Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kindle Life - Episode:1- Can we change?

There are two schools of thoughts about our ability to change our behaviour over our life span; one is “we cannot change as we are made that way!” and another “We can change at our will!” As pair of opposite prevails in all aspects of life such as “hot & cold”, “light & shadow”, “Pain & pleasure” and so on, we have two opposite view about our ability to change ourselves for the better. After reading and listening to great masters, I have programmed myself to be optimistic about everything in life instead of pessimistic views as it paid many dividends for me throughout my life.

There are two handles to life; one is “it is a benediction to be human” and another is “It is a load of misery”. I was recently reading the biography of Lord Buddha who was completely kept in dark about the miseries of life by his father believing that Gautama will become the emperor of Kapilavastu. Gautama became Buddha only after getting exposure to the realities of life which is the biggest change ever reported in mankind.

I am going to advocate the idea that you can transform yourself if you choose to irrespective of what is your position in life. In this article and the few subsequent ones, I am going to share the approach and inputs that made me a better soul.

Why we are what we are?  
I was curious to know how and why human beings are so different from each other as compared to the other species and constantly read many scriptures and research on modern psychology. I wish to present few facts as I understood from my research:
1.    All human beings have born with equal opportunities to explore their life and we are different in our IQ which is the metric that measures human ability to learn and understand complex phenomenon. Those with higher IQ learn faster.
2.    Our emotional state is determined by our childhood conditioning which is often referred as EQ – Emotional quotient.
3.    Our principle centring is determined by the values imbedded in our sub-conscious mind during our childhood and often referred as SQ – Spiritual quotient.
4.    Our ability to maintain relationship with others is also a function of our childhood conditioning which is referred to as RQ – Relationship quotient
5.    Conditioning is the process of programming our mind like a computer functions as per the codes written on it.
6.    Many of us don’t even know how we are messing up our life and relationship and live in a paradigm “One who knows not that he knows not is a fool”; we can often take actions on matters which are known to us. There are many remain in “we don’t know that we don’t know” space of our consciousness.
7.    When conditioning is possible, un-conditioning & re-conditioning also must be possible which the reverse of the conditioning is.
8.    We don’t need to be helpless for our current stature & personality as we have not exercised our option, as human being is the pinnacle of creation. If Gautama can become Buddha, ‘Narendra can become Vivekananda; you and I can make this planet a better place not by changing others, but by changing ourselves. In my view the World reflects what we are as it has no independent reality!

Anatomy of Human Personality:
Before I could proceed with my views on how we can change our personality, it is important to understand; what is the anatomy of our personality from the Vedic point of view. Our Veda says that we are made of 4 layers of personality – Body, Mind, Intellect and Atman in their higher archival order. Let me explain what is their functions and interaction between each of them which is important before we venture on our taking charge of our life for the change management.

Body is the grossest level of our being; the word “Gross” in Veda refers to that which can be perceived by all 5 senses (touch, feel, smell etc). The body has 5 input and 5 output devices. The major function of our body is to “perceive” with 5 input sense organs (eye, nose, tongue, skin, ear) and act with 5 output device namely “hand, leg, vocal chord, excretion system and genital”. Body is like hardware of a computer system which receives signals from a mouse & key board and gives output through a monitor. Veda calls body as a “Perceiver”

The mind is a “subtler” part of our being which receives and processes the external stimuli and is equivalent to the “operating system” of a computer which understands your inputs and carries out certain computing. In Veda anything is said to be “subtler” if it cannot be recognized by our senses but its presence cannot be denied. One aspect of the mind is it “emotions” only and has no rationale (ability to distinguish good and bad). Veda calls mind as a “Feeler”. Its main function is to receive the external stimuli from body and generate emotions such as “anger, jealousy, greed, anxiety, love, compassion, etc. Science is yet to find out where the mind is situated in the human body.

Intellect is more subtle than mind and has a different function than mind; mind “feels” where as intellect “thinks” . Human beings only blessed with higher order equipment called intellect with which we have progressed in our civilization which is denied for the animal kingdom. Intellect stores wisdom and often tells us what is right and wrong. There is no equivalent example in a computer which differentiates a robot from a human.

The computer cannot function if there is no electricity even it is the cutting edge technology. Similarly there is some life force that animates us like electricity in a computer. Atman is the subtlest layer of all aspects of human personality which the scientists are exploring to prove its presence as matter in human body. Its presence cannot be denied as if it leaves the human body everything becomes non-functional. For the time being we will accept its presence and proceed to our next step of exploration.

In this episode I made a beginning to a big saga of changing ones personality for the better and could cover the structure of human personality. In the coming articles, I shall cover tips and tricks for change. I urge my readers to read my blog continuously to get a perspective of changing your personality for the better.

Jai Guridev

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bad Habits of highly ineffective Leaders

Dear Readers

I invite you to listen to my lecture on "Bad Habits of highly ineffective Leaders" recently delivered during a Corporate Training. Wish you happy Listening.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

3 Laws of Prosperity - Expression & Enrollment

In my previous episode I commenced a new topic “3 Laws of prosperity” and covered one law “Integrity” and in this episode I would like to give the perspective of how these 3 laws interconnected and work miracle in those life who believe and practice.

What is “Prosperity?
The final outcome all of us expect is the prosperity, the effect of the root causes which make them happen. The law of “cause and effect” says that we have a no control on the effect and need to work on the causes that make them. In our context the prosperity is the effect which is caused by the 3 – Laws which act as the root causes.

The word “prosperity” has several connotations to each one of us depending on our paradigms, age and state of mind. For those in their teens it may mean settling in life with lots of money. I wish to illustrate an anecdote here to clarify this point:

“Few years back I happened to attend Shree Shree Ravishakar’s Art of living session in which the master asked the aspirant what the aim of your life is. Many people answered in many different ways to this question and one of the aspirants in his late twenties said “3 M is the aim of his life” The master asked him to elaborate the “3 Ms”. The gentleman said “Mansion – Money & Mercedes!”  He did not mention which model of Mercedes, how much money and where & how big the mansion is!! I am sure with this pursuit he is going to be perennially unhappy as the moment he bought a C-class Mercedes; he will start thinking of E-class and so on.  If we would have asked this question to Lord Buddha, he would have said “Enlightenment” as he had more than 3 M’s equivalent on those days which he relinquished at the age of 29 in pursuit of finding an answer for the question “Who am I?”.

All human beings without exceptions wish to reach a state of happiness and avoid sorrow. We believe that “Money” can make this possible and give us a false sense of security in spite of seeing even the richest people could not avoid death! The folly of human being is the “un-willingness to learn from facts of life!” We all believe that “Prosperity” means amassing wealth and I wish to accept this definition and proceed further with the 3 laws which have helped people to achieve it although I still believe “Happiness is a state of a being and does not need any material object to make it happen”. In this article, wherever “prosperity” appears, we are referring to becoming rich through fair means.

The Rationale of IEE: (Integrity – Expression – Enrollment)

The pursuit of prosperity in our context is earned wealth, health & happiness in an ethical manner which will not be harmful to any fellow human beings. Swami Chimayananda once explained the word “Shreyas” which is a Sanskrit word for “prosperity”. Prosperity is the nearest translation which runs short of its ability to import the real meaning of “Shreyas” because it means attaining prosperity for self and all fellow human beings. In today’s context all political leaders’ achievements are not “Shreyas” which will amply clarify what Chimayananda really means. May be invention of penicillin by Alexander Fleming or electric bulb by Edison or motor car by Henry Ford may fit in “Shreyas”, I guess as this has brought prosperity in many people life including themselves.

When we are passionate about a vision to reach an end state we are ready to articulate our ideology and vision to the people around us. First and foremost step in this IEE approach is to ensure “How serious we are in reaching the future state, which takes care of the first step “I – Integrity”. When we are not really serious, our expression misses the mark! However may be your articulation skills, still people can figure out your lack of authenticity. I wish to quote from Swamy Sukabodananda:

“If you carry a Jasmine flower in your pocket, others can find out even you have not expressed in words. Similarly your intentions are like the smell of the flower which others can find out even if you are clever in hiding through your expression. The Vasanas are your intentions and all your actions will manifest from your Vasanas. The foundation of all spiritual journeys is purgation of Vasanas. Be pure in your intentions”

I suggest the first step in your cleansing process is to straighten up your “Intentions” so that you will be authentic in your expressions. Having done that let us move on to the next step “Expression” which refers to your ability to articulate your ideas and goals to a larger number people so that you are able to get their buy-in and garner their support.


 I have extensively talked about expression in my previous episode and urge the reader to refer it before reading further. However for the sake of continuity I am giving below the synopsis of Expression for my new readers.

The Lexicon has several synonyms for self-expression as “expressiveness”, “articulateness”, “eloquence” and so on. Let us examine what is self-expression and what relevance it has with the leadership and prosperity in life? My interpretation of self-expression is the ability of human beings to express them to make a difference in this planet. Each one of us has different degree of ability to make the World to know that we “exist”. Some of us are very articulate to express our ideas and some of us chose to be silent even when we have valuable ideas to contribute. Such of those who are very articulate are noticed and those who are silent gets ignored and taken for granted.

I am not referring to aggressive behaviour to get your things done; it is the confidence with which we express to make a difference is what matters. In our 3 laws Expression comes as the second law which helps the leader to communicate vocally to all those who need to support him to achieve the vision which becomes a shared vision of every one. If integrity is there, people will see the conviction of the leader and be willing to follow his path. This is the approach all great leaders have followed.

What is Enrollment?

The final result of Integrity & Expression is “Enrolment” which means the voluntary engagement of every one for the cause the leader has chosen. Whether it is Mahatma Gandhi who tried for the freedom of India or Mc Nerney who tried to transform Boeing, all of them needed the buy-in and support of all those masses that have to act for realizing the vision of the leader. If the vision remains as the leader’s prerogative alone the people are not going to act until it becomes the shared vision of every one. As Mc Nerney said “I am one and they are 75,000”. This means that the desired transformation will happen only when the mass is in alignment with the leader.    
The following anecdote shall illustrate this aspect:

Mahatma applied IEE in the process of getting freedom for our country, not with an intention to become the prime minister! His Integrity was un-questionable. He expressed his vision to the masses through several ways which ultimately brought enrolment of everyone in the country at that time.

Mr. TK. Balaji took over the reins of Lucas-TVS in early 80’s as an young CEO from IIM-A during the time the company was almost monopoly in auto-electrical in India. He felt the organization need to change its mind-set wrt its customer orientation, manufacturing systems and all support functions. All the people in Lucas-TVS at that point in time felt that why the CEO wishes to change the system when it was fairly established and they were the best. For a young CEO it is an uphill task to overcome this obstacle. He applied IEE law what I am talking about here. He had the clarity & conviction and believed in his goal and end state. The next thing is “Expression – articulation of your ideas” to all those who were ready to support him. The third law “Enrolment” of people became a reality slowly as the leader had the “Integrity” & “Expression”.

IEE is a power house of Change management irrespective of transforming a nation or an enterprise and its starts with the conviction of the leader and manifests in the transformation.
In summary:

·         Prosperity is the outcome everyone of us are pre-occupied with and its is the “Health, wealth and happiness for everyone - Shreyas”
·         We need the engagement of everyone to achieve our vision – be it a nation or enterprise.
·         Everything starts with a leader who comes up with an agenda for Change – Mahatma Gandhi for Indian freedom, Mc Nerney for Boeing or Jack Welch for GE.
·         The Conviction and Integrity of the Leader decides the enrolment of the people to support him without which the leader cannot achieve the vision.
·         The expression of the leader through communication is the next step in the process so that everyone can visualize his authenticity.
·         Once people see the fair intention, communicated authentically enrols them for the cause – it become a shared vision.
·         Finally it brings “Shreyas” for everyone.

Jai Gurudev

Saturday, October 9, 2010

3 Laws of Prosperity – IEE Principle

Some people rise above others and move rapidly in the corporate ladder or emerge as North Star and take the civilization to the next level. This would include prophets like Buddha or scientists like Edison. The outcome in both their case is prosperity; may be enlightenment in the case of Buddha and material wealth in the case of Edison. What way these human beings are different than the rest? I am of the view that prosperity is a default outcome for many who have amassed wealth. For example Edison did not invent electric bulb for becoming the richest man; he did it because he had a passion to contribute to the mankind and in the process became the richest man in the United States during his time.

I worked for Lucas-TVS for many years and during that tenure Mr. TS. Krishna was the Chairman of the board who was the second generation Leader. He was affectionately known as TSK. Normally we cannot see the Chairman of a corporate taking part in the daily activities of the company and occasionally they appear in the board meetings. On the contrary TSK knew all 3000 employees personally including what their children were doing at any point in time. This was possible due to his personal touch with the people as he had a daily routine of greeting all employees in the main gate at 7.00am in the morning, eat breakfast with the people and walk around the factory. Japanese have later called this leadership MBWT – Managing By Walking and Talking!!

It is often said “If you want to know how a person lived, please see how many people gather for his cremation”. The moment we are born, only one thing is certain; that we will die one day and all other outcome is a mystery which un-folds one after another. As Osho Rajneesh says “If the manual of your life is supplied when you are born like the one supplied when you by a television, Life will become a drudgery as we will also know when we will die!” Life is a brief period between birth and death. Before we could recognize, it depletes and we feel that not much has been accomplished.
There must be natural laws governing great achievements if you carefully examine. Let’s look at what are those laws and how one can adapt his/her attitude to these natural laws. I like to deal with the meaning of “Law” before we get into details. The synonyms of Law from Oxford dictionary is principle / directive / formula / rule etc governing the nature. Gravity is a law which governs the movement of masses; what you sow that you will reap is the law of karma and so on. I feel law is similar to an operating system of a computer which manages it. They are subtle and cannot be seen but their existence can be felt.

IEE – The 3 - Laws governing the Progress:
The diagram below depicts the 3 laws with Integrity at the base and enrolment in its apex which signifies the cause and effect relationship of each other.
Let’s examine each Law in greater details:

At the foundation level, we notice “Integrity”. I wish to pick the nearest synonyms of Integrity for our discussion – reliability / truthfulness / uprightness. Integrity is often misunderstood as moral (ethical / right / proper etc). I am of the view doing right thing is not what integrity means. I wish to draw Swami Vivekananda's definition of Integrity – “It is the integration of thoughts, words and action”. What does this really mean? Invariably we think something, speak something else and finally do something else! In Bhagawat Gita Lord Krishna calls this as Hypocrisy. When we have incongruence in our thinking, expression and words, people figure out that we are not reliable. Reliability is a result of “keeping up promises”; it may be showing up on time and keeping up our commitments. Many times when we say something to others, we internally know that we are not going to keep those words. This brings out a falsehood of our personality which is not authentic.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was called “Mahatma” (Great soul) for his integrity of thoughts, words and actions. When his wife refused to clean their toilet, he refused to live with her! When a man took his son to Ramakrishna Paramahansa and requested him to advise his son not to eat too much of sweet, the maharishi asked to bring him next week for the advise. He did this three times and finally advised him. The curious father asked Maharishi “why you did not advise him on the week I brought him? The great Mahan said “In the week-1 I was not eligible to advise him as I had no control over eating sweet! And in 3 weeks I practiced to control my tongue in order to be entitled to advise your son!” These great Mahans have proved what  “Integrity” is all about. 
In essence, be a leader or a follower, the reliability is the corner stone for making a mark in our career. I wish to share an anecdote to illustrate how integrity leads to prosperity with one of my colleagues in SSA:

Quaid Johar joined SSA as a meek looking humble boy with few years of experience after his engineering graduation. Normally, we don’t take our first few jobs very seriously as we feel that other pastures are greener till we recognize that all places are same. We go through the syndrome of the mouse in the book “Who moved my cheese?”

Quaid with his single pointed concentration and extraordinary composure made a big difference to SSA through his contributions of knowledge development in many complicated areas and playing a key role in our consulting assignments. I see him an un-stoppable guy with excellent inter-personal relationship and integrity. Ever since I met him, he always kept up his promises with his passion to make a difference in everything he did. I compare him with the famous music director and legend AR. Rahman who performs in an extraordinary manner and still wishes to be humble and un-assuming. They believe that one need not have to make tantrums to draw the attention upon them; mere performance will draw the spotlight on you. Today Quaid is a member of our critical mass of SSA.

I am of the view that ‘Integrity” is a manifested behavior of our passion for making a difference on this planet. When we enjoy what we do, we always excel in our performance. Integrity is like training our biceps in a gym which is a continuous practice and training of the mind. When we know that we are not going to keep our promises, we need to catch ourselves and remind that we have violated the Law no.1 I wish to give some simple tips to cultivate Integrity as a second nature:

1.    Make a conscious efforts to show up on time as punctuality is the starting point for enhancing your self esteem and establishes your integrity leading people to believe you as a “RELIABLE” person
2.    Reply all mails / sms that warrants your response immediately before closing the mails; it is very unlikely you will reply if you postpone for a later date. You look good in the eyes of the sender who expects a response from you. Not replying a mail is disrespect to the sender. If you are copied in the mail, choose your response based on the actions needed.
3.    Never give false promises when someone invites you for a function; you know whether you are going to keep up or not. Be authentic to say that you will not be able to attend.
4.    Acknowledge immediately if someone appreciates you. It is rude to keep quite when someone takes the pain of recognizing the good work you have done.
5.    Never ever give false promises to your little children; as your are teaching them lack of integrity when they are in their formative years.
6.    Finally check out whether there is an alignment between what you THINK, SPEAK and DO.

I shall deal with rest of the Laws in my next blog.

Jai Gurudev

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mystical Ingredient – Episode-10: Self-Expression

In the last 9 episodes, I have been exploring how few people emerge as leaders while all others remain as followers? This question was haunting me ever since I commenced my professional career. When I chose to become a consultant in my 50’s, I got the privilege of meeting and interacting with many CEO’s. I was closely observing the characteristics of these leaders with an aim to document my observations which will be of some benefit to growing youngsters and business leaders. In my previous episodes under the title of Mystical Ingredient, I had covered 9 characteristics of Leadership and in this episode I wish to add one more which is “Self-expression”.

SELF-EXPRESSION – Manifestation of Dharma of Life

The Lexicon has several synonyms for self-expression as “expressiveness”, “articulateness”, “eloquence” and so on. Let us examine what is self-expression and what relevance it has with the leadership and prosperity in life? My interpretation of self-expression is the ability of human beings to express them to make a difference in this planet. Each one of us has different degree of ability to make the World to know that we “exist”. Some of us are very articulate to express our ideas and some of us chose to be silent even when we have valuable ideas to contribute. Such of those who are very articulate are noticed and those who are silent gets ignored and taken for granted. I am not referring to aggressive behaviour to get your things done; it is the confidence with which we express to make a difference is what matters. Let’s look at the anecdote:

“Nandakumar grew up in a typical south Indian Brahmin family with religious beliefs and values. Like any youngsters growing up in such an environment, Kumar also displayed lack of confidence and hence self-expression as he believed he cannot make a difference in this planet. Your behaviour is the manifestation of what you believe and hence Kumar was seen as a meek looking youngster who was taken for granted. Whatever may be your character, the World will accept; it has accepted Hitler who could slaughter 10 million people and get away with it as well as Mahatma Gandhi who made a difference to this nation.

Like each one of us are branded based on our behaviours, Kumar was also branded as “meek” – timid and submissive. As Osho Rajnish used to say “Rose has born to be rose and Jasmine as jasmine – if rose tries to become jasmine, it will neither be rose nor jasmine”. Similarly Kumar has born to win as he has the right IQ and knowledge to manifest. Due to some unknown reasons he inherently believed that he cannot. Today Kumar is one of the most successful consultants and a star performer in SSA managing very big corporate accounts and making a difference in the field of process excellence

What made the difference in the case of Kumar? How his self-expression suddenly opened up?

Theory of Dharma:

In the creation every one of the element is intended to manifest a unique characteristics; the sun has to give warmth & light, the ice has to give chillness, the tiger has to be carnivore and cow has to be herbivore and so on. It is difficult to answer who made the cow as a vegetarian and tiger as a non-vegetarian? In philosophy it is called “Dharma”; dharma of water is to flow and dharma of fire is to burn. What is the significance of Dharma in self-expression? If you study the nature, particularly flora & fauna, we notice they exactly express the quality which is their “dharma”! They fire doesn’t feel shy to burn; the creeper doesn’t not feel shy of catching the wall and so on. The rose is proud to be a rose and snake as a snake. We notice self-expression is very evident in all creations in a natural manner without any hesitation. If that is the case why human beings have become so un-natural? We have forgotten to be the natural self due to the social conditioning.

In our childhood while we were laughing, we were told not to laugh! While we were serious, we were told why we are serious and so on! We are confused to be natural and slowly became artificial to please everyone around us. We want to “look good” rather than “feel good”. Over the period of time we lost our natural ability to express ourselves as we are. Self-expression hence is a natural process and does not require a B-school degree. All that is needed is “be natural as human”. Kumar chose to do this when it dawned on him.

Knowledge & self-expression:      
 One of the belief is “knowledge is needed for self-expression”. Many of us feel, if we open our mouth we may make ass out of ourselves as we have no adequate knowledge to impress people. If this is true, the Lion does not have knowledge but expresses it majestically! I am of the view that self-expression is a natural process and knowledge is more of an impediment rather than a virtue. If you carefully examine most of the leaders have limited knowledge in any one subject! They are generalist rather than experts in any single subject.

Kumar accumulated knowledge in many areas and still felt it is not enough to express him in the universe till it dawned on him that there is no connection between how much you know and your ability to market yourself. This self expression can never be given by any one like enlightenment; it cannot be taught, but has to be caught as Sukabodananda used to say. Kumar caught it one fine morning!

Self-expression & self-esteem: 
There is a strong correlation found to exist between self-expression and self-esteem. What is self-esteem? It is the opinion we carry about ourselves; some of us feel that we are great and some feel it is a curse that we have born in this planet. It is the result of our opinion of our physical, intellectual and emotional personalities. At the physical level all human beings without any exception feel, we could have been created little more beautifully. At the intellectual level, we feel we don’t have adequate knowledge as much as others have. At the emotional level, we always feel we could have been more stable and so on. At the end we always have a perennial dissatisfaction about ourselves in one context or the other. This feeling of inadequacy leads to some sense of low self-esteem which manifest in our self-expression.

A careful examination will reveal leaders provide vision & strategy and no knowledge for execution. As the CEO Coach Marshall Goldsmith said “You are paid more for showing people “what is to be done” rather than “how to do it?” I have noticed successful leaders / people are the ones who feel complete unto themselves with high self-esteem. Kumar suddenly recognized he is complete unto himself and felt fulfilled of what he is! The day it had happened, he turned out to be a star performer as he had all the knowledge and wisdom and his own opinion was his impediment. At last he found himself.

How do we improve our self-expression?

In summary, self-expression is nothing but manifestation of all your abilities without any inhibitions that makes a difference to this World. It is your ability to put your signature in everything you do and feel good in your death bed that you made a difference at the end of your life. My prescriptions for improving your self-expression are:

  • Believe you are a worthy human being irrespective of your physical, intellectual and emotional stature
  • You are here in this planet for a specific purpose; recognize and act accordingly.
  • Marketing yourself is your responsibility and no one will do it for you.
  • Only by manifesting your expression, the universe will notice you.
  • Whatever is your knowledge, it will still be fractional of what this universe knows! You can at the most a “Book in the Library and never be the library itself”
  • Even you are a spoke in the wheel of this universe; still you can make a difference for its existence.
  • Never hesitate to express yourself in as many forms as it is possible.
  • Prosperity is the function of your value addition; if don’t express you cannot add value.
  • Edison invented electric bulb since he wanted to “make a difference” and “not to make money” although he became one of the richest man – “When you make a difference, you make money by default!

·     Lastly, if you don’t manifest yourself, you are wasting your life.
 Jai Gurudev 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mystical Ingredient – Episode – 9: People Paradigm

In this episode I wish to continue the various people paradigms which enable the leader to get the best out the people to achieve the organizational goals. In my previous episode-8, I dealt with 4 paradigms and here I am continuing the paradigm-5 onwards.

Paradigm – 5: Performance assessment

One of the most sensitive aspects of people management is assessing their performance and giving feedback. Let us appreciate what is performance before we venture on assessment. An Organization is a constellation of people with different roles & responsibilities assigned to achieve an end result which could be financial and non-financial. Normally the complex network of people is structured with departments with functional roles which in turn become a value chain to convert the customer requirements into a value added product or service.

You may like to look at a simile such as a cricket team which has independent roles and interfaces governed by rules of the game. In a similar manner, an organization is also a game with roles and rules. If the organization has to perform, all individuals have to perform. Hence performance is nothing but achieving the intended goals at the end of the year.

In order to assess the performance of an individual, we need to set the expectations in the form of job descriptions and deliverables at the beginning of the year. A loosely wired organization, vaguely defined JD and absence of KRA (Key result areas) setting in the beginning of the year are generally the root causes for the people dissatisfaction and poor performance. I am of the view that if the people are not performing, the leader is responsible.  I wish to borrow the “GEM” ideology from Swami Shukabodananda to explain the role of the managers in getting best performance from their people.

“GEM stands for Goal setting, Empowerment and Measurement. The first step in GEM is Goal setting. Every human being is keen to make a difference in this planet and feels happy when he/she creates something new. The statistics shows that the people satisfaction levels and hence attrition is low in companies which has a lofty vision and engagement of the people. If the Leader has no vision the whole organization starts rotting and people have no sense of direction. The Organization goals are then deployed as individual goals till we reach the lowest level in the rung of the ladder for which techniques like Policy Deployment are helpful.

Having set the goals, the leader is expected to ensure the Empowerment part of the GEM. What is empowerment? I wish to use Juran’s Self-control to explain empowerment.  Dr JM. Juran defines Empowerment through three things which are important for any people to deliver what is expected from them:

  •  He/she knows what the result/outcome they are supposed to deliver and when.
  •  They should know how to operate through the process and identify when things go wrong.
  •  They should have the authority and knowledge to set things right or stop producing defective output.

Don’t you think that the Leader cannot blame people if he has failed to empower them through training, hand-holding, providing facility and authority?
The third aspect of GEM is Measure of performance - MOP and providing feedback. For vast majority of the processes, we have no measure of performance and we judge people subjectively without any data which leads to dissatisfaction. Driving an organization without MOP is like driving a motor car without a fuel indicator. Hence for effective performance management, the Leader has to apply GEM principles.

Paradigm-6: Potential Assessment

It is very difficult to describe what is potential and how to identify although HR experts have devised several theories and models. Referring the Thesaurus of potential, you find synonyms such as likely, probable, promising, doable, feasible, on the cards and viable. My understanding of potential is the “Hidden abilities of a human being yet to be manifested – it is a seed which has the potential to germinate and bear fruits”. Having attempted to define Potential let us look at the context of People Paradigm important to Leaders for the development of the organization.

Unlike performance which is a short term need of an organization, identifying the potential is the need for building institutions. It is paradoxical if I say “All performers may or may not have potential; and all potential people may or may not perform”. This statement clearly brings forth the distinction between Performance and Potential. In other words performance is what a person achieves in the present and potential is his/her ability to discharge higher responsibilities. ”Performance is a being and potential is becoming”. The following anecdote from Matshushita the founder of National brand will clarify (as stated by him from his book “Not for bread alone” written by him when he was 91 years old)

“Someone asked me how Matshushita Electric Company became a multi-national. After studying only up to second grade, I was working for Osaka Electric Company as an operator. Right from childhood I was curious to create something new and I sketched a concept of a new switch and proudly showed it to my supervisor requesting him to develop this as a product by Osaka Electric Company. He curtly answered me that I was not hired for designing their products. I felt why not I start my own company and had the audacity to commence an electric company with a missionary zeal to improve the quality of human life through electric appliances. Ever since I commenced my company, every year I found at least 3 people emerging as potential CEOs. In order to retain them I made them as entrepreneurs asking them to commence our overseas operation and that is how Matshushita Electric Company became the multi-national”

What a great Leader with no B-school education was able to identify the potential of people and build institutions. Many organizations today don’t have a process to identify and develop the hidden potential of people. There are few Indian corporate which has examples for potential identification as their CEOs are home grown:

Mr. KK.Nohria CMD of Crompton Greaves, Mr SM.Trehan MD of Crompton Greaves, Mr AM.Naik CMD of L&T are all the examples of leadership to identify and mentor the potential of people. They have all joined as trainee and grown up to the highest rung in the organizational ladder. Can you imagine they have superseded over 11,000 people and retained their position?

In summary:

  • All human beings have the potential of different degree waiting to blossom.
  • Nature wants variety and hence it will create new possibilities
  • Swami Vivekananda was hidden in Narendra, Mahatma was hiding in Mohandas Garamchand Gandhi and so on
  • Looking for performance only is a myopic view of a leader; searching for potential is the characteristics of a Level-5 leader.
  • Performance focus helps organizations to survive; potential focus builds multi-nationals.
  • You don’t know what giant is hiding in you! Don’t be satisfied with what you are as what you could be may be a great possibility.

The people paradigm will continue.
Jai Gurudev

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mystical Ingredient – Episode- 8 – People Paradigm

In this series “Mystical Ingredient for a successful Leadership”, we have discussed many leadership qualities any common man can develop to emerge as a CEO of any corporate. This series is nothing but portrayal of all the mistakes I did in my corporate career combined with my observations of the qualities of many successful leaders in my consulting career & the few CEO coaching I do these days.

One of the greatest ingredients for successful leadership is “How one relates with the people around them?” which is the result of their paradigm about the people. This is the main topic of discussion in this article. I request my patrons to read this article not only with a perspective of developing their leadership skills but also with an aim to improve their relationship with their loved ones or any people with whom they interact. I am of the view that our behaviours in our adulthood are the result of our childhood conditioning. This is the findings of many gurus of human psychology such as William James, Sigmund Freud and many others. Here is an anecdote from my personal life to illustrate what I am referring. 

“I grew up in a large family of 11 observing my father as a tyrant whose territory the people dare not to tread in. He was a terror to many people as that is the personality he possessed and got away with it successfully throughout his life. Unfortunately, for any male child the father is the first person through whom he understands the world and unconsciously role model them. Among the many good qualities which have become the foot print of my dad, by default I unconsciously took the aggressive behaviour as a feature in me. This aggressive behaviour did not work well with my loved ones and became an impediment for my growth in my professional career till the mentor arrived and corrected on time.”   

This anecdote gives you an idea how our paradigms shape up our ability to deal with people and decide our destiny. Please remember, as we grow in our corporate ladder we need the enrolment and support of people to deliver results as we have less “doers” role as we climb up. I wish to present few paradigms about people which I consider of paramount importance for getting best out of people. Paradigms are the attitude one can choose with respect to any aspect of life; it is the philosophy of choice that we make and all our behaviours will manifest from this philosophy.  I shall provide few anecdotes wherever appropriate by referring great leaders I had come across.

Paradigm-1: “Law of Universe”
This universe is designed as a “Spontaneous Organization” which does not require a “Manager to run”. Looks complex to start with? Our understanding is for successfully running anything we need to supervise and manage. If you look at anything in nature, be it the rain forest, day & night, seasons, planetary motions, formation & destruction of nebulae and so on, everything happens without any external controls. As we believe that everything needs to be controlled, we have created an entity called “GOD” and safely put the responsibility on Him. Please don’t take me wrong that I am atheist. In reality we find that the whole universe is designed as a self sustaining mechanism and it is impossible for someone to oversee and give decisions for tsunamis or earthquakes or seasons to happen. They are all governed by few laws and they are self-sustained in nature.

The message from this paradigm is “Everything in this universe are interlinked and interdependent” for existence. Thinking that one is superior than the other is foolishness as the spoke is as important in a bicycle as the hub and rim. It is important to develop a paradigm that the leader needs everyone to do their bit to make a successful outcome. In fact the Leader are the “Non-Doers” and “Doers” at the same time as he makes things happen without doing anything himself. As the leader is dependent on the people resource, respecting this law of universe makes them humble.

Paradigm-2: “People are creation of Good”
As Ishikawa in his book “Total Quality Control” has written that there are two paradigms about people as it is stemming from the religious beliefs. The western philosophy believes that “Human are creation of evil” and the eastern philosophy believes “People are Devine in human form” – two diametrically opposite paradigms. How this has got anything to do with our ability to manage people?

Most of the western management principles are stemming from the philosophy that “Human is a creation of evil” as it states that if you leave people alone without supervision they will involve in destructive activities. This paradigm is evident in the organizational structures and systems that were developed from the western countries which has “maker-checker” and inspection based. The Ford production system of the earliest automobile manufacturing believed in “Thinkers & Doers” – few intelligent people to think and create a process and rest of the dumb people to produce.

On the other hand, the Toyota Production system coming from the philosophy that “Human is a creation of good” and once they are aligned well with the vision of the company they don’t need any supervision. The concept of supervision based structure is very rare in a Japanese company. Most successful leaders have a very positive feeling about people working for them.

Paradigm-3: “Forming Opinions & Judgement”
I am the believer of Freudian theory that People manifest behaviour driven by their values. In a heterogeneous culture in India we have multi-various and diversified values. One of the negative characteristics of the leader is developing quick opinion and judgement about people. It is extremely difficult to remain in an unbiased manner without the influence of language, religion, caste and creed of our subordinates attracting and creating a comfort levels for us. There are many leaders who had succumbed to this weakness and created a poor image for themselves.

This characteristic of a leader divides people and starts developing different layers in the organization. I am of the view that every human being has equal opportunity to be a successful contributor if he/she is mentored and developed. If someone is not performing the leader must examine what way his/her leadership is the cause for the poor performance. Passing early judgement without examine the leadership style is a sin that is to be eliminated for creating a good climate.

Paradigm-4: “Hiring Heart & Head”
I grew up in Chennai in TVS culture as my formative career was spent with them for 17 years. Mr TS.Krishna, the chairman of Lucas-TVS in early 70’s is known for his Leadership who always believed that “TVS hires the heart and not the head of the people”. What does this really mean? It will become evident from his daily routines. As a chairman he need not have to clock in at 7.15 am when the company starts, but always he was found standing & greeting people in the main gate from 6.45am onwards. He knew all 3000 people’s name and their family history. This includes who is not well and what their off-springs are studying and so on. 

His daily routine also includes eating breakfast in the canteen along with all workmen and walking through the shop floor every day and enquiring the well being of the workmen. TVS always believed that if their employee’s heart is happy then they will do their best to the organization. This gives focus for the leaders to give importance to the emotions of their people instead of believing that their head is only hired. It is coming from the paradigm that if we have genuine interest of the well being of the people they will form as an asset to our organization. I wish to share the following to reinforce my point:

“Shekhar Mane has joined our organization (SSA) as accounts assistant few years back. as an unassuming and soft spoken youngster. We employed him more as a account keeping person looking at his deceptive profile. Now over the last few years he has developed his stature to control our finance function significantly contributing to our performance. His growth in stature is a result of his efforts combined with our keenness to bring the giant sleeping in him. He is enjoying his career with our team as we respect the head and the heart together"
I am not concluding this episode as many more people paradigm is due to be shared with you.
This episode will continue next week.

Jai Gurudev

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