Posts Tagged Focus

Teachers Everywhere

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Festivals come once in a year but festivities are round the year.

Teachers Day comes once a year but teachers are with you, throughout the year.

Is learning the essence of life?

Not to everyone.

There are some who believe, and rightly so, that action is all that matters. Learning is the fuel, action is what puts it into motion.

There are others who have a cordial relationship with learning. They open their doors to learning once in a while- to let in some guests who are otherwise unwelcome generally.

And there are others who consider learning as an intruder and keep their senses on full alert to thwart any attempts from this unwanted intrusion in their zone of comfort.

To each his own. And we can rarely find fault with the different approaches. After all each of us has a right to decide how we wish to lead our lives, our priorities, our interests, grow, or evolve.

Gautam Buddha too was living in a blissful state of ignorance, in the lap of luxury, till he decided to explore and discover himself. This reveals two things – one, you can change course in life at any time, and two, it’s never too late.

Is learning self-realisation? Is it education? Is it discovery?

Does learning happen, or is it delivered by a teacher?

Can one learn without a teacher?

What role does a teacher have?

Teachers are not labelled. They may not necessarily be human. They may not be physically present. You can learn from a story, an anecdote, an observation, a thought.

You can stay untouched though surrounded by teachers, and you can learn despite the absence of teachers. The essence of learning is not what is being taught, but what is being learnt. And for that it is not the teacher in front of you, but the learner in you that seeks the teacher.

For those who seek teachers, they keep looking. For those who seek learning – teachers are everywhere.

Posted in: Celebrations, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Work Culture

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Teaming Up

People are seeking to learn all the time. They read books, listen to thought leaders, get coached, and of course learn from experience. Those with a keen eye find that every observation and interaction offers an opportunity for learning to a fertile mind which is ready to absorb the knowledge overflowing in life.

Every interaction is a learning experience and any group activity offers a rich cluster of lessons.

Any group activity needs purpose, planning and execution. And all these within a framework of teamwork which can make the difference between winning and losing.

Purpose: It almost seems absurd that you can have a team engaged without a purpose. However we have seen two key areas of deficiency. One is clarity of purpose and the other is lack of communication. You may come across groups which are feverishly committed to be together but have little idea why they have come together. They fail to achieve anything significant other than being a social interaction platform. Some groups start with a well-defined purpose but the lack of proper communication or the continued communication of purpose gradually erases the primary reason of their association.

Leadership: Whether the group is made of two or two hundred, leadership or the lack of it makes its presence or absence felt. Good leaders will be communicative, assertive, encouraging, inspiring, guiding, selfless, and lead from the front. Weak leaders will be poor in communication, unsure, wavering, self-centred, and play favourites. Leadership has something unique about it. The leader may be visible or invisible, but leadership is always omnipresent in any group.

Execution: The success of any venture or group’s purpose is measured by its execution. It is the team the members, the way they perform individually and in tandem, and the team spirit is what determines the outcome. Good leaders and passionate team members still follow the proverbial rule of a rotten apple and keep the team free of one. Purpose and Leadership ensures the team is on track and meets its goals.

Teams are a collection of individuals and individuals performing well collectively make a great team which achieve great results. So it boils down to individuals: how they see their role and how they contribute.

Some want to do it, from some you have to get it done. Some want to do it well, while some need others to get out the best from them. Some want to win, and some want to participate. Some look at what they have to do, while some see what the team needs to do collectively to win.

Great team performances are a result of a combination of the three key factors and the team players who make the final difference. Team members committed to give their best do not wait to be summoned or reminded of what they are expected to do. They in fact are constantly looking at how they can improve their contribution towards the team cause. And it is this approach and attitude from each of them that makes the team unbeatable.

So ask yourself the key question: Do you voluntarily give your best or has it to be extracted out of you?

Posted in: Motivational, Team Work, Work Culture

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Tally Team to Task

Does your team match the job at hand?
Thanos Papadimitriou

Every start-up thinks the activity of an organization as the process of sourcing, securing, allocating, assembling, managing, and scaling human and material resources into business capabilities.

Smart entrepreneurs are like accountants, they match the duration of their assets and liabilities, both financial and human.

No one can do it alone. Sooner or later entrepreneurs have to enlist additional team members to execute existing tasks so that they can focus on new, higher value initiatives.

Four things to think about when you are building your team are as follows:

1. Fill in the gaps

A complementary partner is the most important asset available to an entrepreneur. A partner is an additional set of eyes, a sounding board and a reality check-the person whom you trust to tell you when you are wrong. Finding the right candidates begins with honest self-examination. Compare your capabilities to those needed to succeed to find the gaps. Entrepreneurs would be wise to apply the same analysis to every addition they make to the team. 

2. Get started with what you have, but upgrade relentlessly

Most entrepreneurs lack the resources or track record needed to attract qualified candidates, and thus rarely have the pick of the litter when hiring. That’s ok. Part of being an entrepreneur is learning to make it work with what you have. That said, remember that difference between “A” and “B” players is not one notch, it’s 100x fold. Covering an empty position for a few weeks sounds horrendous but keeping an inept person in a critical position is crippling. The ambiguity and lag time makes it all the more important to act decisively. Immediately saddling new team members with actionable and measurable tasks can help to uncover subpar hires sooner.  

3. Plan for roles to change

This means making it clear to early hires they are filling temporary needs. Make short (six month) commitments, which include flexibility for role changes as needed.

4. Hire for the job at hand

Many start-ups mistakenly hire a professional VP of Sales before finishing the product, much less validating demand for it. Not only is it expensive to have a VP of Sales sitting around before there are customers to sell to (you, the founder, are in charge of evangelical sales, remember?), anyone worth their salt wouldn’t come to work in your basement anyway. It’s just not worth their time yet.

Posted in: Entrepreneur, Work Culture

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Two Choices

Two Choices

You can choose to focus on the Problems or the Solutions

The difference between focusing on Problems and focusing on Solutions:

Case # 1 : When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens would not work at zero gravity (ink will not flow down to the writing surface).

Solution # 1 : To solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C.

Solution # 2 : And what did the Russians do…?? They used a pencil.

Case # 2 : One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan ‘s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox that was empty.

Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly Line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soapbox went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem.

Solution # 1 : Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all  the soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.

Solution # 2 : But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.


Always look for simple solutions

Devise the simplest possible solution that solves the problems

Always focus on solutions and not on problems

“If you look at what you do not have in life, you don’t have anything. If you look at what you have in life, you have everything” 

Posted in: Focus on Solutions, Motivational

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