Category Archives: Leadership

My views on leadership as I have seen it through years spent in industry and self-reflection.

Reflecting Back On Choluteca Bridge!

I have personally never been to Honduras , but there is a bridge on Choluteca river ( or was ) by the name of Choluteca in Honduras , Central America which has caught lot of attention since last year as COVID started to rage wildly across the globe.

source – google

The image shows a 484-metre-long bridge on the river Choluteca located in Honduras, Central America. In 1996, the government had some brilliant architectural minds construct the bridge to withstand storms and hurricanes. Two years later, Atlantic’s second-deadliest hurricane struck Central America. Hurricane Mitch caused over 11,000 fatalities in Central America, 7,000 in Honduras alone. There were 75 inches of rain in four days, which was an equivalent of what the country would normally receive in six months. The Bridge stayed put and maintained its pride. While the Hurricane wiped away roads and wrecked bridges, The Choluteca Bridge emerged as the last-bridge-standing, that too in an impeccable condition.

Ok so what is the issue here ?

  • The hurricane swept away the roads leading to the bridge and rendered them as good as nonexistent!
  • Heavy rains caused the Choluteca river to change its course, creating new channel which was then flowing parallel to the bridge!

Therefore, the bridge lost its initial purpose. It then became a ‘bridge to nowhere’ , only to be connected back to highway around 2003.

For me whenever I look at the above , and reflect , I find multiple thoughts that cross my mind and different readings that I took from following books :

Both these books have many elements that will help you resonate on two aspects in simple terms

  • Uncertainty is the name of the game . a year back we talked about 5 year plans and couple of years back did strategic offsite huddles to frame our strategy but now planomics can only be as good as long it survives the next moment ! From Developed to Developing .. nobody is prepared enough to handle current COVID crisis. We are all reacting in moment to take us farther than what we are today !
  • Systems Thinking is evermore important skill to have in order to create better viewport of the solution we may have in mind ! Events like COVID require a systems level thinking to see through challenges that create better feedback loops and broad spectrum solution design !

I did like to leave my readers with the thought below . See it in above context . We all need to become better at saving time and managing in constraints !

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. – George S. Patton

Leading Through Crisis – Shackleton Expedition & COVID

It has been six months since I changed my job and moved to Bangalore. Shifting in COVID times was itself a big planning task and then emotions of leaving city of dreams Mumbai ! We squeezed with family between two inter-state lock-downs and have been home confined since last one month ! It also has seen some torrid times for our country , where COVID has raged a war against humanity and we have been all fighting our own battles at different levels.

When I compare this to last year we were all making an effort to stay connected , help each other by making all sorts of home-made food and reinventing ourselves…compare this to what is now , we have all been brought to ground , fighting hard to hang-in there emotionally , physically and bodily ! COVID this time has touched our close ones in unfortunate ways and caused a level of trauma that cannot be described in words. As I say Time itself has not got enough Time to overcome losses around us !

Many of you would recognize one part of title and be intrigued to know more about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his mention in this post. Sir Ernest Shackleton was a polar explorer. SHACKLETON is a role model of leadership in crisis , even though his expedition judged by its initial objectives, was a colossal failure. His ship, the Endurance, never reached Antarctica. None of its 28 crew members set foot on the continent. The journey strained Shackleton’s finances to the breaking point, and at the end of it, in late 1916, its fame-seeking protagonist found his accomplishments eclipsed by the horrors of World War I.

Shackleton’s journey was amazing. The early 1900’s was the age of polar expeditions. It was common for men to die during the journey but Shackleton would not accept death. He used a systems approach to create a strong team that could handle the difficult situations they facedShackleton’s ability to respond to constantly changing circumstances was a great testament of crisis leadership. When his expedition encountered serious trouble, he had to reinvent the team’s goals. He had begun the voyage with a mission of exploration, but it became a mission of survival. Sir Ernest Shackleton is always remembered as a man for tight spot when it came to providing leadership in adverse settings and crisis repeating itself one after the other.

Ernest Shackleton’s failed quest to reach the South Pole is still a management tutorial in how to face repeated crises. The crew of his ship, the Endurance, was photographed in July 1915 while trapped by an ice floe. Credit…Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute

While today’s coronavirus crisis doesn’t involve shipwrecks or glaciers, leaders throughout the world are navigating through unprecedented challenges. This capacity is vital in our own time, when leaders must often change course midstream — jettisoning earlier standards of success and redefining their purposes and plans. This is required at all levels of community living ranging from living as a family , neighborhood , corporation , city , state or country.

My mum contracted the virus a month back and since then it had been tough times as family with news now being good around us. Six hourly counsel for weeks and taking course of action with my elder brother on ground to pull our mum out of this has been at my level the smallest example of trying to hold the fort in crisis and working between today / tonight mode. As much we think we are prepared to handle crisis , it always exposes fissures that force us to re-imagine our response. You can never be prepared for the worst.

During Endurance expedition, Shackleton’s management was crucial in saving the lives of the 28-strong party after the ship was crushed by ice. He was an inspiration who instilled a belief that the marooned men would survive and get home. It was a simple message that Shackleton frequently reinforced to ensure the men never lost sight of the goal – safety and survival.

I have made some under-pinning thoughts for us to react as leaders but there are simple lessons of leadership also that we can put in practice to create an environment of self-restrain and teach our generations on how to handle crisis like COVID now and in future.

Shed Privileges Exercise Equality

Shackleton instinctively understood the importance of teamwork, and threw a protective cloak around his men. All were treated equally and he took particular care with anyone struggling to cope. When winter clothing was distributed, Shackleton ensured the crew was supplied before the officers. Everyone shared supplies, sailors took scientific measurements and scientists would share cleaning duties with the crew and with Shackleton himself. In such times we have to operate from high moral grounds to ensure that we do not isolate larger society by exercising privilege’s at smaller levels.

Preach What You Can Do

Talking about theoretical aspects , sharing un-verified information and causing over-loads during crisis can be very difficult. If you do not believe in doing something yourself , do not pass same message to others. Shackleton never assigned any task to his crew , which he would not do himself. Home chores have to be done by everybody , it is not one person’s job.

Routines Are Important

Having a 40-hour work week is not considered routine. There is much more to life and , one needs to ensure that time and space are given due respect to keep brain active , fresh & alert . To maintain morale, Shackleton had the crew exercise on the ice, play soccer, and participate in indoor games. After dinner, the sleeping quarters in the hold — which they mockingly called “The Ritz” — were used to stage parties, games, and some other unusual competitions. Establishing Routines are important to stability.

It is a Marathon

If we continue to push our thinking limits that this is over tomorrow , we are going to set ourselves for false optimism and expectation. For us humanity here is in for a marathon , so try to carve out some personal time to recover every day because this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Remember my statement around today / tonight.

Shackleton believed in his mission and in his team. His optimism was contagious. He intentionally made decisions to inspire optimism in his crew. He was enthusiastic, clear in his vision. He encouraged singing, games, fun antics, and other merriment during the expedition. Similar to this as families and companies we are in this together and we should play our part in creating our own definition of an engaging environment that allows us to function sanely with maturity! The quote from Sir Ernest Shackleton on his return should inspire us to preserve what we have and put safety first !

On returning home, his wife Emily asked Shackleton why he had turned back with the Pole in sight, he simply said:

“I thought you would prefer a live donkey to a dead lion.”

8+ years & moving on…

I joined Cimpress ( then Vistaprint ) as Head of Technology in 2012 . I was excited about the opportunity because of the following three reasons

  • It was greenfield meaning I will be choose my team
  • It was in e-commerce space . I had never worked in that space
  • It was Indian market

This was compelling enough for me to embark upon this journey and make a difference. I was hired by Bernie Barbour & his fellow pals from Europe Engineering groups. Bernie then was leading a team of committed people from Vistaprint in setting up new operations in India post acquisition. When I say new operation it implies setting up whole new business along side plant operations in personalized print space using Mass Customization stack available at Vistaprint!

Since then Bernie [ now Head of Mass Customization Platforms(MCP) at Cimpress Technology ] has been part of my professional life like a constant. While I write this , you will find the equivalence of this in E = mc^2 (German-born physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity that expresses the fact that mass and energy are the same physical entity and can be changed into each other). I have been lucky to have this as coincidence because it is always tough to find such long time partners as an individual , team member and leader within a company.

Bernie & me !! love Boston !!

I contributed and led the technology and product landscape for Vistaprint India technology operations including production tech working on different aspects of e-commerce , supply chain , infrastructure. Given the success in India , the pattern was repeated in Japan , & I was called in to hire as well groom the technology team in Japan that could work independently for Vistaprint Japan. The journey every year was exciting doing different things in India & Japan in space of e-commerce & retail store formats . It was all new for me. When I joined Vistaprint in 2012 , I had always been working for global companies but Vistaprint was becoming a global company not from the sense of having offices in different parts of the world but actually doing business in different parts of the world with localized manufacturing. Next stop was China where I got ability to sit with different stakeholders to look at the market and see how we could integrate mass customization in retail store format with marquee brands. First 4 years were a great learning experience for me. I was excited about building my culture map at global scale thanks to Vistaprint. During these 4 years Bernie & I kept crossing paths bringing engineering and expertise to the region all across time zones starting from US to Asia Pacific!

Images are tell-tales and so are the above one’s through my eventful journey of setting up retail store in Pune for Vistaprint India to Japan operations. Core Team of Vistaprint India led by Nilesh Parwani – serial entrepreneur , whose start-up was the reason India happened to the Boss doing his inspections in Japan 🙂 . I picked great friends in India and across the globe like Chirag Bhuva , Sandeep K , Jitendra Dadhich , Mahesh Shenoy , Rene Kuipers , Conrado & Saigni Ramesh! Met some fine technology leaders like Maarten , Jim , Satish , Marco & Melissa !

Late of 2016 , I started to shift gears at Vistaprint , many acquisitions had been made and we were moving aggressively towards a platform hypothesis as well we transformed into what I was part of that is Cimpress. Core tech needed to expand rapidly and there were a increased desire to start looking at rethinking e-commerce stack across various businesses to speed up out ability for a vertical integration and create network effect across multiple markets.

Again Bernie came into picture and this time the challenge was to create a ground up engineering team that can help create a new multi-tenant e-commerce platform which help us transform the businesses and move them to more modern day world of API-first / data driven architecture. This started my next 4 years time travel at Cimpress. I started to work very closely with businesses In Europe and my attention shifted from Asia Pacific to European businesses. From building the team in India to working a new platform , developing hypothesis and launching it in UK for Tradeprint was a a crazy ride for people around me!

Picked great buddies like Dan Wakabayashi , Kara H , Ashley , Markus T , Michael T , Ryan B , Vikram , Nirav , Cory , Mukul , David Goldman , Rod Scrimgeour , Alan Livie , Stuart Ebdy , Steven Hammond , Ben Hudson , Christian Maas , Henk & Galina. I continue to have great personal relationships with each one of them ! Many more in India like Ameya s , Gurinder Singh , Shekhar S , Sumit S , Himaunshu , Gaurang , Doede , Vinay , Dhaval , Aman , Rohan S , Samyak M , Ankur T , Amit P , Kunjal , Priyanka , Deepa , Prasanna , Rohit , Sharlet , Yogendra , Chandra , Vishwas , Pranav P , Tanu R, Ankush K, Satish , Prasenjit , Hardik , Manoj , Ramya , Vedant , Prateek … there are 100 plus great people from whom I have learned a lot from our India Engineering Centre across Mumbai and Bangalore !!! It is hard to enlist everybody but I have huge respect for every individual who has worked with me !!

Many such memories , events and occurrences , also gave me the ability to run for a marathon in Paris ! ( never ran in my life before now I run three times a week ) , all inspired by Kees Andres , whom I revere and respect a lot for astute business sense and eye for correct details.

Over the course of last 8 years , I have built more than once teams suited to different purposes from running business centric technology to e-commerce , marketing and storefront tech every time bringing on amazing talent which is smart , level headed and come with “get shit done” moto.

Cimpress Technology Leadership Team ( core & extended )

My lessons learnt from famous book Making of a Manager are here:

Your job, as a manager, is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.

The first big part of your job as a manager is to ensure that your team knows what success looks like and cares about achieving it.

Your role as a manager is not to do the work yourself, even if you are the best at it, because that will only take you so far. Your role is to improve the purpose, people, and process of your team to get as high a multiplier effect on your collective outcome as you can.

Today, my job looks very different than when I started. Every time I’ve given a piece of it away, I’ve discovered that there was ever more to take on. As long as you continue to be motivated by your purpose, as long as your aspirations extend beyond what your team is currently capable of, as long as you can see new challenges on the horizon, then there’s opportunity for you to have more impact. Often, this means doing new things that you’re not very good at yet.

The act of constantly trying to replace yourself means that you create openings to stretch both your leaders and yourself. Right ahead is another mountain that’s bigger and scarier than the one before. Everyone keeps climbing, and everyone achieves more together.

Leadership is a quality, not a job

& none the least many of my famous quotes given on our printing platform as gift by my AWESOME team !

Cimpress Technology & Cimpress India provided me right level of autonomy to try new things , create new software , run technology organization and making me a Global Software Engineering Leader! I can only be thankful! I hope I am able to create success and get same environment in different context as I reset to paint the canvas again !

As I look back standing now in 2020 , a strange year for entire world! I do not want to say much but only be grateful to God for providing us spiritual strength which is helping us endure and keep moving forward.

Leadership Lessons From The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

In my last blog I talked about new normal and how things have changed in post-COVID era.  The following blog para-phrases key leadership lessons I picked from the movie about William Kamkwamba The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind .

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a movie based on William Kamkwamba’s life in Africa and how he saved his village. After just barely being able to go to school, the dry season hits, leaving his parents poor and their farm dead. Even though he technically still isn’t supposed to be at school, William sneaks in after the morning assembly as to go by unnoticed. He did this because he was inspired by the dynamo on his teacher’s bike. Eventually, he was discovered and kicked out of the school, but since his sister was secretly dating his teacher, William essentially blackmailed him into letting him use the library. Later, he makes a model windmill, and after a lot of persuasion, he got his father to sacrifice his bike so that he could make a larger windmill. This windmill fuels a well and keeps his family farm out of the dry season all year.

Once you give this movie a watch , there are aspects of leadership and execution William exhibits which are noteworthy in these testing times of pandemic and beyond.

Iterative approach to problem solving

William’s approach of solving the problem was iterative – a quality which was essential for him to be what he is today a – Malawian inventor . When you iterate & build prototypes then you get a sense of what you are working on and how it can be scaled. From paper to reality , do not forget to iterate else one never knows what is missing in the puzzle to solve the problem. William started from a book which inspired him to make the windmill , proved that it works to his friends and then took the moon-shot for to build the real windmill. In current pandemic vaccines will come through by doing more test and trial , one needs to keep iterating through it at a fast pace and collaborate globally.

Creativity In Frugality

Current pandemic crisis has shown that one does not have luxury of options and if you are not going to be creative , then it will be struggle from sustaining your meals , work & personal life. You can quickly go out of control & whether it is a drought in Malawi which forced William to think about a solution or current pandemic , it has same forbearance of the impact it has on humans. William is known to have constructed a wind turbine from scavenged parts.  You might be used to seeing something fancy but here is the image of William’s windmill. 

330px-William_Kamkwambas_new_windmill

Lead By Example

It is always important to do lead by example . One can have a idea but it is not relevant unless you prove it and show it that is a workable idea with some more effort. In William’s case, he researched how dynamos and windmills work before he tried to get hands on with them. Had he not done that, he would have been at risk of breaking the dynamo. It is important to be confident about your plan and how you intend to get it through with others. In current pandemic situation leaders in any capacity do not have to just be bearer of information but will have to embrace it themselves more than ever.

Team Is Important

When William Kamkwamba decided that it was time to get things to work, he had to make his friends understand that without them, he would be damned. You need a team that is on the same page as you are. It doesn’t matter if it’s only one person on the team! We have to have a team and work as a team for an effective response to the pandemic. Any kind of of discord will not help cure , save and protect lives !

Need To Be On The Problem

Persistence is important part of problem solving , if you loose heart then you will not be able to solve the problem. Iterations will bring heart-breaks and failures but one cannot put them in front of solving the real issue at hand. One needs to persuade different people at different levels in order to meet with a successful outcome. If William didn’t have the skill of persuasion, his father would never have let him use his bike. And he would have never persuaded his sister to convince his teacher to give him the dynamo.  In current crisis one needs to communicate broadly and effectively. It is also important to remain on top of the problem and organize the teams to deliver towards a successful outcome.

I hope these reflections are useful to my readers who are trying to tackle various types of issues at different levels. If you have any thoughts to share , please do not hesitate to write back to me or post a comment!

Power of Letting Go & Leadership

Through second half of 2019 , I experienced lot of open ends around me. It was related to everything from not feeling well , to meeting deadlines & managing expectations. I had started to miss my runs and schedule. I was beginning to stress over all & how things were going to unfold.

Realization : It was time to retrospect!

I am still in early phases of this , but I wanted to share one of the dimensions that I am trying to put in place related to power in letting go ! I realized that balancing aspiration , controlling all tiny details and continuously structuring was leading to what I call over-indexing!  From what I have read and observed , continuity can only be maintained if we focus on what we are doing and when our part is done then shift it into background and / or move on to something else.

ankush-minda-VcD5OD2jDGA-unsplash

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

As leaders you might be thinking about tomorrow or yesterday as it pertains to the topic at hand but as you do so , keep following things in mind:

Having a Clear Goal

Be clear of the goal you are trying to reach and differentiate between what “snaps-you” versus what is the actual “pain”. Having that in mind allows one to goo little deep in defining goals and objectives that are more sustainable and avoids us to slip in chaos. This way you may be able to iterate for longer duration.

If this is not the case it will lead to many starts & stops thus creating higher involvement towards delivering purpose.

Operating Boundaries

For you as a leader to operate with more bandwidth given multi-tasking is necessary evil , setting operating boundaries and see that the network effect takes care to connect you to the goals with others around you. We talk about connected world but then suffer to operate with our personal baselines in attempt to move faster. Establish accountability & coach people to exercise their judgement.

Do not benchmark everything centered around yourself as leader. You will never be able to let go if that remains the case. 

Informal & short-run feedback

Improve your ability to give feedback to your network so that it improves its efficiency to collaborate & deliver results. Over sustained period of time feedback loops activate creativity at problem solving and thus aid towards a broader balancing act in the system.

As a person , you need to trust the network or else you would not get into cadence of letting go.

Coach To Lead

If by any stretch one deems himself to be in leadership position , the onus to find and groom people to lead is very pertinent. This is not very easy and will not come fast. It is time taking & involving exercise. If the network around you has to respond to future then we need more from within to lead and carry the weight.

It is matter of time , when you as a leader will start feeling the pain of not having focused on this , thus creating a pull back effect – an impediment towards our desire to let go.

Hope this helps current and future leaders to create a healthy balance that helps to practice the power of letting go . I am personally trying to put these in action as I realize life is a marathon and not 100-meters dash!

Welcome 2020!…#motivation

I did a reflective post in 2019 , where I summarized small things that can help us in pushing towards your personal and / or professional goals. Maintaining that tradition , I have come up with a set from 2019 now , that I would like to share with my readers. Even if any one of these help you push the dial , I will be a very happy person! & if you have your own reflections , then please do leave them as comments 🙂

 

Walk on water“Walk on water” by paullancaster1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For me year 2018 moving into 2019 was about #keepgoing and now from 2019 to 2020 is about #motivation. This could be for anything but it is necessary to have #motivation

#be-uncomfortable 

This one is my favorite , I guess over years my biggest driver for motivation!

If you think that you are spinning wheels everyday then talk to your peers or manager about this. For others who may think entitlements( work from home , comfortable office location etc.)  are necessary for best case outcome , should know that we are part of a large human experiment! . One should know that people who always retrospect whether they deserve all the privileges are the ones who shape the future of a mission as they get up every morning to better themselves and make themselves feel worthy.

So being uncomfortable is something you should embrace. Putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. This unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things.

#keep-yourself-updated

This one thing which is very important. Things around us are changing very fast. The change of pace is increasing and if you are not aware of landscape , do not read books , articles , then you will be totally out of context to start a conversation or hold up to one. It is very necessary tool that allows you to foster relationships , collaborate and connect in the age of distributed economy.

#take-care-of-people

Ben Horowitz is the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z) and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. In his book ‘The Hard Thing about Hard Things’ he shares his experience of being a founder-CEO and the hard decisions he has had to make.

One of the things he mentioned in the book struck me alot:-

TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE, THE PRODUCTS, AND THE PROFITS—IN THAT ORDER
― Ben Horowitz

#stay-fit

This is a carry over goal. I do not think this is going to go off my list 🙂 . Remaining fit is very important to have positive and open mind towards solving problems. It also reduces friction & improves efficiency for sustainable future & society.

Wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous 2020 !

Collaborate!

While the world diverges itself to allow individual growth and learning , group dynamics cannot be sidelined in larger scheme of things. Individual contributions must lead to productive collaboration. While the word team , itself comes largely from sports , it is always formed and meant to win games. Carrying same concept to work does not always translate into victory but should aspire to create a network effect.

Network effect helps individuals and group of individuals to do following:

  • Enables trust
  • Fosters better group dynamics
  • Helps understanding navigating workplaces

Sometimes it so feel that our group dynamics is working but still there are small sub groups tend to cluster around certain commonalities. Albeit this does not have any detrimental impact on groups outcomes , it is important that subgroups connect and bond to radiate positive energy through their actions.

Another key aspect related to effective collaboration is cultivating art of negotiation. Being able to successfully negotiate without burning bridges is a valuable professional skill.

Discipline is one more key thing to collaboration. It brings certain amount of seriousness to group dynamics and allows for a more cultured feedback loop within the group.

Micromanage Self!

There is a Chinese proverb “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still”.  We would never find a problem in employees that solve problems , are result oriented and are just good at there job , but this same attitude prevents one from being effective.

Steven Covey once summed it up that “We accomplish all what we do through delegation – either to time or to other people” . So yes one can do anything but not everything! It is important that one delegates to create space and opportunity both for self or individual. It helps find time for self and allows people around you to grow.

There are some approaches that can help one to get into the above mode. In general and at large hiring good talent is key to the process of delegation followed by a loose boundary of guard-rails with a let-it go attitude. Holding too tight to something is most severe damage one can to your own prospect or team morale.

Here are quick approach directions to think and dwell upon:

  1. Resource to work relationship is of that which has least friction. Find natural alignment of talent to type of work. Trying to over-train somebody into a role , can sometimes be self-defeating goal. Generally people do not speak up , but it is true , everybody is not meant to do everything !
  2. Set absolute performance benchmarks and guidelines but do not take away element of discretion in your management approach.  Be a minimalist who gives enough for people to deduce , operate and deliver.
  3. Play out your bets in conjunction to insight # 1. World is not a perfect place & therefore one has to try it out. Trying out people will allow you to either get better folks than you or may be they fail. If they fail , then one needs to take that as temporal set-back and focus on absolute performance.

Do not be a mechanical  about your choices and over-trying one option for delegation is not an option , that is termed more a fearful move to avoid failure ! In end , if you do not micromanage self , you will not identify streams that can be mapped out and get an understanding when to fan-in versus out!

Welcome 2019!…#keepgoing

While working through 2018 & reflecting back , I have gathered small reflections that have helped me personally to balance and continue to move another year in sustainable manner & yes there is no midlife crisis neither the musings of nirvana but pure realistic facts that have moved me all along the year gone by!

#stop-look-go

Very necessary that we pace ourselves and not go for the plunge directly. In world where agile , iterations , test & learn seem to be over-powering our traditional approaches , there seems to be no substitute for some amount of planning and pacing before one approaches his or her objectives. 

#value-at-work

Always question is your work another transaction output of an employment contract or are you delivering value while enjoying at work?

Working hard is different than working efficiently. just achieving a desired output does not mean much in today’s world so if you are having a flat tone , not re-inventing your own working styles then it is time to introspect. Identify your limiting factors to bring more joy to your work – #stop-look-go

paul-skorupskas-59950-unsplash.jpgPaul Skorupskas

#avoid-system-traps

Adapted from Thinking In Systems authored by Donella H. Meadows

When playing sustainable and long innings you can become susceptible to system trap of “eroding goals.” It is also called the “boiled frog syndrome,” from the old story (I don’t know whether it is true) that a frog put suddenly in hot water will jump right out, but if it is put into cold water that is gradually heated up,  it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. A drift slow enough can erase the memory of (or belief in) how much better things used to be, everyone is lulled into lower and lower expectations, lower effort, lower performance.

Always mark yourself with absolute standards regardless of your performance. Consider failures as temporary blocks towards achievement higher longer term goals. Always be reminded as a team this can have a catastrophic effect on end-goals

#stay-fit

Remaining fit is very important to have positive and open mind to solving problems, and reduce friction to improve efficiency for sustainable future & society. 

#keepgoing with #focus , have a happy and productive 2019!

Lessons From France v/s Argentina Game

Being a week-end it was easy to catch-up on FIFA World Cup games and what more than to see France and Argentina fight out. It was an outstanding game where team dynamics accompanied with individual caliber led to France edging Argentina out.  While it sounds sad and a heart-break for many Argentinian fans , one has to respect the game dynamics which led to this. Football is truly a team sport that reflects on how team dynamics can impact the outcome.

While having a objective is important for a team to deliver but it is not enough to make the team move. Here are some picks from my side while watching the game on how it could have meant a totally different result.

  • Lesson from fourth Goal : Check out the video
    • Planning : Mbappe was left unchecked , when he had already scored earlier in the game. The sheer agility at which this individual was making through defense lines was amazing and the ease with which he played it out! There was no struggle on his face , but he was left unmarked or almost given a free run. What happens on the field needs to be constantly analyzed to course correct and respond to changes around you. Initiatives if constantly not monitored , planned and observed can never meet desired outcomes. 
  • Lessons from being a star performer
    • Being a star performer comes with lot of burden. The constant limelight just kills it. People look upon you for being a role model , leader , planner & strategist .. almost everything. I think so at the end of the day it was too much for Messi. I guess somewhere the man was made to look bigger than mission. You can never be bigger than the mission itself , because then the focus on mission goes away. Yes you can be important to mission but portrayed or deemed bigger than mission for an initiative is not positive signs for success. 
  • Playing in decentralized approach
    • You got to do the best on what you do. A lot was seen from what the French side was trying to achieve. Players like Pogba , Mbappe were living the game with their own stride , doing what they knew best for the game and orchestrating a run through Argentinian defense.
  • French Teams fitness level
    • The speed and agility showed by the French made them look ready for the mission. They were making runs within 15 minutes at speed which Argentinians could not match with their skill or talent. When getting into an initiative you need to be very critical whom you pick for it as that can make or break your ability to succeed. You also need toe ensure that skill alone will not play it out , one has to be make it work !