Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Inspirational Leadership

Lance Secretan talks about his upcoming book "The Spark, The Flame and the Torch" in a conversation and he touches upon Love as one the key ingredients for Inspirational Leadership.

You can listen to the conversation at www.secretan.com/media_podcasts.php

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leadership is caring deeply

Head over to Dinesh and Bawa's blog and read Antoine's account of getting couple of folks to get rid of their dependency and while you do that, do not forget to drop in a line to Antoine and most importantly do write to Erika and Patricia as well.

Real Service comes from the heart


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Taking Responsibility - Leadership in Action

[Via BBC News]

Around the world millions of children are not getting a proper education because their families are too poor to afford to send them to school. In India, one schoolboy is trying to change that. In the first report in the BBC's Hunger to Learn series, Damian Grammaticas meets Babar Ali, whose remarkable education project is transforming the lives of hundreds of poor children.

At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village.

The story of this young man from Murshidabad in West Bengal is a remarkable tale of the desire to learn amid the direst poverty.

Babar Ali's day starts early. He wakes, pitches in with the household chores, then jumps on an auto-rickshaw which takes him part of the 10km (six mile) ride to the Raj Govinda school. The last couple of kilometres he has to walk.

The school is the best in this part of West Bengal. There are hundreds of students, boys and girls. The classrooms are neat, if bare. But there are desks, chairs, a blackboard, and the teachers are all dedicated and well-qualified.

As the class 12 roll-call is taken, Babar Ali is seated in the middle in the front row. He's a tall, slim, gangly teenager, studious and smart in his blue and white uniform. He takes his notes carefully. He is the model student.

Babar Ali is the first member of his family ever to get a proper education. 

"It's not easy for me to come to school because I live so far away," he says, "but the teachers are good and I love learning. And my parents believe I must get the best education possible that's why I am here."

Raj Govinda school is government-run so it is free, all Babar Ali has to pay for is his uniform, his books and the rickshaw ride to get there. But still that means his family has to find around 1,800 rupees a year ($40, £25) to send him to school. In this part of West Bengal that is a lot of money. Many poor families simply can't afford to send their children to school, even when it is free.

Chumki Hajra is one who has never been to school. She is 14 years old and lives in a tiny shack with her grandmother. Their home is simple A-frame supporting a thatched roof next to the rice paddies and coconut palms at the edge of the village. Inside the hut there is just room for a bed and a few possessions.

Every morning, instead of going to school, she scrubs the dishes and cleans the homes of her neighbours. She's done this ever since she was five. For her work she earns just 200 rupees a month ($5, £3). It's not much, but it's money her family desperately needs. And it means that she has to work as a servant everyday in the village.

"My father is handicapped and can't work," Chumki tells me as she scrubs a pot. "We need the money. If I don't work, we can't survive as a family. So I have no choice but to do this job."

But Chumki is now getting an education, thanks to Babar Ali. The 16-year-old has made it his mission to help Chumki and hundreds of other poor children in his village. The minute his lessons are over at Raj Govinda school, Babar Ali doesn't stop to play, he heads off to share what he's learnt with other children from his village.

At four o'clock every afternoon after Babar Ali gets back to his family home a bell summons children to his house. They flood through the gate into the yard behind his house, where Babar Ali now acts as headmaster of his own, unofficial school.

Lined up in his back yard the children sing the national anthem. Standing on a podium, Babar Ali lectures them about discipline, then study begins.

Babar Ali gives lessons just the way he has heard them from his teachers. Some children are seated in the mud, others on rickety benches under a rough, homemade shelter. The family chickens scratch around nearby. In every corner of the yard are groups of children studying hard.

Babar Ali was just nine when he began teaching a few friends as a game. They were all eager to know what he learnt in school every morning and he liked playing at being their teacher.

Now his afternoon school has 800 students, all from poor families, all taught for free. Most of the girls come here after working, like Chumki, as domestic helps in the village, and the boys after they have finished their day's work labouring in the fields.  
"In the beginning I was just play-acting, teaching my friends," Babar Ali says, "but then I realised these children will never learn to read and write if they don't have proper lessons. It's my duty to educate them, to help our country build a better future." Including Babar Ali there are now 10 teachers at the school, all, like him are students at school or college, who give their time voluntarily. Babar Ali doesn't charge for anything, even books and food are given free, funded by donations. It means even the poorest can come here.

 "Our area is economically deprived," he says. "Without this school many kids wouldn't get an education, they'd never even be literate."
Seated on a rough bench squeezed in with about a dozen other girls, Chumki Hajra is busy scribbling notes.

 Her dedication to learning is incredible to see. Every day she works in homes in the village from six in the morning until half past two in the afternoon, then she heads to Babar Ali's school. At seven every evening she heads back to do more cleaning work.
Chumki's dream is to one day become a nurse, and Babar Ali's classes might just make it possible.

 The school has been recognised by the local authorities, it has helped increase literacy rates in the area, and Babar Ali has won awards for his work.

 The youngest children are just four or five, and they are all squeezed in to a tiny veranda. There are just a couple of bare electric bulbs to give light as lessons stretch into the evening, and only if there is electricity.

 And then the monsoon rain begins. Huge drops fall as the children scurry for cover, slipping in the mud. They crowd under a piece of plastic sheeting. Babar Ali shouts an order. Lessons are cancelled for the afternoon otherwise everyone will be soaked. Having no classrooms means lessons are at the mercy of the elements.

 The children climb onto the porch of a nearby shop as the rain pours down. Then they hurry home through the downpour. Tomorrow they'll be back though. Eight hundred poor children, unable to afford an education, but hungry for anything they can learn at Babar Ali's school.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Doctor interrupts after 18 seconds.....

[Via Tom Peters presentation at Mumbai]:

Listening is ... the ultimate mark of Respect.
Listening is ... the heart and soul of Engagement.
Listening is ... the heart and soul of Kindness.
Listening is ... the heart and soul of Thoughtfulness.
Listening is ... the basis for true Collaboration.
Listening is ... the basis for true Partnership.
Listening is ... a Team Sport.
Listening is ... a Developable Individual Skill.* (*Though women are far better at it than men.)
Listening is ... the basis for Community.
Listening is ... the bedrock of Joint Ventures that work.
Listening is ... the bedrock of Joint Ventures that last.
Listening is ... the core of Effective Cross-functional Communication*
                        (*Which is in turn Attribute #1 of organizational effectiveness.)
Listening is ... the engine of superior EXECUTION.
Listening is ... the key to making the Sale.
Listening is ... the key to Keeping the Customer’s Business.
Listening is ... the engine of Network development.
Listening is ... the engine of Network maintenance.
Listening is ... the engine of Network expansion.
Listening is ... Learning.
Listening is ...the sine qua non of Renewal.
Listening is ...the sine qua non of Creativity.
Listening is ...the sine qua non of Innovation.
Listening is ... the core of taking Diverse opinions aboard.
Listening is ... Strategy.
Listening is ... Source #1 of “Value-added.”
Listening is ... Differentiator #1.
Listening is ... Profitable.*
                        (*The “R.O.I.” from listening is higher than from any other single activity.)
Listening underpins ... Commitment to EXCELLENCE
 And I guess he missed out stating the obvious.....Listening is Love in Action

Friday, October 9, 2009

Facilitating the APEX Program

Cross Posted from my blog:

[I am] in the ashram currently, facilitating the APEX program to 35 leaders of a leading Telecom Infrastructure company from all over India – Jammu to Madurai and Ahmedabad to Guwahati and all over in-between. Inviting them to commence a leadership journey based on the principles of love and inspiration.
And I am enjoying every bit of it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Silver Tsunami

Last evening I had a very interesting discussion with the CEO of an Indian IT company, in the context of APEX Program. Apart from the program, we conversed on a wide range of topics, cloud computing, autonomic computing, future of IT, future of Indian IT industry etc and then inevitably the conversation turned towards CSR and I was delighted to hear from him that he was instrumental in driving the hiring of people with disabilities to over 1% of the total workplace.

While the 1% looks small, but given the large workpool that Indian IT companies have, it translates to quite a big number.

I came back happy, getting to know a leader who really cared about the society and translated that care and empathy into action.

Today, the 800-CEO-Read blog had a post about a new book titled Dive In. This is what 800-CEO-Read had to say. BTW I really really envy the guys at 800-CEO-Read....they get to read the latest books. Not sure if this a viable business model out here in India.
Fifty-four million American adults live with a disability. Add to that tens of millions of parents of children with special needs and mature workers with age related disabilities and the number grows.
Why are these numbers important to your company, agency, organization, or school? Because these people make up the special needs workforce a group of talented employees that you cannot afford to overlook. Unlike many books about employing the disabled, Nadine Vogel includes in the special needs workforce parents of children with special needs and workers with age-related disabilities.

In this book she presents the business case for hiring and supporting this untapped and under-used workforce. She demonstrates the value of inclusion with statistics, anecdotal evidence, and examples from the world's most successful companies.

Vogel not only encourages employers to consider this under-used group, but also presents concrete how-to information and best practices from in-the-know corporations. In Dive In, she maps out a plan for inclusion that can increase your company's productivity, elevate your status with your customers, and position your company as an employer of choice.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cultivate Love

Steve Farber, author of several books on Leadership writes:

Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.
The emotion of love is considered to be out of place or simply inappropriate in the world of business. Many believe that good business people keep their hearts out of their work. The opposite is true. It's the heart that brings the fire of creativity to bear on the day-to-day. It's the heart that inspires drive, loyalty and leaps of innovative brilliance.

The word, "love," appears frequently in the leadership literature, and in many studies, love is identified as an important ingredient in productive leader/follower and coach/employee relationships. In research conducted at the Tom Peters Company, we found that in order to be an effective coach, you have to care about the person you're coaching. You can't simply go through the motions because you're so obliged.

I use the word, "love," in the broadest sense. I'm not saying that you should fall in love with everyone you work with. That could get a bit complicated, to say the least. I am saying that you have to find something to care deeply about in your business and in each individual that touches your business. And it has to be real. And they have to know it.

The key, then, is to find a way to genuinely and sincerely love the customer and then act from that level of motivation. Great business relationships are won in ways analogous to romantic relationships: by paying nearly obsessive attention to the needs, desires, hopes and aspirations of the other person. By knowing not only when to stand firm on your own principles but also when to sacrifice your short-term needs for the long-term relationship.
And by proving through your own actions that you really mean it, and that you're not simply following the advice that you gleaned from the latest training program. The Extreme Leader -- in other words -- actually does love the customer and strives, therefore, to enhance the customer's life.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Courage and Love are more powerful than force

[Via Nipun Mehta's blog] A must read post on Leadership. I haven't heard or read about this book, but will put it in my to read list.

 I happened upon an unread book sitting on my desk -- A Higher Standard of Leadership: Lessons from the Life of Gandhi, by Keshavan Nair.
In so many ways, Keshavan Nair's first chapter really articulates all that I am feeling today ... so here it is:

In putting forward a path to a higher standard of leadership, there is no greater exemplar than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi spent more than fifty years in public life and is best known for leading hundreds of millions of people against one of the greatest empires in the history of the World.  
In contrast to the other political leaders and military commanders of his time -- men such as Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, de Gaulle, Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton and MacArthur -- Gandhi wore no resplendent uniform, commanded no armies, and held no government position.  Instead he preached and -- more importantly -- lived the gospel of truth and nonviolence and demonstrated through his life of service the oneness of humanity.  He reminded the world that the human spirit is indomitable and that courage and love are more powerful than force.  The world acknowledged his special place when the United Nations flew its flag at half-mast when he was assassinated.  He is the only individual with no connection to any government or international organization for whom this has been done.
Gandhi had many of the qualities we associate with a successful leaders. In addition to courage and determination, he could sustain high energy level for extended periods, he was decisive, he had great interpersonal skills, he was thoughtful but action oriented, and he paid great attention to the details of implementation.
Gandhi's life was not governed by policies; it was governed by principles and values. The best political leaders have their country as the source of passion. Business leaders have as their passion the organization, whether it is through customers, products, or technology. Gandhi's life was driven by his religion: truth and nonviolence and life of service to others.  When a journalist asked Gandhi for a message for the United States, especially for African Americans, Gandhi responded, "My life is its own message."
The lessons from Gandhi's life challenge our beliefs about the standard of leadership -- beliefs that many of us have come to accept as necessary for success. While most leaders identify with symbols of power to elevate themselves above the people they lead, Gandhi symbolized the people he was trying to serve. He tried to be like them with his lion cloth and his commitment to voluntary poverty. He symbolized service rather than power.
Gandhi believed in a single standard of conduct in public and private life -- a standard founded on integrity derived from the absolute values of truth and nonviolence.  He believed that individuals must have ideals and try to live up to them, and he demonstrated that an idealist could be practical and effective.  His claim, however, was to integrity, not infallibility.  He made his share of mistakes but was not afraid to acknowledge them.  He did not strive for consistency except in his quest for the truth.
As all policies, strategies, and laws ultimately have an impact on people or the environment, Gandhi believed moral principles had to be included in setting goals, selecting strategies, and making decisions.  He worked for the betterment of all people so they could enjoy freedom from fear and exploitation.
Some of Gandhi's ideas may seem irrelevant today -- applicable only to his time and place.  But on the fundamental  values of truth, nonviolence and service, he had a message for the ages.  He asked us to reject not only physical violence, but violence to the spirit.  It becomes more self-evident every day, that if we do not embrace the ideal of nonviolence, societies all over the world will deteriorate to the point where life will be intolerable.
Today we talk about controlling physical violence with more violence and controlling spiritual violence with laws.  Maybe its necessary.  But I believe that the long-term solution is to put before us, especially the young, the ideal of nonviolence of the brace.  We need a new heroic ideal: the brave, the truthful, nonviolence individual who is in the service of humanity, resists injustice and exploitation, and leads by appealing to our ideals and our spirit.  Such a heroic ideal is embodied in Gandhi.
Gandhi's life point the way to a higher standard of leadership in which integrity based on a single standard of conduit is central, a spirit of service is imperative, and decisions and actions are bound by moral principles.

May we all be the change we wish to see in the world!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Speaking to passion

The Art of Possibility by Zander and Zander is a book that I heartily recommend. A very easy read based on the life experience of authors. They call it the book of practices. Go engage with it.

"Listening for passion and commitment is the practice of the silent conductor whether the players are sitting in the orchestra, on the management team, or on the nursery floor. How can this leader know how well he is fulfilling his intention? He can look in the eyes of the players and prepare to ask himself, "Who am I being that they are not shining?" He can invite information and expression. He can speak to their passion. He can look for an opportunity to hand them the baton." 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Heart of Great Managing

Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter in their book :"12 The Elements of Great Managing" write:

In our studies of hundreds of thousands of managers and work teams across the globe, it is very clear that great managers have an instinctive awareness that what they are doing is contributing more than a profit. Great managers achieve sustained profitability beacuse they make a connection to something beyond profit. They see the result of their work in the life of each person they manage.
Their impact transcendes mere business. For many it is almost an spiritual issue, no matter their particular faith. Their motivation stems from deeply held beliefs about their responsibility to those around them. Whether they believe it is Providence or pure chance that puts them in the same office or factory with their team, these managers understand viscerally the scientific truth what they do will have a large effect - maybe a lifelong effect - on their colleagues. They realize, given the percentage of waking time their teams spend at work, how much influence they have, not just over their people's "work life" but their whole life.
Most will tell you management is a solemn responsibility, something from which they take tremendous satisfaction, but it also weighs heavily on their conscience because they take it so seriously. With it, they say, rests not only the fiduciary responsibilities of protecting other people's money and striving for a good return, but a special kind of stewardship over people's lives. Employees say that both sides of the coin, the personal and professional, depend on a manager who can give them the guidance, support, advocacy, and resources that motivate them to reciprocate their best efforts.
... The managers who are best at getting the most from the people are those who give the most to them. Those who create the greatest financial performance start with the least pecuniary motivations. They work hard to do the right thing for their people, and they end up doing well.
That is the heart of great managing.
Not possible to lead this way, unless you love your people and care for them deeply, isn't it?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Without Love....

Fred, author of Conscious Business writes:
Many business people consider "love" to be a personal matter, certainly nothing that belongs in the corporation, yet love forms the foundation of all human interactions. Without love, there is no teamwork; without love, there is no leadership; without love, there is no real commitment to customer service.
As I said earlier, Conscious Business is a wonderful book and ought to be read by anyone who is leading a team.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Conscious Business

Fred Koffman in his book Conscious Business writes:
"Work is love made visible", said Kahlil Gibran. Service, rather than greed, is what drives a market economy. Business is a crucial arena for the expression of the human spirit. But love, service, and spirituality and not terms associated with the market place. Many of us believe that it is necessary to sell out in order to succeed in business, or to drop out in order to pursue a spiritual life. This is false polarity. When business is conducted with high level of consciousness, there is no tension between material and spiritual wealth. Conscious leadership can create a conscious business, one that integrates wisdom and compassion in support of human development. In a conscious business, ancient wisdom and modern economics come together.
Business is not typically seen as a spiritual activity. It is supposed to pursue only money oriented goals devoid of any deeper significance. The only worthwhile businesses, however are conscious businesses: those that tackle their work as spiritual activity.
 Coming up Love and Business as defined by Fred.

Friday, September 25, 2009

From Unconscious to Conscious Leadership

I have been meaning to write about Conscious Business by Fred Koffman for a long time, but it had to happen today. I got introduced to Fred's book last Navratri, when Hemang gifted it to me.

I read it and I feel deeply in love with the book, for the principles that Fred talks in his book resonate very deeply with me and some of them - unconditional responsiblity, emotional mastery etc are common themes that we teach in APEX and other Art of Living programs as well.

If you have not read this book, do yourself a favor, buy yourself a copy, it will be one of the best professional and personal investments you would ever make.

Fred writes:
Success in business requires dealing with human beings, which is to say conscious beings. This book presents the basic principles and skills needed to deal with people while honoring their conscious nature. Although this is helpful for anybody who works, it is fundamental for those who manage and lead others. Great leadership is conscious leadership. 
Before diving into the principles of conscious leadership, Fred outlines,  outstandingly, as to what constitutes Unconscious business:
1) In terms of attitudes, three things
a) Unconscious Blame: The tendency to explain all difficulties exclusively as the consequence of forces beyond your influence, to see yourself as an absolute victim of external circumstances.
b) Essential Selfishness: is the exclusive focus on ego gratification, without the concern for the well being of others.
c) Ontological arrogance: is the claim that things are the way you see them, that your truth is the only truth. It is the belief that the only valid perspective is the one you hold, and that anybody who sees things differently is mistaken.
2) In terms of behaviours:
a) Manipulative communication: is the choice to withhold relevant information in order to get what you want. Those who communicate maninpulatively seek to pursue their personal agenda above all else.
b) Narcissistic negotiation: is the attempt to prove your worth by beating up your opponents. The narcissist's primary goal is not to achieve what he wants, but to show the other "who's the boss".
c) Negligent coordination: is a careless way to collaborate, making promises without a serious committment to honor them.
3) In terms of Reactions
a) Emotional Incompetence: manifests in two ways: explosion and repression. The first is acting out your feelings, indulging in counterproductive behaviours that only serve to discharge your emotional impluses. The second is hiding your feelings behind a facade of stoicism, pretending that nothing is going on while you are seething inside.
Fred writes:.
Culture is best described as the standard beliefs and expectations of "how we do things around here". Culture develops from the messages that group members receive about how they are expected to behave. It comprises shared goals, beliefs, routines, needs, or values. Cultures exist in all groups, from corporations to sport clubs, from schools to families.
Developing a conscious culture is a business imperative. Culture undergrids an organization. It enables the execution of the organization's strategy, the achievement of its goals, and the fullfilment of its mission....at the core of every productive culture are the seven qualities of conscious business. These qualities are rare in people, but they are even rarer in organizations. Establishing them as the organizational way of doing things require a cultural change.
To change a culture, the leaders have to change the messages people receive about what they must do to fit in.....A small change in senior managers behavior can send a big message....
The good news is that a cultural change inevitably leads to an organizational change. If the leadership can change people's belief about "the way things are done in this organization" things will definitely be done differently.
The bad news is that changing a culture is exceedingly difficult. Culture is not something that leaders can change by decree. They can only reshape it through new behaviors. The chicken-and-egg problem is that leadership behaviors are strongly determined by the existing culture. Furthermore, those who have reached leadership positions are the ones who thrived in the old culture. How cab they lead the organization away from the patterns that helped them succeed? Only through a change in consciousness. The spark that ignites a process of cultural change is a change in the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of top management: in other words, a shift from unconscious to conscious leadership. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Khalil Gibran on Work

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. To love life through labor is to be intimate with life's innermost secret. All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Antidote to fear

Via Michael McKinney's Leading Blog, a recent post on "The Application of Love Leadership", Michael writes:
I wanted to share with you an excerpt from John Hope Bryant’s book Love Leadership. The subtitle – The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World – says it all. Bryant is the founder of Operation HOPE, a non-profit provider of economic tools and services that has as its long range objective to literally “drive itself out of business.”

Bryant says we have “lost our story line;” too focused on the me instead of the we, we have become indifferent. He describes the opportunity to lead he found, this way:
In inner cities today, you’ll often find a liquor store right next to a check casher, next to a pawn shop, next to a rent-to-own store, next to a payday lender. If misery loves company, then this is a pile-on. There’s simply a super-abundance of predatory businesses, and many people have lost hope. They are poor in spirit: they’re not skeptical—they’re cynical; they have low self-esteem and negative role models; their get-up-and-go has got up and went. So they go to the check-cashing service to forfeit their today, and go to the payday lender to forfeit their tomorrow. And because they don’t believe they’ll have a tomorrow, they go to the liquor store to forget about their yesterday.

In these communities, poor people spend roughly $10 billion each year on what I call ghettoized financial services—high-interest and high-fee check cashing, payday loans, refund anticipation loans, title lending, rent-to-own, and the like. I know of one individual who got a payday loan for $800; by the time he finished pay it off six years later, after rolling this payday loan over countless times, he had paid $15,000 in interest on that $800 loan. These businesses are in many cases short-term-oriented, purely transactional business models that add little value, and even deteriorate the customer base they purport to serve.

These businesses are ultimately led by one thing: fear. People are afraid to lift themselves up, to lead themselves out of their situation, to think for themselves. Bad capitalism preys mercilessly on these fears.

Throughout my journey from the inner city to my work as a social entrepreneur, I have had a front dash row seat for witnessing how fear destroys a community. But I would learn that there is another way to live and to do business. It would take almost 30 years for me to understand that the antidote to fear is love.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Courage to Love

Lance writes in his book "One: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership"

It takes courage, strength and commitment to build and sustain relationships that are based on love and therefore inspiration. Gandhi said "Love is the prerogative of the brave." It takes courage to tell your colleagues how much you love their work, how much you love being part of a particular team or organization. And yet, those are the things that inspire people. We need love in every aspect of our lives, not just in our personal lives, but at work, too. We are whole beings. We are humans, not workers or functions who leave our need to be loved at home and then go to work - we are one.
Fear is the psychological, emotional, and spiritual opposite of love. No one is inspired by fear. People may be motivated by fear, but they are never inspired by it. Everything that inspires us comes from love, without exception. In fact there is nothing in our lives from which we get inspiration that does not also give us love. If a sunset inspires you, it is because you love sunsets, feeling a sense of oneness with the myth, mystery and magic of the sunset. If a person inspires you, it is because you love that person, feeling a sense of oneness with them. Love is the place that gives rise to inspiration.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conscious Leadership and Love

Lance Secretan in his book "One: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership" writes:
I define Love as the place where my heart touches your heart and adds to who we both are as persons. When we connect with others heart to heart, it doesn't mean that we are weak, and it does not require anyone to "submit" to someone or "give up" anything. In a dialogue that comes from the sweetness of your heart to that of another, there are only winners, not losers - there is, simply, oneness.
Conscious leaders who have the courage to be humble, forgiving, and loving - and therefore authentic - are much more inspiring and effective leaders, because they use their hearts to engage the hearts of others. There is deep wisdom and power in opening our hearts and using it to relate to others. These are the relationships that inspire, because they are heart to heart and cause us to feel and connect as one.
Considering that the greatest human need is to love and be loved, it is disconcerting that so many leaders have themselves lost their connection to myth, mystery, and magic and therefore to their hearts. Rediscovering love could inspire them and others.
Lance goes on to add:
When we discuss the word "love" in our organizations, some people's eyes roll, and some think that love is an emotion and a feeling that has no place in the work environment. But we are whole human beings, our lives are not separate, disconnected pieces - we are one - and we yearn to be loved and to love in every part of our whole lives, whether at work or at home. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Defining Love - Part 2

Continuing from the previous post, Tim goes on to say:
In your personal life, you can make decisions based on personal needs. If you wish to remain friendly with a toxic person, you have every right to do so. But business is not personal. Love in the bizworld is not some sacrificial process where we must all love one another come what may. There is no free love in the new economy. Every member of your team depends on each and every other member to contribute. You can't afford to take on people who will sink your value boat. So the definition of love must be modified to guarantee that it means not only you, but all the people who populate your bizworld, are value-added (adding value) for that bizworld.
Here, then, is my definition of love business: the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners.
What are our intangibles? They are our knowledge, our network and our compassion. These are the keys to true bizlove. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Defining Love - Part 1

I came across Tim Sander's book "Love is the Killer App" way back in 2002 and one of the things that I really liked was the way Tim's prescription of reading and aggregating wisdom. Since then I went back to the book several times, reading random pages. Tim was the first book that I encountered that talked openly about Love in the context of workplace.

He writes:
"But first, what do I mean by love?
The best general definition I have ever read is in the noted philosopher and writer Milton Mayeroff's 1972 book On Caring: "Love is the selfless promotion of the growth of the others" When you are able to help others grow to become the best people they can be, you are being loving - and you, too, grow."
More in the next post.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Love is not an act, it is a noun.

[Via Wisdomblog]

Q. How can I love and respect myself? And break a pattern that has been in me since I was seven years old?

Sri Sri: Forget about it, take it for granted. And this is one such thing. If you try to love yourself, you would be in trouble. The more effort you put, the longer it takes for you to realize this. So take it for granted that everyone loves themselves for sure and you too love yourself. You are love. Love is not an act, it is a noun.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Key is in the One

Stephen Covey states a universal but rarely understood truth:

"The key to ninety-nine is the one....how you treat the one reveals how you regard the ninety-nine because everyone is ultimately one." 

The realization that everyone is ultimately one can never happen at the level of intellect - however much one tries, one cannot see that unity, more so because the nature of the intellect is always to compare, to judge, to evaluate, to justify, to reason.....and so on. We all are conditioned by our environment, by the society, by parents, by our education and all the while huge emphasis is placed on "standing out". It becomes even more prominent by the time we join the workforce. We have difference of opinions, thoughts, ideas, perceptions, attitudes on even simple things, forget the fact how things come up when we are in conflict or worse in competition.The Performance Appraisal Systems at work are designed to accentuate the differences, to pull a few people up and push a few other down.

So with so much emphasis on "being different", "being unique", how does one see the unity? For we are always being pushed and forced to look at otherness thereby conditioning ourselves to constantly see the difference and in the process alienating ourselves from our own Self.

So how does one get to see the Unity?

Two probable answers from one who is still searching.....
a) Grace of the Master and/or
b) Spiritual Practices - Sudarshan Kriya and Meditation.

The mystics say that the unity is realized only in the depths of Meditation. Till this becomes an experiential reality all that is in our hands is how we consciously treat the person - irrespective of his/her age, sex, nationality, religion, caste, designation, title - in front of us. All we can do is to bring forth our best and treat the person with respect and dignity, without hurting or violating their sense of worth. We can do this if and only if we are able to love the person unconditionally in the moment. For Leadership is Love and we cannot experience the Unity we are seeking unless we are deeply in love - with life and with our own selves!

Leading by Serving

Came across James A. Autry's book on The Servant Leader via Servant Leadership blog. James writes about servant leadership in the context of work. He weaves the principles of Spirituality in presenting the concept of Servant Leadership.

James writes:
This concept of serving others is an essential part of what I believe about leadership, let me offer you a list of six things I believe about leadership:

1) Leadership is not about controlling people; it's about caring for people and being a useful resource for people.

2) Leadership is not about being boss; it's about being present for people and building a community at work.

3) Leadership is not about holding on to territory; it's about letting go of ego, bringing your spirit to work, being your best and most authentic self.

4) Leadership is less concerned with pep talks and more concerned with creating a place in which people can do good work, can find meaning in their work, and can bring their spirits to work.
5) Leadership, like life, is largely a matter of paying attention.
6) Leadership requires love.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Leadership and Love

We begin our Leadership journey by this fantastic quote - which incidentally also is the theme for this blog as well - by Sri Sri RaviShankar, founder, Art of Living Foundation.

"Leadership and love go hand-in-hand. Only a leader who loves his people naturally, selflessly and unconditionally will reap success."