Advent Of A Sustainable Economy


There is a symbolic movement of our times that is promising a new lifestyle. A lifestyle that is not only transforming the vision of the future but changing the way we do business and invest. It is a possibility where the energy is produced and consumed sustainably, the environment is clean, and all of nature is in its healthy state. I know this could sound very idealistic when we are constantly bombarded by bad news. But if we look deeper the sustainable revolution has inspired and compelled governments and corporations to make goods and services such as clean power, extend green tax credits and encourage local recycling mandates that affect our day to day lives. This trend has also resulted in a new race to create better and more efficient cars and buildings which consume less energy and resources. New and advanced methods of growing food, and developing medications with organic ingredients are influencing nutrition and health care sectors as well. More humane procedures, like using fewer chemicals and minimizing animal testing’s has been advocated by consumers and activists alike. Even Local counties and schools are encouraging their constituents to recycle and conserve, this has resulted in many of us reusing shopping bags, using public transportation paying a premium for locally grown organic food and driving a fuel-efficient car.

But then we must also pay attention as to who are joining the movement to “LOOK” good and who are actually participating to” DO” good. Green washing is another technique where many may use to fit and conform into the new trend. Following the investments and the money chasing green projects is one way to keep abreast with what’s happening in the world of sustainability. As an entrepreneur or consumer pputting your money where your heart is another way to ensure the brightest idea will not get anywhere with the wrong funders. Don’t get intimidated by traditional start-ups and their glamorous image. You are not in the business of looking good, you’re in the business of doing good! And this is particularly what makes you stand out from the crowd. Invest in your purpose, put your heart and mind to nurture that big idea. Slowly, but surely, you can get the ball rolling further than you would have ever imagined.

Many VC monies may come with lots of strings attached and loss of creative liberty to steer businesses in the right direction hence not getting get stuck on the idea of VCs and cash in the bank but with key partnerships and  resources instead could be essential. People, skills, relationships that bring the right mix together to co-create things which at the end of the day may increase capacity to help move businesses further that otherwise would have been paid for. The right partners will embark on a journey with you because they believe in what you do and will give time, skills, networks and passion. That may be worth a whole lot than just cash!. If we must need to go the traditional route and go for the big money – VCs, grants etc – being picky about who we are pitching to may be critical. Research the VC’s or foundation’s history of giving, their pre-existing conditions and their relationship with their beneficiaries. Before pitching, try to meet with them informally and see if you click on the same things. Do you trust that person after you have left the meeting? Would they be an enjoyable teammate? Do you want to share more with them and value their advice, beyond just the business side of things? If your answer is yes, then go for it. Investments will come pouring.

In short align your values and stay true to yourself, your mission and your vision.  Never compromise and never lose sight of the purpose of your business, organizations or projects. Be authentic in everything you do!  Authenticity reinforces your purpose. Funding will only make it flourish. But if the Mission of sustainability is not there then there is nothing that can flourish.

Curated By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

UNDERSTANDING THE WOMEN ON TOP DEBATE

women on top 2With the American election cycle heating up, much attention is given to women’s rights and the female candidates campaigning to be the leader of the free world.But according to Harvard Business School professors, Francesca Gino and Alison Brooks the previous explanations for gender imbalance in high places have been twofold. Some scholars argue that institutional barriers are the key culprit. For example, research has found that people view women as less competent than men and lacking in leadership potential, and partly because of these perceptions, women encounter greater challenges to or scepticism of their ideas and abilities at work. Even in societies and organizations that value gender equality and invest in initiatives to reach it, women are underrepresented in most senior-level leadership positions. They account for less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs, less than 15% of executive officers at those companies, less than 20% of full professors in the natural sciences, and only 6% of partners in venture capital firms.
Hence the question of our times is why does the gender imbalance in high-level positions persist?
A series of recent studies that were conducted with Caroline Wilmuth of Harvard Business School points to a new explanation: Men and women have different preferences when it comes to achieving high-level positions in the workplace. More specifically, the life goals and outcomes that men and women associate with professional advancement are different, we found. Other scholars believe the gender imbalance exists primarily due to innate differences in men’s and women’s perceptions, decisions, and behaviors’. For example, research has found that men are more likely than women to engage in dominant or aggressive behaviors, to initiate negotiations, and to self-select into competitive environments behaviors likely to facilitate professional advancement. In one study almost 800 employed individuals to list their core life goals (up to 25 of them) and then sort them into categories provided such as core goals as “things that occupy your thoughts on a routine basis, things that you deeply care about, or things that motivate your behavior and decisions.” Examples include: being in a committed relationship, keeping up with sports, being organized, or attaining power or status. Compared to men, women listed more goals, and a smaller proportion of women’s goals were related to achieving power.These findings dovetailed with the results of prior research that, relative to women, men are more motivated by power. These differences contribute to men holding higher leadership positions than women. Meanwhile, women tend to be more motivated by affiliation the desire for warm, close relationships with others than men, research finds.
women on topDo these different goals lead to different career aspirations for men and women? In another study, over 630 individuals who had graduated from a top MBA program in the last two years a ladder with rungs numbered from 1 to 10 and asked them to imagine it represented the hierarchy of professional advancement in their current industry. We asked them to indicate three different positions on the ladder: (1) their current position in their industry, (2) their ideal position, and (3) the highest position they could realistically attain. We did not find any significant differences between men and women in the current position they reported. And men and women reported similarly high levels for their highest attainable position. But compared to male participants, female participants reported a significantly lower ideal position
Hence according to Gino and Brooks, women tend to believe they have less time in which to attain a greater number of goals, they are likely to experience more conflict in deciding which goals to pursue and which to sacrifice or compromise. When one of their goals is brought clearly to their attention and seems attainable (for example, being offered a promotion at work), women are more likely than men to feel anxious about the sacrifices or difficult trade-offs they would have to make to give that goal more attention than others. Thus women may associate power-related goals (such as taking on a high-level position) with more negative outcomes than men which could help explain why women view a high-level position as less desirable than men do, even if it seems equally attainable.
In another study, roughly 500 adults in a wide variety of management and non-management jobs to imagine being promoted to a higher-level position in their current organization that would substantially increase their level of power over others. Participants predicted the extent to which they would experience nine different outcomes if they decided to accept the promotion. Some outcomes were positive (satisfaction or happiness, opportunity, money, and status or influence) while others were negative (stress or anxiety, difficult trade-offs or sacrifice, time constraints, burden of responsibility, and conflict with other life goals). Participants also indicated how desirable the promotion would be to them and their likelihood of pursuing the promotion. The results: compared to male participants, female participants expected the promotion to bring more negative outcomes, which led them to view the potential promotion as less desirable than men did and to be less likely than men to pursue it. However, men and women expected the same level of positive outcomes from the promotion. In a follow-up study of over 200 executives, again saw that women had stronger negative reactions than men to the hypothetical promotion but the same amount of positive reactions. Female participants also reported viewing the potential promotion as less desirable and indicated that they would be less likely to accept the promotion as compared to male participants.
Overall, the results collected from over 4,000 participants across nine studies showed a profound and consistent gender gap in men and women’s core life goals. Which may lead you to conclude that, that women are not ambitious or that women should not be offered positions of power. But such conclusions would mischaracterize the research. Being ambitious means having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed. But success, especially professional success, means different things to different people. To some, professional success means achieving power over others and making a lot of money. To others, it means being happy at work, making other people happy, or helping others. And for most people, it probably includes a combination of these outcomes with differing weights of importance. So, if one defines professional ambition narrowly as achieving power over others, then women are less ambitious. But most people especially women do not define professional success in this narrow way.
Based on these data, we cannot make value judgments about whether men and women’s differing views of professional advancement are good or bad, or rational or irrational for individuals, organizations, or society. It is possible that men and women are correctly predicting the differential experiences that they would encounter with professional advancement and are making sound decisions. It is also possible that women are overestimating the negative consequences associated with power, that men are underestimating them, or both.
Hence in conclusion we may safely say that one reason women may not assume high-level positions in organizations is that they believe, unlike men, that doing so would require them to compromise other important life goals. That is an assumption that is worth studying further.
By Naved Jafry & Premod Varghese
Courtesy Harvard Business School (Francesca Gino and Alison Brooks)

NURTURING INTRAPRENEURS

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Ninety-three percent of adults think they possess at least some entrepreneurial qualities, according to a new study from University of Phoenix, analyzing responses from 1,000 working U.S. adults surveyed this summer. Additionally, more than half say their organization allows them to think like an entrepreneur.Employees who think like entrepreneurs, or “intrapreneurs,” are more motivated, take ownership of their work, and possess excellent creative problem-solving abilities.
Here are a few ways to foster an intrapreneurial mind-set among employees:
Empower employees.
Employee empowerment was found to have a direct effect on job performance, and an indirect effect on satisfaction and innovativeness, in a study published in the Public Administration Review in April 2013. Drive innovative thought by empowering employees to make decisions, take charge of projects, and solve problems. Give them the resources and training they need, then set them free, letting them know the team believes in their capabilities.
Prioritize employee relationships.
After surveying 200,000 employees at more than 500 organizations last year, TINYpulse found peers and camaraderie were the top motivator for employees who go the extra mile at work. Sometimes the best ideas spark when least expected, such as during a good conversation or enjoyable interaction. Even when the team is running low on ideas, having positive working relationships with one another will be the fuel they need to persist. Help the team cultivate these strong relationships. Hence scheduling after-work activities in which employees can participate and get to know one another better. Exercise together, share meals, and play games to enhance team bonding.
Encourage employees to step outside the scope of their work.
The University of Phoenix study found a key issue blocking innovation: 47 percent of employees said they’re not encouraged to step outside their scope of work. When employees spend their time doing the same tasks day after day, they become stuck in routine thought. Encourage involvement in projects outside day-to-day tasks. In fact, 24 percent of employees surveyed said this would help boost creative thought. Allow them to job shadow someone in another department, or help a team member with something new.
Host productive brainstorming sessions.
A quarter of workers in the University of Phoenix survey suggested having brainstorming sessions to address organizational challenges and sharing the company vision and goals with all employees to encourage creative thinking.Meet with employees regularly to brainstorm new ideas and ensure strategies are aligned with organizational goals. Use an app like amazemeet to design compelling meetings with a clear purpose.
Emphasize individuality over conventionality.
Environment has big impact on innovative thought. In fact, a 2013 University of Minnesota study shows physical order produces conventional thought. Participants in the study made healthier and more generous choices when in a clean room than when they were in a disorderly room. But, the disorderly room encouraged breaking convention and tradition — a key component in innovative thinking. Not everyone is inspired by the same environment, so not all work spaces should look the same. They should cater to the individual. Allow employees to express their individuality by decorating their workspace in a way that inspires them.
Allow ideas time to incubate.
Creative thinking develops in an incubation process, during which unconscious thought takes over, according to a study published in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience in April 2014. That’s why concentrating so hard on solving a problem rarely produces an answer.But, when employees are allowed to let go and come back to a problem, they have time to let the idea incubate and produce the needed solution.Sometimes, the most innovative ideas take time. Allow employees to step away and take focus off complicated challenges and issues when they hit a roadblock. Then, unexpectedly, the right answer may come to them.

Opinion By Naved jafry & Premod Varghese

Toxic Managers

MANAGERS

It’s a double edged sword. We all want our managers to be predictable, productive and planned. But modern university style MBA training may many times may have the opposite effect on the wellbeing of our employees. Just like leaders are trained not born, Toxic managers may also be the result of bad training. Often toxic managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. The sad thing is that this can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part. It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door.
Here are the worst things that toxic managers do that send good people packing
Being indifferent to employee’s needs.
More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your production yield.
Disregarding the Meritocratic Process.
Good, hard-working employees want to work with like-minded professionals. When managers don’t do the hard work of hiring good people, it’s a major demotivator for those stuck working alongside them. Promoting the wrong people is even worse. When you work your tail off only to get passed over for a promotion that’s given to someone who glad-handed their way to the top, it’s a massive insult. No wonder it makes good people leave.
Not honouring commitments.
Making promises to people places you on the fine line that lies between making them very happy and watching them walk out the door. When you uphold a commitment, you grow in the eyes of your employees because you prove yourself to be trustworthy and honorable (two very important qualities in a boss). But when you disregard your commitment, you come across as slimy, uncaring, and disrespectful. After all, if the boss doesn’t honor his or her commitments, why should everyone else?
Ignoring and downplaying contributions.
It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right.
Overloading the work flow process.
Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work your best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of working more.
If you must increase how much work your talented employees are doing, you’d better increase their status as well. Talented employees will take on a bigger workload, but they won’t stay if their job suffocates them in the process. Raises, promotions, and title-changes are all acceptable ways to increase workload. If you simply increase workload because people are talented, without changing a thing, they will seek another job that gives them what they deserve.
Discouraging creativity.
The most talented employees seek to improve everything they touch. If you take away their ability to change and improve things because you’re only comfortable with the status quo, this makes them hate their jobs. Caging up this innate desire to create not only limits them, it limits you.
Absent intellectual stimulation.
Great bosses challenge their employees to accomplish things that seem inconceivable at first. Instead of setting mundane, incremental goals, they set lofty goals that push people out of their comfort zones. Then, good managers do everything in their power to help them succeed. When talented and intelligent people find themselves doing things that are too easy or boring, they seek other jobs that will challenge their intellects.
They fail to develop people’s skills.
When managers are asked about their inattention to employees, they try to excuse themselves, using words such as “trust,” “autonomy,” and “empowerment.” This is complete nonsense. Good managers manage, no matter how talented the employee. They pay attention and are constantly listening and giving feedback.
Management may have a beginning, but it certainly has no end. When you have a talented employee, it’s up to you to keep finding areas in which they can improve to expand their skill set. The most talented employees want feedback—more so than the less talented ones—and it’s your job to keep it coming. If you don’t, your best people will grow bored and complacent.
They don’t let people pursue their passions.
Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction. But many managers want people to work within a little box. These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies show that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm

Hence If you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully about how your managers treat them. While good employees are as tough as nails, their talent gives them an abundance of options. You need to make them want to work for you or in modern terms with you.

Opinion by Naved Jafry & Premod Varghese

Criteria’s For An Exceptional Leader

leader 4
There are no good or bad organizations but it is poor or exceptional leadership which makes or break them. How is it that societies so often choose poor leaders, even though strong leadership is crucial to good performance? Often the only criteria is that someone be a high producing individual to get promoted, when management roles require a totally different set of skills than just high performance. The issue is that we focus on the wrong things when we look for “leaders.” That fact is that an impressive resume or list of academic achievements isn’t necessarily an indicator of leadership potential. But is there a better way to consider who the next leader in your organisation is?
In a new role, the candidate will have to face new obstacles, deal with a new team, manage more staff, introduce new products and do it all without a clear road map. Because of this, any leadership appointment is somewhat speculative – but there is a way to bet smart when you’re making a captain’s call. Considering a few critical factors when choosing a new leader can make all the difference in your new management structure.
So what qualities should we focus on before handing out the next endorsement to an amazing torch bearer?

leadership 31. Integrity
It all begins with integrity. Integrity is the core underpinning for leadership effectiveness. It is a blend of honesty, consistency and ethics. If a leader’s integrity is thrown into doubt, it is very hard for a leader to regain the trust of his or her staff.
2. Intelligence
While empathy is externally focused, intelligence is internally focused. An emotionally intelligent leader habitually takes a hard, honest look at themselves and accurately discerns their strengths, weaknesses and blind spots. Putting personal pride aside, they actively solicit the input of others and incorporate the team’s best ideas into the overall action plan. Without emotional intelligence, hubris sets in, and a leader will overestimate his own ability and alienate others. When a leader begins to let their team down, they may lose the loyalty they’ve worked so hard to earn. A huge mistake organisations make is failing to account for emotional intelligence – from my perspective, I’ve seen it derail more managers than anything else on this list.
3. Energy
Integrity alone won’t win the commitment and trust of your employees. Passion enables a leader to keep moving forward, even in tough times, and inspires the people around them to work harder towards their goals.
4. Courage
Courage is necessary to make the difficult decisions when facing conflicts and mediating adversity. Courage springs from a leader’s core values and commitment to a vision.

leader5. Judgment
Actually achieving this vision, however, requires judgment. Good judgment allows the leader to make solid business decisions and choices. When confronting a difficult new challenge they must quickly zero in on the most important issues. They must be able to prioritise and make difficult trade-offs, keeping in mind the possible inadvertent consequences of their decisions.
6. Empathy
No matter the company or organisation, the diversity of staff will always be constant. Each team member has a different personality, motivation and underlying agenda. Empathy is the attribute that allows a leader to effectively understand what makes other people tick, and to best position them to achieve their own goals and those of their organisation. Empathy also gives a leader the upper hand when dealing with clients and customers – getting to the core of any dissatisfaction quickly, and addressing it, is an important aspect of any leadership role.
7. Foresight
Without a compelling vision or destination, how can a leader effectively persuade people to embark upon a new direction? Visionary leaders inspire employees to imagine a better future and work hard to achieve it.
leader 1Overall we believe that the hallmarks of great leaders, regardless of industry or geography is gearing any candidate assessment towards these traits, and away from false predictors of success. This in itself could be one big step ahead of the rest of the crowd who are still scratching their heads wondering why they are so bad at picking good leaders.

This Leadership piece is contributed by Agnelorajesh Athaide, K.Kadam, Premod Varghese and Naved Jafry

NOSTALGIA AND ITS EFFECTS ON PERSONAL SUCCESS

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Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. However economically successful Individuals tend to think differently than the average person, they have an action mentality; they think about resources logically, they see friends as assets to tap into and they tend to avoid: NOSTALGIA. While average people tend to long for the good old days, rich people dream of the future and are optimistic about what is to come. The great ones know there’s a price to pay for getting successful , but if they have the mental toughness to endure temporary pain, they can reap the harvest of abundant wealth for the rest of their lives. The reality is, millionaires think differently from the middle class about resources, and there’s much to be gained by being in their presence. Perhaps even more surprising: Many millionaires are surprisingly humble and don’t view themselves as having “arrived.” Many of them believe millionaires are simply people who don’t know how to become billionaires. After all, why would someone settle for millions if they possessed the awareness to earn billions? That’s why millionaires are always attempting to gain entry into that exclusive group of people who are among the wealthiest in the world.

nostoligiaNotice one thought pattern of future oriented mind-sets. They don’t completely neglect the past, but they appreciate and learn from the past while living in the present and dreaming of the future. They don’t just dream they spend years tirelessly and patiently planning in order to realize their dreams.Part of this ability to avoid nostalgia and look toward an unknown future comes from their comfort with uncertainty. They’re not only willing to step outside of their comfort zone they expect to.
The average person wants to meet a millionaire to tell their friends they met a millionaire. Millionaires, on the other hand, want to associate with billionaires to learn how they think. One group is watching the game; the other is playing the game. They only question that matters: Which group is the most compatible for you?

nostalagiaThis opinion is contributed by J.WitWit & Naved Jafry

DANGERS TO THE FUTURE PROGRESS OF SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGIES

solar 2Solar perovskite cells, patterned with gold electrodes, await tests that
measure their efficiency at converting sunlight into electricity. (Plamen Petkov)

In the 1950s vertically integrated giants such as IBM and AT&T evolved its telecommunication and semiconductor businesses by having their global network of suppliers compete for its business at every step of the value chain including and not limited to redesigning components and dramatically improve the performance and cost of electronics. But if you look at how clustered sustainable technologies supply chains in China work, it demonstrates that it will only reinforce the industry’s focus on today’s technology, rather than allow competition to drive tomorrow’s advances.

For instances the next generation technologies of solar and LED are developed at a slower pace in laboratories all over instead of today’s promising technologies such as the solar perovskites that could beat silicon on efficiencies and costs many folds if ramped up to scale production. But the more the solar/LED industry concentrates and calcifies in China, the harder such a disruption will happen. By subsidizing its domestic manufacturers, China also subsidizes clean energy deployment around the world. But this sort of argument by pro-deployment activists suggests that China’s dominance in solar/LED manufacturing is a boon to the world. In the near term, they may be right as the solar deployment is booming around the world, fuelled by cheap Chinese panels. But in the long term, today’s silicon/LED technologies will not displace even a substantial fraction of fossil fuel energy. This near-term/long-term disparity stems from the economics of electricity grids as solar’s/LED’s value declines as its penetration on the grid increases.

solar ledTo look into this view a little deeper there are two reasons why dramatically superior technologies will likely not emerge if the solar/LED industry remains concentrated in China. Firstly, Chinese firms are more likely to pursue incremental process improvements and cost reduction e.g., optimizing factory layouts, strengthening supply chains rather than product innovation. Some might argue that this is a dated caricature of a newly dynamic Chinese innovation complex which benefits from lavish state-funded laboratories (cf. Chinese “State Key Labs”) and improved coordination among universities, research institutes, and corporations. Still, fundamental technology researchers in China are struggling to close the gap with Western counterparts, and most major manufacturers have displayed little interest in seriously funding alternative technologies. The second reason for pessimism is that if innovation flourishes only in a Chinese-dominated industry increases, vertical integration will eventually stifle disruptive change. For example China dominates not only the panel manufacturing business, but has consolidated the entire upstream supply chain within its borders, from polysilicon to solar cell production. Where the supply chain is not formally vertically integrated, it is de facto monolithic, simply by virtue of colocation in massive industrial centers like the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone.

solarFrom 2006 to 2011, venture capitalists invested over $25 billion in clean technologies and lost over half their money needless to say, VC interest in new solar start-ups today is minimal. But there still appears to be a silver lining when large U.S. companies can play a crucial role in driving innovation in solar and sustainable technologies. Firms like Applied Materials and Dupont still achieve levels of quality that the Chinese have been unable to replicate (in solar cell production equipment and materials, respectively), giving the United States a toehold in the solar supply chain. Moreover, two large solar panel makers First Solar and Sunpower are American and employ more advanced technologies than their Chinese competitors. And SolarCity, a downstream residential solar installer, recently acquired an innovative solar technology company and will produce its own panels in Buffalo, New York. These American solar players are far more amenable than Chinese counterparts to exploring new technologies for commercialization, and they have the sector expertise, manufacturing prowess, and project pipeline to bring new solar technology to market where VCs failed. State incentives such as those that attracted SolarCity to New York, can support American companies to drive local economies. I would strongly recommend more federal research funding to be aimed at fostering partnerships between major American firms and cutting-edge research in universities and national research laboratories. Ideally we can look forward to a time when sustainable technologies such as solar is an industry waiting to be disrupted in the US and eventually worldwide.