The Role of Advisors! Reply

For Sunday –  July 7th 2013.

Between Us Only!

The Role of Advisors!

  • Be very careful in what you are wishing for!
  • You may get your wish to come true!
  • Be careful in choosing your Advisors – they can make – or break you!
  • Do you remember the fable of The Emperor’s New Clothes?

Human beings never cease to surprise and amaze at what they are really capable of – and doing to others – and as if nothing will ever happen to them – because they are fully covered – and have all the protection they need! But are we really sure? Have we read and analysed the situation correctly? Have we compared notes to what happened to others – and elsewhere before all these things?

There is a famous East African saying that when brothers fight – take your plough and go to farm – that is metaphorically ‘Do not get involved!’ – Because when they patch up – you will end as the loser!

There is also the Arabic saying that if my brother fights my brother – I will try to bring them together – and not get involved. But if my brother fights my cousin – I will support my brother. But if my cousin fights someone else – I will support my cousin!

Advisor 1 Advisor 2

Images Advisors – For Demonstration purposes Only!

It is also being said that in one ex colonial ruled country, the Dictator was asking his Team of Advisors – that he wanted to reverse the traffic system of the country from what it was now of people driving on the left to driving opposite to the right. He formed a panel compromising several engineers, experts and intellectuals to come up with a concrete and feasible plan on how to do the change. He was driven by bringing change to the ways of the colonial masters.

After several months and follow-ups the Advisors came up to the conclusion that the plan was not feasible due to very high costs in transformation and changes to the traffic layout and infrastructure – and it was a nightmare plan to even think off – let alone to implement! But everybody was scared to tell the bad news to the Dictator – for fear of real heads to roll if one tried to do this!

Advisor 5

Images Advisors – For Demonstration purposes Only!

So they drew lots of who would tell the Dictator. It finally dawned on one Engineer who was distantly related to the Dictator – as a possible way out of the impasse situation. He tried his best to convey the message to the Dictator. Luckily for him the man was in a good mood that day – and he did nothing untoward the messenger of bad news! Then he took the advisor aside and told him – try to see if we can at least have the big trucks go on the right for now – whilst the rest go on the left. Maybe this can work! The Engineer Advisor was baffled – because this was a sure way of increasing that fast the rate of accidents and fatalities in the country!

There are several cases reported later in history where very bad decisions were made but the Advisors were all impotent and helpless – and in fear and dread – to advise correctly and ethically because they feared for their lives’ if they said the truth to the especially draconian autocratic dictators!

Forgive me for those that really know of the advisor joke and if I had missed out the punch line! There are many other such advisors’ jokes – you can Google them! I liked also about the one of the last advisor who gave the advice to the Dictator of how he could make the whole country happy – though it is usually one group of people making the very same joke about the other group of people always!

During my career life, I have been fooled and hoodwinked that the top brass were really interested in getting ideas, feedback and research on the aspects, issues and tasks at hand! It was more a front and façade to show ‘things were changing and improving’ – and not really find out the real core and real truth of things and the situation per se!

Advisor B

Images Advisors – For Demonstration purposes Only!

I have a very clever family member who always would try to figure out what the boss really wanted – and would make him very happy by giving the same advice back to him. His outlook was – why should I be bothered – if I can get all I want from the situation – and I have lost nothing from the equation? The boss is happy – and I am happy too!

Advisor 6Advisor A

Images Advisors – For Demonstration purposes Only

We both gain from the situation – and if anything would go wrong in the plan – or its execution – he would always reiterate that he had given the boss a choice of options – and it is the boss that had opted for this one! Remember boss? The boss cannot deny it – because they usually only remember his own preferred option – and he had conveniently forgotten the other options – or even if they had been made in the first instance!

Then when things have turned out wrong and sour – the boss has only himself to blame – because of listening to his own advices – but coming out from another person’s mouth – which is all in reality that he had wanted in the first place – but was using all kinds of cover and disguise to get at it!

Advisor 4

I said this in my column years back! As kids we used to be that much scared of our father – that even one day he was reversing the truck into a coconut tree – and we dared not to shout at him to stop! Even though we were all sitting at the back of the truck – and we were most likely to be hurt in the process! Our late father got out from the truck – took a look at the slightly dented American Ford truck – and for the first time he saw the funny and the humourous part of his own dictatorial and autocratic ways – a joke he kept telling his friends for a long time after! The only thing he asked was – Why did you not tell me?  To complete silence and no answer even!

Advisor 3

In one of the most ugly and vulgar experiences as a Human Resources Consultant and Advisor – we were given names of some staff that we should come forward to ‘volunteer to the company’ as people marked out for release and termination – and a few others for fast development and progression! This came out after we had said we had interviewed most of the Staff – and what were their training and other requirements! Of course, we refused to participate in the sham scam business – and not only were we denied further business – but the payment for the current job was considerably delayed.

In one other incident at another place, we were even asked to give full names ‘of who said what, where and when’ – when we were conducting a Staff Morale (Climate) Survey! The more disturbing part was not that this was asked of us in the first instance – but that as they said – ‘others had consented to this request before’ – and we reiterated we were not like them! That too ended with the business side – with me resisting the urge from others high up ‘to please participate and join with them’ in this!

In one person I sent my books to, he gave the books to his Advisor – If you want them – that is parting remark! Please keep remembering all these things happened years ago – and I do not know if things have now really changed on the grounds – but I sincerely hope it has!

Take Care!

By Majid Al Suleimany

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