The pathways aren’t often straight lines. Sometimes they are not clear. Many other times, they need to be created.  The undergrowth to be cleared. Concrete and stone coming together to make a permanent path. At other times, what’s required is walking through the undergrowth. A few more walks for a few more days and the pathways emerge.

Have you noticed that people look for pathways that have been created and simultaneously yearn for the rush of creating new pathways? It is often the case.

‘Creation of new grand pathways is not for everyone’, someone told me a few weeks ago.  I argued that creating new pathways in the brain is so important to keep things alive. To keep the mind young and fresh. It is the basis for curiosity. It is something that each one of us can do. Pick up a new task. Go by a different route. Talk to a new person. Listen like never before. Whatever. New neural pathway a keeps us moving forward.

These constantly add flourish to who we are even as new discoveries emerge.  That is the true story of several entrepreneurs who set up path-breaking ventures 🙂

Ground Up

The last week, saw me visiting dealers where our products are sold. The narrow-by lanes of a second tier city, in spaces that could be very mildly described as ‘small’ there was first class commerce and even better insights.

If there was one piece of advice that I keep parroting like a broken record to every new joinee who bumps into me, it is this : get to know the business. And that is very different from ‘get to know your job / get to know your goals etc. ( Just stating it again 🙂  )


Getting to know the business includes getting to know how our money is made, where the money is made, where we bleed, what our realities are in the field. All these look so different when you immerse yourself into the real situation and learn. There is a certain flow to the rhythm of life and work. For every work. To just getting to see it in person gives the much needed richness to the perspective. There is only so much that third party accounts, monthly reports and power point presentations can convey.

Even otherwise, even if you are not a new joinee, even if you know the business like the back of your hand, it is ever so important to get out of the comfort of the corporate office and get to market or the place of impact that you want your plans to work in. Especially so, if you are in any of the people related areas.

Conversations on the ground bring to light new realities, aspects that were not thought of, or nuances that can only be seen on the ground, change the nature of the game and introduce levers, that when used can completely amplify efforts seamlessly.

The other big reason, is the building of relationships with people who will finally run with the ball. For at any point in time, the individual ideas and insights that the frontline will have is higher than what emerges from a powerpoint deck. Knowing a set of frontline folks who you can get ideas from (and who you can run your ideas by) gives a tremendous addition to your firepower as a leader.

Ofcourse, such visits come at a cost. Time and phsyical effort will be at the forefront. But then, there can be no better an investment into the effectiveness of plans that you are making as a leader.

Here perhaps are five things to do, when you go to the field.
a. Go curious. Always be clear that it’s good to ask a few more questions and risk appearing silly. In any case the field knows better about the field. Usually!

b. Field travel requires energy. Go adequately prepared and pack as much as possible into the day.

c. Trust the people on the field to make the final choices. Of who to meet and how. Especially so, after outlining clearly some objectives that you may have in mind.

d. Find out more about the market before you go. Read up about the population, economics, history, socio-political environment etc.

e. Report the observations right back when you are at your desk. Share. Connect people and problems.

A leader’s value comes from connecting the dots, drawing patterns, discussing and deciding. Of these, the dots are something that can be picked up from the field. Accompanying the dots for free, is the conviction to stay the course with the decisions that get made on the basis of these immersive dots! Ground up is a good way to go.

Ageing Ideas

“Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

“How old are you?” “I’m four and a half!” You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five ! That’s the key. You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

“How old are you?” “I’m gonna be 16!” You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . YOU BECOME 21 YESSSS !!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’ s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . . and your dreams are gone. But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; “I Was JUST 92.” Then a strange thing happens.

If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and a half!”
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!”

Those were George Carlin’s Views on Aging. I thought i’d capture it for a later time & use it to wish you all a 100 & half !