U.S. Election cycle of 2016-my takeaways.

“Hillary doesn’t come across as a strong candidate because she isn’t very dynamic and doesn’t have radical ideas for change. She wants to continue on Obama’s legacy whereas Trump is all about shaking up and bringing in change.” My father’s words rang in my head last night while I was watching Hillary Clinton’s last rally in Philadelphia. I was looking at the Obamas and HRC together and I said to myself, What’s wrong in a picture where power comes from a shared source?  In my humble opinion it’s time for people to honor and understand the collaborative aspect of power in addition to the existing aggressive individualistic concept. An individual can make a difference but real change can only be impacted as a system. Collaboration being a feminine ideal perhaps struggles to find its voice in our masculine competitive view of the world. We need a healthy balance of both to thrive. Assertion is needed to raise issues and collaboration to find solutions.

For someone who has kept herself aloof from politics, I must say that this election cycle has taught me a thing or two and I am writing this blog to share what I have learned.

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US Election 2016-Climax time

The 7 things that stood out to me during this election cycle were:

  1. This election had two candidates who hit the core of our hearts and conscience. Their mere existence asks you, ‘What are you made of?’ – Is your baseline marked by love or by fear?
  2. Emotion trumps rational thought process unless we as human beings use our highly prized ability to discern. Emotion provides us with instant data of what lies beneath and we can choose what we would like to do with this data. Being aware would be the first step.
  3. A message that is hammered long enough around you can become a belief. Constant flow of visuals through media influence what you focus on. What you focus on consistently becomes You.
  4. Collaboration is perceived to be weak and aggressive competitiveness is perceived to be a winner’s attribute. This very notion goes against biology and physiology where every element works in tandem with the other. Can you imagine any single organ of your body being able to function optimally if something else in the system is compromised?
  5. You need to blow your own trumpet. If you boast enough about yourself, your followers will emerge. This is perhaps what social media helps you with. To find and connect with your audience.  A case in point is Bernie Sanders’ campaign whose authenticity and passion resonated with millions.
  6. We need our leaders to be flawless. We can’t tolerate imperfections in the people whom we choose to put high up on a pedestal. Is this even possible? I think this only allows for us mortals to sin without guilt because we aren’t up there. We need to let them be human beings who can err.
  7. You cannot focus on what you don’t have or have lost and expect to become great again. It’s similar to how one cannot focus on disease and expect to become healthy. Disease can be used as a pointer/indicator and only a vision of health can move you towards wellness.
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And I thought I did a shoddy job..

And I thought I did a shoddy job…

A week back, I was asked to make a presentation on Change management for an ERP initiative in our organization. Being an idealist that I am I did the groundwork to let the audience understand the basis of change, need for change and normal reaction to change which is that of resistance/ fear/ mistrust and the like. Therefore the thrust of my presentation was to be that of an attitude change and the rest to follow.

After an hour of discussion with the two project managers, I was disappointed that they wanted to ignore the fundamental aspect of change and feared making a mention of the word “resistance to change” and thought it was better to present it in more digestible words…the point being do not talk of things in black and white or do not address the core, just be at the periphery and expect that the rest would happen on its own. When I quoted the Manager on his own examples wherein he wanted people to become pro- active than reactive and wanted them to take ownership of issues, he did not want to talk of “attitude” change as that would mean digressing from the main issue. Much surprised as I was, I then asked them what was expected of me during the presentation and they gladly mentioned some formats to be filled by people and some change management workshops which were to concentrate on technical changes not attitudinal aspects.

I made the presentation as they wanted me to and got lot of appreciation for doing half a job. Often I hear these words “we want your 100% inputs”, “you are here for your intellectual capabilities” and when one uses it to make things better, he is not allowed to because the people at the top are not sure of themselves or are so sure of what they want that no other changes can take place to the thoughts they have framed.

Knowing fully well in their hearts( the people at the top) that what the other person is saying is valid, they do not venture in to and realize the facts much later when it turns into a crisis situation.

One more possibility is that may be these people are not used to confrontations and seldom come across someone who does not easily say “ Yes” just because the other person is a Boss or in a position of authority.

We keep talking of “empowerment”, “participative decision making” and the likes wherein the participation is restricted to sharing the decision already made.

That day when according to me I did a shoddy job, I realized that even if you have the best to offer it can be materialized only when there is somebody who can digest it, accept it and then work on it or even let you work on it.

Another lesson that I learnt, one who is passionate about his work should also know how to best package it to suit the situation…it is indeed difficult to practice.