Any organization, typically has two kinds of workforce: Horses and Donkeys. Horses are the high performing employees, consistently productive and working at maximum efficiency. Donkeys are the non or low-performing employees, with low productivity. Common sense would dictate that one should employ only horses, but here’s the paradox - an organization needs both. Both have a role to play – the Donkey’s role is to carry load and the Horse’s role is to run, that is perform. The problem arises when we recruit the wrong person to assay a role they are not cut out for.
What differentiates the two?
A Horse must not be hired to carry heavy loads, since he is not cut out for that, instead he will reduce his running speed --- which is his strength. The result is under performance & inefficiency. When we place a Donkey in a Horse’s role, the net result will be ineffective that is not producing result on assigned task.
The fundamental difference between the two is one of Constitution. Constitution relates to not just what a person appears to be, but to what one intrinsically is. One cannot bank on training to bring in an elementary transformation. No amount of effort, hard work and materials can convert a barren land into a fertile one… it would be a waste of time, energy and resources.
Key learnings from this concept:
- It is not a question of deciding which animal is a better choice a horse or a donkey? In relative terms we need to make a peer to peer comparison. It is important to recognise that each has its absolute worth which is in a contextual application.
- People are made differently. They have their own individual and unique Constitution which is different from others, hence constitutionally different - neither being better or worse. We need to recognise these traits and put it to appropriate use.
- Most tend to overestimate what training can do. Training has very limited role in human transformation. It can make a Donkey, a better Donkey but cannot transform it into a Horse and vice versa.
- Hence the most critical point/decision in ensuring right fit on the job and right deployment is not training but selection, how to select correctly is the biggest skill one needs to have. Training can do very little once a wrong selection is made.
- It is important to employ different constitutions Horses & Donkeys. But it is crucial to place the right Constitution in the right role.
- This requires that organisations recognise role of assessing constitution in the selection process & stop considering resumes as the basis for interviewing /selecting. Resumes can only tell us about what the candidate has acquired externally (skills, academics, knowledge) & not how the candidate is internally made of, in terms of his/ her values/ beliefs, approach to work, attitudes, resolve, orientation, etc which is what the “Constitution” or ‘Mould’ is.
- In mathematics, we have two conditions/ levels: Necessary & Sufficient …. Necessary defines the basic minimum level to be able to be considered – this is a Rejection line, whereas Sufficient represents level which needs to be crossed to qualify – this is a ‘Selection line’. In our recruitment process resumes should define the rejection line, not selection line – which is defined by the ‘Constitution assessment’!
What makes an organization is its people; not its products or services alone. Success is not defined by the number of Horses and Donkeys you have, but by how and who do you deploy for what application. This is what will maximize results.
Dependence is a part of Life. Friends desire company of friends than being alone. Organization depends on its employees to take its agenda forward --- even a mighty Nation depends on its residents, just to be a NATION. There is a feel of reassurance in these examples of ‘dependence‘.
On the other hand , some other examples are : A child’s dependence on parents for many things, before he grows up. In olden days, a traditional, non working Indian housewife’s financial dependence on her husband. If her husband died, she was either on the streets or at the mercy of other family members as in contrast with today’s educated housewife also has co-dependence with her husband , but if any calamity had to strike – including death of husband – will be self sufficient.
In such cases where the dependent is at the mercy of the other person , the dependence does not have a good feel about it.
Therefore dependence in itself may not be good or bad… depends where is it coming from & importantly where is it taking one from here on.
In the latter case the dependence is one sided , there is one party who is perceived to be (more) dependent on the other
- This dependence is more physical / material & is ‘external‘
- This dependence is also about some basic / survival needs
- In an ‘unequal ‘relationship, self esteem of ‘receiving ‘party may be at stake
I call this dependence as Destructive Dependence which has more ‘physical ‘dimension and which can be crippling & debilitating. It depicts a position of weakness.
Dependence in the former case is relatively more mutual -- at least there is no ‘ hierarchy ‘ in who needs whom more – neither party can be said to have an upper hand or being subservient to the other
- This dependence is more emotional than based on addressing physical / material needs
- In most cases it’s beyond basic / survival needs. These are likely to invoke feelings of reassurance, emotional support, comfort, confidence, even pride
- Hence this dependence is likely to be ‘ internal‘
I categorise this as Constructive Dependence , which is more ‘ emotional ‘ in dimension and which is facilitative and nurturing . This is a position of strength.India’s dealing with (dependence on) US in the 60's for Food grains was Destructive dependence whereas the current one is a Constructive dependence.
Constructive dependence is a case where presence of the other entity is reassuring, an advantage; but its absence is not crippling or a disadvantage. It is a case where you don’t materially depend for your survival , but it is a warm mental feeling that, should I be in need, there is someone there, who I can fall back on.
Destructive dependence is a case where without support one is inadequate — things will fall apart. Destructive dependence is like crutches without which a person may not be able to walk, whereas Constructive dependence is like shoulder of a friend , you can put your hand around while walking on your own & feel good.
In Sum, dependence in itself is not a weakness , it can be your strength. However having an option to ‘Depend ‘when you don’t need, is the best form of dependence. Dependence works best when it’s mutual & building on each other than being at ’ someone’s mercy ‘with an element of subservience / helplessness. Life’s journey should be to evolve from a position of Destructive dependence (Child) to Constructive dependence (Adult).
Each partner in Constructive dependence is strongly independent & meaningfully interdependent. A position of weakness can only lead to exploitation and Destructive dependence.
Finally we need to realize that feeling of ‘dependence‘ is more psychological than physical.
It’s not my job ‘ , is a very popular phrase heard in the Corporate World . Job Description (JD) . document is created to help more clarity on one’s role responsibility . Ironically it seems to have had a reverse impact on people , making them experts in knowing what their job is not , more than understanding, what is ! & what is expected from the role.
While we don’t have an ambition of transforming anyone who does not want to ; for those desirous of looking at life a little differently ; I have an alternative life ( & hence work , which is a part of life ) approach , which I discovered & am following since --- works around asking 3 successive questions , when you see anything around (work, item, aspect, emotion, person … just about anything ) :
- Does this ( work ) need to be done ? .. if the answer is ‘Yes ‘ , go to the second question
- Can I do it ? (vis-à-vis your ability to do it), if the answer is ‘Yes ‘ , go to next question
- Will I do it ? (to do with your willingness & time availability)
If the answer to the 3rd question is ‘ Yes ‘ , just DO IT ! ; regardless of your JD… It really doesn’t matter whose job it is.
Let me explain to you with an example . You have a part time housemaid who comes everyday to wash used utensils . She is absent from last 2 days , without notice , as a result utensils to be cleaned have piled up in your kitchen sink & you are feeling short of utensils for cooking . You have two options … wait until the day your maid shows up ( because it is ‘ HER Job ‘ – remember , it is ‘ Not My Job ‘ for you ! ) or get an alternative arrangement for cleaning , including yourself . Now try using my alternative work approach , ask 3 successive questions :
- Does this ( work ) need to be done ? Your answer is likely to be ‘ Yes ‘ -Go to next question.
- Can I do it ? , Not being a skilled job, your answer is ‘Yes ‘ , go to next question
- Will I do it ? – Decide based on your time & mental comfort... may be you will say ‘Yes’
In reality, you would have acted much earlier than 2 days, you would understand that these 3 questions would have crossed your subconscious mind & would have been answered in affirmative, even before you realized. This is how we work in our personal life, unfortunately when it comes to our work, we become Maids & think it is someone else’s job !
One caution before you answer the 3rd question…. It is not just a matter of your time ( availability), but your will --- your mental comfort . If by doing that job ( which was not “ Your Job “ ) you are likely to feel angry or likely to feel that you are doing a favour or a big sacrifice … I suggest it is not worth you undertaking that task , because the burden you will feel by doing a ‘ favour ‘ or the mental resistance you experience while physically performing the task you did not want to – will haunt you as stress , well past the event . Please do not do anything which you can’t do out of free will & with pleasure .
I always said that “ What you do is a function of How you see” . Conventional ( JD bound ) approach can make you a ‘ Maid ‘ & the new approach to work , which I shared above is what Mothers choose
While you would decide what you want to do , I am sharing this new approach to make you aware that there exist an alternative approach beyond the conventional route ( not my job ) , so that you have a choice . If you are the person with a burning career ambition , this new approach is for you.
This approach does not lead to exploitation of one who chooses it , because , you will remember that you have a choice of saying ‘ No ‘ to the 3rd question .
What is true for Work is also true for Life & vice versa … , because you need to realise that across Work / Life ; you are the same person & not ‘Jackale & Hyde‘. These 3 questions – which I learnt from my Mother’s & Wife’s behavior , will help you at any stage in life !
Everybody who has had some exposure to a course on ‘ Consumerism ‘ will belt out catch phrases with ease like : ‘ Customer is the King’ ; ‘ Consumer always comes first ‘
And yet you may not be surprised if I share with you my observation that most service deliveries in India are sub standard – below par ; because what you see as what most service organizations do is invariably the opposite of what we are told about who is the King !
They are so inwardly and self focused . Their sincerity to serve you is not as much the reason for this wrong focus , as much it is due to the gap in their understanding of what service is . Service to them is from their perspective -- they don’t understand customer’s perspective to serving --- as I always say : “ What you do is a function of How you see “
These organisations have their pre set financial goals to chase, not customer needs .It’s like an approach of a Fruit seller , who will bring a basket of good , handpicked fruits for you to choose from ; not knowing ( & not wanting to know ) if you are a diabetic or have some specific dietary requirement. Can you imagine a very skilled & well meaning doctor show casing his treatment options and asking a patient to choose from , instead of deciding treatment based on patient diagnosis … This is exactly how it happens in service !
Most organisations are built around their purpose , constrained by their abilities and structured to suit internal logistics instead of customer convenience . Even the application of technology is driven more by consideration of operational efficiency or as pricing opportunity; than creating Service Excellence.
That is why the non – human way (voice command operated , automated teleservice) is increasingly becoming inhuman … may times you do not get across or have to hold on to it for long or you have to cross 6-7 levels of filtering commands, in the garb of guiding you …. It is actually a deterrent for the customer to continue. Many times you find that the option or issue of service you are seeking resolution for is not even listed in the menu. This is distancing from customers.
As if this ‘ distancing from customers ‘ was not good enough , I’m seeing a new trend of ‘ hiding from customers ‘ . The trend I see in a few major service sector companies including a DTH company operating from the sky; is to say tata to customers – when earlier they had physical presence in the form of service centers where customers had some recourse to issues and grievances which is now fast disappearing . When things do not get resolved on Phone / Net in absence of a visible presence , a customer does not know where to go, company websites may not give office / service center address.
Similarly , some domestic airlines who force customers to have printed boarding cards as a pre condition to allow check in .I doubt if this is prompted by customer need , but assuming it is ; how can you possibly deny customer his right to choose ( pre print boarding card or not ) even if the initiative is in customer’s best interest ? How can you treat an Adult customer like a Child ?
To me , denying Transparency , Access & Choice to customers is a Cardinal sin and fundamentally contravenes the service principle of ‘Customer is the king’.
Another reason why most Organisations in India are seen to serve their own interest ; is that they see themselves and customers as on two opposite sides , they suspect their customers -- that is why they seek ‘ protective ‘ measures from customers & build a fortress wall around themselves . They see Organisation's interests & Customer interests as two & often clashing entities … that is why service standards in India are so pathetically below standard . In the end these organizations neither serve their customers well nor themselves.
To me Customers is the ‘reason for being ‘ for service organizations. Hence it is these organisations who need to be aligned with customers & not the other way round. It is my conviction that Customer success is not just a better way, but the ONLY way to Organisation’s success . The beauty is when you are on the same side as your customer ; there is no duality of purpose --- Customer success remains a ‘ common Win ‘ ( Win-within-Win concept ), like a Mother to her child . Business Results in such cases is the most logical Result of what they do – not a Reason for their pursuit !
Giving birth to a child is I understand a near Life / death moment for the mother … in a way it is a near ‘ rebirth’ for the woman . We ( male ) – half the world’s population will not be able to truly fathom the pain a woman endures at the time of childbirth , in addition to 9 months of a patient labour of carrying & nurturing .
However beyond a physical moments of endurance in delivery (physical equivalent of rebirth) , something happens to the woman after the child is born … A Mother is ‘ Born ‘ … A complete psychological transformation from a woman to a mother to every mother , each time --- much more than the physical transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly .
There is no training program anywhere in the world to train a woman ‘ to be a mother ‘ & yet the transformation happens to a near perfect motherhood , in every woman , the moment her child is born .
When I refer to ‘Mother ‘ in my Coaching or Leadership Development workshops , it is the psychological transformation to motherhood that I refer to . That I find Divine & Complete . It is this concept of ‘ Motherhood ‘ that I want to borrow into our work or anything we do .
Notwithstanding the enormous amount of effort and stretch a mother puts into in rearing her child , what sets a mother apart is her ‘CARE‘ , much more than the ‘ LABOUR‘. Labour is required and is respected . but can be ‘paid off ‘ …. Care can never be completely ‘ paid off‘ ; it is what makes us indebted to our parents , teachers , but not to our maid
The essential difference between a Mother & Maid is that between Care & Labour . For Mother her child is a Cause , for Maid , looking after a child is a Job ! Hence a mother is purpose driven , a maid is laden with activities . No wonder the output is diametrically different .
The human evolution journey of life therefore needs to be transitioning from Labour to Care … that is where you attain ‘ Motherhood ‘ . Anyone who is purpose driven & takes his / her Cause as higher than self ( just like our mothers ) has become a mother ; regardless of the person’s gender & regardless whether that person has physically delivered a baby .
I hence urge my audience , coaches to take their respective work ( not ‘ Job ‘ … which is an assignment done for a compensation ) as their Child … you WILL become Mother , from where you will be Self Driven … you no longer require Directions , Supervision or Training.
Clothes may maketh a man; but man maketh an organization- more so the right man (or person to be politically correct). Unarguably, the most important decision an employer makes is reflected in his/her hiring choices. The fundamental factor for sustained business success is picking the right people. In mathematical terms, the right human resource is a multiplier and the wrong one is a divider.
Therefore, right selection is a crucial business process – it is first level quality control. Organizations like Google place overwhelming emphasis on employee selection, to the extent of favoring the hiring account over training budget. In such high achieving organizations, selection processes are exceptionally elaborate and rigorous, with involvement from the highest levels; hiring is never, or at most rarely, outsourced.
While each enterprise has its own evolved selection process, some basic observations should be kept in mind while hiring.
Do not pay for what you can; pay for what you can’t: Interviewing candidates based on their CV is a given. It is taken for granted that the applying candidate has the requisite skill set and experience. The trick lies in how to further shortlist.
If a seemingly right candidate is short on knowledge and skills, they can always be imparted in a training programme – which begets the question, why pay for what you can do. Hire a candidate who brings something with him/her, that cannot be taught. This something is called “constitution”. It is what makes a horse, a horse and a donkey, a donkey. Constitution is intrinsic in a person; it is his/her values, beliefs, attitude and perspective towards work. These are the elements that will define his contribution to work. A large portion of what makes up a right constitution is universal; some part though, will be contextual to the industry, the stage of evolution the organization is at and its value system.
Do not be under illusion; you are not in the transformation business: Hirers need to understand that they may not have the wherewithal and time to effect a change in the hired candidate, more so against his/ her wishes. You can lead a horse to water, but cannot make it drink. Moreover, training can make a donkey into a better donkey but can never transform it into a horse. Hence, it is crucial that this choice be made at selection, not after.
Right selection is a skill that hirers need to own: Although the art of right selection is so fundamental to business success, ironically, the world over, interviewers are rarely trained in “quality Interviewing”, nor are they ever measured on their performance - with the exception of a few organizations (again like Google).
CV as a basis for selection is long outdated, CV is at best a rejection (not selection) instrument; selection should be based on Right Constitution
I believe that “ What you do is a function of how you see “ …. If you need to bring in a transformation or a significant change your ; how you Think , Say & Act must first undergo a significant transformation . The choice of words therefore has to be conscious & rightly rooted . Therefore , for me it is about Selection , not about Recruitment .
Selection is not a numerical process ,it is actually an important quality control process . There are organisations ( like Google ) who place an overwhelming emphasis of efforts & process in selection & in fact consider investment of a rupee in Selection of higher significance than an equivalent rupee in Training.
Conventionally CV ( Resume ) has been a pillar instrument for ‘ recruitment ‘ . I look at CV as a rejection instrument , not a selection instrument . In my view once you have a JD and a desirable candidate profile ready , use CV of a candidate who has applied for the position to shortlist or reject the candidature based on his / her suitability vis-à-vis the desirable candidate profile . For the rest of the selection process you need to assess the candidate based not on his / her academic profile or skills or experience ( since these have already been taken care of at previous sorting out stage , to eliminate unsuitable candidatures ) ---- which is candidate’s PAST ,
But based on what a candidate is likely to achieve for you , i.e. his / her FUTURE . You need to assess the candidate not on what he/ she was but what is & what can be . This is where a CV falls short of being a good predictor of future / of what to expect --- selection being a very crucial , first point ( entry gate ) Quality Control process for the organization .
What organization benefit from a candidate is not from his / her intelligence but from application – not from what he / she has but what he/she can do with what he/she has . That is better decided by , what I call as “ Constitution “ of a person …. His / her Mould .
Constitution is what components a person is made up of like : Attitude , Values , Work approach / ethics / philosophy , Beliefs … etc . Constitution is what makes a horse , a Horse & a donkey , a Donkey .
This is important to realise that if we happen to select a Donkey , especially in position of a Horse , notwithstanding the intelligence or academic excellence the donkey comes with that is a fundamental mistake ; as no subsequent training program in the world can convert a donkey into a horse …. Nor can training transform an orange into a mango or vice versa .
What defines right constitution of a candidate for an organization is contextual & depends on Character / nature of the organization , Business / industry it operates in & the Stage of its business evolution .
Therefore what is right constitution for an organization is unique --- it will be uniform within an organization regardless of function / role because that defines alignment / fit between an organization & a prospective employee but different for different organizations . e.g. right constitution for one of the organisations I worked for , was defined in the form of following attributes
- Independent thinking
- Learning ability
- Problem solving
Once defined , the selection process is aligned to assess candidates on these parameters.
In India we are high on Knowledge but low on Action. We make truly great academicians, professors, consultants but poor workers & managers. Apart from low / deteriorated work ethos, what is essentially responsible for this critical gap is overemphasis of our education system on ‘ Knowledge ‘ at the cost of Learning / Insights or Realizations, without which there can be no meaningful action.
Same is the scenario in Indian Service Industry. Most if not all are well familiar with Phrases like: Customer centricity / focus, Customer is King, Customer oriented service .. etc, however while most can rattle these out effortlessly with high memory, to score 10/ 10 in an exam paper; I doubt how many really understand what ‘ Serving ‘ means and what it takes to be ‘ Customer Centric‘.
What is not in active cognizance cannot be in active consciousness & hence cannot reflect in behavior.
Let’s take an example: We are always told that Automatic (IVR) systems are created for customer convenience & access. Is that the reality of our experience, really ? Many times, many of these systems are so complexly designed as to have customer never reach any point of resolution. Either you don’t understand the instructions or it a multi iteration - long convoluted process before you reach some point of connect --- i.e. if you are not exhausted by then. Many times what you called to ask, is not covered in the set of options – to make the matter worse, some systems do not give you an option of talking to operator & it is not uncommon to have your call disconnected before you finish all the ‘ iterations ‘. Many times you find that the numbers are engaged / not accessible or there is a long wait you need to endure before you can be either connected to some human being or allowed to progress, funnily enough at this stage, to rub salt on your wounds or to add insult to injury, during this wait you are treated to a recorded (but aimless) message of the kind… “ Your call is important to us…. All our lines are busy , please wait…. “. This happens because the service providers – while they parrot award winning lines like ‘customer centricity‘ always work with SELF at focus… their every move, every design is woven around self convenience or costs
This happens because nobody understands, nor has anyone taken efforts to create these realizations about the fundamentals of service, which are as follows:
# To begin with , Serving is a Cause , not a Job
Most engaged in service delivery are there because it is one of the job options – for their organisations it is a business decision to be in that industry--- there is nothing wrong or illegitimate about it; except that, it is NOT Service. You can see it vividly in a hospital… how many of the serving staff… how many of the Nurses you come across as serving a cause v/s holding on to a job. There are some dedicated ones; but that’s a small minority. It is also because their organisations don’t understand that Service is a Cause.
# Serving is about Solving , not answering
This is the foundation stone of understanding & delivering service…. & what do we do in Service Industry in India … we Answer , we Explain , we Argue , We deny … everything else except Serving ---- which is addressing customer issues – Solving
To give you most glaring but very well familiar example which epitomizes most blatant violation of this principle of service is the announcement for a delayed flight at the airport . It goes something like “ We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused due to this delay , which has been caused by the late arrival of the incoming aircraft “ ….. does this announcement – which itself is well delayed post a long unanswered wait by passengers – add any value ?
Does this add to your knowledge, does this give you new information… no since for you it’s a stale news , just a post facto acknowledgement of the delay
Does this take away your loss of time, energy, missed appointment or patience… not a bit, because it is not intended that way by the service provider
Does this make up for or compensate in any way by creating some other advantage for you… in terms of pay back, hotel stay, drop to your home / office, escort for ladies if it is a late night arrival, food while you wait …. Anything at all ? No, never.
What does it do / achieve then: ( post facto ) inform, Explain, Self-defense (blame everything from weather, ATC, all except self ). This is NOT Service !
I couldn’t find more impactful illustration to emphasise that Serving is about SOLVING.
If in any customer interaction there is nothing that is solved or addressed, it is Just Not Service !
Strategy / no strategy; Technology / no technology; the most fundamental factor for sustained business success is RIGHT people. Right human resource is a multiplier & wrong resource is a divider.
Although no organization wants to lose people (attrition) – for right or for wrong reasons Zero attrition is neither practically possible nor it is desirable; either quantitatively or qualitatively .
Attrition can be of two types : Desirable , Undesirable .The root cause for these two is very different . While undesirable attrition has its roots in the organisation’s inability to retain‘ good ‘ people , hence remedy being strengthening engagement initiatives; desirable attrition is due to an organisation’s inability to recruit ‘right‘, the solution obviously is to strengthen right selection processes & sourcing.
Nobody wishes or consciously recruits a ‘wrong hire‘… in fact realization that it was a wrong hire , comes only retrospectively . Nonetheless ‘wrong hires‘ is much a reality in most organisations . While in the long run organisations / teams need to learn how to minimize their % of wrong hires , in the immediate term best option of dealing with a wrong hire is to plan exit as soon as it is established.
Like any attrition, a wrong hire also costs in its replacement (Cost of Exit), but more importantly, unlike other attrition, a wrong hire has a substantial cost while in employment (Cost of Existence) .
Much has been written about cost of replacement , to the extent of virtually missing out on an equally potent cost component – Cost of Existence (of a wrong hire) Every additional day of a Wong Hire in job costs organization immensely, in myriad ways, as:
- Absorption: Since the alignment of inclination and role is low, ‘uptake ‘is low & slow. Hence impacts getting ‘up to speed ‘in time & quality of output- impacting productivity.
- Training: Since inclination is low, efficacy of training is low. Gain for training costs is questionable.
- Substitution: Since the work output is below desired levels, it calls for substantial efforts from the supervisor in following up. The employee unfairly draws much management resource, time, energy, which otherwise can be redeployed in more gainful ways.
- Organisational momentum: One person operating ‘below par‘ does not just affect his supervisor or teammates – in a chain reaction most of the organization, at all levels start operating at one level below. Beyond work output, it saps the organization of its vital vibrance, energy.
- A rotten mango: Just like one rotten mango can spoil the entire heap of otherwise healthy mangoes, just one example of a (sustained) non performer is enough to affect performance levels all around.
- Negativity: All negative / below par things have a ‘gravity effect‘on the organization. This is indirect negativity. However non performers have a far more tendency to add direct negativity, by spreading their frustrations, depressions; they can harm the organization immensely.
Hiring is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges companies face. Getting it right the first time helps avoid costly and time-consuming repercussions and has a positive impact on employee morale.
In the evolution of life, our journey starts ‘from Outside in’. These are our formative years, whether in Life or in a Career, where we observe, learn, absorb, get trained, practice…. We absorb most inputs from external source to improve & form ourselves. Time comes in life when this flow needs to be largely reversed,’ from Inside Out’, where all the ‘wealth‘ accumulated over years, including the hard earned experiences needs to be leveraged (put to application) & used for creating a greater advantage for the rest of the World !
This is where we need to learn more from ourselves. Reflection should take over as the prime process more than absorption out… This is the process of inner journey – self discovery. This is where the points / frame of reference should move from outside to be internalized… the center of motivation, center of feedback--- we should start derive our sense of being / sense of self, from within & not vis-à-vis what the world thinks of us.
It is at this stage that our title question is important: Who do you consider as your toughest or best competition ?
Your best competition is with you (Self). If you want to be more competitive , focus on self improvement--- The best person to guide you in this journey is… YOU ! There is a Sanskrit Subhashit (verse with wise meaning) which says that we are (oneself) our best friend & our worst enemy ! Here is reason why:
- It is the competitor , you are most well informed about : Only competition you'll always have complete & authentic information about .One person you can’t hide from, is you . Similarly you can’t lie to / mislead yourself . On the other hand one person you can’t afford to misread is you ! You need to know YOURSELF well .
- It is the Real Competition, which is internal , external competition is always deceptive & transient. Competition with self is eternal (always there).
- It is progressive - Presumably, you'd always be a better person tomorrow than today , every day.
- It is Constructive You can’t work against your own interest, or to put you down . External can be mutually destructive.
- It is proactive Here you aim to be better yourself , unlike external competition , where your moves are mostly reactive .
- This is one competition which Is absolute in nature and is under your complete control ! External competition is ALWAYS ' relative';
Competition with self is the toughest not just because it is difficult to outpace one , every day; but also because , there is no way to hide – no way to cheat.
A story goes about Abraham Lincoln: He used to stand in front of mirror everyday and ask a question " Am I a better person today , than I was yesterday “. Even if this story is untrue (did not happen) the principle it holds out is most potent, penetrating & beautiful.
You get outdated everyday --- like the knife which gets blunt with every use.
It is like making a onetime deposit (your degrees / qualification) in your ‘self investment ‘ account – when you had your last degree; and continuously drawing cheques / encashment (your promotions, salary raises, job changes)…. Without even further depositing into the account. No wonder time comes when your cheques will start ‘bouncing‘…..where no further encashment is possible & you feel stagnated, many times you not realizing–Why.
The question now is: What do you need to do. For you to be competitive , the mantra is : Know your competition well ! If you are competing with self , which is the best option , you need get to know yourself well. It’s your journey of self discovery ! It is more Inside out than Outside In.
Have more, regular sessions of self introspection & reflection. Taking this process to a higher level; will be to connect with your inner self (Atma) as prescribed in our ancient philosophy.
There are many tools / mechanisms available to guide your journey like: My learning book, No appointment day / week. But key question is how much time do you spend on yourself v/s how much time investment in self you think is worthwhile.
Busyness is probably the biggest Corporate diseases
Research tells us that most of us are underleveraged to the extent of 95%, with only about 5% of our abilities being used, not because of lack of skills or talent , but primarily because we are too busy to find time to discover our full potential. To my mind, for a fulfilled Work & Life, we need to get beyond the ‘busyness’ trap.
‘Busyness’ is a silent killer and is probably the biggest Corporate Disease – without most realising how highly crippling, contagious, and debilitating it is.
Being ‘busy’ is a vicious cycle, similar to the situation that Abhimanyu from the Mahabharat encountered. When he was trapped inside a Chakravyuh, he did not know how to come out. Busyness leaves an individual fire fighting and constantly in a Reactive mode - where tomorrow is no better than today. Since future can only be created in Proactive mode , ‘Busy people cannot create Future for Self or for the Organisation they work for ….. simply because they do not have time for Future !
Busyness has serious, lasting consequences
- On your career – Effectiveness , Productivity , Career growth
- On your organization – Results reached , Cost / benefit of efforts deployed , Growth plans
- On your colleagues – Busyness & its aftereffects are contagious --- like a chain reaction or a relay race , one person’s busyness & delays affect each person at next / successive stage ; and more importantly
- On you as an individual – Work-Life balance , Morale , Confidence
There is a BIG difference between Leaders who are successful and those who are not. The former are ‘Meaningfully engaged’ while the later are just ‘Busy’. Meaningful engagement requires connecting with a Purpose , not just aimlessly trapped into Activities as Busy people are.
Is Busyness real or imagined? Is it a state of matter or a state of mind?
Busyness prevails in the absence of an organized mind! – just like darkness in the absence of light . The clutter is not circumstantial , it is inside ! It is not how much you work , but “ How” you work which makes you ‘busy’.
- You can imagine how much time it will take to access a book you need in a Library where lakhs of books are well organised v/s how much time it will take if all the books were to be drawn out , well mixed & spread on a table. These two scenarios are actually a reflection of two very different states of mind of two different types of people: Organised & unorganized mind, respectively .
- Busyness implies that your Time is falling short of your Task. This shortfall is not necessarily due to less physical time but often is a prioritisation & time efficiency issue. It is about Productive time getting compromised due to unorganised and unscheduled time.
- Total time spent on a task has 3 components : (i) Processing time , (ii) Waiting time , (iii) Idle time …. Many time the culprit unproductive time (waiting & idle time) , not the productive / processing time . As leaders we need to spend less time to access & more time to process to create business success.
It is important to understand that Business can start only when Busyness ends !
Busyness is not real – it’s a state of mind ! , you can come out of it if you want.
- It has to start with Your RESOLVE – As intense is your resolve , as high are your chances of conquering ‘ Busyness‘ ‘ My learning book ‘ will help you to create that intensity.
- You need to Transform to Structured Working Approach
Either you can use tools/ mechanisms: Time Priority plan, Month planner, Time slot technique , ‘ Solo ‘ time.
Or seek professional help from people like us , who can guide you to come out of your ‘Busyness Chakravuyh’
We all have learnt in our school physics lessons a concept of ‘Resonance’. Essence as below, for refreshing our memory:
Any metal when struck vibrates & probably makes a sound….. Remember we did an experiment of hitting a metal tong on a hard surface …. Each metal (among its properties) has a ‘Natural frequency of Vibration’. When we strike the metal at say its ‘natural frequency’ its amplitude of vibration doubles. That is called ‘Resonance’… The metal ‘resonates’, when struck at its natural frequency. This natural frequency of a metal (which is its characteristic) varies from that of the other… just like melting point of different metals will be different.
I borrow this concept into Human behavior, where I think it is equally existing & applicable --- and more importantly has far greater implication in the areas of engagement & excellence.
I believe like metals , each human being has his / her very unique ‘ natural frequency ‘ --- I do not know what it could be called --- but when touched ‘that’ , a human being resonates … just like when touched a ‘raw nerve’ someone can explode or breakdown !
Striking a person at his / her natural frequency is to make him / her feel good about his / her existence & the purpose of being there.
Every person has a certain ‘constitution’… which is unique in combination but not exclusive in components. Constitution is made / defined from Attitude, Beliefs, Value system, various Dispositions, Drives etc. Striking a natural frequency is seeking closest alignment between the Constitution & the Ambience in which a human operates. The greater is the alignment; closer are we to the natural frequency of that person. It is hence of a very high significance to make a careful choice of constitutionally most aligned persons when you are selecting candidates for positions in an organization.
When a person likes what he/she is doing, resonance happens. Just like in Metals, ‘amplitude’ doubles in Human Resonance. This is exhibited through: Work output (productivity), Work quality (efficiency), Collaborative & synergistic tendencies in team working, “positive gossip” on one hand; but equally importantly through visible Joy, Energy & a sense of Fulfillment a person feels. It will be seen through pro activeness with which a person works. At this level the person works with a lot of ownership and self-management… He/ she does not need to be ‘told’ or ‘supervised’. .. a common ( avoidable ) curse of current management working .
Now question is how to ‘know’. How do you ‘catch that frequency’…. Answer is “Tuning”.
It is like a wavelength at which a radio waves transmission happens , if your receiving devise is ‘ tuned ‘ to catch that frequency , you ‘receive transmission’
Though it is not difficult to practice, it is not automatic either, there will be concerted efforts needed right from the stage of selection through on boarding to operational management ; well embedded into the culture of the organization . But if we can practice and excel in creating Human Resonance…. We would have surpassed our challenges of Engagement, Retention & Excellence.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but all times you learn
Increasingly, as the corporate world focuses on getting the best from its leadership team, pushing people to the edge of competitive excellence --- the leadership challenge is unlikely to be about knowledge, and skills, training. What eventually proves to be the decisive difference between an Outstanding & an Ordinary performer will not be about talent deficit but it will be about perspective deficit!In simple terms, “What you do is a function of how you see”, that is why invoking & holding POWERFUL Perspective on ‘ Winning ‘ is very crucial. .
What do we know about Winning
Everyone is well familiar with ‘Win-Lose‘, ‘ Win-Win ‘ scenarios particularly during ‘ negotiations ‘.Conventionally our horizons end at the ‘better of the two ‘ scenarios – Win-Win . It is therefore, unlikely that you may have been taught or have thought or imagined that there can be something beyond ‘Win – Win ‘, which can be better and in fact worth striving for, which I have termed as “Win-within-Win “
Shortcoming of “ Win--Win “
To appreciatethis concept one needs to go beyond ‘Win-Win ‘, even before we realize the significance of ‘Win-within-Win’, we need to also understand limitations of current concept – ‘Win-Win’
‘Win –Win’ is very ‘Transactional ‘ …. It has to do with “What do I get for what I did.“Even if you consciously calibrate to see each party gets happy,- the mindset is still on “ What do I get for what I did “ . “ Win within Win”,, goes much beyond a transactional view, 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 – which may not always be aligned . There is a constant struggle on how to optimize on ‘ two fronts ‘. For relationship approach (like in Win within Win), there is only one entity .
This struggle requires single minded focus of your efforts & energy –leading to suboptimal outcome; but also does not attain ‘purity of purpose in your pursuit.
In comparison: Win-Lose is about Competition, Win-Win is about Collaboration & Win-within-Win is about Coherence.
What is “ Win-within-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 ; it is NOT ‘ Your Win ‘ and ‘ His Win ‘ as two distinct outcomes ; but just ONE Win !
Are you willing and happy to submerge ‘ your win into someone else’s win without a sense of ‘ loss ‘ or ‘ subservience ‘ , and feel genuinely happy about the outcome
Can you feel as happy with the win of the other person, you are dealing with; as much as you would be happy with your win – regardless of how you define your win & regardless of the outcome, even contrary to your definition or perception about your win?
If you have experienced any of above or if you can at least relate to the scenario above,; you will understand the concept I am bringing to you .You may yet want to ask about practicality of this concept and want to know if anyone has successfully practiced it - I would say YES, Absolutely . Each Mother I know, practices that with her child, every moment!
- I am not aware of any mother, who in any situation, operates with her child in a ‘Win –Win ‘scenario!
- 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 will I get in exchange of what I did ‘ .
- I have not come across a mother who is not single mindedly focused on her child’s win – that being the only win for her in that situation. And her life is an endless Sum of all such situations.
I have drawn the ‘Mother‘analogy, because it is so visible and relatable, happening in each of our lives. However, practicing this concept of Win within Win ‘is not restricted to ‘biological ‘mothers. It applies to each person, who ‘Mothers’ whatever he / she is involved in – be it person, product, process, cause, nation, and entity.
Significance of “ Win-within-Win “
Win –within-Win is essentially about being able to see things in a larger / global perspective and seeking alignment of self / self- goals with that larger purpose. Thereby, serving a larger cause becomes the most potent, singular focus; & by doing so, own self goal ( being aligned with larger purpose ) gets automatically achieved . This is a powerful transformation of your goal, which changes from being reason for your pursuit to the result of your pursuit. The outcome is unlikely to be anything but Outstanding!
Additionally,in pursuing Win-within-Win your mind & energies get focused on larger purpose & thereby leads you to have a higher sense of fulfillment. Win-within-Win opens your narrow – self centered perspective to a much enlightening – broader perspective in life.
It opens an alternative, broader and hopefully better outlook to life àwith more equanimity, resonance & sustained peace, which leads to better leveraging of self as a resource.
This is an outlook, wherein you think & reflect: Am I a part of the world or is the world part of me. This prepares you to get ‘beyond self ‘to a higher level concept of “Surrender “(espousing) to a larger cause --- by dissolving self (like Sugar in Milk).
We need to be convinced that if due to our efforts , the World becomes a better place – we being a part of it, our share of the ‘ Greater Good ‘, will always be greater than (normal) good.
Finally. If you become one with the ‘other one’ you have already won! There is no loss to anyone!.
Win-within-Win “ – Is it practical?
This as a conceptor more like a Life Approach, has not only universal application in whatever you do, but more 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, while you chart the success path
Challenge of implementing “ Win-within-Win “
Win-within-Win, however desirable, being a higher level concept; is not going to be easy to practice (since we have been conditioned to believe in ‘Win-Win’, though for those of us who wish, it is not beyond us. Win-Win itself is difficult to practice. Practicing Win within Win will take higher level of mental strength, conviction, determination and finally self actualization.
Following is what I understand ‘what it takes ‘to set us up for a successful implementation of Win-within-Win:
- Supreme confidence in self
- Intrinsic faith in ‘ Greater Good ‘ – being able to be ‘one‘ with the cause
- Happiness in what one is doing
- If for you ‘Journey‘ is as worthwhile as the’ destination ‘
Finally, it is about experiencing unadulterated joy from someone else’s win(Example: the “ Sugar “ which unquestioningly dissolves into the Milk). It is about deep commitment to make the World a better place (than maximizing ‘ Self –Gains ‘ – it is not for that ‘ sugar ‘ which does not lose its identity by dissolving & in turn does not make the milk sweet )
Win-within-Win works wonders for those who are convinced that their customer’s success is not just the better; but the ONLY way to their success.
It requires supreme conviction in the principle and strong courage to carry it through!
In the task of looking after a child, a Mother or a Maid appears to work on the same object (the child ) with same sense of responsibility, that is: to take care of the child and its well being. But invariably often, we see that the output is vastly different in the manner a Mother cares for her child and the way a Maid cares for the same child.
The critical difference in ‘care‘ between a Mother and a Maid is that of an ‘outlook‘ which makes a ‘World of a difference’; because “what you do is a function of how you see”.. Fundamentally, for the maid, looking after a child is her ‘Job‘ whereas for the mother it is her ‘Cause‘. For the maid it is a Transaction but for the Mother it is her Lifelong Pursuit! Mother’s connection with her child revolves around a ‘Purpose‘ (soul ); while the maid is preoccupied with ( physical ) activities. The difference between the two approaches is the difference between Ownership and Sincerity.
For the Maid it is somehow getting the task done but for a Mother, it is about involvement and commitment.
A similar analogy can apply to an organization. Employees in an organization can be broadly divided into 3 categories: Insincere maid, Sincere maid, Mother; depending on the level of ownership shown by an employee.
As the name suggests, Insincere maids are those employees who are clear about their intention of not wanting to work. They have the highest clarity and understanding about their insincerity. Without a doubt, Insincere Maids need to be gotten rid of immediately, as soon as they are identified as they add no value.
However, an organization needs both Mothers and Sincere Maids; each has an important role to play and both contribute to the growth and productivity of an organization, albeit in varying degrees.
Essential difference between a Mother and a Sincere maid, (whether in Life or in Organization ) is that a Mother is always connected with the Purpose ( knows ‘why‘ of ‘what‘ ) and hence holds a more holistic perspective; a Maid has limited perspective and an oversimplified understanding of her job as mere activities. She barely knows ‘what and certainly does not understand, ‘why? . Consequently , Mothers are committed to results and Sincere Maids with no sense of ownership – remain engrossed with activities and as the name suggests, remain plain sincere and hardworking!
Mothers set directions; Sincere Maids follow instructions. Maids may be highly skilled & valued employees, but are constrained by their perspective, Mothers by virtue of their ownership will always have an edge. It is obvious then that the Leadership positions in an organization are held only by Mothers.
Sincere Maids are destined to be busy all their life, routinely going about the motions of a job (in a repetitive & ritualistic manner); full of ‘ To Do lists ‘ but not connected with the Purpose . They are too busy in the moment, every moment, to create a future. What they do not realize is that, only if they work on the future, they will not be busy today. Mothers, on the other hand, despite working as much or more than the Sincere Maids, driven by purpose / end goal, are meaningfully engaged.
Below table clearly outlines the distinctive difference between the two
|Maid(Busy))||Mother (Meaningfully Engaged)|
|1. Lost in activity (lost on purpose)||1. Connected with the purpose|
|2. Want to do, but unaware of 'how to do'||2. Aware of Why, How of What to do|
|3. Feel helpless, hapless, hopeless and are trapped as victims of time and activities||3. Fully occupied but manage to find time. Prioritize time successfully, shuffle around A/B/C activites. Are multitaskers|
|4. Presumably with no time, closed to new opportunities||4. Open to new opportunities|
|5. When challenged, they feel stressed, burdened & crumble under pressure||5. When challenged, it leads to creativity and accountability|
|6. Similar to a stagnating pool, dwelling in the past||6. Flows like a river into the future|
However, from this discussion one cannot infer that Sincere Maids can never be Mothers. The transformation of a Maid to Mother, though not easy or automatic, is possible and quintessentially defines an organization’s evolutionary journey.
"Maid to Mother" is a proprietary program of Powerful Perspectives on Organisational Transformation . Through 3 distinct components ( Awareness creation , Diagnosis , Transformation ) it is designed to help an organization to (i) Ascertain different employee constitutions ( Insincere maid , Sincere maid , Mother ) and (ii) Embark on Maid à Mother transformation .
A lot has been observed & said on Change Management & about failures in change management . A lot of us hold vast amount of knowledge on change management & yet to understand why change management fails , it is useful to start at the beginning to break down into individual component / stage which could be responsible to think of meaningful remedy.
To me there are possible 6 successive stages where change management can fail , as below :
|OBSTACLES IN CHANGE MANAGEMENT||REASON/ REMEDY|
|I was not a part of the decision||Connect, Inclusive communication|
|I did not want to do it||Alignment , Sourcing|
|I did not know , what was expected of me||Goal – Expectation clarity|
|I did not know how to do it||Method, skilling|
|I did not get helped / guided||Facilitation|
|I did not know how / how much I have done||Measurement, Feedback|
RESISITANCE TO CHANGE (MANAGEMENT)
If you notice , the first 3 of the 6 steps have to do with the ‘ Right side ‘ of our brain ( Heart ) & balance 3 lie on the ‘ Left side ‘ of the brain (Head)
While we will delve on it later , in a more elaborate manner … many times an overwhelming emphasis in change management drive is on the Logic , Purpose/ Strategy , Method/ Technique , Skills / Training , Measurement / Reward & less on ‘ Heart ‘ aspects --- whereas in reality there may need to be a much balanced emphasis ; which itself can be a factor to the restricted success organisations have in change management
Since, as a corollary , a large emphasis of research & management books is also on method & techniques or the ‘ Head ‘ part there is no dearth of good material on these -- ,I will choose to devote time to the Heart aspect , including role of Organisation’s culture in change management.
Essentially when we see ‘ resistance ‘ it is a matter of ‘ Heart ‘ . It does not have as much to do with logic or ability as much it is about alignment & ‘ buying in ‘ . Therefore while all of the elements of the ‘ left brain ‘ have to be in place for driving change successfully , the ‘ resistance ‘ needs to be overcome by addressing the root causes of involvement and alignment
It starts with ensuring alignment with a more inclusive communication approach . People who have a role in implementation would like to be a part of the decision too . Every time it is not possible --- neither desirable to include ALL those will be involved in implementation . However it is not just possible but absolutely critical that ALL those are likely to be impacted by the decision , are connected in an inclusive communication . We need to periodically connect with people to keep them informed at various stages of developments leading to decision & thereafter … they feel involved and included . It is not really the absence of power of participation in decision making but insecurity out of feeling of exclusion , which alienates people.
CONNECT WITH THE PURPOSE
Orienting people , setting right Perspectives is important . It is my conviction that at high performance end , it is not the Talent ( or Skill or Knowledge ) deficit , but the Perspective deficit , which will make a decisive difference between Success & Failure & so it is with Change Management.
I have experienced & always practiced that when you explain to people , “ Why “ of What they need to do , the efforts are more dedicated and the result is mostly outstanding . Many managers in conventional ‘ instructive ‘ mode do not realise the importance of this step .They either think it is a waste of their time or that their team members are not worth explaining . To me it is a necessary investment towards a better implementation . It is a connect with the purpose which makes the team understand significance of their work & leads to a directed effort instead of ritualistic set of activities , unconnected with the purpose. When people are connected with a purpose , they can lead better – of course the result has to be outstanding
ALIGNMENT – BODY with SOUL
Alignment creates Power – it is not just how capable an individual is but how aligned he/she is with other forces , that creates power . It is the alignment of an individual with the purpose , with the organization , with other individuals and with the overall working system.
I am happy to share with you my new , original concept of “ Body with Soul “ – for wholesome working , developed primarily for creating alignment & involvement of the senior most leadership team members , but is equally applicable to succeed , including in change management
Every being & every thing to sustain successfully , has two components – Body & Soul . Body is the visible component & Soul is the ‘ invisible Active ‘ . Both components are required to coexist in harmony for the wholesome effect . Body without soul is dead & soul without body can’t express itself . To give example , in a training program , body comprises of the training material , the PPTs , the equipment , participant , venue & Soul is the passion with which the trainer deliver training . Soul represents the fuel & engine of a train , whereas bogies are the body ! Body & Soul is the quintessential difference between the working of a Maid & a Mother !
At senior most leadership positions are ‘ ownership ‘ positions . It is essential that a person working in such a position is well oriented to work in a wholesome manner -- Body with Soul ( same as Labour v/s Care ) . Most talented people in these position , if not oriented right tend to work with ‘ body ‘ elements , that is very superficial , missing the whole essence – that is the soul ! In reality an average intelligence with ‘ Body & Soul ‘ working is likely to be more successful than an extraordinarily talented person working without soul
Individuals & organisations who wish to work in an wholesome manner – Body with Soul , will need to understand & practice the 4 components of ‘ Body with Soul ‘ working , as follows :
- Desired destination
- Define and be clear about goal . This is the purpose – connect with which anchors our efforts
- Nothing in life is ‘ unidimensional ‘ . Person working on a task needs to understand , where all it connects & who all will be impacted by it . For success of collaborative efforts , we should not miss all these connect points .
- This defines the ‘ depth ‘ with which we need to work . These are the small little things ( like salt in food ) which bring things to life
- Conclusive closure
- Successful change leaders must show the persistence & insistence to bring things to a meaningful closure . Don’t keep any ‘ windows ‘ open . Don’t assume things are complete & the responsibility over , till the destination is reached & all loops ( including information loop ) are closed
Finally , while change management can be looked at in narrow confines of that specific task , it helps to look at it holistically , at the context , beyond its content …. The overall ambience it fits in . The ecosystem it comes from , deeply impacts --- facilitates or restricts its success . While the ecosystem will include its people & support infrastructure …. Here too I want to go beyond what is visible ( ‘ Body ‘ components ) & to the ‘ Soul’ – the invisible active component – Organisation’s culture !
Organisation’s culture – its value system , work ethics provides the ‘ soil ‘ in which the seeds of individual tasks take roots . The quality of soil decides whether a particular seed will flourish & a particular seed may perish.
There is nothing we can do about an organisation’s culture in response to a particular task in a reactive mode . It is the other way round … knowledge of in house culture should proactively help to decide what are the tasks in the short term are likely to have most success chances .
Cultures are not made / changed overnight , it takes years of efforts to see a culture setting in . Quite beyond an individual change management task , but as an intrinsic success factor an organization needs to consciously build a change management culture , with features like Flexibility , Openness , Risk taking , Empowerment …. Etc .
While working / developing an organisation’s culture is a matter separate discussion , it is important to highlight here some generic tips which can help in building culture .
- # Culture always flows from the top . It has to start with the highest level , downwards
- # Culture is not about preaching , but practicing . It is not just defining , but effective translation , which perpetuates culture
- # Culture to take roots , requires relentless persistence , continuous demonstration & reinforcement through recognition
“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.” –Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist
Raising a child is undoubtedly, the most challenging task. There are many options parents have to get trained in order to take care of physiological needs of a child and career /extra curricular development, but they are rarely skilled or formally trained to understand and handle the psychological and emotional needs of their wards. The dichotomy is that while this is a fairly universal job, it does not come with a set of pre-set instructions; most of the time parents have to learn parenting along the way resulting in mostly trial and error methods. However, in their quest certain guidelines can help parents along this long and transformational journey.
Children come with a set of physical and emotional needs; how parents meet these needs will have far reaching effects on a child’s growth. A child’s psychological / emotional development is equally or more important. Currently, it is an underserved need that often gets ignored and the repercussions are not known till the individual has grown into an adult. Often parents may not realize that for a child to grow into a strong, confident, self -managed individual the nurturing has to start in early childhood.
Broadly speaking, fostering a child’s emotional and hence holistic well-being would involve fulfilling certain aspects:
- Developing and communicating mutual respect
- Teaching their child morals and values
- Providing a disciplined environment
- Teaching independence, responsibility and self -management
- Consciousness of sensitivities and sensibilities of community living
Elements of Conscious Parenting
Conscious parenting balances love and understanding with effective limits…too much of anything is bad and that includes love. Establishing healthy boundaries can differentiate a responsible parent from a careless one. Parents own disposition towards the child often defines how he/she shapes up as an adult.
Conscious parenting is not just focused on ‘Child ‘ – it is as much as a self -evolutionary journey to equip oneself towards becoming a responsible parent to guide one’s own child. Conscious parenting is as much about transforming from a Controller to a Facilitator as a parent, as it is about separating a child’s request from and in order to protect a child’s interest by being able to differentiate between the two .
- Stimulating the child’s thinking process
- Nurturing and guiding children to experience joy and happiness
- Building emotional intelligence and self esteem
- Creating moments of togetherness, yet providing individual space; it is about ‘ growing up‘ together
Parenting is serious business and here are some of the aspects to look out for:
Attitude of parents to their child
- Honesty with oneself
- Unqualified time and attention to the child
- Not treating a child as guinea pig for parental unfulfilled ambitions
Confidence / self assurance
- Equality – mutual respect
- Avoiding comparisons . Recognising & nurturing child’s individuality
- Acknowledging / recognizing –praising , supporting, encouraging , spontaneity
- Enjoying time with child
- Giving child space
- Reflecting, encouraging openness & curiosity
- Building content, cogent family ambience.
- Actively seeking / creating moments of joy
- Fostering stronger bonding, sense of belonging within family members
Being the parent and not only the child’s friend is a key requirement of conscious parenting. Your choices and decisions will not always be appreciated; but a parent’s role is to help the child transition into a responsible, independent adult.
Implications of non compliance
Implications of deprivation on the above are significant, not just for the child but for parents too. For example: it has often been observed that single children often become introverted and self centred due to lack of sibling company and not having to share parent’s attention and affection. These traits in a child go on to manifest themselves differently as adults and can affect his/her profession. Impact of such an individual on the society could be seen in deviant behaviour at work place for example being envious of a colleague’s success or taking credit for work done by a junior. The repercussions of such behaviour can be detrimental to Society and the Nation. We will create more individuals who will go to any lengths to grab the limelight and remain the focus of attention., In a way it is how we emotionally invest in our child is linked to creating Responsible Citizens of tomorrow – a National cause. The work is pioneering, fundamental, working at the root cause – Parents.
This area though immensely significant, has lost cognisance by individual parents but also in collective consciousness; hence need for conscious parenting – starts with awareness of parents .
Thus, conscious parenting involves more than guiding children and not spoon feeding; it is not about seeding ‘thoughts‘, but about showing a ‘ thought process‘ in the right direction. it also involves monitoring your own behaviour and setting reactions and responding in a manner that you would like your children to grow up as, and become responsible citizens for the country and globe. A parent needs to start with being a role model and setting standards which will go a long way in raising the bar for the child to follow.
While the beneficiary of this program is child at the individual level & the society at large , it is not about only ‘moulding‘ a child; it is actually more about a parental transformation .