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Creating Flow

The Freedom To Be

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Flow Consulting in collaboration with Bombay Connect

Presents 

    FLOW Leadership Coaching

     June 22 & 23, 2012, Mumbai

FLOW Leadership Coaching is one of its kind leadership workshop that combines personal self-exploration along with group wisdom, in an informal setting. The workshop is meant for leaders, founders, entrepreneurs, senior executives and change managers involved in organizational management and change. To maintain the personal nature of the workshop, participation is restricted to 7 persons only.

Objectives

* Awareness of your leadership style

* Identifying your current leadership and organizational challenge

* A multidimensional view into your organization, structure, roles and value

* Aligning the leader’s beliefs and behaviour with desired organizational goals

* Creating insight for personal change and organizational results

Logistics

Dates: 22nd & 23rd June 2012

Time: 9.30 am to 6.00 pm

Venue: Bombay Connect, 4th Floor, Candelar Bldg, 26 St. John Baptist Road, Near Mount Mary Steps, Bandra (W), Mumbai

Cost: Rs. 5,000/- includes lunch and snacks

Registration: Write to bombay.connect@unltdindia.org or Call 022 32220475 / 9004256464

About FLOW Workshops

FLOW workshops are personal and explorative in nature. We believe insights that emerge out of self-exploration bring an emotional shift, hence result in a real change. We therefore do not use power points, established concepts or management literature in our workshops. We request participants to identify and explore concerns that affect their current lives – personal or professional. We believe everything we do involves us, hence both personal and professional life affect each other. We create a safe space for participants to explore without the fear of being judged.

Fundamental to our working philosophy is being in touch with the present moment. It is also called being in the here & now. This means while we have a basic design for any interaction, we have no idea what will emerge in the moment. We do not believe in right or wrong. We allow for multiplicity of perspectives and create a safe space for them to engage with each other, without any pressure of reaching a similar conclusion. We believe free experience and expression are far more powerful change agents, than reasoning and explanation.

The setting of the workshops is informal with Indian style seating on mattresses and cushions on the floor. However, a participant is free to sit on a chair if he wishes. Unlike a typical workshop, there are no tables, chairs, power points or written material.  While participants are free to take notes during the workshop, we encourage them to be more attentive how they feel in the moment. We believe change is a result of what touches us the most and transforms our world-view.

Testimonials

 “Ajay and Payal’s approach was refreshing, not so ‘in your face’, rather casual and kept each one engaged. They were fearless to point out what was not working irrespective of the hierarchy”

Mehul Desai, Founder and Chairman, Mail Order Solutions (India) Pvt. Ltd.

 “Flow Consulting gives an amazing insight into organisational development and direction. Allowing people to get a macro view of where they want to go, while addressing the micro challenges in getting there!”

Lee Bolding, Founder and Partnerships Manager, Atma

“Flow ran a leadership development retreat for our social entrepreneur investees with great skill, grace and flexibility.  It’s also wonderful to see Ajay and Payal clearly so passionate about and aligned with their work. Highly recommended.”

Richard Alderson, Co-founder and Director Unltd India

“Excellent! I don’t know whether this is the way Socrates built capacity of people through questioning and reasoning.    But if this is not the way he used, he would use it if he knew it!”

Rajkuman Janagam, President, I – initiate

“I loved the way  Ajay and Payal asked questions in a continuous flow, from which emerged directions for me to find answers.”

Vasumathi Sriganesh, CEO, Q Med

Facilitators

Ajay Kalra   &   Payal Gupta

 www.flowconsulting.in

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“Finding a purpose to life is man’s primary motivational force.” writes Dr. Victor E Frankl in his book Man’s Search For Meaning. Dr. Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist endured years of horror in Nazi death camps, by finding something worthwhile to live for.

This article is about meaning.

What role does it play in our lives? Where does it come from? How do we find it? Does it change over time? Do we define it or does it define us?

I have two choices.

Choice one. Explore these questions from a variety of intellectual perspectives.

Choice two. Explore the lives of few people I know, including myself, to see how these questions on meaning and purpose have unfolded in their lives.

The people whose lives I will explore are real people. I know them. However, the dialogues, settings and names are fictional. The idea is to bring forth the meaningful essence of each person, as I have experienced them, not so much to reproduce accurate data.

Let’s hear what they have to say.

The Corporate Achiever

I met Neeta during a work assignment.

I was conducting interviews to understand the organization by meeting a few employees. It was the last interview of a tiring day. As she walked into the room, I noticed her tight fitting black trouser and plain white corporate shirt.  Hair tied in a bun and eyes tired after a long days work. We shook hands and I explained to her that there was no structure for the interview. She could start by sharing about her background and then about her work, colleagues and future aspirations. She picked the glass of water lying on the table, took a sip, and after a pause started sharing.

“I come from a small town in Gujarat. My father was a school teacher and my mother a housewife. I am the only daughter. I have two brothers, one elder and the other younger. Right since my childhood, I was a go getter. I did well in school and never let anyone take me for granted. It wasn’t easy, since men were always given preferential treatment.

I had a great desire to prove myself. I still do. It is like an aggressive energy driving me forward. For me it meant going to the city, getting a high paying job and being in a senior position of a corporation. Which I did. The first time I came to Mumbai was to study. I joined an Art school, since I was quite creative. However, I was clear that I had to get a corporate job. It is my ambition to be the head of an organization. I took up this job of heading the creative department of a publishing company. I have worked for seven years here, however I realize if I have to grow then I have to be in business development. Selling is at the forefront of any organization and if one has to grow, one needs to be able to get more business. Soon I will move to the sales team.”

“What about your relations with your colleagues and your future plans?” I inquired. “They say I am short tempered. I agree. At times I loose my temper, but then I cannot tolerate mediocrity. If there is a task that needs to be done, then it needs to be done! Sometimes my temper gets me into trouble. I am working on it. However, I do not wish to let go of my aggressive nature. Achieving my goal is essential to who I am. It gives me meaning. Eventually I would like to be the head of an organization. I know I am capable of it. ”

The Musical Banker

I met Naresh during a trek some years back. Our friendship has stood the test of time. We had a lot in common. Both came from urban middle-class families, were qualified chartered accountants and had corporate jobs that did not satisfy us, but were a means for a livelihood.  Naresh is an amiable fellow and makes friends easily. He has a passion for music. Classical music.

We met at a club. He shared that the current financial crisis may cost him his bank job.

“They are laying of people. I do not know what I will do if I lose my job. Probably take a sabbatical for two months. I don’t know if I can afford to do that.” he shared.  “But Naresh, you have been saying that to me for the past three years, and you still have your job.” I interjected, unsure whether I wanted him to lose his job to do something meaningful or retain it for the financial security it gave him.

Yes I do, but you never know. It is just a means to earn a living. I go there do my work and come back. I have been doing more or less similar work for the past seven years. Moving files and shuffling papers.” he says with his trademark humour. “The boss is a pain. But that is how we middle class people make money, pay our EMIs and take care of our families. We do our time over the week so that we can live our lives over the weekends,” he added. “What do you do on weekends?” I questioned.

“I go for my music classes. I have been practising that for the past ten years. My grandmother introduced me to it and I shall always be grateful to her for that. When I sing, I feel closest to God. It is the cornerstone of my life. At times, I attend concerts with my mother. It is a soulful experience.”  “Can’t you do something around music?” the idealist in me inquired.

“Who will pay me for it and what could I do?” he responds “Let us be practical after all the world is maintained by people like us who do 9 to 6 jobs, six days a week. No one is interested in whether you find your job meaningful or not. I do my job and that is the end of it. It is a job after all.”

The Teacher Mother

Lakshmi works as a senior executive in an education company, that has created a successful brand of franchisee schools. She has worked there for the past seventeen years. She started her career in the same company as a pre-school teacher. A chance encounter with the founder, when the company had only begun with a single pre-school.

She has a twenty three year old son Tapan, who is pursuing his graduation studies in Australia.

One pleasant morning, during one of our occasional morning walks, I ask her “What has been most meaningful in your life?” She looks at me, a little surprised at the question, unsure what to say. “I am writing an article on what different people find meaningful in their lives,” I add, hoping to elicit a response. It does.

“My most meaningful experience is of being a mother.” she responds in a voice laced with emotion.

“My son is the most precious to me. Nothing in the world is more valuable to me, than him. When he left for Australia three years back, my world came crashing down. My entire world revolved around him. Suddenly there was this huge emptiness. I could not eat for days. I spiraled into a depression. Thankfully, my friends stood by me. It was the most difficult experience of my life. Letting go of my son. It left me detached and wondering at the play of life. It gives and then it takes away. I just could not make meaning of it. My desire to find some explanation made me join astrology classes. Now I can see things from a larger perspective. Every person has his own destiny. There is not much in our hands beyond a point. That realization brings balance into my life.”

We walk silently for the next few steps.

“What about your work?” I probe further.

“When I began I was extremely passionate about what I did. I taught toddlers in pre-school. Since the organization was just beginning I did all kinds of work – clerical, marketing, training, curriculum development, even being a school principal. There is no department I have not worked in. I did not mind working late. As the company grew, we began to corporatize systems. I was moved to central office as an executive. My interaction with schools was restricted in my new role. That killed my passion. All that was meaningful for me, was taken away by my new role. The irony was that I had a better designation and a bigger salary, yet the fulfilment I got from my work diminished. It became a job. It is funny when I look back, the organization that gave me meaning, also took it away when we became successful.”

“What keeps you going then?” I ask

“I still like my work, but the passion of those initial years is missing. Once I am able to fulfill my financial responsibilities, I would like to work with underprivileged children in a non-profit organization. Not for money, just for the joy of it. That would give me new meaning.”

The Urban Seeker

This is about my journey of finding meaning and purpose in life.

Different things have been important to me at different times of my life. Yet if there is one thread that ran through all my past experiences, it was to find my calling. To be able to do work that would quench my thirst for self-expression. Interestingly that journey began after my education, when I started working.

“I have met many people who are doing things that they are not meant to be doing, yet I haven’t  come across anyone who is as divorced from his natural self and the work one does, as you are” said a friend to me once.  At that time I was working as management accountant, in the finance department of a multinational company.  She was right. I did not like my work one bit. I have no interest or aptitude for numbers, which people find hard to believe considering I qualified as a chartered accountant. I attribute it to a cocktail of poor awareness, fear of being a failure and desire for social recognition. I could further attribute it to a poor education system that rewards learning by rote, parenting that defines success by social parameters or my destiny. Having said that, yet if I were to look at it from a larger perspective, everything had its place, time and reason. What did not make sense earlier, made sense later. The fact remains all that I have learnt is from unlearning all that I had learnt, like peeling layer after layer to uncover my natural self.  Perhaps it is essential to lose yourself, before you can find yourself.

It was not an easy process though. I remember the time when I quit my high paying job, with the hope of becoming a corporate trainer. I thought then, if I had to work with people that was the only way to go about it. I remember the vulnerability of not having a job for a few months. I remember going back again to the security of a job, out of the fear of not being able to support myself. I remember the immense boredom of it, yet not knowing or having the guts to try again, after having failed once. I remember moving from finance to human resources, something unheard of. I remember the dissatisfaction and failure at being a trainer, simply because I did not believe in it and could not modulate my voice to engage my audience. And, I remember clearly sitting one day with my head in my hands, with every cell in my body crying out for self-expression, yet not knowing what it was, that I was meant to do.

The work I do now is not only an expression of who I am, it is a culmination of a long journey in finding meaning. There is no path I can point to and say it got me here. Yet one thing stands out. All that I did, that was not organic to me, dropped off one after another. Borrowed causes I call them. Every  new turn, even though scary at that instance, got me closer to what I was meant to do. What finally remained was truly mine.

There are various labels to what I do now. Organization development consultant, management consultant, human resource trainer, facilitator, coach or change catalyst. Yet the truth is all I am doing is being myself. Just as writing this article does not make me a writer. It is simply a means of self-expression. In hindsight, the journey was not of finding my calling; the journey was of finding my-self.

It feels like coming home.

***

I am unsure how these stories answer the questions on meaning and purpose in your life.

Perhaps there are no absolute answers. Each individual has to find his own answers. And his own meaning. Often the questions and meanings keep changing. What used to be the answers once, get converted into questions later.

Dr. Frankl would sometimes ask his patients. “Why do you not commit suicide?” From their answers he could find a guide line for their therapy: in one’s life there is love for one’s children to tie to; in another life, a talent to be used; in a third perhaps only lingering memories worth preserving. These slender threads weaved meaning into people’s lives and gave them a reason to live. What gave them meaning, gave them life.

As Nietzsche, the German philosopher says “He who has a why to live can bear with any how.”

***

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Flow Consulting in collaboration with Bombay Connect 

CREATING FLOW in FAMILY RUN BUSINESS

25th & 26th MAY 2012, MUMBAI

Managing a family is challenging. Managing a family business is far more challenging. It requires balancing personal and professional relationships with family members and employees. The challenge is how to achieve business goals and be professional without compromising on family values and relationships.

Creating Flow in Family Run Business is one of its kind leadership workshop that will explore each participant’s challenges individually in an informal group setting. The workshop is meant for owners, founders, leaders, entrepreneurs and senior executives, involved in the management of a family run business. To maintain the personal nature of the workshop, participation is restricted to 7 persons only.

Objectives

*  Understand inter-personal dynamics and how they impact business decision

*  Realize the importance of professionalism and role clarity in family business

*  Building a self-empowered management team and the difficulties in giving up control

*  Comprehending different stages and challenges in the growth of a family run business

*  Self-awareness of how the leader comes in the way of the growth of his own organization

Logistics

Dates: 25th & 26th May 2012

Time: 9.30 am to 6.00 pm

Venue: Bombay Connect, 4th Floor, Candelar Bldg, 26 St. John Baptist Road, Near Mount Mary Steps, Bandra (W), Mumbai

Cost: Rs. 5,000/- includes lunch and snacks

Registration: Write to bombay.connect@unltdindia.org or Call 022 32220475 / 9004256464

About CREATING FLOW Workshops

CREATING FLOW workshops are personal and explorative in nature. We believe insights that emerge out of self-exploration bring an emotional shift, hence result in a real change. We therefore do not use power points, established concepts or management literature in our workshops. We request participants to identify and explore concerns that affect their current lives – personal or professional. We believe everything we do involves us, hence both personal and professional life affect each other. We create a safe space for participants to explore without the fear of being judged.

Fundamental to our working philosophy is being in touch with the present moment. It is also called being in the here & now. This means while we have a basic design for any interaction, we have no idea what will emerge in the moment. We do not believe in right or wrong. We allow for multiplicity of perspectives and create a safe space for them to engage with each other, without any pressure of reaching a similar conclusion. We believe free experience and expression are far more powerful change agents, than reasoning and explanation.

The setting of the workshops is informal with Indian style seating on mattresses and cushions on the floor. However, a participant is free to sit on a chair if he wishes. Unlike a typical workshop, there are no tables, chairs, power points or written material.  While participants are free to take notes during the workshop, we encourage them to be more attentive how they feel in the moment. We believe change is a result of what touches us the most and transforms our world-view.

Testimonials

 “Ajay and Payal’s approach was refreshing, not so ‘in your face’, rather casual and kept each one engaged. They were fearless to point out what was not working irrespective of the hierarchy”

Mehul Desai, Founder and Chairman, Mail Order Solutions (India) Pvt. Ltd.

 “Flow Consulting gives an amazing insight into organisational development and direction. Allowing people to get a macro view of where they want to go, while addressing the micro challenges in getting there!”

Lee Bolding– Founder and Partnerships Manager, Atma

“Flow ran a leadership development retreat for our social entrepreneur investees with great skill, grace and flexibility.  It’s also wonderful to see Ajay and Payal clearly so passionate about and aligned with their work. Highly recommended.”

Richard Alderson, Co-founder and Director Unltd India

“Excellent! I don’t know whether this is the way Socrates built capacity of people through questioning and reasoning.    But if this is not the way he used, he would use it if he knew it!”

Rajkuman Janagam – President, I – initiate

“I loved the way  Ajay and Payal asked questions in a continuous flow, from which emerged directions for me to find answers.”

Vasumathi Sriganesh – CEO, Q Med

http://www.flowconsulting.in/

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