Leadership – Sticking To Your Guns

Walt Disney needs no introduction. The famous founder of Mickey Mouse and co-founder of Walt Disney Productions was an influential thinker during his time. As a young boy, he developed a love and passion for drawing. The journey never stopped even after the setting up of the Walt Disney amusement park, where all his characters still enchant audience – young and old alike – even to this day.

Walt Disney was a man with high Emotional Intelligence – his strong leadership qualities were very pragmatic because of his understanding of the people around him. He believed that you should never stop dreaming, as it leads to the formation of new ideas and gives you a sense of purpose and direction. Though he suffered huge setbacks in his life, he had the courage to keep going on.

His story of struggle and success teaches us an important leadership lesson – leaders need to have the tenacity to chase a dream or goal. This is what will make a true leader stand apart. This person should be the motivating factor to urge his team on towards the finishing line. The leader should encourage others to make their dreams a reality.

“The key to happiness is having dreams. The key to success is making your dreams come true.” ~Anonymous

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.”

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.

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.

Road to Success for Leadership

The Road to Success

There are numerous values that are essential to achieving success. Over the next few months I will be addressing these values and asking some tough and controversial questions. These values are the focus in our soft skills training programs. The first value is Character. What is Character? This question is powerfully answered by two dynamic and influential people. “Character is the sum total of a person’s values, beliefs & personality. It is reflected in our behavior, in our actions. It needs to be preserved more than the richest jewel in the world.” – Shiv Khera I would like to ask a very provocative question (especially to my fellow Indians), “Does lack of punctuality reflect poor character?” In my opinion the answer to this question is a simple, “Yes.” The intense uptake of breath indicating surprise is audible to me. The reason for this response is that if you consider other people’s time to be as valuable as yours, you would never be late. So could this relate to your values and belief systems? I often say, “It is not the perception that you have of yourself that matters but the perception that other people have of you that is important.” I conduct leadership programs for people holding middle and upper management positions in multi-national companies. The above statement initially arouses disagreement but as it is processed in the group the participants start to see the wisdom. Let us now apply this to punctuality. If you are a project manager and you have been late the last three times for a meeting with your client who is paying a considerable amount of money for the project, what is the client going to think of you? Regardless of the fact that you have done a great job on the project, the client is going to question your dependability. Once this opinion is formed, it will be very difficult to change it. All your achievements will be measured against this yardstick. What a wasted opportunity! Character can only be achieved when we make the decision to be concerned about others more than we are about ourselves. This is not an easy life but it is worth the sacrifice. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” -Helen Adams Keller