Saturday, March 27, 2004

In Pursuit of Growth

Change is supposed to be the only thing constant, and with change very human being aspires to grow, grow in terms of career, in terms of social influence, in terms of wealth, respect, power and what not. Growth, like change, has no limits. From time immemorial man has always being growing, be it with the discovery of wheel, metals, industrial revolution, cyber revolution, etc. Horizontal growth and vertical growth have been the major contributors of growth. When man grows with the available means in the space already available, the growth is horizontal. When space is no longer available, man grows vertically to the next stage where he creates space for himself as well as for others. This is typically influenced by discoveries, inventions, etc.

In an organization, the primary motivators for an individual could be either career or money. In both he tends to keep growing. Let me just try to look a bit deeper into growth in career. Growth, like all other adjectives, is relative. We always want to grow towards a goal, a target, something that could be long term or short term. When I speak about goal, it could be an idealistic goal based on position, designation, achievement, etc. However mostly we tend to look at seniors and say to ourselves, “Yes, I need to be like him” – basically you need to have role models. When there is no role model to look forward to, the growth is often achieved by the hard means. Why is this so?

Growth by Reference
I believe that it is easier to grow if you have a reference target, a target that you can keep referring to and check if the actions that you are taking are in line with your career growth plans. For example a technical architect could look forward towards his enterprise/vision architect who could mentor him. When it comes to mentoring, you know what you want to achieve and there is someone who has already reached that target and knows what exactly has to be done in order to reach that level. In this case it is easier to plan your growth and also avoid the pitfalls or diversions that would take place if you were to do it all by yourself. For e.g. doing a MBA may not be of any help if your aim is to continue in the technical line.

Growth by Trial
This usually more time. Even though the person gains more experience, ultimately you would be way behind the person who has grown by reference. It is highly possible that the plans you have laid is not in line with what you need to achieve. This may prove disastrous, as you would have to spend more time in turning around and taking the path you like. Moreover it is highly likely that such growth may not always bear fruit. If the organization does not have space for the goals that you want to achieve, then your growth could be hindered. At this stage, when horizontal growth (here I am considering the org. as the horizontal boundary) is saturated you need to look for vertical growth (probably move over to a new org.).

Organizational Growth
Leaving the personal growth aside, let us look at how and when an organization grows. An organization grows when its employees grow and flourish in their career. Employees taking on more responsibility within the same job profile characterize the horizontal growth. For e.g. software engineer may start off with just maintenance. He could then start coding new modules, reviewing, testing, low-level design, etc. Thus he has space for horizontal growth. Once the horizontal growth is completed he should have an opportunity for vertical growth. Often people would leave when there is less space for vertical growth. Since growth is more like a pyramid, only few people can grow vertically within an organization. Hence attrition may not really be a sign of weakness but it could also be a sign of growth, provided the number of people entering a horizontal space is more than the number of people leaving it.

Growth is a fundamental aspect of life. We need to keep introspecting whether there is growth in our career and life. We also need to keep checking the space around us available for growth and influence our decisions accordingly.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Waiting for the Morning

This poem is a reflection of the last 1317 days with which I have been associated. This is my first attempt at poetry.

derived from dreams
driven by heart
for the morning tomorrow
We sweated it so hard

when morning came
and time for bread
came the call
it was time for bed
and back to dreams!

little did We see the morning
little did We see the tomorrow in today
We did see our dreams
We did see our heart

down the lanes of memory
not so far from today
there was a dream, realized
morning had not come but
We did convert dreams to reality

now We dare to dream again
in the hope that morning will be none too far !
not just bread but with milk
We need to prepare for a journey too far !

~ Satba