Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review Titled “Teamwork” Authored By John C. Maxwell – Professor M.S.Rao, Reviewer

John C. Maxwell’s book titled Teamwork - What Every Leader Needs to Know distills teamwork down to its essential components. It is a short and easy-to-read volume wherein Maxwell says, “Teamwork is always at the heart of great achievement.” He provides a concise, power-packed game plan that can help you create an environment and result in victory and fulfillment for the whole team. The book helps you learn how to build a team that lasts longer; create positive energy on the team; harness a team’s creativity; identify weak players who negatively impact a team; and judge if the team can accomplish the dream.

He cherry-picked the essentials in subjects such as leadership, attitude, relationships, success, and mentoring and put them into a format that you very likely can read in one sitting. Or you can easily toss a book into a briefcase or purse and read here and there as time allows. However, this book dwells from the perspective of teamwork.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part describes the power of teamwork and the second part deals with the dynamics of teamwork. The book preludes with questions such as, “Who are your personal heroes?” “Which people do you admire most?” and “Which people fire you up and get your juices flowing?”

Maxwell outlines teamwork truths as follows: teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect; talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships; teamwork is not about you; great teams create community; an adding value to others adds value to you. He further adds, “People who take advantage of others inevitably fail in business and relationships. If you desire to succeed, the live by these four simple words: add value to others. That philosophy will take you far.”

Maxwell coins Leader’s Daily Dozen that contains twelve power-unleashing activities to lead your organization. There are as follows:
1. Place a high value on people.
2. Commit resources to develop people.
3. Place a high value on leadership.
4. Look for potential leaders.
5. Know and respect your people.
6. Provide your people with leadership experiences.
7. Reward leadership initiative.
8. Provide a safe environment where people ask questions, share ideas, and take risks.
9. Grow with your people.
10. Draw people with high potential into your inner circle.
11. Commit yourself to developing a leadership team.
12. Unleash your leaders to lead.

Maxwell coined Searching for Eagles, wherein it contains the ten characteristics to search in potential leaders. They are as follows:
• They make things happen.
• They see opportunities.
• They influence the opinions and actions of others.
• They add value to you.
• They draw winners to them.
• They equip other eagles to lead.
• They provide ideas that help the organization.
• They possess an uncommonly great attitude.
• They live up to their commitments.
• They show fierce loyalty to the organization and the leader.

Maxwell outlines type of team required for facing type of challenge. For instance, for facing new challenge, creative team is required, for controversial challenge, united team; for changing challenge, fast and flexible team; for unpleasant challenge, motivated team; for diversified challenge, complementary team; for long-term challenge, determined team; and finally for Everest-sized challenge, the type of team required is experienced team.

Maxwell asserts, “When your ideas are not received well by others, do your best not to take it personally. When someone in a meeting does that, it can kill the creative process, because at that point the discussion is no longer about the ideas or helping the organization; it becomes about the person whose feelings are hurt. In those moments, if you can stop competing and focus your energy on creating, you will open the way for the people around you to take their creativity to the next level.”

Maxwell concludes the book with punched message, “If you let the best idea win, you will win friends and influence people.”

Great Quotes from Book
“Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” – Einstein
“Behind an able man there are always other able men.” - A Chinese proverb
“There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.” - President Lyndon Johnson
“It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone.” - Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie
“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” - Niccolo Machiavelli
“We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.” – President Woodrow Wilson
“The essence of leadership is the ability to inspire others to work together as a team-to stretch for a common objective.” - Harold S. Geneen
“Nothing much happens without a dream. For something really great to happen, it takes a really great dream.” – Robert Greenleaf
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world and to impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – U.S. president Woodrow Wilson
“We’re here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here fore, I don’t know.” - Poet W.H.Auden
“No man can live happily who regards himself alone, who turns everything to his own advantage. You must live for others if you wish to live for yourself.” – Seneca
“I can live for two months on one good compliment.” – Mark Twain
“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

1. One is too small a number to achieve greatness.
2. There are some things only a team can accomplish.
3. As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates.
4. Create an environment that unleashes new leaders.
5. Great teams have everyone on the same page.
6. The best players put the team first.
7. A leader’s investment in the team pays dividends.
8. A weak link harms the leader’s credibility and the team’s chances for success.
9. Put completing teammates ahead of competing with them.
10. Make sure the best idea always wins.

Teamwork Takeaways
• To do something really big, let go of your ego, and get ready to be part of a team.
• A great dream with a bad team is nothing more than a nightmare.
• It’s better to have a great team with a weak dream than a great dream with a weak team.
• If you build the right team, the dream will almost take care of itself.
• As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates.
• When the team you have doesn’t match up to the team of your dreams, then you have only two choices: Give up your dream, or grow up your team. In order to grow up your team, develop team members, add key team members, change the leadership and remove ineffective members.
• In order to cultivate the attitude of selflessness you need to be generous; avoid internal politics; display loyalty; and value interdependence over independence.
• Someone with a good self-image is more flexible than a person with a poor self-image.
• One idea is never enough. Many ideas make us stronger.
• If you want your organization to reach its potential, if you want it to go from good to great (or even average to good), you need to develop a team of leaders, people who can fill in each other’s gaps, people who challenge and sharpen one another.

Final Word
The book contains valuable quotations with inspirational illustrations. John Maxwell is noted for delivering punches aptly. He knows the pulse of the readers and caters the content appropriately. It is an amazing book emphasizing on teamwork revealing the tools and techniques for building great teams that takes you towards your personal and professional success.

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Happy Valentine Day!” – Professor M.S.Rao

“Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.” - Oscar Wilde

Every year February 14 is celebrated as the Valentine Day internationally to mark the symbol of love. Although it is difficult to define love, it is very easy to express one’s love towards others through physical gestures such as eye contact, body language and voice modulation. People also express by giving flowers or cards on the eve of Valentine Day to strike an emotional chord with their loving partners. It is indeed a great day for all lovers globally!

Some people are gifted as they find their love and get married and have peaceful and pleasant life. However, most of the people remain lovers only as they are not able to get married due to several obstacles coming the on way. Romeo and Juliet are great examples of lovers globally. Let us look at Pygmalion effect that helps you achieve your love. Are you surprised about Pygmalion? Here it is!

The term Pygmalion has its origin where a sculptor by name Pygmalion who fell in love with a female statue he had carved out of ivory. Pygmalion was a Cyprus king who crafted number of statues. However, he did not like them. When he created an ivory statue of a beautiful woman, Galatea (means sleeping love) he finally fell in love with her. The statue was so amazing that Pygmalion became mad of her and prayed Aphrodite to give life to the statue. Ultimately Pygmalion was blessed and the beautiful woman breathed life.

From this Greek mythological story, it becomes clear that when you expect more out of others you get more out of them. For instance, when parents expect a lot about their children, the children will live up to their expectations. Similarly, at workplace when superiors expect more out of their subordinates, they will get best out of them. And if you expect reciprocal response from your lover, you will definitely get. Precisely, your outcome is directly proportional to your expectations and aspirations. The term Pygmalion is also associated with Professor Higgins who treated Eliza Doolittle, the heroine as a flower girl in George Bernard Shah’s play ‘Pygmalion’

Importance of Pygmalion Effect

The importance of Pygmalion effect is manifold in this current complex world. At a time when there is cut-throat competition due to rapid changes in technology, we need to look for innovative ideas and solutions to stay ahead of others. The Pygmalion effect helps lift performance levels in all walks of life. As human potential is unlimited, we can adopt this effect to unlock human potential for ensuring all round progress and success.

If you expect more you get more is the slogan of Pygmalion effect. As success is won twice; first in your reel life and then in your real life, your outcome depends on your earnest efforts. If you think good, good things will happen; and if you dream big, you become big. Similarly, if your love is true you will succeed in love. When you really love someone and miss then you will get back if you have Pygmalion mindset.

Pygmalion Lover

When parents want their children to pass examinations they can adopt this tool. When a boss wants the subordinates to be productive, he can adopt this technique. When you want to lead a group of people you can adopt this technique so as to enhance accountability and responsibility among the subordinates. When you love someone you can adopt this technique. You will surely find your soul mate and love mate like Pygmalion.

Final Word

Pygmalion effect is useful in walks of life. When you lead at home, it is essential; when you lead people at the workplace, you need to demonstrate and when you love someone, you need to adopt. As the saying goes, ‘As you sow, so you reap’, if you praise your people you get the best out of them. It is like an echo. When you shout good, you hear good, when you shout bad you hear bad. To conclude, if your love is strong, pure and true you will find your soul mate and get your love like Pygmalion and lead a happy life. Happy Valentine Day!

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What is Information Overload?” - Professor M.S.Rao

Now a days too much of information is dumped. People often find it tough to differentiate between chalk and cheese. At times irrelevant information takes precedence over the relevant information. In this regard, let briefly know what is all about information overload.

The term ‘Information Overload’ was coined by Alvin Toffler much before the internet revolution. It is about giving excess information that clutters human mind and confuses people. It prevents people from understanding the real content. Sometimes it deviates from the main topic and area of interest. John C. Maxwell reveals in his book Success, “more new information has been produced in the last thirty years than in the previous five thousand. A single weekday edition of the New York Times contains more information than most people in seventeenth-century England were likely to encounter in their lifetimes.”

Similarly while teaching, it is essential not to dump too much information as it becomes heavy for the listeners to digest the content. Knowledge has to be imparted in a piecemeal manner by giving breaks by way of humor, interaction and questioning. It leads to effective teaching.

Tips to Tackle
It is essential to focus on what not to read. The process of elimination must start from your mind first. Declutter your mind by focusing on your main goals. Don’t deviate from your main goals. Focus is the key to success in this information world. You must also aim to hit bulls’ eye.

• Learn to ignore irrelevant information.
• Narrow down your focus on the key things.
• Lot of crap is available in search engines. You must be choosy in your content.

For freeing your mind from clutter, Jim Collins mentions his book, Good to Great as follows:

“Most of us lead busy, but undisciplined lives. We have ever-expanding “to do” lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing - and doing more. And it rarely works. Those who build the good-to-great companies, however, made as much use of “stop doing” lists as the “to do” lists. They displayed a remarkable amount of discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

Therefore, hereafter be careful in choosing the appropriate information as it saves your time, fine-tunes your mind and polishes your personality.

John C. Maxwell Success - What Every Leader Needs to Know p 109. 2010 Jaico Books

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.

Friday, February 4, 2011

“How to Write Your Statement of Purpose (SoP)” - Professor M.S.Rao

What is SOP?

Statement of Purpose (SoP) is all essaying about yourself and where you see yourself in future professionally and personally. It contains entire information about your career goals, ambitions and aspirations in a nutshell. Why do you want to pursue a specific higher course or research? Why do you want to join a specific educational institution and what value will you add? Ideally it should not be more than 2 pages. SoP is called in different names globally. For instance, it is known as Statement of Intent, Goals Statement, and Letter of Intent and so on.

SoP is all about what you are and where you want to reach and what are your areas of interests and why do you want to acquire and hone those areas. It reflects your future career path. It is different from CV as CV is reflection of what you have achieved while the SOP is all about how you want to achieve. Succinctly SoP is a roadmap for your future.

SOP is needed especially for the students pursuing higher education. It is the general practice to seek for such a statement by the admission committee to have fair idea about the potential candidate. It is also needed when someone wants to pursue PhD and post doctoral courses.


SOP helps the prospective institution know about your areas of interests and passions. It appears like a CV but in brief format and beyond CV. It appears like a cover letter to your CV in a capsule format but beyond cover letter. CV presents your academic and work experience and cover letter provides the condensed content of your CV. Both CV and cover letter don’t present the goals and ambitions you have. Hence, SoP helps overcome where you want to see yourself in future going beyond both your CV and cover letter.


The admission committee looks for a crisp and clear presentation of information. It must be original and well punched. State clearly what value you will add for yourself and the institution. A good SoP helps you stand out. Although your CV is not strong with academic profile, right SoP tips the scale in favor of admission. Here are the nuggets to craft a good SoP.

• Do thorough research about the university you intend to join.
• Be specific and clear in your approach.
• Don’t make it like a cookie-cutter SoP.
• Be crisp and clear.
• Write in active voice preferably and in simple language. Don’t show your strength in vocabulary.
• Make it as brief as possible. If it is longer, the reader might lose interest in your content.
• Get it proofread and edited by experts or friends to avoid any typographical errors.
• Proofread number of times so as to get the best SoP. If possible, read aloud your script to find out any inconsistencies.

Final Word

Students must know and learn about SoP and how to write it effectively to create favorable impact on the admission committee. The researchers must be clear of their area of interest and approach the right institution and the faculty for pursuing their PhD or Post Doctoral Courses. To conclude, crafting a good SoP serves in introspecting yourself as well as in achieving your career success in a chosen institution and chosen area of interest. Good luck!

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is Whistleblowing?” - Professor M.S.Rao

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowers are the people who work either within or outside the organization and raise alarm if any wrongdoing takes place. Usually these people report misconduct, irregularities, malpractices, corruption, and other activities that are unethical and unlawful and detrimental to either organizations or societies. It is also about reporting the violation of the rules, regulations and laws on the part of employers by the employees.


Whistleblowers serve as checks and balances for the employers and authorities. As press is the fourth estate in democracy and serves as the watch dog to check any irregularities, the whistleblowers also serve the interests either internally or externally for the public good. Whistleblowers can ensure ethics as employers will be more careful of being caught in case of any wrongdoings. In addition, they enhance accountability and responsibility within the system.

Challenges for Whistleblowers

They have to face the reprisals by their employers and also from their colleagues. Less chances of getting employment elsewhere as their track record upsets the career opportunities elsewhere. However, for external whistleblowers there will not be any organizational reprisals. But they have to face challenges from other quarters.

Whistle blowing is like a double-edged sword. It is good if the whistleblower is genuine in highlighting the wrongdoings. If the whistleblower happens to be a rogue it is a threat for the organizations and societies. Several frauds could have been averted if the whistleblowers have been protected. The collapse of companies like Enron, WorldCom, and Layman Brothers could have been averted and the damage would have been minimized had the whistleblowers been encouraged and protected.

Case Study

Stephen was a professor in a private educational engineering institution. The institution does not pay salaries on time. It delays the payments and defaults in giving monthly salaries. Every employee has to execute an agreement of one year for serving the institution and they are not allowed to leave the institution during the contractual period. It has unfriendly employee policies and procedures and people join as a last resort if they don’t find employment opportunities in established and decent educational institutions. When an employee does not extend agreement for another one year after completion of the contract, employee will be sent out without giving salary for the last two to three months.

Now it was the turn of the Professor Stephen whose contract had come to an end. As usual he was relieved without paying salary for the last two months. He brought the irregularities to the authorities. The employer of the educational institution threatened Professor Stephen with dire consequences such as physical elimination. Professor Stephen was unruffled and moved ahead against the injustice as he hailed from defence background and pursued the matter with various organizations and professional bodies. Finally, the employer surrendered and paid the salary to Professor Stephen. Because of whistleblowing by Professor Stephen, the governmental bodies kept more vigil on the educational institution and things have been streamlined and all the employees began getting salaries regularly and thanked Professor Stephen for his courageous fight against irregularities and injustice. But Professor Stephen had to struggle very hard for salary to maintain his family members and had to face the threats and pressures from his ex-employer. Besides, Professor Stephen had to struggle for employment as the ex-employer informally told other educational institutions not to hire him. Hence, it is not cakewalk for whistle blowers.

Role of Leadership

If the leadership is strong and ethical there will be less role for whistleblowers at the corporate world. When whistleblowers enter into the arena it means there is lack of ethical or vigilant leadership at the top. It is the time for the top leaders to take stock of the situation, pull up their socks and take preventive measures to set right their corporate houses in order.

Final Word

We are not here to suffer silently. We are here to find out unethical practices and bring them to the notice of the authorities so that human dignity and respect is maintained. To conclude in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.