As I write this the pandemic has been with Humanity for a little over one and a half years. If History’s signposts are anything to go by, the pandemic would remain with us for another one to one and a half years. In between the viral waves ( third, fourth and so on) would wax and wane as surely as does the moon.
At this point in time, we are witnessing two discrete trends:
The world as a whole is seeing a week to week increase in infections of 11%. Clearly the pandemic is waxing now, with large swathes of countries in Europe, South America and Asia adding to the numbers.
Vaccination has picked up pace with most countries rapidly vaccinating their citizens. The developed countries in Europe and North America have largely vaccinated their population.
If we were to look at India, which just a couple of months back, had a world beating surge in excess of 400,000 new infections a day, the decline from those highs too was rapid. However, as we speak, the infection numbers seem to be flattening out at around 40,000 new cases a day. While this signifies a drop 0f 90% from peak levels, it is still a 400% above the bottom level witnessed at the end of the first pandemic wave last year end.
Thanks to News channels and social media, folks remain nervous about the virus variants. How the COVID 19 virus keeps on mutating, how the Delta ( and other yet to come!) variants are leading to new infection surges all over. There is also widespread concern about the efficacy of the available vaccines against the mutating variants. Folks remain stuck in this narrative and feel confused and disempowered about what they should do.
People ask, “Are we into a no-win situation where a solution to a problem is leading to a new problem arising?”
Europe may provide an answer. Let us look at what is happening in Europe excluding Russia.
Week on week, infections have gone up by 41% ! Currently, new infections over the last week stands at 449,826. This could be partly due to the crowds gathering for the Euro Cup matches!
Total deaths in the previous week has been a mere 1317. This, on a base of 449,826, is a mere 0.3% ! I repeat the deaths as a % of infections is a mere 0.3% !!
What this means is that in Europe the deaths related to COVID 19 is now so miniscule that it might actually be lower than that being caused by common influenza.
What this implies is that while vaccination may not be preventing infection, it is surely diminishing fatalities and that too almost totally.
So where do we go from here? What could we do to shift the overall context so that we could return back to ‘normal living’?
What we could do is this.
Shift our perspective and language from infections to fatalities. In the ultimate analysis, that is what matters (apart from hospitalization, which too gets diminished by vaccination)
Stand in the cause of supporting vaccination. Each one of us could play an enabling role in this by getting one or two folks in our circle vaccinated expeditiously. For example, we could assist our service providers and household helps by registering them for free vaccination on the Government portal.
What will you do today to support your own and your family’s movement towards normal life? Apart from of course circulating this post!
I was in a meeting with my new Chairman. I was passionately elucidating my future plans for the business.
The Chairman looked at me, made a sign of smallness with his fingers and said, “Your businesses generate too small a revenue!”. The stress was on the smallness, the inconsequence of all that I and my businesses were doing.
Stumbling out of the meeting, I was in a daze. To be told by your boss that all your efforts and dreams, all that you stood for, did not matter in the larger scheme of things, was devastating.
As I look back at that crucible moment, I can see how it changed the trajectory of my life thereon.
For days afterward, I was pummeled down by negative thoughts and low self-esteem. I swung between anxiety, anger and bitterness.
The way it occurred to me, there were all these guys, less qualified and with less competence, who were being acknowledged because they seemed to be ‘at the right place at the right time.’
I felt small. I hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve what I had heard. From that one conversation, I seemed to have lost a significant part of myself, opening up hitherto un-noticed doors to self-doubt and self-flagellation.
But then a thought came to me, ‘Had I done enough right?’
I unburdened myself by speaking about the incident and my thoughts to my wife and a couple of trusted workplace colleagues. I felt less like an idiot when I shared what I learned from screwing up. This helped me to move beyond the dark side of my self-doubt and low self-esteem.
The incident supported me to work on that crucible moment question, “Had I done enough right?” It taught me the practice of Self Reflection. It is this that opened up for me new possibilities and opportunities of growth.
In his Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller, ‘The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights’, author Doug Conant speaks of his own journey of self-reflection and discovery that revolutionized his leadership and transformed his career trajectory.
Doug condenses his remarkable leadership story into six practical steps.
Reach High – Envision
Dig Deep – Reflect
Lay the Groundwork – Study
Design – Plan
Build – Practice
Reinforce – Improve
In today’s world of uncertainty and disruption which can leave us stuck and overwhelmed, the above six steps have the potential to lift our leadership and performance to heights that would bring us career success, joy and fulfillment.
Moolya Foundation is a global non-profit organisation with an aim to bring greater inclusivity in public affairs through digital leadership.
The mission of Moolya Foundation is to expand the conversation surrounding public affairs and empower every citizen in the digital age where marginalisation of the common people is fast growing.
To abridge the socio-economic, political and information inequalities in digital societies, Moolya Foundation envisions creating future leaders in public affairs who shall be at the forefront to represent the interest of the common people.
Do see this first part of my freewheeling session with Neha Gour of Moolya Foundation in which we discuss ‘Is Digital Leadership a Skill or a Mindset?’ As happens at such times, The Chronicler of the Hooghly also gets discussed!
Come embark on a journey through Time and Transformation.
Suffering severe injuries from a gas explosion, Anjan meets Savio who brings him face to face with the private demons from his past. But past demons do have a way to come into one’s present with life changing consequences. Who is Savio?
The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories is now available worldwide on Amazon, Flipkart and select book stores.
It was a simple idea that brought in the Reboot Toolbox. An idea about how to support our own-selves (as well as others) to remain relevant in a world with a new normal?
As part of the Reboot Toolbox initiative, a Webinar titled “Pandemic and how to plug-in to the future” has been showcased over the last couple of weeks to alumni associations, students and employees of Leading B Schools and organisations. The Webinar underlined the premise that different skill sets and way of looking at situations would be needed in the new normal. The webinar introduced to the participants practices using the 4 Action Stage initiatives framework and a Resilience Tool.
The Reboot Toolbox is about a vision to upgrade Leadership and Performance in a world with a new normal. A world in which Uncertainty and Volatility would be the norm. The Reboot Toolbox would strive to bring new thoughts and practices aligned to the new normal.
As part of the vision, I invite you to join the Cause. You could do that in the following manner.
(1) Engage in discussions on the forum.
(2) Contribute thoughts, articles and tools to support others in the journey.
(3) Spread the word about the Reboot Toolbox Webinars within your organisation as also to others. They come Free of Cost!
Should the Reboot Toolbox and its vision resonate for you, do reply back to me Offline on : firstname.lastname@example.org
What is that which blocks you from achieving professional success? What practices could you adopt to remove such blocks and maximise your potential?
‘Your limitation – it’s only your imagination’
Are you aware of what professional success would look like for you in terms of your performance, career and life ? What is that which blocks you from achieving professional success? What practices could you adopt to remove such blocks and maximise your potential?
Maximising our professional success is never about what impacts us but our response to that. We never see the world as it is, we see it and respond to it as it occurs for us.
We remain unaware that our listening ( or for that matter seeing, understanding, interpreting) is not an empty vessel, not a blank slate. We assume that whatever someone says to us (that is, what enters our ears) registers in our listening (lands for us) exactly as it was said. This is never so and this is what constrains and distorts our perceptions and actions.
Professional Success is thus really about creating a context that could empower you towards a future that you would like to achieve. What could be the elements of such a context?
Professional Success is also about moving up the effectiveness ladder in terms of how you contribute viz. Doing it under supervision to doing it independently to doing it through others to setting a strategic direction. As you move up in this manner, your contribution expands in terms of your influence, perspective,complexity and impact.
To maximise your professional success I invite you to deliberate and try and answer the following.
What mental attitude and skills would you need to develop to be able toprogress through the above stages?
What kind of a risk-taking style do you have and how does it support your development? How could you change your risk-taking style in order to further increase your effectiveness?
What patterns do you see among those with whom you have the strongest relationships? What patterns do you see among those with whom you do not have the strongest relationships, or any at all?
Think about a person in your network with whom you have a strong relationship. What can you leverage in your relationship with this person to help you build or strengthen your relationship with others?
Choose one key person inside your network who, if you had a stronger relationship, could better support your effectiveness. What is the benefit of improving this relationship? What is the cost if you don’t? What if anything is getting in the way?
Choose one key person outside your network who, if you had a stronger relationship, could better support your effectiveness. What is the benefit of improving this relationship? What is the cost if you don’t? What if anything is getting in the way?
How to be an effective leader during accelerating change and disruption
Change is the only Constant. Or is it?
In my previous post, ‘Heralding the Twenties’ I had spoken of the Change Trap. To cope with an ever accelerating pace of change, we need to become someone or something we were never before. Which in turn leads to a negative impact on our creativity, performance and engagement. I had outlined a practice to avoid this negative impact.
As a changing environment and disruption touches us, we need to have a flexible surface to engage. Which essentially means the need to jettison our past derived rigidity and mindset. With accelerating change, our surface is always in a state of flux. For many if not most of us, this surface flux permeates inwards and starts effecting our core consisting of our values, our passions and relationships. This is when we fall into the Change trap.
Effective leadership in the midst of accelerating change and disruption starts with that changeless core containing your values, passions and relationships. You hold an enhanced awareness of these aspects. You then use these as guiding posts in your language and relationships. This becomes the basis for your effective tango with change and disruption.
An un-fixed and possibility-based mindset allows you to use future-based (rather than past-based) language with others.
If you already know based on your past experience, there is no place to change.
Be willing to reach out to others even if they are not seeking you.
Be willing to speak about the uncomfortable elephant in the room even if it disturbs a cosy status quo.
I invite you to think of and answer these questions in your dealings within your organisation and with team members.
What gets in your way of helping others who have taken on new and unknown challenges?
What language might you use with others which would ignite transformation?
What did you do that encouraged others to perform?
…… and more importantly,
What did you do that drained the energy of others?
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
We remain days away from entering a brand new decade.
A hundred years back, it was called the roaring twenties. An era of economic boom. What kind of twenties are we going to have this time?
I invite you to ponder on the above as also these questions. How would work change? What would create wealth? How would the exponential growth in 24 X 7 human connectivity through social media impact us and our lives?
We are into a world which is changing at an ever increasing pace. We need to continually become someone or something we never were before.
So what happens when we continually become someone or something we never were before? We feel discomfort, fear, uncertainty; we are on edge. How we feel impacts how we act, how we work. So being on edge with negative feelings as above leads to loss of creativity, inability to take risks, loss of productivity and engagement. And herein lies the danger of becoming someone or something we never were before. I call this the Change Trap.
So what could we do to avoid the Change Trap? Since it is difficult to control our feelings, we need to see how we could shift its impact on how we act, how we perform. One way of doing this is to focus inwards – into the kind of changeless core that we are and what makes us tick. Our big vision about the world and our self, our competences, our passions and our relationships.
In the New Year, I invite you to do this practice for just the first fortnight to empower yourself and avoid the Change Trap. Write down the following in your diary every day for 15 days before you go to bed.
When you were at your best today, what were you doing?
When you saw your energy going up, what were you involved in ?
When you felt happy helping someone, what did you do?
Should you persevere with this practise for a fortnight, you will notice how its impact changes your life and the world around you!
I wish you Merry Christmas and a lovely 2020 ahead.