Leadership lessons from Lost

One of IMDb’s highest rated shows, Lost, could teach us a thing or two about Leadership.

To give a brief about the show, it is about a group of people stranded on an island after a plane crash. The island has its unique challenges to deal with and people, of course, tend to be people.

While I have my favourite character(s), as will all of you who have watched or will later watch this show, there are a few important characteristics worth observing of a true Leader.

A true Leader is Compassionate.

A true Leader is Co-operative.

A true Leader is Pragmatic.

But most of all,

A true Leader is Self-Sacrificing.

In a world where compassion is seen as a sign of weakness, Jack’s approach, as a Leader, was as “weak” as it could be. He had the time, and inclination, to check up on everyone to see how all of them were dealing with such a trauma. Understanding that not all people coped the same way, he had the patience and willingness to deal with each individual and take their views in the scheme of things.

Hurley is a classic case of “let’s all walk together”. While not as domineering or outright as the others, he led the group where consensus was a key part of the equation. As a self-doubting person, he valued others opinions and took a stand after understanding the pros and cons of each statement. For him, co-operation was what defined him.

Sawyer had a practical view to any situation, often stretching to a calculative and “shake the boat” approach. For him, the concept of “grey” areas was an anathema; either the action was good for the group or bad, but a call had to be taken and followed through.

But what’s common in all of them you’d ask? Self-sacrifice. For their actions, they paid in Money, Time and most importantly with Life. But for the survival of their people, they all did what they had to do. Unflinching desire towards a greater cause and understanding is what set them apart from the others and let them on the Path they tread.


This or That or…Nothing- a take on different Managerial types

When the dust settles on the Arsène Wenger saga, all of us would be left with thoughts like: Was it the “right” time (as if there ever is)? Life and Economic lessons (there were many)? Greatest matches and rivalries? Etc.

But what hits me the most is how everything in those thoughts can be summed by what Sir Alex (his greatest rival) said of him: “He is, without doubt, one of the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man.” Coming from him, it ain’t a sound bite.

Ferguson and Wenger were the two greatest managers ever (period!), leading clubs to glory in the most insanely way possible. Be it the Treble of 1999 or the Double of 1998, both of them exemplified as managers should be.

Their (contrasting) styles were quite obvious. The tactical switches (League, Cup and Champions League) vs. the fluid yet predictable formation, resilience and tenacity (not necessarily beautiful) vs. graceful and uneven (but always beautiful) etc.

Important than that were the unseen, and often ignored, traits. They both famously were great judges in the transfer market, advocates of “make champions and not buy them”, but the most essential of all, without which everything else would have been useless, : they were great motivators, diligent and hardworking personas, led by example and most essentially offered critical yet constructive observations. It’s no wonder the Beckhams, the Ronaldos and the van Persies and the Vieiras of the generation all played there.

Thinking about this, brings a smile on my face about the things that were and the things that are and the things that will be. Maybe we might not (ever) get a Ferguson or a Wenger but we sure as hell can become One. If not for us, then for the next generation!

What’s Life….

When you sit in a room, in the dark of the night, staring at the wall wondering at the chain of events that led to this, you realise: that’s Life and Life is anything but a series of fortunate events.

The lows of rejection, pain etc are numbed by the euphoria of success, happiness etc (Life playing out the Law of Averages) but at the end of it all, what remains is the vacuum of the Present.

Has anyone dealt with the Present is what intrigues me.

There are essentially two types of people: the Optimist and the Pessimist. The common thread: the Present. The outlook of the Future is what defines and finally separates them.

But the undying question: does the Present make the Future or the probable Future make the Present?

Or maybe it’s something we have entirely missed: the Past. Isn’t Past supposed to be the marker for the Present and guiding light for the Future? Or is it the other way around?

In the grand scheme of things, maybe it doesn’t matter. As someone once said (maybe): looking into the sunshine is all good but make sure you don’t step on the puddle and ruin the moment.

With that thought in mind, my dear readers, next time you are in doubt, close your eyes and tuck yourselves in for a good night’s sleep cos as Sinatra once sang ” that’s Life..”

Naming of the Paper

4 wizened men with flowing grey beards and 2 wise women with hair like wool sat along a round table. Eyes hollow, Mood grim, they sat contemplating the misfortunes that befell beings of their stature. The recent news was a cause of concern to them all. The High Queen Empress had poured cold water on the Court Monitor-err’s dream: Christening of the Paper.

“The Paper should signify everything we do. Let’s name it: The Story of Inbound Labours ” said the Inbound Specialist. His argument: Since the Inbound was the nerve of the Kingdom, interacting with the Citizens and numbering thousands among the tens deserved the charge of naming and immortalizing the Paper.

The Alchemist part 2 pitched in: “the Inbound Specialist speaks the truth but isn’t the revenue generation as important, if not more. The strategies involved, the execution, the follow-ups and the ilk. So let’s name it: Al-Chemistry, the study of…”

There was a murmur of discussion with the Court Recorder chiming in, hands in his hair, “Totally agreed. But what say you, Court Trainer?”

Eyes lifting from arranging the papers, she sighed “shouldn’t every contributor be represented; their voices heard?”

“Correctly pointed out” chimed the Recorder, as usual, with hands in his hair.

“I say let’s name it: The Story of our Lives. It captures the Work and Life and balance of both.”

Always quick to the point, the Court recorder added: “and it can go in the Kingdom Registry of Work-Life balance” with, as usual, his hands brushing his delicate lock of hair.

The Court Monitor-err, not to be left behind, said “Well as long as we are naming that, let’s involve the…”

“Brilliant Idea, very brilliant….” said the Recorder, hands finally off his hair, writing furiously, interrupting the conversation, “what say you, Alchemist part 1?”

Eyes lifting off from the paper, deep in thought, he answers: “I am pretty sure the High Queen Empress had her reasons, but shouldn’t we just name it…”

A sudden rumbling distracts the group. Smiling, eyes glinting Alchemist part 1 says: “An empty stomach never helped anyone. Even the fire needs oxygen to burn, doesn’t it? Why not let us discuss this over lunch?”

The Court Recorder “What an idea!!” he says as he rushes to comply as the others murmur in agreement and slowly move out of the room, deep in thought on the joys of eating; the sword hanging above their heads temporarily forgotten, to be visited upon again…when the need arose.