Are we doing certain things or taking certain decisions only because that is the way it is commonly done or practiced? Think!! It need not be a right decision or action appropriate to your circumstances. That is why elders always say, “A successful Manager in nine projects need not be a successful one in tenth”. Also, some great person said “A MANAGER should be the person who can foresee and make sensible deviations to the conventional practices” – the one who can climb the career ladder and remain consistently successful in whatever he / she does.
An idea of doing certain things in a particular way as is commonly practiced need not be correct or appropriate for everyone who is doing the same thing elsewhere. It is for us to examine, analyse, understand and then come to a decision as to what style is right for us in the given circumstances. Many may be doing the same thing in a different way; and ‘many’ others may follow the same style. That doesn’t make that procedure a right one for us. For us the right decision or procedure means that which fits into our scheme of things which is generally governed by (i) location (ii) the quality of men and machines we have (iii) the financial situation we are in (iv) the commitment level of our people and associates (v) kind of customers we are dealing and how demanding they are (vi) and above all how much the individual’s feeling of accomplishment matters to him / her. All the above, according to me should play an important role when we decide to move a bit away from the conventional practices.
So, in short, I would be dead against the person who will try to convince me that “because such and such thing is carried out in this manner by many or all contemporaries” we have taken this decision. Rather we have to take very conscious decision of our own to work out a procedure that will match our activity and organisation. Of course, before taking such a firm decision we should deliberate among ourselves as to (i) what could be the consequences of such a decision – whether positive or negative? (ii) Does it undercut any of the critical parameters that are laid down by ourselves / customers (iii) the best and worst outcome of such a decision. Ask ourselves “are we in a capacity to face both the situation, are we confident enough to take ‘U’ turn and follow the time tested path and still reach the destination in reasonable time without incurring much damages in case of stumbling blocks in the taken decision?” If the answer is ‘Yes’ convince your fellow-mates or higher-ups and go ahead and try it. And if successful, it can give you a very positive hard kick to your thinking prowess and a shot in the arm in for your future decision-making. However, you need to convince the people who matter about your unconventional decision and also take them into confidence.
If the answer is “No” do not take that decision on your own and wait for an appropriate forum that will support your thought and then go after it. I know that it is not always that easy to take decisions that don’t fit into the general scheme of things. And many around you can even dissuade you from taking such decisions because “why to take the unexplored path” attitude.
Extra-ordinary decisions make you an extra-ordinary person. And extra-ordinary decisions can either pull you or push you. Here I think, if one can communicate to those around about the reasons why he thinks that he should be applying a particular theory in a particular fashion (which may not be conventional practice) and convince them (instead of saying “I am telling and you have to do”) you will be garnering support from all quarters.
This, I think, can be achieved by displaying maturity, coolness, ability to derive consensus, bit of tolerance and explain them why one is inclined to take this decision in a particular way.
In spite of all these if one find resistance to such new ideas, one can overrule the resistance and go ahead; but he should be fully aware that there would be those conservatives who would want to see you failing.
[Madhu K. Nair – 28th October 2011]