Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mindflex: Uday Acharya - Q&As from Linkedin

uday acharya
Q&Aa  from Linkedin
Think globally act locally. see how you can contribute as an individual to further the interests of the team, organization, and society. Contribution is a magic factor that makes you see yourself as small and big at the same time. A small act can result in major changes for the common good. It is like Ayn Rand observed - that dimunitive humans can build skyscrapers and enhance their stature as creators of things that are bigger than themselves. Empowering ourselves and discovering purpose is the key to living a fulfilling and happy life.

  • Trainers: What do you do if only some people in the class have done the pre-work?

  • My first instinct is to take this as a challenge to compare the performance of the two subgroups to show the importance of prework. Obviously homework pays. :) My other impulse would be to give some time for the pre-nonworkers to complete their tasks

    While the well prepared ones were given time off for good behaviour. :) Seriously, I would highlight the importance of pre-work if necessary by making participants do the homework in class. I probably would go into extra time to complete the planned lesson. The pre-workers would get an opportunity to speak about their efforts and share their learning.

    Mentors, colleagues, and authors have been my constant inspiration. Swami Chinmayananda: "Crystallise the problem and you will come up with an solution." Swami Dayananda: "The problem is You, The solution is You." Swami Brahmavidananda: "Convert Thoughts to action, Life rewards action." Susan Jeffers: "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway." Stephen Covey: "Private Victory comes before Public Victory." Swami Vivekananda: "You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of the Gita." Proverbs: God helps those who help themselves." Eric Berne: "I'm OK! You're OK! World's OK!"

    Competition can bring out the best in you as also the worst. All depends on where you are willing to draw the line. Healthy competition inspires you to explore your potential and exploit it to the maximum. It whets your creative juices and primes you to excel your own limits.

    Competitors are benchmarks for you to rate yourself as you develop your strengths and identify weaknesses. I have learnt from my competitors and made them my gurus (like Ekalavya I should add). I give them due credit and also work with them wherever possible for mutual benefit.

    Trade associations and inerest groups are examples of cooperation. In an organization, individuals and departments need to cooperate. But competition held in sportsmanship like spirit can add energy and zest to the process. The idea is for the best to be recognized and to be role models for the rest of the organization. Recognize talent and learn from the best is my motto.

    H Be Honest - Admit Your Limitations, Ask for Cooperation F Follow Up. Take Prompt Action on Complaints L Listen Well and Empathise. Be a Good Friend R Remember Client Preferences, Bugbears. Respect Client Opinions and Backgrounds D Deliver What You Promise On the Dot

    My favourite quote is - "Don't talk AT people; talk To them." I am not sure whether one "talks with" people or "talks to" them. Yes you can "converse with" people, you can "address" them, but ultimately what works is to "work with them". Also you do not work under someone, nor does someone have to under you. We "work with" others, and others "work with" us.

    For that matter, we do not work "for someone" or for the company. We work with the company and vice versa for mutual gain. As training facilitators, we benefit from the learners perhaps much than what they benefit from us. We are not there to advice but to help others to join us in the learning curve. And learning begins with acknowledging our ignorance despite what we have learnt before.

    Together as a group, we are more intelligent and capable than any one of us, no matter how individually brilliant and competent we may be.

    The Heart of a Leader - Insights on the Art of Influence by Ken Blanchard Fifth Wave Leadership - The Internal Frontier by Morris Shechtman Competing for the Future by Gary Hamel & CK Prahalad Eight Habit - Finding your Voice and Helping Others to Find their Voice by Stephen Covey First Things First - Stephen Covey

    • What are the core competencies we could expect from a leader in an organisation whose culture is driven by innovation?
    • Provocative Thinking 
    • Encourage Risk Taking 
    • Take Responsibility for Failures 
    • Persistence *Resilience 
    • Positive Frame of Mind 
    • Flexibility 
    • Ability to Motivate 
    • Build Think Tank Networks 
    • Cost - Benefit PMI Anaylsis (Plus Minus Interesting) 
    • Innovative Advertising & Marketing 
    • Exploit 'First Off the Block' Advantage 
    • Grade/Upgrade Competitors' Products 
    • Room for Entropy and Unpredictable Market Behaviours 
    • Exposure to Diverse Paradigms
    • Openness to Feedback and Suggestions 
    • Shelve unused/rejected ideas for future recycling 
    • Set Workplace atmosphere to suit innovators' convenience 
    • Ask for Daily innovative thought for the day/hour/minute 
    • Constant innovation in work culture/practices/methodology 
    • Experiment with Humour/Play in Workplace 
    • Customer driver innovation 
    • Exploit new technology 
    • Negotiate with shareholders, venture capitalists, innovators, and government. 
    • Create Multiple products and markets 
    • Work for Niche/Mass Product/Price Range 
    • Abundance Thinking 
    • Creative Visualization 
    • Innovate Innovation
    Churchill was a successful leader, but a manager ...... ? A manager can hold the group steady and functional, but it requires a leader to deal with crisis and change. A leader can inspire the team to make sacrifices and put the team goals ahead their own.

    However if the leader does not acknowledge the individual interests and purposes, the team is likely to get demoralised and fall apart. Hitler & Gandhi both come to mind as inspiring leaders but not great managers. On the other hand, many of our coalition government heads are examples of good managers who are not necessarily great leaders.

    Great Leadership and Managerial Skills are exemplified by Chanakya and encoded in his Arthashastra treatise. The same has been popularised by Radhakrishnan Pillai who recently got the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Award for his meritorius work - the youngest person to get this award.

    Enhancing personal abilities to levels beyond required specs and planning to taking on responsibilities beyond current designation. In short: Planning your own redundancy - the ability to lead, delegate, and soar beyond the horizon.

    Discretion is the better part of valour, but he who hesitates is lost. Take time to decide but don't let grass grow below your feet. You are nothing without dreams, you are nothing unless you wake up from the dream.

    If you have adequate experience of the job, why do you need training? And if you are well trained, do you really need to be experienced? Usually effective training is on the job training that includes simulated experiences. Experiences give you an feel of the while training gives you the knack of it. They complement each other and add value. Old sanskrit subhashitas illustrate these points well: Experience without learning is like a donkey who carries a load without knowing its value. Learning without experience is like a parrot reading scriptures. Wisdom is to be respected, not age. A aged parrot is not necessarily wiser than an intelligent child. Knowledge in books and money lent to others are both unavailable when you really need them most.

    According to Chanakya, the king is the leader and the prime minister is the manager of the state. Alternately, the prime minister is the leader and his counsellors are managers.

    Leadership is about thinking ahead, dreaming about a better future. and preparing the organization for best/worst scenarios. It is about finding the right people for the right job, exploring new needs and creating relevant new jobs.

     Leadership is questioning purpose, asking what the business of the organization is, and how the organization is relevant to the universe outside it.

    Leadership is about introspection, research, asking questions like why? and why not?

    Management is about being practical and rooted to ground realities. It is about making dreams come true.

    Management is about good housekeeping, problem solving, and optimising the work flow. It involves good communication and keeping ears to the ground. It involves dealing with difficult people and taking unpleasant decisions wherever needed.

    A good leader can be a good manager and vice versa, but there is no necessary connection. I have known great managers and great leaders handicapped because they lacked the complementary balancing skills.

    The ideal leader is one who is able to inspire others to his vision and identify leaders who can make it come true. Good to Great by Peter Levine is a book about Level 5 Leadership. The Leader combines courage with consideration, finding the right people to do the job and then getting out of the way.

    No one person in the team can be more capable than the whole team working together. In the Ramayana, a squirrel helped Lord Ram to build a bridge across the ocean. The best practices of HR is to identify talent and help them to reach their potential while working together as a team. The combined efforts of each individual needs to be a coordinated harmoniously to get best results. Else, the efforts may work at cross purposes and create unhappy results.

    Leadership is the art of ensuring that the team has good communication, high trust, great motivation, and total self confidence to work together and achieve the results set before them. A good leader is also one who listens to the team members to evolve better ideas and practices in a constant process of improving performance.

    A good leader sets the parameters for the team to function and gets out of their way when they start performing. A total leader is one who can lead from the front as a captain in the army, lead from the middle, as a sergeant marching with his men, or from the back, as a general who sits in the headquarters and sets the course of action for the war. Ultimately, it is the individuals in the team who make the winning possible.

    Peace comes when you stop struggling with yourself and come to terms with what was, be in harmony with what is, and motivate yourself to achieve what can be. Peace comes when you understand that achievements are limitless and one lifetime is not enough to reach all of them. There is a time when you let go, saying what I achieved was good, what I am achieving is good, and what I may or may not achieve also is good.

    Once I settle with my own inner demons, I can enjoy the process of living, growing, reaching, and letting go. The trick is to recognise that personal success is subjective, and has nothing to do with competing with others. Competition is good to bring out the best in you by learning from those who are ahead of you and those who are fast catching up on you from behind. Competition needs to be treated as friendly and enjoyable. and it should not be looked on as a life or death issue.

    Peace comes when you can appreciate your competitor and acknowledge his good shots, and tell yourself it is not the end of the world. Ultimately, the sport is meant for you, and not the other way around. Achievements represent your inner drive and confidence, and at no time should achievements serve to cover up your low self esteem and unhappiness.

    Peace comes when you are able to confront your inner demons and heal yourself of the inner wounds to your spirit. The wounds will never fully heal, and the scars will always remain. However you can accept that there is a time for sadness and a time to let go. When you have addressed important issues in your life connected to career, health, relationships, society, and personal growth, and have learnt to live well, love well, learn well, laugh well, and let go, you will have become an ambassador of peace that the world will love to meet.

    Let Christmas be the point where we can reconnect to ourselves, loved ones, and to the environment around us, and help build up a community of joy, love, peace, and happiness. Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

    • Specific 
    • Measurable 
    • Achievable
    • Realistic 
    • Time bound 


    • Sensitive, Sensible 
    • Motivated 
    • Assertive 
    • Researching, Reviewing 
    • Transformational 


    • Smiling 
    • Modest 
    • Attractive 
    • Responsive 
    • Trustworthy 


    • Steady, Sociable, Success Oriented, Self Respecting, Self Confident 
    • Motivating, Mentoring, Mindful, Meditative, Mediating, Moderating, Measuring 
    • Active, Action Oriented, Assertive, Accepting, Anchoring, Anticipating, Answerable, Anecdotal,
          Adding Value, Annotating, Associating
    • Reasoning, Researching, Reviewing, Respectful, Reminding, Reviving. Rewarding, Relaxed
    • Training, Timekeeping, Thoughtful, Testing, Tutoring, Targeting, Trusting, Trustworthy,

    Ask questions :
    why? and
    why not?

    What is thought leadership? Why is it important? How does thought leadership work?

    What are the factors that contribute to it? Where can we apply it? Why not heart leadership?

    What do we need to create an ideal society? When can we hope to reach that point? How can we make it happen? Where can we find the resources? Why is it so difficult to achieve?

    Why not have a society where animals and plants enjoy human rights?

    What industries do we need to meet the future?

    When will we have whole hearted cooperation from all stake holders?

    How can we make these industries profitable?

    Where can we locate these industries?

    Why do we need profits at all?

    Why can we not process food and essentials from the earth directly like plants?

    As human beings I am not perfect. You are not perfect. Others are not perfect. And that is perfect. I am not OK. And I am OK. You are not OK. And Your are OK. Others are not OK. And Others are OK.

    Perfection is an ideal picture of what is possible in an ideal world. To the extent we work towards that ideal world, we are growing. Else you end up with what the dictator told his employees at work-

    'Perfection is the only expectation. Excellence will be tolerated.'

    I have been associated professionally and personally with both Radhakrishnan Pillai and Capt. Ajay Achuthan. Both are seminar leaders and great motivational speakers. Both are from Mumbai and are experienced in team management and strategic leadership. They are part of the linkedin network and can be contacted directly.
    Radhakrishnan Pillai :
    Capt. Ajay Achuthan

    Hi. In on training program, we were asked to form groups and form human machines - eg. one group became a coffee grinder, another became a train entering a station, a third became a mobile cell phone, etc. We had great fun discussing and enacting the theme. Another activity was to write a poem beginning with the sentence "It was a dark and stormy night" with the workshop topic being the theme.

    Each group came up with some unique poems and we all collapsed with laughter. I have been using the world bank game for a long time now. This is a game that is played across teams and involves strategy and negotiation skills. I also use the focusing exercise with four persons using their index fingers only to lift a seated person from off the chair to a distance of one feet above.

    Make teams and give them a job to accomplish - make a theme song, form components of a working machine or orgainzation, make a story using group imagination, plan an event or party, speak about role models, enact an adjective connected with your first name, etc. Guaranteed to keep spirits light and flowing.

    Get organizations to open their doors and invite me in - to work together for mutual benefit.

    The Bible speaks of "Empty thy cup and I shall fill it."

    Unlearning is the willingness to be wrong if only to see if alternate learning is possible. It is the attitude of I may be right, but you may be right as well. So let us see what is more right rather than who is more right.

    Buddhism speaks of opposites in this fashion:: The opposite of truth is a lie. But the opposite of a great truth is another great truth.

    The Court of Law requires all witnesses to take the oath: "I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

    Even when we speak the truth, our truth is based on the way we see the truth rather than what is actually out there. The idea is to see our version of truth as subjective and be willing to see if there is something more to it than what we see.

    Every problem has a solution, and every solution can in turn give rise to a new problem. Since there are no absolutes in changing situations, we need to learn, unlearn and relearn to manage change.

    Yesterdays solutions may not work for today, and today's solutions may not work for our children tomorrow. To keep an open mind, and not let our beliefs interfere with the reality out there requires a lot of humility. Sometimes past success interferes with our future results because we stick to the past way of doing things while the future may be drastically different from the past.

    Dream can be big - it involves no investments! However, bigger the dream, the less it allows you to sleep.

    I dream of a time when monopolies will cease to matter and where services will be exchanged in mutually convenient ways. I dream of a place where people can drop their egos and co-operate to make the world a better place to live in.

    I dream of an atmosphere where people do not have to earn their living but can express their talents for the sheer pleasure of it. I dream of a universe where everyone fulfils their destiny in the best way possible.

    Is it asking for too much? I dream of a practical answer to all questions. We have the means. What we need is the will and courage to sustain. I believe the time has come for the best brains and hearts and hands and legs to come together in concert to make all dreams come true in the best way possible.

    Past successes may blind us to future possibilities. We rest on our laurels and take our success for granted. When we have a good thing going, it is difficult to think of diversifying. But it is a requirement of change management to think of plan b even when plan a is working well.

    Naturee diverisifies, and therefore evolves. Evolution entails thinking out of the box and asking what if and why not. Change or be changed is the mantra of evolution. Constant upgradtion and childlike curiosity is the path to sustainable success and growth.

    A smile is a psychological stroke that pleases both the giver and receiver. When you see a person who has lost his smile, give him one of yours. Even if he does not respond, you have made your day. And if that person does respond, he has made your day. Business is all about building relationships and a smile is the cement that binds people together.

    An honest relationship is usually best. Promise the team that as long as it exists, you are there with them and expect them to be with you. We are in this together and it is better to swim than to sink. In a negative scenario, it does not pay to have a negative attitude. In the Tale of Two Cities, people face the prospect of death by encouraging each other and joining hands together.

    Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is the only way to survive crisis. When everything is lost, you still have hope. And where there is life there is hope. The match is not lost until the last ball is bowled. You have lost only if you have given up trying. And who knows, the tide may turn any minute. That is the power of faith.

    The temptation is to cut down on training and marketing. Actually these are the very things that will help in coming out of recession. However both training and marketing need to be streamlined to the need of the hour and customer preference and needs should be examined uner a magnifying glass. Customer retention should be focused on while searching for new markets.

    If you do not know where you want to go, there is no place to go.

    If you do not know where you are, there is no right direction to go.

    If you do not know how to go, there is no way to go.

    Vision starts with a dream, then you wake up to capture the dream in your vision board, and then you pursue the dream because it does not allow you to sleep.

    Vision can inspire you to reach goals beyond your lifetime. The old man was asked why he was planting a mango tree when he was almost on his last legs. He replied : The tree is not for me, it is for my grandchildren - they will enjoy the fruits of my labor.

    Unless you have a grand dream, it does not inspire you to live fully. Gandhi and Lincoln had to stretch themselves to fulfill their mission. That is the power of vision. The goal is worth all the trouble.

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