Come Forward to be Beheaded

Today in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikh’s, called together a huge crowd of over 50,000 Sikhs to join him for a meeting. This was an era in history where Sikhs were facing a difficult phase as they were facing continuous persecution at the hands of the Mughal rulers.

With everyone expecting to hear words of comfort and encouragement to stand strong, they were surprised to see the Guru draw his sword and shout ‘I want a head.’

There was a big silence, but the Guru went on repeating his demand until someone was brave enough to come forward. Guru Gobind Singh took the volunteer into his tent and after a while he came out by himself holding a sword covered in blood! The crowd gasped and started to disperse.

Then the Guru repeated his demand “I want a head” and eventually another volunteer stepped forward and went into the tent with the Guru. Yet again the Guru came out of the tent alone, with blood on his sword. The Guru repeated his action another 3 times until five volunteers had entered the tent to be beheaded.

By now, everyone who was left from a now very much depleted crowd must have been wondering what is going on. Then the Guru came out of the tent with his sword and the five men walking behind him, still alive!

‘This was a test,’ the Guru explained, ‘to see who has faith in their Guru”. This was a test of who was brave enough to fight against injustice and tyranny being suffered under the rule of the Mughals. This was the day the Khalsa was created to instill in people qualities of courage, self respect and confidence to always fight for the weak against tyranny and injustice.

How does this apply today?

Even today we are all fighting to do what is right and what we believe to be worth fighting for, yet we suppress our ideas and not follow through on actions for various reasons. There are lessons here that we can learn and apply to ourselves and in our businesses.

The three most important lessons:

Lesson 1: In the face of adversity, muster your courage and stand strong for what you believe in. If you believe something needs to be changed, be brave enough to start that something. Take a good look at yourself and what you do and challenge yourself to do what you really want to do.

Lesson 2: Have faith in yourself and others. If you believe change is needed, others will follow. The path isn’t easy and people will move away. But as the few who believe and have faith that the change is for the greater good, others will follow. Take that leap of faith.

Lesson 3: Be clear in your purpose. This is probably the most important lesson. Why do you want to do what you want to do? What are the benefits and to whom? A clear purpose can be very empowering and motivational for you to make the changes in yourself, your attitude and behaviours to reap the benefits for the greater good. Change has to start with you.

Happy Vasikhi to one and all.

p.s. If you are not familiar with Vasikhi, please do take the time do find out more.  I acknowledge I have only shared a part of the full story in this short blog.


Would you Fire your Employees too?

A few days ago it was reported that two respected police officers had been fired for sending racist text messages. The Metropolitan Police commented that police officers holding racist views do not have a place in the Police Force. Scotland Yard reported that the officers had “breached its standards in relation to authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity” (Click here to read full report)

Some of you will be sympathetic that these officers have had their careers ruined. Some of you may be wondering why were these texts sent when the Metropolitan Police heavily invest in diversity, equality and inclusiveness training.

What action would you take if your employees behaved in this manner? Would you have fired them too?

More importantly in your organisation, what do people really think after participating in diversity and inclusiveness training?

Is your diversity and inclusiveness training achieving the desired outcome? How do you know? If your evidence is numbers and graphs, then I am sorry to say, you are not looking at the complete picture.

The organisational culture is at two levels: what the bosses “see” as a result of their training investment and the “real” culture where people haven’t embraced the changes needed. The “real” culture often stays hidden below the bosses’ radar but is very much experienced by the employees.

There is a lot of talk on how diversity training should address unconscious biased thinking, which is great except you don’t know what you don’t know. You cannot change a person’s values and embedded beliefs by awareness training alone.

What we say and how we behave are indicators of attitudes stemming from our beliefs. The real indicator of whether your training interventions have had the desired effect is to notice what they say and how they behave outside of the work environment. This will reveal whether they are embracing the learning and therefore changing or are they paying lip service and going through the motions of being politically correct in the office.

Your organisational culture is defined by real behaviours from real people and unless you really make an effort to notice, you won’t see the “real” culture.

So, what can you do?

Start by encouraging your staff to build genuine rapport with people who are different to them, by finding connections and exploring similar interests and hobbies. If you think about your close circle of friends, how diverse is it? If your social group isn’t diverse do you really understand some of the different challenges, concerns and viewpoints of other people and cultures?

If you have built up a relationship with someone, you don’t see their colour, gender, disability etc, you converse with the person on the inside. This leads to increased trust and you start to understand each other better. This is your opportunity to understand different people and cultures, leading to new ways of thinking and creating an exciting environment to work in, all of which impacts positively on the company performance.

Changing the organisational culture isn’t easy. We specialise in leadership training that delivers. Our delegates genuinely embrace the changes needed within themselves, proven by the feedback we get from their bosses.

To deliver diversity training that has real impact is the biggest challenge in the workplace. If you would like more information and access to free resources please contact us on

Be a Business Olympian

Question: How do you to transform your organisation from its current performance to be an organisation of high performance?

 Answer:  Develop leadership skills in the individuals responsible for championing the way forward and instil confidence in them to challenge the status quo.

At Kaur Values Associates we do just that in our leadership development programs. With a client portfolio that includes F we have been grooming Business Olympians that are now creating high growth performance success in their respective organisations.

 All Business Olympians display three essential characteristics which are analogous to Sporting Olympians and they are: 

  • Unbreakable Mental Toughness

Peak performers work hard, are dedicated and have an unbreakable mental toughness. In the same way that athletes keep fit and hone their skills, managers need to grow and develop their competencies. Strong mental toughness is what differentiates champions from the strong performers.

  •  Good Discipline

Discipline is doing what is needed when you do not feel like it! Athletes exercise and practice when others are sitting around. Business Olympians keep the business up and running, they persevere when the going gets tough and not give up.

  •  Strong Belief

Sporting champions possess a strong belief in their capability to achieve the desired outcomes by tapping into their Emotional Quotient. Business Olympians have the same strong belief in themselves to have the capability to aim higher and experience greater success.

Having unbreakable mental toughness, good discipline and strong beliefs are all very well, but as all Sporting and Business Olympians will reveal, these are mindsets developed by having a good trainer and coach who understands the importance of heart and head and is able to tap into the Emotional Intelligence to really grow individuals to display peak performance.

For Business Olympians the additional output is that they create a strong organizational culture that empowers others to develop their mental toughness, discipline and belief thus accelerating the change for organisations to be transformed into higher performing organisations.

This article is condensed from a paper produced by Kaur Values “Why Olympians make Great Organisational Leaders”

Email if you would like to know more about the work we do or our training programs.

Why did he die?

It is good business practice to have regular independent reviews of processes and procedures to ensure they are fit for purpose and implemented efficiently. Some see this as an unnecessary time consuming overhead, others see the benefits of a review to positively highlight areas to improve and gaps to address. Sometimes it is the smallest of change that can have the biggest positive impact and / or minimise exposure to a risk having a huge adverse impact.

The best way to identify areas that need improving is to nurture an open communication environment where ideas and thoughts can be exchanged and captured. Very often the same idea will be submitted by different people highlighting a real need to address a process detail and minimise a miscommunication risk.


My thoughts and prayers are with the parents of 16 year old boy, who suffered multiple organ failure during a “low risk” operation.


My local newspaper is reporting on the court case hearing of how a surgeon is blaming nurses for the death of the 16 year old. The surgeon allegedly used a sharp instrument known as a trochar instead of a blunt one during minor keyhole surgery and pierced a vein which led to a fatal gas embolism, massive blood loss and cardiac arrest.


The surgeon is being challenged why he failed to notice it was a sharp instrument.


The surgeon instead is blaming the nurses for giving him the wrong instrument. He maintains he had asked for the blunt instrument in the pre-op briefing but was given the wrong instrument during the actual operation.


The nurses state they showed the surgeon three boxed sets of instruments and received instruction it didn’t matter which box is used. The surgeon denied this, claiming only two boxed sets were shown and he did confirm which box is to be used as he was coming out of the hospital coffee shop.


Poor process? Misunderstanding? Miscommunication? Who is telling the truth?


As this is battled out in court to understand what really happened and who is to blame, the sad truth is that a 16 year old died from what was potentially a low risk 40 minute operative procedure. A life is lost no matter what the outcome of the hearing is.


Was there a process in place that these decisions on instruments are to be made and recorded in team briefings? Would a review have highlighted a communication risk and make recommendations to have distinctive colour coded labels differentiating between blunt and sharp instruments and the selected box be signed and dated? Why was a crucial decision made while coming out of a coffee shop?


Could this death have been avoided?


I can’t comment on this case, however there is a lesson for us to learn, which is to carry out regular independent reviews as part of your business operations to identify gaps and areas to improve. In particular look at areas of the business with a critical eye, reviewing all your risk management and mitigation procedures. By doing so, you reduce the risk of errors occurring and your business will operate more efficiently.


An independent reviewer will have a fresh unbiased perspective and spot things that are often not noticed because of routine habits which have formed and endorsed by repetitive behaviours of people delivering.


Errors don’t always result in the loss of life, but why risk not taking all reasonable actions to avoid events, which could potentially have a huge adverse impact on your business and will cost you financially.


If you would like a free guidance note on how to carry out risk reviews, send a request to


This particular court hearing is being reported in the Birmingham Mail by the Investigations Editor, Jeanette Oldham.