Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book review "Crucial Conversation"

I am really fortunate to find this book. It is one of the best book I have read on improving communication skills.

“Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” — Dr. Laurence J. Peter

The authors describe the crucial conversation is a moment when the other person/party is of opposing opinion (conflicting view), strong emotions are involved and stake is very high.

How do we typically handles the crucial conversations:

1. We can avoid them
2. We can face them and handle them poorly
3. We can face them and handle them well.

Given the three choice the best strategy is to  "handle them well".But the problem is when it matter most we do worst!

Summary of Steps Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler, identify 7 principles for mastering your crucial conversations:

Step 1. Start with Heart In this step, the key is to stay focused on what you really want.  How do you know what you really want?  Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler suggest asking yourself:
  • What do I really want for myself?
  • What do I really want for others?
  • What do I really want for the relationship?

Step 2. Learn to Look In this step, the key is to recognize when safety is at risk.  How do you know when safety is at risk?  Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler suggest the following:
  • Learn to look at content and conditions.
  • Look for when things become crucial.
  • Learn to watch for safety problems.
  • Look to see if others are moving toward silence or violence.
  • Look for outbreaks of your Style Under Stress.

Step 3. Make It Safe In this step, the key is to make it safe.  How do you make it safe to talk about almost anything?  Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler suggest the following:
  • Decide which condition of safety is at risk.  Is mutual purpose at risk?  Is mutual respect at risk?
  • Apologize when appropriate.
  • Contrast to fix misunderstanding.
  • CRIB to get to Mutual Purpose (Commit to seek Mutual Purpose, Recognize the purpose behind the strategy, Invent a Mutual Purpose, Brainstorm new strategies.)

Step 4. Master My Stories In this step, the key is to stay in dialogue, even when you start to go into fight-or-flight mode.  How do you stay in dialogue when you’re angry, scared or hurt?  Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler suggest the following:
Retrace your path by asking the following questions:
  • Am I in some form of silence or violence
  • What emotions are encouraging you to ask this way?
  • What story is creating these emotions?
  • What evidence do you have to support this story?
  • Watch for clever stories.
Tell the Rest of the Story
  • Are you pretending not to notice your role in the problem?
  • Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person do this?
  • What do you really want?
  • What would you do right now if you really wanted these results?

Step 5. STATE My Path The key in this step is to stay connected and avoid escalating.  How do you speak persuasively, not abrasively?  Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler suggest the following:
  • Share your facts.  Start with the least controversial, most persuasive elements from your Path to Action.
  • Tell your story.  Explain what you’re beginning to conclude.
  • Ask for other’s paths.  Encourage others to share both their facts and their stories.
  • Talk tentatively.  State your story as a story – don’t disguise it as a fact.
  • Encourage testing.  Make it safe for others to express differing or eve opposing views.
Step 6. Explore Others’ Paths The key in this step is to keep rapport, while listening with empathy.  How can you listen when others blow up or clam up?  Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler, suggest the following:
  • Ask.  Start by simply expressing interest in the other person’s views.
  • Mirror.  Increase safety by respectfully acknowledging the emotions people appear to be feeling.
  • Paraphrase.  As others begin to share part of their story, restate what you’ve heard.
  • Prime.  If others continue to hold back, take your best guess as what they may be thinking and feeling.
  • Agree.  Agree when you do.
  • Build.  If others leave something out, agree where you do, then build.
  • Compare.  When you do differ significantly, don’t suggest others are wrong.  Compare your views.

Step 7. Move to Action The key in this step is to identify actions.  Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler write:
“Determine who does what by when.  Make the deliverables crystal clear.  Set a follow-up time.  Record the commitments and then follow up.  Finally, hold people accountable to their promises.”
The key here is to turn crucial conversations into action and results!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Change MP3 Title To File Name

I had 2 GB of podcast collection(.mp3 files) containing success principal coaching series. The problem was that there was same title "saved from iphone) set to all mp3 files so they appeared with the same name once I copied in my iphone.

So i was looking for a utility that can change "Title" of MP3 files (as found under Properties/Details in Explorer) to the file name of the MP3.

I found this and its easy to use-

Here's how you rename  Filename=Title 
Convert>>Filename to Tag>>
A popup window appears.
In the field, rename it %title%. (leave only %title%)
Click OK and you're done.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dirty Tricks- strategies for negotiation

Read the book "Getting to Yes" on negotiation

Dirty Tricks (strategies) …with responses:

Black- Question/response from other party

Red- Your response to tricky question


What do we do when the other side…

1.  Goes beyond exaggeration and states as “fact” numbers or situations that you know or are pretty certain are simply untrue? 
Really! That’s a surprising figure/fact. In fact, it conflicts strongly with our own idea on that subject. Can you help me to understand the gap? I will of course need to be able to show my own colleagues how you get to that figure. (Objective criteria)

2.  Asks  “Don’t you trust me?”
It’s not a matter of trust! We need to keep things objective and verifiable, because it may not be you and me in this position next year. (Objective criteria)

3. Appears to reach agreement on everything and then, at the last minute, claims they need approval from someone else in his organization?
Really! In that case, we may have to start the whole process again with your superior, or whoever has the necessary authority to make this deal.
Note: if this is true, you failed to diagnose and shape the game properly; you were negotiating with the wrong person. Your task now is to step back, re-shape the game and insist that any stepping back by the other side from apparent agreement releases you from your part in that agreement, too (reciprocity). If this is not true and is simply a trick to demand more concessions, the task is the same.

4. Talks a very good game, but you feel very strongly that they do not intend to keep their part of the bargain, and you doubt their intentions?
Since you appear confident about your ability to do what you say, I can see no reason why we can’t make our agreement contingent on your doing just that.
Note: Compliance or contingency clauses will normally deal with these issues. You may also wonder why they are taking this line, what are their real interests (Objective criteria, Re-explore interests)

5. Plays psychological games eg with the environment (too hot, too cold, too bright, too dark)
I’m sorry, I’m just too hot/cold to concentrate. Can we meet somewhere else?
(Recognize and address, re-shape the game)

6. Makes personal attacks on you – verbal assaults, interrupting the negotiation for spurious reasons and keeping you waiting, attacking your status etc?
I’m puzzled by your approach. Why is that? If you really feel like that, I’m surprised that you are still in the room.
(Recognise and address, Step back and re-shape)

7. Plays good cop/bad cop?
Excuse me if I’m mistaken, but it seems that you two don’t seem to agree with each other on these matters. Would you like a time-out?
(Recognise and address)

8. Goes beyond warnings about consequences and makes naked threats?
It would be a shame if it came to that. I prefer to deal with issues on their merits.  Can we step back for a while and see how we ended up in this situation?
Note: If you respond to threats, your ability to negotiate in the future and your reputation will be seriously compromised. (Recognise and address, Step back and re-shape, Objective criteria)

9. Sticks rigidly to a position and refuses to negotiate further in the hope of claiming more concessions without reciprocal movement?
Can you tell me why you feel so strongly on this point? Maybe we need a break to re-assess the progress we have made so far.
(Step back and re-shape, Clarify interests)

10. Makes an extreme and unreasonable offer in order to secure a split-the-difference advantage?
That’s way out of line with what we had in mind. I’d like to know more about how you came to that figure. If it’s reasonable, we’ll have to re-think our own understanding of the issue.
(Objective criteria, Clarify interests)

11. Expresses strong intention to agree and then adds “one more thing”?
As we said before, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So, if you now want to add another item to the agenda, we will have to re-examine everything. Also, before we go on, are there any other issues at all that you are thinking of bringing to the table?
(Step back and re-shape the game)

12. Delays and delays and pushes you up against a hard deadline (often when you are booked on a long-haul flight)?
Note: This trick is evidence of a poor relationship or perhaps desperate tactics on the other side’s part – maybe their boss has demanded a better deal for them. In any event, it is a good idea where possible to have an open ticket that can be changed with little or no cost to you. If you don’t have this, you may have to fall back on:
I won’t make a bad agreement just to make a plane. Let’s re-schedule and, if you feel you are really ready to work towards an agreement, I’ll come with an open ticket next time. I will need to be sure that you want to make a deal, however.
(Recognise and address, Step back and re-shape the game, Clarify interests, Develop BATNA)

13. Says “Take it or leave it!”?
I came here to negotiate, not to respond to an ultimatum. It’s a pity, because there are many parts of this deal that are attractive to both sides. How about looking at this whole deal in a different way? Why don’t we take a completely fresh look at things to see where we can find other options? If you don’t feel open to that, I’ll definitely have to consider other alternatives.
(Recognize and address, Seek options, Develop BATNA)

Monday, September 17, 2012

diference between Product, Project and Program Management

Product, Project and Program management words looks same and the concept also looks similar. Fact they are all management role so Confusing them is common, even among those experienced in product development.

Below is the quick summary how they differ.

Project management is the act of creating plans and managing resources in order to accomplish a project. A project is a scheduled undertaking for the purpose of creating a product or service. Some put analogy that Project Management is like a midwife.

Program Management, on the other hand, is the act of creating and managing multiple projects, most of the projects are usually related to one another.

Project management is usually short-lived with specific time constraints while program management is an ongoing process in order to achieve the goals and objectives.
The job of a project manager usually involves working on finite projects or objectives. The program manager works more often with strategy

Product Manager is akin to the mother he/she conceives the idea, runs with it for many months, through requirements gather, development, test and UAT, goes through the painful exercise of bringing that product to market and then supports it until it is made obsolete. The Product Managers job is never done!


Project managers are responsible for the successful delivery of a project — a one-time endeavor with a goal, scope, deadline, budget, and other constraints. A project manager will work to align resources, manage issues and risks, and basically coordinate all of the various elements necessary to complete the project. As they relate to products, projects can be undertaken to build a product, to add new features to a product, or create new versions or extensions of a product. When the project is complete, the project manager will usually move move to a new project, which may be related to a different product.

Good product managers and good project managers are able to create a balance of these conflicts. Good project managers know that the true success of a project is not whether it is on time and within budget, but whether it meets the defined goals and objectives. Good product managers know that all the features in the world will not matter if the project is continually delayed and never makes it to market or if it is too over budget to be completed.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tools and techniques for negotiation

I attended a workshop on how to negotiate yesterday. I took some notes and writing them down here. If you find them useful please comment below.

Different Negotiation styles- If we put OUTCOME on Y axis and RELATIONSHIP on X axis then the negotiation can be depicted as below model:

Competing- Negotiators that exhibits this styles are results oriented, self-confident, assertive, are focused on the bottom line' have tendency to impose their view upon the third party.
They care less about the relationship or co-opreation. Basically dominate the bargaining process and disregard any impact on relationship. A typical example if when you buy a Car.

Accommodating. In this style a person make an attempt to main relationship with the other party, smooth over conflicts. This style is low assertiveness but high on co-operation.If you this then I can do this- tradeoff

Avoid- A typical example is if the person is not responding to your emails. Emails should not be used to resolve the conflict or provide the feedback,.

Collaborating- Use open and honest communication, focus on finding creative solutions that mutually satisfy both parties.

Negotiation process

Tips: a. Ask open ended question to uncover the rationale behind the interest.
Instead of asking close ended question where the opponent can answer in Yes/NO, ask open ended question to get more information out. Ask, what, why, how...

b. During the middle phase the parties explore the ideas of creating the deal package. Trade-offs and concessions are exchanged.

c. And in the final stage the deal is agreed upon with close ended questions.

When stuck: We are kind of stuck and not making progress; lets escalate it to our bosses

Recommended Books -"Getting to Yes" -

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Public speaking and proper breathing syle.

I have compiled the below notes based on my research today on various blogs, websites, youtube videos.

Many non-native English speaker do the shallow (not deep) breathing when they speak. Shallow breathing using chest is not a best technique if you want to get an American  accent.

If you were anything like me, you probably took a deep breath as you raised your shoulders and puffed out your chest.Right? Wrong!

 Deep breathing from the belly rather than the chest is a better way to breathe. Belly breathing is quite important if you want to give a public speech or want to sing a song. You should feel air while speaking the voiceless words. You can use a napkin paper and see if the air is coming out or not.

Tip#2 Your pallet (upper portion of your mouth) should not go backward. It should come forward.

Project your voice as much as possible. Do not try to speak fast. Realize that your stomach is expanding/coming-up when you breath in and goes in when breathe out.

Tip#3 Record your presentation and do a through analysis of words which you did not voice properly.

Steps in learning diaphragmatic breathing
  1. Stand or sit in comfortable position with a straight back
  2. Slowly breathe in through your nose and count to 5. As you do this feel your belly expand while your chest remains relatively still
  3. Slowly breathe out through your mouth counting slowly to 8. While breathing out feel your stomach muscles contract while your chest remains relatively still
  4. Repeat this four more times.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Free Stuff

My this post is just a headstart for putting the free stuff available on internet together. I will update this post time to time with new contents.

If you want to improve your programming skills here are some good free resources

  1.  A free world-class education for anyone anywhere
  2. - Codecademy is the easiest way to learn how to code
  3. - Code Avengers is the fun, effective way to learn web app development. Even beginners will enjoy the free interactive online HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript
  4.    Treehouse launched last November with an admirable (or terrifying) goal: To teach the world how to design and develop for the Web, iOS, and now Android

  5. : a programming language for everyone. Create interactive stories, games, music and art - and share them online.
  6. - 300+ Free Online Programming Books


Friday, September 07, 2012

Avoid these running-form mistakes

Got these tips from my friend who is a  Marathon Runners:

Running is all about stepping one foot in front of the other. Sounds easy enough, right? But if you’re running form is incorrect, you'll end up with aches, strains, and injuries that could prevent you from lacing up your sneaks at all. Make sure to avoid these running-form mistakes the next time you hit the treadmill, trail, or pavement.

1. Head: It sometimes feels good to close your eyes and relax your chin toward your chest, but don't keep you
r head down (or tilt your head up) for long periods of time. Prevent neck strain and encourage an open throat for easy breathing by keeping your head stacked over your spine. Correct head position also encourages a straight, upright stance, which makes you a more efficient runner.

2. Shoulders: Without even realizing it, you may be running with your upper back and shoulders tensed up toward your ears. (And you wonder why you have a pounding headache or aching neck.) Every so often, take a nice deep breath in and as you exhale, relax your upper torso and actively roll your shoulders back and down toward your pelvis. Do a self-check to make sure your shoulders are stacked over the hips. Hunching the upper body forward not only makes it difficult to breathe, it also puts pressure on your lower back.
I'm just getting started so keep reading to find out what the rest of your body shouldn't be doing while running.

3. Arms: Leave the side-to-side swaying arms for the dance floor. Your arms shouldn't move across your body when you run: it uses up energy, tires your muscles, and actually prevents your body from propelling forward. To increase your speed and endurance, focus on swaying your arms forward and back, keeping your elbows at 90-degree angles.

4. Hands: Clenched fists translate to tense arms and shoulders, which tires your muscles and can cause a dull, achy sensation. Not to mention, it also makes you look like an angry runner! Maintain a sense of relaxation in your torso by running with a slightly open fist, pretending you're holding an egg in each palm.

5. Belly: Many runners complain of lower back pain, and one reason is because they don't engage their abs. While running, concentrate on drawing your navel in toward your spine to keep your pelvis and lower spine stable.

6. Feet: Where your feet strike is a big debate among runners. In order to land with the least amount of jarring pressure on your ankles and knees and have the ability to push off the ground with great force, it's best to land on the midfoot — not on the heel. Then roll forward quickly onto the toes, popping off the ground with each step. Landing softly is key — no one should hear you pounding your feet as you run. Think of yourself as a deer, quietly and effortlessly bounding as you move.

Cheers for healthy living..:-))))

Monday, September 03, 2012

Book review "Complaint-Free-World"

On this labor day long weekend I read this book - Complaint free world.

Link to the Book.

After reading the book I decided that I would write a small review of the book for the purpose of my own notes.As such this book is small and idea is simply based on law of attraction. Do not focus on what do you do not want, instead focus on what do you want. Complaint generate negative energy and thoughts.

I was moved by some of the example that Will Bown (author) has given in the book (HONK if you are HAPPY) to prove his point and give practical evidence that his suggested approach does work. The idea of changing the bracelet from one hand to another whenever you see yourself catching the complaint is fascinating.

I already had rubber bracelet in my office drawer and today is my 3rd day when I changed it from one wrist to another multiple times in a day. And each time when I changes I felt good and I am confident that my inside thinking about complain is going to reduce.

I will update this post again once I would achieve my 21 day challenge of no complain and will share my experience with +ve and -ve.

Stay tuned.