VOLUME V – CHAPTER XXVIII
CAN YOU BE A DHONI?
In the past for students only the cane and the scale spoke – ‘I say you do’. For the staff army barracks type command and control. The principal was treated like a demi god, but now as they say in Telugu – “Rojulu marayi” – The times have changed. If you say “you should” – Pat comes the reply in the form of a question – “Why should I ?”. Now its your turn to cajole, coax, cultivate and seek a consensus and your strength lies in understanding and realizing what you do not. Being aware and accept that you do not know, try to balance your deficiencies by surrounding yourself with people who are strong in those areas so that together you complement one another. It like a cricket team captain having a good wicket keeper, good spin bowlers, good pacers, good batsman, good fielders. Each one is good in his area and together they make the whole team a formidable one. The principal should be a person like Dhoni who is able to get the best out of everyone – a complete captain – a complete principal.
VOLUME V – CHAPTER XXIX
LET 100 IDEAS BLOOM
Earlier consultation by the head indicated weakness, inability to take decisions. But today one who does not consult is not an effective leader. You should invite the opinions of the staff. Keeping your decision suspended and try to understand how the staff is suggesting an idea based on what information he has. You have to get across your view point clearly and explain hot it differs from theirs and ask if they see any merit in it. Explain your logic without anger or malice. Questioning, listening, explaining – all these should go together. This interface need not mean any discussion at a high decibel. A smooth interface will help you to get the benefit of their thinking. You have to be respectful to your staff, have opinions challenged and fought out, shooting inconvenient questions and also standing firm on principles.
In all his staff meetings the author used to tell his staff “you can fight for your ideas, you can get occasionally heated up but finally the temperature should come down to 98.4 deg (normal) and all should leave the hall as friends. Our disagreement should be only with ideas and not be with persons.
VOLUME V – CHAPTER XXX
You can’t move forward by maintain status quo. Everyday must be anew day. We must be better and newer today than yesterday. We should have a constant quest towards change that will take us to a higher level.
You can be ‘Inventors’
You can be ‘Imitators’
You can become ‘ Immovators’
- Combining imitation and innovation
Take an idea from another, disassemble it completely, improve upon it with your own thinking and come out with a similar one but with visible differences and new features. This is what the Chinese and Japanese did in the early 20th century – took everything from watch, camera radios to railway engines, planes, ships etc., tore them into their various parts understood their working and started improving, each one of them to an unimaginable level. Miniaturisation became their forte. Quality became their signature tune. Zero defect became their slogan.
Your innovation or immovation need not be a big one. It can be just a small one – how to reduce the assembly dispersal time – how to reduce the paper work in the office, how to make the pupils to cross the quadrangle without spoiling the lawn.
All these four aspects are interrelated. Without sense making you won’t know where to start your journey without relating. You will get isolated. Without vision you won’t know where to go. Without inventing all your ideas will remain on paper only.
Principal Mrs. Lakshmi Swaminathan was good at sense making. Give her any assignment. She would know how to get it started.
Principal Sri. S. Shanmugam was good at relating. He was not shy of talking to people. The staff knew that he loved them.
Principal Sri. K. G. Ramakrishnan could visualise the goal. The objective and make it belong to his staff.
Principal Sri. C. A. S. Raghavan was good at finding out ways of doing an activity taking it to a successful conclusion.
Principal Sri R. Udayamurthy, Mrs. T. C. Nalini Amma and Mrs. G. Malai Ammal were good in knowing their strengths and also find out people who can complement them in areas where they are not strong. You are a complete Principal when you make your staff team a balanced one and you should create an environment where they help one another.
Man strives to provide himself with food clothing and housing for the sake of the body. He must also provide himself with something to keep the mind healthy and happy. It is the mind that conditions even the body. The mind is the instrument, the flywheel, and the thickest comrade of man. Through it, one can ruin oneself or save oneself. Regulated and controlled, channeled properly it can liberate; wayward and let loose, it can entangle and bind fast. – Sathya Sai Baba