4/10/08

A Good Leader

A book written by Jim Collins titled Good to Great” is a survey of fortune 500 companies. The purpose of survey was to find out how a company turned itself from good to great. These companies started in an inverse situation, but in the long run they proved black horse. The book provides some insights which can be pertinent to our contemporary political (so called) leaders. The core elements required for this transition, let’s say from no-good to good in Nepalese context, are Level Five Leader, First Who then What, Good Decision Making Mechanism, and Sense of Discipline.
The Level Five Leader is an individual who is very humble on a personal level, but who possesses a great deal of drive and desire to succeed, where success is not personal, but defined by creating something great that will outlast for the generations. Coherently, we also need a leader with a strong determination, will and commitment to do what is necessary to drive our country on the new direction of peace and development. The author advocates that “Level Five Leaders can be made because many people, probably, have the core abilities and attitude necessary to attain that status.
The author dictates subsequently, during the transformation rather than concern themselves first with the what - direction, strategy they have to be ensured that we have the right people on the bus before anything else. By having a strong team, they can avoid pitfall of depending completely on one leader. As the author stated,Great companies are those that have a very solid foundation, and dont depend on the brilliance of any one person. We need to give good people good opportunities, rather than the biggest problems. Fixing problems makes you good, but taking advantage of the right opportunities can make you great.
The author quotes,” One of the key factors in the success of the great companies was a series of good decisions. The good decisions flowed from the fact that they all made a consistent and thorough effort to confront reality, internalizing the facts relevant to their market.” In the similar vein, our political system should pave a way to the economic growth of country instead of personally poking their nose in all corners of the decision making. Its often better to ask questions rather than dispense answers. Encourage healthy debate. It has to be real debate, not a show put on to make people feel included as Maoist pretend. It should also not just be argument for the sake of argument - reach a conclusion and move on. When things go wrong, investigate to avoid repeating the mistake, instead of assigning blame as ‘The Three Big’ do. If people are too worried about protecting themselves, it becomes difficult to honestly analyze and learn from failures. The author continue,” Create mechanisms, that allow people to communicate problems instantly and without repercussions, and in a way that cannot be ignored. By maintaining this vision, and keeping their ear to the ground, it wont be necessary to motivate people - theyll be motivated of their own accord.”
Other essential factors to success are the spirit of leadership and a sense of discipline. They are both necessary - without the drive to try new things, and some degree of independence, a system becomes a rigid, stifling hierarchy. Without some sense of discipline, system begins to break down. “The best leaders have both latitude for individual action, as well as a culture of disciplined behavior” Collins said. Its useless trying to create rules to force the wrong people to behave correctly - it simply wont work. Instead, we need to educate people and develop an innate sense of self-discipline that doesnt come from above. There is a big difference between having a tyrant that enforces a culture of discipline by fear, and finding people who naturally adhere to a disciplined approach. The former will disintegrate when the leader moves on; the latter creates a lasting system.

3/27/08

The power of positive thinking

It is quite difficult to define the positive thinking with concrete parameters. It is a completely subjective opinion of different people with different objectives. However, some books define it as a passion or fire in our mind to achieve our short or long term goal. Positive thinking itself is not a complete way of thinking; it consists of different personality traits like vision, planning, action, evaluation and determination. One of the complementary elements that go one-on-one is the self-motivation. Most of the time, to light the fire in our mind, we need motivational fuel that should come from our own inner sea field. Last considerable factor is luck. My understanding of luck is to finding a proper opportunity; it’s rather not a supernatural phenomenon. A powerful positive thinker can create opportunities in mid of scarcities. However, I don’t want to deal with this [luck] stuff further, it may create logical and illogical arguments. J

Most of the creatures in this world have the passion for sex and money. However, I am not discussing about the thinking backed by some evil forces. I read some unusual stories about people like Hitler, Idi Amin, and Charles Shobhraj. Although they were also having killing instinct, their passion was not acceptable to the large bunch of society. So we should not nurse such passion which eventually leads to the unacceptable obsession. Therefore the first and foremost rule of positive thinking is that it should be encircled inside the ethical periphery.

It is not necessary that the positive thinking always result as per our pre-defined goal. Sometimes it may be paradoxical. For instance, in my personal case, I was desperately working hard to go to UK for further studies, I was completely passionate, and I prepared well for IELTS, left the banking job etc. However, unfortunately or fortunately I could not pass through the VISA criteria, and landed through by-pass to South Korea. Since positive thinking in the real sense is to finding a new opportunities besides existing difficulties. At the meantime enhance your strengths and recover from your weaknesses. Utmost, this [difficulties] is the actual testing parameter of our positive thinking vis-à-vis vision, planning and action.

When I came to Korea I was just having a passion to do something but not a definite plan. Gradually I redefined my vision and planning, subsequently started working on it. As a result, I succeed to achieve the first short term objective of my life, my doctoral degree, for the time being. Even though the long term goal is still far ahead, however, I was able to discover my strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, I know what is my long term goal and means to achieve that goal. Even if I could not manage to achieve the pre-defined goal, I am strong enough to light the fire of positive thinking and finding new ways in the face of awful difficulties. I have experienced the magical power of positive thinking. And, any individual can form this attitude. There is no discrimination of cast, creed, color, or gender to get the benefit of the power of positive thinking.

Finally, I would like to say, the power of positive thinking can be realized if we have a proper vision, planning, action, and evaluation process. That should be backed by ethical values, self discipline, and strong determination. Although this write up is mainly focused on my self experiences of positive thinking,  it can be equally applied to any individual in a similar fashion.