Monday, November 25, 2013

The 3-Day Champion MBA Workshop Concludes at the School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad - Most Satisfying

It was a full 3 day affair in the end and I am quite satisfied with the way it went. The students stayed back after their exams, before their one month long vacation, and turned up in good numbers which speaks much for their commitment (and the esteem in which they hold Prof. Jyothi). They hung on to rather difficult concepts that asked awkward questions about themselves. They did their best and I am certain there will be some benefit overall.

Growth Lab - 3 Day Workshop for MBAs at School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad
The Mindset
The 3 days dealt with the Mindset of the Champion MBA - or more precisely the mental aspect of doing a good job of what they set out to. I believe that much of the mental aspect - strength, discipline or determination - depends on having clarity of the process. If one can deconstruct the mental aspect and bring it down to a level that is easy to comprehend, it is a great place to start. That was what I endeavoured to do here - break down the unknown into what was known to the extent possible.

What makes us
Day 1 was about What we are, What we want. As usual we started with trying to understand what or who we are. It does seem a rather unfair question but it only shines a light on our uncertainty of knowing ourselves (considering the fact that we can easily answer the same question about others). One way to address this seemingly large emptiness of our concept of ourselves is to look at all the facts and stuff that describe us, that we use to describe ourselves - qualifications, skills, awards, achievements, expertise, compliments and praise, things we think we do well, things we love doing - and stuff them into the emptiness and stand by it. This part of the resume is filled in by the students. (When we realized that there were some who had less than 10 compliments on their list we decided to compliment one another and the amount of joy and good energy in the room went up by 15 times. Lovely moment really to see so much unadulterated joy and I could have let that go on and on.)
One half

To this list we added a list of 5 strengths that the students sought from 5 people who knew them well - parents, friends, mentors, coaches, siblings, teachers etc adding up to 25 strengths. In a plain and basic manner we constructed the person again with what we know and what is in the public knowledge. (Later we looked at the parts we did not like about us - the parts that made us feel less than - and decided to accept those parts anyway. They were part of us.) Now, we had nothing to hide. Maybe we were small, but we were true and integrated. This-is-me.
If we feel integrated, and as good as anyone else, I think its a good job done.

What we want
Then we looked at what we want - with no constraints. We created a list of 50 goals. Then we split them into immediate goals (three months), short term (3 months to 3 years) and long term (5 years and above). These goals were then subjected to the filters of belief, desire, effort, commitment, responsibility and emotion. The 50 goals filtered down to a manageable list by then. From these we identified a long term goal (the enabling goal) into which we could put our resources (time and energy) which enabled the fulfilment of many other sub goals. That enabling goal would be the focus. Working backwards, we also looked at short term and immediate goals that were in alignment with the long term goal. If I wanted to be rich, travel the world, buy cars and houses etc what would enable me to do that - perhaps a good job, a business. How would I get going on that goal would be the key.
And another
Goal clarity
The next job was to make these goals clear. Goal clarity is one of the biggest things that spurs action (to me it is the most critical aspect because it sets the ball for the effort or preparation going). So we spent much time trying to make the 3 goals clear. Each goal was to have a time frame, a name and a number (as in for example the CEO of a specific company in a specific industry drawing such and such salary etc - say CEO SBI would require a different planning from CEO Citibank or CEO Microsoft or CEO your own firm). The students were made into groups and asked to get their goals absolutely clear. That then was what we did on Day One - looking  at what we have, what we are and what we want.

Opportunities Available
As an assignment the students were asked to look at the many permutations and combinations that were available to them by mixing and matching the various attributes - qualification, strengths, skills, awards and achievements etc. These represent some of the opportunities that are available to us. From these we may find the best course for us to follow.

How do we achieve these goals
Day 2 was about the how to achieve the goals. But before that we examined the concepts of the fixed and growth mindsets (Mindset, Carol Dweck), the 10000 hour rule by Eric Andersson and understood that there was no substitute for effort. (Work cannot be escaped.)

Detailed Action Plans
Having a clear goal in mind we examined the how to achieve the goal at thought-level and made a detailed action plan that had the goal clearly written down, the milestones in which to achieve that, a start date and a completion date, actions to take in between and the resources required. This back-of-the-napkin plan makes the entire goal appear plausible. More detail can reduce uncertainty further. But the key to plans is to pay attention to areas of discomfort and sort them out with more information until you feel absolutely sure in the head. (It is what we are doing with ourselves too - sorting ourselves out and getting more information about ourselves until we are certain about what we can do.)

Knowing The Process
The second 'How to achieve' the goal was the Process of achieving. We examined the process - deciding to achieve the goal at any cost, sharpening goal clarity, detailed planning to minimize uncertainty, process-oriented preparation to ensure plans are executed well, action, belief, monitoring and correction and achievement. I shared with them my 158 run story. We understood that most things that we achieved in our life by the same process even though without paying heed i.e. stuff that we decided upon and achieved, had these elements. But if we deconstructed the ones that we made a conscious effort to achieve, we could see the process was the same and started with deciding.

Recognising The Process From Our Lives
The students shared some wonderful stories from their lives about how they achieved certain things - from cracking tough subjects to organizing festivals, from winning competitions and lotteries to working hard to overcome a physical constraints, working for promotions to saving people from accidents and risking oneself to remove a mad dog that was biting people and so many more - the stories were marvelous stuff and I am only sorry that we had to wind up before I heard them all. One could see how each of the stories had the same process of decide, clear goal, plan, prepare, act, monitor and correct to achieve what they wanted so badly. The story of one student who deconstructed his entire education to get better at mathematics - he went back to class I and started learning from 1+2 and worked his way up - was a fine example of how to learn anything. (Deconstruct to a level where you can self-correct, remove practice barriers, practice.) It was then evident that each of them had followed the same process themselves. They knew it, only they did not recognize it. But thanks for sharing every one and baring some personal stories to us all and inspiring many in the room.

How Prepared Am I
Day 3 was about the importance of preparation - skill, physical and mental - and how they contributed to performance and self worth. While skill, physical aspects and process orientation can contribute to expertise and growth, one also needed to work at improving self-worth by growing the mind's boundaries about what it thinks you as a person are worth. Many experts live in poverty because of the lack of self-worth. Preparing on both expertise and self-worth is important i.e. adding a value and at the same time being aware of its value. Somewhere there must be a tipping point where one feels deserving of all the good stuff and that point comes in only with boldness, joy, excitement and enthusiasm. So the process of growth and self-worth must be exciting and fun too! Making growth interesting could include making groups for discussion, sharing, teaching, calling in experts, getting feedback, challenging oneself constantly with small stakes and so on. Think and be creative and challenge yourself and keep a support group going.

Ideal MBA
Here we constructed the Ideal MBA and took 10 important attributes - knowledge, communication, leadership skills, inter personal skills, attitude, presentation skills, responsibility, managerial skills/professionalism, analytical skills and ethics . On these the students rated themselves on a scale of 1-10, figured out which attributes need work.

The amount of time available to the students at 12 hours a day for the remaining part of their stay on campus was calculated to be about 6500 hours. Now they had to decide how to use them best to get the results they wanted. We also looked at areas that were considered weaknesses, or rather areas of improvement, and decided to pick two attributes to work at that hindered their growth. Here the concept of the 20 hour rule - to learn anything new to a reasonable level of competence was explained. by applying a mere 45 minutes of time for a month, they could become reasonably proficient at communication, at subject knowledge or whatever aspect they chose to work on.

The Benefits of 100% Living, or 100% Responsibility, or Ownership
The process of growth orientation was once again looked at and integrated and understood. The core concepts being that of ownership (or bringing the individual into every act) or the 'I' into every act, the aspect of taking 100% responsibility for all one does, the aspect of taking greater challenges because that means growth (which means uncharted territory and a conquering of something new), the applying of 100% to reach a new limit until one feels that one can do no more were discussed. By giving 100% to one area of expertise, one could soon see that they grow from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset position - from a taking to a giving position.

All that we need is already within. All one needs is to apply it in a fashion that helps growth. It is a process one must embark on and realize that we can always come back tomorrow and work harder, that nothing is fixed. Not intelligence, not failure.

The feedback was very satisfying. Even more so when I could see the effort that they took to overcome their fears and doubts and came and spoke genuinely from the bottom of their hearts about what they experienced. It is one workshop I will look back with satisfaction where I think I got most parts of the delivery right. I need to work on a couple of aspects though (to get ownership across in a more visual and powerful manner). But it did appear that goal clarity seemed to have been achieved by many and most seemed to identify with knowing the process and that effort and efficient use of resources was the key to the success.

(If any of you students are reading this blog please do send me your feedback by mail. It may make more sense now than in the euphoria of getting done with the 3 days. I would like to publish it here. That would be nice. Also do keep checking the blog because I will certainly share any ideas that may help get the core ideas across better and also address certain questions that were commonly asked.)

Thank You All
As always there was one moment when I saw true empowerment in a pair of diffident eyes and that, along with all the genuine warmth and affection in each and everyone that reflected in their eyes, made the 3 days absolutely worth it. Thank you Prof Jyothi for giving me the opportunity, Raghavan for his wonderful company, Chitra, Prof Srinivas, Ramaiah, Narsimlu.

Thank you students for giving me your time, energy, learning and so much satisfaction. Let me get the names I noted down - Divya, Niyoshta, Keerthi, Pavani, Sheena, Manasa, Priyanka, Momita Roy, Sesha, Keertana, Pratyush, Aatish Singh, Deepika, Tanushree, Ram Narayan Yadav, Vidyanath, Ramadevi, Himabindu, Aditya, Ramakrishna, Dinesh, Mahesh, Saketh, Raj, Satish, Raj Kiran, Abhinav, Raghava, Apurva, Srikant, Sriyotsu Sen, Prashant Pandey, Saleem Basha, Kinshuk, Mridula, Monica, Madhavi, Devendra Tiwari,  Monadeep, Blessy, Shweta, Anuradha, Srikanth, Avinash Paswani, Akshay, Khemashish, Vikram, Veera, Raju Ajmera, Samant, Avdesh Sonkar, Anita, Neelima, Tulasi, Dev, Sai and Anudeep and the others whom I missed. I have great expectations from each one of you and I know there will be a day when I will look with great pride at this photograph and say - that was me standing next to those champions. Wishing you all well.


saketh said...

thank you sir for giving us enough confidence and a detailed plan to prepare ourselves.

Harimohan said...

Thanks Saketh. Good to hear from you. I will be posting stuff relevant to the workshop (perhaps clarifying certain concepts) so keep dropping by. It's been a pleasure.

pavani said...

goal clarity leaves enough clarity for the rest of the life!!
owning ownership defines myself!!
thanks a ton sir!!

Harimohan said...

Well said Pavani. Thanks for writing and keep visiting because I will be posting stuff that may be of help. Good luck or shall I say, good preparation.