Threat!

I get up everyday at 6am to get my son, Vidur, ready for school. He is 5 and loves going to school.

In true Kashmiri style, I slide my hand in his tee and run his back (we call it “fush” in Kashmiri). Then I whisper good morning in his ear. He responds back. I ask him the same question everyday, “ache se soye? (Did you sleep well?)”. And he always responds in the affirmative.

I place him on the pot. He then brushes. I then shower him. Dress him up. Comb his hair. Shoes. A little bit of deo. And then we head out to the bus stop.

We are always late. Always. The bus is already there waiting for us.

Because he takes so long getting up. What should take 5 mins takes 15–20mins.

The other day I came really late from work. And was mentally tired. Knew I won’t be able to get up. Asked Ruchi to get him ready instead.

At 6am she asks him to get up. He doesn’t respond. We tries thrice with not much movement. Then she says “if you don’t get up now, I will not allow you to go to school today”

That shakes him up. He gets up. Does everything by himself.

They reach the bus stop at least 5–7 mins in advance.

— — — — — — —

When we started nearbuy 7 months back, I had imagined building a certain kind of organization. An institution where people would love to come to work, and in the hours they would spend here they would give their absolute best.

Without being asked. Or threatened. Or forced.

That’s what every talk, every book, every research told me.

People work for the larger cause.

People do not like living in fear. They abhor insecurity.

People value appreciation. And acknowledgement.

Every single colleague of mine, when I asked what they like about working with nearbuy, stating the dreaded words “awesome culture”.

I use the words dreaded, because it seemed they equated comfort with culture — “I love it here. It’s so comfortable. It’s a great culture”.

What I wanted instead was — “this organization gives us so much in the name of comfort. I don’t deserve it. I have to get up everyday and run the best 24 hours of my day to deserve it. Every single day.”

During one of the lunches with my colleagues I was asked — what is the one thing you are always thinking?

“I am always thinking — what drives people to give their best? One side tells me — opportunities and autonomy. Another side tells me — threat”

I do not know the answer.

I just shudder to think that Vidur will grow up believing that threatening is the only way to get work done.

And that’s a scary world.

I want to know what you think? Let’s start a conversation on this

Update:

Had some great conversations with everyone. Here is my crowd sourced conclusion

  1. Set an audacious goal
  2. Show the confidence in the team that they can deliver
  3. Show them the visible threat, if we don’t deliver
  4. Track progress and report back
  5. 5. Make the threat evident for the ones not delivering

Originally published at www.ankurwarikoo.com on March 21, 2016.

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