Posts Tagged ‘character’

The trap of entertainment!

by Himanshu Jhamb on September 6, 2010

On a recent business trip to New York, I was presented with a unique opportunity in a most unexpected way. I was going through my day like clockwork – attending client calls, leading my team through the initial stages of a big project & in and out of meetings – when a colleague of mine came into my office and started talking about leadership. The conversation started with my colleague sharing his opinions about how leadership had been assumed in the past (in our organization), rather than earned… and soon went further into other undesirable facets of the company that had plagued the organization.

Before I knew it, the conversation took a bit of a negative turn where I observed myself contributing to it as well by going over the undesirable past events… like they mattered! I have been in these conversations in the past… they happen all around us; in our homes, in businesses and even in hair cutting salons! I have, inadvertently, been an active participant in these conversations for hours together and in the end, always come out feeling a little “better”, but there has always been an accompanying feeling that something still wasn’t right.

I boil down this feeling to the nature of “complaints”, especially the ones that are repeated. It is important to notice that whenever we complain about the same thing repeatedly, without attempting to change the way we act – we are usually getting some “juice” from our complaint – which is, in a very weird way, ENTERTAINING, to us. What’s worse is, this is something we humans get simply hooked to! … And this, my friends, is what I call The Trap of Entertainment.

Think about it – Have you ever caught yourself in an argument that started with a complaint, lasted more than 30 minutes and you forgot what you were arguing about … while you still continued to argue? Why did you do that? There is some Entertainment you are getting from the situation – it’s important to note that though this might be entertaining, it is dangerously so. Why? Because the consequences are usually not so entertaining!

How does one get out of it?

So, given that it is natural to get into this, how does one go about getting out of this? Here are 4 questions that would help:

  • What can we learn from the past mistakes so that the same situations do not happen again?
  • What can we do NOW to make sure that the complaint we have of others in the past – Others do not have that same complaint of us in the future?
  • How can I make a positive difference to the other person’s life RIGHT NOW, in this conversation?
  • How can I provide VALUE to this conversation without getting sucked into sharing my opinions about the past events?

Avoid the entertainment trap by guiding your conversations with others with the help of these four questions and see how things start turning up for you… and share how it goes for you!

Character and Personality #8: Competency

by Gary Monti on August 24, 2010

Delivering the goods is the final judgment for leaders. This means in addition to charisma there needs to be character strength and competency. Competency means, “to be fit for (Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology).” This can be challenging because of the number of boundaries present, which can be fluid and not always precise. In general, though, the boundaries can be looked at as those between technology and sophistication.

Technology

“Technology” comes from the Greek “techne” and refers to a craft or skill for getting things done such as farming or carpentry. So, technology has to do with the rules for getting things done, for implementing. This is why tools are also called implements. There is no reflection of greater truths. It’s just about what it takes to get something done, e.g., the creation of a circuit board. A competent leader is keenly aware of the need to pay close attention to the technology and its implementation since the devil is in the details. Does the leader need to be technically competent? No. The leader can be surrounded by those possessing technology and a willingness to work together to bring about the product (more on that later). Does this mean that technology is trivial – far from it. The technology can exist outside of the leader.

Sophistication

“Sophistication” comes from the Greek “sophia” and means “wisdom”. A leader needs to be sophisticated which has a great deal of humility associated with it (see blog on humility). In other words, a competent leader is aware of the limits present in a situation, including his or her own.

Wisdom has a depth to it that goes beyond technical competency. A competent leader understands that in a complicated situation there is more than one truth system at play. In fact, there is at least one truth system for every belief system present.

Competent Leadership

A competent leader finds a balance among the technologies and truth systems present. An earlier blog on change management references Henry Kaiser and his ability to lead in bringing Liberty ships to life in World War II. Aristotle referred to this type of person as a good politician, one who finds a way to thread through a situation to reveal a path that, when followed, benefits the common good.

There is a fluidity to a leadership situation. To be competent means to be grounded in the right set of principles with the right priorities and be able to flex with the situation. There are no rules for that. There is no technology.

Maybe you can see why it is so important to be able to answer the question, “Who are you?” discussed in the blog on Panic and Self-Doubt. Unlike technology, sophistication must be within the leader.

The importance of technology then is a reflection of sophistication. A reflection of the balance within and among the leader and stakeholders involved, including the team. Competence pulls all of the above together so that one person can meet another person’s needs, i.e., a connection comprising the humanity of the stakeholders who need and commit to finding a solution that works.

When shopping on line when do you decide to purchase? If the features are fairly close to what you want do you go ahead and buy? Or, do you search and search until all the facts have been gathered before making a decision?

What about when you are on the road? At the end of the day would you like to go explore a new restaurant with one of your fellow team members or does going back to the hotel room to just “be” feel best?

In the previous blog gathering and processing information preferences were discussed. Here we will look at the two other major components that go into determining one’s temperament, orientation and energy source. As with the gathering and processing of information what is discussed below is about preference. Each of us practices all the temperament traits but, based on neural wiring, we have preferred ways of orienting and getting energy.

Orientation

Orientation refers to how we prefer to interface with the outside world. There are two approaches:

Judging, or J, which means there is a desire to come to closure on an issue. The person who buys on-line once fairly close to the desired goal is J, and;

Perceiving, or P, which means there is the desire to get more information. The person who researches on-line (even after making the purchase) is P.

Let’s avoid some common misperceptions regarding these terms. Judging is different than being judgmental. To repeat, judging is the desire for closure and is neutral. Being judgmental is making value statements, e.g., “That person is good (or bad, as the case may be).” Perceiving is the desire to gather information. It is separate from having insight or a crystal ball.

Energy

There are two possibilities for gaining energy:

Extraverts, or E’s, gain energy from being around others, socializing, and wanting to deal with exterior things. E’s can tend to make a lot of contacts without going deep, and;

Introverts, or I’s, who prefer going off by themselves to gain energy and turn inward. I’s can tend to have few contacts and go deep into relationships.

E’s are often called “solar panels” because they like excitement and going around soaking up other’s energy. I’s are often called “batteries” since going off and recharging depleted energy stores is a must.

Keep in mind; it’s where one gets energy that determines whether their temperament is E or I. In other words, you can have quiet Extraverts and energetic Introverts. A shy person can be an E and someone who is “out there” can be an I. Culturally, there is a good deal of confusion over this issue which leads to misunderstandings. You can thank Freud for a lot of this because of his big investment in trying to tear down Jung through trash-talking. But that’s fodder for another blog.

Energy, Orientation, and Teams

What value does all this have? The answer is simple. Knowing how a person gets energy and their orientation can both explain and help resolve conflict. For example, an EJ (Extraverted-Judger) may get tired of working on a task, feel he’s done enough, and want to improve his sense of well being by talking with someone and getting their attention. If the person whom they approach is IP (Introverted-Perceiver) then sparks can fly. Why? The IP could get his sense of well-being by being left alone to both stay centered and go deep on a particular task and get more information. You can see where this is going.

When we look at the combinations associated with E vs I and J vs P it becomes increasingly obvious how holding a team together can be a big challenge. But let’s not stop there. Throw in Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N) and Feeling (F) vs Thinking (T) from the previous blog and we are off to the races!

Future blogs will look at issues associated with all the combinations. As Dickens would say, “It can be the best of times and the worst of times.”

The starting point of all achievements

by Vijay Peduru on November 17, 2009

start of race“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind.”
-Napoleon Hill
To achieve anything in life. the first character to have ..is an intense desire. Take a moment.. and think of something which you achieved in your life and think back on how much desire you had to achieve it or maybe how desperate you were to achieve it.  (Hint: Think of your first love.. Your first job..)
People with intense desire do not worry about the ability or the resources they need.  Ability and resources can be acquired if we have the intense desire. One of the characteristics of an entrepreneur is to achieve what he wants without regards to resources. First, he says what he wants then he starts to think about the right configuration (tools. team etc)  he needs to make it happen.  If you look at the most successful companies like Apple, Microsoft and amazon, they all had lots of constraints. They all started with less than $10,000.  With Intense Desire, we activate our inner genius. Studies show that we humans use about 5% of our brain capacity. Imagine, if we can double it and what we can achieve. Everything starts with an Intense desire to achieve what we want.
I once heard a story, which explains beautifully what “intense desire” is. Here is the story…
A disciple asked his teacher ‘Sir,How can I see God’.  The teacher said ‘Come, I will show you’ and took the disciple to a lake. Both the teacher and the disciple got into the lake and suddenly the teacher pressed the student’s head into the water. After a few moments.. he released it and asked the student how he felt. The student panting for breath.. said he felt that he was about to die.. and while in the water, his one and only desire was to get a whiff of air. The Teacher said ‘Son, if you have the same amount of desire to see god..you will see him’.
This is the type of desire..we need to achieve what we want in life.. whether to start a business.. have a good career.. a good relationship.. a good life!