If the person in front of you is acting stupid, don’t think of him as a fool.
It is highly probable that he is just trying to make one out of you.
The shrill alarm woke him up, his throbbing head a reminder of last night’s headache. He walked groggily to the kitchen, and started to make his morning coffee. Waiting for the concoction to brew, his thoughts veered towards the past year. He had joined this organization full of enthusiasm and ready to take on anything. In fact, his performance on the first couple of tasks assigned had earned him praise from the big boss himself. But after those fleeting few weeks, things had started going downhill. Yes, on paper he held an important, senior position on his team; he was also generating significant revenue by virtue of his billability. But the cold reality was that since the past 10 months, he had done absolutely nothing – there was no work for him on his project. The extra-project work that used to be handed to him had also dried up. The big boss’ official position was “You have at least something to do… The others – they have nothing. So I’ve to give them first preference”. But deep inside, he was afraid – was this really true? Or was it that his boss didn’t trust him anymore?
In front of his team, he would continue to put on a brave face – after all, they looked up to him for motivation. If he didn’t stay in control, how would they? They had seen their friends get pink slips at regular intervals; they could well be next in line. And no one knew when the hammer would strike next. Sipping on his coffee, he thought of it himself – would he get the pink slip today? Tomorrow? Would he last this month? What about the loans? And being out of touch of work for about a year, how would he get a fresh job in an ultra-competitive landscape?
His throat and stomach started burning yet again; the stress would not let go. Getting dressed, he forced the fears to stay inside. Outwardly, he would continue to be the self-assured, suave leader. So what if he reached home exhausted day after day, each day closer to being a nervous wreck? His team, under any circumstance, would not be allowed to see the turmoil underneath. That was not an acceptable option. He was their leader, and he would not have his flock worrying and ruining the project – that would only make things worse.
He put on his shoes, and opened the door. Steeling his mind, he plastered a serene expression on his face, and stepped out to face yet another today.
Fridays are always welcome; last Friday was a harbinger of especially good news – my Project was shortlisted for the CEO’s award for the best managed project. From about 60 nominations organization-wide, only 12 have been shortlisted. We have at least cleared the initial Quantitative Screening criteria, later this week we are to present our case before a full jury.
After this news, the weekend was spent in a flurry of activity – getting a feel of what the jury will look for, collating the necessary data, coordinating with the Onsite folks and preparing the ppt. My boss was pessimistic about our chances, so I decided to make up for it by ensuring the presentation was smooth & sauve. I was able to sell the concept of minimalistic ppts – each slide contains between one & three words – the main idea in focus. The bullets that would have cluttered up the slide will now be spoken out loud.
Come Monday morning, and my presentation was finally ready from my side; to be reviewed and approved by my boss. A quick run-through with him, and he seemed to be OK with it. Some clarifications were asked for and given. Then he shared his expectation – he would be presenting it, not me.
The big problem with this is that I have prepared the slides in a manner which I am comfortable with – I’m not sure what the outcome will be when he attempts the presentation. Fingers crossed…