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Monday, April 22, 2024

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BEYOND SIGHT: Prejudice

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By Monsi A. Serrano

With the current business trend of globalization plus the advent of technology, the truly the world has become “flat”. And this is the focal point of Thomas Fried in his book “The World is Flat”. Who would have thought that the telegram, fax, typewriter, illustration boards and acetates for presentation are now passé? Both Kodak and Minolta seemed to have been caught off guard when technology evolved so rapidly that made their product upgrades obsolete as compared with more preferred camera brands these days.

As technology continues to evolve at a fast pace, competition is abandoned by some industry players who opted to stick with their traditional product line and opted to remain stagnant and trapped in analysis-paralysis instead of stepping up to their game, not just to thrive but stay relevant and ahead of the competition.

This mindset of not getting out of one’s comfort zone is rather tragic, if not idiotic. In business, building a relationship is a priori before one gets into an actual business transaction. The aim is not just for a one-shot deal, but a long and lasting relationship built throughout the years based on trust, respect and understanding. It would be primitive and uncouth to be prejudiced towards others. Not knowing one well enough is no reason to put these people in a box. Such an attitude is not a good sign and would certainly posit a serious problem that is disastrous in doing business.

I am sharing this because I met a “key person” in a company who acts as if he owns the company he serves. That’s fine because “owning” a company or treating it as if it were your own company means that you have a concern for the welfare of the company. But this guy does not want to go down from his ivory tower and apparently wants to be treated with royalty. The funny thing is, the guy in my assessment during the course of our conversation is incompetent and has a very slow learning ability because in a company that requires you to undergo probation for six months. During that period, the person who is given a task needs to develop (faster) managerial, interpersonal, and customer service skills, apart from assimilating the values that the company and founder and executives espouse.

This is the problem when someone incompetent is hired and that incompetent guy uses his gab and brags about his prestigious school as his qualification. This is no longer the case now. The school does not make a person. The measurement of one’s ability as a person and as a manager is not his school but his performance which is based on KRA or Key Result Areas. Sadly, in the highly-politicized Philippine corporate world, one thinks that his or her school will make him a good manager. To be a good manager, you must have the right Knowledge, Skills, Attitude, and Values. But if your arrogance is your qualification, you are doomed to self-destruct.

Whatever industry you come from, you must be people-oriented. Tons of patience is required, especially if you are dealing with your clients who are the ones paying for your salary and fat perks. There is no room for prejudicial people in the business world, whether you are dealing with them virtually or physically (face to face).

I always believe that the most prejudicial people are insecure. They want to throw their weight around, hoping they can earn the respect of other people. Reality checking must be done by this kind of people. Respect is never asked but earned. I just hope that this person will not suffer the fate of Brutus when he gets defeated by his arrogance and takes his life because of pride. 

You will see a lot of people like this, in the workplace not only in the corporate world, but also in public service. How to deal with them is simple. Feed their ego and give them enough rope to hang themselves by the neck. If they just hold on to the rope and continue to put their weight around, get a needle and burst their ego so that they will realize that the true measure of being a manager or a boss is to be a servant-leader and not subscribe to the medieval feudal mentality – “I am the boss, you must follow me.” Being a boss is not just about talking of the virtues, but walking the talk and setting good examples to the people under your tutelage. As the Latin cliché goes, “Verba movent, example trahent,” (Words inspire, actions influence.) The essence of being a boss is to serve and not to be served. Otherwise, you will just become a titular head, with no followers who truly respect you.

As Niccolo Machiavelli said, “The question is, then, do we try to make things easy on ourselves or do we try to make things easy on our customers, whoever they may be?”

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