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Humata, Hukata, and Hvrashta!

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My school, the Sardar Dastur Hoshang Boys High School left major impressions in me about kindness, respect for others and personal presence.  The immortal words “Humata, Hukata” were encrypted on our school badges. It is in a language unknown to me but was kindly translated by the teachers. It means “Good Thoughts, Good Words.”

I was in my pre-teens and like most of the boys in school, I assumed it meant we must do away with foul language and vulgarity in our daily conversations and interactions. Not until I reached my 20s did I go back and ponder upon the depths, the simplicity and the precision of the philosophy embedded in those two words – Humata, Hukata.  Upon further research today, I learned that there is a third and more powerful word to complete that immortal affirmation phrase. That word is Hvrashta and the full motto is

.  Translated, it means, “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.”

Humata, Hukata,Hvrashta!

Humata, Hukata,Hvrashta!

Come to think of it, how many times in our lives do we brim with and demonstrate good intentions? No I don’t just mean the random thoughts of kindness flashing through our minds but also the love, the compassion and the desire to create filling our conscious and unconscious thoughts.  It is in our human nature to be made up of these feelings of kindness, compassion and the desire to grow and create the value.

These thoughts and feelings exist in all individuals. But how frequently does the world around us come to know about what individuals think and feel? How many times does the world read our mind and understand our hearts?  The good thoughts in our minds and hearts, or Humata, stay hidden. They lie undiscovered until they take some form of expression.

We can convert emotions and ideas into words, into pitches and presentations for the good we want to contribute to the world, for the value creation we want to bring to our markets, thus raising creativity and innovation to the next level.  Hukata -good words or empowering expressions can be seen, heard and felt. They are at a higher level more tangible than good thoughts, ideas and emotions. And yet, words and empowering expressions that claim competence, offer solutions and promise growth and innovation are rendered cheap and useless unless they can be converted into action, into something tangible which can be measured and accounted for.  Words can inspire hope and draw applause but it is real positive action, Hvrashta, that fills the stomachs of armies and builds the bridges that take us where we want to go and grow.  The pillars that measure success, growth and self-fulfilment are rooted in action.

Action and the execution of plans and goals are paramount both to improving business profitability and to achieving real results in personal development.  Action is where the rubber meets the road and where customer traction is acquired and gained.

Action is of two kinds. The first kind is action taken within the mind such as holding back our impatience, holding back our impulses and managing our anger. These internal “actions” are sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence. The other kind of action is where you roll up your sleeves, pick up the phone and call a hundred potential customers in a day. The power lies in the doing.  It is in taking this action repeatedly, day after day, that the proverbial Mountain begins to roll towards Mohammad.

Sales and the discipline of selling is a numbers game. It is about persistence and perspiration. It is about taking one rejection after another.

The ability to hold back anxiety, the fortitude to face repeated failure is laudable internal action that is sensed and felt, but it is un-measurable and not visible. Getting up and getting out of your comfort zone day after day is action that is physical, external, and visible. It is seen and felt by others. Both types of actions must be performed often and with undiminishing energy so as to grow, obtain results, and achieve massive success. This is what moves mountains and creates change.  When the mountains move, you, the salesperson, can then take a measuring tape and record your success, counting the times you walk into your bank with the fruits of success.

Taken from: the HeART of the CLOSE / Available on Amazon: http://goo.gl/OZSMj8

 

 

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A Story: The Wrong House

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Everyone loves a good story but I have a penchant for stories. I look out for them like an addict yearns for a shot in the arm. And, when I do get that shot, life for a while becomes livable, love-giving.

On a flight from Bangkok to Manila, I happened to land a seat next to an old friend, Louie, and we began to catch up on each other with stories. Some we’d heard but, nevertheless, they were still good ones and then he hit me with a whopper of a story.

More than a decade ago, at a workshop on Appreciative Inquiry,  Loiue was sitting next to a repatriate from Saudi Arabia called Elmer. Part of the workshop proceeding require that participants ask each other questions that’ll bring up good memories, memories of success and memories of having had a change of heart.

“Can you share me a story or two about having lived and worked in Saudi Arabia?” asks Louie of Elmer. Elmer In Prayer

“At first it was tough. I hated every aspect of the Saudi culture. I hated the authorities. I hated the fact that they had so much wealth and power over all those that came to seek a living in Saudi Arabia. Most of all, I hated the fact that there were no churches in the vicinity for a Catholic like me to drop by and pray. Nevertheless, I continued working and suffering, hoping that one day I’d save up enough money to go home and look after my adolescent daughter and wife in the Philippines. You see I loved them both to death, and believed that they both brought meaning and purpose to my life,” shared Elmer.

“And?” urged on Louie.

“Life wasn’t easy. The work was demanding and I really wasn’t saving up much, as a construction worker in Saudi Arabia. Three years went by and I began to grow homesick when one day my wife calls up and claimed our daughter, Precious, was seriously ill and had to be brought to the hospital. Panic-stricken and helpless, I stayed by the phone for the next few days. Three days into the hospital, I get a call claiming that Precious needed to undergo immediate surgery or we would lose her. My heart screamed out in pain and I had no idea what to do, where to go? I had, then, not enough money to send to my wife and I had no one to run to. I had no place to borrow from in Saudi Arabia,” cried Elmer.

“Where’d you go?” asked Louie.

“I was desperate. I called a few, Filipino co-workers but we were all in the same boat – helpless and money-less. It was before sunrise on a Friday in Saudi Arabia and I couldn’t even approach my bosses at work. My heart still screaming, I stepped out onto the streets of Riyadh hoping to beg, borrow or let a miracle happen. My Christian heart yearned for an altar to kneel before and send out my plea into the skies but then again, this was Saudi Arabia, and I couldn’t find a church. A few blocks away from my place of stay I reached a mosque from within which, I could hear prayers being recited. Sozzled with pain and anguish, I walked in and in a corner fell upon my knees and let my head drop in prayer. I wanted my daughter to live. I wanted her to be there when I went home.”

“Gosh,” muttered Louie and placed his arm across Elmer’s shoulders, “what happened?”

“I didn’t know but an Imam had walked up to me and was standing in front of me, demanding to know if I were a Muslim. No, I replied, I am not, “replied Elmer.

“Then, in that case, I am sorry, but you will have to step out and take your prayers and plea somewhere else,” announced the Imam.

His face wet with tears, Elmer stumbled up and with shoulders drooping, and he began to walk out with the Imam right on his tracks. He was angry at himself for having walked into a wrong house. When outside, the Imam stopped him and asked what exactly was his problem. Elmer’s heart burst and he poured out his pain, sobbingly, to the Imam. With hardly a shift in his attitude, the Imam had Elmer follow him to his bank’s automated teller and punched out the amount of money that Elmer thought would get his Precious out of danger. “Pay me back when and if you can. If not then consider it as a response to your plea,” smiled the Imam and walked away.

My friend Louie, too, wiped away the tears from his own face and asked, “So, did you ever get to see that Imam again.”

“No, I haven’t” claimed Elmer, “but there is not a single day in my life that I do not think of him. Every time I enter a church here in the Philippines, I see his stoic, bearded face in the crowds and my heart smiles. I must confess that I do not want to go back to Saudi Arabia at my age now but the amazing thing is that in me there is no dislike or contempt people of a different belief. This, this way, I feel happy and big inside of me.”

“I tell you, brother, no story has touched and changed me the way that Elmer’s story did,” said Louie to me, as our plane skidded on the runway in the Philippines. Louie’s miracle question to Elmer had changed him and continues transforming people who hear of it.

Me? I got my story shot-in-the-arm and still have my head in clouds since that day.

Raju Mandhyan

 

My upcoming public workshops:

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Stop at Why: How Great Coaches Inspire Self Transformation

I have participated in hundreds of conversations on why not ask the “why” question in coaching and the itch to answer calls for this write-up.

Though I have covered what exactly is coaching in many of my previous blogs and it is covered in depth in my book, the HeART of the CLOSE. For this specific write-up let’s go with “coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential,” as stated by the International Coaching Federation at  https://goo.gl/MGM1KC

Now in the process most coaches and those that train others to coach will claim “ask all questions but stay away from the “why” question.” In response most newbies will go, “Huh? Why? But Simon Sinek claims that is the ultimate question to ask ahead of the what and the how questions!”

So, ask “why” or ask not “why?”Stop at Why

Well the answer, Charlie, is that both the parties are right and both of them are approaching the raison d’etre from two different windows. One is working inside out and the other is working outside in. The leader who starts with the why question is giving clarity, shape and existence to the purpose behind what she is dreaming of, speaking of and acting upon for her followers to understand, align and deliver the vision they together co-create. Knowing why we dream, say and do becomes of utmost importance.

On the other hand when a coach begins to partner with a client in a thought-provoking and creative process for her client to maximize their personal and professional potential then she, the coach, has no right to influence her client’s “why” but mostly work with her “what” and “how.” For a client to change, upgrade or even, sometimes, dump her “why” is totally and completely a personal choice. Should the coach make even the slightest effort to influence the client’s choice then the whole process loses purity and ceases to become a coaching partnership.

That is, essentially, the raison d’etre behind why a coach must stop at why when coaching others.

There are several other reasons why “why” isn’t that great a question to employ in coaching others and some of them are:

  1. Asking a “why” question can seem confrontational and overwhelming.
  2. Asking a “why” question can seem to be influenced by the coaches’ personal preferences and paradigms.
  3. Asking “why” questions require a client to dig deep and probe into their own, sometimes, unconscious beliefs also called “metaprograms” in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP.)

Thus, asking a “why” question can be intrusive and extremely over-whelming in a pure coaching partnership.

Though, I must confess, a professional/well-experienced/intuitive coach will employ the “why” question at times and with great effect and results. Consider this kind of a coach as a rare medicine man who can kill poison with poison at the right time, with the correct amount of the dosage.

There, that answers the question of why not to ask the why question in coaching. Thus, Stop at Why, that is how great coaches inspire self-transformation.

If you like this article then let me know and we can take up When and How to use Why or How to replace it with a What?

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the HeART of the CLOSE: What Sales Coaching is Not

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Let me start by talking about what coaching isn’t.  Coaching is not telling.  It is not teaching, not training, and not even mentoring. When you tell something to someone, you deliver sound and the listener probably hears it. Does he accept, understand, and act upon it? Only he will know and only he can say.

Coaching is not teaching. Teaching is when your listener doesn’t know the subject or the skill at hand as well as you do, and so you explain and maybe demonstrate. In this case you need to know the subject at hand much better and deeper than your listener or student.

Coaching is not training. Training is when you facilitate the learning of a skill; say biking or using Microsoft Excel. You can be referred to as a “coach” but you’re not truly coaching in the real sense.

Coaching is not mentoring. Mentor is the name of a man in whose care Telemachus, the son of King Ulysses of Ithaca was put under.  Ulysses (also known as Odysseus in Greek) asked Mentor to look after his son when we went off to fight the legendary Trojan Wars which lasted 20 years.  Apparently, Mentor did such a good job of caring for Telemachus that the word “mentor” moved into the language as the name for a person who teaches principles and practices to his pupil and protégé. Thus, you mentor someone also when you are better than him in specific  subjects and skills.

To be a coach or to coach someone, you do not have to necessarily be better than the person you are coaching in that specific skill set. To coach is to evoke and to facilitate the unlocking of innate potential in the person you are coaching.

The professions that come closest to coaching might be a combination of doctor, counsellor, and guide. Yet these three are not quite coaching because they somehow prescribe and indoctrinate.

Coaching provides context but no content. Coaching provides the framework but doesn’t provide any principles to the one being coached. Coaching only challenges assumptions, unearths desires and strengths and then maybe co-designs a strategy to achieve those desires and optimize those strengths. A coach helps sets goals and then watches you while you execute and achieve them. There are thousands of definitions of coaching and thousands of principles for practicing coaching.

To establish a clear understanding of coaching let me, again take you back a few hundred years in time to Italy and modern day Rome.

In Florence, Italy, a young sculptor was commissioned to do a statue of a well-loved Biblical character out of a discarded Carrara marble piece. It was a project nobody wanted to be part of. Many other sculptors said the piece of marble was rotten, porous and scarred. None of them wanted to be associated with such work lest their names and honor be tainted.

Young Michelangelo, as he approached and circled the stained and scarred rock, paid little attention to the rumors or the damaged external conditions of the rock. His eyes and his heart saw only the beauty and elegance that lay hidden inside the rock. He imagined what the rock could become when all the unnecessary parts were chipped away by his skilled and caring hands. After many days and nights and months of laboring with love and chipping away the unnecessary from the rock, artist Michelangelo succeeded in unearthing and bringing to life the amazingly beautiful statue of David.  It still stands tall and proud at the Galleria dell’ Accademia as a homage to an artist –a coach who saw beauty, brilliance and potential in a piece of discarded rock.

the HeART of the CLOSE by Raju Mandhyan

the HeART of the CLOSE by Raju Mandhyan

That, essentially, is the heart of coaching. It is the art and science of seeing something powerful inside of others and then carefully, lovingly and scientifically releasing and unleashing that potential.  To be a coach is to be an awakener of sorts. To be a coach is to be an almost invisible, non-interfering guide by the side of your salesperson. Yes, that is coaching!

 

Taken from my upcoming book, the HeART of the CLOSE.

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It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.

Taken from the book: Pit Bulls & Entrepreneurs http://tinyurl.com/of4nnk9 

It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.  I can’t really tell you where exactly it is born in the human mind. In the human brain, I suspect it begins as a spark through a neurological synapse deep within the amygdala, the part of the brain referred to as the heart of the brain or the beastly brain.  I am slightly biased towards the term “beastly brain,” because once a desire is unleashed from there, it turns into a raging, screaming animal wanting to rip apart anything and everything that gets in the way to its goals.

In our previous chapters, we gave weight to identity, intelligence, imagination, and integrity as traits that enable the entrepreneur to systemize, sympathize, and synergize with reality and nature towards attaining one’s goals and entrepreneurial ambitions. Intent integrates all these traits together to drive the entrepreneur into action and consequent success.

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Stories as Drivers of Engagement and Innovation

Stories may be truths wrapped in roses, rainbows, and rhythm, but they also create the future–that which is possible and which can indeed be beautiful.

When organizations slow down or arrive at a difficult bend in their developmental journey, people within the organization need hope.  They need new dreams and fresh inspiration.  Success stories from the past empower us, but it is the stories into the future–stories yet to be lived–that catapult us into action and success.

These words are etched on the mental corridors of workers in this company that supplies milk and milk derivatives to nearly half the world.

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Laughing, Talking Sunshine!

“Grandma, why is there no sunshine in your room? Why is it so musty and always dark in here, Grandma?” asked li’l Teresita of her grandmother.

“Well, it’s because the room has no windows, child,” replied the kindly old woman.

“I am going to go and ask Daddy to install some windows right away,” she responded and ran down the spindly stairs towards the living room of their house.

The house they lived in was wedged between several other tall, scrawny structures and the back of the house hung on for dear life to the rocky hills of their little town in the province of Quezon, Philippines.

Her father was sitting on the dining table sifting through bills to pay that kept piling up from month to month. Her mother’s back was towards her and her father. She was busy stirring up some food on that, slightly chilly November morning in the Philippines.

“Daddy, Daddy I want us to place some windows in Grandma’s room upstairs in the attic. It’s too dark and musty there when we play,” she said in an excited and eager voice. Her father did not respond but continued to arrange and re-arrange the papers on the table. Teresita hopped up a chair and held his arm and shook it, “Dad, the room is so dark that we can barely see little shells we use for the Soonka* game we play. Please, Daddy!”

He dropped the papers and the pen he was holding, leaned back into the chair and sucked in some cold air. “Tess, our home is cramped in between other homes and has a rock-face behind, we can’t place a window anywhere in that room.”

“But Daddy, the room is so dark, so musty. Please Daddy place in a window. Grandma will be happy. We’ll be able to play,” she said in a raised voice. Her mother let go of the spatula she was stirring the food with, turned around and a lump formed up in her throat. She knew her mother who’d been their dependent for years now was getting old and they were living through some hard times. Her husband worked hard but he was still unable to bring in enough. “Don’t be such a pest child! Our home faces south. We have no money. There is no way we can place a window in Grandma’s room!” he snapped at his daughter. Teresita’s mother saw her little girl’s face shrink and her eyes water as she got off the chair and ran out of the house sobbing.

Out on the street, the sun was about to set and the country breeze quickly dried up the tears that had run down Teresita’s face. Within moments she got engrossed with the birds, the bees and the flowers that abound in the provinces of the Philippines. The evening sun was kind on her face and as the sun-rays fell on her arms, she smiled warmly, “Why don’t I,” she thought to herself “catch some sunshine and then bring it up to Grandma’s room in the attic?”

Quickly she held up the edges off her long, frilly skirt and faced the sun so the rays fell right into the open, carved out apron front. She held her breath as the apron-front of her skirt filled up with sunshine. She quickly scooped it up, brought the ends together, captured the sunshine in her skirt and ran up to Grandma’s room. “Grandma, Grandma, I brought you something. I brought you sunshine,” she yelled and let drop the apron-front. Nothing happened. She was shocked. “I brought you sunshine Grandma. I really did. I don’t know where it went,” she said as her lips pursed up in pain. “Oh, not to worry,” said her Grandma “come let me tell you a Christmas story.” She grabbed, scooped up the child in her arms and began to tell her a story.Teresita-230x300

The next morning, Teresita was out again playing in the yard. The sun was brighter and richer upon her as she played in the yard. “This time” she said to her-self “I will not fail. I will not spill the sunshine as I run up to Grandma’s room.” She held out the front of her skirt for a longer time. When she felt the heat gather, she wrapped it very tightly and then sprinted into her house and up the shanty stairs to her Grandma’s room and announced, “I brought sunshine. I did. I did!” Yet, when she let drop the apron-front of her skirt there was nothing. Again the grandmother scooped her up in her arms and began to hum her a little love song.

On another day Teresita resolved to win against the disappearing sunshine from her trap. She glued a large piece of a black, plastic sheet to her skirt’s apron-front. She grabbed a few clothe-spins and set out onto the front yard. With her jaws tightened and her lips narrowed, she faced the sun with squinted eyes and held up the plastic-coated, apron-front of her dress for a long while. With a large swing of her hands, she mightily closed and captured the sunshine. Stuck in a few clothespins on the little openings in the wrap and bolted up to her grandmother’s room. Again, when she opened up her huge gift-package for Grandma there was nothing in it. Nothing! Nada!

Tears the size of tennis balls rolled down her cheeks, her shoulders slumped and her knees were about to buckle when the kindly, old Grandmother quickly caught her and sat her on her lap at the bed. “Why can’t I bring you any sunshine, Grandma?” she cried. “Why can’t I make your room a happier and a brighter place, Grandma?”

“Child, sweet child” cried out her grandmother with tears forming up in her old eyes too, “every time you come up here and spend time with me, I become happy. Your sounds, your smiles and your sheer presence, here in my life, make my whole world brilliant. You are my laughing, talking and living sunshine. Yes, you are li’l Teresita. In your presence my spirits light up as if it were Christmas all the time.”

From that day on, the sounds of Teresita and her Grandmother’s happy laughter echo through the little, rolling hills of the Philippines.

 

Story inspired by the book, the HeART of STORY.

the Truth behind Stories: the HeART of STORY

The reality today is very few people in the world want to see or hear the bold truth. In fact, the bolder and starker the truth gets, the lesser attention it receives. It can, more often than not, be despised such that people thwart and rebel against it. And yet, the same beautiful truth when wrapped in color, garnished with flowers, and accompanied by song can become a reigning reality. That is the power of Story. Stories are core Truths wrapped in roses, rainbows and rhythm. That is the story behind storytelling.

 

HISTORY OF STORIES

Eons ago, when man discovered fire, he also discovered the wonder of telling stories around that fire. After a hard day’s hunt, he would gather his tribe and begin to converse and tell great stories. He told stories about the source of life, about the sun, about the moon and the stars. He also told stories about the time and place where the sun was born and how the moon romanced it. He told stories about how the moon pursued the sun and died every month to be reborn to love the sun all over again. He told stories about how every individual had a star of his own up in the teal and midnight-blue skies.

Day after day, night upon night, from one season to another, man told stories –tales about love, courage, adventure, conquest, and wars. Around the fire, he told stories of ferocious Spartan warriors and heroes that battled one-eyed giants. He told stories about birds that could fly into the sun, burst into cinder, and then rise again from the ashes to fly right back into the sun.

Over the ages, stories of tradition, honor, and great courage ruled the air around the fires. There were stories told about great escapes, bold robberies, and giant shipwrecks. Discoveries were reported about new worlds, new wealth, and new people. Narrated with rhyme, repetition, and rhythm, all these stories were etched on the walls of the caves where our ancestors lived and into the hearts and minds of all mankind. Shadows and echoes from the flickering fires left unforgettable legends visualized and represented on the walls of our current homes. Today, many of these stories have become a large part of belief systems, of our culture and our tradition.

 

Taken from the book, the HeART of STORY.

Culture Change

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For nearly four years now I have been working with senior executives from across the world travelling in and out of the Philippines. I have worked with groups from Boeing, UPS, Coke, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, USAID, Proctor & Gamble, Fonterra and Pepsico to name a few. In all our conversations the one statement that keeps popping up is a Peter Drucker quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Though often, I must confess, we warp this quote a bit by saying, “Culture trumps strategy all the time.”

What does this mean? And, if the meaning is looking us in the face then what can we do to move, to change, to lead and win at the marketplace and win in changing economies? Our strategies for innovation, marketing or for impacting the business bottom-line will just not work. Our plans look good on paper and stay looking good on paper. Our business agility and tactics leave us with constantly aching lower backs.

Well, here’s the inside story. All the tangible moves we make; the promotions we launch, the people we pirate and the systems we reshape are moves only on the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Doing all these things in a dynamic marketplace and a constantly changing economy is like trying to turn a ship around in a raging storm by grappling with the tips of its mast.  That, as we have all known and experienced in Reagan-speak, “Just doesn’t cut it. No way, José!”

The way to handle and drive change is to go get to the bottom of things. The way to drive change and rewrite a new culture is to dive under the ship and get a handle on its hull, work the rudders and open up the sails in the direction of the organizational desire-dream.

One of the world’s top 100 change agents, Dr. Roland Sullivan calls this holistic process “Whole Systems Transformation.” I think of his process as change from deep within, from the core and hull of a large, dynamic system called an organization.  Dr. Sullivan recommends a four-step process;

  1. Transform leadership

Work with the decision makers, the core and the powers that be. Let them, first, sink their mental and emotional fangs into meat of the dream. Let them lock their jaws on crystallizing and clarifying the direction in which their organizational ship needs to go.

  1. Transform system critical mass

Choose a substantial number of dedicated individuals whose values not just resonate but ring church bells in sync with the values and the purpose of the organization. Let them also bite into the same dream as the leaders.

  1. Transfer competency to local change agent

Power and tool up local and internal change agents to work on the daily grind of weaving and hammering in the necessary knots and nails to turn the hull around. Let them learn to stew, to steam and serve the bits with a sizzle.

Culture change

Culture change

  1. Sustain transformation

Hold your breath, let the sails bellow, paddle consistently and evenly until we, the whole system, surfs over the storm and strengthens up for the next wave of change.

Dr. Roland Sullivan, in 2009, in conversation with the newly elected Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi put together this quote with him, “Dreams are not seen when you sleep. Dreams are those that do not let you sleep.” http://rolandsullivan.wordpress.com/2009/07/

Over the last few years, Indians across the nation heard these words and made them their battle-cry for change. Today, the hull and the rudder of the ship called India is now in new hands and they look forward to riding out into seas, using Whole Systems Transformation, to drive change, to change culture.

The Map & the Reality

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One of the principles I put across in most of my workshops is that it is fine to mindlessly mouth the adage that change is the only constant in the world. What we do not realize that change is not just a constant but that there are multiple realities and all that we perceive to be realities are also constantly changing. Thus, everything we perceive or “map” to be our reality is not what others perceive it to be. And, not only do these internal maps or perceptions differ but they are also, always, in a constant, frenzied flux. It’s as if all our individual minds are like frenzied snow-globes of different kinds and then we all live, work and progress inside a huge snow-globe called life.

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