Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Trust many of you would have been familiar with the “STOP TALKING, START DOING” campaign by big blue? For close to a century IBM has been a bellwether and a harbinger of uber cool technologies which have profoundly impacted the way we work. Today this campaign is used to pitch their Innovation Mantra as a business proposition and a way of life.

Only Apple, Microsoft, HP and Google have come close to the impact that IBM has created as high proponents of influence on the way people work, live, entertain, communicate and collaborate. The IBM Corporation adopted and patented the word THINK and created product nomenclature like ThinkPad, ThinkCenter and Think Vantage etc to target the knowledge community which today consumes all their wares – from software to services and mainframes.

More than ever before the Knowledge Communities we live in are necessitating the need to think and think effectively. If in the industrial era people were paid to use tools such as hammers, saws and wedges to labor at work floors , the information era people excelled in subjecting their time to repetitive works like card punching, data entry , printing or emulating a pattern in the form of a codified language.

Today in the Knowledge Era, I humbly submit that people are paid to THINK in some of the smartest companies. Gen X enterprises who want to lead in the business domain shall adopt the culture of employing THINKERS at work.

The THOUGHT aspect is such a fundamental element in today world of knowledge economy that business are realizing what they mean when they mouth the “People are the most important assets in our company”.

The people assets in these enterprises have to do a few aspects in the chronology starting from Thinking to Doing to Talking and Teaching. Here is how & why they should:

Leaders in companies should stop managing their people and start facilitating them to think effectively. Today’s generations of employees are so well equipped in areas of their intellect and depth of the subject that little can be gained by command and control pattern of management. Today’s Gen X and Gen Y employees seek support and guidance on emotional intelligence and leaders who can facilitate them think and grow the thought discipline in a structured and unstructured manner will succeed immensely. Work environments need to be created to support them deploy their thinking and reward both failures and success to motivate active THINKING to DOING connect. This then should be a vital part of the “Employee Value Proposition”- EVA

All thought and no actualization makes Jack and Company a dull company. For thinking to have a play there needs to be less of control and more of coaching and mentoring for people to engage in fearless endeavor of bringing their ideas to work and play.
The entire process should be convened in a sporting environment where participation on doing, practicing etc is given prime importance. The THINKING to DOING behavior needs to be facilitated, enabled and coached for effective translation of the thought to action. Important factor in this loop is the treatment to FAILURE. Every failure should be systematically encouraged nurtured and guided to next steps with adequate counsel which does not hinders the THINKING or DOING.

One of the surest ways to motivate a desired employee behavior is to acknowledge and recognize the thought and the act. There can be no better way to up the morale of the people if praise for the thought and act are passionately acknowledge in public. Both failure and successes needs to be appropriately acknowledged.

In my view if we actively engage and value our experience in failure as much as we commemorate successes, as societies we would have upped the learning curve very sharply.

The amount of learning in the failures is abundant and rich. If only in the past we treated failures fairly we would have had more inventions and innovation at our disposal then we do today.

Avoiding a positive acknowledgement of the failure is a detrimental way to stifle ones initiative. An episode after which the people who have failed will cease to try attempt any thing if they weren’t sure.

So there is a need for today’s leaders to TALK and COMMUNICATE about failures and success passionately. Isn’t failure is a definitive way how not go about doing things which prevent success?


Once done with the THINKING, DOING, TALKING it time to teach and coach. Many a thoughts and action have been improved or taken to the next level by strong evangelism to the people who are seeking to learn from experience. People benefited from what was done uniquely in the past.

There are a few plus which you might want to consider:

Teaching from live proven examples happens to be the best forms of education material you can have for your students. Teaching gains a vital dimension because the subject is rich with elements of failure as much as it has of success.

It is the best form of presenting a thought to action to failure or success as learning instances. Think about how learning from the laboratory or dissection classes stay so fresh in our memory late into life.

If some thing has been done which creates value, why hold it back. Higher value creating is fostered when the case studies of failures and success are shared in a teaching medium.

STOP TALKING; START DOING may be in vogue in print and other forms of media. Thanks to IBM. But there are instances where THINKING, DOING, TALKING and TEACHING are already showing the way to the rest of the world.

If people at http://www.cuil.com/ hadn’t thought, and thought of a superior search engine than Google Inc would any one have an alternative today? Imagine the many attempts which people made in the past which have failed which haven’t been shared? We are poorer by those many examples? May be people at http://www.cuil.com/ should put this as a searchable data.