Creating Leadership Readiness Through Animated Movies

 Where do the best learning’s take place – in schools? In colleges? At home? At work??

Well the best learning takes place in a movie hall – specially when we watch movies of the animated kind – have you ever noticed how these creatures we call animals so beautifully mirror thoughts, actions, behavior, attitudes and morals as recorded in different faiths – they are perfect teachers – from whom we can glean a wealth of insights on human behavior.

Animals for centuries have been used to depict life’s lessons and the inevitable truths in a magical way. For many decades now we have experiences this magic through animated films. These films inspire charm and teach in ways that live -people films, limited by shackles of reality, struggle to do.

Let’s talk about Cinderella – Once the magic of the fairy tale wears off what life lessons are we left with to ponder over?

Cinderella had a step mom who made the devil scurry home to finish his housework before he dared any devilry – what did she do about it? Did we ever hear her complain – not one whimper from those pretty lips. It is so commonplace to complain, lament and lash out at the world for our miseries – Cinderella was the epitome of quiet strength and beauty. Harsh treatment and harsher words did not deter her commitment to her responsibilities – heck she even made the most of her adversity by daring to dream.

Cinderella teaches us an invaluable lesson – persist with the cards life has dealt you with and you will find gold at the end of the rainbow. It also teaches us the priceless worth of forgiveness – Beauty is a treasure but graciousness is truly priceless. If she could forgive her step sisters and step mother at the end of the story, we can surely try to forgive to build and further relationships.

Persist..One day a prince will appear who will help us flourish into the princess we always were.

Lots of hard work, a little patience and the clock striking twelve will definitely not turn our carriage back into a pumpkin!

Leadership is About Effective Handling of Change

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. ~Pauline R. Kezer

Change is an inevitable part of life. But it is not easy to either change or to deal with change. There are two important factors for effective change: First, our perception of the situation and second, our attitude to embrace rather than resist the change. In short, change should first happen inside each one of us.

Let me narrate an interesting story…

It was Pete Gray’s dream to play baseball in the Yankee Stadium one day. At the age of twelve he was an excellent right-handed pony baseball player and represented his school in the game. And then one fateful day his dreams came crashing down…….

While doing chores on the family’s Pennsylvania farm, Pete slipped and fell off his father’s pickup truck. This completely crushed his right arm without which it was virtually impossible to play baseball. Anyone else would have given up their dreams but not young Pete!

The Adidas ad says, “Impossible is Nothing” – a slogan that Pete entirely embraced. He taught himself to bat, bowl and field with his left hand. His speed, strong throwing arm, and excellent athletic ability allowed Pete to perform this miracle quickly enough to be a solid, dependable outfielder.

Against all odds, by the 1944 season, the one-armed outfielder had a batting score of 333, stole 63 bases, and won the League’s Most Valuable Player award. Baseball fans were astounded!!!

One year later, in 1945, the one-armed outfielder, Pete, achieved his boyhood dream when his team, the Browns, played against the Yankees. The Browns defeated the Yankees, and Pete played a major role in his team’s victory.

As Robert E. Quinn rightly said, “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.”

Perhaps that is why Gandhiji said, “Be the change you want to see.”

Integrity – The Stronghold of Successful Living

As a Soft Skills Trainer and Executive Coach, I believe that training would be starkly incomplete without touching upon the importance of Integrity in one’s life. It is the foremost value essential to success in all that we undertake. The essence of integrity is beautifully summed up in the quote by Don Galer, “Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” All of us at some point in life would have come across individuals with unswerving integrity, from whom we feel inspired to act according to the code of ethics and conduct. Peter Scotese once said, and I quote, “Integrity is not a 90% thing, not a 95% thing; either you have it or you don’t.” It is better to be known doing right, rather than be known for having done something wrong. Always remember that you judge and rate yourselves by what you are capable of doing and achieving; but the world judges you by what you have already done. So it is a lot better to live an honest life with integrity. For starters, it would be useful to follow a thumb rule: the test of real character lies in what you would do if you would never be found out. Success comes more easily to the person who treads upon the path of righteousness and goodness. It gives a sense of peace and spreads good-will all around. It needs to be inculcated very consciously into one’s life. Whenever you are at crossroads and in doubt about how to proceed in a particular situation, think about the following 3 questions: 1. What do you say? 2. What do you do? 3. What do you say you do? If the answer to these 3 questions are all the same, then you are one giant step closer to the success you are aspiring to achieve.

Are Leaders Born Or Made?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Leadership is an inherent ability that empowers the individual to lead and inspire others. The question that has been surrounding leadership is – are leaders born or made?

My firm belief is that there lies an inherent trait within every individual – a latent fire which when fanned, has the capacity to burn bright. It is definitely at the hour of need that a leader emerges. History is bountiful with stories of great individuals who have rose despite their circumstances and made sweeping changes. We now remember them with pride and reverence. M.K. Gandhi, APJ Abdul Kalam, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa are a few of my favourites, but there are many more who have stood firm and led others through the right path to achieve what they believed in. It is through these exemplary individuals that we reconfirm the fact that the impossible can be made possible. It is a re-emphasis to the fact that anything can be achieved with a willing mind.

The best thing for all who are wondering how to emulate these people are concerned is through practicing leadership qualities in all that we do. In the Leadership Training conducted by MMM Training Solutions, we focus on one of the first steps towards achieving this – teaching participants to take accountability of theiractions. This is one amongst a number of leadership traits that maketh a great leader.

If there is a threat to survival, our basic instinct directs us to save ourselves. And we do this by any means possible. The same sense of urgency must be present in all that we do – we must endeavour to give our best efforts into what requires our attention. Ofcourse, they would be days when you feel tired. Take rest if you must, but return with increased vigor and focused determination to work on your task.

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

Recall instances in your life where you have led – either by example or by effort. These may be smaller or larger instances. These instances may have created a tiny ripple, or they may have brought about a sea tide of change. Whatever be the case, relive the instance in your mind. Recall how you reacted in the situation. You may be surprised at the manner in which you chose to act in that instance. Savour the moment, and resolve to live with the same ideals hereafter.

Whether leaders are born or made, the quality needs to be nurtured in order for it to reach maximum potential.

Health Is Wealth

This article is second to a series of topics that was previously covered in the MMMTS blog. Like the previous one that was covered (The Pursuit of HappYness), this furthers upon a talk given by Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director – Tata Sons, who had addressed the youth present at the Indian Institute of Management, a premier MBA institute of India.

In today’s fast paced corporate world, everyone is in a race with time – deadlines have to be met, clients need to be satisfied and performance has to be at its peak; in the process the most vital aspect of existence is neglected – one’s health.

Furthering Gopalakrishnan’s view, I am of the opinion that it is imperative that young working professionals need to take extreme care of their health, especially in the first 5 – 7 years of their career. This is the time when habits – good or bad – get developed and sustained. During the early working years, a proper regime of exercise and diet can do wonders to health in the future. At the same time, this is a period where the greatest neglect of youthful health occurs. This is when normally active people become sedentary workers, alcohol becomes the social pre-requisite, cigarettes become the nocturnal wonder stick and rich food becomes a common parlance.

As much as youth is the best period of one’s life, it is important to remember that it adheres to the old adage: What you sow, so shall you reap. If you neglect your health on the grounds of non availability of time, the repercussions will be long term and detrimental. The criticality of an irresponsible lifestyle is generally undermined by the person.

Do not convince yourself that your health will be everlasting without proper care. Optimistic as this may sound, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Never keep away from a healthy lifestyle on the grounds that you do not have access to facilities or that you are addicted to detrimental substances to gain relief from the stresses of a professional career.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

– An excerpt from ‘Leisure’, the poem by William Henry Davies

I urge all youngsters – the youth of today and citizens of tomorrow – to find joy in taking care of their health and maintaining a responsible lifestyle. Moderation is the keyword here – excess of anything is good for nothing.

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.”
– A.J. Reb Meteri

I wish you a happy, healthy and wealthy life.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

I recently read an excerpt of Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address that was published by the Stanford Report dated June 14th, 2005. His closing lines revealed an amazing idea of inspiration in me.

Jobs credited the birth of this caption to a publication called The Whole Earth Catalog. This magazine was synonymous to today’s Google and other search engines – and according to the founder and CEO of Apple and Pixar Studios, it was “idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.” When this magazine rolled out its last publication in the mid 1970s, the back cover carried a picture of an early morning country road. Beneath it were the words: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

At the first glance, this catchy caption would not make much sense to the busy internet reader. But when I gave it a few seconds of thought, the idea dawned onto me. Firstly, it essentially means that we should always remain restless for knowledge. Secondly, and more importantly, it means never to be proud – we should always be under the impression that we do not know much. This feeling would in turn further fuel the thirst for knowledge, whereby we constantly persist in attaining it.

It is a well understood fact that knowledge is like an ocean. It needs to constantly wet the shores of your mind and bring wisdom. It is like oil to the lamp that burns bright on a dark night. With the knowledge we have, others should be able to light their candles.

Ever endeavour to acquire knowledge.
Never fall into the bottomless pit of know-it-all.
I encourage all of you to: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Roger Federer Does It Again

On 5th July, 2009 Roger Federer recreated magic by the epic win of his sixth Wimbledon Crown and a record 15th Grand Slam Trophy. The 27 year old Swiss is now honoured with the title of being the most successful man in tennis.

Federer had been in the news earlier because of the fact that he did not have a coach. At a time when he was struggling in his career, tennis experts had a unified view that he needed to be coached. But Federer’s deep understanding of himself helped him to realize that his stubborn professional personality would not yield easily to being under the authority of a coach. This fact, however, did not deter him from achieving his aim. He single-mindedly focused on being the best; and now, after surpassing former champion Pete Sampras’ record of the highest Grand Slam Trophy holder, Federer has proved that he is the best, beyond a shadow of doubt.

What is the secret behind Roger Federer’s success?

This is a question that can be answered by anyone who knows Federer. Most of this success can be owed to his undeniable grit and sheer determination in the game, which allowed him to strategize and formulate his moves in the final match at Wimbledon against Andy Roddick. Brilliant that he is at tennis, his resounding success would not have been possible unless he put in undivided focused energy towards his goal.

Federer has shown that life is a journey with cobbles along the way, but what makes the difference is the manner in which these are perceived – they are either tripping stones to failure, or stepping stones to success.

MMM Training Solutions congratulates Roger Federer, Wimbledon Champion 2009, for his persistence, positive outlook in life and never say die attitude; all of which has given him the glory that the world now applauds.

‘The Night is Darkest Before Dawn’

The Obamas’ struggle to achieve victory

A new book called Renegade recounts US President Barrack Obama’s unlikely run for the presidency. An article relating to this book in the Times of India newspaper (dated June 8, 2009) recounts a particularly tense period in the personal lives of the Obamas during the year 2000.

The Obamas’ marriage was supposedly on the brink of collapse because of Barrack’s political aspirations and First Lady Michelle’s experience as a first time mother.

This particular episode is long past. They are now known today, as the most romantic First Couple of America. Which now brings me to my question – is it necessary to dig up the past and exhibit information that has no relevance to the present? Is journalism about reporting relevant facts or has it become about providing shock value to the reader?

In my opinion, I think we should focus on the fact that amidst all the pressures in their life; they were able to rebuild their marriage. In life we all fall down, but the ones who succeed are the ones who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep moving without looking back. This shows that Obama is tenacious and is capable of leading a broken down country – it shows that he is a man who achieves his missions. This is what the learnings need to be for the reader.

Let’s not get tangled by the volume of information that hits us day after day. Let us approach daily news not from the perspective of the journalist, who wants as many newspapers to sell, but as a reader who wants to learn from the lives of people; who have reached unimaginable levels in their lives through sheer persistence, focus and vision. This will help us to reach not only those levels but beyond those levels.

Values To Achievement Is Like Oil To The Lamp

“It was only with these values that my success has been realized.”

These were the words that Oscar winning music director (for the movie Slumdog Millionaire), A. R. Rahman said when he was conferred with Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) honorary doctorate on Sunday, for his contribution to the field of art and music.

Rahman urged Indian youth to work toward building a “strong, harmonious India”. This is possible only when individuals work towards their goal with integrity and discipline. Who better than Rahman to give this advice – he lived his early years in abject poverty and see what he has achieved in his life today. He attributes this to his values of living a disciplined life, persistence in everything and respect for mankind.

What is stopping us from achieving the same success as Rahman has?

All of us can achieve what Rahman has achieved and more in our lives and careers. The foundation of our lives should be values of hard work, commitment and fearlessness to reach new horizons everyday. With diligence, it is possible to run the race of life with the torch still burning bright.

Let us aim at becoming stalwarts in our area of passion by strengthening our soft skills and technical expertise – let us be an example for future generations to emulate.

MMM Training Solutions congratulates A. R. Rahman for his achievements and his contributions to humanity by being the drop of oil that helps the lamp of humanity remain burning bright.