Straight Angle™: Rafting and Fun!
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rafting and Fun! 

Had been to white water rafting near here- in the Lehigh River. It was a Class III rafting- enjoyed every bit of it. While I am waiting for the film rolls to be developed [Yeah- its better to use a water proof cheap film camera than the digital ones ;)], I can't but wonder at the complete corporatization of everything that I can see here. While I was surfing through some information about the White Water Rafting, I came upon this blog. I am linking to the page that I found most interesting...The Water Level Control- In India, I have come across controlling water level only for purposes like Irrigation and Flood Control- there are no apparent industries that use the water flow in the rivers to make money and create employment. There might be reasons to it- there might be no great demand for a service- but as such, the demand in many cases is to be created, rather than expected to develop.

The rafting industry seems to be huge and very well organized here in US. The near consistent water levels in the rivers, as opposed to mostly seasonal flow in Indian rivers might be a reason. Last heard there was a rafting service available near Mangalore- Hadn't been there though. There is one Class IV rafting course near NY in Hudson- thinking of planning for it sometime.

One more interesting thing that struck me was, the style of managing the raft through the obstacles and the team spirit. When we boarded the raft, we were told that we are to arrange ourselves in such a way, that the heavier people of the group are to be at the back- since it is easier to maneuver from the back and that there is a leader for the raft. The underlying assumption being that the leader would be in a better position to instruct the team and thus stay clear of the obstacles. This also would mean that the team should trust the Leader and follow his words. What emerged out of the rafting exercise is something more interesting. We were able to find, that the less control is with the leader, the easier it was to maneuver the raft, than when it was just the leader who was taking the decision. The more individuals took decision based on the information they had, the lesser rocks we had to face.

Thinking about it, this is more like the Self Organization- where the decisions are localized, whereas the purpose is a global one. The individuals take decisions based on the information that they have and they are the best decision makers with that information. Most of the management principles that we use today, have been assembled from the WW-II. I just wonder, if it is time to change all those principles on their head and think about something more reflective of the times we live in. May be the "General-Soldier", "Leader-Follower" model had seen its day.

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Swarnasrikrishnan/Male/28. Lives in India/Tamilnadu/Chennai, speaks Tamil, English, 

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