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  • Writer's pictureGirish Karnad

Fitting A Square Peg In A Round Hole

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Mullah Nasruddin was appointed as the prime minister by the king. One day he was wandering through the palace and happened to notice the royal falcon. Nasruddin watched the bird with a puzzled look, as he was seeing this kind of a pigeon for the first time.  He called for a pair of scissors and promptly went about clipping the bird's wings, beak and claws. Having completed his handiwork, he exclaimed , "Now you look like a decent bird. Your keeper had evidently been neglecting you !"

How often have we found ourselves in such situations in our daily lives? How many times have we tried to mould or fit someone into our definition or perception of things? Even in corporate life, managers try to fit someone into a particular role, barely considering the person's aptitude or fitment.

While fitment plays an important role at junior level jobs, it is most often overlooked at senior levels. At senior management levels, one is expected to handle any role, irrespective of his or her background and experience. In today's competitive world, senior professionals struggle to hold on to their jobs and are always looking for opportunities to showcase their competence, talent and ability to handle diverse portfolios.

Richard Branson once famously said, "If a great opportunity stares at you and you doubt  your ability to take it up, then take it up anyway. You will soon learn how to manage it." This is supposed to be one of his secrets to success. He is also known to hire talented people based on their competencies and creating roles to suit them, whenever possible.

If the CEO or MD asks if you can take on additional responsibility for a few functions, what would be your response?  Would you take time to think it over and analyse whether it fits into your abilities? Or would you jump at the opportunity without a thought?  Would you check if this opportunity fits into your career plans and personal commitments? Or would you chose to be a square peg in a round hole?

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