Decision taking Skills of a beggar     

Blogs : Experiences08-Oct-2013

The story simply begins like this. One day I and my uncle, who visited me from Mumbai, were out on a morning walk. It was about 8.00 A.M. in the morning. Yes, from morning walk’s angle it was rather late. But it was the right time for beggars on the street to start their day of struggle. So it was quite normal when a beggar come near us and asked for some money. My uncle, who is a retired soft-hearted person, inserted his hand into the pocket of his kurta and found a five rupee coin. He thought it should be enough for the beggar to eat at least a samosa (‘samosa’, the famous Indian snack found in almost every nook and corner of India. It has also earned the honour of being one of the top ten popular dishes of the world.). So, coming to the point, my uncle very kindly handed this coin to the beggar and asked him with little authority in his voice tone – “Go and enjoy a samosa this morning”. Then came the surprise for me. Instead of the beggar saying some usual notes of thanks, he said “You may keep the coin with you, or I shall decide myself what I should eat, or I should use this for eating or for something else”. My uncle swiftly said – “Ok! Do whatever you like”. This simple episode vibrated lots of chords in my mind. Look, even the beggar wants to take his own decisions. He doesn’t want to be guided by your decision. You may think that you are providing funds to him, but sorry! You are just giving it to him because you feel you have and he doesn’t. Mere reason that you donated the money is not enough for you to start guiding him on how he should use it. There is a famous saying in Hindi that says “Neki kar, dariya me daal”, which means forget your acts of benevolence, by throwing them into the river.

Today the biggest challenge any leader faces is to allow his teammates to take decisions. Allowing other people to take decisions is required in all walks of life. May be in a family, in the corporate world, in the political sphere and everywhere. Leaders or persons at the helm of affairs are required to provide a decision-taking-framework only. After that the decisions should be taken by individuals only. An effective collective decision would come out only when decision taking skills are inculcated in each member of any team. Remember, a decision comes after problem analysis. Each individual will have his own perception of the problem. Therefore, an individual’s problem analysis pattern will ultimately add to the quality of the decision taken. Not all decisions are required to be consensus based, but the feeling that I have a power to decide in itself is a bigger power. My vote was counted; this itself gives me sufficient satisfaction even if the final decision was not as per my wish. The power of decision making itself, prompts me to acquire more knowledge, because I care for my own decision and I always want that the final team decision should align with my wish. Do You know, what the beggar did of that five rupee coin? He counted all coins in his kitty, it must have been sufficient for him to buy a medium size white bread. I saw him buying that from a nearby store. He surely took a better decision as he could now feed his whole family with twenty slices of bread which was sufficient for the family breakfast. By buying a samosa, he could not even have fed himself fully.

Dr. Sunil Ji Garg

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