August 5, 2015
1. Team work is bigger than anything else
No matter how many individuals are participating or whom the individuals are, it’s the synergy with which the individuals work together, the value additions that they bring together and selfless contribution that the team members bring to the table, that makes the team “work”. This teamwork was evident right from Day 1 when we had announced the attempt about a Guinness world record. Students, voluntary agencies, public, officials – left their official identities and egos at the door and worked as one team “Go Coimbatore” , even during the lows , the team stood by its decisions and ensured solidarity – the team that stays together during the lows definitely deserves the highs !
2. Learn from your mistakes
All of us make mistakes , but what we learn from it and how we refrain from not repeating it is what matters. The “Go Coimbatore” team also had their share of mistakes – not making due preparations for documentation including the bar codes, troubleshooting of technical issues , delegation and work allocation. But the team learnt quickly. Also the team realised the importance of making a lasting impact on the common man of Coimbatore about the importance of segregation and the importance of the 3 rupees, hence the team changed from the “largest litter collection” attempt to a more sustaining , educative and disseminative model of “largest recycling lesson” ! With this , even after the Guinness day is over , the material and the momentum generated can still be used to educate the children and the public – which is more important than the Guinness itself !
3. Situational leadership patterns are the order of the day
In the “Go Coimbatore” team every individual is a leader. He / she was given definitive roles, were made an integral part of the decision making process and also the responsibilities to complete the tasks within the stipulated time. Roles and responsibilities given to people were strongly linked to their strengths, technical abilities and interests. Nobody was thrust onto a role that he / she didn’t want to perform. Teams were completely decentralised with complete freedom – the promotions team, bar coding team, auditing team, stewards team, volunteer mobilisation team, session plan team, and floor management team, each had its own set of leaders who kept innovating and improvising. Think of the event, a handful of leaders – Suresh Bhandari, Raveendran, Manion, Kishore, Karthikeyan, Nithyanandam, Saleem, Prasanna Vishnu, Latha, Kuriachan, Aparna, Hakim, Anusha, Suresh Kumar, Vidya, Anitha, and Padmanabhan – immediately come to the mind. These are just an instant recollection , there are a lot more situational leaders who have carried the event on their shoulders. It only goes to show that team “Go Coimbatore” was filled with situational leaders who have helped the city achieve its first Guinness record.
4. Perseverance pays
The event was launched in February 2015 and the first attempt was supposed to be on March 8th which had to be called off due to unavoidable circumstances.Finally it took place on 5th August 2015. During this period, numerous challenges arose threatening the very existence of the team. “Go Coimbatore” team was very much the butt of jokes and sarcasms during that period. The team had the perseverance to stay strong , kept doing the planning and waited for the right time to plunge into action. All the members put their individual losses, situational changes behind and persevered. That Perseverance is a true hallmark of an achiever.
5. Impossible is nothing !
Right ideas and right means to achieve them will always yield the right results. Impossible is nothing in front of righteousness. If the cause is noble, no matter the obstacle things will definitely fall in place. As Muhammad Ali used to say “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing !”