Develop First

“There was once a pair of acrobats. The teacher was a poor widower and the student was a young girl by the name of Meda. These acrobats performed each day on the streets in order to earn enough to eat. Their act consisted of the teacher balancing a tall bamboo pole on his head while the little girl climbed slowly to the top. Once to the top, she remained there while the teacher walked along the ground.

Both performers had to maintain complete focus and balance in order to prevent any injury from occurring and to complete the performance. One day, the teacher said to the pupil: ‘Listen Meda, I will watch you and you watch me, so that we can help each other maintain concentration and balance and prevent an accident. Then we’ll surely earn enough to eat.’ but the little girl was wise, she answered, ‘Dear master, I think it would be better for each of us to watch our self. To look after oneself means to look after both of us. That way I am sure we will avoid any accidents and earn enough to eat.’ (Source: buddhaimonia.com)

It is said that this story is said by the Buddha himself, reiterating the need to constantly keep a watch on oneself. Change is an on-going process. If one looks around, one will see that things that were once considered incredible have become necessities with life unimaginable without them. Darryl Zanuck (Executive, 20th Century Fox, 1946) had said “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (1977), had said “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Today, people are comfortable sharing their views, opinions and even their lives on Television & thru Computers but find it difficult to share the same with the person they are sitting next to. A while ago, there was a flurry of people signing up for computer courses as they realized that they were no longer fit for their jobs without computer skills. Today, even a child is computer savvy!

The need now is to be able to move from behind the security of screens towards face to face interactions. More and more people are finding it difficult to provide and accept feedback, elaborate on their opinions, express what they really feel or even think, confront and navigate thru conflicts and express their dreams. Leaders are wanting in articulating their vision, influencing teams and building relationships. Today, proposals are given, relationships are broken and even employees are laid off with an electronic message. We seem incapable or don’t seem to want to face the consequences personally. Our people skills are eroding leading to a breakdown in communication and building of walls rather than bridges. Personally it could mean loneliness and professionally, a huge reduction in influence and impact.