I cant speak. Who is to be blamed?

ImageIt’s been happening too frequently and has led me into trouble on more than one occasion. What I speak is interpreted as something else. And just like an arrow when released cannot be retrieved, in a similar scenario, my unguided missile of words seeks out a sensitive target for maximum impact. In the corporate world, this is job threatening scenario and I guess I am lucky to have survived so far.

As per some study, speaking, like all other actions that we perform is coordinated by the brain with the lips, jaw, tongue and larynx. Now, in my case, one of these is malfunctioning and I really can’t find the culprit.

Let me recall some instances to nail the culprit and maybe drown it in liquor. Aha, what a lesson for the Evil Four. Ok, so once somebody told me that my voice is high and it is not corporate culture to speak in a high pitched voice. Damn you. You lost the argument and since you could not fathom my logic, it was easier for you to blame me. But then, when the “you” is your senior who believes in the principle ‘My way or the highway’, then you got to take the s###. It’s another story that people outside his cabin could hear him shout. In reality and as I have come to believe, the culprit was actually my larynx. Yes, that voice box which is now acting like an idiot box.

In another incident, I was mildly interested in a just-for-the-heck-of-it meeting and I could only mutter ‘No’ to a particular question. It was a simple job that had to be done and yet my trembling lips could offer only a No. The brain had sanctioned a ‘Yes’ to the simple task which even a first year student could have done. But, I guess before the signal from the brain reached the lips, the pokey nose and its ego signalled the lips to say No. Aha, so the culprit are the Lips. Or maybe the Jaw. Or the tongue for taking the extra effort in spitting out the most devilish word in the universe.

So, who’s the culprit. Speaking in an environment or a meeting or in a discussion when not required to. Needless to say, got to learn the art of speaking. Or maybe the attitude needs to tweaked such that the brain and its partners in crime do not speak. Well, irrespective of who the culprits are, the attitude aint going to change and so the only punishment they deserve is drowning themselves in alcohol.

Success and its relation with Back Up.

In a coaching class while I was studying the 11th standard (FYJC for Mumbaites), one of the lecturers made a remark ‘This batch comprisesImage of students both from convent school and students from vernacular medium school. But, trust me that at the end of 12th standard, the latter will secure higher percentages to get admissions in colleges of their choice.’ Dint make any sense to me at that point of time as we, the students from convent school, definitely had an edge as the learning medium was only English. We were experts in English compared to our peers who had trouble interpreting complex English words.

The prophecy however came true. Over the years, I realised the importance of those lines said by the lecturer. My peers from non convent school had lot to learn and were willing to learn. As part of the Science batch, the obvious options post completion of 12th standard was either Engineering or Doctor. And it was critical to be a part of top ranked colleges to have good job prospects later. The biggest impediment to realisation of their dreams was English language. They knew it, they worked their way around it, from translation of English words to their native language to even checking with us the meaning of certain words. They went about their mission in a planned systematic fashion. They succeeded because they simply had NO BACK UPS.

The same mantra is the essence of many a successful person whether in corporate world or those who have embraced entrepreneurship. Think back over the years, when you had your success, did this mantra apply? It would have. The hunger to be successful, the paucity of options, the solution centric brain with zillions of nerve cells or neutrons (whatever) egged you on to be successful.. else there was nothing. You simply had no Back Up.

Somewhere, buoyed by initial successes, we find ourselves losing track of the path to success. The bigger goal is not defined. Materialism straps us to the confines of comfort zone, problem centric approach gives birth to issues manifold, people oriented talks and gossips take precedence over goal oriented steps. But the reason why you are not looking beyond your designation or Money is your Back Up. Your job itself. To realise your true potential, which you harnessed so brilliantly in the initial years is yearning for your attention. Do yourself a favour. Get back to the zone of NO BACK UP.

Not too Young, not too old. Perfect.

Setups in the last decade or so have ushered in a new trend – Young professionals as CEOs, CMOs, Head of something .. It does ring a bell of insecurity, discomfort in the ears of those professionals who have been toiling away for 10 – 15 odd years. Of course, for the seniors in any organisation, it hardly makes any difference as they are already at the peaks of their careers. As a consultant they can always comment ‘Aye, what the organisation needs is fresh blood … people in the system can always support them.’ 

So, let’s have a look at any particular organisation.

In a typical organisational setup, in a very broad sense, there are 3 kinds of human resource. The “Young” … the energetic, vibrant, full of ideas, aggressive and raring to reach to reach the top position, who are jus


t married or single and have all the time in their hands to be purposeful in life. Then you have the “Old” … the wise owl, the dominant leaders, decision makers, strategic and who have crossed the 30s and 40s of their lives and dedicate their love to the colour grey.

And finally, you have the “Not so Young, not so old”. Not so aggressive and yet not so controlled, fresh from handling diaper duties overnight, these creatures fight to mark their territories in the department. They are reliable but then they are not so vibrant. The drum of ideas is leaking out fast and decision making is the new skill required and that too very fast. Where does this poor soul go? In today’s intricate layering of roles and responsibilities, wherein fresh recruits join at higher pay packages and are brimming with information overflow led ideas, it is easier to make a mark and if nothing happens, then MOVE ON. The Wise owl, has seen the world and is quick to utilise the services of these young birds to achieve greater heights. So, the question arises, where does the poor soul who is not so young and not so old, go?

He just wishes at times … Let the sky suck me in or the earth gobble me up. 

But, then there’s a silver lining. This specie has the unique experience of learning, sharing and even acquiring the knowledge, skills of these opposite ends of the spectrum. Newer ideas along with experienced strategies, innovative insights combined with tactical acumen, vibrancy and composure go hand in hand … the fabric of this specie is woven with the best of both worlds. They are the game changers for businesses in the coming years. Smart Organisations need to identify these diamonds soon or they’ll be soon wearing competition ID.

Maybe this is what Organisational learning cycle is all about but never before was a generation so enriched in ‘Old world’ thinking and implementing ‘New world’ ideologies. This is the first generation post Internet/Social Media boom, to embrace Old and New
. May the power be with you. 

The Chinese Touch!! … It is the ONLY way ahead.

Chinese TouchAs a kid, I used to participate in racing competitions at school. In fact, everyone of us did that irrespective of the fact whether we liked running or not. The instructions as laid down by the PE (Physical Education) teacher for running were very simple, (1) Stand behind the line. (2) Get ready (3) Run when I shout “Ready, Steady, Go.”. So simple.

Today, companies find themselves in a similar scenario especially those which have started business 5  to 10 years ago. They are READY, they are STEADY but they are not willing to GO??!! Confused? Well, even I was when I had discussions with my peers from different industries and across countries but this is a fact which cannot go unnoticed.

Projects are announced, Projects are streamlined but many do not see the light of the day. Some are lucky to be implemented but not in the same capacity as was envisaged at the beginning of the project.This especially holds true for service sector companies where customer service is vital to the existence of the company. So why does this happen? Is it lack of Vision by the top management, are the departments not working seamlessly, is the middle management ineffective to make projects ‘happen’ .. there could be many reasons and I personally believe that it happens as nobody wishes to upset the apple cart in these uncertain times. Implementing a project would lead to resource utilisation and that could upset business continuum and that risk very few are willing to undertake.

So why is Chinese Touch the way out? Let me share an example. I once created and delivered a training on retaining customers for call centre colleagues and advocated the principle of ‘Chinese Touch’. Very simply it means that adopt something new if the old method is not working and GO for it like the Chinese do. Just implement it. And implement it with a ‘Touch’. Again, this is no rocket science but a very important science … When you are talking to a customer, it cannot be a transaction dealing, you are talking about his hard earned money and what that money could earn for him … so be a human being and not a machine. Emotions are critical! We implemented different techniques and yes the initial results were very good but again, the concerned department switched gears to rake up number of calls rather than productive calls.

Chinese Touch is critical like never before, especially in the Indian service industry scenario and a prime example could be the emergence of AAP. People are looking forward to new methods and Results. No talking, only doing and achieving results through caring for everybody concerned. So, why not Organisations? It is time to Ready, Steady and please GO!