SMART and EFFECTIVE – At the same time!
It was just yesterday that I decided to put down my thoughts on a very common phenomenon – “SMARTER PEOPLE being INEFFECTIVE”. I personally have been a victim of this issue. Efficiency, as discussed here is not about BEING RIGHT but is about BEING ABLE TO GET THINGS DONE!
I will start with a short narration of an incidence.
It is about a SMART guy who was pursuing his PG in Management. It was a great time for him since he was learning new things, was shaping himself for future and was looking for all the opportunities that he could get to improve himself. During the first few weeks at college he could make his place in the good books of professors as a SMART student. Many of his fellow batch-mates also had the same view about him. It was a good time and he was in high spirits! He was counted as one of the SMARTER people in the lot. But, the truth was way above his understanding and perception of it. Very soon, it hit him straight in the face. Read on to know how!
The college (just like any other) had a practice of having one student as representative of the class for all internal matters – interaction with staff, management, getting things done etc. Since it was a bunch of SMART people, they wanted to have a fair process of selection of the Class Rep. The professor (a very SMART and EFFICIENT lady) came out with a plan of VOTING to select the CR from a bunch of nominees. Well, the idea got accepted by all and a consensus was built to go ahead for voting.
Our guy, on the contrary had his own reservations on the process of selection since he felt that it would not be an unanimous selection. He suggested an alternative way of doing the voting which could be more effective. His idea was accepted by all and the professor also looked happy.
Nomination process began – 3 of the fellow students (out of a batch of 60) expressed their interest to contest for the position and gave their nominations. Suddenly, people started shouting a name in chorus! Who was that? What? They all wanted him also to be nominated for the voting!! He could hear10-12 people proposing his to run for the post.
“Ok” he said! ‘I give my name for the voting.”
He felt good of the fact that people find him suitable to take up the responsibility. He was under an impression that people out there think of him as a SMART guy who can run the show well and can be really effective in the role.
The voting started and ended as well in a jiffy. There were the results at the end of it!
Well, not dramatizing it much – HE got just 2 votes out of 60! And guess what – 1 was his own (obviously he had to vote for himself – right!!).
That was a revelation for him. He was SMART but not EFFECTIVE.
He could not be effective – in making people sure about him being a good choice as their leader, in giving them confidence that if they choose him it will be in their good. The same bunch who pushed him for nomination didn’t vote for him. Maybe they didn’t find him that good – or should I say that EFFECTIVE!
He still was the same SMART guy – but the batch had rejected him as a leader. He might know what was right but he always ended up explaining it to others as to why he was right. All of that was very infuriating for him.
Today, when I look back many years in my own life, I realize that no one can do everything alone. We all need help of other people at some point in time. We have to ensure that we can make it work when the time comes.
I could have been 100% RIGHT at times – but what about being EFFECTIVE? I had seen people getting annoyed when I was just stating facts. Maybe I was not able to take them ALONG or they were actually not following what I was trying to point out!
It precisely means that I was not able to INFLUENCE them! Yes, that’s the key word – INFLUENCE. If I can’t influence my audience (in any conversation); I will always face issues and will not succeed in making people work as per my plan, in turn making me ineffective.
Here are a few thoughts which came from self learning and from other’s experience that can help in working on this issue:
Mind (or Mend) the attitude:
Attitude plays a vital role in being effective. If you always assume that you know all the answers, you are very likely going to feel frustrated. Instead, you should let others share their views. You never know you might hear some great idea that would surprise you. Develop a learning attitude and respect inputs of others. Remember one thing, everyone likes to be consulted and asked.
Being the LISTENER (also) :
During conversations or meetings try to listen to others instead of arguing or cutting them in between. Do not try to impose your views about any issue but try to listen what others have to say about your ideas. Encourage others to share their ideas and pay complete attention to what they are saying. This might sound a strenuous activity but will win you support of the people.
No meaning in being ‘MEAN’ :
You might be surrounded by people who do not understand things in the first go and you might just try to be straightforward in telling them the right thing and help them. But it’s important to ensure that you are not being rude in an attempt to be practical. People might take you to be MEAN when you are just trying to correct them. They would see you as someone who is ignoring their thoughts and is looking to have an argument to justify himself. Instead, handle the conversations more amiably, respect other’s thoughts, have short arguments and build a consensus on the solution. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ work wonder in this process.
Learn to stay quiet when it needs to:
When you are in a situation where you are up against many such people whom you think are not as smart as you but are trying to speak and put their thoughts; it’s always better to keep quiet and just observe. If you actually are the SMARTER one, they will anyhow turn towards you for solution. Speak then and make the difference. You don’t always have to TALK to show that you are SMART.
I have another short story to share here. Same bunch of management grads (in the last story ) were once sitting together, deciding on having a party. The preps were being discussed and lot of arguments were put regarding the place, food menu, music to be played, list of invitees etc etc. Our guy was also a part of the discussion and since he had been involved in many such plans earlier he was talking the most. Suddenly, one of the fellow members lost it over him and shouted, “What the hell you think of yourself? Why always it has to be you to decide everything? Don’t forget, we all are equally smart. We all are also good managers”
Her reference of being EQUALLY SMART was on the premise of being of the same batch. Our guy felt odd and decided in his own good to be quiet. The discussion went on and on for couple of hours but no decision was being made. Then the interesting thing happened. The same lady who had slammed our guy some time back reverted to him. She wanted him to help them reach to some decision. He obliged her and shared his views with the group. Everyone liked his idea and after iterations, it was finalized.
If you try to accomplish everything alone when you have to work with people, you will always face hindrances and difficulties. Instead, try to bring everyone along and focus on the effectiveness. You will be amazed with the results in getting the job done with better efficiency and to everyone’s satisfaction. By employing these methods you will get much more done from the same set of people without getting frustrated or opposed to.