Continuing with our rant on how stupid, dumb and mind-numbing decisions are being taken on a routine basis- all around us, this short piece is an attempt to see how we may eventually end up harming ourselves more by deploying half -measures, knee jerk reaction and imitation strategies, even as we try to do away with responsibility, accountability and ownership and use of meaningful scientifically validated rational actions! This is a journey to explore what it looks like from within in a typical case of “When the cure is worst than the disease”! So let’s roll!
To make it simple, we will see the different scenarios with increasing level of complexities which go show you how hurried diagnosis can actually make the cure worst than the illness! So here they are,
Anxiety Driven Disasters
Conformity Seeking Disasters
Information Led Disasters
“Always Agreeing” Disasters
Anxiety Driven Disasters: As the Coronovirus decided to embark on a world tour, educational institutions were caught off guard, the ones’ that were not technologically ready, needless to say suffered the most and this is where from where we get our first learning lesson! A few schools in India faced this, even as the different state governments urged schools not to ask for fees until the sessions for the next year began sometime in June/July; schools required to pay their staff so that they are able to retain their talent (which by itself is another subject altogether!). So when some parents (who yet refuse to believe that we are living in a cornered space) who had paid the fees and yet others who showed willingness to pay the fees, were told that you can pay later as schools will take time, they cam back with a boom to the schools saying, “Why can’t you go online and start, we can throw that money at your face, this is not done, we work in IT companies, we work from home, students can study from home”, so on and so forth… This trigger sets us up to the point from where everything now starts to rapidly go downhill! Well, the schools being who they are, ramped up fiercely, put extra time, teachers worked extra hard to get the content into the online format to ensure it stays meaningful and relevant for the students on this new medium and the parents were informed that, the schools were ready to start online sessions on time and that we can move ahead! This is that golden moment when the same parents who were ranting all through for their child’s loss of education etc etc, came back to the schools and started to say,” How do you expect a child in Grade I to have a laptop and use it?”, “I can’t lend my laptop for such a long time, I have office work!” So this is how shit manifests!
If only, the parents had not decided in haste, caving in to their anxiety of “What do I do with my child, who is free and I don’t know how I can add value to the Child’, and completely outsourced their kids to schools and institutes, this episode would not have manifested, likewise only if schools had the conviction and authority to let the parent’s know that, “They know more about Education” and would have not heeded and given in to the parent’s anxiety, all this colossal waste of human manpower and ingenuity would not have gone to waste! Well there is certainly a lot of good stuff which will come through all this mayhem, but if you ask me this is a very elementary level or rather a limited damage scenario emanating form a mismanaged crisis! If you are wondering what are do more damaging scenarios look like, we have our next type..waiting for us..and probably playing out near you even as you read this article!
Conformity Seeking Disasters: This is by far, one of my favorites because it is possibly the simplest to explain! The pandemic is a live example- The brash, blatant and unwarranted lock downs, shut downs, and whatever you may be calling them around the world have just ended up playing to the people who would have wanted the things to manifest the way they did! If you step back for a moment and maybe rise high- and take a bird’s eye view – you will understand- what we are dealing with is a virus attack- which has spread across different regions, nations, cities which are different demographically and socioeconomically as well, the one size fits all solution (read Lock down- which was in all probability planted into the minds of a few to be replicated by others!) has been needless to say a more bigger disaster then the virus- wiping away livelihoods, incomes, businesses and all chances of revival and hope in an unprecedented global meltdown much worse then the disease! You can pick and choose a nation of your choice, check the average number of daily deaths ( before Covid19- say for same time last year) and check them now- you will have your answers! If you are wondering why nations and leaders can get way laid- well the simple truth is – we all have evolved from Chimps and as the saying go, when uncertainty hits, it’s but natural to imitate and do what someone else has done- because if that has not harmed the other chimp, I too will be safe, hence as the first nation marketed “Lock down” as the holy potion for victory, others blindly followed, getting into a traps- which for some nations has been far far worse then the actual impact of the virus spread by itself! These episodes set off another set of economic disasters- which will run parallel to the primary challenge and will end up exhausting further the rapidly depleting and diminishing intelligence within societies to recover from the mayhem of a health emergency and financial emergency!
Information Led Disasters: I have touched this topic in my last article, this is played out more in the arena of businesses, because they thrive on their decisions both strategic and operational through important cues and visible indicators coming out through governments and regulatory agencies- so when the governments are all caught up in their own shit of “Conformity Seeking Disasters” any and all direction coming from them to businesses will be at the best confusing and contradictory- which in turn becomes a fatal blow that takes away even the remote chance of businesses surviving by trying to innovate and suggest alternative course of actions to revive and stay relevant! Businesses soon start to imitate each other, “what’s happening within my sector?” they ask, “What did they do?” in hushed whispers everyone is asking each other and then the conversations start, OK, “They have a turn over of xxx, they laid off abc, so I have a turn over of yyy so I will layoff pqr!”..Well this madness really has no sense because in this climate of Information (read Mis-Information), different contextual realities and race to Confirm and facilitate Capitalist greed, there never seems to be another way to get things done and so the death spiral among businesses starts, the result, well unemployment yes, but more importantly loss of Human Talent which comes biting back as a fierce competitor in a few short years and by then the people who have taken the decisions today are all but irrelevant and there is a new set of people grappling with this new unwanted competition for no fault of theirs! So well yes, this is one more aspect when impulsive, short sighted, best described myopic, unwarranted and unchecked haste creates a long term problem which is greater then managing a few businesses or sectors and ends up being a larger socioeconomic societal or national level problem!
Always Agreeing Disasters: When crisis hits, even battle hardened, officers will tell you, they need on their team people who can speak their mind – to anyone – certainly respectfully- but one must say what they intend to- they must speak- courageously enough even when authority seems to be faltering and making decisions either in haste, impulse or on facts which are unverifiable and lack credibility- either because of the content quality or the source! When nations are run by people who lack courage, conviction, vision and simply don’t dare suggest or question authority on the scientific rationale behind decisions being taken- it is all but certain that the future is doomed because it will always continue to hand around over the horizon which never is reached and which can never be touched! Whether you have been part of a corporate that had called for a meeting of all your unit/ SBU CEO’s and all “agreed” (read “YES” people) to cut costs and have people thrown out and calculated mathematically, myopically without understanding “Who” was being ejected out (the person- the experience- the competency angle) – it’s just a matter of time before the people who acted in such haste and impulse get the taste of their own medicine! Very often within the corporate corridors- the so called “CEO’s” (many of which I have found to be struggling with the true essence of that designation label and are nothing more then glorified managers at the very best!) act in haste and then later regret for what unfolds in due time- rarely do they get time and space to do damage control and many of them fade away into corporate obscurity with no future reference or direction like a satellite turned off and set on an endless revolution around the Earth for no joy! If you think this is bad, well when you amplify these kind of mishaps pertaining to “YES” people at governmental level especially if they are part of the strongest nation on the Earth or part of the largest democracy- just imagine how horribly wrong things can go when you have “YES” clan advising every critical aspect of national security, financial wisdom, healthcare, social justice, growth, business environments, environment, think of an area and then just imagine how horribly wrong things can go! and yes when do go wrong, as they usually will go with a decent predictable timeline- the events that unfold make national and international headlines!
Well, I will leave you here, giving back your solitude, think and feel what you are witnessing, wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, perhaps you are a national leader or a school teacher or a doctor or a pilot or a business leader or the average person who works for a living, take a step back, see the kind of decisions that are coming your way or your are obliged execute; try to decipher their source and the coded messages within the narratives; that alone is the way to salvage your today and safeguard your tomorrow to ensure that no matter who says what, “The Cure mustn’t be allowed be worst than the disease!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another piece!