Thursday, August 17, 2017

Leadership

From December-end ABVYM Annual Camp (playlist hosted at Vidyamandir, Belur Math), procured few copies of the booklet titled, "Leadership: Its Concepts and Qualities" from the camp book stall. This booklet was part of our recommended reading in our younger days of KVYM. Sri Nabaniharan Mukhopadhyaya writes there,
We find and have to admit that there are some differences in creation, in society, in human beings in respect of understanding, qualities, capabilities etc. We can always make use of such special capacity in some for the benefit of those who are on a little lower level, to bring them up, to push them up, to elevate them to help them to make for progress. That is the fundamental idea of leadership.
Sundar Pichai came to IIT Kharagpur campus in January beginning. There was a long interactive session (full video) at packed Tagore Open Air Theater. On being asked about his secret of leadership, Sundar told the following,
It’s learning to let go and really empowering people at all levels of the organisation, and trusting them to doing the right thing. As a leader, a lot of your job is to make those people successful. It’s less about trying to be successful (yourself), and more about making sure you have good people and your work is to remove that barrier, remove roadblocks for them so that they can be successful in what they do. So that’s how I’ve always thought about it. I also value teamwork quite a bit and I think it’s really important to build organisations where people really want to work together. Everything comes out of that. So, setting up collaborative cultures is another big thing I’ve been trying to focus on.
Most of the reporting on this section of his speech though missed the pre-requisite part 'making sure you have good people.' There was an apparently innocuous question to follow but answer to that also showed where not to make an error in judgement, keeping the personal an professional space separate. A young student asked if as the CEO of Google, can he change the Google doodle to the IITKGP building for a day. Sundar replies this way.
I am going to send a message to the team. (takes his phone out of the pocket and pretends to text a message, applause from audience) Before you get too excited, I mean, the good news is Google is set up in a way so that even if I send that email, they would not do it. Here's the reason why: we have built an organization with strong ideals and values on when we show doodles, for what occasions. And it's less about what I want to happen.
It is not easy to bring this sense of trusteeship. One monk of Ramakrishna order was telling that one needs to acquire the spirit of Sanyasins to deliver one's best in this Samsara.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 begins

2017 begins! It had to. Because 2016 left. And, we need a time axis to build our towers! The first working day of 2017 was yesterday, a Monday, the 2nd of January. Job card was there at hand. The car needed a wash before daughter gets dropped at school. No excuse is allowed in the beginning of the year. In that case, the wise says that the whole year will ask for excuses.


Next comes the much celebrated morning walk. Tried chasing a loud speaker sound for sometime to identify the source. It is that season of the year when Usha-Kirtans render the air. Found that it was actually an echo and the source lies very far. Got back to the usual track. On the way found that 'Senior Class Gift 2015' is inscribed in newly constructed roadside benches.


Reached the favourite part of the track. This under-repaired part requires little balancing act to walk on. The challenge can be avoided by taking the good road next to it. But that little stretch gives useful feedback. The lack of balance, if any, is indicator of something!


Little bit of free hand exercise and Suryanamaskar. The sun is brighter now. Ready, steady and on my mark for next task in the morning. Visit to market to refill the vegetable basket and checking out the fish market. A quick chat with a colleague. Topic: External discipline promotes internal discipline. Wondered if there can be a group exercise in a big playground together.


Bath is followed by breakfast. Time to rush to office. A fun get-together first to welcome the new year. Exchange of greetings and calorie gain. Now, ready for serious intellectual exercise. Discussion with two senior most research students. For the first, review report for a IEEE Trans. paper has come. Revision needs to be completed within six weeks. Later, a telecon on getting fund available for two project students for some more time. Also, exchange of messages with another funding agency as coordinator of some activities.


In the lunch break, visited a colleague's quarter. The family asked for suggestion on two different lines of treatment. Back to office and start of editing work of a manuscript to be sent to a journal. A short visit to office tea shop. A discussion on admin. matter. And, editing work continues. Wanted to finish it before going home. The clock strikes 9 PM. It was becoming riskier to take things that much granted. Twenty percent of editing work was left for next day. I was correct. Needed sometime to give to daughter on her study. It was 11 PM. My current bedtime favourite is:


Endnote: Exchange of New Year greetings in different forum continued throughout the day. There are students (recent pass out) with such samskars even now to write 'Charan Sparsh' (Touching your feet) in their new year message. Among others there was one who works in IT sector, few years junior to me. He published his first literary work recently which is liked by many. After 'Pranam' part, he wanted to know if I would be free on 7th Jan. Saturday, the day Kharagpur Book Fair starts. He and other authors would be coming down to Kharagpur for a seminar / panel discussion. I said, 'Yes' thinking that I would be listening to experts among whom there would be one who I know for long!!!

Classroom teaching begins on 05-01-2017.