Dear Learn & Perform subscriber,
Here is the October e-news.
November 5th is the day when Deepavali, the Indian Lights of Festival takes place. It is symbolic of a renewal when the old things give way to the new things. It signifies a day of happiness. We wish all those who celebrate the auspicious day, a very Happy Deepavali. Today, we host our friends to the traditional concept of a Malaysian Open house when we have visitors mingling with friends and community to share in the joy of renewal.
It is also a day when I am reminded of HBS Professor Clay Christensen’s article: How Will You Measure Your Life?The classic article is a master piece and reminds me of several things that we forget in life or take for granted. To learn more about Christensen’s work, visit hisHBR Author Page. Professor Clay Christensen is seriously ill and with due respect to him and his quest for sharing his work, HBR kept this article free until end of October. I attach excerpts from his article as no one can ever capture the essence of the article better than the original words.
“Before I published The Innovator’s Dilemma, I got a call from Andrew Grove, then the chairman of Intel. He had read one of my early papers about disruptive technology, and he asked if I could talk to his direct reports and explain my research and what it implied for Intel. Excited, I flew to Silicon Valley and showed up at the appointed time, only to have Grove say, “Look, stuff has happened. We have only 10 minutes for you. Tell us what your model of disruption means for Intel.” I said that I couldn’t—that I needed a full 30 minutes to explain the model, because only with it as context would any comments about Intel make sense. Ten minutes into my explanation, Grove interrupted: “Look, I’ve got your model. Just tell us what it means for Intel.”
I insisted that I needed 10 more minutes to describe how the process of disruption had worked its way through a very different industry, steel, so that he and his team could understand how disruption worked. I told the story of how Nucor and other steel mini mills had begun by attacking the lowest end of the market—steel reinforcing bars, or rebar—and later moved up toward the high end, undercutting the traditional steel mills.
When I finished the mini mill story, Grove said, “OK, I get it. What it means for Intel is...,” and then went on to articulate what would become the company’s strategy for going to the bottom of the market to launch the Celeron processor.
I’ve thought about that a million times since. If I had been suckered into telling Andy Grove what he should think about the microprocessor business, I’d have been killed. But instead of telling him what to think, I taught him how to think—and then he reached what I felt was the correct decision on his own.
That experience had a profound influence on me. When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly. Instead, I run the question aloud through one of my models. I’ll describe how the process in the model worked its way through an industry quite different from their own. And then, more often than not, they’ll say, “OK, I get it.” And they’ll answer their own question more insightfully than I could have.”
He urges the readers of the article to find cogent answers to three simple but powerful questions:
- How can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
- How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
- How to live a life of integrity
The answer to the first question can be found from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. It enables you to become a Rainbow Creator. As I wrote in my book, you have the choice to be a Rainbow Creator, to recognise you can make a difference or to become a Rainbow Chaser, one who believes in the ‘if only” mode.
The answer to the second question lies in creating a strategy for your life. Just like a company allocates resources, each one of us have to allocate our resources (time) to achieve our life mission. This is critical to shape your life strategy. An important model he proposes is the tools of cooperation. Employees need to be persuaded to make the changes needed for organisational success.
The response to the third question is always about defining for yourself what you stand for and as he says draws the line in a safe place.
So, how will you measure your life?
In my last e news I quoted Bernie DeKoven who said: “Today I realise that every minute I didn't spend loving or laughing was a waste of time. It comes a little late, but I won't lose another minute by not enjoying life and the fun of it." On a recent incident, I had got agitated and one of my colleagues reminded me about the statement. I paused and reflected that I was not practicing what I was preaching. I chose to stay calm that day after the feedback.
I had promised my daughter Shrieeya for a week I will take her to the play land. I kept missing my appointments with her. Professor Clay Christensen’s article was a wake up call.
Living a life of integrity is not just about actions but also about thoughts as president Carter once said.
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Have a great month ahead.