143- The grand parody
This is not a new thought i have known, but certainly a new expression. Naseeruddin Shah, the celebrated and cerebral actor lamented how stars become a parody of themselves over a period of time. I hasten to add my two bits to it, the bigger the star, starker the parody.
We are a product of our failures, the cumulative effect of what all we aspired to, but could not achieve, each leaving behind a memory if not a scar. But more tragically we are a product of our successes, each leaving in us with a certitude or two, a way of doing things that worked and seducing us to believe that it is the only way things work and will continue to work. We must remember our failures, but more importantly we must remember our successes, not as events that will caress our egos, but as reminders that in a different set of circumstances, in a different context, the same recipe could well be the recipie of disaster.
A certian kind of music does not appeal any more, a certian kind of movies does not entice any more, a certian kind of language does not express anymore, a certian kind of assumptions does not hold water anymore, a certian kind of behaviour does not engage anymore, a certian way of doing things is not effective anymore, a certian kind of mental map that guided us so well in the past, may not take us the destination anymore so on and so forth. The sandunes of time are forever changing, imperceptibly and subtly, but surely.
Leaders in business have to change thier mental maps all the time. As Lawrence J Peter says, "Everyone rises to his level of incompetence" In as much as this fear haunts me and keeps me on my toes, I see it playing out around me more than what is comforting and sustainable. Leaders becoming a parody of themselves is common sight, and it goes for actors, the more successful the leader has been, the starker is the parody. Everyone is able to to see the parody, except the architect and the victim of it.