Monday, October 31, 2011

Mind the medium for the body too

Mind the medium for the body too

The mind-body- emotive balance is a way of expressing the analytical, the emotional and the physical parts of ourselves. We are all of these. Are we only these?
I’ve heard often of the Structures of the Mind. I’ve also known that the structure is changed only when – am willing to die to my past. Every cell in me would get reorganised.  In working on the Time-line with Dr. McHugh, SJ, the glimpses seemed more than a possibility. In that structure of experience, though, the consciousness was that the responsibility for self is an awareness of ecological sensitivity. It was then a consent to experience the emerging, without persuasion. Unlike cynical interpretations of NLP, the 'Mind with a Heart' paradigm shone through.
Yesterday, when with George Kunnath, I was awakened to a point of assemblage. Accessing it as a episode of memory is a mere menti-fact. Rejecting any part of its wholesome encoding is robbing myself of the resonance I  need to tune into. Fears of uncertainty and similarly disposed emotions shut us from ourselves. Just yesterday, a distilled sensation got expressed by a colleague as this “Peer in organisations work against each other in the hope of advancing themselves. They look up, and they hardly look around for what they should look at within themselves…” The territory of the self as Prof. Ramnath Narayanswamy of the Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore) mentions is an enormously neglected one.  Emotionality that is blocked is shut out to the self. Not resonant with the context around us, we stumble in pursuit of the illusory apogee of self-aggrandizement.
Retrospective repentance is posturing as if authenticity can be negotiated. Even the image of it is obscuring, as it hides the pain that is not dealt with. A lady with cancer once, took it on herself to reflect deeply. She traced the dolor to her decision to force herself to go childless. She dealt with it, and the pending treatment for her tumor annulled as she came to terms with herself. That bodily pain was gone.
As with individuals,  every organization forgets its ‘charism’ – it forgets the very purpose for which the institution was founded. As with individuals, organisations too need to take care of their health. As with individuals, institutions are more than economic identities. Imbalances in health – emotion, spirituality, are attended to with temporary curing. As with individuals, the world view of an organisation is a mediated sense of identity. Not to forget the confused reduction of ourselves to material yardsticks.
As with individuals, groups and organisations are sentient systems. As the self senses, it connects with the body's parts. As the body informs, the self becomes aware through the mind that is conscious in attention. Groups and organisations have their own sub-systems for communication. The collective therein is ‘sacrificed’ for the few ‘individuals’ at the top, if at all a semblance of unity in the system prevails. Apparitions of conformance are not essentially a team based unit, as what lies hidden from perception often is the pain of expressing what needs to be heard. “Sacrifice’’ is a suffering born of bondage. Giving is a release seeped in joy.  When each subsystem gives as part of being itself, the resonance is harmony in the context of the group. The mind is indeed the medium to the body.  What did you do to tend to your body today? What did you die to today, that you are renewed in this moment? As you sensed for yourself, what would make for sensation about your community?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Iain McGilchrist: The divided brain | Video on

Iain McGilchrist: The divided brain | Video on

I believe this is one of the most illustrative expositions in the recent uncovering of our neural pathways. Philosophically compelling, Iain McGilcrhist makes the case for an integrated view of how we perceive as also what we have done with our gifts. Enslaving rationale is being amused to death by a dogma that can at best dream of liberation. Liberation ironically means having a consciousness of the context, The appreciation of an  inclusion of others when we apply what we know makes for an aesthetics of grace.

Watch this and enjoy the video.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Centering in Core States

Leaders who bring facts to the table make a good contribution. They reduce the chances of the amygdala hijack. For those not familiar with this term – it is the fearful arrest of wise choice when under stress.  ( Those who present their facts in an endearing way have certainly a higher chance of making the desired impact. This implies that influential people succeed on at least two acts of mastery – managing emotions within oneself and dealing with others’ emotions.
Of late, people summon data that float in the cyber space. With the advent of Murphy’s laws ( a trend ensued for the internet era. Prime among them being Metcalf’s law
( and Moore’s Law ( It is trendy to quote analyst claims from financial business houses or from commercial research houses with just as much authority as Newton had on the laws of gravity. The other day, on Steve Jobs demise, several used the incident to paint pictures of topics as diverse as innovation, leadership, and yes the recession in the economy.

A seasoned veteran from the world of business surrendered at our plight – ‘all of this is illusion, an analysis that paralyses anyway’ he mused. One implication of that musing I thought, was the woeful lack of awareness of being in the process. Commenting on change when outside of it is different from reporting it while being in it. Another is that which Dr. Richard McHugh SJ impressed upon me. "There is no such thing as TIME". We either live 'through time' dissociated from the events of a distant source as an analyst report or live 'in time' when the present moment is interpreted within the self, associated with the meaning of an involved state of feeling.
Today I came across the term ‘centring’ again – as in a state of being that is productive through effective self-management of emotions. Our living is made in the dance between unrestrained emotionality in joyful outbursts and controlled resilience in the face of adversity. Leaders who lack clarity when dealing with contrasts in their states of being, unintentionally signal confusion and provide evidence of their search for meaning in their own lives. Maturity often descends on the one who is balanced in the versatility to handle polarities. Like being frank and diplomatic both, in a forthright diplomacy; or being risk-taking and analytical of pitfalls in a mindful courage. Beneath or above such poles that we straddle, could lie the core state in which our values coalesce in a near indelible signature of our identities. Is Peace at the core? Or Joy? Or Restfulness? May the compassion from that state be with the ones you are with. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not far from the birds, crocs and nature itself

This is Ranganthittu, a bird sanctuary active for tourists between October and March near Mysore, India. Siberian cranes, snake-birds, and a kind of pelican are early visitors.

  The real plumage is in February they say. They nest in their hundreds around a riverine estate. With huge bats for company atop trees, and about a 100 crocodiles in the waters of the Cauvery, this is a great reminder of Mother Nature. 

No motor boats here, but experienced oarsmen, who comprehend conversational English too.  Organised and serene, this is a place to visit best at 7 am or after 4 pm in the evening. The snaps here are of 8th October 2011, taken by me and my son, between 1005 and 1040 in the morning hours.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Team Roles - Which of the 9 Lives do you prefer?

Thought some of you may not know about Dr. Meredith Belbin. Dr. Belbin has been more known for his contribution to Team Role theory than he has been known as someone who was asked to study the effects of the computer on humans at work. Here's my take on Belbin’s Team Roles.

Team roles describe patterns of behavior that characterize a person’s behavior in relationship to another's when in team process. Functional roles refer to the role of an individual in terms of the general technical demands on the person's formal position and - the knowledge and experience that it requires. Most people enter their jobs on the basis of the functional demands and only learn about the importance of team roles later. Remember people are hired for what they do (and often fired for who they are)! 

Roles themselves are significant for people to understand their work situation or their social situation, as they create the patterns of behavior that give shape to the wider mosaic of interaction at work. Team roles are valued because they contribute to the effectiveness of the team. The functional role is often implied by the job title. In every day terms the functional role embraces a professional role; often more than that – it will have to cover all the work that needs to be done, at least the important bits.

Most jobs are drawn up with reference points that are largely internal. Yet, no person at work is an island. There will be interfaces with other people who are sure to present problems. Long established employees will have different concerns as compared to an unwary new comer. It is common practice for the professional to be expected to work with colleagues from other backgrounds when some important issues arrive. That is why an understanding of team roles play such an important part in enabling professionals to align with others.

In a very small team the focus falls more on the individuals and their working relationships than the work itself. Effectiveness in performing the work is closely related to how they get on with one another. This simple position may serve as a good starting point. However, the fundamentals of team roles emerged after a long period of research at Henley Management College conducted in conjunction with the Industrial Training Research Unit at Cambridge. Dr. Meredith Belbin is one of the original ‘gurus’ in this effort. In his early writing on Management Teams, he reported some unexpectedly poor results with teams formed of people who had sharp, analytical minds and high mental ability – he called this the Apollo Syndrome.

His criteria for selecting these teams have elements in common with criteria for selecting staff – using ability and aptitude tests to select those with high analytical skills. The initial perception of Belbin’s Apollo teams was that they were bound to win in the team competitions. However, the results were quite the reverse, and the Apollo teams often finished near the bottom of eight teams.

This failure seemed to be due to certain flaws in the way the team operated:
·         They spent excessive time in abortive or destructive debate, trying to persuade other team members to adopt their own view, and in demonstrating a flair for spotting weaknesses in others’ arguments.
·         They had difficulties in their decision making; with little coherence in the decisions reached (several pressing and necessary jobs were often omitted).
·         Team members tended to act along their own favorite lines without taking account of what fellow members were doing, and the team proved difficult to manage.
·         In some instances, teams recognized what was happening but over compensated they avoided confrontation, which equally led to problems in decision making.

There were successful Apollo teams, however, that were characterized by
·         The absence of highly dominant individuals, and
·         A particular style of leadership

Successful leaders focused attention on the setting of objectives and priorities, and shaping the way team effort was applied. Rather than ‘drawing out’ team members, the successful leaders were tough, discriminating people who could both hold their ground in any company, yet not dominate the group.

A key lesson from Belbin’s work is that putting together a team of the cleverest individuals does not necessarily produce the best results, and the team needs to be designed to ensure that there is a blend of team roles. The fact that a forecast could be offered with a measure of success made for an understanding of the processes underlying effective team work. There are only limited number of ways in which people can usefully contribute in executive team work.
1.    coordinating the team’s efforts,
2.    imparting drive,
3.    creating ideas,
4.    exploring resources,
5.    evaluating options,
6.    organizing the work,
7.    following up on detail,
8.    supporting others and
9.    providing expertise.

Hence each team member could be described in terms of their team role contribution patterns. Individuals varied greatly in their patterns. What was observed, was that individuals who are outstanding in one team role were often weak in another. This issue gained central importance in combining certain people with others. Complementary combinations of people proved to be far more effective in their working performance than people with similar profiles competing with each other. In workshops, we deal with the nine Team roles from this line of work done by Dr. Belbin. 

And, oh, by the way, I am accredited by Belbin Associates to help you with Team Roles understanding. I've used this often for team designs and interventions in ongoing team efforts. My client teams included CEOs and Business Unit leaders, where the dynamics are quite high-strung. As my former boss put it once "It is like a tiger asking you to count it's teeth. There's little guarantee of getting your hand back from it's mouth"...  I'm telling the real tale!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bouquets and Brickbats...Thanks for them all...

Thought some of you may like to know the nature of farewell I had, and the wishes you have for me! Excerpted below - some of the wishes that touched me ... Many, many thanks...Very encouraging, very real!


Wish you and your loved ones all the best for your future endeavours.  Do keep in touch.

All the best Joseph George. It was a pleasure talking to you. For the first time, I realised that there is more to the science of training…….Will stay in touch…let us know of your consultancy, so that we can explore to be benefitted from that.

Dear JG,

It was wonderful being associated with you though it was a very brief period. I still remember….. Aug 2004 is when I first met you for coordinating one of the program for PMs in Solutions Division along with Kasi.

My interaction with you was very little but what I learnt in that brief period was the eye for detail you had in the documents that were prepared and how to customize it for the reader etc. What also taught me was that the faculty does not compromise on the delay in the reading materials which are to be made available during the programs (You almost screamed at me when I told you that the training materials will be available only by 10 am whereas the program was from 8.30 am!!)

Well no body gets an opportunity to learn two lessons & that too different ones from one class!! I claimed myself lucky because what I learnt in 2004 was applied in 2009 when I was organizing & instrumental in coordinating for Diamond Trek  - Leadership Program @ WI J

It’s mix of feelings - sad that you will be leaving Us at the same time glad to know that you will be venturing your own consultancy. Congratulations & best of luck for your future endeavors.

Dear Joseph,

This comes as a surprise.  Wishing you the very best for all your future endeavors.  Will certainly stay in touch.

Thanks for all your contributions and support. 

Dear JG ,

You were one of my mentors in giving shape to my professional life . I would always be grateful to you for your help and guidance .
I wish and pray for tons of Peace, Success and Abundance in your next assignment and in your personal life.

Thank You Again.
Good Luck.

Its been great knowing you.You have been an embody of what true HR is. I always loved  your communications…they were almost poetic.
We got to know each other through the ... process and it has been amazing on how you continued the journey long after the program was officially  completed.
I look forward to bumping into you in this “small world” …until then will try and keep in touch.

Thanks a ton and best wishes for everything you do in life.

Dear JG,

It has been wonderful knowing you. Wish you very best in all your endeavours.

Will be in touch J

Joseph – I really enjoyed working with you. Wish you all the very best

Dear Joseph ,

I just got to know last week about your moving out ... It indeed is a disappointment to many. In the brief interaction I had with you while I was handling MBA recruitment / relationship , I was impressed by your knowledge , patience and willingness to teach .

I wish you the best !

Hi Joseph,

Nice farewell note...professional, polished and thoughtful in typical JG style!

In the few opportunities that I’ve had to interact with you, your passion for what you do and the depth of your knowledge have come through powerfully. These opportunities have been a genuine pleasure.

I wish you the very best in your new avatar. The description of it is very interesting. I’m starting to head in somewhat of a  similar direction myself...corporate L&D focused on achieving individual and team excellence. It will be great to stay in touch and exchange notes. My personal email is……….nd my mobile number is …...

All the best.

Dear JG

I have personally benefitted for having the opportunity to be part of some of the sessions anchored by you…ranging from interventions like SKIP level meeting / NMA or sessions which helped be understand my strengths as a facilitator. 
I must share this with you that as recent as last week.. that someone was appreciating a SKIP level meeting, the way I had conducted and I said the credits should reach you for I learnt the fundamentals of facilitation from you.
Thank you for all the support /help….Would stay in touch..

All the very best !

Dear Joseph

This is big surprise to hear this from you.
I wanted to talk more about your domain, organization change matter etc.

Really hope that we can keep in touch.
By the way, are you in any SNS?

Wish you all the best!!

I had opportunity of learning from you twice and I must admit it was enriching, specially with the personal attention you take towards participants.

Thanks for all the support and do keep in touch. Wish you the very best in your future endeavors. 

Joseph, its sad to see you go! But everything happens for a good reason. All the best in your next role.

Dear JG,

Very sorry to know that you are leaving us. Will definitely stay in touch. I had been out on leave and just resumed work this month.

All the very best with your future consulting plans.

Hi Joseph George,
Sad to see this mail. We worked very closely and your contributions to the Organization are immense. You are always a source of learning and the talks with you are inspirational. All the best for your future and let us stay in touch.

This is a surprise. Wish you all the best for your future endeavors.  It has been great knowing you and I look forward to staying in touch.
I am very saddened to hear this. Your guidance and counsel through the ... program has been of inestimable value to me and my colleagues. You will be sorely missed. My very best heartfelt wishes for your future endeavours.  


Good move for you sir! I am sure you will be successful in your future endeavors and wish you all the very best! Yes, we should stay in touch. Take care. I don’t want to say Great knowing you etc as I am sure our roads will cross soon ;-)

Very sad to see you leave JG…will always miss you here. Had a great learning experience working with you. Lets stay in touch please. And all the best for the future

Hi Joseph,
I wish you all the very best in whatever you take up from now on.
It was great knowing you and working with you and it was unfortunate that we did not get to work together as we had once planned.


It was great having known you closely during the ... days. I always felt that you used to bring in fresh air into the program, whenever, we felt low occasionally. You are also a very fine and thorough individual and I cherish our acquaintance. Will surely keep in touch in future…

Have a great career ahead and fulfill all your dreams..!


A big loss for Us. Am sure we will stay in touch as friends... still remember those days..


I am really disappointed that you are leaving.

Personally, whenever we met I always enjoyed meeting and speaking with you.  I also thought your in-sight on individuals was first class and I held your views in the highest regard.  I also always appreciated the calm and thoughtful approach that you had to our work.

Good luck in the future, hopefully our paths will cross again.

Dear JG

It was indeed a pleasure knowing and working closely with you – particularly during your Infotech days.

Even when you moved to WC, I have always had the comfort reaching out to you for advise and consultations.

Here is wishing you all the very best in your new role as a consultant and I certainly look forward to remain in touch.

Hi Joseph,

It was an excellent experience to be part of your trainings, workshops and some coaching sessions. It gave a new dimension to my ways of working and addressing the issues.  Would like to thank you for your support and guidance during these  sessions.

Wishing you all the best for the new challenging assignment, keep in touch

Joseph George,
It sounds as though you will be moving into something that is fulfilling and a natural extension of your work.
.... Best of luck. 

Since I never got my own PAPI feedback, have I now missed my chance? J


Good luck JG! Where are you joining?

We’ll surely miss you...

Will call you one of these days.


Missed speaking with you y’day…. Sad to see you leave Us – but moving on is something I can relate to … all the very best… hope we’ll stay in touch and I’ll try & see if I can meet you in person over next couple of days to say bye in person!

Hello Joseph!

All the very best in all your future endevours.

If I can support your VISION in any way then pls do let me know. I will be very glad enable your VISION.


Wishing you well Joseph. It was nice getting to know you and interacting with you. DO keep in touch.

All the very best sir..
It was a pleasure to learn from you!!
Dear Joseph

Thank you for sharing this.
I wish you all the best in your new innings which I am sure will give you all the fulfillment and satisfaction.
It has been a pleasure knowing you and we will definitely keep in touch.
I mean this so may I suggest that we meet when convenient to you – since you are going to be a consultant  at “facilitating change for individuals, groups and organizations” I think we should also explore possibilities of how you can collaborate / join us in our journey!

Hi JG,

Can’t imagine us without you being around -  as a mentor and well wisher… I can never forget the training you designed for consulting in 2002-3. Wish you best luck and let’s keep in touch

Dear Joseph,

It is great to hear that you are venturing out into a new inning and have had a rich experience at Us. It was a pleasure knowing and interacting with you over the years, though the opportunities were few. You are one of the few people who I know who brought a deep academic interest and knowledge to a corporate workplace. This often poses some limitations for corporates who are looking to doing things in a hurry and not necessarily in a thorough way. But, in the long run and for consultants, corporates are willing to invest serious time and money to exactly get that academic depth. So, I suppose you will find many takers and I wish you all the best in your new adventure.

We will certainly stay in touch.

Joseph, thanks for the email and the surprising news! At the same time, My blessings and best wishes in your new journey as a consultant. Please keep in touch. I am always available if you need to talk and get advice as you start the new practice. My phone numbe is …

Hi Joseph George,
It was good knowing you on the few occasions that we interacted. I am sure that with your specialised knowledge in behavioural science you shall do well in your future career as well.

I wish you all the best for the career option that you have selected for your future. Hope to see you around.

Dear Joseph,

Was a pleasure to know you.

Will miss those pleasant times when you would drop by our place at office…L
Your way of looking at things was refreshingly different. Hope that some of this manner, rubs off on me too J

Wish you all the best for your endeavors. Hope that we can catch up occasionally at least...