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Forgiveness and Leadership

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I hear it is a good thing. I understand the world expects it of me. I also trust it heals and sets me free. Yet, I have been holding off talking about this for a decade now. I was under the impression that forgiveness was the stuff that preachers and pastors talk of. Yet, every time I helped nudge a leader back into form, back into productivity, the work that, mostly, needed to be done was for them to let go of something that was weighing them down so that they could go on to something that would heave them up. They needed to let go. They needed to forgive.

Then I must also confess that every time I, personally, wanted to reach upwards I had to let go of something that was holding me down and grounding me downwards. That something was usually a disappointment, a trauma, a grudge, a failure or even just an unqualified, irrational, hallucinated fear. And, all of these causes and ‘uncauses’ had to be managed and let go of before any and every leader could climb upwards. And, by the way, everyone has leadership potential in them and thus everyone is a leader or a leader in the making. Yes, you too.

I bear grudge to a former boss who thought that I was way too green behind my ears and treated me likewise. I bear a grudge against a business partner who sabotaged contracts because of our differences in ethnicity and backgrounds. I resent customers who take their business to others because they are blood-related and not because they serve and deliver better.

From an authentic leadership perspective, all these reasons are shallow. They are ‘uncauses’ to be holding grudges, resentment and even anger towards others. An executive within an organization and a leader in social and business circles grows, blooms and inspires others when she can overcome malice, move on to a better place and better productivity for all.

How?

Not just conceptually but in practice, in reality. Literally.

How?

First, on a piece of paper briefly describe a grudge you hold against another. Practice precision and brevity in the description. Yes, okay to be emphatically expressive but be succinct about it. Let the written paper rest. Walk away from it for a while, maybe for days. There is a good chance that when you get back to it, you will have or will begin to separate fact from mental fiction. You will become objective about the incident, the behavior and the people involved.

You see there is a fine line that divides the objective truth and the conjured up, victim perspective, truth in our minds. It is similar to the fact that rational thinking nodes and the romanticizing nodes in our brains are not very far apart. Giving our thoughts and emotions a little space and time allows them to segregate.

Second, when you recognize the difference between self-generated illusions of hurt and deliberate damage done by another then make a cognitive effort to place yourself into the shoes of that another. Think of answers to questions like:

Forgiveness and Leadership

Forgiveness and Leadership

  • What background do they hail from?
  • What kind of experiences and exposures have they lived through?
  • What are they trying to shield, protect or prevent from happening?
  • What might be their real agenda behind their behaviors and their machinations?
  • What might they be afraid of?
  • From their point of view, what might you represent for them?
  • What might you, consciously or unconsciously, have done to annoy, hurt or scare them?

Third, visualize what your issue might look, sound and feel like to an absolutely open-minded and neutral witness to your relationship. The way to go about it is to think of critical incident or an issue occurring between two of your friends and what might the opinion of a teacher, a coach or an elder be about that incident.

  • What would a teacher, coach or an elder have to say about the grudge you hold against another.
  • What would she say or do?
  • How can you emulate the words and actions of a person you consider kind, compassionate, and a clear thinker?

 

As you will yourself and as you stretch your mental and emotional muscles to go through these three steps the person and his actions that caused you ire become less and less important to you.  The clarity and heightened resolution of that anger begin to fade away. Eventually, the target of your ire begins to fade and begins to reform, rebirth in your mind as another individual, another ordinary, simple human being just like you.  You might also want to share your thoughts with a friend. You might try rehearse a conversation and a dialogue with the one you want to forgive. You need not take this up in reality. You are only taking this up to cleanse your neurological system of toxicity. Just the process lived out vicariously helps a lot.

It is a slow, steady process. It requires persistence, faith in your abilities to succeed, and a certain mental discipline. It cannot be achieved in a day. It can be achieved the same way you acquire and build a new habit, or a new muscle.  The more such forgiveness muscles you build the stronger a human being and a leader you become. Just like a good fitness regime that needs to be supported by a good diet the ability to forgive requires that you choose your thoughts, words and actions again and again. When you find yourself sinking into anger, resentful and depressive thoughts about a person or incident go for a walk, a run or a trek. Mind the choice of your words and conversations with others. The more recklessly you talk ill of others or of negative incidents the more they flourish and solidify in your own mind. We are all auto-telic. We have malleable brains and we shape them by will, thought and behavior. We become what we constantly think about. Think about being angry and upset over a past grudge and you become a depressed and angry person all across.

  • Leadership is about being aware, being agile, and grasping moments that will innovate, change things.
  • Leadership is about journeying over a distance, over to a better place-a vision of a brighter future.
  • Leadership is about including others, millions of others, and enrolling them to move forward by moving yourself.

All this can be achieved with grace and with gumption. Grace to accept and gumption to let go. A leader, all leaders need to stay light and unburdened and they need to move on ahead with deliberation and purpose.

At the end of it all. At the end of all your striving and struggling if you are unable to let go of nasty, toxic memories; if you are unable to forgive others then forgive yourself for not being able to forgive others.

Alternatively, better still, start the whole forgiving process by forgiving yourself first. Yes!

What to believe in times like these

It is true that our beliefs drive our behaviors and our behaviors drive our growth and progress in life and in our businesses.

It is hitting month EIGHT since COVID-19 turned the earth inside out. There is very little to tell you about why and how it happened or, even, what the consequences of this massive, tsunami of a disruption are because are experiencing them.

The question is what should we do get ahead of this. What should we do to progress? How do we behave and what should we believe in?

At Inner Sun, we have a belief about beliefs. We believe that beliefs are put together by three dynamisms.

The first is the dynamism that is innate, congenital, and embedded. In an individual, it is sometimes referred to as nature or personality; in a business organization, it may be referred to as “work culture”.

The second dynamism is the one that exists outside of this system and is of many forms; the way that it is often referred as the environment, the economy, or the ecology.

The third, the most vibrant, with a high potential to influence the inner and the outer dynamisms, is the dynamics of the process between the internal and external systems.  It is the process of combustion between what is and what is possible. This is where innovation and change is carved out. This is where a new life and a new world is born. The drivers of this intermediate dynamism are the first is the dynamism that is innate, congenital, and embedded. In an individual, it is sometimes referred to as nature or personality; in a business organization, it may be referred to as “work culture”.

In these blazingly vibrant and challenging times, individual and organizations need to huddle up and closely watch what is happening with our own awareness, intelligences, emotions, memories that we are accumulating, and the actions we are taking.

Organizations and individuals, in recent times, that have trusted these two beliefs have a robust potential not just to survive but also to thrive in the coming days:

Believe that there are better days ahead. Yes, those that recognize that this is one of the seasons of change in a larger sense and that spring is just ahead staying optimistic and enthused about what they do. “The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy,’ said Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Believe that we are all in this together. However, in a commercial sense, competition is good but in these challenging times, it is collaboration and compassion that are key to progress. “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful,” claimed Mother Teresa.

The higher the intensity and the quality control of these elements the better the results and the outcomes for tomorrow.

Think about this deep and hard. These things will boost your beliefs onto a better place and thus influence your behaviors towards progress and growth in these challenging times.

R E S P E C T, Earn it by Giving it!

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Respect is an essential currency of exchange with family, at work and with society.

The ABC’s of earning and accumulating respect are quite similar to earning and accumulating financial wealth. You can be born, or get married, or sneak into a position of power and demand respect.

On the other hand, you can honestly work your way up and become a self-made man of respect.

You can also go flat broke at it.

Several years ago, a c-level department head came to me claiming he had lost a lot of respect among his workers. He was the head of logistics, had seven managers and another 200 people working under him.

My people do not like me, engagement has dropped and work is suffering, he said.

He was new to the company, to the culture and the country. After an hour or so of probing, we uncovered the root cause. One time, he confessed, he had spoken harshly to an elderly colleague in the presence of all others. She was hurt and insulted; he had robbed her of respect. Her teammates and eventually the whole department empathized with her. In return, they too turned cold and indifferent towards him.

It has been six months, Coach Raju, what do I do? He cried in pain.

R E S P E C T

Can I go and apologize to the person? Nope, it will not help. It is a shy, relationship-oriented culture.

Can I call them all over for dinner and do some bonding? Nope, it will seem like a bribe and cause more harm.

Go the front end of your logistics department. Work with the drivers, the maintenance and the messenger boys. Treat them with courtesy, care and respect first. Be humble, remember their names and get to know them better, I offered.

He agreed and worked at it diligently. Six months later things began to look up. Slowly, he began to get into the good books of everyone. His respect balance sheet began to glow in his favor. He was getting it back because he was giving it away authentically, truly and humbly. His changed behavior began to influence the company culture. He was a happy man.

With tiny errors such as his our respect, our reputation can come crashing down like a sheet of glass. When it has to be put together, it has to be put together piece by piece, shard by shard. Sometimes, it can never be put back together.

So I use what I call the ABC’s of Respect.

What are the ABC’s of earning respect?

The A is Awareness. Become highly aware of the ambiance, the atmosphere and the accoutrements of respect around you. Watch people, appreciate diversity and understand rituals. Find your place and niche in the world. Your heightened awareness will improve your appearance in the eyes of others. And, they will return that favor to you.

The B is for your Beliefs. Do you believe the world is a lousy, unhappy and a sad place? If yes, then your behavior will follow your belief. Do you believe that it is a dog eat dog world then your behavior will bark at others. Generate an abundant mentality and your behavior will become affirmative.

The C is for Conscientious Communications. Select each letter and word as if you were picking flowers. Morph them positively. Bead them like a garland towards energizing others. My father, a tailor in India, used to say “Son, measure twice and cut once.” The same applies to communicating, think twice and speak once.

Do all this consistently, compassionately and with authenticity. Overtime you will notice that respecting others is a fruitful investment that brings you exponential returns.

Sometimes, money is called the root of all evils. Respect surely is the fruit of all that is good. Yes!

That is true and authentic power. That is how to grow and thrive

Trust by Raju Mandhyan

How to Trust and Acquire Trust

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Tony Meloto is to the Philippines what Mohammed Yunus is to Bangladesh and what Jimmy Carter is to the United States of America. They are all founders of these NGOs that support the underprivileged. Tony Meloto gave up a lucrative career to build and grow Gawad Kalinga, which means to bestow care and support. In the last 25-30 years

Trust by Raju Mandhyan

Trust and Acquire Trust

they have built millions of humble homes across the Philippines, Asia, and the world. The initiative is creative, colorful and has succeeded with flying colors. Money, support, and volunteers flood in from all walks and all parts of the world.

One day at a conference that I was hosting, I cornered Tony Meloto and asked him how he manages this incoming wealth and support. How does he screen, filter, sort, and keep the whole thing transparent and running ethically? Are you not worried about corruption, politics, or fraud?

He paused, looked at me gently, and said, “We begin with trust.” We begin by first giving it abundantly at the get-go level, at the face value of the donor and the volunteer. In return, he said, we get it back trust back in spades and shiploads. That is how the system is structured, and that is how it works and it has not failed us so far. When we grant trust to people, they rise up to our positive expectations and often surpass them.

Such is the essential nature of trust and humankind. We wish to be trusted, we wish to trust others and the exchange occurs when we lead by offering it first. The offering of trust journeys through three phases. Call them the ABCs of trust. That is it needs to journey through appearances, behaviors, and communications with others.

When we regard another human being our deepest brain, the Amygdala, and the Hippocampus sections, within seconds makes an assessment of whether we like them or not; whether we should fear them or not; whether we should trust them or not. Thus, at this appearance level take in this assessment as data to be used for an integrated analysis of whether they can be trusted or not. Refrain from passing judgment just yet. Refrain from taking any action just yet. This information is only a third of the information needed to come to a conclusion.

The second phase is that of us watching and sensing their behavior. From years of watching and dealing with people each, one of us has a storehouse of behavior matching cards and metrics by which we assess likable or dislikeable behavior. Take note of these feelings, nudges of thoughts triggered by past memories. This is valuable data. Perhaps enough to come to a conclusion and then act but exercise pragmatism and hold back from judging the book by its cover.

The third phase is that of us listening to their words, their thoughts, their ideas about work and life. Hear them out totally. Maybe their appearance and behavior might be the total opposite of what they say, claim and commit.

Now you have data gathered from three different sources, three different modalities of communications. You have data gathered from sight, sense, and sound. Each of these sources has provided fodder that is data to crunched by our three brains; the deepest brain known as the Reactive brain which processes in the most primal way. We have behavioral data to be processed by our mid, limbic brain known as the Romantic brain and then we have data, cognitive-spoken kind, to be processed by our neo-cortex known as the Reasoning brain.

When all this data is done processing by these three brains and the final analysis compliments each other then you have found congruence. Then you have found trustworthiness. Now you can move ahead, take action.

That is the neural pathway, the journey of the thing called trust. That is how we trust and that is how we begin the process of trusting. Tony Meloto and Kalinga warriors, of course, do this in an accelerated way. They do it in a way that works for them fine and fruitfully.

What does it take from us, from leaders to trust others, and let our minds journey through these three neural phases?

It takes observing people through lenses that have the least possible bias. I am not saying without any bias, I am saying with the least possible and by staying conscious of our biases. If we observed people without any bias then we would have no opinions whatsoever. Thus, watch people closely, wholly, and gently.

It takes becoming sensitive to people’s behavior. It takes noticing and understanding of why people do what they do. It takes recognizing what kind of emotions are triggered with us when we watch and sense other people and their actions. It is about awareness, sensitivity, and being intelligent about emotions.

Finally, it takes active and acute listening to take in all that is being said and also exploring and understanding parts that are, sometimes, left unsaid.

These three phases of trusting others are tied in to three things we need to do, and all of them are in alignment with the structure and processing system of our triune brains. When we gather optimum data gently and process it quietly and thoroughly our abilities to assess and trust others improve.

 

Acquiring trust, on the other hand, is the reversal of this three-phase journey. When we want others to trust us then we must offer them the correct and honest appearances and presentations of ourselves. We need to let them see us plainly and openly. Masking our appearances is going to give others the heebie-jeebies over us. We need to become conscious of our behaviors and actions in the presence of others. Raising your voice, moving frantically or even positioning yourself where there is a lack of light will make others wonder about us. Lastly, thinking well before speaking gently and succinctly about things helps others get a clearer picture of us. It helps them go through the process of integrating the data and the analysis through the three phases and with the triune brain efficiently. This when practiced with consistency builds relationship trust. We can do the same with acquiring trust in our competencies; be good at something consistently.

Building a culture of trust in other organizations is an enhanced and a multi-layered approach of this interpersonal process of giving and acquiring trust. When the process becomes clear to the leaders of any organization, they begin to live out the process. Living out the process makes it habitual and, eventually, becomes second nature to leaders. When leaders are good at giving and getting trust then the philosophy and the practice cascade across to become the culture of that organization. Trust me.

Resilience and Rapid Business Recovery

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We are in the midst of a crisis, the kind people have not seen in a hundred years. Neither has all the workforce of the world been kept away from being industrious for such a long time. This lack of activity, lack of being able to produce will have a huge impact on the global economy; on production, trade, services and the flow of money across nations.

What it means to large corporations is that they will have to drain their liquid and non-liquid assets. Smaller business will have to get back to work as if they were starting up all over again. Both, the big and small, will also have to scrape the bottom of their resources. We will have to renew structures, rehash systems and respond to a brand new world, a brand new normal. We will all have to bounce back faster and stronger as if we were an amalgam of steel and rubber.

There are five things that every business may find wisdom in:

1.Assess all impact:

When the earth heaves and hoes, all plant and animal life gets displaced. When the global economy will turn a side, every industry will be impacted. Travel and tourism will come crashing down while food production and delivery will take an upward swing. Education may not win or gain but will have to scramble to stay steady.

Conduct an honest SWOT analysis of how hard you will be hit. Do remember that being hit positively also will require adjustments and adapting. Grabbing new opportunities require renewed strengths.

An extremely popular ramen restaurant in Makati, Philippines has an obsessively loyal clientele. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, people would line up and wait for hours to dine there.  They were an eat-in restaurant only.  Now they’ve had to shift to delivery only and their loyal clients still wait for several weeks for their dinner to arrive. Imagine pre-ordering a dinner three weeks in advance.

It is a happy challenge. It is still something that needs focused attention.

2.Reinforce partnerships:

Most everything atrophies. Most everything atrophies a lot more rapidly when its environment is unsupportive. With the slowdown, the focus of people in all industries will have shifted inwards. As and when they get back to work, they may have difficulty remembering where the power switch to their machines might be. This will not be true just for your own teams but also for the teams of your partners on the supply as well as the demand side.

As and when things begin to look like normal, one of your first priorities ought to be catchup with and energize relationships both with your suppliers and buyers. Get an idea on how they were impacted, what their new needs might be and how you can support them back to their feet too.

No man, no business is an island. Even islands, in reality, are connected to each other inside the core of the earth. When we help our associates, our partners and even those that we consider our competition, providence opens up new connections and new doors for us, for our businesses.

3.Tighten the organization:

Weeks before any bout, professional boxers turn away from indulging, eating or drinking anything that is non-essential to their preparation. They spend a large part of their time training, studying the opposition and visualizing success. The discipline is fiercely rigorous, and it usually brings success.

Likewise businesses will have to cut down fat, inefficient processes and costs. Make your machine a lot leaner than it already might be. Let the fire in your belly rage ethically and consistently. This may also mean letting go of assets, investments and projects that are weighing your ship down. Dump them. Cut losses fast and early. There will come a season to recover.

Seek alignment from your people, work on increasing employee engagement and become obsessive about indulging in value-creating, measurable activities only.

4. Upskill abilities, agilities:

Chances are your empathetic culture makes you carry people-assets that may be slow moving and low on performance. Practicality says let go of low-performers, wisdom claims that this may not be the time because it will dampen the emotional resolve of the whole organization. Instead spend on upskilling them all.  Learning and development is a discipline that aligns itself with the doddering educational industry. It stands on unsteady ground in a crisis such as this, but when tightening your organization and changing the course of your vessel, it is people we will need.

It thus, makes a lot of sense to sharpen the abilities and the agilities of your human resource. Train them fast, train them hard. Enroll them to stretch their limits and master new systems and machinery. Encourage a mindset of maximum frugality when it comes to investing time, money and effort.

Alliance Global Group Inc., which owns Emperador, rapidly swung their ship around, mid-storm, from producing alcohol for consumption to alcohol for disinfecting in less than three weeks in this current crisis. Not only did they swing around their output but they also donated 1 million liters of their produce worth $5 million to the community at large. More than just resetting their machines, they also had to sustain employee engagement and upskill their abilities and agilities.

5. Go beyond borders:

Up from the time when we sent our first email, the world has been going digital but with a certain lethargy towards it. Gartner, Inc., a research and consulting company claimed that only 12% of the world’s businesses were ready for the current crisis and only 32% of the world’s business leaders update their business model.

Yet in the last six weeks almost 35% of the world’s learning and development community have moved up their services to online versions. They have agrresively reacahed out beyond their usual geographical and familiar limits.

It is not just about getting digital but it is also about harnessing big data, increasing accessibility, improving communications and insuring security and safety on the digital space.

Tata Consultancy Services, the Indian IT services firm, plans to adapt remote working conditions introduced as a response to coronavirus into a permanent working model for 75% of their employees globally by 2025.

Not that these five ideas are the most brilliant in the world. Like all plans and strategies they involve a lot of guesswork and gutwork. Take what works for you. In any and all cases stay eco-conscious and be kind to the earth. A decade ago we were talking about surviving disruptions brought about by technological advances in a VUCA world. This disruption is brought about biological mishaps. Use these five simple ideas to build a brand new, better world ahead. Remember that when the night seems too long, the days ahead will be brighter and beautiful. Check video on Traits of the RESILIENT.

Raju Mandhyan

A Turning Point Interview

Please briefly intro yourself in terms of who you are, what you do and the companies you own now.

People spend a lifetime trying to “know thyself.” I just know that I provide services like keynote speaking, management training, development facilitation and cross-cultural executive coaching.

Please share with us your childhood, where you were born, where you grew up and your formative years.

I was born in Mumbai, raised in a city called Pune. I grew up surrounded by Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities but I went to Parsi (also known as Zorastrian) school. I grew up with a motto: Think Good, Speak Good and Do Good.

What kind of student were you in primary and high school and university?

I was a top ranker all the way up until I graduated from high school. In the university my academic skills took a downturn. Though I studied engineering and economics I stayed interested in the arts and humanities.

What were your first few years upon your graduation and entering the job market?

I changed professions often. I was good at most any tasks but found fulfillment in dealing and negotiating with people. Thus, the five books on communication skills in the last 15 years.

Coaching is the Air I Breathe

 

Which did you discover your passion for speaking? When did you start to realize that you can make a living from your passion speaking and improving lives?

I did not discover my skill in communicating. I was discovered by the British Council of the Philippines. I was asked to come, train and speak for them even though I had no qualifications or experience in it. I loved it. It paid well and I, naturally, got addicted. So here I am almost 19 years later.

 

How challenging was for to start your business? Can you share some of your early mistakes and failures and the lessons you have learnt from those failures?

This second phase of my life at the age of 40; this turnaround from being an international businessman to a speaker, trainer and a coach was very challenging. I realized having talent and potential and passion is not enough. You need to put in the 10,000 hours to gain mastery….I have put in 50,000 hours and more.

 

What are your top three strengths and top three weaknesses?

My strengths are my weaknesses too….I am sensitive therefore I feel things quickly and I care for other also very quickly. I am a big-picture, spatial thinker and that’s a strength but then I shrink away from detailed, routine administrative work.  I am always looking for new experiences thus I am adventurous and innovative. That also makes me restless towards mediocre stuff and attitude.

What are some (around three) turning points in your life?

At age 15, I was beaten up badly by a bunch of hooligans and that, at first, made me afraid but then years later it made me a sort of daredevil. Now at 62, I still will do rappelling, mountain climbing, scuba-diving and participate in thrill rides. I will walk into any kind of a crowd and audience and be not afraid.

Who are the three to five people you want to thank for your success today?

  • My Mom for saving pennies to put me through school and college and then instilling me in strong values and ethics. She said I must always do the right and the good thing no matter what and be compassionate towards the weak and meek.
  • My mentor and idol, the late Wayne Dyer, who brought to light the power of intention and inter-connectedness in this world.
  • My three children inspired me to be cool, laid back and make sure that happiness is not a “be” thing but a “do” thing. That means you have to work your mind to be happy. It is mental action.

What’s your purpose in life?

To help people unleash the power hidden within them the way others helped me.

What’re some do your future plans for both your business and your life?

I would like to convert all my books and training programs into online, easily accessible learning programs. My business and my life is the same.

Five things young people must know and apply in order to do well in life?

  • Get crystal clear about what exactly they like and want. The key word is “What do you WANT?”
  • Be not afraid. Just form a plan and work the plan day in day out towards your dream.
  • When faced with failure think of it as the first stone towards success because it teaches you what not to do with your next step.
  • Forgive others fastidiously and easily. Remember those that do you wrong, really know not what they do.
  • Accept the fact that we are mortal and make that fact become your daily reality. In the olden days Samurais were qualified to be Samurais when they showed no fear for death.

Is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?

I would have started early but then I wouldn’t have been as good and matured as I am now. So the answer is I would have done all that I have done and be happy with it. I have NO regrets in life.

Thank you very much. Any message for our readers?

When you chase your goals relentlessly and ethically and with love in your heart for the world then you become a magnificent sight to behold and be inspired by.

Questions by Ken Loong, Australia

Asnwers by Raju Mandhyan, Philippines.

Faith and Humility in Leadership

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A few months ago by a bunch of professionals and then a few days ago by a bunch of human resource practitioners, I was asked, “What makes any professional move from being good to great?”

The answers to such a question usually are ‘experience, character, courage, persistence, passion etc.’ My quick and candid response to the first time it was asked of me was ‘Faith and Humility.’  First their jaws dropped instantaneously and, as I began to defend my thesis their eyes kinda’ glazed over. But people generally being nice as they usually are, especially here in the Philippines, they all smiled and nodded their approval. In my gut, I knew that I hadn’t sold my idea well enough. But the second time the same scenario occurred, I got several ’Whoas’ and ‘Awesomes’ to my defense of ‘Faith and Humility’ to move from being good to great.

Now, the why and the how of faith and humility in business and life:

First when I say faith, I mean trust and acceptance mixed with some loyalty. Second, I mean faith in oneself, faith in your perspectives and faith in your deeper intentions. And, by saying this I am also not excluding your faith in any structured form of religion. The neuropsychological benefits of all kinds of faith are amazingly similar.

The faith I am talking about is not surrendering of reason and logic and neither the blind acceptance of reason and logic.  I am talking about the power of goodness hammered into us, into humanity which constantly yanks us towards our higher self.  Yes, the synonyms can be trust and confidence in self. Yet, the faith I am referring to hails and applauds a much larger system, intelligence and consciousness.

A business leader that carries this special chip on his shoulder doesn’t just increase the chances of his own success but also inspires the growth and evolution of others around him.  A quick story that comes to my mind is that of salesman from a small town was out beating the streets of New York seeking work for a small graphic-designing business. Three days of being turned away and offered no work his morale took a plunge. He began to lose ‘faith’ in himself and in the system. At the end of the third day, his wife who also worked in the business said to him on the phone, “Honey, I just made it big in our small town lotto this afternoon, so worry not about bringing home any business. We are rich!”  The next morning, back on the streets of New York, very strangely, business did not just pick up for him but it began to pour in. Back at home on Friday night with a load of work in his bag as he hugged his wife, she told him that she really hadn’t won any lotto and she’d just said that to cheer him up.

I admit that her approach may not have been all too right but it did act like a placebo to attitude delivered positive results. His faith in himself, in the system and the world had jacked up and so did his business.

My way to reach such a state is that before every important interaction, I step away from the hustle and bustle of life, find a quiet place and pause. In that moment, I ask myself: Do you have faith in yourself? Have you done all the homework that needs to have been done? Will your agenda create value for others? Do you care for the people you are going to deal with? Are your objectives more selfless than selfish? Do you have faith in the system and in the world?

When I get a ‘yes’ as an answer to all of them, I open the door and step in and miracles happen.  That is my way to faith. That is my first step I take when I do not have a glimpse of the whole staircase.

Now for the ‘why and how of humility’ for moving from good to greatness in life and at work:

One of the best explanations of it was probably a quote on the walls of my daughter’s school, Colegio San Agustin, in the Philippines. I cannot remember the exact words but the gist of it was that the moment your mind highlights for you, or even others, that you are being humble then all humility flies out of the window.  If and when you say you are being humble, you are not.

Yes, the moment you make a claim towards it then it fizzles and turns into the monstrosity of overconfidence, pride and arrogance.

Thus, humility needs to be exercised quietly and with strength towards the very same reasons from which you gather and accumulate your faith. So, not just before, during and even after of all interactions and interventions the questions I ask of myself in quiet moments are: Are you even-minded and true about you and your achievements? Do you have quiet confidence in the homework you have done and are you ready for it to not serve you? Are you prepared to be rejected, turned down and left out? Are you open to the possibilities of failure? Will you be able to accept that however selfless your ideas and intentions are they may still be regarded as self-serving by others?

These questions serve me well in failure and success. I am not claiming that I always succeed at practicing these habits. I am not claiming that these practices will guarantee growth and will catapult us into everlasting greatness. I am saying that in my observations and study of leaders these habits are a huge part of their natural traits. Some of my favorite teachers, consultants and leaders of faith straddle these two paths of faith and humility to move from being good to becoming great.

Raju Mandhyan

P.S. Catch me at Dubai, HR Summit in November

 

Three Essentials to Authenticity

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Talk about being authentic and, often you will hear this one: “We are in such a hurry to grow up, and then we long for our lost childhood. We make ourselves ill earning money, and then spend all our money on getting well again. We think so much about the future that we neglect the present, and thus experience neither the present nor the future. We live as if we were never going to die, and die as if we had never lived.” By Paulo Coelho

Most all our lives, we desperately struggle to find ourselves. We strive to live, and live out our lives exactly the way we want to but end up creating and living in contradictions. It is not that in the deepest of our hearts we do not know what we want. We do, but adapting and adjusting to a demanding world we let our true selves get corroded, get covered with gunk. Yet from deep within there is that being, that energy and that soul that yearns to fly, to go and grab a fistful of the sky and claim it as how own. 

In the history of mankind there have been a few who have flown so high and so purely in the skies of their own choosing. And, there are almost all of us who for scores of times in our lives have dug a window through that corrosion and that gunk that surrounds and made our presence felt. We have, at times, lived out our dreams and desires loudly and boldly. The question that arises is how do increase the frequency of these liberating moments and sustain them so that at the end of our days we can feel that, hey, I am ready to die because I have lived a full, fruitful and an authentic life. Inspired by an interview, I conducted of Dr. Peter Senge a few years ago, it struck me living an authentic life at work and in society when we:

Step Up: In all circumstances, especially the most challenging ones our options eventually get boiled down to just two. Should we take the well-treaded and safe path or should we step up and take the road less travelled. The roads less travelled, or the right decisions that will make us stand apart and away from others  are always packed with risk but the person who steps up to the calling of his inner voice, scales up the mountains of authenticity. Yes, it takes courage to be authentic. Yes, it takes gumption to stand up, speak up and move towards what your heart, mind and soul tell you are the right things to say and do.

Step In: Daniel Goleman in his book, Focus, talks about how a bunch of preachers-to-be on the road to take up tests in compassion and kindness totally ignore a homeless person on the street asking for help. In their case, it was probably about lack of awareness but often in life, we prefer to stay away from trouble that doesn’t belong to us. In a highly interconnected world most everything does, in a way, belong to us. The other day, someone sent me a video of some folks torching the tongue of street dog. The thought in my mind was why would someone take a video of that and not stop the carnage? Or, when we see others dumping toxic waste and plastic into our rivers why don’t we step in. Stepping in into murky situations, if our conscience calls for it, is the authentic thing to do.

Stand Tall: Dr. Peter Senge in that interview, available on you tube, claims that the eye cannot see the eye. We don’t ever know what the objective reality is because our perceptions, our lenses towards the world are tinted with our biases, our own agendas. Some of these, surely, are unconscious but a large number of those stains on our glasses are of our own making and the cleaner our windows are to the world the better we see it and the taller and prouder we can walk. Coming from clarity and approaching situations conscientiously will allow us to be ourselves, walk and stand tall in a volatile, uncertain, changing and an ambiguous world.  Said once my favorite childhood author, George Bernard Shaw, “Best keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you see the world.”

Authenticity is not just honesty, it is not just being frank and outspoken but being authentic is being true to you inner calling moment after moment. It is about stepping up to challenges, stepping into situations where the right thing needs to be done and also keeping your values and your visions clean.

We live in a world that is constantly changing. We do not have to be the change because every breath we take, every though we think, every word we utter and every action that we take creates change. We do not need to apply force neither do we need to use undue power. We just live out our life with authenticity and gentle influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

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The Subtleties of Authentic Influence©

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TODAY, I complete and count nearly twenty-one years since I entered the world of public and then professional speaking. Within the first year of being part of a very elite group of professionals at the Executive Toastmasters Club of Makati, the club appointed me president.

Surely I’d had some experience in leading teams, building businesses and even being the chief honcho of other business-oriented organizations but I’d never had the experience of being at the helm of a team made of people coming from different walks of life. A group made from diverse backgrounds, and with no material stakes and agenda in the organization except the fact that it was a self-learning volunteer group.

For groups such as this, the leader really has very little assigned power at his disposal and is needed to still drive, succeed, and make the organization flourish.

Towards this end, I thankfully, consider myself to have been blessed to have an amazing mentor and coach in the form of the group’s former president, one Mr. Horacio S. Sese. Nicknamed Rexy, as many people in the Philippines are, he used to hailed as “Sexy Rexy.”

Rexy used to have this amazing way of making me think, visualize, verbalize, and then act and follow through with what was needed, what was productive, and everything that moved the team forward. A team that was loosely gelled, tender, and had haphazard stakes in doing so. I must also add to this that whatever Rexy guided me into doing was also always ethical and in service of others, something bigger than myself.

Though it has been over twenty years since then, here are a few subtleties about Rexy, about Authentic Influence,  and his styles which led me to perform better and grow:

Reputation. In my first few interactions with him, I picked up cues that Rexy knew what he was talking about and doing. Much more important than my own assessment of him almost everyone spoke well of him and looked up at him. This kind of presence and reputation isn’t and wasn’t downloadable from any source but it had been built over the years brick by brick and inch by inch. It was rock solid, dependable, and his reputation always walked into the room way before the person behind it did.

Respect. I was and still am twenty years younger than him. I was and still might be twenty years greener than him in many areas of life and in a world where power is wielded hierarchically; Rexy never let these differences show. For him, in reality, they did not exist and he treated me and all with others with massive courtesy and respect with every little word and every little micro-gesture. He never spoke at me. He did not highlight my lack of experience and know-how. He never disturbed my time without first seeking my permission.

Rapport. You can already guess by the fact that he allowed young and old to address him as “Sexy Rexy,” that he was also a fun and easy-going guy. There was barely any hot air in his hairy head. He had this uncanny ability to meet people in their own way, at their own level and use lightness and respect to win their trust and rapport rapidly. Regardless of how unique, urgent or ambiguous the tasks at hand were, Rexy made it a point to acknowledge and care for the person behind the task, namely me.

Research. This probably is not the precise word for the point I am trying to make but it fits into the theme and the scheme of things. Every time there was work to be done or little tasks that were probably behind time, Rexy’s conversations would start with exploring the background of the tasks at hand. After that he’d explore my thoughts and feelings about the work at hand. Gently, then he used to check if I had the resources and the support. Towards closing the conversation he’d get confirmations in such a way that would make me feel as if I were the lead and as if all the ideas were of my generation and which, in fact, was usually true. In our conversations, his open-minded, exploring way of guidance had me bursting with ideas and intentions to flourish. He never ever delegated. I owned and was accountable for all that I put out.

Request. Now just in case, wherever he had a need and not that I remember him having any, his mode, his demeanor was, always, as if he were making a request. I didn’t know how he did that. I don’t know where and how he acquired such a skill set but it was and still is mind-blowing. Over the years I have tried to imbibe that behavior and that demeanor and I am not sure if I have it. It is is a powerful competency and shall always remain on my wish list of things I want to be. I want to be like Rexy the Sexy.

In a world, today, that has exploded into the virtual domain where people live half their lives stuck to their smartphones and laptops; where social and business interactions thrive in the digital space these five subtleties of Authentic Influence can and will always rule all forms of dealings and interactions.

Your abilities to authentically influence the marketplace and your stakeholders will depend on your reputation, respect for them, rapport with them; your abilities to research their needs and turn your own needs into humble requests will make you social and business leaders who innovate and influence authentically.

On Saturday, the 18th of August, at 9:00AM Philippines, I am running a no fee webinar, please drop by and pick up or add a few things to the subject of Authentic Influence. Here’s the link for signing up:  Authentic Influence© by Raju Mandhyan

 

 

 

Have You Ever Wrestled with Humor?

I bet you have more than once struggled and wrestled with humor.

You know it is important. You know as a trainer, speaker or a business leader it breaks ice, increases engagement and many a times earns you trust. Yet, at times it can pin you down and have you tapping on the floor to surrender and give up.

I know this. I have been there. There are times I’ve had the crowds rolling on the floor with laughter and then there are times that I have wanted to lie down on the floor and die.

Humor and pain like comedy and tragedy have subtle similarities. At the root level, these are both essentially the same. A person who has suffered great pain and tragedy in life also has the ability to transcend from it and convert it to comedy.

If you look through the history of those who have made the world laugh, you will note that they did, indeed, suffer great sorrow and pain before discovering laughter.

The bard, Shakespeare, created immortal masterpieces of drama but lived a personal life wrought in longing and loneliness. His every work is a constant dance between the tragic and the comic.

Charlie Chaplin, the lovable champ, grew up in a world surrounded by poverty and Dickensian angst; almost all of his movies depict scenes of glee and sadness sublimely mixed and exaggerated for theatrical effect.

The legendary Doctor Patch Adams, who proved to the world that, indeed, laughter is the best medicine, lived a life of hardship and struggle, until and even after he acquired a medical degree. His patients loved his clowning and humor because they knew that behind the facade, he deeply understood, felt and also shared their pain.

Now, as a business leader, when it comes to generating laughter if you have been to where I have and want to be more careful and funny at the same time here are some humble tips from my book, the HeART of HUMOR;

  • Know your pain, understand your pain and then recognize the human in you and let go of the pain through laughter and play. Transcend it.
  • Know the possible pains of your audiences and, gently, help them see a different and a lighter perspective of life. Do not play down their suffering but poke fun at your own and they will heal and laugh.
  • Have love and compassion for your audiences and your people. Love will lighten your spirits and hold you in a joyful state. Your audience will read and mirror your attitude and behavior. Laughter and lightness will become a natural by product.
  • Stay rooted to the ground by choosing your stories and words with care and caution. The world has becoming increasingly sensitive and demands political correctness. Stay away from making fun of caste, color and creed. Stay away from gender-related humor. If there is anyone that you need to make fun of then make fun of yourself. If you fail at being funny then they will laugh at your attempts and you will have still accomplished your goal.
  • Humor is about timing and absolute precision. The same joke that was great at meeting one may be a total flop at meeting two. The best humor is situational, quick and clean.

Lastly, yes, do try all your stuff at home. Good and funny stories after a few rounds of practice mature and ripen over time. You do notice that the previous tip, somehow, contradicts this tip. When you are able to strike a balance between then you can call yourself a professional humor wrestler.

So those are a few insights and tips on wrestling with humor. If you’d like to get some coaching into being funny then come join me for a session of “the HeART of HUMOR,” in Singapore on the 26th of April, 2018.

Together, we will peel apart the wraps of humor in speaking. We will dig deep into the sciences behind stand-up comedy; we will look into improvisation, stage acting, and storytelling and then practice methods that will become more than relevant to generating laughter, engagement and rapport in business scenarios.

Remember, when you wrestle with humor and lose, you still win because the joke is on you.

Click here to learn more and sign up. The HeART of HUMOR Workshop

Enjoy!