The Purpose of the Mens Cricket World Cup – Purpose of Living – Part 28

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Over a billion people have been engaged with the ongoing Men’s Cricket World Cup over the last month. It all started with everyone hoping the cricket teams of their respective countries will become the world champions. The fact remains that only one team will be the eventual world champions. This blog is not about trying to predict the eventual champs, it is to discuss the impact of such sports extravaganza has on the lives of people.

The International Cricket Council organizes the Men’s Cricket World Cup as well as other global competitions related to Cricket to propagate cricket as well as raise funds. I am not sure which comes first. Is it to raise funds to propagate cricket or propagate cricket to raises funds. Well it doesn’t matter, perhaps both ends feed each other. There could be other reasons, for example to raise the standards of the sport and of those who are involved in it such as the players, coaching staff, umpires, referees, cricket boards and administrators. These aims could have a higher purpose that impacts the lives of people and I would like to address such issues in this blog post. 

My blog post of the last two months addressed the impact of violence, religion and politics on the lives of people in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, one of the former world champions who are now at the bottom of the table, struggling for form. Yet the entire nation was hoping that they will become the champs again. Teams from other countries besieged by violence such as Pakistan and Afghanistan are also in contention. The founders of cricket, England, is amid perhaps their worst political crisis related to Brexit. They entered the tourney as one of the favourites. Countries such as South Africa, Bangladesh and the West Indies are besieged with their own political and economic crises.  Continue reading “The Purpose of the Mens Cricket World Cup – Purpose of Living – Part 28”

Leadership is inefficient!

ImageLeadership is about developing team members to carryout the important responsibilities in the organization. This is essential if we are to grow and take on higher-level responsibilities. Developing team members requires time. Therefore leadership is inefficient in the short run. However it is a great investment of our time and energy to reap near medium term to long-term results, as having a developed team will help produce more value and great results.

Given below are 10 common areas where this inefficiency can happen.

  1. Getting the right team member in to the team: We need to first ensure the team member with the right attitude and skills are recruited into the team. This requires spending time on determining the profile of the ideal team member, preparing the right evaluation techniques and spending quality time evaluate the candidates.
  2. Taking time to direct: When a new team member is recruited or transferred in from another area of the organization to our team it takes time to induct and teach. Time needs to be allocated to introduce the new team member to the other team members, work environment, mission, vision, values, customers, products and work processes.
  3. Listening: It is important to actively listen to the team member to understand his/her level of absorption, development, enthusiasm, motivation and concerns. This will enable us to ensure the new team member feels at home soon, ready to take on responsibilities that we are planning to delegate.
  4. Handing over responsibility: It requires us handing over a task that may have taken us 1 hour to complete and it takes our team members double that time as he/she consciously and carefully does the job as requires. We need to have patience knowing that there is a natural curve of gaining efficiency as the skill and confidence improves.
  5. Detailed briefing: It is important to provide a detailed briefing for the responsibilities to be delegated. It requires determining how much of authority needs to be delegated. It requires documenting the details, some of which is in our mind and we do as second nature. Sometimes we neglect to provide the finer points thinking it is common sense. Sometimes what are common senses for us is not so common for others.
  6. Checking work done: We need to also invest time to check the progress of work and the quality of work. This requires reading weekly updates, walking into the areas of operation, speaking to those on the job, discussing variances and brainstorming solutions.
  7. Praising: We need to lavishly praise good work. We need to praise the progress in the process, not only wait for the outcome. While this can take time, it is an important activity to reinforce good behaviour.
  8. Improvement feedback: We need to also give improvement feedback for areas that needs to be better. Instant feedback can be detrimental as it can go packaged with negative emotions such as anger. Therefore it is better to give it some time to cool down, visualize how best to most productively provide the feedback and do so, so that this becomes an effective development activity. The cooling down periods takes time.
  9. Dealing with demotivation of others: Delegating responsibility to one person can demotivate another team member. Therefore it takes time to keep others informed, engaged in other value adding activity and communicate consistently so that we keep the entire team motivated.
  10. Dealing with conflict: It is quite likely for conflict to arise between team members as they work on projects and various tasks as they discharge responsibilities delegated. Therefore it is the leaders responsibility to defuse and manage the conflict to create strong team bonding. This of course takes a lot of time and the energy.
  11. Reporting up: The leader is ultimately responsible for tasks delegated and the reporting responsibility lies with the leader. When we were doing the tasks ourselves it was easy to report in detail as we were at the thick of everything. However when it is delegated we need time to get all the details, ask questions to get clarifications and write the report.

Continue reading “Leadership is inefficient!”

Attitude of Gratitude to my Alma Mater

When I feel blessed about what I have achieved my mind automatically takes me to people and events that I am grateful about. Whilst having a deep sense of gratitude to my parents, family, friends and social contacts, one major aspect that made the difference to me is my Alma Mater St Anthony’s College Katugastota in the hill capital of Sri Lanka.

One can’t ask for a better place than St Anthony’s to shape up a young mind and body to become prepared to take on the world. I believe great products from college would have felt the same. Beneficiaries of our alma mater are old Antonians of the calibre of Sir William Gopallawa, the first President of Sri Lanka, Mr. T B Illangaratne, renowned politician and dramatist, Justice Asoka De Silva, World famous professionals such as Prof. Malik Peiries, Dr Patrick Nugawela, Dr C. R. Panabokke, Prof C Suriyakumaran, World class sportsmen such as Mr. Muthaiah Muralitharan, Entrepreneurs such as Mr. Sumal Perera & Dr Lawrence Perera, Musicians such as Mr. Rookantha Gunatilleke & Mr. Stanley Peiris, Military officers such as Colonel A C Lafir and hundreds of other Ministers, Officers of the armed forces and police, academics and business people.

As I look back with an attitude of gratitude to St Anthony’s, I get a deep urge within me to do what I can to help the college continue to do the good work it has done for me. This was further reinforced when I was honoured as one of the top 100 Old Antonians during the 150-year celebrations of the college. Therefore when the opportunity came for me to be a part of the Antonian Rugby Trust, I was delighted to take it; I continue to serve in the advisory committee. I also had the privilege of providing mental toughness training to the rugby team.

The motivations of different people are different. Some do it for the gratitude, some do it for the glory, some do it for social status and others do it to develop business networks. When the motives are different there is bound to be conflict. Such conflict can make those who do things with nobel motives disgruntled. When this happens some feel like walking away, minding there own business and not doing anything for the college and some others decide to persist. I always believe such obstacles helps us to further develop our goodness. Such opportunities help us to help others to become better people. Such opportunities strengthen our resolve to be more generous.

We all belong to various religions and philosophies and we learn the need to give back to the world, do good to others and do our part to make the world a better place. When we split due to differences we lose the opportunity to accumulate goodness credits. On the other hand when like minded people like us who have walked the nooks and corners of the college, who have sat in the same class rooms, who have listened to the same teachers and who have sung our college anthem proudly gets together we can do wonders. So lets get together re-energize ourselves with nostalgia and do what we can do to uplift the standards of our alma mater so that we can celebrate the successes from a far and accumulate stories of before, during and after our time to tell our children and grandchildren.

The Motto of our alma mater ‘Lux De Coelo’ means light from heaven and was taken from a prayer sent from the Vatican when college was inaugurated. I consider this true when it comes to my life. So let the light from heaven that has brightened our being continue to shine in us, our families and the generations of Antonians to come. May god bless you all.

When the mighty fall…

Jimmy Saville. source:

We were shocked by the news of the pedophilia scandal of Jimmy Savile, a BBC children’s show host who died last year, who coerced hundreds of children at the corporation’s studios when they were underage.

It was not just Savile, but also Mark Thompson, who led the British television network who has a question mark hanging over his head, whether he did enough to investigate allegations of the scandal at the BBC. And what about the New York Times who has hired Mark Thompson while he is under investigation at BBC?

This came on the heals of the scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong who was used as a classic example by us motivational speakers as a role model of human potential. A man able to come out of cancer and continue to win the tour de France many times over. With doping allegations against him proven, his empire started tumbling around him with his medals stripped, sponsors such as Nike dumping him and the charitable foundation he founded to fight cancer, ‘Livestrong’, removing him of the chairmanship.
Continue reading “When the mighty fall…”

Olympics 2012 – ‘Imagine’ the great manifestation of possibility

A picture of the Olympic Logo on the Tower Bridge taken from the London Bridge during my visit before the Olympics.

The 2012 Olympics that just concluded was one of the greatest manifestations of possibility that I had experienced.

My family and I were in the UK just before and during the opening ceremony that made us fortunate enough to feel the energy in the country this great spectacle was taking place. We were not able to witness any sporting events at venues at circumstances required us to return end of July, but we were fortunate to be able to witness this great spectacle on TV and the internet.

The first possibility that was manifested was the participation of almost all the countries of the world, 204 in total and every country having both male and female sportsman. All sports had a women’s version as well resulting in some teams such as USA having more women Olympians. What a great equalizer.

It was amazing to see conservative countries such as Saudi Arabia who do not permit women to drive, having women participating. I was fortunate to switch on the TV to see the women’s 800 m heat where Saudi Arabia’s Sarah Attar was running. Although she came last, she got the biggest applause to show that this was a victory for humanity.

World records were many manifesting that there is no end to improving human performance and endurance. Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, Carmelita Jeter of the USA 4x100m relay team establishing a new world record at 40.82 destroying the 27-year old record and Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt  of Jamaican 4×100 relay team establishing a new world record at 36.84 will remain in our memories for ever. These amazing human beings showed that we can be individuals stars and teams at the same time.

Continue reading “Olympics 2012 – ‘Imagine’ the great manifestation of possibility”

Leadership Lessons from Sri Lankan Cricket

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As we take a short breather from the hectic cricket season where Sri Lanka played in South Africa, Australia and Bangladesh over the last 3 months with ups and down bringing joy and sadness to millions of Sri Lankans around the world, the leadership lessons have been tremendous.

The world cup loss to India on the 2nd of April 2011, which was surrounded with controversy [that I will not comment on as I do not have the required information to do], the resignation of the captain and the financial crisis of the cricket board had left the team in turmoil.

Continue reading “Leadership Lessons from Sri Lankan Cricket”