Welcome to The ContraMind Code.
The ContraMind Code provides you with a system of principles, signals, and ideas to aid you in your pursuit of excellence.
The Newsletter shares the source code, through quick snapshots, for a systems thinking approach to be the best in what you do.
The Code helps you reboot and reimagine your thinking by learning from the best and enables you to draw a blueprint on what it takes to get extraordinary things done. Please share your valuable thoughts and comments and start a conversation.
Take a journey to www.contraminds.com. Listen and watch some great minds talking to us about their journey of discovery of what went into making them craftsmen of their profession to drive peak performance.
A short history of educational technology
How has educational technology grown over centuries? Here’s a lovely chronicle of how this has evolved over the centuries.
During the early days, the importance and reasons given for oral communication as a form of learning are interesting. Stories, folklore, stories, histories and news were transmitted and maintained through oral communication.
Also, the belief during those times was that writing would cease to exercise memory because humans who will rely on what is written, creating memory not from within themselves but using external symbols!
The article explains how written communication, broadcast and video, and computer technologies took centre stage in learning technologies over time.
Here’s the article.
Building a Culture of Happiness and Zero Follow-Ups
In a follow-up to the article on last week’s edition of the newsletter - Could the business of the future require no managers?- it was good to go back and listen again to this ContraMinds Podcast episode which further helped refine and reinforce the following learnings:
What it takes to build a culture
The overhead of follow-ups in companies and how this can be avoided
The redefinition of the role and competency of a manager
The importance of being hands-on right till the end of your career
How to have an ownership and accountability mindset
Think of new paradigms for project management and product development
Failure Does Not Matter. Success Matters
This is a very thought-provoking conversation with the legendary Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems, Khosla Ventures.
Vinod Khosla shares a ton of time-tested advice; therefore, it is a must-watch. Here are some key takeaways:
Don’t take no for an answer and how people take no for an answer too easily - The green card story of him ‘becoming his own lawyer’ as no lawyer would take him!
The need for people to have a belief system - How only a few people have a belief system!
The importance of getting the right guidance
Why brutal honesty is better than hypocritical politeness
Don’t plan for a career but drive the things you want to go out and want to do
Don’t believe in the illusion of forecasts and, therefore, a feeling of knowing
Never be embarrassed by your failures
There are a lot more nuggets here. Could you take the time to watch and learn from it?
Learning To Handle Brutal Honesty and Reality
There is a ton of news around layoffs today. In the last count, somewhere, the count was in the range of 150,000 jobs or even more across the globe. A lot of it, often, is not reported - due to the ‘unsaid letting go method’, and hence the numbers could be a lot more. That is not good news and puts tremendous pressure on families and individual careers.
However, what is important is to look back at the events that could lead anyone of us here. It is the lack of brutal truth and honesty in conversations at work and in companies. Think back on many things companies do daily in the name of employee engagement - Most Valuable Player(MVP) awards, Recognition Rewards, feedback sessions and appraisal conversations etc. How come many of the people, who were valuable and high-potential contributors consecutively for many years, are now not good enough? How many of these chats were rooted in brutal honesty and reality, like what Vinod Khosla or Kumar Vembu talk about? Unfortunately, it’s a near less than 1%.
However, the problem is not the ability to have brutal and honest conversations or sessions but the need for more ability in people to handle these difficult conversations and feedback. A majority of people need to be wired to handle these conversations. Hence, in most discussions, there is diplomatic politeness, as Vinod Khosla calls it.
Schools, colleges, companies, and our society abhor failures. Hence, most people live in ‘fake success’ zones all their lives, but when reality confronts them, they cannot handle it. And most of them are not trained to face brutal honesty, reality and, therefore, failure.
What do many of these ‘ conversations’ and ‘feedback sessions’ do? First, it further takes people away from reality. Also, a false sense of achievement is built within them, and they lose the ‘Sense of Introspection’ in whatever they do.
Hence, we must constantly look into the mirror, ask hard questions about ourselves, and practice it in our workplace conversations. Ruthless introspection is something we need to practice and get comfortable with.
It’s an arduous learning journey, but it can be valuable for life.
Some of the lessons we learnt from this week’s mission:
What of the past educational and teaching methods must be intertwined in our learning methodologies as technology takes over many of them?
Measuring the overhead of follow-ups and reducing it can impact your bottom line and the culture of any company.
Why brutal honesty and truth are better than diplomatic politeness.
Never be embarrassed by your failures.