Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Context, Crucible, Crucial Experiences of Values


Recently, I’ve tried to reflect on the apparent fickle-mindedness or the hyper-flexibility of people who act in organisational setups. It is not infrequent now to witness some of the following behaviors in client organisations.

a)     Profess a point of view, and even commit to it in writing. Then do a turnaround, as though they can do it as an act of privilege. E.g. Dishonouring a legal contract ad nauseam; so much so that the contract may now be seen as an instrument of deception itself.
b)    Enthusiastically embrace a point of view, as if to commit to a line of action. Then act, as if they’re acting out a will that is not the one that owned the point of view.
c)     Avail of services, and keep up an image that the organisation is a storehouse of virtue, until your own bills contain threads of damning evidence to the contrary.

Many consultants I know experience these issues. In India, an unreasonable charity in business is not without context. The sheer burden on time and money in following a litigious route can deter one from asserting one’s legal rights. It makes business sense to move on in life, at least when you can. Keeping that ‘suspense’ account for acts not attributable to sheer honor of contracts may often be a wise idea.

However, a charity of perspective is paradoxically still affordable. It would for example be a broad-brush sweep that paints similar incidents with the paint of Integrity. Assuming for a moment it is about absolutism, and not about particularism as may be the case made out of our collectivist, context-rich, meaning-laden interactions of tacit interweaving, why would Integrity remain stunted?
It is largely because:
1.   When we reflect on our experiences, we do not have clear notions of boundaries and limitations. As John Scherer reminds me of what TS Eliott said “Everyone gets the experience, only some get the lesson”.
2.     We ignore creeping transgressions except to track financial misdemeanours
3.     Task obsessed people use weak-ties in their social networks to inform and influence, often missing opportunities to hone core values in wholesome relationships

My inner voice these days tells me “To develop your moral intelligence, re-calibrate your beliefs”. Contexts frame the intrinsic judgment of the individual, and that too in interactive dynamism. That is a crucible for transformation indeed. More on such another time.