Introduction Each of us have thoughts. Without these thoughts, we would not be living at all. These thoughts determine our present and our future. However, we do have some bottlenecks in these thoughts and in the trail of Thoughts-Action, and the results range from our not doing simple tasks to the more complicated ones and then looking back at so many lost opportunities. Identifying and taking corrective action can help us to mitigate the negative effects and maximize the gains. Such actions will relate to a) Health/physical condition related issues b) Environmental issues c) Being grounded only in "what next" action d) Thinking aloud about opportunities and e) Review of all thoughts and actions.
Health/ physical condition related issuesIt is sometimes seen that those who are diabetic or have high blood pressure lose their temper very quickly. This very badly disturbs all their positive thought processes. They become overly emotional and sometimes even revenge enters their radar screen. With disastrous consequences.
Here is one real-world true example. The person continues to work even today, but he is always on the negative Thoughts-Action trail and people have got used to his mannerisms. In a leading auto component organization, very well known for their quality products, Ramesh (name changed) was employed as a trainee in the HR department. He was blind in one eye. His physical drawback somehow made him believe that only politics will take him forward. He was very obedient in the first twelve months of his service.
He was confirmed later. However, after this period, he would spread tales about each of the other employees in the department to the boss. These stories had so much of bitterness and most of it was untrue. The boss was a short-tempered person who believed such stories. So many things went wrong. Only those who were calm were able to sail through. Yet, his Thoughts-Action trail made everyone resort to getting the signature of the big boss on pieces of paper for whatever work was done. In a crucial period, Ramesh tried to play against the boss himself, to save his own skin, as he had made several mistakes in an internal audit. This was when the boss woke up and understood the game. He was made to openly apologize for all his mistakes. Yet, the damage was done.
There are employees with irritable bowel syndrome, for example, who are unable to remember their thoughts properly. They get confused quickly. Such people should immediately consult good doctors and take care of their health. Once this is done, the Thoughts-Action trail can be better managed.
Environmental Issues This is another big issue. The environment refers to the environment at home, at offices, and in the society. For instance, if there is a really bad neighbor who creates trouble for the individual at every stage, the individual would be lost in only such thoughts even in the office. If he or she handles cash in a bank, for example, he or she might even lose money and hand over excess money to a customer. There are real world issues.
Another problem commonly encountered is the fights that happen between husband and wife. This is a big bottleneck. Men or women try to share such woes with their closest friends. If such friends are able to bring them back on track in the office and focus on the action, everything falls in place. However, this is not the case and people tend to carry over the woes forever, affecting their thought processes. The actions will never be alright and the official performance also suffers.
Being grounded only in "What next?" action These actions always follow from positive thought processes. For example, those who explore acquiring additional skill-sets go in for additional qualifications. This requires huge hard work extending for another three hours of solid part-time study and even another two hours of commuting problems. Yet, they do it.
In the office, they put in a punishing nine hours of work and often turn up for work, far earlier than the normal time. This is exactly what should be done. The focus is always on "What next?". These individuals are least bothered about office politics. They are very articulate and have the ability to convince anyone with their work. They are always optimistic and very positive. These are the individuals who really believe in themselves. Their self-belief is infectious. They bring about positive changes in the work environment. Their ability to somehow find time for different tasks is a big lesson for others. Once we start understanding how they get things done, everything will fall in place. We can easily emulate them too.
Thinking aloud about opportunities This is an extremely important step. There are quite a few dimensions to this. It can happen in existing jobs. It can also happen in new jobs, through the lateral shift. For instance, if one has shifted to a new position in HR, where the Performance Management and Competency-based Management processes are unique, there is every possibility that such experiences will take the HR professional to the next level.
Even an experience of just twelve months enables the professionals to feel the difference. This is because there is so much of professional planning and execution. In the case of organizations like ITC, BHEL, Marico Industries, and NTPC, for example, the chances of this happening on an everyday basis is so good. huge. The organizations really believe in going the extra mile in making HR a really professional practice at all times.
It can happen in the case of those in entry positions too. They need to maximize all opportunities to learn. There could be situations where the learning could be superb. For example, in one organization, it was suspected that the canteen supervisor had made illegal money through dubious transactions by colluding with the supplier of vegetables. The external auditors requested the wholesale suppliers association of the Koyembedu wholesale market of Chennai to share the wholesale prices for an entire six months. This record was available. When confronted with the figures, the canteen supervisor admitted his mistakes. Management took a very lenient view and merely transferred this person to a very ineffective role. His increments were withheld and so was his bonus. He was told that the posting was a clear punishment for the kind of corruption he had indulged in. The HR department Chief was also pulled up for blindly signing the vouchers without even suspecting any mischief. The learning was then explained to each and every staff member of the personnel department, including the trainees.
The learning was documented and explained to each member of the accounts department too. It was then explained to them that they need to go into detail of any voucher or bill, even if it is approved by some superior. The entire thought process and action that followed was very good only because some external auditor thought aloud on the kind of action that needed to be taken to prove the corruption.
Only when the focus is single-minded on the kind of learning opportunities available in any given situation, the experience can add huge value. Each and every employee should tune his or her thought process to the Thought-Action trail in every given situation, totally focused on observation and even documentation in private, of every learning that happens through the experience.
Review of all thoughts and actions This is important too. When we start reviewing whatever happened to our thoughts in any given situation, we will be able to learn that there was something amiss. This can vary from situation to situation. Anger, for example, would have clouded our thought process. Only negative emotions such as anger could have dominated our self at that point in time. Only when we calm down our minds and then think what happened to us, can we begin tracing the entire thought process. It will be revealed that so much of negativity dominated the situation. It could have been different if we had maintained our cool.
This is exactly the kind of review that is called for. When we start doing this on a very regular basis, most of the things will start falling into place.
Conclusions Since no action happens without any thought, tracing the trail of every thought can be a very good learning experience. When done systematically, this can help each one of us to live far better lives and also take on new challenges. The bottlenecks can be easily identified. The health issues also need to be addressed.
All that is required is a very calm mind at all times. A little bit of effort can make a huge difference.
An excellent article. Reviewing of thought sequences is a good idea to examine the past mistakes and learn lessons from it. That is definitely a proper way to progress ahead.
I have to mention that it is easy to say that we should keep a calm pace in our life but the fact is that the situation and circumstances force us to behave in strange ways and we ourselves are sometimes surprised by our reactions and temperament.
So it is not easy to tame ourself in those ways as to keep a control on our aggressiveness and offensive behaviour. These things will definitely manifest in our behaviour and we may err in our judgement.