The Difference Between Guidance And Control

Leadership has a lot to do with directing people. This includes identifying and appropriating their uniqueness. Uniqueness extends to how they are wired: their dispositions, skills and talents. You can change people but only to an extent. Thus guiding is a critical aspect of leading. (Actually, this also applies to parenting)

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Slowing Down and Appreciating The Spectacular

I saw this video from Dumt & Farligt, a Dansih TV show, where the footage was slowed down to 2,500 frames per second. Some of the subjects they chose were a little random but interesting to see at that speed. Check out the video and catch my thoughts after and please do share some of yours. Catch you after the video!

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Reflection(s): Slowing Down and Appreciating The Spectacular

Some of my thoughts while watching the video was, “these guys are insane.” I wouldn’t mind working with them. How did they choose their subjects? Crazy.” Then I think the most significant thought was,

“what spectacular thing would i like to slow down. to savor seeing it unfold in the most captivating way?”

We run through life to get to the next thing. Leadership rushes to the next big thing. To the next lab for the next level of innovation etc. We are constantly driven to the next thing. How often do we actually slow things down to appreciate their beauty as they unfold.

The video, for example, shows amazing patterns when the baseball bat meets the egg. We normally do not see the beauty in that when we look at it with our normal eyes. How often do we miss seeing the spectacular because we are not disciplined enough to slow down.

the spectacular is all around us. It is just that we don’t slow down, just enough to realize and appreciate it.

I’m not suggesting to abandon our resolve for the next innovation or moving on to, or deciding the next challenge. But that we do actually slow down, in a sense, enough to appreciate the spectacular.

It is not that there are no spectacular things happening in our lives, leadership and enterprises, it is just that we never slow down, just that much slower to actually appreciate them enough.

What would you love to have seen in the video? What is the spectacular that you feel people never slow down, just enough to see and appreciate?

 

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Don’t Trip That Granny

You know the days you’re running late and every traffic light is red? It it just so happens while you drive someone cuts in right in front of you! You’re tempted to tell the guy a ‘piece of your mind’…  You get to the mall and it happens to be senior citizens’ discount day. Though you’re in a rush you wait to let the senior citizen go before you. The walker they’re using doesn’t help much.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find myself thinking about what I could do. Perhaps reciprocate the middle finger salute I just received. Or, roll my window down and give the driver who cut me off a nasty tongue lash for a reprimand. Maybe trip the granny that is moving at one meter per hour, so I can be on my way. I don’t follow through, of course. It would be totally out of character. The fact that you think some things doesn’t warrant you to act on them.

The truth is I’m sometimes too quick to voice against injustices against me. Why is it easy for me to talk about how someone or a service provider mistreated me and I’m not so quick to speak up when I’m the perpetrator?! The golden rule explicitly states, ‘do to others what you’d like them do to you’. We twist the golden rule with our actions when we do to others what they’ve done to us but we don’t want them to do to us what they’ve just done to us.

Before I complain about how someone has cut me off in traffic, I should remember that I probably did the same to someone else at another time. Before I start contemplating tripping the granny I should consider the fact that on a day I wasn’t in a rush I was in the way for someone who was. Before I criticize the service provider I should consider how I can be a difficult client. Today I’m reminded that for the one finger I’m pointing there are three pointing back at me. Before I pass judgment I must remember that I am sometimes the  guy who violates me. I should remember that I switch roles between the victim and perpetrator… This is a note to myself and anyone else like me; whatever you do don’t to trip that granny!

UK Riots, Social Media AND The Real Problem

I read a Mashable blog post about Facebook and (Research In Motion) RIM, the Blackberry manufacturer, going to meet UK government officials. The agenda seems to be a result of prime minister, David Cameron’s statement in the House of Commons. According to Mashable, David Cameron mentioned on how, together with some government agencies, they were looking into the possibility of stopping people that were communicating on social media platforms with malevolent intent.

My thoughts… Imposing a ban may not really be the solution.  I think it is important to have some regulations and laws in order to protect people. At the same time I think the riots and history has shown that while the law may deter some from engaging in some activities, it will not deter all. Putting a ban on social media could be like putting a ban on the use of cars because bank robbers used it as a means to get away. Traffic laws still exist… There should be regulations… You cannot shutdown a whole transport system because the ‘bad guys’ use it to get about. How different would the UK government be from some of the states they’ve lambasted in implementing some communication restrictions, if they did the same…? That would be hypocritical! It would be sad waste resources to pursue eradication of means to destructive ends that are merely tools. The scope of my post is not the ban or regulations…

Somehow attention seems to be going to social media. As I’ve already suggested, I don’t think imposing a ban on social media is the solution. The problem is not social media per se. Social media is merely an ‘innocent’ tool. It is neither good nor bad. When society is faced with what the UK experienced recently, it is more important to look at why people did what they did and to the extent they went. Not necessarily what they used. The recent events should cause the UK government and other countries around to world to ask, why the riots started in the first place.

One of the issues is that of values. People’s actions are a mere manifestation of their values. Actions will be always lived out based on the values embraced. The majority of the rioters were young people. In the recent years how people were brought up has been used as justification for malevolent action. In this case, I think it may be used appropriately. Before we blame the looting rioters I think society must first acknowledge and own its part in raising generation acting in this manner. This does not absolve the young people of any responsibility. They still had choices to not participate and perhaps start a counter campaign. Some made choices not to give in to negative peer pressure. Some opportunists grabbed at the chance to get things they never broke a sweat to attain.

 The riots are evidence that work, integrity, character, justice, goodwill to others and other values are no longer as highly esteemed. This could be a result of government policies. It could relate to how the young people are being brought up. It could be a result of the promotion of flippant value on things / stuff, they are taught by some bad role models. Perhaps just a heightened selfishness. Maybe all of the above…

 This is a debate I’ve been having with myself. I honestly don’t know the answer. Oh! And before it sounds like I’m out to bash the UK government, let me say it could’ve been any country in the world. I wonder how many other countries or communities around the world, under the right conditions would’ve experienced what the UK has in the last few days. I think the riots and looting should be a wakeup call not just to the UK government, but the world at large.

 We should all be looking at ourselves, as individuals, families, communities, counties, districts and countries and ask ourselves some questions. What kind of communities are we building? What values are we embracing and perpetuating in the lives of the young around us? Why do we seem not to have the courage to address the real issues, but rush to ‘blame’ the tools being used to manifest the fruit of our failure to confront ourselves and our children? The question we should be asking is not what was stolen. It should not be what was used to rally the young people; if the tools used were to be taken away completely, I am sure they would find other means if they were determined. The question should be why and how are we contributing to this denigration of values, as individuals right up to the collective as nations?

 Your thoughts?


The Speed Of ‘Destruction’

I was just thinking about a visit I took to a city I love. As I looked at how the city had changed, I compared the images in the city to the ones that were lodged in my mind since I was last there. What I saw saddened me. The grass overgrown yet it used to be cut by the city‟s municipality / council.

More than half the traffic lights were not working and not much, if any, maintenance had been done to most buildings recently. Cars, even in the city center move in zigzag at a snails’ pace because of the potholes that have become common place on the roads.

The infrastructure seemed to be on a steady decline from neglect. To a greater extent the reason for the derelict sight  was due to economic chaos that has speedily destroyed the city. The heartrending images in this city demonstrated the regressive impact that neglect, in general, can breed.

There is an author I can’t remember, who referred to how neglect activates the “law of nature‟, whereby even the most beautiful garden, if neglected, will become a jungle. A lot of areas in our lives have the potential to fall apart when we do nothing to consciously maintain them.

For instance, when parents neglect spending quality time with their children, divides are created culminating in a breakdown in relationships and other manifestations of dysfunctions in the family.

Part of a definition of neglect by www.wordweb.info suggests giving little or no attention to something. Perhaps giving little or no attention to improving your skills in your career or work environment could put you in danger. Could it be possible then, that if we are not making any conscious effort or giving attention to improvement in whatever area, we step into the “neglect zone‟?

If so, this could mean that if we are not in any way improving, we are getting worse. As a thought: I don’t think we can accept that we could ever be at a stage of maintaining the status quo. It is either we are improving or getting worse.

Neglect is what I’d like to think as one of the major root causes of backsliding. It all starts with missing a day in a week without spending time with God. Then two days the following week. It may start by missing a Connect group meeting or church on to a point where it becomes routine and eventually one is classified as ‘backslidden’.

It may be not complimenting your spouse like you used to, culminating in diminished appreciation all round. Neglect could also take on the face of not responding to our friends plight for help like we used to.

The speed of ‘destruction’ is not as fast as we think. Nothing ever “just falls apart” suddenly. It is usually a gradual letting down of the guard. If we do not intentionally and constantly asses our teams, systems and lives we are actually working against ourselves.

When was the last time you really took sometime out and did an honest assessment or evaluation of your life, leadership, family, friendships? Based on how you have been expending your time and resources are your priorities still the same? Are you on course? Are there any areas where you are now slacking because it is no longer as easy as it used to be?

I’d like to challenge you to look out for areas of neglect that could have manifested themselves in the life or your family, organization or team. Even in your own personal life. Take note that even the things that seem small or insignificant could be serious. Lots of termites can destroy a large house!

Recognizing these things could save your relationship with your children, your marriage, career, connect group, department you serve in… After all, it is the small foxes that spoil the vine.