Cave Architecture of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Bangalore

Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Bangalore

The cave temple dedicated to Gangadhareshwara in Gavipuram of Basavanagudi in the heart of the city of Bangalore is a unique structure of great antiquity. The original shrine carved within a cave of rock has a door thirty feet wide and about seven feet in height. In front of this were built a mandapa and a sikhara during the period of Kempegowda of Bangalore. More important are the monolithic sculptures of trisula (trident), damaru (drum) and chatri (umbrella). They are of huge dimensions and hence prominently visible.

The cave has two garbhagrihas, one dedicated to Siva and the other one is for Durga, at the right side. Both are apsidal in nature. Gangadhareshwara shrine has a sukhanasi and before it is a nandi. Both the linga and the nandi are carved out of the rock. The shrine of Durga has no sukhanasi and before the shrine are two pillars on both sides. Both shrines have separate pradakshinapatha. At the right side of the Durga temple is a square shrine which has no image now. On the right are two more small caves. The walls are built of bricks of the later period. However, in the interior are carved pillars to support the roof.

Nandi Bull at Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple From the outside, the Gangadhareshwara shrine has a fine circular sikhara which has carvings as well as niches with pilaster like decorations over which is a circular pot-like kalasha. The Surya shrine has a vimana of eight sides. Both these are stucco creations of the period of Kempegowda, the founder of Bangalore.

This temple has some fine sculptures too. Durga shrine has a four feet high Lakshmi sculpture with four hands. The sculptures of Bhairava, Dakshinamurti, Saptamatrikas have been kept inside the temple. Some of them may date back to eleventh century A.D., of the Chola period.

There is no evidence like inscription to date the Gangadhareshwara temple. However, on the basis of stylistic evidence, the earliest part of the temple may be dated to the Chola or Ganga period during the eleventh century A.D. The subsequent additions of the mandapa, sikharas and monolithic sculptures were made during the period of Kempegowda in the seventeenth century A.D.

Because of the cave architecture, this temple is unique in the history of art at Bangalore.

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Koch Industries’s Three Key Criteria When Evaluating A Deal

Koch Industries

Koch Industries is one of the largest conglomerates in the United States. It is based in Wichita in the state of Kansas, USA. Koch Inc has been ranked second by Forbes list of largest private companies.

'The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World's Largest Private Company' by Charles G. Koch (ISBN 0470139889)The Koch brothers, Charles Koch and David Koch, own Koch Industries. The conglomerate began as an oil refining business. Fred C. Koch, the Koch brothers’ father, had developed a more efficient method for refining gasoline which allowed him to compete with established refineries. Koch Industries has since expanded into other manufacturing sectors. The Koch brothers are equally infamous primarily for their involvement in politics, including GOP fundraiser events, Super PAC spending in the hundreds of millions, and for their financial support of the Tea Party Movement.

Kochs Brothers: Charles Koch and David Koch

Here are the three key criteria when Koch Industries evaluates a deal:

  1. The business in question must be in trouble. When a company is teeming along, there’s not a lot of upside in any potential deal. If it has some sort of enormous problem, there is a better chance that Koch Industries can harvest profits from its revival.
  2. The deal must be a long-term play. Most public companies need to show good results on a quarterly basis. Even private equity funds need to show their senior investors that investments are paying off in at least a few years. Koch does not. Being privately held means the company has a long-term investing horizon and can think operationally and strategically in terms of decades.
  3. The target company must have key skills or “core capabilities” that will benefit the company over the long term. Koch doesn’t just bring money to the table. It bring expertise. And if Koch doesn’t already know something important about running the business in question, it will pass on the investment.
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The Six Essential Skills of Successful Innovators

Based on 200 interviews with entrepreneurs, Amy Wilkinson’s ‘The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs’ helps explain six skills needed to be a successful innovator:

  • 'The Creator's Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs' by Amy Wilkinson (ISBN 1451666055) Find the Gap: By staying alert, creators spot opportunities that others don’t see.
  • Drive for Daylight: Just as race-car drivers keep their eyes fixed on the road ahead, creators focus on the future.
  • Fly The OODA Loop: Creators continuously update their assumptions. In rapid succession, they observe, orient, decide, and act.
  • Fail Wisely: Creator set failure ratios, place small bets to test ideas, and develop resilience. They hone the skill to turn setbacks into successes.
  • Network Minds: Creators bring together diverse brainpower to come up with breakthrough solutions.
  • Gift Small Goods: Creators unleash generosity by helping others, often by sharing information, pitching in to complete a task, or opening opportunities to colleagues.

Summary of Amy Wilkinson’ “The Creator’s Code”

Author Amy Wilkinson offers a summary of The Creator’s Code on her website:

  • Find the Gap: By staying alert, creators spot opportunities that others don’t see. They keep their eyes open for fresh potential, a vacuum to fill, or an unmet need. Creators tend to use one of three distinct techniques: transplanting ideas across divides, designing a new way forward, or merging disparate concepts.
  • Drive for Daylight: Just as race-car drivers keep their eyes fixed on the road ahead, creators focus on the future, knowing that where they go, their eyes go first. Creators move too fast to navigate by the confines of their lane or the position of their peers. Instead, they focus on the horizon, scan the edges, and avoid nostalgia to set the pace in a fast-moving marketplace.
  • Fly the OODA Loop—observe, orient, decide, and act.: Creators continuously update their assumptions. In rapid succession, they observe, orient, decide, and act. Like legendary fighter pilot John Boyd, who pioneered the idea of the “OODA loop,” creators move nimbly from one decision to the next. They master fast-cycle iteration and in short order gain an edge over less agile competitors.
  • Fail Wisely: Creators understand that experiencing a series of small failures is essential to avoiding catastrophic mistakes. In the course of practicing and mastering this skill, they set what I call failure ratios, place small bets to test ideas, and develop resilience. They hone the skill to turn setbacks into successes.
  • Network Minds: To solve multifaceted problems, creators bring together the brainpower of diverse individuals through on- and off-line forums. They harness cognitive diversity to build on each other’s ideas. To do this, creators design shared spaces, foster flash teams, hold prize competitions, and build work-related games. They collaborate with unlikely allies.
  • Gift Small Goods: Creators unleash generosity by helping others, often by sharing information, pitching in to complete a task, or opening opportunities to colleagues. Offering kindness may not seem like a skill, but it is an essential way that creators strengthen relationships. In an increasingly transparent and interconnected world, generosity makes creators more productive.

Why some people succeed when so many others fail

In addition to stories of risk-taking, hard-working, talented entrepreneurs and their ventures, “Creator’s Code” offers plenty of tips for entrepreneurs:

  • Stay curious. “Preschool children ask nearly a hundred questions a day. As we grow older, though, many of us become less inquisitive. Making the effort to ask questions can sharpen your alertness.” (p49)
  • Nostalgia is dangerous. “Creators willingly abandon a legacy, even a powerful one that brought them success… whether it’s a fond memory or a comfortable approach, they refuse to let history hamper their progress.” (p69)
  • Accept failings—and admit to them. “[Be] transparent about shorcomngs. Self-awareness is crucial… don’t hide from failure or hide failure from others … accept small failures as a way to push [yourself].” (p103)
  • Generosity can cause a chain reaction. “In more fluid modern work environments, individuals can influence and benefit from the cooperation engendered by gifting small goods.” (p178)
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Istanbul’s Prominent Cagaloglu Hammam can Soothed Your Nerves

Istanbul's Prominent Cagaloglu Hammam

The renowned Cagaloglu Hamam is said to have soothed the nerves of everyone from Florence Nightingale to Cameron Diaz. The Hamam was built in 1741 by Sultan Mahmut I; nowadays, a massage at Cagaloglu remains the wonderful antidote to the stress of city life, for locals and visitors alike, conducted by professional masseuse for almost 300 years.

Hamams became an integral part of Ottoman culture for religious reasons. According to the Holy Quran, washing and ablution is not only an significant but also an indispensable part of religious practice. The marble buildings that house the Hamams helped create a social atmosphere. Enjoying the companionship of friends and making business contacts were as significant reasons for the popularity of Hamams as the religious significance.

There are distinct bathing areas for men and women, and you can also choose to cleanse yourself as opposed to being treated by one of the attendants—but most visitors will not want to miss the Complete Oriental Luxury Service. After an self-indulgent hour and a half in the marble hararet (steam room) you will be revitalized and left glowing like a firefly. Even gazing around the hararet is soothing: rays of light cascade down through star-shaped windows in the domed roof as you welter in the steam on the cooling marble benches.

Turkish Hammam Spa Once you have worked up a sweat, a masseur or a masseuse (depending on your sex) leads you to the octagonal marble plinth in the center of the hararet. It is time for a full body exfoliation, cleanse, and shampoo and, for the fantastic finale, a delectably bubbly massage, sometimes calming and tickling, sometimes forceful and pummeling, all in the midst of lovely graceful arches and distinctive columns. By the end, you will feel as flaccid as a rag doll. Take the occasion to nod off back in your private cabin or enjoy a glass of apple tea in the outdoor courtyard before returning to routine.

Hamams were the only places where Ottoman women could socialize in their constrained lives outside the closed doors of their homes. Most of the women dropped by the Hamam in their locality once a month. This ritualistic preparation was necessary as not just a few hours, but habitually they would spend an entire day at the Hamam.

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How Peak Performers Move Ahead and Pursue their Dreams

How Peak Performers Pursue their Dreams

I’m often asked, “How do I know if I’m a peak performer?” Frequently the people who ask seem afraid that the answer will be “You aren’t. You don’t measure up.” You begin answering the question by examining your current situation, “the horse you’re riding on.” You may have chosen wisely and well, knowing that loving your work and being inspired by its possibilities are critical to a life filled with challenge, rewards, and energy. You may have selected your job on those grounds. Still, amid job stress, internal politics, firefighting, and the craziness of daily life, your mission may be nearly forgotten: “I did love it once—or at least I knew I could love it. Now that sense of being in the right place, working at the heart of things, feels faraway.”

Anyone who feels that way will find it difficult to see his or her direction, values, and opportunities as part of a coherent mission. To paraphrase George Santayana, many of us redouble our efforts when we have lost our direction. The result is not necessarily failure. Several famous and wealthy people have mislaid their original missions. The result is, though, that their redoubled efforts often secure gratification not quite their own, at considerable cost to body and soul.

So they must ask another question: “Is my place to stand, in my current commitment, true to my real passions, or have I traded my passions for security or glory, and settled for gratifications hot quite my own?”

The key is to identify your current situation—candidly, with “ruthless compassion,” and then to act in your own behalf. Peak performers assess the degree to which their abilities, jobs, and work environment coincide to move forward their mission the degree to which their current stand gives them leverage to achieve those ends they feel destined to accomplish.

Many of us know the feeling of being close but not quite there, having the mission in sight but a bit out of focus. We adjust; we move elements around; we struggle, perhaps for years. We fail to see that we are having difficulty not with coping and adaptation but with growth and change. To others our struggle might seem puzzling. Those who know us well may feel that what is best for us is obvious. But, obsessed with the trials of daily life, we ignore the “real stuff” of our place to stand and the “right stuff” in ourselves.

“Will I ever discriminate between what really matters in work and life and what only seems to matter? Will I ever judge wisely and have the courage to act in my own behalf?” For the peak performers, the answer to these questions is yes.

Some of us have yet to find our place to stand. We have not taken our best stand, have not fully engaged our mission. But old missions—real ones don’t die easily. They may recede into the background, but they are still waiting there, ready to move to center stage. Like an unrequited love, a real mission lives on in the mind of its creator, awaiting its resolution: “It just didn’t work out. I got pulled away by different interests and responsibilities. The circumstances changed, and the passions cooled. It just wasn’t practical to go on. Besides, something more reasonable came along.”

How to Promote Peak Performance

Promote Peak Performance

Our reasoned, reasonable loves offer but shadows of the motivation and potential of our real ones. Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye once observed: “Realistic people with practical aims are rarely as realistic or practical in the long run of life, as the dreamers who pursue their dreams.” Peak performers know this distinction.

With work, as with people, there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. But if the love is real, its feelings bone-deep and wholehearted, the 50 ways serve only as rationalizations and excuses. Many of us have major responsibilities: equity positions, family obligations, our friends’ expectations, our familiarity with a place and a job. Instead of allowing themselves to be trapped in such situations, peak performers accept the risks and temporary discomforts of challenging themselves to better the situations. In spite of their fears and self-doubts, they exercise their courage and face the difficulties.

As they reflect on the journey, a memory, an award, or a picture may trigger associations with a face, a name, or an old life plan. With missions loved, as with people, come a torrent of images. There is a certain pathos to such reflection, taking its origin as William Wordsworth said poetry does: “from emotion recollected in tranquility” This emotion, not sadness, reconnects them with the source of their motivation. Peak performers move ahead and pursue their dreams.

Others might say: “I always wanted to be .. .I wonder what would have happened if .. .I never knew why it didn’t work. .. If only … If only … If only … ” Such normal feelings trigger further reflection for the peak performer: “What did I learn from that situation? How can I recapture those old dreams, perhaps in an altered or updated form? How can I act in my own behalf? And how can I ensure against being like those people who are unable or unwilling to learn from such reflection, who continue in their rut, riding the horse long after the race is over and the beast has died?”

As a peak performer, you recognize yourself as a person who was born not as a high achiever but as a life-long learner. With the capacity to grow, change, and reach for the highest possibilities of human nature, you regard yourself as a person in process. Not perfect, but a person who keeps asking: What more can I be? What else can I achieve that will benefit me and my company? That will contribute to my family, community, and society? And then answering for yourself.

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Posted in Education and Career Leaders and Innovators Mental Models and Psychology

How to Recapture Trust and Have People Follow You

How to Recapture Trust and Have People Follow You

Somewhere, in some company, a CEO does something to violate the trust of employees, stockholders, and the public daily. As a result, now seven in 10 people distrust CEOs. Eight in 10 are convinced these top executives would take “improper actions to help themselves at the expense of their companies. In recent months, the percentage of people who perceive big business as a threat to the nation’s future has doubled to 38 percent.

The lack of trust originates from leaders’ disregard for personal integrity. People want leaders they can trust. They expect honest answers to questions.

So, what must CEOs do? Become a Trust Me leader, focusing on the welfare and success of the people around them rather than on their own. Ironically, this ensures their own welfare and success more surely. They hold firm under pressure and maintain their focus. Above all, they possess integrity.

Integrity is intrinsic to a Trust Me leader and is so compelling that people naturally want to follow leaders who have it. People are most willing to follow someone they can trust. They must be sure foe person will be straight with them, follow through faithfully on their stated intentions, and remain true to their expressed values.

What is integrity? What does it look like? What can a leader do to become a Trust Me leader? The root word for “integrity” is integer—a whole, indivisible number. Leaders who focus on integrity choose to live a whole life, neither divided nor fractured through compromise, hypocrisy, instability or dishonesty. They won’t do it perfectly, but in spite of expected human frailties, a Trust Me leader strives to be whole and undivided. He or she is “the real deal.”

In “The Soul of the Firm”, William Pollard wrote, “We must be people of integrity seeking to do what is right, even when no one is looking.”

Barriers to Integrity

Becoming a whole leader of integrity is easier contemplated than achieved. Before exploring the attitudes and actions that build a life of integrity, let’s examine some stumbling blocks not easily seen or surmounted on the journey.

When leaders are paralyzed by fear, they tend to lose perspective and often make decisions or act in ways that do not support integrity. Fear also causes them to lose vision .and hope. They vacillate and lose heart. They simply give up and a life of integrity sinks below their radar. They expect, or others expect, them to deliver results, but they are bound by such fear that they lose their sense of direction and their heart.

The compromise of values is a sad and gradual corrosion of golden intentions, happening over time—a little lie or indiscretion leads to another until, almost imperceptibly, integrity and character begin to crumble. Finally, their integrity is completely ruined.

The root word for hypocrite is lzupokrisis. It was used in classical Greek as part of theatrical acting and evolved to mean acting a part. In this sense, the great actors are hypocrites-they assume a role and act out a part. Their acting roles are separate from their real lives.

In leadership, integrity is about actions matching beliefs. Do leaders “act” the part or are they genuine? Does their walk match their talk? Hypocrisy, like fear and compromise, can destroy integrity and render leaders trustless.

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Why Leaders Fail

Recently Ralph Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, stated, “Leadership is the biggest single constraint to growth at Johnson & Johnson, and it is the most critical business issue we face.” This statement may be endorsed by many other CEOs, yet solutions to the “biggest single constraint” seem to be in short supply.

For example, consider these findings:

  • Over a 10-year period, at least 50 percent of executives fail in their jobs.
  • In hospital leadership, 60 percent of managers are considered incompetent.
  • In one major aerospace company, 50 percent of the leaders failed.
  • No matter where or when the survey is conducted or what occupation is studied, 60 to 70 percent of employees state that the most stressful aspect of their jobs is their immediate boss.

Why the Dismal Results?

What accounts for these dismal results? Here are four findings:

  1. We assume that people with strong educational background, technical skills, or individual peak performers are our best candidates for leaders. How are leaders typically chosen? Usually those individuals chosen for leadership positions either have an impressive degree (like a Harvard MBA), strong technical skills (like a topnotch engineer), or they are individual peak performers (like super salesmen). But there is no evidence whatsoever that people with these backgrounds make effective leaders.
  2. We allow an outside search firm or an inside search committee to select our leaders. The track record of individuals thus selected are no better.
  3. We aren’t clear on what constitutes a successful leader in our organization. Some clarity is emerging, like the need for conceptual and cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and long-range thinking capabilities,
  4. We rely on our own implicit beliefs or “theories” and preconceived notions about what a successful leader “looks like.” For example, we may think that a leader must be tall, intuitive, agreeable, conscientious, extrovertive, or visionary. But such characteristics as physical height, agreeableness, and having a vision are our selection criteria not qualities that predict success.

What Can Be Done to Improve Leadership Deficiencies

Here are five ways we can improve the odds of success in leadership:

  1. Make the selection criteria and process more rigorous. Rely more on psychological testing and assessment conducted by highly experienced professionals.
  2. Concentrate on “action learning” developmental activities. Concentrate much more on activities that combine learning about group dynamics and leadership with tasks to get real work done (work, like creative thinking and planning, that the company has needed done for some time, but for one reason or another has not been done).
  3. Use multirater feedback processes. These processes enhance the leader’s selfawareness, which correlates with high performance. If the practices on which one receives feedback are related to organizational goals (like culture change), then there can be a win-win payoff.
  4. Coach the leader. Such coaching should be conducted by highly experienced professionals. For multi-rater feedback to pay off for both the individual and the organization, coaching is necessary.
  5. Treat leadership assessment and development as a critical business issue. Ralph Larsen stated, “leadership is the biggest single constraint to growth” and “leadership is our most critical business issue.” I dare say the same could be said of your organization.
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The Sacrificial Temple of Heaven: A Magnificent Ming Dynasty Tower

The Magnificent Sacrificial Temple of Heaven

Stand before the buildings that comprise the Temple of Heaven complex and you will see the personification of humankind’s desire for order amidst worldly chaos. The flawless manifestation of this is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. An entirely symmetrical structure, it consists of three upturned, dark blue-glazed saucers, separated by bands of ornate, pale blue-and-gold carving, and topped by a gilded sphere. Its architecture is steeped with meticulous allegory. Within, three rings of columns prop the blue-tiled roof, a personification of the sky. Four columns at the center signify the four seasons, twelve in the next ring characterize the twelve months of the year and twelve outer columns the twelve hours of the daytime. The entire building is also, by virtue of its circular shape, a symbol of heaven itself.

It was to this building that the emperor of China, himself known as the Son of Heaven, would come in solemn procession on the eve of the winter solstice to pray for healthy crops and to meditate in the adjoining Imperial Vault of Heaven, a scaled-down version of the Hall of Prayer. The next day he would return, to perform ritual sacrifices and prayers on the Circular Mound Altar, a three-tiered marble terrace in the same complex.

Imperial Vault of Heaven's Echo Wall Symbolism plays a crucial part in the design: the number of flagstones in every circle of the Mound’s three-tiered terrace is a multiple of nine—the imperial number. The harvest ceremony had to be performed without a hitch. According to tradition, the slightest mistake on the emperor’s part was a bad omen for the nation’s wellbeing over the coming year.

Contemplating the symbolism and symmetry captured in these buildings, you glimpse a respect for form and tradition that was not mere superstition, but active worship. At the same time, the sounds of secular China provide the modern-day visitor with an earthly counterpoint: laughing teenagers experimenting with the Imperial Vault of Heaven’s echo wall, while the voices of their elders waft over from morning choral practice in the surrounding park, singing old favorites from the Communist songbooks.

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Four Traits of a Virtuous Company

In an article in the 23-Feb-2015 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, Susan Berfield discusses the dilemmas of a private business founded on the principals of “doing good” going public. Berfield contends that such companies must now respond to every demand of the public company relative to its mission. The article features The Container Store, founded in 1978 in Dallas, TX.

'Conscious Capitalism' by John Mackey, Rajendra Sisodia (ISBN 1625271751) Here are four traits of a virtuous company, as defined by Conscious Capitalism, Inc., an organization founded by Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey:

  1. A purpose other than making money, though the company should make money too.
  2. A focus on employees, customers, suppliers, the community and its ecosystem—and shareholders.
  3. A leader who seeks to bring out the best in people.
  4. A culture that fosters love and trust.

Berfield contends that companies that abide by the tenets of conscious capitalism have generated handsome returns for investors. Examples include

Starbucks, Chipotle, Whole Foods, Costco, Panera, and Southwest Airlines.

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Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru: One of the Most Stirring Life-Affirming Films

When Tokyo bureaucrat Kanji Watanabe (Takashi Shimura) learns he’s dying of stomach cancer he suddenly realizes he’s wasted his entire life. For 30 years, he’s worked as an isolated, inward city clerk in a stuffy office stamping paper after paper. Depressed that he’s never really lived, he tries to drink his sores away until he meets an upbeat young woman who encourages him to make a difference. With a new-found purpose, Watanabe becomes a passionate activist and his touching journey in Ikiru (“To Live”) continues to inspire audiences to truly live well over half a century later.

In what could be the greatest closing shots in the cinema, in the last few moments in Watanabe’s life, he sits on the swing at the children’s park is built on a wasteland. As the snow falls over the playground, Watanabe is seen fondly observing the playground, at peace with himself and the world.

Takashi Shimura in Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru

With a compelling, radical narrative structure, Kurosawa depicts Watanabe’s last months and how his final decisions affect those left behind. Ikiru is one of the Japanese master’s darkest, yet most life-affirming works.

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert included Ikiru in his list of Great Movies and wrote, in his review of the film,

We who have followed Watanabe on his last journey are now brought forcibly back to the land of the living, to cynicism and gossip. Mentally, we urge the survivors to think differently, to arrive at our conclusions. And that is how Kurosawa achieves his final effect: He makes us not witnesses to Watanabe’s decision, but evangelists for it. I think this is one of the few movies that might actually be able to inspire someone to lead their life a little differently.

Over the years I have seen “Ikiru” every five years or so, and each time it has moved me, and made me think. And the older I get, the less Watanabe seems like a pathetic old man, and the more he seems like every one of us.

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