Thought, Expression, and Action (TEA) Positive: Triggers and Filters in One's Mind

Thoughts, it is said, are irrepressible while expressions and actions are controllable. However, there can be no expression or action without thought. Even in involuntary actions, some system or the other of the body "thinks". The world expects all expressions and actions to be well thought out. A spiritual guru said that a blow from one person to another person can heal with time but an abuse or indictment from one to another would never heal with time. That is the power of the word, he said. Thoughts and speech can be studied with behavioural observations of a person or scanning of the person's brain. That said, every thought–expression–action linkage is neither spontaneous nor unpredictable; it is actually conditioned by one's own learning and experiences as well as expectations.

Societies (which are naturally evolved but fractious human agglomerations) and organizations (which are synthetically created but focused employee teams) require conditioned behaviour in terms of thoughts, expressions, and actions. Without conditioned behaviour, societies and organizations could be at risk of disruption, if not chaos. However, completely conditioned behaviour robs societies and organizations of the principal benefit of human existence - creativity and innovation. The need for balance between spontaneity (hence of creativity and innovation) and moderation (hence of order and discipline) is genuine for societies and organizations but quite difficult to achieve. Individuals, as they mature and develop the abilities of reflection and introspection, can help promote positive conditioned behaviour.

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Bonsai Managers and Banyan Leaders: Need for a New Paradigm for India Inc.

R. Gopalakrishnan in his book "The Case Study of The Bonsai Manager" propounded the concept that a manager who is not working at the upper end of his own potential can be termed as a bonsai manager. He goes on to analyze various anecdotes, fables, and comparisons from nature and wild life to draw analogies of managerial responses. He focuses essentially on the variables that a manager can play on to either be content with being a bonsai manager or grow into a fully functional and fully contributory manager. Gopal's thesis implies that a manager is by himself his own cause and effect; by shaping one's managerial instincts intelligently and contextually, often drawing lessons from nature, one can unleash the power of intuition in oneself and thus reach the fullest potential.

Gopal's highly innovative and intuitive conceptualization does not consider a companion concept of 'banyan leaders' in organizations. A banyan leader dominates the organizational scene, not developing powerful successor-leaders or even general managers, just as a banyan tree would, in a natural habitat, not allow the growth of alternate plant or tree life. A banyan leader, in his individual capacity, thinks, expresses, and acts as the collective wisdom of the organization, rarely allowing flowering of any independent thought. It is a moot point if a preponderance of bonsai managers causes the perpetuation of banyan leaders or the domineering personality of a banyan leader causes an organization-wide bonsai manager phenomenon. Some organizational ecosystems unfortunately set differential rules of personality development, compared to wild animal life or controlled civic life.

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India Inc.'s Globalization Challenge: Need for Cross-cultural Expertise

Globally successful organizations operate as one firm, despite being several entities. They sport a common set of vision and values while providing for locally customized strategies and structures. Cross-functional and cross-border mobility enables unity in diversity. In India, despite the heterogeneity of states, cultures, and languages, the Indian Administrative Service emerged as one singular service. In international scene, McKinsey, the leading management consulting firm is a perfect example of the One Firm concept. Virtually all large multinational corporations seek to institutionalize the One Firm concept through knowledge sharing and best practice integration. Automotive, engineering, and electronics companies have led successful globalization.

As India Inc. with its limited technical and managerial bandwidth, and the largely domestic market orientation seeks to globalize at a more aggressive pace, it needs to evolve its own paradigm of One Firm. The first need is to build a talent pool for globalization. The new breed of Indian managers bestowed with high-quality engineering and management education in reputed institutes such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), yet integrating the uniquely Indian emotional ethos, reflect a unique combination of head, heart, and gut management, so essential to meet the multiple needs of diverse countries and cultures. Strategies of globalization must be based on validated hypotheses of inbound and outbound globalization with appropriate structures and processes that deliver efficiency and effectiveness across the global network.

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