Just an opinion

28 Dec

If you have kids or have interacted with kids, they have a very interesting facet of knowing everything. Like my daughter came to me the other day and said that she doesn’t have to go to school now, so I asked her why that is? And she said that she knows everything and started reciting all the alphabets and numbers that she knew. And also challenged me to take her test.

Now compare this with the attitude or reality of truly knowledgeable, you can take any field but for the argument let’s take scientists. Now science probably is the epitome of human curiosity and the specialist aspect of this arcane knowledge challenges the depth of human spirit. It in its own way is a combination of imagination, observation, experimentation and creation. Now if you interact with people from this field and I was lucky enough to study under some of the best brains during my college days, the interesting aspect of their personality is their humility and acknowledgement of their ignorance. The deeper they go in their studies they realize the more they need to learn and know. This understanding makes them always open to other ideas, different opinions and views contradictory to their beliefs.

Now the same is true in possibly every other field.

The truly curious always believe that there is so much to know and so much to learn and their growth is a product of them staying students all their life.

So the contrast that is being established is the child belief and the adult truths.

Now that serious aspect and background of the post has been established, now we jump to the buffoonery part of this post, which takes leaf from the above established corollary.

Now against this let’s now contrast the corporate world. As one climbs the corporate ladder, it makes people regress to being kids rather than adults. They start believing that their opinions, which end of the day are nothing but opinions as superior to that of the people who are at lower designations. They assume a title is equivalent to knowledge. Though it is true that it is through performance (in an ideal world) one grows to higher positions but at each level they also get exposed to new realities of business. But the knowledge that is required to perform at each level is not like a data transfer, you hook in your brain to your laptop and now you are ready for the role.

An organization end of the day is like a brain, where different knowledge is stored at various points and each has to work in a synchronized manner to have the completeness of knowledge. As I read the best description of how brain works through the analogy of an orchestra.

“Let’s look at the brain as an orchestra. In an orchestra, you have different musical sections. There is a percussion section, a string section, a woodwind section, and so on. Each has its own job to do and must work closely with the other sections. When playing music, each section waits for the conductor. The conductor raises a baton and all the members of the orchestra begin playing at the same time playing on the same note. If the drum section hasn’t been practicing, they don’t play as well as the rest of the orchestra. The overall sound of the music seems “off” or plays poorly at certain times. This is a better model of how the brain works. We used to think of the brain as a big computer, but it’s really like millions of little computers all working together.”
(Source: http://www.tbiguide.com/howbrainworks.html)

The same is also true for organizations; they are a large brain with knowledge stored with the individuals working across the organization and unless they don’t function as complete units they are bound for failure.
But the true reason for failure is certain individuals who operate as independent nodes that control the overall system. As we have the orchestra analogy, the analogy for this system can be understood from cricket. The bowler cannot operate as an individual player, he needs to understand the overall field setting, the situation of the game, but if he bowls by what he believes is right, he will make the whole team fail.
Individuals as they grow must open up to ideas beyond their beliefs and develop an ability to process and assimilate knowledge and not just impart opinions.

Opinions, dear friends, are not knowledge.

Mind your business, as many would say, so I would finish here.


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