Sunday, December 29, 2013

Management by Sternocleidomastoid (SCM)

One has suddenly realized that there are new techniques in management and decision making.  The IIM's , IIT's and guys who write jargon filled  books haven't yet come up with new jargon.

So it has fallen upon me to define this new technique , the "sternocleidomastoid" technique, or simply SCM, to those intimidated by spelling. 

The Sternocleidomastoid or SCM is the name given to the neck muscle, that allows humans to nod and shake their heads on demand. 

The key is to realize who the demand is from.  What must always be ignored is reasoning and logic in your own  insignificant cerebral cortex.

Consider the story of  Ashok, who belonged to a reasonably well off family,  hated school, and was into various sports with a vengeance. Career planning , for him,  unlike for the hoi-polloi , was almost a genetic thing, and given his parents' clout, many folks in the building restrained themselves from shouting when he continue to break their windowpanes with his random sweeps and flicks of the seasoned cricket  ball. 

Till one day, someone who had newly moved in, simply cribbed to the building secretary. 

Foolish chap. 

It was a special building , created with the blessings of powerful folks with great synaptic connections , all upwardly mobile.  And the powerful folks kept a benevolent, and sometimes indulgent eye.

Warnings were half heartedly issued, meetings held so they could be minuted, and certain folks appointed to look into it , prepared a report. In the meanwhile,  the management folks tried to deflect the issue, by  talking about various other things. "Nature" even helped, by creating a short circuit fire in a section of the building.  That had the public mind latch on to something else. The building suddenly got new external paint, CCTV's (as is the current fashion), and solar water heaters, for certain sections. Even a watchman with a keen eye.

As expected, the Ashok report was expected to die a quiet death by ignorance.  The building committee shoved it under some hefty files.  Ashok continued his cricket. Windows  continued to crack . People continued to look out of their windows and shake their heads. 

Till one day,  this whole affair manged to reach outside the compound wall

Powerful folks heard about it. Instructions were passed, and the building secretary stopped  smiling at Ashok's father when he met him in the foyer. 

Ashok's mother got left out of the ladies' bhishi party.   

Word had it that the powerful folks felt differently.  The benevolent eye transformed into an angry glare. On a visit, by the powers,  to the building, there were declarations on how careless destruction of property would not be tolerated. 

Here is where the concept of management by SCM, or Management by Sternocleidomastoid  comes into play. 

The lowest levels have the strongest SCM. They simply use the muscles as directed and nod. Yes, no, and a vague maybe.  There are invisible rewards for using SCM correctly. 

If the problem persists,  the management by SCM goes higher.  These guys are masters of SCM. A nodded YES can mean a NO and vice versa.  Some even specialize in oblique and undefined nods. 

In what can be only called as the  Reverse Swing Sweep facet of SCM,  the powerful types, are able to reverse the entire function and meaning of the Sternocleiodmastoid muscle action

With a single public utterance.

The secretary of the building now dusts the files, extracts the Ashok report, and begins to turn the pages again.  His SCM is in reverse mode.  Nodding the head is now shaking the head. 

Breaking windows with a carelessly swept cricket ball is now once again a crime.    

No filing RTI, no going to courts, no arguing on TV channels, no caning by riot police, no nothing. 

No reasoning, no logic, no ethics, no shame. 

Just an awareness of what year it is. 

And  the amazing ability to  manipulate other people's SCM  at will, and get credit for your management skills, without being blamed for your erstwhile earlier silences.  

Anyone going to  err...  Harvard Business School to give lectures on Management by SCM ? 

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