About the Author

K Ramkumar, known to his friends as Ram, has an enduring passion for triggering a discussion and joining in with gusto on a range of themes. He believes that every person has an inalienable right to express his/her view no matter how different it is to anyone else. In his book no view is unworthy or big or small. Every view from everyone deserves a consideration without getting caught up with the tyranny of agreement or disagreement.
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And what about the business of tolerance?

The following article was first published was on www.foundingfuel.com

The discourse on respecting plurality, diversity, criticism, dissent and contrarianism has dominated the public space in India during the last couple of months. Various people who have received public acclaim have voiced the need for a culture that is tolerant and gives space for fearless expression of thoughts and opinions. Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy joined in with his views on preserving the culture of valuing minority rights and concerns. RBI governor Raghuram Rajan also weighed in, voicing caution about the danger of being excessively politically correct in our social discourse. Read more »

No One is Perfectly Ethical

There are no perfectly ethical people in the world, there never have been, and never will be. The point I am trying to make here is that I am more comfortable with people like Abraham Lincoln or Mahatma Gandhi who say that they are constantly tempted through their lives and are walking on the edge of a sword – sometimes selecting the right path and sometimes falling prey to temptation and selecting the wrong path. An ethical person is someone who when pointed out that he has crossed the line, feels ashamed and corrects himself. If you do it, you are an ethical person.

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Ethical Grandstanding – Mine vs Others

I still remember the day. I was 10 years old. I found myself in front of a court at my home. My father was the prosecutor and the judge, my mother my defence counsel, and my younger sister and brother the witnesses.

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A Dogma Called High Performance Culture: Part 6 – When Feedback is Oversimplified

In this concluding part of the series, I want to examine whether feedback is a key part of any performance process. Without any doubt it is. But we have an idealistic view of the feedback process and it is often not pragmatic, particularly when it is of human performance and not of an inanimate system?

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A Dogma Called High Performance Culture: When Support Suffers and Review Rules – Part 5

Seasoned managers often emphasise the importance of reviews and support to manage performance. This is because reviews help managers track what is happening, intervene with alternate plans and allocate resources or offer suggestions on course correction. Support helps manage the psychological and the work side of the performer.

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A Dogma Called High Performance Culture: When There is Denial of Judgment – Part 4

Douglas McGregor, the 50s’ management guru, in his article ‘An Uneasy look at performance appraisal’ published in the Harvard Business Review, bemoans the penchant for managers to play god and yet want to fall back on the objectivity façade. He eloquently presents the conflicts all of us face—we want to be judgmental on the one hand and, on the other, want to look fair and objective. The latter makes us construct elaborate frameworks that appear to be objective.

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A Dogma Called High Performance Culture: When Pay-out not Performance is Managed – Part 3

Over the last 15 years, performance-linked rewards have come to occupy the sanctum sanctorum at the temple of ‘high performance culture’. In this post, I intend to challenge the pedestal this proposition is placed on.

To do that though, we need to first step back and understand how and why it evolved.

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A Dogma Called High Performance Culture : When Stretch Tears and Differentiation Discriminates – Part 2

Any modern day cult follower of ‘high performance culture’ will swear by the precepts of stretch and performance differentiation. As we normally do in this blog, let us put these two to test.

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A Dogma Called High Performance Culture: When Anxiety Trumps Accountability – Part 1

Over the last one decade, I have witnessed from close quarters, the evolution of a dogma called ‘High Performance Culture’. The term performance is not proprietary to commercial organisations only. Education, sports, liberal arts, science or for that matter every human effort which is goal-oriented, culminates in what we call performance. So, anything which has a pre-set standard or a preferred outcome is what we call performance.

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Stereotyping: That Blinding Human Folly

I often wonder why we group people in terms of attitude, aptitude, capability or proclivity. We do not even realise this is stereotyping. Even when someone points out to us the fallacy of grouping people together, we use perverse logic to justify our position. These are beliefs. Yet, we fool ourselves and others that these have strong logical and empirical grounds. We draw support from perverse statistical analysis to legitimise what is otherwise irrational.

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About the Author

K Ramkumar, known to his friends as Ram, has an enduring passion for triggering a discussion and joining in with gusto on a range of themes. He believes that every person has an inalienable right to express his/her view no matter how different it is to anyone else. In his book no view is unworthy or big or small. Every view from everyone deserves a consideration without getting caught up with the tyranny of agreement or disagreement.
Read more »


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