I’ve often wondered the reason why some people make it to the top; and a few don’t, eventually, I mean. Is it the lack of qualifications, degrees from top colleges, or is the interest level in their professional lives that eventually dies out, or is it lack of ‘do what you love‘ Steve Jobs philosophy… or something else. One thing that is sure is – you can easily identify the ‘stars’ from the ‘duds’ in your team from ‘the level of accountability’ they take in their personal, professional, team and overall company wide organizational hierarchical development cycle. Duds are always giving excuses, the ‘stars’ try finding out solutions to *real* problems.

Star: I couldn’t sell our membership to prospect A for Rs. 12,000/- annual. So I proposed him to tell me what is the level of investment he is willing to risk to get CPL leads over a year. He agreed to Rs. 2,000/-, so I sold him for 2 months; and promised to come back after 2 months to ask him how he was doing; if it worked well for him, to sell him more; if it didn’t, promised to give him back a cheque of Rs. 2,000/- to return his investment.
Dud: I couldn’t sell our membership to prospect A for Rs. 12,000/- annual. I always felt our pricing was wrong and customers wouldn’t pay for it.

Star: While testing home page loading, we figured out that 2 of the new social media plug-ins that we had recently incorporated makes separate HTTP calls; one of which hangs, thus, massively affecting the loading time. We removed one, replaced with a faster client based web app with the same functionality; and replaced the other one completely.
Dud: While testing home page loading, we figured out that 2 of the new social media plug-ins that we had recently incorporated makes separate HTTP calls; one of which hangs, thus, massively affecting the loading time. I have passed the issue to the QA team; hope they will come back with testing results; and we will rebuild the page and pass to QA again.

There’s a level at which reasons, eventually, stop mattering.
What matters is – whether you can deliver, OR not.

Old photo of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs holding a brainstorming meeting with his product design team at NeXT.

Old photo of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs holding a brainstorming meeting with his product design team at NeXT.

The most famous case study here worth mentioning is from Apple. Read on.

One such lesson could be called the “Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President,” and it’s a sermon [Steve] Jobs delivers every time an executive reaches the VP level. Jobs imagines his garbage regularly not being emptied in his office, and when he asks the janitor why, he gets an excuse: The locks have been changed, and the janitor doesn’t have a key. This is an acceptable excuse coming from someone who empties trash bins for a living. The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. Senior people do not. “When you’re the janitor,” Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, “reasons matter.” He continues: “Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering.” That “Rubicon,” he has said, “is crossed when you become a VP.” (Apple has about 70 vice presidents out of more than 25,000 non-retail-store employees.)

Whilst interviewing candidates for different positions, I always make sure – they besides intelligence, a solid CV, IQ, education and skill set(s), have that X-factor. The measure of accountability, passion and ‘fear of failure’ which are so very important to be successful in the corporate world of today. Reasons matter – as rightly pointed out – when you’re someone who empties trash cans for a living. As you progress through life, it stops mattering. I expect my team members to be passionate, accountable and completely self-driven for achieving success – which in turn, determines my personal and professional success and/or eventual, failure as a Manager and Leader.

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About sghoshoxon

Born in India, educated in Moscow, worked in the UK; Subhasish speaks English, Russian, Hindi & Bengali. Marketing // Strategy // Consulting, Active Blogger, Social Media Evangelist, Apple fan; Thanks to all for reading my blog posts, with 'FewRandomRantings.Wordpress.com' reaching 74,000+ visits since inception. Follow me @nerdometer.

One response »

  1. […] of the valuations in the market. There’s a fine line which when you cross – the ‘reasons for failure’ eventually stop mattering; for most companies – its becoming a Senior VP or SVP or CEO […]

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