I was asked before I took up my current assignment as the CEO of a company whether I was “confident about the plans I was putting forward” to the senior leadership and management of the company. I don’t know what came over me; I just hissed that “only fools are confident”. I had total disdain for the question as well as the person who asked it. Not because he asked it but because of who was on the leadership team. By asking me the question, he was absolving himself off the accountability and making me the sole owner of my plan.
Recently, I re-visited that question in my head after about 7 months of being in the assignment. I was still working with the core of the plan where I started but its edges had changed shape because of various factors. It occurred to me that my confidence was not owed to the plan but to the alacrity with which I brought about alternatives. But the questioner still did not fit into my picture, though he remained in the organization. And I was dealing with a lot of legacy that this person has been party to, that were derailing my plans. Is this why people question others about the confidence in their plans – because they cannot transform and / or change?
I rolled my memory back over the years and realized that people don’t like a committed person. Yes, over the years I was always committed to whatever I did. And I came off as this Confident, Brash, Arrogant person; depending upon the perspective of who was looking at it and what their cultural moorings were. People in Customer Organizations expected me to say it the way they wanted and my bosses always wanted me to dumb down with them and my family always wanted stability. And I never could manage that without losing my identity. Is being committed to a cause a road block to achieving success as opposed to being perceived successful?
I have blogged in the past about the difference between results and outcomes. I realized that I was always focused on outcomes where results were a part of the outcomes. I guess that makes me such a misfit in the society that is constantly thinking selfishly towards putting results ahead of outcome; where ME matters more than WE. It is not an accident is it, that the letter is just twisted upside down to mark a paradigm shift in perspectives?
I keep evangelizing on Growth and therefore Innovation at an Individual and Societal level while most people keep pulling me back to the terms of reality or Competition as they see it; beat it before someone beats you down. I have seen several highs and lows in my life and I know that I can always pull myself together and rise again, no matter how many times I go down. Perhaps, that is my confidence that allows me to say and do the things I Value, Believe and Assume are the most important in life? Is being prepared for the consequences of one’s own action such a bad idea?