Thursday, February 17, 2011

Babel Tower of Corporate Confusion

The language-confusion recounted in the story of the Tower of Babel can be interpreted as follows : If a project is extremely huge, immigrants become indispensable,
This is a nugget of wisdom which I realised only after the book was already in the market.
However, in this section, where, in one of Simon's in-the-book blogs, his buddy explains the secret of Indian infiltration, they almost stumble on the truth themselves.

"You take a look at the bank around you. It is a complicated organisation. It started as a small venture a century back and grew and grew. And soon things got complicated. In most of the big giant corporations across the world, little deltas of change have added up to assume mammoth proportions. Systems have got complicated. Organisations and industries have become too complex for management.”

I agreed. The banks had grown and the systems had become more and more complicated with added services, requirements, changes in business. Hardly anyone had the full picture of any product or line of business.

“It is chaotic. The magic that the Indian brings into the equation is the ability to function in a chaotic world. The institutions back home grooms one for it. The government offices, the traffic, the education system, the hospitals, the parliament – everything is in a strange chaotic equilibrium. People who have been through the experiences back home have been baptised by fire.”

As I considered this profound thought, I asked him whether the knowledge of English played a part as well.
He became even more reflective.                  

“You know we had been colonised for over two hundred years. That works in multiple ways now for our benefit,” he smiled. I am never able to decipher between seriousness and mockery of this peculiar guy outside the tai chi class. “Colonisation helped us learn English. And along with it, it left a peculiar relationship dynamics with the white man. Most of the Indians are gratified when a white guy from any level of the hierarchy accepts him in his fold. And this is something that has led to levels of motivation that is impossible for a normal workforce to achieve. And it does not stop with the white boss, it peters down to any supervisor. However, at the same time, there is a pent up desire to topple the white – and by induction any – supervisor from the position of power. This can be linked to strategic motivation. It’s not uncommon to find both ends of the spectrum in one psyche.”

I was more than a little confused.
“But ... these are two opposite things ...”

He smiled one of those maddening smiles of his which pave the way for cryptic wisdom.
“As a learned man preaches, everything comes with its in built opposite.”

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