Management of Fundas

The saying and tradition goes son of ICS becomes ICS. In Post-independent India it underwent suitable modifications and son of IAS became IAS. Trouble started when rural bias and computer crept in, in the selection process. Sons of IAS faced genuine difficulty. After all sons of Bada brown Saab could not simply becomeChhota brown Babu nor could they ply rickshaw, tempo or for that matter blue line bus. I all along thought they could not sell 'Chhole-bhature' either till I saw scores of these fast food joints. Nonetheless, those who should have been stirring the district do not present a pleasant sight stirring dishes. However, necessity is mother of invention. Therefore, new high-tech callings were invented. New schools mushroomed which specialized in educating you from management to mannerism. Even soap, oil, incense sticks, papad, pickle everything is sold nay marketed by management experts. They wear tie and accent while communicating with you in English. Their skill lies in speaking faster than you can react. 

To deeply embed British rule in India, it is said Indian sepoys and babus have played prominent role. Similarly, to establish firmly all these multinationals and foreign banks in India managers of this new bread have contributed a lot. Such experts are very much in demand. They are bestowed with alluring designations - Group General Managers, Vice President, Chief, Head. Such species of managers can easily be recognized from a mile's distance. They wear designer's shirts, shoes, socks, tie and after shave. They own trendiest briefcase, smoke king size cigarette - fag you know, make liberal use of slang from dough to disc and Charlie to shit.

I happen to know one manager of this breed. Any file which went for decision to him he would simple scribble - 'approved as per rule'. He didn't know management beyond these four words. But for him these words proved to be 'open sesame' opening gates of progress. He climbed quite up on the organization ladder. Writing himself (committing) never more than 'Approved as per rules' his record was always found to be blotless, no adverse entry, always agreeable and non-controversial and earned the reputation of strictly 'working' by the book.

However, it posed lot of problems to people who were in his team and required to show results. Anyone who ever went seeking clarification about or beyond these four words came back disappointed dejected and humbled beyond redemption. Another boss I had was in love with the Wild Life. Hardly any species of animal kingdom was left, he did not compare an ideal manager to. Manager should learn from donkey - patience and hard work. Manager should be like a dog - alert and loyal. His favorite was cat - fast moving and enterprising. It was only when he was transferred that our comparison with wild came to a halt. He was relieved by a manager who was earlier into training. Any one who knew him or heard about him had also known and heard about his much publicized 'heart problem'. He was always entrusted light work. If he was to scold some one or avoid work he would shout at the top of his voice and collapse foaming and muttering incoherently. After a while, status - quo will be, restored, as if nothing happened. But none 'bothered' him with work during his stay with us. During one posting I had a boss who was fascinated by computer. O boy! He would cram entire computer vocabulary and puke on us next morning frequently using words like e-mail, hard copy, data base, skin ware, virus, vaccine etc. We would change the BOARD ROOM to BORED ROOM whenever he was to chair a meeting. He always used to live in glorious past on unseen achievements. When I was in company X'.. In a remarkably short period we got familiar with so many characters of his tales from company XYZ and so on, thanks to his stories Re Re Retold'. In a high level sales conference when Chief Executive wanted this boss of ours to total up certain figures, he promptly took out his sleek pocket calculator. There was a difference of fifty thousand. Our computer boss's total was fifty thousand less. When asked by the chief, he innocently replied "Sir battery of my calculator is weak".

Training has acquired unprecedented importance in preparing managers of today's variety. If a training seminar happens to be in a foreign country and on company's expense you should see the clamor. Everyone wants to learn. Within country also such seminars are organized at places of tourist interest. Venue of course is a five star hotel. In a company one group of managers was annoyed as to why the other group was sent to a five star hotel located in picturesque foothills of Himalayas while they are being consigned to a local conference center. In such seminars more care is taken to cover courses of menu than to cover courses of syllabus.

One aircraft company boasted of several such managers fresh and bubbling transcending straight from their own staff college. Their target was of assembling forty aircraft per year. There would be periodical review meetings to monitor the progress. They would discuss that ten months have passed and only ten aircraft have been assembled vis-'-vis the target of forty. They simply can't reach anywhere near the target. If mahamot will not go to mountain, mountain will go tomahamot. Hence, all would unanimously decide to pull down the target itself so that shortfall appears respectable and hence 'explainable'. I suggested why not bring down the target to such a low that you can have the pleasure of exceeding it year after year. For technical reasons the suggestion could not find favor because the capacity of the plant was far more.

Managers of this category are Mr. Know All. They are go - getters and live wire. They are fond of quoting Peter Drucker, Sharu Rangekar, Maslow, Athreya, Hertzberg, Hawthrone experiment and last but not the least their own never ending treasure of first hand accounts. They are all for foreign management concepts. They are in love with their own voice. Can go on for hours on 'Effects of Illumination on production' to `Need for flow chart in kitchen' with equal authority. Given to them they would carry out routine domestic chores through PERT, CPM.
Like good actors, good managers are born. By the same logic bad managers are also born. They may study in best of management institutes and consult best of management treatise but remain unmanageable themselves. The top ten Fundas of a successful manager, not necessarily good manager (good manager is a myth) are given below for your benefit. Who knows with so much liberalization setting in you may be elevated or simply redesigned as a Manager one of these days.

Subordinate is always at fault. 
This is different than saying boss is always right. 

' Give up politeness. 
Being polite is a symbol of weakness. 

' Keep one or two confidants 
who can bring you the latest news and explain you in simple terms, things you don't understand.

' Do not hurry to dispose off files. 
If you do so, not only more files will pile up, you will be termed as casual and not being thorough.

' In case you are under pressure 
to 'fix' responsibility and take up, catch hold of the last man in the row (lowest in rung)

' Announce inquiry only 
after deciding what line inquiry should adopt and what would be the findings.

' Feeling out of place 
in a discussion with nobody bothered/aware of your presence? Butt in by diverting the topic from Sahara to Antarctica or Vice Versa.

Keep them guessing 
and fighting among themselves. Verma , Sharma, Pillai and Prasad need to be kissed and kicked as per occasion.  Remember tale of wise monkey and stupid cats with a loaf of bread.

In case you simply fail to understand 
a subject, (after all managers too are human being) you want to avoid or want to kill the issue, try one of these:

  • Please discuss

  • Please link rules/instructions

  • Please link practice

  • Please quote precedent

  • Please call a meeting of section heads/inter-section/inter-dept/inter-ministry.

If all these fundas fail
go for this SOS - Discuss nation, national character and moral values. You can feel a strange hush overpowering the atmosphere.

Keep these top ten fundas clear and you would find `line clear' throughout your career.    


More by :  Ravi Pipal

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