Ravi: Ah.., I knew exactly what I wanted to do. A few of us from the MC like my Marketing and Sales Leads worked with me in defining these changes. Many others you know were the old timers, who did not quite understand what I was trying to do. Besides, they were always questioning and cautioning me.
Me: Did you ever consult Amitabh, your HR Lead? I think he was not an old timer. He had joined a few months prior to you.
Ravi: I did try to talk to him, but he sounded more of an old timer than the actual old timers. He was really an old school guy. He would often insist we move more cautiously. While he was one guy who voiced strong support to my vision and strategy, he often questioned my decisions on people. He often came to me with feedback from my team. He would never tell me who? He seemed to be leading crib sessions and people tended to gravitate to him. They seemed to like him. He was a nice guy, probably. He would come and play that all back on me.
Me: So what did you do?
Ravi: I fired Amitabh and got myself another HR guy. Later when I was asked to go and I was completely down and out, Amitabh got to know and he called me and spoke with me. He was so professional and had no hard feelings on what I did to him. He spoke so nicely to me. He was so concerned about me and inquired about my well being. His graciousness really touched my heart. I”
Me: That was nice of Amitabh. Long pause, for a few minutes. Ravi was in deep reflection, his face had dropped,… I could see emotions building and wrinkles showing on his face. After a few minutes of total silence…
Ravi: …. “oh GOD what a jerk I have been!”
Me: Why would you say that?
Ravi: I guess to start with I got it all wrong. Roddy Lin probably did not share my vision….
Me: Why would you say that?
Ravi: Oh, okay. I guess I shared my global CEO’s vision and had my own vision for India aligned to his. I think he agreed with my vision and purpose. What I realize is that, he did not approve the way I executed it?
Me: Okay, what about the execution did he not approve of?
Ravi: My intention was good. I had nothing against anyone, especially the old timers. I just wanted to get the job done and make all of us successful. I still believe I had a compelling vision for India and we were on the right track. If I had 3 more years, I would have turned this place around. What I did wrong was I did not rally enough support for my vision. I thrust it on people around me. I should have been patient & worked with my MC to co-create the vision as a shared vision and not my vision. It might have worked better.
Me: What I am hearing you say, Ravi is that you have got some new insights into a situation that has been bothering you for years now. You could have led the team with a shared vision and not just your vision!! I would like to acknowledge you Ravi, for your courage to self-reflect and gain this deep insight. You also mentioned you were not against the old timers? In hindsight, did your actions match your intent?
Ravi: I think I know … I know it now. Since I was biased in my view of the old timers, I saw them more as road blocks than someone who could enable my vision. Probably Amitabh was right. He used to keep saying, turn around a few old timers who have high credibility in the organization and make them advocates of your vision.. I was impatient, a man in a hurry. I had set my own timelines for success.