3 Social Innovations today that will benefit us two decades later:

Social InnovationProduct innovation, incremental or disruptive changes our lives for better. The impact of such innovations is felt by consumers. To succeed holistically we need some social innovations far more urgently than these product/service innovations.

  1. Gender Egalitarianism: Though gender equality as a concept has found some support in this century, still women do more than three fourth of the work related to home and child rearing. A household cannot start practicing this equality suddenly. If we practice it each day with our spouse and our children (boy/girl), we can expect to reap benefits when our children grow up. Men are not tuned to help around as a responsibility. Women are not comfortable if men take an equal share of the housework. If we raise our children by letting them do their share of housework irrespective of being a boy / girl, they might be comfortable practicing gender equality after two decades.

Neither my husband does laundry or washes dishes or makes the bed (it has never occurred to him), nor I will be comfortable if he moves from the theatre room to store room to help me. We are both guilty of stalling a revolution if we don’t let our kids enter the kitchen, washroom, bedroom and do all the chores. A boy should be told to make bed,   arrange the dining table and clean the toilet as often as a girl does such stuff.

  1. Curiosity celebration: Do you remember the last time your kid/your superior/subordinate asked a question out of nowhere and you dived deep with him/her into realms of learning to find an answer.

We admire standardized tests, we crave for degrees, we appreciate A+ students, we love zero risk stability and security for our children and our jobs- we are again guilty of stalling a revolution that curiosity celebration can create in our lives.

A phenomenal social revolution can be started if we start admiring curiosity as the way of learning. Kids of today, if allowed to ask questions every day will enter into deep learning crevices. Exploration and experimentation without being graded/marked will lead to newer developments and creative thinking.

Before the fear of performing well at high school catches on, we can expose our children to calculated risk taking through outdoor adventures, decision making freedom and welcoming failure.

Allowing our children to feel unique, empowering them to solve real life problems everyday will be real social innovation.

I remember  Prof. Anil Gupta’s appreciation for the little girl who observed the taps placed at the same height in every school and suggested a placement of three taps at different heights to allow children of different heights to drink water conveniently.

She not only found this solution but also got it executed in her school. Such kids, more in numbers will revolutionize our society.

  1. Collaboration: My ambition, my job, my children, my problems, my achievement – is the way we think about our lives.

Three years ago, I conducted a survey among 1000 children from 6 cities – Jodhpur, Ludhiana, Coimbatore, Baroda, Indore and Kanpur. These kids, between the age of 10 to 16 discussed their top ten priorities. Around eighty per cent of the tweens mentioned family and friendship amongst the top three. Studies figured in the top three slots for around fifty-five per cent of the children, while sixty-three per cent gave money a place in the top three slots. Games, books, entertainment, good clothes, good food, self-respect were other priorities. Only one child mentioned prayer in the top ten priorities. Not a single child mentioned the country.

Collaborating with people, devices, artificial intelligence is the future. The parochial mindset of ‘I, me, myself’ needs to be erased from the lives of younger ones whom we generally tell that world is full of cut throat competition. How about replacing competition with collaboration?

We can create an environment where problems and solutions are shared, where failures and successes are transparently discussed, where differences are accepted.

Open floor offices rather than cubicles, discussions rather than debates, employee shareholding rather than founder’s ownership is the future. Let us encourage our children to share and to think about family, community, country and the world.

These social innovations can disrupt the way we measure our achievements and life.

References:

  1. https://gendertruce.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/wilcox-bradford-feminism-and-marital-happiness.pdf
  2. http://etale.org/main/2016/01/14/10-things-uninvent-education/

 

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read her best articles here!

 

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A Start up called Marriage

MarriageEveryone is raving about startups as the new poster event to cling to.

We have always been aware about our problems. As we are running out of options, we have to try find smart, new solutions to the weary, nagging old problems.

The new start up Gods are emitting gyan – Be passionate about your idea, give it everything and take risks. If you fail, laugh at yourself and pine for more passion next time.

A start up is defined as an undertaking that has recently begun operation, is working to solve a problem where success is not guaranteed.

A marriage is pretty similar to a start up when two cofounders walk down the aisle or take saath pheras. The cofounders try to find the solution to the oldest problem – how to find love, how to keep falling in love with the same person over and over again, how to stay happy & enriched as scaling up happens with children coming and expectations rising.

The startup called marriage has cofounders who are the main investors and prime customers too. With passion, perseverance and patience, the cofounders can reduce the failure rate of this startup.

This startup is unique as the success rate is highest in the first go. Roughly, 40% of first marriages go kaput in the US, while nearly two third of second marriages and three fourth of third marriages fail. Interestingly, in business start ups, likelihood of a second startup to succeed is more than first and a third start up has more chances to succeed than the second one.

Though it is difficult to get this data in India, it would certainly be a pleasure if the success rate of first startup in marriage remains high. (According to www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12094360 the divorce rate has doubled in India in last five years)

Borrowed from Business start ups, some mantras for success of this startup called marriage are:

  1. Team First, Ego Last: Both the Co-Founders need to remind themselves that they are a team with collective interest and individual egos need to be cut to right size. Every individual is opinionated and self contained these days. If they are marrying late, the personalities are rigidly chalked out and there is little space for flexibility and adaptability. As they are high on financial independence and low on time and patience, building up team spirit is difficult. Unless a marriage startup decides to work as a team, the failure is round the corner.
  1. Innovation and Vision: Before starting, the Co-Founders or Partners need to ask themselves – what makes them click together? Can they visualize a long term future?

The stereotypical marriage in India with strict role boundaries like a homemaker woman and a breadwinner husband needs an overhaul. Excessive expectations from one partner in a marriage do not work anymore. A serious innovative upbringing is required by parents especially for boys who cannot expect their would –be- wives to look after them as kids. A balanced upbringing is needed where the girls and the boys are taught to shoulder domestic and professional responsibilities equally, where parents of both cofounders are equally respected, where aspirations and ambitions are equally welcomed. A change in the mindset regarding expectations from marriage will be a bigger innovation than an uber or a flipkart.

  1. Conscious Scaling up: Though businesses consider speedy scaling up as a customary sign of growth, we see quick cash burning and a super quick folding of businesses too. It is very important to scale up after putting conscious thought into it.

To scale up a marriage is to have children or start a business together or getting into activities that require complete involvement and investment into each other.

Both the partners should ponder:

  1. Do we want children and are we ready to become parents?
  2. Are we ready to pool in our financial and emotional resources to build something for lifetime?
  3. Are we ready to meet new challenges everyday which might try our patience and mutual trust?
  1. Meet the Mentors: Incubators, accelerators, angel investors, venture capitalists guide the start ups through their immersion programs and investment. They provide significant help in energizing the start up ecosystems.

Similarly, it helps to take guidance from counselors, like minded groups, parents (if their startup was successful) and senior happy family owners. It is always better to prepare for the new roles – of a spouse and eventually, perhaps of a parent. When we prepare for every test, every interview, every start up meet, why not prepare for these roles that we would play for lifetime.

Observe the veterans who have been betting successfully on the marriage pitch for years, talk to happy parents and content grandparents who have invested themselves consistently into their family accounts.

  1. Create a Culture: Culture refers to the ideas, customs and social behavior of a particular person / society / organisation.

Each organisation believes in some fundamental values, core principles and acceptable norms.

Each marriage should gradually build up a cumulative deposit of knowledge, experiences resulting into formation of beliefs, attitudes and values to grow into a family with valuable, dependable, social relationships to bank on.

It will be heartening to see more of these startups succeed.

Startup

References:

  1. http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/this-startup-bets-up-to-10-000-that-your-marriage-will-end-badly-1256309

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook 

Also read her best articles here!

 

 

RPV Framework of an organisation and a family.

ValuesThree classes of factors affect what an organisation can and cannot do. Same goes with the family.

  1. Resources: These are the most visible of the factors that tell us what an organisation or a family can and cannot do.

According to Clayton M Christensen, Kim .B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at HBS, resources for an organisation include people, equipment, technology, product designs, brands, information, capital, relationships with suppliers, distributors and customers.

Resources for a family include people- parents, friends, extended family, education, finance, career, professional and social networks.

Resources are visible, tangible and can be hired and fired, bought and sold, depreciated and enhanced. Still, same resources given to the organisation or families cannot provide same results because what will transport these inputs into an outstanding output depends largely on the other two factors – processes and values.

  1. Processes: Organisation and families use the resources at their disposal to create products or services or to raise the new generation (children) of greater worth.

According to Christensen, the patterns of interaction, coordination, communication and decision making through which they accomplish these transformations are called processes.

Organisations use formal, informal or cultural processes to perform specific tasks eg: an organisation uses research based processes to explore the consumer behavior and to gauge consumption insights. They would have structured questionnaires, interview techniques to do the same. For investment related decisions, processes to be followed will be different.

In a family, there are traditional processes which have been around for generations while there are processes which children imbibe from their parents. Some processes are new and family specific which depend on the dynamic of that particular family.

Organisations need to let go of inflexible processes which restricts their ability to grow and change.

Families need to balance their need for new processes with the tested old processes.

Eg: A family can use automated fitness bands to track their exercise regime everyday but they need to follow the old processes of healthy eating.

 3. Values: Values are broad criteria about what a company can do and cannot do. Values for organisations have an ethical bent. At the same time, firms had to ascertain what is acceptable gross margin for them, how and where do they want to be after 5-10 years.

Families emphasise on moral values more than in organisation and values form an integral part of growth of a family. Values of a family give its members a reference about what is acceptable and what is not.

As families and organisations grow big, their values change.

Technology is changing core values within organisations and families. Innovations in different fields are leading to major lifestyle changes.

We have entreployees in organisations who work for organisations while they are allowed to invest 20 -30% of their time into some personal project of their choice.

Career choices have changed the way a family would think about a secure, stable career.

If we can figure out RPV framework for our organisation as well as our family, our scenario planning is done for next decade.

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook 

Also read her best articles here!

How to do what you do not want to do.

Self Regulation“I will arrange my closet today.”

“I will surely communicate my real opinion to my team about the new project.”

“I will spend time with my 8 years old the way she wants.”

“This is my last cigarette.”

We know that we should do it all but we don’t.

It has nothing to do with our New Year Resolutions but everything to do with our EFFORTFUL CONTROL.

It is obvious that we like to do what comes easy to us – effortlessly.

If keeping a ‘bursting at seams’ wardrobe is effortless, we will somehow close it and forget about it till we open it again.

If ‘beating around the bush’ is far more effortless than being a “I don’t mince words” leader, I will continue to be a polite leader.

If I find playing Monopoly very boring, I will keep motivating my child to watch a film with me as that is what comes easy to me and interests me.

Letting the cigarette bite the dust forever requires me to take my self control a notch higher.

But how do I do what I don’t want to do but should:

  1. Welcome self change – We are phenomenal slaves of our habits. Resisting change is second nature to us. Giving all sort of excuses like “there is no time”, “there is so much stress” to justifying our behavior seems easier than admitting that we are fooling ourselves to remain the way we are.

First, admit that you need to change.

Second, instruct yourself to change.

Third, make a plan to initiate change.

Fourth, stick to it.

Fifth, pat yourself and talk about it to someone who can empathise and enforce the change.

Sixth, hold on to the change till it becomes the new habit.

Changing Habits.jpg

  1. Believe in the law of delayed gratification – Notice children around you. While filling their plates for lunch/dinner, there are some who gobble up their favorite dish first while there are some who would save their favorite dish to be savored at end. The former type will not be able to change easily while the latter type knows the charm of saving the best for the end which keeps them motivated to finish the less likeable but nutritious part of the meal. Former children might not even finish everything on the plate after having their favorite part first.

Delayed gratification empowers us to sit through the mundane but necessary tasks as our favorite task waits for us towards the end. This delayed gratification works only when we auto-suggest the same to ourselves. It should not be offered by others like bait.

Changing Habits 2.jpg

  1. Practice Effotful Control – I read about 12 years old boy from a Mumbai school who realized that he and his friend had a crush on the same girl. He told his friend to stay away from her to which the friend refused. After a few days the friend became a butt of jokes in his class as everyone started calling him gay. He found a lot of objectionable material posted on his profile. The Cyber Crime Cell of Mumbai Crime Branch found out that the 12 year old in the love triangle maligned his friend on facebook.

Not only this, an eleven year old in Mumbai staged her own kidnap drama to avoid writing a tough English test in school a day later. The child, on being caught by Police, revealed that she feared failing in the exam and did not want to be scolded by her dad.

Both the children, in the above cases, did not know where to draw the line on behavior such as this. We, as a society, have failed in helping them develop the ability to control or direct their own feelings.

Obesity among children, addiction to gadgets, drugs, violent behavior, tantrum throwing also arises out of lack of self-regulation.

We, as parents, should do two things to teach our children the art of self-regulation. First, let them feel the sensation of distress that accompanies an unfulfilled need. This is simple. Let us not make everything available to them. Let us not shelter them from feeling of delayed gratification.

Second, expose them repetitively to controllable challenges. Have you seen any child when he learns to ride a bicycle? The child sees someone riding a bicycle or some tutor shows him by holding the balancing act. After modeling for the learner, the tutor would hand over the cycle to the learner. As he practices, the tutor would offer hints and cues by remaining attentive as the learner tries. When the learner tries to balance his feet on both pedals, tutor gives support for a while. Then, he withdraws support gradually but completely. This three-tier approach of modeling, offering hints and gradually withdrawing adult support makes a person learn self-regulation.

Show, Help, Withdraw support – Repetition of the same process will help them develop their stress response mechanism. When the support is followed by independent action, they learn the lessons right.

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook 

Also read her best articles here!

3 Ways to Sure Failure after initial success

Success & Failure“Don’t give me this digital gyan. I have been writing content for years.”

“I had made three blockbusters by the time you learnt to tie your shoelace.”

“His/her teenage mood swings will pass. I have been there, done that.”

How often do we hear such self assured thoughts from our superiors, role models and parents?

Such thoughts are the stepping stones to failure. After initial success, we will surely fail if we:

  1. Stop Listening: Once we design a product well, once we organise an event well, once we write a book well, many of us freeze in those moments.

We not only stop to listen to others, we put our own objectivity on mute. While speaking to a noted film director last night, who has given us a dozen blockbusters, I realised how important it is for us to remind ourselves about the present. He said, “I share this statistics with everyone I meet, not to enhance their knowledge but to remind myself – The success rate of Indian Films is around 7% annually which means that you enter into 93% of the moviemaking club which will fail that year, the moment you decide to make a film. From then on, you need to persevere every minute, plan, organise, listen, reflect, show, listen again to cross that 93% barrier to reach the next 2% where the film breaks even, take your game one notch higher to further break into the next 2% where the film does average business, innovate with positioning and, promotion to break into next 1% where the film becomes a hit and getting into final 1% is a heady mix that cannot can be planned or explained.”

Reminding yourself about the scenarios is not being risk averse but owning the risks that we have decided to undertake.

The startup bandwagon that is omnipresent with full page ads, TV commercials and hoardings need to remind themselves of their responsibilities before disappearing from all online and offline spaces suddenly.

When we don’t listen and are preparing the recipe to fail, everyone but us can see it coming. Being in denial is the biggest disservice we can do to ourselves.

  1. Ignore our Contemporaries: Three visionary and innovative entrepreneurs ventured/disrupted space travel industry. British Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, founded Virgin Galactic to give human spices a taste of space voyage.

Founder of amazon.com Jeff Bezos made his company Blue Origin Public in 2003 with plans to develop sub-orbital space vehicals progressing to orbital spaceflight.

Though the pioneer in this field was maverick technopreneur Elon Muskwho founded Space X in 2002 with more research, self-expertise and commitment, they all have been trying to claim their upmanship through their achievements. As reusable rocket of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origins went successfully into space in November 2015, a twitter war ensued between Musk and Bezos.

Their innovative actions would certainly benefit the industry and mankind but it will certainly be beneficial for them if they pay attention to their contemporaries and accept their achievements wholeheartedly. Collaboration and honest acceptance of strengths of competitors keep us on guard and on the right track. Big egos will not give big results.

  1. Follow the beaten path: We love to repeat things that reap benefits for us. That is how children get into same profession as parents. That is how leaders use the same strategies again and again over the years.

If one product (a start up, a TV show, a career choice) hits the bulls’ eye, everyone starts queuing up to milch the new cow. Unless we venture on the road less travelled to reinvent the success, failure will surely meet us round the corner.

References:

  1. Is it all over for LocalBanya, as its efforts for revival fail – KnowStartup

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook 

Also read her best articles here!

 

 

I am not enjoying what I am doing.

BoredomYesterday, I received two calls. A young student, 8 months into his job, wanted to quit.

A young assistant professor, mother of a two year old, wanted to quit.

On asking the reason, both said, “I am not enjoying what I am doing.”

I posed a battery of questions to both:

  1. What are your expectations from a job right now vis-à-vis your competence and experience?
  2. What can you do to improve the current job?
  3. What is your definition of “enjoying”?
  4. Are you happy with your pay check?
  5. Do you have other options?
  6. Do you want to explore self employment?

To my surprise, they were both happy with their pay, had no other options and had not thought about self employment.

To my horror, they had no answer to my first three questions.

Enjoyment, Seriously?

Haven’t we started living for ‘enjoying’ only? At the top of it, we don’t know what we enjoy for long.

Can we enjoy our life the way we enjoy having an ice cream cone?

Can we enjoy every minute of our job the way we enjoy meeting our beloved?

Can we enjoy the drudgery of our daily routine the way we enjoy a short ad film?

I can see your head tilting sideways.

Does that mean our routine, our job, our life should be altered?

With patience plummeting, attention span dwindling, our sense of enjoyment has become sporadic and momentary.

Earlier, we could watch a three hour film but now, we can hold on to our attention till the popcorn bucket lasts.

We open a new tab on our laptop screens, while the previous tab is struggling to open.

A low battery sign on mobile phone is enough for us to feel like we have lost our dear most companion.

In a fickle feeling lifestyle, our enjoyment quotient changes at the speed of light. A good discounted buy cheers us up while staring at our phone for a message reply for few minutes puts us off. Routine, mundane tasks at workplace suck and clicks from short trips rock,.

Don’t we need to wake up, think and write down answers to the first three questions?

  1. What are your expectations from a job right now vis-à-vis your competence and experience?

It is very important for us to be SELF AWARE. Having a correct idea about our own competence goes a long way in objectively deciding about which job to leave and when? Actually, Self Awareness helps us in taking all the crucial decisions.

  1. What can you do to improve the current job?

Our current job and current life can be largely improved by our mindset. Criticizing, comparing and complaining will never help us in our workplace or life space but proactive action would.

  1. What is your definition of “enjoying”?

I think the trouble lies in starting with a wrong premise – The purpose of my life is to enjoy. Let us change this Short – Lived, fickle premise and move on. Find concrete reasons to make life altering decisions. Boredom is not a reason enough.

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook 

Also read her best articles here!

How well do I Fail? #BigIdea2016

Failure is Welcome 1

I learnt to fail early in life. I failed more as parents had high expectations from me. It is not about failing or realizing that you are failing. It is about how we respond to it. It is about how our environment responds to it.

A personal failure teaches lessons differently from a crisis which is related to family or workplace.

Childhood failures made me resilient.

I studied in a Central School where only children were present. Till middle school, I was unable to speak English which caused a lot of embarrassment in front of students from army background whose parents got posted to this remote town. They would bully me or laugh at me when I tried to speak in English. This sense of inadequacy made me struggle on my own. My father would subscribe to Reader’s Digest (I have a full collection of Reader’s Digest since 1969, thanks to him) (http://readersdigest.co.in/) and I would read it from cover to cover without understanding most of it. I persisted alone, spent nights with dictionaries, wrote word-meanings, underlined sentences and muttered to myself. I fell in love with English and turned around my failure.

I was short and failed in sports. As I didn’t enjoy it much and was generally the softest target during dodge ball and Kho Kho sessions, I accepted it. I chose a response of laughing with others at this weakness of mine. I learnt to celebrate this weakness by laughing at my failure at serious sports. (I tried tennis and badminton for two years before admitting it)

If parents allow children to fail naturally, it makes them confident for life. My 10th grade failure (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-good-storytellers-make-leaders-dr-swati-lodha?trk=mp-author-card) made me fearless for life. My parents and I learnt to welcome failure with that incident. It bonded us to fight any adversity head on.

Leaders who choose to befriend failure and transform it into a beautiful lesson and stepping stone can manage any crisis. Biggest life lessons come out of crisis – how we handle them and respect them.

All turnaround CEOs are not magicians. They are failure friendly and detached doers. They expect to fail, accept it and take actions objectively to turn it into a success. A detached leader would disrupt without getting emotional about the existing product or company.

I started my first venture SWASH as a unique learning ground for children and adolescents. I started it in 1997 when I was an MBA Student. Teenagers, students from engineering and medical colleges would come for month long courses and make relationships for life. By 2007, things started changing. I needed to scale it up but the way I used to invest myself in students; I didn’t find a way out.

I failed to create a team who could listen to youth, nurture them and guide them through their delicate and thorny adolescent years. My attachment to SWASH led to its failure. There is a great need for such institutions which can become anchors for talented youth and people in general but in a digital avatar perhaps.

Admitting failures as parents and leaders prepare us to fail better next time and create grander success.

Ask yourself – Do I respond well to failure? If you expect, accept and disrupt failure, you are gifting an amazing future to your children and your team.

Learn More – Follow Me (Dr. Swati Lodha)