As the old saying goes, there are three types of people in this world: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.
During the last three decades of my career, I have been lucky to have worked with some of the best leaders in the corporate world across various sectors. While each of these leaders were unique, surprisingly, all of them shared certain distinct similarities.
At the same time, I have also interacted with several unsuccessful people. They were pseudo-professionals who always whined and contaminated the work environment. These people too were similar in many aspects.
Folks in the third category were blissful people who were oblivious to the movement of the planet. We will not discuss them much.
I have also observed a new category. People in the fourth category specialise in stopping things from happening. They are extremely creative in finding excuses and imagining problems. They possess an uncanny knack to convince their colleagues of their points. I observed an alarming increase in the number of such people particularly during the last decade. This could also be due to cultural diversity and generation gap.
No doubt, all of these types of people are beneficial for those around them, either because of their wisdom or due to their ignorance.
In this course (comprising the book, online exercises, and psychometric assessments,) I am going to explain the features of the people in each category. You will learn the secret strengths of the first category. I will explain why people in each category behave the way they do. You will also learn how to deal with other types of people.
Interestingly, most successful leaders are surrounded by followers belonging to other categories. Successful professionals face resistance and criticism from folks in the fourth category. But they manage to navigate their way through it and will reach their goals.
Authentic leadership emerges out of such adversities.
I will explain the qualities that separate a leader from a laggard. We will dissect each skill and trait that you need to learn, abandon or inculcate.
The corporate world is facing an acute shortage of good leaders. You will not only be able to make a difference but also enhance your career prospects significantly through this course.
You will understand the finer tenets of sophistication that will help engineer your growth.
We will explore four essential features of successful individuals. As you discover the vital skills, critical senses, core qualities and competencies of each of them, you will begin to understand yourself and the people around you.
During this journey, you will pick up several new skills and drop the ones you no longer need.
Chapter 2 gives you a broad overview of the current scenario and prepares you to cultivate a few essential qualities.
Chapter 3 helps you in exploring your inner self. You will understand various critical differentiating factors. You will also learn toidentify several good, bad and undesirable qualities that you may harbour.
Chapter 4 is all about the external environment. You will pick up or polish important skills like communication, presentation, persuasion, conflict resolution, and motivation.
Chapter 5 takes you through the digital world and gives you a glimpse of what is likely to happen during the COVID pandemic and after. You will explore three critical dimensions of digital proficiency. You will get a bird’s eye view of the current cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
Chapter 6 presents you with one of the vital senses that leaders will need in this VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), world. In this chapter, you will learn what the data in your devices try to tell you and how you can amplify voices and listen to them clearly. Your ability to interpret data will give you a competitive edge and make you almost infallible.
Chapter 7 is a review of the topics covered, and lessons learned. You will also learn to set meaningful long-term goals and pursue them.
If you look at the Johari window carefully, you will realise that we are not aware of 75 percent of our true potential or weaknesses. We are completely ignorant of fifty percent of it. One-half lies hidden in a murky blind spot while the other waits to be discovered. Though we are conscious of the rest, it is never shared with the external world.
As part of us is never revealed to people around us, they are unable to recognise our potential and offer comments or suggestions on using it. That’s a quite bad state to be in; and it pretty much explains the interpersonal conflicts we face every day.
I am going to concentrate on your unexplored areas and help you unlock your hidden potential. Trust me. You are sitting on a fortune. I will also describe the ways of taking feedback and thoroughly laundering the blind spots. If you follow the course sincerely, you will shine like an unblemished white canvas.
“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”
We will also look at gradually opening up your personal area so that others can perceive and appreciate your hidden nature and talents.
After you work on all three, your public personality will shine through. We call it: reputation. We will look into this in chapter two.
There was once a confident robber who attempted a bank heist in broad daylight without a mask on in full view of the security cameras. He goes in to the bank and demands cash and gold and picks up everything he finds. He is proud of his success. As soon as he comes out, he gets caught by the police. Perplexed, he murmurs, “I applied lemon juice on my face!”
The robber firmly believed applying lemon juice on his face would do the same trick as it would to ink on a notebook. He would be invisible as long as he did not go near a heat source.
Why did the robber think that lemon juice could make him invisible? Why did he not test his assumption on some of his friends and family members?
Two social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger were the first to research on this.
They called it the ‘Dunning- Kruger Effect.’ As per the theory, a person with low capabilities is likely to feel that he is the smartest. He will be very confident of his skills. He assumes that he knows the subject better than anyone else on the planet. Does it ring a bell?
Scientists have been studying behavioural patterns like this to understand more about the triggers for such actions.
They found the following interesting facts:
1. The intelligence we acquire over a period needs to be paired with humility. Humility makes us confident and curious, and prods us to validate our assumptions.
2. If intelligence combines with modesty, we will be in self-doubt and consequently less confident.
3. If intelligence is coupled with vanity, we will be overconfident. There will be no scope for validation and all our assumptions will look like universal truths.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less.”
C. S. Lewis
Scientists have also discovered that honey bees have high levels of cognitive capabilities and estimation skills.
Honeybees have the ability to collaborate with other bees in the group and make the right decisions. This is called ‘swarm intelligence.’ This kind of intelligence is being applied to robots using artificial intelligence algorithms. Swarm intelligencetheory tells us that humans may have low estimation skills. This deficiency along with vanity and ego often generates the worst outcomes.
Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve
We all learn many things. We read books, watch videos, attend seminars and so on. Any content we consume will be first sent to a staging area in our brain and remain active for about twenty minutes. If you review the subject and mull over it within an hour, there are chances that you can recall and retrieve over 80 percent of what you learned.
If the subject is not reviewed, the retrieval capacity falls to 40 percent within 24 hours. Our brain will eventually remove the information completely, in a month.
There are a multitude of factors that impact brain function and retention. The increase in information load coupled with poor eating and sleeping habits will cause the retention power to diminish quicker.
This is called Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve. Obviously, this is a wasted time investment. What you think is important for you, should stay with you.
Therefore, you need to show commitment and review it periodically so that you don’t lose the information.
I would urge you to learn, and review the concepts once within an hour.
The best way to retain the information we acquire is by teaching it to someone. If you can explain a complex concept to a five-year-old, you have probably mastered it. The famous scientist, Richard Feynman gave us a simple, four-step method:
1. Pick a topic
2. Explain it to a school child
3. Identify gaps
I suggest you find a different child each time.
The easiest way to review is by recording your speech and listening to it again. Over a period of time:
1. You would have built a large collection of audio books narrated by you
2. You would have mastered the art of explanation; including public speaking
3. You would have ensured 100 percent retention of all subjects you have learned
You know what to do after finishing this chapter.
My objective behind explaining the concepts of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, the Feynman technique and the forgetting curve, is to request you to adopt them for effective learning.
I wish you good luck.