Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 1 of 100: New Season

I am living a new 100 days.

This time, I want this 100 days to transform to my life. And, the change is that I am not going to wait till the 99th day for the change, as I have done before. Change starts now.

Last week, I had a very productive visit to Ireland. One which changed my perspectives and the way I saw things earlier. I must admit that I went with an open mind, the way I am trying to do these days, and it helped. I was putting that extra effort to figure out why people think / do the way they think/do, reaching out to hitherto indecipherable individuals.

I mus admit, I could see how wrong I was on certain counts, especially when the prism of my own perception was removed.

I got one very valuable feedback. I am not ruthless enough. That's something which I knew from before, but did not get the right word. I thought I am a people/relationship person. But that's a nice way to say this thing. Ruthlessness is indeed needed, when most people take advantage of niceness. And, if I am not ruthless, I should very well forget about a career in politics, which I intended to get into, and my managerial career also may not get too far. I mean - I do great in functional roles, but can I actually function as a line manager if I am too attached to people I manage.

That's been my problem. In my world, everyone is a friend. That worked brilliantly when I did not work with them, but not so well when I did. It is an interesting way to think. A very Anglo-Saxon thing, I thought, this commercial ruthlessness. But then I can remember San Tzu's dictum, which I quoted in this blog, a leader can not be too attached to his people, otherwise he will make mistakes in trying protect them. My problem, surely.

So, do I want to develop Ruthlessness? Don't know whether it can be developed, first of all. Besides, it is so much against my fundamental character - a touchy-feely nerdy one - that I probably have to live without it. I know I shall be happy without that quality, and it is indeed a good quality to have if one has to lead a team of not-so-equal men.

This gives me another important answer. I remember Tulika, who I consider to be my mentor-at-large, told me once that while I am a brilliant leader in a small team, my leadership style isn't very effective for a larger group. Was she meaning this? Perhaps. Besides, I also know that I expect people who work with me to work like me - with the same level of commitment and energy, and lose patience when they don't. But then I don't force my hand, I wait too long and i keep giving people benefit of doubt. I guess all this adds up - I am not ruthless, too forgiving and hence can't manage a bigger team.

Does this mean that I should now give up and accept mediocrity as destiny? Don't they say that nice guys always come last? I would have thought so - I have never been very competitive in life - and gave up too many opportunities to excel. And, this will obviously rule out my chances of success in entrepreneurial ventures, sadly.

But then, I think I have a few substitute qualities. Like focus. Like commitment. The fine line between ruthlessness and commitment is the objective. Do at any cost is ruthless, but commitment is Do, but don't cross the limits of fairness. That will suit me well - as I am always trying to be fair, some times comically so. I would think I have to give up careers like politics or business, but I can surely do well in a profession, or in cause-related work.

Which indeed means giving up the hopes of living in a manor, going around in a limo or marrying Drew Barrymore [that's off limits already]. But that's fine with me - I am no longer twenty and have a bit of perspective in life to know that going there will take away many things dear to me. Like this time to write this pointless post. The sheer joy of walking on Croydon roads. Things like that. I wanted to be rich because I thought being rich gives you choice, something I wanted to have. But, suddenly, I know choice sits in your head, not in your bank account. I am suddenly feeling free - to do anything I wish to do.

And, that makes me start this new 100 days.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Best of luck, Supriyo.

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