New Literacy: In search of the adult

“Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.” – Erich Fromm

What is it to be fully born?

Raj was 15 and Herman, 35. They were walking home from the exhibition grounds, a very long walk to the Ashram where they stayed.  Herman was a priest. The boy frequented the Ashram whenever he could.  The boy was tired, falling into sleep and forcing himself to remain awake.  They entered the gates and lied down on the grounds, both of them gazing at the star lit sky.

Raj heard him asking “what is the meaning of all this”?

The boy had no answers. Silence prevailed, something sparked in the boy’s mind. “Someday, I will know”.  He never knew what was in store for the wish to come true. It was much later and getting himself burnt many times over that he knew that there is a price to knowing, the price that Oedipus had to pay for his insistence on knowing the truth at all costs.

Herman did not last long in the Ashram. He broke his vows and walked out. Raj came to know of it much later. His efforts to locate him were not successful.  Meanwhile many gods died very young for him. He had to pass through his personal omega point before he could come to a reasonable resolution of what he had hoped for on that starlit night, a journey of twenty six years.

I had fallen into a reverie of our conversation the previous evening while Raj was preparing the ground for one of his workshops, talking to the group about the ‘The Thomas theorem’- “It is not important whether or not the interpretation is correct. If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”, a theory of sociology formulated in 1928 by two Thomases. He was going a step further proposing what he termed the Thomas Principle.

The ADULT is the sacrificial goat, when

Master and disciple,

Teacher and student

Coach and the coachee,

Consultant and client,

Counselor and counselee,

Shepherd and the sheep,

Pope and the faithful,

are stuck in their respective positions; cannibalism and slavery are the outcome.

Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. – Mathew 7.19

The disciple has to fail the guru but Thomas never failed, the  other adult in the ring of 13. The other Judas fell to greed and the rest failed to realize their adults much like the unhappy younger brother. When the prodigal son finds the adult, he returns to his father. In recovering the adult he had to let go of a father and the father recovers his very self. The church that Thomas went on to establish was built on the rock of reason unlike the other churches built on the rock of faith. Both work  but whereas one thrives on dialogue, creates adults and community the other relies more on fear, manipulation and aggression, creating a setting that  makes crusades feasible.

Dialogue is possible only among adults, where reason prevails.

Raj was stirring up a hornet’s nest. There was visible uneasiness among the group. I was thrilled to see that the group was approaching its omega point, which I define as the point of maximum sustainable confusion any group can withstand. The group will either break up or come to a reasonable resolution of the issues to form a community of practice for the rest of the programme. A few of them would form new alliances and bonds that would last a lifetime. I was here after two decades of our first meeting in one of my workshops.

Raj appeared to be relishing the confusion. We want to create an environment of community here for the duration of the programme, he continued.  Organizations are not for adults, community is. It is natural/imperative that the disciple fails the Guru – do a Judas- the mentee the mentor, student the coach, counselee the counselor. Peter fails repeatedly.  Thomas, the rationalist, is perhaps the only adult in the dozen and his bible, the only adult version of the story of transformation.  The church that followed him stood its ground   in the cradle of all religions against successive waves of Buddhist, Jain and the Hindu revival.  Disciples go on reinventing the master, do a Procrustus, and cut the cloth to suit their own different sizes.

A stage will come in every learning relationship – including marriages – when the travelers reach the fork on the road. when master and disciple turn adults or one has to let go of the other on grounds of greater love, if that is the only way the other faces the reality of the dynamics. Resolutions might/not happen. When the prodigal daughter returns she finds that there is no father or daughter.  In my father’s abode there are no husbands and wives, fathers or daughters/sons. The cheating wife is a product of this dynamics. She doesn’t want to cheat but has to cheat, destroy herself to rebuild herself. The other has to let her go even at the risk of her own death/suicide. Death is a normal risk to the human, but to die even before one is born is a greater calamity. Life will go on.

Hands were being raised. Raj paused giving in to the questions. He waited for all the questions before getting to continue with the conversation

The fifty year study of myocardial infraction is a recent example of the progressive decline in community among the Roseto. Probably we had better community prior to the beginning of settled agriculture among the hunter gatherer. So in one sense what we call progress was no progress but a decline and decay of community.

Perhaps the universe is perfect, says the digital philosopher, Rudy Rucker.  For the mystic the world is perfect beyond any uncertainty, he lives the connection with the whole and has repeated experiences of this connection which spills into his art, making it immortal.  For him nothing happens by chance, everything is a participative outcome of the grand design. Tolkien believed mythology to be the divine echo of truth. We don’t allow them to die. For them to die, we need to draw the principles they embed and realise them in our daily lives. In those days art deserts the museum walls, the opera and the cinema halls and occupy the Wall Street, virtual walls waiting to be painted.  Art is routine.

If myth is the measure of wealth, India is the wealthiest of nations. Weighed down by the burden of myths they labour more, asking more questions on Quora than others in the world. The wealth of their myths lies hidden like the Temple Treasure of Trivandrum. Unearthing hidden treasures could be opening the Pandora’s Box as the state in Kerala has come to realise the proof of the Matthew effect, (Matthew effect – Robert K. Merton) – the poor in spirit becomes poorer in health and wealth.

So what ?

Ask more questions !

More of fantasy is not the solution to the burden of our myths

To continue

The journey so far

Freewill or Freewheel?

Continued from Part 1. Freewill and the Immortality Quotient

The Shift

Religion owes its origin to immortality. I will always be with you till the end, said Christ. For ‘Peters’ the managers, institutional and personal self-interest take precedence over the conceptual and the visionary. Dependence is the fuel for survival of the pyramids.  Hierarchic religion will be the first casualty of empowerment!

How do you select a facilitator, Guru or even your physician, the consultant?

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. There are no Buddhas any more.

Mintzberg says, “Coach our selves”.  Gurus die very young.

If the emperor claims to be the emperor, he is no emperor.

We are in transition to the age of the common Buddha. If you are in doubt, check it up at the corner shop.

Let us bury the dead. Shun the angels of death not the devils of life. Is she healthy physically, mentally, spiritually? Does she believe in community and dialogue?  Is she an adult on the path to immortality? Does she see the adult in you, even if it is a dormant one? What is her IQ, immortality quotient, commitment to the long term?

In 1990, Tara was attending the beginners program in yoga.  The centre was part of a large international network. She was carried away by the ‘presence’ of the facilitator and at the end of the sessions wanted to remain in touch with him. In the twenty sessions that they worked together with around twenty participants he had never shared his name or any other details. She was curious and once the question popped out of her.

“How old are you?’

“I am ageless”

“May I know your name?”

“What is in a name”?

This was all the one to one conversation that she had. She continues to practice yoga. She returned to the centre more than once in search of the guru who had set her on her yogic path. He had left the center and they could not help her to trace him.  But memories and the learning remain.  His words to the group still echoes in her.

“All learning is in the body. The body is the learning engine”

What is in a name?

Pied Pipers?

Zuckerberg, it sucks

The millions averaging six hours a day

It sucks, is it social?

Bill Gates and Windows

Where are the doors, open or shut?

Obama and Osama, the double or the other?

Bush and ambush, plain vanilla bush

Swartzkopf and shotskop

Friedman, hot, flat, crowded, and fried?

Hawking, hawks?

Grand design

Or Grand default?

Satyam = truth, Adarsh = the ideal

Maytas, truth reinvented the Indian way

Just two from the Indian summer of scams

Skill + Killings, spice it with Layings

Enron follows and the others join

Mc Kinsey, Donalds and WhartOn All!

Hamels hammer?

So much for the talent hunt

What a hunt?

What a war?

Overdogs or underdogs

What do the dogs see?

Outliers or mainstream

Black swans or White,

All is not well in Gladwell’s well

Where the eagles do not dare

Connect the dots, says him

Patterns, puzzles, mysteries and the misery

It is a mystic mandala

Hi Charles

It is very Handy

To be appropriately selfish

Read Will

Durant the durable

Not the perishables

The case for India

He had something of freewill

Not a free wheeler

For a taste of your own medicine

Appropriate selfishness

Stay Hungry, Stay foolish

Says the richest from the pulpit

Wow, what a Job, Connect the dots

Echoes Bansal from the land of immortals

Meluha

The empty raincoat, making sense of the future

Let us make sense of the present

The future will take care of itself

Empty drums echo best

The new Brahmins

Brahmin = Knowledge bearer, Vidyadhara

Vidya = real knowledge

Vidyadhara = one who bears knowledge

Vidya was lost on the way

Knowledge bearers became plain bearers

A country went under

History repeats on other shores

Connect the Dots, Manuel

God is with us

Will the elephant dance?

Will it?

Wont it?

We Will

Freewill and freewheel.

Community Intelligence

The Nature of Nature:Community/Social/Intelligence/Learning, A Metasystem Perspective

Accelerated Community Learning

Most of us live in  a black or white, flat world. What do we choose to see, black, white, black and white, grey, green, grey and green ?

What we see is what we get. Intelligence is about seeing all of them and beyond. Seeing in pairs (the ark had its pairs) is inevitable since black is black in relation to white. We make sense by comparing. The quadrants pair, reflect each other, Q1 with Q3, Q 2 with Q4, Potential with Performance and Old with New

Potential = Performance + Waste + an Unknown Quantity, our raison d’être

All systems are purposive and reduction in waste is the super ordinate goal of the system

Growth is a process of positioning, fixing the direction (finding true north) and metrics of the  reduction in waste.

Red stands for decay and entropy. Green stands for continual learning and renewal

Community is about the commons, what we collectively share, value, enhance and preserve

More: FDF,  Knowledge Visualization,  

suggested reading :  An Outline of General System Theory (1950) Ludwig von  Bertalanffy

The Misinformation Overload and another Snake oil Cure

Misinfographics

It is the same wine, in a larger bottle

Packaging is everything in a cosmetic culture

You seem to be at your humorous best

It is not humor, call it pathetic humor.

The best packaging, container, will not take care of poor content in the long run. Snake oil salesmen will make only quick bucks.

That seems to be what business is all about! How do you separate the chaff from the grain?

We will first arrive at the essential content, the ideal, that which renders real value not the kind of value that marketeers   create out of ‘appropriate selfishness’. When we club all our appropriate selfishness we get what we see.  Osama is less dangerous than Obama

What do you mean?

The enemy within is more dangerous because all our defenses are pointed towards the one outside. And though we might have all the equipment we will not be equipped to pull the trigger when it is called for because of this internal squeamishness. The emperor is naked though fully covered up by the most elaborate and intricate ornamentation

Is there an enemy outside.

It depends on the position. From  a variant position, yes and from the invariant, no. There is no enemy out there. All deaths are suicides and all conversation a soliloquy.

The ideal is an internal dress code, the bare minimum to cover up our nakedness. The day we were discussing the issue one of our participants had a dream of a beautiful tomb. She could also see the rotting body of the emperor inside.

She must have been a good Christian?

She had overheard her parents reading the bible

The ideal is pure potential, perfection, reason, will, design, internal, conceptual, god for ordinary mortals, the grand design  for Hawking, in essence the same content in different packaging. Re-packaging is what creates the best sellers.  The semantic swamp that results appears to be information at first glance.

Let us get back to the roots. Sanskrit means, processed, civilized, cultured as against, Prakrit, the primitive, unprocessed. The essential content is the output of this processing that goes on, something which is perennial, universally relevant, beyond time and space, ‘akshaya’, immortal, culture or the ideal. We need to be clear on this to master separating the chaff from the grain.

This is the most essential competency to survive today.

Why flout all the rules of grammar and convention?

Sanskrit was the language of processing at one time. We need a new language of processing and our language experts suggested, Inglish. Inglish does not have the worldview that goes with English nor most of its rules of grammar. It is a common purpose oriented language which retains the essence. Most memories and conventions keep us tied down to the past.

So how does this competency take care of the information overload?

Information overload is a misnomer since the very character of information is that it kills variety and reduces the overload. It increases the order, fights decay and death. It is life giving.  We might call this data overload which is a boon to the storage industry and those who put all their faith in more power to the machines and less to the humans in general but not necessarily to an elite few.

We need some kind of meta information about information itself.

‘Ravana’, the emperor,  has ten heads, quite a burden for most practical purposes.  The ideal is mapped under ten heads in the call out in the top left quadrant of the map.  We have ten balls within that one ball.

You are making it more complicated? All those ten heads didn’t really help him.

All complexity is not a curse. Requisite complexity and variety are unavoidable. Miss out on anyone of the recipe, the dish goes to the garbage dump.

Why ten?

Ten is the minimum requisite variety to understand the basic design, the master templates of nature.

What do these ten heads stand for?

Let us take the information head. The information head is information about information. In the absence of this information one will not be able to transform data to information and reduce the complexity. Misinformation overload is the result

Another example

2×2 = 4, 4×4= 16, 16×16= 256, 256 x 256 =?

The multiplication table ceases to serve the purpose at a certain stage of increasing complexity. All tools reach this limit and at some stage the wheel needs to be reinvented. Reinventing is a new synthesis. It is relevant in other contexts too. When one has a major accident, on the road or off, it is time for a new synthesis. There are always better solutions and the best is always yet to come. Even health and healing is more about information than about medicines.

Now a little more meditation on the ten will give you all the clues. You are on your own.

Why always leave a large part of it unexplained?

We need to break from treating others as children, like all governments do, and relate as adults so that the adult emerges.  We point to the issue and one has to figure it out for oneself if it has to be of any use.

Bon Voyage

A User Manual to the Self

“Dad”

“Yes, Johnny”

“The PC is not working”

“Look up the user manual”

“Dad”

“Yes, Johnny”

“The UPS is not working”

“Look up the User Manual”

“Dad”

“Yes, Johnny”

“I can’t figure this out. Where is my User Manual?”

“Ask Panditji”. (Panditji is the neighbourhood astrologer and dad a Professor of Strategic Human Resource Management in an ivy league B- School.)

Machines and gadgets come accompanied by a User Manual. But we do not come across a User Manual to  the most sophisticated system that we own and use, the self.  We use it  in very different ways and pay very heavily for our ignorance of the design of the system.

There must be some principles that one cannot do without for achieving better outcomes. These posts focus on them.

Self is the system through which we ‘see’, create meaning and make choices. The choices decide whether our actions lead to improvement or otherwise.

With more and more options available to each one of us the opportunity could as well be a threat,  how the interface is aligned will decide whether it will lead to greater good or havoc.

Self is the observer and also the observed. Reality is perceived / created by our inherited mental models that evolved over the history of humanity. If the world has turned out to be imperfect, it has more to do with our models of the world than anything else.

Being the instrument of all knowing and learning, study of the self is the first discipline, the foundation/unifier of all other disciplines.

The practice evolved through a process of dialogue since 1990 using the First Discipline Framework as a tool to create  convergence through  a process of discovering, enhancing and strengthening the individual, group, organisational and community self. The approach facilitates the emergence of a roadmap for unification, continuous improvement and renewal,  transcend barriers created by different disciplines bringing the various perspectives together into a coherent whole – a new way of looking at reality.

The approach incorporates positioning, measurement, feedback and self correction – the functions of the compass, clock and the feedback system which enables the traveller to be on course.

Getting started

I have a new DP, dialogue partner.

He is new to Bangalore and spent quite a long time reaching me and the opening sentence when he met me was

I have a problem with my GPS

Thank god you know that you have a problem with your GPS. Most people think they don’t have a problem with their GPS

What do you mean?

What is the first thing that we need to know if we want to reach my destination?

As usual we get a wide set of answers except THE FIRST which is where am I now.

So where are we now?

We may have to ask more questions before we come to the answer to that question?

When were you born?

dd.mm.yyyy

That was the birth of your body. You didn’t have anything much to do with it and you are much more than the physical.

Or is it that I am yet to be born?

WE, the community self is yet to be born ?

Birth of self and community self

Birth of selfWe were not born when we were born since physical birth is not synonymous with birth of self.

The Community Self is yet to be born.

The system at birth is comparable to the bullet that leaves the barrel of a gun. The bullet is helpless to influence its trajectory. Most systems do not go beyond this level though the duration could be much longer.

Self regulation is the differentiator to qualify to be a higher level system, evolving to become aware of the position, direction and regulating itself to influence the outcome, creating a more desirable future.

The key words are birth of self, position, direction,reflection and self-regulation

Another question- what are our basic needs?

Are they the physiological?  – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; food, shelter, clothing , reproduction, social, self actualisation and so on. We will revisit Maslow some time later .

For those who commit suicide, life is no more meaningful, not worth the trouble.

If so the most basic need must be the need for MEANING.  If life is meaningful, then food has meaning – to keep the body and soul together

Soul is the unifying principle that, which connects, the glue, gives meaning, spirit. We have’nt really started. We are already getting mired in the  semantic swamp.

The semantic swamp contributes to global warming, cutting down more trees and creates more intellectual poverty rights.

Symbols make it easier than all the text and discourses.

The philosophy and the maths are very simple – the new maths

New or the very old, I don’t know

0, 1, 2, 3, ∏

Where

0 = nothing

1 = everything

2 = duality, the linear, static, partial truth

3 = connecting, the linear is transformed

∏ = synergy, whole > the sum of parts, dynamic, continual, real time, unending, quality of being connected, centre and the periphery

When the setting is right, the intent is expressed, the seed turns into the tree, caterpillar to the butterfly and the bullet becomes aware of its self, takes birth to eternity.

The journey begins here, that of transformation. “Well-nigh two thousand years and not a single new god”- Nietzsche.

We see the light at the end of the tunnel and walk out of the dark hole, the prison that we built for our SELVES

Oneness is the quality of the whole – the child in the womb is one with the mother and at birth is confronted by the separation, a perceived duality which is the quality of two, a linear world of many, day and night, good or bad, true or false, yes or no – the domain of problems.  The prodigal son revolts, eventually reconciles. The self evolves to resolve the contradictions, duality and recognise the connectedness – oneness. Not a return in the sense of going back since the self has moved to a higher level in terms of growth and maturity from the level of yes or no, true or false to the level of yes and no, true and false , good and bad.

This is the quality of three – trinity, the third position from which agreement, improvement and solutions are possible. The shift from the static and linear to the dynamic happens.

Intelligent choices and conscious evolution follow.

So where are we now ?

Other Less FAQs

Which is true north, the direction for the journey ?

How do WE make sure that WE are on the path?

Do we have a map of everyTHING to make it easier and foolproof?

The Map of Everything

The First Discipline Framework is a map to attenuate variety, reduce the babble among disciplines to facilitate positioning, fixing direction and self-correction for the process of continual renewal and improvement at different levels – individual, institutions, communities and community.

The map makes it possible to hang our different hats as practitioners of various disciplines, ‘social programmers’ – parents, pedagogues, priests, and politicians connecting the various disciplines and put them in perspective, SEE and SHOW (the visual has the highest bandwidth) how everything, living, nonliving, internal and external- is ONE, a continuum, in process and evolving.

The framework helps the observer self, to connect with the observed SELF, position, visualise the gap between potential and performance, fix the direction for the journey and make sure that we are on the path of continuous improvement/renewal.

Metrics, measurement, of true progress becomes possible.

The map has four quadrants and the observer is at the centre. The observer could be the individual, a group, an organisation or the species.

NW  is a map of the ideal, the deep structure, the conceptual, pure potential, design and the world of ideas .The order, hierarchy, increasing complexity and potential with each level, alignment and connectedness need be re- ‘cognised to understand the performance issues in the external world mapped in the bottom right quadrant, SE.

The four quadrants are like the four wheels of the car, a learning engine which continues to improve its performance as it goes forward

The eye at the centre represents self, the observer, and the driver of the car

The wheels must be aligned for the car to move on

But there exists a conflict between quadrants NW and SE, ideal and the operational

Between internal self and the external social system, quadrants SW and NE

It is for us to create the alignment so that the car moves on

First step is to see the interconnections and see the whole as one system in process, evolving

What makes the human unique as a class of systems is the potential to improve. There is ‘no’ gap between potential and performance up to the level of animals (see quadrant SW)

The gap begins after the level of animals. The gap can also be seen as the waste in the system, the unrealised potential, the root cause for problems. In terms of potential vs. performance the human is sub animal

Corresponding to the total potential/performance gap, there exists a gap in every one of us which forms the personal sphere for improvement which would lead to the question – what is my potential and my performance?

Quadrant NW represents the ideal, perfect, conceptual, pure potential, internal to the self and in perfect alignment at all levels starting from the maps to Meta systems (represented by the umbrella).  Quadrant SE represents the physical world, measurement, performance. Mirrors NW up to the level of animals. The knowledge gap is the major reason for the gap. There will always be a gap but it is feasible to narrow the gap and bring about sustained and continual improvements

Quadrant SW is internal to the self and NE represents the external social system. While learning is a pre-requisite to improvement, history and habits encourage conformity. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. Self could be the individual, team, organisational or community self. Complexity increases with levels

The map facilitates positioning, fixing the direction for the journey and measurement of progress.  It is possible to visualise the nature of the journey as an ongoing process of continual improvement and renewal. The first step is having a map for the journey. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucius. To take that first step we need to know where our position is and the direction in which to take that step, to be on course.

The potential performance gap is illustrated by life expectancy vs. longevity of exceptional people. Life expectancy in developed countries is around 75 which is an indication of performance. Potential is reflected in the exceptions, people living beyond their 100. The gap or the waste in terms of unrealised potential is 25 years, though life expectancy is not the only aspect to be taken into account. There are exceptions who achieve much more than average people with shorter life spans and those who continue to be much more productive in their second careers than in their first.

We need to visualise human potential if we are to realise it.  On a global scale the aggregate waste is astounding. The estimation has to be on multiple factors to illustrate the issue better. A corporate would attempt to look at the issue from many different perspectives, in terms of market potential vs. performance or the human potential vs. performance. The same could be attempted at different levels- individuals, institutions, communities, nations, global

Metaphoria of Transformation

“Connecting with Consumers Using Deep Metaphors.

Famous brands have an emotional meaning that taps into thoughts and feelings related to the positive aspects of transformation, according to Gerald Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman, authors of  Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers (HBS Press 2008). Transformation is just one metaphor that finds expression in products that satisfy deeply held consumer needs and desires. Other metaphors they notice include balance, journey, and connection”. Martha Lagace,  http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5871.html

To learn is to connect.  To connect is to solve a problem, recognize or see the pattern and in the process the solution emerges. The learning resultant from problem solving, accumulated knowledge, catalyzes development and growth.

Some learning is possible only through parables or stories.  Stories synchronise brains. The story outlines that follow can be used to develop the connecting, catalyzing and reflecting skills. A story acts like a map, a metaphor and can be used to connect the internal and external territories to unearth something that people already know at deeper levels.

E.g. connectivity and the structure of silicates, maps and meta maps, programs and meta programs, competencies and meta competencies, archetypes and design

More metaphors

1. Story of One , Differently Abled Child and the Teacher

2.Mental maps – Eagle’s gift

Thinking about what we can’t think about

The eagle nests on the tallest tree

The tree is by the side of a very deep well

In the well is a community of frogs. The well is so deep that the frogs have never been out of the well.

As the sun sets and the darkness rushes into the well, the little ones in the community crowd around the nanny frog pestering her for stories.  May be she will repeat one of those stories, yet it is still very comforting at the time when the shades of grey drives out th world of light darkness takes over.

Darkness is yet to take over the tree tops. It is very rare that it happens, once in a while when the sky is completely clouded and stars are invisible.

At times the eagle listens to the familiar stories. Over the years of its immortal life, it has heard them many times over, many versions of the same stories over many generations. There is nothing new about the stories other than it is almost a ritual that disturbs it in some way.

It is another day

The thermals are forming. The eagle is waiting for the thermals to gather force.  It is quite strong now.

The eagle swoops down into the well, grabs the nanny frog with its claws and rise up from the well into the sky assisted by the thermal moving up at a frightening pace.

The heights and the fear of death overtakes the frog. It shuts it’s eyes tight and wait for the inevitable.

The eagle has reached the heights and hovers there circling in the sky. It goes round and round for a long long time. It senses that the frog has quieted down and has opened its eyes. The thermal is waning. It gently floats down once again into the well and gently leaves the frog from where it has been taken for a ride.

On the return journey the frog had just a glimpse of the larger world outside the well.

The eagle goes back to the tree and waits for the sun to set waiting for the story of the day.

What will be the story of the day?

The participants are to write down a story and the trainer gives the feedback based on participants’ stories. Switch the roles of Eagles and trainers so that trainers don’t come to assume that they are the eagles. One has to be an eagle and at times a frog depending on the context.

The human condition is like that of the frog in the well. The mental maps are influenced by the ‘well’ we live in. They are improved with every bit of learning. The developmental process involves revision and improvement of the mental models or maps. Facilitators play a very critical role and to fulfil these roles they need to have the necessary competencies.

3. The Chandrasekhar Effect.

Chandrasekhar is a very saintly soul who has a weakness for     liquor.  One morning we found him in front of his regular hangout. Chandrasekhar was relieved to meet some familiar faces. He came out with a question which he wanted to ask somebody who is familiar. Even at this stage he was aware that his condition might make him ask stupid questions and he did not want to be humiliated.  The question was “Where am I?” We take the most fundamental for granted which takes us farther away from reality. When our basic assumptions, the home position, are wrong it is certain that we will reach some place where we never wanted to be. Any process of improvement calls for fixing a starting position, deciding on the direction and reflecting/review with reference to the starting position. A large number of people were asked this question as to what our basic needs are and the first reply is always the text book answer, “food, shelter, and clothing”. But for the person who has decided that life itself is meaningless none of these matter. If they are asked to respond to a question like “How many sides the coin has?” the answer is always the same – two, though with a little bit of clarification they will soon shift their original positions.   One of the obstacles, as old as history and symbolized in the story of Babel, to reaching a solution to the issue is the semantic confusion and that there is very little convergence between the domains that have the potential to offer solutions.

4. Blind men and the elephant

5. Don’t shoot the messenger

6. Mahabali and Vamana

7. Taj Mahal / cathedral Building

Emperor Shajahan asked the same question to the three stonecutters.  “What are you doing?”

The three answers are:

“I am earning a living”,

“I am polishing stones, and I am the best stonecutter available”

“I am building a monument which is an expression of the love of the emperor to his beloved and this stone that I am polishing will be the corner stone of the monument”

It is obvious that the third mason is more likely to meet the standards for quality and quantity and that if all the three are to meet these and other standards – of effectiveness, excellence and zero defects – the third mason’s vision is to be shared. When we work more and more with intangibles and the slave driver is replaced by one’s own self this becomes all the more difficult but essential to keep the network as one, connected.

9. Indra and the pigs – Resistance to change.

Indraonce transformed himself into a pig just to find out why   pigs enjoyed wallowing in the mud. He remained there till Narada searched him out and compelled him to go back to his former self.  It is quite possible that we get stuck with poor performance and come to accept that this as the limit of our possibilities till a compelling experience/crisis or vision might lift us out of the situation.

10.  Frog soup

A frog is placed in a bowl of cold water.  Turning on a heater     gently warms the water.  The frog initially enjoys the warmth and feels comfortable.  The increase in warmth is so gentle that the frog does not notice it.  The warmth gradually increases; the frog falls into a stupor and eventually turns into frog soup. The opposite possibility is that of continual renewal, to respond creatively to the process on a real time basis.

The story is quoted in two of the popular books on management, The Renewal Factor (Waterman) and The Fifth Discipline (Peter M Senge).  The frog in the cold water initially enjoys the increasing warmth of water in which it is immersed and by the time it is unbearable it is immobilized and incapable of escape from death.  The process of continual renewal is the opposite of this whereby individuals, institutions or a community continually respond to the environment and improve their contexts.  The process is qualitatively different and most often ignored in the preoccupation with the short term.  U.S. companies now lose half their employees every four years, half their customers in five, and half their investors in less than twelve months[ii]. The returns on investment, yield rate of stocks, market capitalisation   or increase in value of ESOP by themselves are not sufficient measures of success.  Corporates need to be concerned about the internal as well as the broader external community also, other than the shareholders and the targeted market segments.

11.  The Cannon Shot/The Two Roads

The road by design and by default

The two roads, one by design and the other by default and the  moment of truth.

What we believe as maturity, normal, is a HABIT, history, the roadblock.

The system at physical birth is comparable to the bullet that leaves the barrel of a gun.

The bullet is helpless to influence its trajectory.

Most systems, individuals or institutions seldom go beyond this level without that choice, a conscious decision to evolve, becoming aware of the position, direction and reflecting on the progress.

When it happens the bullet goes into orbit.

The linear is the road by default, the road to death, accidents, burnout and the road on which time runs out.

The other is the road to eternity, continual renewal and timelessness by CHOICE, the conscious decision to be on the road to continual IMPROVEMENTs, creating the future NOW, by DESIGN,  a future better than the present.

The cannon shot does not have the potential to become aware of it’s self. Individuals and organizations have the unique capability of self-observation and self regulation which implies the possibility of improvement.   This is what qualifies us to be termed human. The cannon shot that goes out of the cannon has no possibility of becoming aware of itself and the outcome is already determined at the moment of its departure from the cannon.  But the more advanced of human creations like those of sophisticated machines do have more and more of self-regulation built into them.  Thus in the case of space vehicles and satellites, extent of self-regulation and the possibility of controlling the behavior of the system from outside the system increases.  The extent of self-regulation, the possibility of reflecting on one’s behavior and even laugh at it, is what draws us apart as a class, from the rest of the systems.  In the case of the cannon shot gravity operates mercilessly and ultimately the shot is overtaken by it when the shot reaches terra firma.  In the case of individuals and organizations, it is the vision that keeps them going.  The vision is liable to be corrupted and needs to be renewed continuously.  Just as gravity operates continuously, the forces of decay too is natural to all systems.  In nature decay and renewal are continuous and it follows that for organizations to sustain growth, the effort at renewal too needs to be continuous’.

12. Ashram and the prophets– Leadership, Creating and Renewing Vision and Shared Values.

There is an ashram in which four sanyasins struggle to make both ends meet. There has been a golden time for the ashram when crowds used to flock together to the ashram but now the ashram has fallen on bad times with no visitors and no income.  One of the sanyasins hit upon the idea of visiting another sanyasin in a distant place to seek help.  They set out on the journey together, meet the sanyasin and present the problem. The sanyasin sends them back with just one piece of advice – One of you is a prophet. The sanyasins are not able to find out who   the prophet is but over time the ashram renews itself and recovers the lost glory.   ”.

13.  First monkey – Creative communities

There live a community of monkeys in an island. They had never eaten the nuts of a particular tree.   A curious little monkey picked up one of these nuts, dips it in seawater and eats it.  It finds that the nut is very delicious.  Rest of the monkeys slowly follows the little monkey one by one. Eventually the nut becomes a common meal for all the monkeys and when a critical number of monkeys pick up this habit, the behavior spreads all throughout in no time, all over the world. The group soon emulates the behavior of the first monkey.  When the group size crosses a certain critical mass, the new behavior is manifested globally without any apparent interconnections.  Something, which was beyond the realm of possibility, has now become possible and collective learning results. The phenomenon is observed in many other situations also.  Fostering individual creativity within the organizational community is integral to continual renewal.  Besides, the context now offers the possibility of creative individuals to make much larger global impact.  The typical examples are the emergence and growth of startup IT ventures during the last two decades.

14. The Imperial Chill – Daniel Quinn

15. Sheet of Rubber and the Football – Centralization and decentralization, Yes and No, Static / Dynamic

16. Caterpillar and the Butterfly, Seed to Tree, Cream to Butter, Ahalya, Pygmalion and Galatea , Rama and Ahalya

17. Less is more

18.  Complex vs simple

2×2=4

4×4=16

16×16=256

256×256= ?

19. Blindness, Seeing, Jose Saramago

20. Magister Ludi, Herman Hesse

21. Time

Mastery of time involves going beyond the ordinary or common to the transcendental experience of time. The common understanding is very essential to deal with the day to day world but this is never the complete story. It is only a partial truth (illusion). Time /timelessness is another duality, gate, to learning the direct (mystic) experience, freeing one from the entanglement of a linear experience of time.There is nothing linear about nature. Linear time kills in many ways. Timelessness, eternity, is a common experience if one reflects over those experiences when time stood still, while you were in love vs. waiting for a P breakts

22. Timelessness/Real time

Real time

What black is to white is time to timelessness, as memory is to forgetting

Linear time meets memory at ground zero

To beget the NEW

As the eagle soars up in the sky details get blurred

But the essential is not lost

It swoops down faster to the goal.

Knows when to strike and when to sail

To switch between time and timelessness

What to gather and to leave behind

Complete the learning so as to forget

Learn history so that history is not repeated

Both personal and collective, for the flow of life to go on

Bury the dead so that renewal rules, not death and decay

Free the ground for the dance of eternity – timelessness

23. Habit/New habits

New habits

Transcend habits by more powerful habits.

Habit is history that keeps us stuck. Even death is a habit  and fear of death is the mother of all fears which drives many businesses. Resistance creates resistance. If the child wants to touch fire we can tell her don’t do it – a sure fire way of achieving what we never wanted. Instead show her the butterfly. Her attention is shifted to something beautiful. Big time improvement strategists play the latter game. They don’t preach change. They play the game of radical improvement through which people come together as one, in relationships, internal and external alignment, creating history. In the process we move forward, get unstuck. Everyone wins and none loses.

Amor is the Roman god of love. The root from Sanskrit ‘amar’ means immortal and ‘amrut’ is that which makes one immortal – knowledge. Work is love expressed – Kahlil Gibran. The path to immortality, exceptional performance, is possible only through transformation of work as expression of the self, an expression of love

24. The Light House Position. What is your call?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is then not an act but a habit – Aristotle

Juggling with P’s – The Picture of Philosophy

Further :

The Cloud Community College

Eagle’s gift

Continual learning is the path to continual renewal.

Nature is in a process of continual renewal but for the ecological footprints left by our interventions. It takes more than a year for nature to renew what we consume in a year and some damages are irreparable.

Learning improves our mental models. The frog in the well forms a model of the world. The eagle on the tree has a different model. When the frog is taken out by the eagle and brought back into the well these two merge together to form a map of the world. The world has not changed but the models of the world have changed. We had a flat earth model in the not too distant past. With better technology and tools these models have given way to maps with increasing precision. Though maps of the physical world have become more precise the mental models that went with them are not easily discarded.

The eagle represents the big picture and frog, the details. Both are connected just as the Hubble telescope sends us pictures from outer space and the femtoscope helps us see the smallest of the small.

The eagle represents the global and frog the local which are but different perspectives of the whole. Thus being GLOCAL – is an imperative.  So is the imperative of continual learning, leading to continual renewal. We are frogs in the well of nature

A brief history of learning/ renewal

Real work is the expression of a mature self

As a Dairy Technologist, I used to watch the huge butter churns in motion, waiting for that magical moment when the cream breaks out into globules of butter. This was my first project at work- to find a solution to mountains of cream that had accumulated over the previous surplus season. In the long hours that i worked towards reducing the bulk, I was forced to fight the boredom, visualising the mythical churning of the sea of milk by the Devas and Asuras to make amrit, the stuff that makes one immortal – knowledge.

Later on I had the privilege of observing a very sedentary ascetic centenarian for the last twenty five years of his pursuit of learning which had started at the age of nine. At 60 he had made it known that he had another 40 years of work left to complete. He completed his 40 years and went on for another six months and 15 days.

In developed nations the fastest growing segment of the population is centenarians.

While most “successful’ people in the ‘modern world’ (read top of the pyramid – sic) contribute in real terms for 15/20 years of their life span of around 75,  what goes into the making of the rare centenarian who remains productive many times  over ? If the product is in the process, what makes this process so rewarding in itself which keeps them relatively less mortal physically and immortal in the world of knowledge. Why are we not able to go beyond them as a community?

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.  – Max Planck (1858-1947)

Imagine the churning that preceded the above statement!

Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543)

Proof: Galileo, (1564-1642) Strategy: Patience, non- action, out-wait competition

Ever wondered about the history of churning and the consequences?

We have a secret dread of being thought ignorant. And we end by being ignorant after all, only we have done it in a long and roundabout way. (From the short story – Once there was a King) Rabindranath Tagore, 1839-1941. The Parrots Tale develops this in much greater detail. Viswabharati, the university he set up, was the solution that he came up with for the problem.

There are only two ways to live: Either without thinking of death… or with the thought that you approach death with every hour of your life.  – -Leo Tolstoy, 1828 – 1910

There is a third way, the path of regeneration, living with birth/death, NOW, in real time, the path taken by the high performing centenarians and the path open to the next generation who would go far beyond them. Most of us live in linear time. Living in real time is living in eternity.

Tolstoy  was a prophets’ prophet, a link in the long chain from Buddha, Asoka the great and Christ who greatly influenced two of the heroes of our time and kept alive the idea of non-violence and non – action, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi   (1869 –  1948) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968).

Why did most champions of non-violence, have to  die violent death?

Tolstoy’s thoughts on How to live: (He appears to have founded the human potential movement much ahead of the new age messiahs of the movement)

  • The more upset you are with other people and circumstances, and the more satisfied you are with yourself, the further you are from wisdom.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Compare yourself only with perfection.
  • It is not the place we occupy that is important, but the direction in which we move.
  • When you want to escape from rage, do not walk, do not move, and do not speak. Your rage cannot be justified by anything. The reason for your rage is always inside you.
  • Speak only when your words are better than silence. For every time you regret that you did not say something, you will regret a hundred times that you did not keep your silence.
  • There are two ways not to suffer from poverty. The first is to acquire more wealth. The second is to limit your requirements. The first is not always in our power. The second is.
  • You do not have the right to be unhappy with your life. If you are not satisfied, see this as a reason to be unsatisfied with yourself.
  • The more strictly and mercilessly you judge yourself, the more just and kind you will be in the judgment of others.
  • Strive for goodness without any expectations for rapid or noticeable success. For the further you progress, the higher your ideal of perfection will rise. Yet it is the process itself, this striving, that justifies our lives.
  • Nobody knows where the human race is going. The highest wisdom, then, is to know where you are going.
  • The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens … Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.
  • There can be only one permanent revolution – a moral one: the regeneration of the inner man.

He died on his way to become a wandering ascetic. Imagine the churning.

Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky,  1821- 1882 turned out to be more prophetic than Tolstoy –  Raskolnikov, the hero of Crime and Punishment  is the template for our current role models  who have perfected the art of committing the perfect crime and earn  their place in history as saviours of the world.

The product is in the process.

The seats of learning/ churning/clashes and the interplay of history, knowledge, power, religion, politics and culture

Taxila   6th century BCE to the 5th century CE

Nālandā  (427 to 1197 CE)

The Imperial Nanjing Institute, China, founded in 258, has perhaps the longest unbroken tradition

Budha , Christ, Ashoka 304 BCE – 232 BCE ,  all belong to this period.

Taxila was burnt to ashes in 1197. The fire went on for weeks.

Prophet Muhammad, 570   – 632

The University of Al-Karaouine, Morocco was founded in 859 by two well educated wealthy sisters. Played   a leading role in the cultural and academic relations between the Islamic world and Europe in the middle ages,

University of Bologna, Italy, 1150. The term university was coined at the founding of this seat of learning.  The University of Paris was founded even earlier, was split into 13 universities in 1970.

1167    University of Oxford, UK.  Exact date uncertain, teaching existed in some form since 1096

1209 University of Cambridge, UK

1440 the Printing Press

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

Harvard University, 1636

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883), John Maynard Keynes, (1883- 1946)

W. Edwards Deming, (1900 – 1993), Peter Ferdinand Drucker, (1909-2005)

Drucker had personal experience of the Nazi regime, probably would have listened to Sigmund Freud as a child, and was a student of Keynes and Schumpeter. He foresaw the possibilities of the modern corporation and continuously reinvented himself. One might conclude that he also foresaw the need for a new paradigm of management with the focus on the self, managing oneself, for which he himself would remain, one of the best models.

Drucker started the study of General Motors in 1945, leading to the publication of the Concept of the Corporation and began his career as a consultant, teacher and writer. He remained at the forefront of the discipline he founded for half a century.

Deming started from where Drucker left off towards the end of his career. Had Deming been accepted in his home country as much as Drucker in his country of adoption, perhaps we wouldn’t have been in our current crisis. The prophet is seldom respected at home. One could argue that Japan had the cultural pre-requisites to accept Deming and the US ultimately had to give in reluctantly to the competition. Drucker could not save the corporation/s whereas Deming left a legacy which forms the foundation to the discipline that Drucker is said to have founded.

The Web. 1992. The parrot leaves the cage, the seats of learning move to the clouds. The internet has dematerialised learning from the seats of learning. Technology has become real time but people have not moved to real time. . We need new paradigms to bridge the gaps and transcend the learning plateaus in our journey of continual renewal and improvement

> a  new discipline and pedagogy > the first discipline>the discipline of sustained high performance

1. Context

The BRIC is broken

The tail wags the head

WMD – Destruction or Dialogue?

War on terror/ talent – WFT, Dream merchants and the revenge of the underdogs

Recession, Booms and Busts, the long cycles and the bubbles in between,

Is there a future?  The rise or fall of India, Indian = Global

The climate /energy crisis, water /food security and sustainability

Finance capital > Human Capital > Community Capital > Eco-system Management > Developmental Management > Rethinking Development

Reinventing the discipline of Management

2. Management Overview

Missing the wood for the trees – What we failed to see, Marketing Myopia, Theodor Levitt

Peter Drucker. The Bystander> End of economic man > to Managing Oneself

Beyond Competitive advantage

3 . First Discipline, SHPC :  A Map to the Future and the Road ahead

  • 1. Continual Renewal >  Regeneration Therapy
  • 2. Personal mastery and LLL, Life Long learning, learning plateaus
  • 3. System/s Thinking
  • 4. Accelerated Learning and Mental Maps, KM
  • 5. Positioning yourself, your business for SHP
  • 6. Community Intelligence
  • 7. The Singularity Perspective- the map of all maps

4 The Practice of First Discipline.

The tool kit – a backpack for the road

Dialogue and Storytelling

Analytics and Gap Analysis

Aligning with the Deep Structure

Conscious Dreaming,

Participative Action Learning, Research and Real Time Management Development

Sustained High Performance – Growth by Design

5.  Custodians of the Future

The Blue ocean people

Milk is white

God’s own country, Devils too – Between the devil and the deep-sea

The Eco-system people, fishermen/ tribal communities

The Fusion fuel and the Energy Challenge

6.Creating the future by design

Rethinking CSR, Wealth and Charity

7.  Strategy.

Animating the Learning Engine, Maintaining the LE for SHP

Appendix

Context: First Discipline?

The global failure of management as a discipline- Enron to Lehman brothers, recession, failure of IT , bubbles, poverty and conflicts. Thought leaders –  Peter Drucker over the years –  In spite of all the hype management in the west also has failed to deliver against the global context

Local failures: Failure to connect to the developmental management issues of India

Failure to define what is Indian (global) about management

Failure to attract management to governance and development

Academic work in India has failed to make a global impact

A dialogue between an academic and a development  practitioner

The  collapse of governance

The disillusionment with managers and academics, failure of leadership/intellectualism

The majority are left to fend for themselves –

TECHNOLOGY AND ACESS IN A CONNECTED WORLD

One man can make a difference

IT was entrepreneurial /technological/ learning breakthrough and not a product of management thought

Competencies of the new manager- Development practitioner?

The blogs explore these issues through dialogue

+

. Birth of the professional manager: the ethical /competency /community imperatives

Peter Drucker vs Amartya Sen

Stafford Beer vs. Peter M Senge

Prahlad vs  Porter

Chris Argyris vs. Maslow – End of Organisation man ?

Deming  vs. Drucker

Aurobindo  vs. Ken Wilbur

Management Development , Nurturing the new managers

Action learning – Reginald Revans

Schumacher vs Schumpeter

Kuhn

Dialogues – Aging out of life

Meenakshi asks, In our time do we age out of life?

Like most questions, the answers are yes, no, and yes and no

“Death is not essential’, said The Mother

Reading this, has been a milestone in my learning.

Life begins when we resolve our issues with death and ageing

We are not designed to die but to live

Death is a habit and we are breaking more and more out of this habit – people are living longer.

What is time? Is it linear, a one way traffic, an arrow that moves from birth to death?

This cannot be natural since nothing in nature is linear. There is an arrow of time that goes in the opposite direction, memory – how we RE-collect our past.  The sun we see  is around 9 minutes old but our  thought does not take nine minutes to reach the sun  we see, the sun that was nine minutes ago.

Yes thought is faster than light.

As we talk our cells die and new cells are born, two more arrows, to put it in a very crude way. In place of the first arrow we have four arrows of time now.

When this is experienced, birth and death become simultaneous, not a journey from point A to B, birth to death. One transcends linear time and steps into eternity, become ageless.

So we age out of linear time, not out of life, and start living in the NOW, – eternity.

When was I born?  MM DD YYYY? That was the birth of my body.

Did I have anything to do with it?

The real me was born much later when I  RE-collected all that scattered stuff and put them all together and I walked out of the shadows of death, linear time, my unconscious and took that first step to the birth of myself , eternity and continual renewal.

How old are you?

I have multiple choices to suit the questioner

I am 61, for the straights

I am 39 when I count from the birth of my SELF

I am 29  if I count from  when I decided to live life on my terms ( It took ten years for the self to become mature enough to make that decison)

15 billion (in arrow terms) years.

The logic is I am as old as the Universe and everything  that went on is mapped in me in many ways

> 15 billion years – something in me will go on living for ever.

< 2 years – age of the oldest cell in my body ?

Take your pick or all of it.

Have some more of your own answers.

It is always better to have as many answers, perspectives, than anyone single answer.

NAN?

What is NAN?   The Indian bread?   New Age Nonsense?

Well I could have been dead yesterday. I haven’t. What greater miracle do you need to make life wonderful?

So what is the answer, without beating around the bush?

In “our times “, we can age out of time itself.

We can age out of life too.

It is a Choice.

Learning Plateaus

Learning Plateaus

Teachers’ Day Out and Designer Dreams

S: Good morning, happy Teachers’ Day. No classes, hurray!!

T: Thanks, I didn’t know. You seem to be very happy that you don’t have classes. If teaching is about learning you wouldn’t celebrate it this way. Learning itself ought to be the best fun.

S: The teachers threw a party for us and let us off for the day
T:  How can teachers not teach? It is unethical, against nature to strike work.  A farmer cannot strike work, the cow cannot. How can a few take such freedom?
S: Hmm…. Do you think…teaching in class is the only way to teach. I have learnt much more from my dreams than from class.
T Why should there be any teaching? Chris says they have only one word ‘hweil’ for teaching and learning. We should have only learners and no teachers.

S: One thing…quite weird… about the dreams
T: Shoot straight. Do not beat around the bush, in your usual style.
S:  I see dreams… where people only die  or dreams that revolve only around my world
T You never told me about these deaths other than killing your father and grandpa
S:  Yeah. Last night I saw two babies killed, I did not kill them, but they died, one of them as soon as it was born and the other after a few months
T:  What was the dream?
S:  I forgot if I was the mother or not. All I remember is that children died. I was sad though I did not cry. I don’t remember any more
T: You are stuck at 13. That is the reason for the killings, grow up. You are not yet an ADULT to have babies
S: I saw that someone said these children would have survived if you were 26
T: It shows.
S:  Yeah, very right, amazing.
T: Great learning, now take a break, here is a story that came in mail right now, synchronicity?

A Turkey was chatting with a bull.

‘I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the t turkey, ‘but I haven’t got the energy.’

‘Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull. They’re packed with nutrients.’
The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.
The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.
Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.
Moral of the story: Bull poop might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there
.

T: So how do you move from 13 to 22 ?
S:  I don’t know
T: You are stuck at a learning plateau, like most of us. We are all stuck at different plateaus when we are on the well travelled road, the red road in the visual. Take the green road if you do not want to get into highway pile ups. According to the model, the other plateaus are around 35-40 and 55-60 years, the midcareer and senior levels.  There may be exceptions who take the green road very early.
S:  As I study, I see my competitors. Earlier I saw myself studying. It is different now. I see killing or trying to murder them. That is evil, isn’t it?
T: 🙂
S: Why the smile?
T:It is easy to see physical aggression. There is a more dangerous version that goes unnoticed.   You are in the process of killing the Hitler in you.

Time for another break. Here is another story.

An eagle was sitting on a tree doing nothing.
A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, ‘Can I also sit like you and do nothing?’
The eagle answered: ‘Sure, why not.’
So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it
.
T: You are killing because you are stuck. You are killing yourself, refusing to be an adult. What should be the trajectory under ideal conditions from 13 to 21, teens to the adult? I am not talking about chronological aging.
S: Yeah, mm, physical changes, changes in thoughts and perception.
T: What about the most basic drive, meaning or purpose in life?  Has it been resolved? Why are you here? This is the first plateau.
S: Yeah, I think we discussed it when we discussed Maslow and I am fairly clear about it. I know why I am here.
T: Physical changes will happen even without our consent. Nature is good at that but we are more than our physical selves. The mental and spiritual growth challenges need be resolved if you are not to be confused and remain stuck at perpetual adolescence.
S:  Hmm…You tell me. I am clueless I guess
T: Most of us are confused about the role of sex and sexuality to resolve the emotional challenges at this stage of one’s growth. The distortion stays till the end.   Even before Christ we had the Kama Sutra. After 2200 years we are not ready to discuss it, sex and sexuality, in schools or families or even between ‘adults’
S: Hmm. That is right; I wish I were wiser
T: Sex is the most difficult drive to be managed. First and foremost it is a spiritual thing. If you accept the spirituality of it, it cannot do any damage and it will eliminate the commoditization of sex. It is a natural drive. It is not for just reproduction. Reproduction is not such a big issue. Anyway we have more numbers than we want for survival of the species. Had it been just for reproduction, nature would have designed it the animal way. Earlier we had mentioned trisexual men and women

Si: Yeah, in Homo Novus

T: One cannot be sexual with somebody else if one is asexual with oneself.  This is like Christ said; love your SELF to love your neighbor. So the first step is to accept and appreciate the drive in itself so that one can express the same to the other. The other could be from the same sex or the opposite. Now you know what tri-sexual is, self, the other, male, female
T What about marriage? The young ones of the species take the longest time to grow up. In addition this meets the learning requirement for humans. One can learn only in relationship with another person who will not run away from you.
S: Hmm…..I did not get it exactly, I am confused.
T:  If you are not in such a relationship you will never know your blind spots, like I know how immature or mature I am only when I look at my relationships at home because we cannot take such liberties in our outside relationships. So marriage and family is for learning and adulthood and once this is achieved (?) the institution is redundant. For a long time to come this is quite unlikely. Marriage is for mortals.

T: This is the seeding for future dreaming and for transcending the adolescence plateau so that the bonsai becomes the tree

S: But, you know, I think…I felt it very comfortable to remain a baby.
T: Now the dreams should change. The bonsai is happy, people would admire it but the design is not for that. This is why we don’t have adults in this world, in spite of all the teachers, including Christ and Buddha.

T: So wallow, more bulls poop, remain a baby?
S: Gosh. No….well, I don’t know many…who are adults the way you ask them to be, I guess.
T: Probably there are no adults when we look from the position of the species.  We are very immature as a species and more threatened than the animals. When the species is not mature how can any one of us be an adult?
S: Once I thought, It is disgusting and a pain to remember my dreams.
T: I know and you resisted very strongly. The cows align north south when they graze even when they sleep.
S: Hmm. Why do they do so?
T: They have a built in GPS. They know the direction; they are more comfortable when they are in alignment, in tune.  Animals are always in tune. You are a singer and a guitarist. You should know.
S: Why is it that we don’t know how to tune ourselves, SELVES?

T: This is the problem with free will. Animals have no choice. We have options and we need exercise choice. We have to choose the direction. They are naturally tuned, as far as we guess, and we don’t know how to choose. We too have a compass but just having it does not mean that we use it.

S: I: hmm….then… We are worse than animals, it seems they are more intelligent, or may  be luckier?
T: What makes us different from the animal?
S: Brains. As everyone says or may be sense of humor?
T: This is tragic…  You know everything but not this simple thing. People are very smart, they are quiz masters, know everything under the sun, or we can Google it and get the information. But we are bad about such simple stuff. None has answered us within 10 seconds. So smarty, give me the answer or admit defeat
S: I admit defeat!!   Surrender. Well… one more guess…  we choose to go the way others have not gone…while the animals keep going on
T  : I want the unique difference between animals and the human. We don’t choose is what I am saying. To choose we should know and we don’t know, non ADULTs, how can u choose then? You had so many teachers, hats off to all of them on the Teachers’ Day. They did not teach you this!!
S:  May be they did not choose to teach this.
T  We are the only species that can improve, others cannot, and animals can not improve, we can but we don’t.
S: Yeah, right.
T: Ok. Happy dreaming. Now you will see the dreams evolve and the alignment with the internal and external will follow. Bye. Take care
S: Thank you. Bye.

The dreams

Dialogues – Maslow revisited

Maslow Revisited

“If you have built your castles in the air your work need not be in vain, for that is where they should be. Now build foundations underneath them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Root wilt meets bunchy top

M: We have a 26/11, the Indian version of 9/11, and you are still digging?

J: Recessions, terrorism and religious fundamentalism have many things in common. It is very much part of the syndrome that we discuss. We were digging from 1981 to 1990 when the synthesis happened and the FDF fell in place.  Without looking back, digging deeper into oneself and also into our collective past, we cannot go ahead. We can see ahead as much as we can see into our past. Since 1990, more than digging, we have been facilitating the process of digging and integration, one to one, in groups and for organisations.

M: “Root wilt and Bunchy top”?

J: When the soil is dying the flora and fauna come to suffer from these attacks. The malady advances like an invading army, acres and acres of crops surrender to the advance and vanish year by year. Scientists continue to work for solutions but none have been effective. The science that we use is most often is not science because the bits and bytes do not come together to address the complexity of the issue in sufficient measure. It is not only plants that suffer from bunchy tops and root wilts. We find hardly a family which has not been touched by suicide, psychiatric illness, heart attack or cancer – mostly more than one of these. A suicide is very much like root wilt because the individual fails to find his roots and grow up. Psychiatric illness is another kind of root wilt because the person’s effort at making meaning out of existence leads to a crisis. The terrorist is just another version of it. Other illnesses too have a link with the primary distortion in meaning which is at the heart of the issue

Bunchy top is the syndrome that goes with power and hierarchy – the emperor is naked.

M: The monarchy is not dead?

J: Hardly. There is a change in style and fashion, superficial and cosmetic. The monarchy of Indian origin ended with emperor Ashoka. The west took it over beginning with Alexander. He was too young to pass through the identity crisis that Ahsoka had. The west has been celebrating its success since then and success corrupts more than power. When the monarchies started weakening, they got into strategic alliances with the clergy giving rise to the wave of conversion / colonisation. The great learning from this wave was that territorial control is no more critical to stay ahead, that competitive advantage is embedded in the intangibles, concepts, design, technology, standards, market and to be more specific capital markets. The brain mattered more than the brawn. Nations shrunk to give way to MNCs, the corporate multi ‘national’ ‘nations’ often much bigger than nations. The emperors put on different clothes. Attila the Hun, Genkis Khan, Charlemagne, the Vikings were all reinvented to be icons of fashion of the day. There is now a great rush to save the pyramids and not enough time to go digging
When we are in a great rush we fail to see what happens at home. The seniors could help because they are in no great rush. They can go digging and might come up with some treasures. Or you could outsource it to India. They are better at digging because of the greater diversity in terms of the plurality of religions, languages, color, and myriad other differentiators. It is like the Galapagos to Darwin. We might come up with a new theory of human evolution. This is the unique competitive advantage of the country that China and the US should be worried about from an obsolete leadership perspective.

The pyramids continue to attract us. They have stood the test of time and are not out of our collective psyche. We now have other forms of multinational pyramids with the bottom and the top out of alignment. Recessions are the result of the tectonic shifts between the top and the bottom.

The self is to the organisation as the cell is to the body. Our maps of the cell are yet not complete. We are yet to decipher the ‘junk DNA’. If we don’t understand something we junk it. We don’t have a map of the self but we have so many working models of mammoth organisations.

We need to really dig deeper to come out of the crisis. History seldom helps because most of it is about glorified aggression. Moreover it cannot give us solutions since the same logic that created the problem cannot be of relevance to craft solutions to the issue

M: The central issue is a perennial one. You might get a glimpse of it between the logic gates

Tower of Babel vs leaning tower of Pisa

Ashoka vs Alexander

The Flood and the Ark

Pyramids vs Networks/ Communities of continual self –renewal

Change vs Sustained transformational improvements

Affluenza vs Influenza

David vs Goliath

Freemarket vs Bailouts

Creating wealth vs Philanthropy – Behind every great fortune is a crime.”
– Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

If change is all that we need the President elect has already achieved it. He did connect extremely well with more parts and bottom of the pyramid and won a landslide victory. Now when he moves up the largest pyramid, he will lose sight of the bottom. Take a look at http://www.Change.gov. You cannot write to the President elect unless you are a US citizen or you need to lie that you are one. While he is much more than the President of the US and presides over a larger world, he could fail to connect with the larger human issue. When we are on top of the pyramid we cannot see the bottom. Even at a much lower level, there are very few families with a sustained trajectory of improvements. One generation makes it and the next generation squanders it – is a norm. We are discussing a design problem as to how this trap can be circumvented since the issue is not change but sustained continuous improvements – building the new tower of Babel. This time we need to bring in the spirit/nature to the centre of it which is not likely to happen, going by the history of collapses. The frog will be blissfully unaware that it is turning into frog soup.

J: A recession is nature’s way of bringing you back in touch with the bottom?

M: It is much more than that. We are taken hostage by the pirates occupying the top of the pyramids, much like the Saudi Oil tanker Sirius Star with its $100 million cargo. The pyramid could be an academic discipline, a cult, a religious sect, in short wherever the ADULT and the dialogue is blocked, perhaps unintentionally

J: How do you differentiate, the adult from the dictator

M: Watch the language. If it is one which the man on the road fails to connect to, we have reasons to worry. Leader ship is not about having followers. Christ gave us a model of servant leadership, washing the feet of his disciples. Ashoka turned into a servant of the masses. Gandhi did the same. The church could not hold on to the model for long- it has become the oldest surviving pyramid. Respect for diversity. When we don’t respect the diversity of the flora and fauna nature dies. When we don’t respect the diversity of the human, the species is at risk. When we put all our money in GM we are risking our financial future. It applies to faith too. The NICs showed that they could follow the path taken by the US. China has already proven that they are much better at it at a much larger scale. India will not be able to do it because of its greater complexity, diversity and the unlikelihood of the emergence of a similar leadership.

J: I am reminded of a metaphor on leadership. Mumbai has one of the largest abattoirs in the world. When sheep are unloaded from trucks, they are lead by leader goats whose job it is to go to the trucks and lead the sheep, show them the way, through the maze of barricades. It is a long wait as the lines are very long. When the leader goats reach the butcher, they move ahead and the followers get slaughtered under the butcher’s knife

At times absence of leadership is a blessing in disguise

M: But there has also been an unprecedented improvement in the last 100 years in real terms. We are more connected and we can see in real time much more than any time in the past. There has been a lot of shift from the static to the dynamic, more of openness and transparency, opportunities for the individuals to express her SELF

J: The major aphorisms of the connected world are:

  • The number of transistors that could be built up on the same size piece of silicon would double every eighteen months. (The power of the chip doubles every eighteen months.) Gordon Moore
  • Value of a network rises exponentially relative to the square of the number using it. Robert Metcafe
  • Power of creativity rises exponentially with the diversity and divergence of those connected into a network. John Kao (Chinese American Business Thinker)

The first two are already part of our experience but the last one is the most powerful. Here lies the competitive advantage of India. Globally here is the opportunity to leverage ourselves out of the recession and move into an altogether different phase of sustained continuous improvements as against discrete, random and isolated improvements.

M: So the imperative is to connect at a much larger scale and transform the pyramids to continuous learning engines

J: A learning engine is capable of continuously improving on its previous best performance so that there will be no booms and busts as in the past. Continuous improvement implies continual learning.

M: Why have you come up with an addendum to Abraham Maslow?

J: This is something which the participants came up with. They said the model is more complete if the hierarchy of needs are placed on the foundation of the spirit. For a man who finds suicide to be meaningful, the hierarchy does not matter! It sounded very right. Probably we may have to revisit the great man

M: What else have they come up with in your digging workshop?

J: I have a mail to our dream archives from one of our participants. He had it the night after the process workshop which was about digging deeper into our selves – part of it was to connect with the male and the female in us.

Recovery of Sita: The dream

Huge crater, mouth of the volcano, Sita takes him very close to the bottom of the crater walking down over the soft greyish golden sand to the spewing spurting jets of yellowish molten lava accumulating as fluffy sand They stand together watching  the lava turning into soft sand. Though they are very close to the mouth, it is not hot at all

They walk away from the mouth of the crater through the twilight zone holding each other close, at peace and in harmony with each other. He moves to kiss her on the lips. She too wants to but gently restrains him   leading him across the shadows to light. She stops facing him and plants the gentlest kiss on his lips. He returns the kiss. He feels truly at home and experiences a peace that he has never known before

Sita ends her life requesting mother earth to swallow her: Myth/ History

Rama exiles Sita to the forest   doubting her fidelity on a similar logic as that of Julius Caesar, “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”  Sita was pregnant with Rama’s twins They  grow up in a hermitage in the forest. Rama meanwhile performs the horse sacrifice to enlarge his empire (expanding market share?) sending out a horse accompanied by a huge army. The twins tie up the horse and defeat the army. Rama realises that the two are no ordinary children,  goes to the hermitage and meets his sons for the first time.  When the sons are grown up, Sita ends her life by asking mother earth to open and swallow her. She has had enough of it

M: Why are you digging into dreams, fantasy and fiction once again?

J:  they are more real and we are driven by them more than facts. Because the feminine is more difficult to connect to. We buried her long long ago in our distant past. Since the feminine is buried the male too is a shadow of the real. The result is that the self functions like an engine with half the cylinders not firing. Moreover the Hummer is running in reverse gear with the accelerator stuck to the floor. Somebody had played a prank with the driver’s seat, fixing it in the opposite direction. The driver believes that he is doing wonderful blissfully unaware of heading in the wrong direction. The bystanders applaud and go on watching the feat

Recessions have been the outcome of typical male macho linearity.  More of the same will take us faster to the doom, such as the bail outs. This is the time for the non-linear, waves, cycles and the spiral.  The male would say let us cut down on the head count, on travel, training or let me get out taking my bonus. The female would say let us cut down on our perks and salaries, let us not kill the community,  let us transform the pyramid into a learning engine which improves itself continually, bring in radical improvements in productivity and meanwhile I would take the largest cut.

The US is the typical male. To me, the Japanese are a better blend of the male and the female

M: Why look for another source of energy?

J: We are running out of the dirty fuels. The mixture – dirty fuels + dirty spirituality + mean business + poor governance – form the worst explosive cocktail, threatening the survival of the species and the planet. The recession is a golden opportunity to take stock and reposition ourselves, to focus on the real economy of real improvements, real growth and true community. We understood the atoms and molecules and connected with one source of energy. This was no doubt a huge step in mastering the machine logic. We deciphered the DNA which was an improvement in terms of understanding the bio-logic. We understand distant space better than the deep space within us which is turning into desert. If the desserts on land are to bloom we need to turn the desert in us to bloom, bringing back nature to our centre from which we had moved away, sending Sita underground. The rock logic needs to be balanced with the water logic.  This will be the mother of all revolutions to happen, connecting to the perennial source of clean energy. Please do not confuse this with NAN, new-age nonsense, or another version of feminism. This is about evolving a new language of performance and the Dia-logic, going beyond the clichés and jargon

M:  Another one of your obsessions seems to be about the centre

J:  When you put some weight in one of the pans of the common weighing balance, it tilts and when counterbalanced moves in the opposite direction. But there is no shift at the centre of the beam. When the football is being kicked around the centre is not disturbed though a pin prick can disturb the equilibrium. The earth, other planets and the sun too have centres. There is a relationship between the centre of the earth, other planets and the centre of the sun. There may be tectonic shifts happening on the planet but if the relationship between the two centres is broken, try to imagine the situation. The solar system has a centre which in turn is connected to the centre of the galaxy and so on. We understand this relationship and make use of it to propel our spacecrafts to the outer reaches of space. We are talking about small and big systems of a particular class. The human is much more than such clockwork systems because we are much more than our physical self. The physical self like all other objects has a centre. What about the mind and the spirit?  Do they too have a centre and if so how are they connected together in the self? We need to connect to this centre to keep us in balance. This is what real recession proofing is all about

M: Why bring the spirit into it. We are getting into unfamiliar territory

J: It is very simple. How many sides, has the coin?

M:  Two……….., three………….., many

J: How many sides for time?

M: Three – past, present, future, may be more

J; What about the day?

M: Day, Night, Dusk and Dawn? So what?

J: Body and mind alone are not sufficient to describe the self. It is just like the coin with two sides which cannot exist in physical reality. All the talk about the two sides of the coin will fail to materialise it. How can you describe Gandhi without mention of what he lived and died for? So where you focus your energy is what the spirit is all about, what you find meaning in is an integral dimension of the self. Self is born when this is recognised by the self and it matures when it connects to the community self which brings people together around such people. Obama did it better than Mc Cain. He focused on the unfocused blue ocean space whereas Mc Cain went for the conventional. Obama could connect to more and I wish Mc Cain could be the number two bringing all of ‘US’ together in tackling our common issues.  May be the USA should have two vice presidents so that the loser can be one of them

M: Are you suggesting that the self is seldom born?

J Well let us see this as a process. We may not be far from truth to make such a conclusion going by the degree of community among us and the hyper inflation in our problems. We deny needs to the majority and glorify the wants of a minority. The pyramids tumble down in the tectonic shifts because the foundation and the top are not aligned, a part of the truth about recessions and meltdowns, booms and busts.

M: An extension of the logic would mean that one might find killing someone to be spiritual?

J:  Well many have found it to be so and many continue to believe in such spirituality. Established religions have not gone much farther from this position. It is dangerous to leave spirituality to religions which have become another version of mean business. Spirituality is primarily about transcending work to play which will unleash quantum improvements to human productivity and quality which is a kind of clean energy and energy saved is energy produced without carbon

M: Are you pulling Mr. Freidman’s legs?

J: Flat hot and crowded is a typical linear statement though most of the book is focused on the SW quadrant of the FD framework.

He would do well to dig deeper into his self taking his own prescription for the malady. He touches on the need for non-linearity.  Linearity is short run and very local. Nonlinearity is process thinking, thinking in waves, cycles and the spiral. The waves will have ups and down. We cannot go completely against the cycles of nature.   We need to work with them.

He claims to be an American and sees the issue as an American issue, not human or global though he can legitimately claim only to be a US citizen. We are first humans, then Americans, Chinese or Indians. Freidman seems to be first an ‘American’ and then a human. In Friedman’s reckoning China is worth a chapter, India is worth a few names and the rest of the world does not count at all. The book seems to be timed well with the US elections.

M: I think we will be least affected by the meltdown. We know how to live like royalty with $ 2 a day under the shade of what they call the poverty line

J: Balu wrote from Silicon Valley that I should be discussing Krugman and not Freidman. The scale and size of any of the IT ‘biggies’ from India would not even touch the size of the R&D budget of Microsoft and by US scale even Microsoft is not all that big. Here nobody understands scale and size. So India doesn’t really figure when we discuss the global

It also means that the masses fail to catch up with the process of reckoning. The bottom of the pyramid is out of reckoning against the metrics of markets and money. We would soon be bottling sunshine and brand it Sun spirit. Drinking water from an unpolluted river has no economic value but when you bottle it and sell it, it adds to the GDP, if the sale is in $ still better. If I am in the bottled water business, polluting the river appeals to my shadow self.  If one is a hunter or gatherer he does not count. Taking care of the forests and water bodies, and living lightly on such resources have no economic value since it is beyond current systems of metrics. The more aggressive we are in our   consumption the more developed we are.

M : When we dig deeper we may not like all that comes up

J: The participants in one of the workshops came up with some foot prints   left by subsequent waves of globalization. Here is an excerpt:

“Jews Synagogue – 700 BCE –

The Ashoka Pillar 304 – 232 BCE

The first teak plantation in the world 1842-44

The tropical forests and the tribal eco-system people retreated over the last one century in the march of the “developmental process” – the onward march of teak, tea, sugar cane rubber and other plantations. The original green was replaced by the plantation green which also brought along fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides to the source of the major rivers, killing off flora and fauna.   The natural processes – cycles of renewal – were broken and the soil is dying. The farmers showed us how the death of the soil march ahead year by year   as the markets expand and the crops come to suffer from “rootwilts’ and “bunchy tops’. People too come to suffer from root wilts and bunchy tops, fall ill, as they fail to connect to the roots through their head and heart”

M What is happening now is quite different. The opportunity is directly in proportion to the size and scale of the crisis

J: May be, May be not. This will depend on how we respond to the crisis as individuals and as a community. Digging deeper helps, if it leads to a new synthesis.

M: That was a long break. When is the next post?

J: We will wait till the views touch a certain number. I mailed an early version of this part of the conversation to friends.

San says that recession proofing at a material level is feasible if one is competent to add value continually (implies continual learning) and at a spiritual level if one knows oneself. As I see it, knowing oneself and continual learning is one and the same. He adds that facilitators and trainers are but scavengers

Dev wrote that most of this dialogue is Greek and Latin, pointing to the issue of language and communication in our search for the common ground. He also asks a hard hitting question – When the species is yet to reach its adulthood, where are the adults to have a dialogue?

M: Recessions must be good for many; economists, psychologists, priests, newsmakers of what is wrong with the world and the illness specialists, in general. At times this could lead to a spiritual problem to the practitioner. When you pay attention to entropy you come to suffer from it unless you experience negative entropy of a higher order. If illness is perceived as an opportunity the practice is but glorified scavenging. Waste recycling of any kind, physical, mental, spiritual, could also be equally good investment opportunities. I should review my portfolio and take a position in some of these while I transition to a more stable system.

I do not want to cash in on such opportunities but I am in it just to take care of my responsibilities. If those are taken care of I would just quit the game and just BE what I am. Why should I become anything? I don’t want to be empowered. The very word suggests that we are powerless

J: The tragedy is we don’t see the economic value of BEING one self. The flower out there is being itself. It is not putting up a show that it is improving the world, nor does the Jersey cow which gives many times more milk than what the calf needs. All we say is that being oneself is the best economic proposition too. Let the design express itself and do not stand against it. This is the only way to bring in net improvements. It is when we go against the design that we end up in problems. If the clock gets stuck we would check the design to make it work. It is when we come across problems that we need to understand the design better. So this is the best of times to take stock of what we have done with our SELVES

M: But how do you know what you know about yourself is all there is to know or what we know is knowledge. I could be wallowing in the mud and claiming that all is well with my world

J: We need a compass for map making as in the case of a terrestrial journey to fix the home position and the variant positions of the journey. When we reflect over the home position with the variant positions we should be able to make sure that we are on course, that there are net improvements. Without reference to that centre and anchoring to the centre we will continue to be afflicted by the bipolar syndrome. When the species itself is afflicted, there is only a degree of difference with the normal and the abnormal in their polarities.

M: So what next after principles, people and positions?

J: We are not through with People, Position, Positioning and Positions. We need to clarify our common position, the invariant one, the lighthouse position or the home position, where we really belong, the centre in each one of us where all of us are connected which could lead to the emergence of community. This is something like a foreign body inside the pearl oyster around which the pearl material accumulates

M: You are suggesting that community does not exist now and that we are centre less.

J: When the sheet of rubber is pulled evenly in all directions the centre remains at the centre as far as the sheet remains one. When the sheet becomes a football the centre shifts to the centre of the football. There is no rubber at the centre. It remains as such even when kicked around the field. All it takes is a pin prick to throw the centre out of whack.

We are yet to get rid of the flat earth maps. The popular metaphor is flatter, hotter, crowded and so on.

M: If there is something like a home position that all of us can agree to what would that be?

J: The central issue is what is to be human, the unique differentiator, from other categories of life? Over the years many have come to agree that the differentiator is our Potential to improve and improve continually. Would you agree?

M: There goes one more of your Ps, Potential. You have some kind of fixation with Ps. My psychologist friend of the Freudian school has a different name for it
I agree tentatively so that the dialogue continues as I don’t see continual improvement anywhere around. I see only booms and busts and sporadic improvements. On the whole I am tempted to conclude that net improvements have been negative.

J: It is not wrong to have some fixations, invariance, where people too often preach that change is the only constant. Values and principles are immortal. Another one could be, to be human is to improve and improve continually to realise more and more of the Potential, both personal and collective. Not to improve is sub- animal. This is where we are a class apart from the animal. The root cause of our Problems (another P) is the unrealised potential which drives us to all the substitutes, the bulk of our products and services. One reason why the markets are shrinking is that people eventually come to know that these were substitutes and might choose not to consume more of them as they mature. Recessions can be partly explained by this logic.

From a different perspective, there has been no recession as to our problems, in spite of all the solution providers, total and partial, the common position taken by Priests, Politicians, Pedagogues and Parents. The truth is that we have a hyper inflation in the scale and magnitude of our problems in spite of all the Progress which brings us to the issue of what is true progress, improvement or Performance. When you sum up, net improvements might be negative over centuries. The ecological footprint is a pointer to this.Business takes the position that they have either a product or service or a mix of both as the solution to a problem. The issue is what your business is. If one is in the business of shadows and substitutes, one will not be free from booms and busts whereas if one is in the business of continually creating net improvements continual growth follows. The same holds good at the level of individuals too.

The sub- animal is much worse than the animal. Animals have better community and they don’t kill within the community without rhyme or reason. They are true to their potential whereas though we have the potential we do not realise it. If we are unhappy about our collective behaviour the central reason is we seldom connect to our true potential nor do we have any clues as to our true potential, not that any of of us want not to improve. In the process we turn sub- animal in our behaviour. Animals sense it whether we are human or sub- animal. In extreme cases, they express it too. Somebody I knew was chased by dogs on the beach. His only option was to get into the water. The dogs waited on the beach, howling. He was rescued by the guards on the beach but committed suicide shortly thereafter.

M: So where are we now?

J: We need to go back to the map, the FD framework, which is a grand abstraction of the essentials of sustained high performance, how the flywheel of sustained high performance of the few works against the flywheel of common wisdom.

We are looking at the cardinal directions for the journey, from the centre, and the principles involved. We started with people and positions because what we see depends on where we stand. To fix our positions we need some kind of reference points, the sun, moon, the stars or use a compass or a GPS for a terrestrial journey. Same principles hold good for the other journey that we are discussing. The fixed position is our own centre, the home position, that we have the potential to improve continually. Having done that, we turn our attention to the NW, the potential. The SE is about performance and the gap between potential and performance which sets the direction for the journey of continual improvement, the process of recession proofing

M: What about NE and SW

J: It is the conflict between what we know and we need to know to go ahead with the journey. If NE is the garbage in us SW is about developing a technology to convert it into organic manure.

M: I certainly need another cup of coffee

J: I need one of those injurious to health poison sticks. Let us contribute to the GDP and ward off the recession to some extent

M: I am afraid that I will have to take a break from this dialogue. I have an interesting offer which I am accepting

J: Congrats, for recession proofing for another stretch of the journey. We can continue the dialogue through mails

We need to take a closer look at the architecture at the core.

Some more FAQs

J and M were cafe-hopping in Bangalore for the past many days
J is a retiree after working for 34 years. M is between jobs and waiting for the next call from the head hunter. He had been a country head of an MNC, one of the Fortune 100, till recently. Between coffee, lunch, clouds of smoke, coffee again and beer, the dialogue continues.

M:  How do I make my business, recession proof? Is there a secret? (J had borrowed the CD of The Secret from M, the previous day)

J:  Correction, how do I make myself recession proof? The secret is that there is no secret. It is pretty obvious. For most of us the code is to fail, go up and come down, boom and bust, birth and death, big bang and big crunch. They test the code and confirm that the code holds good and wait for their incentives, stock options and Nobels. The more elaborate and grandiose the project (Hadron?) more is the competitive advantage.   The economics of scale is in your favour (Krugman?)

M. I saw it coming every time on all six jobs spanning a career of nearly two decades. Got out at the nick of time when the down turn hadn’t begun. This is one thing good about the managerial career. In the medical profession or a captain of the ship would be sued for dereliction of your responsibility.

You seem to have done quite the opposite; you were stuck on your last job for 24 years!

J: Your planning horizon was 3 years for your business and 15 years for your career. Mine was 40 + years, since I decided to be a Facilitator. I did not differentiate between my career horizon and my personal one. I think I have enough steam left to go on for more than the remaining 13 years.  I have retired but nor retired from work, that would be another kind of suicide. So if you want to recession proof yourself you need to visualize your career over a longer planning horizon. If you want to recession proof your business, the minimum planning horizon shall be 10 – 14 years, covering a boom and bust, a complete cycle. In addition you need to get rid of all those codes that they planted in you over the years, at home, in the church, at school/ college and by the democrats and republicans, all taken together, over time, at least since the industrial revolution

M: That is indeed a tall order. I don’t have that kind of patience, period.

J: I think we are stuck here. But anyway since you have time on your side, recession proofed yourself for another two years; let us go ahead with the dialogue. It is better than going back to the same channels where they spread more gloom about the future of free markets and governments rushing in to bail out the pyramids. We are turning pro governance overnight!

M: Where do we begin?

J: Let us begin from the beginning, First Things First (Covey?). Where are we now?

M: We have moved down from the heights of irrational exuberance to the depths of depression?   Change is the only constant. It is like a roller coaster, a giant wheel for the grown ups

J:  Mind your language! It shows your code. In that case, changelessness also is a constant. Better debug your code for change and making a difference to, MAKING IMPROVEMENTS AND MAKING CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENTs    if you really want to recession proof yourself and your business.

You are no better than your code, your maps and tools.

M:  So where do we begin, with the clock or the compass?

J:  We go back to principles, always the compass first not the clock. They don’t change like you change into casuals and formals depending on the context.

Making a difference, my foot….. We need better maps for the journey ahead, a language of performance and improvement

M: Yet another model?

J: Not another model, a map of principles, that hold good for all the journeys of improvement, terrestrial, mental and or spiritual, whatever kind of journey that is ahead

M: Tell me more

J: Let us look at the Ps Map

M: The 4 Ps? , 7 Ps?  Product, price, promotion, place, people, process,

J: All those Ps together will not recession proof you or your business. But they will be useful when the missing Ps is taken care of, like the PHYSICIST from PHYSICS. I should be loyal to a good friend who is now one of the co- authors of the bible on marketing

M: You mean the one who copied your Ps map into his book on Organizational Behaviour and claims that he has developed it

J:  You are dead wrong there. This is someone you are yet to come across. He was a student of mine at one time and is now a Professor of Management. He copied a bad copy with the mistakes included. We are digressing; Let us come back to the map and assume that you are the traveller. What will be the first step, before the first step, to any journey? For seventeen years, I have been asking this question to mostly students of business, managers or business men and I am yet to get the right answer within a minute. Probably this was the first time they were confronted with it?

Most of them position products and organisations, yet seldom apply the same logic to their careers/personal lives

So after Principles, the next two Ps are PEOPLE and their POSITIONS. The first step to the journey is to answer the question. Where am I now? Where are we now? Fixing our lighthouse position, the invariant one, and then the variant positions in the direction of the journey and keep reflecting on the course in relation to the lighthouse position

M: Let us take a P break?

J: What is that?