Archive for October, 2010

Qualities that makes a leader!

October 28, 2010

This is in response to the blog ‘4 Reasons People Will Follow You‘ by one of my mentors S Ganesh.

I agree that management education is seen to focus on techniques like creating a vision, giving killer PowerPoint, etc while there is more to leadership that mastering a few techniques. What makes a person truly stand out as a leader are qualities like Humanness, Intuition, Tough empathy and Uniqueness which are mentioned as essential.

Additionally, I would include conviction/self-belief and responsibility/ownership. I think I need to elaborate both as they are often mis-used and mis-understood.

Conviction is about righteousness and correctness of both the goal and the means, and self-belief is about one’s own (which includes team, in this case) ability to accomplish well ( and on time and budget etc). Real challenge here is to stay clear of rots, like dogmas and sycophancies which masquerades as teamwork.

Again, responsibility and ownership is often considered as externally imposed. But, it works well only when responsibility and ownership is accepted by respective members in full earnestness and when they are enabled adequately. This can happen only with an inspired leadership who demonstrates responsibility and ownership, acts as a role model and truly leads.

Knowledge and skills can be taught but can fundamental qualities be? My take on this is that these factors more instinctive, more ingrained into the persona and, therefore, difficult to be inculcated by conventional external means of training and education.

Further, while many would agree in principle on these, specific contextual guidance is required to translate these into daily practices by budding leaders of tomorrow. I think these are qualities that we acquire, drawing inspiration from people we work with. They act as a role model providing practicable interpretation of these values in the context of work. That is, inherent qualities in individuals finding expression under a right mentor in the right environment


Be the change!

October 26, 2010

Life is not always a bed of roses but it is more like a roller coaster ride. There are times in life when we find we landed ourselves in a wrong place. There are times when experiences are awful. It happens at home, office or business.

Common tendency to set on fault finding trail in the name of taking corrective measures, in such circumstances. It only creates bad blood. In any case, any amount of accusing, cursing, or lamenting is going to get you out of the mess.

It does not really matter whether you are in mess because of yourself, someone else or circumstances. What is actually required is specific decisive and corrective action directed towards to goal

Words of wisdom: Great men are rare (and hence precious), like genuine gems

October 22, 2010

How one leads one own life is, very much, a matter of individual’s choice. There may be some who would argue that  life is is a mere existence; something that one needs to enjoy and/or endure?

I wonder, what is the difference between a man’s life and that of a beast. Rather, I consider the life of a beast better than that of such a life

I am reminded of a famous quote from Karl Marx which goes as: …a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst of architects from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality

That translates to me in the context as : man’s life and his works are not mere existence but rather a conscious experience and intentional creation.

Aahaaranidraabhayamaithunam Cha


Dharmohi Teshhaamadhiko Visheshho

Dharmena Hiinaah Pashubhih Samaanaah

Eating, sleeping, sex etc are all common to both animals and humans; what is special about men is their consciousness (of what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is not). A man devoid of such a consciousness is comparable to a beast.

Successful life has both an element of responsibility as well as fun; a responsibility to self and the world around.

People who are able to combine both, and get true life experience, effectively are rare. No wonder, it is said:

Saile Saile Na Maanikyam Mauktikam Na Gaje Gaje

Saadhavo Na Hi Sarvatra Chandanam Na Vane Vane

Precious stones are not in every mountain, Diamond is not on every elephant, Good people are not everywhere and Sandalwood is not in every forest

But, fortunately for us, they are lost in the archives of time. They are very much amongst us, if only we care to look around. They serve as our role models and guiding light.  Here is one such example from the thick of action:

Determined effort can work wonders!

October 19, 2010

Unexpected, unfortunate turn of events happen in every one’s life, some time or other.  How you act or react, when chips are down, shows your true character.

I am reminded of a zen story that I heard some time back. It goes somewhat like this:

An arrogant man came to meet a zen master.

Visitor was too proud of himself. He requested zen master to comment on his true nature, expecting the zen master to acknowledge his piety. To his surprise, zen master kept mum.

Silence made him feel slighted and, angry at the insult, he drew out the sword threatening the zen master. The zen master smiled now, and said ‘this shows your true nature

Faced with adversities, some withdraws into inaction, or worse depression (I am not OK, you are OK types).

Some reacts violently, putting blame on others (I am OK, you are not OK types). This antagonizes people  and end up making them your enemies. Putting blame on others, in any case,  is not going to get you out of the mess. Often, inaction or impulsive reaction inflicts more damage than the actual disaster  itself.

Only a few (I am OK, you are OK types) shows the strength of character to do the right thing. That is, set a goal and work towards diligently, and only that can get you out of the mess; no matter whether mess was your own creation or pushed onto you. Determined effort can actually work wonders!

Remember, self-defence is a duty to yourself. But, do watch out against your actions getting vengeful,  colored by emotion

Value based living, Peaceful social co-existence and prosperity

October 18, 2010

World is getting increasingly smaller and smaller, and ancient notion of vasudhaiva kutumbakam is now a reality of daily life for many of us.

While much of this is good, there is naturally flip side. As world becomes a melting pot of social interaction, we are witnessing explosive clashes of various social, ethnic, and religious groups fighting one another, in an attempt to establish their domination or retain a foothold in the emerging social order

Standing aloof, yet standing tall is a great civilization, perhaps the only one, that has survived onslaught of foreign invasion, plundering, and occupation for centuries together; a civilization where ‘unity in diversity’ is a daily experience; a civilization founded on value based personal life leading to peaceful social co-existence and prosperity

Leadership: Handling failure

October 17, 2010

It is not absence of failure but rather how you handle that makes a true leader


I am humbled watching this great man smile!

October 16, 2010

To the say the least, I am humbled watching this video.

Despite all my self-assertions, preaches and pretensions, there are times that I felt helpless and lost. I am speechless before this great man.

I do not want to demean this great man calling him a gift of god or god himself. I would say, it is one of those rare being who rise above nature/god/(whatever you call).

I am reminded, yet once again, that true happiness is not a reward that you get but rather what you make of what you have.

Words of wisdom: Working hard

October 13, 2010

Praagutthaanam Cha Yuddham Cha Samvibhaagam Cha Bandhushu

Swayamakramyabhuktuscha Sikshet Chatvaari Kukkudaat

Getting up very early in the morning, striving for food (irrespective of whatever heights you may have achieved in the past, every day is a new day and one need to look ahead, plan and work), sharing gains with near and dear (joy shared is multiplied), eating what is acquired with one’s own effort (not living on freebies) are four qualities to be learned from rooster


Words of wisdom: Focused action at the right time critical to success

October 12, 2010

Indriyaani Cha Samyamya Bakavat Pandito Narah

Desakaalabalam Jnatva Sarvakaaryaani Saadhayet

Like a crane, keep your senses and emotions in check, wait for right time and place, and act decisively, with precision at the right place, at the right time.

That is, once you decide upon a goal,  keep yourself intensely focused and act decisively at the right time for success

Words of wisdom: True success comes only with your best efforts

October 11, 2010

Udyamena Hi Sidhyanthi Kaaryaani Na Manorathaih

Nahi Supthasya Simhasya Pravisanthi Mukhe Mrugaah

Anything can be achieved only with due effort. Animals do not walk into the mouth of lion (as its food)

Pravruddham Kaaryamalpamvaa Yo Narah Karthumicchathi
Sarvaarambhena Tatkaaryam Simhaadekam Prachakshathe

It is said that lion attacks its prey with its entire might.

Once you decide upon an action, put your best efforts for it even if it appears very easy and trivial.

That is, don’t ever try make  half hearted effort. Do it  properly in the best possible way, if you must,  or just leave it;

Half-hearted efforts are just time/energy-wasters