Learn to navigate the 99.99% crap!

As if the pandemic and a slowing global economy before that was not enough, we now have a whole community of morons and absolute idiots communicating and selling everything and anything promising everything but what a service or the product can do with that timeless 99.99% tag line somewhere around the communication!Join me here as we take a quick look into the what and why of this whole menace which seems to crop up each time humanity is faced with some odd, as if this was the elixir for which the pandemic had to happen for! What is really the unfolding and why do we, as humans individually and collectively get sold into this carp of 99.99% over and over again like a never ending roller coaster ride! So let’s move ahead!

Before you think, that I am one cynic of marketing, well I am not, what I am a little cynical about is, how people can be so gullible to buy into some stupid idea sold by someone who thinks they have been brilliant (while they are actually the ones’ who hang around on the edge of an average IQ which is fast diminishing with every weed and smoke that they consume!) which is anything but the truth! So from where does this whole crap of 99.99% emerge? Well to be honest, I did not have the time to do a thorough research, but my generous scientific and common sense based guess is that, sometime back somewhere in the streets of marketing some idiot would have done, at some point in time that unthinkable folly of claiming something to be 100% and would have ended up with tons and tons if law suits and claims, because of which this is the holy pathways that has been ever chosen- which is as senseless as the earlier one! This is so for the singular fact that no one really knows 99.99% of what! Sure enough, the labels and the packaging have all the technical narratives and explanations around “ideal conditions”, “test conditions”, “temperature, humidity conditions” so on and so forth, but still does not assure anything worthwhile or mean anything sensible that a scientific and rational mind may find it to be meaningful and welcoming! If you ask me, I think this is the biggest lie under the guise of marketing that has always been played over and over with consumers- whether they are consuming that priced cigar or that expensive piece of real estate or that odd perfume which is also labelled as “limited edition”! This whole 99.99% crap plays on one fundamental framework of the human mind- that intrinsic urge of the human brains to seek comparatives and alternatives (hardwired since our days of evolution to get the best of what we can in a “what if” scenario).

As the brain applies this frame to evaluate options that it is presented with (not that all of them have to existential choices- which they are turned into by those hyper smart catchy lines of a communication piece- at times hitting well below the belt of decency and ethics!) it ends up seeking short comparatives- data points, narratives, stories and as it does that what better and impactful then a few numbers- especially when they can be rounded off just below that magical 100, just a decimal or a few decimals short of it and there you go, you have a a great “stuck on” situation, wherein even an uninterested person is now going to stay for that extra fleeting second to know what that new crap of 99.99 % is about for this time! Let me tell you one thing, If you have someone that you care about in an ICU and your doctor wants to tell you the chances-you always want to hear is 100% and not anything short- simply because then you know that some shit is about to hit the roof- yet when the same garbage is served in a polished plate for some seemingly trivial product or service (which rip your wallets off using a baby face communication style) you are all ga ga and ready to lap to up like there is no tomorrow! So what is happening around with your mind? Why does it buy a set of numbers for one instance and relax for the other one?

Marketeers know this facet of the human mind too well to let that go (discount it, should I say!) you see the human brain, when left unto is more smarter then you! You see, the human mind is a powerful tool and runs on a very powerful sub-conscious engine, but when you begin to use it- the way you use it or not use it- greatly reduces the efficacy of that tool to help you and more often then not ends up harming you because the quality of choices that you force your brain to follow and there by the resulting actions take you onto a different route altogether! This is one of the reasons why not every scientist ends up being an Einstein and not every painter ends up being a Picasso! The moment your subconscious mind is fed with the 99.99% crap it knows it is all hog wash and relegates it as too trivial to engage with- basically it is telling you that this is all glorified garbage! But what happens here is that your interference and that dire need to socially conform to the masses around and ensure you don’t look like that child who missed out on that party “I was here”, “I too was here” kind of narrative nonsense buys up that crap and even as your brain may not want to, you end up splurging and buying that 99.99% of crap- knowing well all that it is being sold and all that promise of 99.99% has nothing to do with what the product or the services does and if there’s anything worthwhile that’s going to ever help you stay safe or sane it is going to be your own intrinsic unadulterated intelligence when applied right!

When the human mind notes that it’s laziness will not kill you, at times knowing your habit of overthinking and stretching, cribbing and sulking it simply gives up and gives into that stupid act of buying that dumb communication which promises a 99.99% free of virus, dark spots, blemishes, stains, surface cleansing and God alone knows what all! The sad part of all of this, people end up thinking they are being smart- when actually their own minds have really given up them from within , knowing that there is no end to this fool’s way of thinking! You see, you may have the most sophisticated brain on the planet, but if you decide to not use it for the purpose it was built and designed for, well you alone are to be blamed! if you buy a candles to keep your fire place warm! Well wait to see how wax shapes your melting future right in front of your eyes! So you may say fine, so what’s the problem if no one is getting killed? Does it really matter? Is it really that big deal?

Well ask any qualified psychologist and they will tell you, how big deal a conditioned mind can be especially when it is programmed and conditioned to crap theories and stimuli which go on to make it a wreaking machine rather then being a creative powerhouse! Through the story of human evolution, all greatness of the mind has almost always been achieved either in compelling situations of dire needs and existential crisis of societal proportions or these minds have flourished in times of serene calm and grandeur that made the minds to create and craft wonderful pieces of expression through science and arts! At no time was a mind ever able to produce a masterpiece which was calibrated at 99.99% of anything or something! Did you ever hear any scientists say that their discovery or innovation was 99.99%? I hope not! Deploying the human mind to read through the discount labels and 99.99% communication is nothing but an abuse of the magnificence of what the human brains is able to offer and gift us with! So what next?

Well to begin with allow science and common-sense to prevail! Sure enough if something doesn’t kill you enjoy the idiocracy around and smile about the dumbness around you (much needed in these times) but guard your mind- guard it fiercely from getting conditioned and receptive to these kind of false narratives and the only way to do that is to study the whole narrative of the 99.99% crap and see how the communication has been camouflaged and how smart of lousy that seems to the mind! This exercise alone will keep you mind ever more vigilant and ensure that the next time you get another piece of crap in your mail, you exactly know how to decipher what is not been said and what really the message is! As long s you are able to do this bit, your brain will be able to decipher and sieve through the onslaught of misdirected narratives and stories and promises which are anything but the truth and what’s more, you will be as sharp as you must and should be- no matter how dumb or idiotic the surrounding around you seem to be! Magically enough, the more you use your brain through the frame of enquiry and questioning based on rationality and science- you will begin to see dumbness and idiocracy more and more vividly and trust me, you will be entertained like no one else would ever have been! You will actual start to wonder if there has been a sudden surge in your IQ levels (which is unlikely of course) or is it that now you are able to see with more clarity all the crap that was always pushed towards you, simply because you took that small effort to change the frame of looking at the communication coming your way and did not lap it up as it came!

Well, I leave you here with these thoughts for now, urging you to see around your horizon to find instances of these 99.99% stories that are still nudging into your life all the time and see what is that you want to do about them, lap them up or decipher them and have a hearty laugh! These 99.99% stories are in a way also an indication of failing and falling creative opulence that humanity is now left around with and is reflective of the fact about how creative myopia sets in! Well, now if you want to know what is “creative myopia” all about, well I say, let’s look into that space some other time, perhaps the next article!

Ciao for now! Will be back soon and until then stay 100% at whatever you are and let that mean something sensible! Just remember you don’t want a doctor or that pilot flying your planet to be on anything less than 100% around you!

Listening > Speaking.

I actually wanted to write the title urging people to “Listen to shut up” then I felt, perhaps everyone may not like it that way! But hang on, this article is certainly not that cliche,on why you must listen and speak less and all that crap around that Victorian model. I say, scream when you must speak and yell when you must whisper, but the whole point is that, you will not have to do any of this, if and only if you are able to develop your listening and this is absolutely not about only listening to the words! Join me here to explore what is that, we can go on to listen each moment, beyond words and why not paying attention necessitates us to spend so much of energy, time and words to just have the simplest of the things done or how we end up screwing up things because of this! So here we go!

Often, when people are talk about listening- they refer to the spoken word- what they hear- sure enough that is what it is and what it should imply- but what if I told you that you also need to see to listen, yes see- observe and gauge what is not been said through the spoken word but also through the cues of non verbal communication- the tense posture, the relaxed demeanor- whatever the context could be- the point here is that- when we focus only on what is spoken and don’t factor in the totality around the spoken word- we miss the point in a big way! I mean, if you happen to be by any chance a person who has been trained in the areas of security, intelligence etc. you know what I am saying- and yes- it does not have to be that high end as well- even your kindergarten teachers or the psychologists that you perhaps visit- are well equipped to figure out what is actually being communicated by listening into what is not been said alongside what is been said!

Now you may ask, fair deal- so what’s so difficult around this- well, the problem is that we are natural bad listeners, all of us- you and I included- you see the human brain the way we have evolved- is attuned to pick up distress, emergency and crazy moments over stable, steady, happy moments as a default- that’s our survival ticket- so don’t even bother complaining about it! Hence, we have so many experts always offering guidance and teachings around what is now fashionably called- directed/focused listening- well they are basically asking you to pay attention- nothing more and nothing less. The fact remains that, you pay attention during that training, because either you or your office has paid for that session and post that it’s again back to default settings in no time!

So why do we always slip back to default settings of only listening to emergency/urgency and just wander around our imaginary world as people keep on speaking, blabbering- well there are two parts to this- one- believe it or not- over 90% of what is spoken is pure garbage- you see what the neighbor’s cat did, how that dog bit the delivery guy, who eloped with whom, which President is dumber than who else, who wore which dress, who tripped, who fell, who won the lottery- now all of this rhetoric, the moment it begins- your brains is smarter than you think- it just asks one simple question- is any of this shit- a cause of concern for me- am I under threat- do I need to take any action- if the answers are no- than your brain allows that to play on like some gibberish background noise and hence when you are often asked in the middle- what did I say- you are actually trying to save your self!

The second important part is the fact that your brain is so smart than you can think that it uses sight/ your eyes to make out what the body language of the person is- is there a state of urgency, is that all to what is been said- is there anything that needs to be sought further- only when that space raises a concern of a veiled threat because something is been hidden, that you will get a signal, be prompted to ask more questions and that engagement of focused listening and an engaged conversation will continue until the brain looses its interest either it has got all what it needs or has concluded that this all too was a waste of time! So what about the listening part and why does Listening end up being greater than speaking?

When we practise what I call as directed/ focused listening , we end up helping our brain in multiple ways- see you are not going to cut the other person off, as the person is speaking- so you save time off your brain to rearrange those words, that logical flow and everything that will help you to throw your point of view even before the other one has completed theirs! So as a deliberate effort, once you stop cutting people- you get to hear their complete point of view, more than half of the times (unless you are the odd one- being the right person in the wrong place or the wrong person in the right place) if you listen, to the other person completely, you will be left with only few limited options- one could be asking that person to get lost as what was said has nothing to do with you, or now that you have heard the person and now you will act or take some action or you will seek more information/ more clarity and propose next steps. So in effect, you have hardly had to talk! You just saved yourself from wasting so much of energy that could have gone in- had you not listened with intent and focus- no more long meetings, no more reviews, no more, long emails, no more conference calls, all done with a few sessions of directed listening and being in the now when it matters the most! See when you really listen, you also learn and when you learn you can act, when you act- the task is done! Remember your school days, why do you think you have all that stuff packed in your brain- well back then you listened because you knew that only if you listened, you will understand and only if you have that crucial understanding , will you be able to apply and only when you apply what you have learnt, will you be able to sustain your success and live a life that you cherish and plan for! So this is why listening is always more potent and greater than speaking! Now, you may want to ask, me, whatever happened to that listening to what has not been spoken? Sure, read on…

Even as your would have factored that directed and applied listening is so effective, the fact remains, that is easier said than done! See our brain is constantly scanning our environments, with only one agenda to keep us safe- safe as in not that anyone is coming to take you out- just to ensure that the setting that you have chosen- is not being breached. Let me explain- say you are having an exit interview of a colleague- known or unknown to you- the brains of the person with whom you are speaking and your brain will be by default scanning for visible presence of either your manager or the manager of the person who is leaving- because both of them would be curious to know what is been said! The more toxic and dramatic the place- the higher will be the alertness of your brain and just as for this instance- every second you spend in your office, speaking with friends, family in a group setting, your brain is constantly working around the possible threats that may come your way- when you cracked a joke- who laughed and who shrugged- you see not everyone is going to be vocal enough- like I normally am- to walk into your face and say- boss- you’ve had enough of your shit, now move on or stay quiet! As people develop body language cues to express their emotions when words get drowned, your brain switches its scanner on and picks up these and that’s how communication is floating and is nudged around in a group setting! It is in settings like these, training classes, meetings – whether you are discussing critical details about something important with an individual or you are discussing something with many- your brain’s ability to scan the unspoken word- will help you know exactly what you need to speak next, with whim and possibly also when!

If you ever want to make a difference to your life or the lives of others, by your work, art, influence, the first step that you must embrace is to develop an unlimited amount to patience to listen- it’s only when you allow people to connect, express and feel safe that you will be able to understand them completely and only when that happens will they pay heed to what your spoken word is- for the simple reason that- they now know that you know them well enough to guide, counsel or advise them as the case may be! Only once you have arrived at a level of desirable competence of being able to practise directed and active listening, will you be able to deploy your abilities to train your mind to pick up the non-verbal cues with increasing finesse and accuracy! What all of this eventually will do is – the person speaking to you will have to use even fewer words than earlier and you too will possibly have nothing to say- just perhaps act based on what was told to you, because you would have also learnt to listen to, what was not said and your action is the spoken word that the other person actually waits to listen into!

I will leave you here, with these thoughts for now and yes, listen,listen and listen so that you you to speak less and when you do- you will be sure it matters!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one! Stay safe and stay wise! Nothing more to say for now, hope you listened to yourself as you read this!

Practice Mindful Hiring to avoid Mindless Firing.

Yes! I know folks, you may want to start with a negative thought about this article, but trust me, it’s gonna be more fun than you think, remember my last article? about the layoff thingy, Well this is to put the context more clearly and possibly help people at both ends of the table to formulate their own strategies to avoid unwanted miseries in their life- given the times that we live in! So here we go!

Well, to begin with,let me make one point clear- Let’s stop blaming a microbe for everything and anything around us! Well, admit it, the world economy was stalling, faltering and failing it across nations around late 2019, even as the pandemic was manifesting itself- whether that was intentional or not, is a different story altogether, we will leave that for some other time, the point here is that the world was already on it’s way to a meltdown and there was just one trigger that was needed which could accelerate the fall- the pandemic came in as a surprise- although like always war would have been a favorite candidate to precipitate the economic slow down that we are witnessing today! So why did businesses fail because of a Virus? read on…

We need to understand, how geopolitics and collusion of business with politics and politicians runs deep behind the scenes and scrutiny of the public eye! All that the Virus was scientifically was asking one to do was – keep social distancing and stay away from vulnerable people (ill/aged/those who have weakened immunity) and avoid public places (basically places where it becomes difficult to stay away and trace who came from where , when, for how much time and why!) Given. this fact- see how nations reacted- Lockdown! Well, most of them did it and as this was unleashed- it ensured that business obituaries started to get written one sector after the other, one regions after the other and this whole event created a chain reaction which has now plunged the whole world into a severe economic crisis even as nations continue to battle out with the health emergency! You may now want to ask, what has all this got to do with hiring and firing of people? You may want to present a case, “Why should business continue to pay employees, if there is no business activity?” Well actually that is far from what the real problem is!

You see, when all was smooth sailing, businesses, their favorite bankers, their lovely political friends all of them came together to ensure that each and every business is magnified with an intention that every business seems to be bigger, better than the next competitor and so much so that, even the “I am Number 1” parameters begin to come up with different metrics and business bodies end up with “Award functions” all through the year, where every organisation gets awarded for the same reason by a different awarding agency! Well anyways- nothing to say bout this right or wrong- each person’s nectar is divine for that person! This is the point where the problem starts!

You see, humans all have egos, even I have a much earned one- where I refuse to speak with people with lower intelligence than myself!- The point here is the Business egos are far more dangerous and destructive especially when they collude with politics, the whole market place becomes one big rigged casino- no matter which machine you want to play at- you are already defeated even before the game starts!

Companies have been traditionally into the space of what I call Myopic resource management- whether that is people or other things. Myopic People Management is by far the most fatal of all the flaws that businesses can come up with and when these get operational, slow and painful death of an organisation is all but certain! Business always have had a tendency to keep hiring- at times for no real reason-Sometimes to fill up a large office space, do the cheap multiplier- get more for less dollars, just let there be a buzz, anticipating clients coming in- which is nothing but hallucination provided by the “close inner circle” who themselves have often no fucking clue of what they are upto! All these myopic dealings eventually end up being a case of ,”Too many cooks and nothing to cook”, situation for organisations every year – every few years; and you will notice, some companies do this with striking predictability- they will fire- than after a few months they will re-hire- and the cycle goes on and on! In all this happening place- big names get thrown around- some picked up, some left out and there will be multitudes on unnamed workers who will be left wondering- what did they do deserve what they are been given?! They worked the shifts, they took no leaves, they put in long hours- Why did the company not make any profits if they were working day in and day out? Who kept an eye out of the watch tower? Who was charting the course to ride the waves of business turbulence?

These firings that happen on account of business not doing well, are actually seeded into the very business plan when the business starts off in the first place! When not enough thought is applied and when no real projections and honest discussions happen in those long, polished boardrooms, this is how shot happens! Boardrooms when are not transparent and are hidden away- almost always translate into becoming the secret chambers where lotteries are picked up to name and shame the fall guys for the organization from time to time, season to season! So what can we do about this? is there anything that can be done?Well surely there is something that can be done, as long as we have the intent, the “we” here implies those blue eyed boys and girls who “own” the businesses. I mean “own” in the literal sense of “owning it” not “working to slog” because some investor has pumped billions from an Atlantic Ocean Island which happens to be a tax haven!

People have been and will always continue to be at the centre of all that we do, automation yes, but even to manage and drive that automation, people will be required! Once businesses and companies make an intent to pursue, “Mindful Hiring” and stop being reckless about themselves as firms and about the people that they cross paths with through their professional journey, the problem will start to solve itself even before it reached menacing proportions!

Mindful Hiring is not about, not making mistakes, it is more about learning on the way as mistakes happen and fixing them on an ongoing basis rather than ignoring them and allowing them to become eventually unmanageable! Once businesses hire people with an aim to provide livelihoods for a decent future timeline which could be anywhere from a 12 months period to a 60 months period depending upon the nature of the business, the planned growth strategies and than plotting the projected growth story for the individual through that time within the organisation, half the battle is won!The remaining half is achieved as the newcomer starts to get the value to the table and keeps growing and moving ahead along the plotted trajectory of growth for that individual within the organisation! Mindful hiring is more detailed, it is about knowing “who” you are hiring, “why” and “what” is the value that you are seeking from that individual and “how” all of that fits in and magnifies the business outcome in the given context of time and space during which the person is supposed to be working. It is as simple as this and doesn’t get any simpler than this!

So now you may want to ask, if this is so simple, why don’t organisations do it? Well two reasons, one because we deal with “people” and a lot of unplanned shit happens to them and keeps happening all the time- even if the business environments get sanitized and completely mindful- an individuals approach and the self-destruct button (which all of us have) is good enough to screw up everything either by accident or by design! Secondly because of this very reason”people being a little weird” having that kind of extensive team to simply keep track and measure attitudes and behavioral manifestations of individuals as they work on an ongoing basis becomes more difficult- easier said than done -as they say! So business do what they always have been doing- where they need 100, hire 160- they know eventually only 25-30 will remain- sure enough not all businesses thrive this way- you certainly don’t want the hospital you visit to have doctors being hired and fired this way! Don’t you? So what’ the way ahead?

Well, simple- Once businesses start “Mindful Hiring” with an intent and focus to provide growth and plotted trajectory for limited times for people- they will find even the people that approach are clear about what they can offer and what is that they wish for in return- so no baggage burned or carried and as the value exchange is done, each of them can shake hands and part ways without any bad blood! This step also automatically does away with the need of “Mindless Firing” because once you have the right nuts and bolts working the way they should, rest assured you have developed some formidable immunity to deal with business emergencies and financial challenge- because your machine is lean and mean and knows exactly what to do and how to ride over the turbulence – because you always knew “Who you hired” and “What value they bring”!

I will stop myself here, and urge you to make an effort to embrace “Mindful Hiring”, Whether you are hiring someone or you are the one who is being hired- take a pause and think about the plotted growth trajectory and the value exchange- if none of this is clear-walk away now and don’t do it- because a flight with no flight plan is surely not coming down easy! Embrace Mindful Hiring to avoid Mindless Firing!

Ciao for now, have your coffee, think! I will be back soon with another piece!

The virus is not the problem.

Many a times, intellectual hallucination and unwarranted cerebral diarrhea leads to aggravating problems rather than solving them and when you try to use the method of applying “collective wisdom” of “empowered group of self proclaimed experts” who have not solved the current problem but something else earlier- we get served what we deserve- More Chaos! This short piece is about understanding how humanity has this unique ability to end up screwing up simple things and create complex problems which tend to become an altogether different problem from the original one! So join me in unraveling stupidity, dumbness and over-rated “specialists” who seem to have answers for all problems that get created while trying to solve the original problem, which remains unresolved!

When the coronavirus problem began, the least I was expecting was a scientific and rational response to meet the challenge and deal with it, but as I look back, what I realized is that more and more people (who are especially in-charge of devising strategies to deal with the situation) have been more dumb and stupid than what their so-called qualifications and experience suggested! Consider this to begin with- The fact that was established way early into this episode of the virus onslaught was that it is contagious and it spreads from people to people when they are in close proximity- within 2 meters of each other- great! so now we know what to avoid- than why the hell do we need to lock down cities, nations and ruin the whole economy of the nations? If there is scientific evidence on how the virus transmission occurs- the common-sense led approach would suggest- have protection, maintain the required distance- whether 2 metres or 20 metres and that’s about- Let the world be what it is! Why do you need to lock down- take way livelihoods- create economic anarchy and destroy a working society? Effective, sustained and persuasive communication in all possible languages and across mediums reinforcing the need of social distancing would have done the needful! Don’t believe me- well , your choice- so can you explain why even after the lock down has been enforced why in few countries the cases keep rising? Well, the answer is simple – Humanity is all about being social and if you ask people not to do something, they will end up doing exactly that- albeit in way that you can’t find out easily! Hence if the messaging would have started with the moral high ground of what one should “Do” rather than “Don’t Do”, things would have been better accepted and hence implementation would have been far more meaningful and so would have the been the results!

Now, if you were to ask the “Coronovirus” what it feels like today, after unleashing mayhem and wrecking the global economy, this is what the Virus would have told you, “You know what, I am simple virus- I hopped onto humans (accidentally or intentionally- you find out!) and found it fun to be here, anyways not many youngsters welcome me that well- so I hardly get noticed- but the oldies do hate me- hence they show their dislike to me by getting sick- and well- that is dangerous for me- because than even I can’t survive- if I they suffer so do I! I never wanted to be within humans any case- I was having fun in the animal kingdom for so many million years! I don’t know how I landed up here! Why is everyone blaming me for economic collapse, I am no banker- I a am a Virus- I may make people sick!,I have nothing to do with economics! You mishandle and misunderstand on how to treat me- how can you blame me for that?! I never asked you to shut down cities and lock everyone in their houses- If people manage their immune system well- by eating well and have personal hygiene- there is nothing that me or any of my cousins can do anything nasty with any of you!

A lot of the problems of the world that we are facing today even as we battle the pandemic is really not about the illness, neither it is about when the vaccine will be available or not, it is far more simpler and I have kept on saying this over and over again! Common-sense deficient decision making is not only ridiculous and foolish it is outright dangerous and fatal! Unfortunately the irony of our times is our so-called experts have all the answers for this pandemic- as if they got killed or survived the last one caused by this virus! The real sane experts on the other hand have been suggesting incremental steps to experiment and deduce in a calibrated manner on- the-go, so that we learn and know what works and what does not in a measured way, rather than creating the global melodrama of the Big bad Lock Down and as if once the Lock Down is lifted we will have the birds singing and spring will be back! This myopic, risk averse and dumb thinking by group of so-called experts has put such a severe strain on all other sections of society that nations will sooner or later feel the shortage of healthcare workers, law enforcement officers and all those who are involved to maintain sanity as fatigue would simple overwhelm them, because they are humans first and no Human being in the entire history of mankind has never won a battle with no definite deadline in sight! If and when societal fatigue sets in, it will rob societies off the very building blocks that define who they are and thereby make each step towards recovery even more harder and difficult, something that will even take time to convince people that everything is safe now! So you may ask me now- If the Virus is not the problem than what is the problem?, and people are dying- so the virus must be real?

Well sure, the virus is real and people are dying for sure- but what is that the people are dying off? Are they really dying only because of the Virus or is the Virus creating biochemical challenges within their bodies which have become fragile because of existing illnesses that is causing the deaths? What are the facts around this? what is the real picture?How many got treatment late? How many were misdiagnose? How many were accidentally killed during experimental treatment? We may know some answers and some we may never know! But this is where the crux of the matter is- Science says that there has to be evidence, predictability, repeatability for things to play out exactly the same way for same set of conditions- well does it work with a virus – the answer is yes and no- yes if the virus is the same and no if the virus – which is a living microbe- mutates! The Influenza virus- cousin of our Coronavirus visits most of us every year- in one form or the other, not all of us die, we struggle and recover- our struggle is proportional to our immune system’s response and wisdom of the healthcare providers! When one of these two factors break down- we have a problem which actually can put us at considerable risk and this is exactly what is being played out in case of the Coronavirus too!

The real problem is the way we are handling the problem- the real problem is “The Problem Definition”. If the Coronavirus has given all the scientific evidence of how that poor little things wants to move from one human to the other, we just need to avoid and break that path- the answer is social distancing- personal hygiene- that’s about it! Personal Hygiene is a private matter-one may say he has brushed his teeth and would not have been doing so for last whole week- you can’t help someone who has a psychopathic mind! Likewise social distancing, like I said earlier it has a lot to do with common-sense- why would you allow a stranger to stand close to you within 2 metres- why? I mean Virus or no Virus- why would you normally also be comfortable with having some stranger sneaking up so close to me, forget about that person coughing, sneezing or even breathing into you face? I mean why? If you say well, that never happens, you manage a high level of personal hygiene, you eat well, you don’t mix with strangers and random people- well than that’s great! so where’s the problem? You just blocked all entry points to the Virus! So what has the Heaven sent lock- down got to do with any of this? Why should you be penalized from taking a walk in the park, walking you dog, picking up your grocery, going for that long drive? Why?

When this pandemic shit is over in a few weeks from now, as the world sits back and thinks about it and as stories will be told to kids who are now under 10-12 year old- they will laugh their hearts out and say it on you face- How come were you grown ups so dumb? Why did you do what you did? Was it really needed? and trust me none of the “so-called” hyper anxious- doomsday centric- “specialist” will have an answer for the virus- well by that time it would have changed itself to be our friendly neighborhood virus which will be kept under check by popping a pill and not Locking ourselves down!

This current pandemic has more to do with the problem of mishandling a crisis and making a bad situation worse more than anything else! t’s a text book example of all that one should not do, during a crisis like this! When problem definitions fail, right questions are not asked and knee jerk- copy-cat solutions are adopted without understanding the contextual realities of life, we set ourselves to a bigger secondary disaster- which at times can outweigh the benefits, making the cure wore than the disease and leaving the original problem unresolved! History is replete with examples when great wars have been won and lost because the challenges were misread or misunderstood, political fortunes and businesses have been created and destroyed all because of incorrect assessment of the gravity of the contextual settings! The problem is not always the “problem”, the problem sometimes is the “way that a problem is perceived and defined” which ends up becoming a bigger disaster than the real challenge at hand! What could have been done, you may want to ask?

Well, simple and straight- social distancing, access to personal hygiene and keeping away risk groups from social arena! That’s about it, three steps implemented well, you have won more than half of the battle! No need for intrusive surveillance, lock downs, travel restrictions and unwarranted narratives! The real challenge with this overly simple solution is that “so called specialists” thrive on making a complex problem even more complicated to earn their brownie points and plain spoken truth gets discounted for unscientific gossip! Until this fixated fashion that “complex problems can only be solved by complex solutions” is not thrown away for good, humanity will keep on suffering from one or the other reason! Simplicity, Plain speak and Common-sense based approaches are the arch enemies of the “so called, know it all, specialists” and that is the real threat, more dangerous than the virus and these threats ensure humanity keeps getting hits by shit in one form or the other from time to time, just to have their inflated hollow egos well oiled!

I leave you with my thoughts here, grab a coffee, take a walk by yourself or walk your dog , eat well, stay fit and rest assured no matter what the “expert” says trust your common sense! Animals have survived with the virus for millions of years and humans have dealt with more nasty visitors coming from mother earth to us than the one we have now with us! So stay calm, and stay wise!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another piece, until then keep that gray matter ticking and learn it well- Simplicity Works and that’s the way of nature!

Bouncing back and racing ahead.

Through this article, I share with you few basic, common-sense led plain speak approaches which may just help you that bit extra to bounce back and race ahead, whether it is about yourself or about the team that you lead or an organization that you are responsible for, or, in that rare case if you are leading a nation! So let’s see what these simple steps are all about and the kind of impact that they can create, when executed well! Before we move ahead, it will help to always remember that humankind is perhaps the most unpredictable species of all, and at times may end up doing quite the opposite what it’s mind will ask it to do, just to teach someone else a lesson, irrespective of what compounding damage that kind of reckless act may cause, and no where in the animal kingdom, will you ever find any other “social animal” displaying this kind of behavioral disposition, hence, this disclaimer to let you know,there are no easy slides to heaven and why no matter what anyone tells you; rational wisdom suggests that common-sense always holds the foundation to give one an ability to bounce back and keep surging ahead! So here we go…

Through my engagements and shared learnings over the years, there have been few broad and common approaches- which when mapped to individual specificity of a problem tend to provide a more meaningful way through , over or around the problem! Here are a few of them (and yes, these are not the only or holy grail of problems solving!, so keep adding to this what life has taught you and I am sure you will do exceedingly well, at times surprising yourself!)

Measure what matters

Find the “Why” of your discomfort

Be a Realist- Not an Optimist, nor a pessimist

Clarity of Thought and Communication

Plan for others around you as well

Keep milestones close and within view

Cultivate your common-sense

Be grateful and thankful

Keep what you must and discard all that you can

Measure what matters: We live in an era where we are bombarded with information 24×7 across touch points and irrespective whether we are interested or not! In this kind of an environment and the mad rush to stuff information down the throat of people regardless whether they have a discerning mind to understand, evaluate and conclude rationally with that information they are served is perhaps the most paradoxical problem of over indulgence after obesity (which is caused by overindulgence of food- most of the times!). Even in the current crisis that the world is facing, people are bombarded with statistics, number of total cases, deaths, new cases so on and so forth, what point is being missed out is real sensible data, what are the real active cases today? , what is the fatality percentage, what is the percentage of population infected from the total population and importantly what is the severity or potency of the infection! If people had focused on these parameters, over half of the 184 nations would have never gone ahead with the dumb lock down strategies that they initiated in the first place! Hence it matters and always it is only about measuring what matters and is relevant as we deal with problems  in the real essence of it!

Find the “Why” of your discomfort: If you have read “Start with the Why” by Simon Sinek, you probably know what I am suggesting, If you haven’t read that book, do yourself a favour and do read it! One of the most fundamental mistakes that people tend to get into is trying to solve a problem – thinking that “what they are solving is the problem”, truth actually can be far away from that and in few case the people happen to be the biggest problem, because of their limited intelligence and skewed perceptions of the world around them- which is nothing more then defence mechanism to either hang on to their dear job, career or a failing business, simply because they can’t imagine a life without their business cards! Unless you do not come up face to face with the singularity of your problem or challenge that you face and understand that all solutions and remedies begin by altering yourself from within as you try to set things straight, no matter what you say and do, you will end up wasting the valuable seconds of life coming back to the same problem over and over again – albeit with differing intensity but continuing with the broader flavor of distress will tend to remain the same! Once you have found the true “Why” rest assured that will give you enough bearing to keep moving in the direction which will remove you away from the senseless loop and give a sense of forward motion even as you untangle the mess of the problem at hand!

Be a Realist: Not an Optimist, nor a pessimist: As much as thinking negative, being hopeless, constantly nagging, cribbing and sulking is bad, dancing about and fiddling away meaninglessly as if everything is always great and you are experiencing heaven even as the world around you is turning into a hellish nightmare, can be far more damaging to a point where people start to actually doubt your mental construct and frame of mind- whether you are displaying psychopathic behaviors or have a complete hard disk failure!  The whole challenge with the “Stay Positive” movement around the world has been that few of the so called masters have ended up making it a big joke unto itself, I mean you may have an individual being diagnosed with terminal cancer and you want that person to stay positive? or a person in a terrible terrible financial mess and you want that person to believe that  all will be glad stay positive? Shouldn’t it rather be asking these people to first understand what the situation is then help them rationally evaluate what are the meaningful solutions that are available to them so that they can lead the time at  hand in the most productive manner so that their pain is comforted and there is a sense of achievement in the way the simply carry out their day to day chores or start ton re-build their financial credibility one day at a time? Certainly let’s not even bother to talk about the “nothing will be good ever- ultra-pessimistic way of thinking- that is painful even to write here forget about thinking that way! Having a true assessment of the situation in a given context (which comes from deciphering the “Why”) and mapping it to ones’ individual abilities and competencies is the only way to make the best of any situation that comes your way! Nothing more and nothing less! Staying real, pragmatic and exhibiting courage to confront and deal with the granular reality of the moment will alone help one move ahead and simplify ones’ ability to know the real challenge within the fog of ambiguity!

Clarity of Thought and Communication: This is of utmost important, especially when you are dealing with others and others are looking unto you for guidance and leadership in crisis, whether it is a small crack team that you manage for an assault as an officer, or whether you lead a team of 100 professionals which are working to meet team objectives- the sooner you can provide or rather continue to provide clear communication (which can only occur once you have ample  clarity of thought). This clarity has be at all levels, what is expected, what is being asked and what is been provided to have the tasks accomplished- this all can only be manifested when there in intrinsic clarity of thought about how the team is being led and what is the shoreline that has been earmarked to anchor the team – if required. When Leaders provide clarity at this level- the same is resonated down the line and that makes the jobs of the leaders a breeze and that sets up the team and the organisation for a fast recovery to everyone’s surprise! Importantly, the sensible and impactful communication pieces are Realistic and don’t share misplaced optimism and unwarranted pessimism! 

Plan for others around you as well: Very often when crisis hits, the first and natural response is to make oneself safe and have your immediate responsibilities (family) accounted for, likewise when it is a team that you lead, you are the leader for that unit of your’s and it only makes sense that you lead, guide and provide for you teams like you would for your family in the way and manner that is aligned to the organisation culture and ethics! No one is asking you to become a cult leader or go out of the way and pick up fights with senior members for your team, the point here is to be responsible and accountable so that even in worst case scenarios wherein you need to have a few members offloaded, that whole process remains dignified, so that if ever you need them back, they will be happy to oblige and join you back! This approach of being emphatic, sensitive, and accountable to every member of  ones’ team should be intertwined in the soul of the leader and that empowerment of the soul must be used to take calls and decisions which make sense and serve the larger good!

Keep milestones close and within view: Often people- leaders like to share milestones- what will happen in next one year, three years, five years, well good- nothing wrong with it, but real fact of life remains, that even if the leader remains (which by itself is a miracle- because people leave even at leaderships levels around 3-5 years) there will be new people in the team on an ongoing basis- and each time you have new people – if you were to make the same presentation, it will end up being routine for some and “wow” for few others! The only way to beat this type of  meaningful shit is, spell the broader strategy few times through the year, make it a decisive point and revisit that only when you need to and through the course of the journey have meaningful milestones which are more relevant, visible and actionable- perhaps having monthly or quarterly ones’ that keeps everyone updated, everyone feels involved and everyone gets a sense of forward motion! This will un-complicate whatever you try to pursue and keep enough cohesion to make things easier so that even when hurdles are met, the team knows what needs to be done to overcome them!

Cultivate your common-sense: Human mind works well as long as it is sharpened and that sharpness only comes alive and working when we are presented with compelling cornered spaces and challenges which have no routine parallel! This is where, trusting and following your common-sense, gut feeling becomes all the more important! You may have tons and tons of data and metrics to deduce and take scientific decisions, nothing wrong with that as long as you are choosing one robot over the other or one product range over the other, but the moment decision making starts to impact people without bringing in the human element in the framework, disaster can strike! Consider this, currently many firms are laying off, announcing wage cuts (as if doing a favour that you still have a job), but not releasing, where will they get that very talent back which would have been nurtured, trained and developed over a period of time to meet the organisations exacting requirements in coming times?, Sure people are aplenty and so is talent, but the time needed to retain and re-equip which will be dangerous lost opportunity (in the hands of a right competition can spell a disaster for the business) and can cause severe unpleasant business damage! Even more funny is what does the wage cut say? Does it suggest that an individual was paid more then  their real worth or does it say that ones’ worth has gone down or does it say that the hiring strategy was astray to allow that kind of omission to occur and pay someone what they were not worth of in the first place? What is the messaging that is being sent out? The only and only sure way of doing away with all this unwanted nonsense is cultivate common sense so that even rational decisions; when and as they are forced upon can be routed through the test of common sense and than action can be taken once these decisions stand the test of common sense! 

Be grateful and thankful: This simple exercise will work wonders for you as an individual or as leader of a team, be grateful for what you have- as you start the day, your mind, the resources that you have access to so that you can go ahead an weave the magic that you need to, playing your role and discharging your duties so that you keep creating the subtle difference which matters and keep the momentum going in the forward direction! Being thankful helps, it helps you to begin with so that you know what you could have achieved or not and what is that you are able to achieve or not with the people and resources around! Once you have reached this space of being grateful and thankful, and you begin to rub off this simple yet powerful thought within your team, you will see magic happen as the narrative will change from what is not there to what can be done with what is there!

Keep what you must and discard all that you can: If life is a walk, a marathon or a race, depending on how you see it, in any case, it will always make sense to reduce the baggage! De-Cluttering will help you individually and also as a leader! Knowing what to carry along, what helps and letting go off  things and people that harm and obstruct is the key element to ensure that you are able to bounce back fast and in time to make the most of an approaching wave which can propel you further ahead and give you that much needed early mover’s advantage as businesses race to be the first one’s to re-engage with their clients and customers!

I will leave you here, perhaps you want to add a few more elements, remove a few, the choice is your’s; for you alone know what is the contextual reality of your world and these are but beacons which can help you to glide along safely without running into mountain faces and odd weather, so that as you embark to your climb, you have all the power you need from the people on your team and the machine that you have! 

Ciao for now, will be back with another piece soon!

When the cure is worst than the disease.

Continuing with our rant on how stupid, dumb and mind-numbing decisions are being taken on a routine basis- all around us, this short piece is an attempt to see how we may eventually end up harming ourselves more by deploying half -measures, knee jerk reaction and imitation strategies, even as we try to do away with responsibility, accountability and ownership and use of meaningful scientifically validated rational actions! This is a journey to explore what it looks like from within in a typical case of “When the cure is worst than the disease”! So let’s roll!

To make it simple, we will see the different scenarios with increasing level of complexities which go show you how hurried diagnosis can actually make the cure worst than the illness! So here they are,

Anxiety Driven Disasters

Conformity Seeking Disasters

Information Led Disasters

“Always Agreeing” Disasters

Anxiety Driven Disasters: As the Coronovirus decided to embark on a world tour, educational institutions were caught off guard, the ones’ that were not technologically ready, needless to say suffered the most and this is where from where we get our first learning lesson! A few schools in India faced this, even as the different state governments urged schools not to ask for fees until the sessions for the next year began sometime in June/July; schools required to pay their staff so that they are able to retain their talent (which by itself is another subject altogether!). So when some parents (who yet refuse to believe that we are living in a cornered space) who had paid the fees and yet others who showed willingness to pay the fees, were told that you can pay later as schools will take time, they cam back with a boom to the schools saying, “Why can’t you go online and start, we can throw that money at your face, this is not done, we work in IT companies, we work from home, students can study from home”, so on and so forth… This trigger sets us up to the point from where everything now starts to rapidly go downhill! Well, the schools being who they are, ramped up fiercely, put extra time, teachers worked extra hard to get the content into the online format to ensure it stays meaningful and relevant for the students on this new medium and the parents were informed that, the schools were ready to start online sessions on time and that we can move ahead! This is that golden moment when the same parents who were ranting all through for their child’s loss of education etc etc, came back to the schools and started to say,” How do you expect a child in Grade I to have a laptop and use it?”, “I can’t lend my laptop for such a long time, I have office work!” So this is how shit manifests! 

If only, the  parents had not decided in haste, caving  in to their anxiety of  “What do I do with my child, who is free and I don’t know how I can add value to the Child’, and  completely outsourced their kids to schools and institutes, this episode would not have manifested, likewise only if schools had the conviction and authority to let the parent’s know that, “They know more about Education” and would have not heeded and given in to the parent’s anxiety, all this colossal waste of human manpower and ingenuity would not have gone to waste! Well there is certainly a lot of good stuff which will come through all this mayhem, but if you ask me this is a very elementary  level or rather a limited damage scenario emanating form a mismanaged crisis! If you are wondering what are do more damaging scenarios look like, we have our next type..waiting for us..and probably playing out near you even as you read this article!

Conformity Seeking Disasters: This is by far, one of my favorites because it is possibly the simplest to explain! The pandemic is a live example- The brash, blatant and unwarranted lock downs, shut downs, and whatever you may be calling them around the world have just ended up playing to the people who would have wanted the things to manifest the way they did! If you step back for a moment and maybe rise high- and take a bird’s eye view – you will understand- what we are dealing with is a virus attack- which has spread across different regions, nations, cities which are different demographically and socioeconomically as well, the one size fits all solution (read Lock down- which was in all probability planted into the minds of a few to be replicated by others!) has been needless to say a more bigger disaster then the virus- wiping away livelihoods, incomes, businesses and all chances of revival and hope in an unprecedented global meltdown much worse then the disease! You can pick and choose a nation of your choice, check the average number of daily deaths ( before Covid19- say for same time last year) and check them now- you will have your answers! If you are wondering why nations and leaders can get way laid- well the simple truth is – we all have evolved from Chimps and as the saying go, when uncertainty hits, it’s but natural to imitate and do what someone else has done- because if that has not harmed the other chimp, I too will be safe, hence as the first nation marketed “Lock down” as the holy potion for victory, others blindly followed, getting into a traps- which for some nations has been far far worse then the actual impact of the virus spread by itself! These episodes set off another set of economic disasters- which will run parallel to the primary challenge and will end up exhausting further the rapidly depleting and diminishing intelligence within societies to recover from the mayhem of a health emergency and financial emergency!

Information Led Disasters: I have touched this topic in my last article, this is played out more in the arena of businesses, because they thrive on their decisions both strategic and operational through important cues and visible indicators coming out through governments and regulatory agencies- so when the governments are all caught up in their own shit of “Conformity Seeking Disasters” any and all direction coming from them to businesses will be at the best confusing and contradictory- which in turn becomes a fatal blow that takes away even the remote chance of businesses surviving by trying to innovate and suggest alternative course of actions to revive and stay relevant! Businesses soon start to imitate each other, “what’s happening within my sector?” they ask, “What did they do?” in hushed whispers everyone is asking each other and then the conversations start, OK, “They have a turn over of xxx, they laid off abc, so I have a turn over of yyy so I will layoff pqr!”..Well this madness really has no sense because in this climate of Information (read Mis-Information), different contextual realities and race to Confirm and facilitate Capitalist greed, there never seems to be another way to get things done and so the death spiral among businesses starts, the result, well unemployment yes, but more importantly loss of Human Talent which comes biting back as a fierce competitor in a few short years and by then the people who have taken the decisions today are all but irrelevant and there is a new set of people grappling with this new unwanted competition for no fault of theirs! So well yes, this is one more aspect when impulsive, short sighted, best described myopic, unwarranted and unchecked haste creates a long term problem which is greater then managing a few businesses or sectors and ends up being a larger socioeconomic societal or national level problem!  

Always Agreeing Disasters: When crisis hits, even battle hardened, officers will tell you, they need on their team people who can speak their mind – to anyone – certainly respectfully- but one must say what they intend to- they must speak- courageously enough even when authority seems to be faltering and making decisions either in haste, impulse or on facts which are unverifiable and lack credibility- either because of the content quality or the source! When nations are run by people who lack courage, conviction, vision and simply don’t dare suggest or question authority on the scientific rationale behind decisions being taken- it is all but certain that the future is doomed because it will always continue to hand around over the horizon which never is reached and which can never be touched! Whether you have been part of a corporate that had called for a meeting of all your unit/ SBU CEO’s and all “agreed” (read “YES” people)  to cut costs and have people thrown out and calculated mathematically, myopically without understanding “Who” was being ejected out (the person- the experience- the competency angle) – it’s just a matter of time before the people who acted in such haste and impulse get the taste of their own medicine! Very often within the corporate corridors- the so called “CEO’s” (many of which I have found to be struggling with the true essence of that designation label and are nothing more then glorified managers at the very best!) act in haste and then later regret for what unfolds in due time- rarely do they get time and space to do damage control and many of them fade away into corporate obscurity with no future reference or direction like a satellite turned off and set on an endless revolution around the Earth for no joy! If you think this is bad, well when you amplify these kind of mishaps pertaining to “YES” people at governmental level especially if they are part of the strongest nation on the Earth or part of the largest democracy- just imagine how horribly wrong things can go when you have “YES” clan advising every critical aspect of  national security, financial wisdom, healthcare, social justice, growth, business environments, environment, think of an area and then just imagine how horribly wrong things can go! and yes when do go wrong, as they usually will go with a decent predictable timeline- the events that unfold make national and international headlines!

Well, I will leave you here, giving back your solitude, think and feel what you are witnessing, wherever you are, whatever  you may be doing, perhaps you are a national leader or a school teacher or a doctor or a pilot or a business leader or the average person who works for a living, take a step back, see the kind of decisions that are coming your way  or your are obliged execute;  try to decipher their source and the coded messages within the narratives; that alone is the way to salvage your today and safeguard your tomorrow to ensure that no matter who says  what, “The Cure mustn’t be allowed be worst than the disease!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another piece!

Moving forward through turbulence.

The world provides ample opportunities to learn and reflect; as long as we are ready for it! When humanity faces ambiguity, it has always relied on the founding bedrock of established and proven approaches to overcome the challenge at hand and then move ahead! This short article I bring forth a few of them – the easiest one perhaps and the most simple ones, which when practiced at an individual level are potent enough to see you through most of the turbulent weather that life may have in store for you and ensure that you stay on your flight path to the destination of your choice! So let’s race ahead!

Anchor your anxiety: Whether it is the pandemic that you are dealing with or it’s after effects, as we deal with problems large or small, one needs to remember to stay in control and one of the easiest way to achieve that is to “Anchor your anxiety”. Anchoring your anxiety comes an Individuals ability to clear the clutter and see through the smokescreen that the mind is presented with. It is only when this has been done, that one can see beyond the chaos, what really does exist and more often then not, the proverbial devil is nothing but a figment of an overthinking mind which has gone into a steroidal overdrive of imagination! Once you figure out the fact and clinically cut that away from the fiction created by your mind- you have done a great service unto yourself by anchoring  your anxieties- unfound fears of things not going your way, rather going a way which can be counter-productive to your desires! This is the crucial first step, if you want to remember that way and always begins when you start to wonder, “Why is this abc person or  pqr event or incident, bothering me so much, what is the real “why” behind the apparent reasons that are projected over to the mind.

Trust your Intuition: Your Intuition is your internal compass- this keeps  you in good shape and no matter what the weather seems to be across your windscreen, as you keep moving ahead, it keeps pace with you and plays the role of a much needed early warning mechanism. This further ensures that you always have an inbuilt and  working risk avoidance or risk mitigation system at hand to overcome the odd            bumps or incursions that tend to creep up into your path! These odd bumps or incursions can either come with a fair degree of warning or at times appear out of the blue! Either ways, if you have a working and tuned Intuition, that can do real wonders for you and ensure that you are able to overcome most of the times and continue to stay on course to your planned destination, may be with some unavoidable yet meaningful detours on the way!

Choose your route:  Experienced mariners and navigators have one thing in common, even if they rule two different realms of transport, they are experts when it comes to charting their course in their space! They know exactly when to cruise, when to slow down and when something is safe enough to take that risk or when it is wise to move around and take a longer path, if that ensures that they will reach the destination! Likewise when stuck by uncertainty and ambiguity, even though it may seem difficult and unclear at the beginning to chart a course or look ahead, once you start forcing your mind to seek direction from the clutter that it first seems to see, you will eventually start to get a sense of clarity and direction which will help chart the course which at some times could be as simple as what you decide to do tomorrow and at times can be a compelling detail about how you want to keep moving ahead.

Break the routine: The human brain is an amazing machine, yet it has it’s own lethargy, when it is presented with similar conditions over and over again and it tends to start assuming things and that can be dangerous– if you want to know what I am talking about- well just consider remembering these few things- how many lace-holes does your shoe have for the lace to pass through, or how many teeth do you think you have! Well the point that I want to make here is that, the brain gets easily bored with routine and then starts to play the game of assumption and these assumptions then start creating non existent demons, eventually leading to complete ignorance to real issues and not being able to dig deeper and see through what is being presented. A break from routine upsets the predictable pattern that the brain would have been tuned into and thereby helps it retain it’s optimum alertness levels as it normally should! This alert brain is vital as you strive to move around and over through turbulence!

Re-build yourself: As long as individuals stay invested in themselves, no matter how big the problem seems to be, they will always be able to find a way to overcome and keep going ahead! Re-building oneself is like carrying out that engine overhaul or that complete strip down maintenance of the building or your bungalow, where you remove all that is rusted, ain’t working and replace it with what you require moving ahead and what you possibly did not have as yet! Perhaps, new gadgets, tools equipment, areas so on and so forth, likewise when it comes to U, you will have to see what is holding you back and check what you can possibly do, to eliminate all that is working against you and holding you back and add up all that will help you! Certainly this is easier said then done and this has to be an ongoing exercise, irrespective how calm your journey appears to you at the moment! This re-building is all bout adding skills, wisdom, street smartness and components of perseverance in the new emerging contexts that you start to feel as you continue to move ahead.

Make your journey too a destination:Unknown to most if us, travel detours and turbulence are an opportunity to learn, practice and get familiar with something that we would have otherwise missed out. Having a mindset to explore every moment of the journey will do two things, firstly it will make every moment an unique destination unto itself and secondly the learning that comes to you through these moments will definitely come in handy as you keep navigating and charting the course of your life! Still unable to get this bit, well try and recall the last time you have  shared a chat or an idea with a stranger on your flight or on the train that you boarded, what kind of stories did you hear and what is the story that you shared;was that a learning and uplifting experience or was it counter productive. Like wise when mariners and aviators chart their course and when they do hit the rough odd patch, as they will some or the other time, they apply all their learnings to ensure they keep everyone safe and even as they come out of the odd space, they have yet learnt something new either about the problem or the way they handled it! This way the learning goes on and each of those moments becomes a captured moment- a destination unto itself!

Focus on what matters: Whether it is the theater of war or the scene at a fast paced workplace, with multiple things simultaneously developing and popping up with passing time, and the mind being fed with more and more information very second, the ability to take reasonable and rational decisions gets even more challenging and the only way to manage this and ensure that this clutter doesn’t fog your thinking is to stay focused on what really matters! You have to develop a dynamic approach to ensure that you receive the most critical and vital information that is relevant to the contextual moment of time that you are transiting, because one moment later that information in all probability will become redundant and you try to apply that content a bit earlier, chances are that a preemptive assumption may put you into a more grave situation and precipitate unthinkable complications for trying to rush through by assuming what is not there and what would have possibly never manifested! Timing is the essence here and staying focused on what really matters in the contextual moment of time is the key! Through your journey, you will be hit by an onslaught of information nuggets, some wise, some useless, your ability to judge and pick and choose at the right time will eventually determine the quality of your judgement and the resulting action will speak volumes of your success or missed chance in an equal measure!

Learn to “Let it go”: There will be times when you will have to simply let go of things, consider this, you are a pilot and flying into an airport and the weather near the destination airport has suddenly changed over the last 20 minutes and now there is no way that you can land- so what do you do- well nothing- but divert to your next secondary airport. Now in this case if you were to try to go against and execute a dangerous landing well, you would have landed with a certain degree of risk, but the cost of risk is too big to allow for someone to even try that! Many challenges and odd patches are similar that we face, whether it is the moment where you are supposed to speak up to you boss, your government or people in authority, what you need to understand is the singular fact that fighting battles and wars which have a pre-determined outcome is never a wise strategy!-Learning to choose and pick your battles is of utmost value and knowing when to Let off is even more valuable! The lesser the baggage you carry, lighter will be you journey moving ahead! 

Make your own lemonade: As the saying goes” When life gives you lemons, squeeze them and make your own lemonade” Your intrinsic ability to see a challenge clearly and knowing how to crush it completely to your advantage is of prime importance, fighting with the same problem over and over, eventually may make you fall in love with the problem and succumb to it- whatever that may be, but once you learn to deal with a challenge with intent, focus and a will to crush it completely once and for all, you will see how liberating that feeling is- when you know that you have possibly not only cleared away a threat permanently but also have created a strategy to deal with it if it ever resurfaces in the manner and the intensity with what it would have earlier fostered!

Believe: Believing in yourself perhaps is the one of the final things that i have on my list! The ability to have faith and self- belief is vital for one to be able to cover come challenges and turbulence and let me tell you this is not about misplaced optimism or a gung-ho macho approach, rather it is a deliberating and slow non glamorous approach which depends only and only on all the accumulated experience and wisdom that you would have gathered to make those critical decisions in a crisis which eventually ensures that you either live to narrate the story or go down in history with your final moments being constructed on the theories that come up based on circumstances! This belief within you must stay and remain- always- this is the only attribute which can either ensure you that you sustain and overcome the turbulence or loose out at the very end moment and end up vanquished even as success and victory was within your reach!

I leave you here, with these thoughts, for you to reflect and think what are the other things/ attributes that you can think of and which perhaps may be more relevant for you in the unique way that you approach world! As I said, this is not the “Know it all” and “Elixir of Success” this is merely a starting point to start getting collected and identify what are the aspects that help you and what are the things that harm you- so that the next time you hit that odd patch, you know exactly what to reply on, how much and what not to run after!

Ciao for now, will be back with another piece soon!

 

Adapting to a new way:The human factor.

The best thing that happens when disasters strike; everyone and anyone suddenly becomes an expert and has definite answers to “what could have led to the disaster”, but rarely is there an answer ever found even from the certified experts about the “Why” part of it-  why was it allowed to develop into something that it would have and why were the early warning mechanisms either absent or why did they fail! Well this  piece looks into the human aspect of what people can expect coming their way and what could be the possible ways to navigate these times! Whether it is about an Individual, a business or a nation- People are at the very foundation of everything that we do, no matter what you say otherwise and if the people story begins to fail, in no time you will have failing Individuals who will translate into failed societies, resulting into a full blown humanitarian crisis!

As Human Beings, we have evolved through the years to survive, prevail and better our societies- immediate and the next with a single purpose of making life as comfortable as we can- how  we go about doing that- largely depends on the other aspects of demographic distribution, climate and opportunities which are heavily moderated by the agreed society type and governance models! Mankind has been a witness to many large scale potential wipe out events- whether they have been wars, famines, epidemics; but each time eventually societies have emerged out of the challenge, albeit changed and stronger- for the better or worse- well that is left for you to decide- because the answer to that question directly relates to who you are Individually are and how much impact do things bring upon an individual and what the Individual then decide to do with it- React or Respond! This time will be no different, but since the scale of the event has been global- there will be deeper scars and the time to heal will be longer then usual- which in itself will end up leaving fractured communities and societies as the unwarranted byproduct of the healing process! At the core of bounce back, will be the choice of behavioral attributes that will make the difference between successful adaptability and an ever going struggle to cope up with the new ways and developments!

Whether it be work, private lives or the grandeur of business and public life, as we move ahead and out of the current global slow down, Individuals who display a saintly level of patience and perseverance especially when they are occupying leadership positions will be able to thrive individually and put their teams and the businesses on a super fast growth trajectory, sure enough, contextual settings will matter, if a nation is sinking it really doesn’t matter whether your business strategy is a prize wining one or not!  What this singular grain tells us is that, as humans, we will want to move ahead and calibrate our surroundings to the known levels of familiarity and feeling of being secured at the earliest to begin with, which will be rapidly followed by an intense period of observation and social change which will tend to do away with everything and anything that does not serve its purpose in the new systems and designs of work and life that societies and individuals will now begin to adhere to! Whether this works to the help or harm an Individual or a society will largely depend on the intent of the governance model- which way they would want these steps to move- whether to expand and settle to close to earlier expressions of freedom and access or whether they would want to have a restricted and controlled environment for the next 12- 16 months with an aim to go by the maxim citing, “To Err on the side of Caution”!

To put it in another way, businesses that value people and are able to evaluate qualities exhibited, the value systems displayed with fine prudence will be able to hold on to the most prized and coveted Individuals-who  in-turn will play a pivotal role to drive the business ecosystem. If there is a slight error of judgement in evaluating people and their attributes, as businesses emerge from this disruption, the ones’ who have made bad choices with regards to people will suffer even more greatly in times ahead and will end up loosing any advantage that they would have built in the earlier stages as they will no longer be managed by gifted and professional individuals!

Among the Individuals who will be able to steer themselves and all that they lead (whether a business or a community), patience and perseverance will be the two fundamental pillars, which will be worth their value in Gold which they will be able to utilize in the changing times, even as they demand  consistently evolving individuals. These leaders will be able to sustain and manage the tantrums and discord that will come their way through eccentric or sporadic human behaviors and  complicated business environments with ease and confidence which will further propel their cause and ensure that the lives that they influence and lead are aligned to the all important growth mindset!

People who have been natural introverts or calibrated extroverts will be able to tide over the changing dynamics with more ease as compared to extroverts who belong to the sub type of social butterflies-who thrive on meaningless interactions- which are good to see and observe but carry no valuable content or quality of engagement! Needless to say irrespective of what type you belong to, having a thinking and rational mind which anchors on science and common sense will be of prime importance!

This also happens to be from the anchor point of history- that moment in our lives, where across the layers and maze of society, we will witness that two distinct patterns emerge! The first one will be a set wherein Leaders will create more followers and the second one where Leaders will create more Followers- which of these sets becomes more powerful over the other and takes the popular lead will end up deciding the future fabric of your social engagement and the way we are able to move about doing business, and thereby creating our limiting beliefs and new bench marks of societal confirmation biases for the next decade or so! Which one of these approaches is right or better over the other, well largely depend on the contextual settings of the society, what my understanding is that, Evolved and literate societies will create more Leaders and this will provide these societies to emerge rapidly once again as “Thought leaders” and thereby consolidating their dominance around the world as Nations which create and set standards for the other nations to follow!

I will leave you with these  thoughts, so that you can take them  further and reflect on your experiences; possibly devise strategies that align with your Individuality, reality of you and the group that you lead! So that as we emerge in the times ahead, collectively as a society, we are still able to hold on to the promise of togetherness, even as some of us may agree to have more Leaders and yet some of us may agree to have more Followers! The fine line remains, that Humanity must and should prevail in spite and despite of everything and everyone else!

Ciao for now, will be back with another piece soon, until then stay safe, keep your mind anchored with wise thoughts and remember, humor doesn’t harm!

 

 

Leadership-Calibrated by Incompetence.

Whether you are in India and wondering what more worse is in store for you, or whether you are in the USA and have been through the process of social suffering and social mourning, irrespective of what your individual story is, right now, perhaps since World War II for the first time, Humanity is held at Uncertainty, which is nothing more or nothing less then the reflection of Incompetence of Leadership at the highest visible levels within the societal arrangements that we have adhered to as humans over the last 60 years, and perhaps this is the reason why the evolving changes will question and possibly topple existing rituals and arrangements in the months and years ahead- some may help and yet a few may harm! Join me as we try to make sense of the clutter and chaos and understand what the noise is all about within the moments of deafening silence that we get to hear every now and then! so here we go!

The current crisis – so called crisis (if you ask me) is a stark reflection about how something that could have been better managed was allowed to slip away and run free and unleash havoc in no less then 184 countries when the virus was at is peak! I am not going to use this article from the point of view of who did t, why and all of that political rhetoric, the focus here is, “Why did world leaders react the way they did” even as details (no matter how insignificant and ambiguous they would have been) began to emerge about the ferocity and damage potential that this virus was capable of.  A part of the answer lies in the fact that our world is an ecosystem of delicate and fine balances, like an orchestra all the different musicians and creative geniuses come together to play not one tune but their different tunes and just make it audible enough to know us who is out of syn and who is in the fold of the developments, the current episode has been so bad that it has turned a global orchestra into a big mess where every player has ended up not only playing their tune but also has ensured that the other one can’t play and hang on to their own tunes! This, I call “acoustic dissonance”! A space where no one is listening enough for anything specifically and whatever that is getting played is being accepted!

Leader’s decisions are understandably calibrated to the limitations of what they are asked to govern and manage. The problems start when they begin to govern and manage not from the mandate that has been provided to them or the positional power bestowed unto them but from a space to imitate and replicate what is being done elsewhere and when they start to find their answers in the same problems which are being resolved elsewhere; completely forgetting that the contextual setting of a same problem will have a differentiated impact based on the context of the other place and the specificity that it brings along with it! So  to begin with,why does this happen?

Unlike the golden age of emerging nation, new world and economic order that we have witnessed between 1950 until 1990s, the digital age has hastened everything and created blanket formulae for everything and everyone, whether it is a job that you need  or the vocation that you need to pursue, there are templated pathways to success and failures, and of course, when it comes to politics, there are dynasties and legacy handovers- but not all of them necessarily are mature or wise like their earlier generations! What all of this leads to, is a sum total of failing competencies across the social fabric, with citizen pressure low and misplaced with regards to their priorities, aspirational quality of governance, for life; the governing arrangements reciprocate by doing simply what is being just asked and aspired- and completely doing away with any visionary effort to preempt or proactively mitigate any foreseeable challenges- these aspects are then exposed as the next disaster strikes and then each element of this failing incompetent social fabric is rushing to help each other- something which could have been avoided in the first place!What’s worse as soon as the challenge is overcome, the social fabric falls back to the misplaced notion of comfort that all is well, until the next time bomb sets off, which in all probability is hidden in the current challenge and is already ticking off as this one is being managed! So now the question, can we do something about this?

Well the answer is a Yes and a No, the modern day social issues are unfortunately driven by individual greed and disease of wanting more and more with no end in sight, when this amplifies across society, it’s a hopeless situation which keeps repeating over an over again like a never ending spiral death dive unless there is a radical shift in the leadership model which is able to stall this dive and align the whole critical mass of the society for a greater and higher cause and purpose by leading from the front! This is where true leaders emerge and that’s why Leadership experts and Human Behavioral specialists  often say, True Leaders emerge from the Crisis even as Pseudo Leaders create the crisis in the forts place! This alone is the hope and promise which can pull failing societies and individuals from a never ending self defeating death spiral and align them to a higher purpose and direction for the larger good!

Leaving the larger governance issue here, if we see what happens within our work areas, it is no different; every organisation grows to the limits of the Incompetence that is displayed by their leaders and the limiting beliefs that come along with it! This is why you see the churn that you see when individuals decide not to work with Mr. A , B or C or for a Company X, Y , Z- this has largely to do with this simple underlying fact, which gets camouflaged and distorted in the disguise of team meetings, restructuring, formation and disbanding of SBUs so on and so forth! Another quick way to see if you are facing the Incompetence challenge at the work place, just make a note of hoe many meetings you are part of and what real world difference have those done to you as and Individual or your team or the client (who actually pays for your in-office entertainment sessions!). The moment you do this, your next decision will be either to chart a course for your growth within the firm because things are still manageable and repairable or you will get busy planning your exit strategies! Most of the organisations suffer not because the people are ineffective, it is largely because the direction and quality of leadership is severely compromised which simply doesn’t allow people to either contribute enough or has them disarrayed in all  other directions then what they should be focusing upon, thanks to the element of Self-Obsessed- Self-Driven – Megalomaniac style functioning! So how does an individual navigate around this and stay safe from being drawn into this trap of Incompetence?

The simple approach to avoid Incompetence traps comprises of really basic stuff! Firstly you may like to start by saying “No” to that undue promotion, designation, money, incentive which, heart in heart you know is not right and not worth what you are! Well yes, this seems idealistic, but that kind of introspection and being brutally honest with oneself is the foundation to ensure you don’t get entrapped into the world of Incompetence! Importantly to execute this strategy you need to have a design for your life and value system in place which provides you beacons and alarm systems to ensure you stay ion track and calibrate your growth, progress and monetary success by staying away form incompetence traps all along! Next what you can do is remain “Authentic” no matter what the compulsion and temptation, don’t disguise to what and who you are intrinsically not, if you cant tolerate dumb people, ensure you study the collective IQ of the team that you are supposed to work with or lead, rather then ending up with increased anxiety and hypertension, this first step can ensure a lot of unwanted explanation and white noise in your life is taken away in the first instance! Lastly learn to create clear protocols and keep you expectations right! If you want to travel faster then Mach 2 you need to be on a fighter plane and not on a commercial airliner, so be sure you are using the right framework and contextual settings which allow you to get what you expect as long as you continue to provide the inputs that are required to receive your expectations! This list is not exhaustive and there can be more and more nuggets of wisdom and plain speak that can be added and created to suit individual personalities and contextual settings and that is the most important aspect of life, since we are all unique individuals, could be similar in a few ways perhaps but necessarily unique, each of us requires a unique solutions to a seemingly similar problem because the contextual settings are always going to be different and that is the key to steer clear of Incompetence around us!

I will leave you here, allowing you to think and reflect on your share of experiences with incompetence and what you could or did do to either help it or stop it and whether you are zoned out or zoned in within the entrapment of Leadership that is Incompetent!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another piece, Do keep writing to us on topics that you want to learn and share and do let us know if you or your organisation needs assistance to mitigate your Leadership crisis! 

 

 

 

 

The story of large shadows.

Hey! hope you are fine! Well if you are able to read this now, I presume you have put the worst behind you and are now preparing to make sense of all the chaos and uncertainty that surrounds you and intrudes you through the various intelligent sources that you have- your whatsapp, your google and your network of networked friends and well wishers! Well this piece is to make some sense of the chaos around you and help you to find one way to inspect and make sense of all that is been thrown at you or will be coming your way over the next few weeks, so here we go!

Let me take you back to your childhood, you would have at some point in time, played with candles and studied how they cast shadows and also experimented to scare the daylights out of your friends! As a matter of fact what we are facing today is no different form this seemingly inconsequential episode! You may find this thought to be very simple, certainly it is a simple thought- but simplicity of thoughts does not mean that you discount them or simply brush them off as not been valid! That is the prime fallacy of the conformity bias wherein as a society we have evolved over time where we have started to believe that if ideas and things are not complicated they are not worth it, well actually the fact remains that the converse is more apt and more true! As societies have evolved and as we have evolved through work and education this constant and never ending one upmanship and pursuit to show that “I am better then the other” had laid the foundation to our own detrimental fall in the coming times! This whole pandemic episode is one such example- Well, one may argue that WHO (World Health Organisation) said this and said that, the question is what was your common sense asking you to do?! Possibly many nations wanted at first instance to shut off their borders but didn’t do so, just because they were afraid to not confirm to the global standards and when these global standards turn out to be grave errors of judgement, you get what we have just got served; A pandemic which was purely meaningless and avoidable with unwarranted loss of lives and misery to millions worldwide!

Our approach in the modern day has been about being ever connected in an ever complex society which has laid to an overdrive of dependence- let’s call that over-dependence! This over-dependence on each other works well as long as things are good and pleasant and the tug of war of commerce ebbs and flows as it should- the moment there is additional strain on it and one of the partners feels or thinks that they want to nudge a bit, the whole ecosystem will fail and with it everyone gets hurt! Even before the pandemic, not many may recall, the world economies were struggling to find ways ahead and were attempting to see what best way they would want to have their nations navigated as the next few quarters were starting to look rather more unpredictable! What the pandemic has ended up doing is, it has provided a hard stop to global economies, put them in suspended animation for the initial first few weeks and now, unless there is a measured and calibrated response from all nations in a sequential manner, the results will work in favour of a few and will be counterproductive for few others, which side you will fall into , will largely depend on how self-reliant, robust and intrinsic strength of resources a nation has over the others!

If you were to now extrapolate this aspect to your workplace scenarios you will perhaps understand how these similar dependence value systems would already have played out and will come up as organisations begin to come up with coping strategies and building BCP (Business Continuity Plan) measures which are more robust then the ones that they possibly already have in place! One important thing that businesses would have found through the sudden hard stop would be the plain simple fact – that either they have had misplaced dependence, duplication of processes and unwarranted complexity of chain of command and a fragile span of control! Needless to say, businesses will move swiftly to rectify these aspects even as they commence joining the loose ends and at the same time there will be new design elements evolving with regards to organisation structure and systems which will ensure that, next time such an event unfolds on a global level, and there is a need of another hard stop that will have minimal or negligible impact on their way of work and this will be achieved through only two ways- Investment in the right technological processes and the Right People at the Right Places!

The current events unfolding the world over have exposed, if you may say so the vulnerable aspects of governance, be it at the governmental levels, businesses or even how Individuals manage themselves through a crisis! This vulnerability relates to the long shadows that we talked about as we began  this piece. This vulnerability of the long shadows like in the child’s play comes from ignorance and feeds on fear- fear which is rooted in ignorance and a strong risk averse mindset! The only way to dispel this fear or mitigate it, before it consumes one and all (just as it has during this global pandemic showdown) is to fight the war of ignorance through knowledge and cure the fear of uncertainty by illuminating the hope within each one of us! Unless we are able to lead directed and focused approaches to dispel our ignorance and lack of knowledge and rely to depend on existing confirmations and norms that have worked well in the past for a pleasant tomorrow, we will keep getting surprised from time to time and these surprises at times may not be very pleasant to say the least!

So the point here is, the shadows that play within  your mind, reflect what is lacking and that is the direction where the mind should be lead to in a calibrated and focused manner to seek wisdom and do away with fear of ignorance which allows the shadows to be bigger then the problem or the object by itself! It is this approach alone that can answer many a situations whether that be the routine mundane task at home or the more complex challenge of saving humanity from the grips of a so called pandemic! I call it so called, because as I mentioned earlier, when ignorance is wheeled around the world what we end up getting is not a solution but more fear and ambiguity! When we wheel around the world a focused message of action and hope that’s when there will be enough light to dispel the shadows of ignorance and keep them at bay – behind the light in front of you and that is how it should be always!

Ciao for now! I will leave you with these thoughts for today, will be back soon with another piece and do let know  what next you may want to read here!

 

 

Staying relevant by being future ready.

It’s a breezy Saturday, and what better time to unwind and start plotting your bounce-back strategy- the world has been closed for a long time and now it has no other option but to open up and be prepared to face the collateral damage for opening up, because closing up will be far more grave and disastrous by many aspects! But wait, what do you think the world is opening up to? On one hand we have reports of lay-offs, job losses and uncertainties across almost every major sector as I type; across the continents so what is it that you want to get ready for? Where are you heading for a all dressed up when no one is throwing a party in the town! Well this piece is about doing a quick take of what our ecosystems will begin to look like as we start to gather ourselves as individuals and societies and workplaces start to revive and more importantly what is that Individuals must do ( at least what I would suggest) to ensure that the next time this kind of shot comes back paying a visit- you have a better and sane strategy to deal with it rather then staying locked in and in all likely hood getting killed by anxiety and uncertainty (by aggravating your other health problems) then the actual pandemic itself! So let’s roll…..

Whether this pandemic was an accident or an intentional act, we will know for sure in the coming few months from now (which will offset another round of chaos irrespective which way the finding goes); what is important to reflect upon is the fact that across the world- most of the large economies were already feeling intense financial pressures for the last 7-9 months- for varying reasons from regional to global socio-economic equations- the point to note here then is that a financial meltdown was imminent, the pandemic played the role of a catalyst to accelerate the downfall and make it more intense and deep through all the countries that it managed to sneak into! As I did mention in one of my previous articles, when the Art of Distraction is at work- everyone of us has been caught up seeing the stocks fall, the prices go down, jobs being lost- but what we fail to notice (thanks to the directed and opinionated media presence all over the world) is while stocks fell, someone picked the sell off, as people got sick, few companies were already in the race to provide medications- as if they knew it was coming! Well, life has one common thread across irrespective who you are and where you are- that thread is- There is always more then what meets the eye- and well I will leave this contextual build for the article right here- because this is the point where the most pressing question now needs to be answered – What next!- What can an Individual expect and what should an Individual do to remain relevant and future safe in an equally uncertain world that we all are heading into for a few years at least! So let’s unravel the simple solutions to this seemingly complex problem!

Let’s explore a few techniques that as an Individual anyone can and should practice to stay relevant and future proof, no this is not The List, these are few which through my engagement with youngsters and observations, I felt were the most defining and important ones to ensure that Individuals are able to keep riding over the turbulent waves that times ahead will keep sending across to them over and over again like it has been happening for the previous generations as well, the only real challenge being, in the connected world you really don’t know who sneezes and who catches cold that fast!

Stay Authentic: Even as the world media and everyone around you always seems to go ga-ga over “THE PEOPLE” to look up to syndrome- well let me tell you what, they are not telling the world what shit they have been through and what rules were bent or broken to become who they are! Allow fascination to be what it should be uplifting at the most and inspirational at the least and leave it at that! We are around 7.5 Billion across the world and if even Twins are different psychologically , there must be a good reason why nature would have wanted to us to evolve the way we did by retaining a strong sense of individuality read authenticity which is  deep rooted to the concept of The INDIVIDUAL SELF! and reflects inwards like a eternal internal reflection! Being Authentic begins with A refined sense of awareness about oneself and everything and everyone around you. It also involves the ability to be assertive about Who You are and wanting to be Who You are irrespective of the social confirmation biases and all the pressures and temptations of the modern world! Easier said then done- sure it is – but this is the first and foundational step to keep yourself relevant always and for all times ahead!

Define your unique skill: This has to be better then I can make cup cakes or I can sing or I can drive, This has to sound like, I am that Ace Pilot that you always wanted to fly with, or that Surgeon you can trust for your open heart surgery or that scientists you can count on to decipher scientific jargon and provide solutions to perplexing problems, that teacher who inspires and motivates that co-worker who creates a legacy of either a process or work or  technical know-how that becomes the gold standard for doing what people do! This is the second step, once you have learnt to be authentic about yourself, this will come naturally to you effortlessly , because once you have known who are, you will make no mistake in deciphering What you can set out for! You may also want to access my other article on this subject here.

Define Success: As trivial as it may seem, but this is the key to ensure that you sustain your journey and efforts and don’t get burned out or blown away because of exhaustion, not knowing when to stop or falling into the never ending trap of human greed which comes in coveralls of almost anything that you can think of- Being the Best, being The biggest, being the largest, being the xyz… well don’t confuse this with being or not being ambitious- I mean once you know who you are and what you are the you ought to know what is that you can achieve hence these statements of “Being xyz in front of the world” simply don’t hold a chance to come back haunting to you and distracting you into another level of complication! Knowing what success implies to you as an individual will only come through once you have completed the first two steps of knowing yourself and what your intrinsic skill is!

Chart your Course: To reach the success that you have defined needless, to say you will have to plan the road trip and chart a course, importantly because this is about “you” You alone will be able to select and select options through trials and error for there will simply not be an template that will fit your requirement as long as your definition of your authenticity, skills and success are unique! We all may be similar in terms of abilities as human beings on the broader subset of things, however when it comes to deploying ingenuity and innovation, that is where the great differentiation happens and this alone is the ever dynamic action point that keeps you either on track to your definitions or steers you away from your pursuits when your thinking mind starts to waver in face of worldly compulsions and confirmation biases! This stage happens to be the real test of time and for someone to walk through this path and keep walking on this path it is a constant battle of choosing and letting go of opportunities that life presents every moment- those which resonate with you and help you stay on course will blend in perfectly and those that don’t help you will (if acquired) start to create dissonance and lead to a drag even as you strive to keep the forward momentum! Knowing when to rest, when to divert, when to halt (for the moment- practice the pause!) and when to race ahead are all the secrets and skills that need to be learnt and applied on the go- how well they blend in or not makes your journey then either smooth or that bit turbulent!

Be a niche: Whatever you may want to choose, finally this is the mantra that you need to know well, you will have to create a niche – an unique place for being who you are by doing what you choose to do, like I said in the beginning, you may want to be that Ace Pilot or that Brave officer- The adjectives used here are intentional for they define the pursuit of the niche that you would have gone for and this makes you simply indispensable and in fact as time progresses this value goes on increasing evermore for the simple reason that this niche that you choose to hold becomes a perfected and mastered art form- which can be possibly copied and replicated but never will anyone else be able to master it to perfection and execute it precisely like you can and these two are the unfailing hallmarks of enduring success no matter what is the niche that you choose to build for yourself!

Well I will leave it here for you to perhaps add a few more foundation attributes to carve your future ready better version, given the limitation of a blog, I will put a stop to my thoughts here for now! No matter what you add to the list and how you decide to follow and carve out your pursuits, the golden success for Life’s pursuits is , “Always keep things simple, the moment you see complexity growing- you know at once this is a trap wherein a lot of people are trying to drive home a point by representing something that is not needed and keeping away what is much needed! Well, keep thinking around this and I will be back soon with another article!

Ciao for now, stay safe and stay connected!

The UV(Unique Value) challenge ahead.

As work places the world over begin to come back to life and kick start the much awaited and needed meaningful life cycle for each one of us-few things would have changed already or will rapidly transform in the first 90 days, as operations begin to gather speed, this piece is about exploring on such facet and what to expect and how to manage what is likely to come your way! So let’s roll ahead…

Before we try to ponder on how things may impact us going ahead, it will make a lot good to understand , what really happened as activities were halted globally in a planned/less planned or unplanned way!Since we are dealing with only facet of the human aspect we will try to limit our observations around that one central piece and move ahead.

Humans by and large end up either ending up in the space of being employment generators or employment receivers and then we have the small segment of businesses consultants/ Individuals who are both generators and receivers unto themselves. As activities came to a halt, multiple things would have dawned at all levels! In some cases the real face of human value systems/ belief systems and Individual priorities would have far superseded the collective cause of managing a workforce or a team at a small office or vice-versa. This break in continuity, at one end would have manifested through massive layoffs/ unemployment that has been written all across the world; Ever since this unplanned halt in routine came into the picture! So what has happened here- Well one  may argue that the business viability was cut short and since there were no mechanisms to cushion the offset of losses (which seem to be astronomical) there was no other way but to close the shutters and let go off people– well ok- hold this thought for a minute and we will address that later as we move ahead.

Another scenario that too has played around the world has been the overarching concept of “We are in this Together” (Even as I hate this thought -as much as I can because it simply defies any rationale sense!). In this space, people have not been impacted that bad, governments, agencies, employers and everyone that you can think of, have come ahead and collaborated to ensure that people aren’t left to the elements and are being ensured that they have a wage and a lifestyle that they can still as yet hang out to- albeit by a slender thread and as soon as things are better, the turnaround will be rapid and directed! Well this scenario for obvious reasons seems to be the best way ahead- why not- it talks about higher societal virtues , duty of care and for ensuring everyone has indeed, had a fair chance to fight this time through and move ahead. Now that we have seen both extremes of the spectrum above, let’s amylase what people are actually doing in this time that has been available to them!

People being who they are would have used this time available for themselves either to waste it and let it rot as usually they do while being busy to slog like slave for making someone else rich or they would have put it to some good use or wise use depending upon the cognitive abilities, opportunities and the immediate flexibility of the societies in which they thrive! Broadly speaking we have two sets of people around the world right now in a lock down/isolation whatever you want to call that- The firsts set is working as diligently they normally would have – striving to balance the challenges of working from wherever they are in whatever conditions they are and making a point to see how best they can add value and keep contributing in their way to ensure the business that are working with or for remains afloat as much as possible! The second set has basically turned this whole episode into a endless meaninglessness vacation which doesn’t seem to end (Unlike the hotel property- you don’t have a pre-set check out date) so these folks who believe in the maxim- “Anyways everything is going to get tougher so while we have this time, why not binge and indulge into personal indulgences and give a damn to what tomorrow ushers in!”. Finally we  have a smaller segment of interesting people (irrespective whether they are the employers/employees or consultants/Individual businesses) who have used this time to realign their life priorities/ work definitions/aspirations/belief systems even as they have continued to work and contribute to what they have been doing! Knowing the facts about where the world is rocking around for now, now you may want to know how all of this will get played out as things begin to open up! Well let’s read on and remember the previous line for that has a big secret within it!

As the world comes out of the shadows, thanks to automation (AI) and some good serving of Common-Sense there will be rapid and quick realignment of businesses and individuals- Those who have been toiling through this phase will come up with fast decisions translating into large scale visible actions, whether it is reallocation of staff to other facilities of a large conglomerate, whether it is about training, re-training,  or whether it is about adding anew product and rolling it off within weeks, you think of a scenarios and probably you will see an example playing out- especially where the businessmen and the employees have been working through this tough phase diligently one day at a time and have had a road map for the future irrespective of testing times and uncertainties! These in some cases will also lead to decent amounts of lay-offs but what will be unique to this phase is the fact that Quality of the people getting laid-off will have a story to tell. In all probability this will have many people from the second set who were on that un-ending vacation and didn’t care for the world- well, as the law of reciprocal karma; the world will also care less for them  and that’s what will get played out in the end!

The rare collection of individuals  (whether employers/employees/consultants) who would have spent this time for thorough introspection and realignment of themselves to their cause using the Unique Value that they intrinsically hold; will be the eventual trail blazers and will play a vital role in setting up the next benchmarks of quality and process development across businesses! It will be this small segment which would have analysed and seen how each other member on the team has been functioning/ not functioning where the disconnects have been and where the strengths are and what can be corrected and what must be weeded out immediately to safeguard the business! This may look like a simple task that any manager would have anyways done- but what is different here is that for the first time perhaps in a long long time- there is no space for personal biases for being played out through those intense team meetings and “one on ones” within the confines of office meeting rooms -because whether teams and individuals have worked or not would have been captured through  a documented trail of emails, messages from collaborators and clients alike which are more telling and in-the- face to sum up quite a lot then any findings from over a 100 internal meetings  that one would have participated in! It is also in this segment that one will also see many wise people alter the course of their calling to something different, bigger and better then what they have been currently doing and this mutual separation from the routine will enable to open up new vistas and opportunities from human thinking, innovation and commerce to be built around that space!

So what is that will create that differentiation which will make or break an opportunity for an Individual? Well the answer is UV – The Unique Value that Individuals would have been able to demonstrate as they worked through challenging times and ensured that their tasks and jobs are delivered as they had been promised and the objectives were realized in the face of extraordinary challenges! It will be these UV’s when applied by businesses, teams and Individuals alike that newer avenues with far greater depth, clarity and purpose will begin to emerge from existing businesses to provide an opportunity to build new systems and businesses! 

These UV’s, will enable organisations become healthier by being leaner, directed focused and purpose driven, knowing well now that they do really have a duty of car, hence instead of boasting about an employee strength of 1000, organisations will change the narrative to a family strength of 100 which would imply an employees strength of 250! Likewise Individuals who would have found their zen by being flexible would possibly want it to stay that way so that their creative outcomes remain unique and well appreciated- this then would also work in favor of the businesses!

So, before I sign off, think well for the remaining “ME” time that you have at hand and be honest in knowing what you are doing with that- because your future will depend on the singular pivot of what you have done with this “ME’ time and what you learnt during this period!

I will leave you here for now, grab a drink and think and reflect so that you can face tomorrow all suited up, one you have realized the Unique Value that you have within and what you to offer as a giver and receiver!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another piece!

Leadership in Crisis OR Crisis in Leadership-what are you living through?

Over the last two weeks, virtually everyone around seems to have been coming up with the governments, health care workers could be doing better, what did go well, and what was amiss- The only issue I have with this space is irrespective of whether people are praising their authorities of slaying them on the social media for being incompetent, the essence lies in how much does one really know about whats happening behind the scene- I mean how can anyone see a news clip or a media byte for a few minutes and then decide that this is what must be happening and come to a conclusion that we are all fine or we are all but certainly doomed! Well this is exactly what happens when you are experiencing either a situation wherein it is either about “Leadership in Crises” or “Crisis in Leadership”  and that’s making its presence felt through the society that you are a part of and this short piece is just trying to make sense of this! Of course yes, I am not going to be taking names of leaders or nations here, so that I don’t end up placing prejudices in your mind- like it always has been I would want you to decide and take a view of what makes sense to you and in way that goes on to serve you by enhancing your understanding of the developments around you!

When disasters strike they often come with shock and awe, well that’s the case with major sudden natural disasters like flash floods, earthquakes and tornadoes which seem to just appear and disappear on their own terms leaving a path of destruction behind them. It is a similar situation when man-made disasters strike humanity- like mass shootings, terrorist events etc unfold. The  real story begins the moment after the unthinkable happens! It becomes apparent quickly with ample clarity what kind of script is being played out to the world- we will now begin the instance wherein “Crisis in Leadership” begins to unfold. 

Of the many manifestations that are possible, Crisis is Leadership is always earmarked by a deafening silence and inertia in the initial stages. This is the moment wherein the proverbial throat runs dry and the leaders are left to the mercy of their critics for having failed to act/ or rather react in a specific manner to an event- which normally is derived from the majoritarian societal conformity bias! This initial step if not checked in- not only unleashes a chain reaction of ever increasing complications and problems but also creates a powerful distraction in which the real challenge (the event that would have occurred) is all but made secondary and the efficacy and the style of the leadership start to become the talk of the town and thereby begins a never ending bickering game which goes on and one as long as some other powerful stories tend to come up and overshadow these events and narratives!

The next indication of Crisis in Leadership comes when people speak irrelevant, nonsense, mistime the content or begin to contradict each other from the adjacent windows of the same are of operation! You may have by now witnessed examples of politicians like Governors of State and other task force members who have been entrusted with fighting away this virus come up and say things which were completely unwarranted for and make no real contribution towards the progress of attacking the virus and saving  lives- rather, a lot of their rant would have been talking about what they have been doing, trying to do and are hopeful of what they will be able to do rather then just stating the facts like- This is what had happened, this is what we did to fix it and this is what we have planned for tomorrow because this is what we expect! Well needless to say, it is instances like there that even turn disasters into fodder for news channels and media to utilize the moment for their fame to glory for showing how dumb a particular individual was- well as a matter of fact they never wait another second to do a rethink- I mean; wait why would this person behave the way he is doing so- he isn’t that dumb really? had he been done so dumb- he wouldn’t reached where he is now – A position of power and control to dictate terms through a crisis! So whats the missing part?! Well we will get to this bit once we have seen some other examples of how things are really done and what Leadership in Crisis really looks and feel like!

Unlike the above two manifestations (certainly there could be many more- given this is a blog, trying to keep it a bit truncated), when one sees Leadership in action through a Crisis- The whole equation changes dramatically! The very first manifestation of Leadership in control through a crisis is visible by the knowing “who is the face of the leadership”. As long as the face has enough depth in terms of credibility, acceptance, appreciation and connect with the audience in concern, rest assured the masses are at once assured that things are in control and you will find that people are ready to agree, abide and go ahead with the decisions taken by this type of a leader. The second important aspect here, which must be read together with the first point is that the quality, swiftness, clarity and transparency of the decisions and the rationale also are required to go hand in hand along with the face of the leadership. You may have a very pleasing face but if the quality of the following decisions and the content falls through, you will possibly end up finding a new face before you find answers to the pressing challenges at hand!

Effective leadership through crisis is almost and always accompanied by a sustained and ongoing communication dissemination in a measured manner wherein the communication reaches where it should and provides ample clarity about what is expected form the received of that message- like does the person need to take some action, or just be ready for the next instruction or it could be about being provided with details on the progress that has been and what the outcomes seem like over the next few days or weeks!

Leadership in Crisis may be aggressive or may be passive in terms of style harnessed by the leader in question, but unless it is proved to effective through its presence and through its actions; all purpose risks being  eventually lost and can easily slip into the depths of becoming another case of study of Crisis in Leadership!

I will leave you with your thoughts now, see around you depending on where you are on the planet and observe what is that you are witnessing- at the government level, at your office level- what do you see around you- Leaders managing the Crisis or Crisis being complicated further by the Leaders who have been entrusted to steer the ship!

Ciao for now, I will be back soon with another article, until then navigate well, stay safe and if you are locked down, stay in and let your mind wander with thoughts that empower you and help you deciphering some hidden mysteries available in your plain sight! By the way – What type of a Leader are you- what do you think!

 

Dealing with (Mis)Information Warfare.

Never before has it been more important to check- cross check and re-check everything that gets played on to the television set, the channels that you subscribe to, the search results that come to serve you and not to mention the endless, forwards, messages and what have you! This piece is about trying to make some sense of the information or rather misinformation warfare in which we get drawn day in and day out at times knowingly and other times unknowingly when we tend to forward that last message on whatsapp without bothering to check if the content made any sense to begin with! So let’s try and unravel what really is going on here!

The later part of the last century, was rightly known as the Information Age- If one had the right information at the right time it gave the person/ business or the government of the day phenomenal advantage to lead and race ahead no matter what the subject would have been- whether it was about path breaking research, or best practices adopted over factory floors, or it was about business or governance strategies- You name it and you will find that the last 50 years has always been about “The Best way” of doing things, “getting things done”, “being the best”, individually or collectively by harnessing the power of Information. Till this point it was a linear fight for supremacy – Whoever had the right information at the right time would be the winner, but with technology and the dawn of the digital age- information became available  at amazing speeds simultaneously across the world and there was never a question of any lag or delay and then it started to boil down to who had the first movers advantage, who got ahead first, how fast and what tools and resources were made available for them to make that rapid progress. Well even this was fair, considering you give the whole world community the same information at the same time and then it boils down to whoever has the maximum matter and money to spend and build on an idea! The real drama unfolds now, once people saw that information based challenges are becoming accessible and rapid progress is possible and the concept of  dominance on sectors/ ideas and approaches to lives problems is beginning to get into the shredders, the real game got started – the game of information dominance through spread of misinformation! This is how we have, according to me ushered in the age of misinformation- The age of Information Warfare- A testimony to Human Dominance and never ending Greed for power (all types) and Opulence!

This age of Information warfare thrives on spreading information which makes sense, no sense and cryptic sense- this is done intentionally to divert, distract and keep competitors and people observing you loose their way and get entangled into a information mess in which they remain entangled and by the time they do come out of it- you would have probably achieved your objectives and then it really doesn’t matter whether they have access to the earlier original content or not- because that has become contextually irrelevant!

This new warfare front made possible thanks to the digital breakthroughs that we have collectively been able to make as humanity has proven far dangerous then any nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction! The misinformation business is responsible for almost everything that you see around- on the day to day basis- you would have come across commercials (with the small * of terms and conditions – which is next to invisible) claiming and suggesting things which are out rightly stupid, dangerous and rarely at time fatal- but as they say- the small little invisible * offers protection and the the petitions are always urged to use their collection and individual wisdom-which by itself is a challenge as that is a fast depleting asset! When things do get ugly as usually they do- you will generally have vested interest groups within nations/ communities and across nations who can collectively get into the role of spreading information in a calibrated,weighed manner to do a sinister loop and complete it’s objectives by unleashing public unrest/ strikes/ law and order situations and by the time this is all done the originator and the communication and the real essence behind the malafide act is all but cluttered into an ambiguity of trails, reports and reasons- which often heads no where and then the world is ready for another episode all over again! History is replete with examples when things have become really bad and this ability to spread directed misinformation has at times won wars at the right side of the battle and at times has ended up doing more damage to society at large! So when we know Mis-Information is as deadly as it gets to be- why do we thrive and allow it to propagate- why does it even get a hold?

The answers lie in the fabric of humanity itself- Human societies have long been far away from idealistic settings- there is a rampant inequality within societies, within different segments of a society or even within communities and not to forget the inequalities among nations and blocks of nations! Inequality that transcends all metrics normally considered for determining what should be the definition of Equality!  Inequality manifests in different ways, it could be the inequality between the rich and poor (monetary inequality), inequality of opportunities, inequality of liberty and so on and so fort. The most important trigger comes from the Inequality of opportunity for World Dominance through governance and business. This is by far the most dangerous and the most sinister of all the different malaise of modern societies and has caused more harm then good to each and everyone of us! You may be thinking this has to do with only the intelligence community and the governments- no – this has everything to do with each one of us- as misinformation gets fed into minds which are not that good at checking facts from fiction- the results and consequences often turn deadly and dangerous! So now we know that there is a problem- how do we deal with it! Well read on…

“Practice the Pause” a technique told by many management teachers, the next time you get a piece of information and decide to do anything- absolutely anything with it- think what it is- check from where it is coning- think what is is asking you to do and think about the impact that you may individual end up creating by virtue of who you are- and whether that is needed or not! There will be times when the best thing to do would be nothing! There will be yet another times when you may have to ignore/delete the message and then there will be some other times still when you need to flag the message and the content off to relevant people in time so that disasters are avoided well in time! The challenge though remains to perform any of these actions, first and foremost you must have a thinking mind – irrespective of how intelligent you are or not- doesn’t matter-what does matter is whether you have the ability to sieve through the content and weigh it against common-sense, science and facts of the world! One more golden rule is what doesn’t serve the best and larger good of humanity doesn’t need to be there- If any message that you are to pass on – irrespective of what the source and whatever it is- If it doesn’t help anyone and ends up having more anxiety and anguish to even person then that message is not worth it- might as well bury it as soon as it reaches you!

We live in an age where access to information is a sure ticket to success and hence the converse also hold true- access to misinformation can spell untold misery and chaos at times damaging individuals and at times communities and nations as a whole! The certain way to move around this in-your-face- covert enemy of mis-information is to develop filters through wisdom and knowledge and apply ample common sense to all that you receive- without the screen of prejudice and develop a way to weight the content of information in its totality and then take a call whether it serves or deserves its existence! This kind of mindful approach to content when repeated over and over again will ensure the damages caused by misinformation campaigns world over is as minimal as possible!

I will leave you here with these thought, grab your cup, check your whatsapp messages and think well before you forward the next message! Think- Is it really worth It- Does it add value to the receiver or to you as a sender of the message! If it does go ahead, if it doesn’t delete that crap!

Ciao for now, will catch up soon with another article!

 

Stretched to the breaking point.

As kids we have always played around with elastic materials in whatever form and shape we may have got them and for whatever different school and college projects that we would have needed them for- and certainly a we start to work to tie up loose papers and materials lying around our work desks and places which required to be clutter free! This article is about having a quick sneak peek into what is so fascinating about “the stretch” and when does too much become too much and what does it look like at the point just away from the snap! I am sure we can together learn a lot and apply to ourselves from the humbles elastic materials that lie strewn across our homes and offices- although lifeless, full and complete of life lessons! So let’s roll on…

The humble rubber band- the lifeline of many modern day households has a unique and enviable place in our day to day lives! What makes the rubber band special is not it’s ability to stretch but rather being able to surprise us from time to time by stretching when we think it can’t stretch any further and snapping away when it could have easily done it’s job! Well, what’s actually happening here is related to the quality of elasticity, the quality of the material and the number of times it has been used over and over again. Any physicists will tell you, for that matter even our high school grade physics lesson can explain you on this front- When the material being used is moderately fresh/ new the ability to remain elastic often is fantastic and it is these new/ infrequently used rubber bands that go on to help us with our most difficult tasks of tying up and looping up things, similarly as they get used and used- material fatigue sets in and the rubber/polymer molecules are no longer able to go back to their original state as much as they were going earlier and that further impacts that their ability to flex further and demonstrate strength- which results into those untimely snaps to our utter disappointment! So what’s the parallel here to our lives? Well don’t you see- the words were all over written earlier and yes, you too would have either used them or these were used to describe your attributes! 

Human mind is pretty much like an elastomer- elastic polymer- we can flex our minds as we require and this ability to flex makes us who we are- social beings.The flexing human mind has been the foundation on which societies and social order has got built and developed over the years and through the centuries! However,like the rubber band, our mind too has its own limitations with regards to it’s intrinsic ability to flex and regain shape and construct- read shape as in the  continuing ability to display intelligence and wisdom. Minds which show a formidable dexterity to seemingly keep on flexing irrespective of the age of a person are a true miracle. Normally ability to flex- displaying how much potential one may have to undertake risks and explore the new limits of humanity will diminishing with age – As age progresses the natural systems will ensure that flexing gets controlled and people become naturally risk averse- this is a hardwired switch through our evolution which was meant to keep us safe from formidable dangers of the bygone eras. But there are these isolated and few sparsely strewn human minds which seem to show no sign of stopping or reducing their limit of flexing and the conversely their ability to take risks and keep on pushing the boundaries of human exploration and human intellect further each and every time they encounter a intellectual challenge- These wonder minds are those of the modern day explorers, innovators, writers, specialists from every field of science and technology that you can possibly think of – These are the people who know how to harness this unique ability of the human mind to flex and yet be itself on an ongoing basis by using some basic techniques- albeit- knowingly or unknowingly! So what are these unique techniques which can help your mind also to flex like those of these geniuses- well read on!

Just as the material quality of the rubber band is critical in defining how many times it can flex before it finally snaps- the human mind also depends on multiple physiological, biochemical, physical and emotional inputs to arrive at its levels of comfort and discomfort which further go on to deciding how much risk a particular mind is ready to go ahead with! This is perhaps why, no two people are ever likely to come up with an exactly same approach and solution to a problem that they are presented with a problem- even if they both provide the right solution there will be always a difference in the approach to solving the problem and this is what makes us either among the 80% of the general population or makes us fall in the elite group of the remaining 20%. Once human mind is nourished with the right nutrients, few as basic as food, healthy upbringing and getting access to a value setting which is more compassionate and value driven to offer and to provide rather then accumulate and receive- the human mind is almost ready to demonstrate some amazing ability to flex and flex real good to provide cutting edge solutions to make life easier for the individual and the society as well!

A well nourished mind- through food and upbringing is a formidable instrument-an instrument that allows us to expand our cognitive faculties and race ahead with our imaginations- both of which are absolutely necessary to create a new world and address the ever pressing challenges that the modern day world keeps throwing us at!

In scenarios wherein the mind is failed either through nourishment or through other aspects like upbringing or societal confirmation biases or limited opportunities- it looses a great deal of it’s intrinsic ability to flex and when situations arise (as they most certainly will) this failing ability of the mind to flex in an appropriate manner leads to societal collapse either by virtue of a laid back response system and complete inability to flex or a overzealous response which ends up creating more chaos and ambiguity and puts up the entire frame work of the society at a greater risk with no one from the group knowing when to stop or where to stop what has been started!  One good example here could be of a revolution and anarchy- revolution is a proof of powerful minds thinking alike for a specific outcome and knowing when to halt as the outcome has been achieved- all this being achieved by flexing and contracting at different points through the revolution until the end goal is achieved. This is controlled, planned and efficient which works on collaborative strategies and ensures that individual minds are rested and nourished as the long path is traversed to reach the final destination! When we look at anarchy the loose free for all beyond control flex of collective minds all working (mostly out of sync) and to different objectives which overlap or counteract each others’ ends up defeating and ending the limited flex ability that individual minds have in no time and once it is met with powerful and planned counter narratives these anarchic minds come down crashing like a pack of cards! In this world where minds are pitted against mind to win battles day in and day out- it is the unfailing dexterity, endurance and magic of flexing of a nourished mind which will always hold an upper hand no matter what the battle is about or how big the challenge may seem to be!

The human mind also has this innate ability to signal when it is about to give up- whether it is about the powerful human mind which has been flexing all good for so many years or it is about that mind which is a recluse and averse to flexing and will do so only when there is no alternative left- the human mind will at some point in time or for some aspect fail- certainly it will and these failures are those mistakes which then in proportionality of the mistake determine how bad and how steep the fall is! Like any good machine, the human mind provides alarms- there will signs of fatigue- wherein you will simply find it difficult to come up with solutions ideas, newness and ability to think and collaborate with some fresh approach and outlook for old problems or the seemingly minor new problems assume demonic perceptions in the window frame of your mind! Another indicator would be the increasing tendency of not wanting to take up the challenge and seeing if avoidance is working- surely there will be and there are a few battles that have to be won by not fighting one, bit whether this translates into a total avoidance strategy is something that one must guard about carefully- this in the long run becomes severely counterproductive as it tends to rob away all and any risk taking abilities that a mind may have developed in a flash! Finally after nourishment, lethargy, it is the impact of repetition and societal indifference! Every time a wise mind is made to do mundane and routine things which make some or no impact on the society and the contribution is at the most taken to be granted automatically the human mind looses and start to throw away its creative facets of being ingenious and with that goes away a considerable amount of ability to flex and flex at the right time and for the right reason! As societies tend to become more and more conformists, listening to that one person, one value, one goal and one aim- we end up creating and becoming  low-end unthinking human machines which loose not only the ability to lead and crate or innovate but also end up doing dis service to our own self the very essence of who each one of us as an  Individual is!

The health of your individual mind is something that each one of us can take care of must- mental wellness, mental health is the very foundation on which modern day societies stand! It is not to be confused with intelligence or wisdom- that is the content part of it- unless the storage device is properly wired and functioning no matter what you throw into it- you know well enough if the processor is at fault you will end up getting more garbled and ambiguous data out of it!

A mind in harmony, at peace, content, driven and directed with access to nourishment and a conducive environment is the key to the happiness of societies the world over! many such mind are then able to guide societies and such awakened societies are able to direct nations and the world eventually!  Take a pause today and do think  how good  you have been at flexing back and forth and how has that helped or harmed you- know what to hold on to and know what to throw away- A healthy mind is the one which has no boundaries, has no bondage and has no fear and has courage but no arrogance. It is about achieving a sublime stage of being aware minute to minute about all that’s around you and within you and when you have reached these magical proportions of control and dexterity- you are ready to take upon the world and its challenges!

I leave you here with these thoughts, its a lovely Sunday- An Easter Sunday- Have a Blessed Easter Everyone! and I will be back soon with another article! Until then bye and stay wise, stay safe and don’t get killed! 

Fogging out the re-calibration dilemma.

As communities come together in their won way to assess the extent of damage and start to pick up the pieces and look forward to re-build, a very important question which will be playing on almost everyone’s’ mind- right from the governments to the business tycoons to the ordinary person on the street who awaits the opening of a retail store so that the next pay check can be collected is “How do we now know something different about all that we always thought we knew!” and what do we do about it and how do we move things ahead from here! Well this short piece is about skimming through these dimensions and possibly decipher how things may play out as humanity emerges out of the shadows of a global melt down! So here we go!

Hopefully governments across the world by now have learned a valuable lesson that as the old saying in India goes- “Health is the only real Wealth” and unless nations and societies do not  makes a serious effort to invest adequately and proportionally to ensure wellness and health of its citizens, no matter how many nuclear bombs and missiles they have in their arsenal or how many billions of dollars or gold they have to throw to the world- all of this will become meaningless in a wink as it happened now! This time is a great opportunity for nations to reset their priorities towards investment in healthcare and developing societies and communities which are more healthy! The choice is clear; either governments incentivize building healthy living and working habits so that investment in hospitals is reduced or continue with the age old unhealthy habits and then spend billions and billions to build hospitals and pharma reteach and this then goes on endlessly like a never ending game of cat and mouse waiting for the next mistake to happen and then that allows all hell to break loose all over again!

Business and the big bad world of corporate rat race– well, I doubt if this aspect of human society will ever learn anything from what is unfolding- we may end up seeing more dumb start ups that will go on to sell and live at the expense of why continuing social distancing is the way ahead and why remote working is The way of Working and so on and so forth! If this nonsense s is not checked and put in place- The world will end up having more mentally sick people then the number of threatening viruses you can think of coming from the Corona family! It will do the world a lot good, if for one time businesses become a little more humanistic and develop and build ways of working which resonate with general wellness and create more space and value wherein roles and responsibility are tailored and made to benefit not only the business objectives but also live on to enrich the lives of the people involved in creating those activities! The pandemic has taught one major lesson- A global melt down scenario- in whatever form it comes- doesn’t and will never care if you are rich or poor- these events are great levelers- they will reset everything to a point and from there is a great opportunity for all societies and businesses either to build a more inclusive and human society which is more sensible and purpose driven or loop back to old capitalist and greedy way of driving the things- again furthering the proverbial “rat race” and “neck throat competition” philosophies which will end up looking so falsified and hollow even to begin thinking about in today’s; altered world scenario!

Individuals, depending on how the time of lock down was used or abused will emerge as their better or worse version when they hit the deck to work! Likewise their offices would have assessed and gauged their absence and work through the physical absence in terms of effectiveness and critical contribution; needless to say- there will calls taken and adjustments done! So if you have been one of those people who have been binge eating endlessly dipping into the tub of popcorn or chicken fingers and blessed with an endless supply of booze, well you know what- your long party may just come to an abrupt unpleasant end! On the other extreme end of the spectrum, if you have been one of those silent warriors who has been pushing through all the odds and have helped your client, got that payment and ensured you have stayed on top of your game irrespective of the odds of bad signals, bad support and challenges galore- you may have just helped yourself by staying relevant and by ensuring you have indeed been an asset when it mattered the  most! If you are anywhere between these extreme ends of the spectrum- one end of callousness and other end of being prompt and proactive- well depending on what kind of sector you work in and what is the extent of human value and dependence your sector has you will ether sail through or end up drowning!

Businesses that display a more humanistic approach and be more inclusive, giving and caring will have a greater advantage in times ahead, needless to say those who showed their ugly side and used this as garb to seek undue advantage wither by sacking people or reducing their payout will get their karma back in time – sooner then later and they will to realize that! More importantly however the centre of focus will be the Individual- What the lock down and work through isolation has done to people and how they have coped with either to emerge as strong as before or have metamorphosed themselves into something else for good or worse will also play a big role in either ensuring that their role in the larger game of an organisation survives to get more star attention or they simply vanish off the corporate radar for good- owing to their own inability to cope with the altered work environment! 

Individuals who have been wise to use their time to invest in themselves, will no doubt be rewarded more then anyone else, for it is through their detailed introspection and realizing the depths of their own self they will be able to contribute further and add innovatvely to the new changed world order either by being part of the government, business  or simply by being who they are it is these wonderful people who will set the tone for the next decade and beyond– For a change this will have nothing to do with opulence but everything to do with humanity- The ability of being able to sense and respond to the changed realities of the world in a more human way! 

These, I feel are the ways that the reset will play out across the world at time subtly and at other times in a more direct manner- but rest assured the re-calibration will happen and will be clear and vivid based on priorities set by individuals, businesses and governments who decide to move societies and nations in a direction aligned to their national priorities- the only silver lining being for a change people and humanity will be at the core of these strategies – beginning with global access to health and wellness and going further and beyond! 

I will leave you here, at peace with your isolation and hope you emerge stronger, wiser and more ready then ever so that as the dawn ushers in you know exactly what you are going to do next! Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article!

 

Re-connecting post isolation.

Irrespective of what is being played out now, it is important at the same time to be focused on whats lurking over the horizon, surely enough we must survive for being able to reach the horizon and touch the skies once again! Having said that, it will also be equally important to assess the state in which we reach the horizon-which holds the promise of tomorrow! Whether we reach there bruised and hurt physically or mentally or both will go a long way in deciphering what we end up doing once we are out of this storm! 

On the macro level as governments and organisations/ businesses that drive global narratives will stand to benefit the most from the current scenarios- Unlike ever before citizens have given unquestionable control and authority to their respective governments to mitigate and overcome the health crisis- nothing wrong with this- the real challenge will be once the crisis is over- how many of these governments will be happy to contract back to their earlier self and be okay with unleashing lesser power? Power as everyone knows is undoubtedly a great intoxicator- once you are used to getting high on power/authority and enhanced span of control- the ease and acceptability to go back to your lesser self- is almost improbable- in few nations across the world this will put considerable stress and political dynamics will begin to get altered even before people realise it! (People will be too busy to try to reboot their lives and survive the newer existential challenges and in the meantime these political deliberations will leave them more short changed then ever before- No sooner people figure out and make good with their new normal- whatever that may be- and they bonce back, they will again compelled to rise up and express their displeasure on the changed or altered political arrangements and this will be seen and played out as unrest’s/ protests/ strikes and legal movements the world over- some at national level and yet many on state and local governance levels!

Business firms will play their part to build strong narratives to push ahead new categories ( read old wine, re-packaged for the nth time in a new bottle) across their products and services which will promise to help individuals to have good health at all times and enable them to fight well and get some advantage (with regards to the use of their product/service) to overcome the next pandemic onslaught! This trend will be used by core sectors in the space of food, travel, wellness, healthcare,FMCG, and every other business that has a direct connect with an individual customer and has the ability to develop a powerful narrative to bring about altered behaviors to accelerate the acceptance of their product/service offerings (read global MNCs here). Even as the world of politics and business try to navigate and seek their comfort zone; Individuals – that is you and I will also be waging another war- literally day in and day out and this will be a war with ourselves to understand and set new levels (high or low- will again depend) to interact and communicate with people around us!

Whether it is the office space or a general walk into a grocery store- staying isolated would have done considerable damage to ones’ ability to communicate (no I am not suggesting we would have forgotten to speak or write), there will be in general a dissonance when it comes to choice of words being used while communicating and also the levels of interpretation (which will be at an all time low- especially if you have not connected with the individual during the isolation period!). These aspects even though may seem trivial are essentially the backbone of a connected workplace no matter where you work or whether you have your own business! Workplaces will require to have a planned unlocking of their offices- The interventions to make people begin to talk to each other to seek a level of re-engagement comfort will be critical to assess the business success of organisations especially in cases where teams are involved to deliver services and products! Businesses that practice formal team re-engagement and communication strategies and interventions will eventually have an extra edge and individuals from such teams will seem to be more in control of their daily activities over others, who do not get a chance to re-orient themselves or re-align themselves! Sectors which traditionally have been using large teams to rely on their success – like hospitality, aviation will do exceedingly well in the times ahead- since individuals in these teams have an innate and trained approach to deal with chaos, ambiguity and a formidable ability to bounce back in the shortest possible time! It will be these ordinary individuals who are so good at creating extraordinary magic through their work, who will be at the centre stage of ensuring their companies race ahead and turn around much rapidly then the others!

When it comes to the confines of Individual spaces- this extended isolation in few cases would have helped people realise their own value and perhaps that would have done a big reset to their individual priorities – in simple terms, it will all be about- how they want to spend their time, how much they want to speak going ahead, how much are they going to be listening in times ahead- again small tweaks for an individual but these will create an impact, as these developments resonate with their altered behaviors which in turn will engage with colleagues and others who too would have undergone a similar level of metamorphosis! This is where, new norms will be established, this is that space where new rituals will get created- if the good old handshake before and after that crucial sales meeting has been checked off- it will surely be replaced by something and it will be these new norms, and the ability to adapt to the new ways of working that will define how successful individuals end up becoming in the new altered reality of work-life!

The best part is, there is nothing right and wrong about all the changes and adjustments that the world will see unfold at micro and macro levels- the crux of the matter here is- as these changes impact us as individuals – what we do about those new realities and how we react and adopt them will go a long way in determining if this turbulence in our journey of life has helped us or harmed us! As human beings we have survived and who knows- the largest part of human evolution is undocumented and unknown- It’s quite possible that we have faced and overcome far greater threats then the current one and there’s no doubt that the current threat will be eventually a new normal and it’s just a matter of time!

All in all, I must say, I am pretty excited to see the drama unfold as humanity comes back together and connects even as few Individuals tend to remain in perpetual isolation deep within or refuse to move away from the Lockdown because they have possibly got locked-in to themselves!

I will leave you here, and hope you use this time that you have got to tweak your individual strategies and get ready to face another chapter that life throws at us, post this isolation! 

Ciao for now and will be back soon with another piece! At Simplifylives we are helping Individuals and organisations plan their re-connect strategies, if you think you need help, feel free to reach us at parimal.aluri@simplifylives.com and rest assured we can partner and ensure your journey post isolation is fun and helps you re-gain control faster!

 

 

Teaming up post isolation.

Well, yes this is going to be perhaps the next biggest challenge for the corporate world (apart from assessing business loss and deciphering business strategy) for the year ahead! If there is anything else that’s going to override the corporate agenda for the next 6 months- it is going to be how well an organisation has been able to re-boot their people and get them back at similar levels of performance (if not better) in the shortest possible way and this is the arena that we explore in this short article…so let’s go ahead!

As the world comes out of the enforced hibernation, the isolation would have already done what it can do with the psyche of people irrespective of how high they would have been in an organisational set up or how more or less important their position would have been- If there is anything that one should take away as a critical learning from this worldwide shut down, it will be one singular thing that this has been an event which can be termed as “The Great Leveler” An event which has the insane capacity to bring everything to a common ground and then present those involved a choice- to re-build everything exactly same as before or re-build in a more resilient way so that instances are better dealt with in the future! As people walk out of their homes and residences and lead their way to the offices- there will be a million thoughts running through their minds- these will be stories of unfinished work, exposed incompetencies, failure of teams, missing of deadlines, missing out on opportunities and in very few cases it will be about realignment of personal priorities- all of these and many more such thoughts would be playing out loudly in the realms of the mind and this is what will be witnessed in the opening few weeks- teams which seem to be together but look to be lost! It is from here where an organisation can make the vital change either to re-build and re- boot or carry on and falter and resign to earlier complacency as if nothing ever happened! This happens to be  precisely the space  and time ,that trained specialists who understand and decipher human behaviour will be needed and deployed to help organisations navigate these initial few critical months!

So depending on what the size of an organisation is, what it’s services/products are and what are the intrinsic value systems that have been (whether they worked in these times or whether they too need a change), all of these will be part and parcel of the effort to bring back the buzz within the corporate corridors. Given the fact that this is a blog, we will touch more aptly to the broader generic aspects that each organisation will need to and should address and leave out specialist domains pertaining to the likes of Executive Coaching and Mentoring out for now! 

Once the people are back, regardless of the size, the organisation will have to take a stock and find how they “seem to be” , look out for changes and any random behavioral deviations that are being displayed- these can be done by cratering smaller groups and having those much fabled High-Tea sessions or for smaller employee base it could be one-on-one’s with the trained HR specialist to gauge what an individual has gone through during this period of isolation. Any of these methods deployed are good as long as it helps the organisations to come up with a team efficacy score and identify if any damage has been done which will need additional support or attention- this again could range from re-alignment of few people from one team to another and at times could be as important as relieving  a team lead of the team’s responsibility! Surely enough no one needs to do this by doing a big bad corporate wide announcement but this has to be done subtly using a human touch with a genuine purpose of knowing and validating the mental health of an individual- consider this you are an aviation firm and now put what I said above in context- get the seriousness of the situation? Good!– Likewise it is important that organisations do this first step because anything and everything that corporate will go ahead and do for team building, team rejuvenation and those kind of efforts will only bear fruit, once an in-depth assessment has been done to figure out what kind of exact interventions are needed and then come up with a plan which is effective and has a timeline for the organisation to be able to measure the effectiveness of the intervention as well!

Once the validations are done, the next step could be using the most apt technique to get teams back to performance levels which they were at when the momentum was broker- people normally don’t agree but the fact is all target and achievement driven tasks normally have a rhythm- these rhythms can be either extrapolated to the rise and fall of revenue, attrition , breakthroughs or acquisitions – all this will vary and will largely depend upon how simple of complex an organisation is and what its business goals and revenue expectations are! So the next step becomes important – in this context- as the performance is trimmed to acceptable level before they got distorted and immediately followed up by pacing up or dialing down the rhythm which will put it on course to build on the found momentum and race ahead as needed by he organisation concerned!

Although this looks deceptively simple and easy, this will be perhaps the most difficult of all the steps and will call for serious efforts from an organisational level, as the primary challenge will be of getting trained HR specialists and interventionist who have this innate understanding of the human mind, which will be critical to create a mental heath map for the organisation. This mental health map can go a long way to know the risks and strengths and thereby ensure that the organisations are not further jolted on their path to recovery because of human performance issues related to the impact of the isolation period!

These first steps will be very critical to ensure that organisations end up spending and investing their available resources on the right teams and people. Any effort that organisations make to circumvent this process of slow assimilation of individuals back into team environments will eventually back fire sooner or later- but it certainly will!

Of course I am not suggesting, everyone will be psyched out or delusional or hallucinating as they come to their workplaces, but it is worth remembering a fact that 21 days is a long period in anyone’s life- given the fact that we don’t live forever ;If there have been islands of calm and silence encountered by individuals in these solitary times- they would have either nourished or damaged depending on the path that an individual would have decided to undertake during the time of this unforeseen and forced clamp down! As these individuals with personalities altered come back to work- they will need another 21 days – minimum- to apply their altered personalities to an environment which these changed personalities will find a little out of place- The alteration here will be the key- if the alteration reinforces their beliefs and values- the homecoming will be easy and quick; if the alteration has been a complete change of beliefs and value systems- you will more often then not see them struggle or leave the workplace in the coming few months! The initial steps that I discussed above will be critical again to know which one of these steps an individual is likely to take!

So people, I leave you here for now, with these thoughts for you to reflect upon and plan ahead, whether you lead a team or are part of the team, or the specialist who will be given a lot of work in weeks ahead- well have your coffee for now and start gearing up for the times ahead- as they say- the bend in the road is almost over and we are going to hit the straight patch and we better be ready and geared up with all the tools and the mind that we have to ensure we make the most of it, as we emerge out of these ambiguous times!

I will be back soon with another piece and should you or your organisation need that intervention that I talked about here, you do know how to reach me!

So ciao for now and keep writing in with your thoughts and suggestions!

 

What to expect as people emerge from the lock-down!

As we emerge out of the demonic shadows of the pandemic, you will find that the world has changed a big time, for good or bad- well this will largely depend on how your lock-down period was and what were the contents of  your isolation! Irrespective of whatever it was- you will be a changed person for a lifetime and may that be for the good and greater well being of yourself and everyone around you! This piece is a quick one trying to share what are the emerging shades and colors of human behaviour you will get to see around as the world begins to gets ready for business as usual in a few weeks from now!

You will probably encounter what I call is the “Butterfly syndrome” well not everyone, but the usual “social and ultra extroverted types” will be the ones’ who will display this. These will be the ones’ who will go from desk to desk and check if all is well and so on and so forth! Well, folks, I am not going to tell you if this is a wise thing to do or not, I leave that to your own figment of imagination! (as a Coach I am largely indifferent to how people behave- much of my focus is to see if their behaviors are aligned to the outcomes that they aim for!). But in a way these people with the “Butterfly syndrome” are the ones’ who have walked into the event and walked out of it with relatively the same levels of IQ and for them coming back to the routine is akin to waking up to reality (they forget all the torture, stress and challenges that the lock-down would have presented). This is good in a way but the problem is that they also forget the vital learnings that are needed to have a meaningful life ahead as they go on to embrace the world- full speed ahead with their selective amnesia!

The next broad display will be from people whom I like to call the “Reversed Polarity syndrome” As the name suggests these people will display completely opposite behaviors then what they were before the break off from the routine– you will come across cases wherein a person who has been a known introvert- suddenly is getting colorful and is too much into everyone’s face at times and borders on actually ending up irritating others (this irritation would normally have more to with lack of content for the right contexts as the person tries to overdo the extrovert’s role- not knowing when to shut up and when enough is actually enough!). On the other extreme other end of the band you would have an otherwise vibrant and chirpy individual suddenly transformed and metamorphosed into a deadly silence, displaying a matured behaviour which would generally be not congruent to their age! Now whether this will be good or bad- depends on multiplicity of factors like who they are what they do and the kind of job that they do etc. etc.; The best part of all this, is the fact that people who will display these traits- with time, will elastically come back to their natural zone; even before they realise it, they will be once again their authentic self! Even they will find it hard to believe that they did behave the way they did in the initial days after coming back (which will fun for some and embarrassment for few others)!

Then you would have that pristine balanced lot- right there in the middle- as if nothing happened- will go on as usual as if they are just back from a vacation and their conversations will all loop to things- like- during the work-from-home I had sent you that mail on Saturday at 5 pm and that other mail earlier on Friday at 3:30 pm) and people are left dumbfounded- “Wow, this person is God in disguise-even as the earth and society seems to be falling apart- you have this smart person- rattling off the data, numbers and also sending out plan of action for days ahead! Cool!

Apart from these superficial aspects- there will be however, a lot of serious stuff playing around the minds of the people all the time for a good long time- this could be as long as few weeks for a few of them it can be a lifelong challenge depending on how an individual would have soaked the episode in! These things and episodes will be played out in the deep confines of peoples’ mind all across the world- these will be what I call as “Automated Response mechanisms” which will evaluate every act and every action in light of how vital or trivial it seems to be in the larger scheme of things- read ones’ life and what one wants from it! Of course not everyone and all people will be able to have this space of their mind ticking around this- But this will be reflected and shown by people who actually have used this space of isolation to seek and find their real urge and have got their priorities of life right during this time in isolation, for some it will mean reinforcing their beliefs and values in what they have been doing so far and for few others it would be throwing away and walking away form all that they were doing and head to pursue something totally new with a refreshed approach and work towards what their new priorities are now! Whichever you look at it, it certainly assures a positive outlook for the individual, but that may not always work for a similar experience for the  organisation that an individual works for unless the supporting ecosystem within the organisation echoes the same!

These and many such evolving patterns of acquired behaviors will play out across offices and work places at all levels and these interplay will lead to new synergies trust behaviors and in few odd cases will lead to fall outs and complete rejigs of value systems and individual alignments vis-a-vis- the work place mandates! Importantly after spending an excessive time through the work-from-home scenarios- there also will be realignments and re-calibration of inputs and efforts that are provided by individuals at their homes with an aim to calibrate these inputs against outputs that are being perceived and experienced! You will see instances of where people want to spend more time at home, you will come across instances where people start to work late more often, you will see people wanting to travel more often or less often- all this will be in a nutshell reflective of how the excess time at the home front went by. There will be multiple reasons and again a hue of colors and shades of different personalities working with or against each other as well- and honestly that is befitting for  another article altogether!

Whatever it is, folks, trust me the period coming up, certainly promises to be rich, colorful and entertaining, which will offer a window into the human mind and behavior like never before! I am also quite sure none of us want another global crisis just for studying changing behavioral patterns- certainly not me! But then, this is perhaps among the  few positive fallout of a crisis, next only to that of saving lives from the clutches of certain death!

I leave you here for now and will be back soon with another refreshing article. Do keep writing in and do let me know what is that you want me to write next about and yes; stay calm, wise and safe always! If dumbness and stupidity gets you dusted- well nothing can be paradoxically as painful as that would be! Ciao for now and will catch up soon!

 

The aftermath of a pandemic- The way global communities will change!

Whether you in self imposed isolation or into an isolation because someone unwittingly gifted you the virus- whatever the case is- the fact remains this is perhaps the biggest opportunity in your life- where you have your employers paying you to think further and beyond for your own life! (unless you are working for yourself or you have got those gifted employers who are tracking you by those sinister cameras on your laptop- to check if you are indeed working!). This article is not about checking what could have been done or not and what is being done- it is about trying to unravel the scenarios that will come to play when all this dust settles in the next month or two and the new world order will have reset priorities – for almost everything- how businesses are conducted with whom, how people travel and how they stay connected, where the opportunities are and who will eventually benefit from all this mayhem until the next big episode which will dawn upon us! – Which certainly will- but of course – no predictions here on the timelines for the moment! So here we go!

To begin with, take a moment to reflect how the world was just before this pandemic started to become one. In terms of the health of the world economy- Majority of the top economies across the world were in dire straits for one or the other reasons with each nation slipping away into ever-increasing fiscal deficit (this is one way of simply telling you that each nation has been living beyond it’s capacity to create and spend wealth- either through internal or external borrowings!). Next, what are the major events that happened as this was breaking out- withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan- Trade deal with China and Brexit. Now with global economies under pressure and still scratching their heads individually as nations and as collective groups of the G7, G20, ASEAN, You pick a block and you will see a trend that there have been meeting of each large trading or business block during the period preceding this pandemic. Well I am certainly not trying to suggest anything here, but these are facts and these meetings did happen and they did happen before this “pandemic”went live! Now hold your thoughts on this right here and let’s move into another space for the same timeline- just before the pandemic!

Travel and tourism- This sector too had been struggling for long for some or the other reason- whether it was the plane manufacturers, hotel chains or the average traveler- who again have been shifting and changing their travel patterns for the last two years because of economic indicators (which in turn have been equally shifting and dodgy on an ongoing basis). This complete lock down and a clamp down of sorts again has come as a blessing in disguise (whether by accident or by design- perhaps we will never know). To this add a slew of other sectors which have suddenly announced to produce chemical compounds, instruments, equipment’s- all aimed to fight this “pandemic”(some of these companies have never had their core competency in the longest time in history- for what they propose to manufacture and offer!). Now all these business will use their respective laws of their land to rejuvenate, re-boot (read- government write off’s on loans, waivers and job losses). Now hold this thought and try to think and see what your intelligence is saying to you! (I may be wrong- well the whole point is to make you think!)

More importantly, this is going to alter the hardwired approach that people have always had towards dealing with each other as societies! Ironically densely populated societies will emerge as more isolated and even more disconnected after this all ends and will end up being more self-centered (read selfish and self-serving) then before. However, the communities and societies across the developed world will find a new reason to practice heightened care for other members of their societies and emerge as more connected and and more empathetic then before! This will partly be because the way communication around the “pandemic” has been propagated and dished out! Human brain too, being what it is, will trick people form one segment of societies (which have high densities) to follow the norm that distance is good and will factor this into everything going ahead (anyways much of the human societal interaction and engagement has been shallow and self-serving for the longest times of history). When it comes to societies with lesser population density- the human mind  will play the other way around- it will reach out on the note of empathy and care (as few number to a sparse society) will trigger the part of the brain where duty of care, respect and mutual affection (with now available access to medication) will ensure that health and wellness emerge as the top most priorities of those societies and will go on to reflect in every choice that they make- whether be food, travel, fashion or whatever element you want to choose!

Well, since there is a limitation to a blog, I can’t go on picking every space and zone of human lives and possibly discuss how I think those will be altered- but wherever you are and whichever society class you are a part of – you will see all this playing out right in front of you! In the times ahead- based on which society you are specific aspects will become costlier- say you belong to societies with high population density- travel, medical costs will go up and since this societies will get hard wired to social distancing and start becoming withdrawn even data costs will start to rise! Before anyone realizes access to transport, travel, data and healthcare will end up being costlier at least by 40% then what it is today- by 2022. This will further make the society withdrawn and fragmented within- and based on what type of a government you have- it will just help the people in power to gain complete control, which  will finally rest with few people who will have a greater advantage to influence and navigate a fragmented society to a point  that they want to! As far as societies that have fewer number of people- well they will be more resilient and will give away a lot of baggage and make the governments feel lighter- once these people start to take more care of their individual health- recurring health costs will start to come down and as these societies already have ongoing capped prices for utilities and services- there will be a flattening of the service costs to societies and people in these societies will be in a more advantageous position then the ones’ those have higher densities!

Eventually, in the smoke of the settling dust, from this episode; billions and billions of dollars worth of money and resources will change hands and ownership, simply to ensure that the world order remains sane (the way “they” want it) and to disallow “anarchy” (as “they” see it). This is just a step away and anarchy sets in  once world leaders start to believe that they will not talk to each other! (which thankfully doesn’t seem to be happening at least for now!). If you are wondering who these “they” are- Well I leave it to your wisdom- possibly you are working for one of them in one way or the other at this very moment- as have generation before you and possibly after you will!

I leave you here, and hope you use this time to reflect on how you are changing and what are the changes that you will allow and not allow so that when the freeze is over, you emerge as a better version of yourself- that is the only hope that the world has for now- that each one of us emerges as a stronger and better human being from this ongoing war!

Ciao for now and have your coffee- if nothing else- it will keep you warm and alert! I will be back soon with another piece and that will be on discussing the probable mental health challenges that we face in times ahead!