FF Daily #394: How to become top-class

June 10, 2021: Daniel Goleman on practising with focus and a coach; How to tackle vaccine hesitancy; A new breed of entrepreneurs; [Video] How to stop worrying

Founding Fuel

[Photo by Alliance Football Club on Unsplash]

Good morning,

In Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Daniel Goleman points out that to be top-class, it’s not enough to put in long hours. Two more ingredients should go into the recipe. 

Goleman writes, “Hours and hours of practice are necessary for great performance, but not sufficient. How experts in any domain pay attention while practicing makes a crucial difference. For instance, in his much-cited study of violinists—the one that showed the top tier had practiced more than 10,000 hours—Ericsson found the experts did so with full concentration on improving a particular aspect of their performance that a master teacher identified.

“Smart practice always includes a feedback loop that lets you recognize errors and correct them—which is why dancers use mirrors. Ideally that feedback comes from someone with an expert eye—and so every world-class sports champion has a coach. If you practice without such feedback, you don’t get to the top ranks.

“The feedback matters and the concentration does, too—not just the hours.”

On a more urgent note, Indian students and parents are conflicted about school re-openings, their prospects of higher education, and yet another year of online classes. There are many questions on their minds. To unpack the phenomenon and answer the most pressing questions, we approached Meeta Sengupta, founder, Centre for Education Strategy, and Piyul Mukherjee, co-founder of Quipper Research, to take questions at 7:30 pm on Friday evening on Clubhouse.       

In this issue

  • How to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  • A new breed of entrepreneurs
  • [Video] How to stop worrying

How to tackle vaccine hesitancy

Looking at the number of vaccines trickling out of the system, one can argue that India is facing a supply problem, and not a demand problem. However, anecdotal evidence (and low vaccination numbers from states such as Tamil Nadu) suggests that India will have to confront the problem of vaccine hesitancy sooner or later. 

The most obvious answer seems to be running advertisement campaigns. However, that might not be enough. 

Nachiket Mor alerted us to two interesting perspectives on the subject.

1. Bring in primary care providers: Scott Ratzan et al in The New England Journal of Medicine write: “As vaccination is extended to children and if booster shots become necessary for adults, this shift to local providers will be imperative. Messaging is crucial but not sufficient. Emphasizing hesitancy misses the point. Planners should expand access by building flexibility into the sites, times, and methods for administering Covid-19 vaccines, engaging the most trusted purveyors of health care in many communities: the doctors, nurses, and community leaders who know how to create access, convey persuasive messages, and deliver care.”

2. Go further and rope in people who are trusted by the community, for example barbers: The Economist’s 1843 magazine shares the fascinating story of Mike Brown, a barber, who is doing his bit to bring down vaccine hesitancy among his clients. After Brown read about the epidemiology of the virus and the science of the vaccine, he realised that he was “speaking loudly and wrongly”. Now he wants to pass that knowledge on to his clients. His tactics differ depending on the person. For some it’s enough to gently ply them with facts, says Brown. With others he hardens his tone: What if you get infected without realising, pass the virus on to your grandmother and kill her? “When I put it to them like that, they start getting more quiet,” he says.   

Dig deeper

  • Meet the Four Kinds of People Holding Us Back From Full Vaccination - NY Times

A new breed of entrepreneurs

One compelling opinion piece in The Indian Express got our attention recently. It was authored by Manish Sabharwal, co-founder of Teamlease Services and Gopal Jain, co-founder at Gaja Capital. They start the piece by recalling an anecdote from the seventies. 

“George Fernandes once said, ‘When I chucked out Coca-Cola in 1977, I made the point that 90% of India’s villages didn’t have drinking water, whereas Coke had reached every village.’ It’s too late to ask the talented politician two questions: Instead of chucking out Coke, could we have learnt their secret of reaching every village? Did chucking out a law-abiding job creator help drinking water reach 90% of our villages? The ‘Fernandes’ anti-private bias lives on. Reactions to expanded corporate roles in farming and banking suggest every Indian entrepreneur deserves an episode in Bad Boy Billionaires. We make the case that this stale view ignores six ‘hearing aids’ that are making our companies stronger by helping them to listen better.”

They go on to describe what these six hearing aids are and how to examine each of these. Take low entrepreneur equity holding, for instance. Convention has it that this is dangerous. Sabharwal and Jain, however, argue, “Conventional wisdom about skin in the game is not wrong, but company governance does seem to improve when entrepreneurs listen to institutional shareholders.” This view is very different from what Nitin Pai of Zerodha holds. “Growth is a fatal attraction for all professional investors,” is what he believes.

Dig deeper

Still curious?

In April last year, Manish Sabharwal engaged in a conversation with Founding Fuel and former Tata group veteran Satish Pradhan. Sabharwal shared his thoughts on how corporate India must think about managing its affairs through the pandemic and lockdown. 

How to stop worrying

Marcus Aurelius was the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. But he is more widely known for the stoic school of thought that he founded. It is contained in his Meditations, a treatise on the human condition, and this video attempts to compress his insights into the post-pandemic world we are transitioning into.

  1. Everything is just history repeating
  2. Ignore the noise
  3. Practice mindfulness
  4. Serve yourself
  5. Serve others

What’s helping you get through these tough times? Send us the song, poem, quote that is your balm now. And we will share it through this newsletter.

And if you missed previous editions of this newsletter, they’re all archived here.

Bookmark Founding Fuel’s special section on Thriving in Volatile Times. All our stories on how individuals and businesses are responding to the pandemic until now are posted there.

Warm regards,

Team Founding Fuel

(Note: Founding Fuel may earn commissions for purchases made through the Amazon affiliate links in this article.)

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Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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