Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In search of answers....

There is a story of a shepherd boy. The boy was supervising his flocks one day in hillside. He was climbing up on the steep hill, Suddenly he slipped , lost his balance, and began sliding toward the edge of the twenty-foot drop.

Panicking, he cried out, 'Please God, help me.'

Just at that moment, his pants caught on a sharp tree branch and he stopped sliding toward the edge.

He looked up and said, 'Never mind, God, my pants are caught on a tree branch.'

Is this story witty? But many of us are like this little boy. We keep on talk about the problems and pray for solutions. But we don't recognize the help when it comes. Be alert - answers can exists in any form. Look for it and use it appropriately.

The Leader of the Future

This was an excellent discussion (Q&A type) on Leadership by William C. Taylor with Ronald Heifetz -- one of the world's leading authorities on leadership.

Article link location: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/25/heifetz.html
Single Page view - link location: http://www.fastcompany.com/node/37229/print

Heifetz, 48, director of the Leadership Education Project at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, is a scholar, a teacher, and a consultant. This article explains number of questions under headings - "How Leaders ..."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fire you? You must be kidding!

This is a story about Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM. One day, Watson called a young vice president into his office after the vice president had just spent $10 million of the company’s money developing a new product line that had failed.

The vice president came into Watson’s office and said immediately, "I know that you are going to fire me for losing all of that money. I just want you to know that I am sorry, and I will leave without causing any problems."

Watson replied with these famous words: "Fire you? You must be kidding! I’ve just invested $10 million on your education. Now, let’s talk about your next assignment."

Is these type of answer really possible in our organization?

Even if a guy who did a mistake which didn't cost much to the project?

I don't see any manager takes mistakes as the learning activity and they shout at the employee. In some cases thrown the employee out of the job.

Friday, March 21, 2008

There ain’t no free lunch

There’s a old story about a king. One day, the king called his chief adviser and told him, ‘‘Go out and find the secret of success. State it simply and concisely so the people will do it.’’

The adviser spent a year researching the topic and came back to the king with three books full of his findings.

The king said, ‘‘That’s not simple or succinct enough. The people are lazy. They won’t read three books.’’ So, the adviser spent another year and came back with one book.

The king said, ‘‘That’s not simple or succinct enough. The people are lazy. They won’t read a book.’’ So, the adviser spent another year and came back with one chapter.

The king said, ‘‘That’s not simple or succinct enough. The people are lazy. They won’t read a chapter.’’

Finally, the adviser spent another year and came back with five words. The king said, ‘‘Now you’re talking. The people will relate to something that’s that easy to digest.’’

The adviser said, ‘‘Here’s the piece of paper with the five words.’’

The paper said, ‘‘There ain’t no free lunch.’’

The adviser was killed.

---- Here is the principle according to economists ----

"The fundamental principle on which this strategy is built may be expressed in a simple slogan—There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, the "TANSTAAFL principle," for short.

The TANSTAAFL principle is closely related to the fundamental theorem of ecological economics, that everything depends on everything else.

Everything worthwhile has a cost.
Whenever you think you are getting something for nothing, look again—someone, somewhere, somehow is paying for it.
Behind every free lunch there is a hidden cost to be accounted for.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why stock markets tumbles...

Recently, stocks are sold heavily and price of stocks are coming down very fast. Everyone gets panic and coming out of market even though they are in loss to reduce further loss. This behavior was very well explained by Merton in his book Social Theory and Social Structure. He wrote a fictional story about a bank.

There was a bank of Cartwright Millingville. It is a typical bank, and Millingville has run it honestly and quite properly. As a result, like all banks, it has some liquid assets (cash), but most of its assets are invested in various ventures.

Then one day, a large number of customers come to the bank at once —the exact reason is never made clear. Customers, seeing so many people at the bank, begin to worry. False rumors spread that something is wrong with the bank and more customers rush to the bank to try to get some of their money out while they still can. The number of customers at the bank increases, as does their annoyance and excitement, which in turn fuels the false rumors of the bank's insolvency and upcoming bankruptcy, causing more customers to come and try to withdraw their money.

At the beginning of the day — the last one for Millingville's bank — the bank was not insolvent. But the rumor of insolvency caused a sudden demand of withdrawal of too many customers, which could not be answered, causing the bank to become insolvent and declare bankruptcy.

Merton concludes this example with the following analysis:

The parable tells us that public definitions of a situation (prophecies or predictions) become an integral part of the situation and thus affect subsequent developments, This is peculiar to human affairs. It is not found in the world of nature, untouched by human hands. Predictions of the return of Halley’s comet do not influence its orbit. But the rumored insolvency of Millingville’s bank did affect the actual outcome. The prophecy of collapse led to its own fulfillment.

There is lot of connectivity about the story of Millingville's bank and current stock market. Hope you agree with me.

Slideshow on Level Five Leadership

Slideshow on "Our Iceberg is melting"

In January 2007, I reviewed a book titled "Our Iceberg is melting". I found a slide show with all learnings of the book.

Few Good English Album Tracks...

For a change, I want to post few good English album tracks here. It is not hosted by me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Collect, categorize and relate

Yesterday, my friend took me to mall in his Maruthi ALTO Car. I was sitting in the front seat and he was driving. He had a year long dream of buying that car.

After we hit the main road, he pointed me the car that crossed our vehicle and told 'See that guy is also driving an ALTO'. When we stopped for the traffic signal he showed the ad board & told 'see even in the ad they showed my car color only'.

Once we entered into the parking lot of the mall, he started analyzing the cars that were parked. He raised his voice whenever we crossed an ALTO car on the way before we find our parking lot.

When I analyze my friend's behavior now, I found this is the basic one exists within everyone of us. Yeah. My friend notices all car & ads that pass by because he pays attention - a conscious attempt to gather information - now only. This is the basic function of the brain - collect, categorize and relate things of same sort. Not only the visuals, we also have all our 5 sensory organs(nose, skin, tongue, eye, ears) provides information to brain, and the same set of activity(collect, categorize and relate) performed by brain.

With conscious effort on Collect - Categorize - Relate activities one can perform better in every learning attempt and get easy success.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quit.. Is it the only way?

‘‘Before success comes in any man’s life, he is likely to meet
with much temporary defeat, and perhaps some failure. When
defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to
do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do.’’


As Napoleon told quit may be the easy way and most of us follow, but it is away from SUCCESS.

‘‘The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart.’’

Friday, March 14, 2008

We do not see things as they are, but as we are...

There is an excellent quote on attention in The Prepared Mind of a Leader by Bill Welter and Jean Egmon

“Attention is a requirement for the skill of observing. It is the filter through which we choose what to sense and what to make sense of”

Our sensory organs are keep on working in identifying or noticing something everyday and for the whole day. Lot of information collected by brain through these external factors. Processing of information inside brain happens in nanoseconds.

Though a lot we observe, only few attracts our attention. What are they? They are things you like or considered to be important and things which are strange or new.

I went to a dance show with my friend. After the program was over, we chatted about the show & the performers. My friend got fascinated by the stage settings and the ambiance, but I concentrated on dance steps because I love to watch dance. I hadn't showed much interest on the stage.

“We do not see things as they are, but as we are.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Learned to walk....

Do you remember how you learned walking in childhood?

Not much? Feebly?

Have you learned walking after you became a grown adult?

No. Right?

But I did.

I got affected by Guillain Barre Syndrome which made me immovable at the age of 17. I was on bed for 3 months. After removal of ventilator, doctors took lot of effort first to make me stand on my own leg :-)

After few days, with enormous physical support, they started teaching me how to walk. I was scared of standing up on my own as I thought that I may fall. I was afraid of bruises and further complication by standing up.

Every day my mom, brothers & sister helped me in doing my activities. Frustration, anger and pain on everyone's mind built pressure on me. I thought that I had to do my essential activities without someone help as soon as possible.

My brother & one other guy(name:Kali), helped me to walk - I put my hands around their shoulders and they almost carried my entire weight. Just few steps make me tired and I used to sit on a chair. Then walk few more steps. After few days, I started walking on my own with a walker.

Initially, while walking with walker I fell often. I started analyzing my walking style. I found I fell down because I didn't keep my steps firmly. Even I took time to walk, I started ensuring firm steps while walking. Sometimes, my knees folded as I didn't have control. On every forward move, I concentrated both firm placement of foot and control of knee folding.

Slowly, my walking style became consistent. I felt very happy day by day. I learned a new stuff. Yes, I learned how to walk. I was able to walk independently(with a walker but without anyone's attention). Now, I am walking without any support.

It was amazing experience to learn walking at the age of 17. Now after narrating my experience, I understood how human learning cycle works.

Have an experience
- Observe & analyze the experience - Generalize the result of experience & take necessary action to increase positive outcome

I found this is same across all learning activity I involved till date. Hope you also agree with this.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Start learning with Beginner's Mind set - It's a whole new ball game

"It's a whole new ball game"

You come across the above phrase in every Cricket match - either from commentators or from players, even sometimes, you used it to imitate them.

What is the phrase conveys?

This is an indication of operating with a beginner’s mind: people know they have a lot to learn.

About Beginner's Mind-set, Shunryu Suzuki wrote in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (2006) that

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few”

Let me ask this question - "How likely are you to learn something new if you already consider yourself an expert?"

Your answer would be "I don't learn anything".

Yes, You cannot learn anything from a workshop or training which you are attending but thinking “I already know this. This is a waste of my time.”

But there is a difference between being proficient or “knowing what we are doing” and assuming we have (or need to have) all of the answers. One needs to learn with open-mind(beginner's mind) to know some answers and new set of questions.

So what does a beginner’s mind look like?

* Beginners are secure enough in themselves that they can say, “I don’t know,” to themselves and to others. Interestingly, I have heard many people say they admire others who can admit when they don’t know something, but it’s much more infrequent that people are comfortable saying it themselves.

* Beginners don’t connect their self-worth to their expertise. They are more likely to tie their internal worth to their ability to get the answer, to be adaptable, and to be resourceful in learning what is needed.

* Beginners are willing to ask for help, and they actively seek out experts as resources to help with the quest for continual learning.

* Beginners recognize other beginners and support them however they can.

* Beginners recognize there is always more to learn about learning. As such, they learn not only about things they want to know or be able to do, but they learn about learning and spend time and effort on improving as a learner.

* Beginners realize that all learning is a journey or a process without a final destination. They recognize the value of learning something new every day and aren’t discouraged by the fact that there is no real end. They recognize learning as valuable in and of itself.

Interestingly when we truly are starting to do something for the first time—a new job, a new procedure, a new hobby, a new sport—and are a beginner by the classical definition of the word, we naturally do the first four items above. Our challenge, and opportunity, is to continue to do those four when things aren’t new and to add the last two to our regular habit patterns.

Expectations - Live up to it...

Take the following scenario:

You were driving your car. If a police officer stopped your car & simply to tell you a joke that had been heard on television the previous night, what would be your reaction?

Don't you think him as a mad guy?

Why so?

You have preformed ideas on role of each individual with whom you interact. If they behave differently from what you expected then you think the guy is crazy. In the same way, how you think about others, they also think about you. You are having a role and people around you expect something from you.

So, try to Live up to the expectations of others & surely others will reciprocate it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Internet Explorer 8 - Getting Ready

Do you know? IE 8 development is started & it is on its way. What a fast phase !

Internet Explorer 8 can be installed on Microsoft Windows Vista® Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows Vista, Windows XP® Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Server® 2008 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2).

You can go ahead and download the beta & test it from this site:

IE 8 - Beta Site

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How to turn your childhood dreams into actions...

This wonderful lecture is by Randy Pausch - He is a professor giving his last lecture to his students. (He knows that he is going to die in a few months).