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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Irony of Contradictions

The other day, i was looking at one of my friend's honeymoon album (outdoor only) on FB. It was indeed beautiful, the location, the photography and his wife of course(with due regard)!.Other than all this beauty,i made one more observation. It was my friend's wife's attire. She was wearing shorts and a sleeveless tee shirt. This was a good combination which was getting along with her personality well. But,one thing that caught my eye was her hand which was covered with bangles from wrist to elbow. Although this was not the first time i had seen this attire, i have never been able to digest it. I sometimes consider it to be the effect of a mixed economy on our lives. I consider shorts and tee shirt to be symbols of liberation and physical comfort while bangles in the hand reflect the bounds of being a wife.We happen to mix everything and live in total contradiction.Ironically,or luckily, not even recognizing the contradiction!

Somewhat similar confusion exists in our business world as well. I very well remember the time when i used to prepare stories in order to save myself from a gang bang by bosses for having been unable to force in favorable specifications in the tender document issued by the customer. All stories used to be of no use because,mostly,it is only the best of the story tellers who rise up the ranks in sales management and have all the logic for negating your stories,the best story teller being your CEO. In professional words, as put in by my CEO, "a successful sales professional fights for his company in front of the customer and fights for his customer in front of his company". In practical terms, he has to be an adept story teller on both the fronts! Other than storytelling, our companies also expect us to possess unyielding integrity. Here,my logic fails me. How can one be an adept story teller(storyteller here is a person who covers his lies by telling interesting stories) and a man of integrity at the same time? Here also people fail to recognize the contradictions!

Let me put forth a case.All sales professionals(respectful address to salesmen), especially those who have handled government business, will easily recall the following statement of their bosses which comes soon after a tender which does not carry favorable specifications is advertised(only advertised not decided,all professionals will agree that deals are won and lost long before the tender is advertised). Tera account pe kya hold hai(as if customers were reporting to me)? This statement clearly asks the salesman to tell about the lobby that he has in that specific government department. Going by these words, every company expects its sales professionals to have a lobby in the government. As every company has a sales team for handling government accounts, we can imagine the level of lobbying that exists in the government.

If we agree with the above logic, we will have to appreciate the salesman(woman) ship of Niira Radia! Her lobby was so strong that she could lobby for the portfolios of ministers in the union government(choosing dumbest among the dumb so that she could get her work done). This is what a company expects out of its sales force. And, salesmen with such strong lobbying skills and powerful contacts are designated as CEO's and business partners of companies. 

Now comes the million dollar question. How is lobbying done? How can a salesman lobby? From the company's perspective,It is expected for a salesman to be a resourceful person for the customer.Resourceful such that he is a consultant for the customer and works towards mutual growth and benefit of the company as well as the customer. This is a statement which most of us would have read in the "vision" and "mission" statements of most organizations. But mostly, the level of resourcefulness lies in the ability of story telling. In any case, objective of all these"vision" and "mission" statements is dependent on the intent of the organization or the person who is representing the organization in front of the customer. Thus, Resourceful is a dangerous adjective. It has many meanings and when the prime intent of the organization as well as the person representing the organization is profit, being resourceful becomes even more dangerous.

Anyways, I would like to leave it for the reader to define" a resourceful salesman" considering their own experiences with salesmen and keeping in view the fact that the prime objective of this resource is to earn money. What i want to convey here is that we all are a part of this system. We get into an offensive mode when something like a Niira radia tape comes out. But, ironically,we aspire to become the same(minus controversy). We continue to live in the extreme contradiction like the woman wearing shorts and bangles, not even realising the contradictions of the situation. One factor, i can attribute for these contradictions could be compromises me make due compulsions. Compulsions of meeting our aspirations,aspirations which we develop looking at the world around! I would leave it open for readers to look for other factors. I hope we will someday come out of these compulsions and contradictions.If not come out,we will at least start recognizing them soon!


  1. abe saale. kai'ka eccentric aur religion pe likh..tera pehla para padh ke laga tha kuch sex ke baare mein padhne ko milega.. dhat tereki!!