Thursday, June 28, 2007

Umar pachpan ki dil bachpan ka

For people who do not know hindi, what the title means is 'Fifty five year old but the heart of a child'.

Last sunday I went to play football after a good 20 odd years. Everytime I would get the ball I would start with it, kick it forward but every single time I could not reach it before the others. I was frustrated and my teammates were more frustrated with me. So I applied all my consulting experience and using the six sigma methodology I arrived at the simple root cause analysis. My mind was playing according to my potential as a 16 year old and my body was behaving according to my current age 36. So the kicks assumed I could reach the goal but my body refused to move.

I came back home to relate this back to the organisational context, especially the large ones, where organisations go and hire really bright, enthusiastic people and then put them into processes which do not work at the same speed as how the people work or expect the process to work. The people probably feel the same frustration I felt when I was not able to reach the ball.

I remember someone mentioning the experience of a person who moved from a large organisation to a small one. The person was able to start some 10 projects in 6 months, compared to 3 projects in the large organisation in 2 years. And the process to get the projects sanctioned remained the same, including same number of approval levels between the small and the large organisation. The person said he felt as if he had become very productive suddenly and was feeling really happy about the outcome of his efforts.

The recent phenomenon of a lots of people quitting their jobs to start out on their own could probably be the 'umar pachpan ki dil bachpan ka' syndrome where they are stuck in organisations which move much slower compared to their aspirations. Being on your own allows you to pace the work according to your expectations and capabilities and gives you the requisite job satisfaction which eludes one in a large organisation.

So my simple thought to all these organisations is to bring about an alignment between the expectations and capabilities of people and the speed at which the processes move in the organisation to ensure that the frustation levels reduce, which will also reduce attrition in the long run.

So next sunday, I am going to bring about an alignment between my mind and my body and play to equalise both. Further to help reach my true potential as a footballer, I will have to shed quite a few kilos. Wish me luck.


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