Men and Ideas that changed my Life – Honourable Exit

When I did my Articles (Practical training for CA) I worked in a firm that was run by 2 brothers. The eldest was technically much more knowledgeable and competent but the younger was more humane.

I practically did all my work with the elder and it has helped me to this date. It has been 23 years since I completed the training but I can relate every positive aspect of my ability to those 3 short years I worked there.

But it is about the younger brother with whom I had very little interaction that I want to write about – his favourite term “give others an honourable exit”. Something I keep telling my colleagues in different words. We generally have an habit of pushing people to a corner in arguments. If only we had the ability to give our “opponents” the space to wriggle out and agree with us without offending their egos.

The past week I must have repeated this a few times, like I have done it many more times over my career to my Juniors – If i am wrong, I say, 2 + 2 is 5, don’t tell me immediately “You fool, 2 + 2 is 4”. Give me some time, the say, “Sir, May be when you studied 2 + 2 was 5, but with inflation now it has come down to 4”.

Jokes apart, what I mean is when a team member with whom you are working makes a mistake, the immediate reaction is to point it out. But this hurts his ego. He waits for an opportunity to get back. But on the other hand if this is gently broken, he would gladly accept his mistake and move on.

If this is true for smaller things, imagine how relevant it would be for major things. It is this attitude of mutual accommodation that creates “Win – Win” situations when major entities seemingly like cheese and chalk coming together and pulling off a successful partnership.

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