Let’s buy ALARM CLOCKS

TRY

 

I am suggesting a ‘BUY’ because most of us would have forgotten about the last one that rightfully sat on our study table and our bed side. I searched and found one in one of the neglected drawers and the batteries have run out.

But why do we need alarm clocks?

1.    We need them so that we do not sleep with our phones. Designers at big social media companies believe that their competitors are YouTube, Netflix, Hotstar, and sleep.

If we do not set alarms in our phones, we will not have any excuse to bring them inside our bedrooms and we will not need to begin our days saying Good Morning to notifications.

2.    We need alarm clocks to remind us that we are humans who have the ability to appreciate data as well as dreams. Our data devotion is causing a dream detachment. We love numbers. An average phone user checks an email within 6 seconds of getting it. More than 75% of adults keep their phones within an arm’s reach for all 24 hours. Our kids might not be able to do so because we are vigilant and keep them away for some time (if we succeed) from their phones but we are turning into slaves of our phones which keep us engaged.

3.    We need an alarm clock to tell us that it is a tool meant to wake us up. It will solve only one problem and that’s that. It will neither solve any other problem nor add to any of ours existing problems.

‘Screen’ addiction is impacting us personally, socially, physically and creatively. Haven’t we all started spending more time with these gadgets than our family and friends? We talk less, we argue less and we do not break our silence after a fight because we have our phones to go to.

Our social interactions are ‘forwarded’ messages, snapchat stories and ‘likes and comments’ collected online. When we meet, we click more pictures than anything else. We intend to meet to make the next FB post or a snapchat story.

Our phones in our hands allow us to stay glued to one of the screens throughout the day. We do not move our bodies enough as we sit engrossed in the sea of screens.

It is sapping our creativity because our minds are always engaged. They never feel boredom. Their minds are never empty to feel the pangs of creativity.

Within the next decade, we will come full circle. Fb has given us ‘FB demetricator’ already where we do not get metrics of our posts. We would need rehabilitation from digital addiction, we will have spas for a digital detox.

We will join companies which clearly state no email policy from 06.00pm to 08.00am.

While others would hop in their driverless cars to buy an alarm clock some years later, let us order it now before it’s too late.

If you do so and watch your sun rise, please do not click a picture. Just be there.

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The power of NUDGE: A disruptive tool for Leaders & Parents

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Each leader wants performance. Each parent desires excellence. Every leader repetitively clamors in front of his/her team to achieve and exceed targets. Each parent advises and instructs his/her children on anything and everything, every-day.

The methods used to encourage and motivate, to explain and elaborate, to scare and threaten are all loud, concrete and direct, in the workplace and at home.

These loud messages create an impact for a limited duration.

These concrete instructions cause repulsion & defiance.

These direct orders enforce compliance & hinder creativity.

If we replace this loud motivation, concrete communication and direct enforcement with the positive, periodic power of NUDGE, we can enrich ourselves as Leaders and Parents.

What is Nudge?

A nudge is a gentle push. It is a quiet touch to slowly stimulate the receiver. It is subtle encouragement.

Nudge is continuous like a soothing background score unlike a catchy three minute number.

A nudge is sophisticated and strategic, absolutely an anathema (?) to nagging.

Leaders/Parents need to have three qualities to apply the power of Nudge on their teams/children.

PATIENCE: Nudging doesn’t offer ‘quick fix’ or ‘makeshift’ solutions. It offers change at the grass root level for which patience is a prerequisite. Nudge modifies behavior gradually.

One of your subordinates is essentially late in the mornings. A simple sentence by the boss “I will have coffee with you at 9 everyday till we finish this new project” will nudge him to come on time. However, the boss would need a great deal of patience to have a morning coffee with the late comer.

When a parent wants the child to read a specific book, he/she should casually mention the book. Next day, he/she could mention one really interesting but short piece from the book (without conveying to the child that he/she should read the book).

Next day, underline a few lines and leave it on his table as if you were reading it.  E-Mail a summary of the book after a few days to a few friends and include your child too.

BALANCE: Nudging is facilitating and enabling people towards making good choices. To promote healthy eating habits, parents can excitedly fill the refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only this, they can say things like, “I will have strawberries for desert” and do it too.

It requires equanimity on the part of leaders when they make their technologies & software’s available openly for all.

GITHUB is one such coding platform available for everyone to post their programs and others can freely add techniques to improve them. Microsoft created a technology called .NET, a proprietary closed source platform for developing software for banks and insurance companies. In 2014, Microsoft made it open source on GITHUB and more people started working on it in next six months for free than those who had worked on it inside the company.

It requires courage to make things freely available but this nudge is globally beneficial.

DISCIPLINE: Any leader or parent, who aspires to ‘nudge’ team members/consumers/children needs to be disciplined.

An overweight parent cannot nudge a child by gifting him exercise gear.

A short tempered leader cannot improve team cohesion by organizing a ‘Humor hour’ every Friday.

Nudging is not about words, it is a “call to action” which is open, free & facilitating.

It can be used continuously and creatively at every level from home to community to business to governments.

Nudge at ‘Home” – My parents have always been early risers. I was forced to wake up early as a child and then, it was career and family that made a morning alarm mandatory.

After turning solopreneur, I started taking it a little too easy and slept to glory on weekends.

I visited my parents recently. My dad woke me up at eight. “We are having our second cup of tea. Here is your first”. He handed me my cup.

It was terribly cold but he had already watered his plants (200 in number) and he was getting ready to go to work. (He still practices as a Doctor at 73).

What a nudge it was.

I can’t even think of sleeping till late now.

Nudge at ‘Community Level’Prof. Anil Gupta’s Shodhyatras in rural areas of India, bring about amazing innovations to the fore.

His Honey Bee Network mobilizes social and ethical capital through conferences, competitions and continuous support to lakhs of creative minds.

His festival of Innovation, has succeed in nudging more than 5000 school children to solve problems creatively, leading to major innovations like a new modified walker to be used on stairs, an inclined drinking water pipe. What an amazing ‘social nudge’ it is.

Nudge at “Corporate Level’ – Many companies associate a charity initiative with the purchase of a specific product (Rs. 1 would go to XYZ Foundation on your purchase).

Electricity companies share area- specific energy efficiency data with their consumers. When they are told that people in their area consumed 15% less electricity as compared to residents of other suburbs, they are nudged to use energy efficiently, further reducing the energy consumption in coming months.

A “destiny health plan” has been promoted by insurance companies in some states of USA which helps them win ‘Vitality Bucks” on hitting the gym or working out in a health club. It nudges consumers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Nudge at “Government Level’ – UK Government formed a ‘Nudge Unit’ in 2010. US Government used it too. There are many schemes which could nudge people for opting wrong ways.

“NUDGE FOR GOOD” is what we need.

References

1.     “Grassroots Innovation: Minds on The Margin Are Not Marginal Minds” by Anil Kumar Gupta

2.     “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” by Thomas L. Friedman

3.     “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Tata Tales – Lessons for Life

tata-logoTata – the experience is a part of our lives, knowingly or unknowingly, directly or indirectly when we might be buying our coffee, trendy jewellery piece or a watch, our first car, our five star stay, a pen drive or a packet of salt. It enters indirectly into our lives through their steel, chemicals, and IT interests spread globally.

The brand has stayed with many generations as a rock solid companion in rational and irrational ways. When I was a child and I came to know that Taj Group of Hotels belonged to Tata Group, I felt so happy.

As I brewed a passion for Parenting & Leadership, I found Ratan Tata to be an extremely exemplary Parent. He is my favourite Parent.

Remember, I always believe in Parenting to be an emotion and the most sacred form of Leadership.

Parents are emotional leaders who love to work with people – give chances to them, show confidence in them, encourage them and empower them.

Parents are also silent strategists who deliberately show that they have relegated all powers to their progeny when they actually keep track of overall family environment and the ensuing sentiments.

They are a dangerously determined lot who can lead any crisis at any hour when it involves their children in whom they have invested themselves.

The emotion that we experience with the brand TATA is far deeper than the rare crisis Tata Group has stormed into.

There are various theories being propounded at the moment about whys, hows and what nows. The imminent lessons learnt are:

  1. CULTURE IS STILL IMPORTANT: Culture doesn’t mean symbols. It doesn’t mean teary advertisements. Culture means the core values that you most certainly stand for.

Culture is deep rooted to have an impact. You cannot start fiddling with long standing norms in the name of staying relevant with changing times.

The longer a tree has been around, the deeper and stronger the roots are. The older the trunk of such a tree is, the denser the branches would be.

When it shakes itself even a bit, it causes a storm. It is pretty problematic to strive to re-engineer the roots of such a tree, even if it offers less shade or fruits.

Respecting the roots before championing change is required. Change for longevity and growth of the tree is needed but a young branch cannot steer a new action plan without taking the trunk into confidence.

  1. ACTIONS ALWAYS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS: No amount of verbal or written jugglery can explain the sudden and shocking action.

Such an action without words can only result when the danger is much deeper than what meets the eye.

Such an action goes against corporate ethics of the behemoth. Wouldn’t the conglomerate know that in certain terms?

If such an action is still taken which has a rippling effect forever, it surely means that it was urgently required for reasons that are unknown and will remain so.

A sensible and relevantly active parent like Mr. Tata who understands the present pulse of the new start-up energy, cannot falter in decision making with his first child.

His speedy, sudden, shocking action cannot be frivolous or without thought.

  1. SUCCESSION PLANNING NEEDS CAREFUL THOUGHT, LONG NURTURING AND OODLES OF LUCK: Succession Planning is a dark horse in our scenario planning. It suddenly becomes the most relevant decision for the road forward. A time consuming shaping up is mandatory. Nothing can replace ‘time factor’ in grooming the right person for the tough job. Starting something from scratch is far easier than fitting into famous, droolworhty shoes.

Despite of right genes and perfect grooming, a successor can fail to fulfil the expectations for a number of unexplainable reasons. Call it luck or call it market sentiment. A worthy successor is harder to find if the predecessor is a legend.

Anyone in this role could have faltered. The road ahead is fraught with ‘urgency to choose a dependable younger successor’ while humming “the once bitten twice shy” tune.

The experience called TATA will live. The story called TATA becomes more interesting and ground-breaking now.