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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

He was an efficient heads-down, nose-to-the-wheel, eyes-on-the-ball manager of the operations, executing projects on time, using resources optimally…a relentless pusher.

But then he just did not have it in him to inspire his people to perform beyond the expected, pursue worthwhile challenges….Saw the projects as something to be completed and move on. What excitement, eh?

Quite convinced about the soundness of his views and approach.

Some of the best guys were ground down to mediocrity under his heavily task oriented leadership – they were hardly aware of what was happening.

Such managers are found in plenty especially in software industry. More so at senior levels.

Instead of dismissing them managers as misfit – their task orientation is abs necessary in projects – it may be a better approach to address the paradox by strengthening the structure with additional resources to inject excitement, innovation and challenge into projects. Resulting conflicts if any are not unmanageable if the manager gets the perspective right.  

A question may arise: are we unnecessarily and unfairly complicating the poor manager’s life with unreasonable expectations on excitement, innovation and challenge?

These are no longer nice-to-have’s. They serve multiple purposes of a) delivering enhanced value to the customer, b) keeping the professionals engaged and absorbed – does enormous good for employee motivation and retention and c) building expertise, reusable production and marketing assets…

In fact every project is a great opportunity for the org to profit by the above.

You still think it’s a choice?

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Source: Subramanian Krishnamurthy

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If Indian Railways can pull this off…

  • An government organization, pan-India, managing a mind-boggling 67 K+ route-miles over 144 K+ bridges, with 7300+ stations and a rolling stock of 11 K+ locos, 64 K+ passenger carriages and 277 K freight cars/wagons, not mentioning workshops, repair sheds…
  • With a much maligned, grossly underpaid, not-the- upper-class staff of 1.3 million…
  • Can keep it all going every day of the year…
  • Running on a tight budget with little flexibility to hand out carrots…

Inspires the locals to achieve this,

What is your excuse?

Read here:   

Mithila artists transform local railway station with traditional Madhubani art

The Madhubani Railway station, in Bihar just got a makeover. One of the oldest rail stations in India near Patna is now attracting tourists after hundreds of local Mithila artists adorned the walls of the station with world-famous Madhubani paintings – scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata among other things.

The excruciating work was undertaken as a Swachh Bharat mission and has been done free of cost as ‘Shramdaan’ in an attempt to promote the traditional art form besides beautifying the station, the largest of its kind and first in Bihar. At least 7,000 sqft area at this Bihar station under the East Central Railway (ECR) has been decked up in about 20 days, railways supplying paints and brushes. (Source: DRM Samastipur/ Twitter )

The colourful Madhubani painting is quite unique with its signature geometrical patterns and motifs.

Many young artists volunteered for the project who have been learning the ancient artwork since childhood, their families in this trade for generations.

A wedding ritual.

From walls at the stations to sign boards at the platforms, this is no less than a wonderland!

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Source: Indian Express, etc.

S. Mani, a senior ex-colleague and a good friend responded with the info that the railway station at Pandavapura (Karnataka) where he resides too is embellished with beautiful paintings focusing on the tourist spots around, at the initiative of the Station Master Shri Madhu hailing from Trichy. A few of the snaps sent by SM:

Thanks, SM.

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Leadership

 

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A couple of days ago, spent some time with J, the spouse of my niece, in Bengaluru. A young man in his thirties deep into music, plays drums, works with professional groups…

He’s part of an org offering music as a medium in corporate training programs. Seriously, yes.

Asked him how. What he said made sense.

Take this for instance,

How-to-Decode-Drum-Charts-Drum-Tabs-and-Notation-for-Beginners

In the preamble of a ‘Team Building’ program, the participants are each given a drum. The lead instructor kicks off with a beat on his drums. The group tries to follow suit. Initially it is all discordant and chaotic. After a while, the participants, one by one, fall in line. And very soon they are playing in mesmerizing unison!

And in about 45 minutes, they all learn the basics to play on the drums – a skill necessary for conducting subsequent sessions –  which they knew nothing about before they had walked into the room,.

What do we get out of it?

The participants get an enormous boost to their self-confidence. In as little as 45 minutes, they have learnt something new in their life.

Well, if they could do this, what’s it to prevent them from performing/succeeding in their new roles in the organization?

So I say, team or no team, why not put all those recently-promoted employees in the organization thru this exercise?

There’s something else too at work here: a key reason for the participants to quickly align themselves as one is the avoidance of discordant and chaotic beats, an immediate and unpleasant punishment for a non-team behavior!

How do we carry this into an organization where the punishment for lack of alignment is rarely immediate and inflicting?

The HR guys would do well to think about this challenge.

Of course, not forgetting in certain contexts it might be considered as a virtue to stand out as different.

The subject of immediate punishment brings to my mind a recent personal anecdote: The cook in the house we were camping took off early one evening for justifiably personal reasons, promising to be back following morning.  Come morning, no sign of the cook. Calls to her phone went unanswered. A couple of hours went by. We were left wondering – should we order food from some nearby eatery or what? The uncertainty of it was quite annoying.

Finally she walked in. We were all set to upbraid her over patently slovenly behavior. Suddenly a thought struck us: who knows, may be the same justifiably personal reasons had delayed her from coming on time. Regardless of the merit of the case, we certainly wanted to register our disapproval.  So, changing our tack, we said: ‘Look dear L, is it fair to make us spend twice for a meal…?’ That’s what ordering food from outside meant, for we were already paying her for her cooking services at home. Instead of pulling her up, we played the victim. Immediate punishment effected here was to drive home the point – inconvenience caused by her behavior, without the use of harsh words to her person.

Here’s another example from the program:

Again, in a following session, the group is taught to play the violin this time.

Here a junior is teamed with a senior and they critique each other’s posture, technique…In a few rounds they are observed to get better at it, working on the feedback!

An interesting exercise that has made an all-knowing (!) senior to accept feedback from a junior. He does not feel threatened displaying his vulnerabilities during learning.  Quite an uncommon scenario.

The important operating principle to be noted is: Learning a new skill is a great equalizer.

How do we take this principle into an organization? A challenge for the management and HR.

A simple approach could be: as often as possible, not risking fatigue, present a new skill to the groups making it a fun activity at the work-place. Importantly it serves to bring the seniors from their exalted stations to get closer to the juniors, constantly dismantling the hierarchical barriers brick by brick. The teams could even be cross-functional. The sheer persistence of this effort without causing ennui gives it a good chance to succeed – I’m not a great fan of those traditional n-day training programs, offsite or onsite, filled with some perfectly juvenile games offered by coaches. I’ve seen time and again there are no sustained gains after the initial euphoria – all boxes ticked ‘excellent’ – with people soon going back to their old ways. The so-called follow-up’s are weak and ineffective at best, performed more in form than in purpose. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a scam.

In summary, two powerful principles, demonstrably effective, not to be dismissed as gimmicky, that could be imaginatively and profitably employed in corporate training.

Unfortunately time did not permit learning more from J.

 

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Source: TakeLessons.com

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In this short clip watch Rahul Gandhi (coming second) paying homage to tho CRPF personnel martyred in a recent ambush. He is followed (!) by Narendra Modi (coming in last):

While it’s abs inappropriate and impossible to observe on the genuineness of the expression of grief on the solemn occasion, clearly one is closer to the ethos of the land than the other.

A leader readily and easily mingles and resonates more than others.

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SourceAdvisor Mamta Shah and  Ankit Yadav 

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John_D._Rockefeller_1885

“…The ability to keep your head when others are losing theirs is a superpower. The world doesn’t always work the way you want to it. People will slight you. You’ll get fired. You’ll make mistakes. People who are smarter than you will compete for your job. And how you respond to all of this will make all the difference….”

– As told by biographer Ron Chernow in Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller.

Read an excerpt here.

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Source: Image from Wiki

 

 

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