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Putting your emotions to good use March 1, 2007

Posted by humairah in Skills Development.
6 comments

Whether it’s the workplace, school or home, our emotions are constantly in action as we meet people wherever we go. “She treats me like dirt”. “The professor marked me wrong intentionally. He’s racist”. “The president never ever listens to me in the meetings. Why do I bother staying on the exec?” And so on.
Daily decisions where you interact with people are mostly two-way negotiations, even if it is shopping for something you like. Your emotions can break the deal, by diverting attention from substantial matters. Emotions can also be dangerous, as they can be used to exploit you. But at the same time, they can be a great asset. Should you deal directly with your emotions? It’s a complicated task.
Two years ago, I met Daniel Shapiro, Associate Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project. He was the Keynote speaker at the National Business & Technology conference in Toronto. And from him I learnt how to put emotions to good use. He and co-author Roger Fisher wrote an amazing book, Beyond Reason, which is my main reference for this article.
In order to develop a framework for understanding and dealing with your emotions, you have to analyse them. Fisher and Shapiro talk about core concerns that are human wants important to almost everyone in virtually every negotiation. They are often unspoken but are no less real than our tangible interests. These core concerns that can blend and merge with one another are: appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status and role. These core concerns focus on your relationship with others, and make up the emotional volume of any negotiation.

Express appreciation: Find merit in what others thinking, feel or do- and show it.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) advised us: “Shake hands and rancour will disappear. Give gifts to each other and love each other and enmity will disappear”1.
Everyone has a desire to feel understood, valued and heard. If people feel honestly appreciated, they are more likely to work together and less likely to act hostile. You can appreciate by:

  • Understanding a person’s viewpoint.
    Be prepared to listen. Do not ignore ambivalence or resistance. By being aware of a mixed message, you can better appreciate someone’s point of view. For example:
    She hates that colour. [But others don’t]
    She hates that colour. [She’s probably not going to change her mind easily]
    She hates that colour. [She hates that colour more than other colours]
    She hates that colour. [It’s the colour, but she’s okay with the model]
  • Finding merit in what the person thinks, feels, or does.
    Sincerity is crucial. When you strongly disagree with others, try acting as an impartial mediator, especially if it’s on issue that’s personally important. And once you find the merit, you will be able to say, “I know you worked harder than any other person in our group on this assignment.”
  • Communicating your understanding through words or actions.
    There’s no need for flowery language, your intention should be to recognise the person’s thoughts or actions. Be careful that the other person does not become defensive. Saying, “yes, I understand” is not enough. Make sure you listen actively, with concentration. If listening is hard for you, work on it. One idea is to practice reflective listening. You paraphrase either the factual information or the feelings the other person is expressing.

You may not agree with the other person’s viewpoint, that’s fine. But you can understand it and acknowledge whatever merit you can find. We all become emotionally rewarded when are appreciated just for who we are and what we do.

You talked to your father about moving out, and the situation got out of hand. Your father refused to believe that you would be able to manage living independently, and you don’t want to give in either. Put yourself in your father’s shoes, and ask yourself:

  1. In what ways does your father might feel that you do not understand him?
  2. In what ways does your father’s point of view have merit?
  3. Have you communicated that you understand what he’s saying to him?

Your father’s insecurity comes from his role in the family. He wants to make sure that you’re comfortable wherever you are. For question 2, you can tell him: “You are right about my spending habits, but I believe living alone will give me the opportunity to learn to budget”.

Build affiliation: Turn an adversary into a colleague
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) used the message of Islam, and his forbearing attitude to turn many initial idolaters to Islam. One such incident was when before he was a Muslim; Zayd ibn Sa’na came to demand that the Prophet repay a loan to him. He pulled his garment from his shoulder, seized hold of him and behaved coarsely towards him. Umar chased him off and spoke harshly to him while the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, merely smiled. He said, “I expect something other than this from you, Umar. You should command me to repay the man well and command him to ask for his debt correctly.” Then he said, “Three days are left till it is due.” He told Umar to repay him what was owed and to add twenty sa’s because he had alarmed him. This was the cause through which Zayd became Muslim2.

  • From the outset, treat the other as a colleague.
  • Plan joint activities to help you meet the other party in less formal setting.
  • Exclude with care; don’t make others feel left out.
  • Reduce personal distance by connecting in creative ways.

Wise decisions involve both your head and your gut, and protect yourself from being manipulated by affiliation.

Respect autonomy: Expand yours (and don’t impinge upon theirs)
Use the I-C-N bucket system: Inform, Consult, Negotiate.
The 3 buckets can come in handy for labour-management negotiators and others who work together over time and face similar decisions again and again. The process also help those who work together to keep from stepping on each other’s toes without being paralyzed for the need for constant consensus.
Whatever your authority, you can always make a recommendation or suggest inventing options before deciding. Joint brainstorming is a practical process for you to invent options for mutual benefit.

Acknowledge Status: Recognise high standing wherever deserved
Status enhances our self-esteem and influence. Khalid bin Walid, the great commander of the Muslim army was asked to step down, in a letter sent to Abu Ubaidah by the Caliph Umar, at the battle of Yarmuk. The battle was still not over, and a change in leadership at this stage could prove to be an abhorrent decision. Abu Ubaidah acknowledged Khalid’s outstanding position and between them they were able to decide to inform the Muslim soldiers of the change once the battle was over3.
Every person has multiple areas of high status, there’s no need to compete with others over this. Appreciate the high status of others where relevant and deserved and feel proud of your own areas of expertise and achievement. If you truly appreciate your own status, you can acknowledge the status of others without cost. And treating others with appropriate respect often makes them respect you.

Choose a fulfilling role: And select the activities within in
We all have a concern with having a role that is personally fulfilling. We do not want to spend our days and nights playing phoney roles or trying to be someone who we are not. In a negotiation playing an unfulfilling role can lead to be resentment, anger or frustration.
A fulfilling role has 3 qualities: It has a clear purpose, it is personally meaningful, and it is not a pretense. And every role has a job label and a set of fulfilling activities. Raza works very hard to get through school part time by working odd jobs. His dream is to get into theatrical production. When he’s working in retail, he spends a lot of time analysing his customers, imagining roles for them, and thinking up dialogues. His colleague on the other hand, just pouts about little he gets paid because he’s a student. Raza has expanded his role to include meaningful activities.
Also, appreciate the role others want to play. Your project group has a member who works extremely hard, but at the same time tries to take all the credit. An unfulfilling role leaves us feeling trivialised and unengaged. As the hadith goes, “if you hear about your brother something of which you disapprove, seek from one to seventy excuses for him. If you cannot find any, convince yourselves that it is an excuse you do not know4.” You should appreciate how the situation looked to your partner. He’s doing badly in other courses and this is boosting his confidence. Or, he thinks he’ll lose friends if his performance drops, and so on.
As we negotiate, we play a role in response to a role set by another person. If the other person makes demands, so do we. If they call us weak, we show our strength.

Reshaping your role can take effort. But don’t give up. Over time, you can shape your role to your liking.
The ideas in this article require a live human being to understand and put them to practice. You can act in ways that meet the core concerns in others as well as in yourself. Express appreciation. Build a sense of affiliation. Respect each person’s autonomy and status. Help shape roles to be fulfilling.

References:
1 Muwatta 47.4.16
2 Al-Bayhaqi, Ibn Hibban, at-Tabarani and Abu Nu`aym
3 History of the Khulafaa taught by Muhammad AlShareef, Al Maghrib Institute
4 Al-Bayhaqi

Developing Your Leadership Potential through Influence November 23, 2006

Posted by humairah in Skills Development, You.
3 comments

What is influence all about?

Our level of influence varies with everyone we know. It grows in stages. The first level is modeling.  One of the reasons why Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has been such an influential figure across the world amongst Muslims and Non-Muslims is because he was commanded by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) to lead by example. Children grow up by ‘modeling’ or observing their parents. Many people are strongly influenced by people they have never met- Political leaders, singers, actors, etc.Level 2 is motivating.  Motivating is about building a person’s sense of self-worth. When people feel good about being with you, you’ve created a bridge that allows you to impact them significantly. When Khalid bin Walid (May Allah be pleased with him) stepped on to the battlefield at Yarmuk, someone said, “Look, there are so many of them”, and he replied “I wish my horse was handicapped and their numbers were twice as many. This is nothing.”1 He was an extremely motivational leader, and took the Muslims to innumerable victories.The next level is mentoring. Asmaa bint Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with her) was her son’s greatest mentor. When Abdullah was faced with battle and knew he was going to be killed, she reminded him to persevere and fight for the sake of Allah, and martyrdom is better than all the possessions he was offered.2 He was extremely proud of his mother.The final level and the highest level of influence is multiplying. ‘If you lead many people or have a high-profile position, you have a greater responsibility because of your increased influence’, write John Maxwell in his book, Becoming a Person of Influence. (more…)

The Choice within You- Developing a Positive Attitude October 9, 2006

Posted by humairah in Skills Development, You.
12 comments

Before Islam, the Companions led a miserable, ignorant life. The change effected by the Qur’an in their life testifies to its power of change and reformation. Those poor, insignificant, barefooted desert dwellers were reshaped into new beings; their ambitions were elevated to sublime goals; and their hearts were raised and attached to Allah.
Their souls were changed and, therefore, Allah’s promise came true: Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition- Qur’an: Ar Ra’d 13:11.

Motivational writers such as Norman Vincent Peale have been telling us for years that a positive outlook can make people more successful in life. According to research conducted by psychologists in the late ’80’s, good health and the ability to overcome stress are also linked to a positive attitude.

What is attitude? On the surface, it could be described as the disposition we display to others. Elwood N. Chapman, author of Attitude: Your Most Priceless Possession, claims, “Attitude is a mind set. It is the way you look at things mentally.” He goes on to observe, “A positive attitude is the outward manifestation of a mind that dwells primarily on positive matters.”
Attitude is contagious. A positive attitude gives energy to you and to those around you. On the other hand, a negative attitude drains your energy and the energy of those with whom you come in contact.
Elwood N. Chapman uses the analogy of a camera. “Think of attitude as your mental focus on the outside world,” he says. “Like using a camera, you can focus or set your mind on what appeals to you. You can see situations as either opportunities or failures. A cold winter day as either beautiful or ugly. A departmental meeting as interesting or boring.” He goes on to say, “Quite simply you take the picture of life you want to take.”

So how do you go about developing a positive attitude? It’s all about the choices you make. (more…)

Attitude… August 19, 2006

Posted by humairah in Expression, General.
2 comments

It is the “advance man” of our true selves.
Its roots are inward but its fruit is outward.
It is our best friend or our worst enemy.
It is more honest and more consistent than our words.
It is an outward look based on past experiences.
It is a thing which draws people to us or repels them.
It is never content until it is expressed.
It is the librarian of our past.
It is the speaker of our present.
It is the prophet of our future.

-John Maxwell, author of Attitude 101- What every leader needs to know

Khurram Murad- A Visionary Leader among Da’is August 17, 2006

Posted by humairah in General, Learning from personalities.
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Khurram Murad was born in Bhopal, India in 1932, and migrated to Pakistan in 1948. He studied civil engineering at the University of Karachi (BEng. 1952), securing 1st place in the University, and went on to study in the University of Minnesota (USA) (MSc. 1958), he worked as a leading consulting engineer in Karachi, Dhaka, Tehran and Riyadh. Associated Consulting Engineers Ltd., with which he worked as a chief engineer and resident director, was responsible for the initial design and electrification of the extension of the Masjid al-Haram, Makkah and Khurram Murad played an important role in the formulation and implementation of the plans for extension of the Haram.

Murad’s thinking on what Muslims and Muslim leaders must do in the West was the contextualisation of the Islamic Movement. It is summarised below:

  • Ultimate mission of the Islamic movement: The Islamic Movement is an organised struggle to change the existing society into an Islamic society based on the Qur’an and SUnnah and to make Islam, which is a code for entire life, supreme and dominant, especially in the sociopolitical spheres.

  • Leaders of the Islamic Movement must not be constrained by ‘historical’ Islam. As Allah says in the Qur’an: O ye who believe! Be ye staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer unto both (than ye are). So follow not passion lest ye lapse (from truth) and if ye lapse or fall away, then lo! Allah is ever Informed of what ye do. [4:135]

  • Local Muslims must be involved: For it is only the locals who have the power to change the society into an Islamic society

  • Communicate using the same frame of reference as the target audience, such as emulating the examples of previous prophets, but conveying the message in the language understood by the followers.

  • Focus on contemporary issues. Different Prophet’s had different focusses, suc as Prophet Nuh on the issue of caste and class differences, Prophet Hud on imperialism and Prophet Lut confronted permissiveness; may the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be on them. Make the message relevant to what’s degrading society today- pornography, nuclear proliferation, environmental degradation, etc.

 

-Taken from Leadership- An Islamic Perspective by Rafik Beekun and Jamal Badawi

7 Principles of Transformational Leadership July 27, 2006

Posted by humairah in Skills Development, You.
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‘…Create a synergy of energy…’

Leaders of a movement not only are called to authentically model Islamic values and principles, but they should also depend on the seven principles of transformational leadership to create a synergy of energy within their congregation.

1. Principle of Simplification – Successful leadership begins with a vision, which reflects the direction of the common course. This means, the ability to articulate a clear, practical, transformational vision which answers the question, “Where are we headed?” The stone cutters’ tale illustrates this idea: The first stone cutter says, “I’m cutting stone,” the second says, “I’m carving a cornerstone,” but the third says, “I’m building a conference hall.” The third has a vision. Where do political science students see themselves – impacting their local mosque, their community, the nation, or the world? For any team, discussing goals, objectives and vision unifies the members.

2. Principle of Motivation – The ability to gain the agreement and commitment of other people to the vision. Once the transformational leader is able to bring synergy to the organization he must then use various means to energize (motivate) the team. A common way to motivate others is to challenge them, provide ample opportunity to join the creative process, and give them the credit.

3. Principle of Facilitation – The ability to effectively facilitate the learning of individuals, teams, and other reliable and reputable resources. Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline says the primary job of leadership now is to facilitate the learning’s of others. The inborn quest of humans (staff) to learn more and more becomes the leaders greatest asset to address organizational challenges. Transformational leaders have been given a sacred trust of being stewards of their staff’s intellectual capital.

4. Principle of Innovation: The ability to boldly initiate prayerful change when needed. An effective and efficient organization requires members to anticipate change and not fear it. Leaders must initiate and respond quickly to change. Team members successfully influence one another to assimilate change because the transformational leaders have build trust and fostered teamwork.

5. Principle of Mobilization – The ability to enlist, equip and empower others to fulfill the vision. Transformational leaders look for willing participants who have already been given formal leadership responsibilities and also among people who have not. They desire leadership at all levels, so they find ways to invite and ignite leadership all levels. They introduce simple baby steps to enlist larger participants.

6. Principle of Preparation – The ability to never stop learning about themselves with and without the help of others. Rick Warren says, “Leaders are learners.” Transformational leaders realize that the transformation they pursue in is a reflection of their own spiritual quest–that they must serve the world through their giftedness because that is the only way they truly fulfill their life mission. With this mindset, moments of being stuck become moments of total dependence on God. This is such a rigorous path of learning that transformational leaders must be in thriving relationships with others pursuing transformation. It is within these vital relationships, life opportunities and obstacles get saturated in love and support.

7. Principle of Determination – The ability to finish the race. A leaders missions is sometime difficult and their journey often lonely. Leaders depend on their stamina, endurance, courage and strength to finish each day. Because their focus is not only on raising their own leadership but the development of others, the most rigorous and humbling of all human endeavors, transformational leaders experience times of self doubt, grief and fatigue. Transformational leaders have to develop spiritual, emotional, and physical disciplines to sustain their high level of commitment to their cause. (more…)

Dean Smith Leadership Principle 1 July 12, 2006

Posted by humairah in Activities, Learning from personalities, Management, Skills Development.
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The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty

“If you ever need me, call!”


Thought for the Day: If you are loyal to people, they will be loyal to you.

Game Plan

  • Put people first
  • Accept others unconditionally
  • Care for them over a lifetime
  • Be honest with everyone
  • Have empathy for all
  • Care for people who produce the profit

Team Practice

  • What does loyalty mean to you?
  • How do you demonstrate loyalty in your personal life?
  • How do you demonstrate loyalty @ work?
  • What can your organisation do to foster loyalty among customers, shareholders, and employees?

Coach Smith said, ‘I loved to win, and hated to lose. Yet for years I struggled with something internally. We would play poorly and win, and I’d feel great. We’d play well and lose, and I’d feel terrible. That didn’t make sense to me’.’If two of your children were playing tennis against each other, would you really care who won? Is winning all that important in the scheme of things? No. That’s why I’ve placed compassion above competition. I want to win, but caring for people is much more important to me’.

Putting people first
Everything meaningful in life flows out of relationships. Coach Smith would not let even the dean or chancellor interrupt him when he was in a meeting with one of his players. He made them feel very important. That’s the reciprocal law of loyalty- If you are loyal to people, they will be loyal to you.

(more…)

Long-time perspective June 19, 2006

Posted by humairah in Definitions & References.
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"The amount of time that you take into consideration when planning your day-to-day activities, and when making important decisions in your life"

In 1974, sociologist Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University wrote a book entitled, “The Unheavenly City.” He described one of the most profound studies on success and priority setting ever conducted. Banfield’s goal was to find out how and why some people became financially independent during the course of their working lifetimes.

He started off convinced that the answer to this question would be found in factors such as family background, education, intelligence, influential contacts, or some other concrete factor. What he finally discovered was that the major reason for success in life was a particular attitude of mind. Banfield called this attitude “long time perspective.” Time perspective referred to how far you projected into the future when you decided what you were going to do or not do in the present. He said that men and women who were the most successful in life and the most likely to move up economically were those who took the future into consideration with every decision they made in the present.

He found that the longer the period of time a person took into consideration while planning and acting, the more likely it was that he/she would achieve greatly. The essential key to success in setting priorities is having a long time perspective. You can tell how important something is today by measuring its potential future impact on your life. For example, if you come home from work at night and choose to play with your children or spend time with your spouse, rather than watch TV or read the paper, you have a long time perspective. You know that investing time in the health and happiness of your children and your spouse is a very valuable, high-priority use of time. Thus, the key word to keep in mind when you’re setting priorities is sacrifice. Setting priorities usually requires sacrificing present enjoyment for future enjoyment. It requires giving up a short-term pleasure in the present in order to enjoy a far greater and more substantial pleasure in the future.

Another example of a long time perspective is the common habit of upper class families in England to register their children at Oxford or Cambridge as soon as the children are born, even though the youngsters will not be attending for 18 or 19 years. This long-term thinking is what causes parents to open savings accounts for their young children to assure that they will be able to attend good colleges when they graduate from high school. Having and planning for the future is long time perspective in action. The young couple who begins putting $50 a month aside in an education fund so that their newborn child can go to the college or university of his or her choice is a couple with long time perspective. They are willing to sacrifice in the short term to assure better results and outcomes in the long term. People with long time perspectives almost invariably move up economically in the course of their lifetimes.

The Current Problem of Leadership June 14, 2006

Posted by humairah in General.
3 comments

I really liked this article by Abu Bakr Karolia, written about 4 years ago. This simple article explains the leadership problem in the Ummah today, and urges Muslims to rise up to the challenge. Hope you find it a good read too!

The Current Problematic of Leadership

by

AbuBakr Karolia

South Africa, March, 2002

In the modern era the institution of leadership is symbolized as the speculation of power and the capacity to manage and control the desires and emotions of mankind. Another explanation of leadership is to be a leader of a country or group that upholds the scope of power of an ideology or a way of life.

This ideology reflects a particular way of life in the current debate e.g. in the linear contemporary politics, the world is controlled by economic principles and wealth accumulation.

This particular ideology subtlety controls through economic power and political systems, which are designed to be seen as fair and just. Developed wealthy countries exert influence through the control of world markets and vast sums of financial capital movement. Minds are controlled through usurious economic systems, which perpetuate the concerns and oppression of ordinary people making a living.

The control of capital resources manipulates humanity through the modern free markets and purchase of cheap labor and ultimately political power. This cheap labor is the engine of the world, which is nourished by the vast sums of capital made available by the developed wealthier countries. This modern definition of leadership is broadly accepted as sophisticated tyranny but majority of mankind is unable to recognize this subtle oppression. Because it looks goods it is deceptive and you do not see the dragon that is about to pounce.

This process of material acquirement and consumerism becomes a way of life. This way of life is responsible for the protection of many ideas as nationalism, liberalism, democracy and free markets. This way of life due to its unjust individualism propounds characteristics of anxiety, depression, hatred, racism, and ethnic cleansing, class and gender inequality. This material way of life is to protect the accumulation of wealth, material goods and economic power.

In the context of a modern democratic dispensation the leadership maintains a stable government and must show open responsibility to a certain world opinion. Those that lead these forums e.g. the World Economic Forum (WEF) advocate the theory of stable and responsible government. These developing poorer countries are expected to be subservient to the economic world order, which then ensures possible access to resources and technology by developed wealthier countries.

Availability of technology and global resources are not for the benefit of the world but for an elite few. This is the modern leadership, the leadership of neo-colonialism, which ensures and upholds that the wealthy countries reap the benefit of their systems and schemes at work. Those countries that are independent or say things that do not suit the agenda of these schemes will be attacked through the propaganda of the media or brought to the knees through the currency markets. These people are generally not concerned about the alleviation of poverty, ignorance and disease. They are interested in protecting their way of life and if you are not with them then they are against you.

A further definition of world leadership is through globalization and capitalism the ‘mother’ of wealth creation, material accumulation and power.

GLOBALIZATION

Through the concept of globalization the power of control and leadership are nourished for the benefit of corporations and multinationals. Globalization is the birth child of colonialism and imperialism. Through this process the G8 countries with the help of the techno-usurious monetary system, banking institution such as the World Bank and the IMF has gripped the world economy and humanity, which has resulted in bewilderment, poverty and uncertainty.

Let us consider the Muslim world: Currently there are 56 countries, members of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). These countries are loosely linked and many of them do not officially accept Islam as their state religion. These countries do not cohesively pose a threat to other civilization or can be classified as developed. Almost all are lagging behind in knowledge, technological advancement and skills including effective and just governments.

Muslims make up over 1.2 billion of the world population who are divided by many of their own loyalties and difference of interpretation of Islam. The principle of Unity is in shock where Muslims are to busy fighting each other and therefore the commitment to their faith is apparently suffering. Poverty, ignorance and instability have become a common feature in the Muslim world that is dependent on the process of globalization, as instituted by the G8 countries. Affective visions and strategy for advancement is elusive and Muslim leadership grapple with critical thinking and in the lap of apathy and comfort. The issues of social justice and brotherhood are murdered in the echelons of corruption and dictatorships.

Many of these rulers have become lap dogs waiting to be thrown a few tits bits in this worldview of wealthy and militaristically powerful nations. Most of these leaders and rulers in the Muslim lands have not been democratically chosen at the ballot box. (more…)

Accepting criticism June 13, 2006

Posted by humairah in Expression.
24 comments

"O people! You have selected me as your leader although I am not the best among you. If I do right support me; if I am wrong set me right. Obey me as I obey God and His Messenger. If I go against the injunction of God and His Prophet, then no obedience is due from you."

The first Caliph Abu Bakr in his famous inaugural speech

Synergy- Why do geese fly in a V formation? June 10, 2006

Posted by humairah in General, Laws of nature, Management.
224 comments

As the geese take flight from the Canadian shoreline, they lift off from the water in squawking discourse. Yet, in a matter of seconds, a line begins to emerge from the mass of brown feathers. This line straightens, arches slightly, and then, as on cue, bends sharply to form a perfect V shape. Canada geese fly in V formation for a very pragmatic reason: a flock of geese flying in formation can move faster and maintain flight longer than any one goose flying alone. Synergy is a law of nature.

What is synergy? How does it relate to leadership?

We have a lot to learn from these geese.

  • By flying in "V " formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
    =>People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
  • Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
    =>If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same as we are.
  • When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
    => It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, with people or with flying geese.
  • These geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. 
    => We need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.
  • Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group. 
    => If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.

Synergy is best explained as, 'One plus one equals more than two'. Today's world requires a critical mass of transformational leaders who will commit to creating a synergy of energy within their circle of influence so new level of social, economic, organizational and spiritual success can be reached. Synergy helps you realise the value of others, and secondly, encourages you to find the right people. Synergy is a dynamic form of leverage. Avoid using it, and end up working four times as hard for half the results. Use it and watch the results expand exponentially!

In an upcoming article, I will talk about the 7 principles of transformational leadership.

Personal Ownership is Freedom June 6, 2006

Posted by humairah in Expression.
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Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
Which we ascribe to heaven; the fated sky
Gives us free scope; and only backward pulls
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.

How much I could do if I only tried.

Shakespeare

Kids can Free the Children- Leadership Quiz June 6, 2006

Posted by humairah in Activities, For Children.
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Many times, simplicity is the key. Instead of reading books upon books, attending skills development workshops, talking to mentors and what not, a simple self-evaluation can go a long way in helping you realise what you need to improve on. Once you've identified it, the 'how' just follows.

Kids can Free the Children is an organisation that I believe every kid should be a part of. Started by Marc and Craig Kielburger at the age of 12 back in 1995 with their school friends, and today it has grown to an organisation that has done incredible things.

In Toronto, the 'Adopt a Village' advertisement all over the TTC subway stations and on TV is quite impressive, and this is one of their programs. 

Today, Marc is a Harvard grad and Rhodes Scholar with a law degree from Oxford University and Craig is a Peace and Conflict Studies student at the University of Toronto.

FTC proves that kids can achieve wonderful feats if they are driven by their energy, passion, dedication and complete integrity. And these are the principles that all the volunteers, staff and founders of this organisation are committed to, to this day. Their leadership skills, combined with others have led them to help many children around the world live better lives. What could be a better thing to do?

Take this simple leadership quiz online.

> FTC Leadership Quiz

The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith June 3, 2006

Posted by humairah in General.
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Dean Smith coached basketball @ the University of North Carolina for 36 years, willing a major-college record of 879 games as well as the admiration, friendship, and respect of his players, and peers.

David Chadwick, one of his students, wrote a book, 'The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith' selecting the core values of Dean Smith and answering the 'how' he did it in 'it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game".

David Chadwick is currently a pastor in a large church, and he draws examples from the experiences of many famous basketball players and coaches.

I will go over each of these principles in separate posts. Definitely the most important values in a leader are the most basic ones, such as honesty, integrity, responsibility and so on, and writing about them in the light of basketball should help exemplify their practical aspect.

Unfortunately though, I haven't learnt much about basketball through this book!

Make your life extraordinary June 1, 2006

Posted by humairah in Expression.
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"Most of us will never do great things. But we can do small things in a great way"

Maren Mouritsen, Educator

Goals in Action June 1, 2006

Posted by humairah in Expression.
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"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the hand of man can achieve."

Napolean Hill

Turning weaknesses into strengths June 1, 2006

Posted by humairah in Expression.
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The tree that never had to fight

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out in the open rain

And always got its share and rain,

Never became a forest king

But lived and died a scrubby thing…

Good timber does not grow with ease,

The stronger wind, the stronger trees.

Douglas Malloch

Strategic Intent May 29, 2006

Posted by humairah in Definitions & References, Management, You.
4 comments

Gary Hamel and C K Prahalad have written a book, Competing for the future, where they define, 'Strategic Intent'. This was first introduced in 1989, in the Harvard Business Review.

It's an interesting concept in management, and I think it's important because of the importance of having the right intentions in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, 'Innamal 'amaalu bin niyyaat'- Actions are indeed by intentions.

So, extending this concept (and it's a huge extension!) to the company level,  strategic intent is:

"an ambitious and compelling … dream that energizes … that provides the emotional and intellectual energy for the journey … to the future."

If strategic architecture (a high-level blueprint for the deployment of new functionalities, the acquisition of new competencies or the migration of existing competencies, and the reconfiguring of the interface with customers) is the brain, strategic intent is the heart.

What a company has currently- resources, labour, capability, are not enough. Strategic intent should give a sense of stretch, and this sense of stretch has 3 attributes:

  1. Direction: You have a particular point of view about the competitiveness of your firm. This foresightedness should convey a clear direction in the future.
  2. Discovery: Encourage employees to open up new venues, exploration, ideas, creativity, new territories that are unique.
  3. Destiny: Beginning with the end in mind. Where are you going? What's in your hands? What can you change? What are your takes? How do you feel? (more…)

Leadership- The critical difference May 28, 2006

Posted by humairah in Learning from personalities.
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By Brian Tracey

Staying in the zone
Remember, in order to become a leader, you start with an 'A'. Now all you have to do, is keep it. If you've been eating a lot of junk (out of the zone), you're just one step away from the right zone- Eat a healthy meal. Similarly, in order to become a leader, all you have to do is work hard to keep your 'A'- You already have it.

The qualities of leadership

Clarity of vision
Leaders have vision. They can see the future, and they have a long-time perspective. They have the ability to visualise an ideal future. Everyone close their eyes, imagine this room goes into a time warp. 5 years later, you open your eyes. Something wonderful has happened- Your whole life has been perfected. All your dreams have been fulfilled, and all your goals have been achieved- What would it look like? Where would you be? Who would you be with? How well would you be doing? How much would you be earning? How fit would you be? What would your children be like?
This a critical question to answer, because:
1. 5 years have passed, and this is what you'd be.
2. If you're absolutely clear on what you want, you'd be exponentially closer to your goals 5 years from now in reality.

Strategic intent: Where would you want to be in 5-10 years. What kind of a person would like to be?
If you can define that today, you develop long term perspective.

Clarity is very important. Unlike Columbus- when he reached America, he didn't know where he was. When he got back, he didn't know where he went. And this is how most people are when they goto work. A successful person is like an arrow. He knows where he's heading. He can see the direction.

Think about the future
Leaders think about the future. This is one of the characteristics of superior people. Average people think about reading the paper, watching TV, and so on.

Emerson said you can tell how big you are by the type of things that irritate you- such as, the candy on your pillow, or the government corruption. What pre-occupies you?What are your values? What do you stand for? What do you believe in?
Recent studies show they know who they are. You don't need to tell them. Non-leaders are a little bit to the left, or to the right.
Leaders have a mission- It's the galvanising force in your life. A mission is your ideal future condition. You are the president for your own company, and you need a mission for your own life.
'I am an outstanding professional in my field. I'm the best amongst my team. I am intensely service oriented. I'm liked and looked up by all those around me.' Keep comparing yourself to your mission. Leaders set very high standards for themselves. Am I living upto the best that is in me? Your mission is to do something best with your life. You can hold up your mission and keep comparing yourself to it. You just need to use a fraction of all the potential that God has given us to make a difference around us.

(more…)

Introduction May 27, 2006

Posted by humairah in General.
3 comments

As salamu alaikum

I've been thinking about this blog for a very long time. Yet it's almost funny that I would write articles on leadership, when I do not compare an inch amongst the many leaders in our community.

Alhamdulillahi rabbil 'Alameen- Allah subhana wa ta'ala has facilitated my initiative at the right time, and I'm quite overwhelmed to be able to start this!

 The first few articles are going to be quite random, until I think I've learnt enough to give this blog some structure. Please drop your comments, feedback and whatever you may please. I'm the one who has the most to learn, and any help in that regard is only appreciated!

salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

-Humairah Irfan