Saturday, October 12, 2013

Celebrating failure

Recently I had the good fortune of attending the LBR LBO CFO forum in Sri Lanka. The theme of the forum was Middle Income Challenge for Sri Lanka.

Among topics discussed was, what specific skills development would be required for Sri Lanka to emerge from the so called "Middle Income Trap" . Whilst most speakers focused on the technical competencies, it was Udena Wickeremasoriya, Group Director of Brandix who said that their focus was on making people more entrepreneurial. He emphasized on the fact that the most important mind set change required was the ability to "celebrate failure.'

As a student and practitioner of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) this was wonderful to hear. Further, it argues well for the country when the largest apparel exporter vouches on such statement. It is the primary difference in mind set between those who achieve things in life and those who don't. 

Many people do not know that each individual has the same number of neurones. Non of the leaders be it political, religious or for that matter any other who has made a mark in this world has a different type of a brain. We are all born with the same number of neurones, one billion, billion neurones at that! the difference amongst ourselves comes in the form of the neuro connections we make! 

What that means is that if an individual can achieve something, any other could achieve the same result without any doubt. ITS ONLY A QUESTION OF strategy. 

According to NLP there are three types of people in this world, depending on how they view failure. 

1.  Those who view failure.... as failure! After one attempt they decide that they are not good  at it. They simply give up. It becomes worse when they logically justify why they cannot achieve something. Common excuses include factors such as genes, ability, was never good at it etc. 

2.  The Second Group is better than the first. They might get knocked down, but they get up again. They dust themselves up and try again. They do the same thing hoping perseverance shall prevail! Unfortunately with this group it is only a question of time before they throw the white towel. Some give up as early as the second or third attempt. 
3. The Third Group views failure, very differently to the other two. For them, failure simply means "feedback". Feedback on the strategy that was adopted to achieve success needs correction or fine tuning! Each time persons of this group make an attempt and get "feedback" they review their strategy and   take corrective action on that particular strategy .They continue to revise the strategy until they achieve success. Edison fine-tuned his strategy 9,999 times before succeeding in inventing the light bulb!

So go ahead, be an achiever. Remember, there are no failures, only feedback.

Other articles you might like, 
                    Every one needs to have a Ricky  -

                    Peddling down the road less travelled

                    Racing your way through life

                    Swimming without goggles

            Feel free to share your thoughts or feedback on this posting under the comments column

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Champion Monsters

How often does organisations grow champion monsters within their ranks who eventually might be the biggest hurdle for the growth of the organisation? This is a crucial question many leaders fail to address in a timely manner. Repercussions could be far reaching and non reversible that any subsequent changes could be painful for the entire organisation. 

To elaborate this point let me take Information Technology domain in a normal brick and mortar organisation. When the organisation is at a relatively primitive stage, "John" joins the company as the sole IT resource person. Being very high in IQ and ambitious John goes about automating the organisation. Results are both encouraging and extremely useful. The company continues to expand and grow and John too grows within the ranks of the organisation and now he becomes a Department Head with his own team of IT professionals. John continues to add value with more and more meaningful contributions to the business functions bringing IT to a level of a business driver. He continues to grow in stature within the organisation. He creates a fortress around himself and rather than becoming a facilitator who unleashes business potential through relevant information sharing he becomes the judge and jury on whats relevant and necessary. Given his clout in the organisation many people give up at the first sign of resentment. With time many staff members ascertain there is no point seeking information through him. Some gets frustrated and leave the organisation. Others simply manage within the existing status co. 

Over time the company reaches the scale that is of a top player in the industry. Value provided by John is limited to the best of his ability or several of his deputies. John does some research on his own and try to incorporate best IT practices. However he is driven by the sense of individual accomplishment and would do everything within his power to justify his view point. It's natural that he feels that he knows whats best for the organisation. Usually at such a point John will reach a level where he feels that his intellect is above all solutions out there. To his credit he has developed groundbreaking systems in the past.Thus he logically dispels outside solutions mostly citing cost and justifying to the management that he could develop something bespoke for a fraction of the cost. With a myopic view on cost management cede to John. He becomes stronger and stronger in the process. 

A scenario where John receiving a better break and moving out of the organisation could be a blessing in the disguise for this company. For starters they will be able to instil new blood to the position who could bring in a fresh perspective. Usually such personnel would rarely leave an organisation or for that matter the position. They become so comfortable with the environment they resent any change. And why should they? They enjoy themselves and the company certainly takes care of them. Greater danger for the organisation lies in the continuation of John in his current capacity. With its myopic view the organisation has reached a point of stagnation in terms of the potential of their systems as it is limited to John's thinking. They fail to understand that outside, third party solutions are fine-tuned based on thousands of customer feedback around the world thus incorporating industry best practices which are evolving on a daily basis. The fail to recognise the fact that best in class solutions do bring industry best practices to the organisation. Any progressive organisation understands that "our way of doing things" is not the best way!

Further the organisation would at the mercy of John with such level of dependency! Certainly not the risk mitigation strategy that would be to the liking of any board of directors. 

Over a period of time a progressive leader might recognise this issue and may take corrective action. But the question is, whether it would be too late then. 

On a different note John too may suffer professionally if he is forced to look for  job outside of his current organisation. At his level companies expect "John"s to partner with business and proactively see how they could add value to the process. They would rarely expect John to spend valuable time in reinventing the wheel. 

Feel free to share your thoughts or feedback on this posting under the comments column

Friday, May 3, 2013

When e-government initiative fails to deliver results

Providing government services to its citizens via the web is one of the most progressive moves by any government and the government of Sri Lanka and its ICTA agency should be commended for its effort to bring some of the citzen services such as revenue license renewel and EPF services.

However the efforts become futile when the government machinery is unable to bring on board data from all Insurance companies that would enable the citizen to utilize the said services. Afterall being such a regulated industry, Insurance companies should be able to share such data with key government initiatives. Private sector companies should take equal responsibility to make such initiatives sucessful for the common good of the citizen.
Feel free to share your thoughts or feedback on this posting under the comments column

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Everyone needs to have a "Ricky"

Recently I was on a personal development program where I was part of a group which had a volunteer coach. His name was Ricky.

While I always appreciated the true value of a coach, initially I was skeptical about the value my coach might be able to impart on me other than smoothly coordinating assigned group work.

In many ways Ricky was unassuming and one of the most down to earth people I have come across. He was a soft spoken and relatively quiet.

On the second day during one of the field activities, he walked up to me, took me to a side and gave one of the most valuable insights I have ever received. In essence, he told me that I was very vocal, cheering my my team mates, but never present at that moment!

I was stunned, though I wasn't surprised with the feedback. I myself knew that I was "acting". My shock was due to this person's ability to pick that up when all the others thought I was an ace team man who was very involved.

That was a powerful message that hit hard on me. I was consciously 'present' thereafter throughout the program.

Subsequently there were several other chats we had which allowed me to realize few other ground realities in life!

Many misunderstand the role of a coach. A coach is not necessarily someone who is better than you technically, neither is s(he) a person who should have experienced life more than you. that's what is expected out of the role of a mentor.

A coach is someone who will consciously observe you and tell you when you are moving off course. He will ask you the hardest questions. Help you discover the answers yourself. All tennis players including Roger Federer and  Rafael Nada who are the best out there have a coach who goes on tour with them. Not that these coaches are anywhere close to the skills and talent of these top players. But they know there success depends on their coach who is able to give candid, valuable and thought provoking feedback.

So go find your own "Ricky". Because "Ricky" rocks!!!!!

This is a personal tribute to Dr. Ricky Chua, who was my coach for several days during a life transforming program. Thank you Dr. !

Feel free to share your thoughts or feedback on this posting under the comments column