Mockingbird Elementary takes third place in Regional Destination ImagiNation® Tournament

Mockingbird Elementary takes third place in Regional Destination

Bottom row, l-r, Shreya Vurimi, Ellie Manning Middle row, l-r, Meara Isenberg, Rhianna McFarlen, Sakshi Venkatraman Back row, l-r, Principal, Pam Mitchell, Mrudul Tummala, Coach, Venky Venkatraman

Earlier this year, I coached my 5th grade daughter’s school’s Destination ImagiNation team.

In a nutshell, Destination ImagiNation ( is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving and then compete against one another.

There were 6 kids in my team, 3 or Indian origin (including my daughter) and 3 whites.  Of these 5 were girls and one was a boy.

All the kids were from the Gifted program – so all of them were pretty bright.

Right from the outset, I saw some interesting dynamics in the team that I could easily correlate to the adult world.  Following are my observations:

  1. It is always to tough to get a group of bright individuals (all of whom think they have the “right” answer to work together)
  2. Indians born in India (and especially if South Indian) are quite submissive and will not speak up easily even when they know the subject
  3. Indians born in the US (like my daughter) have no problem being assertive!
  4. Whites are typically more assertive, even when they are unprepared and do not know the subject
  5. Indians tend to work well together but will not produce any original ideas
  6. Whites come up with real imaginative ideas but many times will not follow through
  7. All of them are equally likely to go to management and try to get their colleagues fired!

I could probably add a whole bunch of other such observations to this list but then I am might end up wandering further and further into politically incorrect areas!

However, my point is that to effectively manage a group of individuals, “profiling” each individual according to their ethnic and national background might be unavoidable.  (Growing up in Bombay, India, I know that Punjabis have different charteristics from Tamils, Bengalis from Telugus, Marwaris from Biharis, etc – so I can make this assetion from personal experience).

And, in this case, I can make this claim with some confidence because my team which was formed pretty late, just practicing for a couple of hours every week, one day a week, for 8 weeks, was able to finish 3rd in the Regional Competition, competing against veteran teams who had practiced for months and competed for years.  And I have to give myself some credit for getting this team from forming, storming and norming to performing!

In conclusion, I can say with some conviction that the more perceptive a “profiler” you are, the better manager you likely to be!

Agree or vehemently disagree, I would like to know!!

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