Meaningful Engagement

In differentiating between aimless activities routine and result oriented pursuit , in my popular management intervention product : “Busyness to Business” ; I have often used the phrase – ‘ Meaningful engagement ‘ . In “Made to Mother” – another of my unique Leadership Intervention I have said that Maids get busy , whereas Mothers – who work for no less hours , are meaningfully engaged
While most instinctively relate to it , some of you felt interested for me to elaborate on what is meant by ‘ Meaningful engagement ‘ . Hence this note
To my mind , meaningful engagement happens when 4 components come together in sequence
o Desired destination – when there is a well defined , desired Goal – your clarity on what you want to achieve . This anchors you & gets you on a path
o Directed efforts — There exists a clear plan ( the path to your destination ) and working to a plan . There is a definite ‘ Cause & Effect ‘ to what you do . There is no adhockism . That you achieve something or not , is a result of your effort , not a part of your luck . This brings in predictability . It’s like playing a game of Dart with your eyes open v/s playing in a dark rook with your eyes closed
o Progression on milestones – Regardless of its pace , every moment is in the forward direction , neither lull nor going in reverse , every moment adds something , has a meaning to be there . Intrinsic to it is that there are pre set milestones , against which progress is measured . This helps you strengthen / refine your plan
o Self fulfillment : Whether at destination or while on journey when you have a sense of fulfillment , you know that you are engaged in something meaningful — something worthwhile . Success is not just in the outcome , but how FULL you feel from inside

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LABOUR or CARE – What would you choose

  • There are two optional routes to approach to a task : LABOUR , CARE
    • LABOUR
      • Restricts to the ‘ body ‘ of work , understanding of task is through activities alone
      • Approach is very transactional – ‘ what do I get for what I do ‘
      • Efforts may be sincere , hard -not aligned with ‘ why ‘ of ‘ what ‘ and Self centric
      • Finally , it is a Job , not a Cause you work for
      • Labour approach is best exemplified by a ‘ Maid ‘
    • CARE
      • Focuses on the ‘ soul ‘ of work , understanding task through connecting with the purpose
      • Approach is of ‘ Ownership’ , of long term relationship
      • Efforts are aligned with purpose and much Customer centric
      • Finally it is a Cause you work for , which is higher than self
      • A ‘ Mother ‘ is the best example of  Care approach
    • Evolutionary journey in life requires to be from Labour to Care . It is a journey across concentric circles outward from the (self )center
    • It is a choice one needs to make , preferably earlier than later

Value Creation

  • I have a simple – home made – definition of what is adding value
    • If whatever you are actively associated with , becomes different & better because of or with you than without you , then you have added value . And if this happens as a directed effort , in a definitive pattern , then you know how to add value – you are in a Value Creation business
  • I have another , simplistic ( again home made ) understanding of when value gets created
    • Value is created only when you do something AHEAD of (i) Time , or (ii) Asking , or (iii) Expectations
    • When you do / fulfill anything which was required / asked for / expected from you … even if you respond in a timely manner … it does not create value ; it just neutralizes what would have been a negative value had you not attended to that demand / requirement .
    • The moment some thing is raised as : Demand , Expectation , Known requirement ( JD) against you … you are already into ‘ negative ‘ – best you can do is to ‘ neutralize ‘ by quick & meaningfully responding . If it is asked , you have lost the initiative to add value
    • On the other hand if you don’t even respond to what is required / asked for , you create a negative value
  • The whole essence of this Value Creation concept or what you can see as a ‘ fulcrum ‘ of value creation is the word “ AHEAD “ . The key is to be ahead or lead in value creation process . Most of the world , most of the time is in Reactive mode — always chasing something , that is the reason why most don’t or can’t create value . In reactive mode you are always chasing something ahead of you , whereas Value creation requires that you are in a Proactive mode to ‘ lead ‘ , by thinking or sensing or realizing or innovating something Ahead of somebody
  • While there are certain set of abilities ( Sensing ,Communication ,Planning ,Thinking ,…) constitution ( Caring , Understanding , Reflective , Learning ,…) and orientation ( Customer focused , Win-within-Win , …) that you need to create value and that there are methods & mechanisms to help you create value — elaborating on which is a subject of a separate article ; purpose of this blog is to create an awareness in you to know that the Essence of Value Creation is one concept – AHEAD  !

WHAT DID I LEAVE BEHIND

 It all began with me asking myself this routine question , before leaving a place . I did not understand the POWER of this innocuous sounding question , till when I paused to reflect on it . I realized , apart from an obvious physicality , it has many more dimensions if you care to hear what it means …. “ What did I leave behind “, or rather “ What am I leaving behind “ can be such an anchoring thought – if you really listen to what it means , that can help keep us / our behavior in check
 If we go deeper , it can help unravel what ALL can we possibly leave behind on different dimensions ; like :
o Impression
 Everything we do ( or don’t do ) has our invisible quality signature . ‘Advertant ‘ or inadvertent – we always leave an impression behind & it is important for us to know / realise as to ‘What are we leaving behind ‘
o Performance
 We may not , but what we achieve ( or fail to achieve ) will remain on public memory & will remind them of us – positively or negatively , that is why we need to be conscious of ‘ What are we leaving behind ‘
o Demonstration / example What are we leaving behind
 We may or may not be conscious , but by our behavior – which people can see – we can be a role model to follow / not follow for those ‘ behind ‘ . It is our choice to be aware of ‘What are we leaving behind ‘
o Reputation
 So is the case of Reputation , which is the ‘ Sum Effect ‘ of our thoughts , words & deeds If we want people to remember for what we are , I guess , it is important for us to know – ‘What are we leaving behind ‘
o Legacy
 I have shared in my earlier blogs , psychographically there are two types of people : Trader type or Businessman types .Traders are focused on creation of material wealth ( which can be faceless and transient ) ; Businessmen want to make a difference , they are desirous of leaving Legacy behind ; it is our choice – ‘What are we leaving behind ‘
o Memories , history
 History is created by those who are on a mission , who are conscious of their purpose & reason for their existence ; They are aware and on a directed efforts ; we don’t need to alert them on , ‘ What are we leaving behind ‘
o Mess / orderliness
 Do I need to elaborate on what is happening here & why . This is a largely prevalent behavior of majority who is less self ware and much less socially conscious — They will not do what they are doing ( probably innocently ) if only they become aware of – ‘ What are we leaving behind ‘
o Creations : Product , Process , Progeny , Ideas , Innovations , Tools , Formats , Art
 Whatever we do or choose to pursue in life , the message is clear & universal — ‘ What are we leaving behind ‘ ; if only we know this , we will be very different , optimally leveraged & hugely fulfilling !
 Thus , ‘ What did you ( or I ) leave behind , is such a guiding thought , it helps realization in us on what is appropriate, what is not ; so that we are well equipped to make a right behavior choice
 On one hand , this question can humble us with a realization of enormous potential we have in what / how much are we able to ( create & ) leave behind ; on the other hand it can create a high sense of urgency , realizing that vis-à-vis our capacity , how much we are underleveraged – how much more that we can , but how much less are we leaving behind !
 When now that you realise the enormity of potential and possibilities , for what your actions in the moment can leave behind ; there is a possibility that you can be more aware , alert in the moment you act , to think & design to leave behind what you will , looking back , feel proud about , both quantitatively – but more importantly , Qualitatively !

Get Beyond Self

( Just back from Engagement ceremony of our dear Daughter ADITI  today , which also happens to be her Birthday . Chose this auspicious occasion to post this profound note which can bring in deep enlightenment and impact )  

There is a Sanskrit Subhashit ,which says that You are your Best Friend , as also your Worst Enemy . In effect on one hand all the ingredients to reach pinnacle are within us & on the other hand ; enormous power to hold us back from what we can be , also resides within us .
It has been conjectured , hypothesized and documented in study literature that most of us die underleveraged to an extent of up to 95 % — living up to just about 5 % of what we are capable of ! There are obviously some strong ‘ Gravity ‘ factors , an inner inertia , which holds us back . If only we can recognize & break these ( internal ) barriers , it can take us from a 5 % level to a potentially 100 % level .
Our Values , Beliefs , Thoughts , Judgments , Opinions , Biases bind us to what we think we know than explore what we do not know – we don’t know. This are the limiting walls , beyond which we can’t grow . These not only limit our options , but typecasts us into a pattern – almost like ‘ locking in ‘ ;unable to move with flexibility to explore what we can .
Qualitatively , the framework of our Beliefs , Values etc becomes a reference point from which we assess / ascertain or judge ‘ others’ position . This makes us a ‘ relative ‘ ( to ourselves ) thinker , robbing our access to absolute ( unbiased ) thinking
Though we are innocently unaware of this ; considering the gravity of the situation breaking these constraining shackles is not easy … it is not just ‘ opening up ; it is more like breaking the Sound Barrier . It is about liberating the ‘ soul ‘ from the ( constraining ) body – It is about “ Getting beyond Self “
Since the biggest barrier for us in life is our self , once we succeed getting past this barrier ( self ) , by definition , there is nothing more to conquer & nothing can stop you – this is where you unleash your fullest potential – unhindered ; that is why it is a ‘ Liberation ‘ stage
“Getting beyond Self ”– is about ‘ defying the gravity ‘ which pulls us down on – at each of the 3 components / levels . We will have to ‘ free ‘ our self on each level .
o Body
o Mind
o Soul
Body – getting fitter , health & energy ahead of your edge
Mind – Choose & make your Work , your Cause , higher than yourself . You can be ordinary( Who You are ) ; but don’t let your work ( What You do ) anything less than extraordinary !
Soul – getting rid of your bondages : Fear , Insecurities , Guilt , Shame , Beliefs , Biases — anything which can hold you back
How do we reach , ‘ beyond self ‘ ?
o Develop Self awareness – Get to know yourself better — Get to know & feel the Elephant you are , so that you develop / see perspectives beyond that of only ‘ One Blind Man ‘ – which is you currently
 Know what you are / are not ; what can liberate you / what can hold you back
o Build Powerful Perspectives – hold a larger perspective to life than just around yourself ; a perspective like “ Win-within-Win “, which helps you to see yourself as a part of a Larger Whole . It tells you to contribute to larger good , with the conviction that your part of the larger good will be larger than good ( better )
Getting beyond yourself is real Nirvana — a Spiritual Journey of real liberation from all Physical , Psychological bondages – You will feel light , you will ‘ flow ‘ ; being in fluidic state will be easy also for you to ‘ connect ‘ / ‘ reach ‘ with the world around . On one hand you can assimilate as much as you want ( with no barrier ) or on the other hand or you can choose to dissolve , surrender & be a part of the larger Being .
Since in this state , you are ‘ outside you’ , you will be amorphous – not bound by a contour / ‘ geography ‘ – you can take the shape you want .
As a corollary , you will no longer be in a ‘ relative ‘ ( to yourself ) frame of mind , when looking at others – there is no question of ‘ judging ‘ anyone since there is no ( Cartesian system of Coordinate Axes with you at the ( 0,0 ) origin ) framework to judge against . You will hence be in an ‘ absolute ‘ stage – which is the form of Truth , Purity — this is the stage perfectly amenable to assimilate or dissolve into the larger Purity ( In Hindu Philosophy , this is a process of Aatma uniting Paramaatma – being a part of the larger whole )
Liberating self from clutches of self , is Real Nirvana !

KURI :Intent –Action Bridge

  • It is my conviction that
    • What you do” is a function of “ How you see
    • It is not “ What is “ , but what of what is happening , makes what sense to you will decide what you do
    • Therefore Life is about ‘ Sense Making ‘ ; you ( need to ) constantly try & make ‘ sense ‘ of what is happening around you . You need to think & reflect on what is ( & will ) happening – as to what does it mean – is it good / bad , therefore what do I need to do … What sense you make of what you ‘ see’ , is what is ‘Real ‘ to you  – in a way , your World is inside you
  • Therefore I have reached a conclusion that in the ultimate leadership / achievement quest ; it will not be the Talent deficit, but it will be the Perspective deficit – which will make decisive difference .The constraint to Human achievement, at the highest level will be Self & Own thinking

 

  • In this context I want to share with you another enlightening concept – KURI – created ( not by me but) by one of my entrepreneur colleague & friend . I will share it with you , along with my own ‘ Sense making ‘

KURI stands for Knowledge –> Understanding –> Realisation –> Implementation , in sequentially progressive stages which connects Knowledge ( & intent ) to Action . My take on this

  • Knowledge – What ( is happening around )
  • Understanding – What does it mean ( to me / my circumstances ) my insight / interpretation
  • Realisation – Therefore , what do I need to do
  • Implementation – Act on the realization , as above
  • ‘ Knowledge ‘ & ‘ Implementation ‘ is ‘ outside ‘ of you / your system ; whereas ‘ Understanding ‘ & ‘ Realisation ‘ happens ‘ inside ‘ you – It is your inside ‘ processor ‘ which makes sense of what is happening around – which is different from person to person – which is why different people react to the same situation differently – THE Unique Differentiator !
  • This inner processing is ‘ internalization ‘ which is very critical to one’s effectiveness – is your ‘ sense making ‘ , which actually ‘ empowers ‘ you to effective action , without which you are ‘ floating ‘ , – clueless
  • For most people in India , this bridge , this inner processor is missing ( or broken or rusted ) , hence we notice that while India is high on Knowledge , it is weak on Action . The reason lies in this broken bridge . Since the bridge is broken to logically walk across from Knowledge to Action , in India we jump from Knowledge to Action – which is the ‘ areal route ‘ – reason why most in India speak in the air – pure Gas without Substance . Reason why we in India make good Advisors , Academicians , Consultants , but poor Implementers .
  • Unfortunately most are not even aware of it … only when we realise this gap & revive the bridge , will most of us start making sense & get more effective .
  • In India we mistake Knowledge for Action or for Wisdom . I use this KURI bridge for my colleagues & clients , to bring in them the awareness & push them from ‘ Knowledge ‘ stage to ‘ Realisation ‘ stage ; because , unless the Realisation ‘ hits you ‘ ; action does not start

Win- Lose or Win –Win – Actually it is much beyond that

  • I am sure everyone is well familiar with ‘ Win-Lose ‘ , ‘ Win-Win ‘ scenarios and that everyone understands / enlightened on , how Win-Win is better , including in negotiations situations
  • However it is likely that you may not have heard that there is something beyond ‘ Win – Win ‘ & better and in fact worth striving for – though not so easy to reach there . You are unlikely to have known this before because no one told you , what I am going to share with you .
  • I do not know what to term this as , but it is a scenario which sees self win , as a subset of other’s win .
    • Can you envisage your win as a part of your customer’s ( or any other party , you are dealing with ) win & not separate from it , to be counted as ‘ Win – Win ‘ — it is NOT Your Win and ‘ his ‘ Win as two ( may be interrelated , yet ) distinct happening ?
    • Can you feel as happy with the other person’s win , you are dealing with ; as much as you would be ( /would have been ) happy with your win – regardless of how you define your win & regardless to whatever happens to what you defined as your win ?
    • Are you willing & happy to ‘ dissolve ‘ your win into someone else’s win , like sugar into milk – so that you can single mindedly focus on achieving only One WIN , that is of the ‘ other person ‘ and feel overwhelmingly & genuinely happy about the remarkable outcome ( like sugar made the sweetened milk ) you helped create , without really bothering to count – ‘ what did you get ‘
  • If you have experienced any of above or if you can relate to the scenario above ; you will understand the concept I am bring to you . Those now enlightened but skeptical about its ‘ practicality ‘ will ask me …if anyone in this world does this , except God & the kins thereof …. I would say YES , Very Much . Each Mother I know , practices that every time with her child
    • I am not aware of any mother , who in any scenario , operates with her child in a ‘ Win –Win ‘ scenario , forget about ‘ Win –Lose ‘ !
    • I am not aware of any mother , who has any ‘ own ‘ agenda , separate from her child’s that makes her count her ‘ win ‘ or  ‘What did I get for what I did ‘ .
    • I have not seen a mother who is not single mindedly focused on her child’s win – that being the only win for he in that situation . And her life is an endless Sum of all such situations
  • I took ‘ Mother ‘ analogy , because it is so visible , happening in each of our lives . However practicing this concept of Win within Win ‘ is not restricted to ‘ biological ‘ mothers . It applies to each that person , who ‘ Mothers’ whatever he / she is involved in – be it person , product , process , cause , nation , entity & I have seen it being practiced
  • Now I will tell you , why I am fascinated with this concept , why I consider it a higher level concept , where can it be applicable & who are well poised to practice it
    • The flaw in ‘ Win – Win ‘ concept – however flaunted & promoted is that … whether ‘Win –Lose ‘ or ‘Win –Win ‘ ; both are ‘ Transactional ‘  …. It has to do with “ What do I get for what I did “ . Even if you are conscious about & calibrate to see each party gets happy , the mind set is still “ What do I get for what I did “  . “ Win within Win “ , goes much beyond to be a ‘ Relationship ‘ approach
    • Other shortcoming in any transactional v/s relationship approach is that in the former ( like in Win –Win ) there are two entities , in the later ( as in Win within Win) there is only one entity . This does not only afford single minded focus of your efforts & energy – quantitatively leading to outstanding outcome ; it also attains ‘ purity of purpose ‘ & qualitatively too attains higher level
  • This concept – rather a Life Approach has not only universal application in whatever you do , but more particularly potently useful in Service industry – for better customer focus . And with its purity of purpose , every step you take on this path enhances your enrichment & happiness quotient
  • Having said that let me caution you that practicing Win within Win is none too easy . Win-Win itself is difficult to practice . Practicing Win within Win will take much more level of mental strength , conviction & determination . I am not sure how many can , but it is certainly very desirable – aspirational journey
    • It will come easy to those who are convinced about & dedicated to creating “ Greater Good “ for the world and have deep intrinsic faith that their share of “ Greater Good “ will be Greater than the ( usual )Good , without having to separately count . It is for those people who take as their obligation to contribute to creating a better World and take themselves as inseparable constituent of the better world , than the other way round
    • It is for that “ Sugar “ who unquestioningly dissolves into the Milk with deep commitment to make the World a better place with it than without – it is not for that ‘ sugar ‘ who refuses to lose its identity by dissolving & in turn makes , self & the surrounding – unfulfilled
  • This piece is therefore dedicated to All Mothers & to All Those who take themselves as Mothers to Whatever they do . This World is a better place , essentially because of them !