Management gyan · random thoughts

The Inertia of Reluctance

Continuing with my previous post in some way ….

It was interesting when I discussed the topic of Class Participation with a fresh MBA graduate as part of his interview. The topic seemed to hurt him and yes, I could relate to that too. I liked his brutally honest assessment. “I speak only when I feel I am making sense otherwise I hate to do so. But people who spoke anything were given more marks. I was disillusioned with CP. Frankly I am reluctant to speak unless I think I can make a positive delta”

Profound when you weigh the words carefully in the context of talent management. Reluctance is a big bother. What we miss out because some people are reluctant to share their ideas is a guess, but in my view, the loss could be tremendous and never quantifiable.

Taking the different organizations I have worked for, the different informal advisory discussions I keep getting into J, would like to share some observations.

I see a lot of reluctance on the part of individuals to undertake responsibility / accountability. It is not about incentives or lack of passion to do a job well, but it seems to be about reluctance. When some people speak, they are reluctant to state assumptions. Reluctance to share details is another symptom. It gets more evident by random classification of most things that they do as ‘Confidential’ and hence put everything under a ‘you need not know’ bucket.

I have always looked at my role as an enabler of collaboration and transformation [a term I coined with my old team mates Ashwin and Priyani] and am fortunate to be playing a role in forcing change. It is tough because true change means touching the culture, and that means getting under the skin and not just scratching the surface. Also means that one needs to look at ideas that can be implemented. Execution is Key! All your seductive Powerpoint slides will amount to bullshit if you bring strategic analysis and paralysis that cannot be implemented on the ground. Interestingly, even raja maharajas put on disguises to get a feel of the junta on the ground. Today disguises and spies are not needed because social media brings you closer to reality. But are you leveraging it rightly? Are you tweeting right? An interesting tweet by Vineet Nayar spoke about ‘somebody not doing something right gives an opportunity to you to do it the right way’!

Are you in an organization that looks at the reluctant idea giver? How are you enabling him or her to share freely? How is trust enabled in your organization? Some ideas may be difficult to implement but going after the so called low hanging fruits is good for the morale, maybe. There have to be proof points … to restate in a clichéd way, nothing succeeds like success. No matter what some leaders kept saying (read pleading) about the new strategy at Infy and that it would take some time for the 2.0 or N.0 upgrade models to show results, the Street finally seems relieved only with NRN’s return. Midas does have a way of lifting sagging spirits and rejuvenating people around him, I think.

Moral of the post: There are always several reasons for an action to not happen because execution is indeed always difficult on the ground. Ground realities and slides may be completely different but unless ideas and no matter how creative or innovative they are, if they cannot be implemented will never enable any value addition. So, is this something that has to be drilled into the B-school graduates because more often than not, those MBAs that are successful are those who roll up their sleeves … nobody likes to listen to gyan and that too from kids who have no exposure to the real world.




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