But when all’s said and done, the biggest favour you can do to yourself is this – ignore my advice and follow your heart. For there is nothing worse than regretting a choice you made because it was the rational thing to do, not what you wanted to do. You are among the fortunate few that made it to IIM A. I don’t want this to go to your head, but there is no state of the economy where you will be left among the unemployed for any length of time. And take it from someone who has worked with MBAs from around the world – you are still the best.
On my India trip, there were visitor registers everywhere. For some meetings I had to fill out two entries in quick succession, one in the building foyer and one before entering the office of the company I was coming to meet.
I have never understood what is achieved by visitor registers. (If anyone knows any better please leave a comment.) To me it seems like a perfect waste of time. I walk in to a building, mumble something to the guard at the reception and he asks me to fill out the register – my name, company, my host’s name and company, my cell phone, mother’s maiden name…- how this improves security is beyond me. My photo id is not checked. No call is made upstairs to ascertain if I indeed have a meeting as I claim I do. So what is it for? What do they need my cellphone for? To call me if the building is on fire?
I’ve identified four tendencies that work for leaders of business units or small companies but become Achilles’ heels for those same individuals when they try to manage larger organizations with diverse needs, departments, priorities, and constituencies.
The first tendency is loyalty to comrades…The second tendency, task orientation…is critical in driving…but excessive attention to detail can cause a large organization to lose its way. The third tendency, single-mindedness, is an important attribute in a visionary who wants to unleash a revolutionary product or service on the world. Yet this quality can harden into tunnel vision if the leader can’t become more expansive as the company grows. And the fourth tendency, working in isolation, is fine for the brilliant scientist focused on an ingenious idea. But it’s disastrous for a leader whose burgeoning organization must rely on the kindness of customers, investors, analysts, reporters, and other strangers.