Use More To Have More
The more you use your abilities, the more you will be able to benefit from them.
We often wonder why people who are already capable are blessed with more, while most others live average lives. How can a Jack Welch also be a successful speaker, author and columnist? And how could Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme, simultaneously be a successful physicist, businessman, educationist and statistician? How could he possibly create institutions as diverse as the Indian space research organisation (ISRO) and the Indian institutes of management (IIM)? Are people like Welch and Sarabhai blessed with extraordinary talents, or does something else tip things in their favour?
Human capabilities can be divided into two broad sorts: Obvious capabilities are those that we are conscious about. We exhibit and utilise these every day. Our obvious capabilities are pretty much on display all the time. Or they could be discovered with very little effort. They are embedded in our basic tendencies. For example, from an early age, Bill Gates had always showed a deep interest in computing. When he set up Microsoft with co-founder Paul Allen, Gates knew that his strengths were in computing and that was where he invested his time and money. How a college drop-out used his passion to become the richest man in the world is plainly visible to everyone.
Hidden capabilities are different from obvious capabilities. They can be developed only by wilful determination, requiring some amount of effort before their discovery. To discover your hidden capabilities, you would have to boldly embrace opportunities, even when you are not sure. This requires you to be aware of the new opportunities you are exposed to. By being at the helm of the world’s largest software corporation, Bill Gates was constantly thinking about the future of technology to give his company a competitive edge. That led him to the broader realm of how technology could change the world. His thoughts were no longer limited to emerging technology, but he was now imagining the future. He was constantly building and improving it. He was no longer just a computer geek, but a management guru —evangelising the latest management techniques. A futurist — defining the way things would be. An author — writing about how things are changing and even a world reformer — driving projects that were changing lives for the better.
How can you improve your obvious capabilities and discover hidden capabilities? The basic law regarding your hidden and obvious capabilities is the Law of Use and Possess. According to this law, if you use more, you have more; if you use less, you have less.
Use more to have more: Very simply, the more you exploit opportunities around you, the more you will come across them. If you utilise the immediate, short-term opportunities that you come across rather than wait for that perfect situation, you will receive more long-term opportunities. If you did not start out on the first conquest, you would never have had the opportunity for more. That one initiative told you about your warring capabilities and your leadership qualities; and legions fell before you. If you had instead chosen to stay put and deal with your kingdom, you would never have gone out and made the whole world your kingdom. The more you use your capabilities, the more you reveal about yourself, to yourself.
Use less to have less: You could also choose to destroy your capabilities by running away from situations; by never learning or by never making an effort. You squander away your capabilities — and they are never again able to regain their original shape. The less you use your capabilities, the less you will benefit. Slowly, you will lose all that you had once owned.
As a leader, choose more. When situations demand, face them by investing your capabilities wisely. As you develop them, more doors will open up for you. Only in this way would you improve your existing capabilities and discover more hidden ones.
ON LEADERSHIP: SANGEETH VARGHESE for BUSINESS WORLD
The author is a leadership scholar from the LSE and founder of LeadCap. His book, Decide to Lead: Eight Decisions That Can Make You A Leader, will soon be published by Businessworld. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leadership as you see it:
Leadership, at the end of the day, boils down to taking the right decision at the right time. A leader needs to set the direction, get buy-in from the team, and then align the company to achieve the goals. Helping set the balance between short-term and long-term goals, between achieving day-to-day numbers and teamwork is also important.
In addition to leading the team, it is important to have skills in change management, have a more participative style of management and being able to build relationships at all levels. You have short-term and long-term relationships; you have strategic and operational relationships. A leader should be able to identify and manage each one of them. I learnt how to juggle between short-term and long-term relationships, between managing our growth goals, and also investing in long-term and high impact projects like Shiksha for school education and Bhasha for enabling technology in major local languages. One needs to have leadership at various levels — operational and strategic. Operational leadership is about here and now. It is about producing short-term results that are visible. Strategic leadership is broader and is more at a change level. An organisation requires both of these.
Leadership in the US and India:
In my experience, I have noticed US companies focusing a lot more on the excellence of their middle management. Middle management is the layer that ensures operational excellence — the visible results that we were talking about. The top management formulates the vision, sets the direction with clear goals, and helps drive change. Mid-management operationalises the vision and makes the changes a practical reality. People at this level tend to have been in the company for a long time compared to junior management, who are relatively new, and hence the mid-managers tend to get taken for granted. They can get jaded and demotivated easily. It is very important that any organisation focus on them and make them effective.
Another observation I have made is that, in India, we don’t tend to differentiate between types of leaders themselves. Most of the time we rely on people who have already done well in large organisations to drive incubations or start-ups. But this will not always work. Running and producing results in an already established company is a different ball game compared to starting up a new entity or division. One needs the right type of people for the right type of job. The right type of leader can determine the difference between success and failure.
I demand excellence, I demand stretch results. I am very involved with my team, whether it is a three member team or a 300-member team.
How do you demand excellence? There are two ways. Giving the team highly challenging assignments and goals is one way. Another way is to take a small number of good people and give them really crazy assignments. Give them a very tough and nasty job. There is a risk in the second method that I will lose some of them in the process. But I will definitely get to stretch and derive excellence from the rest. This produces great leaders. Both approaches work well.
I have a high amount of humility, focus on team building and focus a lot on communicating and reaching out to all levels in the organisation.
The excitement of being a leader:
The fulfilment and satisfaction derived from the hard work, the frustrations and the challenges, the success and, eventually, seeing your team and institution grow and create a broad impact, is tremendous. Being a leader in tough, challenging situations brings out the best in me. You give me a choice of assignments and I will gravitate towards the one in which I will learn the most, usually the toughest. This definitely brings many challenges. But I, for one, would rather die trying than not try to make the impossible possible. I will do things that I have not done before. I will go to places where I have not gone before. You give me the charge of a $1 billion company and ask me to grow it to $1.5 billion in the next 5 years. No doubt it has its own challenges, but I will not find that as exciting, as the things are mostly in place. But give me a company with lots of problems — operational, cultural, strategic — I will take it; for the learning, for the challenges.
Development of a vision:
When the company (Microsoft) decided to back me up for Project Shiksha in 2002, we were struggling as to what to do in the educational field. Some team members from Redmond were conducting focus groups to understand the needs better. As I went through the results, I realised there was a big gap in what was required in India and what was being done. That helped me formulate our vision for Shiksha — seeing a better future for India and then betting on it. The idea for Project Bhasha came up while Bill Gates was visiting India for the first time in 1997. We were passionate about a software localisation programme. People were really apprehensive about making software in Hindi. But Bill Gates could see our vision and, according to him, Microsoft is not here in India to serve just the creamy 2-3 per cent. We need to be broadbased and reach out to more people. Once that was agreed, I wanted to do all languages — 14 of them. I tried selling it to the headquarters and they thought I was crazy. But at the same time they saw the passion and agreed. So, vision is really about seeing the shape of the future and betting on it. It is also about keeping your ear close to the ground and watching out for early trends.
Handling the change agents of technology and leadership:
I love technology. I use technology as a great tool to help me lead from anywhere, anytime and at all levels, help me respond rapidly to our customers, partners and my team.
I am very adaptable and a quick learner. Throw me into a new environment and I learn quickly and ramp up fast. I am also highly optimistic and can see the positive opportunities in most situations. These qualities help a long way when dealing with change.
Author: Rajiv Kaul (for Business World)
Rajiv Kaul became the managing director of Microsoft India when he was just 31, at an age when most of his peers were in middle management positions. At Microsoft he saw the dot com boom and the subsequent bust. He also conceptualised and implemented projects like Shiksha and Bhasha, which continue to have a high impact on Microsoft’s future. In his last assignment at Microsoft, Rajiv was at the software giant’s Redmond headquarters leading the emerging markets group. Currently Rajiv is excited about his new move, as a partner in Actis, a leading private equity investor in emerging markets. Rajiv looks forward to using his skills and knowledge in each of the regions that Actis operates.
Abu Dhabi: The winners of the Abu Dhabi Awards 2007 will be honoured in mid-December.
The nominations for ‘2007 awards’ will be held between September 9 to October 7. The judging period will be held in October and November, which will be followed by an awards ceremony.
General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will present an award to the ten winners at the Emirates Palace by mid-December.
The awards will mainly go to the top ten nominees recognized by residents and citizens for their humanitarian acts and contributions to the society.
“The award honors citizens and residents who have contributed to building a greater sense of community and social welfare within Abu Dhabi. Everyone is given the chance to nominate those whose goodness knows no limits and in doing so share in their goodwill,” said Mariam Ameri from the Organizing Committee in Abu Dhabi.
All nominations are reviewed individually and reported by a nomination panel. This is then reviewed by a judging committee comprising senior government officials. The merit of those people nominated will determine the final number of awards given.
The nomination process requires completing a “nomination form” available at stands in 26 key locations, including malls in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. The form can either be faxed or posted back and there are no limits to the number of people one person can nominate.
“Let your voice speak of their actions, in honouring people in this way. The awards raise awareness of the value of such contributions and in turn encourage others to make similar contributions,” stressed Amiri.
The 2006 awards received over 50,000 nominations, up from 42,000 in 2005. Three winners of the 2005 awards were present at the conference and spoke to the media.
“I never thought or expected to win this award. I received a call to bring along my husband and children to attend the event. They never gave me details. I only knew I was one of the winners when they announced my name that same day,” said Amira Al Shaibani.
Al Shaibani received nominations for her efforts in 1982 in a project to build a sports centre for children with special needs in the UAE.
Huda Kanoo, was nominated for her efforts in establishing the Abu Dhabi Classical Music and Arts Foundation in 1996 and a music library at the National Library in Abu Dhabi.
In addition, she launched an award carrying her name as a contribution to urge students to participate and compete at the Abu Dhabi Festival for Classical Music.
Dr. B.R. Shetty known for his medical achievements established the New Medical Center (NMC) Hospital with branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
He also opened the National Hospital, New National Medical Centre, NMC Specialty Hospitals and NMC Family Clinic that treats over one million patients a year.
“My father came to this country in 1973 with only 8 Dollars in his pocket. If it weren’t for this country offering opportunities and opening their arms to him he wouldn’t have succeeded in helping others and we wouldn’t have received this award today,” said one of Shetty’s daughters who represented him in his absence.
About the ADA 2007 Awards
-Through the commitment of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi has chosen to celebrate compassionate individuals who have silently volunteered their time to build and support the community of Abu Dhabi.
-The Emirate of Abu Dhabi recognizes the accomplishments of individuals through the Abu Dhabi Awards 2007, which marks the third year of awards.
-2005 was the inaugural year of the event
To make the Emirate of Abu Dhabi a better place, where humanity and goodness are cherished and celebrated.
To encourage and motivate citizens and residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to reach out and help each other live more fulfilling and rewarding lives.
Who can nominate
-Residents and citizens of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, including Al Ain and the Western Region.
-Those who know someone whose goodness has contributed to the community and spirit of Abu Dhabi.
-Recognize and celebrate citizens and residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi who have contributed to building a greater sense of community and social welfare within Abu Dhabi.
-The awards raise awareness of the value of such contributions and in turn encourage others to make similar contributions.
The Nomination Process
-Going to any of the many nomination stations across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi including roving nomination stations
-Filling out a nomination form, these are currently being delivered to homes across the UAE and can be returned by post, fax or by placing them in collection boxes placed at the nomination stations.
-Filling out your nomination form and faxing it 800-333-00
Previous winner summaries
Ahmad Khalifa Al Suwaidi
Dedicated his life and money to the welfare of the local community. He played an important role in the union of the UAE and was personal advisor to the Nation’s late father
Shaikh Salem bin Ham Al Amri
Strong supporter of the protection and welfare of the UAE
Contributed immensely to the protection and welfare of the nation both before and after the union and contributed to the social development in Abu Dhabi through the National Consultative Council
Shamsa Hazim Al Muhairi
Active member of the Abu Dhabi Women Development Association. Al Muhairi created awareness on the importance of women’s education and other social problems facing today’s community. Al Muhairi also launched a health program in the Emirate in cooperation with UNICEF and was pivotal in the establishment of the UAE Women Affairs bureau in 1991
Ahmed Awad Kareem
In collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Municipality, contributed to developing several important infrastructure projects in the Emirate including the establishment of the current industrial area
Sana’a Darwish Al Kitby
Dedicated her efforts to supporting people with special needs, women in the Emirate and autistic children. She contributed to the establishment of the General Women’s Union and the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association
Dr. Izzeidein Ibrahim Mustafa
Established several cultural and social associations, including the Women’s Union in the UAE
Contributed to the education sector by providing free classes to special students and organized fund raising activities to support her school
Ahlam Yahya Al Shateri
Created a platform for parents, teachers and children to better use their time and better understand each others needs. Al Shateri delivers seminars to promote loyalty to the country and charitable causes
Shaikha Siddeeqa Al Qasimi
One of the first UAE women graduates and a leader in supporting education and her school is now known as being one of the best governmental schools in the country. Al Qasimi focused on educating women and helping them excel in their communities and businesses and promoted principles of equality and ethics among her students
Winners in 2005
Dr Rawdha Al Mutawa
Established the Abu Dhabi Business Women Council, Chairwoman of the Gulf Business Committee and a member of the board of directors of the UAE Red Crescent
Strong supporter of National business women
The Late Abdul Jaleel Mohammad Al Fahim
His desire to help others led him into the trading business to allow him the means and resources to fulfill his selfless goals. His activities and generosity contributed to the economic backbone of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Amira Al Shaibani
In 1982 Amira Al Shaibani spearheaded a project to build a sports centre for children with special needs in the Emirate.
She also launched the Olympics for children with special needs.
Colonel Edward Wilson
Supervised and trained the first defense battalions between 1964 and 1968, which evolved into the UAE Armed Forces
Established the Royal Stables, whose first cornerstones were laid by the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Major General Hamad Al Khaili
The late Shaikh Zayed civil escort until the establishment of the Special Guards in 1971. He joined many training courses and was promoted up the military ranks till he received the rank of Major General. A sleepless soldier, man of strength and careful protector of the safety of the leader
Established the Abu Dhabi Classical Music and Arts Foundation in 1996 and a music library at the National Library in Abu Dhabi. Kanoo launched an award carrying her name as a contribution to urge students to participate and compete at the Abu Dhabi Festival for Classical Music
Pat & Marian Kennedy
Established the first hospital in Al Ain. Their efforts significantly contributed to the reduction of mortality rates, particularly among infants, and raised the birth rates during the many years they spent in Abu Dhabi. At least 4,000 babies came to life by virtue of their efforts.
Major General Khalfan Al Rumaithi
Served Abu Dhabi for 45 years and occupied many military posts from the day he joined the Trucial Oman Scouts.
Founded the Emiri Guards. This service earned him the UAE first-class medal
Sally approached the Future Centre to provide help for a group of children from Central Hospital. Sally looks after them all day, every day in return for the Future Centre taking them in and giving them homes. She has since adopted and sponsored other children
B R Shetty
His sense of purpose and determination culminated in the establishment of the NMC Hospital in Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind in the country, with branches in Dubai and Sharjah following that. These hospitals along with National Hospital, New National Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, the state of the art NMC Specialty Hospitals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and NMC Family Clinic, Dubai treat over one million patients a year