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Will you deliver my dream ?

July 10, 2011

          This is a guest post by Namaji who writes on diverse topics on his personal blog.

One of the regular topics that get discussed in management classes and MBA courses, is the connection and differences between Leadership and Management.  Leadership is all about dreaming, the power to conceive.  In fact, if you cannot dream enough, you can’t be a leader.  You can and should dream with your eyes on the sky.  But after you have dreamt enough, you have to set out to manifest that dream into reality.  That’s when you would step out of the balloon and set foot on the ground.

Welcome to the world of management.

Management is also about dreaming, but it’s about sharing someone’s dream, appreciating that dream and working towards manifesting it into reality. If you are also the leader who conceived the dream, then the capability to share this dream with others, matters a lot.  Not just any others, but with those who can further share it down the line and help its delivery.  Conceiving yes, but more importantly, delivery. That would, among other things, require you to set your foot firmly on the ground.

You have to connect to the last-level worker, the last mile connectivity. The last-mile connectivity may be poor, and the network is usually only as fast as the weakest link, but connect you should, nevertheless. You may not connect directly, but you may have to establish a successful communication channel, by which they can connect when they wish and you can connect when you want to have a feel of the floor. You should also connect to floor-level managers or supervisors, with middle level managers and most importantly, share the dream with them.  Share enough, may not be as vividly as the leader has conceived, but atleast enough for them to work towards the delivery.

To the extent a leader can optimally combine both of these, he is successful. To the extent there is dichotomy between conceiving and delivering, dreaming and communicating it, gleaming eyes and the sore feet, to that extent, the delivery suffers. You might still deliver, but it may not be as vivid as your dream.  The success of a leader is dependent on the success of the manager.  Either the manager you choose or, if you are the leader-and-manager, it depends upon the manager within you.

It’s often thought that dreamers are not doers and doers are not dreamers.  Because it requires two different levels of thinking and quite often it so happens that one thinks the other is not as good.  Dreamers would often call doers as mundane and doers would call dreamers as just that, dreamers.  Dreamers would like to focus on ideology and perfection and doers would like to focus on practicality and the specific environmental constraints.  Dreamers would wonder why doers are stuck in the mire of everyday rigmarole and doers would wonder why dreamers build and live in their castles in the air.

Most often, for projects that are human dreams, these two do have an intersection. To stand at that intersection, shake hands and communicate the dream and understand the doer’s viewpoint by temporarily stepping into his shoes is vital for success. So should the doer step into the grandeur of the dream, lest he get entangled with the nitty-gritties of delivery. The doer, should, although he feels boring, listen to the poetic descriptions of the dreamer. The dreamer should, though sweating the small stuff, lend a patient ear and listen to the trials and tribulations of delivery.

It is then that leadership shakes hands with management and paves the way for managers to become better managers and onwards to become leaders. With eyes on the sky and feet on the ground. Now you know that you can deliver, what stops you from dreaming grand ?

That reminds me of an old joke. There was this person, who was trying to give his first speech. It so happened the first speech was to be about a project which he had thought about and wanting to inform the public. But few know those unexpected knots that suddenly develop in the throat of a first-time speaker. The speaker began ” I conceive ….” . He got stuck. He almost lost his breath in stage fear. Took a gasp and began again, “I conceive …”. Again those knots in the throat. Legs shaking. Bath in sweat. He drank a glass of water and started again, “I conceive …” . One member of the audience really got impatient and blurted out….” You have already conceived thrice, but when will you deliver ? “

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  1. October 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm
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