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Melody N.

@melodydnn84

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Navigating Life: The Need Of A Mentor

A good mentor is a blessing, as most of us need guidance and direction to navigate our lives. Finding a good mentor requires identifying, asking, nurturing and maintaining a relationship.

A good mentor, if we are lucky, can empower our career and provide us with untapped opportunities.

@melodydnn84

What’s the Right Way to Find a Mentor?

hbr.org

Most of us are afraid to ask a would-be mentor for an initial meeting, due to a fear of rejection. It can feel intimidating, especially if the person isn’t someone who knows you well.

  1. Take some pressure off by reminding yourself that even the would-be mentor could have had mentors in his life.
  2. If you want to connect with someone, start with a simple request, a 20 minute real or virtual coffee break, or even a short Zoom call, as it is low-commitment.
  3. Sending a short email is a good way to request the person, telling them about how you admire their work, and would like to learn from them.
  • One has to really connect with the mentor and get to know them. You can ask what they do during weekends, what books they are reading, and their hobbies.
  • Connecting at a personal level is refreshing for most people, who would want a break from their work.
  • Be career-specific and ask for questions that help you connect and learn. It is a good idea to send a thank-you note as a follow-up, and let them know what all you learned.
  • You can build up the case to touch base again in a few weeks in the thank you email.
  • Make follow up meeting requests informal.

In about three to four meetings, you will have a general idea regarding the quality of the mentor and if you want to label the relationship, you can suggest that in the email and see if the person is now officially willing to be your mentor!

A few tips on how we can maintain our relationship with our mentor:

  1. Let them know how well their invested time is being spent by sending them a summary of what you learn from them.
  2. Keep the follow up emails regular.
  3. While not spamming them, you can send them real time text messages of how their advice is helping you.
  4. Once your mentorship is done, you can keep in touch on a monthly or quarterly basis.
  5. You can offer to help in making a presentation or conducting an online session for them as a goodwill gesture.
  6. Send a heartfelt gratitude as what you have taken from them is priceless.
Great Leadership

Great leaders inspire people to do better and develop their skills because leaders with a great leadership style can make anyone appear more competent than they actually are, and that builds confidence within the individual.

However, leaders who do have poor methods can drag down an individual with an exceptional skill set or even the whole team.

How to Develop Your Leadership Style

hbr.org

Great leadership style is different from your own personality. It derives from the social markers that we express in the workplace.

The signals we send to others about our status fall into two categories: Power and Attractiveness.

  • Powerful markers are associated with expressions of confidence and competence along with abrasiveness and intimidation.
  • Attractive markers are related to expressions of agreeableness and likability but also diffidence and submissiveness.

Our default leadership style is called natural style. Whenever we are in neutral situations it is our selected option and we behave relatively powerful with it.

Natural style has five categories: powerful, lean powerful, blended, lean attractive, and attractive.

A blended style is best described as having "presence". It is rare because it involves an equal use of both power and attractiveness markers.

  • Know yourself: Ask yourself, "where do you fall on the leadership style spectrum?" If you are unsure where you fall under, keep track of your actions and behavior during various interactions.
  • Experiment with various styles: When you begin to have an understanding of where you fall in the spectrum, constantly practice new behaviors to make it feel more familiar and less awkward.
  • Read the room: Assess their behaviors and actions before deciding on an approach.

Leadership style cannot be fully separated from unconscious biases and discrimination.

However, we do not advise women and minorities to not be upset, to not disagree, and to not promote their achievements. Rather, to carefully select their social markers and develop a blended style that is suited to them.

The right assortment can allow you to show loyalty to the group you want to lead while still maintaining your uniqueness.

The 6 P’s of the Entrepreneurial Spirit
  1. Passion. Passion cannot survive without a path.
  2. Path. This is your plan for getting there, at the pace you set.
  3. Positivity. No success is possible without cultivating an optimistic perspective.
  4. People. Without the power of people around you to support you, mentor you, and otherwise love you, your passion will fall flat and your plan will never get done.
  5. Perseverance. None of these P’s will work if you don’t fuel them with perseverance and hard work.
  6. Productivity - how you use your time to make it count. Productivity pulls all of the other P’s together and enables you to love your life.

This is how to develop an entrepreneurial spirit

weforum.org

  • Prepare your questions based on the attributes of an ideal candidate,
  • Reduce stress level. Tell the candidates in advance the questions you plan to ask.
  • Involve enough people for multiple checks.
  • Assess potential. Look for signs of the candidate's curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination.
  • Ask behavioral and situational questions.
  • Consider "cultural fit", but don't obsess because people adapt.
  • Sell the role and the organization once you're sure in your candidate.

How to Conduct an Effective Job Interview

hbr.org

Where No Man Has Gone Before: Star Trek

In the late 80s, Patrick Stewart was the classy and dashing Captain Picard, the main character of the Star Trek series, which started in 1966, originally starring Captain Kirk (and Spock!). The idea of exploring strange new worlds in the galaxy, speeding at warp-speed in a beautiful ocean cruiser-like spaceship was too good to resist.

Captain Picard may be fictional, but he’s my mentor nonetheless. He was portrayed as having an introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging (INTJ) type personality and his analytical problem-solving skills provide leadership lessons to us even now.

5 things Star Trek’s Captain Picard can teach you about leadership

fastcompany.com

  1. A diverse team is required to navigate uncharted territory, as each one has different skill sets.
  2. One may need to courageously stand up to authorities, as being righteous and standing by one’s values is difficult but needed.
  3. Being diplomatic towards one’s friends and enemies is crucial to winning the bigger battles.
  4. Leaders need to show credibility by walking the talk.
  5. It’s possible to be absolutely perfect, commit zero mistakes and still lose. One has to be human, and not being right is okay.
Passion leads to motivation for learning

There are three qualities of people who have the kind of passion that is associated with performance improvement.

  • A long-term commitment to increasing your impact in a particular area, such as banking, medicine,
  • A desire to find new challenges and seeing them as exciting opportunities for growth.
  • A connecting disposition that actively seeks connections with others to help address these challenges.

How to Create a Workplace that Actually Inspires Passion

hbr.org

Two critical work environment design principles that help employees cultivate passion:

  • Creating systems for experimentation to help learners discover their particular domains. This can happen through processes, tools, and management support.
  • Supporting connection among workers. Companies can make it easy for employees to find others with relevant expertise, both within and outside the organization.
  • Frame a powerful question using open-ended prompts, such as "is this what we should be doing" and "what else is possible," that encourage creative thinking and inspire new approaches.
  • Prioritize performance objectives. Set high-impact performance objectives and track the progress. Make tradeoffs to accelerate movement toward the shared outcomes.
Insights of Albert Einstein

Many insights of Albert Einstein are now part of popular imagination: black holes, time warps, and wormholes show up in movies and books.

Less famous, but probably the most revolutionary part of Einstein's phenomena, is a simple idea that shows how pieces fit together and illuminate the road ahead.

Einstein, Symmetry and the Future of Physics

quantamagazine.org

The most fundamental aspects of nature stay the same.

For example, Einstein's papers on relativity show that the relationship between energy and mass is invariant, even though energy and mass can take on many different forms.

Even though matter produces energy, the energy-matter content of the universe never changes. Matter and energy are less fundamental than the underlying relationship between them.

We often think of things as the heart of reality. But most often the relationship is more important, not the stuff.

We may think "stuff" like space and time are unchangeable aspects of nature. In reality, the relationship between space and time stays the same.

The relationship that mattered most to Einstein's ideas was symmetry. Scientists describe symmetry as changes that don't really change anything. More complicated symmetries have led to the discoveries from neutrinos to quarks.

Symmetry is at the root of our description of nature. But symmetry has not been able to explain why gravity is so weak or vacuum energy is so small. The idea of symmetry may be very powerful, but we may have to give up on these principles that have worked so well.

Albert Einstein did not think about symmetry when he wrote his first relativity papers in 1905. He was considering several seemingly unrelated puzzles and connecting the dots.

  • Einstein realized that the speed of light - a speed that stayed constant - was a measurable manifestation of the symmetrical relationship between electric and magnetic fields.
  • Light didn’t need anything to travel through because it was itself electromagnetic fields in motion.
  • There was no universal here and now.
  • It took some years for Einstein to acknowledge that space and time are interwoven and impossible to disentangle.

Unified space-time starts to make sense if we think that the speed of light is a relationship between the distance traveled over time.

Because the speed of light can't change, your laser beam won't go any faster. The measurement of distance and time must be changed instead, depending on the state of motion. This leads to effects known as "space contraction" and "time dilation."

As you work at your desk, you move through time, but not through space. A cosmic ray moves over vast distances at nearly the speed of light but takes little time.

Einstein's special theory of relativity applies only to steady, unchanging motion through space-time, not accelerating motion like an object falling toward Earth.

  • It troubled Einstein that his theory didn't include gravity, and his battle to incorporate it made symmetry central to his thinking.
  • Einstein later understood that gravity is the curvature of space-time itself. Falling objects follow the space-time path carved out for them.
  • After general relativity was published, it appeared that energy might not be conserved in strongly curved space-time. But mathematician Emmy Noether proved that the amount of energy (including mass), the amount of electric charge, the amount of momentum, are all associated with a particular symmetry, a change that doesn't change anything.
  • Noether showed that the symmetries of general relativity ensure that energy is always conserved.

After Einstein, the pull of symmetry became more powerful.

  • Paul Dirac, trying to make quantum mechanics compatible with the symmetry requirements of special relativity, found a minus sign in an equation, suggesting the existence of "antimatter."
  • Wolfgang Pauli, trying to account for the energy that seemed to go missing during the disintegration of radioactive particles, discovered that the missing energy was carried away by a particle, known now as the neutrino.

From the 1950s, invariances took on a life of their own. New symmetries, known as "gauge" invariances, became productive by requiring the existence of everything from W and Z bosons to gluons.

Gauge symmetry dictates what other ingredients you have to introduce. Gauge symmetries describe the internal structure of the system of particles in our world. Physicists can move, rotate and distort their equations without changing anything important. The result is a look at the hidden structures that supports the basic ingredients of nature.

Symmetry, as it is understood, seems not to answer the biggest questions in physics. In some cases, symmetries show the underlying laws of nature that do not show up in reality.

For example, when energy congeals into matter (E = mc2), the result is an equal amount of matter and antimatter - a symmetry. Yet if the energy of the Big Bang created both matter and antimatter equally, they should have destroyed each other, leaving nothing behind.

Duality is a closely related idea to symmetry. Wave-particle duality has been around since the beginning of quantum mechanics. But newfound dualities have shown interesting relationships. For example, a three-dimensional world without gravity can be mathematically equivalent to a four-dimensional world with gravity.

Certain dualities suggest that space-time emerges from something more basic, what Einstein called the "spooky" connection between entangled quantum particles.

The idea of symmetry proved very powerful. Giving it up would mean giving up on naturalness - the idea that the universe has to be exactly the way it is for a reason.

But inside black holes, the speed of light (which grounded Einstein's work) will not play a vital role in the future. "The speed of light can't remain constant if space-time is crumbling," says physicist Stephon Alexander.

Superbetter

In her book, 'Superbetter', the author Jane McGonigal, teaches us all a valuable lesson on how to overcome obstacles while having a gamer's mindset, as she is herself a game designer.

8 CEOs on books they read in a crisis

fastcompany.com

The black swan

In his book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb provides an insight into how crisis events occur, enabling the reader to reach a better understanding of the topic while empathizing and communicating more efficiently with the others.

The sirens of Titan

Kurt Vonnegut, well-known for his black comedy, debates over existential questions in regards to free will, destiny, and the meaning of life. 

 This is exactly the kind of lecture one needs in order to get his mind off what is happening around.

The end is always near

In his book, Dan Carlin takes us back in time, reminding us of why history must be cherished, in order to better understand the present. 

Although the current times are extremely challenging, the world has already seen worse days.

The secrets of highly successful groups

Daniel Coyle presents, within the pages of his book, the influence of culture on the different types of organizations, from companies to sports teams. 

The company culture is maybe the most significant element when it comes to identifying the culture.

Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim: Blue ocean strategy

When reading this captivating book, you are bound to improve your self-confidence, as it teaches you how to handle competition, instead of fearing it. 

The main idea is that you can actually create new space within current markets and, therefore, make that competition irrelevant.

Ben Horowitz: The hard thing about hard things

This amazing story teaches company founders everything from leading their company at different times to changing the workforce. 

It is known to be a 'brilliant story of resilience and determination', as CEO Kirill Bigai, once said.

Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less

In his book, Greg McKeown draws everybody's attention to the process of reexamining the notion of what is most essential to each of our lives. 

In times of crisis, the leader's reaction determines the way things are going to end. 

Actions that vary from delegating responsibilities, in order to reach a better organization to responding in a timely way by guiding your people can turn out essential to your company's well-being.

How a Good Leader Reacts to a Crisis

hbr.org

In order to keep the business running. managers' reactions in times of crisis are vital. Learning how to address the situation, to make people aware of what is happening, to control the response to the danger or to adapt to changes as they occur are some appropriate behaviors that can make a world of difference.

People like to know that they can rely on their leaders. And a leader who is actively involved in taking action is better seen than one who does not do much to help improve the situation.

A leader's response to what is happening is of the greatest importance. 

Therefore, providing guidelines while keeping his or her sense of perspective can turn a leader in the most powerful person involved in that very crisis, even if he or she is not taking action directly.

Tesla’s innovation strategy

Tesla’s innovation strategy offers lasting lessons for any innovator, especially in terms of

  • how to win support for an idea and
  • how to bring new technologies to the market.

Lessons from Tesla's Approach to Innovation

hbr.org

There are four factors how innovators build up their innovation capital: Who you are, who you know, what you have done, your ability to draw attention to your ideas. Most notably, innovation capital is something accumulated over time through thoughtful action.

The Cybertruck is then about getting attention and proving that Tesla is one of the world's most innovative companies, specifically for the purpose of building Tesla's ability to win support from stakeholders.

Winning the resources

Elon Musk is a master of building and using innovation capital to win support for his ideas. To gain support:

  • He leverages his past success at PayPal and Space X
  • He uses "impression amplifiers". He does more than talk about the new idea. He puts it into physical form to convince skeptics.
  • He broadcasts the idea through big media launches to generate a buzz.
  • He compares or draws a comparison between his innovation and some other successful one to create an impression of technical superiority.

A part of Tesla's strategy, which forms the core products and requires the most investment, aims to transform an industry by paying attention not just to the product, but to the entire product ecosystem.

  • Tesla tends to beat out competitors who try to leverage part of the old internal combustion vehicle architecture by operating on a completely different architecture.
  • Tesla is making sure to control the bottleneck - the components that limit the performance of the system. They will thus control the profit center.
  • Tesla's strategy also manages the entire set of complements needed for a consumer to ensure a quicker adoption of technology.

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