Big Leadership Lessons from Little Sri Lanka

With the celebrations of winning the world T20 2014 Cricket title still riding high and the entire nation positively charged, it would be a good time to reflect on the leadership lessons.

Image credits: http://www.espncricinfo.com

Lesson 1: Never give up: After having won the cricket 50 over world cup in 1996, Sri Lankan cricket has had ups and downs. Ups, mostly because of the cricket infrastructure in the country producing brilliant talent and downs mainly attributed to cricketing politics and administration. Sri Lanka has come to the finals of many a world level tournaments and ended up runner-up. This time around too, many were having fears of another loss in a final, but things went Sri Lanka’s way, not by accident but by design. Therefore leaders keep learning from mistakes, growing with challenges until they reach the target.

Lesson 2: Team work : While Sri Lanka became the world T20 Cricket champs no Sri Lankan player featured in the top 5 run scorers or wicket takers in the tournament. This is due to all players contributing their very best when conditions required them. Therefore a player like Kumar Sangakkara who failed to score much during all the games during the run up to the final, showed up and became the match winner at the final. A player like Rangana Herath who bowled Sri Lanka to victory in the crucial match against New Zealand was not very suitable for the conditions in some other matches. The player of the tournament was from India, the runner-up. Therefore there are no individual winners, but the team wins. Continue reading “Big Leadership Lessons from Little Sri Lanka”

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.

Hardware or the Software … in so many aspects of life?

Recently I stumbled upon a TedX video of David Damberger titled: What happens when an NGO admits failure. It is a real eye opener for NGO’s who spends money in providing infrastructure such as tube wells. What they forget to do is investing some money on maintaining such infrastructure by employing people, training them and providing a source of funding and following up. David talks about how he saw this happening and making the same mistake himself. He sees how the tube wells provided were unusable a few years later due to this issue.

A success story in this aspect is the foundation for goodness run by Kushil Gunasekara in southern Sri Lanka. A village names ‘Seenigama’ he was fostering got completely wiped out due to the Tsunami on the 26th of December 2004. He got the support of various donors, well-wishers and those who were affected and re-built the village. He made it sustainable through various activities such as running 2 BPO’s and other industries and the village is a thriving one now. They have produced 6 national players for Sri Lanka in various sports among other achievements. It is a fascinating story and you can see their details at http://www.unconditionalcompassion.org/indexc.php.

Continue reading “Hardware or the Software … in so many aspects of life?”