Lessons from Dhoni !

During my workshops, participants ask me about the ‘techniques to get the best out of the team members’. Generally I recommend the key principles in the books ‘First break all rules’ by Markus Buckingham and ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins and it goes like this;

  • Get the right people in and the wrong people out. Then ask them what can be done for the accomplishment of the team goals
  • Play on the strengths of your people
  • Bring in clarity to the roles and responsibilities
  • Put the right person on the right job and give him the freedom to operate
  • Do not de-motivate people
  • Be a contributing manager, not a controlling manager (pigs and chickens)

These are my versions of the concepts discussed in these books and have worked for me.

After watching the 20-20 Indian premier league cricket matches (right now 12 matches over), by and large the above observations are right. So far Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai team has been the most successful, winning all the four matches they played and the next best is Shane Warne of the RAjasthan team. These two enjoy the game themselves and lead from the front most of the time, when there is a crisis. They both laugh a lot on and off the field, where as some of the biggest failures so far  like Rahul Dravid  and  HArbajan Singh  have very serious faces most of the  time…they dont radiate a feeling as if they are enjoying the game, instead  they reflect  tension and pressure.

So the lessons from Dhoni –  ” As a manager or captain, you should be enthusiastic and enjoying what you are doing. Should chip in and contribute whenever the team is facing an uphill task. Utilize your resources well based on their strengths. Sometimes the team can fail. As long as the wins are more than the losses, it is okay!. Enjoy it !


The paradoxical commandments

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self centered. Love them any way
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank any6 way.
  6. The biggest men and women with the bi9ggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. THink big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you7 have anyway.

By Kent M. Keith

Stimulus and Response

Stephen Covey in his ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ and the ‘eighth habit’ stresses on the time gap between the stimulus and response. Between the stimulus and response there is a fraction of a second lag, which helps us to choose our actions which are value based and principle centered. Sri Sri Ravishankar goes one more step ahead and asks ‘Do you have any choices, when you are totally surrendered to the almighty?’ – he states that in the state of complete surrender to almighty lord, we have only one option – to follow him.

Yesterday I wanted to watch the 20-20 cricket match, and suddenly someone else wanted to see some other program on the TV. The options I had was;

1) Use my authority and overrule other’s choices

2) Get angry and do whatever I wanted to do

3) Get out of that room

4) Have the realization that this is one out of 45 matches to be played and is not that important. Have that child like curiosity to see that program which others are preferring over the 20-20 match. There should be something unique there.

I went by the 4th option and did not regret. It was a fantastic dance competition which I enjoyed to the core 🙂

Now I am even more motivated to leverage the time lag between stimulus and response:-)

Patterns from PM workshops !

After training 1000+ project managers from different nationalities, it is time for some soul searching for patterns;

  1. All PMP certified project managers are not great managers.
  2. All non PMP’s are not poor managers.
  3. Some PMPs and some non PMPs are great managers.
  4. A PMP certification just ensures that one knows the basics of classical (some people call it as traditional or ancestoral) project management.
  5. Only 10% of the workshop participants makes it to the exam hall.
  6. 98% of those who made it to the exam hall have passed.
  7. All the candidates who failed in the first attempt, did not consume the allotted time of 4 hours for the exam.
  8. As the usual trend of most of the project managers, the initial reaction after failure was disbelief and the next – blaming it on other factors, and never taking responsibility for failure.
  9. Most of the failure cases, never read PMBOK seriously before the exam.
  10. Some people told lot of people about their PMP exam, which created peer pressure for them to pass in the first go itself, and they cleared in the first go itself.
  11. Some others told lot of people about their PMP exam, and this created peer pressure and they succumbed to it.
  12. Most of the guys who failed referred to multiple course wares by different authors
  13. Most of the guys who failed gave undue importance to this exam than what it deserved
  14. Most of the guys who failed, tried to mug up the PMBOK
  15. Whoever started with low scores in the session end tests during the workshops started scoring very high towards the end.
  16. Some intelligent guys failed. Some times some dumb guys also failed 🙂
  17. Whoever attended the maximum calls during the workshops did not understand much and they gave some negative feedback.
  18. You should never start any training program before 9.am. Everyone will say that they will come and only half will turn up.
  19. Sometimes people prefer holidays to attend the training programs, and when they come to the training class on a holiday, they miss their holidays 🙂
  20. Company sponsored candidates prefer working days for attending trainings where as individuals sponsoring themselves prefer holidays to attend the training.
  21. When what is taught in the class (PMBOK) differs from what they are practicing, some gets offended and some switches off. Majority realizes that they are there to learn something new.
  22. Some come to the training programs just to evaluate the food, facilities and the instructor :-).
  23. Some offer jobs to the instructor
  24. Some negative stuff pointed out by someone will be a very positive thing for someone else
  25. If somebody does not write the exam within 45 days of the workshop, the chances of them coming back to the workshop after a year is very high
  26. Whoever got the PMP certification either got promoted within the organization faster or got a better offer from outside 🙂
  27. When the number of participants increases, the communication channels increases challenging time management
  28. When the number of participants are very low, the interaction levels are at it’s best and poses time management challenges
  29. The hygiene factors like the effectiveness of the air conditioning, quality of food , seating arrangements , snacks, lighting etc are very important
  30. The first one hour and the last one hour of the training is critical to it’s success
  31. Some people like experience sharing and for some others it is boring
  32. Some people like videos and for some it does not work
  33. Some like case studies and some do not
  34. Some motivate the trainer and some demotivates
  35. Participants can be late for a training
  36. Trainer cannot be late for a training
  37. Participants are the customers hence the king
  38. The trainer is the service provider hence the servant of all
  39. If you agree with someone they disagree with you
  40. If you disagree with someone they agree with you
  41. Some participants know everything, still they come for training
  42. Some participants come to training to learn something new
  43. Some others are on a vacation 🙂
  44. It is the dilemma of every trainer to decide whether to reward the guys on time or the guys who are late.
  45. Some people get offended when you ignore them in a training
  46. Some people get offended when you give too much attention to them
  47. Some smoke cigarettes and some do not
  48. Some party till the early morning and come to the training to relax 🙂
  49. All are nice interesting people. There is something interesting in every one
  50. Some people understand project management with one certification, where as for some it takes multiple certifications. Very often I hear the quetion ‘What after PMP?’. The answer is ‘Go and practice what you learned and make a difference’. The expected answer is ‘PRINCE2 or program management’. May be, some people keep learning throughout their life without practicing any.

loose control

Recently I picked up ‘God loves fun’ by Sri Sri Ravishankar.  In the book there is a portion which talks about ‘in control’ phenomena. In our lives we come across lot of control freaks. In every management training program, they talk about ‘How to be in control’ of everything. Sri Sri Ravishankar  attributes this as one reason for lack of happiness. Loosing control is better than trying to control. In the Bible Jesus asks this question ‘Can you make one hair of your’s black or white’ – then what is the point in worrying.  Whenever I go to a beach I make it a point to stand still in the water, quiet and looking into the vast expanse of the sea, admiring the greatness of the creator. This helps me to realize the littleness of me in this vast universe.  Recently, my friend and business partner Mr.Murali spoke to me about the same experience he had while doing para gliding.

As one gets more matured (mentally and physically), one has to loose control. As a matured manager, I should be able to delegate better. As a Dad, I should be able to loose control of the TV remote to my kids. As get very old, I should loose control of my everything to others. And most important – It is an easy life, if we can loose control of our lives to God, throughout our lives.

It is so easy to get caught up
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.


Growing up with Rosanna !

The day Rosanna was born, I became a Dad. Now Rosanna is 18 years old and I feel as if I have a very best friend in her. She is growing up, so am I. Any regrets? Yes – not spending enough time with her, when she had the time, when she was a small baby. At that time my salary was very less in India and I wanted to make more money. So I left for Muscat, leaving her behind for a couple of years. That was time lost indeed and at the same time that decision allowed me to save some money to buy my first apartment. Then when I came back, I got engrossed in my work (yes, I did spend time with my family…and it could have been more:-).  Now she is grown up and is going to college. And soon, she will be employed and will have her own family and get busier. By then I will retire, will have more time, money, my health will deteriorate and will have all the time for her. Will She have the time for me?. Why should she?

Recently a friend of mine met with a car accident. A speeding car hit him, and he sommersaulted and fell on the wind shield of the car. By God’s grace nothing happened to him. While sommersaulting in the air, the first thought came to his mind was ‘His family’  and then he thought of  ‘His Work’. I think that is the right priority 🙂

A bitter sweet day !

Today is my Dad’s birthday. If he was alive, he would have been 84 today. Today is Sindhu’s birthday as well. Any way birthdays are for celebrations. On one side,  you long for the presence of the deceased to be able to communicate with them, and to shower your love and affection (which you might have forgotten to express to the fullest) when they were alive and and on the other hand you still dont spend enough time with the loved ones….to regret later. 

Recently I saw an interview of the famous Malayalam actor Srinivasan on the television. He was visiting his old school and one of the very young students asked for an advise. And it was this ‘Dont repeat the same mistake twice. From every mistake one should learn’.

I think it is worth while to slow down a bit, take stock and reprioritize the priorities.

mojopac is something good happened to me these days !

How did I come across Mojopac?.  Like many other good things that happened in my life, I do not remember the source of the first trigger about mojopac.  It is a software, that can be installed on any storage device (in my case, I am using my ipod – better ROI) and when the storage device is hooked to any computer, the control of the computer is transferred to the storage device you are using. It just uses the CPU, key board and the monitor of the machine you are using and you can run all the programs on the portable hard disk you are using.

I am in the process of loading my ipod with all the applications and the data I need. If everything goes well, I can walk into my corporate trainings with just my ipod with mojopac 🙂

It can be downloaded from http://www.mojopac.com