Thursday, February 7, 2008

Need for answerability !

Badhri has been asking me to write this one for quite some time and finally I am down to writing this post. The very fact that it required constant reminding from him reflects the need for this post.

So here is the thing. We all are a part of this endeavour - "Targeting the Roots". We are also holding meetings regularly, but for one aberration last week. Apologies for that. I compare our thought process towards this venture with the thought process we undergo when we are at our work. Without going into the philosophies of our work dynamics, one thing that I believe is that we are more serious towards our "job" because there is this "clause of answer-ability". If I do not finish my work on time or if the quality of my work does not match expectations, I am answerable to my boss.
He is going to question me. He will embarrass the hell out of me. For many people, genuine motivation works too i.e. they love the job and therefore will go all out to achieve their goals.

The reason I brought this point out was we need to have one or both of the above motivations for our venture to progress i.e 1. All of us are answerable to one another 2. Something inside us should motivate us to think and do - make progress.

I should be discussing about TTR, the same way as I discuss work at home.
I should be browsing for more info the way I do for my career related stuff.
The thought of not progressing should trouble me the same way "Bench" troubles IT professionals.
I should be visiting our TTR blog as frequently as I do my own blog.
I should be writing on our TTR blog as frequently as I do for my blog. (For this again, there has to be a constant churning in our mind about TTR. Where else can we get our questions ideas doubts fire from?)

I am not sure how much of this can be enforced (answer-ability) and how much can be cultivated (motivation). But I have a strong feeling we need both of these in adequate measures to make a success out of this venture.

****Updated by Badhri****
I am totally on board with Aishwarya's point. So, why don't we implement it? Whatever project we take up, will also identify a "boss" to who we are answerable. What say?
For example, Aishwarya and I have taken it up for RTI and Adolescent Bridge Programs. We will have to identify
  • our "Boss", a member of the team who is really not working on the project that we are working.
  • our deadline, and our stated goal.
  • our boss will keep bothering us with uncomfortable questions about our progess all the way till our deadline date.

How does that sound?


Dhaval Patel said...

i m glad that finally we are talking abt this. i will agree for the most part with the post, but i would like to take it a step further. lets have a better structure to our initiative. here are a few suggestions:
1) two project leaders for every project: one in u.s. and one in india. there will be a change of project leader with every project.
2) work will distributed. everyone will be identified to take care of some aspect of the project. ppl in u.s. should meet atleast once a week, perhaps over a conference call via cell phone to discuss the progress. ppl in india already are planning to meet twice a week. the project leaders should communicate more frequently to keep abreast of the progress being made.
3) agree with the deadlines idea. except there should be both a project deadline and individual deadlines for the project participants.
4) every idea that is thought worth discussing will post discussion have a vote where ppl can vote yes or no with regards to the idea. everybody has to vote.
thats my 2cents. these are things i have picked up over the yrs working on various projects. i certainly agree personal ownership and leadership structure will tremendously boost our initiative.

ranjit nair said...

Badhri, Aish ..I am not sure I agree totally wiht the idea of bringing in a hierarchy to speed up things.
One big point that you guys missed out in your post is the good old motivator called 'Money' ! Remember our job pays us, and so we automatically gear ourselves to the task. Anything that is not linked to money would naturally attract some lacklustre attitude.

I feel your second point was great though. We definitely can't think about money in a non-profit ,but can of course think about all the intangible gains that we would make and motivate us towards living a more fulfilling and mature life.
Just thinking aloud, we can of course go in for hierarchy if everyone thinks that self-motivation is too philosophical a think to be practical.

Aish said...

Great! When I saw two comments to this post, I expected two comments of lip service. What I see are two ideas which are not the same. Really happy to see the gamut of opinions.

My 25 paise (that's the lowest denomination in circulation in India)

I agree that we need to be more "professional". Motivations are different for different for different people. Plus one person may have more than one motivations working together. That can be the topic of another post.

For now. Ranjit, I would like you to think about this more of an arrangement rather than a hierarchy.

Melinda Gates foundation too has an "arrangement" in place. The purpose of this arrangement is to ensure that projects that we take up as part of TTR are carried out professionally and not like a high school project (no intention of belittling HS projects).

Everything has its place limitations. Same goes for money and self drive as motivations. They have their place and limits.

What say?

Aish said...

Oh! On second thoughts, Ranjit, if the word "BOSS" gives you a sense of hierarchy, you need to forgive Badhri. He is heavily influenced by Sivaji - The BOSS

ranjit nair said...

No..I am just fine with the word BOSS :) I too am a die hard Rajni fan after all !
And yep, I think I get it now, the need to make it more professional to bring in some accountability.
Lets do it and bring in some change in the status quo where we seem to be stuck in now.