Saturday, December 26, 2020

Let's welcome the year 2021 with an inspiring experience of the year 2020

Year 2020 has given us a unique experience. It started with an uncertain and unpredictable situation resulting in fear, triggered emotional threat. Everybody was not sure what to do? Leaders were disoriented. People were at stress. Nobody expected what life would be. It was a human crisis, economic crisis, medical crisis and you name it, the world was in all types of crisis. However, we learn to deal with the crisis. We overcame all fear, uncertainties, ambiguities. Millions lost their job, but they started something different to earn their livelihood. This pandemic also surfaced the good side of humanity. People came together without any leadership to support the needy people. This is the beauty of humanhood in India. Few organizations rightsized the organization and laid off employees, but many organizations took care of their employees, paid their salaries on time and supported employees and their families during this crucial period. Employees reciprocated by volunteering for salary reduction and supported organizations. People learnt new skills, worked in a different environment, stretched themselves and proved that human beings can overcome any odds in life.
There is a famous statement Dag Hammerskjold, “Never measure the height of a mountain until you reach the top. Then you will see how low it was.'' When we reflect and see the pandemic attack, it is the same. Pandemic was like a mountain and when it started, we never thought how strong it would be. When we entered, we realised it was a really life threatening year. But when we look back, we see that there is a silver lining. 2020 was a great teacher, mentor and coach, a difficult year but gave us a unique experience.
What we learnt? We learnt that traditional thinking has to be challenged. We never thought that remote working is possible fully. We never thought that in spite of all odds, people come together and collaborate very well.  We realised that everything is possible, what we used to think was impossible.
There is great learning for everybody, government organizations, private organizations, education institutions etc. However, the Government has to work on creating a meaningful ecosystem for different strata in society. Different departments need to work in sync and collaborate for delivering services. It should be for Awareness and Education, Medical, Incentives, Assistance Programme etc. The central government has done it at some extent; however, politicians have seen the opportunity to run their agenda. We need matured society, matured citizens and sensible politicians to make democracy strong.
Private organizations are more successful in collaboration and bringing new ideas to bounce back. Organizations came with such ecosystems like task force, crisis management team, etc.
Scenario planning is another area where our government has planned the medical facilities; however they could have done better on an economic side. Private organizations have done exceptionally good on this front.
During the pandemic, we learnt many things,
We learnt to push our boundaries,
We learnt to think out of the box,
We learnt that we have minimum needs,
We learnt that wealth and money is not everything,
We learnt that relationships always matter; we learnt who are ours.
We learnt sometimes we need “me time”
We learnt that if we try something, we can get it done, 
We learnt that we can’t fully predict the future and all plans may not work,
We learnt that life is on hopes and hopes keep us surviving,
We learnt to learn which we had stopped in the past.
We learnt so many things during just one year. We should keep this spirit of reinventing ourselves and take this journey forward even in 2021. Let’s welcome in 2021 in true spirit. 
I would like to quote of author, Har Borland, “Year end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on with all the wisdom, that experience can instill in us.”
The year 2020 has given that moments and experience which will inspire us to live and perform better in 2021. Wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Stay safe and stay healthy.  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkart and BookGanga 
(Income from books is donated to the Janseva foundation which works for orphans, street children & abandoned elders)

Sunday, December 20, 2020

To be or not to be...

In life we have to make different decisions. We have to decide on different alternatives and choices. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes difficult. Dilemma is a situation where you have difficult choices and you are not sure which you want to choose. Sometimes there are different possibilities that will have consequences which you don’t wish for. Most of the time, it is a conflict with two possible solutions. As a professional you are encountered in such situations regularly.  At leadership positions such situations are common.

We encountered situations related to values, ethics, morale and we have different choices. For example, you see the small kid begging at the signal. You become emotional and compassionate to see her, however you also believe that there is a beggars’ racket active. It is possible that if you give the money to beggars, it will encourage beggars’ racket. It is also creating the habit of begging and that kid will never learn to work hard. Here is a moral dilemma, to give the money or not?

Sometimes while solving the problem we focus on the correlation and not the causation. This mainly happens when there is a lot of data. Sometimes you see the correlations between different variables and solve the problem only focusing on co-relations. We miss the causation. Such types of situations also create a dilemma when you don’t see the link between correlation and causation. 

There are different dilemmas we face during our personal and professional life. Ethical, moral, values, legal and so on. In any case there is a conflict and you are not sure about the possible outcomes.

Dilemmas are good. It shows the character and traits of the person while resolving dilemmas. Generally, during interviews, few managers ask questions explaining a hypothetical situation and check the response. It is crucial how the person responds and resolves the dilemma. One of the simple examples is, “Your department is understaffed and there is a lot of pressure on performance. Your few employees are on leave and one employee to whom you expect in the office, calls you and requests the leave as his kid is sick. What and how will you act in such a situation?” Response may vary depending upon the person and you can get the clue about the personality from such responses, and his body language. The question is how you resolve dilemmas in your life. Sometimes something is legal but beyond your values.

We behave differently while dilemma resolution. In our life we have different values, some values are very strong where you would never compromise, some values are flexible and changing in nature depending upon the situation. 

On the 15th Day of Mahabharata war, Guru Dronacharya killed Virat and Drupada. This was a big setback to Pandavas. Arjuna was not able to defeat Guru Dronacharya. As far as Dronacharya held a weapon in hand, he was undefeatable. Lord Krishna knows this. To make him unarmed, he makes a plan, where Bhima kills one of the tuskers named Ashwatthama. Ashwaththama was a beloved son of Guru Drona. Bhima kills tusker and proclaims that he killed Ashwaththama. The news spreads like a fire and when Guru Drona hears this and thinks. “Could it be true?” He could not see his son and he got worried. To confirm this, he goes to the Yudhisthira, who was known for truthfulness and asks, “Has Bhim killed Ashwaththamma?” Now Yudhisthira is in a dilemma. His values were strong, how can he tell a lie. He replied, “Yes.” However, Yudhisthira had also uttered, "Naro va kunjaro va," to absolve himself of the sin of lying. Either a man or an elephant. He had chosen to broaden the zone of truthfulness and to blur the distinction between nobility and ignoble dishonesty. Somebody may say that it was unethical, but finally you have to think what is better for the larger and own group.

While resolving such dilemmas, you can follow the process in personal and professional life.

Understanding values and principles, challenging your inner self, inner conscience mind and your Intellectual intelligence. It is called “the principle of moral idealism”. It says that there is a clear distinction between good and bad, between what is acceptable and what is not and that the same is true for all situations. It therefore asks to abide by the rule of law without any exception. Another theory is there is a very thin line between good and bad. It totally depends upon the situation. What may be acceptable in a certain situation can be unacceptable at some other place. Some believe that the authority is competent to take the decision and they will use their intuition to understand what is good and what is bad.

Discuss and debate: Whenever you are in a dilemma, it is good to discuss and debate on different alternatives and consequences of the outcomes. You can use the 6 thinking hats process to investigate different aspects of the problem.

Engage different stakeholders in the organization if this is at organizational level. In personal life, engage with family members, spouse, parents and elders. They will give you a different perspective.

In the VUCA world, dilemmas are at every corner and step of life. It is bad, not to think and take decisions blindly. Dilemmas will test your inner strength and it is up to you what you want to be. Finally, you have to satisfy your inner conscience.   

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkart and BookGanga

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Journey VUCA to VUCA

We always use the term “VUCA” to explain how life is difficult to survive and how business is difficult to run. In the past we used to speak a lot about it, little experienced, however during pandemic, we experienced what “VUCA” means.

We all know, VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. 

Volatility: We are aware that everything in this world is liable to change, but what we need to understand is that the speed of the change is so fast that you can’t predict what will happen next. Sometimes the situation may get worse and extreme. The situation demands you to respond speedily so that it doesn’t go out of control. 

The best way to deal with it is to create the future based on certain assumptions, find out the purpose in life and create the vision. And be agile in everything. 

Uncertainty: In uncertain situations we get disoriented. We get a lot of information from different media but are unable to make the right decision. You are not sure what is there in the future for you. 

In such circumstances, you need to take the action without hesitation. If required take a pause, look around and try to understand what’s happening in the world

Complexity: With huge data around, different opinions and perceptions, it is difficult to take the right decision. There may be a lot of factors which are interdependent on each other. What you see, may not be the reality. 

You can't avoid the complexity but you can translate it. Find out some sense from the situation, understand patterns, take a decision and act.   

Ambiguity: Lots of situations and circumstances have different and difficult meanings and more than one interpretation. Perhaps you will get different answers from different people. The situation may be confusing. You get a lot of questions out of the syllabus in the exam of life. 

To deal with it, you have to navigate easily to get the right information. Understand who can help you and build the credibility within the organization so that people trust you. 

That's the key, replacing VUCA to another VUCA (Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility).

If you want to engage with VUCA, then following capabilities are crucial,

Sense Making: Sense making is the ability to determine the deeper meaning of what is expressed, said and listened. It is reading between the line and interpreting the suitable but relevant meanings. This is also an ability to filter the right and relevant information and understand how to maximise cognitive function using different tools and techniques.

Complexity translator: This is the ability to translate vast amount of data and information into abstract concepts and understand data-based reasoning.

Social Intelligence: Social intelligence is the ability to connect easily to others in a direct way to sense and stimulate the desired response and outcome from the networking.  

Novel Thinking: Ability to think differently and come up with novel solutions which are out of the box.

Design mindset: It is the ability to represent and develop task and work processes for desired outcome.  

If you are open to new ideas and willing to unlearn, learn and relearn, managing VUCA is the fun.

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkart and BookGanga

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Peel the onion

Today to her (wife’s) surprise, I volunteered to cook dinner. I am not that expert in cooking; however, the easy recipe is of course Khichdi, easy and fast to cook. You only need rice, dal, spices, tomato, chili powder, salt, onion etc. You can add ginger, curry leaves, coriander and garlic to make it tasty. Finally, I could cook the Khichdi. My wife and son enjoyed eating that. While preparing for the Khichdi, thought came to my mind, that isn’t in our life everything is like Khichdi and onion? The same taste as Khichdi and different layers like onion? When you peel one scale, you get another in onion and we have a lot of ingredients in life like Khichdi. Our life is full of emotions like different spices.   

When we go in deep, we have different meanings in life. Such layers are everywhere in life. While communicating and understanding human beings you can use the metaphor of onion. Outer layer sometimes is fragile, sometimes rigid, sometimes dirty, but as you peel the layer, you get different insights.

Human beings are made up of upbringings, culture, value systems etc. overall surrounding and society has an impact on our lives. In emotional intelligence, we always use the word, “empathy, understanding the perspective of another person”. However, it is interesting to understand how those perspectives are built over a period of times. Sometimes, it is necessary to build trust by tearing layers and self-disclosing and sometimes just being curious and making another person included to understand him/her.       

Different researchers and authors have come up with different theories around the onion and that is very cool to understand. Few are related to the culture; few are related to change management but underlined philosophy is the same.     

In case of organizations, organizations also have their own personalities, i.e. culture of the organizations. The outer layers are composed of the patterns of behaviour observed while interacting with employees and managers. The next layer encompasses the beliefs, norms and attitudes of that culture. The middle of the onion represents the underlying cultural assumptions and values. As the most hidden layer, these aspects of culture are much harder to recognise and understand, but all of the other layers are built upon the center of the culture onion. Therefore, careful analysis and a better understanding of the different layers as well as how they interact and influence each other is necessary.

You can very much analyse those behavioural patterns of human beings and also employees in the organization by applying this model. Sometimes the underlying reason of behaviour may be totally different than what we assume. Even though we say that values and upbringing decide the behaviour, it is also the experience a person has in the specific situation in past and recent. Responses are always interpreted and manipulated differently. The question is how we are accurate in understanding those. You can be closed to accurate by peeling the onion.  

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle, Vitality in Human Resource: Adding human dimensions in HR processes

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)    

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