Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 1 of 100: Starting Again

I return to my 100-day project, yet again. This is all a game, so it is, but this keeps life interesting. So I go again.

This 100-day project is different from the previous one. There is a certain sense of freedom in it. I am much less constrained from what I was a few months back. I am free to pursue opportunities as I see them. I can do things, not just talk about it, at work. Overall, I am starting this period with a sense of optimism and hope.

Of course, we are living in a particularly bleak time otherwise. Tomorrow, George Osborne is scheduled to read out his emergency budget. This will mean, from the noises made by the Tories, a full-fledged return to monetarism, which will possibly mean a retrograde turn for Britain. Indeed, retro is chic, but no one seems to have much enthusiasm for any of that now. If anything, the pseudo-Tories like Nick Clegg will finally be outed, and Liberal Democrats as a party, as they vote for this budget, will be consigned to history. I do believe in the redemptive powers of the Tories to make Gordon Brown look like a saint.

If tomorrow belongs to George Osborne [and in a lesser way, to Raymond Domenech, who will possibly be seen as the French Coach for the last time], Wednesday will be England's day. George Osborne can actually get lucky that way; the gloom he will deliver may be lifted if England makes it to the Knockout stage. The fact that they will have to play Germany then is a different story though.

However, it does not matter much to the work I am doing. My project with a private education college in London is progressing well. I have now got a 'strategic agenda', a six point plan to introduce some key changes in the business. I am mostly working on the brand image, and that too from an international perspective - as the college is primarily international - but, as Seth Godin said, one can not attempt to make Meatball Sundae. As I work on creating a new brand image for the college, I must engage in a conversation about the fundamentals, what the college will be known for, who they will attract and what courses they will offer, so that the image I help create isn't out of sync with the day-to-day realities.

This is indeed exciting stuff. Change is always hard, but it becomes a lot easier with clear intent from the top management. I have had enough experience otherwise. But this time, there is full sponsorship of my ideas and a free hand, and I am enjoying working with the possibility. I could not get better understanding of the international markets or British education system without being into it, hands on and day to day. The experience is indeed enhanced by my learning, and I must comment that the Adult Education course in the UCL was an eye opener. I have been liberated from the narrowness of my earlier thought - when I saw application of technology as a panacea for all the problems that afflict learning - and can see the business of learning from an all-round perspective. One thing I still need is actual teaching experience, and this is something that I am going to do in the coming days.

So, being in an adult learning environment, studying about adult learning, mentoring an adult learning business - this is my preparation for what I want to do finally. I am hoping that these 100 days, and the period following that, would equip me adequately to take on the challenges such a project will bring.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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