Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56 on Oct 5, 2011 (1955-2011). A great visionary and inspiring individual, Jobs leaves behind a deep and lasting imprint not just on his products but also in the hearts of millions. His passing away comes a day after Apple unveiled iPhone 4S.
Steve Jobs was not just a visionary and leader, but a true innovator. He brought elegance and beauty to machines like the PCs and laptops. Despite the health setbacks, he continued working right up to August 2011. A man of few words, his humility can be perceived in his letter of resignation when he stepped down on August 24 2011.
Like many a startup, especially techie ones, Apple too began in a garage in 1976 with Apple-1 which was priced at $700. Jobs and co-founder Steve Wozniak sold only about 200 of the devices, making about $20 each. Success was to follow.
Not all Leaders are Visionaries, and not all Visionaries are Leaders. But, Steve Jobs carried this mantle with great humility and dignity. Tony Bradley has been able to pen down a few lessons on Leadership that we can all learn from this silent but strong individual, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs has both a following of fans as well as Apple bashers, yet, he was able to quietly command attention not towards himself, but through his very products he designed and created. You may not want to own such a pricey piece of equipment, but you certainly turn green with envy, and drool at the sight of those awesome Apple beauties that he created. Brain Lam, ex-editor at Gizmodo, has been kind enough to share a slice of Steve Jobs through his emails (you can read all about Steve Jobs on the Gizmodo, the gadgets website, that has been kind enough put together a truly moving tribute in a series of articles and video)
Although adopted by Paul and Clara, as he was born out of wedlock in California in 1955 to a Syrian immigrant and an American from Wisconsin, he was given the best they could offer at that time, education. Steve, however, dropped out of college, but that did not stop him from rising to become one of the strongest pillars of American business!
Single handedly his visions have shaped technology so profoundly, that his ideas defined the technology industry. During the period of his absence from Apple, Steve created Pixar (eventually acquired by Disney), a small computer-graphics division of Lucasfilm. And the future, for decades, will watch the incredible and timeless movies, beginning with the original Toy Story and including The Incredibles and Up.
Steve Jobs has immortalized himself through the products he has created! He took technology to a completely different level -beauty embodied in machines! His legacy will stand the test of time.
May he Rest in Peace. Steve Jobs, you will be missed.
Ah this is the fourth and last of the series, “Do I have what it takes to be a Thought Leader?“. Finally I shall focus on the Way to get there. So far we have seen, the basic characteristics, the why, and the how of Thought leadership.
There is no single path to get to being a Thought Leader. There are many! One of the first things that you need to remember is that, you can be a Thought Leader, and it is solely up to you! There is no right way or wrong way – but it should never be by hook or crook!
When you study the way a Bamboo Grows, it teaches you a lot more than just the way to being a Thought Leader.
The Way Forward:
Keep a Multi Disciplinary Outlook: Be an expert in your field, simultaneously understand and build your knowledge base with regards to other related fields of your discipline. Specialization is fine. But, having a wholesome understanding of your field as well related fields gives you a better advantage when it comes to problem solving, and arrive at creative solutions
Be the Focus: Thought Leaders do not always grow vertically, they are usually the focus, the center point around which not just a circle, but interlocking circles grow. This does not mean that you become the focus, but, be like a magnet and draw the attention of people in your field. Let it come naturally. Let them rally around you, turn to you for solutions.
Maintain Ethical and Moral Behavior: Never ever promote a solution or idea as your own, if it is not original. Always acknowledge and credit the originator who laid the seed of the idea from which a solution has been arrived at. Humility is always respected among great leaders. Once in the eye of followers, you need to maintain your credibility with behavior that is acceptable.
Self Reflect: At every stage in your life, self reflection is a must. Keep in mind You are not indispensable! Knowledge is changing every minute, and you may not always be able to deliver every time. Your quest to serve others should take precedence over one’s own desire for power or maintaining status quo.
Keep Ears and Eyes Grounded: Never put yourself too high, so that you become unreachable. Great kings have always moved among their citizens, learning the problems and finding ways to solve them. No problem brought to you should be too small to solve.
The Middle Path: Thought Leaders often find themselves at crossroads and that is the most crucial test for them. Many lose their way to egoism or external gratification. Thought Leaders need to know when to bow down, and when to stand tall- like the spirit of a bamboo.
People may prescribe many ways to get to being a Thought Leader. But do realize this, that if it is in you, and you passionately serve the needs of others, share, and keep your horizons in check, self reflect, and be humble – the path towards being a Thought Leader has already been laid. You need to strive towards it, and it will gradually build around you. And always pay heed to people around you. It is in keeping true to yourself that you maintain credibility and earn your stars as a Thought Leader!
Don’t swat it! Just study it for a moment. Beautiful ain’t it? However, if it buzzes anywhere near you, careful of its sting! The Worker bee, is the most busy among the “caste” of bees. And it creates the most intricate and complex structure, the Hive. Also exhibited is a very disciplined manner of working and living. So why this short information on bees? Besides my fascination for archaeology, books, cats & dogs, bees too fascinate me, the way they build their hives, the places they choose, and the enormous ones they build, and the way they hone into the nectar – all just fascinates me (moreover, the worker bees are all females ). So when I see people working together in enclosed spaces, I wonder, do they have the same capabilities and abilities as that of the bees? And hence, the short introduction on bees. Some Bee Basics, in case you want to read more. Another fascinating point I read somewhere, said that the bees who bring back nectar, also communicate this information to the other bees at the hive by “wagging/wriggling” their behind, which communicates – the distance from the hive, the direction and location! This is truly Sharing! Now don’t you go doing the same wriggling and wagging, you can definitely find more communicative ways of sharing information:-)
So now down to the Team Bonding Basics:
1. Communication – the best way to bond with your team mates, is to communicate. Do Not over chatter, but definitely communicate at several levels. No need to share confidences, but a new movie, new product, an interesting work tip, etc. This definitely helps to create a bond, as you tend to get to know each other, not close, but once you know the interests, it helps.
2. Share – Like the Bees, if you learn a new way or find solutions to problems that the team has been facing, share the information, have lively discussions, debates, etc. All this lends a kind of “bonding” between the team.
3. Relax -Yes, relax as a team. take time to chill out with your Team at least once a month. A picnic or trek, an outdoor activity, helps the Team a chance to get to know each other, outside the working environment.
4. Problem Solve Together – Don’t sit for hours in front of your computer trying to solve a problem alone. Send of an email, get the team together, and set the problem before them. This can help bring up different perspectives and creative solutions to your problem. Did you know that bees are said to be the most highly sophisticated problem solvers?
5. Give it your Best – To help the Team bond together, each team member needs to give it their best! Because only the best can help deliver quality that is the epitome of a team that works together!
Together, this hive of activity, if well bonded, can deliver and solve any problem with ease and aplomb! Remember, whether you are a Team Member or you manage such a Team, the above qualities, can only deliver you the best honey possible. Remember the maxim, ‘No bees, no honey; no work, no money’.
Ah Ha! Wondering why I have picked up Sun Tzu’s book, Art [...]
Ah Ha! Wondering why I have picked up Sun Tzu’s book, Art of War, for some Gyaan in the middle of the week? Well its one of those days, when things at work settle down a bit, and the weekend looms so near, that the body itself goes into a relaxed state. Tune in and do inform me if this is not what you are feeling right now!
Why Sun Tzu? For one this great general and military strategist wrote this classic 500 years before Jesus was born & his strategies are still discussed in military classrooms and find relevance in the field. The Art of War has been divided into thirteen chapters each having something to say about the various aspects related to war.
But being midweek I don’t want to talk about war, but how after reading through his book, I realized it offers much more than strategies for war.
I have listed a few of his “pearls of wisdom” at random, and pondered over them, and have found for myself, a Strategy for achieving simple things in life, which I share with you here.
1. “According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans”- there is such simplicity in this statement, that it can teach us many things from dealing with what we have, to making good no matter how hard life may seem at times. Look for opportunities and grab them, and always look forward in life, for such opportunities come only once! Be flexible and life is at once easy – like the bamboo tree that bends in the wind and lets the storm pass over. But stands upright when the weather holds.
2. Sun Tzu saw that success in “war” comes from winning support and not from conflict. And this is very true. Once you try and win people over to your side, or even sort of reason with them, then conflict does not exists at all! Be pleasant in all your dealings, and you have a win-win situation.
3. “.. though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays”. Well my reading of this can work in this fashion – Be patient, don’t push your point, keep it simple, and trust in what you do – things will slowly unravel the way you wanted it to.
4. “What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease” – simply put, stop fighting the obvious, instead concentrate on knowing yourself so as to vanquish doubts, and you vanquish your “inner enemy“. The rest then comes easy.
4. “Order or disorder depends upon organization” – a fair amount of discipline is essential to help get things done. Too disciplined could cause monotony, but a fair amount helps to keep and make life easy in the long run
5. “There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted” – interestingly, when I look at my fingers the same thought emerges- together they are powerful but as a single digit, they seem weak. Collaboration can yield much more from life than going at it alone.
6. “Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight” – Always, Be Prepared! A scout’s motto and holds true in adverse situations as well as in good conditions.
7. “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move” – this is wise not just for a war strategy but in every action or reaction we may implement in word or deed. A wrong word at the wrong time, without paying attention can lead to much distress for a long time. Think before you act!
I am sure you can find each of these “pearls” a place in your life at home or at work. And a last pearl – Never judge a Book by its Title, as it may have much more to say within its pages, than just the title. A snappy title may lack interesting content. So next time when browsing through a book take a while to turn a page or two before you pick or discard!
Humans are social animals. They live together in society and are considered gregarious. Seeking Solitude and Isolation are exceptions. Since time immemorial humans have hunted together in “groups” to get…
Humans are social animals. They live together in society [...]
Humans are social animals. They live together in society and are considered gregarious. Seeking Solitude and Isolation are exceptions. Since time immemorial humans have hunted together in “groups” to get...
Humans are social animals. They live together in society and are considered gregarious. Seeking Solitude and Isolation are exceptions.
Since time immemorial humans have hunted together in “groups” to get their prey. Groups or members of the same clan were composed of teams of individuals, each individual bringing their own skill to the kill. This they have learned observing the animal world around them. We see this very often replicated in the famous cave paintings. The “groups” thus worked as a “team” to achieve their goal – hunt for food to survive. They lived as a group of people each family having their own goals, but a representative of the family was part of the “hunting team” contributing towards a common goal. Scientific endeavors in the past 5 years have evolved what is known as the Swarm Intelligence and reminds us of similar instances visible in the way ants and bees function, as teams to accomplish a common goal.
We have heard the saying often enough, “too many cooks spoil the soup”, often accompanied with a retort, “many hands make light work”. So where does this leave us? Do we work as a team to get things done or should we work alone? This all depends on The Goal. A team focuses on a common goal and brings individual talent to the table and hence the saying, “many hands make light work”. The common goal could be the completion of a project that has many modules. Each individual works on some specific aspect of the module, contributing their own specific skill and talent. So if two individuals have similar skills and both made to work on the same aspect, it could lead to conflict, thus giving us the adage, “too many cooks spoil the soup”.
Team building involves working with a set of diverse individuals working to accomplish a common goal. Whether you are placed in a situation where the team has already been picked for you or have the choice to pick a team, there are 7 important strategies to keep in mind when involved in a Team Building.
1. Communicate Clearly - with every team member and the team as a whole. The goals of the project or work have to be very precise and clearly spelled out. Remember Team goals are not the same as Organizational goals. Team goals contribute to the organization goals.
2. Define Roles and Responsibilities – Given that many of the team members come with different skill sets, each of their roles and responsibilities have to be clearly defined to avoid conflict, necessary to bring about healthy competition, but not when it affects the performance.
3. Collaborate – Always keep a ear to the ground. Listening to each member and working on their competencies and strengths, and helping them complement each others’ work can be accomplished efficiently and provide a win-win situation for all.
4. Maintain the Balance of Power – When in charge of a team it is very easy to slip into an autocratic role at times when things get complex. It is at these times, that one needs to resist the urge to remind the team of your position. Exercise it only when required.
5. Foster Team Culture : This can be done by maintaining positive inter personal relationships. Commitment is essential to be instilled in each member to achieve the Team Goals. A diverse yet homogenous team culture will lead to a vibrant and performing team.
6. Encourage Creativity and Innovation – Out of the box thinking is very essential to keep the Team going and the morale high.
7. Think Strategy – Team building involves working with people, their emotions and reactions, empathizing when necessary, etc, which could interfere when taking strategic decisions. Make assessments without bias when choosing a team member or when dealing with a conflict situation.
Team Building involves not just various activities to get the team to function as a whole, but also involves instilling trust between the team members that each is contributing and complementing the work of the other – a fine act of balancing the invisible threads that binds the team together, loose yet keeping them tightly knitted, the warp and weft of an organization. Team building is an art that cannot be learned overnight, but perfected with time!
I plan to write a series of articles on “Do I have what [...]
I plan to write a series of articles on “Do I have what it takes to be a Thought Leader?” Here I will address what it takes to be a “Thought Leader” – the essential characteristics, the why, the how, and the way to get there.
In the first article, I will raise the questions necessary for the first baby step towards being a Thought Leader.
“Cogito ergo sum” translates from Latin to “I think, therefore I am” by Rene Descartes. The simple meaning is that, if someone doubts if they exist or not, in itself, is proof that they exist – the least, there must be an “I” that does the thinking.
The very basic premise of Thought Leadership is thought that has been put into action. Every living creature does this. If you are hungry, then you seek out something to eat. But what makes a “Leader” different from those who carry out such simple actions? Are Leaders only those who stand out and stand tall among their peers? Humans created the wheel, but the way they put it to use distinguishes them from the rest of the Animal Kingdom. Fire was a known element that was dangerous to lives. But when humans started engaging it for more positive uses, this put them on a better footing, than among their animal cousins – helped them survive.
Humans have the innate ability to not just think and act, but also improvise. Creativity is not just a manifestation of nature, but the positive use an individual can mould it into. This is basic trait that is essential for being recognized as someone who can take action. Act and improvise without fear of failure on a thought that is different and provides a solution to the problem.
A Thought Leader has been stated to be an expert who adds something new to a field of endeavor, not just an expert. You can become an expert with practice, and there may be many experts in your specific field. But what would make you be called a Thought Leader in your field? If you created something new, added something enhancing to your field of expertise, that nobody has yet envisaged or implemented, then would that entitle you to being called a Thought Leader? Yes, keep improvising or implementing on ideas that others may not have succeeded in taking them further. A new perspective can always lead to new solutions.
Knowledge is power. So if you retain the knowledge of something you have created that none has created before, will that define you as a “Thought Leader”? Competition is good, but will it have any credence to your creation once that goes viral? Will you fear the loss of your title “Thought Leader” once it is out of your hands? So, Keep sharing, as this is a sure way to get people to keep turning to you for ideas and solutions.
Seven Steps to A Basic Checklist to try and see if you can fit into the shoes of a Thought Leader:(they may pinch at first, but no gain without some pain)
1. Awaken all your Senses.
2. Act upon what You Think & Dream.
3. Keep At It – discuss, brainstorm, don’t sit on your idea.
4. Improvise on ideas. Don’t let old or new ideas stagnate.
5. Go with the flow, but think different.
6. Expert is fine, but always have many solutions to a single problem.
7. Share! Share! Share! – this will attract people to you
Not so difficult, if you think about it, right?
Remember Thought Leaders are not always those who are the first to come up with the idea, but those who made it work, without fear of failure or success. They just did it! Passion and Motivation will never let you down!
Come join me in this journey towards planting the seed of a Thought Leader in each of us. No doubt each of us will always have something to contribute that can bring change, but only if we let it enter into us and flow from us.
This article talks about a quote once said to me by my professor. How should a leader approach himself towards a great leadership. It suggests that all leaders should be humble and with humility. Leaders do considers themselves as zero and are behind a great team. They never keep themselves over and above team. They own responsibilities and own failures with dignity but never take entire credit of success.
Good leaders consider themselves Zero, they don’t feel they have value alone, but they just add value, if behind 1 they make 10 and behind 9 they make 90.
My professor once told the above-mentioned quote to me, when I was working for him on a project. He was generally checking my aspirations and ambitions in my career, what I want to do and what I want to become in my career. So I remembered that line as learn by heart, and kept in back of my mind always whenever I played a role as a leader of a team. Initially asked him with a surprise what does he mean by that, and couldn’t resist to ask If a leader consider that he doesn’t bring value why would he be a leader in first place. So he explained, and clarified in turn that he doesn’t mean that they do not bring any value, bringing/having are different then feeling. When we say they don’t bring/have any value that would mean they are not fit for some kind of circumstance or skill-based requirement.
When leaders don’t feel they have value alone, this becomes a different thought. This clearly means that leader(s) should continuously evaluate themselves (what good leaders do), and in the process they need to think of what role they are going to play in the team. During the entire process they always consider themselves to be a facilitator or enabler, they never think of that in entirety they it is their project alone. Ownership and Responsibility wise it is theirs, however they never project that everything is because of them. This humility and humbleness makes them a good leader. Good leaders always appreciate that because of the team we are getting success, on seeing this gesture team always reciprocate positively towards leader. Leader always mention that he just facilitated or enabled or empowered the team do the things everyone around expects them to do, and team successfully did that. These small gestures make teams stronger and increase the bonds between leaders and teams.
Leaders are important part of any team; they give directions, keep a check, ensure that everything is going in right direction, or if in crisis play a significant role to avert the crisis. These kinds of things leaders do not even need to mention in front of team.
Leaders never make their team feel, how important and critical their role is in team and they never boast about their deeds in past and how successful they were. This is because, leaders always know that time is like a testbed, and they will be repeatedly tested against time. In due course he may fail and during those times his past will not come for their rescue. It is their presence of mind, control/command and execution skill will help them. Hence they always keep their foot on ground and feel grateful to those who were associated to them.That is why good leaders always keep themselves near to zero, while every other person associated to them knows their potential. This is why leaders always consider themselves behind the team. If you add zero behind a digit it becomes a bigger number but if you prefix it the value remains unchanged. For example adding behind 15 makes it 150 but if prefixed like 015 would remain 15 only.
Leadership is not mathematics, but nevertheless a good way to think how leaders should approach, I am of opinion that good leaders are always humble and with humility they always give credit to team(s), they always accept success as gracefully with full credits to team. They never demand respect they always command it. They are not behind appreciation, fame or power these things just follow them.
There are other benefits as well with this approach, this ensures that how much a leader has to grow, how much a leader has to learn in this process, to become a leader.
Do let me know your opinions about this post. Please feel free to drop in you comments, whether you agree or disagree, I am open for discussion…