I was smirking as I saw my friend staring intently at the computer screen in front of him.
“How to tie a tie” it said in bold capital letters.
Wow, of all the atrocities of the modern world, this one takes the cake!
“How in the world can you learn to tie a tie by looking at a computer buddy?” I taunted.
“I just figured out that we can’t, so zip the talk and help me out dude!” he shot back.
Caught on the hop at the crossroads of theoretical and practical knowledge, I realised that I wasn’t alone; almost the entire world shared the same dilemma as I did. Dimly lit was the pathway to both the roads, I was nonplussed and so was everyone else.
Theoretical knowledge lays the foundation for a successful career ahead. Experts in the field claim that a person without an MBA degree is like a chicken without its head. It is an absolute prerequisite in the flea market of jobs in today’s world. The three letter suffix prefixes marriages too. “Any fiancé as long as they are MBAs” seems to be today’s mantra. Henry Ford must have felt proud. After all, whatever we read today in management has already been researched upon standing the test of time. Ground-breaking knowledge available at fingertips. We become masters the easy way. Who’d miss a free cake if they see one? So, even though mounds of books scare us white and make our knees go weak, we still stick around to witness another day. Thanks to the devil in our minds that always says “What you SWOT is what you reap”.
This then makes me think! Did we as babies learn from books to walk, talk and sleep or did we learn to drive a cycle through Google? There are only N things that we can read from books, but, infinite things to be learnt from real-life. We cannot read minds as we read books, there’s no use of a Dale “How to be successful in public speaking” Carnegie if we don’t climb the stage. That’s what management fests provide you. The chance to be THE change. We cannot read about leadership traits and behavioural theories and just expect a smooth relationship with Mr.tom, dick and harry. We can discuss so many things about financial crunches and ways to tackle it, but, it is much more than just a bunch of theories and formulas. It leads to acute pressure, it brings brutal burdens and ruthless saddles that weigh people down and drives them mad.
We can all acknowledge that we cannot make a pizza without a pizza base (revolutionary thought, maybe I should patent this quote!). Practical knowledge without a foundation of theory may lead to more harm than good. Couple both of them together and you have a deadly cocktail that makes the world bear you on a palanquin. So, it means that I was mocking my poor friend for no reason, I go back to saying that you CAN look up how to tie a tie in Google, but, ultimately you have to put into practice what you learn so that knowledge becomes your skill.
We as future managers of the nation must understand the fine difference between a glass half full and half empty. The ethics of management cannot be taught, it has to be nurtured. In the incubator of theoretical knowledge, an erudite baby is born. We have to develop it feeding practice as food everyday. The gap between being wordly-wise and worldly-wise is huge.
The best way then to learn management? Unlearn preconceived notions, participate in management fests, be part of the organizing, work with teams, people with varying mindsets, egos and cultural backgrounds, drive people towards a common goal, inspire them, motivate them, mentor them, lead them, balance a financial sheet, volunteer for events, understand your strengths and weaknesses, analyse your opportunities and threats, market yourself, come to a consensus, take a census, think on your feet, brainstorm for ideas, involve in a focus group, bring in endorsements, celebrities, meet people on the job, meet others off it, sign deals, contracts and value them, speak up, speak against, speak for, step on the stage, master the ceremony, play around, fool around, learn life, prepare for the bumpy but highly exciting road ahead. Are you ready to take the plunge? There can never be another better opportunity to test your growth than to participate in a management fest and feel the pulse rising, heart pumping, adrenaline drenching, goosebumps inducing call of life. Whether you take a step back and settle for the worst, or you step forward with courage and belief and embrace the challenges of the real practical world, it is upto you. As of now, you are just standing at the crossroads. As the light dawns and clears the hazy air, you notice a third middle path. Dare to think beyond?