Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Candid Management?!



Four ways leaders can create a candid culture.  I laughed when I saw that title on the careers page in The Hindu newspaper today [16 July].  I must have laughed my belly out because Maggie came running from the kitchen asking if I was alright. 

“Shall I clip this article and give it to …?” I asked her.

She looked at the title and read the fine print which said, “Start by listening.  But that is just the first step.  You also need to demonstrate that you truly want people to raise risky issues.”

Maggie prohibited me from doing anything of the sort my laughing brain was conspiring to do.  “Why do you always invite trouble for yourself when you know very well that the world will never improve?” she asked.

I was not convinced.  Trouble for myself doesn’t convince me. 

“Please…”

That settled the matter.  I put the pair of scissors back in its place.

But I kept wondering why The Hindu published such an article.  How can candidness and management coexist, especially in today’s world?  It never coexisted at any time.  Managements are always secretive and manipulative.  Haven’t I seen them for 30 years?  Is my experience all wrong? 

I read on.  The article is about “a former president of a major defence company” who tried out candidness and succeeded.  But then came the catch.  The author says he will call that “former president” Phil.  Why not name him actually if he is real and he really accomplished the tasks mentioned in the article?

I have given the link to the article above.  You can decide whether such management is possible or whether such management actually exists (existed) anywhere. 

“Praise publicly,” says the article.  Phil is supposed to have “created a safe forum for people to raise questions – and then publicly lauded those who asked them.”  Is that possible? 

“Phil went beyond encouraging openness to teaching it,” goes on the article.  How could I not but laugh?  Management encouraging openness, let alone teaching it?  My bones rattled.

Maggie came hearing the rattle.  “Go and buy vegetables if you want dinner here.”  By here she meant home.  Having at least one meal at home with your most beloved people is a rare blessing in our times.  So I went to buy vegetables.


A former student of mine, who used to pass every examination by ingenious methods including threatening his neighbour in the exam hall if the latter did not help him, ran into me in the market.  In the course of the conversation he told me that he was doing MBA.  I understood The Hindu article fully and my bones stopped rattling. 

12 comments:

  1. Hilarious post, trust me till the end I couldn't catch the logic, your student revealed it all :D

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    1. Some truths can only be state subtly, Athena. glad you got the point anyway.

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  2. LOL, they co-exist. Maybe, now we know! Thanks to the MBA student.

    Great post :)

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    1. MBAs teach us a lot. This is only a fraction of what they teach :

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  3. you are right, if he was indeed candid why hide the name? and you are also right that its tough for management and candidness to co-exist.. management will never succeed if candidness is around :)

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    1. "... management will never succeed if candidness is around." Thanks Seeta. I think management is a sister of politics.

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  4. I fully agree with you. Candid Management is as Utopian as Shangrilla

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    1. I guess MindTree tried something of the sort - to bring candidness into their management by having open discussions - when they started. One hears nothing about it these days. Practicality must have overtaken that Shangrila!

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  5. Replies
    1. When the going gets tough, amusement gets going.

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  6. Ha ha , smart one Matheikal and taking the management perspective, I guess it is different schools of thought, right from a factory mentality which the older gentleman portrays and a new one with a wit to whip it on to him :)

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    1. The factory mentality still continues in India, Vinay. I have seen it in all managements I have seen/observed so far.

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