“The reliability count”- 30 July 2013

The bosses felt good that most members of the new team of trainee executives were meritorious in their education and some had good work-experience, too, in their earlier jobs. One of them, Jeevan, however, had not performed very well in personal interview. Yet he was chosen by the MD as a special consideration of his background of very limited resources. Naturally, Jeevan started his training period with a cross-mark before his name the GM Training started ignoring him during the theory-training and then on-job sessions.

Jeevan realised his limitations, but seemed determined to do well. He worked hard and did not allow much scope for anybody to criticise or blast him. Because of his approach to work and ability to learn things, he soon became popular among his peers, and they chose him to represent them in meetings, which the bosses, of course, did not appreciate.
The MD was not even aware that so many emotions were doing the rounds around Jeevan. He would see the young man on the campus and ask him how he was. Jeevan often smiled and said, “Great”. However, the experienced MD felt that something was amiss and started keeping a discreet eye on Jeevan’s activities. He found, the boy was really doing well, and felt satisfied. But the boss also realised that many seniors did not appreciate Jeevan’s selection by it had been done by him. So, in order to prove that his selection was not wrong, the MD asked his HR Manager to subject all the trainees to certain theory and on-job tests that would decide the young people’s future.
One of the points in the test was reliability. To test the trainee on this count, what was under scanner was his or her approach — Did he pick up the phone immediately? Did he call back if he could not pick up the phone? Was he on time for meetings and at arrival every morning? Did he report back to the person who had expected him to do certain tasks? Did he ensure safety of things on his neighbour’s table when the neighbour was away? Did he switch off the computers in the section if he found that the chaps had left for the day and had left their terminals open?
When the results came, Jeevan stood first on all these counts. He was a conscientious person and believed that he had to respond positively to every point of communication with others. Jeevan also did well on all the dimensions of the test that lasted several days, and was given a special assignment in Marketing Section — to oversee the training of others.
That did not go well with a couple of directors who questioned the MD’s choice. What the MD said was important:
“Friends, I understand that you have some reservations about the young man. But I have given him the assignment not because he is my relative. No. I do not know anything about him except that he came from an economically backward family. So, I thought of giving him some opportunity.
“But my choice of him in this position came on the strength of his performance on a special dimension of reliability, which I had asked the HR to do secretly. Many others, too, have done well on that count and all of them have got critical postings after training. I consider reliability as the most critical of components in any person’s work-behaviour and therefore made the selection on that count. Other counts, too, have added value to the choice, but in my opinion, reliability is the most important count.”
Afterwards, the Doubting Thomases had nothing to say. Yet, they cross-checked what the MD had said, and found everything in order.
The trouble with most people who seek jobs is that they do not realise that what counts most on a job is the person’s reliability and credibility and not his so-called smartness. There are many who look smart but are weak on the reliability count. Such people do not go a long distance in their careers, which they do not realise. In fact, seniors must start harping on this count more so that their juniors learn what makes the real difference.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *