Six leadership lessons highly worth learning from psychology of a physician

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Be your own physician?

We all know that medical practice in any field is a noble profession; but what is little known are unique lessons that we should learn from the mindset of a medical practitioner. We are talking about just a good physician, leave alone successful ones.

Let us look at what does psychology of a physician teach us:

  1. Managing conflict of interest
    Getting into medical profession entails lot of efforts, time and money worldwide. It is natural that motto of getting into this field for most is earning name, fame and wealth.
    It is also clear that every visit to or by a physician fetches a fee for him/her.
    Now, a physician is faced with conflict of interest – treat his/her patients or customers for self-interest or serve them selflessly. Good doctors would always manage this conflict by rising above self and greed, and serve customers keeping in mind their interests. They prescribe minimum medicines and pathological tests and discourage patients to make frequent visits. Many have grace to charge less fees from those, who can’t afford.
    Let us draw a parallel to above the stock options scheme in corporates for employees and top management. Such options have a singular motive of driving employees to perform well, so that company profitability improves, which in turn would reward employees with more options. But, when it comes to top management, conflict of interest creeps in – should company performance improve to increase value of his/her substantial stocks or should it improve to increase values for customers and employees, even if it means slight dent in company’s profitability? Many CEOs allegedly and subtly act in favor of the former – serving self-interest.
  2. Maximum availability
    A physician is available 24×7 to his/her patients, at least in India. Their work-life balance is heavily tilted towards work.
    I am not suggesting that it is good for them, although it is good for their customers. What is more significant lesson is that they don’t make any excuse for non-availability. Their dedication for duties is total.
  3. Memory management
    Did you notice that a good doctor’s memory is very good. He/she would remember history of his/her patients correctly, correct medicines’ name, spelling (usually complex), potency and names of manufacturers for innumerable number of ailments and case histories of other patients.
    What is the key – inbuilt sharper brain or they pop up some pills to sharpen their memory? Not any of these. It is registering the information without any conflict in mind and recalling it without any stress.
  4. Motto of service to customers
    A physician’s actions are completely oriented towards his/her customers and obtaining the results for which they have approached him/her. They never compromise their attitude to serve.
  5. Maximum confidence and concentration
    Successful practitioners give their advice or prescription with total confidence and rarely side or back track. Their focus on duties is deep.
    They are never shaken by patient’s condition, however adverse and do maintain their composure effortlessly. They are attached to their duties but detached from their customers while serving them unflinchingly.
  6. Marvelous understanding of their own body
    In leadership programs or schools, reference to this quality is by and large missing. It is extremely important to understand how you or your body would react to different situations, what triggers your emotions and how to manage the same.
    Doctors do very well on above count and hence, rarely fall sick or fall prey to sickening situations.
    A good leader needs to understand his/her body (including mind) well in order to be robust, consistent and persistent in his/her pursuits.

So, a good physician is a great case study at business schools and organizations!

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Does phenomenal rise invariably rings in pathetic fall in max. of 4 years?

abcIndian iconic industrialist Ratan Tata retired at the age of 75 years from chairmanship of Tata group and appointed 46 years old Cyprus Mistry as his successor. This was indeed phenomenal rise of young Mistry. But recently, 4 years later, Cyprus Mistry has been sacked from chairmanship of the group for several reasons, one of the main being allegedly not following ethos of the group.

Is the fall of Cyprus Mistry attributable to his young age, inexperience or being a non-conformist?

John F. Kennedy rode to climax of his popularity and became US president at young age of about 44 years. But, less than 3 years later he was assassinated. Dark patches in his private life and assassination still remain a mystery. Bill Clinton became US president at the age of 46 years and rose to the crest of his popular appeal in about 4 years’ time and got reelected; but within 2 years thereafter, he was impeached by house of US representatives for a sex scandal. Barack Obama came to power as President at the age of 47 years and he seems to have sailed thru choppy waters during his 2 terms totaling 8 years but did not do anything phenomenal. Now, Donald Trump, despite a trail of scandals, has risen to peak of his popularity and been elected as US president at the age of 70 years. It remains to be seen how long he is able to sustain this peak.

Phenomenal boom of dot-com companies occurred in 1995 and lasted 4 years. Dot-com bubble started to bust from 1999 and it collapsed completely by 2001. US housing bubble peaked in 2004 and it busted in year 2007/2008, shattering financial markets worldwide. Iconic PC manufacturer Dell Inc. saw peak of its performance during period 1999 to 2003. From year 2004, Dell Inc. started its downward journey.

Do the above examples suggest that a rise, if phenomenal, has a limited period – perhaps a maximum of 4 years and then pathetic fall invariably follows?Non-conformist,

4 stages of phenomenal rise

Be it an individual, industry or institution, generally there are 4 stages of evolution of an exponential rise:

  1. Revolutionary idea or step
    It starts with a dramatically different but decent idea or step (like appointing or electing a very young person as leader) to address a formidable situation, crisis or an ambition.
    This can see a radical change at the top level in an organization, business model, product mix or disrupting existing practice/s.
    This stage brings lot of hopes and optimism at individual or collective level.
  2. Raising pitch
    In order to take all stake holders, customers or public in general together, an euphoria is generated by proponent/s of stage 1. Giving new vision, nice slogan/s or high sales pitches are very normal at this stage to sway the opinion of people.
  3. Razing partly or fully the old order
    Soon, realization comes that some or whole part of existing system is a stumbling block to implementation of stage 1 and only option is to dislodge it partly or fully.
    This is the stage that brings more pains than pleasure and gives birth to bête noire. Legacies and old ethos have to be bypassed.
  4. Rise
    Original idea now starts to show results. This stage also sows the seeds of greed for growth; but no one likes to look back until a climax comes.

Phenomenal rise would always prove to be premature!

Very idea of phenomenal rise is fraught with possibilities of pathetic fall.

At no stage of such speedy rise, there is enough time to broaden the base and strengthen qualities or support structure.

When you drive for height, you lose breadth in proportion. If you are young, you have energy but lack experience; you may be tough in your targets but slip on tenacity; you have to manage conflicts but with missing maturity.

During upwards journey, you are oblivious of fact that velocity and virtues, quantity and quality are mutually exclusive.

Sharp rise is only a short cut to growth and works for a short time – may be a max. of 4 years.

So, put your faith in something steady and solid in forward direction.

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Why likes of Trump would not only survive but always thrive

Portrait of angry boss shouting at his secretary through megaphone who is indifferent to it

How not to get bulldozed by bully! Image source – flickr.com

Look at any country, company, community or family – difficult person or people always dominate and decent ones lie low. In a school classroom, naughty students are always noticeable and receive teachers’ most attention; but nice ones find themselves neglected.

In just concluded US Presidential race, it is widely believed that both of main contenders were difficult personalities; but then what made Donald to trump Hillary?

Few days back, a respectable Indian newspaper carried an article penned by a well-known writer about 2 drug lords – Pablo Escobar of Colombia in real life and Walter White in reel life. She narrated how impressed she was by their sheer dynamism and determination, sharp minds and wished that such unmatched talent could be channelized for good cause of our society. She is not alone in her thoughts of compassion and sympathy. Most of us are very fascinated by villain-heroes, who are on relentless pursuit and ruthless run for a cause they believe as fair but by flouting every law. What most or masses always mistake in understanding that massive energy and enigma of such heroes exist only because they are villains!

The seed for power and popularity

The seed for power, position and publicity is in man’s Ego. If level of ego in a person is above certain threshold, it creates uncontrolled desire and drive for name and fame, nurtures blind belief – “I am the one, who alone can be right and can do it.” Mind of such person gets shut from realities and respect for others.

If you have watched Donald Trump, he enjoys extra high level of ego, much beyond the threshold, when compared with his rival/s.

By-products of ego are arrogance and reckless run for one-upmanship and showmanship. On a larger platform in a country or company, ego and its by-products are often misunderstood – ego is perceived as esteem or pride; arrogance is projected as great confidence and reckless pursuit is pronounced as passion. It is more prevalent in developed societies, who like to gloss over qualities in preference to quantities. I have been privy to host of such incidences during my tenure with a US multinational company.

Spreading negativity and then making positive promises

It is very easy to declare things are bad; but it is difficult to say things are good since that would need intelligence and patience to substantiate. People easily get alarmed when they are told that things are going to be bad. It evokes their emotions and creates confusion.

Likes of Trump master the art of painting a dismal picture of present even if it is rosy, exploiting people’s emotions and manipulating those with positive promises. Therefore, the slogan “I would make America great again” has gone down pretty well with public, not knowing by which account USA has indeed gone down!

People sympathize with who they perceive as victim or powerless

We often misunderstand mindset of masses.

If you have noticed, throughout election campaign in USA (and that happens even elsewhere), rivals and media were busy exposing (bad) truths about Trump but never brought his myths in focus. He was smart enough to project himself as victim in the hands of media and party in power. He could translate it into public sympathy. On other hand, Hillary could never be seen as victim of allegations by her rivals, as she was once in powerful position and now backed up party in power.

Virtues of one in power can easily be translated into vices by the one who is powerless.

So, as long as we succumb to our ego and negativity especially fears, likes of Trump would always succeed and we will not be able to wield our true strength!

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Are modern day science n stress making us more sick or superstitious?

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True image or illusion?

Current US President Barack Obama has revealed in a recent interview that he always carries in his pocket a statuette of Lord Hanuman, small Buddha, silver poker chip etc. and seeks inspiration from same when he feels tired or discouraged. But, he has said that he is not that superstitious.

He is not alone; he has millions of followers!

How gifts and gadgets of science are making you more superstitious

You would find celebrities, artists, leaders, especially from political polity and gen. next more than ever before wearing rings containing specific stones, colorful bands or sacred threads on their wrists or lucky charms to attract good omens. Advancements in multimedia enable millions to watch them like never before and entice them to emulate such practices.

Scientific advancements have given advent to social media and social media have brought together not only colleagues, cultures, traditions, beliefs and rituals from every corner of our planet but also voices of faith healers and fortune tellers. Every other day, I get text message on my cell phone about forecast for my future and what I should do to make it lucky. One day while under duress, one is bound to fall prey to same.

All kinds of wearable devices are now available to monitor nearly all parameters of your body. Everything looks hunky-dory as long as these parameters are within prescribed limits. But what is if some of those go out of limits? You land on the lap of stress, superstition or god for quick fixes. Hardly anyone would run to doctors for every tit and bit; but if someone does it, he/she would create another set of psychological problems.

When you are stressed, you fall either sick or prey to superstitions

Stress has long list of its byproducts – insomnia, IBS, cardio disorder, lever dysfunction, diabetes… and now new research studies including one conducted by Ohio State University have added cancer, as it gets accentuated by stress.

In modern age, there are many more media available to invite stress, leading among which is social media and mobile phones. Social media is a great boon as well as a gruesome bane. It is a classic example of how plus and minus go hand in hand. Thirty years back, we were surviving very well without having even a line of remote communication at home; today we can’t sustain a minute without cell phone in hand.

No one notices, rather dislikes to notice silent stress of taking selfies, posting images supposedly better than previous day, racing to get more likes and repenting if buddies or beloved did not like it.

Untold story of how science has been misused by man

In its original form, science is secular and secures everyone; but depending upon how it is used or applied, it can create values and virtues or vices and viruses; it can develop faith or fear; surprisingly, its positive use promotes spiritualism and negative use prompts materialism.

Though the taste of man or masses is for positive, their recipe is for exactly opposite – negative. That is why scientific facts have been twisted by most people into their fractured faiths i.e. illusions or superstitions and turned on more far right and left wing ideas and ideologies leaving little space for the center or balanced ones. Discoveries of atom and subatomic particles should have consolidated our conviction that god is everywhere but we have pushed him elsewhere – deeper into isolation and places of worship. We have used these discoveries more for destruction than for construction, creating more stress on our system. We have misused stress to create more medicines and manipulated the fact that it is more a matter of mind control.

We hardly know who we are; but we want to jump into bandwagon of knowing who and where aliens are. We are unable to arrest decay of our world colony; but billions of dollars are being spent on race for colonizing Mars and Moons.

But, all is not lost yet, if we can still realize that it is a bad idea to misuse or overuse science, its gifts and gadgets and that it is a bane to drift away from core principles of nature and life!

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Make your career and life an all-time celebration, just by not doing what you should not!

abcYou are committed to your duties and punctuality; but getting late today. So, you are in rush and speeding up your vehicle, ignoring the dangers on road that can throw your life out of gear and more importantly, not noticing that rushing actually takes you in reverse gear.

At work, you are chasing a deadline and directive of your boss to do it more efficiently. Being a serious individual, you don’t want to lag behind in any task. So, you focus on your work, follow social protocol to talk to your peers, who walk by and under social pressure, looking at Facebook posts on your cell phone and click likes. That is multitasking, which you believe as the best option under stress, not understanding that you are making a mess – hitting quality and efficiency in work and giving lip service to your likes.

Time and again, we go thru cycles of highs and lows. Our pleasure invariably is followed by pains; our excellence invites adversity; we scale peak only to get pushed down. We believe such cycles are god given or inevitable.

No; you are missing a major point.

Not doing what you should not is far more significant than what you should do

Everyone knows what he/she should do and shouldn’t. However, focus throughout the world is on “doing” and not on “not doing”. It is for this reason, war on terror has been going haywire; iconic industrial houses like that of Tatas have got into trouble; image of oldest democracy – USA has got severely dented.

Here is a new revelation from my research – successes come from what you do and setbacks or failures come from what you should not do but you still do! Before you start to do what is right, you ought to learn how not to do it wrong, then you can never squander your results. It is a fact that effect of one wrong act cannot be offset by doing one right thing, since weightage of former is nearly 100 times more than the latter.

Five points can secure more than Ninety Five percent of your satisfaction and success

  1. Don’t live in past
    Does not everyone know about it? Off course, everyone does; but no one seems to have right definition or determination for same. Not living in past means not to recall image, information or knowledge of anything that has passed by even a second earlier without a reason or relevance.
    It implies that you should not recall instances of joy or sorrow, fascination or fear, intelligence or insanity without a reason; nor you should recall images of even your most revered or beloved person without relevant context.
    Just focus on doing what you are doing now.
  2. Don’t be negative
    This would drive you to automatically drop your anger, anxiety, fear, ferocity, toxicity, tantrums, doubts and dithering. In name of being vocal, you would not give slip on your vocabulary; under passion of being upright, you would not usurp others’ right.
  3. Don’t hurt anyone
    This would help you to brace your bête noire and buddy in the same breath. This would promote respect and love for everyone and make your road to success smooth.
  4. Don’t get addicted to good
    Do good but never get addicted to it. Look at a previous post. If you are not addicted to good, you would never get overwhelmed by your own emotions and exploit that of others.
  5. Don’t encourage or entertain ego and biases
    Ego and biases are root causes of your discomfort and distress. These can mutate like cancerous cells and multiply to kill your peace, ease and efficiency.

So, by not doing what you should not, you can magically alter course of your career and life, and make the same magnificent!

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