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The choice is yours!


Piyush 2014-11-11


“Yes Sir, the Boss is always right”, said an employee leaving his boss’s cabin. I overheard the remark as the door opened while I was waiting to meet the boss during a recent visit to an organisation.

Does the conversation ring a bell! You’d have heard this time and again.

Flattery is a blatant reality in colleges, corporates and in families too. Like charity, flattery too begins at home. A son/ daughter flatters his father for the goods wishes for; at work an employee tries pleasing his boss for the recognition he wants; a cricket player pleases his Coach to get him into playing eleven.

It’s a universal phenomenon that people often do inadvertently. At work places, it is often the bosses who demand such attitude regardless of the outcome.

But why please someone! The probable reason people do flatter is that we fear criticism – from anyone. Exceptions would always be there but sincerely we do panic as somebody tries to cite a difference of opinion. Such insentient behaviour could also be the horror to be in conflict with the situation or to simply sweet-talk for the sake of expediency.

The dynamics of human behaviour begins with interaction and reaction. Cultural surroundings and social structures shape human action and his consciousness. When an individual is part of a group, he reacts to situations in accordance with his emotions, weaknesses and prejudices rather than on fairness and objectivity. Intolerance is such a character trait that restricts us to see or hear what ought to have been right at the first place. Group thinking or herd mentality help propagate sycophancy.

Let’s look at the well-known, Johari Window:  Johari Window

You can clearly see that it is “caution” that we take at every step to become “certain” since “I know what I don’t know”.

Ignorance gives birth to fear whereas the step should be “experimenting” leading to “certainty”. Fear of rejection does not allow us to experiment or accept criticism.

Michel Jordan, the famous basketball player remarked, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept trying”.

He is absolutely right. Nothing can transcend “trying”. Only actions can lead to results. Failure is nothing but lack of action. The difference between a champion and a loser is the definition he/she gives for the event that happen in his/her life.

It is the same with organisations. They lack the critical element to success which is Karma. They lack competitive edge because the culture of flattery has reduced their strength which lies in facing criticism. Hence they lag behind in all areas.

Motorola, the telecommunications giant was once a leading company. Then Nokia took over the market and now it’s IPhone, Samsung and so on. They improved continuously to innovate in their practices and processes gaining profitability. Had they promoted a sycophant culture, the other giants would also have vanished in thin air.

There are ample of other examples where whether individuals or organisations made a choice and overcame their challenges. I know a hospital in my city that improved their patient care by minimizing their waiting time. They effectively addressed their problems through continual review of patient responses and other data and making the necessary changes in systems. In another engineering company, a single man could handle 4 store department easily while reducing their inventory by 75%. In short, we all have the resources and the support but those who rise up to the challenge win the game.

The key ingredient to fixing such culture is Continual Improvement aka Kaizen. Kaizen is, a Japanese term, literally meaning “good change”. To change means to make a commitment in order to bring the exChoicepected change. The purpose of our action makes a huge difference in the outcome.

Organisations must focus on making improvements by surfacing hidden problems‚ finding solutions for them through empowered team work. Streamline the processes with impeccable systems in place to make the processes self-regulated‚ efficient and effective.

Let’s enable ourselves by not conforming to flattery, waste and paradigms that restrict us from transcending to a higher level. The choice is yours!

- Yogesh Vaghani


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