Will I ever find God?

During the course of their long journey, a renowned master and his student were passing by a village one morning. They stopped by a villager’s house to request some water.

While giving them a jug of water, a villager asked:

“Will I ever find God?”
“You will,” replied the Master.

And they continued their journey. In the afternoon stopped by a place to eat their lunch.

A young careless princess passed by the road. While drinking some water from their jug, she asked:

“Will I ever find God?”
“No, you won’t,” said the Master.

In the evening, when they reached another village, a gentle but strong leader of the village welcomed them and offered the dinner and asked the same question:

“Will I ever find God?”
“That’s up to your choice,” replied the Master.

And they went to sleep.

The student was not able to sleep. During the day, they met three different people. All of them asked the same question but the Master gave them different answers. He was wondering whether he has chosen the right master.

“Because they all are different human beings, and each one of them will find God his or her own path.”

“The villager will find God by believing in what I said.”
“The literate princess will try different wise ways and find God on her own as she would not necessarily believe in what I said.”
“The leader will believe in his own choice so when he will make the correct choice, he’ll find God!”

The one minute manager

Since you are reading this post, you might be wondering: how can I take my people management skills to the next level?

Or you might be interested in knowing more about  The One Minute Manager, a people management book from Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

I got to know about The One Minute Manager book when I had no clue about what to expect from this book.

In 2007, I started working with a mid-sized Software Development and Internet Marketing Company led by an American CEO.  He was a great coach and very good with training people.

Since I was hired to head their Product Development Division, soon after my joining, I was “given” the One Minute Manager Book to learn people management from and take my people management skill to the next level.

I received The One Minute Manager Book with the following handwritten remarks from the CEO:


It is great to have you on the team!

I look forward to many productive years of working together.

Enjoy the book and even more important, be the best manager your team can ever have!

Ok, we did not work together for many years, just one – but that’s another story. For now, here is what I did with the book:

I read it. I understood it a little and started acting according to the guidelines and principles offered in the book. It helped. In the last 5 years, almost everyone with whom I worked conveyed that working with me was an enjoyable ride for them.

So, here’s to the ones who want to take their people management skills to the next level.

(If you are seeing this post in RSS or a mobile device that does not support embedded slide views, please click on this link.)

Years changed and my thinking got transformed from managing people to leading people. However, this book still is relevant and offers a good foundation when you need to get things done by putting in management principles in action.

In a purely results-oriented work environment, this books helps to produce relevant results in less time. Here is a quick perspective:

  1. Set goals: praise and reprimand behaviors; encourage people.
  2. Speak the truth: laugh; work; enjoy…
  3. and encourage the people you work with to do the same as you do!

Have you read this book? How did you find it? Were you able to leverage the principles outlined in the book? Share it in the comments.

Or you think you should read this book? Here’s the link from where you can buy the One Minute Manager book.

Note: This post was originally published on 9th Oct 2008. This is refined to provide better context and to include the One Minute Manager presentation that I use to make the managers working in my team better people managers.

Conclusion kills

I prefer not to jump to the conclusions especially when I don’t have necessary data and well-thought perceptions about a matter. 

I prefer not to conclude on the matter until it makes an absolute sense. Because I believe that conclusion kills. Conclusion kills the possibility to learn deeply about the matter.

An acquaintance who concludes very quickly asked me once: Why not to conclude and execute with speed? Binary results – zeros and ones – give me the clarity to move forward fast.

I get it. Moving forward fast is important. But we need to know that moving forward fast does not always equate to making progress.

With that said, I have no issues with conclusions. They often provide us foundation to base our next set of actions. But I do not appreciate the tendency of jumping to conclusions very quickly.

A better way is to refrain from jumping to conclusions without adequate data and keep things open and execute in tiny chunks continuously.

The continuous execution requires a feedback loop where you get to know the situational feedback after executing a small chunk of what needs to be executed.

That’s what agile mindset is all about. That’s what differentiates continuous learners from others.

Be a continuous learner, don’t jump to the conclusions – because conclusions kill!

A case against urgency

Haven’t you heard the word ‘urgent’ used even when the matter is not so urgent?

It’s a known tactic which might be effective in the short term but not otherwise, for sure.


Because the word itself is overrated. It deprecates any quest that’s not urgent.

Who wants to communicate something that does not carry any value? The real problem is: When it becomes an integral part of the culture, everyone else’s also encouraged to use the word ‘urgent’ in their not-so-urgent conversations as well.

Sometimes, in over-achievement oriented environments, the word ‘urgent’ is misused to create unreal pressure which leads to breakdowns and worse. For example, a whiny (and possibly an insecure) boss calls you on Saturday evening and scream: If you don’t respond to client’s email during the weekend, we’ll end up losing this client. Why don’t you understand the urgency?

You should not be surprised to find that all the projects – regardless of its size and scope – with all the clients are urgent for this kind of boss.

Everyone gets it. It’s connoted.  Most people want to get things accomplished as soon as they can be completed.

I remember a story from my childhood which resonates well with the toxic urgency.

Urgent Help Needed: Tiger’s here…It’s urgent, really!

There was a naughty shepherd boy living in a small village.  The village was near to the forest and there were instances of animals attacking people who lived near the border of the village.

Everyday, the boy used to take the cattle for grazing to the outskirts of the village.  One day, the naughty boy decided to make fun of fellow farmers.  So, he took the cattle towards the edge of the village, near to the forest.  After some time he started screaming,  “Urgent Help Needed! The tiger is here. It is eating away my cattle. Is there anyone who can save my cattle from the tiger?”

On hearing his voice, his fellow farmers left their fields and rushed in the direction from the voice was coming. They took sticks and cross-bows to attack  the tiger.  When they reached, they found no tiger but the only naughty boy. They asked, “Where’s the tiger? Are you alright?”

“Seems the tiger was also in some sort of urgency so he ran away,” grinned the boy.

Confused farmers returned back to their fields.

Same instance was repeated two days later. The farmers now understood that they were fooled and became angry but couldn’t do anything. The boy made fun of them again and thought how smart he was.

Four weeks later, the boy encountered a real tiger. Panicked as he started crying for help: “Please someone urgently save me. The tiger is here, he’s eating my cattle and soon I’ll be no more.”

The cries were heard by his fellow farmers. They thought, “The naughty boy is playing the same silly prank. There’s no need to go there and make a fool of ourselves.” They decided not to rush for help.

But,  few  minutes later the farmers  heard the roar of the tiger. They quickly discovered that this time it was not a prank so they rushed again to help the boy. But it was too late.  The boy was killed by the tiger and the tiger was heading to the forest.

The above story is used to teach children not to speak lies however if you observe, it translates another message as well.

Don’t make the word ‘Urgent’ cheap. Instead, reserve it for a sudden unforeseen crisis such as when there are specific, unbowed consequences for non-actions.

Smart as a Whip 101

  1. Read.
  2. Read more;
  3. Read meaningful books;
  4. Read meaningful books and blogs;
  5. Keep reading;
  6. Keep reading something you would like to learn from;
  7. Walk.
  8. Walk more;
  9. Keep walking;
  10. Keep walking; pause;
  11. Keep walking; pause, pause often;
  12. Keep walking, pause often; Reflect on why you’re walking;
  13. Write.
  14. Write a daily book;
  15. Write a daily book of experiences called journal;
  16. Keep writing. Eventually, it will become the basis of practical learning.
  17. Talk.
  18. Talk less;
  19. Talk less; listen more.
  20. Remember: We have 2 ears (to listen) and one mouth (to talk);
  21. Talk only when you really need to.
  22. Pause.
  23. Pause, slow down;
  24. Pause and slow down, to enjoy the journey.
  25. Pause, Smile, Breathe and Go Slowly.
  26. Eat.
  27. Eat tasty food;
  28. Eat tasty and healthy food;
  29. While eating, healthy is better than tasty.
  30. Pray.
  31. Pray daily;
  32. Pray for someone who is near to you;
  33. Pray for someone who is not;
  34. Keep praying.
  35. Be prepared.
  36. Be prepared, practice a lot.
  37. Be prepared, practice a lot, and excel in your subject like no one else has done, ever.
  38. Deliver.
  39. Deliver early;
  40. Deliver early; deliver often.
  41. Keep delivering;
  42. Keep Delivering Happiness.
  43. Imagine.
  44. Imagine vividly;
  45. Imagine vividly and creatively;
  46. Imagine vividly, creatively and severely;
  47. Imagine vividly, creatively, severely and ruminatively.
  48. Plan.
  49. Plan just enough;
  50. Plan just enough and be flexible enough to respond to changes.
  51. Change.
  52. Embrace change;
  53. Embrace change and treat change as an only constant;
  54. Keep changing, for good.
  55. Execute.
  56. Execute the right thing;
  57. Execute the right thing for the right mission;
  58. Execute the right thing for the right mission and for the right vision;
  59. Focus.
  60. Laser focus;
  61. Focus on the most important ;
  62. Focus on the most important thing that matters now.
  63. Learn.
  64. Learn more;
  65. Learn more but study less;
  66. Keep learning.
  67. Unlearn.
  68. Unlearning is harder than learning;
  69. Unlearning is being open to change; embracing the change;
  70. Unlearning is the most powerful learning tool.
  71. Relearn.
  72. Relearn what you have unlearned;
  73. Relearn with a different perspective;
  74. Relearning brings you near to enlightenment.
  75. Thank.
  76. Thank him;
  77. Thank her;
  78. Thank them all;
  79. Thank you is one of the most powerful words.
  80. Be happy.
  81. Be happy for no reasons;
  82. Be happy for who you are;
  83. Be happy for who you are not;
  84. Choose to be happy.
  85. Measure.
  86. Measure what is important;
  87. Have the right metrics for measurement;
  88. Remember: things can be managed well if it can be measured.
  89. Manage.
  90. Manage yourself first;
  91. Manage yourself first and then manage others;
  92. Remember; if it’s not inherited from ‘people’ class, manage.
  93. Show up;
  94. Show up if it’s a good day;
  95. Show up if it’s bad;
  96. Even if you think you’ll fail, just show up.
  97. Lead.
  98. Lead almost always;
  99. Lead beyond your title.
  100. Remember: People cannot be managed, only led.
  101. So, lead, lead, lead – with or without a title.

Value Vs. Inputs

Undelivered value and just applauding inputs…is easy compared to delivering something that makes a difference.

Applauding your Service Delivery Manager being online at 2:00 am to handle client escalation is easy. Applauding your VP of Sales traveling to tens of new geographies to initiate new sales tie-ups is easy.

Creating and measuring KRAs to applaud any such activities is relatively very comfortable and easy.

But Business is hard. So are the projects and so is life – it takes creating a service, a product or a result of actual value. It will be replaced by some other mediocrity, otherwise – sooner than later!

Questions that make difference are:

  • What did your Service Delivery Manager do to ensure that a similar type of escalations is prevented in the future? What did he do to ensure that his work-life balance is maintained?
  • What strategies your VP of Sales executed in the past quarter that made sure that constant flow of repeat business is in the pipeline – without even filling her calendar with tons of client visits? Why does she keep visiting tens of new geographies? What is ‘Visit to Valued Relationship’ ratio?

Imagine what value your business will get if your Service Delivery Manager is able to maintain his work-life balance or your Sales VP is able to spend the time to really ‘think’ about creating strategies that will take your business to newer heights, rather than fearing and doing acts of mediocrity?

Wouldn’t your business be able to deliver something that creates tri-way win-win? For the client, for the employees, and for the organization?