During my stint in the IPS, I had to often attend send-off functions for retiring police officers. And the curious thing was that people always found good things to say about the retiree — even when he was totally rotten.

There was one officer who rose through the ranks to retire as the SP of a district. His corruption and crookedness were so legendary that I thought, ‘Ok, this time, we will be spared the gushing praise.’

But no — even he was praised for being an ‘efficient’ and ‘active’ officer, who got the job done — as if he was some Mission Impossible action hero. Quite conveniently, nobody talked about integrity, fairness, or good-heartedness.

This ‘active’ officer would have damaged the policing system more than ten ‘inactive’ officers.

When your direction is wrong, speed and efficiency are a curse — not a blessing.

In a different context, you see this when entrepreneurs frantically raise funding and scale up even when the product sucks. The only thing that happens is that the product now sucks at scale.

No matter your job or role, don’t be a perpetual busybee, caught up in the ‘speed trap’ — first, get the direction right.

– Rajan


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