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Born To Win

Newsletter 24



Issue 24


In This Issue




Article 1:  Teams At The Top

Article 2: The Legendary John Goddard and His Goals List

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It is amazing how time flies and what all it teaches you.  24 issues and an year of 'Born To Win' is indeed a time for taking stock of the progress.  It may seem like a coincidence that we are completing the first year timed perfectly with the Olympics but I firmly believe that nothing is by chance.  there is subtle power which links everyone and everything in this universe.

Born to Win as I envision it is an endeavor of an ordinary person to be extraordinary and that is the message we want to convey with every one of our issues.  That any ordinary man can become extraordinary.

So we have tried to make this issue very special with great content not the least of which is an article on the legendary John Goddard and his Goals list.  All success aspirants would be greatly inspired by this extraordinary man.

This issue is also special as we have a very valuable article Teams At The Top by Barry Watson, a close associate of Dr. Belbin widely known for his Team Building and Profiling model.  

Back to Olympics, there is one very important message the Olympic conveys for the modern world.  The successes and the medals tally in the games by some of the nations is no coincidence.  A country's progress and greatness of the spirit of that nation is very well reflected by the Games.  Does it have a special message for India?

Thank you friends for all the good word you have put in to spread the message of success.  I expect your continued patronage to make this the best success resource on the net. 

R.G. Srinivasan

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Join the Born to Win Yahoo Groups by clicking on  You can network with professionals globally, get advice from our members on various issues regarding your career or life, and participate in social causes and charities.  Don't forget to download your copy of the 'Goals Builder Workbook' and other success e-books from the Files section of Born To Win yahoo group.




The Belbin approach to improving the effectiveness of senior management and executive teams

When teams at a senior level in an organisation make strategic or complex decisions, the statistical probability is that they are made by a team comprising an unbalanced mix of people.  A situation that is likely to result in lower quality decisions being made.

This is borne out by the research of Dr Meredith Belbin who, 18 years ago, proved the importance of using balanced teams to achieve the best results.   Dr Belbin identified nine clusters of behaviour, which he called team roles*  that individuals adopt when participating in a team.  During extensive experiments at Henley Management College it became clear that teams comprising a balanced mix of team roles outperformed unbalanced teams.  Subsequent research has also demonstrated that teams outperform individuals when dealing with high risk /high complex issues - a fact that gave birth to the expression “nobody’s perfect, but a team can be”.

Today, over 40 percent of the companies quoted on the FTSE and thousands of organisations worldwide such as the World Bank and the United nations have put Dr Belbin’s team role theory to good use.


The original research involved painstaking and laborious observation using Bales analysis to identify a person’s natural team role.  Today the process takes a few minutes by using the highly developed Belbin Self Perception Inventory and observer assessments which are processed by the  Belbin Interplace computer software.

The diagnostic and advisory information provided allows companies to improve the way they match people to jobs and to assemble the right mix of people when putting together task-oriented and decision making teams.

To explain how this might be applied let’s focus on just two of the nine team roles:  the Shaper and the Monitor-Evaluator.

The Shaper is naturally challenging and dynamic, thrives on pressure and has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles.  These qualities however also have a downside when the Shaper operates as a solo decision maker as such a person is quite capable of leading a multitude into a folly.

The Monitor-Evaluator on the other hand is sober-minded, discerning, analytical, evaluates all the options and judges accurately.  Again, such strengths come with a potential weakness. In isolation the Monitor-Evaluator may be guilty of paralysis by analysis.

Using these two team roles as an example it is not too difficult to imagine the potential for conflict, despite the fact that each needs the other as a counter balance.  Compound this situation by the fact that there are nine team roles, all of which are required to ensure a balanced team, and is understandable that the soft option of fostering compliant behaviour is pursued - often with drastic results.

Does the senior management or executive team face any special problems?

As there are far more Shapers than Monitor Evaluators in senior management positions it is reasonable to assume that this holds true for senior management or executive teams.  It is also likely that these senior teams suffer from the cloning tendency, possibly exacerbated by the successful entrepreneurial high profile leader proclaiming “We need more people like me”.

While it is true to say that the bold risk taking, hard driving style may be just what is needed for setting up a business and getting it of the ground or for turning around a business that is on the rocks, once a business is established and successful a different approach is called for.

The solo leader needs to become a team leader to avoid the hard won gains and successes being squandered by impulsive high risk solo decisions or by strategic decisions being made by teams comprising acolytes and sycophants who merely endorse the decisions of “Mr Big”.

Unquestionably, strategic decisions that involve a significant level of risk and complexity are better made by a balanced team.  But what can be done when the team is already in place, do we have accept what we are stuck with and carry on in the same way?

The answer is first to be absolutely clear about what you do have in terms of team roles and to be aware of any weaknesses by identifying the natural team roles of each team member. 

Even if you are ‘stuck with the team’, you can then devise a strategy for making the most of what you have and for managing any weaknesses. This may involve bringing people in for  specific projects or using special sub-teams or concurrent teams.  Or as a more permanent solution, it may be appropriate to appoint someone to the team to fill a critical gap.

*"Team Roles" are defined as "Our tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way"  They are explained by Dr Meredith Belbin in "Management Teams - Why They Succeed or Fail"  Butterworth-Heinemann

©Barrie Watson 2004

About The Author

Barrie Watson is well known internationally as the TeamDoctor and is managing director of CERT Consultancy & Training.  For more information on how he uses the Belbin methodology to build highly effective teams please go to or you can email him at


The Legendary John Goddard and His Goals List

R.G. Srinivasan

How would you like to live the dream life.  Do it all.  Climb the highest mountain, explore the sea from a submarine, cover the route of Marco Polo, run a five minute mile, be the first man to explore the longest river in the world, Nile.  If these are not your scene then may be read the Encyclopedia cover to cover, play classical music on the piano, fly at the speed of sound  and be the only civilian to fly 47 different aircrafts and a F-106 at 63000 feet. 

There is more.  But I know you must already be reeling at the impact of these itself.  The man who prepared a list of 127 goals at the age of 15 and achieved most of them is John Goddard.

Jon Goddard is the world's most famous adventurers and a world class motivational speaker.  His adventures have been featured in Life, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest and the all time best seller Chicken Soup for the Soul.

The purpose of all his adventures was not to for frivolous thrills but to add to the knowledge and scientific facts.  In his own words “ Digging out the facts is the real challenge.  The adventure is exciting and  enjoyable but secondary.”

Here is his life list

1. * Nile River 
2. * Amazon River 
3. * Congo River 
4. * Colorado River 
5. Yangtze River, China 
6. Niger River 
7. Orinoco River, Venezuela 
8. * Rio Coco, Nicaragua 
9. * The Congo 
10. * New Guinea 
11. * Brazil 
12. * Borneo 
13. * The Sudan (nearly buried alive in a sandstorm) 
14. * Australia 
15. * Kenya 
16. * The Philippines 
17. * Tanganyika (Now Tanzania) 
18. * Ethiopia 
19. * Nigeria 
20. * Alaska 
21. Mt. Everest 
22. Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina 
23. Mt. McKinley 
24. * Mt. Hauscaran, Peru 
25. * Mt. Kilimanjaro 
26. * Mt. Ararat, Turkey 
27. * Mt. Kenya 
28. Mt. Cook, New Zealand 
29. * Mt. Popocatepetl, Mexico 
30. * The Matterhorn 
31. * Mt. Rainier 
32. * Mt. Fuji 
33. * Mt. Vesuvius 
34. * Mt. Bromo, Java 
35. * Grand Tetons 
36. * Mt. Baldy, California 
37.Carry out careers in medicine and exploration (studied premed, treats illnesses among primitive tribes) 
38. Visit every country in the world (30 to go) 
39. * Study Navaho and Hopi Indians 
40. * Learn to fly a plane 
41. * Ride horse in Rose Parade 
42. * Iguacu Falls, Brazil 
43. * Victoria Falls, Rhodesia (Chased by a warthog in the process) 
44. * Sutherland Falls, New Zealand 
45. * Yosemite Falls 
46. * Niagara Falls 
47. * Retrace travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great 
48. * Coral reefs of Florida 
49. * Great Barrier Reef, Australia (photographed a 300-pound clam) 
50. * Red Sea 
51. * Fiji Islands 
52. * The Bahamas 
53. * Explore Okefenokee Swamp and the Everglades 
54. North and South Poles 
55. * Great Wall of China 
56. * Panama and Suez Canals 
57. * Easter Island 
58. * The Galapagos Islands 
59. * Vatican City (saw the Pope) 
60. * The Taj Mahal 
61. * The Eiffel Tower 
62. * The Blue Grotto 
63. * The Tower of London 
64. * The Leaning Tower of Pisa 
65. * The Sacred Well of Chichen-Itza, Mexico 
66. * Climb Ayers Rock in Australia 
67. Follow River Jordan from Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea 


68. * Lake Victoria 
69. * Lake Superior 
70. * Lake Tanganyika 
71. * Lake Titicaca, S. America 
72. * Lake Nicaragua 

73. * Become an Eagle Scout 
74. * Dive in a submarine 
75. * Land on and take of from an aircraft carrier 
76. * Fly in a blimp, balloon and glider 
77. * Ride an elephant, camel, ostrich and bronco 
78. * Skin dive to 40 feet and hold breath two and a half minutes underwater. 
79. * Catch a ten-pound lobster and a ten-inch abalone 
80. * Play flute and violin 
81. * Type 50 words a minute 
82. * Make a parachute jump 
83. * Learn water and snow skiing 
84. * Go on a church mission 
85. * Follow the John Muir trail 
86. * Study native medicines and bring back useful ones 
87. * Bag camera trophies of elephant, lion, rhino, cheetah, cape buffalo and whale 
88. * Learn to fence 
89. * Learn jujitsu 
90. * Teach a college course 
91. * Watch a cremation ceremony in Bali 
92. * Explore depths of the sea 
93. Appear in a Tarzan movie (he now considers this an irrelevant boyhood dream) 
94. Own a horse, chimpanzee, cheetah, ocelot, and coyote (yet to own a chimp or cheetah) 
95. Become a ham radio operator 
96. * Build own telescope 
97. * Write a book (On Nile trip) 
98. * Publish an article in National Geographic Magazine 
99. * High jump five feet 
100. * Broad jump 15 feet 
101. * Run mile in five minutes 
102. * Weigh 175 pounds stripped (still does) 
103. * Perform 200 sit-ups and 20 pull-ups 
104. * Learn French, Spanish and Arabic 
105. Study dragon lizards on Komodo Island (Boat broke down within 20 miles of island) 
106. * Visit birthplace of Grandfather Sorenson in Denmark 
107. * Visit birthplace of Grandfather Goddard in England 
108 * Ship aboard a freighter as a seaman 
109. Read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (Has read extensive parts in each volume) 
110. * Read the Bible from cover to cover 
111.* Read the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau, Rousseau, Conrad, Hemingway, Twain, Burroughs, Talmage, Tolstoi, Longfellow, Keats, Poe, Bacon, Whittier, and Emerson (not every work of each) 
112.* Become familiar with the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Ibert, Mendelssohn, Lalo, Liszt, Rimski-Korsakov, Respighi, Rachmaninoff, Paganini, Stravinsky, Toch, Tschaikosvsky, Verdi 
113.* Become proficient in the use of a plane, motorcycle, tractor, surfboard, rifle, pistol, canoe, microscope, football, basketball, bow and arrow, lariat and boomerang 
114. * Compose music 
115. * Play Clair de Lune on the piano 
116. * Watch fire-walking ceremony (In Bali and Surinam) 
117. * Milk a poisonous snake (bitten by diamondback at photo session) 
118. * Light a match with .22 rifle 
119. * Visit a movie studio 
120. * Climb Cheops' pyramid 
121. * Become a member of the Explorer's Club and the Adventure's Club 
122. * Learn to play polo 
123. * Travel through the Grand Canyon on foot and by boat 
124. * Circumnavigate the globe (four times) 
125. Visit the moon ("Someday, if God wills") 
126. * Marry and have children (has five children) 
127. * Live to see the 21st century


The one's marked with an asterix  are the goals which have been achieved.  Does that sound like a lot in a lifetime.  If one man can do it more people can do more.  All one needs to do is to sit down and write the goals list and get going.  What does not come out in the goals list of John Goddard is the adverse conditions and situations he faced to achieve these goals.  He has been bitten by rattle snakes,   charged by elephants, trapped in quicksand, crashed in planes, almost devoured by a crocodile, on the verge of drowning  twice while running in rapids.  The list again is quite big.  The death defying experience and spine chilling adventures did not deter the man from achieving what he wanted.

Let's take inspiration from such a man and set our adventurous goals.  What is life after all if you just live an ordinary life and perish.   

About The Author

R.G. Srinivasan is a Trainer and Director of Born To Win Forum an organization dedicated to personal effectiveness and success training. He has an experience spanning two decades in sales & marketing and general management functions in India.  Please check out his profile and programs at  He is now a professional trainer focused on personal effectiveness and motivational training.  You can contact him for your  training requirements at



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