COMMUNICATION – Are we always clear and straight!!

Ever imagined a world where we are not able to communicate?
But isn’t that same as what we are facing today?
Absolute Chaos!!!
Have we wondered why?                          

Biggest joy for a parent is when their child say the first words. Things are so simple during childhood. A child is probably the most clear communicator in today’s world. Says what he wants, asks what he wants & is always to the point & truthful. This continues till he is exposed to the wicked world.

The word communicate brings in many feelings in a person. For some it is as simple as passing on a message, for a boss it is assigning a task, for some it is merely gossip and so on……                                                                                           

But have we realized that when we communicate, how often is it to the point? Do we have the habit of beating around the bush, going round in circles and saying everything but the main thing that has to be said?

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Why is it, that a lot of times we see people who belong to a lower stratum of society, or having a weaker personality, stutter and stammer, or are unambiguous when they communicate with anyone, presumed to be better placed than them, thereby not being able to convey the correct message.

Are they interested in protecting themselves by not wanting to say the wrong thing or are they simply brow nosing?

Does ‘to a point communication’ really depend on your upbringing or your social status in a society?                                                                                                                                    

Does a individual’s love for sycophancy make him eventually lose out?

It’s often believed that if everyone ended up speaking their mind, it will create rifts in the society, causing untold problems to a number of people. But eventually, the truth has the inconvenient habit of revealing itself. Wouldn’t that then cause more embarrassment & problems? Does it not make sense to be upfront and honest right at the start? It’s again the same as I’ve said in my last article – short term foresight vs long term foresight ( STv/sLT)        

An individual who is open and truthful and speaks his mind, starts getting identified among his colleagues as a straight rod. He then creates an identity for himself and soon people begin looking towards him in trying times, to come up with a rational view rather than a sycophant reply. The pressure and expectations on such people is immense and at times, on short term basis, they tend to lose & there is always a temptation to bend. But then in today’s world you have very few such type of personalities.

The biggest challenge for such people is to retain their individuality which is very very important for an individuals growth in the long term. A bent person will always benefit in the short term, but very soon his views are discarded and eventually he’ll lose out. (STv/sLT)

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Many a times we see ice cold relations due to a  total break down in communications between the affected parties. Nothing can be more damaging. Not communicating is more toxic than maintaining some semblance of communication whatever the relation, as during such times rumor mills tend to take over & cause havoc. Keeping the lines of communication open and clear can help eliminate the misunderstandings and help establish a healthy level of trust between individuals.

Countries often open Embassies across other countries around the globe. One of the major reasons for this, apart from pushing trade & commerce, is to always to keep the channel communication open.

A strong country will always feel the need to go to war. But is that the solution?

No! take a pragmatic approach and let things fall in place.

One needs not impact the course of history from some qualitative job. Keep channels of communication open even between enemies. Many a battles have been avoided by doing the same.

Take the classic example of Israel.  

After World War 2 the next big war was coming up  in the middle east

Israel having suffered pogrom at the hands of the Nazis, were facing another threat to their existence from the Egyptians in the 1960s. The entire Middle East wanted to throw the Jews out of Israel & were preparing for war. The Israelis at that time were not a big force as they are today so the fear of annihilation was always there.

The Egyptians were in the advanced stage building rockets which could target all the cities of Israel.

After World War 2 most of the German scientists had dispersed across the globe or had offered their services to any country willing to pay them. They also wanted out of Germany as the Israelis were hunting for them.

Germans were good at rocket technology which was still at its nascent stage in 1960. Egyptians employed them and gave the German scientists sanctuary in their country. Israelis were truly worried and knew that if the Germans succeeded, they might get wiped out.

They were not willing to go to war with Egypt  as they were not yet ready & time was definitely not on their side.

Going back in time during WW2 Colonel Otto Skorzeny was the most daring commando in Nazi Germany’s Wafeen – SS.

He was rated as the most dangerous man in Europe by the Americans & the British intelligence as he was extremely close to Hitler & in charge of the German army commandos.

Israel meanwhile was hunting down all perpetuators of the holocaust and had in fact manage to seize the chief of holocaust Adolf Eichmann from Argentina.

This had also put a fear in all the Germans who were involved in this.

Meanwhile the rocket programme was on schedule and no amount of threats or pressure paid off.

At this time Israel thought of something totally out of the box. They approached Otto Slorzeny & promised him that he will not be targeted by them & also in fact offered to protect him ,if he could help them call back the German scientists back from Egypt. Otto knew all the involved parties and it took him a few months of threats and key scientists disappearances (a story for another day), and soon all German scientists left Egypt, thereby ending  its rocket programme and saving the day for Israel. In fact the Israelis kept their word & protected Otto till the end & he died of natural causes.

Now just think of what the Israelis did. They spoke to the Germans to help them out, in spite of what the Germans had put them through. They were smart as they knew war would wipe them out, so they chose a path of which would be most beneficial to their people and opened a channel of communication with their enemy.

The above indeed should be an eye opener for all who do not believe in opening channels of communication with one and all.

Many times an impossible task is achieved by simply talking even with a Devil !!!

Next article I will be talking on “ Achieving the Impossible”

Coming Soon…….

FORESIGHT – Do we really apply it?

How many times during your lifetime you must have heard the word “foresight”

Guess for most of us its throughout our lifespan – to a child  his parents who keep poking that he should have the foresight to do things right or should have the vision of the career he wants to make by studying hard, to a grown up its always the boss who pins the wrongs on his subordinates for not having any foresight to have avoided or solved the problem.

Soon the word starts haunting us.

Well if you come down to brass tacks it is us Indians who should be masters on this art. Look at it this way – the day you are born your parents get a kundli (birth Chart) made for you, from that day the kundli decides your life and various paths you will take.

Once you grow up, you start taking interest in your future & start reading or visiting all types of quack(s), be it a fortune teller or a tarot reader or even a parrot reader (God help).

We are hearing that apart from getting their hands & faces read there are experts who also read private-parts of your anatomy to suggest your future. Seriously???  Don’t know where this will end!!!

But coming back to the subject, once you have crossed your teens, you know all about yourself & your supposed to be, future. You know what numbers are good for you and what colour suits you. So as far as you are concerned you have a very good foresight about yourself (rightly or wrongly) and where you are heading.

Now coming to application of foresight in our other spheres of life…why is it that we hesitate? You would have seen simple issues taking indefinite time to be settled. People are reluctant and procrastinate & are afraid to take simple decisions due to fear of failure.

Many a times the solution is staring at them in their face but it is ‘too much analysis leading to paralyses’ scenario.

Is it really that difficult for foresee!!

To begin with, in a working environment most of us use past experience to a problem & make our future decisions. This is a safe method and you probably are more often right than wrong.

For all of us, human beings whenever confronted with a new problem, we have our second brain or what they say “Gut Instinct” immediately throw up a way ahead. Some of us also call this the ‘sixth sense’.

There have been lot of on-going studies done on this gut feel & more and more findings suggest that your gut does communicate with the brain during such trying times when u are saddled with an issue.

So is it really that simple!! To move with your instinct & take decisions and hope for the best.

Frankly I think your instinct or gut feel is more a reaction to the past experiences one has undergone. This is a risky proposition as our mind is a documented computer for pattern recognition.

So whenever we are confronted with anything unique, our mind tries to fit it in patterns existing in our mind. The problem is in this fitting process that one tends to take wrong decisions.

But the flip side is that nearly 60% of the decisions taken this way have proved not to be wrong. A balance between your gut & your personal past experience is the ideal way forward.

I have seen many a managers during my corporate journey , just not taking decisions & waiting either for their juniors or seniors to suggest a way forward. I am sure their gut must be shouting at them the way forward but being too analytical or too scared… they let things just drift around.

These are the people who if they want to grow need to tighten up. To begin with, even if you not taking decision,think what is the way forward and keep the decision to yourself! Somewhere down the line the issue gets resolved, analyse it if it is close to what you thought! If yes, then good.

Keep monitoring how your decisions would have panned out over a period & if you find a healthy strike rate …… Bingo . There you are now a better manager. Start taking decisions using a combo of gut & experience.

Above was basically taking correct decisions for any issues coming your way

Now coming to the other side…having a foresight for anticipating issues.

Here you need to have a very alert mind. Like in today’s digital world, all types of alarms are built in your gadget warning you on impeding failure. One needs to be alert to all types of signals coming from the market or his environment to foresee trouble.

Take corrective decisions fast to nip any forthcoming problem. I have seen people in such cases tend to ignore such signals and wish the problem will go away. Well life isn’t that simple. To avoid taking little trouble we are inviting a whole load of problems. Am sure all of you are aware what am trying to say.

Now, on foresight one can look at it on short term & long term basis. Short term you apply when something is burning and you want to resolve the issue immediately. Long term is probably a more strategic one which goes a long way in benefits.

In today’s competitive world we see more and more companies have very short term foresight as they want to see the results tomorrow not caring for its long terms impacts.  Management wants good & fast results all the time so you see decisions being taken sometime defying logic looking good for short but with no thought of its long term implication.

Sadly, this has become the order of the day as one has to prove its worth in his place of work and has no time for any long term strategies as they won’t fructify during his tenure probably.

Look at the classic example during World War 2

“The pearl harbour strike”.

Japan did not think long term here. Short term this can be rated as the best strategy for any battle, sailing 4000 kms from Japan to pearl harbour and taken the enemy by surprise destroying the port and the US ego.

Admiral Yamamoto who was to lead this fleet was dead against the strike on Pearl Harbour. But being Japanese he followed orders & did his job splendidly as one would expect.

But what did you do in the bargain. You woke up a sleeping giant

It was a horrendous mistake.  It unified the whole country to attack Japan & got US inside the war. It lead to the destruction of Japan.

So a decision played out very well on short term basis but its effect on long term destroyed the country

What’s past is prologue as said by W Shakespeare. Today all of us are the accumulation of our past experiences. How we channel those experiences and knowledge into foresight as we move forward is critical

 That’s enough for my first article , in next will share with  some thoughts on necessity of communication and what measures we need to take for getting it right.

Last but not the least, I want to extend my sincere thanks to Ms. Pranita Sadavarte, Ms. Ankita Vyas & Mr. Gautam A. for helping me in setting-up this blog .