Monday, May 5, 2008

Integrity

I am an Indian and proud to be an Indian. We have many great qualities. From my experience I can say that we are emotionally rich, sharp, can put in long hours of work, intelligent, courteous etc. There are however some qualities that seem to prevent us from going forward. The most important of these is "Integrity" . For me integrity means coherence between thinking, talking and doing. If we say what we think or mean, and do (attempt to do) what we say then we have Integrity. I think this is the most important thing lacking in our society. If we are people with integrity we don't need so many highly paid managers. Managers are mostly spending their time in Indian corporations monitoring each other and this is what contributes to overheads. I have seen many times people thinking and feeling one thing and saying another thing. When this happens it is difficult for the other person to figure out if you mean what you are saying. The other person has to spend enormous amounts of time trying to find out what exactly you meant and whether you are serious about keeping your promises. It kills trust eventually and we become a society of not trusting people and it becomes a vicious circle. Another issue is attribution of motives. There are some people who always judge others from their angle and do not even realise the same. One of the outcomes of this is that we reinterpret the past in the light of our current attributions. For example if we aspire to get rich we see every one as aspiring to get rich and seem to interpret everything they do as aimed at getting rich. When Ravi Matthai decided to leave the Director's position in IIMA and decided to remain as a Professor many went on evaluating every action of Ravi as intended to join politics or seek more important position than IIMA Directorship. If he works for a University he is trying to be Minister for Education, if he works in jawaja he is trying to contest elections etc. etc. and some times do not even trust him when he used to say that management education is for all sectors and let us discover how we can apply to other fields like education, rural entrepreneurship etc.
When I moved out of IIMA my good friends used to think that I am leaving IIMA to settle in Hyderabad. If AHRD moved to Hyderabad then they would say now TV Rao will follow AHRD to Hyderabad. Every thing that happened in the AHRD was attributed to some of us while the truth is that once the new director was in position we kept ourselves totally off on all aspects and all directors did what they wanted. When we keep ourselves off we get anonymous letters why we are not doing any thing whenever something is not in tune with their expectations. This attribution comes largely out of lack of self respect and high insecurity. Why do educated people need to be so insecure about them selves and keep judging others from their own points of view I never understood. As long as we are insecure we will keep seeing otehrs from a negative point of view and attribute to them our own desires and motives. Attributions of motives leads to mistrust and politics. Unless we start trusting people and take them at face value or believe in what they say we are not likely to become a better society. If we have to trust people and take them t their face value people (each of us) also have to learn to honour our commitments or promises and also learn to speak what we believe than to play to the gallery. Speaking the truth has to pay a lot of cost. However when you do not speak the truth some one else is paying the cost and several hundred times. Who knows a small untruth you speak may destroy other individuals, institutions and even nations. Let us learn to speak the truth and make our nation a true leader.

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