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Posts Tagged ‘Five Senses’

(On the 1st of January, 2017, Mr K V Rao, Resident Director – ASEAN, Tata Sons Pvt Ltd. Chairman & Board Member, Tata Group Regional Subsidiaries – ASEAN, had posted this thought-provoking article on LinkedIn. His permission to blog it here is gratefully acknowledged!) 

 

31st Dec 2016, the last day of the year, and the New Year makes one more reflective. I step into my 37th year of corporate “experience” – which often is questionable, whether it is an asset or liability! One of my bosses in my early years hanged a quote : “Experience is what you get, when you don’t get what you want”. The cryptic one liner holds much meaning – it is all about what one “learns” from daily experiences, the day you stop learning slowly that experience looses its it shine and fades into becoming a liability, and once you cant keep pace with the changes you become anachronistic. While its now time for me to research on the latest mobile app, learn about the features of an iPhone 7, or about the SSD hard disk, i-Cloud storage and what have you on all embracing technology to keep myself in step with the 20 somethings in my office, experience has indeed taught me much more.

Everything about modern management, over the years has tended to bring about is an acute left- brain centricity – rationality, data crunching, analysis, and a compulsive need to ‘prove everything’ and so on, while inversely making huge efforts to be innovative, creative, and break away from the strong holds of purely rational thinking. As these apparently opposing forces of the left and right brains jostle with each other, for space – there is this whole effort and premium placed on the right “leadership”. From experience in the practice of leading, it is not so much about how much you know or how smart you are, but all about how you impact others – inspire them to achieve their highest, and have a perception beyond the ordinary. It is more to do with what you are made of, and living that authentic person.

To me, it is simple. Instead of only using the lone brainpower, lets look at our own gift of the 5 Senses that nature has bestowed upon us. My experience has taught me that we use little of these magnificent senses that have immense power upon others and us. We seem to use little of our wonderful 5S in our daily practice of leadership. Here you go.

S1 – Sight: The greatest gift we have from nature is the ability to simply “see”. In our work life, for a leader “seeing” is the power of observation, of concentration, and ability see-through the things others are not obviously in a position to see. It needs practice, peace, concentration and training to constantly “look for” say – the beyond i.e. a vision, a future, a pathway that you are able to see, also the trained ability to see through darkness, when the team is say lost, and through the moving shadows when clarity is absent. In today’s corporate world, the ability to see what others don’t is a singular leadership trait. Train it, you will have it – but one has to silence one’s overactive rational mind that finds only the familiar paths, looses the forest for the woods. The subtle next step on seeing is the ability of the “inner eye” – the ability to visualize, the ability to build a powerful and vivid vision! It is not just words but being able to see the vision in its manifested forms and colours, but to also to share and inspire others its power.

S2 – Touch: The gift of touch is magnificent. Imagine how life will be for us if we did not have that powerful gift. Touch in our organizational context has a vital role – it denotes: caring, intimacy, bonding, emotional connect, and vital in building and leading a team, for we as leaders primarily touch the lives of all our teammates, our partners, our customers. A well-trained expression of the feeling of “touch” enhances a leader’s ability to identify more touch points, and be sensitive. It makes one a natural leader. In short, it is the conscious practice of empathy. These touch points are not just with employees, these are with stakeholders, customers, just about everybody the leaders comes in contact with.

S3 – Taste: Beyond being a foodie, the importance of Taste in our senses is almost unique. The imprint of the experience of Taste is almost unexplainable in words. It is a complete experience that’s unique. When you live whole heartedly, (just as you eat whole heartedly and are a foodie like me), the experience is very “memorable”. The power of the experience of Taste in leadership is that unexplainable feeling – the pain, joy, delight, despair, disconnect, elation, contentment etc. … That one goes through a leader when you “taste the success” or “taste the failure”, or “taste the dejection”. Training one’s own taste of the experience leaves behind rich learning and deep insights. Memories have a bearing on your leadership style.

S4 – Hear : Often, leaders speak more than they listen. The power of hearing (listening!) is multidimensional. It is about extending a listening ear, for a human issue, system issue or an idea or a problem. Intent listening with a trained ear is an asset. It is not only the verbal hearing – it is also about perceiving the sounds, which others have not yet picked up. Recognizing low decibel sounds as it were, from the team, from the market, the environment i.e. picking up early signals, and early warnings – a trait which is so very important for an adept leader. This has little to do with rationality. I have had the pleasure of working with what I call 200% attentive leaders. They would pick up so much more in a meeting, than the normal managers, for they are so very attentive and perceptive.

S5- Nose (smell): The nose, like the powerful experience of taste, has a huge impact on memorability. Often a smells reminds you of your past, your college room or a person or whatever. Smells leave a permanent stamp on our olfactory memory, and trigger associated past experiences – pleasant or painful. In our corporate world – it is very important for leaders to spot opportunities. It is often said, “he has a nose for new opportunities and consumer trends”… it is a delicate and refined quality of using one’s nose, to identify the areas of growth. Part perception, part instinct. Many great ideas have come to fruition for someone “smelt them” before you, or did something that you too smelt and then regret you did not do anything about it!

Now that you are sensitized to your wonderful gift of senses, and harness them in your daily leadership practice, you obviously need to put back the  “thinking cap” of your rational mind with both the hemispheres – right & left – snuggly for you to become an exceptional leader.

Often, I am asked how can one be more “intuitive” – which is fast becoming a buzzword too. My short answer, in my own experience, is that one needs to take a pause from the overworked rational self, hone one’s senses, and often it acts to gently nudge some inner workings within all of us, thus giving rise to “intuition”. Often the first signs of intuition dawning on one can easily be confused as irrational and daydreaming. Pause, and think – it might be the Eureka moment. It may be the first experience of the “Sixth Sense”. Indulge in it and it gets cultivated. Intuition starts finding a home and a friend in you.

When you look at the millennials, the bright kids who will lead this world for the next few decades, they are wired very differently. High on adrenaline, voracious technology adopters, impatient, connected and high on social media, and having grown up on a staple diet of almost constant instant gratification, and their parents (us!) who have provided for them – best education, best upbringing, best environments and the best this and the best that. They seem to have it all, but seem woefully deficient in facing adversity, prone to depressions, inability to deal with the “real others”, build deep lifetime bonds, to remain focused and bull-headedly persistent. Not knowing how to build trust, empathy, and authenticity. Lonely, unsure, and short fused at times. In short, high on energy – fast, furious, and determinate – yet missing out on the use of a 5S leadership or even a 5S lifestyle.

In many ways our generation, has had its role to play in the shaping of the new millennial. As parents, we have given the our “bests” to our next generation, to perhaps unwittingly further a race of “patrimonial capitalism”, as Thomas Piketty, the French economist who is churning new thinking, argues. A privileged few, who go on to create still more privileged few, widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and making the entire dispensation less “sensitive” to people.

In our need for speed and urgency in everything, we make use less of ourselves and our full potential that remains unutilized within each one of us. While we are highly digitally distracted and as we furiously run back to clear all our mails, greetings, and meetings calendar for the New Year, it’s time for us to take a long pause and a deep breadth – and to look around, with a fine eye. There is so much comedy around us. Smile. Slow down. “Patience” has a new premium over speed.

Increasingly, organizations and life in general are moving on to a pace that makes them senseless. How do we become sensible leaders in a senseless or low sense, or non sense (pun intended) environment? Live life in its fullness and lead life with all the 5 Senses, and feel and share the difference.

Wish you a wonderful 2017 – reflective, intuitive and harnessing the power of 5 -Senses Leadership, and also help yourself to loosen up and have a great laugh, every day of 2017.

Cheers

KV Rao

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/heartfulness-management-and-leadership

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/of-idleness-innovation-and-the-peter-principle)

 

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