“The final strategy: Open the windows, close the gates,do a mother Theresa” – Ratsinger
Facts, fiction and metaphor
Are we guided by facts or fiction?
We are guided less by facts and more by myth, fiction and fantasy.
9/11 is a fact, not illusion, so are the war 1, war, 2 and the war 3 now going on. We have democratized wars and conflicts, flattened it (The world is flat- Friedman) dispersed them all over the planet.
Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, AIG, the pharaohs of financial pyramids walk away leaving their accumulated follies on to the public. When the same happens to the farmers the escape route is suicide for many
Facts do not take hold of our minds as myth, fantasy and fiction do. The superman, batman, hunks, WWF, larger than life heroes/heroines, science fiction, the star wars and particle accelerators are attempts at creating modern myths. We need more and more potent placebos, amnesiacs, analgesics and anti-BIOTICS – substitutes – to do away with the grim reality of life. Older myths still survive and we continue to be driven more and more by shadows and myths. We wish to forget facts or sweep them under the carpet. In India, we have an ancient text by name Bavishya Puranam. Bhavisya means future and puranam is an old epic story. I hope you see the twist. It is time for us to rely on myths to create a more desirable future. This is why we are compelled to talk in metaphors, since we are in a process of creating something which does not exist.
As technological bandwidth and connectivity increase, human bandwidth and connectivity decrease. I see this all around me, with my own children demanding more and more bandwidth and becoming less and less concerned about broader issues. I have begun to suspect that their jobs are creating an occupational hazard to them and the society at large. The higher incidence of suicides in Bangalore, to me, is a bandwidth problem of the latter kind. So is the terrorist issue. The first step to the making of a terrorist is to narrow his bandwidth. The multitude of disciplines and the silos they create offers the best setting for the narrow bandwidths which in turn chokes the channels creating more noise than communication. We need a Meta discipline to connect the scientists, priests and the artist to transcend these barriers to communication and community since all the three are in the same business – that of explaining reality to lesser mortals like us. The knowledge hole is more serious than the ozone hole.
The bandwidth problem is not exclusive to the younger generation. Institutions do pass through the process. The midlife crisis of the CEO is passed on to the organization he heads, that of the politician to the country and of the Guru to the disciples
I met Jo on the beach, in my time with the fishermen. We continue to meet on the beach, less frequently, since he has moved to another shore. He is a PhD in his area of expertise but you would not get these thoughts anywhere in his work or even in the class rooms when he teaches. There is a risk attached with a wide bandwidth. One could be ‘excommunicated’. He believes in many births/many lifetimes. He still has hopes of pulling me over to his position on birth and rebirth. I am tempted to do so when confounded by the recollection of childhood memories in our workshops. I am afraid that after the age of five there is a kind of growing down in the process of socialization. Much later one could reconnect with these memories and grow up. I am yet to make up my mind whether to join his school or not but I have gained a lot from his arguments
Here is a brief on our many sessions on the beach over many years, since 1985
He would watch the waves beating on the shore and would talk about the waves in the production of bio-mass in the sea and the consequent rise and fall in fish production, what it does to fishing, corresponding waves in farmers’ produce on the land, the waves in life, business, and markets. He taught me to see things as waves and cycles. He foresaw the present crisis in financial markets and the coming economic slowdown, the big crunch in demand driven by the inability to connect to the voice of the masses across the planet. He has a pet theory on why Jesus recruited Peter as his CEO against our current paradigms of selection, recruitment, training and development. He challenged my B-school education. “If you have any competencies that you claim to have, go to the bottom of the pyramids and prove it rather than skimming the cream and stamping them with Ivy League labels”. Christ made the choice since Peter would fit the bill in terms of his mental maps that go with a fisherman.
So next time you go head hunting check their mental maps!
He stripped me of my notions of an internal flatland which he told me is the inheritance of all land based humans, since the beginning of settled agriculture, some 10,000 years in the past. Prior to that, the fishermen and the people on the land had the same worldview. Both were hunting and gathering. He was born in a fisher family, used to go fishing with his father as a child, an outsider to the flatland, having lived on the coast and the sea for generations. A good fisherman has a different worldview closer to reality than the humans on land. He is pushed to the brink much more than the farmers. He produces much more than the farmer yet he is poorer. He is seldom driven to suicide and the spirit of community is more alive in the ecosystem people who survive on common property resources
He is the one who introduced me to the concept of digital, analogue bandwidths and the other bandwidth, of expectancies in human communication and how the net result has not been any better. He has a very wide bandwidth which you would know only at a personal level. He would go on how water is recycled on the planet, how everything is in a cycle or process, that there is nothing linear or ‘straightforward’ about nature and then take the quantum leap to conclude that we too pass through a higher order version of the process. If we want we can break out of that giant wheel of births and rebirths
He challenged me with some insights from his many life times
Of the time he was in Egypt and Joseph’s dream of the good years and bad years. How the natural cycles in primary production would hurt the farmers and how famines would result unless the state steps in to lend a helping hand when the cycles turn against the farmer and why left to themselves, markets will fail the farmers. More so in the case of fishermen who have no property rights other than common property and open access to resources.
Of the time he was in Jerusalem and how Jesus had been reinvented over centuries to suit the bandwidth requirements of different times. Low bandwidth of practitioners leads to creation of silos and pyramids in disciplines which kills community and would conclude with a sigh. “It is all about bandwidth, of people, technology and the interface”
The Process – Enhancing bandwidth
I was playing a game with 57 MBA students for two days. It went on from 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM on day 1 and from 9.00 AM to 6 .15 PM on day 2
Prior to the game, I talked to a local politician to understand the business he is in, that of development of the locality
I also talked to their professor to get some insights about these young men and women who are in the business of becoming businessmen
The game commenced with an assessment of their present position, globally and locally, in the context of the global meltdown and the situation of the locality
Both the politician and the professor were exceptional people who will not fit in with our perceptions of the run of the mill in this category
Then the game with the students began, simulating an organization working together as a community for two days and an open selection process of identifying a group who would be offered premium placements on the basis of their mental maps. Then I checked their mental maps on many issues.
All of them had a map as shown in figure 1 deeply ingrained in them, the code for failure – BOOMS AND BUSTS. With those maps they will build their towers of Babylon and will be wall – street smart.
Fig. 1 is about birth maturity and death. Fig 2 shows the shift to a dynamic one of continual improvement and renewal. Is such a shift possible?
The first set never goes beyond the level of a clock or a bullet leaving the barrel of the gun. The difference is only in the duration, time. The potential to self-regulate or the potential to transform to a learning engine, a sustained high performance system, is not expressed. The claim to culture, civilization, evolution, improvements are but empty boasts
Columbus reached America. He never wanted to go there. We are as good as our maps.
Can we have a better set of maps?
I told them of the Eagle’s gift
Between before and after, it is not the world that has changed but the map of the world. This is all that we can do and that is good enough.
The problem is not with the world but our maps of the world
We did quite a few other things, more stories, team learning, dialogues, Buddha’s smile, discussed the First Discipline Framework
They presented their understanding of the framework, told me of their dreams on the morning of the second day. They were surprised to look at their own process. All of them came up with evidence and data about the shifts, each contributing to the community learning process
We can indeed observe ourselves 24/7, the first step to continual improvement.
We positioned ourselves, fixed the direction for the journey and reflected over our improvements during the process. The shared space expanded as we moved along with the work. The map for a learning community was crafted and the process is on.
Simulating High Performance – Defying gravity
The Business Strategy Simulation: New University, Udayagiri, TN. Number of participants – 61 including the three facilitators. The System of Profound Knowledge, (Deming) helps us to see how complex organisations work. Organisations guided by SPK will be more effective and successful. We demonstrate this using the First Discipline Framework. We tell stories, about 15 of them. Every community need to tell its own stories and recreate old stories. We reflect every now and then and the participants develop the game. Harvardagrees with what we have been doing for twenty years
How do we fix the true north (the true point?)
The business, transformation of the crowd to a sustained high performance community
Choose the CEO, prescribe a process, Position him so that he positions the community and make sure that the community is on a path of continuous improvement – sustained high performance
The CEO selects a custodian of maps, CTO, Facilities Manager, other additional positions as required
Selection of VPs Marketing, HR , Finance, Learning and Development , timelines
Position them in the appropriate quadrant by consensus of the group
The CEO fixes the true north, describes his compass function
The VP marketing outlines the market potential, BDP and personnel requirements / product/market mix, pricing, targets
VP HR – translates the business plan and organizes the human component
VP Fin – the controller of weights and measures – Metrics
VP L&D – his/her business is that we learn continuously
Other roles: Regulators/industry associations/venture capitalists, external public
In the mornings we recollect our dreams to check whether our unconscious is aligned with our conscious. The process goes on for six days from the beginning to the 12th evening. Everyone worked on their own during the two holidays in between and continued to add value. We climbed peaks and took glimpses of the blue ocean space and at times fell down to the valleys like humpty dumpty but managed to gather ourselves together and continue on the journey.
The game continues… but we are back to our respective places of work. Are we back to the same place? Certainly not, we have moved ahead towards true north, 61 of us … a learning community.
The journey/process is on. We plan to meet again
New IITs and IIMs and the Toyota Recall
(IITs, Indian Institutes of Technology. IIMs, Indian Institutes of Management)
I am anchoring a workshop on Accelerated Learning in one of the B – schools when the reports appear in the media that Toyota recalls of 688,314 vehicles produced in China though no injuries or accidents have been linked to the recall. The recall amounts to more than a year’s sale of vehicles.
Dream: I am waiting in front of my B-school which I graduated from in 1981. There is a huge crowd of alumni waiting for registration. The b-school has a great reputation and has discovered that there have been some major glitches in all their graduates throughout the school’s history. The graduates have been responsible for systemic failures of grave dimensions affecting the very survival of the planet. They are waiting to register for a remedial programme. Their licences to practice have been revoked. I wake up from the dream with the fear of losing my job to realise that I do not have a job to lose and I don’t need a license to do what I do for a living. Thank god, it is only a dream.
We share our dreams and news in the morning. We will soon have more IITs and IIMs. We are wonderful when it comes to numbers. The Toyota quality issue pales in comparison when we look at what the top of the pyramid does to the bottom. It is part of our programming to think of the world in terms of pyramids, or sometimes as a flat reflecting our own inner landscapes. We perceive ourselves to be standing on the apex of the pyramid and from where we are rest of humanity are down there.
We don’t just leave it at that.
More questions follow: What is Indian about the Indian Institutes of Management? Are they B-schools or M- schools? If they are catering only to business why are they called management institutes? Is business not capable of meeting their own demand for managerial talent or otherwise? Why should government indulge in this business where it has no competence to talk about? Why do we want more of them when they have failed in meeting our technology and management challenges? Do US seeds germinate and take root in the Indian soil? Can copies be better than the original? Which Indian academic in management working in India has the highest recall rate? Why is it that we don’t even have a single technology or management breakthrough of world class scale and size in proportion to the scale and size of the country? Why are we so hung up on numbers and blissfully unaware of quality? You said quality, quantity and time goes into setting of standards and that standards though essential can also breed conformity and compromise on outstanding achievements, when you don’t have any standards of your own?
Is there a moral to the story? Accelerated learning and making people to ask questions is a tightrope walk? One cannot indulge in it without taking a position on some of these issues.
On August 25th 2008, we were witness to a different kind of Olympic event. Around 300 very young people, average age 25, were celebrating their outstanding achievements and performance at work in the Trinity hall of Taj Residency, Bangalore where I heard the following dialogue
“We are meeting here a day after the Olympics, an Olympics where China made its century and we got away with the ‘holy trinity’. It is appropriate that we meet in the trinity hall and discuss our performance, be it in Olympics or in our work. We need to celebrate performance even if they are not grand victories and we need to celebrate such winnings in the context of the community that made it possible. I congratulate all of you and those who have shown such a brilliant planning of the event that we could discuss these issues in the most appropriate context. I thank you for making it possible for me to be part of this celebration of community and performance. It is also the most appropriate time for us to discuss and envision, as a community of practice, the heights of performance that we would scale in the coming years
The average age of billionaires is 61. The Face book CEO, Mark Zukerman is the youngest of the lot at 23. Two out of every three of the billionaires are self -made like the welfare mom JKR who made it to the list at 42. So it is not always an inheritance of wealth that takes us to the heights but how we leverage our inheritance that nature and history has given us that take us to the history book. Our own Anil Ambani was the one with the fastest rate of growth. More of them from China and India are making it to the history book. The combined worth of around 1100 billionaires is around 3 trillion dollars.
Many of my millionaire classmates who were many times smarter than me are not around to talk about their performance. I am sure each one of us would have a dream other than making it to the list of billionaires. If all of us have only billionaire dreams, it would be better to start looking for another planet. This brings us to the issue of metrics and criteria by which we measure success, performance and achievements. Is wealth the only measure of success or should we have multiple criteria? While we celebrate performance we also need to remind ourselves that personal success needs to be balanced with lot many other aspects. One very important aspect among them is the improvement in community, which in the first place made these achievements possible, as this alone will guarantee sustained high performance (SHP)”
Abhinav Bhindra, 25, the lone gold medallist from > 1 billion Indians has been drilling holes on paper for twelve years. He was seven when he proved himself to be a sharp shooter. From taking the position to be a shooter to reaching the summit of achievement spans a journey of 18 years, many a set back and smaller wins in between. For Michel Phelps, focused effort started at 13 and the crowning event happened at 23. Mastering of the process takes ten years or even more. It is most often a lonely journey. What would be more interesting to watch will be how these people continue to perform and rewrite the story of human potential? Sergei Bubka continues to perform off the field. Mapping the human potential would require a closer study of the exceptions, not just in athletics, but from as many perspectives as possible at different levels, individuals, institutions, communities, globally, at the level of the species.
We will remember the events and forget the process. We have a built in bias to our birthdays, floods, festivals and feasts.
How did China top the 2008 Olympics? India too has a comparably large population. China won by design, India won by default. It is ironic that the same is true of performance in other areas too. If India does not perform, the world will not, because one in every six is an Indian and one out of every three of the poor in the world also is an Indian. While individual performance may happen in isolation, performing as a community involves complexity of a much higher order. Some communities have a history of continual improvement while others do not fare as well.
India offers complexity of the highest order which makes it all the more interesting to students of performance/ achievements. No other country has the same kind of complexity of colour, religions, languages and dialects. For over two thousand years it has remained in a slumber very often basking in the glory of a far too distant past.
Personal growth to performance as a single community is a continuum and at some stage in the process, the critical mass and velocity is achieved for the collective transformation. A small minority takes position as individuals. They decide early in life as to their purpose of being here. The direction of their journey is clear to them and they hang on tenaciously. Once they achieve that some of them redefine their goals to the next phase in the journey. Some others take a position much later during the course of the journey. Many do not take a position at all. They leave it to the astrologer, fate, destiny or default. As a nation, India prefers the astrologer to the management consultant.
Global standards apply to the metrics of performance as in the Olympics though the same is realized within the local context. The gardener needs to know the soil. Gardening skills from Silicon Valley would need to be localized for better results in Bangalore. Unless it performs better than Silicon Valley, it does not get into the metrics. Once you get in to the record books, there is the problem of continuing to outperform the competition. We have outlined the problem of SHP. The two B- schools that I attended and the work that I was involved with kept me reminded of the Indian and the developmental complexity, that one cannot imitate and compete with the competition since a copy can never be better than the original. Each one of us is in a unique situation or context and each one has to find choose his/her road. That applies to community too, regardless of the scale, be it organizations or nations. Yet some universals hold good which could accelerate the process. We are all trying to build a Cathedral or Taj Mahal. The story is all too familiar and with every retelling it could take in new perspectives. In the latest version, the supervisor on the spot is beheaded by the emperor. The logic, had the supervisor been effective in his role the emperor would have heard the same answer from all the masons.
(More on leadership in the Indian context. The challenge of creating community necessitates taking a common position, a coming together based on a shared vision. How do you create such a vision? Do we have something, a non-controversial reference point, around which communities can emerge?
We have very sophisticated systems to navigate the planet and beyond. Navigating through life is a more complex process where each one of us is left with multiple tools. For some it may be the astrologer or their particular brand of belief system. The multiplicity of the maps is one of the blocks to a common journey. I remember a starlit night, by the bank of the river. Looking at the sky my teacher asked me “What is the meaning of all this”? I had no answer but there was a wish at the time that someday I would find it out. It took 25 years to resolve the issue of making sense of the world, to make a map
The 6 Ps of making sense of the world
Pay attention, to improvements
We are born like bullets going out of the gun. Who fired the shot? We did not unless you are a mystic who would say that you chose your time, parents and place of your birth. We have inherited a body, mind from our parents and the past, the product of a process as old and as young as the universe. How does one convert this inheritance – make it our own, own it? This is where the 6 Ps come in.
Can a 100 year old regenerate his body? Prior to regenerating the body one should regenerate the spirit, the meaning. The spirit is about the purpose. Why are we here? Is it just because we were born – by default? Or is there a design? One should be able to recognize the design, the purpose. The GOI has a department of Ayush, to my knowledge, the only one of its kind in the world. We had a science of life, Ayurveda, an inheritance from our past. The department deals with the science of life! The purpose is to live, defeat death is the basic premise of Ayurveda. The philosophy is in stark contrast to the mainstream understanding of health and healing wherein to fall sick is an exception, the current mainstream belief being to fall ill is the order which is self-fulfilling. Once we have a purpose for which we are ready to die, take a position, we will not die unless the purpose is achieved. This is what it means to take a position. So have an impossible dream and take the position that this is the purpose of my being here if we want to outperform the competition, live longer, defeat death, gain market share, whatever. What do we learn from people with exceptional longevity, centenarians? Why do they go on? Many of them are healthier than the 20 + some things I mostly work with. They seldom go to the doctor and still have that sparkle in their eyes.
When the purpose is absent the potential of the body is not challenged and unless we challenge, stretch, we do not create the conditions for the potential to be expressed – Michael Phelps, Bubka, Isinbayeva, Bhindra – as individuals. Next step is to challenge these limits as a community of practice and pay attention to the process, the improvements that happen and the metrics. Improvements follow from new learning, LLL. The self, individual or community, is the learner, hence the first discipline. The 6 Ps are in place. There are more Ps, perspectives and the more we have we are in better touch with reality and our solutions are likely to be more effective.
Animals align themselves to the magnetic poles of the earth
They have a built in compass/GPS function, courtesy of nature, to keep them aligned and tuned to nature. The human situation is more pathetic than that of the animals. We need to work at developing some of these skills, an obvious disadvantage in exchange of freewill and choice. It took us long to develop the compass to navigate the world. The technology has become very sophisticated and our maps of the planet and immediate neighbourhoods are near perfect. We can cover much more in a day than our previous generations, can even go for a deep dive into outer space and come back with pin point precision.
Though mobility has improved rapidly vast majority of us still do not move out of our places of birth. There is a different kind of a journey which all humans undertake, the one of personal and community growth and development. How well equipped are we for this journey which is many times more complex than a journey over space?
Let us run a reality check.
What is the first requisite for a journey over space? We should make certain of our current position. Ask any number of people, you are not likely to get this answer.
First things first – the Guru, seldom does this happen
Where are we now?
What is our current position?
What makes us, the Human, uniquely different from the Animals, as a class?
Ask yourself and arrive at the answer. Ask the same to another 100 people you come across. We play this game in our stretch workshops. We seldom get the right answer even with groups of people known for their brilliance. Quiz them on anything else under the sun you would get an answer though one can as well get these by googling for it. It takes much more time to get the group to agree that our uniqueness as a class which makes us distinct from the animal is our ability to IMPROVE ourselves, the environment and community around us. If we don’t improve and improve continually, can we claim ourselves to be human, that we learn and evolve? If we do not we would be sub animal. The human is the most threatened of all species. S/he is a threat to he/r/self, to the environment and other life forms. The World without Us would be much better off. Animals do not kill within the same species without any reason but we do. They don’t have cancer wards, asylums and old age homes. If we are to learn about community it is much better that we look at them than at us. So what has gone wrong with us? Is humanness / community improving or on the decline?
Are we civilized? If the emperor says he is the emperor we have reasons to disbelieve what we hear. Same holds true of claims of being civilized and developed. As a child I remember that most of the adults in my village used to carry a dagger with them, not to fight wild animals but to protect themselves from others. Hardly a week would pass without some news of a murder on some silly reason. Today they don’t but in some ‘more civilized, developed parts of the world’ nearly every other man owns a gun. Who is more civilized / developed?
Who performs and what are the criteria for measurement? The southern coastal state of Kerala in India, unlike many other parts of the country, has more or less the same quality of life as that of a developed country like Sweden, the major differentiator being it has a much lower per capita income. Should we measure development by eco illiteracy or eco literacy? Who leaves a bigger ecological footprint, the rich or the poor? Do we recognize performance? Farmers commit suicide in some parts of India. Fishermen of south India are probably the best of primary producers but even poorer than the farmers. Drinking water has become costlier than milk. Farmers and fishermen are poor not because they are not productive but because the markets and those on top of the pyramids respect and listen to those with muscle and not the unorganized. No wonder that we have a crisis of food security in the making.
Are we better off than the animals in terms of community? Are we mature, adults? Hitler is not dead. He still lives in us. Listen carefully to the new age messiahs, gurus, change agents and leaders. Adults need only data, information and they can lead themselves. Compare the salary structure of CEOs in Japan vs. USA in comparison to the shop floor worker, which shows that we are willing to entrust our fate to the commander in chief, rest all our hopes on a small number of men and women. We have very little faith in the wisdom of community. We still would like to have leaders and followers, than self-manage. The result is Hitlers in camouflage. So do we learn, if we do there should have been improvements across multiple facets which ultimately will lead to oneness, better community, environment and the assurance of a secure future.
What is progress if in 2500 years we could not go beyond Buddha and Christ and in over 5000 years we could not improve on the wisdom of the Upanishads? From similar antiquity if we have to translate the Kama Sutra, a treatise on sex and sexuality into many languages what have we understood about sex and sexuality?
WANTED – A new language of Improvement
“Change is the only constant”.
What about change-less-ness?
We have more change masters than masters of improvement. Change can be good or bad, superficial or substantial. Look at the semantics. If one observes the language one can see the positions which give rise to such views from which the language originates. From such positions improvements cannot happen. To cross over the semantic swamp we need a new language, a LANGUAGE of improvement and PERFORMANCE which we might call Inglish. Inglish is more than Indian English, which, thanks to the British, is spoken by more people than in Britain and USA combined. When one learns a language other than one’s mother tongue, every word is very new whereas for the native speaker the very same words have lost their depths of meaning. Familiarity takes away the depth and might even breed contempt. Inglish is a requirement because we have used up the communication potential most languages most of it as advertising by-lines to promote shadows and substitutes (Brand X makes you a complete man and brand Y makes the complete woman). Where are all the complete wo/e/men
So we communicate yet do not enhance true community. Such communication is the noise, the major barrier to connect and build bridges. We need a common language to connect the world as a single community. We could make machines talk to each other across multiple platforms. Next step is to do the same with the human so that man and the machine are aligned. The graphic user interface took the computer to the masses, transcending the barriers of language. The visual has more bandwidth than any other stimuli and the NOW gen views rather than read. Inglish has to be a visual language.
This is just to trigger and continue the dialogue. This work is not meant to be full-fledged with self-contained arguments. These are some very random thoughts on why we need a compass/ GPS to fix our position and direction for the journey – to show us the TRUE NORTH, one for each one of us, since we cannot use somebody else’s.
I did a search on Google India when I started this post and abandoned it when I saw
Designer lifestyle – 26,400.000
Designer life coaching – 14.400,000
Designer Sarees – 8,69,000
Designer Sarees, pic – 22,80,000
I also spent some time finding a coach to air these ideas. I was not successful because I had modelled my theory on my understanding of two of my role models who could be life coaches. One was over 100 years when he died (he ran out of work) and the other is 113 years and still going strong.
So all that search amounted to nothing?
Not really because now I know that Indians are slightly more interested in design than designer sarees and designer jewellery. The last time they were looking for somebody to head the national centre for design they approached one of my neighbours who dabble in jewellery design
I turned my attention to the Times of India and the interview with Malcolm Gladwell. He says we are information rich and theory poor. I do not agree. If the dogs can ‘see’, what they ‘see’ will be worth a look.
My search had to be abandoned because most theories, in the long run have not even helped the proponents other than getting some flea span of attention.
Many gods die very young! At my age, I cannot afford to be taken for many more rides.
Why don’t you stop theorising and get to the issue? Do you have a set of principles? Where do we begin?
Get ready for some mental jugglery.
We need to make a SHIFT
We need to approach Potential, Performance, the WHY and How of the potential performance gap, simultaneously
We need to take an informed position and be our SELF
We need some simple metrics to be certain that we are on the PATH
Well that is juggling with too many balls at the same time?
It is now established that juggling improves your intelligence. More the balls, better it is. Most of us can manage just one or two at the same time.
Moreover, we have the four wheels, the engine (self) and the driver in place to begin the journey.
Wow. It is a DIY Manual!
Yes, it is.
It is another day.
Which dog are you talking about? There are 162 dogs, the slum dog type, in our gated community and another 36 luckier (?) ones owned by dog lovers who have taken permission from the management committee of the community headed by an animal rights activist. The dialogue happens after our morning walk. There is this one dog which seeks us out and joins our company on a regular basis.
Of the 162 dogs why is it that this one finds it worthwhile to join us?
It knows that you are a recruitment manager who knows the difference between dog-ness and human-ness! It sniffs the difference between the rest of us and the one who knows what it is to be human!
Wow. That’s an idea. Dogs could be used in recruitment. It would be more effective than most of our metrics. Perhaps I could patent the idea and leave my job to the dogs!
Well it is coming to that very soon. There are agencies that teach us to mimic animals or the rest of nature as if they hold the key to human-ness?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
It is such a headache to think, know and understand
But mimicry is a kind of pathetic humour that comes out of help – less – ness. When we don’t have the original we make do with copies.
When we hear the next guru talking of inner ecology, take it that the inner desertification (or interior decoration?) is complete!
What does this dog, the other dogs and the pet dogs see?
Well dogs, as a community, seem to believe in the steady state theory since at the last count too we had around 160 dogs. They know what dog-ness is all about. With every one out of three of us likely to get cancer, one in ten to get a heart attack and with all the other odds taken together shows that dogs are healthier than humans. We live a dog’s life!
Somebody I knew was chased by a pack of dogs on a beach. He had no option but to get into the water. The dogs stood howling on the shore and were chased away by his friends. He lived for another six months and took the exit route on his own. The dogs knew, it seems.
Well what does this ‘special dog’ in the visual see?
This dog sees the two paths. It sees that most of what we see as progress is a fall and together we are heading in the wrong direction. It also sees the path that we should take, the path of human-ness, continuous improvement, real progress.
It would probably not join us if we start imitating the other 161 dogs!
This dog knows. Most facts are stranger than fiction.
The Pipers of Hamlin, Wall Street
We are back at it again with the special dog in company.
The master said, be the child. Where on earth are the children? They have vanished with the Pipers from Wall Street!
The children are so ‘well informed’ these days that I feel myself an ignoramus. They know what is in and what is out and I am certainly out by those standards.
How do you take an ‘informed position’ and be my SELF? How can I be my SELF when there is such a well- intentioned, charity driven, messianic attack on our collective SELF, the most threatened and endangered entity in our current context.
I am not complete in my SELF without a fan following (my twitter count of followers is zilch) or following somebody in sincere flattery.
Is there a gold standard certification in these things? I see that every guru of the day, self – certifies his /her claims! Most of them are younger than me, never been married, never raised any children.
Another set of pipers?
I am afraid I would prefer not to follow anybody and drive away potential disciples who would rob me of my silence.
Well in that case you cannot be a GURU.
How long will gold be the standard? When everything else is of no value can gold have any value? If everybody does a Gandhi or Thoreau what happens to the economy?
You haven’t contributed much to the economy. You are taking more than what you give to it. You have not been ill for a long long time which means you are contributing to the recession. You don’t use any cosmetics. How will the economy recover?
Are we getting to the age of The Descent of Money?
The ‘piped music’ is so enchanting that i don’t want to unplug and listen to my SELF which is under attack from all the four directions, from the bottom and the top. 24x7x 720. Perhaps what we consider music is noise which has silenced the silence, the real music from a dog’s perspective.
We wonder where all the children have disappeared. They have lost their innocence and with it the wise men too have vanished. The Pipers have been doing a very good.
Look at all the exercise freaks. They are all plugged in, connected, wired to their i-pods, i-phones, i-touch, i-book, i-spouses. It is a connected world! There is very little else to be connected and be taken over by the machines. Sci-fi has become the reality.
In spite of all the stretching many of my one time friends vanished in their forties.
The problem can be abstracted as: i > I or self > SELF
We cannot solve the puzzle without a decision compass which would help us to find the directions and fix our position. The four directions are the four P balls that we juggle around – Potential, Performance/metrics, Perfection and Psychodynamics (Continual renewal/ Continual Learning/ Continuous Improvement, Kaizen, whatever you choose to call this wheel of the car / the learning engine)
What is a learning engine?
A learning engine improves on its previous best performance. II feeds itself on waste, a fusion engine. There is no cost for learning. The ROI is always positive, never a recession.
I hope you will stop with the four balls!
I was about to pull out more smaller balls from each of the four big balls
That is enough for the day, time for a break.
(B…s to you. I could almost hear it)
The next day:
What is the gap between self and SELF?
This is the space between the two paths, what we call the blue ocean space, the solution space or the problem space depending on which position one takes. This represents the unrealised potential, the gap between best of individual realisation of potential to the best of the collective potential of the human.
Example: PCD lived for > 100 years while the life expectancy for males in this context was 72, the normality of the time. The potential / performance gap is 28 years if we just take this one dimension. To make it simple we don’t take into account the quality of life of the masses against the quality of life that PCD enjoyed or any of his other achievements.
If we consider the case of SRC, 113, who is still working and hopes to work for more years, we get an idea of what potential is and where the masses are! We cannot really fix an upper limit to potential but we can chart out the broad contours of the direction of the path.
I get a rough idea of the direction that we are talking about.
As we move forward we will be able to see what is beyond the next bend on the road.
The visual also suggests that a good part of our behaviour is sub-animal!
This is our shadow side, the porn that greases the web engine, the medicines, drugs, cosmetics, the years wasted in asylums, prisons, lives lost in conflicts, suicides, terrorism, so on and so forth. Unrealised potential is the root cause of all our problems.
When we say be myself, what we mean is be my true SELF as distinct from what we have come to believe as dictated by the noise around us.
WHY this gap exists and HOW to bridge it or narrow it are the other two balls.
It is in relation to these four directions that one can fix the position just as a compass or GPS would deliver what they are designed to.
There are two kinds of positions as in the case of the lighthouse and the sailing vessel, the invariant and the variant. The ship has to change course in relation to the lighthouse.
Be more specific?
As a surgeon I take the position that I am a professional which means I have a set of competencies which I practice in a specific domain which I continue to perfect over a life-time. I am also bound by a code of behaviour which expects me to hold my client’s well-being as my overriding principle which provides the context in which my performance becomes measurable. The standards are the most challenging. In case of non-delivery, the surgeon will not be able to go scot-free as the Pipers of Hamlin, Wall Street.
I hope you see the invariant position and the variant positions in the journey of the professional. The invariant is, come what may, even at the cost of my life, I would remain a professional. It is a do or die position. The variant is as I move ahead on the journey I continue to improve my competencies and scale higher and higher levels of perfection.
It is time we pull out the balls within balls. The journey from our animal self (i) to the human (I) begins here.
You are a pain. Enough for the day
I believe in the PIA theory of motivation.
Good day, JM
My Inglish style sheet says, “Break the container, get the content”.
What Sanskrit is to Prakrit, Inglish is to English?
Hope you too see what the dog sees or ‘god’ sees the big picture. The headwind is strong. It is better for a take-off than sailing.
Potential and Performance
The dog is in attendance and we continue.
“The world is chaotic, disorganized and vexing. Medicine is no exception “says one of my dialogue partners and friend, the surgeon. He advises government on health policy issues in addition to his hectic and often punishing routine. The only issue on which we come together is our morning routine and on all the rest we take the polar opposite positions.
This is why inner ecology is important. If we don’t find order in our own self, what we see in the world outside is chaos, disorder and when you advise the world, you could be contributing to more of the chaos and disorder. The intentions are always good but the effect is disastrous.
Since you come at the end of the assembly line in the health system where surgery is the only option, most of what you see influences your world view.
That is ridiculous.
The more you see the conflicts, violence, absence of harmony outside, you are more likely to be caught up in it. You become what you pay attention to and come to believe that this is the nature of reality. The opposite also is true, the more you look for order and organization, one becomes more ordered in one’s own SELF. You will then be contributing more to order than chaos. The choice is yours. What you see depends on where you stand, your position.
What are you driving at, change my career/ position at this stage?
I am not suggesting anything. I say that this should not be your invariant position which would emerge from a larger perspective of the true potential, a better understanding of the design, so that when the system goes out of order, one can restore order without resorting to extreme measures. These extreme measures are contingent on taking such a position and nothing but belated inferior solutions.
When our car or the tablet break down we go back to the design to put it right. Our system doesn’t come with a User Manual which helps us diagnose and bring back the system to order. Without understanding the design we cannot decide whether the system is true to the design. Most of our expectations are based on ill- informed assumptions about the design and we pay a heavy price for it.
To repeat, our most well-meaning intentions create the most disastrous results.
You are getting ready for more jugglery.
Simplicity is a noble goal but it should not be at the cost of truth. What I suggest is that we go up together and get the lunar perspective. Perhaps we might come to share the dog’s perspective.
We will first take a look at the potential quadrant, the left front wheel of the learning engine. Though when we drive the four wheels move together the car is now at rest and we are looking at each of the wheel assemblies in isolation. In juggling all the balls should be in the air but we are just studying the ball which is at rest. The eye at ground zero stands for the compass perspective. The compass is hidden here. To use the compass one has to climb up the 10 storey lighthouse. Or we assume that within the potential ball there are 9 more balls and we start from the small to the large. If we miss any one ball or storey, potential is zilch. These are the 10 heads of the Asura King, Ravana in the epic journey of Rama, the Ramayana. (In spite of the ten heads Ravana fails and in spite of defeating Ravana, Rama fails to win the heart of Sita. Men better take a cue from the feminists. The other epic Mahabharata is all about our inability to SEE in which the leader is blind, both in terms of light and the light that enlightens the blind)
Start climbing? We step in to the ground level.
1. The compass is buried in the foundation of the lighthouse.
2. The ground level is the repository of all existing maps, results from all previous climbs what other climbers have left for us which might make the climb a lot easier.
A map could be on almost anything, not just a map of the terrain. It could be a story a myth, music, dance, art, science, technology, religion, from any discipline or aspect of knowledge. The periodic table is a good example.
These maps might as well create a bias. We will look at them on our way back. Let us move up the stairs to the next level.
3. We come to the world of simple machines- clocks, compasses, guns. All of those machines which have no ‘mind’ of their own. The bullet does not come back to the gun nor does the clock change its pace to suit our whims or haste. They don’t do any regulation on their own. They are on the path of entropy.
4. We have all the advanced machines with a ‘machine mind’ here. The compressor in the fridge works only till the desired temperature is reached.
5. The world of the unicellular. A cell in our body, a diatom, an amoeba, bacteria, virus. No machines come anywhere near in terms of its degree of self regulation.
6. All the plants
7. The animal
8. The human, individual. The cell is to the body what the individual is to the organisation.
9. Groups, organisations, communities, community
10. Perfect knowledge
We are on top. We SEE from horizon to horizon, the past and the future. The view is complete. We stand on a 10 layered sandwich. No single layer stands on its own. If any step of the ladder is amiss we don’t reach the top. All the levels are indispensable for the emergence of true potential which is infinite. No limits here, in time or in space.
This is why we need all the ten heads / avatars to realise the fully human, the ideal, perfect, conceptual human. Here everything is perfect, heaven.
We climb down. We check our new map with the old maps. All of them are correct in some ways but not complete as the one which is fresh in our memory. We start checking our new map against the physical world (hell?) represented by the rear right wheel of the learning engine.
We are in for the surprise of our life! NONE OF US HAVE EVOLVED BEYOND THE LEVEL OF THE CLOCK! and we claim ourselves to be civilized and cultured ! We need to revisit Newton, Einstein and Darwin at the same time. Have a webcon !
All the levels match one to one in terms of their potential and performance till the level of the animal. The gap begins at the level of the human. It widens as we move up the level of groups, organisations, communities and community. The waste, unrealised potential becomes visible. We SEE and we can SHOW. This is the first step to the first step of the journey of the learning engine, the shift in direction to TRUE NORTH. Before we take the first step in that journey of a 1000 x miles we need to make certain that we place that step in the right direction.
The design and delivery do not match. The system is not in order. There is no alignment between the two wheels. ( forget the other two for now) We could run the diagnostics to set right the alignment between the two wheels at various levels. .
When we set right the alignment, all the four wheels need to be corrected at the same time, because any small change in any one affects all. To do that we need to understand the design of the other two wheels also.
What about the metrics?
The process involved in metrics comes first. It is about reflecting over performance with the design in mind and that the system is designed to continually improving on its previous best performance, in terms of quantity, quality and time. All metrics are approximations and is not an exact science. The actual indicators, criteria of performance, could be quite simple which shows us the progress to true north and reduction in WASTE. We will come back to the issue of metrics after an overview of all the sub- assemblies.
It is becoming dense. Let us take a break.
You claim to be a virtual Perma – Culturist?
My father was the original. He believed that doing nothing is Doing Everything. It took me a lifetime to understand what he stood for. By the time all the land was gone and I could only be a virtual Perma ‘culturist’ !
Perma culture is about understanding the design of nature and allowing the design to express itself, not to stand in the way of nature. The templates of nature are perfect and beyond improvement. Our best efforts to improve them most often fail. We need to live with them.
Learning has no cost. It always fetches the best ROI. The metrics need to take into account the future savings of costs associated with not learning. (eg: savings from avoiding a cardiac arrest)
We need to start with culture before we get into Perma – Culture.
What is common to the Amazon forest dweller and the Wall Street investment banker is the basic template? One stakes his claim to be civilized and from the first world while the other does not make any such claims. One is blissfully unaware of the design whereas the other claims to have all the keys to unlock the potential. We need to strike the middle path between the two.
When Vasco Da Gama reached Malabar, he was shocked to find the women going topless. Now when the tourists come to the very same beaches and bare themselves, they are ogled at. The wheel has come back full circle in just around five centuries! It is not even two centuries since we abolished slave labour. We abolished it when we found better ways to achieve the very same purpose ‘in style’. Same goes for dictatorships.
Why does the emperor shout that he is the emperor?
The emperor is not certain that he is the real one !
You have a Freudian fixation with the Ps
My professor , NSR, was much better at it. He would juggle with 100s of Ps and make them dance in the air while my professor of marketing was juggling with just 4 Ps. I am told that he has gone up to 7 now. I am just using around 40 Ps, the very minimum to show you what I want you to see. This is a minor fixation, synchronicity at work.
Why do you always take recourse to myths?.
Beware of myths because they will survive all the mass wipe outs. It is better to understand them so that we go beyond them. The myth is the key to our unconscious, the silent sub-surface driver of the engine, a source of mis-alignment. We will get to this much later.
Where do we go on from here?
We take a look at the other two wheels, the engine and the driver of the learning engine.
It is getting complex.
Complexity is the best challenge to stretch you. It is a headache but I peddle a ‘one minute cure’ for headache.
Complexity feeds me.
Perfection and Psychodynamics
After Xmas and New Year we wait for the next feast /festival, Easter?
We need to celebrate them on the same day, reinventing time. Every moment, day, is a birth, death and resurrection. Celebrating the new decade makes better sense. We would like to wish you a new decade of real progress and sustained continuous improvement. Given the pace at which we improve, a decade makes a better time horizon to put all the improvements and disappointments in perspective. When we make the shift to REAL from linear time, time does not run out, it stretches out.
You have always been a champion of laziness and you have invented another jugglery to substantiate it. So wish you a still slower decade to laze around. Hope you cross the decade setting a new record of doing NO thing and continue to haunt us.
I am not lazy. I work very hard to remain a contrarian. I work very hard to improve my Jowar count and am very pleased with my progress, improvements.
It is a specially designed exercise for seniors, a combination of jogging, walking and running. I hope to join the veteran’s Olympics, post 2020. I also work very hard not to make any money, not to leave any foot prints including the carbon one, to consume less and stretch myself at the physical, mental and the spiritual planes. I fight very hard not to go in for a new car. I give more than what I take; live more with less and make sure that my output is always more than the inputs. I work on the fusion mode. I had to work very hard to make that shift from the fission mode. There is always a tendency to slip back and I have always to be on guard.
Let us continue from where we digressed. It is time to look at the other two wheels, quadrants.
You always talk in pairs, at least two balls at a time.
That is true of everything. A photon is a particle and wave. Black makes no sense without white. So here is the counter pair to Potential and Performance. We have Perfection and Psychodynamics to juggle with.
Psycho – dynamics, why the jargon after using the language of the shop floor so far?
Just to impress you!
We started with the assumption that if it takes an Einstein to understand reality, we don’t want any part of that. We have been accused of being too thin, un-academic, unsubtle etc. etc. Google it, if you want a definition. We don’t attempt definitions and we don’t have any institutional memory other than our personal ones. I have freed my memory banks of all data available by a simple search so that there is no clutter within. In the post Google age, forty hours or even less of learning is all it takes to pick up the essentials to be really successful in life. We have been testing the hypothesis for two decades now.
How do you define success?
We don’t know.
I wish I hear this more often.
Each one will have to do that according to his/her standards. For us, if you haven’t got into accidents of any kind, on the road or off the road (relationships), not been ill but improving in heath, making as much money as you have decided to make, your family and friends are also doing equally well, we would say that one is successful.
What about perfection?
Perfection is embedded in us but we don’t want to accept it. Most businesses would go out of business if we accept it including the business of education. Guardians of knowledge, custodians of the keys, the gate keepers would not relish it. Take a look at the list of gate keepers (the four classes of programmers) in the top right quadrant.
You would be thrown out at the gates itself!
There is this alignment problem between the two wheels of the learning engine. Paying attention to this will be worth the effort. This defines the learning requirements for the journey. Once we recognise the issue, the system, over time, will move towards a dynamic steady state. It is good to be confused because ultimately there will be a resolution. We will not have butter without churning the cream. It is said ask and ye shall be given.
Make it clearer. I have a low tolerance for ambiguity.
There is the ideal and our understanding of the ideal, perfection and our understanding of perfection. It is like god created us in his image and we recreate him in our image. Our image is that of the God who art in heaven, a master slave relationship which forms the master template for all our relationships. No dialogue is possible from these positions. The adult will never be born.
Should we bring in god here?
If for most people god stands for the ideal, perfection, quality, love, order, life, negentropy why not bring in God? I am yet to come across a non-believer. The atheist too is a believer since he believes that there is no god. I am yet to find an Indian who does not believe in his astrologer! For him his astrologer is god. The astrologer works on the premise that there is order and predictability not only in the case of clockwork systems, but similar order and predictability exists in the case of higher level systems too and in the very long run perfection will prevail.
In the short run all of us will be dead!
If god stands for life and we stand for death, this pair certainly needs our attention.
Not yet, we are getting ready for the real juggling.
What do you mean by lighthouses?
Newton (1643- 1727) continues to be our lighthouse since we are, collectively, yet to move from the clockwork paradigm. Einstein (1879-1955) ought to have stood on Darwin’s (1809- 1955) shoulders.
But the lighthouse industry is extinct. R L Stevenson (1850 – 1894, Jekyll & Hyde) foresaw the demise of the industry and left his tradition in time. His fiction was brought under the lens by Jung (1875- 1961). The artist always SEEs ahead of the scientist.
We don’t need lighthouses anymore. The new technologies mimic the metaframework of nature, much better. The second coming is that of the common Buddha, who will SEE directly without intermediation by the gate keepers. Visual literacy, not language, helps us SEE together as a community.
The basic divide is between clocks and living systems, chaos and order, Life and death, default and design?
The map shows that there is no divide but we still believe that there is a divide or unity still remains beyond our collective experience. Reality is what we belive to be true. We are co-creators of death, not life. We see inheritance in place of emergence because of the positrons we take. To co-create life we need to shift our positions for good.
There is more Ps, to be explained.
Problems. From our position, they are opportunities; the more complex they are, the more challenging. It is fun.
Prophets. Take the vision bury the dead.
Peters. The guardians of lighthouses sans the vision of the prophets drive us away from climbing up the lighthouses to take a peek. That too is in the fitness of things.
Programmers. We come preloaded with a programme to fail. The winner stakes all which includes all the past programming.
Parrots. A copy can never be better than the original but copies do come in handy. Why reinvent the wheel?
Power. There is power which makes one free and also power that leads to the making of slaves. The path to spirituality is through the thick forest of sex. Most get lost here. Narcissus to Pygmalion and Galatea set the direction of the path and we are yet to go beyond Narcissus. Sex drives the economy and the markets. Sex and power come packaged in the same container.
What about the bird and the semi dark circle in the bottom left quadrant?
This is what happens when we learn. There is a bolt of lightning that connects the small with the big, local with the global, micro with the macro, like the proverbial apple that fell on Newton, sparking the connect with that very local event with the grand design of the physical world.
What about the Red book?
The book is a pointer to the solution not the solution itself.
All the reason, logic and analysis which have given us the technology/ Google, will not help us, if we are primarily driven by the unconscious. The unconscious will drag us down and we will never achieve take off velocity. Myths, fantasy, fiction, and hyper reality will rule us rather than reality. Artificial intelligence will continue to be more fashionable than intelligence and intuition. Magicians and pipers will continue to fool us with substitutes in place of real magic and real miracles. We need to bring back magic and miracles to our daily routine.
Real magic and miracles!
A miracle is something which is unexplainable by the known laws of nature. When we admit that there will always be unknowables but they are not our enemies, the complete system will be working with us. When the entire nature is working for us the true potential is unlocked. There is nothing hiding in the dark to pounce on us. This is freedom from the unknown. The drag is killed. There is nothing super-natural when we understand the nature of nature. We need better keys to align with the unknown and that is how we got into designing dreams.
Can we really design dreams?
Yes, if we can get rid of all the accumulated garbage. Look up Shalini here. She has been doing it for the last two years. She had very little garbage to get rid of.
When we align our SELVES / SELF, with the unconscious, we have the best ally and we are no more driven by the unknown which is a huge step to mastery of the self. We are not driven but we are on the hot seat in charge of driving the learning engine. We become the magicians, moving to the centrestage from the spectators. We are responsible to ourselves and the journey is about continual learning and improvement.We are here to learn.
There is two more Ps
Peace. If we find it within we will find it outside us too
Process. Nature is in process. We too are. Let the process go on… There are no full stops, a destination, the journey continues. The direction is fixed, the true north .
Go with the process?
Which process are you talking about, process of inheritance or emergence?
We need to see both together and the outcome , net improvements, progress ( one more P) towards true north.
It is much more complex than a Rubik’s Cube.
It is. But, there is a solution and always a still better one. and then the perfect one .We are on the path to perfection.We may never reach the perfect solution.
Are we through with the wheels? What about the engine and the driver?
We are through with the rough design. We will need to get into the detailed design of the engine and the driver. That is for another time.
We have covered the generics, not the specifics which are personal and situational.It takes some time to become comfortable with the rough design.
P.S. To our Wordsmith. If the word is your sword what is your battle?
Between the Haiti earthquake and the day of the max eclipse, it is a journey of > 1000 years to the next one of a similar kind.
See you there ? ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Are we intelligent, as a species?
Yes and no.
We are not intelligent going by many aspects of our performance. We are much more ‘endangered’ than any other species. We are a threat to our SELVES and the other flora and fauna. We are more ill than the animals, we kill within the species without any reason which no other species does and we are the only threat to life. So we need an UNPROJECT – the new Noah’s ark – to protect and conserve the species.
But how will you identify a pair? What will be the criteria for selection? If we pull it off the species and the environment will be very safe.
We have been asking (large groups of some very “intelligent people”, what is the unique differentiator between the human and the rest of the species. We never got the answer right the first time and without some triggering and a process of creating agreement. Unless we agree we cannot achieve community.
If we are not intelligent as a species, how can there be intelligent people around?
We now understand intelligence so ‘much better’ – with different versions of it. We claim that intelligence can be taught. Another business is in the making. Which parent wouldn’t want it? Of all the ‘intelligences’ my personal favourites are the Gender and Community versions. Why are we not intelligent? One reason is the way we understand intelligence, without seeing and relating the connection with the One and the Many, the whole and the parts, intelligence and Intelligences, the different or ‘differentiated versions’ and the undifferentiated. We need to integrate and differentiate simultaneously. We are intelligent, if we go by our potential to be intelligent, by design but not intelligent going by our history and performance.
The emperor has no clothes but claims very loud that he is The Emperor. What we think as great progress, an ascent and evolutionary progress is but a descent, the great fall.
So what makes us human?
The community learning engine
Community Learning Engine. Technology and markets are levers to bring about improvement. Some communities have achieved remarkable progress is using them. But conventional measures of improvement fail to grasp the cost at which such improvements are achieved. Economic growth needs to be balanced with improvement in community. Some communities have achieved physical quality of life at a much lower cost to community and there are also communities like the eco-system people where in spite of improvements in growth, corresponding improvements in quality of life has not materialised. The focus here is how a particular community responds to the challenges of managing technology and markets along with improvement in communityOne way to assess the quality of community is to monitor the number of suicides, crimes, addictions of various types, mental illness and similar indicators.
The learning engine is capable of continually improving on its past performance against all odds. Focus of metrics need to be improvement on community as reflected in reduction in waste – conflicts, violence, illness, suicides, crime, infant mortality and in realising unrealised potential – quality of life and environment, longer life-spans, improvement in wellness.
It is the core which drives the process of improvement that reflects on its position, direction and corrects itself – ensure that the process is in tune.
Context – global or local but glocal-ness is recognised
Technology and markets need to be used as levers to enhance community
Vision – renewed continually and aligned for sustained high performance
Development is the most complex process that needs catalysts. The catalysts do not burn out in the process but in their absence the process is not initiated and sustained
Storytelling – Walking out of our shadows
Pygmalion coaxes Galatea out of stone and she comes alive. The Pygmalion position is that of the facilitator who catalyses performance, who has audacious expectations of performance, of sustained high performance, moving from peaks to still higher peaks. The expectation is not unfounded because Pygmalion has experienced the magic of sustained high performance. Every stone may not be good enough to be turned into a beautiful statue but every human has the potential to be an outstanding performer
How does Galatea respond to the hard knocks by Pygmalion in his efforts to coax her out of stone? If she can see the results of the hard knocks, she would certainly enjoy the process because she can see that between the caterpillar and the butterfly, the seed and the tree, there is the world of a difference. She knows that this is the moment of truth that she had been waiting for ages. Like what happens in the story of Ahalya and Rama. Ahalya has been waiting for that divine moment of Rama’s coming. The process is certainly complex and miraculous and the catalyst is integral to sustained high performance. Pygmalion and Rama play the role of catalysts, facilitators, in the transformational process.
People are waiting like Ahalya. Nations are waiting. Billions are waiting – like the farmers and fishermen, at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (sic), essentially because the top is unable to connect with the bottom in the exchange and valuation process. It is debatable who is at the bottom and who is at the top. If you change the criteria of measurement, the bottom will become the top and vice versa. For example who leaves a larger ecological footprint? The cathedrals (Taj Mahal – Gurcharan Das) remain to be built.
Sergei Bubka, Isinbayeva. They do it over and over. They take the position – I can and I will do it. I will outperform myself, again and again. Can we take the same position, as individuals, a team and as a community? Nations have taken such positions. Kishore Mahubani asks this question to all Asian countries – Can Asians Think? , like Singapore has been thinking together since 1965
As individuals we don’t have to go on waiting, for miracles to happen or for another prophet to turn up. While billions are waiting we can have islands of sustained high performance around each one of us. The islands will eventually connect together for that defining era of collective transformation. We are in that transition phase of achieving critical mass and gaining take off velocity of the process, of more and more of us transforming our SELVES to catalysts for the tectonic shifts.
So what is your position? Pygmalion and Galatea got to come together on this, the alchemist’s marriage. Later Galatea will take the Pygmalion position, and the process continues.
Back to Bubka and Isinbayeva, what is the pole that we are talking about, the lever? How long is the lever? Where is the fulcrum? How does a community of practitioners ALIGN and LEVERAGE themselves for sustained high performance. Longer the lever more is the mechanical advantage.
Metrics – The Community Consciousness Quotient
Less is more. At 61, I am not a gadget geek. Yet I love my mobile and the way it has been shrinking over the few years that I have been using it, accommodating more and more of my requirements. I have accumulated a lot of electronic waste over the years like my compass, VCP, music player of progressively smaller sizes and better quality, the desktops. . Very soon my notebook too will join the list. We are consuming less of the material and deriving much more. Small is beautiful and smaller is still better. The tangible is shrinking and the intangibles are scaling up becoming more tangible than the tangibles. Capital too has been shrinking being substituted by intellectual capital, brawn by brains. My wants (not needs) too have shrunken, at least most of those that I considered important in my thirties and forties, like a gas guzzling SUV. Being glued to my LCD screen and not travelling to work I have earned a few carbon credits, not using my car except for the weekend shopping trip. (It would be much better to dispose it off and hire one when I really need it) But all needs do not vanish with age, perhaps they grow with age. The need for community (to be connected), quality and richer experiences, need to learn and express myself. Sometimes more is less. Intelligence has evolved into intelligences, multiple intelligences, emotional, gender, social and in the process we have become less intelligent in community consciousness. So the metrics need to take into account improvement in community within and without along with conventional measures of improvement in performance.
Community Consciousness Quotient (CCQ) is an imperative for Sustained High Performance. The absence is killing us in many ways which we don’t need to go into. The blasts keep us reminded.
Aligning with the unknown
Connect to your best friend
Why should I?
How do I diagnose whether the unknown is working for or against me?
How do I align myself with the unconscious, the unknown and the unknowable?
What are the payoffs of aligning with the unknown?
If this makes sense, go to next:
Light the beacon, Watch out
Notes from light house keepers
Before: self, by default
After: SELF, By design
The Will to Stretch
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you are good but the thing that you do that makes you good” – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers.
It is just practice and nothing but practicee, once you have taken the first three steps
I just reviewed one of my practices for over six months which I call Jowar, for jogging walking and running. I stretched myself by doubling my output today to find that I could do much better, if I wanted to. The numbers were 2 Hrs 30 minutes – 18 Kms in place of my regular 9 Kms in 70 minutes.
Why do it? Unless we challenge the present we would never transcend any of our limits and no history is made history ?
There is nothing great about my walking performance and I am not out to create a new record. I know that my performance can improve three fold or more. I maintain my interest in these numbers as a test of my will to stretch mySelf. For a lazybones champion of idleness for over six decades, to begin something of this sort and to stick to it certainly needs some rudiments of that thing called will. More than stretching me physically it also involves my mind and spirit. I talk to myself while I am at it,” you are not doing it just for yourself, you are running for all the seniors and the ‘ would be seniors’ and you are much more than your 58 Kg of clay.”
It is spiritual since in many ways it has become the ‘most meaningful’ – the anchor activity – of my routine.
I don’t keep any metrics of far more worldly important aspects of my performance as I have little faith in most popular metrics
I was ‘walking the Brigade’ in Bangalore with one of my students, a practice that goes back forty years to my student days. I remain a student and continue to walk the same road.
He has been ardently working on converting me to a vegetarian and as usual I have been resisting. I hold the view, in arguments, that being a vegan is no big deal and the perceived benefits derive from the bias created by randomness of being born in a vegetarian family with me falling in the opposite camp.
There is a whole array of my other argumentative missiles that I keep in stowage to be deployed when required, some of them so effective that I have done my share of conversions in the opposite direction. I take one of them out
Come, let us do a KFC. Show me that you can do it. I can any day turn a vegan but can you become a non ? I am more evolved since I have more options to choose from. In a game those with more options than the opponant comes out the winner. Survival of the fittest. You are a vegetarian because you have no other options! As a one-time (circus?) trainer, at times, I do a little bit of arm-twisting.
I am game.
My student proved smarter than me. He went on for a second and third helping and I was flabbergasted. This was a first for me. And that was not the end of it.
How could you pull it off?
Sir I have made it a practice to walk your talk.
What is that?
Do the most difficult. I just did that. That is all. Sir, can I ask you something?
How long have you been smoking?
Over 40 years
How many a day?
Used to be 30-40, now 6,7.
Why don’t you quit smoking?
It is been a friend of my lonely days and sleepless nights. I don’t see any reason to quit. The most well-known of them do not appeal to me. Why should I quit? May be this is an expression of my death wish! (This was a major insight. We all have it. We only are responsible for death. Nature or god has nothing to do with it. Our best efforts at defeating death is what accelerates it !)
Sir, it is your advice. Do the most difficult. Why don’t you quit? ………….NOW!
This was a moment of truth, the bolt of lightning from the blue. There was thunder and silence. That was on 23 Feb 2010 .5.36 PM.
I threw my death wish down and stamped on it. I haven’t smoked since then.
Would you become a vegetarian now?
No way, I will eat less and practice non-eating. Vegetarians also kill to eat. Besides the non-vegetarian food is more advanced in the pollution chain which means it undergoes a further processing in the animal system. They die for us in advance.
So what is the learning?
Cut the crap.
Manipulate if you are ready to be manipulated
End of teaching. Learn together. Practice the Will to stretch oneSelf
Buddha’s smile, silence is
We had a Buddha’s picture and one of us would start off
Why is the Buddha smiling?
Some of the answers were
“It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure it out. It is simple. If it is that complex God wouldn’t have anything to do with it – that only the ‘Einstein’s’ would be able to figure it out.” ‘
It is all there in you. You don’t need me.”
“Stretch your lips. That is all it takes to improve the world.”
We took the game to our community stretch workouts which would go on for 8-10 hours for 3-5 days, to give us breaks in between. The game came to be called ‘The Buddha’s Smile’ and continues to evolve.
Here is how it goes after a bout of questions and answers on his smile.
Close your eyes. Stretch your lips just enough to feel the gentle vibrations around them when you smile. Be with it. Come back when you notice that the stretch is lost to regain the pleasant feeling. Observe your breathing as it goes in and out of your nostrils. Go with it, in an out. Observe the breathing becoming slower and slower
Imagine that you are lying down on the ground on a rectangular sheet of rubber with your hands and legs along the diagonals
Keep observing the stretch of your lips and the rate of breathing
Imagine the centre of the sheet, where the diagonals meet and the sheet being stretched evenly in all directions. The sheet is under stress and there is conflict all around. But the centre is not disturbed. At the centre, ground zero is the lighthouse with nine levels. Keep connected to the stretch of your lips, breathing, the centre and the growing silence. Four garden plots of rectangular and equal size spread out from the centre. The sheet turns into a foot ball and is filled up. The centre of the sheet is shifted to the centre of the football. It is being kicked around but the centre is not disturbed. Imagine the football to be a living organism, an amoeba or a cell in your body capable of going on continually
Re-NE…Wing its self. Observe the stretch, rate of breathing, the centre and the silence
This is a rough cut of the game. The details vary with the facilitator, community and from events to events. Buddha continues to smile
Stretch your lips. The body chemistry improves….
Silence IS most eloquent
the space between every letter, word and sentence.
But for these, gaps nothing would be communicated.
Aruna is beautiful, deaf and dumb, in her teens. She comes home with her mother in the morning to help Lizzie with the household chores. Liz makes a lot of noise with her mother, to get things done her way and often fails. Aruna is different. Nothing needs to be said. She connects directly to Liz – no noise – in silence. She connects intuitively to whatever Liz wants done and always exceeds her expectations. There is perfect communication, best results and no noise. When they leave Liz makes a lot of noise. She is overwhelmed. All praise and wonder as to how she does it
We learn, communicate, connect and reflect in silence yet seldom do we recognize the power and value of silence and to be connected to the centre. Silence is the most powerful weapon, the communicator. We are afraid to face it and keep making noise to avoid facing it like an idiot box that cannot be switched off.
Connect to the centre in us, the silence, at the core of our being.
At the centre there is absolute silence
Return to the Centre (Bede Griffiths).
The Glass Bead Game
“All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number.” – Herman Hesse
This organist plays in real time. He is one with all understanding of the past and the future too. He makes perfect music. We work with limited information, knowledge and much less of wisdom. Though we have great faith in our decisions and they are invariably taken with the very best of intentions, most of them turn out to be not very wise.
The DC is a tool that enables the user to appreciate the complexity of the decision making process and to improve the outcomes in terms of quality, sustainability and community.
Decision Compass and the Blue Ocean
The DC reduces the search effort involved in managerial problem solving, points to the solution space (Blue Ocean), accelerates learning and brings the woods and the trees together without missing either of them.
The tool and methodology were evolved in the context of working with very challenging developmental issues and communicating these issues to the stake holders, over two decades.
The decision compass (DC) is at the apex of a series of frames which together form the FDF.
Mastery of the DC frame is achieved through accelerated learning and competency development work shops by simulating a high performance work environment. The participants work together (play) with specific roles corresponding to the levels and functional expectancies of the DC.
The duration varies from 16 – 40 working hours for an introductory workshop. The duration varies with the level of participants and the mix of the facilitation team.
Participants: 50 – 60.
The First Discipline Framework is broken into its component frames numbering 60 cards in VIBGYOR. Red cards are six in number and green four. Other colours are ten each. Red and Green represent governance and sustainability issues and are external to the organization. The organizational groups are positioned at the centre and at the centre of the four quadrants. They change positions anti-clockwise after each round of discussions and presentations.
Time: 16 – 40 hours in 2 to 5 days.
Step 1- Pre process metrics
Step 2 -The facilitators explain the DC (60 minutes)
Step 3 – Each participant picks up a card. In case total number of participants is less than 60, some participants may have more than one card. These participants will perform the additional roles implied by the extra cards. Each participant on his/her own prepares and presents a brief understanding of his /her role. The facilitators supplement clarifications if necessary. As the process picks up extent of facilitation comes down. At the end the learning from round one is summed up and shared (45-60 minutes)
Step 4 Participants group into each color and assume their roles. They work towards connecting the learning from the exercise and its strategic implications. Presentations follow at hourly intervals. Further clarifications are provided by the Facilitators at the end of each presentation (4-5 Hours)
Step 5 Post metrics.
Further briefing with organizational data or using data from sample case studies
Step 1 The groups work with organization specific / case study related information to demonstrate the application of the model and the implications
Step 2 Summing up
Step 3 Post metrics
More rounds will be required in the case of new recruits. The rounds are repeated till the facilitators are certain that the participants have reached the required level of proficiency as reflected by the metrics, quality of the presentations and proficiency with the language of sustained high performance.
Romancing the impossible / the ultimate pragmatist
Wish for it ever, it might come true
To be immortal and die the perfect death
To be the perfect master and the perfect slave
Wish for perfect madness and perfect sanity
Meet the perfect partner, commit the perfect crime
Lose your voice and find it in its pristine clarity
Meet the fire in those eyes haunting you for ages
Hear the mountain brook of your childhood sleepless nights
And the chirping of the crickets deep within the concrete jungle
Wish for it ever, it might come true
To sing for you while you dream those impossible dreams
Wish for it ever, it might come true
You live the complete fullness /complete emptiness
Every moment of your seamless flight
And it comes true.
The denial of work/love
Stones waiting for Pygmalion
Ahalya waiting for Rama
Frozen and numbed in the loveless cold
To regain the paradise lost
Come, the catalyst and the moment of truth prevails
Pygmalion sculpts the stone
In love and hope that both will come back
He gives like the Jersey Cow
What he gives comes back to him
The stones at times complain
Why the torture?
Love and hope prevails cold reason
Coaxing the stone to come to life
Of the three masons in the Cathedral/ Taj Mahal story
One is a Pygmalion and others just ‘workers’
When was the last time, you were lost in love / work and how long did it last?
In my case it was just yesterday, believe me; it went on non-stop for 23 hours.
Did you get paid?
Not in money. But what I gave will come back to me in abundant measure
And i will fall in love head over heels
When work comes beckoning again and again
Did the miracle happen? Yes and NO. It doesn’t really matter.
Yes, one has to agree with Gibran. Work indeed is love expressed.
No ‘managers’ and no ‘workers’
Never a manager and never work
We are just, LOVERS
Because denial of work is LOVE denied
Fall in love all over, again and again
Then get up and GO
Galatea comes to life, falls in love with Pygmalion
To realise that within him Pygmalion is dead
The sculptor is dead.
Galatea turns Pygmalion to bring him back to life
The perfect woman that she is
She fashions the perfect man from her memories
And brings him back to life from the world of dreams
To the world of the living
Keeping each other alive
System Thinking, Systems Thinking, Design Thinking, Process Thinking, Matrix thinking, Lateral thinking, Whole Thinking, Integrative Thinking = No Real Thinking !
Do they meet somewhere?
Accelerated learning, Team learning, Accelerated Community Learning, Transformational Learning
Emotional Intelligence, Gender intelligence, Community Intelligence
Mental models, mental maps
Skills, Competencies, High Performance Competencies, Sustained High Performance Competencies, Talent, War for Talent, Liberation of talent
Change, Positive change, Improvement, Process, Continuous Improvement, Business Process Improvement, Renewal, Continual Renewal, Radical renewal, Regeneration Therapy, ……..
Entropy, Negentropy, Atrophy, Decay,
Shared vision, values.
Complexity, Simplicity, Variety, Variety attenuation, Requisite variety, this gets interesting.
System of profound knowledge, Transformation, Personal mastery
Metrics, Valuation, FB is more valuable than Boeing!
Efficiency, Effectiveness, Excellence
Positive, Negative, all quadrants, all levels,
Hot, flat, crowded. fried, man, the top hundred and the bottom billion, ‘inclusive’development, bunchy top and root wilt…
Blue ocean, limits to growth, sky is the limit, no limits….
Where do all these meet? Is there a common ground, somewhere, sometime?
How do we wade through all this semantic swamp, do not miss the woods for the trees, make sense of the babble that lead to the crash of the tower of Babel, connect the earth and the sky ? Built to last or built to crash? Finally the east meets west after west meeting the east. Is it going to be any better? Who can afford the luxury of a prolonged discussion when the quarterly is waiting, retain the hope of reaching the common ground ?We could do it in B- School when we were students and teachers. I don’t remember to have arrived at any common ground. We made a lot of noise and picked up a lot of jargon and dumped them as soon as we started connecting with the ground realities.
Can we have a one page brief of all of this and those other buzzwords yet to come? We might kill the noise and hope to get in touch with the silence, for a moment. This is what the FDF is. We developed it in 1990. Nothing has changed except that the noise is louder.
Metrics, Maturity Metrics, Stages of Growth and Levels of Awareness
“If 50 is the new 30 when do you turn into an adult?
“Adulthood is yet to be defined. We have different numbers for different purposes, contexts and cultures pegged at 13, 16, 18, 21 “
“You may be 100, but that is no guarantee that you are an adult”
“Most metrics are quite arbitrary and we give undue weightage to numbers”.
“Dealing with the demographic imperative necessitates bringing quantity; quality and time to be reckoned with at one go. Erikson’s eight is too inadequate.”
Most of us may never pass through the gate to adulthood if we define adulthood as maturity to self-regulate, take informed decisions that leads to continuous improvement. Adulthood in the information age is about discerning information from data, the competence to ask the right questions or search. Information is data that kill misinformation that takes us to more order than decay.
Collectively we do not even manifest the wisdom of a single cell in its ability to take care of itself. We are yet to graduate from the level of the clock/ simple machines. Perhaps our institutions partially exhibit some of the characteristics of advanced machines with limited self-regulation.
The cell is to the body as an individual is to the community. Let us look at the issue at this level before proceeding to higher levels of complexity.
Event Process Metric/s
|Stage / Event||Process||Metric/s|
|1||Conception||One-ness, Ignorant bliss||Dreamers|
|2||Birth/death||Duality, Separation, Pain, paradise lost||Conflicts, noise|
|3||Positioned||Purpose Clarity, Work to fun||Silence, voice|
|5||Clock||Mechanical awareness||Rituals, Measurement, Breakdowns|
|7||Cell||Organic life||Increasing order|
|10||Human||Identity, Independence, Freedom||Gender intelligence|
|11||Community||Interdependence||Happiness Index, Community Intelligence|
|12||Meta maps||Accumulated learning||Expertise, Practice|
|13||Aligning with the unknown||Balance||Humility, sustained improvements|
|14||Graduate/Warrior||Catalyst||Adulthood, Continual Renewal, Servant leadership, Reflective|
We can find our where each one of us is and move on with the practice of perfections corresponding to each of the levels at the level of the individual to community. That is the work.
“So what is the new 21″
“60 and in perfect health”
” then the new 74 will be 222+”
“Yes, computationally speaking, otherwise no such limits. You are not your 58 kilos”
“Then what are you?”
” You are your work”
“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” -Buddha