Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fight or flight!

This is about a resignation episode that went on in my previous company - one of the IT majors in India and around the globe.
Typical case how companies lose talented people.


His name is Dileep. He is a very bright highly talented person. He had a very nice manager by name Geetha. Well, are managers supposed to be nice or friendly or compassionate? Lets see...

He thought he was gifted to be with a manager like her.

His first project in Coimbatore (after his return from US) was a big hit in terms of roles, responsibilities, team management with no dearth of learnings in any front - technical, process and inter-personal
But somehow somewhere, his Bangalore management was not happy with him. His performance review went for a toss! He moved onto another project.

Now in the new project, he managed about 25 people, and the team was constantly growing in size and had not more than 2 team leads. The team was inexperienced and looking forward to Dileep for advice on their every move and handle any technology related issues. All his cry for senior resources was heard with sympathy - but nothing was actually done. He sent email over email to senior management.

Poor guy!

Onsite team turned out to be utter nonsense with no capability to handle the clients in whatever sensible manner. All they could do was do a blaming exercise so that they were safe.

Geetha replaced APM Murthy with Martha to help Dileep since Murthy did not have enough bandwidth for Dileep's project. Unfortunately she hardly realized that it was like adding fuel to the fire. Martha was a newly promoted APM amongst lot of hassles (well... thats the opinion owned by many in that office). She was rude, unprofessional in handling her team members and had never liked Dileep or his wife who was in her team before. She wanted to prove a point to Geetha that her promotion was justified. There are a couple of ways to prove this.
1) You do your roles and responsibilities in an outstanding manner.
2) You put someone to bad light and you are done with your objective

Though it is unethical, she took route 2. Dileep was blissfully unaware and offered all support to make her transition smooth into the team.

Team was terrified on hearing the news. Dileep assured that her interaction would be restricted to him alone and not be allowed to step into the team members' arena, which didn't happen anyway.

When each of her attempts to dethrone Dileep from his position was shot down by him, she made bigger attempts. Finally she succeeded!

He resigned quietly.

Three months later, his name appeared in a casual chat with Geetha.

Geetha and I had an excellent rapport. To me she was (she still is) a compassionate person. She was supportive in every possible way without compromising any of the project demands.

When she casually asked about Dileep, someone said "he is having a toast as a technical manager". "Yeah... he does technical management better than project management", she replied instantly. I was taken aback for a moment.

Hmm... what made her make that comment?! She knew he was one of the best project managers and team managers across the company.

Well... she would not have any problems with convincing Chennai management because anyway, they weren't happy with him. Then where could be the problem? Where was the justification needed?

It was with the Coimbatore office. Most APMs, PLs and Managers knew Dileep as a star professional! It was conveyed, "He is good technically, but not so with project management"

Phew!! She too needed to save her back!

And there ends the drama.

But she did the best to two people - Martha and Dileep.

She rendered all her positive support to Martha despite her venomous behavior, thinking that she could straighten dog's tail.
The very same action made Dileep focus to the opportunities outside! He moved to another company. Having handled Martha and seemingly insane onsite, he was ready, fully equipped to handle any kind of person, situation and technology is his passion.

Now the question is 'did anyone do wrong here?'. Answer is 'no'. Every person trying to excel in whatever they do just do what they think is best.
When you are pushed to a point where fight and flight are the options left, it is important you choose among the two. Either you fight or quit!
Geetha, Martha and Dileep are all in good positions today carrying the learnings, experience from their past.

So, if things are not going fine, it is time you think about a change. If there is any good time to do it, it is NOW!

1 comment:

Vikram Harindran said...

Abhi
Are the names in this post real..
Its very interesting to read true accounts. Is Geetha actually Saritha?