Tag Archives: Legacy

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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Is there any alternative to being fair and good?

Does that help? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

If a sub-ordinate commits a mistake, supervisor is up in arms, gets angry, reprimands, issues a warning and develops adverse opinion against him/her. On other hand, sub-ordinate reacts and regrets working under such boss. Both think that they are right in what they perceive and do! Issue escalates until a flash point, when the sub-ordinate gets transferred or resigns. If the supervisor is toxic, more of employees meet the same fate. When sub-ordinates become supervisors, they replicate behavior of their previous bosses, since that’s the legacy they have learnt!

If a child is mischievous or disobedient, most parents believe that only way to make him/her disciplined is to hand over punishment or time-out. Eventually, such children turn out to be tough nuts to crack, since they hardly learnt from their parents how to be patient and polite.

If it is governance of corporates or countries, it is more of identifying guilty and going after them, taking credit by discrediting others, tit for tat and not giving freedom for fear of losing it. Majority of management believes commands and reprimands are the best means to manage.

Do above traits and techniques yield results? The perpetrators obviously believe it does; but that is bunk!

Approaches and attempts that never fructify; but everyone keeps faith, albeit false!

You would be amazed to know that more than 80% of man’s actions world over are initiated by his reactions and additional at least 15% are after thoughts; but based on wrong notions and hence, all of these go awry! Some of the most commonly practiced or perceived are:

  1. Punctuality can be improved by punishing employees or helping hands.
  2. By rushing or being rash, you can recover lost time or glory.
  3. Mistakes can be corrected by critical of the one who committed.
  4. You can bring harmony by hating and detesting dissent or discontent.
  5. Grilling and drilling of a guilty would guarantee non-reoccurrence of guilt.
  6. Winning an argument is a sign of wisdom, rather than avoiding it!
  7. Slamming and shaming a shameless can make him sober!
  8. Saying sorry can soothe sore feelings.
  9. Through penalties, one can promote compliances.
  10. Effect of bad karma can be eliminated by good karma.
  11. By assuring jobs, regardless of merit or competence, you can bring social justice.
  12. It is a sign of strength to hold hands of strong and shrug off the weak.
  13. You can impress public by implicating your rivals.
  14. You can spread faith by force or fear.
  15. Democracy and freedom can flourish by winning wars.
  16. Terrorism and fundamentalism can be fought and finished by force.

Irony is doers of above are staunch believers that these work. What really works is something entirely different.

Short cuts sway humans!

Take example of stand-off between husband and wife, supervisor and sub-ordinate, political rivals, neighboring countries, they would be ever ready raise the pitch until a peak, when wiser counsel prevails on one of them and then they sit, talk and resolve. If they don’t do that, they can go to any extent to inflict damage and suffer.

Each party starts to believe that because it raised the pitch, the other one came to its senses. This is hogwash! Wiser counsel does exist in minds of both. It surfaces in one earlier than another because of several factors working in background. But, ego of each one gives credence to controversies rather than mutual communications and consent!

Most of us are slave to short cuts – first reaction, spontaneous emotions, showing off physical or political power. When we are overtaken by emotions, we don’t mind to pay a plum price; but when we are overwhelmed by rationale, we refuse to make a small sacrifice and buy in peace. Bitter but true that human race survives on brinkmanship – first get into crisis or controversy and when comes to knot, then resolve.

What works!

Bad has an alternative; but good has none! 

Regardless, who you are, how good or great you are, being bad or unfair by thoughts, taste or deeds can nothing but be bad for you. Someone else being bad does not qualify you to become bad. If you still so wish, you can be and make futile efforts and costly mistakes. God or divine force is not going to stop you and they would also not intervene when you pay a price; heavy at times!

It is ludicrous to try tryst with what is bad, because you can only lose!

So, do you agree that what pays is unstinted faith in being good and fair?

Also, please never get confused with plethora of definitions, terms or jargons for good and fair. It is as simple as:

  • Good is what makes you conscious and composed!
  • Fair is what frees you from fear and favors!!
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Success after success is a bigger challenge than success after failure!

All over, people go ga ga over success after failure. Nothing wrong to celebrate success; but seldom people realize that success actually wait in the wings, when failure nears its end! Success is an opportunity that failure presents; if someone fails to take it or even see it, it is because of state of despondency and distress, which one has difficulty to come out from!!

Failures stare at you, when you are successful. So, failure after success is not unusual. What is unique, what is real in terms of strength is getting success after success and keep up with that trend! Greater game is in remaining successful, once your performance has peaked in a given set of situation. And that is the real test of your leadership, hidden talents, inherent energy or animal spirits.

Recall the phenomenal rise of Apple Corporation to become the most valuable company in world by its market capitalization! It is, now, struggling to keep pace with its growth and success. Legacy of Steve Jobs is hardly helping its current CEO Tim Cook. Look at iconic company Research in Motion from Canada – the makers of BlackBerry smart phones. About 10 years ago, it was a status symbol for every corporate manager to have BlackBerry in hand. Now, its fate has taken complete U-turn. Likewise, after successful journey upward, several huge corporations namely Microsoft, Siemens, Dell etc. are facing unprecedented rough patches.

Why failure stares at success

It is like sharpening a pencil – more you sharpen; more are the chances of its lead getting broken. But, if you stop sharpening pencil at a particular point, then chances of lead getting broken fade; instead it would get blunted through its use. Story of success is the same; when you build on success, you are also building failure. Trick lies in how to keep failure away from success. Do not forget that failure is constantly staring at success.

So, what can you do to keep failures away as individual or a group or company?

  1. Let success not blind you.
  2. Focus absolutely on flexibility and agility!
  3. In a given situation, there is a threshold of pace and extent you can go to get success.
    If you sharpen a pencil too fast, its lead would break prematurely. So is the success; if you get it too fast – it won’t last too long!
    When you start to get success, search for this threshold, beyond which success can come, only by bringing changes in your model or means.
  4. Build buffer for failure/s as well as features to prevent same.
  5. If you allow success to go into your head; failure would go into your heart! Neither is good!!

Why success often does not breed success!

Everyone wants success; but very few know how to sustain it! We are too much used to cycles of good and bad, high and low, success followed by failure. Most of us seem to do following:

  1. Success gives us confidence; but we take it forward to arrogance!
  2. Success keeps us highly engaged that we forget to wash dirty linens. So, we keep collecting dirty linens.
  3. Merits and means, which give success, become meaningless to us, when we start to embrass success.
  4. We overlook that as we build success, we also build our bête noire, adversaries and competitors.
  5. We lean on legacy of our own successes, rather than learn from it to remain lean!
  6. Success catapults us into comfort zone!
  7. Most important of all, we forget – “Success is an inspiration, not an insurance against failure!”

So, the problem lies within us, not elsewhere! It is very apparent that all of us seem to like contrasting change – we refuse to understand pleasure without going through pain; we learn importance of joy, only after getting jolt; so we understand significance of success after meeting with failure! It is like Chef’s or mother’s recipe for dishes with contrasting flavors of hot and cold, sweet and sour or soft n hard, which most of us relish!

If we can bat for Incremental Change, rather than Contrasting Change, success would then start breeding success! This is where the key challenge lies!!

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Do you want to be Part or Standout of Crowd or be a Crowd-puller?

Everyone lives his/her life anyway. But, it is important to ask ourselves – do “we want to make a difference and leave our legacy behind” or “just live and leave uneventfully”!

We have 3 choices in our professional, personal and social life – (a) do like others do, (b) do better than what others do or (c) do it differently than others! Very often, we do not make a choice or we do not know the choices to choose from. This leads us a lackadaisical life.

So, it is very essential to make a choice upfront and give direction and purpose to our career and life!

Being part of crowd

Ignorantly or intentionally, majority falls in this category. No harm to be there; but be conscious of the same.

It is convenient and comfortable for most to look at others and to be alike in thinking and doing. Classical characteristics of this category would be:

  1. Conventional, conservative and contended.
  2. Envy and emulate.
  3. Grumble and fumble.
  4. Live others’ life; not your own.
  5. Lot of aspirations; but little of perspiration to accomplish those.
  6. Talk tall; but walk timid.
  7. Prompt in making promises; but pathetic in making delivery.
  8. Fear of failure; but have fun through community feeling!
  9. Perceive that own ills and illusions are someone else’s making.

However, this category has its own relevance and significance. It is essential to accept and respect it, because that is what masses would tend to do. This group creates the base structure; forms back bone of the organizations and constitutes real work force!

What can make you to Stand out of Crowd

Some aspire to be visible and recognized. Aspirations need to catapult into actions. Here are some offbeat ideas to stand out of the crowd:

  1. Be an eternal enthusiast and optimist.
  2. Never say No to any work or responsibility; but that does not mean to say Yes to everything.
    Listen to what you are being told to do. If it is not feasible or correct, do not reject or refuse; instead take a neutral position and explain “Why”, even if it is your boss asking for it.
  3. Never complain or criticize anyone, be in bedroom or boardroom.
    There can be issues; but treat them as challenges. You can then find a way to tackle.
  4. Accept to do, what others are averse to.
    Always look for areas, which other people tend to avoid. You cannot imagine how it can bring you in lime light and new dimensions.
  5. First 1 to 10 minutes are crucial before you get set to do anything.
    Must use those minutes to fathom and focus on planning and how to endeavor to make it more efficient in terms of time and efforts.
  6. Welcome difficulties, disagreements and defeats!
    If you don’t face these, then start suspecting that something is not right!!
  7. Devote at least 15% of your time to help people solve their problems including bosses and making changes in the things around you!

You don’t need talent, qualifications or experience to stand out; but stand out for a right reason as above. Excellent results would race towards you!

How to be a Crowd-puller

To pull the crowd, you need to pull yourself to a different paradigm:

  1. Unshackle yourself from conventions, comfort and crowd.
  2. Don’t do what masses do.
  3. Observe and learn what triggers imagination of people. Put that learning into your pursuits and practice.
  4. Don’t have fear of failures or frustration from setbacks. Failures and setbacks can be very enlightening!
  5. Be sincere to the core; keep no gap in what you think, speak or do.
  6. Love everyone; but don’t get attached to anyone.
  7. Be prepared to drop your notions and convictions, if these have lost their worth or proved wrong.
  8. Do what would address and alleviate problems and pains of people or make them more efficient, ebullient and energetic.
    Alternatively, work in areas, which are dark/deficient or where people face paradoxes and puzzles.
  9. Take pride in sharing and communication your ideas and imagination on point 8 above with people.
    Initially, people may not listen; keep patience, eventually they would.

So, your option determines outcome –

  • Opting for being in crowd – you would go 2 steps forward and may be 1 or 3 steps backward. Cycle of success and failure would keep you tied there!
  • Selecting to stand out – you would start to get successes up to a point, beyond which either you move forward with extra push to get in 3rd option or you would get pulled back!
  • Daring to be different – it is like throwing a stone with enough force to free it from earth’s gravity; then it would keep moving forward effortlessly.

World treats you differently, when you do it differently!!!

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Like to be a real Leader? Create Contemporaries & not Followers!

Not sure, which subject is as extensively covered worldwide as “Leadership”. There are floods of articles by acclaimed to amateur people, development programs by management gurus, spate of theories, case studies and jargons on leadership. That shows its enormous importance and emphasis of top order. However, all of these have only created euphoria and excitement; but not leaders. It is a fact that world is hopelessly short of real leaders!

World of leadership could be very lopsided. This is the dilemma and delusion, most companies and communities have been facing. One of main reasons why leadership of many fails to cut ice is their inability to create contemporaries. It is hardly known to them that whole face of leadership radically changes, if its focus shifts to acquire competence to create contemporaries.

What tempts Leaders to create followers

Many think that demand and duty of a leader is to lead. In other words, others should follow. This defeats the very essence of leadership! It may be surprising to many that many qualities, which are essential for a leader, if not practiced properly, would trigger the temptation to create followers and resulting flaws. Here are some out of many:

  1. Strong personality of leaders (could lead to) –> Tendency to bulldoze their way and force others to follow their commands.
  2. Powerful communication –> Vice to hear own voice and discouraging others to voice their views.
  3. Passion to perform and show results –> Ruthless drive and walk over others’ concerns.
  4. Delivering commitments –> Coercing employees or people to perform and meet targets, without addressing their difficulties or barriers.
  5. Creating common vision –> Dictum for a common agenda; rather than working for a Change and creating consensus for a set of ideas.
  6. Drive to achieve goals –> Crushing resistance, friction or dissension in order not to lose the race and face.
  7. Believing in Self –> Disbelief in others, giving rise to arrogance and autocracy.
  8. Creating solid organization –> Carving hierarchy of followers, who then become leader’s favorite and blue eyed.
  9. Ethics and Ethos –> Showing stick for non-compliances without encouraging doing it by choice.
  10. Fostering company values –> Promoting values of self and in turn, own dogmas and doctrines, drilled in minds of people.
  11. Popular appeal –> Hooking audience to self through frenzy, fear or favor.
  12. Moral values –> Desire for going down in history with unique identity.

On left hand side above are the great values and qualities, which good leaders need to imbibe and endure. However, when they taste power and position, then under garb of leadership role, what they actually practice implicitly or explicitly are what is shown on the right side. They would do anything to get success and the best bet people find is to create followers through every mean available – fear, favor, frenzy or ferocity. Most leaders consider such approach justified, if they have to accomplish their objectives! This is how leadership degenerates and loses the luster!

Creating Contemporaries is a Game Changer!

If the focus of every leader changes to “Create Contemporaries”, it can bring a complete paradigm shift. It is an amazing game changer!

If ability, idea and intent of a leader are to create contemporaries, then he/she would automatically be driven to do the following:

  1. Respect everyone, regardless of competence, character, performance or experience.
  2. Inspire through ideas and persona.
  3. Motivate through empowerment and encouragement.
  4. Drive everyone to learn how to drive and not be driven.
    Often, leaders talk about “drive”; but their action has exactly opposite tenor, if they create followers.
  5. Credit be given, not taken.
  6. Fairness to reign supreme and “liking or disliking, whims and fancy, biases and prejudices” to relegate.
    Leaders take pride in talking about non-discrimination, equal opportunities and fair decisions; but when it comes to doing it, most have gap between what they preach and practice. Simple reason – their actual intention is to lead and not to create leaders!
  7. Empathy by lending ear and support to employees’ or people’s concern and issues.
  8. Leading by examples, leaving no gap between what one thinks, speaks and acts.
  9. True knowledge of Self & Self-awareness, including strengths and weaknesses.
  10. Courage & Consciousness to own and correct mistakes.
  11. Acceptance of good & bad, right & wrong in same breath.
  12. Mentoring as masterstroke to create Contemporaries!

If one action exposes Ugly Side, the opposite expounds Up Side!

It is funny, but a fact that most masters, leaders, preachers, teachers or gurus in every field believe in creating followers and tag them along (or followers hang around them). They have massive illusion of doing a great job; it’s not!

It severely limits the ability of followers to go beyond the boundaries of perception and perspective created by their leaders or masters, to bring radical or revolutionary changes and to discover realities of life.

Most leaders lead on familiar lines, encourage status quo (may be unknowingly) and have fractured belief of being a Change Agent!

The need is to do the opposite, shatter conventional methods and concentrate on competence to create contemporaries. That would be an auto-pilot to unleash the Change.

So, we need to leave a legacy of our own; not live on legacy of others!! 

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