What if the entire duration of the Pandemic is a preparation for what is to come! Are you ready?
The pull and push of the earth, sun and moon lifts a portion of water in the sea somewhere far away from the shore… And the drop of that lift from a different force creates a wave, and a casual on-looker on the beach only observes the wave approaching him or her, not knowing the origin of the wave!
The wave has a trajectory. And we notice it closer to the shore. And like-wise every major event on the planet has a trajectory shift. Like the lifting of the water that is yet to become a wave, the event in itself is just the beginning, setting in the movements for a whole new world!
Just like the stars are just particles of dust until they become a star floating across the galaxy for millions of years, the interesting thing about trajectory is the beauty of what is to come and all the pieces fitting in together like a beautiful design.
In this article, I share with you how everything you do can BUILD up to something larger than the sum of all the individual actions. And what it means to you to integrate short-term tactical gains into long-term strategic outcomes. And I am going to use our own business and how we approached the Pandemic to illustrate this point.
A context into our business. Since 2011 November, till the pandemic till 2020, we were a research focussed business. We started with the idea that we can get any individual have access to any capabilities they desired in their own area of interest to the point of developing genius level artistry in whatsoever domain they already had or desired mastery. And we aimed at achieving this without the need for any ‘human involvement’. The grand vision was that any person can pick what they wanted to develop and there will be a corresponding game, gadget, toy that they have to spend time with for a few minutes and just like that – a new capability is formed. And since this entire vision was focussed on some methods from Neuro Linguistic Programming, we wanted to get empirical evidence that it works the way we think it works, that it works on scale, that it works even if the same process is repeated by an individual other than Harini and I.
And that is when we stumbled upon this incredible possibility of Time Compression. The possibility to target the LIFE OUTCOMES in Health, Relationships, Business, Personal Genius and make them happen for people in 10% or lesser time-frame than it otherwise would take. And even more crazier than that sounded the idea of making it all happen altogether simultaneously.
We didn’t just succeed in making that happen. We managed to convert that into a Model and a Technology that can produce consistent results even in scale.
So here we are, we have a Magic Formula, we are set to transform this research organisation into a revolutionary business that is ready to take the invention to every corner of the planet. We have just hired a dozen team members for converting enquiries to customers. We have contracted payments from our customers to fuel all the expense of the business for the next 12 months. And everything is set for ‘Action’ and ‘Scale’, and just then the Pandemic hits. 90% of the contracts become almost void for the next 2 years. The pandemic made time-compression a luxury for most individuals and the enquiries dropped by 99%. There is no cash, no active product that that the market desires, remote teams, scattered leadership, countries in crisis and a bunch of new hires in hand. That was what Pandemic was for us. And in here are some of the key pivots in our thinking that you can adapt to navigate muddy waters and pivot towards an expansive horizon.
Everything that happens in Life is a Training for the things to come.
When I was 7 years old… I played my first chess tournament. And it was a state-level competition. I ranked 2nd. I had been in training for only a few months partly because my parents, especially my mother, saw me skating (district prize winner), and she saw my obsession with speed (which later turned into bike racing) and wanted a safer sport. I loved skating, the sharp turns while maintaining the speed of the wheels, and the way you maneuver your body to shift the center of gravity and the thrill in saving a micro-second and more importantly the built-up momentum. For whatever reason, our coach used to encourage us to skate without the brakes, so the body angle essentially is the speed control!
All that training, not so that you don’t slow down but so that even in your turn you don’t lose momentum! But for chess, I had only a few months before the BIG tournament. And they were seasoned players, in fact the person who had come first in that particular tournament went on to win the national championship and became a top player internationally.
Looking back, for me, coming second in a state-level tournament when it was my first tournament ever and beating chess players who had been training for many years together feels quite exciting! But what I feel even more excited about is the actual training that I received in those couple of months before the tournament. And little did I know back then, that some of the same strategies that got me to win at chess will also prove as valuable lessons for my business in the future.
My First Chess Lesson: The four centre squares
My chess master told me, the person who controls the space around this area, the four squares right at the center, wins the game!
An average chess player is counting pieces, or computing the next tactical trap the opponent can fall into. But looking at space? That is known as Positional Advantage. You can’t predict what your opponent is going to play, (in real life – translates to- you can’t predict how the market or the economy or the world will move) but you can get certain positional advantage in the game that would allow you to navigate – to a victory – irrespective of what your opponent plays.
The beauty of chess is that you can witness a game played by two grandmasters and for the 99% of the players it may look like nothing is going on, and then 20 moves later, suddenly one player seems to have a solid advantage enough to win the game.
And those moves which looked casual, just like everything else, were calculated strategic inches towards a solid POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE, that orchestrated that drama after 20 moves.
The tides of economics can anytime change. It can change due to a Pandemic, Innovation or something unknown. What is your Positional Advantage in LIFE, so that irrespective of how the market, economy or the world turns you still have a leading advantage?
Are you prepared to preempt challenges and capture winning possibilities!?
Do you know what are the 4 squares in your business/career, relationships, personal evolution – that you got to pivot around to design the winning strategy?
Positional Advantage applies to all domains of all
Here is an example of Positional Advantage in the context of business.
A business that OWNS quality assets (Intellectual Property, Impeccable Teams, Cutting-Edge Technology, etc…) has a positional advantage over a business that doesn’t. And in that sense, it can pivot and succeed even when tides change. This is why, one of the Excellence Installation we orchestrate, when a person wants to move from being a freelancer to having a business, is to develop the mindset of creating business assets. While a freelancer is chasing cash flow, the entrepreneur is creating assets that ensure cash flow.
So, even when the entrepreneur provides a seemingly similar service of a freelancer, he or she has added elements into the design, so that every delivery leads to the creation of an asset . And we require installations for this mindset shift because even though most people are educated about this difference, at some point in their life, when it comes to day-to-day execution and closing deals, freelancers think and act like freelancers. They just can’t make every effort, every deal, every service, every solution, to ADD UP to an asset. While the way freelancers function, allows them to sail through, each STEP doesn’t count to the larger outcome in itself.
To build a successful business, an entrepreneur has to build assets that gives them a positional advantage. Even the more, if you are disrupting an industry or creating a revolutionary technology that can disrupt the way several industries function. So, this is one of the most important guiding Directives we maintain for the A&H business. And we held to it even during the Pandemic. To make every step count towards a long-term strategic outcome while benefitting from the immediate rewards of every move.
The Four SQUARES for our business is Black and White. The more CONTEXTS we have to give REAL FIELD experiences to Excellence Installation Specialists, along with in-the-field mentoring, impact validation and exposure to highly skilled specialist: the faster we can impact more people in the world.
Given that we did 100% of our work, mentoring, and apprenticeship in group immersive physical events, making this happen ONLINE looked almost impossible. Imagine a teaching hospital going online. Not only was the surgery happening online, the resident surgeon is learning on the job – by doing an actual surgery along with a senior surgeon. And the senior surgeon is responsible for the outcomes of the surgery and the development of the resident surgeon. Imagine all that happening online. That was what we set out to do.
There were easier ways out but we KNEW what’s our positional advantage. And we had to be prepared to handle however the world turned due to the pandemic. These CONTEXTS we created (Social Services, Critical Support, Economic Booster, etc) became solid assets, functional working grounds where we could establish the equivalent of a teaching hospital for the Excellence Installation Specialists.
Unlike most businesses, the work was not to find newer opportunities to grow or find new types of customers or deliver things. In fact, we shut down our ads, and we stopped sales except for all the referrals and urgent requests from our existing customers for their families.
Instead, we focused on building the equivalent of a teaching hospital for Excellence Installation Specialists (B!G Accelerator), while supporting our existing Legacy community.
To make this happen – We gave all our customer 1 Additional Year of our subscription (and later extended that by another year), typically making everything we do during the pandemic year(s) complimentary.
This helped us bridge and get operation with building the equivalent of a teaching hospital setup online. The participants who aspired to become an Installation Genius as part of their EIT Education could intern, they could work on the field as apprentice with someone who knew how to do it, and finally they could get on the field by themselves with a mentor. And we build a system to do all of this while supporting a large community of people ONE-on-ONE across their business, health, family outcomes across 18 industries and age groups ranging from 14 to 70.
We were particular about, and that is, to make every step count towards a positional advantage and creating THE ASSET that made that difference.
Every effort we put out there to build a better world for the participants, the community and the business has to translate to a better SETUP for the Excellence Installation Specialists to Become an Installation Genius (B!G). The pandemic will come and go, but what we build during the pandemic has to last longer than the pandemic. And it has to influence the year that is yet to come! While the team worked very hard to support every participant, we added that additional effort to convert all of it also back into a POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE that will outlast the current situation.
Working this way helped in becoming 5 times bigger by 2021. We hired, we scaled, we built 5 times capacity to deliver in that very year.
We had two choice.
Path 1 – Cater the crisis with a paid product and grow your cash reserve.
Path 2 – Cater to the crisis with a free product and leverage that to bootstrap the BIG Accelerator.
Path 2 was a winner in both counts. Firstly it felt ethically right to not charge for crisis management. And secondly this path increased our POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE because we managed to create a robust system to scale on demand.
The lockdown and its consequences, and the next set of lockdowns, went on for longer and much longer than what was announced or what global experts predicted. But we were able to grow, do more for our existing community and newer participants… more than we ever did even during the extended lockdown the next year. And this is what positional advantage looks like, irrespective of what happened as an aftermath of the pandemic, we were just better equipped to pivot in any direction that can lead to a win-win-win overall.
Every effort and every step that you take has to lead to building something larger in addition to solving the purpose for which you are taking that effort in the first place! And if you know what gives you Positional Advantage, that something larger is easy to spot, even in uncertain times.
The 5 Phases in which we handled the Covid19 Pandemic:
Phase 1: 2020 Readiness
The year started off great… with the uP! event in a large auditorium in Bandra! For many people it was the saving grace before the Pandemic that in their own words, allowed them to both emotionally and situation-wise, steer through challenging times during the Pandemic.
In many ways, the preparation to deal with the Pandemic with emotional choice, some of the superior capabilities that lead to systemic-intelligence and creativity in business and challenging situations are the outcomes of the uP! Accelerate and FastTrack Legacy programs.
I hear John Grinder’s words, “Be prepared for nothing but ready for anything”. That is the beauty of developing capability and choice of behaviors, emotions is that you can design the best route by yourself for the situational challenges and opportunities that come your way. And I am so happy that we had the uP! event this year and in many ways equipped our participants in ways we can for what no one knew was going to come!
And this is the biggest differentiator between an Excellence Installation Program and Coaching. While Goals and Plans become irrelevant or require the need for creative adaptation during unexpected events, developing great capabilities makes you ready for uncertainties while naturally fulfilling your goals.
I remember a participant who enquired about our program when it was less than 1000 USD. And she eventually registered in 2018 when the price was about 4000 USD, so that she could participate in the 2019 event. She said, that she paid in advance because she was sure the price was going to double again. And bingo she is right but the greater gain which she said when she later met my team, is not that she saved another 4000 USD but that during the pandemic she was ready in ways she would have otherwise would not have been. And to me that is worth every bit for her to have done the event in 2019 instead of 2021.
And Covid is one example of unexpected situations. But doesn’t the world have unexpected situations of various degrees? Should we not focus on Readiness anyway, Covid or not?
Phase 2: Distilling: What is IMPORTANT?
Just like the 4 squares on the chess board. One has to really consider What Matters. Do that and results follow!
- Even if you don’t like it… Even if it has a high price…
This was a big deal. As an organization we work in close collaboration. We often are 4 times smaller in size than the team required to do the job at hand. And especially during new phases in the business, we all sit around, like people sitting around a campfire during vacations, to brainstorm and innovate. Every year, we innovating at least 2 new products and 4 significant shifts to our current products. And product development requires a lot of communication and thinking together in our business.
And sending people back home (and we did this even before the government formally imposed a lockdown) at that time meant pausing many Core Business Functions. So, before the Government announced a lockdown, all the team was secure in their hometown avoiding all exposure to the Covid-19 virus.
While at that time the whole business appeared to come to a standstill because of this decision, we did it because we needed to consider what is REALLY important. But what we didn’t know at that time was that this single decision was going to make us ready for International Expansion. In the last 11 months we have been building the leadership necessary to drive the organization even when Harini and I are not around. It is just a matter of months away from reaching a point, where business growth, product innovation, and all the wonderful things can happen integrated no matter where Harini and I are in the world.
It is not like we didn’t have remote tools. In fact, we have always been equipped to complete tasks, organize work and work remotely. But the core of our business is research, innovation, and translating that back to business models. And to be able to do this from anywhere in the world is something we hadn’t planned for in 2021 but thanks to sending all the team back home, we have just arrived at this possibility :)
- Even if you don’t know how…
April 10, 2020: We made an important announcement. That any participant who is going through anything that is disrupting the balance in their family, wellness or their emotional readiness to handle business challenges, can seek support and we will for FREE solve that issue for the participant.
We had full faith that the community had the emotional capacity and readiness to handle the unexpected. But we also knew there will be a percentage of participants, even if it is a smaller fraction, who may need help in at least one area of their life. Maybe their business is doing well, but conflicts have begun to enter their home. Or maybe they are doing amazing with their kids, but have lost their job and are not equipped emotionally and with the right strategies to find the next job. Since, we take care of ALL aspects of a person, it is fair to expect that there will be some people with at least one aspect of their life requiring urgent attention.
Now, let me explain why this is a big deal to us. The cost for a private consultation with A&H is about 12,000 USD. But in the FastTrack legacy it comes packaged with the product and if you compute the cost, it comes to around 1000 USD. Why the big difference? Timing!
In the FastTrack legacy, I meet participants one by one in batches, based on a schedule that I have conveniently planned way ahead of time. So, that Harini and I can focus on our research and innovations to take the technology to millions of people.
So, to distract the team from the ongoing work and to put attention outside of a scheduled plan for the participants is a huge cost to the business. And it doesn’t make any financial sense because we had already informed participants, that the events are postponed and we are giving 1 year of the subscription extended. So, anything we do this year, is just added cost for the business. And to do it as Critical Support, to be available immediately was a huge financial decision.
This was also a big thing because we notice, muscle movements and changes in colour of the skin tone to understand internal unconscious response on an on-going basis. And thus, we just didn’t know how it can be done, online.
But we knew one thing. That this is the MOST important thing in the business. To support the community IMMEDIATELY at the time of their need. And to do it. And figure the way on the way.
And that is exactly what we did. And although we opened Critical Support to take care of our current participants who wanted that additional help, what came from these efforts in addition to turning the trajectory positively for every single person who participated in critical support is the creation of a new product. Something that I am very proud of and something I think has done Time Compression for our business.
You got to know what is important and do it, even if you don’t know how to do it.
- Orienting the Community to it…
May 12th to June 11th:
My team member Puru called ALL of our participants or at least one person in the family. He got to speak with most of them. And we had understood that 85% of them are doing well and have managed to do well or soar during the pandemic. And the remaining 15% required a review or consultation.
While Critical Support was sufficient to handle the emotional challenges, stress and state-related challenges. An A&H review was necessary for re-orientation, to maximize the opportunities in the current situation and for those 15% to also change the underlying circumstances in their family, business and well-being.
The logical thing at that point in time, seemed to help uP! Participants first because the majority of that 15% came from there. And they had financial challenges, and then the FastTrack legacy participants because it was directly connected to their life outcomes and finally the participants who are enrolled for EIT Education because EIT education in itself was an aspirational outcome for most of the participants and not necessarily a time-sensitive outcome.
But what if we looked at it differently, what if we enabled the people who could enable each other both within the A&H Community and outside.
So, we reversed the above order totally. Except for the 15% who needed A&H review more immediately, which we did, we started with EIT Education participants. And we immersed in it for 2 months (June, July, and August). And when the reviews did start, we completed a FULL cycle for FastTrack members. And it was interesting how we found many of the members, just helping and being there in a personal capacity for the uP! Participants.
The difference in starting with the EIT Participants, is that they understood the significance of ATC and Capability Acceleration than someone who has not been through EIT Education.
And in many ways accelerated the ATC thinking spreading through the community, and I cannot think of a greater gift from the EIT participants to the individuals in the A&H community.
Seeds of thinking and installations at the community level are much more complex to design and implement than doing installations with an individual.
While this topic deserves a book in itself, I can share this much from my experience in creating an ecosystem where people from all walks of life and all ages groups enhance and enrich each other, that a tiny shift in the orientation of a community will create ripple impact in the lives of each of the individuals connected to that community.
We believe there is a set of adjustments that are essential for anyone to maximize the opportunities in the world post-covid and EIT education in 2020 has set in motion a wave and in its due course all the A&H Community will benefit from this.
This was not easy. It took us four times more effort to sort EIT Education first and then complete a review for the uP! participants. I had to stretch myself on several occasions to the point it felt at times, like I was doing an uP! event every month.
But orienting the community to what is important is significant. And how many people in their lifetime get the opportunity to orient an entire community with newer capabilities and legacy directive and in that sense I am grateful and glad to have invested that effort.
In this sorting we managed to equip the community as a whole with superior ATC skills and followed it with the acceleration of each participant personally.
You got to know what is important and orient your community. A community for many people could be a combination of family, friends, teams and in some scenarios, a full blow eco-system like the A&H community!
Phase 3: Adapting Rapidly
- Adapting to Challenges
The one thing we always knew to do remotely was Sales. So, it appeared like that is what we are going to do – get new customers as we all work from home. After-all, we just got done with uP! And we had the full bandwidth and mind space to work just on the business of our business.
But within a week after sending the team back home, the lockdown happened. And we knew intuitively, this is not the time to put out a ‘Launch Your Legacy’ advertisement. So we stopped all Advertisements.
Even though our business ran on referrals. Advertisements used to accelerate referrals by 10 times. Because an A&H participant would casually speak to a family or friend about what they experienced and then it would spread to friends of friends but it is when these educated individuals notice an advertisement in their screen, that they would click on it and enquire. So by closing the advertisement, we we essentially impacting assisted referrals.
This was an even more a challenging thing to do because we had just recruited a whole new set of team members exclusively for sales. So, now we don’t just have the burden of not doing sales but also the challenge of continuing to evolve team members who are otherwise going to stagnate for an entire year.
And we did something that I still can’t believe we did. We opened the doors to Pre-EIT Education for all the team members. While we did this to avoid stagnation for the team, the business in effect, we solved the puzzle of training people on advanced Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), to meet capacity challenges from growing demands without the active and full involvement of Harini and me in the training itself.
The business always wanted to know the timeframe it takes to train someone on NLP change work without the participant coming to the uP! event. We tried solving the challenge of avoiding stagnation for our team and found ourselves arriving at an important metric for the business. Yaaayy!!
This is very different from keeping employees ‘busy’. In fact, it is the opposite of that while you are taking care of people in the present, you are building an asset (in this case the online NLP Changework skill development) that is required for the future. It is significant because it means, we can and we know how to train high-quality NLP change agents outside of the in-person Installation Genius program.
It is important to not just handle challenges. Adapting is different from adjusting. Adjusting means you accommodate and tolerate the inconvenience. Adapting means you master the circumstance, to creatively solve the problems Making Each Move Count. (for the future and the present)
- Adapting to Uncertainties
I have found this question about Chess very amusing. When you meet someone who has just learned to play chess and when they know that you played the game professionally, they ask you a variation of this question – ‘so in how many moves can you checkmate?’.
I am going to give you a little primer into chess and the logic behind that question to bring to your attention a very significant quality about the uncertainty that is useful to discern.
When beginners play chess, they set up what are called ‘traps’. Typically a 3 – 4 move sequence leading them to win the game when the opponent makes a particular mistake. And when the opponent is also a beginner, this seems to work fairly well.
But the problem with that approach is that in setting such an ‘amateur trap’, the person is moving away from the 4 square focus that I had mentioned earlier and in essence makes their position strategically weak in anticipation of the winning using the trap they have set up.
This is how Amateurs play, they wait for the opponents mistake or oversight to win the game. The opposite to this is the way a Grand Master would play the game, the Grand Master makes his move assuming the opponent would make the BEST possible counter-move to his move. Here the anticipation is not about whether the opponent will ‘wishfully’ make an error, but whether, the Grand Master himself has not seen a better move for the opponent.
In the Amateur scenario, the risk and uncertainty are about the other person, making a move that escapes the trap. In the Grand Master scenario, the risk and anticipation are about the possibility that you have missed a better sequence in your calculation of the moves available for your opponent and yourself.
When it comes to Pandemic and the Uncertainty, I would rather rely on the strength of our brand, the community, the impact that has happened already, the ongoing value creation and the potential in the future and not be complacent on wishful thinking and predictions on when the Pandemic impact will end.
And that is exactly what we did.
We have invested so much time on Innovation. Today, we are equipped to deliver the value we have delivered in physical events, online, including immersive group events!
We asked, what if the world doesn’t ever go back to ‘normal’ and we can never have physical events, then, what next? At this moment, the only thing I can disclose is that it is just mind blowing and amazing to see what IT enablement can do for EIT.
Given the current trend, I am glad that the world is opening up and we are likely to have an in-person immersive event in a physical space in August 2021 but the doors that opened from the constraints will continue to remain open and open newer doors!
- Adapting to Unplanned Opportunities
There was something strange that we noticed during our review with the FastTrack Legacy members!
When we saw the ATC list generated 2 months ago by the cream of the EIS who we call the ‘EIS Fellowship’, we were surprised by how the ATC list they had created for the participant appeared like a complete mismatch! The participant we met during the review and the ATC list presented to us by the EIS had no correlation whatsoever! And this baffled us.
The fellowship team has always created exceptional ATC lists. How is it possible that the set of Capability Acceleration they have come up with for the participant doesn’t match what intuitively felt relevant for the participant when Harini and I met the participant?!
After carefully reviewing what was going on and backtracking, we found out that the person that the participant was when the EIS Fellowship team had met them 2-3 months ago, was a completely different person – and the ATC list was relevant for who they were back then! And the beauty is – the EIS Fellowship had accurately diagnosed Capability Acceleration areas, prepared an immaculate ATC and also spearheaded Implementation through EIS Apprentice and validated it all the way through completion. And then 2-3 months had passed, and in this time, the participants have gone through new life experiences post Installations and the person we finally met at the review seemed to be the NEXT version of himself/herself. What had successfully happened, that each participant ended up going through one Cycle of Mini Evolution so quickly to the extent, that the person we met during the reviews made the ATC list of the previous time, absolutely old and redundant! We were so surprised and thrilled by the New Revelation. It just opened up to us, the real impact of a Cycle of Evolution entirely orchestrated by the team of Excellence Installation Specialists and that too, such a profound impact in just 2-3 months post targeted implementations, all delivered online, one-on-one.
This Impact was not what we had planned. This is what happened. Due to a variety of different things including the community impact we discussed earlier, the extra attention to future pacing and state installation by the fellowship team during diagnostics, the implementation being orchestrated by people in EIT Education. And in the space of 2 months, most implementations that were not scheduled had already auto-generalized. And the changing contexts due to Covid gave many of the participants the life contexts required to accelerate their personal evolution. So what we witnessed was the completion of a cycle that happens over 4 – 6 months within 2 – 3 months. So, Harini and I in our review accelerated another cycle on top of it :)
We didn’t plan this. This happened! So, we decided to take this to the uP! Participants too.
So here were our choices:
Choice 1: Do reviews the we have always done. And finish it all in a month.
Choice 2: Make every review, a mini uP! for every participant even if it means we need MONTHS to complete the review for everyone and can go into 2021.
We chose the latter! If we have the opportunity to complete an ENTIRE evolution cycle for our participants then why wouldn’t we, even if it meant additional work?
It could have been an impediment for the business of our business because it means our business has lesser time with the team to get back fully into all the other business functions. But this is what we did, in our hearts we knew, choice 2 is an unprecedented opportunity and we are not going to miss it.
The effects of that decision meant reviews are still going on instead of having wrapped it in October. We haven’t resumed advertisements fully yet, which we would have by early November, had we gone ahead with choice 1.
But this is what happened… This decision we made time-compressed the Launch of Installation Genius Super Specialisations (priced at 136,000 USD) by at least 1.5 Years.
Harini and I had always agreed that we will keep certain Super Specializations in EIT Education complimentary until a certain number of people have reached a certain threshold in their skill. And going ahead with choice 2 in helping our participants with a full cycle of evolution has accelerated the skills of the EIS in-the-making. Many of them will have crossed a particular threshold mid-term next year (2021), which otherwise in an earlier trajectory before this new unexpected opportunity presented itself, would have developed (depth, competence, fluidity, systemic intelligence and spontaneity with ATC predictive Intelligence) sometime in 2023 for these EIT participants. And thereby advancing the Launch of our Flagship product ‘Installation Genius Super Specializations’ by a year and a half.
Sometimes unplanned opportunities look expensive, may look like it is coming with a lot of struggles but there is always a solution that may be invisible to most that can convert that situation into a win-win-win for everyone.
And for us, we knew that it was the right move for everyone. Looking back, we are so thankful we didn’t aim for closing reviews in October by doing it the way we had always done and instead grabbed the extra, additional cycle of acceleration that we could enable in the trajectory for our participants.
Besides everything else, it just feels wonderful to have done an uP! Equivalent one-on-one for everyone who has completed their review. And I know it is only going to get better for the ones coming next for their review, which is lined up this month and the next month.
Phase 4: ProActive Clean-uP!
We are still talking about the Pandemic right? It was an unexpected challenge to everyone… Some people were equipped and ready to handle such a situation better than others. We mentioned how choosing what matters made a big difference and the power of adapting rapidly! But adapting at warp speed has it’s own ‘load’ and ‘risk’ on relationships!
When playing chess, I opened my game with Gambits. A gambit is where you make sacrifices of high-value coins for low-value coins or sometimes for nothing, in exchange for a positional advantage. The thing about a gambit is often, the opponent doesn’t have much choice other than to go along with your play. It is a very risky style of playing chess but one that differentiates legends like Bobby Fischer.
The thing about a Gambit is what happens after a Gambit. You have let go of things, you have exposed certain positions and made some areas of the board vulnerable. And you have gotten back an increased gain over the next 10 – 20 moves.
But you still got to come back and cover, strengthen the weak areas that you left vulnerable during the rapid escalation that comes from a Gambit.
Adapting to challenges, uncertainties and capturing unplanned opportunities are like Gambit in the sense, how fast you have to act in rapid singular focus to make things work. And when you do that, some important things are delayed.
Some forms of adaptations require War-Speed. Even in ancient days, roads were built, fleets equipped and walls constructed in days that which otherwise takes weeks or months.
And throughout history, you notice that during massive adaptation of any sort, there is a place for misunderstanding, missed critical communication and delayed progress in several areas.
While in life, you are not going to gambit or sacrifice one thing for another, people may misread your timeline. They may equate your intent to do it at another time, as an indication of rejection or lack of interest. During rapid adaptations you may delay things but not more delayed to the point it becomes irreversible. It’s like running late to a flight, in some circumstances, you may be rushing in late, but if you get more late, there is a point after which you cannot enter. For some people, this is 44 minutes before departure and for some it is 20 minutes before departure and for some it is 5 minutes before departure. And the Proactive cleanup serves the function of not missing the flight, to address the delayed areas before it is too late!
Some People may misunderstand your action to be a comment on them because they don’t necessarily get where you are heading and why some things are done (or not done) because the nature of rapid adaptation by in itself, means moving into a form that it isn’t already!
But not everyone who is offended will communicate, and not everything that is broken will show itself. Proactive cleanup becomes possible only when you already know the things you have let delay or given lesser attention because of the series of rapid action the business had to take during the rapid adaptation. And then, going back to each one of them and giving it the due attention it requires.
In that sense, although the Proactive cleanup happens after you are free from the rapid series of actions during the spontaneous adaptation, the preparation for the Proactive cleanup happens in parallel. And in many instances that is a superior capability! Or in the game of chess, just because you are rushing in to close the gain from the gambit doesn’t mean you are unaware of the positional weakness that it has created in some other areas that you need to fix!
When people don’t have a culture of proactive cleanup, they discover the cracks later and may never learn that the beginning of those cracks was much much earlier than when it seemed to surface into their attention.
You have raised a monument by your rapid adaptation but the proactive cleanup ensures what was already there is preserved, in that sense what you have achieved is progressive and addition to what was already there.
Fixing issues re-actively instead of a proactive cleanup would result in one having to pay a bigger price in some aspects.
This is different from giving your car to service periodically before the problem occurs. This is not the equivalent of watering your garden every day and watching which plants need special care and pesticides. This is the equivalent of a flood and you making a list of all the fixes you have to do in the garden and deciding whether or not the car needs service after the water settles down!
While we managed over 40 EIT Education Calls, long calls, each of them varying between 2 – 4 hours, delivered over 2000 Implementations during the review, helped everyone who reached out for Critical Support, have communicated to everyone the longer cycle of the review given the enhanced outcome described above, and extend the product delivery period by a year; We also know that some EIT participants weren’t part of the calls, some participants had much longer waiting period, our social media had almost zero posts for the past many months, superb video content delayed in release and many more loose ends that we need to tie together quickly this year! And really ensure that all open loops are closed and brought to their fullest completion, in harmony.
I was heartbroken to know a dear friend of mine during the lockdown phase was alone in his house for months with ZERO humans to talk with during that entire phase. He is the kind of person most people would call a ‘geek’. His only friends were people in the office and a couple more people like me. I am glad I proactively got back to him!
Life would have been much easier if you could organize it based on priorities, but it doesn’t work that way! You can’t let go of a friend or someone dear to you because of ‘another priority’. No, you just can’t. Instead, you organize yourself in a way that you make ALL things and ALL relationships work! And you make it work like the seasons on the planet, where at the right time, the right season shows up to nourish the earth, to shine the warmth, to bear fruits and to replenish and that is the Sanctity of Living!
Why most people don’t get to it? It is because of the Phase 4 trap, which is not knowing what you need to clean up until it surfaces. I read this story, in the book Turtles All the Way Down about a horse that grew with one unhealthy habit: that horse learned to eat grass while walking. And years passed by and the horse grew into an adult in its full glory. And one day it had to go on a race and when it was running in full form, as it approached a land with a lot of grass, the bad habit was in play, it ate some of the grass while it was in full speed, it strained its neck, fell down and died.
Something about this story, has gotten so many people to quit smoking! Whenever it was delivered to them in a specific arrangement. And just because something isn’t a problem yet doesn’t mean you don’t improve and work on your limitations.
We have met CXOs, Directors and several people at the TOP, who are perfect in every way for where they have arrived in life. And to get to the next level, is a different story, they need to overcome some of the limitations and develop newer capabilities that are required for that level.
And the average successful person attempts to solve it once they are in that position. Proactive Cleanup is a habit that leads to Proactive Readiness, because if the capabilities that a CXO needs to build before he can be an effective CEO takes 5 -10 years, why not start developing them much before you arrive at that context! In another article, I will write more on creating parallel contexts where one can accelerate capability development even before they have the contexts!
Phase 5: 2021 Readiness
My opening question was “What if the entire duration of the Pandemic is a preparation for what is to come! Are you ready?”
Everything in life is a preparation for everything to come following that :) The conventional meaning of preparation means having plans, ideas, and approach to something you already know is coming. In the sense of this article, preparation means something more, it means being READY to handle whatever comes next!
And that is what truly evolving in any aspect really means. That you can handle what comes unplanned.
All the new products, innovation and community acceleration has made the business READY for creating a Deeper, Extended and Cross-Border impact for a lot more people. And it is ready to make that happen even if we don’t exactly know how the post-pandemic trajectory of the world looks like!
An EIT Participant and a friend asked me, if she could quantify what she has gotten from the FastTrack Legacy program as 10/10, would everyone else have gotten at least above 6/10 of what she gained. She asked from a good space, meaning, that she has gotten so much, that even if someone else has got a portion of some of the things that she got, it is a win for them!
I agree with her on that. But it took me a while to understand why I wasn’t quantifying the way she did.
The challenge was from the fact that what we do for people and even for her is help them accelerate their personal evolution from wherever they are. So, we may have helped her achieve 10/10 in her current cycle of evolution, but I wouldn’t presuppose that what we are doing for her and can do for her is reached its boundary condition. After all, there was a point in time, she didn’t know she was this beautiful on the inside herself. And in the next 10 – 20 years, she will discover things about her that she will relish even more. And there is certain artistry and delight in making some of that happen NOW in a year instead of 10 years later.
When people ask me, how do I ‘unlock my potential’. I rephrase it into ‘how do you maximise your current potential’. The truth is potential isn’t a ‘fixed’ thing. It evolves with time. It evolves with who you grow into. And like everything in nature, Personal Evolution happens in cycles. We like to FastTrack Personal Evolution that happens in 10 years to make it happen in 2-3 years. And design and shift to a better trajectory that leads to integrated life outcomes. The real joy for Harini and me is in discovering for ourselves along with the participant what becomes possible when you advance personal evolution, the possibilities of possibilities that open up. It is difficult to know ahead of time where we would hit a hard stop at which point we cannot enhance or accelerate the next cycle of personal evolution for a person. If there is a such a point, I am yet to discover that!
The careful reader in you may have already recognized, while phase 5 is the closure of 2020, it is also the phase 1 and the opening for 2021. And so it is with Personal Evolution, the completion of every cycle is the beginning of the next cycle. And we take immense joy in discovering, exploring and taking people into their next several cycles of evolution and helping them personally reach a place where no one has gone before. After all, no one has even measured Personal Evolution until now, let alone design and FastTrack it!
I was explaining to a new recruit, the history of our company. And I told him, we are a research organization that used to think it was a business. It was a surprise when we noticed people who got over allergies. It was a surprise when everything we did happened for the first time. It was a surprise when we realized personal transformation may be the outcome of all the personal enhancement programs in the world but personal transformation itself is incomplete, if you can’t measure ACROSS years the trajectory it leads to. We are the first ones to measure what happens from a series of transformations across many many years, to recognize there is a world of difference between Personal Transformation and Personal Evolution. And the biggest discovery of all – not every good personal transformation is a catalyst for Personal Evolution. It will always be a surprise, as we continue to discover what is possible for someone that we didn’t know was possible until then and that is the nature of Evolving People.
I also told our new recruit, that the business of this business is yet to come! And in that sense, we believe not only are we as an organization completing the 2020 phase but also a much larger cycle that has been in movement. We have just gotten ready to enter the next cycle, and I am really curious to find out what is possible!
Did the things you did to sail through the pandemic era create a ripple impact potential for the years to come and get you ready for 2021… let me know in the comments below.