Yesterday we had a so-called “all hands meet”. There were people from the client side, and the honchos of the particular account tried to make a good show, despite all their gaucherie. but when it came to the so called human capital, they were asked to be present only to display the interest and dedication for the client and the local management. The usual presentations were followed by rounds of Q&A session…but no one tried to speak! I tried my hand at some of the so called future prospects, but it appears that my pointed questions were too blunt for their digestion. Then what is the objective of participation? Nothing but a facade of zeal.

Two days back someone told me about a meeting that was supposed to cushion the layoff blow; when rumors were prime that some shakeout was on the cards. But candid questions on the fairness of the selection were stifled at the root. Not a very nice thing to do: but so it happens.

Call it a cultural effect or a fear of getting reprimanded, I find this feature exemplary of lack of candor. Currently I am reading Jack Welch’s book on Winning, and he identifies lack of candor a serious impediment in the growth of any organization. Unfortunately the lack of candor is strongly celebrated in the environment where I am posted. There is always a majority speaking behind the backs, but are unable to put up in front of the bosses.

Why does the majority prefer keeping mum? Because that’s what has been taught to us since childhood. We should not call someone ugly, or fat or ineffective or … (include any negative word). We should be nice to others so that they can be nice to us. That’s quite a deal! It might help in the social set up, but definitely not in the corporate world, where your every action is accounted for.

It happens in big organizations, it happens where there is a legacy. But can it be changed? A difficult job, but a change agent can do it, if he/she gets a good deal of support. Unfortunately, those on the top do not like to hear what the junta has to say, so it can be a tough nut to crack!

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