Finding Purpose at Christmas – Purpose of Living – Part 22

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I wish you a Merry Christmas. In this season of Love, let’s give our love and kindness to all living beings with the intention of adding value to the process of life.

As I write this blog post, the first instalment of phase 3 of this series, on Christmas day, I feel it is appropriate to explore how we find purpose at Christmas. We explored the notion of purpose from various viewpoints in the first phase (ten blog posts) and then we attempted to understand the process of purposeful living in the second phase (eleven blog posts) of this series.  We now step in to the third phase of purposeful living that deals with practical aspects of living a purposeful life.

While a lot of effort goes in to dressing up for Christmas, in terms of our homes, our clothes, our social media pages and our websites, it would be appropriate to find out the purpose, reason or intention behind this dressing up? I believe purposeful living is being joyous, learning from our struggles, living with noble values and being of service to our world. Continue reading “Finding Purpose at Christmas – Purpose of Living – Part 22”

Purpose of Living – Part 9: The Action Logics (pre-conventional) Viewpoint

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Pre-conventional Action Logics

We explored the notion of purpose from the viewpoints of Abrahamic Religions, Eastern Philosophies, Early Sciences, Modern Sciences, Philosophy, Psychology & Ecology in the last few blog posts in this series. Let’s now have a look at this notion from an ‘Action Logics (pre-conventional)’ viewpoint.

Let’s first try to understand the notion of ‘Action Logics’. It tries to explain the ‘logic’ behind the ‘action’ we take. Most action is based on decisions unless it is spontaneous. If decisions are well thought out and rational, they could be based on an intention, reason or purpose. This shows that actions can be based on a reason or purpose.

Therefore, the logic behind decisions we make that determine actions we take, could have an impact on the quality of the decision and the resultant action. The notion of action logics[1] has some potential in understanding this phenomenon.

The developers of the ‘Action Logics’ model proposes two broad categories of Action Logics: pre-conventional and post conventional. According to a research study in the USA of 4300 plus adults, it was found that 85% belong to the pre-conventional group. While it is difficult to define pre-conventional, to me it seems like those who are more materialistic, achievement oriented, less mature, younger and competitive would fall in to this group. Let me try to make sense of the four pre-conventional ‘Action-Logics’ in relation to purposeful living. Continue reading “Purpose of Living – Part 9: The Action Logics (pre-conventional) Viewpoint”

Preparing for a fruitful 2017

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2016 is almost over and I hope you made good progress during the year. Some of us would say it was an awesome year, some would say it was an average year and some others would say it was not a good year!  The best we can do is to use the learning from 2016 so that we can make 2017 a better one.

I am pleased to present a simple four-step process to help you prepare for a fruitful 2017.

Step 1: Let’s start by doing this simple reflective exercise to take the resources from 2016 for a better 2017. Answer the following question in writing or in an artful form such as a picture, poem, collage, structure etc.

  1. What were my biggest successes in 2016? What did I learn from it?
  2. What were my biggest failures in 2016? What did I learn from it?
  3. Who am I grateful for 2016?  (Those who helped me and was tough on me)

Once the above is done, allow some time for the energy and learnings to settle in before starting the preparation for 2017.
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Starting from the Personal

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This is such an important perspective for reconciliation written by my daughter Natasha who is conducting research in this area. There is a lot of misunderstandings due to brainwashing and personal experiences. However at a personal level there is a different dynamic. It is these one on one conversations that makes people realize the truth and the value of each other. It helps us celebrate the diversity and re-discover our unity. I know the office of national unity, headed by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has worked and is working towards creating such conversations. Lets hope this process is accelerated so that we can experience reconciliation and achieve real healing!

Voice With Purpose

Been on my fieldwork in Sri Lanka has inspired me to write a blog post about why I’m so interested in pursuing the topic of transitional justice and reconciliation for my PhD research project. In academia we seldom get to talk about our personal views, so this defining moment for me always gets stored at the back of my mind where the cobwebs live. But, so many people I met on a professional level have asked me, why? why reconciliation?

When I first moved to London, in 2012, and started my new job, a colleague, a young Sri Lankan Tamil gentleman (H) approached me and we started getting to know each other, moving on to the ‘where are you from originally’, we were both stunned to realise that we have something else in common; Sri Lanka. But there was also something else that could have stopped our friendship from growing…

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The Right Answer

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It is fascinating how we continue to look for the right answer. Perhaps it is because of schooling systems which expects us to know the ‘right answer’ in order to pass examinations. Perhaps it is because of interviews panels that expect us to know the right answers in order to qualify for a job. Perhaps it is because of management who expects us to make the right decisions to business problems.

But what is a ‘Right Answer’? Who decides its right? By what standards do we decide it is right? Who sets these standards? People come from different backgrounds, education, experiences, cultures, mind-sets etc. The variables are almost infinite. Therefore we are all unique and we see, hear, feel, smell and taste things differently. Furthermore each situation is different. Each situation is a collection of places, time of the year, people, infrastructure, concepts, brands, climate, culture etc. Again the variables are infinite.

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A Spiritual Vacation

Vatican CityI am driven to write this piece, but where do I begin?

I start searching and gather my thoughts and feelings from within.

It’s been a dream of a lifetime to visit the holy City

It’s been a dream to take my family to the Vatican City

The day finally arrived on the 27th of July this year and we were all on our way

My Mother and the families of my brother, sister and my own wanting to see and pray

Out of the full family of twenty, there were fourteen of us on vacation altogether

Situations prevented a full quorum and we missed the family of my other brother

The first morning was in the wonderful Sistine Chappelle and Vatican museum

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Is your team aligned around critical goals?

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In my blog post on the 7th of May 2014 titled ‘How great is your team?’, I promised to go into details of the 11 different aspects that makes a great team. The first aspect regarding ‘Burning Platforms’ was detailed in my blog post on the 30th of June and here is the second installment; is your team Ali GED around critical goals?

This is one of the key reasons for team performance below potential identified by me in many of my team leadership consulting assignments.

During a consultation for a global company in the manufacturing industry, senior leaders were asked to list down their critical goals. While there was one which was common in everyone’s list, it was fascinating to see the differences in the rest of the items.

You must have guessed right, the common item was profit targets and the list that varied included quality, sales, technological advancement, cost reduction, attrition, team work, brand image etc. What was also interesting was that the HR head had attrition in her list while the CFO had cost reduction in his list; they turned out to be more their own functions

During the rest of the day I facilitated the team to conduct radical conversation around the various goals and we ended up the day with a few simple but powerful goals all team members were aligned with.

During the session I cited the metaphor of ‘will this make the boat go faster’ to underline the fact that; If our goals are clear we know what we should do and should not do. When the British rowing team was preparing for the Olympics and had to make a decision they asked the question, ‘will this make the board go faster?’ This helped them to turned down dinner invitations and they even decided not to attend the opening ceremony. The net result they improved their speed by a few seconds and ended up winning the gold.

The phrase; ‘will this make the boat go faster’ became an interesting anchor during the discussions of the day and is been still used in meetings and planning session.

Following are some of the criteria to be used in setting goals that everyone can get aligned around;
Continue reading “Is your team aligned around critical goals?”