Tag Archives: Collaboration

Spir-IT Summit Coming Up: My Thoughts

India’s Transformation will depend upon three ITs :  Information Technology, Inspired Teaching and Inner Transformation.

India’s Transformation will show the way for International Transformation.

A closer  look at the IT Industry in India shows a pressing need for Inspiration, Integration and Innovation.

We need to see a thriving of Wellness in all areas.

At the heart of a thriving IT industry is thriving people. People who are  healthy, joyous and professionally excellent in their domains. They work in green and nourishing environments with some of the best talent you can find. The IT industry  also needs some people to collaborate across domains/ areas of expertise and traditional verticals.

Maybe even across different organisations which specialize in different areas.

This will enable them to co-create Innovative Solutions which deliver more value at lower costs for global clients.

Pragati Leadership has always believed that there are vast Inner resources in all of us which can be tapped.

Research on Meditation and Presence shows direct links to higher creativity, more equanimity and better health.

The SPIR-IT summit is an opportunity to listen to the wisdom of gathered CXOs from the IT Industry in Pune…what has worked for them, what is their vision, and what we can all do together.

When we all work together for the well-being of people in the IT Industry, Pune will come even closer to showing the rest of India, that there is more value in collaboration and co-creation than in competing.

by Arun Wakhlu

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Business Leadership vs Functional Leadership

One of the most important development areas of senior leaders in business is the transition into business leadership roles  after being in a functional role.

Enabling senior leaders with the mindset and paradigm change required for this role is a very common industry need.

In most typical organizations,technical expertise and the competencies required to execute around one’s immediate business area is always the key priority.

illustration3

Development actions and new learning is also around the same. People are also measured and evaluated on their immediate KRA’s which too are usually linked to functional performance. Its therefore typical that at senior levels,most people are experts in their areas of work. The challenge that this throws up for the organization is that there is  a whole bunch of functional experts  who are extremely good with what they know  and yet there is no leadership talent that looks at the “big picture “ of the organization. As consultants and coaches for  Leadership development,we have consistently found this to be a recurrent gap across different sectors of business- Manufacturing, BPO, IT, Pharma etc.

entrepreneurship

The CEO doesn’t really have a team of business leaders to support him. He invariably has  an excellent team of functional leaders. This hurts the organization since there is a tendency to look at most issues from a functional perspective rather than a business angle. The approach to resolving also becomes very “my function/department-centric”.  This is also one of the main reasons why “silo-working “ and “silo-thinking” happens even at senior levels.

What can be done to mitigate this risk?

think tank

One of the ways is by identifying a Leadership Team whose sole responsibility is to look at the business of the company as a whole and come out with perspectives, approaches that cut across boundaries. This team must not look at what each department is doing but more at what the business is doing and what needs to be done to meet the business challenges. Developing this mind-set and paradigm change will take time but it can be done.

  1. The role of the CEO is very critical in this. He must ensure that he moderates the session in such a way that people stop thinking of their “turf” and look at the company instead.
  2. Building skills on business perspectives, commercial  acumen, strategic thinking would be critical. The team needs to be exposed to the external world and needs to go and study other businesses and learn from them.
  3. Networking and collaboration would help to make this happen. These are critical skills for being a good business leader.
  4. The members of the Leadership team need to be given opportunities to lead sessions on application of strategy to business, creating business plans for the company etc. Peer reviews can help.

Some of these would ensure that the CEO has a bankable team with him for the present and the future.

By Anu Wakhlu 

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Inside every successful leader there is a child at play

Every leader would like to believe that he or she is exercising power that has been rightfully earned, in order to get work done for the best results. In the process though, there is an inherent tug-of-war at play between positional power and pressure to deliver better than before. The collateral damage of this clash is often borne by colleagues, peers, subordinates and sometimes, unfortunately, even family!

When the going is tough and the need of the hour is to step away from the beaten-path to make game-changing moves, most leaders are often found wanting. The ability to take calculated risks and back innovative ideas pretty much separates the great leaders from the rest. Somehow, these leaders seem to possess the curiosity, passion and the ability to demonstrate equanimity under all circumstances. They are also able to identify game-changing opportunities despite being involved in fire-fighting or overseeing mundane tasks. For them, there are no issues to be sorted, only opportunities to be sought and tapped. They are honest enough to state the obvious however bitter it may be and quick to applaud initiative and that gives them the clarity of thought needed to make quick, inclusive decisions. Their teams willingly back them since there is no second-guessing or sycophancy needed to perform and be recognized.

The million-rupee question is how are they able to do what they do? The answer may lie in an old Vedic dictum that prophesizes that a man can discover GOD within when he allows the child in him to thrive. Essentially, what the sages were trying to tell us is that being child-like at all times is the ultimate measure of evolution, however paradoxical that may sound. The famous English poet William Wordsworth also echoed this thought. But we’ll keep that for later. For now, we will see how this is true for business leaders as well.

So, what are those five child-like characteristics that a good leader should nurture and demonstrate, day in and day out?

1)     Be innocent: Yes, you read that right. However difficult it is for us adults to believe in the value of this trait, it is perhaps the most powerful among the lot that a child possesses.

innocent child

As a leader of a team or teams, one must be innocent in thought, words and actions. This is the foundation of trust. It doesn’t mean being naïve or gullible. Rather, it is a quality that defines authenticity and clarity. Communication is then a free-way without barriers and that opens up tremendous possibilities. Followers willingly speak their mind knowing fully well that their leader is genuine, non-judgmental and unbiased. Ideas begin to flow out easily, collaboration is a given and hence breakthrough business results happen!

2)     Be curious: Remember when you were a child and everything that happened around you was new and magical? In hindsight, we’re quick to dismiss that as ‘child-like curiosity’ but that is in fact an unmatched asset every good leader should possess.

curious child

You are then able to continuously and unwaveringly look for opportunities subconsciously. As a leader, you look for talent that is waiting to blossom, you listen to all, you see everything with delight and full involvement. It becomes a happy habit to seek, accept and celebrate ideas from anyone, whatever their position or role. Finding game-changing ideas is then an inherent talent and there is never a dearth of information or solutions when needed. What happens as a result? There is never a lack of motivation or passion and achieving results is a piece of cake!

3)     Be stubborn: Throwing tantrums and not letting up till they’ve got what they wanted is but a natural thing for children. They are masters at the game and seem to find newer ways each time! More importantly, they seem to possess an inexhaustible reserve of stubbornness no matter how big or small the need. This is what driven leaders also possess in abundance.

stubborn child

But being stubborn does not in any way mean being unfair and demanding to the point of being overbearing. The stubborn child is able to extract what it wants by being persuasive, friendly, lovable and convincing. As a leader, if you are able back your instinct/ gut-call, to fix your mind on a goal and go after it like a stubborn child, you will discover that the team will come around to supporting and collaborating with you to achieve it. 

4)      Be forgiving: Remember those silly fights with mates that never lasted more than a few seconds? Remember how easy it was to swear never to speak again and get back to noisy banter, fun and laughter? Well, if you are a leader, you must be forgiving by nature. You might have set very high standards for yourself and hence reached where you have but that should not make you demanding and unforgiving towards subordinates and colleagues. It could also be that your role demands superior standards but that should not mean failure or mistakes are unacceptable.

forgiving child

After all, we’re all humans and we’re bound to falter now and then, right? If you can forgive easily and caringly, your Emotional Intelligence comes through in such a way that peers, colleagues and subordinates begin to trust and love you. More significantly, the idea-ramans in the team will never hesitate to share their latest idea or suggestion which could prove game-changing!

5)     Be playful: Yes. Let the child in you play at work. Never take yourself, your role/ designation or what you do, too seriously! Remember the mischievous child, always ready to play a prank or two, never hesitating to diffuse an angry moment with monkey-faces? Well, that child is needed all the more, every time you climb the corporate ladder towards greater leadership.

playful child

The playful leader enjoys every little event, celebrates those inconsequential successes and applauds merrily. More importantly for the organization, this leader handles so-called pressure situations with an unaffected gaiety that is infectious! Playful leaders manage to convert work into play for everyone in the team and that transforms organizational culture like nothing else can!

Did you find resonance with these traits? Do you still have doubts about actually practicing these in real life? Well, all you have to do is observe closely the shenanigans of children at home and if possible, participate in their fun! William Wordsworth suggested that ‘The child is the father of man’ in his famous poem ‘The Rainbow’ and indeed there is so much to learn from children that Leaders would do well to take their little ones more seriously, don’t you agree? You never know – the next BIG idea might just come from your child’s silly game or innocuous comment! Better still would be for you, the leader, to rediscover, nurture and unleash the child in you to lead the way… So go ahead! Be child-like and play!

By Nandakishore Padmanabhan

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Creating the GOD Company

There is divinity in every enterprise, Big and Small. I will go so far as saying there is GOD in every enterprise! Did you just raise an eyebrow? Let me explain. Spiritually speaking, if GOD is in each one of us and we’re but HIS manifestation, shouldn’t there be a more powerful version of HIM in a collective enterprise that has energies working together for a greater purpose (or at least trying to!)?

God-adam

If the infinite supreme that we refer to as GOD is all-pervading and all-inclusive, then by the very nature of HIS being, enterprises of all sizes are necessary and deserve to co-exist within HIM and as manifestations of HIM. There is a natural, self-regulatory balance that is achieved because of this. It is then safe to deduce that the measure of the enterprise’s success and how long it lasts is then defined by how much or less of HIM is in the fabric of their being.

BVM

Metaphorically speaking, therefore, every sustain-ably successful enterprise has three gears working together, endlessly, without friction, feeding into each other’s ceaseless motion forward: Generators, Operators and Destroyers, GODs for the acronym-lovers. Why do we need them and how do we go about surrounding ourselves with these manifestations of the ‘holy trinity’ in good measure? That is the name of this game called life or business or both, since one is the other, right?

Generators: These persons are the natural creators/ ideators/ initiators. This is their Swadharma – their natural wont, inclination, their destiny if you will!

brahma

These are the Brahma manifestations that come up with ideas, create the concepts, identify opportunities, fathom projects/ products etc. that pretty much define the collective enterprise. They are the architects not burdened by logic or reason whose minds can see endless possibilities, the very engines of change and initiative. They give life to the collective. BUT, they are not almighty by themselves.

In expending all their energies on the aspect of Generation, they unconsciously seek out others who can maintain, nurture, preserve, incubate, monitor, moderate etc. in order that their creations do not die. They NEED Operators to complete their task and in a sense complete them! The irony, of course, is that Generators more often than not, despise Operators!

hands of god

Think about it – Generators are free-thinkers who despise rules, hate micro-management, are annoyed by processes and deplore routine. In effect, they despise the very character of their bête-noire Operators and yet cannot thrive without them! Is this a problem? Nope – it is in fact a God-sent opportunity! Read on…

Operators: They are the nurturers/ protectors/ guides/ mentors/ managers/ leaders et al. This is their Swadharma. They are the Vishnu manifestations that nurture ideas, give shape to concepts, execute and ensure project completion.

Vishnu

They are the ‘Managers’, if you please, who can appreciate the brilliance of creativity and yet excel in working with logic and reason.  Their minds are focused on ensuring prosperity and abundance, while being pragmatic and fair, without getting swayed. In effect, they nurture the life of the collective and balance change with continuity. BUT, they are not Almighty by themselves either…

While they use their energies on this aspect of Operation, they consciously seek out others who can finish, close out, stop, and destroy etc. in order that the created leave the stage after their lifespan, to make way for the new. They NEED Destroyers to complete their task and in a sense complete them!

blackhole

As irony goes, they too despise their Yang-halves, the Destroyers! After all, if one is naturally inclined to preserve and nurture, one will therefore hate the disrupters, naysayers, the critics, the tough-task-masters, the finishers if you will. Yet, they cannot thrive without these chaps! And therein lies our other God-sent opportunity…

Destroyers: These are the disrupters, critics/ doubters/ the skeptics/ the tough-call-takers/ the closure-specialists/ the devil’s advocates if you please. It is their Swadharma.

Shiva

They are the Shiva manifestations who know when it is time to pull the plug, kill an idea, stop a project, phase-out a product, ease out a resource, disrupt an entrenched process etc. They are unaffected by the creative genius behind a creation or the perseverance that nurtured it. They are neither driven by emotion nor by logic. They are the change-agents who decisively influence the course of the collective’s journey. BUT, they are not Almighty by themselves.

While exhausting their energies on this aspect of Destruction, they actually seek out Generators in order that creation can start again.

bigbang

They NEED Generators to complete their task and complete the trinity, even though they hate their ilk! It makes sense doesn’t it? By nature, if they are adept at disrupting, they must abhor the ideators, the creators, the dreamers who made those things in the first place!

OK. Point made and well-taken I hope. Now imagine the perfect collective enterprise that has somehow managed the perfect mix of Generators, Operators and Destroyers, who are working with and seemingly against each other, in a symbiotic manner. They could have managed to achieve this by having an eco-space that encourages each of these manifestations to blossom individually as well as collectively.

Questions

How could this have happened? In HR parlance, we can hazard to guess that their ‘self-defined KRAs’ demanded that Generators actually seek out and bring Operators who can nurture their creativity, into the Collective. Similarly, Operators are expected to find and bring in Destroyers who can put out their outdated projects and disrupt the cruise-mode. Finally, the Destroyers are mandated to hunt for Generators who can create anew post their disruptive actions.

Net-net, there is a self-sufficient eco-system that looks after itself and its talent needs! They are all leaders in their own right, working autonomously yet collaboratively as stakeholders. This three-way yin-yang, if you can imagine it, is naturally self-balancing, fair, self-feeding and sustainable, destined for equitable success, don’t you think?

3yinyang

Can you visualize its in-built, self-check mechanisms because of the very opposing natures of the three forces that drive it, like conjoined levers or gears, a smooth, flowing three-petaled Yin-Yang?

And then there is the aspect of balancing the G-O-D that is within us! It is safe to say that all three qualities Generator/ Operator/ Destroyer are in some measure inside each one of us. The challenge is to nurture and allow these manifestations to express themselves at the right time and in collaborative response to the expressions from our colleagues. That will also mean an inherent respect for the G-O-D in the other person and awareness at all times. It is possible isn’t it?

mysterious

Now do you believe you can help create a GOD company within your existing set-up or even outside of it when you start your next entrepreneurial venture? Well, what are you waiting for my dear fellow manifestation? Godspeed!

By Nandakishore Padmanabhan (with inputs from Vikas Bhatia & Aanchal Sethi)

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