The Tactical World

The world operates on a short fuse with a very short view of itself today.

Why do I make this statement?

Think about it for a minute – we see people around us who are rushing to deliver some quick information, or value to their employers or colleagues or family; students are rushing to complete and deliver their assignments; teenagers and youngsters in general, are texting away in a rapid fire manner to grab someone else’s attention span, which in itself is very short. Everyone seems to be on a short fuse, with disappointments written large on their faces when they could not achieve what they wish to complete rapidly, or when their fast work is not acknowledged either by superiors or colleagues or friends. Or, even by family members.

The world seems to have accelerated with big momentum over the past 5 years (roughly). Speed has been gathering pace over the past couple of decades, right from the advent of the internet and email. But, the acceleration and adoption of short-termism has been almost institutionalized over the past few years – at least it appears so, when you contemplate on the happenings around you in a methodical manner.

What are we achieving in the process? What is the world accomplishing in the process?

Well, for one thing, long term planning and strategy seem to be out of the door, except in business schools (which do not align with the real world fast enough). Quick reaction times are the name of the game everywhere around us. Lack of immediate reaction or no reaction at all eliminates a market participant, or a team player. Acting on quick whims and fancies in a rapid fire move is what is expected of most people. Thinking through the various options open to solving a problem in front of us appears old fashioned, and the problem visualizing brain is considered to be archaic if it cannot digest facts, numbers and issues at supercomputer speed.

Hence the perennial need for hiring speedsters from business or engineering schools who can think very fast and act even faster. Only the CEO can afford to be a bit more strategic, and we see that Silicon Valley CEOs who are not yet 30 are ruling the roost in many upcoming startups to align with the digestion requirements faced when you are populated with twenty somethings who work very, very rapidly.

Does this make sense?

For startups, yes, it does, since the time span for survival is very short.

Does it work for a family? No. Wrong thing to do. A paced out view is called for while discussing the future. A methodical manner of analysis is far better in not just trying to solve a problem, but even for identifying a potential problem. Career planning requires deep think through of the options and speed could lead to wrong choices and disaster in some cases.

Does it work for social relationships? Unfortunately not in my opinion. It takes time to build a relationship. It takes even longer to build a sustainable partnership. Keying in emotions and emoticons into WhatsApp or Line or other such applications on the smartphone cannot replace a long conversation face-to-face. Especially when you are choosing your life partner or business partner.

I don’t know if I make sense, however. I may get classified or ossified as old-timer. But, I believe in what I am saying and writing. I have personal experiences to relate to. And, I conclude that while it may be considered efficient to respond to a message within 30 seconds, that may not produce the same impact as the response which is well thought through and which takes some 30 minutes.

We have all become tacticians. We are not even thinking medium term.

How will the world shape up in the coming decades? It may become ultra fast. Feelings and considerations may not have a role to play.

Interesting, right?

Think along these lines, and I am sure you will discover more.


Vijay Srinivasan

5th March 2017


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