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Blind Side

Blind Side

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air

Thomas Grays Elegy is a piece of classical verse that has remained with me since high school. But its true import I have felt only over the course of a decade and a bit in consulting.

Most of us are familiar with that helpless feeling, when we come upon an outstanding employee who is evidently underutilized, or an obviously gifted young adolescent who is misdirected?

Who can forget the lightning gloves of a Sadanand Vishwanath, the on court ballet of a Hana Mandlikova or the sheer audacity of an Amy Winehouses vocal chords? They were patently the stuff of genius. Our collective hearts will bleed for them, and forever wonder how good they might have become.

These are the ones who got our attention. But for every one of these celebrated near misses, there are a million others who meet this fate anonymously. Unrecognized, under- leveraged or misdirected talent, running into oblivion every day. In our work too, we frequently encounter businesses (and even geographies) with very similar futures.

When we talk about unlocking value in boardrooms, there is a strange, almost impersonal, monetary ring to it. Who will unlock it? Where is it lying now? When will we unlock it?
Very often these outstanding gems disappear meekly into the darkness forever, because they werent overtly worth our time and effort. And there lies the bigger tragedy. Most often. That we fail to recognize the purest ray in individuals, organisations and entire communities. As leadership, we are often blindsided to the not so obvious lustre of ordinary mortals who work for us or alongside us. Of recipes and reputations that can so easily be ignored.
But what happens when we actively engage and pursue these doggedly. A TATA, a Fabindia, a Leander Paes. Entities who consistently punched well above their weight. Because somebody cared enough to recognize, nurture and exploit their winning traits.
Over the course of this year, I would like very much for us to talk about all those outstanding assets that need our attention, time and investment - that we will have so many more to celebrate.


Syed Sultan Ahmed said...

Dear Ramesh,

You have touched upon a very pertinent aspect of our lives these days, everyone striving to excel, but the biggest challenge is that they are not very sure what they are good at and set out to excel in stuff that they have been told is good to excel in...

I come across innumerable entrepreneurs who are struggling to find a good team and if they find good people they are struggling to make them realize their potential.

Yes the blind side needs to be explored and I would love to follow this piece to learn more from the experiences of others.