Inefficient people and broken chains

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"A chain will always break at the weakest link"

Let us assume that you are a military commander who is creating a small team of elite warriors. You have decided to create a team of eight people. You have chosen a really elite set of people who clearly stood out from the ordinary, and you are all set to go into enemy territory with a mission to infiltrate, steal some top secret files, and blow up the facility.

And then all of a sudden, your boss gives you a call and suggests and insists (read orders) that you have to take his nephew into the team because he wants to give his nephew an opportunity to get a piece of the action, first hand experience and become a hero. You know his nephew, he's useless. He couldn't even get the basics right, leave alone being one who can match up to the rest of the elite. Taking a guy like him into the team is as good as surrendering to the enemy. You are sure he'll bungle along the way. You are worried, not sure if you should give him an important piece of task that was supposed to be carried out by the guy who was replaced to this guy... Finally, you decide to do one of the following - Either stand up to your boss and end up in a lot of trouble. Or take the klutz in, and jeopardise the safety of the team and the integrity of the mission. Or take him in, ask him to do nothing important, thus he ends up being nothing more than extra baggage. Of course, he is not as benign as baggage, for he consumes resources, food, water, and always poses a risk of getting himself or the rest into trouble. What do you do? Would you not regret having incapable people along with you? Or would you say - He too deserves a chance, not everyone can be an expert from day one.

This brings us to an interesting juncture. There are two things I would like to bring up in this post - A guy who gets a post on the basis of reservation rather than merit (reservation can be caste based, or through influence of some uncle) and an inefficient guy with whom you have to do something - could be your lab partner, your project partner, your co worker, etc.

I have a belief that a chain will always break at the weakest link. Assume that you have an important post - You will obviously expect that that post, if you are an independent third party observer, will be taken up by an efficient and intelligent person. It is ridiculous that you allow a person to occupy such a post simply by the virtue of his caste. I understand that people are being discriminated on the basis of caste and therefore they have trouble getting jobs - I can understand the result being reservation in schools, and maybe, to a certain extent in colleges - But why all colleges? Let us see what happens. Assume that a person X has mediocre intelligence. But, on the basis of his caste, he got into a prestigious institute where an enormous pressure to excel exists, or maybe a competitive environment which is full of intelligent people. If he is one who cannot cope up with that level of pressure or quality, he will naturally succumb subsequently. What will happen? Either he will drop out, or he will go to the extreme and commit suicide. If he drops out, then he is a person who had blocked the seat of an intelligent guy who would have taken that seat and excelled, but couldn't - and therefore ended up being a dog in the manger. Neither did (could) he do anything, nor did he let another who could. And if he commits suicide, then people start blaming colleges for pressure. Suicides are becoming common among students.

Colleges have the provision to expel him in the event he proves to be thoroughly useless. But imagine government jobs that are sought after by several just because getting rid of someone is extremely hard and ends up being an arduous task. If an inefficient guy occupies a seat, he will sit on the files all his life and make a lot of bad calls when it comes to decision making. Even in the work environment, you will notice such problems at times. Things get worse when inefficient people get promoted and those who worked hard and are more capable find it extremely unfair and end up resigning.

But would you, as a person with that power to appoint or fire, keep the person and give him a chance or not? I see a lot of people who say that everyone needs an opportunity to learn - not everyone is good from the beginning, they need a chance, for growth and exposure. The beauty is that, if these people owned their own companies or were a military commander where the result of the weakness of this character could directly affect them or their growth, they would certainly not say that. I agree, not everyone is good from the beginning - at the same time, they also do need chances to grow. So, what needs to be done is, either create sandbox environments for them to mess around and grow, and once ready to take responsibilities should be allowed. However, critical positions should certainly not be allowed to be held by an inefficient guy - He is useless, whether you accept it or not.

Comments of Facebook

Ashok Kumar: hmm.. you have made an often repeated and more or less a very common refrain against reservation. but please understand that the reservation or positive discrimination is provided to people who have been discriminated aginst for a few generation to say the least.. they need more than basic education to provide them equality in the true sense... all the major leaders of SC ST today (excluding the politicians) are people who got into jobs and higher degrees due to reservation

Sriranga Chidambara: And all those efficient leaders and politicians that you DON'T see are those who althought meritorious, had to give way to less deserving candidates due to reservation!

Would you trust your life to a doctor who graduated solely based on reservation?

The biggest irony of our system is that we are classifying and differentiating people as a solution to 'discrimination'.

Nikhil Baliga: @Ashok - It is not a post against reservation (though I am against reservation as well) - It is a post against an inefficient person occupying a key post. Reservation is one of the ways in which this can happen. Like I said, it can also be because of some influential uncle, etc. It results in a weak system. Reservation and the like should not be applicable to top level of anything.

Ashok Kumar: if only it were so simple and straightforward :( anyways will write more later...

Chiranth Ashok: Influence is the biggest thing one can have out there... influence gives people the power to break rules and to break the chain of command.. simplest case i have seen: a guy riding a bike without a helmet is stopped on the highway by the traffic police and all he does is- says somebody's name and rides away.. did even have a license? was it even his own bike or a stolen one? the policeman cannot ask... its a pity that our society works like this..


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