Archive | March 2016

Feedback incident

If a feedback is given, good or bad, how would you take it?

We have annual performance reviews coming up and I usually do peer reviews in a constructive format. Even, if I have something negative about the person, I try my best to project in a different format which sounds like, ah – that is true and I must improve versus I have been criticized about it. I must admit, that I get the proof reading who is good at such things and I have been learning to improve.

This work on hand takes me back to my college days where everyone in the class were asked to give feedback about our teachers although it was required to fill out our names, we were told that our information would be kept anonymous when they share the feed back with respective teachers.  Without further ado, I gave outright honest feedback of how I felt. Not that I was a good judge, nor a bright student and I thought how much would they even consider looking into 100 other students forms about the same subject that particular teacher was teaching.

Next day, in the class, I was singled out and picked on to answer particular questions of the subject. For not-so-bright or talented student I was, I could not answer. I was given hard time in front of all other students. Surprisingly, I got least marks, i am not bright, but definitely I am better than average in the class room. Everyone, could figure out that it was the result of the feedback and I am sure they must have thanked themselves for giving only positive reviews unlike me. (Call it “presence of mind” and I clearly lacked that trait.) I cried. After the class, I stepped out requested for more reasoning with that teary eye about why certain answers were marked as incorrect even though they are correct -or so I remember. She said, “you could have given me that feedback directly instead of writing it down and have other teachers handing it over to her” . But, she never asked for it in the class. Ever. I begged, i pleaded her for her forgiveness and she said – “OK”, gave me my deserved marks for the test and we both pretended we are happy with each other. I had a tendency to cry if some one raised voice or singled me out in the class.  And this goes without being said that my lab work and 20% of my final outcome did get impacted and I am sure her friends who knew about this also gave me hard time. As a result, I got the least percentage ever compared to my previous semesters. Thank goodness it was not “Autonomous” back then, I would have been screwed up royally.

Ever since that episode, some where, deep down, I am still afraid of being brutally honest about anything. I try to frame my sentences in a politically correct way. Which is not very helpful in certain cases. Also, my recent conversation with my boss for asking him (yes, very politely, not in a accusatory manner at all) about certain decisions he took that has impacted me & some of my other colleagues as well. He was very upset, sounded very irritated and fired back at me – “Are you questioning management decisions?” I was taken back, is it not right to ask questions? for that – the meeting was all about – “How can I help you?” and don’t people like being questioned? especially bosses? I maintained my stand and said, “hey – It is OK that you or I disagree on certain things, but I need an explanation and that it impacted me, that it bothers me to continue working at peace here”. I was told that it is purely their mistake and they are set to work on improving the process to be fair to all employees.  This whole thing, did left me with a bad taste. It feels like, no one seemed to have questioned him in the past by his sub-ordinates? or was he annoyed that it was my first meeting with him that had me something where his decision making skills were questioned?

Dear you – how would you take your feedback, if that is not in your favor ? Or how would you communicate something that is bothersome to your co-worker or to your boss in reviews? If you are a boss, how do you deal with any such feedback?

Rick Rescorla & Neerja

Most of you must have heard about Neerja Bhanot by now. The movie Neerja has the true account of how brave she was in saving 359 lives during Pan Am Hijacking in Karachi, Pakistan en-route to New York in 1986 .  I did not watch the movie yet, but was digging more information about it, during that process, I got interested in watching the crash of World Trade Center towers. I never had much courage to stay still and watch or read through the story of 9/11 in entirety. I pass by this memorial site every day and yet till now, I could not get myself to be able to go visit the 9/11 memorial museum. It is too much for my weak heart to take it.

I was not even in the USA when this happened, but we were glued to TV watching with utter shock. I had never paid attention to much details of it back then and until now. Call it ignorance, rather, I had so much aversion to anything that comes under the category of news. Those worldly affairs never interested me, not in the least bit. As, I see the flights crashing those two buildings with 18 minutes apart and collapsing there after was hard to believe. Most of you probably know, there is another conspiracy theory which speaks about controlled demolition from within. Flights alone are not the prime reason. They were just timed right to collapse. Do you believe that point of view?

While I scour the world wide web for more information about 9/11 survivors, I came across this great hero Rick Rescorla who saved lives of 2,687 employees of Morgan Stanley , 250 visitors and atleast 1000 other’s from World trade center building. The foresight he has saved the lives of many, otherwise, the count of dead would not have been 3000 but 6000 plus if he hadn’t been there, with such preparation.

He was a director of security at the firm, and his foresight about WTC  prone to terrorist attack through air eventually came true. He mandated frequent fire drills un-unexpectedly, regularly until it became second nature to them, despite higher executives being annoyed. The goal was to get people safe out side the building in case of actual emergency. It did finally came true during 9/11. He took actions immediately, stayed calm, sang songs and made sure each of 38 floors occupied by Morgan Stanley employees were out of the building as planned. Only 13 employees including him were dead that day. He wanted to make sure not one person was left behind the building – yes, just not alone employees of the firm he was working for, he knew all other security personals in the building as well.

Every time, I read about him or watched a story or a statement about his got me tears. What a great personality? I am touched beyond and wonder what a great convictions he has. He is one of the few heroes. The aspect that he predicted that this will happen almost a decade ago and the fire drills were conducted so regularly until it became second nature. He took his job very seriously and strongly believed in it. It also leaves us with a knowledge that – be prepared and the opportunity shall arise.

Neerja or Rick – they had same convictions, righteousness and most importantly bravery to put people first over their lives.