Saturday, December 28, 2013

3 key impressions of 2013 - Not new, but key

This is my year-end reflection in blogosphere. It rides on a myriad assumption. It is also much an exercise in brevity as it is in condensation.
Let us look at each one of three points I have from 2013 here. I have also peppered them with insights that I have gleaned again from the net. 

1.       One’s Perceptual Position rules : What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” 
C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew. I recall many a public stances made in 2013, and cannot but help registering this sociological canon that I first encountered in 1987 during my graduation years.  E.g. In India Hazare thought he stood firm, and perhaps did not imagine there was a firmer position in Kejriwal’s stance. The media in India massively rallied emotions around male violence against women, and yet, the personal embodiment of Justice belies the spirit of that struggle. Violence against thought can yet be brought on by categorical judgments, that neither secures the judge, society or the petitioner. Justice too is subject to one’s perceptual position, no matter how positively argued or objectively independent the process of law is. Whether diplomat, attorney, riled politician, or retiring sportsman, perceptual positions have a way of deciphering whether one is standing, in slumber or just physically present in the narrator’s situation.

Insight 1 : RT @JackRicchiuto: Recipe for simplicity: Graciously refuse roles in the dramas of others.
2.       It’s not the medium, it is the message:It is impossible to have a static message in the electric age”. Marshall Mcluhan said that years, nay decades, ago. What a year in which to see two different worlds collapse in unison. The march of social media was rivalled in my estimate by only one other phenomenon – that of the Papacy in 2013. Wrote Steve Hamm recently of the Pope “If he keeps this up, I may have to become Catholic.The message from the Pope has been never as close to Christ’s life since a living memory of a Pope has served me. It is not the Catholicism, per se, but the message getting delivered that makes me review an old NTL adage. “The Use of Self” is about bringing who you are to your work. There's no better place than in facilitating Organisation Development to experience this. Endearing others of alternate faith so openly, is not an ordinary act of inter-faith dialogue. It is amazing how people 'get it' when you are authentic in your expression, and are not bogged down by the medium through which you express yourself. I would love to hear views to this one for sure. Of course, modern day atheists may argue that they have yet to cause a war! With the convergence experienced via the communicative brilliance of the internet, all the world’s a sage!

Insight 2 . “The meaning of communication is the message you get” says Richard McHugh, SJ, my NLP and Gestalt teacher.

3.       Leadership is not about span of control, but sphere of influence. One of the most deeply impactful pieces I came across in 2013, albeit late by the date of publication, was on the rise and fall of Ken Wilber. It spurred me to rethink a lot about leadership, beyond the metaphysical phases of truth that his Integral theory espouses. In fact, evenas I write this, I realise, how the construct of leadership may be perennially sweating to keep itself in the reckoning, if for example, one gave it an animate licence for personhood. My questions of Leadership have been largely centered around the cognitive challenges to leadership, arising as they do in the social learning dynamics of heterarchical enterprises. If there’s even an iota of impact media and messages have, then, it is not about the keeping up with the new social channels in virtual mode, as much as it is about discovering the self enough to stay relevant in a sphere of influence, no matter one’s preferred constituency. No artist can assume to make original distinction without identifying with the needs of the connoisseurs and / or a significant mass of customers of the internet age.  Leadership as I surmised a few years ago, is about becoming oneself, and not about changing others or even about changing oneself.

Insight 3 . “Transformation comes from pursuing profound questions, than seeking practical answers” says Peter Block.

End-note : I have earlier referred to the nation we live in as an uninterrupted mystery. Testimony to all of the above are rife in our midst in the absolute miracle called India. Look forward to 2014 indeed. I hope to meet some of my readers in the work I love doing! 

What would you like to opine of the year gone by? What is the passion you will enjoin to the year ahead?


  1. Hi JG, one phenomenon I am waking to (its not exactly a very recent event) is the futility of a dominant - fix your weakness approach to learning as opposed to the potential & sheer practicality in build on your strengths approach. While this idea has been around for at least 5 years of my awareness, I am suddenly noticing a whole barrage of articles, references in talks, books pointing to this & its becoming more mainstream than a novel idea to me! I intend to bring this idea to bear in my personal & professional life in 2014! lets c how it goes! Natesh

  2. Yes, good choice, Natesh. Our brains are wired for your chosen approach. Go for it. Have a nice 2014.