In my last blog post where I wrote about the Leadership workshop I attended, I mentioned about two games that we played, one in group and other in pairs which effectively explains how the people perceive leadership as ‘GTD’ (get things done) only and the various styles the people apply for the same.

I promised in my last post that I will be writing more on the games and in this, I would attempt to do the same.

 

So before I start mentioning about the game, let me mention the characters in the game as follows,

Project Manager (PM) – Raj played the role of project manager

Team 1 – Myself along with 4 others

Team 2 – Rest of the 5 team members

 

negotiation1 The PM kept the team 2 inside the training room and gave few instructions to them and a goal to achieve. He also took team 1 outside the room and had a discussion and gave us a  goal to achieve as well.

The goal of the team 1 was as follows,

‘Team 1 needs to make the members of Team 2, stand up and walk 3 steps, without writing anything on paper i.e., name or signature’.

The goal of the team 2, that we were NOT made aware, was as follows,

‘Team 2 needs to get signatures of all Team 1 members without walking or standing up from their chairs’.

He gave both the teams time to think out our strategies on how to achieve ‘our’ goals whilst we were unaware of what the other party has to achieve.  We were asked to have 3 plans ready in case the first or second plan to achieve ‘our’ goal does not work out.

 

The plan we made was as follows,

1. We will request the other team to stand up and walk with us

2. We will make the other team to help us in achieving ‘our’ goal

3. We will sing national anthem so people will automatically stand up, at least if not walk towards the pseudo flag.

Obviously the other team would also have made up the plan and we assumed that they will not respond to what we request them.

So, the way the game unfolded was as follows.  We all, part of team 1, went inside the room deciding to execute the plan and saw all the team 2 members sitting on chairs in a U shape, as if waiting for us to attack. All of them had a notebook and a pen in their hands.  It was obvious that they too had made their strategy to achieve their goal.

So, as the time went on, we tried our plan 1, 2 & 3 but nothing worked. Out of the group of 5 each, few of us could take a mid way such as they stand up and walk with us while we sign for them on the paper. So both our goals could be achieved. However, few people from each team stood up to the end to ensure that they achieve their goal without compromise.

The catch of the system was no team will win unless all the members of the other do as per their goal.  Since about 2 people from each team did not manage to achieve the goal, both the teams lost eventually. Thus, none of the team ended up winning.

Now look at few facts that happened through the game that was played.

  • When the goals were explained, they were explained in such a way that the respective teams were told only ‘what’ they need to achieve, not how
  • The teams were given complete freedom of deciding the plans on how to achieve the goals
  • We were given freedom to make our own assumptions to think on how we believe the other team will react
  • Both the teams went on defensive when the first strategy did not work out and started to pull alternative plans to ensure they win
  • Finally it ended in a conflict and none of the teams won

 

negotiationsLets now look at few assumptions and what happened through the minds of teams during the game, as an honest reflection,

  • We, the team 1, when told our goal, assumed that the goal of the other team will definitely be NOT to co-operate
  • We assumed that they will never do what we will ask of them and eventually ended up making plans that hided our intention of goal behind the back of our behaviour (request, national anthem etc.)
  • We did not want to tell them our goal and understand what their goal is. Rather, we were never interested in knowing what their goal was
  • Finally, as a truth, we all believed that the only way for us to win is to ensure the other person loses !

 

So, in a nutshell, the entire negotiating strategy was based on WIN – LOSE pattern.  We made our own assumptions, without making any attempt to understand what could be our common goal be and find out a WIN – WIN formula.  In this case, could have been the fact that team 1 will sign the paper while walking along with team 2 members.

 

Interesting ?

So what are few key learning out of this game ?

What I understood was as follows,

  • Its very easy to make a WIN – LOSE negotiation strategy. You do not need to make any effort to create one !
  • NEVER ever make any assumptions that the other party will NOT co-operate with you
  • Even if you assume (some think of it as being practical, rational), do not make your strategy assuming you win at someone else’s cost
  • Be open to understand the intent and find out what the other party really wants from you
  • Also, be clear on what you can offer to the other party
  • Once understood the core intents, find a midway to ensure that both he teams WIN by co-operating each other, not trying to supersede each other

 

I am sure if you are still reading this by now, you would also have learnt few things out of this.  As usual, I am keen to learn from you so please let me know your views.

Last 4 days, I was fortunate to be part of the ‘Leadership Management Workshop’ and I must acknowledge these days have been an exhilarating, self realizing & self discovering experience.

Being in Amdocs, a company that really makes an effort of developing leadership through specialized programmes such as this one, has been of immense value to me over last 6 months as I am able to get into lot of such workshops / trainings to enhance myself.

leadership Coming back to the workshop that was conducted by Raj Mali, who calls him self a corporate mystic, was conducted over a period of 4 days and had several engaging discussions that ultimately led to the group understanding the secrets of successful corporate leadership. 

Its do have lots to write about the experience of last 4 days and I would be genuinely attempting to write few articles on my experience of last 4 days and how I have grasped, understood and learnt few things. This is obviously the first attempt to start a series of the discussions on the topic of ‘Leadership’.

Our training group of 10 was consisted of managers across various competency centres of Amdocs, some of us were new and coming from other organizations and few of them were veterans who are with the company for close to 10 years or so, thus making it one of the more diverse forums and at the same time, an interesting one.

The common pattern of the last 4 days was consistent. More focus was given on group discussions, observations, role plays and games. It was so surprising that the amount multimedia that was involved was very less. More details on the same, with genuine hope, I will be able to post in coming days on my blog.

 

In this article, I want to reflect on the very first topic that we discussed in the programme and that was a simple question,

 

“What do you think leadership means to you?”

 

On the face value of the question, it looks very simple to everyone, however what surprised me and probably others was that when this was thrown at us, we had really take a pause and think, what it really means?

Few interesting answers that came out of the discussion were,

– Leadership is all about getting things done on time within budget & costs

– Leadership means helping your team grow

– Its about people management

– Its about how you handle issues and the pressure cooker situations

– Leadership is how you motivate people to do their jobs

– Leadership is about managing the work and team

– Leadership is controlling the behaviour and emotions of self and influencing in others

– Leadership is all about setting the rules and helping the followers follow them !

and the answer I gave was “Leadership is all about taking risks and making key decisions that help you grow your team”.  

However, after the session is now complete, what I have understood about leadership is as follows,

Leadership is not a science, its an art.

Its an art on how you understand the mindset of individuals as well as groups, connect with people of various styles and patterns and still form a successful team and achieve a common goal of growth & success. However, none of the above is possible, without yourself making a conscious effort to understand yourself, your own emotions and learn to control and channelize them to create positive energy around.

 

Leadership is demonstrated by various people and they have unique style of executing leadership within the group.  Raj, very effectively classifies all the styles into 4 simple categories and had easily explained them through two games, one group and other pair.

I would like to mention about the games in next article, however, till then, I would like to know your view on what you perceive leadership as and if you have to define, how would be defining the same?

Let me know !

Its been a very very long time for me to write a post on my blog.  Yeah, I admit.  Call me lazy to write on my blog post or think of it as a lack of anything interesting happening around that prompted me to keep off the blog.

innovation Anyhow, today was a good day at work for me. We had the final of Aviskhar-2010, an innovator’s festival. Essentially it was a competition of innovative ideas that can help the business to either get more business, save costs or increase customer satisfaction. In last few months, we did have few rounds of initial discussions and screenings and today’ finally about 14 teams competed with each other for the top 3 prizes.  The set up was far from conventional where people go on dias and present their idea one by one and a panel of judges vote to rate the best idea.  The competition was more of an open competition where each of the competitor were given a stall with two desktops PCs, laptop & a network connection.  You were supposed to create your own marketing material, decorate the stall and entertain the people coming to visit your stall by marketing your own product.  People will come and visit the stall, talk to you about your idea, ask questions and if they are satisfied, will go to the voting booth and vote for their favourite idea. 

It was pretty interesting for me to stand in a stall and talk to hundreds of unknown people, few knowing what you are talking about, some knowing nothing about your idea. Few were veterans in the company, while few were absolutely new joiners. This kind of experience was new to me at work where I had to act as a sales agent and sell the idea to unknown people and get them buy into your concept and make them actually vote for you. 

My innovative ideas was about reducing the overall operational, infrastructure costs of production monitoring systems while keeping the operational efficiencies in tact. We projected to save about 80% savings on infrastructure requirements and about 30% saving on the human efforts. The visitors included almost all kind of employees right from India Head to new joiners, all showing keen interest in hearing what we wanted to say.  Few got convinced and did managed to vote for us.

I had to talk continuously to over 400+ different people about the idea, talking them through understanding the concept and urging them to vote for us. Looks we could convince only 306 of them.

Although, it was sufficient for me to win IIIrd prize at the contest.