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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

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Tribulation on Trial

Tribulation Quotient is the new measure of evaluation by HR

INTELLIGENCE has long been a popular yardstick of benchmarking prospective employees.

The more intelligent, the more employable. Eventually, high intelligence was discovered to be of not much use if the candidate was not otherwise qualified to use it effectively and be able to apply that intelligence universally. The ability to apply intelligence in proportion to the emotional makeup of others became more important and the Emotional Quotient (EQ) became the new management mantra. Universally, the state of the economy is bringing about a high degree of pressure on individuals to handle difficult, adverse conditions and hardships. To the list of desirable qualities, a new measurement has been added, the Tribulation Quotient, which measures the ability of people to handle the hardships, the difficulties and the adversities of work and life. A high TQ indicates the ability of a person to handle problems with speed and efficiency, minimising damage and showing a high aptitude in disaster management. TQ shows how an individual looks at and handles challenging situations and his ability to think his way out of the stickiest corners. Typically, high TQ scores reveal the readiness by people to take charge and handle responsibility. People with such scores will rarely blame others for delays and glitches. Those will low scores will generally find themselves defeated, distressed and disoriented when faced with similar problems in similar circumstances. They give up and are content (though resentful) to let others do what they cannot.

P. Vedan B. Athla, a new-age pioneer of the TQ concept notes how the workplace has many more hurdles today than it did twenty years ago.

On an average, she says, the increase is three times and the adversity is getting progressively more difficult to handle. While the obstacles check the majority, those with a high degree of tribulation tolerance are better able to successfully traverse thin ice!

All is not, she says, lost when it comes to low-TQ people, since this is a largely skill-based ability. People can be trained to handle difficulty and hardship. Situation response tests designed to hone peoples' ability in unfamiliar environments and at unreasonable times have been used and found very effective.

Outbound training has also proved very effective in encouraging people to handle most adversities.

According to her TQ stratification, Athla categorises people in an organisation into three plant forms: the ivy leaguers, the melon minds and the touch-me-nots.

The Ivy Leaguers

These high fliers climb to the top of a building like ivy, and overrun the whole place despite the adverse conditions prevailing. They hate being overlooked, are hugely achievement oriented and will get to the top no matter how tenuous their toe- hold.

The Melon Minds

Like melons, they are ponderous and spread laterally, and never get far off the ground. They are heavy with their baggage, like the fruit they are named after, and hate a change in the status quo. The vast majority, she says, fall into this category. They are not change agents, and prefer to hang onto whatever they have than to risk bettering themselves.

The Touch-me-nots

Like their name, these people hate any kind of risk and run a mile when faced with a difficult situation. They are non- committal, and sitting on fences is a favourite occupation of theirs!

The latter two cause a huge amount of angst to the Ivy leaguers. Often innovation introduced by the ivy leaguers is scuttled by the attitude of the other two contributing to their going to more amenable environments elsewhere.

With more and more companies' worldwide accepting Athla's concept, the value of high TQ cannot be over-emphasised. Appreciating and rewarding high performers with high TQs will help attract and retain motivated and focussed talent. This in turn will lead to improved organisational performance.

Just making people aware of their lacunae in the area of TQ has helped snap them into a sense of purpose.

Subsequent training has shown results that are very encouraging. Performance levels in top organisations have shot up by over 20%. The objective in every case has to be the conversions of the melon minds into the Ivy leaguers!

Facing adversity and tribulation head on makes the majority to raise themselves to new heights. If people were made aware of their TQs, it is very likely, that having understood where their shortcomings lie, they can overcome them by leveraging their strengths against the weaknesses revealed!


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