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Facing the Sun

- Manjunath R.

Facing the top management is like facing the sun. One can't keep staring at it without the risk of losing vision. However, with proper tools and techniques viewing the Sun does not cause much harm. The same analogy can be used when dealing with top management.

We all face our top management in our day-to-day professional activities. May it be presenting reports, tabling a proposal or drafting a business case. Not all interactions are smooth. It will require lot of convincing for the required outcome. There are several reasons for it. It may be the lack of artifacts, data, analysis of feasibility etc. In reality, it is hard to understand what goes on in their mind. The 'unknown' is one of the major factors for the dismissal of the proposed business case or a proposal.

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It is near impossible to question the transparency of their decision making process - in a meeting. It needs lot of experience and right attitude to bring out the actual expectations. If mishandled, careers will be in jeopardy. Being honest sometimes is like inviting trouble. And that's why Chanakya is attributed to have said “Straight trees are cut first”.

Often, the top management tries to divert issues to something that is not a part of agenda (not really important). This may be a part of their evaluation process, so as to know how important the agenda is and how desperate we are to bring the discussion back on track. Sometimes, top management plays the role of a Devil's advocate to rule out all the possibilities which will have negative impact. If the business case is not feasible, it will die on the discussion table. Top management plays the role of a murder panel.

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Sometimes, it's contrary. Top management are so confident and enthusiastic about some business case that they may not be in a listening mode.

They could be blindsided to the negativities of the case. Being aware of the negativities, middle management people often try to bring these points to the discussion table.

Top Management sometimes may have decided something and call for the meeting to convey information that has already been decided. But, before disclosing their verdict they would like to have some warm up discussions.

In conclusion, it is hard to know, what is in the mind of top management. It is always safe to double check the data and artifacts before the presentation and be clear about the agenda. Most importantly, being diplomatic helps a lot. Emotions have to be kept under control. Surviving the scenario becomes more important.

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