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Point to Ponder:
"The things we fear most in organizations -- fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances -- are the primary sources of creativity."
- Margaret Wheatley.
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he/she grows up.” -Pablo Picasso.
Isn't the same thing true about employees? New employees come with good credentials, enthusiasm, ambition, high hopes and many have a lot of passion.
The challenge for leadership is how to keep up those qualities alive after these newcomers get melded in to the corporate systems for a few years.
Reflection: "There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either in or out. There's no such thing as a life in-between" - Pat Riley, a great basketball coach.
Arnold Bennett, the British novelist, had a publisher who boasted about the extraordinary efficiency of his secretary. One day while visiting the publisher's office, Bennett asked her: "Your boss claims you're extremely efficient. What's your secret?"
"It's not my secret," said the secretary, "it's his." Each time she did something for him, no matter how insignificant, she explained, he never failed to acknowledge and appreciate it. Because of this, she took infinite pains with her work.
Next week is Administrative Professionals Week and an opportunity to single out a distinguished set of professionals that keep the business running.
In my working life, I have noticed that every great and successful CEO, VP, Director, Manager and Organization had a great administrative assistant. We don’t have to go too far to prove this. We are fortunate to have great administrative assistants who make our jobs easy.
"There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either in or out. There's no such thing as a life in-between" - Pat Riley, a great basketball coach.
The other day I was in a meeting, and this fellow who was making presentation told the boss, "We have 90/10 commitment from the other group to support our program." That was such a profound statement that it messed up my entire plane ride back home, and my cynical side took control over me. "Does it mean that 90% of the people are committed 10% of the time or 90% of the commitment comes from 10% of the people, or something else?"
I started reflecting (even though it was only Wednesday) on some past experiences. There was this very bright and analytical fellow who applied for a job that offered promise to take him very high up on the corporate ladder. As he finished the final interview with the CEO, the Chief Executive asked, "David, You will be a great addition to my team. When can you start?" Surprised with such a spontaneous offer, cautious and analytical David thought that showing too much eagerness was not good, and replied, "I don't make decisions on the spot and need to think over about your offer to join. I will get back to you at 4PM."
When he called at 4PM, the CEO told David that he had decided to look at other promising candidates. Interestingly the next person who was asked the same question, "When can you start?" replied "Show me where is my office going to be and there we start." Of course, once those words were exchanged, he asked for 3 weeks to give a notice to his previous employer, which the professional CEO respected. In reality, what the CEO was looking for was commitment, not the actual date.
In my early years in industry, I witnessed another similar incidence during a program review. Our GM Dave asked Charlie, the engineering group leader, "How committed is your team to my (GM's) vision?" When Charlie said, "99.99%, almost there." Dave said "Not good enough."
For great leaders, commanders and achievers, commitment is not something that can be tentative. It has to be unwavering. The same is true for relationships. What would happen if someone says, "I am 90% committed to the relationship but I am still exercising that 10% clause to find an alternative (which BTW has not worked 90% of the time)?"
Bottom Line: You are either committed or you are not committed. There is nothing in-between.
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: 'Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.'"
- From the book "The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951", by William H. Murray (1913-1996)
You meet some of the same people going up as you do going down.
Storyline: (.. applies to all ages, but great for the young and the restless.)
Once upon a time, there was a young fellow named Andy who graduated with high credentials and got a job within a respected company. Bright that he was, he started doing good work and received numerous recognitions. His group also had a very good manager named Joe Z, whom everyone liked and respected immensely.
As often happens in industry, such managers move on to do bigger and better things, and Joe Z got promoted. The company brought in a replacement manager from outside, who had a very crude and rough style in dealing with people.
Not happy with the new manager, Andy found multiple job offers outside and handed in his resignation. Joe Z, his old manager who was now the Director, told him how much he respected his talent and needed his further contributions. Joe requested that Andy be patient for a while and stay on.
Young and restless that he was, Andy declined. Joe advised him "It is not good to leave in anger. I advise that you don't burn your bridges". This young and yet immature fellow replied, "I don't burn bridges, I bomb them" (no traces left behind). He left angrily anyway.
As fate would have it, eight years later, during an economic downturn, Andy badly needed a contract for a consulting business he had established after a few years of working. Andy bid for one contract where his proposal was selected for the final stages of the contract approval cycle - the presentation to the top management of the client company.
He was waiting in the conference room for the top management people to arrive, and as soon as Andy saw the first person to walk in, drops of perspiration started flowing all over his face. That person was Joe Z, his old boss, who had moved to this new company several years ago. Andy saw all his dreams of winning the contract evaporating.
Surprisingly, Joe Z approached him and gave him a hug. Smiling, Joe said to him "Don't worry. I had done very similar thing in my early career as you did with me. But I know that you know that you have learned a very valuable lesson in life today. Go ahead and Break a Leg (make a great presentation)"
Relieved, Andy did well in his presentation and got the contract.
Going through ups and downs, and at times dealing with seemingly unreasonable situations, is all part of growing up - and no one has been spared from those agonies. What differentiates a pro from an amateur is how one responds to variety of situations and conquers them with a great attitude. Especially since understanding and compassionate people like Joe Z are so rare.
"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put one in a fruit salad" - Miles Kington.
It's easier than ever to acquire all sorts of information, which an intelligent person can interpret and turn into knowledge. That's usually not enough to guarantee a successful application of that knowledge, however. Wisdom is the practical discrimination of that knowledge, which comes with experience and with common sense.