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Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

I just thought you might be interested…:)

February 5, 2017

Hello folks!

I enjoy writing periodically. What I enjoy much more is the positive responses I get from the general reading public that keeps me going, doing something as solitary as writing….

Writing can be ‘alone’ time, ‘passing up a nice social event’ time, time on your own ‘creating, effecting, or somehow changing the world to make it a better place’ time.

A sincere thank you to my readers. Your comments are delightful, and I appreciate the time you take to give me your responses. From today you may see slight changes to the website as WordPress (to whom I am ever grateful!), for a reasonable fee, has allowed me to monetize the site.

Given the confidence I place in this wonderful organization, I am sure that it will result in nothing but positive outcomes. I expect there to be a generation both foreseen and unexpected ones. That’s what change does. It allows you to grow. One small change can seed future fruit aplenty!

I like to journal. Many writers probably do. This WordPress entry is inspired by the simple joy of writing ,being read, and giving thanks to readers, for this very gift that I’ve been given and for a special moment I wish to share with you. Permit me to meander and share recent experiences of life’s ups and downs a bit…I promise I will try to tie things up at the end!  🙂

Some people say that I’m a good writer. I now truly believe it to be so, although if you tried applying to a Federal government competition recently, you might not think  so! One of the reasons used to screen me out stated that, as far as the competition was concerned I did not meet their writing abilities criteria. LOL. Well if I didn’t meet it, then who did? And who says so?

It made me realize that we should take everything in stride, or as my father might say, “It’s not the end of the world!’ True. Judging by the positive feedback I’ve been given from work colleagues and reviewers of my site alike, I think it’s important both to believe in ourselves, and not to take feedback too seriously. There may be other factors at play. For example, there are many hundreds of applications made to Canadian federal jobs these days. So any slight slip on your part may get you screened out! It doesn’t mean I’m not a good writer, only that a screening tool has been used to consider other applications which meet the hiring criteria more closely, or the background characteristics that the organization is searching for. Sometimes I think that they are looking more for a ‘yes’ man, and not someone who can actually think, or go against the flow, turning it in another direction, in order to create a greater benefit for all. But I digress…

I guess I wish to stress that if there is some skill that you feel that you do particularly well, you owe it to yourself to pursue that passion, along with other enjoyable passions you may share with others. I happen to love sports! I’ve gotten pretty good at them. Given the fact that I’ve taught a Leadership course at school (with some wonderful feedback) and yoga at work during lunch time, I thought I could handle teaching squash to a newly-made friend from Meetup.com! Today I did just that! I went downtown to play, nay, teach squash, to someone who always wanted to learn!

The experience brought a lot of joy to both of us…she learned how to play squash (‘I always wanted to learn!’) from a patient instructor, and I enjoyed both the interaction and the scenery, both within and without the confines of her pristine building and her wonderful condominium strategically situated. You see, my friend happens to live downtown in one of the prime locations in Toronto, in the Queen’s Quay, Harbourfront area!

When we went out to celebrate my very first ever and also our very first ever and very positive squash teacher-student interaction,  afterwards we reveled in the scenery around us, taking in the sights, sounds, and the boat cruises along the lovely and serene harbour front. We had an enjoyable chat and a good bite to eat.

I am thankful that I have an open spirit, willing to learn from new experiences and from others… and I’m thankful that I made a new friend, and that we spent some wonderful time together. Memories that won’t easily be forgotten….

Well…I just thought you might be interested!

Now, how can you make your day or evening a better one?   😉

Good luck!

-Nilesh Shreedhar.

 

 

 

 

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Arfath Saleem’s “To be a Legend.”

August 23, 2015

Speech giver: Arfath Saleem.

Organization: Toastmasters.org (International) at TM International Conference: August 13-16, 2015.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, U.S.A.

Purpose of this post (Acronym: R O S E):

1. To Retain this valuable information for posterity.
2. To Offer inspiration to people.
3. To Share the wisdom gleaned from motivational and inspirational speech givers at such events.
4. To Effect positive changes in the world.
This speech was done by Arfath Saleem and it is called “To be a legend.” during the just completed International Toastmasters Conference in Las Vegas, U.S.A.

Here it is as best as I can recall….

Arfath Saleem’s “To be a legend.”

Just three words…That’s all it takes….
Arfath fell in love 15 years ago with his math teacher. He had a gambling problem…at a tender age and became the school’s so-called ‘favourite’ student. Well, not exactly….

They kept him back since he was too busy gambling, not studying. His mother became very concerned and she introduced him to a student tutor named Samantha. Samantha said: “I’ll help you…” From that day those three words changed his life. Samantha devoted 15 hours per week to help him study. She made him feel smart! Result: he aced all is subjects!
In the process she had changed who he was…he said, she was his jackpot and quickly realized she was the type of person having the stuff legends were made of…Samantha became his hero.
Some time later Aunt Jenny came to him with the same problem – her son was having difficulties in school. ….Arfath, all grown up, now himself tutored school subjects. He ran to her and spoke the same three words that Samantha had spoken to him many years back…the same three words that changed his life…I’ll help you, he said. He met her son for only 15 minutes every week and with that he was able to score 93 on his math paper.
Ms. Samantha had become legendary enabling Arfath to be a conduit to help others. Like Dr. Ralph Smedley who first offered help to those who had difficulties standing up and giving speeches creating Toastmasters in the process.
Isn’t that in fact, what legends do? You just need three words to be a legend, not a special degree….I’ll help you!

Nilesh Shreedhar.

https://www.facebook.com/arfath.saleem?fref=ts

Four Ways to Deal with Conflict.

June 23, 2014

This information is relevant at any time. It always makes me wonder why people think conflict is actually abnormal given the fact that even in a given household where one would expect a fair degree of homogeneity, you have different values and opinions. So then why is it so unusual to find the clashing of opinions? Yes, mishandled it can be potentially disastrous, but not more than a festering wound left completely unattended – that’s even worse….Read on to find out how this might be so….

 

Refer back to your Conflict Journal and match the five different types of conflicts with real conflicts that you have witnessed or been personally involved with.  How were these conflicts resolved?  Pick one of the conflicts that you witnessed (i.e. were not personally involved in).  How did you know it was a conflict?  If you could have acted as the mediator, role-play the steps you would have taken to help resolve the conflict.

 

What follows is a reply to a question posed during a Conflict Resolution class I attended for courses I took a while back…It is insightful and immediately practical! Good luck with it…

One of the conflicts that I witnessed is one in which the employee complains about the employer and how he doesn’t like the way the employer manages the office, in other words, he feels that things shoud be done differently. This person is fairly experienced and makes valid points, but just may lack the full perspective that comes with positions of higher authority. He also feels that he is not being listened to, or that his (in his view valid) concerns are nto being addressed, just ignored.

 

Steps that I have taken include emphasizing the positive aspects of the relationship of workiing for the employer, requesting him to take a more active role in union representation so that he doesn’t get himself in trouble with the employer, and just staying positive with him, making recommendations to attend any type of training available, such as one that was recently offered on Change Management.

 

This seems to be the way to go about dealing with these issues, according to Howard Guttman, author of The Art of Managing Conflict, and who states that, When you stop to think about it, there essentially are four ways in which the players in a conflict-laden situation can deal with it:

 

• Playing the victim: saying nothing, acting powerless, and complaining. Such behavior clearly is corrosive and often subversive. It leads to griping and sniping and tends to drive discord underground. Injured parties can sap the vitality from relation stops–whether at home or in the office–as sufferers focus inward on their unresolved issues and reach out to recruit supporters to their point of view.

• Flight: physically removing oneself from involvement. Face it; walking away or leaving is always an option. We can turn our backs on our friends, get divorced, or quit our job and head for greener pastures. How many times can we run away however? It is better to learn how to mediate conflict.

• Change oneself: Move off one’s position; shift one’s view of the other party; “let it go.” Sometimes, we can change ourselves by changing our perceptions of a situation. For example, you might try to achieve a positive outcome by altering your “story” or interpretation of another person’s behavior. Of course, being forced to modify one’s story often rankles. Moreover, what happens at those moments of truth, when all the attempts to reframe your perceptions simply do not work? The only option remaining is to confront conflict.

• Confronting: addressing the issue openly, candidly, and objectively; communicating with the other party. This approach is ideal. One executive we know uses a colorful metaphor to illustrate the concept. He likened the tendency to let disagreements fester to having a dead elephant’s head in the middle of the room. It is unsightly, disturbing, and takes up a lot of space, but no one is willing to acknowledge its presence. It distracts people from more important work. The longer the elephant head remains, the worse its effect will be. The elephant head will not get up and go by itself. Only when people admit that this distasteful object is present and needs to be dealt with will they be able to remove it and move on to more productive activity.

If you decide to end your conspiracy of silence and work out your personal or business conflict by confronting, we recommend using the Four C’s approach:

Connecting. In conflict resolution, timing and location are next to godliness. Before attempting to connect with another person–to establish a rapport that is conducive to discussing your mutual needs–always check with the individual to determine the best time and place to have a meeting. Do not forget to set the stage. Make sure you have privacy; will not be interrupted; are in a neutral, non-threatening environment; have scheduled enough time to cover all the salient points; and that both of you have had adequate opportunities to prepare for the dialogue. At work, this might mean repairing to a neutral conference room. At home, you might head for the nearest Starbucks.

Using the proper phrasing

Finding the right words to begin a potentially adversarial discussion can be difficult. We suggest using “partnering phrases,” which convey the idea that you are ready to address the issue candidly and objectively and that you are serious about resolving it. For example, “I have some concerns about the way we are making decisions relating to one another that I would like to explore with you,” or “I have an issue with your attendance. You are not keeping up with your commitment. We cannot afford to let this continue,” or “I am having some difficulties with the way you are managing the ‘so-and-so’ project. They really are going to get in the way if we fail to deal with them,” or “I am uncomfortable with your approach to performance reviews, and I want to work my concerns out with you.”

Clarifying. All the breast pounding and good intentions will not rescue a situation in which clarifying is not employed properly. Static is an agreement buster. Encourage the other party to open up about the real concerns he or she has. Describe the behaviours and the reasons you find them troubling. Choosing the right words is crucial. Try these phrases: “Let us take a minute to clarify what we hear each other saying about the way we have been making decisions,” or “It is important for me to understand where you are coming from. What do I need to know to understand what has been happening with your attendance?,” or “Regarding the assigned project, what feedback do you have for me about my contributions to the situation?,” or “I want to know what you think. What is your point of view on performance reviews?”

Confirming. This entails summing up the facts, restating the issues to ensure that nothing has been misunderstood or omitted during your discussion. Equally important is a summary of the emotional progress that has been made–the commitment to finding a mutually agreeable solution. While both parties usually are eager to move to action at this point, investing a few additional minutes in confirming will make the next step much easier.

These are especially useful confirming statements: “Here is my understanding of our differences and where we are right now on the issue of the ‘so-and-so’ project,” or “Do you have any other concerns about our performance review?,” or “I really appreciate your willingness to work through this issue with me,” or “I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise here.”

Contracting. This is the final stage in managing disagreement by interaction. It entails finding the illusive win-win solution that both parties can commit to. Let us take this example from the business world. Deborah, the project manager at a major pharmaceutical company, has authorized overtime to keep a key project on schedule. Sam, her supervisor, has just learned about this from another manager. Sam might sound something like this in confronting his subordinate: “Deborah, when you authorize overtime without telling me, you put me in a difficult situation. I am the one who is responsible for staying on budget, and if there are any cost overruns, I am the one who will have to explain them. From now on, I need you to come to me before authorizing any overtime.”

Sam is using a three-part “I” response in which there are a trio of essential components: a description of the troublesome behavior; the disclosure of your feelings about the act; and stating the effect it has on you. In other words, the focus of the message is on “I” and not the other person.

At this point, Deborah is likely to respond with an explanation of her actions, such as: “You were away for the weekend; you said you could not be reached; and I had to make the call. I figured because you did not give me your phone number, you did not want me to bother you. If you want to make decisions, I have to be able to get in touch with you.”

Now Deborah is the one asserting herself, making it clear that she, too, has needs. The negotiation should proceed, back and forth, until both Sam’s and Deborah’s needs are met. If Sam is not willing to give up his privacy by leaving a phone number, maybe he will agree to call Deborah for a daily update the next time he goes away. Or, he may decide to give Deborah more leeway, arranging for her to authorize overtime up to a certain number of hours without his approval.

Some useful contracting phrases are: “I think the whole team/family needs to be involved in budget decisions. What do you think?,” or “Having you here four 10-hour days does not work for me, but having you come in at 10 a.m. and stay until 6 p.m. would. Does that work for you?,” or “One thing we can do to move the project ahead is …” or “What would you prefer that I do differently in the future regarding the way I conduct my performance reviews?”

Managing conflict effectively is a learned behaviour. Conflict-resolution skills are not part of any high school, college, or business school curriculum. Yet, the potential for discord exists whenever we interact with others. As Pat Parenty, senior vice president and general manager of Redken, U.S.A., points out, “Expecting people to resolve their differences without giving them conflictmanagement skills is like giving a computer to someone who has never seen one before and saying, ‘Have fun using this.'” Do not count on having a good time.

 

 

Proquest. Newsweek. Aug 6, 2007. pg. 43. A Math Makeover; OMG! Actress and mathematician Danica McKellar wants girls to know that being good at numbers is cool.; [U.S. Edition Edition] Retrieved  at 12:49 pm from http://proquest.umi.com.centhsally.centenarycollege.edu:2048/pqdweb?index=0&did=1312311471&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1185899880&clientId=10301

 

Reference:

Guttman, Howard M., The Art of Managing Conflict. USA Today Magazine, 01617389, Jan2004, Vol. 132, Issue 2704. Retrieved at 7:45 am on August 20, 2007 from:http://web.ebscohost.com.centhsally.centenarycollege.edu:2048/pov/detail?vid=5&hid=112&sid=b02acd8a-f7d1-4c0e-afbb-686e5d4ef027%40sessionmgr109

Love Works – Joel Manby – Toastmasters International speech.

May 27, 2014

Love Works…Joel Manby Keynote

Joel Manby is a professional businessman, not a professional speaker and I got the pleasure to see him speak well and sincerely at the International Toastmasters Conference held in Orlando, Florida on 15 August, 2012. (Yes I’ve been meaning to get this out to you for a while, the old saying about writers and procrastination may have some truth to it after all). However, the lessons Mr. Manby teaches, imbibes and lives are still true. Here is part of his story, which I may continue in future for brevity’s sake.

Manby was the CEO for the U.S. operations head for SAAB. He described how on Easter Sunday he received a life-changing call from his boss in Sweden. In fact, it was the situation that helped him to alter his life for the better and many can probably relate to it….The first quarter sales were down for the North American Saab operations, but Joel had attained three years of solid growth over the previous NA boss…

Despite this, Joel was ‘called into the boss’ office. Except…. this office was in Sweden! The call he got was at 7:30 am in the morning, which meant that it was 3 am in Sweden at the time of the call!

Joel had made 15 moves in 20 years and, as was expected, always showed concern for the bottom line, but when his boss tore into him in Sweden, in front of his peers, he felt humiliated, and a loss of dignity. In short it was his worst nightmare realized and he felt that it was unjustified.

Here was a Harvard business school graduate who had moved all over, working for top companies like General Motors and who always paid attention everywhere to the bottom line and yet he was getting what he felt was the worst treatment of his life!

This is when Joel’s emotional withdrawal began from within from Saab. He thought to himself that there had got to be a better way in business to care about people and profits! There had to be! He wanted to be authentic (same at home, work and spiritually).

That’s the exact moment when Jack Herschend entered his life. Manby says that he’s the best at what he does, and Jack asked Joel to be on his Board….Jack was getting older and he wanted someone to replace him in his growing business. Joel felt thankful and lucky that he was asked by Jack.

As they say, the rest is history….Since 2000, Herschend Family Entertainment has had 12 years of solid growth. Joel can also proudly say that he definitely balanced home and work life.
Joel now has a mission and he wants us to be inspired…so he asked us these questions during the international Conference held at Orlando, Florida.

What is love? Did you know that there are actually four kinds: Eros; philos; storge and agape love(s)…this according to the Greeks.
Agape is unconditional love. How you treat each other. All relationships are about agape. Joel asked: why do we exclude agape?

He never saw this in any previous of the companies he worked for. It’s not being ‘soft.’ (An inaccurate thought).

Go to the Bible. 1st Corinthians: “love is patient, kind, trusting, and unselfish, truthful, dedicated, forgiving….weddings (?)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%2013:4-7).

Be unselfish – think of self less.
He developed this formula, (Employee unselfishness + Company unselfishness= and Sharing (our love, ideas, skills = it)) forward:
Think of yourself less…EU$ + CU$ = SIF$$$ (share it forward)…

I will follow this article up with more information as I may have piqued your interest now…gotta go! You’ve got enough information now to look into these great ideas for yourselves. Gotta keep you on your toes…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Manby

“Joel Manby is the current President and Chief Executive Officer of Herschend Family Entertainment, the largest family-owned theme park corporation in the United States. HFE creates, develops and operates entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties spanning 26 locations in ten states.”

http://www.joelmanby.com

Dare to be Different; on Life, Lexus and Dell.

May 12, 2014

 

Reflective Journal #4

Differentiation

 

Prepared by:    Neil Shreedhar

Due Date:        Jun 02, 2007

 

Instructor:       Professor Mark Burgess

 

Course:            GBA 602 ­­       Marketing Management  

 

Differentiation

 

It is true that product differentiation is essential to the branding process. In choosing to differentiate a product, a marketer has the choice of form, features, performance quality, conformance quality, durability, reliability, reparability, and style. What follows are examples of currently produced products that have been differentiated and branded for each of these design parameters, a brief analysis and discussion of the example.

 

Definitions, examples and brief discussion of above marketing terms.

Conformance quality. Buyers expect the degree to which all the produced units are identical and meet the promised specifications to be high.

Example: Toyota’s are manufactured to stringent standards. Here is a mass produced item that practically revolutionized the car world. At one point in time it was difficult to get cars to start in cold winter weather, but now that Japanese automakers have resolved this problem, or perhaps with higher car standards have initiated the resolution to the problem, thankfully, it has become a non-issue.

According to ‘Mastering the quality staircase,’ Conformance, reliability, performance, and customization are the steps to climb on the way up to achieving competitive edge (Kim et al, 2007, p.1). In a step-by-step progression in order for its workers to understand the importance of quality analysis and problem-solving in the making of its car:

Toyota Motors trains its workers in these methods (Step one of the progression) for four months before they start to work (Kim et al, 2007, p.1).

No wonder they excel and garner a loyal customer following!

Durability is a measure of the product’s expected operating life under natural or stressful conditions, and is a valued attribute for certain products.

Example: Kenmore appliances. Sears has made an enviable reputation with the durability and the service attention that it gives to its appliances. It is evident that this reputation has also endured over the years since Sears has been selling appliances such as refrigerators since about 1910 (Sears Archives, 2007, p.1)![1].

Reliability. Buyers normally will pay a premium for more reliable products. Reliability is a measure of the probability that a product will not malfunction or fail within a specified period.

Example: Dell is another company known both for its reliable computer products and its ability to service these items:

Dell, EMachines, and IBM stand out on most reliability measures, while HP and Compaq often lag their peers. We’re treating HP and Compaq as separate brands (PC World, 2007, p.1)

 

  1. This is a measure of the ease of fixing a product when it malfunctions or fails.

Example: Microsoft. Despite all the woes that we seem to experience due to patches that have to be applied to prevent viruses from entering our computer systems, I am amazed at the ability that Microsoft has demonstrated to be able to resolve the issues of potentially millions of computer users. This is a phenomenal achievement when it is put into perspective.

Style describes the product’s look and feel to the buyer. Car buyers pay a premium for Jaguars because of their extraordinary look. Aesthetics play a key role….(Kotler & Keller, 2006, p.377).

Personally, I prefer a Lexus, and associate this car with esthetic beauty and class.

Example – Lexus:

 

Lexus has become synonymous with luxury since its introduction in 1989. By offering some of the finest quality luxury vehicles and providing benchmark customer service, Lexus has become the top-selling luxury nameplate in the United States for six years in a row. Lexus and its 217 dealers have repeatedly achieved high honors for both the products they sell and the customer service they provide as rated by the independent research firm of J.D. Power and Associates (FT Business of Luxury Summit, p.1).

The ‘style statistics’ seem to speak for themselves! Wow!

Conclusion

 

In sum, “to be branded, products must be differentiated. Physical products vary in their potential for differentiation. At one extreme… (there are)…products…that allow little variation…At the other extreme are products capable of high differentiation, such as automobiles” (Kotler & Keller, 2006, p. 376). This implies that in order for the consumer to keep clear which product he wishes to buy, and for what reason he wishes to buy it, it is important from a brand recall perspective that marketers learn to differentiate their products, no matter how small the differences, in order to be successful marketers.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Kim, K.Y., Miller, J.G. & Heineke, J. (1997). Mastering the quality staircase, step by step. Business Horizons. Retrieved on May 30, 2007 at 8:13 pm from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1038/is_n1_v40/ai_19369681

 

Kotler, P., & Keller, K.L. (2006). Marketing Management (12th ed.).  New Delhi:  Prentice-Hall of India Private Limited.

 

FT Business of Luxury Summit. (2006). The Rationalization of Luxury – New Business Models, New Strategies. Retrieved on May 30, 2007 at 8:38 pm from http://www.ftbusinessofluxury.com/2006/Sponsors.asp?m_pid=0&m_nid=5805 – 37k –

 

PC World (2003).  Reliability and Service Report Card http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,112915-page,8/article.html

 

Sears Archives. Retrieved on May 30, 2007 at 7:59 pm from  http://www.searsarchives.com/products/questions/appliances/kenmore_refrigerator.htm

 

[1]Retrieved on May 30, 2007 at 7:59 pm from  http://www.searsarchives.com/products/questions/appliances/kenmore_refrigerator.htm

Shreedhar on Maxwell’s Leadership Key #15 – Selflessness.

March 12, 2012

Review of Maxwell’s Leadership Keys: #15 – Selflessness
 

He’s a New York Times Bestselling management-guru and in “The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player” John C. Maxwell writes about being selfless, or as he puts it at the preface of the chapter, quoting Charles Goodyear:  

“Life should not be estimated exclusively by the standard of dollars and cents. I am not disposed to complain that I have planted and others have gathered the fruits. A man has cause for regret only when he sows and no one reaps (Maxwell, 2002, p.125).”   

Put another way by George Burns:

“When you stop giving and offering something to the rest of the world, it’s time to turn out the lights (Maxwell, 2002, p.125).”

Selflessness 

Philip Toosey joined military service to be with his friends and was initially commissioned as a second lieutenant, excelling to be major in a fairly short time.  

In 1939 Toosey served in France, then transferred to Malay Peninsula. He was part of a failed attempt to defend this and Singapore region from Japanes aggression. He had been promoted to lieutenant colonel in command of the 135th regiment, however his troop had been forced to retreat all the way back to Singapore and thus, as surrender was inevitable, he was ordered “to leave his men and ship out (Maxwell, 2002, p.127)” to preserve his expertise for use elsewhere (Maxwell, 2002, p.127).”  

It was here that Toosey demonstrated a truly unselfish nature as he realized that if he left his troops it would devastate their morale. He got a tremendous “rocket” but won his point as he courageously spoke up to his superiors and was able to reply that as a Territorial Officer, all orders were subject to discussion. Thus Allied forces surrendered to the Japanese in 1942 and Toosey and his men were held in a Prisoner of War (POW) camp which left him in charge of Allied prisoners as the senior officer of Allied forces. Life in a POW camp can be described at best as grim, but Toosey was an excellent negotiater and despite the personal sacrifice and hardship tthat it caused him, he persevered in his efforts to gain benefits for his charge. The movie Bridge on the River Kwai was based (however inaacurate in its portrayal of him) on Toosey. For the audacity of having to  and being able to stand up to the Japanese, in looking out for the needs of his men, Toosey was often rewarded in such a fashion:  

“He suffered regular beatings and was made to stand at attention in the sun for twelve hours, yet his persistent badgering caused the Japanese to improve conditions for the Allied prisoners (Maxwell, 2002, p.128).” 

Toosey’s behaviour represented the epitome of selflessness and there is much subsantiating war data as to his heroics and his humility. Notable is his selfless regard for former comrades in the Allied war effort: upon return to England after the war, he continued his pre-war work with the merchant bank Barings as well as work for the Far East Prisoner of War Federation, to assist former Prisoners of War. 

 

Fleshing it Out 

In order to develop the qualiy of selflessness Maxwell suggests a few tips: be generous, avoid internal politics, display loyalty, and value interdependence over dependence. 

Starting in reverse order of these qualities….

Although North Americans value independence (“innovation, hard work and standing for what is right”), taken too far, independence represents selfishness, especially when it in some way harms others. Ancient philosopher Seneca suggested that “you must live for others if you wish to live for yourself (Maxwell, 2002, p.131).” 

To display loyalty, put yourself on the line for team mates, much as Toosey did for his men, who apparently reciprocated gladly with hard work and completed deadlines, no matter how difficult the task. “Loyalty fosters unity, and unity breeds team success (Maxwell, 2002, p.130).” 

Avoid internal politics and positioning yourself for maximum personal benefit in addition to internal politics as these can damage important relationships. Einstein encapsulated this as follows: “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself (Maxwell, 2002, p.130).”  

Be generous, or, as St. Francis of Assisi stated: “All getting separates you from others; all giving unites to others (Maxwell, 2002, p.130). Selflessness or generosity of spirit sets a team up to succeed through unity and generous sharing of one another with the team.

Reflecting on it

 

Maxwell asks us to reflect on how selfless we are….Do we graciously put others on the team ahead of ourselves? Do we cringe if others get credit for work that we’ve done, or if we have to take a backseat to someone else? He offers us the choice of shouting, pouting or toughing it out and being selfless.

Bringing it home

(Tips on becoming a more selfless team player) 

To become more selfless….

Promote others; take a subordinate role and give secretly.  

Instead of promoting yourself, Maxwell suggests why not praise colleagues by finding positive things to say about them over the span of a few weeks? 

Instead of taking the best place for yourself, allow someone else to come before you; see how you feel… as you may find that it affects your whole being in a positive way. 

Writer John Bunyan recommended that we give to others without them realizing it. He suggested that this was an important habit to develop: “You have not lived today successfully unless you’ve done something for someone who can never repay you (Maxwell, 2002, p.132).”

 

Daily Take-Away

 

It is well to contrast an opposing quality to gain a true appreciation of a positive one…. 

In 1916, Georgia Tech played a tiny law school – Cumberland University – and were beating them badly. The mindset and final score of 222 to 0 was succinctly captured in this brief exchange between the quarterback, who fumbled the snap from centre, and his fullback who was tired of being repeatedly sacked:

Quarterback: “Pick it up! Pick it up!”

Fullback: “Pick it up yourself – you dropped it.”

A poignant example of how things shouldn’t go….

 

Nilésh (Neil) Shreedhar.

Shreedhar on Maxwell’s Leadership Key #14 – Self-Improvement.

March 12, 2012

Review of Maxwell’s Leadership Keys: #14 Self-Improvement

He’s a New York Times Bestselling management-guru and in “The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player” John C. Maxwell writes about Self-improving, or, as he puts it at the preface of the chapter, “to improve the team, improve yourself.” 

He writes about how Nokia, the well-known communications provider started from its inception as a company involved in the pulp and paper business (he quips, so you could say that they’ve always been in the communications business), to expansion into the rubber business, to adding Finnish Cable Works, always doing better at each stage of expansion. “By the 1960s, the company had four major business segments: forestry, rubber, cable, and electronics.” It is exactly at this point that Nokia, now one of the largest producers of cellular phones in the world, ran into some turbulence. As a huge conglomerate it started losing money and company executives knew that changes needed to be made – and fast! 

Jorma Ollila, a young executive with the company, whose background was in finance and banking, was the unlikely solution to Nokia’s growing pains. After turning the unprofitable mobile-phone division around and making it profitable, with this spectacular success he was then asked to take over the helm and be both the president and CEO of Nokia in 1992! He then took this success and developed a focus on the area of greatest potential: communications technology, eventually divesting the company of its rubber and paper interests. Ollila also recognized that the company’s greatest strength was its people, especially important in a company whose business was technology.  

As Ollila put it, “the technology cycles are shorter. We must build on our discontinuities and turn them into our favour.” He personally demonstrates this philosophy, having earned three master’s degrees – in political science, economics, and engineering. He has not only made it a personal goal to improve himself, but has also made it a corporate one: ““the Nokia Way” is grounded in four objectives: customer satisfaction, respect for the individual, achievement, and continuous learning…That strategy has been right on. Ollila has turned a money-losing conglomerate into a $20 billion global telecommunications enterprise (Maxwell, 2002, p.119). ”  

As a direct result of their forethought and ambition, Nokia has brought invention and innovation to the cellular phone industry by introducing ring tones, faceplates with special colour or team logo or short-message chat functions. 

So what has Nokia’s key lesson been to the industry and to the business world? It has been one of self-improvement…“and as long as they (the people on the Nokia team) keep getting better, so does Nokia. (Maxwell, 2002, p.119).”

 

Nilésh (Neil) Shreedhar


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