Acting when leadership is questioned ...

How must a leader act when his or her leadership is questioned? As a leader your leadership will be questionsed, especially during times of difficulty, when tough decisions need be made, when the world screams, the media writes you off, and popular opinion is against you. But true leaders need to see the wood from the trees and  and give solid direction whilst listenng to the pulse of your people. As a wise man said "To set your course by the stars in the sky and NOT by the lights of passing ships".

Malcolm Turnbull the current leader of Liberal Party probably is asking him self this question as he finds him self in tough territory with the noise of his party against the proposed ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) vote in the senate. Turnbull to his credit has stuck by his principles of supporting his negotaited agreement with the government on the ETS vote. In his belief it is vital action is taken, and action taken now to reduce pollution, green house gasses, and its many impacts including global warming.

Politics is tough business, while in any team you have your detractors, in politics they will be viscious and corrosive, significantly more than in any other profession. In the case of Turnbull, a few dicidents created so much noise over an emotive topic, over such an extended period even Turnbull's supporters seemed to have got softened and rolled over by the loud calls for a "NO" vote by the liberals on the ETS and now his removal.

Turnbull in this case as a leader has showed guts, like few leaders in politics have shown in recent times. However in the process he has made mistakes, he has come to alienate himself due to his inability to continue to be the inclusive team man while being the strong leader. In leadership today it is vital for the leader to be soft as much as he/she is strong... it is vital to understand the pulse, certainly the temperature and act accordingly and inclusively, especially in tough times when tough calls are made. To appoint those capable to help you in doing what is required to give a voice and to marshal the troops, so to ensure the troops are not marshalled in a different a course due to the divisiveness these decisions invariably create. Turnbull in my mind failed the latter this softer part, where a strong leader remains strong, yet is soft enough and humble enough to marshal the troops with understanding in tough times with a team that provides support to members who are at either end of the continuum.

It is  particularly important to reassure those who are on the fence, if not they will wilt to pressure and tilt the balance. If this important aspect of leadership is missed, execution will suffer every time, no matter where, in sport, in business, and in public life.

Making tough decisions is the mark of a good leader, carrying the troops through tough times with understanding and humility is even more vital and is also the job of the leader. If not great vision, great intelligence & great policy will always be stymied by those who can make the loudest noise.

Dinesh De Silva can help your organisations with business growth and business transformation related services (talks, training & strategies) by bringing new and innovative thinking, whilst helping you and your people achieve success. You may contact Dinesh by leaving a comment below or via twitter @dineshdesilva or LinkedIn (dineshdesilva)

Nordic maps vs. Portuguese maps

In Portugal the cartographers care more about detail: every single rock has to be on the map. The Nordics just put the essential on the map. In order to understand this differences, Antti Harju and Janne Weckman have spent some days in Portugal making some maps in the center of the country. Today was the first competition in one of these maps.

Middle, 8,8k, (145m), 27c, 42'40 - A really fast map allowed a 4'45min/km average. However, I had some troubles in the south-east rocky hill. I've missed almost all the controls there. We did a 6km course after in order to understand the limit between what is/isn't represented in the map. It was a big help to the January International Meeting that will be held in maps like these.

Physically I've been feeling a bit tired. The Thursday's 10x strength+200m intervals always take me some days to recover from. I've reached this week my coach's 140km/week goal. 13th of December will be my first Athletics race of the season, the Lisbon's Christmas GP. I have no idea of how much I'm running right now. But I'll find out that in the next weeks...

Reinventing yourself Mid Career - Get back that spark !!

As a keen analyst of personal and organisational success, I had an inspiring discussion with a successful yet a spirit filled person earlier today. What I mean by spirit filled is, someone quite content, very content in fact, at peace with her self and the environment around her, yet looking for ways of achieving further success. Now this is great. You dont often meet such people in a given week, so I always enjoy such conversations and this was over lunch on a beautiful summer’s day in a lovely cafĂ© in Sydney's CBD.

During our conversation, I was asked for my advice on how you recreate or re-invent yourself especially in your middle years once you have achieved your goals that you have set for your self in your youth and reached a level of fulfilment. No doubt a degree of complacency often transcends with time with the achievement of goals and the long journey travelled in between.

Re inventing in mid years is tough, but a process many go through in mid life, especially during these current times of economic slowdown with so many people including senior levels executives out of work. Many very smart people struggle with the emotions of recreating one self. Often they feel lost in the way and find a multitude of negative thoughts and multiple insecurities getting in their way. The process is even made harder by friends, loved ones and countless head hunters who often unknowingly mostly in good faith help further reinforce the difficulty of finding employment or achieving a particular goal discussed as a possible option.

So what does one need to do to reinvent it self. The solution is in fact quite simple. And you might say,  yeah! Right, if so why are there so many people in this situation ?. It's simple but as in most cases not obvious. Even when it’s obvious only a minority will do what it is required.

Ok Let me tell you... Most of us know how. You were successful to-date was because you did the following and you did it relentlessly starting in your younger days.
1) You dreamt big dreams and through them you set clear goals for your self.
2) You were so passionate about achieving these goals,  with time you built a burning a desire within you to achieve these goals.
3) This burning desire that you created, transcended your subconscious mind. Positive thought processes stemming from your "dreams" further compounded upon it creating an "auto pilot" mode homing you towards your goals.
4) This combined process created belief, hope and faith and you believed that you will achieve these goals. Belief in your self. Strong belief that you will achieve these goals.
5) You then drafted a well constructed plan to achieve these goals and worked tirelessly to achieve them.
6) When ever you found resistance or met obstacles your burning desire well entrenched into your subconscious mind provided you with enormous persistance to over come any obstacle and you did. However big or small.
7) Your relentless approach towards these goals finally helped you achieve them..

Now you will read the above and say yes that’s pretty academic.
Yes the answer is simple and yes it's easy in theory but most of you have done it before.

To reinvent your self, You need to recreate your goals, the secret is in the goal setting, to re set goals that  have deep and emotional meaning to you. It could be wealth, education, philanthropy or health or all of them. Reinvention starts with the goals setting, you need to dream your large dreams, you then need to re build that strong burning desire to achieve these goals and follow the 7 step process above.

You can do it. Most of us have done it many times before, may it be
• Achieving an academic qualification
• Sporting achievement
• Owning a house
• Paying off a mortgage
• Marrying the partner of your dreams

You have done it before. You can do it a again..
Even if you think you have not done it before if you follow those principles you can do it.
You can reinvent your self and achieve anything you set your mind to. The secret lies in setting the course.

Remember a wise man said

“Set your path by the stars in the sky and not the lights of passing ships”

Dinesh De Silva can help with business growth and transformation(talks, training & strategies) by bringing new and innovative thinking, whilst helping you and your people achieve success. You may contact Dinesh by leaving a comment below or via twitter @dineshdesilva or LinkedIn (dineshdesilva).
Would love to hear your feedback on the article above.

Saturday's club training (with mirror train)

Yesterday I went to Peniche area to train with the Elite groups from my club, COC and ATV (Don't have the GPS software in this PC).

Morning, Middle distance 8k, 20c, 46'07 - A nice session. Mistake to 9th (lost map control and slowed down a lot) and big one to 18th (continued following the wrong valley). Wanted to test the greens to the finish.

Afternoon, multi-technique Middle distance, 5,6k, 22c, 34'22 - Mistake to the 2nd, (missed the depression), deviations in the azimuth area and big mistake to 19th (misunderstood the yellow long top as a low area and ended in the wrong depression).

Night, Mirror training - I had never done anything like this! It was a city mass start and they had only told us "be careful!". We started and everyone stopped 5m ahead. The map was inverted, like in a mirror. So you had to turn left if the map showed you right. At each control you would see guys running in every different directions. It was really fun! I admit that I had some difficulty in understanding the concept and followed the guys while trying to fit the map to the terrain in a great part of the course. Only in the end I was able to fully understand it, punched the last one in the lead and ended in the front in a tight sprint. (1 - The map that was given; 2- The real map)

Today I'm spending a day at my hometown (the 1st day in a month) and I've done a 1h45, 20km session in a hilly terrain where I've totally hit the wall.

Australian ICT Services Industry - The Opportunity

As a keen analyst of the Australian ICT industry, I see huge gaps in the market place and significant opportunity for the strategic, yet savvy IT Services organisations prepared to chart a new and somewhat a different course.

The consolidation that has happened in the last 10 years have created new opportunities with formidable industry players being gobbled up both in the applications and in the Infrastructure sphere. It has happened in the Enterprise & the Mid Tier market place.. creating a the vacuum, in fact a huge vaccuum.

Out of the gaps I see the greatest is in the mid tier enterprise and commercial market, which is commonly described in the industry as 500-3500 seats. Australian corporations between 500-3500 desktops/laptops/workstations. These gaps have been caused by many including, Volante after the acquisition of it by Commander, the self destruction of Commander it self a few years later, Acquistion of Alphawest by Singtel Optus a few years earlier,  a lame KAZ (& Aspect) after its acquisition by Telstra and several other smaller mid tier players acquired by the likes of Oakton, SMS, UXC and others. Another segment of the market has departed due to poor management, lack of funding, economic circumstances or a combination. Entropy is I guess the law of nature yet is speedened up by poor management and turbo charges by poor management (case in point Volante after Commander acquisition).

While the top end space is well looked after and is fiecely competed in, by the likes of IBM, EDS CSC, HP & a few Indian firms, namely TCS, Infosys & Wipro. I believe the sector below that is some what neglected and will have significant opportunity for a dynamic and robust company with a sound customer centric , talent focused approach to the market. Such a company will attract abundant talent from several large and inflexible organisations that have become lazy, inefficient and often incapable in the practices of real human talent management. HR has become a much delegated function with no real teeth or integrity in many IT organisations in this country.

Good talent will always attract great customers in numbers as the delivery of quality professional services need talented, committed and passionate people, not just bodies, certifications and methodology.

Customers are sick of cost over runs on projects, mediocre service, poor advice, and often uncommitted people, and the constant barrage of sales people, selling the same commoditised products and services with little or no differentiation, not understanding the customers business, adding little or no strategic value to the corporation just eating up valuable time of executive and management by countless unproductive meetings..

I am surprised how just a few IT services organisations have architected and modelled their internal organisational structures around the client organisation, while the majority stick to product centric silos that are designed to "push" product yet prove vastly counter productive due to lack of alignment with client organisations. The resultant internal competition and bickering that happens between these silos create huge inefficiencies, reduction in focus and add significant cost to customer. The consolidation that has taken place in the industry in the last 10 years and the resultant internal focus due to understandable behavioural issues over territory and jobs haven’t helped here.

It wasn’t long ago the top end of the market was dominated by IBM, EDS, CSR followed by HP, Fujitsu and Unisys in the enterprise sector. Yes that was until HP acquired EDS in May 2008, and Fujitsu acquired the Telstra owned KAZ in March 2009. Yes, Kaz was a respected mid tier player who had built a solid reputation until Telstra. Kaz were well positioned to dominate the mid tier sector, then Telstra acquired the company infused it with Telstra management and completely changed it's culture and with that it's competitive edge.

I believe the time is nigh. For dynamic organisations and investors to rise up and take advantage of the opportunities created, I believe there is several hundred million dollars of value to be created if not a billion. It will however take vision, new thinking and good management. It will most importantly take courage. The courage to make the tough calls when cross roads are met, cross roads where courageous leaders will not compromise when it comes to treating its customers and its people right.

Dinesh De Silva is passionate to work with companies and or individual investors in exploiting the above opportunity. Dinesh together with a leading ICT industry CEO and key specialist have put together a business plan and investment memorandum in seeking funding for the establishment of a new venture.  This venture has the backing of leading industry figures and key blue chip clients. You may contact Dinesh by leaving a comment below or via twitter @dineshdesilva or LinkedIn (dineshdesilva).

Listening to the man on the street


Around 2pm this afternoon, I was stopped by a turbened Indian gentlemen on the bridge that connects Greenwood Plaza and Elizebeth Plaza in North Sydney. I am not sure why I stopped. His first words were "Sir you have a lucky face" and I thought who is this person ? is he a con man ? and started to walk suspiscously, he however asked me to wait a minute in a very compelling kind of a way which I did, he then asked me a few questions which I answered. The man then wrote a note on a piece of paper which I was asked to hold in my palm... he then went on to ask me what my wife's name was and my age which I reluctantly answered. At this point he told me a few things that are happening right now in my life rather accurately which I was very curious about and then asked me to look at the piece of paper... I was astounded to see my wife's name and my age written on it .... Amazingly accurately with the right spelling, phew !! ... and I was unnerved.

Does any one know how this stuff is done ? I am very keen to know.
The man had a very peaceful and serene look on his face... I was yet uncomfortable with this unknown man from the street telling me about my self... you feel completely vulnerable yet you want to know more... I kept wondering if I should go back and ask him more, but.. I was sure that life is what you make of, you create your success with your own deep desires, you make your own luck by etching it in your subconscous mind and taking planned and consistent action towards your goals.. day in day out whilst working on our weaknesses that often inhibit us from our true potential. However through planned action to first understand them and then to improve upon our weaknesses will certainly help to overcome them over time. I for one often thought I spoke too much and listned too little When I analysed myself a few years ago. (My wife reckons I have many more which I prefer you not to know :-) )
Joining Toastmasters and the advice of my inspiring wife (you know what I mean :-) has helped me with improving this weakness to be a much better listener while being a better speaker... more improvement to happen here ...

As I close, I am firm in my belief it is us through our deep desire and action that we create our future. Not by words of wise men on street corners or nay sayers at work, amongst family or friends however compelling and convincing they may sound. One of my favourite quotes best articulates this message, "Lets set our course by the stars in the sky and not by the lights of passing ships" .

Have a GREAT DAY ...

Communication is a Gift

Good communication is a gift. A gift that can be learnt and continually improved. The ability to learn the arts of Listening, thinking & speaking can help you socially, at home with your family and most certainly professionally. Most of us can speak well, but to articulate our thoughts and opinions in the best possible way enables your audience to listen to you and take notice of not just what you said but also of you. It builds respect, enhances your ability as a leader and most importantly makes you a good listener a thinker. Priceless virtues. I learnt and improved most of these qualities when I joined the Toastmasters Organisation, a not for profit International Organisation that dedicates it self to helping its members to learn the important arts of listening , thinking and speaking... So don’t leave this page and take no action, if you think the gift of communication can help you with your career or personal life to be more fulfilling, Google the closest Toastmasters club to your home or workplace and give them a call. You will not be disappointed with your decision

National team weekend

This season, we have some weekends with intense training camps with the National team. This was the first weekend, with 6 sessions. My legs were (still!) sore from the Thursdays training session (a new one to me: 10x skipping, squating, jumps + 200m run at track). I wasn't able to get great speeds but I also did lots of deviations and control missings (due to less contact time with the map). These kind of weekends are really productive. I just post the major trainings (the greens can be difficult to pass):

Mass start at 2 times (loss of GPS signal in the 2nd)

Under the line training with controls in the line

Corridor session

Chasing start

Tomorrow, is the return to routine. Oh, and this blog was invited to be the blog of the month of the Ezine magazine, an online urban sports magazine. You may find the article here (November edition, pag 36)

Iberian Championships

Toledo, a beautiful Spanish city, hosted this year's Iberian Championships.

Middle Distance, 5,9K (120m), 41'39 - The greens were tricky. I started slowly with a big mistake to the 2nd (45sec). Bad option to the 5th, big hesitation to 11th with a mistake to 12th. Bad option to 19th. I didn't like my performance. This course was pauted by lots of hesitations and many meters at a slow pace. I was 3rd overall.

Sprint Distance, 3,2K (140m), 19'41 - It was an amazing race, in a nice city map with a big crowd cheering us up during all the way. I started with an hesitation (I tought that the stairs by the right weren't passable). I had some slow downs during the race due to inconsistent navigation. From the 5th I took my biggest lesson: The stairs were closed and I stopped and blocked there, loosing 20sec. I have to be able to cope with these unpredictable situations during a race! I also felt that I wasn't able to find my rythm during the race. I won it, but I was lucky this time.

Long Distance, 12,4K (475m), CANCELLED - This race was cancelled due to a control swap at the 16th control. I lost some seconds in the first controls. I managed well the long legs. Messed it up at the 16th were I found another control in the place of my control. I wasn't self-confident enough to leave the control when I attacked it and kept looking for my control. The most stupid thing were all the mistakes that I did after. I was doubting if I hadn't made a mp and did (a lot!) of silly mistakes. This can't happen again and, once again, I wasn't able to cope with unpredictable situations. In the end, the race committee decided to cancel the race.

You may find all the results and split times here. I returned home with an Iberian title and a 3rd place in the middle. And, afterall, I really enjoyed my weekend at beautiful Toledo.