Posts Tagged ‘Decisions’

Are you looking for a simple clear answer to the question? I cant find one better than what Dan has to say in his blog on the subject. As always, it is short to the point, no bull-bowel-voiding and very readable. Here we go:

The State Trooper And I

A State Trooper pulled me over for speeding. It feels like yesterday. It was several years ago.

I was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. My speed was between 25 and 30 mph over the limit. I sounded awesome singing along with John Mellencamp blaring on the radio.

life without consequences.png

I remember seeing the Police Officer pulling his arm in the window of his car, a black radar gun attached to his hand. I just pulled over and waited. Mellencamp couldn’t help me.

The toughest looking trooper I have ever seen walked up to the passenger window and asked if I was in a hurry to get back to the office. Obviously he saw the company logo on the passenger door.

Without waiting, he asked if I knew how fast I was going.

I replied that I wasn’t sure, but that I knew it was fast. He didn’t ask for the car registration or my licence. He simply said, “You better slow down.” Without another word, he turned his intimidating frame and walked away.

Fear turned to jubilation!

After my heart rate slowed, I became teflon™ Dan. “I can’t get a ticket,” I thought. This wasn’t the first time I’d been let off with a verbal warning.

In the next three months, I earned three speeding tickets!

In order to protect my licence, I was “invited” by the Pennsylvania State Police to attend driving school.

5 Lessons from speeding tickets:

  1. Consequences say decisions matter. Life without consequences – either good or bad –  is meaningless.
  2. Consequences express compassion, when delivered with a person’s best interest in mind.
  3. Don’t feel responsible to help irresponsibility. Too much help doesn’t help.
  4. Deal quickly with issues. It’s irresponsible to neglect holding people responsible.
  5. Create an environment where performance is expected, enjoyed, and honored.

Motivation: Hold people to their decisions, because it’s best for them.

How might leaders hold people accountable in ways that serve them and organizations?

A simple prescription for effective leadership, yet profound, I thought. Not for winning popularity contests.

You may enjoy reading Dan’s posts at: leadershipfreak.wordpress.com.


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This anecdote comes again from B:


1967 March/April. I was appearing for my Intermediate examination (13th year) at a college in south Mumbai. Those days it was 11 years in school, 2 years of pre-degree in college and another 2 years in a bachelor’s degree course.

It was the day of Hindi exam. As always I did my namaskars to Lord Ganesha (the deity thought to remove all obstacles) and to my mother before leaving the house. A practice widely followed in my generation.

Most of candidates taking the examination were already employed in paying job,now wanting to earn a university degree to further their career prospects. In preparation for the same they would attend coaching classes in the morning while attending to their jobs during the day.

So here I was in the examination hall staring blankly at the question paper in Hindi. Most of us – I and others in the hall – were migrants from south, poor in Hindi, disinterested as well beyond the need of the situation. There was no choice before us as Hindi was mandated and we had to pass.

The supervisor in the hall knew the predicament. He closed his eyes to the candidates freely copying from whatever sources including text-books. And I was staring at the question paper like I was decoding script from the Indus Valley tablets. Before long the roving eyes of the supervisor settled on a-completely-unengaged me. He moved to station himself near my desk and sent out subtle signals for me to “do what you want”,

It was not difficult at all for me to decide – I wrote what I could and came away. To me, a standing injunction against less-than-honest means from my mother, a-not-so-preachy financially weak and uneducated single parent, was simply non-negotiable come what may.

When the results were declared  I was surprised to note from newspapers that I had passed!

The  mark-sheet subsequently issued showed I had scored a bountiful 6 out of 75 marks against a minimum passing requirement of 15. So the newspapers were wrong.It had to be. Though none of it was unexpected I was still devastated.

In sheer disgust I gazed at the mark-sheet hoping for some miracle. And there it was!

There was a special note at the bottom of the nothing-to-speak-of mark-sheet:  Failure in Hindi condoned under section….” Reason: I had passed / scored well on all other papers. The powers that be were taking a kinder view of the matter in their efforts to promote Hindi (as national language).

While we all conduct our lives adopting a certain code of ethics learnt either from elders in the family or in school, we differ in our intensity of compliance.

Oftentimes we cite exigencies:

 ‘We have to move with time,

We have to be flexible and realistic,

Just this once

to permit ourselves infractions that are minor to begin with, insidiously building up into major breaches over time. Every shred starts with a tear.

In the above anecdote B steadfastly holds onto his tenet of not resorting to less-than-honest means to achieve an end as simply inviolable and non-negotiable even in the face of adverse fallout’s. From there it was no longer a difficult decision for him to make.

A courage we wish we had more of.

In an earlier post (see https://tskraghu.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/a-wrong-was-righted-and-how/) B was introduced as my neighbor for years. And also the father of the highly successful and talented Vidya Balan of Bollywood.





Source: openclipart (amroud999)

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