Monthly Archives: April 2005

Society as one great normalizer!

Suppose we lived in a world where everyone did exactly what they pleased. Would it be a better world? I really doubt it. I think the world tends to move in a direction of lesser chaos. It actually seems to help if more and more people get moulded by society and end up doing what is considered acceptable and cool. Otherwise, I have a feeling we would have a whole lot [more] of failed writers, actors, chefs and models!!

Isnt it possible that society helps to normalize people in the sense that each profession has only as many people as it can support, thereby reducing risk for most people. Maybe its a myth that people can be anything they want. Elliot Jaques, one of the world’s pioneers in human development theory suggests the same. He argues that it is a myth that every person has the potential to rise to the top of his organization – people are infact constrained by their capability. Thus, not every employee in an organization can aspire to be CEO. Pretty disturbing huh? Well, it turned out that most intellectuals in this field felt the same way about Jaques’ body of work and as a result he was largely sidelined – yet another social normalizing case!

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Management by Matrices or a Marketing Gimmick?

The 2 by 2 matrix is perhaps the most commonly used tool in a lot of management literature. Perhaps management theorists feel a trifle insecure about most of their ‘postulates’ which lie somwhere in the space between common sense and ‘common sense expressed in fewer English words than lay persons’. It could be that Management is a Science that does not lend itself easily to formulaic expressions. Surely, if CK Prahlad were to say that organizations should focus on what they do best, it wouldn’t sound like somethign worthy of a journal, but when he calls it ‘core competence’ , you have an idea that sells. It must also be said that this ‘jargonization’ is true with most disciplines. Perhaps practioners of a discipline feel more ‘apart’ from lay-persons when they use jargon. Actually… it makes sense. You dont see Pepsi marketing itself as ‘ sweet carbonated water’. Instead they would like us to believe that their product is the elixir of life itself!

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Gan’googly’

As the raging debate continues on whether Saurav Ganguly should be removed from the side owing to lack of form and the recent losses, one is quick to forget his contribution to Indian cricket and perhaps Indian sport as a whole. Rememeber, we were a nation of curd-rice eating vegetarian fast bowlers before Ganguly came along and transformed our outlook towards cricket. Gone were the days when a gentlemanly Srinath apologized to Ricky Ponting for bowling a wayward full-toss only to be rewarded with a mouthful by Ponting. Somewhere along the line Saurav brought to the Indian side a part of his own seemingly ‘arrogant’ personality – a trait that served us really well in that legendary 2001 series against Australia [perhaps one of the most exciting series to be played in India ever]. This was a series in which men like Dravid too were seen chatting up with Australian batsmen, giving them a bit of their own treatment. When Ganguly took off his shirt and waved it after that Indian victory at Lords, it may not have been a very pretty sight given his physique, but it had in it a certain ‘third-world’ defiance in it, a certain aggression that was always lacking in our side in the Azhar and Sachin days.

Yes, Ganguly was never the most gifted and technically sound batsman in Indian cricket, but there was a time when his famed off-side batting lead to opposing captains setting packed offside fields. Yet, Ganguly, with his precision placement and that God-given timing would dissect the field like a seasoned surgeon and score those delectable boundaries in the first fifteen overs. This was a big-hearted cricketer with that one quality that Indian cricket and Indian sport as a whole lacked – Ambition. And so perhaps we must not be so quick to write off the man. What he needs is a few more chances to prove himself. Yes, there are the Dravids and Sehwags of the world in whose hands the Indian cricket team might be safe, but lets admit it they too owe it to Saurav for teaching them the fine art of showing attitude inspite of being an Indian player!

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