Monday, September 17, 2012

Replacing Yourself - Let Your Job be Taken!

Unless an employee is altruistic and has reached a fair level of self-actualization, I am sure he/ she would like to see her career grow in terms of responsibility, authority and financially.

While in some disciplines, organizations can make do with individual contributors, the business requirement is largely skewed to teams and teamwork. Teams would require a manager/ leader. One of the responsibilities of the manager would be to equip their team members/ subordinates with skills & knowledge which lets them mature and enable them to grow higher within the hierarchy.

Unfortunately many managers/ leaders have a tendency to be threatened by such subordinates for a variety of reasons.

a) Insecurity of the idea of giving someone a chance to take their place
Some bosses are suspicious of their subordinates of someone taking their place. What if their failings are found out? What if the subordinates are better?

b) Protective & selfish of what he knows
Ownership is good when people nurture others, but can extremely detrimental when others are ruled out. These kinds of managers like to do things themselves and believe that only they can do it best. That’s good unless it becomes short-sighted.
They also create processes and systems which may be difficult for other to follow.

c) The boss thinks that the subordinates are not good enough
Subordinates are smaller in terms of seniority (quite obviously) and typically will have lesser understanding / knowledge. It is for the manager to groom talent. It is unlikely that subordinates will have all the necessary skill sets when they walk in.

d) Do not like to share the spotlight
Many individuals do not like to share their arguable popularity. If they have got 'it' they do not feel the need to share it. Glory can be a big ego booster and letting go is a problem for many.

e) The perception that the subordinates are smarter and may grow faster than the boss
While this can be true, it is not really a necessity. The smarter person will always win and if the subordinate is smarter than the boss then the subordinate needs to be a notch higher. However insecurities are more the reason than the actual smartness quotient!

  • While managers are an important part of a team, it is also more important to have a great team. The thumb is probably the most important finger but without the other four fingers the relevancy and importance of the thumb is greatly reduced. Likewise an individual contributor is good, but in tandem with the team, the effect can be exponential

  • If one has to grow within the system, managers need to hire people smarter than them or at least on par.  When his team performs well he will automatically be pushed up, because the manager is a manager because of his team and not singularly on the plank of his personal strengths.  If employees are trained for bigger and better positions they will push their managers up. Infact one of most important requirements of a successful manager is the ability to groom future manager and leaders.

  • If subordinates happen to be better leaders than their managers and move past them, they should be happy that the paved the way for a leader to come up the ranks.  Darwin's theory of evolution works in the corporate world too. If the subordinate has the makings of a great leader it will be a reality soon.

  • When future managers/ leaders are trained they need to be groomed in a planned & structured manner. Some amount of effort is required initially as they are, in a sense, raw to larger responsibilities. They will be have to moulded and skills properly honed.

  • Don't expect all subordinates to measure up. This can be compared to young sportsman with potential. Some these sports persons are able to cope with the increasing challenges and grow but many others fall by the wayside as they are not able to keep pace.

For any organization to grow it is necessary to have a pipeline of managers/ leaders. It is an ongoing process and cannot be held back. Any blocks to this pipeline will choke the system. 

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Vaginal Dialogues - And the Hypocrisies

"18 Again" launched with much consternation and hype a vaginal tightening cream. I am not going to talk about the efficacy of the product and neither is it to ridicule the product per se. Frankly, I don't care.
This is more to do with the hypocrisies associated with a product like this. 
  • The positioning of the product along with the commercial 
  • And more importantly sexual intercourse / sex is still looked as a matter which I dare say, most people enjoy but something which cannot be talked about in the open. What the f#@* (well ...fuck!)? 

Positioning of the Product

'Like a virgin' - the heroine croons in the commercial. But unfortunately this advertising reinforces the sexist view in India that pre-marital sex is something to be frowned upon, a taboo which is even seen as sinful by some. 

According to the company the cream empowers women but rather than empowering women it will reinforce the patriarchal view that is held by many here that women should be virgins on their wedding night. Well , what about the guys? Actually who cares what they do!

In India and with apologies to Cyndi Lauper the guys want to have fun. The girls should have a lock over their vagina and sexual calling. The hypocrisy of Indian sexual behavior is saddening. Is it not a woman's right to have sex when she wants to? Why should she remain a virgin until marriage? It is her personal choice on when she should have sex and not be decided by the warped societal norms. Infact a man with an active sexual habit is called a stud but unfortunately a woman is called a slut!

Sex and the Indian Mentality

I remember going to watch a movie with a few friends which included some women friends. There were some sexually explicit scenes. As if on cue, these ladies had a look of disgust when they saw the scenes and voiced their opinion against sex!  And these were all educated women. When I questioned them about it, they admitted that they enjoyed what they saw and would actually think about those scenes many times over. 

A lot of skeletons have fallen out of the cupboard of our so called lawmakers and religious practitioners. On one hand they talk about sex in hushed tones and on the other they have had super charged libidos. This shows the startling hypocrisy of Indian society.

When the condom brand Kamasutra was launched in India there was a furore when the famous photographer the late Prabuddha Dasgupta shot Marc Robinson & Pooja Bedi (which I believe was aesthetically done) for the advertising campaign - a series of black whites which did the task well of selling condoms. There was a hue and cry about the campaign with politicians having a field day criticising it. My point is that condoms are for sex and not to blow balloons! And very frankly, things have shown a marginal improvement only.

The hypocrisy is even more blatant when India is amongst the most populated nations of the world. I am very sure that procreation did not happen through storks or holding hands. If any country deserved the ‘nation of jack rabbits’ tag – it would surely be India.

Even now, I see the Indian man asking for condoms at chemist in a hushed tone as if he was apologetic about it. The chemist in turn would give the box back neatly encased in some paper which did not show the packaging. Infact a condom brand actually highlighted this in a campaign. Even in the movies, we have two bees circling around or two flowers swaying in the wind.

While Indians are moving to the forefront in many fields their attitude towards sex has really not kept pace.

However let me assure you I do not subscribe that we should have procreative pleasure in the open. I am not recommending that people go the extreme in a free bohemian kind of open lifestyle. It is just that people need to move with time and open their minds.

On another note would I recommend “18 Again”? My suggestion would be to ask ladies to exercise a bit and forget these gels and creams. Anyway most of sex is between the ears!

The Age of Distrust and The Age for Trust

Loss of Faith The last few years have seen an increasing ‘loss of faith’ against politicians and media (because all communication happens ...