Or “de-grow” like Benjamin Button

When I say I’m a growth strategist, most people instantly assume I’m referring to business growth. The word “growth” has become associated with fast, wealth-driven economies, and when perceived in a less favourable light, is taken as sucking the life out of our planet. Some groups are actually advocating to “de-grow” but this sounds almost unnatural.

Life in any form is after all about growth and change until it dies. If we don’t like the focus of the growth we are pursuing, then what are we doing to re-think the one we want to see, in whatever context?

Cherry Laurels and Us

Walking in…

Self-management has taken considerable centerstage ever since more than half of white collar workers were forced into remote work overnight. But it won’t get you anywhere, not unless you make “managing upwards and outwards” second nature.

Having navigated widely distributed organizations, answering to half a dozen key stakeholders at any one time and worked from wherever I could get connected, I will tell you that it is the real secret to progressive self-efficacy and thriving in a hybrid worklife.

Don’t Make Physical Isolation Professional Isolation

Anything from organizing, goal-setting, time-management, stress management, self-care or productivity tracking has been written and talked about. …

As a calculation of efficiency, productivity has been so central to industrialization and economic prosperity that no one questions its importance or contribution to societal well-being. We even measure human productivity by activity output against time input.

But what if this lens of productivity is worsening workforce morale or mental ill-health, while contributing to growing mistrust at the workplace, vis-a-vis employers and technology?

Where We Are Headed

People vector created by pch.vector — www.freepik.com

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a business executive about how he thought his teams were doing being forced to work from home. In the course of that discussion, he shared an IT dashboard…

Just when the workplace seems distant and impersonal, acknowledgement rather than kudos may be the most game-changing instrument a leader can use to help individuals reconnect with others and regain their self-worth.

Coaching a CIO about findings on his team’s wellbeing, I suggested that he might want to recognize their candid contribution to a survey we had run. Very thoughtfully in surprise, he asked, “do you mean give them an award or incentive?”

I realized I had not chosen my words well. What I meant was to acknowledge his people for having taken the time to provide valuable feedback. He…

The Future of Work and sustainable good businesses depend on your answer, believe it or not.

Almost a year after a global pandemic turned many homes into makeshift offices, it seems like a natural, must-ask question, especially for teams and organizations.

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

It’s not that I have no clue. Talking with my clients tell me plenty. The barrage of articles on mental wellness out there hint at a lot more. Personally? I was teetering along mental fatigue even when I was trying to count my blessings.

The year-end holiday was a welcomed respite and news of COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out give some hope. But the situation remains uncertain and challenging on many fronts.

Establishments and organizations everywhere have done their part in implementing safety policies and sanitation measures. Many have also invested in equipping their people to work remotely. …

Part 2 — Series on Followership in the Yin and Yang of Leadership

Browsing for good stories I stumbled on an old book recently — My Story by Rosa Parks. I had been thinking about writing Part 2 to this series on followers and no one had inspired me more as a humble leader and powerful follower than Ms. Parks.

First, let me explain why I feel so strongly about equalizing the attention field towards followers and re-thinking how we view leadership. We have been led down the rabbit hole for a long time now, by “leaders” who get blind deference or indifference from us, aided by the amplifying effects of social media…

Thank goodness for summer, we say. After months of juggling work and family in a pandemic lockdown, we’ve had enough. WFH (working from home) is not turning out to be the El Dorado it’s lauded to be.

Still, don’t despair just yet. WFH will continue to feature prominently for knowledge workers, but getting it right desperately needs a reset in thinking, organization-wide.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

My WFH Initiation

When I joined Cisco in 2007, remote work was already accepted although WFH was not sanctioned. The 2008 financial crash changed everything as we swapped flights for video-conferencing. …

Part 1 — Series on Followership in the Yin and Yang of Leadership

“I felt like the odd person out. Executives, academics, and even people sitting next to me on airplanes questioned why I would bother with followership … Most people held a very negative view of followership and discounted anything positive that could come from the role,” wrote Robert E. Kelley in chapter one of the Art of Followership.

Today, as I post this first part of a series dedicated to understanding followership, I get his sentiment. Still, I feel compelled to insist, partly because we are right in the middle of a global turmoil that’s showing up flailing and failing leadership.

Photo by Jose M. on Unsplash

You’ve been feeling stuck and restless. And no, it’s got nothing to do with COVID. Truth is, your work has become dull, the bigger purpose lost, and your future uncertain. For months, you’ve woken up wondering what else you could be doing.

In fact, you already know the answer! You want to be your own boss — a solopreneur consultant to be precise! But is it foolhardy to quit a stable job in this economy?

Photo by Julien-Pier Belanger on Unsplash

No Better Time Than Now

You’ve had more than a good run as an international business executive. With over 10 to 20 years of company…

The verdict is in! Micro entrepreneurs and small to mid-size business owners are a resilient lot. Despite being the hardest hit, a French survey of over 300 respondents found almost two-thirds of SMB and startup leaders as motivated as ever to drive past the COVID19 devastation of their business.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

La Maison des Entrepreneur, an entrepreneurs’ hub and network in France just published its survey of SMBs, startups and micro entrepreneurs with some telling insights.

The flash survey, ran between 15 and 19 April in the midst of the COVID19 lockdown, received 312 responses from French entrepreneurs. …


I write about people-first practices to get on the right side of a digital growth era. For what I do, visit www.ellagora.com.

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