Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
It’s time to confess! As I switch between serious/intelligent (yeah, I heard you cackle :-\ ) and funny/silly posts (yeah, I hear you cRackle :}), I have wondered if it’s okay for me to do so given my age (which I cannot of course divulge here). Here’s where I go into an introspective journey to discover what it really means to me. Don’t I want to be known as a KM/Business/Advertising thought-leader rather than a cartoon-enthusiast? Will one take away the thunder from the other? Are the two reputations considered mutually exclusive by the society at large? Strangely enough, I ask these questions despite not wanting to lose sleep over society’s opinions. But the very act of entertaining the thought helps reiterate the need to do what I love doing rather than oblige to society’s expectations!
Will talking about C&H, Tom & Jerry and the rest of the funny (and some honestly childish) topics cause a dent in the reputation that I think I’d be most happy with for myself? But hey…..wait! I wouldn’t be my own self were I to consciously avoid talking such stuff or even contemplate such a thing. I simply can’t settle for only serious and sober talk irrespective of how old I grow. I will always love my quota of cartoons, and other childish and simple pleasures in life like acting and talking crazy, watching the sun set, the dog tilting his head, the child smile, et al. I derive equal joy - if not more - in talking about the seemingly insignificant and simple things in life as seen through a child’s eyes, as in talking about KM/organizations/business management or strategy.
Besides, I strongly believe that embracing both the yin (serious/philosophical stuff in this context) and yang (funny/silly/crazy stuff in this context) of life is the secret of true happiness. Switching roles (i.e. topics) to me is like an actor getting a twin role. It challenges and gets the best out of the actor and gives her immense satisfaction. The joy of life is to balance the 2 extremes. Like watching Cartoon Network/Disney/Pogo one minute and switching to Animal Planet/CNBC/Discovery/Nat Geo the next. I really think grown-ups who’ve ‘lost’ the child in them have lost a lot. But the good news is that all is perhaps not lost (pun unintended) – I believe that what has been ‘lost’ can surely be found. The child in you can be reborn!
Talking of bringing back the child in you, many a time a close relative (CR) who watched me glued to cartoons on TV had an expression of undisguised disbelief. Another CR on similar occasions had an expression of undisguised ridicule. Every cartoon has her day. Err. Every dog has his day. On one particular day, not very long ago, when I refused to let go of the remote and subjected everyone to a good spell of Tom & Jerry, the ‘first’ CR had no alternative but to take what was given. Well, would you believe it? Now, the CR stops by to share a laugh or two whenever a certain cat & mouse pair run amok on the idiot box. :P That is, I think, a clear case of the triumph of the child in the CR! What? ;-)
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
In the picture that Lowell L. Bryan and Claudia Joyce have painted of the 21st-century organization, in their article of the same title, they clearly are oriented big time towards collaborative work processes and knowledge creation and exchange. They talk about the need for bbig corporations to make sweeping organizational changes to get the best from their professionals and go on to say that there need to be four broad initiatives – (Verbatim)
1. Streamlining and simplifying vertical and line-management structures by discarding failed matrix and ad hoc approaches and narrowing the scope of the line manager's role to the creation of current earnings
2. Deploying off-line teams to discover new wealth-creating opportunities while using a dynamic management process to resolve short- and long-term trade-offs
3. Developing knowledge marketplaces, talent marketplaces, and formal networks to stimulate the creation and exchange of intangibles
4. Relying on measurements of performance rather than supervision to get the most from self-directed professionals
There is repeated emphasis (in the article) on creating an organization where it is easy for people to find knowledge, find other people in their capacity as sources of knowledge, make it easy to share and work together (collaborate) and network.
What ho! I have this strange feeling that my head is no more associated with its local roots….it has gone swimming and not just because of the state of my health right now. I guess KM has been emphasized enough by almost every top Business School Publication as well as Consulting Firms I know of. But is it all falling on deaf ears? The writing seems to be on the wall all right. But are people (CXOs and Business Managers) blind? How long will this school of thought continue to scream from roof-tops? Will there indeed be sweeping changes in organizations? Or will this whole thing die out very soon on the assumption that all the screaming results in sore throats and nothing much else? Or is it that this wave will take much longer than one would like it to? Is it an evolution that demands more time than expected? Well, to avoid painting too bleak a picture, I must say that it looks like Jeff Immelt is doing a lot to turn GE upside down and make it focus on creativity and collaboration rather than profits and operating costs. Will GE lead the way yet again but this time on a philosophy that goes against the bottom-line centric approach? Only time will tell. For now, I feel we now need more people inside organizations to pass on the knowledge-centric thought-leadership emerging from all these (Wharton, Harvard, McKinsey, Kellogs etc) think tanks.
The evolution of the mega-institution:
"The development of today's largest corporations can be traced to a remarkable shift in the mix of the top 150 companies and in the nature of the workforce they employ. Consider a striking fact: financial-services and health care companies represented just 12 percent of the top 150 in 1984 but now make up 39 percent of that elite group. These two sectors employ relatively large numbers of professionals and managers, who create value primarily by generating and using knowledge through interactions with others rather than their own individual labor."
Just read an article in the McKinsey Quarterly, which I can’t unfortunately link here, that some Chinese organizations (automobiles – bikes) are getting innovative and are using the concept of modularization and Toyota-like JIT assembling to make their bikes on record time and in the most efficient way possible. What is more interesting to me from the KM perspective is that they are leveraging on the power of networks across the country and the power of collaborative and cross-functional thinking to strategize and execute and deliver! – Article – Innovation Blowback by John Seely Brown and John Hagel III
This is an excellent post - a good real-life business/technological case study - on the bookmarking business. Talk on Yahoo's acquisition of del.ico.us as against the premature death of another such business called Blink that was initiated long before the former. The lessons, the mistakes etc....
I caught up with some C&H (Calvin & Hobbes) recently and needless to say enjoyed myself thoroughly. The book – Revenge of the Baby-Sat. One small strip that I read struck a ‘serious n sober’ chord in me. The theme was War and Peace. Hobbes the lovable tigy asks Calvin why they have to play War games and not Peace games and Calvin says “There aren’t enough role models” for the latter! (Calvin ought to read more about Gandhi :-))
Both of them pretend to have guns and the rule of the game as Calvin explains it is that the person who is ‘shot’ should play dead and the person who remains ‘alive’ wins the game. The game starts and both of them ‘shoot’ each other. But they don’t play dead…instead realization dawns upon the two. Both of them look at the reader with an expression that’s probably one of both bewilderment and enlightenment. Calvin says “Stupid game”!
I couldn’t agree more!! :O
As many of my blog-world friends and real-world friends would perhaps be aware, two thingies I am absolutely devoted to and stuck on to the extent of worshipping are books by Plum (P.G. Wodehouse) and Calvin & Hobbes (by Bill Watterson). I suddenly caught myself wondering why I happen to like them so and a little bit of analysis brought to the fore some obvious similarities between the two.
- Both PLUM and C&H exhibit incredible language
- Both of them are humorous though in different ways
- Both the books are high on imagination though PLUM expresses it in the form of complex plots while BW does it in the form of pure imagination of character (Hobbes himself is an imaginative character) and outer space exploits of Calvin etc
- Both of them have extremely witty central characters (Jeeves, Calvin/Hobbes)
If there’s an area where the two have completely opposite approaches, then it’s probably this that C&H gets philosophical at times while PLUM is always looking at the lighter side of things and for example thinks nothing of spoiling Bertie’s reputation as long as there is a happy ending for the rest of the cast. Hey, come to think of it, maybe that’s Plum’s communication of his philosophy to readers - sacrifice; laughing one’s way through life.
Monday, December 26, 2005
- Plan and analyze
- Keep the future (goals) in mind
- Settle debts as far as possible (re-assess and restructure from the practical viewpoint)
- Prepare for emergencies as well
- Invest surplus - financial discipline
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I had a cold orange yesterday. Actually, I had just the orange - the cold hasn’t gone the full journey. It has parked itself in the highway between my nose and throat. Sniff. Mthhbbbb. Grrrummmp. Sneeeeeeeeeeze. Aachhhhhhooom. God.
How do you spell the sound created by a deep inhalation when your nose is full? I’ve been trying to figure that out for the past few minutes and have been in the process creating such a din here that I better give up lest people put something over my head. Karrrrrrr.
How would you define a best friend? Who would you call your best friend?
1. One who knows almost everything about you?
2. One whom you’ve known for the longest time period in your life?
3. One who is always there to help you when you need her the most?
4. One who cares to listen to you anytime?
5. One who understands everything about you and helps you achieve your goals/solve your problems?
6. One who spends the most amount of time with you?
7. One who you laugh with most of the time?
8. One who you cry with most of the time?
9. One you enjoy life the most with?
10. One who solves your problems?
11. One who criticizes and prods you?
12. One who loves you but may not necessarily be of help?
13. One you love a lot?
14. One with whom you gossip and discuss everything about the world?
15. One who shares your interests, likes and dislikes?
16. One who shares your values?
Which would be your top 3 items? Or would you want to add your own to this list?
PS: I just realized that FRIEND could be interpreted this way – FRI for Friday. END for end. Fri-end – the person that you would most probably want to spend the weekend with – from the end of Friday till the end of Sunday. What? :P
Bengalis occupy one of the top spots in my list of the most admirable people in
(If you’re a parent, it would perhaps be worthwhile to feed your child on fish?) Hey, here’s a word of warning – This is not an expert opinion….just a comment from a passer-by. I am just thinking aloud and you ought to decide for yourself if this is a worthwhile attempt. Anyways, before I wind up this short post, how can I not mention that
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
By Jim Rohn
We are not born with courage, but neither are we born with fear. Maybe some of our fears are brought on by our own experiences, by what someone has told you, by what you've read in the papers. Some fears are valid, like walking alone in a bad part of town at two o'clock in the morning. But once you learn to avoid that situation, you won't need to live in fear of it.
Fears, even the most basic ones, can totally destroy our ambitions. Fear can destroy fortunes. Fear can destroy relationships. Fear, if left unchecked, can destroy our lives. Fear is one of the many enemies lurking inside us.
Let me tell you about five of the other enemies we face from within. The first enemy that you've got to destroy before it destroys you is indifference. What a tragic disease this is. 'Ho-hum, let it slide. I'll just drift along.' Here's one problem with drifting: you can't drift your way to the top of the mountain.
The second enemy we face is indecision. Indecision is the thief of opportunity and enterprise. It will steal your chances for a better future. Take a sword to this enemy.
The third enemy inside is doubt. Sure, there's room for healthy skepticism. You can't believe everything. But you also can't let doubt take over. Many people doubt the past, doubt the future, doubt each other, doubt the government, doubt the possibilities and doubt the opportunities. Worst of all, they doubt themselves. I'm telling you, doubt will destroy your life and your chances of success. It will empty both your bank account and your heart. Doubt is an enemy. Go after it. Get rid of it.
The fourth enemy within is worry. We've all got to worry some. Just don't let it conquer you. Instead let it alarm you. Worry can be useful. If you step off the curb in New York City and a taxi is coming, you've got to worry. But you can't let worry loose like a mad dog that drives you into a small corner. Here's what you've got to do with your worries: drive them into a small corner. Whatever is out to get you, you've got to get it. Whatever is pushing on you, you've got to push back.
The fifth interior enemy is over-caution. It is the timid approach to life. Timidity is not a virtue (unlike humility--they are different); in fact, it can be an illness. If you let it go, it'll conquer you. Timid people don't get promoted. They don't advance and grow and become powerful in the marketplace. You've got to avoid
Do battle with the enemy. Do battle with your fears. Build your courage to fight what's holding you back, what's keeping you from your goals and dreams. Be courageous in your life and in your pursuit of the things you want and the person you want to become.
Are they (the guys who counted) sure they've not forgotten something? Any idea which country boasts of close to 50%....or which country has the best numbers?
Update: Given the ruthless world we live in, one of the ways to get the better of people who take advantage of women/think less of women is show our might in the numbers.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Check out this new search engine (in beta). It sure seems to be Seeking to beat Google out cold. Will the future see one set of people Googling as usual but another set Seeking? The search engine is as quick and effective as Google and offers a few more facilities like preview, result-saving, categorizing of results, etc. Let the consumer – the Queen (I’ve got bored of saying Customer is the King) – bask in the aftermath of the war of the Search Engines!! Hola!
Note: One of my friends informed me about Seek…it was not the result of my seeking a better Search Engine. I am after all a hard core Google fan! While on the topic, I can’t help but wonder if it would be easy even for a better product/service to usurp the wonderful brand image that Google has. The Google logo is one of the coolest I know. What with its multi-purpose Os and all that….
Thursday, December 15, 2005
This post is quite late in making it to my Blog. What a shame. It ought to have gone up on Sunday or at least on Monday last. Well, okay, better late than never as they say – I watched the Pogo amazing kids awards on Dec 11th and relished it thoroughly. One of the highlights of the show was that the Best Toon award went to…………tan dan tan dan dan tan dan taaannnnn (substitute for drum beats)– Tom & Jerry! Boy! Did I celebrate! :)
….And watching children reach and exhibit their God-given potential brings silent (they don’t announce their arrival) tears of joy to my eyes. It dawns upon me that there are perhaps very few things that are more awe-inspiring to me than watching gifted children……
Category: Impulsive post
A blogger is not necessarily one who is only bursting to tell the world what she thinks. She could be one who just loves to think aloud and does not unfortunately have an alter ego a la Calvin who has Hobbes. She could be one with a natural flair for writing, someone who loves language and literature and is waiting to enrobe her thoughts, opinions, feelings, and encounters in words. It could be someone who just wants to communicate to her kith and kin across the world what she is going through on a daily basis and at one shot. She could be someone who just wants to join the blogging bandwagon and give the whole thing a shot….in which case it would typically be a short shot or in other words a shot short. Thee hee. :)
Hey, talking of blogging, will some one tell me how one gets to show smileys on blogger? And covering some more ground on blogging, Google ought to introduce tagging on blogger apart from smileys, bullets etc. I won’t settle for Google being the laggard in anything they do and nor would, I am sure, any other Blogger user. :)
Category: Post for personal use
Blink – Summary for reference
· Intuition is something that we mostly cannot immediately articulate
· What if we stopped scanning the horizon with our binoculars and began instead examining our own decision making and behaviour through the most powerful of microscopes
· Thin-slicing – ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behaviour on very narrow slices of experience
· Free will is largely an illusion: much of the time, we are simply operating on automatic pilot, and the way we think and act – and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment – are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize
· Allowing people to operate without having to explain themselves constantly turns out to be like the rule of agreement in improv. It enables rapid cognition
· Decision making – truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking. Second – in good decision making, frugality matters
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
A Thought for the Day From Sri Eknath Easwaran
Everyone sees the Unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it.
Whoever has polished it more sees more -- more Unseen forms become manifest to him. - Jalaluddin Rumi
As your meditation deepens, there will still be occasions when you get upset, but you will be able to watch what goes on in the lab of your mind. It's like getting into a glass-bottomed boat, where you venture out onto the ocean and watch all the deep-sea creatures lurking beneath the surface: resentment sharks, stingrays of greed, scurrying schools of fear. You slowly gain a certain amount of detachment from your mind, by which you can observe what is going on, collect data, and then set things right.
Some of the chronic problems that millions of people suffer from today might be solved by gaining a little detachment from their minds and emotions, so they can stand back a little when the mind is agitated and see the ways in which it makes mountains out of molehills. Many problems simply are not real; they start to seem real only when we dwell on them. The thorniest problems to solve are those that are not real; yet most of us go on giving them our best efforts.
>From Eknath Easwaran, "Words to Live By" (Nilgiri Press, 1997)
Here are some of the counter-intuitive ideas that have crossed my mind/path of late.
Wonder how many more such ideas are doing the rounds. It would be interesting to know
- Another thought that has passed my mind is the perils of being a pioneer and taking initiative. The pioneer suffers the losses and endures the mistakes and difficulties of going through uncharted territory while the immediate followers learn from his mistakes and challenges he faces and they themselves go through a smoother journey with a lot fewer obstacles
- MIT Sloan Review talks about the hazards of getting too close to the customer as opposed to the conventional wisdom of considering the customer to be the king and co-creating the future with the customer. The hazards of getting too close to the customer being spiraling expectations and thereafter difficulties in expectations management. (Isn’t this actually evident? We expect a lot more understanding and support and love etc from our immediate family and best friends and are not ready to forgive them when they don’t ‘deliver’ as against people that are just acquaintances!)
Monday, December 12, 2005
By now, I am certain beyond any doubt that a lot must have been said about the traffic in
· traffic police should set up a committee of devoted and sincere members from a cross-section of the society and brainstorm it out
· traffic police should learn from other cities across the world that found themselves in similar situations
· traffic police should influence Corporates to bring in some changes in the corporate world that helps overcome some of the problems – like options to work from home, work shifts, placement of teams in same offices to avoid inter-office shuttling,
· creation of traffic police blogs to instruct, communicate, inform, and advice the public
· traffic police to search the minds of general public (and blogs) for possible ideas, problems
· in-depth traffic analysis using intelligent software and recommendations based on type of traffic, routes adopted, peak hour traffic, restrictions on certain vehicles, etc
· administrative initiatives like better city planning, expansion and migration assistance in case of high severity
· utilization of tools to promote innovative and creative solutions that may even seem absurd. Residential quarters for office goers near office; mini-flights from central areas to electronics-city, ITPL, Peenya etc,
· during execution/implementation of solutions – prioritization of solutions to implement the top 3 to achieve quick wins
The thought of a Blog from the traffic police sounds exciting to me. It would be one way to keep Bangaloreans happy as it would eliminate problems of transparency and communication gaps and even invite comments, feedback, ideas etc from the public.
Extending the thinking a little, it would be cool to see government and ministry-based blogs that tell all thereby capturing knowledge for ever so as to sustain initiatives irrespective of which party is at the helm. Of course, this is assuming that political parties are serious about their responsibilities.
I just finished writing up this post and caught up with the daily news and was pleasantly surprised to read this piece of news: Instant gratification!
DAKSHINA KANNADA DISTRICT POLICE LAUNCHES WEB LOG
The Hindu Business Line
In keeping with the policy of the Karnataka Government to implement e-governance in the day-to-day administration to the maximum extent, the Dakshina Kannada District Police launched its official Web log (blog) on Thursday. Addressing presspersons after launching the blog, B. Dayananda, Superintendent of Police, Dakshina Kannada, said important matters relating to the district police would be regularly posted on the blog. All can easily access this. With this, authentic and official information of the department can be given to the press and the people swiftly. He claimed that the innovative idea of launching a blog is the first of its kind in the State. The high penetration of Internet in the district has helped the department to host this blog.
I was introspecting on the fact that in KM circles Trust is always spoken about as a pre-requisite for KM to be sustained. It is an absolutely essential ingredient for KM because the foundational behaviours of KM like knowledge sharing, mentoring, collaboration, questioning, seeking expert advice etc will not work unless it is built on a foundation** of mutual trust. That’s obvious, isn’t it? No one is going to challenge the logic. But let’s look at what happens in practice. Do we live in an ideal world where everyone trusts everyone else? Of course, not! Leave alone the intentions of people being suspect, even amongst those who harbour only positive intentions, trusting doesn’t come easy because to be able to trust people, you need to understand them very well and have faith in them and that’s extremely difficult as everyone is unique and views the world through her personal filter that isn’t visible to most others. Moreover, even if one were to understand others due to a long association, trusting someone who has a different approach to life is not easy. How will a straight-thinking person for example trust someone who is the calculating type? How will an ambitious person trust a conservative, careful and cautious person? How will a relationship-centric person trust a task-centric person?
One of the most critical requirements according to me would therefore be the need for everyone to first learn to respect each other and their contribution and be open to consider their worth despite differences in beliefs and values. In addition, one needs to be big-hearted enough to put aside negative qualities in others (for no one is perfect) and difference of opinions. There can never be an environment of complete trust, for even differentiating between the genuine and the fictitious is not easy to most people. Everything is first looked at with a suspecting eye in this world full of selfishness, hatred, greed, anger, jealousy, corruption, etc. Therefore, even before one can trust another it is necessary to learn to respect each other despite such negative qualities for everyone has her weaknesses. The idea ought to be to improve ourselves, get to be a better human being, learn from others, teach others by example, respect each other, leverage on the strengths and positives of each other and slowly but steadily convert the relationship into a positively synergistic one. **In the process of building such a relationship (be it a family, team, organization etc) respect ought to be used as the bricks and trust as the cement that takes its time to hold the bricks together but once set, is not easily shaken. So, in the analogy to the building industry, trust may not really be the foundation itself but the cementing force that is built on a foundation of bricks of respect.
Well, to conclude, it’s not just in KM but everywhere else too - respect for each other can be the panacea for many problems that the world faces today. It is not easy but as many religious philosophies point out, if one succeeds in firmly believing that every living being is a form of God and has an infinite potential to be ‘good’, anything is possible. Like in management philosophy, respecting someone and reposing complete faith in the person is perhaps the only sustainable method to work wonders in the long-run if not in the short-run. KM is indeed rooted in philosophy and human nature more than anything else.
Note: If one were to believe that only those who have mastered something ought to advice others on the same, this post needs to be trashed. I myself am making a conscious effort to first respect and understand others. I’ve got to admit that I still have a long way to go…respecting people who clearly have the character/intellect/talent/charisma etc is very easy, but it is difficult to respect people who are generally obnoxious/don’t make an effort to understand others/trample over others etc! (I don’t even want to list the different negative characters that I can’t stand…feels allergic :-))
Friday, December 09, 2005
Still on the MBTI personality analyzer test, there are two kinds of people when it comes to dealing with people/situations – Thinking and Feeling. The thinking people go by certain principles/values which they don’t change irrespective of the ‘special’ people-oriented needs of the situation. The Feeling people on the other hand may possibly compromise on principles/values at times to make way for human needs. The Feeling people would typically put relationships and the benefit of human beings involved above everything else while the Thinking people don’t consider whether the people concerned would feel sad/bad/angry etc if at all it boils down to choosing between a principle and a person. If you hear that someone was fired to save the company some badly needed money, it would have almost surely come from a Thinking person rather than a Feeling person.
Warning: This portion of the post may not make any sense to you whatsoever unless you happen to be tuned into the same frequency as I – which is In234sane MHz. I am not to be held responsible for possible brain transplant recommendations from your family doctor after reading this post. Over to my analysis…
It was in this context that I was trying to place ‘Human Values’ somewhere on the line between the two types. Now, the distinctiveness of this term is that it is paradoxical in the current context of our Thinking-Feeling discussion. This is how. While the word Human is something the Feeling people can relate to, Values is associated with the Thinking people! Our first reaction would actually be to place it (Human Values) as a value on the list of a Thinking person. But the interesting thing about it is that it will be a default value even in the list of a Feeling person! I don’t think it is appropriate to say that a Feelings person doesn’t operate on values. She does. But the value that overrides all other values on her list is the Human Values value! Thus, Human Values as a value seems to be a perfect meeting point for both the kinds of people – Thinking and Feeling – to me. What? But for all this analysis, I’d say Human Values is a fast disappearing Value in this money-crazy world. Enough of the wild rambling you say? Okay. Advice taken.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
It just struck me that had one of the characters in a favourite (for its morals and touching narration) story of mine (loaded with emotion and pathos) adopted Paradox thinking a precious life could have been saved! The story of course wouldn’t have been as effective as it is now, without the change that I suggest. Nevertheless, here’s what occurred to me.
The story is one that many in
1) Do not jump to conclusions/ Look before you leap…
2) Trust your loved ones
It just occurred to me that there could be another moral to it – 3) Adopt paradox thinking. It may or may not turn out to useful (lead to the truth), but the very act of entertaining paradox thinking can help! It can help overcome difficult situations even if it doesn’t eventually lead to the truth. The woman in our story killed the mongoose because she thought it had harmed her child. Before letting go of her emotions in the form of the pot of death on the mongoose, if only she had thought for a moment and approached the situation from the opposite direction! If only she had adopted paradox thinking and entertained the thought that the blood dripping from the mongoose’s mouth was not her child’s – due to the mongoose KILLING her child - but that of another animal that the mongoose had killed to SAVE her child! And that was the not so obvious but bare and biting truth.
Going by this example and many more that I’ve read about and experienced myself, I am completely convinced that we could all do with a lot more conscious paradox thinking (in the positive direction) in everyday situations as well as difficult situations. Sometimes, we may be very much right in what we think but despite that, entertaining paradox thinking may make the situation a lot easier to handle and keep us from doing anything impulsive or foolish. If someone says something that hurts us we may choose to think for a moment that they were perhaps only trying to make us feel better! When we face a situation that we initially think will kill us we may choose to believe that it will only make us better people! When we feel our body temperature going up we may choose to remember that our body is fighting the germs successfully rather than worry about the fever! When we fail to open a door after repeatedly trying to push it, we may choose to try pulling it! :-))) When we find ourselves hating someone for making life miserable we may choose to start loving them for building character! Paradox thinking can be wonderful. Paradox thinking can be fun and lead to creativity. Paradox thinking can even change one’s approach to life. It can thus, be, most importantly, worth it.
Inspiration: The Paradox Process by Derm Barrett
Also check out - http://enchantedmind.com/html/creativity/techniques/paradox.html
I’ll also try and link all my other posts on paradox thinking, in the next few days…
The final paragraph is wonderfully written...
But knowledge is not the same thing as wisdom. Knowledge can produce equally powerful ways to destroy life, intentionally and unintentionally. It can produce hate and seek destruction. Knowledge does not by itself bring any answer to the ancient Greek question "What is a Good Life?" It does not produce good sense, courage, generosity and tolerance. And most crucially, it does not produce the farsightedness that will allow us all to live together—and grow together—on this world without causing war, chaos and catastrophe. For that we need wisdom.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I did one of my favourite things today, after a longish gap - Browsing through magazines from the world’s top management schools. Browsed through HBR and MIT Sloan Review. Got some food for thought as expected.
§ Jonathan Schwartz (Sun Microsystems) says in an article on executive blogging that “having a blog will not be a matter of choice for business executives anymore than using email is today” in the November 05 edition of HBR.
§ An article on innovation vs. complexity indicates that organizations need to balance the two to achieve maximum revenue as well as profits. Not that I see too many organizations focusing on innovation and taking a hit on the revenues. Well, long-term implications will obviously have to be given due-consideration. Short-term balancing will not work. I am yet to read the article….may have more thoughts once I read the article. Can’t help observing that the world’s thinking definitely goes around in circles. Efficiency –> innovation –> efficiency.
§ HBR has a small column on business models. Hilariously written I must add. :)
§ MIT Sloan Review has a series of articles on how one ought not to get *too* close to the customer as things like expectation management might then become too hot and difficult to handle. I can relate to that. ;) But I’d like to ask…hey, do you have a choice if you want to survive in this cut-throat world, leave alone get to the top?
If you happen to read these interesting articles, please leave your comments here. Toodle-oo then!
Monday, December 05, 2005
If you’re familiar with the MBTI you’ll know that people can be of two types when it comes to interpreting the world - Sensing and Intuitive. The ‘Sensing’ people are those who see things that are seeable if you get my drift. :-) They use their eyes, ears, hands, nose, and mouth to interpret the world – through activities like seeing (physical objects/incidents etc), hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. They are the observant types and have an eye (and a couple of ears and hands and a mouth and a nose.) for the details. They would be good people to go to when one needs directions, details, etc. In other words someone you should conceivably rely on if you wanted to go exploring a thick jungle and have plans of returning home. One would imagine that they are the earthy – practical – types; the ones who are commonsensical** and stick to what the world has to show and are inclined toward hard core tangible facts as it were. On the other hand, the ‘Intuitive’ people are those who can’t probably see what’s happening right under their nose and couldn’t care less about the details. They more often than not ignore the things that stare them on their face and look for something that’s beyond the obvious and visible. The imaginative types. The ones you should perhaps rely on when trying to explore something befuddling/strange/weird and apparently impossible. :)
Okay. Here’s where I put forth my theory.
**Common Sense: This oft used term - says the dictionary - means Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment. I think the emphasis here is on two words - ‘not’ and ‘judgment’. Our natural tendency going by the classification of types of people above would be to believe that the type with common sense is the ‘Sensing’ type rather than the ‘Intuitive’ type. Why? Because the Sensing people are considered to be practical and alert (active senses). But I have a different proposition here. I’ve drawn the opposite conclusion in fact. Why? I’ve combined and connected two concepts - the attributes of the Sensing people and the Hindu philosophy of the world being Maya (Illusion/Delusion). Here’s how I would explain it - Sensing people rely primarily on the five senses. The five senses function based only on what is seen/heard/smelt etc. It is based on what is perceived to be happening in the world. BUT as per Hindu philosophy, the world is Maya. Which means that the world is an illusion. What you see happening is not the truth. It is a put on. (And we all know anyways, that nothing that happens in the world can be assumed to be true on the face of it. There are too many things happening behind the scenes. And like Shakespeare said “the world is a stage and we are all actors in it”. We don’t say what we really mean; we don’t many a time mean what we do and so forth. In a world where many people lead lives centered on money, fame, and power, and more fundamentally to survive in this world, not everything that is projected is honest and true. Nothing has escaped contamination though in varying degrees – be it politics, journalism, business, and even religion.) So, what does this imply? Anyone who draws conclusions based on just what she sees in the world may more often than not be way off target. When something is way off target, it obviously cannot be ‘common sense’ in the real sense– that is, something that leads to sound judgment (does that make sense? ;)). It will take someone who can see beyond what is visible to the naked eye to understand what the reality/truth is. In other words, this may be a job best left to the Intuitive type rather than the Sensing type!!! I rest my case here.
Here’s a fascinating and associated thought process that I went through while dwelling on this topic. What type do you think Sherlock Holmes was? Or for that matter any of the real-life detectives? Do they have to be the Sensing type or the Intuitive type? Think about it. It doesn’t at least to me seem easy to conclude that they ought to be one of the two types. I think it is essential for a detective to be both Sensing and Intuitive at the same time! If they were to take the MBTI they would fall in between the two categories. Isn’t that intriguing? A detective will obviously have to grab every clue available for which she needs to use all her senses. At the same time, a detective cannot rely only on clues. She will have to look beyond the obvious and see through the artificially projected picture. She will have to be Intuitive to find out possible motives and cut through fabricated aspects of the case! (No wonder many people (including me) find themselves admiring detectives and hooked on to detective stories) Can you think of any other profession that demands both these qualities?
This one's extremely inspiring! Wow!
A Thought for the Day From Sri Eknath Easwaran
If your heart were sincere and upright, every creature would be unto you a looking-glass of life and a book of holy doctrine.
- Thomas a Kempis
The pure in spirit, who see God, see him here and now: in his handiwork, his hidden purpose, the wry humor of his creation. The Lord has left us love notes scattered extravagantly across creation. Hidden in the eye of the tiger, the wet muzzle of a calf, the delicacy of the violet, and the perfect curve of the elephant's tusk is a very personal, priceless message.
Watch the lamb in awkward play, butting against its mother's side. See the spider putting the final shimmering touches on an architectural wonder. And absorb a truth that is wordless. The grace of a deer, the soaring freedom of a sparrow hawk in flight, the utter self-possession of an elephant crashing through the woods - in every one of these there is something of ourselves.
From the great whales to the tiniest of tree frogs in the Amazon basin, unity embraces us all. Lose sight of this unity, allow these creatures to be exploited or destroyed, and we are diminished too.
>From Eknath Easwaran, "Words to Live By" (Nilgiri Press, 1997)