Archive | October, 2013

What is your organization’s OH Quotient?

3 Oct

According to Wikipedia, Obfuscation is the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, and harder to interpret.

“Eschew obfuscation”, also stated as eschew obfuscation or espouse elucidation, is a humorous fumblerule used by English teachers and professors when lecturing about proper writing techniques. Literally, the phrase means to avoid being unclear or to support being clear, but the use of relatively uncommon words causes confusion. That makes the phrase an example of irony, and more precisely a heterological or hypocritical phrase.

Similarly, Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs. It is also an opinion, profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted. I am sure that you are aware of the facts where people have risked their lives by such questioning. A few names like Galileo, Copernicus, Martin Luther King stand clear when we talk about heresy.

I think that these words play an important role in defining the organization leaders and how they shape and build their team. You can identify the way your leaders answer the questions, especially, tough questions. Are they open, candid or do they tend to eschew obfuscation? It is important to understand that the more they tend to hide, the more difficult they make it to their team members to follow or understand the organization. Yes, sometimes, good leaders do not disclose the details if the time is not right. I am not referring to such situations. I am talking about them who make it ambiguous willfully. 

Now, how do you identify them? Hear them talk in ‘All Hands’ meeting. They would talk on the growth part glibly; however, the losses would be covered under words like ‘challenges’, ‘competition’, ‘slow market’ etc. I understand that few times one has to put the things in right perspectives to ensure that the team does not get demotivated. However, it is good to be honest and share why the organization has not been able to scale up in those areas.

What about heresy? How do effective leaders deal with it? Most of the humans tend to go with the usual flow for various reasons – they do not want to disturb the existing environment, they long to be accepted socially and otherwise too, they do not want their team members to feel challenged by asking correct questions etc. This makes the leader go weaker and tend to make him/her feel to just go with the flow. A good leader needs to understand that he is expected to challenge status-quo. He must not be carried away to be only liked without being effective. It could be as simple pointer as this – For instance, on a lighter note, you may know that in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Ohio, idiots don’t have the right to vote. What one must question about this fact is how they identify idiots in the first place:-). Yes, if you consider technical evaluation, you can measure their IQ scores (as per http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/iqbasics.aspx, the IQ of idiot is below 20 where as the one for moron is between 50 and 69). But is that done? I don’t know.

Well, then, next time you tend to evaluate your leader, it might be good to explore his OH quotient. At the end of the day, leaders help to build and shape organizations. The sum of all OH quotients of the leaders define the OH quotient of the organization. I think OH quotient meter would make a good tool for psychologists. Hello Mr. Psychologist, are you reading this blog? You may want to get in touch with me to buy the rights 🙂