Monday, September 18, 2006

Myopic views!

I sat looking out of my window a couple of days back. I was fiddling around with my camera, and I was trying out different kind of foci on it. I shot a couple of pictures just sitting on my chair here. I uploaded the photos onto my computer today, and as I sit looking at them now, I'm startled by how these two pictures have sharp correlation with my observation on people here at ISB.

I attended an LDP (Leadership Development Program) session for Influencing Skills. At the end of every LDP session so far, I always feel frustrated with the attitude of my batch mates. They think that the entire exercise is a waste of time and that they don't gain anything from those sessions. My question to them.. if they already know everything, then how come they don't seem to be acing the sessions. For example, in the influencing skills, how come they weren't able to influence the other groups and come to a conclusion? How come then, they couldn't find a way out of the problem we were posed with? Their attitude is such that that even the Instructors are frustrated. The instructors don't know how to deal with the permanent "Oh, why are you making me sit here. I'd rather be elsewhere" look/attitude that most students exhibit during these sessions!

So many people come to ISB to learn the soft skills.. the leadership skills, the people handling skills, the presentation skills, the problem tackling skills that they lacked when they were in the industry. However, somewhere along the line in the last 6 months, they have lost track of their objective. Initially, I remember how people were cribbing about the course being too Quant oriented. These days, when we have courses like Management Behaviour of Organizations or Leadership Development Program, people call them "faff" courses which don't have any substance/learning content in them (just because there is no quant in it). Somehow, they forget the bigger picture (the one outside the window). They forget that these skills learnt in these so called "faff" courses will be the ones which will help them move higher. These are the skills that differentiate a Leader from a worker. There are so many "simple" things that I learnt even from this recent session on Influencing Skills as part of the LDP. Simple things like Spatial arrangements can make such a difference to influencing a group of people. Similarly, while a lot of people thought that the group discussion sessions of LDP were utter wastes, I found value in them. i learnt how important small stuff like your posture at the table can play in a discussion. I still remember how when some people leant forward when they were speaking, they automatically put the rest of the people in the group into a defensive mode. They were sub-consciously perceived to be "aggressive" and "pushy". The instructor also pointed out how you cut-off/don't listen to the two people by your side when you lean forward at the table. You automatically zone them out of your field of view! The two people on the side then feel ignored or are forced to respond aggressively to get back into the discussion again.
Such small stuff, I don't think anyone will point out to me in the real world. I'm indeed glad that we had instructors who pointed out such sub-conscious references. I know now that I"ll definitely watch the way I sit at a group discussion especially if I'm looking to convince someone else of some idea.
So, coming back to what I was saying.. there is INDEED a lot of value to all these sessions. If only people would develop some patience to be involved in these sessions and actually set aside their grades and assignments for the few hours we are involved in these exercises. It is the case of the two pictures above. When we focus on just what is in front of us, then all we'll see is the grill on the window. Then, there may not seem to be much in that direction. However, if we just took an instant to step back and look beyond the grill, we probably will notice the beautiful landscape lying yonder in the exact same direction. Yes, definitely, we need to be aware of the grill which lies between the landscape and us. But, let that not be the ONLY thing that we see!

P.S. Oh, BTW, the grill is still there in the second picture. The camera was focused beyond the grill.. that's all! If you look carefully, you should still be able to see the grill lines in the 2nd picture.

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Blogger Wundergal said...

Great analogy I shud say.....Agree with u on most of it.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Venkat said...

i think most of the cribbing about various things is a permanent feature. Most ppl crib about most things most of the time :)

So my point is as long as people are doing what they are supposed to, its ok. For many cribbing is just an instrument to get out momentory frustrations. In retrospect,most people would agree with every word of what you are saying. Atleast i do

12:25 PM  
Blogger Manu said...

Hmm, well, thats the point I"m trying to make. People are NOT doing what they're expected to do in the sessions. Infact, we've had times when the Instructor just gave up and left us 2 hours before time just because of the attitude of the students involved.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Krishnan said...

Well said bud. I too was exasperated. Some people just love cribbing, don't they? Quintessential desi attitude.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Herbie said...


Though, to be fair, the Influencing Skills session was the least useful of the lot.

The others were, to varying levels, reasonably useful.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Manu...

Just happened to come across your blog. Good one!!

- Swapna

3:58 AM  

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