how allan mulally saved ford?

Recently Allan Mulally was in news not because of his achievement in Ford Motors but as a possible candidate to head the Microsoft.

He saved Ford from bankruptcy and earned a name for himself along side the likes of Alfred P. Sloan Jr. , Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, and off course Henry Ford to name a few such illustrious personalities who contributed to the growth modern business.

Mulally described his style of management as

Positive leadership—conveying the idea that there is always a way forward—is so important, because that is what you are here for—to figure out how to move the organization forward. Critical to doing that is reinforcing the idea that everyone is included. Everyone is part of the team and everyone’s contribution is respected, so everyone should participate. When people feel accountable and included, it is more fun. It is just more rewarding to do things in a supportive environment.

Say, for example, an employee decides to stop production on a vehicle for some reason. In the past at Ford, someone would have jumped all over them: “What are you doing? How did this happen?” It is actually much more productive to say, “What can we do to help you out?” Because if you have consistency of purpose across your entire organization and you have nurtured an environment in which people want to help each other succeed, the problem will be fixed quickly. So it is important to create a safe environment for people to have an honest dialogue, especially when things go wrong.

A big part of leadership is being authentic to who you are, thinking about what you really believe in and behaving accordingly. At Ford, we have a card with our business plan on one side and the behaviors we expect listed on the other. It is the result of 43 years of doing this.

Michael Lee Stallard summarized his turn around philosophy into 7 practices.

  1. Communicate an Inspiring Vision
  2. Make Your Values Known
  3. Live It
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Get Everyone on the Same Page
  6. Take a Positive “Can Do” Attitude
  7. Be Results Oriented
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I am an introvert and not many view introvert as capable as extrovert. Everybody has weaknesses and strengths and everybody is effective under different circumstances. We tend to compare each person with one yardstick even when everybody is unique in his own way. Here is a good piece about introverts.

In a dynamic, unpredictable environment, introverts are often more effective leaders—particularly when workers are proactive, offering ideas for improving the business. Such behavior can make extroverted leaders feel threatened. In contrast, introverted leaders tend to listen more carefully and show greater receptivity to suggestions, making them more effective leaders of vocal teams.

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How to stop procrastinating

I am definitely a procrastinator. I keep stretching “Things to Do” to a point where there is now or never and interestingly, I enjoy doing things under pressure. But sometimes, I have to let go of certain things in order to finish the job that otherwise may end in a much better shape.

I have come across an article that throws some light on the subject and offers solution.

Dr. Pychyl advises procrastinators to “just get started, and make the threshold for getting started quite low.”

He also advises procrastinators to practice “time travel”—projecting themselves into the future to imagine the good feelings they will have after finishing a task, or the bad ones they will have if they don’t.

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Talent vs. hard work

Famous quote of Thomas A. Edison is “

“Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. Accordingly, a  ‘genius’ is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.” 

In The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell cited a study by Herbert Simon and William Chase according to which expertise in any thing is the result of continuous hard work.

Is hard work the only ingredient necessary for success? There is another point of view, which says that some things come to some people easily than others no matter how hard they try. We can’t altogether ignore part played by talent in one’s success. The New York Times reported that all else being equal, those with innate talents—especially in terms of intelligence—tend to do better in life than their less-talented colleagues.

Talent vs. Hard Work debate does not consider luck in one’s success. But there are lucky breaks, we can’t deny that. Malcolm Gladwell argues this point in his book “Outliers” that highly successful people had lucky breaks.

But the debate is highly tilted towards hard work.

A common theme that appears throughout Outliers is the “10,000-Hour Rule”, based on a study by Anders Ericsson. Gladwell claims that greatness requires enormous time, using the source of The Beatles’ musical talents and Gates’ computer savvy as examples. The Beatles performed live in Hamburg, Germany over 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964, amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time, therefore meeting the 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell asserts that all of the time The Beatles spent performing shaped their talent, and quotes Beatles’ biographer Philip Norman as saying, “So by the time they returned to England from Hamburg, Germany, ‘they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.’” Gates met the 10,000-Hour Rule when he gained access to a high school computer in 1968 at the age of 13, and spent 10,000 hours programming on it. In Outliers, Gladwell interviews Gates, who says that unique access to a computer at a time when they were not commonplace helped him succeed. Without that access, Gladwell states that Gates would still be “a highly intelligent, driven, charming person and a successful professional”, but that he might not be worth US$50 billion.

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From Wagon on the way to Gujranwala

I am writing this blog while travelling in public transport and from my smartphone.

All this was unthinkable just a few years ago and made possible by some visionaries. We only know who were popular in media not by choice but by chance and off course some good luck that Allah (SWT) in HIS wisdom choose them among so many millions.

Before writing this blog , I was reading book on the style of management prevailing at – The year without pants. I was reading and thinking about my present work environment at the same time, which is devoid of clarity and is riddled with confusion and conflicts. The big question before me is how to survive and thrive also.

I also have a dream of building a consulting business on the lines of WordPress. com – Remote working. The basic idea is to provide business management consultancy advice through email or any other convenient tool depending on the situation e.g. Skype, IRC Channel, or teamviewer etc. The closest example is freelance. com.

The more I think the more I am convinced that working remotely is entirely possible because of ubiquitous availability of Internet and relevant tools like Skype, email etc. To my mind future of knowledge work is away from regulated office environment. We may not adjust to this new reality but for  smartphone generation it is not a problem.

I have reached Jehlam half way from my destination – Gujranwala.

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Missing the bandwagon

Yesterday’s hot technologies are today’s sour ones. Latest causality of the fast changing technological landscape is “Blackberry”.

Once blackberry cell phone was a symbol status. Now no one wants it any more. Every business needs to be constantly on the look out for rapid technological change in its products, manufacturing process, changing markets and demographics. Peter Drucker highlighted the importance of change management process. He says that every company after every three years has to re-think every thing it produces, its processes, its markets, its customer base.

The story of “Blackberry” is an example of such a costly overlook.

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7 Ways Teachers Use Social Media in the Classroom

Here is an excerpt from an article that shows how social media is playing role in imparting education.

  1. Encourage students to share work socially.
  2. Use a hashtag to facilitate guest speaker discussions.
  3. Require students to keep a blog.
  4. Require original expert sources.
  5. Use Google Hangouts.
  6. Create a social classroom on Edmodo.
  7. Hold a class in Second Life.

The above is a brief outline, if you want to read complete article. Please click here.

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Magic in Islam

Studying the 51 instances of the usage of the word سحر (magic) and its derivatives in the chapters of the Noble Qur`an, such as Taha, Shu’ara, Yunus, A’raf, etc., in connection with the stories of the prophets Musa (a.s.), ‘Isa (a.s.) and the Noble Prophet (S.), we conclude that magic, according to the Qur`an, can be classified into two categories:

Those instances wherein the objective is deception, jugglery, sleight of hand and legerdemain and possesses no reality, as we read:

{ فَإِِذاَ حِبَالُهُمْ وَ عِصِيُّهُم يُخَيَّلُ إِِلَيهِ مِنْ سِحْرِهِمْ أَنَّهَا تَسْعَـى }

“Then lo! their cords and their rods– it was imaged to him on account of their magic as if they were running.”[194]

Another verse says:

{ فَلَمَّا أَلْقَوا سَحَرُوا أََعيُنَ النَّاسِ وَ اسْتَرْهَبُوهُمْ }

“So when they cast, they deceived the people’s eyes and frightened them, and they produced a mighty enchantment.”[195]

From these verses it can be ascertained that magic does not possess any reality such that it could exert control over things, and leave an impact and influence upon them. Rather, it is jugglery of the magicians that gives the impression of magic.

From some of the verses of the Qur`an it can be inferred that certain kinds of magic do yield an influence, such as this verse, which says:

{ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُماَ ماَ يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَ زَوْجِهِ }

“Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife.”[196]

Another verse of the Qur`an says that they learned things that were detrimental to them and not at all beneficial.

{ وَ يَتَعَلَّمُونَ ماَ يَضُرُّهُمْ وَ لاَ يَنْفَعُهُمْ }

“And they learned what harmed them and did not profit them.”[197]

Regarding Black magic and how to dispel it, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti, member of the North American Fiqh Council, states:

“The Qur’an talks about black magic in surat Al-Baqarah: “And they followed what the Shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman, and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the Shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet these two taught no man until they had said, “Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever.” Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it any one except with Allah’s permission, and they learned what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know that he who bought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls, had they but known this.” (Al-Baqarah: 102 )þ

Another reference from the Qur’an is surat Al-Falaq: “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn. From the evil of what He has created. And from the evil of the utterly dark night when it comes. And from the evil of those who blow on knots. And from the evil of the envious when he envies.” (Al-Falaq: 1-5)

There is another verse that is relevant to this issue from surat Al-Baqarah: “Those who swallow down usury cannot arise except as one whom Shaitan has prostrated by (his) touch does rise. That is because they say, trading is only like usury; and Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury. To whomsoever then the admonition has come from his Lord, then he desists, he shall have what has already passed, and his affair is in the hands of Allah; and whoever returns (to it)– these are the inmates of the fire; they shall abide in it.” (Al-Baqarah: 275)

These verses are very clear in reference to the power Allah made through these jinn in magic or possession. When you say, a`udhu billahi mina Ash-shaytani Ar-rajim (I seek refuge and protection in Allah from Satan, the accursed), then certainly Allah accepts protecting you and giving you refuge against any evildoer. Reading the Qur’an and making dhikr will be helpful to overcome any shaytan’s plan. Allah says, “Verily, the plan of a shaytan is weak.” I advise you both to seek the help from Allah through practicing full Islam and avoiding any sinful arena or action.”

Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, adds:

“The word “magic” is mentioned in the Qur’an 60 times. The verse 102 of surat Al-Baqarah has the following implications:

1- Magic has been known as a well-established fact regardless of it changing the forms of things.

2- Magic involves things that may be beneficial or harmful, as Allah says: “learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife…”

3- Magic cannot have any effect save by the Will of Almighty Allah, as Allah says: “…and they cannot hurt with it any one except with Allah’s permission…”

4- Adhering to magic renders one a disbeliever, as Allah says: “…but the Shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery…”

Two questions are pertinent in context: How to protect one’s self from magic? And how to treat a person under the spell of magic?

Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. provided us with the recipe through which we can protect ourselves from magic. We shall be immune from magic if we recite – after the five daily prayers – the last three chapters of the Holy Quran which are number 112, 113 and 114.

These chapters are also recommended to be recited three times after the dawn prayer and three times after the sunset prayer. Secondly Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h. encouraged us to recite the greatest verse in the Quran called the verse of the Throne. This verse should be recited after each and every one of the five daily prayers and before going to bed. The Prophet p.b.u.h. also encouraged us Muslims to recite the last two verses of Chapter two at the beginning of every night whose translation is as follows:

“The Messenger believes in that which has been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah and His angles and His scriptures and His messengers and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Your forgiveness, our Lord. Unto you is the journeying” (2:285).

“Allah tasks not a soul beyond its scope. For it (is only) that which it has earned, and against it (only) that which it has deserved. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark! Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as you did lay on those before us! Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear! Pardon us, absolve us and have mercy on us. You are our Patron; so grant us victory over the disbelieving folk” (2:286).

Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h. said: (whoever recites the last two verses of the chapter called the Cow, they will suffice him). This means that they will protect him from every evil. Again seeking refuge in Allah and remembering his name is an effective protection against all evils including magic. Two main supplications are recommended in this respect. They are:

I seek refuge in the complete words of Allah from the evils of what He created;

In the name of Allah through whose name nothing on earth or in heaven can cause any harm.

If these two prayers are recited three times in the beginning of the day and in the beginning of the night, then no harm or evil will approach the reciter by the grace of Allah (S.W.T).

It remains to mention how we can treat a person under the spell of magic. It is possible, on the one hand, to learn magic so that one can use the same tactics. All in all, the best cure is to recite the Quran and seek God’s help.

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