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imagination, intelligence and integrity

Upon watching my video ‘Linking IDENTITY to INTENTION,” Rose, a friend, asked me a question. Raju, she said, after I have figured out who exactly I am; after I really and truly know IDENTITY and I have also cleared up what I want ion life: what my true INTENTIONS are, how do I traverse that journey? How do I exactly get from here to there?

Many years ago, I sat in the front row at a talk given by my friend Jim Cathcart author of the beautiful book, Acorns to Oaks. In the book, written more than two decades ago, Jim talks about how within every acorn there is a map encoded as to what size and shape of an oak tree it will grow into. I absolutely agree and believe that there is the inbuilt intention that evolves into reality through proper usage of our intelligence, imagination soaked in integrity.

However, before I get to those three enablers, here’s what Jim Cathcart was showing and telling us from the stage: He had planted himself onto a spot on the left side of the stage and said, “let us assume that this is the spot where you are at in your life. This is who you are now.” He then took five long strides towards the right side of the stage and planted himself on a spot and said, “let us assume that this where you want to be. This is who you want to be.” He walked back to spot one, turned in the direction of spot two, and said, “Every single day, every single moment start believing, behaving, saying, and doing things as if you were already on spot two. Think like the person you want to be, walk like the person you want to be, and talk like the person you want to be,” he urged us all. When you do this over a certain period, you will soon find yourself on spot two. You will become who you want to be.

I was blown away by his words. They stuck to me like superglue. I have never been able to peel the idea away. From that day on, I have walked from many a spot to another spot in my life. If my younger self from all those first spots were to see me now, he would never recognize himself.

This is not about the ‘fake it, till you make it,’ thing. This is something deeper and there is neuroscientific reasoning behind it. When you create an abstract, visual, distant dye to mold yourself into then millions of connections begin to spark off inside your head until you arrive at that ideal self in the future. This process works and it works beautifully. This is the core idea in the blog Linking IDENTITY to INTENTION.

Throughout the journey from here to there, you will need these three enablers: imagination, intelligence, and integrity.

Imagination is to make unseen connections between your thoughts, your strengths with what is visible but vague at times. Imagination to compare the processes, strategies and to learn from the experiences of others. The playground of life and work is constantly shifting. Streets get crowded and unseen hurdles come up. Stretching your mind a bit towards the unseen helps you see ahead of the curve when going from here to there.

Intelligence is to be able to place two and two together and make sure they end up as four. It is the correct and consistent assessment of actions and words we use. It is about keeping an open mind, learning, and not be dissuaded by slow days. It is about creating SMART goals and evaluating them frequently against the desired future and external influences.

Now many people who figure this out for themselves and begin to succeed with this strategy of linking IDENTITY to INTENTIONS sometimes forget to take care of others, of ethics and ecology. It is agreed that each individual is unique and the journey of each and every individual is unique yet it is a crowded, interrelated world. We, as individuals, do live in a vacuum; we are all interconnected by unseen strong and gentle strings. Pulling too hard or leaning too heavily on other systemic relations can create strain and cause harm. So think hard, maybe twice as much before taking decisions. Think far and wide, think of all interconnected relationships and play fair by universal values. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

Rose, there is no other secret beyond this. This is as good as it gets. Many paradigms of success out there will drown and drain you. Keep it simple and follow this path patiently, persistently, and with a lot of faith in your own self. Persistence does not equate to hard-headedness, it equates to not how often you fall but how often you get up and get back. Yes, the discipline demands very resilient guts of steel and emotional sinew.

When you get to where you want to be, do remember to say thank you to my friend, Jim Cathcart.

How to Receive Love Letters from Customers

 

No matter how much digging and deep diving we do, we end up recognizing that leaders excel when they align thought, words and action. Across the world and overtime, wars have been waged because leaders and nation said one thing and then did another. Organizations stumble and collapse because those in power think of one thing, say another and, eventually, end up doing something that was miles apart from the original thought.

When you, your organization think, say and do things in alignment with each other then people, your customers and the world begins to appreciate you and follow you. Being authentic automatically influences you world.

Recently Wegmans Food Markets, a New York based supermarket chain was chosen as one of the top 10 companies to work for by HRD, USA because for nearly 100 years now the company has been living up to its word. The word being Every Day You Get Our Best. They have a 94% approval rating and dedicated followers who promote the organic-style approach to healthier living. – so much so that they beg to Wegmans to open a franchise in their neighborhood.

The core reason for this love from their customers is that Wegmans Food Markets think of providing quality products and services to their customers. They publish and promote their desires and their plans plainly and then they follow through with the right execution over time. No punches pulled and no hidden agendas. It is a tough and noble thing to do. Yet, when as a leader, you commit and strive to think, say and do things in alignment with each other then the world around takes notice, pays you the respect you deserve, and follows you to the end of the world and to the end of time.

So every single day show up like the sun, roll up your sleeves and cultivate your world such that you leave it shining and green.

 

 

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

the Facilitator’s Way

Long ago I read a short story about how three mother birds brought forth into the world three baby birds.  When the first baby bird struggled to break out of her shell, mother bird rolled up her sleeves and went right to work for her baby. When the second baby bird struggled to break out of her shell, second mother bird leaned back against the tree and whistled a happy tune. And, when the third baby bird struggled then her mother bird pecked at the shell as and only when needed. Most other times she stood by and let the baby bird fight her own fight.

Graphic Facilitation for IAF, Philippines

Graphic Facilitation for IAF, Philippines

You have probably guessed the outcomes by now. First baby bird broke free but never flew. Second baby bird, poor dear, never made it out of the shell. And, the third baby bird grew up just right, became a productive citizen and a good daddy-bird in due time.

In the social and business world where our every breath, every word and every action needs to drive innovation and growth, our abilities to breed, manage and develop talent requires the mind-set and competencies of the third mother bird.  Take any business activity; brainstorming, idea-generation, problem-solving, strategy-forming, consensus-seeking, negotiations of all kinds, action-planning, performance analysis, training, mentoring coaching and even celebrating success requires our leaders to have the mind-set and the know how to bring out the best from individuals and communities. Those in the know call this the art of facilitating growth or, better still, the Facilitators Way.

Of course, beyond the mind-set and the natural competencies there are methods and processes to be learned and mastered. Thankfully for upcoming teachers, trainers, moderators, coaches, consultants, lawyers and other mediators a treasure-trove of these processes shared by leading facilitators and thought leaders at the International Association of Facilitators, worldwide.

The IAF Philippines, International Association of Facilitators Philippines’ represents IAF- World a professional body established to promote, support and advance the art and practice of facilitation through methods exchange, professional growth, practical research and collegial networking in the Philippines.

In the last one year of its inception we have run, at cost, four Learning Sessions sharing the skills of Graphic Facilitation, Story-telling, World-Café, Force-Field Analysis for more than 200 professional and want to’ be professional facilitators. On Saturday July, the 2nd, we will once again present and demonstrate the technology of Deep Democracy. Sign up at https://goo.gl/sX5f2q

Anyone who needs to learn professional facilitation is invited to learn, share, demonstrate and build a Philippines where all forms of interventions, innovations and development efforts take on a compassionate, professional and an elegantly inclusive edge. IAF Philippines, the Facilitators Way, is the way to become a good parent and a productive citizen of the world

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli! I hate the sight of it. I hate it’s name. “Brocolli?” What is that? It sounds like some tropical disease. Like, “He’s got brocolli between his toes. She’s got brocolli in her armpits.  But then again, we do know its good for us. Its green and healthy for our insides and for our cancer fighting cells. And, some claim, it adds and multiplies brain cells.

Similarly, in my work-life there are things that I know that there are things we must do which will be good for us. Like learning to and keeping proper accounts. Learning to and keeping proper records and files of projects and programs. And, for professionals and small business owners like me, learning to build an active website and sustaining, nurturing it over time.

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli!

I knew this. I was told this, many a times, years ago by colleagues and friends in the industry and yet I kept thinking _assigning this to a professional or a professional team would be the smart thing to do. And, boy was I ever wrong! Nearly every other year, I’d look for to outsource this work and they’d come back and pick my brain, have me do the thinking, the brainstorming and making the website work for me and my business. ” At first I was doling out money in spades and getting aesthetically impressive returns. Then I tightened my fist and began to get function but no charm and no ease. All through, in the back of my head, I kept thinking…”I wish I was computer savvy. I wish I understood the internet as well as they do. I wish I were Generation X or Y or Z. I wish I weren’t a late-bloomimg baby boomer baby! Grrr!

Website building, maintenance and the world of internet marketing loomed over me like a huge clump of rotting brocolli.

Yet, a small voice kept telling me, “Go ahead, take a bite and start chewing. Go ahead, roll up and your sleeves, tie a nappy around your neck and dig in!

So, two week ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put a nappy around my neck, put on my reading glasses, plugged in the earphones and hauled my lap top closer to me and began clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, taking a power nap in between, and clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, listening until it began to make sense, until it began to take shape.

What you are browsing through right now is a still a rough draft, a skeleton of what is yet to come and grow. In essence, not only am I learning to eat my brocolli but I am also learning to plant, grow and make it flourish organically. That’s the way to go when it comes to learning and succeeding at something you consider hard and something that you figure you can set aside and a let divine intervention resolve it for you. No sirree! It doesn’t happen that way.

Can this same principle be applied for accounting, book-keeping and or maintaining records. Yes!
Nothing is more empowering and liberating than tackling any and all kinds of huge, ugly brocolli clouds that loom over you and slow you down. Hate that brocolli? Eat it first! It’s good for your soul;)

Inner Sun

An Unbalanced Life.

Most everyone is focused on living a balanced life. What exactly is a balanced life? Twenty fours divided equally between work, play, family, personal needs and service to the world? Or, is it stress at work, peace at home?