunch at Red Robins recently, when I was paying by credit card, I placed a question to the table as to what % of tip would be ideal for the service offered. There was a mixed opinion. (a)for the reason that they served us fairly quicker (though it could have faster) 10% is fine. (b) we weren’t even asked for water after the 1st cup they offered when we entered here, so 6% is fine. –> Although it is recommended (and at some restaurants they include 15% gratuity in the statement, but this restaurant did not include this time) 15% for a group of 6 or more, we made it 10%.
  • My wife, myself and my 3 year old were in local restaurant one night. We were there for 105 mins for 10 mins of eating time. hmm… my wife was hungry when we went in, but by the time we got our food, we couldn’t eat what we ordered. hmm… tip? we usually don’t see even a smile on the staff – it is probably their personality – but I am surprised pretty much each staff is like so. At times, the same staff replaced the choice if we didn’t like what was served.
  • I stayed a 5-star rated hotel for few weeks in Hyderabad, India several months ago. While I was checking out of the hotel, I came down to a lobby for a paper work. During the process, I mentioned that my bags were still in the room and had to be brought down to the car. A person who works there volunteered to go get them but did not return even after 10-15 minutes. So, I went back to the room, since it was getting late and I had to get to the airport in time. What I noticed was, my bags were still there and the TIP amount I had kept was gone. I brought my bags myself. This was in-spite of offering tips several times for the service offered during my stay at the hotel. However, the service during my stay was pleasant, the staff was very courteous, respectful, and few people went beyond their roles.

I think it is really a thin line as to when to TIP an individuals for their service.

February 10, 2008 12:42 am

Book Review: Speed Reading for Professionals

Filed under: Books,Personal Development,Professional skills — ramsblog @ 12:42 am

(image source: amazon.com)

I recently borrowed this book titled "Speed-Reading for Professionals"  from the local library.  Reading initial few pages of introduction, I realized I belonged to one of those sample categories described in the book. Reading is my hobby, but at times I used to feel bad because a small 200 pages book that I borrow from the library would not be completed within the time and had either renew or return half read. On the other hand, my wife would read a book in one or two sitting. Although I am half way with this book, I am trying to implement the techniques described in the book, to read other books I have in hand.

Key Chapters this book covers:
    Understanding why we read slowly, How to change
    Learn to Jog, Not Walk, Through your Reading
    Learn to Run, Not Jog, Through your Reading
    Learn to Sprint, Not Run, Through your Reading
    Understanding and Remembering What you Read

This book is organized into read,implement, practice sections.
             Gives the information first; test run what was described on a sample passage; and suggests to read at least about 10 pages in any book of your choice to implement what was just learned. 
             There are a set of questions following those set of sample passages, for readers to assess their understanding from their short reading. Authors also suggest to go back and read the passage again, if there were questions remain unanswered.

The key point authors make before starting any of those practice passage/exercise is to not to get discouraged even if we lean towards slow reading at any point of time. Just realize the fact and move on with new habit. I am currently reading 5th chapter (sprint). Triple chunking (Left, middle, Right), one of the techniques, appears to be working great for me. I am timing my reading in the past couple of days, and it turns out to be close to 2 minutes for an average page of the same size that I used to take around 5 minutes. Although I think it is still slower, but I think it will get better.

Other Pros I noticed just doing this speed reading:
    a. tend to focus on reading content or at least try to pull myself back to the track, as opposed to having my mind wander around. I realized, letting my mind think about other ToDo’s.
    b. not literally read the words as if I am speaking the words – that used to slow me down before.

It is just a beginning. Looking forward to enjoy more and more reading 🙂

January 22, 2008 8:45 pm

Webinar: Product Management – How to get twice as much done in half the time.

Filed under: Productivity,Professional skills,Project Management — ramsblog @ 8:45 pm

280 group is organizing a webinar on Friday Jan 25, 2008 about “How to get twice as much done in half the time“. For pre-registration and more details see here. 280 group conducts web seminars sharing productivity and other related topics.  There are bunch of upcoming webinars scheduled on Product Management View site. you may find many archives there as well.

December 12, 2007 1:42 pm

Pictorial Representation …

Filed under: Blogging,Communication,Professional skills,Quotes — ramsblog @ 1:42 pm

as the saying goes – A picture is worth thousand words – well, I thing it depends on how legible a picture is. I was reading in one of the books recently about the general statistics on how people perceive communication via reading,  most times a piece of information can be conveyed with a help of a visual notation. Although, I am not following that approach yet, but me being a visual thinker would always prefer writing on a piece of paper / white board while I am trying to convey anything.

I have noticed the change in Rajesh’s blog in recent days. I really liked it. Specially the coincidence that Rajesh conveying about how to drive a more appropriate idea to another person and drawing a picture about it. I am now being inspired by that approach, I think I will try to adopt going forward.


I was reading a post on the Simple Dollar the other day [link] where Trent shared about a particular topic on 5 business cards. thats pretty neat.

Advantages as I figured reading an article with pictures on it:

  1. Easy to understand the subject
  2. Easier to present the big picture first and then elaborate as needed
  3. Saves time to the reader and helps grasp the topic and move on
  4. Stays longer in memory


…   And many more


June 23, 2007 4:44 pm

one minute manager: Building teams

I am usually fascinated by One Minute Manager series – they are great books and thought provoking. I am also most influential to read the books authored by Ken Blanchard from my engineering school days. I am currently reading a book titled building high performance teams.

Characteristics of high performing teams: PERFORM –

  • Purpose
  • Empowerment
  • Relationaships and Communuication
  • Flexibility
  • Optimal Performance
  • Recognition and Appreciation
  • Morale

One other thing with reading One Minute manager books, is you would get into thinking and relate to your own situation as you read along the book. Now, that makes more interesting. Either makes you learn more or it helps you evaluate how you are doing in those situations or/and both to make more improvements.

I was just reading about Group Development Stages and I was thinking while evaluating the same – and figured our project team is somewhere closer to stage3. Now my thoughts are into how I can help make it to get to 3 first and then to 4 which I feel more empowered team.

4 stages of Group Development:

  1. Orientation
    1. follows one voice – and agree upon the goals –
    2. team gets the directions and leave with some accomplishment but there leaves an anxiety of what next and how to achieve
  2. Dissatisfaction
    1. some concerns and dissatisfactions;
    2. at times people be reserve and not speak up until asked for;
    3. leader encourages team to speak up and show dissatisfactions and concerns, to ensure people are on same page but still remain in the air;
    4. members are frustrated at times and feel confused. at least one individual being not comply with the rest of the team’s direction. etc.
  3. Resolution
    1. team lead is capable of resolving conflicts; team members are open for the conflict resolution;
    2. team members encourage one another 
    3. there is a warmth in the team on what their goals are and the execution plan;
    4. teams go out knowing what to do but gets into inidvidual effort and then try to combine the pieces of puzzle to make it a common goal
  4. Productive
    1. people take the leadership as and when appropriate;
    2. members take the responsibilities towards the common goal;
    3. generally not wait for someone to tell them what to do; team members are empowered to make decisions and take the solution alternatives to the table;homework being worked out fully thought about and discussed among teams and functional area resources. Team lead would jump in when there are any improvements or corrections required or if there was any direction necessary for the team; otherwise team members are empowered
    4. there is a lot of collaboration and respect each others’ values and perspectives.
    5. Team members are always excited.

 I am still half way reading through this book, and this seems be very informative…

<ram>corrected typo in title from “bulding” to “building” hehe…

January 13, 2007 11:42 pm

Managing the available time…

Filed under: Mentorship,Personal Development,Professional skills — ramsblog @ 11:42 pm

Time Management is one of my favorite topics – yes, we can’t manage the time because everyone has 24 hrs a day – it is what we do in that available time is what matters. I was browsing thru’ Rajesh’s blog [Life beyond code] and came across an article and a radio interview clips. I am just listening to the part 1 and it is fantastic by the way he has made the points.

Do take a look at this article and moreover I would recommend listening to these clips…  He shares about Mentorship, be able to make a difference, feedback mechanism, etc… Listen to learn more…

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