Sunday, 21 February 2016

How is your knee, John ?

This is a story of grit. 

This is a story of determination . 

This is a story of going till the end, come what may ... !

Story of  John Steven Akhwari . 

The basic facts don't tell the story. John Stephen Akhwari was a marathon runner who represented Tanzania in the marathon in 1968. He didn't win a medal. In fact, he came nowhere near. But, in defeat and in pain, he came to represent something much more profound and enduring than many sportsmen achieve in illustrious careers.

Akhwari was never likely to win the marathon, but his chances were wrecked when, perhaps because of the effects of the high altitude, he succumbed to cramps that slowed his progress. If that was painful, then worse was to come after he was involved in a melee of athletes jockeying for position.

Akhwari fell to the ground, gashing his knee and also causing a dislocation. He also smashed his shoulder against the pavement. Most observers, seeing his injuries, assumed he would pull out and go to hospital. Instead, he received medical attention and returned to the track to continue his race.

His pace, of course, was now much lower, but his resolve to complete the event remained intact. Eighteen of the 75 starters had pulled out; he did now wish to add to that number.

And so, more than an hour after the winner, Akhwari crossed the line in last place, cheered home by a few thousand spectators who had remained in the stadium after the sun went down. 

By the time he reached the stadium, he was limping and the bandage around his leg was flapping in the breeze

He was asked why he'd carried on, and his response has gone down in sporting history. 

“My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race,” he said. “They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

Akhwari recovered from his injuries and continued running long-distance races. 

He finished fifth in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and also ran the 10,000m at the same championships. He was a good runner, but his performance, courage and dedication in the face of adversity is what history will remember him for.

It is very very  easy to give up.  

And it is that much hard to go to the end and become a task completer.  

Organizations need more task completers. These people are are the leaders. 

Whenever I see my team and my managers getting tired and they just want to give up,  I ask them ....

"John, How is your knee ?"

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Most Common Problem at the Top

Ronny , the CEO of Company XYZ, was really disgusted as he came out of the meeting room.  He desperately needed a smoke. He bumped into me in the cafeteria. 
"Hey ! You look peaked ! All well ?"
"Hi Ananya ! God has sent you to me. I have to pour my woes ... and there cannot be a better person than you ..."
"Well ... here is my cup ... pour ... " I joked. 
He did not smile. 
"Ananya, there is constant back biting between the different function heads. The Operations managers tries to pull down the IT head, the IT head has differences with the HR Head, the Finance Head has problems with the Operations ... and it goes on ... No one loses a single chance to send out caustic remarks about each other. Sometimes it is subtle and sometimes it is blunt.  I am really pissed off ! 
Why can't the heads go along with each other ?  Will I be able to run my company like this? What will be the outcome ?
"Hmmm.. It is common in most of the organizations. And  yes, the outcome is grave .... I am reminded of a tale from Panchatantra which will elucidate the point.  "
"Panchatantra ?
"Yeah ...Panchantantra stories are  ancient Indian fables, composed in the 3rd century BC, by Pandit Vishnu Sharma. They are stories on human behaviors, portrayed by animal characters.
"This is the story of a bird with two heads ... Just like your IT head, Finance Head and so on ... " I smiled.
Long, long ago, there lived a strange bird in a huge banyan tree. The tree stood beside a river. The strange bird had two heads, but only one stomach.
Once, while the bird was flying high in the sky, he saw an apple shaped fruit lying on the bank of the river. The bird swooped down, picked up the fruit and began to eat it. This was the most delicious fruit the bird had ever eaten.
As the bird had two heads, the other head protested, "I'm your brother head. Why don't you let me also eat this tasty fruit?"
The first head of the bird replied, "Shut up.You know that we've only one stomach. Whichever head eats, the fruit will go to the same stomach. So it doesn't matter as to which head eats it. Moreover, I'm the one who found this fruit. So I've the first right to eat it."
Hearing this, the other head became silent. But this kind of selfishness on the part of the first head pinched him very much. One day, while flying, the other head spotted a tree bearing poisonous fruits. 
The other head immediately descended upon the tree and plucked a fruit from it.
"Please don't eat this poisonous fruit," cried the first head. "If you eat it, both of us will die, because we've a common stomach to digest it."

"Shut up!" shouted the other head. "Since I've plucked this fruit, I've every right to eat it."
The first head began to weep, but the other head didn't care. He wanted to take revenge. He ate the poisonous fruit. As a result both of them died.

"Hmm ... " Ronnie was thoughtful. "All the Heads in my company also have one stomach... and if I  cannot control them , then all of us will die ... I have to do something ... !"

"Yes Ronnie ... Think of something fast so that you can save everybody ... !"