The Artful Dodgers

Why Salman Khan Ran for 13 years and How Rahul Yadav Had a Tantrum

May heralded more than the scorching heat of summer. Two significant events ruled the headlines in the first fortnight of the month. One was the conviction of actor Salman Khan for a hit-and-run case that took place in 2002, In the second incident, a relatively unknown Chief Executive of a me-too start-up property portal, had a tantrum, resigned and then withdrew his resignation,throwing the world of venture funds into a tizzy.

Why Salman Khan Ran for 13 years and How Rahul Yadav Had a Tantrum

Khan’s case is still sub-judice (in fact it is building up into a fine case of whodunit) so we shall not really get into discussing the merits of the case as such but let us rather draw on it as an example for our case study  – based largely on the limited and speculative knowledge of the ubiquitous media. For those of you who are aspiring to join a business school and thoseof you are in the midst of it and on the verge of graduating – be warned. There is a lesson in this – and I am not talking about drunken driving (though of course, there is that too).

Thou shalt commit mistakes; it’s part of living, you can’t escape it. (That is however not the lesson). All of us are guilty of having committed some mistakes – some grave and some not so grave. Some mistakes however do harm to other people and then that creates an added dimension to the problem. However, mistakes are never intentional, they just happen.

What happens next is more important and that is where the lesson is. How do you deal with it? Do you own up to it? Do you pretend it hasn’t happened? Do you ignore the problem, thinking that it will go away? Or do you build up a fantastic case of alibis and witnesses all swearing that you did not have anything to do with it?

If we take the last alternative, it requires quite a bit of planning, money-power and you have to rely on somebody else’s integrity not to give you away. Which, seems rather a contradiction in terms because their integrity has already been bought by you; and once bought, it is always up for auction to the next highest bidder. You can truly hide your misdemeanours only if you are the only person in the knowledge of that and even then, circumstantial evidence can always point your way.

Making a real-life comparison, we will assume that there were witnesses to your transgressions. If shutting them up is not a solution – you have the choice of owning up or not. If you do not own up, the people whom you have harmed are sure to take action against you – because you have compounded your error: doing it and not owning up.

Let’s take the hit and run case. We shall assume for the sake of argument, that Salman was guilty as the sessions court has held., What if he had admitted guilty in 2002? Remember, those days there were very few television channels; media activism was not as hysterical as it is today; celebrity bashing was not a popular pastime. He would have probably got a year or two for manslaughter (accidental killing without wilful intent)., He could have spent half of the time out on bail. He could have got off very lightly. Instead of which, for the last 13 years the case has been hanging over his head and continues to do so, along with all the ugly publicity.

Now what happens if you own up? There is no guarantee that the legal system will deal with you leniently because you have admitted your guilt. Let’s look at the positives though. Since you had no wilful intention to harm, this is one factor in your favour. If you are prepared to make  amends to those who suffered due to your actions, it is quite possible (again there are no guarantees) that they may not take action  against you. You are in a stronger position (morally speaking) to negotiate. Most of all, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you have stood your ground and had the courage to face a crisis. .

Running away is never a solution; it is, in fact, an admission of guilt. Never run away from a difficult situation. That’s lesson number one.

Rahul Yadav, the reinstated CEO of (his financial backers persuaded him to stay on), told his employees on the day that he withdrew his resignation, “I’m still your CEO. Have fun.” Seriously? Would you like to continue to work for such a man, who has such a high-handed attitude?

Just to fill you in on the details, Rahul Yadav is one of the dozen-odd co-founders of the property search web portal and the CEO of the company, which was set up in 2010. It has been in the news recently for the large amount of funding it got from venture firms including Japan’s Softbank. Yadav, an IIT dropout, seems to have a volatile temper. He also  has a disposition that makes him have frequent run-ins not only with his co-founders but also with the investor community. He acts the part of the  typical arrogant super brat entrepreneur-in-a-hurry, who is out to change the rules and make it big.

Arrogance is acceptable in an established genius who has proved his or her superior talent again and again..But, rude and crass behaviour is never – and I repeat, NEVER – acceptable. I know that there is a certain glamorous appeal associated with the image of a haughty, swaggering, self-opinionated, and aggressive go-getting entrepreneur but you have to draw the line at being abusive, insulting and throwing tantrums.

Which is what Yadav did.Since he couldn’t get the board members  to agree with him about certain decisions regarding the company he quit, telling the board (and investors) that they did not have the intellectual ability to have ‘sensible discussions’. That behaviour is like that of a child refusing to play with his mates, because they don’t listen to what he says.

This is another form of running away.

What do you want to be known for?  What do you want to be known forFor your achievements in the company or that you are having frequent arguments with your co-workers? Or that you would rather quit than face the opposition? Let’s face it – nobody likes to work for or with a person who has an uncertain temper and is likely to fly off the handle at the least provocation. You have to be a person of extraordinary talents and abilities for people to tolerate that kind of behaviour.

And anyway, why do you need to be unnecessarily aggressive with people? Evidence shows that many overtly aggressive personalities have an inferiority complex or are insecure about their abilities and position. They often use that aggression to hide their perceived shortcomings.

You can achieve more with a softer approach and being polite than shouting at people and ordering them around. So every time you feel the urge to hammer down the opposition by raising your voice and making personal remarks – stop, think and reflect.

And never quit because you feel unable to convince others of your beliefs and convictions. Being a quitter is as bad as running away. That’s lesson number two.

Meanwhile is looking around for CEOs. Care to apply?

Contributed by Janaki Krishnan, an entrepreneur in the education and skills sector. Prior to this she was a business journalist. Writing continues to be her abiding passion

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