The intent is not a profound post of any sort but a very obvious rambling of thoughts. Today was a day to reflect on the past and interestingly it was it was accompanied by a observation of human behavior most likely statistical but something that surely made an impression on me.
Let’s ignore the actual work place implication for a minute and focus on the more interesting part which is a chart shared by our upper management regarding our annual review system. The short message of the chart was that about 3/4 of the people fell into the bucket that their managers expected them to be in. This seems pretty straight forward in a system with rules and where outcomes are just numbers. The interesting part is if we actually extrapolate this assumption to humanity and society as a whole. Obviously I would like to call out first that I do not claim to generalize social behavior through corporate functions or examples but rather to just put forward a hypothetical argument that if a similar function existed in society in a general manner then how can we interpret it. Also it is to be remembered that corporates are also something that we humans have created and hence every aspect in a corporate environment is just an offspring of some human thought that has manifested itself in some form of corporate social interaction or rules or boundaries. So basically the theory of corporate rules in social behavior is not absurd since they are a social entity today.
Now back to the point regarding ranking. I was surprised how well that we are able to rank others as managers and as peers particularly since I was new to the lead rols. Also this raises the question as to are we predictable. But that is not the question that I wish to discuss. The more interesting one is that "Are we only as good as what other people perceive us to be?". I know I am opening up a can of worms by asking something where individualism is challenged. I am individualist myself and do not depend on the grading of my accomplishments by others but the obvious fact is that we have managed to reduce human social characteristics and capability to a function of numbers also raises the question of are we just a part of the greater and grander equation. A quention like “can we describe humans as just fit to another bell curve?” is something that I guess will be haunt me. The interesting fact is that do we have a natural instinct to grade others and ourselves with respect to others. This form of rating is evil since it just pits one man against another and it finally manifests itself as war. You might think that it’s a bit of stretch but come to think of it corporates are just battles on a different z-plane. They don’t function with rules of military war but rather on elements of financial gain and judicial rules and at the end of the day the stock markets are definition of victory. I digress, but anyway I realized that this kind of social perception raises fear and also increase anxiety which is never constructive if the end goal is to compared against individuals of any form since humans, are at then of the day just pure ego in flesh and blood.
I don’t however wish to end this post on sad note but would like to call out a very interesting statement – "We are not competing against peers and the only competition we actually have is with ourselves!". This one statement made my day and I think will leave a lasting impression on me. The fact that this is back to the triumph of the individualist is what makes it so profound. The moment your barriers are broken and boundaries torn down, we don’t have fear of being judged and we are not limited by anyone but ourselves. This was like cure to the sickness of humans to rate and grade someone else. It almost sounds like anarchy but then again systems form by interaction and so the function of individuals requires us to break our complete individual boundaries to some extent since we are human beings and a social being after all.
This brings us back to the point that we need a system of rating and we have to consent to the fact that there will be other judging us. It might be our parents, our children, our management, our peers, our neighbors, our friends, our enemies, our teachers, our servants, our shopkeepers, our gods or just ourselves. The bottom line is that perception is necessary to help us and to move us up since if we didn’t have a difference in perception then there would be nothing to change and that almost means we stop to evolve. It also means that, how people perceive us is not totally wrong since there is an element of you in everyone and there is a probability that they might be right. There is a chance that the people who judge you are wrong but by that statement and thought you have already judged them and could you wrong yourself!!!!!!
Perceptions of others can lead to a paroxysm of grief unless we question them objectively and this is slice of society I wanted to write about today.