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.

Success Is Failure Turned Inside Out

Winston Churchill was to have quoted,

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”

This attitude is an important characteristic to possess if we aim at success in all that we do.

At the workplace it may sometimes seem impossible to keep your chin up through all the stress, pressure and the effort to balance life and work. It is an accepted fact that on some days at work, you may not be able to be as productive as you would like to be. The causes can be many. But the point here is that you should not be put off by failure. When the clouds of doubt cloud your vision, do not succumb to it. Instead keep endeavouring.

Always learn to derive enjoyment while on your path towards success, since it is equally important to make the journey an enriching one. After all, life is a culmination of experiences from which we teach the next generation on how they may live their life in a balanced manner.

Always be motivated to think and act positively. After a while you will find that being positive and motivated comes naturally. During our Soft Skills Training sessions in Motivational Training, participants learn to deal with setbacks and strive forward with a positive mental attitude.

This then is the very essence of success – the more we keep persisting despite setbacks and failures, the more chances we have at succeeding. Remember what Thomas Alva Edison said,

“I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work”

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.

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