Speaking at the Kyoorius Designyatra 2013 on 30 August, author Paul Hughes delivered an inspirational talk on success, the difference between 'change’ and ‘transformation', changing patterns of organisations, role of leaders and his definition of work, through his '10 meters of thinking' philosophy.
Hughes described success as a path and not a point. He said, "You don't reach success, but you move towards it."
"We can analyse the past and design the future. The future is the only thing we can change. When we look at the world, we understand there are both negative and positive forces working at the same time. If there's a job description out there that's common to us all, it is, 'Target work that works in the positive way'. But it's difficult because the journey is not forwards or backwards but inwards. This means that we have to first change ourselves and challenge ourselves. Once that happens, we're on the path to success," said Hughes.
Change vs Transformation
Hughes then brought out the difference between change and transformation with an example of his dog.
He said, "I had a dog in Ireland. He chased cars in the neighbourhood street everyday until he got hit by a car. After getting hit by the car he was injured and couldn't run around for a few days. Once he recovered, he continued chasing cars, but changed the street."
He then spoke about the business models of two different types of companies. "Companies which were not successful ran the 'Ready-Aim-Fire' model, while successful ones worked on the 'Fire-Ready-Aim' model. Coca-Cola in the 1980s changed the flavour of the drink. They had conducted a lot of research prior to the launch, but it still failed. Compare this to a Japanese cola company, which used to launch 30 colas in three months. Only three of them would do well, but those would be the ones that the company would develop in the market," added Hughes.
There's a new leader
The author then spoke on leadership and the way organisations work. He spoke about this through an example of an Irish man at a bar.
He explained, "An Irishman once visited a bar. He saw three parrots for sale. He asked the bartender the price of the first parrot. The bartender said 1,000 Euros. The man asked him why's he that expensive, to which the bartender said his special quality is he talks, and hence he's valued at that price. The man then asked for the price of the second parrot. The bartender said it is 3,000 Euros and that's because he talks and dances. The man then asked and found out that the third parrot cost 5,000 Euros. The man asked for this parrot's qualities. The bartender said he didn't know that, but the other two call him boss. This is a way organisations used to work, but it's changing now."
He then emphasised on the importance of the individual (consumer) and labelled him ‘the new leader’. He cited the example of a consumer using Twitter to elicit a response from a manufacturer, when the official channels were not of much help.
According to the Hughes, there are three roles of a leader within an organisation.
- Individual: A leader has to motivate himself.
- Interacting: He has to interact with his team and motivate them.
- Institution: The individual interacts with an entire business (other institutions), which in turn serve another individual.
Three levels of design
Hughes said there are three levels of design - component, connect and context. He elaborated on this with the example of Apple. "Apple launched the iPod which was a component. It was connected to the world through iTunes (we know that success that has achieved) and used it in context with the iPhone. This is what businesses should look to do. It should never stop at just the component. The other actors are important to find the path to success," he explained.
Hughes wrapped up his session by bringing out his definition of ‘work’. He defined work as: "Use capacities in a common task that reduces ego and creates products for a becoming existence."