No Amount of Pain Can Break You, If You Learn This!

Search for elasticity on Wikipedia and the article will start with “In physics, elasticity (from Greek ἐλαστός “ductible”) is the ability of a body to resist a distorting influence or deforming force and to return to its original size and shape when that influence or force is removed.


The force or pressure is never enough to break anyone, literally. However, according to AIS (American Institute of Stress), around 80% people undergo some form of stress at work; nearly half of which don’t know how to deal with it.


Whether, it’s managing work-life or managing difficult people around you, the amount of stress or pain one goes through is proportional to one’s ability to manage such situations.


As research would have it, a vast majority of people can’t deal with these situations without being aggressive; which is similar to not being able to deal with it.


I see an opportunity where most of us see anxiety, stress, and pain.


Most of us have had these thoughts/situation, more than a couple of times

  • I was made to work till late after office hours
  • I was made to work on something I was not comfortable with, or had no previous knowledge
  • I was denied the rewards and recognition, which I deserved

How many of us deal with it head-on?

Challenged the manager or argued with him. We might even had compared ourselves to other and highlighted what we were doing (more) than the other people in the team.

But, have you really thought about the kind of work you do or you’re being asked to do?

Oh, I’ve been there, done that all too. But, I’ve always taken up the new work [the dirty work] so that I can stretch myself, and see if I can possibly handle that, or how much of it I was prepared to deal with.


The end game, has always been to be prepared! To be prepared for what’s out there, when I move to a different place, a different role, or when unexpected events occur.


Doing the same thing would prepare me for the same thing, but when the same thing runs out – where would I land?


More than that, I’ll not be doing the same thing – time and again.


So … shortcomings are short-lived, and they make you short-sighted. But, when you have bigger picture in your sight, you don’t lose hope, your ultimate goals.


The ship farthest from the shore explores more treasure. – If you haven’t heard that before, well… You’ve heard it now!


One should explore more and stretch beyond the routine, not because it’ll benefit you in the short term, but because you would know what you can achieve or must achieve, in order to reach your goals.


Moreover, this has to be an ongoing process which you engraft in your lifestyle, of your freewill rather than a forced one!


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How To Break The Team To Make It Work

There was this game which we used to play during our childhood days; chose a word and then form as many words out of it as you can. The more words you got, the better.


I don’t know who came up with that game, and it sure would sound silly if I ask you to play it now!


And not because you wouldn’t have time for it, but you might be too sheepish to play such a naive game.

Are you really that busy or ashamed?

C’mon! I bet it’ll only take a couple of minutes. Alright! Alright! Five minutes at max.


I knew you’re too lazy to do that. No? Well, even if you did .. You would have come up with few of these.

Am | Me | At

Tea | Eat | Ate | Met

Team | Mate | Meta | Meat | Tame

You notice something odd there?

Me! There’s a “Me” which is odd. The ME which represents each one of us. The ME who is there in every team!


There is I in there as well, or I’ AM. But, I prefer not to use this “I” as it sounds to me bit self-centred and arrogant.


There are times when I should take the front seat, but not when it’s about the team.


So, you would have to jumble up yourself or break yourself to form ME, who drives the team.


Every word you make out of it could mean something so powerful, if you associate it with the team.


Every member is like a Meta data or Meta property of the team. They HAVE to work in conjunction or the whole machinery would wear and tear out, even before you know it.


The ME has to take care of my mate(s), that’s a British slang used to refer to a friend, a buddy, or a known person.

Me has to ask them if they have had something to eat or eat with them.

Me never tame(s) his mate(s), or offer someone as meat to step up.


You have to passionate, yet selfless. You have to be willing to learn, yet impart knowledge to others. You have to be successful as a team, yet achieve your own goals.


We all have some qualities and some weaknesses, and we look out for each other; otherwise it’s not a team we’re part of.


Otherwise it’s just AM who’s gonna take control. And when that happens, you know how ugly it could get.

Here’s another food for thought, do you work with a team or in a team?

Working in a team, is like working in silos where someone would tell you what to do and you do it; plain and simple. You don’t question, you don’t challenge, and you don’t push boundaries. Of course, you do work hard to achieve something, personal and/or professional.


However, working with a team is like holding everyone accountable and responsible. People have similar frequency and everyone works towards a common goal first.


Funny, how words, as small as these, could make a huge shift in perspective.


Whether you think – “I am part of the team” or “me who is in the team” or “me who makes the team” – the choice is yours, and so is the success of it!


It’s not easy, and it can take years to learn. Anyone who says he is a team player, ask them this – do you know how to break a team to make it work?


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5 Tips Gummies for Dummies on Marketing

You might be a marketing professional, an entrepreneur, or an enthusiast. Even if you are totally unrelated to these fields, yet want to make a social presence – so what do you do?

You browse the internet for information, reading endless blogs or stories, and imitating or following endless people. Then you embark upon a journey which turns out pretty depressing, pretty soon. Alright, maybe not as quickly as I may have sounded.

You think your marketing strategy works?

You do get some response, like a few likes or shares, and maybe a few comments as well. Then you read more, try to plan your working strategy, and follow it to get a few more followers.

After weeks or months of following the routine, planning and re-planning, you are nowhere near to the figure or reach you though you would be.

I, personally, have been a member of these social platforms for nearly a decade now. But, I started seeing the potential or utility of them, and be regularly active on them quite recently.

I’ve had some success, but mostly disappointment. To be fair, I must call it a learning experience than a failure.

If you’ve been paying any attention, from your own experience you would’ve realised by now that until you are known to the world otherwise or you are obnoxious enough to create a furore, you wouldn’t be someone whom the world would follow.

There goes your reach, organic or not, out of the window!

Does it have to be really that way?

In life… There are no shortcuts! Couldn’t seem to remember where I heard that before. Anyways, the point is – you can’t possibly think of making a huge difference, overnight!

Check out the profile of most followed people, within the industry of your choice or any other. They did not plan for any of it, rather spoke their minds out. And they did not stop!

1.      Be Original, as much as you can. Least, you can paraphrase it!

2.      Trending topics, discussions, world events, breaking stories – choose variety to spice it up

3.      Take advantage of creative team, if you have that option, to bring some infographics or banners for campaign

4.      Tell a story or be part of it, get involved

5.      Break the monotony; challenge the normality – Be different otherwise there are many others like you

One last thing, which no one would tell you is to be unconditionally charitable. No, I’m not talking about donation (in any form) or money. Be open to support people, follow them, promote their work, write appropriate comments, and be creative with your language.

A social or online deed is like a boomerang and comes back manifolds, when it does. You just have to be patient!


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From Deprived Desire to Un-Desired Happiness

Three quarters of the year had gone by already and it almost seemed like a déjà vu. All the hard work done on a project was unrewarded and on trying to get a reasonable justification, well haven’t you heard – never challenge a decision made by your superiors. A rather nasty habit of mine, I challenge people when something is not right, be it related to anything, and in this case it was my growth at stake! While I had given so much proof of all the work and achievements and improvements and what not, how could I’ve let it go without getting the reason for not been rewarded, yet again.

Covering my tracks carefully and doing everything one could ask for, while supporting my case, I was hoping for better results. What was to follow, only time could have known? From the beginning, I kept all the seniors and important stakeholders in loop and made my intensions and aspirations clear. Never let my work getting impacted because of little hold ups in what I wanted to achieve. In fact, stretched myself to deliver more. For the first time, in a very long time, I could see words of praise coming around. The appreciations, not only from internal stakeholders and team but from the clients as well, kept coming; at times they were verbal while at others they were written.

Content with I’ve achieved till this point, I was constantly having discussions with my supervisors and hoping my case getting stronger by the day. I remember speaking to my supervisor for putting my name up for consideration. Like all others in the past, he was reluctant to do it for various reasons but he agreed to do it in the end. That was literally THE first step. Unless, my name was there in the list of nominees I has no chance of being considered. By all means, it was a long shot considering the time I had spent with the current supervisor on the project.

While I was contemplating the ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments, I received a communication from the manager on the project (at the time) saying the clients have shared their satisfaction on achieving the work with great professionalism and they were giving out more work to the organisation because of the work we have done and the way I have led the team. And they would like me to continue on the project and lead the team for the next project as well.

This was the silver lining I had been waiting all along, I thought to myself. I felt really proud of the work I had done, felt really thankful to the people who made it possible, and managers who gave me the platform where I could get recognised and be rewarded. Everything was going in my favour, at least that’s what I thought. A month later, the results were announced and to my dismay I had not been promoted. I couldn’t stop thinking about the possible reason for it. Oh well, there is always a reason or two up your manager’s sleeves. Even though I had client appreciation, it was overlooked because the complexity of the project was low. For the other things I did, there was less supportive evidence. And the project which I delivered and got more work, well that’s something expected from everyone – nothing unusual.

At this moment, I snapped! I just didn’t know whether to exhibit anger or be normal. I just went numb! Hours later, when my bogged down mind came to its senses, I realised there was nothing much I could’ve done and there is nothing much which I could do now. The sensible approach would be to keep my head high and embrace myself with all the happiness I could, rather looking for reasons to be dejected and depressed. Reflecting back, I think I’m in much better state than I would have been, had I let the feeling of rage or anger get the better of me. When the going gets tough there is nothing much you can do, but smiling in the face of adversity is a characteristic of a strong person: a professional; and that’s what we are!


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With History By My Side, I’m Better Prepared To Win

The team had met a couple of times, earlier that week, and they’re in the middle of another discussion. Ben, a team lead on the project, was wondering when the meeting would get over so he could leave office and go out for a beer or two with his friends; after all it was Friday! While Ben was busy pondering, he heard something in a low voice “when can we have the plan?” which he dismissed thinking it’s just an imagination. Then, almost like a shout, “Ben! When can we have the plan?” asked (Mike) the project manager. Trying not to fumble and seem attentive, he replied “you will have the draft within two days.”

As Ben was stepping out of the meeting room, with one part of him just wanting to go out and have fun, he kept thinking “did he commit too early?” or “was there enough information available with him to proceed?” He had prepared a plan once before, so he was pretty new to this and still learning. In that moment, all he could muster was to check previously available plan or talk to people he knew who have worked on similar plans before.

We all have come across a similar situation at some point in time or come across them on daily basis. Think about the financial institutions which make forecast for the month or year. The trading firms which work solely on the data available with them through various sources. Or a sports commentator providing you with vital stats, dating back 30 or 50 years. It doesn’t matter which industry you work in, there will always be a need for historic data. How you use that data is entirely based on your need and scope of work.

Past can tell a lot about future to come, or at least prepare us for what to expect. But it can’t predict everything, since we don’t live in an ideal world.

With time the situation changes, the actors, the policies, and almost everything changes. But to be available to compare scenarios or data you need evidence, evidence of something which has happened within the conditions desired by you, and evidence can only be achieved from past and not from future.

You can’t be perfect or plan for actuals while preparing a work plan. It’s a plan based on your understanding or things, previous experience of working under similar situation, and an assumption of how things would shape up. The historic data comes in to play by enabling you to enact a similar situation with previously used set of inputs with a more likely outcome. It acts like a teacher, a simulator; only the data set is available from other projects with known results. The only thing you have to do is pick the parameters which best suit your need or project, cater in the risks and mitigation, and you have a plan which you can work upon. You are better prepared for executing a scenario when you have outcomes available from previous executions than planning for something afresh. In former case, you would know of the conditions and values used previously and how closely they would match to your current work, rather than shooting in the dark.

An interesting, yet important, thing to note is that any plan is merely an outline to how you and your team would work or should work. Wouldn’t they all love to stick to it as closely as possible? Yeah, we all do! However, we need to be open and flexible and dynamic in our approach. Just when you think everything is working fine or going by the plan – Boom! Something JUST happens! That’s the reason why every plan should have enough space for any variation to kick in and not disturb your project’s eco-system.

Past is a good way to plan for future, however it should not force you to bend it rather mend it for good.” ~ P.R.

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Can Fireworks Lighten Up Political Campaign?

Throughout the year there are numerous festivals which are celebrated across India. One of the reasons for it is India being a secular nation and every religion has its own set of occasions to be celebrated, while the other – we just want to make a reason to celebrate. It’s not the number but the grandiose affair we tend to make it. And, what festival would be complete without food buffet, grand decoration, and FIREWORKS!

Although, the concept of fireworks was introduced in around 200B.C. by Chinese people. What started off as a practice to thwart evil spirits, became an expression over the years. Earlier fireworks, or crackers – due to the crackling noise made by burning chemicals and paper, only emitted orange light. It was only when the Italians brought some compositional changes to make it more sparkly and induced colours. The tradition of bursting crackers during any celebration was introduced and later popularised when King Henry VII had a firework show during his marriage.

While this had no relation to any events which happened according to Hindu mythology, yet people have a strange way of linking everything to some religious aspect to make it more sell-able. As did by Nadar brothers during early half of 20th century. Their experience with match stick industry and the presence of their factories across India, gave them a perfect platform to launch something new on a large scale. This was a business opportunity, exploited well by the Nadar brothers; who started selling crackers while relating them to religious events. The chemicals used to make fireworks were definitely not available during the Ram Rajya or Treta Yug or any other era, prominent in any mythology.

While bursting crackers has long become a tradition, the after effects of it has been alarming. The fireworks industry has had trouble with child labour, occupational hazards, environmental impact, health issues, and not to forget the garbage. Well the list goes on! But, who needs the list when only one issue can be used to fuel the political campaign. Almost always, I admire how every politician is capable of blowing any smallest issue out of proportion, while loathing the fact that we have such people running the country.

Yes people do have the right to enjoy the festival the way they want, yes the people have right to have a healthy life, and yes to so many other things. It’s highly debatable and there are people for and against the argument. And politicians are taking advantage of such sentiments to fuel their own motives. Amidst all this, the issues which have larger impact are left out and never discussed.

  • Is the pollution only caused by crackers?
  • What about the crops which are burnt all across the fields in surrounding states?
  • Why take time to ban the crackers?
  • Why ban Chinese crackers while allowing trading of other items?
  • Why not ban imports from China at all?

It’s not so easy! It would be a political disaster and bad for economy! It can lead to unrest in the longer run!

When it comes to another nation, people do tend to give some thought. But, when it comes to raising their voice against ruling party then they seem to lose their mind. Why can’t everyone work together and find solution which benefits everyone. Why do you forget that you’re a human first and any environmental impact will affect you too? It’s not like the smog will stay away from you because you are a politician or you have Z-cover security!

Are you not in public office to serve the people? Then why can’t you work upon solutions which improve the lives of people who voted you to the office, in the first place. Picking up a burning issue and making media appearances would only earn your ratings, but your inability to actually resolve the issue will have a long lasting impact on the lives of others. So next time you go out making your political agenda and acting all crazy, think about yourself and your own family; after all they are also susceptible to environmental change.

In an essence,

  1. If you are planning to ban fireworks then DO IT NOW! There will never be a right or wrong time for it since there will be some festival going on always, and some section of community will be against it.
  2. You can’t educate the farmers, let’s accept that. But, you can guide them and empower them with new tools, machinery, and ways of farming which will be beneficial for everyone. It’s not like farming waste is not disposed off in other parts of the world. They don’t resort to burning and creating pollution. LEARN FROM THEM!
  3. Don’t be afraid of making change. You’re in power and you ought to do what is right for the people. DON’T POLITICISE EVERY ISSUE!


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Leadership as a Service (LaaS): The New _aaS

Long before I joined my peers at client site, there was this guy who had written a big mail complaining about the processes, management, and what not – or that’s how the story goes. Anyway, no one actually knew what happened or, perhaps, they were afraid to share the details, but it created room for assumptions, gossips, and a BAD name for the vendor organisation. How? Well … while he was leaving the (vendor) organisation he sent that mail to the clients instead. In spite repeated efforts to re-gain the trust and make thing better, the scar never disappeared. There was an evident shift in attitude, perception, and dealings by client.

Even if the person was not dealing with the clients directly, it would have been a matter of just sending the email. Of course, the person would not have got a job with either, but the damage was a multitude for the vendor organisation. It was a bad example set by the employee, however it was a bigger failure on part of the leadership – who created such circumstances where the person had to go to such extremes. In times like today: where we are selling software as a service (SaaS), IT as a service (ITaaS), or almost anything as a service (XaaS); should we not be promoting leadership as a service (LaaS)?

Every organisation has large number of people in leadership role, but not everyone is capable to lead: it’s not everyone’s cuppa. To be a good leader, one needs to be considerate of other’s needs before his own. To guide others to do the right thing, one must do the right thing. A great leader, who understands the philosophy and set of practices of the leadership, offering his service to others can be related to being a servant leader. Unlike traditional leaders, one at the top who exercised all the powers, servant leaders share powers with other, perform their duties while nurturing other leaders. After all, the servant leader is a servant first. He is paid like others and works under the same set of rules and policies which are applicable to other employees.

According to Skip Prichard, a servant leader should possess certain qualities or attributes which stands him out from any other manager or leader. A person offering Leadership as a Service, should be humble in nature and respectful to other, irrespective of career stage other are at. Only then can you be receptive to diverse opinions and think from a wider perception. Being mindful of other’s needs before his own, the servant leader should be able to encourage others, mentor them – to become better leaders, and create an environment of trust all around. Another way to develop the respect and trust is to involve others in decision making and convincing them on the best approach, rather than ordering them. Once this trust is developed, the person should (wherever possible) help others with personal life issues, apart from professional ones.

Leadership can be offered as a service while being in an official capacity, as a professional coach, an independent mentor, or any other way. However, the journey from just a leader to a great leader (or a servant leader) is a hard one – it takes lot of practice, self-control, and an act of selflessness. It’s like becoming a monk or a pope, giving back to the community. You may or may not earn a lot of money, but surely will be rewarded with loads of goodwill and following.

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” ~ Dolly Parton


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Knowledgeable or Experienced

Albert Camus once said, “You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.”

Our nervous system is wired to relate experience with the time spent by an individual on that topic or situation. While, it may hold true most of the time, but it does not always. We are all unique in our own ways and we undergo different situations. The way we deal with a situation varies with factors within our control and out of our control. Of course, over time, we learn the basics, we learn to deal with external forces, we may even be able to mitigate the risk (by planning well in advance); nonetheless, we become more knowledgeable about the situation. Then again, there may arise a situation which is alien to us. Or not!

I have come across people who have worked on a particular type of work for long,

  • Case 1: A person works on a type of work and continues to do so for years, without learning other aspects.
  • Case 2: A person has worked on similar projects, but still needs guidance every time he starts a new work.
  • Case 3: A person has worked on multiple projects, but lacks management skills.
  • Case 4: A person is good at management (getting things done), but doesn’t have good knowledge about the processes or the work or the people skills.

Arguably, they all have knowledge to perform their duties and have spent more time than others but are they really experienced? Rather, will they be successful in the long run? I have always related experience with skills, maturity, and understanding of the topic. Knowledge will tell me how to work, while the experience will tell me – how to complete a work efficiently, what all could go wrong, help me tailor the approaches, and how to deal with both, people and work.

Imagine a scenario where you have been following a checklist to perform a task, you are confident of performing it again. However, there are external factors (like moving to a new environment, or permissions to access the relevant information, or any such condition) which holds you up. Your experience will tell you to be patient, careful, and try a different approach (which is not mentioned in the checklist). On top of it, experience will tell you whom to contact or how to deal with the situation, in case of failure. Knowledge can make you proud or arrogant, while experience will make humble and respectful.

It is not about the time we have spent on a particular thing, it is about what we have learnt while working on it. It’s not only the piece of work we do, it’s the way we do and with whom we do it. Most of all, experience tell you what not to do!

It’s our ability to deal with the unexpected that makes us experienced. ~ PR

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What’s The Best Way To Learn?

­­­­­I recently read a story where a pottery teacher put his class in two groups, and asks one group to go through the formal phases of learning: planning, analysis, and so on, while the other group is asked to learn the hard way: learning while applying. In the end, the products from latter are deemed better of the lot. The idea (how I see it) was simple, the more you spend time on doing something practically, the more you learn. When you’re left to do things on your own, you feel competitive, you feel creative, and a sense of achievement runs through you when you accomplish a task on your own. Then again, the formal training gives you that cutting edge, broadens your horizon (knowledge), and increases the scope of your perception.

So… Which is the best way to learn?

Imagine you are taught how to swim at a remote location or somewhere away from the pool, but you wouldn’t be able to swim unless you try it out for yourself. You should be able to feel the water, its pressure, the amount of work you need to put in, and you watch others to learn if you are doing it right or if there is a better way to do it. Then there are people (let’s say bunch of trainees), and they are taught the same things. But, not all of them or even one of them gets it right the first time. Not completely, at least. They only get a hang of it once they start applying it, over and over again. It’s our initial fear which hold us from making that initial step. Information can prepare us for what’s out there, however, it’s limited to factors which the informant has faced or is aware of. There are external factors which are beyond one’s control, are often not well thought of, but have great impact on one’s (practical) learnings; something like knowing when to apply break, how much force to apply, or how to manoeuvre in heavy traffic.

Either you start learning about it or you jump straight in to doing it, the focus should be on continuous improvement. There are different ways of doing things, likewise there are different ways of learning. You do something and have a look at it (analyse or self-assess), if you are convinced then others may be. Then you can discuss with other people and get their opinion (feedback). Self-assessment and feedback can serve the basis of any learning. Most important thing is to take one bit at a time. You lose track of it when you try to over load yourself with information, perhaps while multi-tasking or overzealous learning. Have patience, learn in smaller bits, and let your mind absorb the information; then practice your learnings in routine.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Mentoring or Coaching, What’s Your Vogue?

“Son… Listen to me. I’m telling you this for you­­r own good. After all, I have more experience than you!” Doesn’t this statement reminds you of your adolescent age, or perhaps early 20s; where your parents or a senior member of the project would have said this to convey something to you, while (in your head) you were fuming with your own theories about how that thing should be done. At the time, you wouldn’t realise that they have been in similar situation or they have seen others, and they only wanted to guide you: mentor you. Any informal exchange of thoughts by a person: who has been in a difficult situation (life experience), or knows more about a specific work (professional experience), or is able to motivate people with his actions in general (role model), to another (less knowledgeable) person is Mentoring.

Mentoring could be well planned of or could arise based on a situation, but the purpose should be clear. Being there with you at every step and telling you what to do is a way of mentoring, putting you in a situation and let you deal with it, leading from the front and showcasing how to deal with a situation, and once the situation has passed then discussing about your learnings and sharing a feedback; all these are techniques which a mentor can use. This process need not necessarily mean transfer of knowledge from an older person to a younger person, it could be other way round as well. For instance, a business manager grooming an associate to become a successful (data) presenter, on the other hand a teenager helping his mother to learn to use a smartphone; both these situations are of mentoring.

Mentoring is a two-way street, it allows to mentee to learn technicalities, ways to deal with situations, and progress in career; while it allows the mentor to grow by imparting his knowledge and experience, and gaining a new perspective (from every mentee). A mentor should be able to offer (morale) support and invest (social) capital in this relation oriented process; as mentoring is a long term, and development driven. Mentoring is often confused with Coaching. Unlike mentoring, coaching can be initiated in an instance, without any plan, but on a specific topic. Coaching is generally short term and is goal oriented, measured by the performance of the mentee. Any form of learning or sharing of ideas, pertaining to a situation or task with an end result in mind, between a person and his immediate boss: falls under coaching.

In most of the organisation, respective teams have team leaders or managers coaching the associates for a specific type of work. Even if the team lead tries to best-pick an associate and grooms him, it’s because he (the lead) has to get a person ready to take his place, so he can move up the hierarchy. Thus, organisations should have a mentoring programme, open to all, to improve the productivity overall. Senior managers and above should make some time to mentor junior members within the organisation, of course in a carefully planned and organised manner. The involvement of human resource department becomes more important, as the size of the organisation increases, for making such program a success. And almost impossible as it may seem, every senior member should indulge in (unconditional) mentoring of others. Earn some goodwill while you are at it. After all, respect can never be demanded, but earned!

“Leaders… should influence others… in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and edifies them so they can duplicate this attitude in others.” ~ Bob Goshen


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