How leaders should manage failure? [Real Story]

Question: Could you give an example, from your own experience, of how leaders should manage failure?
 
Kalam: Let me tell you about my experience. In 1973 I became the project director of India ‘s satellite launch vehicle program, commonly called the SLV-3. Our goal was to put India ‘s “Rohini” satellite into orbit by 1980. I was given funds and human resources — but was told clearly that by 1980 we had to launch the satellite into space. Thousands of people worked together in scientific and technical teams towards that goal.
 
By 1979 — I think the month was August — we thought we were ready. As the project director, I went to the control center for the launch. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. My experts — I had four or five of them with me — told me not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So I bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal . It was a big failure.
 
That day, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Satish Dhawan, had called a press conference. The launch was at 7:00 am, and the press conference — where journalists from around the world were present — was at 7:45 am at ISRO’s satellite launch range in Sriharikota [in Andhra Pradesh in southern India ]. Prof. Dhawan, the leader of the organization, conducted the press conference himself. He took responsibility for the failure — he said that the team had worked very hard, but that it needed more technological support. He assured the media that in another year, the team would definitely succeed. Now, I was the project director, and it was my failure, but instead, he took responsibility for the failure as chairman of the organization.
 
The next year, in July 1980, we tried again to launch the satellite — and this time we succeeded. The whole nation was jubilant. Again, there was a press conference. Prof. Dhawan called me aside and told me, “You conduct the press conference today.”
 
I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience. 
 
(Former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam at Wharton India Economic forum , Philadelphia , March 22,2008)

The power of non-violence

Mr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-violence, in his June 9 lecture at the University of Puerto Rico , shared the following story as an example of
“non-violence in parenting”
 
“I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of Durban , South Africa , in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were deep in the country and had no neighbors, so my two sisters and I would always look forward to going to town to visit friends or go to the movies.
 
One day, my father asked me to drive him to town for an all-day conference, and I jumped at the chance. Since I was going to town, my mother gave me a list of groceries she needed and, since I had all day
in town, my father ask me to take care of several pending chores, such as getting the car serviced. When I dropped my father off that morning, he said, ‘ I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m. , and we will go home together. ‘
 
After hurriedly completing my chores, I went straight to the nearest movie theatre. I got so engrossed in a John Wayne double-feature that I forgot the time. It was 5:30 before I remembered. By the time I ran to the garage and got the car and hurried to where my father was waiting for me, it was almost 6:00.
 
He anxiously asked me, ‘ Why were you late? ‘I was so ashamed of telling him I was watching a John Wayne western movie that I said, ‘ The car wasn’t ready, so I had to wait, not realizing that he had
already called the garage. When he caught me in the lie, he said: ‘ There’s something wrong in the way I brought you up that didn’t’ give you the confidence to tell me the truth. In order to figure out where I
went wrong with you, I’m going to walk home 18 miles and think about it.’
 
So, dressed in his suit and dress shoes, he began to walk home in the dark on mostly unpaved, unlit roads. I couldn’t leave him, so for five-and-a-half hours I drove behind him, watching my father go through
this agony for a stupid lie that I uttered. I decided then and there that I was never going to lie again.
 
I often think about that episode and wonder, if he had punished me the way we punish our children, whether I would have learned a lesson at all. I don’t think so. I would have suffered the punishment and gone on doing the same thing. But this single non-violent action was so powerful that it is still as if it happened yesterday.
 
“That is the power of non-violence.”

Some important Don’ts

Don’t attempt to run from the past,  it is always behind you.
 
Don’t be afraid of opposition; Remember a kite rises against, not with the wind.
 
Don’t be afraid of tomorrow, for God has already been there.
 
Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
 
Don’t be angry at a friend who told your secret, for neither could you keep it to yourself
 
Don’t be concerned others not appreciating you. Be concerned about your not appreciating others (Confucius).
 
Don’t be irreplaceable — if you can’t be replaced, you won’t be promoted.
 
Don’t be so Heavenly minded that you do no earthly good.
 
Don’t control, be in control.
 
Don’t count the days, make the days count. (Mohammed Ali)
 
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
 
Don’t ever slam a door- you may want to go back.
 
Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things.
 
The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have,might have, and should have.
(Louis E. Boone)
 
Don’t get good at doing something if you don’t like doing it.
 
Don’t get married only because of the money. You can borrow it cheaper.
 
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
 
Don’t just get something out of church, put something into it.
 
Don’t kill the dream – execute it!
 
Don’t learn the tricks of the trade, learn the trade.
 
Don’t let anybody walk through your mind with dirty feet. (Gandhi)
 
Don’t let people drive you crazy when it is within walking distance.
 
Don’t let time take control of your destiny.Let your destiny take control of your time.
(Ulrick Ricardo Milord)
 
Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
(John Wooden)
 
Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.
 
Don’t limit your challenges – challenge your limits.
 
Don’t listen to what I say; listen to what I mean.
 
Don’t love the things! you own, lest they own you.
 
Don’t measure your life by how many breaths you take, measure it by how many times you get
your breath taken away.
 
Don’t pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people.
 
Don’t let a little Dispute,
Injure a great relationship

Proud to be an Indian

  • The number of companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, at more than 6,000, is second only to NYSE.   
  • Four out of 10 Silicon Valley start ups are run by Indians.   
  • With 800 movies per year , India ’s film industry overshadows Hollywood .   
  • The organized lottery market in India is US$7bn (2% of GDP)   
  • India consumes a fifth of the world’s gold output.   
  • Indians account for 45% of H1-B visas issued by the US every year   
  • Growing at 6%, in 25 years Indian GDP(on a PPP basis) will be at the same level the US is at today   
  • Six Indian ladies have won Miss Universe/Miss World titles over the past 10 years.   
  • Bank deposits in India roughly equal 50% of its GDP C again, among the highest in the world.   
  • Indian Railways is the largest railway network in the world under single management   
  • India has the third largest army in the world, nearly 1.5 million strong.   
  • India is the largest producer and consumer of tea in the world, accounting for more than 30% of global production and 25% of consumption.   
  • India is the world’s premier center for diamond cutting and polishing. Nine out of every 10 stones sold in the world pass through India .   
  • India has the highest number of annual bulk drugs filings (77) with US FDA.   
  • India is home to the largest number of pharmaceutical plants (61) approved by US FDA outside the US .   
  • India’s Hero Honda is the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, with 2002 production of 1.7m units. 
  • Other than US and Japan , India is the only country to have built a super computer indigenously.   
  • Indian Railways is the largest employer in the world, with a staff of 1.6 million people.   
  • India is the second largest cement producing country in the world, producing more than 110 m tones.   
  • Of the fortune 500 companies, 220 outsource their software-related work to India .  
  • There are 8,500 Indian restaurants in the U.K.15% of the country’s total dining-out establishments.   
  • India is the largest democracy in the world, with nearly 400m voting in the last national elections.   
  • India has the second-largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world.   
  • India has the third largest investor base in the world  
  • According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds.   
  • The Kumbh Mela festival, held every 21 years in the city of Allahabad , attracts 25 million people CE more than the population of 185 of the 227 countries in the world.   
  • The Indian city of Varanasi , also known as Benares , is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world today.   
  • There are 3.22 million Indians in the US .   
  • Indians are the richest immigrant class in the US , with nearly 200,000 millionaires.   
  • India is ranked the sixth country in the world in terms of satellite launches.   
  • There are over 70,000 bank branches in India – among the highest in the world.

The Simple Gesture… Nice Story

A little boy selling magazines for school walked up to a house that people rarely visited. The house was very old and run down and the owner hardly ever came out. When he did come out he would not say hello to neighbors or passers by but simply just glare at them. 

The boy knocked on the door and waited, sweating from fear of the old man. The boy’s parents told him to stay away from the house, a lot of the other neighborhood children were told the same from their parents. 
As he was ready to walk away, the door slowly opened. ” What do you want?” the old man said. The little boy was very afraid but he had a quota to meet for school with selling the magazines. 

“Uh, sir, I uh am selling these magazines and uh I was wondering if you would like to buy one.” The old man just stared at the boy. The boy could see inside the old man’s house and saw that he had dog figurines on the fireplace mantle. “Do you collect dogs?” the little boy asked. “Yes, I have many collectibles in my house, they are my family here, they are all I have.” The boy then felt sorry for the man, as it seemed that he was a very lonely soul. “Well, I do have a magazine here for collectors, it is perfect for you, I also have one about dogs since you like dogs so much.” The old man was ready to close the door on the boy and said, “No boy, I don’t need any magazines of any kind, now goodbye.” 

The little boy was sad that he was not going to make his quota with the sale. He was also sad for the old man being so alone in the big house that he owned. The boy went home and then had an idea. He had a little dog figure that he got some years ago from an aunt. The figurine did not mean nearly as much to him since he had a real live dog and a large family. The boy headed back down to the old man’s house with the figurine. He knocked on the door again and this time the old man came right to the door. “Boy, I thought I told you no magazines.” 

“No, sir I know that, I wanted to bring you a gift.” The boy handed him the figurine and the old man’s face lit up. “It is a Golden Retriever, I have one at home, this one is for you.” The old man was simply stunned; no one had ever given him such a gift and shown him so much kindness. “Boy, you have a big heart, why are you doing this?” The boy smiled at the man and said, “Because you like dogs.” 
From that day on the old man started coming out of the house and acknowledging people. He and the boy became friends; the boy even brought his dog to see the man weekly. 


This simple gesture changed both of their lives forever.

Interesting Facts about Humanbody !!!

  • Scientists say the higher your I.Q. The more you dream.
  • The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm.
  • You use 200 muscles to take one step.
  • The average woman is 5 inches shorter than the average man.
  • Your big toes have two bones each while the rest have three.
  • A pair of human feet contains 250,000 sweat glands.
  • The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.
  • The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • It takes the food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.
  • The average human dream lasts 2-3 seconds.
  • Men without hair on their chests are more likely to get cirrhosis of the liver than men with hair.
  • At the moment of conception, you spent about half an hour as a single cell.
  • There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
  • Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.
  • The enamel in your teeth is the hardest substance in your body.
  • Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born.
  • When you are looking at someone you love, your pupils dilate, and they do the same when you are looking at someone you hate.
  • Your thumb is the same length of your nose.
  • At this very moment I know well you are putting this last fact to the test…
…now remove your thumb from your nose and pass this on to the friends you think might be interested in comparing their thumbs to their noses as well. 🙂