Monday, April 26, 2010

Latest Garshasp Trailer

Hi resolution version of the trailer can be downloaded from:

New Garshasp Blog

The Farsi weblog for Garshasp is up:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Sinking Philosopher

When the black days fill the skies ... when achievement is an unreachable wish ... when nothing works the way it should in a team ... you hear words of wisdom ... words about how all the processes and beings around the individual went wrong ... how everything outside the responsibilities of the individual went wrong ... how they are all right and everything else outside their circle is all wrong ... everyone is a philosopher all of a sudden ... they all know it all ... nothing they could've done ... it all seems so obvious to fail and the individual is so immune ... karma is karma ... millions of reasons pop up for under-achievement ... the blame arrow is spinning like a merry go round ... never ever facing the individual ...

When the storm is away and time allows emotions to sink ... you can focus and look deep into some realities ... looking closely opens your eyes to two realities glowing like gems, lying underneath everything else like the roots of an ancient tree... FEAR and LAZINESS ... the two primal and universal characteristics of human beings ... the source of any under-achievement ... two attributes that sometimes compete and sometimes cooperate ... either way always helping the individual to sink deeper and during this descent, beautifully casting all kinds of layers around them for the individual and helping the disguise ... even transforming the person into the philosopher who knows about all the sources of failure ... the philosopher who assembles the chains of reasons leading to the failure ... the chain which never touches the self ... unconscious that this is not the chain which can be used to climb back up ... how beautiful!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Eternal Leader (of children and leadership)

Leadership. What a deep word. A leader is usually the person in charge of leading some others towards a specific goal. We all seem to get the basics and it just seems very clear but there seems to be lots of twists and significant details hidden inside the semantics of this simple word.

What is the relationship between management and leadership? Is a teacher a leader? How about a the captain of a ship as the leader? Is the lead programmer really a leader?

At first glance leadership and management might seem the same and all of the above examples be types of leaders but can this be true?

Doing some historical analysis on this important meaning gives us a sense that the definitions of a leader are isolated in a shell which is quite tough to penetrate and perceive and ignoring the details might lead us to believing that any boss or authority figure is simply a leader. How unfair to the true leaders in time.

I have always been really curious about this word and thinking about it felt valuable since the whole idea of some one who can lead others and take them to a place they wish seems really significant and makes the position highly critical and as beautiful as the positive outcomes are, the negative results are scary and have the potential of leading people to failure is a hell of a responsibility. This has been the source of all my excitements for teaching, believing that a teacher needs to be a leader and the leaders role can have huge outcomes in a wide range. A belief that generate euphoric as well as worrying emotions.

A new experience in my life has been an inspiration for delving into the subject and reaching new insights. The experience of becoming a parent.

Being a parent, you are the automatic leader of the child (at least while he/she is a child) and you will try to do all you can to guide the child in the path towards the many short term and long term goals which you believe make the path. One issue is always related to the goals themselves and what goals are right and which are wrong, I am not going to work on this aspect at the moment and my focus is on the other part which is "leading towards the set goals", assuming all parties involved have accepted that as a goal.

Now lets analyze one of the scenarios in this leadership model: The child, still being an infant, crawls towards the electricity socket with a device attached and tries to experiment a little with the stuff over there, what will the leader do? Put the child back probably since that is rather something dangerous. The child repeats, the parent repeats. The next day, the same, next week, same thing... this heroic act of the parent to save the life of the child might repeat for hundreds of times before the neural system of the child learns that something might be really dangerous with this experiment.

The above scenario is just one of the many daily struggles of a parent as a leader, of course the word patience might try to prove itself here as the necessary trait of a leader but as important as patience is for leadership, there is another major characteristic here which is fundamental and that is the bond. The bond between the leader and leading. Can the parent one day say, "hey, you don't get it.. the hell with it ... go ahead and see what happens!". Probably no. The parent feels that he has to remain the leader and he can not run away from the responsibility in the hopes of letting evolution and nature itself do the leadership and training. It is a case for conflict when the leader knows the correct thing to do and the leading person disagrees for any reason. The leader has two options now, try to make the leading do what is right, this can be done by any kind of creative technique (which needs a lot of energy) or he can just say, OK, you don't get it, I am not your leader anymore, I will seek someone who will do it and replace that person with you.

How about your boss? Lets say you have to turn in the report, you don't. He will try to explain to you some important aspects of the report, if he is really nice. You do not hand it to him. He gets a bit mad and warns you, you still won't do it and you end up looking for a job, he delegates the responsibility of leading you to the society and the society might yet transfer this role to other social systems up in the hierarchy and you might end up with mother nature herself after some time. The bond between the boss as the leader and you as leading can easily be broken by the boss (leader?) by the conventional corporate laws.

This is a missing feature for the parental relationship. So when you feel that just giving up is not an option, when "The hell with it!" is not part of your literature, when you and those following you are stuck together with all the adhesives in the world, that is when the leader in you comes out, that is the absolutely necessary trait for a leader. This leader will now use all the forces in the world and all the magic hidden from the world to make the followers succeed. Delegation of responsibility is just not an option.

It seems like a big trap which exists very close to the leaders is "Giving In" and having this option is exactly falling in the trap. A trap which differentiates the leaders from the managers.

A teacher can work hard to educate the students but one day he might think, "... there is nothing more I can do ... they will fail and then they will know .... ", and this is how the devil himself will take away the leadership crown from this hard working teacher which was hunted down by the arrow of desperation. I have to admit that I was hit by this arrow quite a few times during my teaching experiences.

In the case of the lead programmer, if this person has some human resource authorities or office politics to be able to fire those working under him, then the trap of giving in and just hoping to replace the programmers if they don't perform well is all he needs to be reduced to a programmer manager from the Heavenly role of Lead Programmer.

It is a matter of a mental attitude and mental belief, however odd it might seem to the modern culture of efficiency and work habits, a true leader needs to be built on the foundation of that belief. A leader might not be cost effective for a company in the short run but cost effective managers will never really be leaders either.

The leaders have been cursed to remain the leaders of those they lead for EVER and this curse is what shapes their daily courageous journey of truth and makes them loved by their followers. Only those who have been under this curse will ever see the word "Leader" next to their names when they are reviewed in history ...

A leader is always a leader, if not he never was ....

Beware of the trap!