Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The power of “NO”

There are a lot of people who can’t say NO; to just about anything. Even if it hurts them personally.

In one of my previous companies I attended a training on Personal Effectiveness. It covered different personality traits. They discussed about a concept called C.O.R.E. In an exercise they evaluated the attendees using a questionnaire. I was declared a person with a dominating “E” trait. Everyone has a dominating trait and certain other supporting traits. Later on they seated the attendees based on their dominating traits starting with C. Obviously I was in the last row. But, the most important point is that in a class of 20 there was only 1 guy who sat with me on that last row. I knew I am kind of insane but I didn’t know the extent. Before I started to feel lonely, the trainer started explaining things about the concept. Normally I remember all the humiliations and insults I go through but, this is kind of exceptional. I do not remember what the acronyms C, O, R and E stand for, but I remember what he said about E. Well, later on it turned out that E people are more humane than other people, so I was happy!

Lets time travel a few more years into the past. I landed into my first job in Gurgaon. It started with a 3 months training. The training was very good, and it taught me a lot about a lot of things in the world that matter. It laid a solid foundation. I was fresh, in love and in a hurry to achieve a lot of things in life. My trainers (mostly ladies) liked me for my innocent looks and straight forward answers to their (mostly) technical queries. There was this girl called Nidhi Sharma who I knew used to like me (a lot). She was not of that sheepish sorts so she used to express herself every now and then. Once in the middle of the training the trainer decided to play “Hot Seat”. That was some real hot stuff. She said that she already has a boyfriend and she is ready to leave her for me. I was blushing and I couldn’t look into her eyes anymore! She said a lot of other feel good things about me, and then we left for the day. I was wondering about it, and then I saw her boarding the same cab. She decided to sit next to me, and she started her small talks. She said that she does face reading and she told me every damn thing that the trainer told me about the E people. She kept on talking for about an hour, and when she left a lady in the cab told me that she’ll get you. Whatever that was, that was something amazing. I am not sure if she meant what she said, but the things that she told me about me as a person was largely true. I got a scientific explanation later on, after all!!

E people can’t say NO. They want everybody around them to be happy. So much so that they care about the opinions of a strangers too. They try to be modest and ensure that they always leave a good impression. They like to make friends in the group. They get disturbed if they said something bad (even if it was the need of the hour). They can’t do routine stuff. If traits like perfectionism is also present these people are a perfect fit. They ensure a good healthy environment and get things done efficiently too! But, the biggest worry is that the points that go in favor are points that go against them. The fact that they can’t say NO, from the organization point of view, these people are effective but they always are flooded with work. They like to please people that’s why they can’t take tough decisions – and that’s one of the reasons they like to work alone so that nobody interferes and nobody gets hurt!! Wonderful!

However, the other extreme is also present and its abundant. The people who say NO to everything. The first word they utter after a discussion is over and if you asked him – they will say NO. These people are “C” people. They like to do routine stuff. They never take chances. They are conservative and resist change. Unlike E guys who like to try and work out new things, they will act a laggard and stay away from new things and try only when they are asked for or mandated to do so. You can easily figure them out in a conversation, and judge how they will react to a situation. In any conversation or discussion they are mostly on the opposing side. Its often said that its easy to criticize than to support – its because of these people. The pointers that go against them are the same ones that work in their favor. The fact that they resist change is the fact they bring stability to the organization. They bring the other aspect of the conversation strongly, and most importantly they never lose money in recession – because they invest in Fixed deposits and debt instruments than equity based instruments :) These are the people who survive bad times because of the power of NO.

There is nothing like right or wrong or good traits or bad traits. Everything in this world is relative. The people who let the correct trait dominate according to the given circumstance are winners eventually.