Chamcha-giri…The hidden bane


""Business Gurus the world over are shouting from roof tops that survival today for corporations is all about shedding the old traditional business model and quickly adapting to new ones that understand the complexities of  a digitized and commoditized world. Many professionals in corporations are taking note and doing everything in their capacity to adapt to the new ways of the changing world business trends. In this mix, (prevailing prominently in Asia and the region) a segment of individuals are also enhancing the skills in pleasing their bosses at the workplace- they continue to sharpen their idiosyncratic ways in flattering their bosses whilst solidifying and securing their position for the future. I am referring to the hidden or veiled bane of corporations known to many as "Chamchas?the Yes Men or Yes Women" – individuals who say ‘yes for yes sake’ purely to massage the ego of their superiors, not being true to their inner voice.

Every organization has their own share of members belonging to this indiscernible "Chamcha Club". The unofficial club has existed since time immemorial. Many a non-member professional will vouch its existence. A friend of mine recently went as far, comparing them to termites ravenously eating into the fabric of the organization – their existence being an indubitable hindrance to development and growth. Just recently Shashi Tharoor the brilliant author, journalist and recent candidate for the UN secretary general post from India put it beautifully "The Chamcha role is sanctified by the tradition of deference, the power of position, the insecurity of losing and the alternative of unemployment."

So what are the characteristics of these so called ‘Yes folks’? The underlying motive is a fanatical obsession of raking in the moolah whilst steamrolling anyone in their way to safeguard their power and territory. The loss of self conscience and self respect is very evident and many who practice this art also suffer from low self esteem. Some are inventors of the glue enhancing their promotion and pay-hikes. They are always pro-active and adept in identifying trends of changing vicissitudes of the boss’ mind. For all of the above, no one will disagree they are overwhelming in waxing eloquence, ‘YES’ in front of the boss even if the comment / authorization is illogical and irrational.

In this context whilst one understands the reasons of a peon resorting to it at the lower level, it certainly boggles the mind when executives at the higher echelons don the mantle. The sheer disregard for professional ethics and ones own assessment of right from wrong is something I have still to come in terms with. For in final analysis, you are being paid for your ideas and your mind and saying "yes for yes sake", to fulfill one’s own self serving agenda is a cardinal sin. 

So why do I have a bone to pick with these ‘Yes folks’ in corporations. It is because I firmly believe they are the unseen stumbling blocks, preventing the organization’s growth and profitability. However to be fair, the blame should be shared with the person who allows them to revel in this position – the decision maker (the top man) who is blinded by the obsequious and loyal behavior of the respective individual. Power often obscures the reasoning part of the brain and so often the " The Top man or Decision maker" with power, position and money get a high when they have sycophants accompanying them all the way readily echoing every nod with a ‘Yes, You are right sir" look even if they don’t believe the words of the boss.

The word "Yes" for the record is a beautiful word and should be tantamount to the call of the conscience – it should not be a hindrance and should not promote mediocrity, it should not impede on discoveries or new innovative ideas, it should not hamper the thinking process. It should build not break, encourage not discourage, unite not divide. If you are compelled to say ‘Yes’ and have no choice, say it but put before facts and a logical point of view of the other side of the story. You may never be heard but that’s ok.  That way, you have at-least been true to your self and your organization.

About the Author:
""Irwin Rego, a Bombay born Canadian is the grandson of yesteryears’ renowned musician and Konkani writer J.J.Rego ? Bendur, Mangalore and son of the famous Konkani and English writer J.B.Rego ? (Poinari, Times of India).  Irwin is a highly qualified communications and advertising professional, having served on the Corporate Advisory Board for Fedex-Kinkos, Canada, just recently relocated as  Director ? Client Affairs at a  reputed Strategic Communications Consultancy in  Bahrain. A man of many talents, he is also a poet, singer, actor, cook, a well known public speaker, an excellent hockey and cricket player and a regular columnist for the Gulf Daily News – Bahrain.  A die-hard Mangalorean at heart, he has one regret – his weakness in conversing in the konkani language.

Author: Irwin Rego- Bahrain