The One Right Answer

We are all taught from our schooldays that every problem has “one right answer”.

As good children we learnt it really well. As we grew up this was reinforced by the high school teachers; undergraduate lecturers; and even by our post graduate professors. So we formed this mental model firmly in our heads. We made it stronger every time by listening to only those who reinforced it. Every time someone would question it or force us to think (basically question it) we resisted it (unconsciously).

But pause and ask yourself this question: Do situations in life have one right answer (really)?

You know the answer but your mental model makes you go for the opposite. Why?

Ask? Question? Think? Redeem yourself!!

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Khalil Gibran’s “On Work”

A student of mine shared a poem with me early this morning. I started my day with a smile for two reasons: (a) a student thought to share it with her teacher (blessed); and (b) what i read was plain truth.

The below extract is from that poem. It is one of the many philosophical prose / poems of Khalil Gibran. Among the many famous works of Gibran, I am particularly a fan of “The Prophet” for it gives answers to many of our daily (so called) struggles. From the very interesting ¬†piece titled “On Work”, I found myself reading the below passage over and over again. It captures in poetic form what many philosophers struggle to communicate. I couldn’t help but share it! Is that the power of Gibran has “on work”?

Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

This is only a small part of the poem / prose “On Work”. If you are inspired buy a copy of Gibran’s work and immerse yourself in the truths of life.

But remember “Work is love made visible”

AMJ PDW IIM Bangalore 2018

The Academy of Management (AMJ) conducted the first Paper Development Workshop (PDW) in India last month. The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore hosted this program on its beautiful campus. The two day event (17-18 February 2018) saw about 40 papers (in progress) presented by aspiring scholars desirous of publishing in the AMJ. I am so glad I was one of them. Thanks to AMJ Editorial Team and The IIMB organising team for all conceptualising and successfully organising this event. It gave all of us in attendance a great opportunity to receive feedback from the editors of this prestigious journal. It also gave us a chance to learn much about publishing at the highest level by listening to the reviews / comments / observations and suggestions offered on so many other papers.

Overall it was great learning for any management scholar! IIMB also organised for a short nature walk as a breakout from the intense discussions. It was a welcome break which offered some relaxation and opportunity for bonding. We made some new friends in the process. Here are some memories captured and shared by the AMJ and IIMB teams:

Thanks to the AMJ Editors and IIMB for providing a wonderful learning opportunity for Indian researchers. Hope more such events take place in India.

Meet Brajesh Singh – a passionate wildlife photographer

I am a teacher. I spend a lot of time with learners (of all ages), albeit mostly adults. Considering that they are pretty mature it is difficult to teach them. Hence much of my time is spent facilitating and inspiring these learners to manifest their learning. And since I teach and research – innovation and entrepreneurship, most of these discussions hover around “Passion“.

Most people believe they are passionate about something or the other. I don’t disagree, but often end up asking them to describe their passion. Many of them explain their interests and misunderstand that its their passion. So my suggestion to most such people is – “manifest your passion”.

And all of them ask – “How should we manifest passion?”

I met Brajesh Singh (http://brajeshsingh.in) recently in a Management Development Program (MDP) on Intrapreneurship. I was stumped when out of the blue he presented me a calendar. I thanked him and that night I realised that I saw the answer to the above question.

Here is a man who “manifested passion”. I spent much time that night looking and re-looking at the pictures in his calendar. Amazing is an understatement! It was his own calendar – the Brajesh Singh Calendar! Here is one photo of Brajesh Singh

BrajeshSingh Photo

So I spent the lunch next day (during the MDP) asking him so many questions. As he spoke I saw what “passion meant”. It was so easy to see that “wildlife photography” was his passion. Several colleagues of his joined us and appreciated his photographs and his passion. The way he spoke about wildlife and his reminisces of capturing photographs enthralled us. Sadly we had to stop and get back to our MDP sessions! But I had something to tell my students.

If you are passionate

  • clearly define it (Brajesh does not shoot any photo – he captures wildlife in the wild)
  • do something about it (Brajesh uses his camera, captures and shares it on his website – http://brajeshsingh.in)
  • take action and showcase it (goes on expeditions and captures photos; shares it on his website; joins other wildlife photographers; learns from those much younger than him)
  • create and share your passion in whatever way possible (Brajesh creates an annual calendar)
  • sustain it (Brajesh’s annual calendar is now in its sixth year)

 

Clearly Brajesh manifests passion. In today’s digital era, it is easy to manifest passion. So the next time you catch yourself talking about Passion – stop and take action! Manifest it.

I came away inspired. This is what happens when you meet a passionate soul. You can like his photography here too: https://www.facebook.com/BrajeshSinghsPhotography/

Thanks Brajesh! My passion is to teach and I took one more step in that direction by sharing your story with my students and readers. I manifested my passion!

If you (the reader) like reading this, do something about your passion now. Manifest it today!

A new journal for entrepreneurship education research

Last year I visited Peru, South America and helped start the ‘Diploma in Innovation and Entrepreneurship” run jointly by CIDE-PUCP and Future Startup Heroes. I spent almost three weeks in Peru visiting number of cities helping promote the culture of entrepreneurship. Here are some photographs capturing my Peruvian memories.

Before leaving Peru I promised the participants of the first batch of the diploma program that I would send them every month, two “readings” on entrepreneurship education. I kept my promise and this month I am sending them the fifth and last installment. As I was putting together the readings I realised that I had an opportunity to not make it the last mail from me (entrepreneurial educator?).

Last week, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) launched a new journal with a focus on entrepreneurship education. It is called “Entrepreneurship Education & Pedagogy” (EE&P). Its name and form confirm its sibling status to “Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice” (ET&P) – a premier journal for entrepreneurship research. While I was enjoying the articles from the very first issue of this new journal, it occurred to me that I should share this with my friends who will be soon completing their diploma and becoming entrepreneurship educators.

Would they not benefit from having access to a spring, instead of a glass?

Therefore instead of sending two articles as I have done in the past four months, I decided to turn this into a blog post and send it to them. I hope they read all the articles in the first issue of EE&P (for this month) and continue to look up this journal from time to time. The journal has research articles, cases, instructor resources, and games. This will help them as they embark on their journey to being world class entrepreneurship educators!

Peru is an entrepreneurial country and with a host of entrepreneurial educators the nation can catalyse its entrepreneurial journey.

Good Luck to every one of them.

Are Startup events the new Reality Shows?

A student of mine recently wrote to me saying he was surprised that most of the B-Plan competition winners failed to start or failed after starting. He looked back at one award winning B-Plan presentation and found that even he (a nascent entrepreneur) could easily locate significant gaps in its business model. What surprised him was that none of the jury asked him anything related to that. They were enamoured by his presentation. That boy, encouraged by the jury and the award went on to start the business and eventually failed.

Could this unnecessary failure been stopped? Is it the responsibility of those who sit in the jury to be critical? But then how will these competitions run? Events are a part of the show business, “show” is critical.

His mail reminded me of a Reality Show on TV for identifying super singers. On one such final the boy who delivered the best performance did not come first. It was the one who got the maximum votes from the public (the most popular one) who came in first. One of the famous singers who was on the jury came to the stage and said something like this to the that boy who sang well and did not win “You may not have won the title today, but remember you are a real super singer.” And if I am not wrong he also offered him a chance to sing in one of his upcoming movies.

This is what I told my student – Please understand that the business model of events and reality shows is to create hype and raise emotions. It thrives on populism. Though they call themselves “Reality Shows” the only thing missing is “Reality”. So be wary! But remember that they are important and have their place in any entrepreneurship ecosystem! Make use of these events if they can help you, but don’t spend your life trying to be the new actor on stage.

If you are an entrepreneur

You will not be reaching out to people and programs to find out if you are one. You will simply begin acting on opportunities. Once you realise you need to grind your axe, you will then find the right people and programs to support you.

The one who searches for programs to attempt becoming one will probably never become one. The one who becomes will naturally gravitate towards the right people he or she needs to become even more successful.

Entrepreneurship education must look at contributing at all levels:

  • Providing inspiration
  • Providing tools and techniques to start
  • Providing methods to sustain
  • Providing approaches to scale

Entrepreneurship research is growing leaps and bounds. Sadly, much of this research remains hidden from entrepreneurs. This I believe is due to the entrepreneurship educators who do not soak themselves in the literature before delivering their classes.

If you are an entrepreneur and wish to hone your entrepreneurial skills, then search for the right program and constantly evaluate the value of your skills – are you improving and in effect, is your enterprise growing? If yes, continue, else quit and find the next person or program.

Good Luck with your entrepreneuring!