How to handle undeserved high positions

The world is surely biased, you will see politician’s sons becoming ministers, boss’s brothers/sisters/relatives becoming bosses/managers, superstar’s son is gets a better break and someone’s friend jumping high in position. All this is a part of the game. Also in corporate world this happens that family members are joining to a very undeserving position. Some of the companies are very strict about it, eg: Infy

On the broader blood relations issue Nilekani says that “family members of the founders can’t work here.” Murthy told me that neither his son nor daughter, now both in their 20s, will join the company.


The case with wipro is different

That must be a relief, given the dynasty that is beginning to emerge at Wipro, one of India’s other top IT giants. Azim Premji, the 62-year old chairman, controls over 80% of the stock and his 30-year old son, Rishad, is joining at the end of this month from the London consultancy office of Bain & Co, to work initially on financial services.


getting an undeserved high position
(getting a undeserved position is ok, if one knows how to handle it)

That is a part of game and many of the relatives study really hard to take care of their responsibilities but sometimes you are made the leader without enough skill sets and knowledge. Company can take a very different turn if you don’t know how to drive it properly. This post will help you handle undeserved high positions. This post is for me as well as I get (and got) many undeserving positions because of various reasons. (I need to push to office and need to finalize somethings before 12 noon, will complete it from office 🙂 , so keep reading)

Update (6 June, 2008) – Continues …..

As promised, I am going to continue my post, couldn’t do that yesterday (and a day before yesterday). It’s true that all of us can get into an undeserved high positions but how do we handle it will decide our success. So here are some of the tips:

  1. It’s ok to be wrong. Nobody is expecting you to be correct all the time but they certainly expect you to realize the mistake when it happens and will appreciate your loud confession.
  2. Being in a high position doesn’t necessarily mean your involvement at work level. You generally have to get involve in decision making and (generalized) directing. Even I will suggest you getting away from making strategy yourself (read Why CEOs Shouldn’t Set Strategy, just remember that they assumed that CEO doesn’t know the subject well. If CEO knows the subject, do get involve) , you can just be a critics to strategies and offer you suggestions. Let’s take an example: Say I am head of operations for web marketing department and we have a PPC department and link department, one day both the PPC head and Link head leaves the department. What should I do here? I will try to see if someone else fit into the position. Assuming that no one fits in the position (which is horrible situation as you alway keep building backups for every team member), what will you do? I have good knowledge about Links and very less knowledge about PPC. I will ask both the teams to prepare a strategy. Though I will help the link team in building one. With PPC team, I will listen to their suggestions and strategies, will try to understand as much as possible. If that seems logical to me, I will ring the go bell. Also I will let the team know that I don’t have much knowledge about PPC, so they need to be on their toes to run it properly.

    The core of the point is that being on a high position doesn’t mean you need to get involve in day to day work, just build people who will do that for you. You deal with heads, and direct them to direct the work force.

I have another interesting topic (Web – Personal branding Vs Corporate branding) in mind, so want to abort this one here :). Some of the qualities that will help you handle any position, be it deserved or undeserved:

  1. Good learning ability: If you can learn any field with ease, it helps you fit into various positions. As our professors used to say, “Stay student as long as possible, if possible forever”.
  2. Good upbringing or adopting good values: I remember the guy from aditya birla group (he was some head, one of the top, I forgot his name), he emphasized a lot on kitchen learning. There are few things that you learn from your families. I call them life values, like respecting others, setting right priorities in life, being honest etc. It is very difficult to learn these values later in life.
  3. Ability to change: You can’t play baseball with cricket bat. You are uniquely designed and you may fit into something but in order to help other sections you will have to bend a little, you will have to take a lower/back seat. The Ability to change is a very handy one in handling high positions.
  4. Keep an open door policy: “What the %^%$$ is it?” should be allowed for both the parties to build a good team. If the senior never allows criticisms then better he himself don’t criticize anyone. Let people express their viewpoint and assure them an honest ear. You being approachable is a great strength.
  5. Understanding your team: They are not like you, don’t expect them to be like you. Understand their strength and weakness and use them accordingly.
  6. Being Candor: Oh! How much I loved it and Oh! How much some of them hated it. I always tried to say the truth and feeling as it is, so that we can remain on equal terms. No hidden policies. Many had tough time accepting it and had all the bad words against me. Many did improve and they still thank me for that. Being Candor is not enough, you also need to make sure that you don’t develop perception towards anything or anyone.
  7. Good speaking/writing abilities: One needs to give pep up talks, one will have to write and respond to mails to keep the things moving in high energetic zones.

Wait for my next post, will be up very soon!