Monday, March 26, 2007

Emotional or Professional???

One of my project mate is Badri. Apart from the office work, he usually spends his time in Philanthropy. He is one of the key players in Vidial, a social service organization.

Recently, they are trying to convert Vidial as a trust, so that the activities could be made more professional. So, the trustees have to be selected. There are totally 5 seats and 6 nominations. Now comes the tougher part. What should be done?

The members suggested two different approaches:

1) Make the seats as 7. (Trustees should be odd). So, there is no need of election and one more member could be selected. The issue could be solved. As this would be the first election, the 7 seats could be made a default value in the future years.

2) The election can be conducted and 5 members should be selected. Rules should never be bent for any cause.

Finally, the issue was solved. How???? One of the members resigned from the election. There was no need of election. But the same number of seats existed. His remark at the time of resignation caught my attention:

"I would like to strongly emphasize that whenever we take a decision in VIDIAL, please let us put our emotions aside. It is our brains which have to work and not our hearts, in simple words we have to be professional"

Now, I have 2 questions in my mind.

1) What would be my stand, in this issue? Will I recommend a election or just modify the rule?
2) How will an Organization like Vidial work? Should it be professional or otherwise?

I thought over these issues for a long time.

1) Vidial is a Non-Profit Service oriented organization. People work in this organization only due to the Self-Interest and Service motive. So, the basic and primary building block of such organization is the service oriented mind of the individuals. So, it is very much necessary that this primary building block has to be preserved, even if that would cost some rule modifications.

The rules are set up for the first time. When the rules have already been set up, then they can be made a benchmark to solve issues. So, if a similar issue would arise during the next election, the current rulebook could be shown as the benchmark. (Now we do not have one). Also, it can be pointed out that it would involve the legal issues to increase the number of trustees (in the following years).

So, my take would be to increase the number of seats. But the person, who has resigned his nomination, has to be appreciated. He has sacrificed his post for the professionalism of the organization.

2) It is not just VIDIAL, I feel that any organization should never put the emotions aside. Finally, it is the emotion of someone which has built any organization. It is never the professionalism. The professionalism will help to sustain the growth.

Let us take Cognizant Technology Solutions. It is not the 40,000 brains that create the Cognizant. It is the dream of 3 men (Lakshmi, Chandra and Frank) that has created the Cognizant. There is no doubt that the professionalism is a major factor to maintain this huge crowd. The professionalism is like the stem. It is seen by everyone. The emotion is like the seed. Though it is hidden, it is the creator.

Recently, I have read a book 'Business Maharajas'. One of the Reliance employees had quoted "When my Child was ill, Dhirubhai had readily sent the company car at my disposal. Everyone under Dhirubhai had the trust that whatever problem we face, Dhirubhai would readily put the entire power of the company to help us". I have read a few other incidents that proved that his claim is correct. Reliance workers get the Salary too. The Salary is professional. The trust they had on Dhirubhai and Reliance is emotional.

So, which is required? Both. But if a conflicting situation would arise, then my vote would prefer emotionalism rather than professionalism. (For eg., Professionalism will suggest to invest money in 'Gold Flake' shares. But my emotions will never let me do it.)

So, what is your take?


Siva said...

I guess in the Gold Flakes example, what probably prevents you from investing is your own values or some sense of ethics. It may not be emotion. Isn't it ?

BTW, What is wrong in an election ? Is it because someone will lose it ? I see this mindset in Non profits (and the congress party) that elections are always unopposed. It is not an election then. Or is it ?

Sarangan Rajamanickam said...

Yes. It is the ethics that would stop me. But you see, ethics are built only as a result of emotions.

Yes. That is the problem with the election. When there is always a way to bypass, why should we take this route? As it is the first time, there seems to be no problem in cancelling the election.

As you mentioned the Congress party, I hope you would have read this. When Netaji was selected in the election, Mahatma was totally against it. As a result, Netaji had resigned his post... :-)

Siva said...

So you agree with the way Musharraf came to power ?

Gandhi was a perfect politician. If he didn't want Bose why didn't he contest. All this back stage politics even when recommending the first PM screwed us.

Elections give the right to everyone, well, to elect. What happened when you push sixth person to resign is a form of back stage politics. Why were the top 5 afraid of losing ? This kind of decision will destabilize any organization in long run.

Sarangan Rajamanickam said...

Backstage politics is bad. I have no second opinion. Elections are not bad. But they do hurt someone. Right or Wrong that is the fact.

This 'hurt' stuff might not be a issue in professional organisations or political parties. But they do create problems in NGOs. They are afterall run only by personal interests.

See the specific situation. You have a option to bypass the election. You have the option to make everyone happy. It is permitted both legally & ethically. So, why don't you use the opportunity?

Sarangan Rajamanickam said...

Regarding the Mahatma vs Netaji stuff, I am not able to comment anything.

We do not know what had happened at that time. We do not know the exact scenario of the country. So, It would not be proper to judge the situation.

But I strongly believe if Mahatma would have taken a decision, then that could be accepted without a second thought. The decision would have truth and reasoning in it. After all he is THE MAHATMA..

Siva said...

First of all he is just Gandhi .. I don't believe in this capital letter mahathma crap. Why do you believe in blind devotion like this ? Think. Why can't you question his decision. Is it because your history books (created by the congress govts) said so.

Agree that he had his problems. He asked Jews to surrender to Hitler. He did advice women to commit suicide to save their honor. Start calling him Gandhi please.

Honestly, Why will losing an election hurt a person ? I believe it is required especially in an NGO. To maintain it healthy, To show transparency in the organization, To show that every member is part of it. By avoiding it and as you say bypassing it you have set a bad precedent. I will rather fund an NGO which is democratically governed rather than a small organization that is controlled by a select few. For the same reason, I will never vote for congress.

Just curious, so what is the maximum term a person can hold office in this NGO.

Sarangan Rajamanickam said...

Thank the almighty that atleast i have one brother to give me a healthy argument. :-) Let me answer the easy question first. The term... The trust formation is in progress. I am not sure about the period. But I expect it to be between 1 - 3 years.

Now, the 'Hero Worship', as you pointed me at several times. I do not see anythinthing wrong in that. You see, after all, they are heroes.

I think Kalki is a hero. He might JUST be a writer. But we had/have/will have thousands of them. He was one of the rare few whose work could satisfy thousands even after 50 years of its creation. He has done something which awes me. I bow my head to his writing, proudly/happily. (Leave out the argument that he has done to earn)

I think Mahatma is a Hero. He was one of the key to Our freedom. Just think of his strategy. Could anyone believe Non-Violence will bring success against British. I have got all my facilities only because of a few like him. He was the key among them. I bow my head to him with thankfulness.
"Annanri Konrarkum Uyivundaan Uyivillai
Seinanri Konra Maharku"

Think the scenario. When the british bribed the zamindars, wouldn't they be trying to do the same with Mahatma? Why didn't he accept?

The decision on Jews. Let me have a seperate post on that. The Female issue. I do not find anything wrong with that advice.

It is better to die than to lose your honor. At the same time, Please note the words of same Mahatma. He had instructed Youngsters to marry women who returned after rapes in pakistan. I find no error in his words.

But after all, this issue could never be solved. You add a just before his name. I am not ready even to spell his name. Both of our logic would say a 1001 reasons to support our views. Afterall, that is logic.right.

I am not influenced by Our History books. Which Congress book influenced Martin Luther King? Which Congress book influenced Nelson Mandela?

These are the issues in which you should not apply the logic (professionalism). It is the intution (emotionalism) that plays a bigger role.. :-) (Finally back to the main issue)

Siva said...

And what is your definition of honor ? If you are going to say 'karpu', and explain a girl who got raped should commit suicide then I am going to stop this argument right there. (Actually I should, I guess because you said you don't find anything wrong with that advice, but I am asking you once again, Think, what is honor ? when can you ask someone to commit suicide ? Hint : That is the worst advice possible. Try to explain why)

You are saying your source is not just the history books. Then why do you say that our freedom was just because of non violence. That is from the history text direct. While in truth it is not just non violence, it is a lot of other factors too.

Leave MLK and Mandela aside for now. But How many history books refer to his opponents' point of view, say, against Gandhi / Nehru.

What is the emotion you are talking about ? Fear, Awe, Joy, Sorrow ? May be awe in case of Gandhi. But once we keep reason or logic aside, as you suggest, we are powerless. We might as well not exist.

What is the emotion in terms of the NGO ? Fear that the group might split ?

Sarangan Rajamanickam said...

You got me wrong. But, in the specific case, I meant the same 'Karpu' stuff. But I never meant that If a girl is raped, she should die.

Let me put 2 statements:
1. If a situation would arise that gives a toss between your honor and life, anyone should choose the honor.
2. But, suppose in case you lose your honor by an accident (for which you are no way responsible)then there is no mistake on your side. Get going. (Remember the request to marry the raped women)

So, both statements are totally independent. The first statement is totally independent and finite. Please do not extract corollaries from the statement. (Like If the honor is lost by accident, then we should die)

Honor could be anything. Keeping up words, (I have sat for hours in office just for a simple reason that I have given a word that I would finish the specific task. I have sometimes faced insults from few and kept my mouth shut for a simple reason they have helped me at the time of crisis and I should be loyal to them. ), 'Karpu', Being Loyal, etc.

You tell that many books do not speak about the facts. But that would certainly not the mistake of Mahatma.

Yes. Awe is a part of it. You can add Respect and Love to the list.

In terms of NGO, yes. The fear of split. Because, the undelying emotion is EGO. If that is hurt, then it would throw away persons from the organization.

And, especially in Vidial, as I personally knew, everyone (atleast who contested in election) is abled to social service. Even losing a single one will be a great loss to Vidial (any NGO)

But, after all, I accept your view that Elections are the genuine way. People should not be hurt by the results. They have to work and could try the next time. But these are all ideal concepts. (Just like my specification for my WouldBe wife (remember the blog :-))) They will not work out in the real life...