Mediocrity is an essential evil, as it works as a great equalizer!

Ordinary could have extraordinary appeal! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Truth is often bitter! When we know it at heart, many of us hesitate to speak it!! Same seems to be true of relevance of mediocrity in companies and societies.

Leaders and preachers alike are often engaged in bashing and banishing mediocrity or mediocre persons to earn ovations from their followers, completely forgetting that the survival their status depends upon them. Fact is a leader comes in limelight only when the audience applauds him/her, though the audience by itself may constitute of mainly mediocre! So, mediocrity merits due respect!!

Let us face the facts – at micro level, for every positive (charge), a negative (charge) is necessarily created. The combination of two becomes neutral and that is why every atom is neutral. At macro level, every good creates its opposite i.e. bad; extremely good would create its mirror image i.e. extremely bad. Either the two would come close to make a deadly combination or conflict to damage each other or they can be kept away by neutral people, who are classically mediocre.

If you lock 2 strong leaders in a room and give them a topic to discuss, they would rarely reach a consensus, even if one happens to be spouse of another! Leaders of leading companies like GE, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Apple, Siemens etc. may claim that their organizations are leadership factories; but reality may be very different! There is a threshold on % of leaders depending upon nature and structure of an organization, beyond which it can only become a laggard! This threshold is not more than 10 % of total employees. So, if an organization has more than 10% leaders, it is likely to be unstable and chaotic; it would witness high turnover of leaders! It also implies that 90% or more employees are average or mediocre with some being above average and some below. It would be interesting to know that more than 55% of employees, whom companies declare as their present or future leaders on an average are not real leaders. They are either blue eyed boys/girls of bosses or it is number filling game to please top management!

If you look at closely, you would discover that through process of evolution, nature continuously strikes balances. Mediocrity or average quality plays a very important role in such balancing to avert major upheavals!

On the face of it, many may not agree; but fact is that modern technologies are churning out more mediocre than before! 

Why mediocrity is an essential evil in companies and societies!

  1. Meritocracy actually survives on mediocrity!
    Imagine if we do not have mediocre to compare with, how would merit look like! Merit would lose its sheen. Extraordinary lose its meaning without ordinary!!
  2. It is expensive and futile to develop big number of people with big merit. They would not survive together!
  3. Mediocrity encourages competitive spirit.
  4. It makes changes in organizations an imperative.
  5. Mediocre people are back bone of an organization. They are loyal to their job and hence horses of long race in company’s history.
  6. They represent continuity.
  7. They are less ambitious and hence least controversial.
    Their expectations can be managed easily.
  8. They may not be very smart; but are sincere and hardworking.
  9. They have much better work life balance and hence, level headed!
  10. They dampen polarization, if an organization, community or even country has higher number of stronger personalities or high headed people.
    So, they do stimulate state of equilibrium, which is indispensable for continuous growth!

So, it is a blunder to write off or give a raw deal to mediocre people.

Managing Mediocrity or mediocre people

Above analysis does not mean that we should glamorize mediocrity; need is to give a good look and guide it towards merit!

  1. First and foremost is to embrace and empathize with mediocrity.
    Remember that the biggest merit of mediocrity is that it does not have its “negative opposite” and hence, always harmless!
    This would create acceptance of the fact that it exists, had existed and would always be present, that too in majority!
  2. Institute a continuous development program, which they can digest easily.
  3. Set your expectations and guide them how to meet same, if not exceed.
    But, never make a mistake to penalize them for under performance. Instead, make them aware where they slipped and help them to salvage.
  4. Raise the bar of your expectations, once current ones are met.
    The best thing an organization can do is to systematically raise performance bar for merit and mediocre alike! This would help mediocrity to inch up to a new normal!!

To conclude, a right balance between mediocre and meritorious people (90 to 10 or less) would bring startling results for organizations or their leaders. Then, raising performance bar systematically for both would add sparkle and pride for mediocre people!

Answer to often asked question – Why I am here?

Discovering "I"; Source: http://www.flickr.com/

This question does trouble minds of most people often, however, more painfully or prominently when they are either full of troubles or free from all troubles!

If you look at any faith or religion, you would find that there is direct or indirect mention of “why you are here and for what purpose”! However, my talks with several people, state in which our societies are and innumerable writings do not suggest that majority of people are satisfied with the answers given thus far for “Why I am here”.

So, let us try and find out the most logical answer to this significant question. A right answer can indeed revolutionize your life!

To start with, let us speak about unspoken reality worldwide. We have arbitrarily earmarked some areas and reserved same for God or God men. But no where you can ever find that such a reservation is done at the instance of God! Unwritten sermons are that these areas are prohibited for common public to even think about, leave alone a discussion. It is this reality that has given rise to false practices and perceptions about God. To get a right answer, we have no option but to peep into some part of these areas.

Next question then pops up – who decides that you should be here? There are only 4 possibilities:

  1. You are here by wish of God
    This is by far the most popular belief! In one of my previous articles “Two third cancer cases on a/c of luck..”, we have deliberated whether God is located somewhere in our universe in his heavenly abode or he is everywhere and hence resides in us also. Conclusion is clearly in favor of the latter i.e. God resides in us also.
    Now, it is very important to know that though God resides in trillions of trillions particles or living beings, he is one and only one. It is a different matter that mythology shows him in different images and forms. Why would God exercise his wishes on such a huge number of living beings?
    It also means that there is no space without God. So, to think that God would bring you “from somewhere to here” does not stand to any logic! 
  2. You are here due to nature’s cycle of birth and death
    This automatically implies that concept of rebirth or reincarnation is valid. Till date, it has remained only a conjecture, in absence of any scientific evidence.
  3. You are here by your choice
    All of us are familiar with biological process for conceiving a life prior to birth. Nothing like “I” or brain exists to make a choice. So, this option looks farfetched!
  4. You are here by chance
    Scientists in field of quantum mechanics, which is the basis of birth of all modern gadgets and artificial intelligence, would happily agree to this. There is randomness or uncertainty in saying that you are here by chance, which is what quantum theory advocates! But, there is no real scientific research conducted so far on what is life and hence it does not hold any water!!
    On other hand, spiritual leaders would be prompt to defer “chance” to heavenly hands, which is same as point 1 above!

You can see from above that all 4 possibilities fall flat on one count or another and leave you confused.

Demystifying and comprehending “I”

To understand “I” is most significant aspect of our life.

All of us know who we are and what we do. We recognize ourselves through our body and thoughts. Yet, we hardly know what exactly is “Self” or “I”!

Look at a child up to age of 4 years or so. She or he observes, recognizes and responds; but, does not know what I is! For her/him, “I” does not even exist, except for verbal use of this letter!! “I” takes birth in her/him, the day child learns to think or focus on her/his body.

It is absolutely important for us to know that it is journey from childhood to adulthood that we discover and then discuss “I” or “Self”! Before that “I” or question “Why I am here” is non-existent!! Once we start to recognize “I”, then we acquire analytical abilities. If we are too attached to “I”, it turns into ego and if we are just aware of “I”, it turns into esteem or pride!

More we are focused on external objects in terms of actions or thoughts for same, farther we go from “I” or self. We come closest to self, when we focus on our body or breath! But, it is a real paradox that you can never ever experience “I” by itself. “I” is essentially your consciousness, which you require to observe or experience anything! So, how can you experience the thing (i.e. I), which you need for that very experiencing?

To conclude, the question “Why I am here?” is totally irrelevant; ill conceived! If we are asking this question, it is only because we have not realized true meaning of “I”, which is now possible through this article.

“I” i.e. your consciousness is there (like you say God is there); but you can never say it is here!!

So, just be aware that (your)Self is there and see your world through this Self! Then your ego would wane automatically and your vision would widen dramatically!!

As regards “Purpose for which we are here”, please see 2.0 version of this title in the coming weeks.

Do Companies bring Change by choice or under compulsion of a crisis?

Is Change not Charismatic? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

“Change” is the most celebrated word across the world – from individuals to communities, corporates and countries! But, how serious are we, when we say “Change”?

Change encompasses innovations, ideas, redefining, reviewing, restructuring and redeeming! Change represents a dynamic state and breathes new and fresh. Catch phrase of nearly every celebrity is “Change is the only constant in universe!” Such splendid is the significance of change; but unfortunately it is seldom understood in its entirety!!

If companies are not changing proactively, then they face decline in 5 stages, as per Jim Collins, author of best seller “Good to Great”:

  1. Hubris born of success
    Great enterprises get insulated by success, though momentum already set in carry them forward while their leaders lose discipline and make poor decisions. This stage kicks in when people of these companies become arrogant and believe that success is their entitlement!
  2. Undisciplined pursuit of more
    This stage comes, when companies start to think we are great and we can do anything! They go for more scale, more growth, more acclaim and all what bring pat on their back from those in power. All these happen in undisciplined and reckless manner.
  3. Denial of risks and peril
    At this stage, internal warning signals begin to mount but external results of the company remain strong. Management explains away disturbing data or declares difficulties as temporary.
  4. Grasping for salvation
    Now, decline of the company becomes visible to all and talks of salvaging begins.
  5. Capitulation to irrelevance or death
    At this point, enterprises start to face threat of extinction. They struggle to survive.

Paradoxically, most companies are unaware of their decline that creeps in during 1st three stages! By the time crisis is visible at 4th stage, they are already deep into the same!!

General Electric and Toyota Motors of Japan are some of very few companies, who have been proactively changing and hence ever thriving. Apple Inc., Intel and Samsung are among those, who did dip to stage 1 or 2; but bounced back by quickly by adopting changes. IBM, HP, Xerox, Merck and Numec were iconic companies at one stage but fell to stage 4; however their leadership showed courage to stage a comeback. However, one time icons like General Motors, Ford and BlackBerry are among those, who have been languishing at stage 4 for substantial time and no one knows whether they would ever be able restore their old glory. On the other hand, one time gems – Arthur Anderson, MCI WorldCom, Pan Am, General Foods Corp., Compaq, RCA etc. went down to stage 5 and became extinct!

It is apparent that most company may clamor and claim for change proactively, but they actually change only when they are in crisis and hence, run risk of not reaping fruits of change and chance of their success is odd.

It would be highly interesting to know that even decline of a successful individual happens over 5 stages:

  1. Getting overwhelmed by success and becoming opaque to realities – superiority complex!
  2. Clamoring for more successes, ignoring steps followed to climb initial success – overconfidence!
  3. Denial for presence of defects and difficulties – arrogance!
  4. Start to worry about increasing woes – anxiety!
  5. Loss of identity – condemned!

What does above scenario reveal?

Change under crisis is compressed but quick!

A crisis brings do or die situation! At any scale from nations to natives, under crisis, one either swims or sinks!!

It is ironical but true that the brink brings out the best or worst. Changes under crisis are costly but very quick. History shows that great innovations, ideas, courage, cohesion and all what we call as Change came about during wars or setbacks.

Here below are pros and cons of bringing change under crisis:

  • Crisis presents a binary situation – bounce back or get banished.
  • Changes, which happen, are costly, compressed and concentrated, since focus is on coming out of crisis. These changes are often not wide spread.
  • A by-product can often be good momentum to progress, which continues beyond a crisis. That is good.
  • But all of above may not be good enough to change character or DNA of country, company or individual.
    This poses high risk for entity or individual to go into cycles of successes and setbacks.
  • One of the most serious implications is while in crisis people tend to lose balance and belief in good. Prudential principles and practice can take a back seat or beating! 

So, crisis is a great initiator or destroyer, but not a creator! Creation of new or different comes only post extinction!!

Changes by choice are expansive and elite!

Changes by choice means changing proactively through contemplation, self-evolvement and self-drive! Doing it by choice brings ownership and motivation.

Change by choice is no longer a change by charter, as happens under crisis; instead it becomes a change of character and culture!

Often companies or individuals, despite good intention to change by choice, trip midway because their attempts to change is non-inclusive. Look at some examples, which are doomed to failure:

  • Change in favor of empowerment; but not having trust on who to be empowered!
  • Resolving to be sensitive to employees, but with lack of empathy!
  • Promising fairness; but not being free from biases!

So, when change happens by choice and is inclusive and expansive, then it is sustainable and supremely beneficial from all aspects!

So, why not change by choice, instead of waiting for crisis to coerce us?

Two third cancer cases on a/c of luck – a chance, coincidence or command of heaven?

Looking for luck! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Scientists from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have recently concluded that 2/3rd of world’s cancer cases are a direct result of bad luck rather than faulty life style or defective DNA! They have found that 22 types of cancer could be largely explained by bad luck factor of random DNA mutations during cell division and other 9 types of cancer with higher incidences are a combination of bad luck and environmental/inherited factors!!

So, luck looms on everyone but no one knows, including most brilliant scientists what luck is!

One popular medical practitioner confided in me that medical fraternity terms those ailments, which cannot be diagnosed, as allergy or IBS! Likewise, it looks like that what scientists or common man cannot comprehend would defer it to heavenly hands or luck!!

Since scientists are talking of most types of cancer as matter of luck, it becomes crucial that we make logical sense out of it. After all, it is a question of millions of lives!

There are 3 possible scenarios:

  1. Luck is controlled by commands from heavenly hands!
    This is the most popular belief and for many, it is taboo to discuss or challenge it.
    Let us ponder following aspects:
    1. No one knows where heaven is located in our Universe!
    2. Even if we assume that it is somewhere, no signal from heaven has ever been detected.
    3. How do 1 or 2 pairs of hands in heaven control luck of billions of people on earth? What is the motivation behind such control?
      If there are aliens living on other planets, what happens to their luck? Then, is their heaven same as that for humans on earth?
    4. By assuming heaven is located elsewhere in our Universe, we are separating God from ourselves. This is completely contrary to popular belief that God is everywhere and therefore, God resides in us also!
    5. So, if we believe God is within us, then control of luck is also within us!!
  2. Luck is logical!
    No one would agree it.
    If luck was to be straight forward and logical, rules governing it would have been discovered long time back.
    In some preaching and holy books, luck is assumed as direct consequence of karmas from previous your life and hence considered logical. But, this is just a conjecture, since there is no proof that previous life and reincarnation exist! Even if we assume that previous life had existed, there is nothing whatsoever found how karmas over lifelong span are recorded, stored and carried forward to the next birth!!
    However, there are some real life examples, which everyone experiences and are worth to evaluate. In majority of cases, things happen, when you don’t want them to. This is also a corollary of Murphy’s Law! Reverse is also true that things don’t happen when you want them to. Both cases are contingent to how genuine is your want, which is generally gray. Most people go back and forth on their wants. But, if you are really anxious or obsessed for things to happen like you have to win a lottery, then reverse would generally be a reality! And then you would call it a bad luck. There are lot of people, who are least bothered about a win and then they win. We term that as good luck!
    Further, there are practices like Feng Shui, Vaastu and others, which are believed to bring luck. Then, there are lot of superstitious beliefs to avoid bad luck. Protagonists of these practices staunchly believe that these work, which is not whole truth. It has been observed by me time and again that it works for the people, who develop beliefs but back it up with their sincere efforts.
    Above suggests that there is a kind of systematic pattern of luck, which is actually linked to state of our mind!
  3. Luck is random!
    It is most widely experienced that luck has random pattern! Since luck seems to follow no rule, no one is able to regulate it!
    Randomness means uncertainty and uncertainty plays a very vital role in how nature functions. Current electronic revolution, which has brought in internet to mobile phones, note pads and computers, has emanated from uncertainty principle! What it means in layman’s language is “in much less than billionth of a second, everything is possible – biggest explosion to deepest hole; but that can never be directly observed by us, nor does it affect our routine life”.
    Why such uncertainty? Science is totally blank about it. Though it has exploited it for amazing technological advancements, it has no idea how uncertainty principle works on our mind or in our life! After all, our brain constitutes of same sub-atomic particles as an electronic chip!!
    My research has so far revealed that there is certainty within boundaries of uncertainty principle. Nevertheless, randomness of luck directly implies randomness of effects that our mind experiences!

Reining in Luck

We can now conclude that:

  1. If luck is in heavenly hands, then it is also in your hands!
    When you are happy, blissful or fully focused, you get godly feeling! You feel you have experienced what you perceive as God. This is when luck loses its meaning to you!
  2. If luck is logical, then it falls within reign of your mind!
    Positive state of your mind is the best mean to rein in luck.
  3. If luck is random or uncertain, then you need to rein in uncertainties in your mind!
    You can best do it by focusing on single thoughts.
  4. Factually, anything that happens or does not happen relates to luck!
    So, chose what you want as luck. Everything? No, then wealth and health? Make these 2 as your goal and run after it; possibility are then high for even cancer to run away from you.
  5. To align luck to your like, click and look at how to do it…!

So all in all, luck is game of your mind! You can learn to play as above to be lucky!!

A significant single point resolution for New Year!

New Year Energy! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

The best single point resolution for 2015 for you could be “not to trash older resolutions and tag along with yet new set of resolutions; instead review and reinforce the older ones!” There is lot of merits in doing so:

  1. If you have been making resolutions with dawn of New Years in the past and fulfilling those, then you would have become so good that you don’t require a new resolution! Yet, if you chose to make one, most likely it would be flimsy and frivolous!! That would do more harm than good to you.
  2. But, if you have not been fulfilling what you commit to yourself in terms of resolutions, it signals your weak intents or convictions. This is indeed a big issue for you, which would only magnify if you gloss over and go for new resolutions.
    If you believe that you have changed and would not allow new resolutions to gather dust now, then first test yourself by dusting off older lots and fulfilling same. Otherwise, you are only misleading yourself.
  3. Are you aware what we believe as new or start of a new period like year 2015, it triggers an impulse or euphoria in us? It is just a spark but not fire. Mass hysteria on such occasions creates an illusion in our mind that it is a fire and we are tempted to consign older intents and values in same and opt for a perceived new order!
    Generally, such new order is nothing but older ideas in a new wrapper.
  4. Excitement linked to an event does create a drive in you; but please do not overlook the fact that after all it is not your inner drive and hence, it would fade once event is over.
    So, if you want to reap real fruits of your ideas and intents, those must be triggered by your inner drive or what we call as inspiration.
  5. When you are inner or self-driven, good ideas would start flooding your mind and time, space or occasions would lose significance! Real test of you being in self-drive mode is that you would start to feel compelled to resolve and implement those ideas there and then! You would not postpone those for an event like New Year to usher in!
    So, if you defer good ideas to an occasion, then you are not self-driven nor ideas are actually good!
  6. Please do not forget that what is good cannot be in great number! Usually, most of us know what is good. What we lack is our belief in those and will to implement. Therefore, what is critical is to review and reinforce what you have already resolved or are in know of! It is only then you would excel in your efforts and get rewarded.

So, it makes a perfect sense to revisit and reinforce what you already possess or had resolved earlier.

How to revolutionize your euphoria linked to New Year or any other event!

  • New Year and for that reason, any other festive event brings excitement, energy and expectations. Channelize those not for setting new resolutions and ambitions, but for creating confidence and conviction in self!
  • Focus on what you are doing and not on doings of others.
  • Keenly discover for yourself that “you can enjoy an event only when you are positive in your mind, not when you are angry or anxious, distressed or dejected”.
  • Merge yourself with the moment and watch the game of mind. Your mind would unleash unprecedented drive and dazzle, bliss and beauty!
  • This is the time you should shed away all inhibitions and indecisiveness, put unflinching faith in your unlimited power and possibilities.

And move on with your pursuits single-minded!