Paretto Principle at Work: Few Good Men (Part 2)

Read the first part of this work place related series, here.

Last time around I wrote about 80% of the employees contributing towards 20% all work done in the office. Lets switch sides and look through the eyes of people who are core / backbone of an organization, people who are responsible for exponential growth and everyone’s salary. These people represent the ’20’ in the paretto’s 80:20 principle.

The Tyrants – My way or high way: We just gotta have one of them in each department / function. Their terror is such that even news of them coming makes everyone return to their respective workstations and appear so engrossed in their work as if this time during performance appraisals, the normal curve will have the maximum concentration in one side of the curve. Sound proofing should be mandatory in their rooms as the walls / glass panels simply fail to keep their profuse shouting / disagreements inside those very 4 walls. They are seldom good with their sub-ordinates, appear cold to the peers and extremely warm to the superiors. The most common types of employees that fall under this category are bosses / managers and ‘the Suits’ sent from the corporate office.

Why they feature in the 20%?: Ability to delegate, de-motivate (to motivate), no non-sense attitude and obsession with reaching an outcome.

The Ants – Have work, will doA quick way to spot them is to stand at your workstation during lunch, glance in all directions – this category workers are often found gobbling lunch in quick bytes with their eyes fixated in the files / on computer. After all, lunch hour is too much of a distraction for them to finish the given assignment in time.  This category is the first to reach and amongst the last to leave office. Almost always, they are found right on their workstation, tirelessly working to finish pending tasks. This is not because they are inefficient or imbeciles, its because they can’t say no and often take more work than they have bandwidth available. If a survey was done on social skills, these people will feature right at the bottom as they find it hard justify time spent on otherwise fun activities like tea / coffee / smoke breaks, chit-chat sessions, going out for lunch etc. Though looked down upon through out the year (even scoffed at), they become cynosure or enviable creature at a particular period of time in the year – announcement of performance  appraisal outcome. Most individual contributors constitute this category.

Why they feature in the 20%?: Never say no to more work, focussed approach and generally hard-working-salary-justifying attitude

The Problem Solvers – Consider it DoneBorn optimistic, these workers are often the most creative,  innovative, progressive bunch who have only aim in life – to solve the problem at hand. Present any sort of difficult problem, issue or show-stoppers to them and they will find their way out. These are the ones who kept their head above the corporate rut, messy politics, sycophancy and the 9-to-5 corporate life paradigm. Smart organizations nurture the problem solvers by keeping them on short term projects and rotate them between the departments / functions so that they don’t get corrupt and become another brick in the wall. They often claim most of the corporate awards on offer in a given year, and rightly so.

Why they feature in the 20%?: Innovative / outsider’s approach to problems, highly analytical mind, very high awareness of the organization’s business / industry and speed.

The Superstars – I know my way to the Top:  What happens when you combine all the three above? You get a superstar who will take the organization to newer heights. The superstar is usually a senior / mid-senior executive, wields so much enthusiasm and energy that people who work along get painted in the same color as him / her. Superstars always give more than 100% at work and in process, motivate and inspire co-workers to give nothing-less-than-the-best. They also have an uncanny ability to take decisions on gut-feel that almost all times, hits the bulls – eye. Cynosure of the head – hunters, an organization does all it can to keep the employee on their rolls, and the superstars justify by adding value with each moment they stay in the organization.

Why they feature in the 20%: All thinkable reasons possible!!

What’ll be your addition to this list? Share with me through your comments!


While You Say Goodbye: To Cry or Not to Cry?

This post is for one of the most special person I know – She is leaving to pursue a 2-and-a-half year program at NID, Gandhinagar. She will be sorely missed, but I wish her luck for a great, great design career ahead. After all, she is one of the 9 people in the entire India this year who will study this program! Remember, first step is the hardest…

We are a bunch of emotional people who would love to cry given a slightest of the opportunity. Be it daily soaps, rising prices or just India losing a cricket match – provocation always results in a ‘tear-jerk’ reaction, following Newton’s third law. There are many factors, reasons, causes that can make us cry, but Goodbye’s are a special category. It evokes emotions like nothing else and breaking all barriers, tears go trickling down our cheeks. Whether its a temporary Goodbye or a permanent one, we cry like there’s no tomorrow.

But I find it really difficult to cry on exactly that moment. Is it the burden of upholding the image of a Man in the society or am I just too shallow? Well, here’s why I don’t cry while saying my goodbye’s and why I will not also cry while dropping my friend when she boards her train:

Enough Crying Done Already: Be it your last day in school / college, going away from home to study/work , breaking off from a bad relationship  or getting married to the person you loved (an everyone opposed), we feel so happy all the while that we have done it! but when the moment of truth hits us, we cry. Consider this – we plan for it, we work hard for it, we execute it and we achieve it. We cry so much in the process that being successful becomes our goal and we would like to just dash past the finishing line. So, when you have already cried so much, what’s the point to cry and make it look like the worst thing ever happened / happening in your life. There must be some other ways to show you care for what’s left behind!!

Its Happening for Good: Sometimes, you have this feeling that its all happening for good. And if I ever feel that, I would never cry whatever the situation may be. This is because I have convinced and overpowered my heart so much that I can never risk becoming the hurdle or bad omen for something starting afresh, having a lot of promise, hope and good times ahead. Extremely difficult to let the logic take over in such a situation, but I really cant help and get four drops of token tears on my cheeks that I wipe off as soon the other person turns away.

Root Cause of Goodbye: How can I cry if I am the cause of the Goodbye anyway? I am the one who ushered / pushed / made a case for the very change causing the Goodbye situation? I was the one always supporting, always game for the change and worked tacitly to convert a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ and ‘never’ into a ‘lets try’…I would be the last person on earth to cry in such situations.

Avoiding Me-too Situation: When there are enough people already crying, I wouldn’t want to join the chorus and expend my share of tears too. It really becomes hard to find out in such situations as to who is the actual person in pain and who is the one who really cares? Anyway, sometimes people cry with wisdom that such a situation warrants crying (ex. sending off ceremony in marriages) and it might look odd if we don’t. I hold back the temptation and let out my tears in personal conversation where the person will actually notice and understand my feelings. Its difficult really to judge a person if he is actually bothered about you or just faking it.

When Goodbye actually becomes Goodbye, the real period of pain and crying starts –  it finally ‘sinks – in’ the cruel game that has been played by fate; suddenly you realize that there is a void, that can’t be filled or past that can’t be undone.

That’s when it hits me and hits me hard.

P.S.> All of the above are applicable in the situation I am in currently – So, my friend, I may not show but I have cried my tears.