General


I’m always at conflict with reality and always question whether it is the problem in me or others who blame me for my utter stupidity and lack of insight. I know I’m not a saint, but at the same time I feel I should stand up and fight for what I believe in. I may not be perfect, but it is my responsibility to at least reveal what is right and wrong. I may be disconnected with the mainstream, but I’m a realist and that seems to be the crux of the problem. I’m a contrarian with a thought process that always contradicts the mainstream thinking. Am I to be blamed for how I think? I’m not a preacher or a philosophist, but deep within I feel there has to be change – change in fundamentally how we think and evaluate our decisions – basic perception towards others. We always seem to overlook the interests of largesse and confide in what we think is suited for our own selfish interests. I may be faulted, but let us leave it to destiny to see who is right… As always I’ll stand up to what I believe and let us stand the testimony of time…

This paper is intended to be a reflection of my learning experiences so far and there is no question that that the course has left a deep impact on my critical understanding of emotional intelligence, embodied presence and organizational leadership. We had clear expectations from the class and it was all well laid out in the syllabus. The recommended textbooks were very practical and had insightful experiences from great leaders – grabbing hold, strategy, culture, lessons learned and observations; explain how primal leadership can be developed through emotional intelligence- personal and social leadership competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management), six leadership styles and self-directed learning, how to discover and change organizational cultures, develop structural thinking to shape and lead people in future organizations.

The coaching emphasis was on four key areas of leadership – leading people, leading culture, leading strategy, leading external and internal networks, and leading globally.

The recommended textbooks and readings were very practical and explained the importance and application of leadership practices as they stand in the real world. Instead of dwelling into the theories and concepts with no clue about their intended application, the books explained the reading goals of each chapter, their strategic importance, techniques, best practices, various perspectives, emerging trends and challenges in a global environment. The use of real-world examples along with the case studies really closed the learning loop.  The professor was very knowledgeable, highly motivated and inspiring. He was very receptive and understanding whenever you approach him with any questions or concerns. The learning aspects were unique from a traditional setting in that the students took the collective responsibility to learn by sharing their individual experiences, knowledge, skills under the expert guidance of the Professor. I really felt that this approach left memorable experiences for each of us. The class setting fostered and promoted a collective atmosphere where ideas, thoughts, criticisms, were freely exchanged leading to desired consequences. The coaching style helped us to critically reflect on the topics, engage in team coherency and facilitated mutual learning. The self-assessments, one-on-one coaching conversations, personal practice and learning log observations, and team project made us understand the EI skills, reflect on our emotional behaviors at work and in personal life, self-evaluate and share rich experiences and narratives in various contexts.  The “narrative story” project made us think critically of healthcare reform, understand how disruptive innovation will bring efficiency, economy and quality. Operating as a team of three members in a group we profiled a successful and an unsuccessful health care initiative, analyzed leadership styles and their role in building motivation and dealing with culture.

Our narratives, recommendations of disruptive innovation initiatives, examples of transforming agents in three areas – business model innovation, Technology enabler and value networks coupled with narratives  allowed us to see things from new viewpoints (apply Cynefin framework) , apply contexts to each issue, assimilate complex problems and address them and make use of opportunities to succeed.

But as we went along, every session turned out to be exciting, rich with individual’s experiences and critical thoughts about the topics discussed. What I felt great about the class was the constant feedback and review exercises we had and the expert facilitation by the professor.

A brief synopsis of the topics we learnt is listed below:

The first and foremost key aspect to becoming a true leader is to develop emotional intelligence – the need to be self-aware, self-regulated, socially aware and build lasting relationships. The leadership presence practices– the NANO centering practice, the 5-part centering, embodied presence and blending exercises really gave a firm footing on how to control my emotions, be attuned to my values and things I care the most, dispose of my pre-determined perceptions, listen and engage in emotionally stable behaviors.

The readings from Peter Cohan’s book on McNerney’s turnaround at Boeing and Schein’s Corporate survival guide exemplifies the importance of winning the hearts and minds with a clear vision of future success. It brings forth the leadership presence in understanding the dynamics of organization culture formation, evolution and change (transformation), prevalent values and behaviors, mission, means and measurements, strategic fit, role of leaders as change catalysts and the realities of multiculturalism – M & A, Joint Ventures and multicultural collaborations. As emerging leaders we have to be aware of new organizational characteristics – networked, flat, flexible, diverse and global.

A good leader inspires and motivates. Daniel Pink’s video clearly states how autonomy, mastery and purpose and not rewards that will lead to instilled motivation, creativity and productive outcomes. He also revealed the gradual shifting dynamics from “right brain” to “left brain” capabilities – creativity, innovation, empathy and meaning and the need for “high concept” and high touch” aptitudes – the six essential aptitude skills of design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.  Lack of cognitive and emotional abilities will lead to decision traps, (Russo & Schoemaker) and result in decline and disappearance (Collins). Snowden explains how leaders should act in unordered contexts (chaotic & complex), embrace complexity and paradox and show willingness to change leadership style. It is necessary to align intangible assets with strategy to create value and exhibit situational leadership based on task or relationship management (Blanchard)

Leadership is incomplete without building effective external networks and establishing robust internal networks. Cohan explains how McNerney approved and led a global network of suppliers to develop Boeing 787 Dreamliner, tightened operations with process improvement tools and partner with suppliers to reduce risk and accelerate time to market.

With Globalization becoming a driving force in business, no leader can afford to overlook “thinking globally” and keep pace with changing marketplace and recognize the interconnection and interdependence of people, resources, businesses, and governments. The Hay group study and presentation from Interchina consulting group exposed us to the Chinese leadership styles and understand emerging business trends in China.

Finally, all the topics we covered so far culminated in developing integrated leadership able to cultivate  dynamic capabilities to deliver superior enterprise performance. David Teece in his academic publication fortifies the same by providing a framework to harness such capabilities. Lafley in his book exhorts the importance of structuring and organizing to stimulate creativity and foster innovation.

Every topic that I learnt could be related to my own work place and seem to blend in with my organizational goals I deal with on a daily basis.  My practice logs are a testimony to the varied rich experiences I had drawn from the EI practices and I can truly credit my improved performance, personality and recent accomplishments to the knowledge I gained and appropriate application of it in right contexts.

I even had the opportunity to discuss my experiences with the professor to gain his expert advice and seek remedies to the problems I am facing at my work place. I was really happy with the conversation I had and planning on putting into action the valuable suggestions made by the professor. My work-place experiences dealt with most of the issues a leader would face in any diverse organization.

Overall, the course was very informative, instilled critical thinking and developed the competencies required to manage people in an effective way. Every effort must be made harness the positive behaviors of people so that they resonate in harmony with the leader’s emotions. Leaders execute a visionby motivating, guiding, inspiring, listening, persuading – and, most crucially through creating resonance and it is the hall mark of primal leadership.

James McNerney, CEO Boeing Inc., – An Assessment of Emotional Intelligence

W. James McNerney, the current CEO of Boeing Co. is noted for his relationship building leadership style. He embraced the people and culture of the companies he had led and strived to win the hearts and minds of employees with a clear vision of future success. On careful examination of Mr. McNerney’s leadership success, we understand how the emotional dimension of leadership, Primal leadership plays a vital role in articulating positive messages that resonate with follower’s emotional reality which is then used to move people in a positive direction to achieve desired business results. His command and connect leadership style owes a lot in common with the four domains of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-mastery of emotion, social awareness and relationship management. These domains have inter-dependence – self-awareness is fundamental for both self-management and social awareness. And social awareness and self-management in tandem are the building blocks of relationship management.

Self-awareness

A highly accomplished executive, McNerney has great self-confidence, works intuitively to address problems and challenges himself to difficult tasks. McNerney understands his limitations when he starts working in industries in which he has no prior exposure. He would first talk to employees, understand the business, processes and people.  He has great work ethics and well aware of his personal emotions and its impact on behavior and performance. McNerney is open about constructive criticism and always willing to learn and seek help from others.

Self-management

Being achievement oriented, McNerney recognizes the importance of intellectual and emotional capital of people and solicits product ideas consensually and harnesses positive behaviors to boost productivity, employee morale and corporate profits. Employees at 3M and Boeing had sound trust and faith in him because of his transparency – honesty, integrity and respect for everyone irrespective of their role in the organization. Even during crisis situations especially at Boeing, McNerney focused on Boeing as a world-class competitor, did not lose his temperament and made judgment calls ethically. As a keen initiator, he would seize opportunities, fix problems instantly and adapts to changing situations. To meet inner standards of excellence, McNerney adopted lean operations, quality processes such as six sigma, trained employees and created opportunities for professional advancement. By defining leadership attributes and delegating attribute ownership to individuals, expectations are raised and in consequence, people deliver results acting with integrity.

Social awareness

As a networker, McNerney built relationships with leaders and inside the organization to get insights into business problems. With deep rooted values, McNerney created a culture that values ethics and compliance. People are empowered to openly discuss ethical matters at all levels and violations are addressed immediately. Corporate social responsibility is regarded highly at Boeing and policies and procedures are implemented which protect the environment. He understands the competitive landscape and accordingly crafts strategies to overcome competition.

Relationship management

As a change catalyst, he would tap into the innate desire of employees to improve and remove barriers that inhibit their growth. He realized that business success cannot be realized without the cooperation from motivated employees. He is instrumental in defining positive behaviors, team-building and co-operation, nurturing and mentoring potential high performing employees and removes barriers that inhibit cooperation. Linking pay to performance, people exercise cost control and eliminate manipulative spending behaviors. By fostering collaboration and expressing the need for customer focus, McNerney is able to build efficient products for the company. He would always convey the business mission and goals and make employees feel valuable in the whole process. He built long-lasting productive relationships with suppliers to eliminate disruptions in production. Any organizational change is introduced with buy-in from all concerned employees and there is no autocratic enforcement. Feedback and guidance are part of employee evaluation that reinforces management’s commitment to further employee growth. Communication is from bottom up and all levels of employees are encouraged to participate in this process.

McNerney is passionate, inspiring, highly motivating and draws strength from strong values to lead emotionally. He is a change agent, honest, trustworthy and respectful of people’s emotions, highly flexible, frank, open and informal. It is these personal and social competencies that made Mr.McNerney a great inspirational leader.

Industryweek, a magazine connecting decision makers within manufacturing enterprises, carried an excellent article on India emerging as the next industrial superpower. The article takes into account the rapid strides India is making in every emerging industry and exploits the immense potential to succeed inspite of intense global competition. Check out the article link below – The Promise of India

India, an emerging power has 40% of its population below poverty line and there has been no improvement in the statistic since the last few decades. As global citizens we must contribute in whatever way we can to reduce the spate of poverty in India, even more so as responsible Indians. There are many ways we can help in this effort – volunteer in social programs, donate to such social agencies, spread awareness and rally support for such a genuine cause. During my recent visit to India, I visited an orphanage run by a kind individual,  Mr. Subramanyam. He is a software engineer who along with his family is raising around 20 orphaned children, all with his solo earnings. The orphanage, Cherish foundation is a perfect example of how a motivated individual can help the society and the nation in taking care of abandoned and orphaned children. We don’t have to seek government help and get roiled in the bureaucracy instead as individuals can transform our ideas into actions. Below are some of the pictures from the orphanage. You can see the happiness on their faces!!!

Photo Album:

Today I felt the need to express my opinion sincerely about what I felt when Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested for a possible break-in. It is the same emotion that every black-american and oppressed human being would have felt around the world. I think all the talk about ensuring human equality and foiling discrimination is a farce on the face of humankind. I repeatedly see such events happen in the lives of people who are from the exploited sections of the society. Such discriminatory tactics are not restricted to the western society but it is practiced in different ways in various countries. As history reveals, any human being lacking heritage, knowledge acquisition, physical beauty or economic status has always suffered at the hands of the rich, mighty and the learned ones. If you retrofit Gates in a similar situation in India, it may not be the criminal justice system but the vested high caste interests which would have resorted to such defamatory actions. I, hailing from India with an oppressed background is reminded everyday of what my origins are and what I am entitled for in life. No matter whatever heights of academic excellence one achieves, you are always at the mercy of the rich, wealthy and the so called “well learned” ones. Sometimes I feel God has to be blamed for this discrimination. Why did he create humans with such diversity? Why are some born fairer while others suffer for being darker in color? Why do humans have this fascination for fair color? Why are the weaker (in most cases the ugly looking and deprived communities) ones always exploited? Why can’t God endow such exploited with good virtues and wisdom? Unless there is a dramatic shift in how people perceive each other, there will never be any social justice rendered. We need to stop glamorizing the fair sex in every aspect of life. Humans should be respected irrespective of how, where, when and under circumstances they are born. I always have this dream when any child born black, brown or white is embraced without any consideration for color. I am hopeful of my dream becoming a reality because of the rude awakening happening among masses worldwide. The election of Mr.Obama as the president of America has shown that given the will and courage, anything is possible in this world. We can shatter the age old discriminatory practices and customs and make this world a better place to live where every individual is endowed with all rights irrespective of any race, color, creed, religion and caste.  I Hope this dream of mine will turn true!!!discrimination

I had come across a blog which had some decent survey statistics about countries which were least affected by the ongoing financial turmoil.

On the top of the list was Australia followed by China and India. This list reiterates the economic strengths and the potential for excellent future growth for the emerging countries especially for those in Asia.

Countries least affected

Countries least affected

recession list

Checkout this link for free apps for enterprises, courtesy: Informationweek

Free Apps

Kudos to Vivek Kundra on his appointment as the Federal CIO. More news here..

video link –