How we do it

Sometimes, it can be quite exasperating with Chitra at the helm of things. This series must include a post on her, apart from the references I have made. As I make a mental note of that, I tell myself that I ought to be gracious enough not to mention all those things about her ways of working that bother me. Not only because that wouldn’t be a decent thing to do. I try and remind myself every now and then, that am better off thinking about all the things that I like, that I feel grateful for, to maintain a calm state of mind and pleasant disposition.

A couple of years back, a few of us sat down, at the beginning of a year to plan for things to come. It is an annual exercise, perhaps not very different from what may happen in most organisations. An interesting aside about our work in EZV, is that we have multiple ‘new years’ – one which is the calendar new year, another being the financial new year and finally, the academic new year when most schools start open after a long break. So during one of those exercises, we decided that we needed a major restructuring in the teams.

The decision itself was deliberated among a few of us multiple times. Pros and cons were analysed for hours on end, even though it wasn’t strictly necessary because much of it was quite obviously clear. Yet, a few of us did think about it fairly rigorously, went through the data and what not, and were all convinced that it was the right thing to do. So, did we go ahead and do it? That’s where the catch is. We called for meetings with everyone concerned, which was a much larger group. We started with small groups of managers first, and communicated the new ideas to them. Then, we spoke to the team leads and later, to the others in the team. We also had a joint meeting, a sort of a ‘town hall’, where we got every one together and discussed the change. In every case, not only was the new structure communicated, but the rationale was clearly explained too. Further, Chitra patiently listened to the concerns of everyone in the team, and assured them.

Back then, I wasn’t fully convinced this was necessary. Rather, I may have been prepared to forego such an elaborate process of communication, in the interest of time and efficiency. It may also just be that I was just too impatient to get on with things. When I sit down and look back at things now, I realise that I may perhaps have been blinded by the fact that I was indeed privy to the decision and its logic in a detailed manner right from the initial discussions, and failed look at it from the point of view of others. Despite this, I sometimes wonder if such a painstaking method to ensure that everyone was convinced of the need & importance of an organisational decision would be followed elsewhere. I am grateful to EZV and Chitra, for respecting every individual and one’s capacity to think for oneself, and for including us in important decisions.

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