Saturday, November 20, 2010

Its Another Thing To Do Something About It ...

To desire is one thing; To do something about it is another thing. Knowing an opportunity is just merely the first step. The real thing comes next - what you do to get it. Most of us just don't go beyond the first step. Taking that initiative is what we most of the time miss out and still remain ignorant of the loss that follows. Ignorance is bliss for those, any ways! A friend recently shared an interesting story that maps well here. 

A story is told of a man who goes to church and prays, 'My Lord! I need a break. I need to win the state lottery. I'm counting on you, my Lord!'. Having not won the lottery, the man returns to church a week later and once again prays, 'My Lord, about that state lottery...I've been kind to my wife. I've given up drinking. I've been really good. Give me a break. Let me win the lottery.'

A week later , still no richer, he returns to pray once again. 'My Lord, i don't seem to be getting through to you on this state lottery thing. I've been using positive self-talk, saying affirmations, and visualizing the money. Give me a break, My Lord! Let me win the lottery'.

Suddenly the heavens open up, white light and heavenly music flood the church, and a deep voice says, 'My son! Give ME a break! Buy a lottery ticket'!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Power of Positive Thinking - Guest Blog by Palwasha Sherin Khan, Pakistan

Palwasha Sherin Khan is currently working as Corporate Responsibility Executive at Telenor Pakistan. Palwasha is an avid reader with a keen interest in CSR, sustainable development and human rights, and passionate about travel and volunteerism.

I have been reading Jack Canfield’s ‘How to get from where you are to where you want to be’, an amazing book that builds upon all I have read and learnt about the power of positive thinking (the theme of Mosaic) and about goal setting, faith in your own abilities, visualization etc. The more one researches into this topic the more facts and stories are uncovered that literally astound you. And the same question arises over and over again within your mind…Why were we not taught this when we were young? How come no one includes this as a part of the school syllabus even now when these theories have become so popular? How much better would we all have fared in life if someone had guided us on living our dreams, never giving up, and that nothing is impossible or too big to achieve?

At the Mosaic Summit this was one of the key principles taught by every leader/speaker. It was a lesson that some of us were familiar with but most of us were hearing for the first time! And what is even more astounding is how people have known about the power of positivity since age…….almost all the successful, brilliant leaders over the years in every field have been using it to their advantage. Napolean Hill wrote about this way back in 1937 in his book ‘Think and Grow Rich’, another recommended read.

What sets a leader apart from millions of ordinary people the world over is the vision of something great…and the will to not rest until that vision has become a reality. How many people go through life in an ordinary way, killing their desire for something better and without the courage to pursue their dreams. I find that there are few things worse than a person who succumbs to remaining ordinary…

Another noteworthy point mentioned by successful leaders is the power of giving and gratitude and how it can work wonders in your life. I myself have learnt in life that if you give your time, your money, your love, your knowledge selflessly to help others, it will always benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. Always! The richest people in the world today realize the value of this; it is not without a reason that you see Bill Gates and Warren Buffet pledging to give away billions! :-)
If I had to teach a child one lesson to survive on in life…it would be this! Believe that you can have or be anything you want in life…and always stay positive! Set the highest goal imaginable for yourself, go after that goal, and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t possible. If this was all you had to start with, you could sail through life, if not soar :-) I had my first volunteer session at a child drop in centre for street children a few weeks back; a first step towards part of a breakthrough goal of my life…and this is the first lesson I taught them! :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GRLI and NET IMPACT Challenge -Shaping Tomorrow Leaders

Do you have an innovative idea? Does your idea make the world a better place? Does it have a far reaching impact? Does it reflect an element of personal and collaborative business leadership? If YES, you can be the GRLI ambassador and participate in GRLI Assembly in Australia being held in March 2011.

You need to be between 18 - 35 years of maturity, a team of 2-3 members, enrolled students or working managers from any where on the globe. That is it. Sounds exciting? Initiate your application and APPLY here. Last date for submissions - 1st December 2010.

Theme of the challenge is “How can next generation leaders contribute to the development of globally responsible leadership?”

Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative is a global multicultural community of action and learning. It operates with a fully transparent and unique governance model with all partners participating. It is legally set up as a Foundation of public interest in Belgium. For more info, checkout GRLI.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leadership - Our Addiction to an Industry - by Guest Blogger - Iben Ismarson, Indonesia

Iben Ismarson graduated from Lund University Sweden where he studied managing people, knowledge and change. He is experienced in organizational development and holds interest n environment. Currently he is working towards his non profit Eco-Indonesia.

For the last few months, I have owed Jamil, a very kind and respectable friend I met at Mosaic Summer School, to write an article for a collective blog organized by him. The main reason it took so long for me to finally write is because he asked me to write about something that I have almost lost my faith in i.e. ‘Leadership’. The thought of ‘leadership’ is not so intriguing for my brain to kick my fingers to write as the thought of “God’ might not be so appealing for an atheist. I’m not an atheist though; I just cease to believe that such an over-glorified concept like leadership does exist in this world. To be more precise, Our World - Nowadays. . All that’s left for me when I think of leadership is just an image or a perception in people’s mind. It’s the label that we voluntarily ascribed to people, certain people such as some presidents, kings or prince, and if you wonder why are we doing so? Because we want to believe that it does exist.

As a human being, we inherently are thirsty of hope, and we pin our hope to the shoulders of someone with an attractive personality and call them leaders of our society. For me, Leaders are the projection of our fear, insecurity, helplessness as human being, no more and no less than that. When we look with a microscopic lens onto the life of leaders the whole notion of a great and perfect person will quickly melt in the air. They’re just human being, full of flaws, and nonetheless share the same fear, insecurity and helplessness just like those who ascribed the label of leaders to them.

As I write this note, in the next 2 hours Barack Obama will be landing in Indonesia, Halim International Airport for a 24 hrs visit to Indonesia, for the first time as US president. Road blockade, sweeping and sterilization has been done for the last 2 days in critical points of Jakarta to make sure everything’s going well for the visit of U.S No 1 – Their leader (if I can label him so). The fact that Obama spent 4 years of his childhood in Indonesia, made him such a heroic figure for Indonesians, who believe that “he is an Indonesian who succeeded to become the president of the greatest nation on earth”. This idea lives in the mind of Indonesian people, that’s why Indonesians love Obama so much. We are crazy about him, because we want to believe that all Indonesians have the same hope of success. And because of this very reason we choose to neglect the fact that today because of his visit, some traffic jam will occur in several areas near the blockade roads, some people takes more time to reach their offices and schools, some small food stall owners couldn’t do business and be deprived of their livelihood because their operation area is being sterilized. We choose to forget that there’s no substantial change in his policy regarding Palestine-Israel, and troops are still supporting war in Afghanistan. Why? Just because we need to keeps this idea of good and great leaders growing in our head. I would like to create analogy here through Freud’s statement: As religion is opium for the society, so are the leaders and leadership are real opium for the humans and society at large nowadays.

I have a wild hypothesis regarding to our society’s addiction upon the ideas of leadership. Maybe because most of us who are an adult nowadays were once growing up with the idea of some Superman, Batman and Spiderman who can save the world with their special amazing ability, we now want to keep the idea alive in our subconscious mind. We still want that Superman, we want leaders! And some of us even want to be that superman, they want to be leaders. We tend to forget that Superman lives only in a kryptonic imagination of his creator, and that he’s just only a figure created by comic industry.

Leadership is none less than an industry on its own. Go to the bookstores and we can find a special sections filled with thousands of books under the headings of “Leadership”. Each of them will offer you different theories and definition about leadership. They are usually list out hundreds, if not thousands ‘flowery’ words and vocabularies about the traits and attributes of leaders. Based on numerous researches, as they claim, they will undoubtedly map out the path to become leaders. As if those writers had seen a factory that manufactured leaders, they will insist that you can be one if you follow their prescribed path. This ridiculous idea, that there are some magic formulas on how to become an effective leader, made me kind of tired of going to the bookstore or reading books on leadership. I can imagine that it will take me a lifetime efforts to read and grasps all the ideas in those books, and even if I finally do, I think I’m going to ask God for a second life to practice what they have outlined in their books.

And as the industry goes, Universities conduct huge amount of research to back up the notion of leadership. Consultants also reap the fruits of this growing industry through teachings, trainings, workshops and projects in many organizations who want to grow leaders for tomorrow. Companies keep telling the bedtime stories about leaders who grow from the bottom to instill hopes in the mind of their employees that someday might be able to become that big corporate guy at the top: The Leader. The whole industry conspires and grows upon the very basic and fragile need of human being: the need of finding hope and images of success. But if we look at the reality of our society nowadays, despite of these growing crowd and continuous effort to create leaders everywhere we must admit that it still so hard to find and spot true leaders. We are actually lacking them and we always waiting for them. And this absence, again, create even more business for many.
Images of leaders appear everywhere on our TV, websites and probably even at the cover of our books, notepad or posters we hang on our wall. Often they inspire us and make us eager to pursue their paths. We are told to be the leaders of our time and we look up to these images. Maybe some will argues that this may be a good thing, but my take is a little bit different. I believe that such approach will most likely make most of us fall in the trap of trying to become someone else, and forgetting to know and accept who we really are as an individual person. We are focusing our energy too much to have those leadership traits and attributes taught by the books and consultants but we put little attention to understand our own traits and characters that have been shaped by our unique circumstances in our lives. If there is such a thing as leaders in this world, I believe they are the ones who denied to be called leaders. If there’s someone out there who really practice leadership in our society, I believe this person will reject to label what he’s doing as a leader. True Leadership and true leaders are not labeled, they are the essence behind the labels. It is the meaning and the understanding of our experiences and journey as a human, framed in every action of ours where we try to make ourselves and our surroundings a better place. Maybe, just maybe… if we stop thinking, forgetting for a while the idea of leader and leadership, then we can really start to practice true leadership and become a real leader.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Responsibility of Leadership - By Guest Blogger - Amer Qureshi, UAE

Amer Qureshi is an Australian Chartered Accountant, Business Advisor and Author of several books on business and finance. We thank him for generously sharing his views on an important aspect of leadership.

If you are in a management or leadership role which involves leading, motivating and inspiring other people, then you are one of the privileged ones. The opportunity to lead others is one that is not given to too many people.

However, the leadership of others comes with a great deal of responsibility. As a leader, its no longer just about you.

What kind of a Leader are you? What kind of a leader would you like to be?

In my experience, the whole culture of the organization is established by the Leader. Like it or not, every staff member looks closely at how the Leadership team operates and then models that behavior. For the sake of the organization, you better hope that the behavior of the leadership team is worth replication. Too often the leadership team is not willing to take a good look in the mirror and analyse their own short comings, yet they are too quick to point out the faults to their team.

Think about your own approach to work, and see what example you are setting for others. The current generation of employees is not easily impressed by the “do as I say” approach. During the course of my work, I have had the opportunity of working with many CEOs, Entrepreneurs and Managers as their Advisor and Consultant. In our discussions I am often told about the staffing issues, the lack of responsibility amongst the staff, the lack of professionalism and ownership. Often when I get more involved with an Organisation, it becomes apparent that the staff are simply following the lead of the senior management team. The leaders are not setting the right example and nor are they providing the right leadership for the team.

In order to become an effective leader, its important to take a good look at your own self, identify your own weaknesses and to set the right example for your team.

Think about the following for a few minutes:

1 - Do you feel you demonstrate strong values, ethical standards and personal integrity?
2 - Do you possess empathy and self-awareness?
3 - Do you nurture positive internal and external relationships and professional networks?
4 - Do you empower people?Is teaching, coaching and mentoring people a high priority for you?
5 - Are you contributing to the development of a new generation of leaders in your organization?
6 - Do you treat mistakes made by your staff as coaching opportunities?
7 - Do you establish and support high quality work standards?
8 - Are you able to handle stressful situations at work and resolve conflicts between team members effectively?
9 - Do you have an entrepreneurial mind set?
10 - Do you look for creative solutions to solve difficult problems within the organization?
11 - Do you consider yourself to be customer focused?
12 - Do you deliver value to stakeholders?

Leadership of others is a privilege and one that should not be taken lightly, as you have the opportunity to add immense value to the professional lives of others. Long after these people have left you, they are likely to remember with great fondness all the good things that they were able to learn.