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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Can changing thoughts change a nation

"Change-Your-Thoughts, Change-Nation !" 

That's what "Soch-Badlo-Desh-Badlo" means in Hindi (the national language of India)! Recently I saw telecast of this advertisement in Hindi in prime slot on TV.

How does one change her own thoughts and influence that of others?: 
By listening to 'thought leaders'? Or 
By watching 'leader's preaching' or what they 'practise' in real-life? Or 
By watching promotional advertisements loaded with jingles and celebrities as  brand ambassadors vouching for it?

With the state of Maharashtra reeling under pressure of one of the worst drought years, DNA After Hrs newspaper decided to initiate a Water-less Holi Campaign. The film industry in their own symbolic way came out with their commitment in support of the cause.

Good job done DNA. Although symbolic, involvement of film-stars (and cricketers) does attract readership as well as some commitment of few of their fans to such initiatives.

Some self-starters do take such initiatives as commitment to self. But how to get that of others? How to get masses to change their thoughts and convert those into actions? Are such campaigns backed by promotional advertisements enough to make a real impact? 

Usually most campaigns turn out to be flash-in-pan in grabbing attention. They fade away with 'the day' in spite of their prohibitively large promotional budgets.

To counter this, a most expensive way is to let a crisis erupt (as has already happened in case of water, food, fuelpower, etc.) thinking that innovations and inventions would happen as a necessity. 

Another way is to provide a recognition platform in order to recognize improvement actions that prevent crisis. 

The latter is proactive and proven one. Continuity is an essential feature so that proactive as well as reactive improvement attitude is nurtured in right direction as also is arrested from fading

The continuity is specially important for larger causes of national interest. For instance, saving water the known nectar is not only national but a global cause.

So, knowing it's link to Holi the Indian festival of colors, how about media providing Holi-day as a yearly scheduled platform to individuals as well as entities like business houses, housing societies, educational institutes such as schools/colleges, etc. On the platform they can publish their innovative water-saving practices (actions) that they already performed at personal, public or professional level during last year. 

Remember the platform is for practices i.e. for actions-already-taken. It is not for generating ideas. Ideas often evaporate because people have them in abundance but for someone else to implement. 

Very often CEO of an entity gets so much obsessed with newer ideas and her administrators get so much busy and bureaucratic with installation and enforcement of laws and regulations to 'choose-ideas' from that that both forget to build culture that enables nurturing their implementation.

As a result not only the ideation process gets killed but also a few ideas that might emerge as implementable
 stay un-implemented. 

Very often CEO-involvement does not go beyond 'storming' stage of 'brain' for newer ideas. It hardly reaches 'storming-the-hands'. As a result, in absence of culture-that-nurtures, there is diarrhea-of-ideas and constipation-of-implementation as they say.

Of course, there should be a separate idea-platform as a sequel in order to systematically improvise (PDCA) and scale-up (SDCA) the practices declared on action-platform. Both the platforms together should build a knowledge-bank concerning 'the cause' under consideration.

The action-platform as above may be backed by organizing similar platforms at the level of individual entities referred above where (in a designated few minutes) anyone can declare, demonstrate or show multi-media visuals of the right practices implemented in past towards the cause or theme. 

Actually these practices are nothing but real-time innovations. Mostly they might be practised in crude-form autonomously while facing a typical adverse situation or while surviving a crisis. 

Everyone in the audience intently 'listens' to & claps for EACH such practised behavior without ridicule or without discrimination. The celebration is irrespective of it's so-called success or failure and magnitude of it's impact on savings or benefits.

Celebration is more for the volume of actions that reflect values rather than value per-se. 'Catching' (rather providing platform to appreciate) people taking right-actions 'touches their hearts', enhances their self-esteem and thereby reinforces their thoughts that in the first place triggered right-actions autonomously.

'Catching' people taking lawful-actions (although one may argue "abiding by law is mandatory anyway") alongwith catching law-breakers for appropriate consequences may be warranted at least in case of strategic regulations needing enhanced compliance and positive attitude towards it. That in turn is likely to create a pull-effect on others to take right-and-lawful-actions and thereby imbibe or reinforce right thoughts. 

The movement in turn is more likely to be self-supporting spreading to the neighborhood and to the nation unless continuity of the platform itself is broken.

So the sequencing is:

1/ Autonomously-taken right-actions get captured. That creates 'feel-good' effect which in turn reinforces autonomous-thoughts that prompted 'actions' in first place although some of which might be 'inadvertent-failures'.

2/ Right-actions get repeated & multiplied (although the 'Independent' thinker/actor the 'I' attaches herself to the appreciated-one 'my' kind of 'right-actions').

3/ Movement spreads to the neighborhood & across the nation.

4/ Somewhere during the 'continued platform/process', 'Independent' thinker / actor 'I', realizes need to get 'detach'ed (off the 'ego' from 'I' the-self) in order to transform 'Me-vs-They'-ness into appreciating others as 'We-n-Our' actions. The 'Independent' thinker/actor transforms into 'Inter-dependent' team thinker/actor, 'the-spiritual-self'.
(Concept from 'World-Of-Kaizen: A Total Quality Culture For Survival!' book of the author.)

Journey to internal world of change in thoughts (head) and feelings (heart) is more likely to succeed through external worldly-actions (hands) because they are easier to be sensed and felt. In that case, 'Soch-Badlo Desh-Badlo' slogan needs to be primed by 'looking for, catching and appreciating right-action/s' i.e. by Right 'Action-Pakadlo'.

Journey to mindset change i.e. journey to 'head' is less of mathematics and more of soft-intelligence: a mix of sequential & simultaneous expression through 'hands' (physical action) and 'heart' (emotional involvement). It is one of give-n-take of respect. It is one of 'mutual-trust' that communicates that 'I am interested in learning from you' and 'I am not here to ridicule your mistakes'. 

In this journey people-in-power need to protect people with right-and-lawful-actions: Protection from fear-of-failures (while experimenting), fear-of-others (whose inefficiency might get exposed), and fear-of-job-cuts if any as a result of improved productivity.

There is a world of difference between 'doing' and 'saying'. Saying "Respect-others-to-get-respected" or saying slogans "Change-your-thoughts, change-nation", etc. is easier

In absence of institutionalizing a soft-mechanism such as above to appreciate and recognize right actions, shooting slogans and truck-loads of 'fire-fighting' kind of reactive solutions may not be adequate to change mindsets towards whatever may be the crises: Be that at local level on smaller causes such as to achieve 'Pot-Hole-Free-Roads', or be that at national level to achieve 'Hole-Free-Treasury-Pots'.

Developed economies, especially post-war Japan and few other south-east nations following in it's footsteps, focused upon similar such mechanisms under the umbrella of Kaizen-culture in order to engage and develop their human resource by their 'Right-Action-Pakadlo' process before expecting result in the form of 'Soch-Badlo Desh-Badlo' to happen. 

Latter was the effect of the former being firmly grounded in-place as the cause (the-Karma) created unbeatable innovation-factories there such as Toyotas and Hondas! 
PDCA is Plan-Do-Check-Act improvement cycle. 
SDCA is Standardize-Do-Check-Act cycle for sustenance and scale-up.

Also read a few relevant blog-posts hereunderPlease do consider leaving a comment or sharing this post.

Old-Problems, New-Reasons !
Ant Knocks Elephant Down 
Will It Work Here?
Ridiculous Poison-culture versus Maverick Kaizen-culture 
WOW Work-Culture: By Telling or Selling 
IQ-EQ-or-SQ: What-is-more-important 
Talent-Is-Latent: Enable It! 
Judge If It's Paralysis-By-Analysis 
Will It Work Here
Suggestions On-Sale, None-To-Buy 
Does recognition really matter 
Who Comes First: Consumer Or Customer ? 
Treat Root-causes, Not Symptoms ! 
ABCD of India Shining 
Do You Ask Right Questions?
Am I 'Short-sighted' or 'Long-sighted'
Who Comes First: Consumer Or Customer ? 


  1. This blog-post is extension of my writing in 'World -Of-Kaizen' book which is based on Toyota Management Principles & Practice. Many think that Japanese culture/mindset was a precursor to Toyota's success. Contrary to this belief, overcoming Japanese worker's wrath around war-time in the 40's was perhaps more difficult than industrial relations outside Japan. So Toyota took it a challenge to develop ('manufacture') 'people' rather than merely focusing on manufacturing cars. Same became the National-mission over a period of time. 'How' is what is version-ed in this blog-post. This comment is in response to some tele-feedback on this post by readers. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. In continuation to my previous comment I thought of sharing something more from what I shared on other forum just now ....

    The National-mission was supported my MITI Japan.

    Dr Deming a Statistician deputed by US Govt for post-war-census played a major role in the process. He could have done similar wonders back home in USA at National-level had there been listeners to listen to him when he offered to do so. Instead of learning secret from the expert they chose to be advocates requesting others to change.

    That's how unfortunately, the Toyota-Approach begins to fail elsewhere wherever people 'talk-a-lot' about hard-tools & mathematics used in Toyota alongwith mis-understanding and discarding Kaizen as 'small-improvements' rather than simultaneously 'practising' some VIMP subtler links such as Culture-aspect-of-Kaizen.

    If someone was to say in ONE-WORD what the Toyota-Approach is all about then it's about 'manufacturing' Kaizen-Culture rather than expecting it to be pre-existing. There is a sea of difference between doing a Kaizen/blitz & manufacturing Kaizen-Culture.

    'How did most Japanese companies do this, in particular the Toyota, where you find culture like no-one throwing trash on floor but everyone looking for an opportunity to pick up if any?': The parallels of this is what you may try to 'read between-the-lines' in above blog-post. The 'platform' referred in there is about the 'respect-to-people'. You may find something more about it in video on link: .

    I hope readers find this useful. Practising the prescription is a time-consuming investment & commitment though. I have been doing it (practising the softer & subtler part). Best luck for you to do it too.

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  4. 'Hands' (physical action), 'head and 'heart' (emotional involvement) in above blogpost is to do with PQ (practice quotient), IQ and EQ respectively of which inter-dependance is briefed in blogpost on link

  5. Good job DNA for the platform. .

  6. I couldnt get the main motive of this one. I got confused as initially i thought it was about influencing others to get things done(saam daam dand bhed). But then it took a sudden turn on the prioritizing the implementations of ideas more than just the ideas..