Category: Blog

03 Aug 2017
Why do good managers shift jobs often

Y do gud managers shift jobs often?

It could be that they have never surmounted a confrontational situation, got over that hill and looked back in satisfaction. Sounds mumbo-jumbo? Believe you me it isn’t.  Progressive growth rarely occurs for such people. They sell their way into better positions and better pay by jumping jobs often.  It can grow into a negative facet of their personality, if they continue to hop jobs in the long run. Such runners are akin to alcoholics, never really completely cured, and in a perpetual state of recovery. But I refer to the far less jumpy kind, those who jump every couple of years or there about. And mostly just before or after appraisal time.

These individuals, it isn’t surprising, are actually far above average thinkers and doers, they just haven’t settled down long enough to actually shine in their role. There’s a trade-off for both the employer and employee. “Long service” for employee could mean lower pay, less appreciation and long waits for higher positions as against instant hike in pay and position; for the employer it means following a uniform HR policy keeping majority employees content or apply a seemingly erratic HR policy  to accommodate an outstanding employee. For the employer, the employee is wanted but not at any cost; for the employee it’s too much of a struggle to get good, year on year increments and fight for a higher position. New employers can offer out of the box terms for new employees but not so for old ones; there’s so much to be considered some political and other plain, simple bad HR habits.

For such a relationship to work out something has to give.

Further complexities arise from the lack of trust displayed among seniors and their jockeying for a position as the “big boss’s” favourite. These political games are simply too much for good managers who care little for such wrangling and focus more on getting the job done.  A ‘function’ manager is the fulcrum of an organisation. While he/she must be properly evaluated, every year and rewarded accordingly; there needs to be an additional method of reward that meets the EQ and material needs of performer. Am not simply referring to bonuses or financial incentives. But regular jumps in status, position and financial packages.

To some degree start-ups maybe to blame but it’s largely because of the disconnect between employers and employees. And no effort by the employee can actually alter the circumstances.  I would like to state quite categorically that organisations have to move away from the straight and narrow HR policies of the 90s or even the early 2000s. It’s a dynamic world today and innovation is a must to stay ahead, I’m not advocating anarchy. I speak of a new dynamic model that which operates on a dual level. One that is firm and changes very infrequently to cover the fears of those employees who look at such HR policies as security; and another that piggy backs and is dynamic, creative enough to offer strong recourse for HR in the face of outstanding performers.

 To trash this thought is to dig your own grave. Organisations have to find place in the brave new world, space that can present them in a light of fearlessness and innovation, anything short of that will spell failure and even doom (in some cases).

 

03 Aug 2017
Selfish about what you want from your company

Selfish about what you want from the company?

At your peril.

What’s in it for me? How many times have you heard that? A significant component of organisations’ people seem more concerned about what they can get out of the deal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this attitude as long as it doesn’t become obsessive. It reverses the implications of the transaction and makes an employee’s work the payment for money and benefits received from the company, rather than the other way around. It shouldn’t happen at all. Most of all it can’t be the refrain of all line managers, for then it’s reached epidemic proportions.

The challenge of getting good people is still very much alive. But once a selection is made everyone is so happy that they forget the most important hand shake: The deal… What do I get? What does the company expect – clarity with regards to compensation and benefits becomes crucial. In return the recruit should commit to provide his/her best efforts.  During the nurturing and hand holding stage, mentors must learn to freely give of their talent and time. This is not a small task, but in today’s environment the cost of recruiting a new person far exceeds retaining an experienced hand. Often I have noticed that the amount and quality of time spent at the hand holding stage is reflected in the gap, or lack thereof, between the recruit’s effort and the organisation’s expectations.  And here lies the problem, the gap that can only drift wider as time goes by. Such situations lead to employees developing a sense of low self-esteem resulting in poor outputs. You find that they reach optimum output fast. Without a figure on the real issue such individuals believe they have maxed their performance.

Over the years I’ve discovered that it’s important for individuals to get an independent assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Some proactive training, blind online aptitude test, answers to questions about ability and upgrading skills or over coming mental blocks, etc.  Such interventions contribute significantly to improving the quality of their people’s state of mind and self-determination.

A number of issues get resolved when delving into such aspects of people management. It makes more sense for the organisation to invest time, money and effort in developing people rather than be constantly on the lookout for the right fit. That is an unrealistic expectation. You get the qualification, but not the personality or soft-skills.  Very rarely does one have his/her cake and eat it too. There are those I refer to as the stepping-stone-masters, people who have pre-planned the length of time they will stay in an organisation, even before the first day of work. There is none or little protection against such.

Hire people who appear to fit best into the culture. Even if you discover later to the contrary, work on the person to turn them toward your organisation’s point of view. It’s a tough ask, but honestly it kills two birds with one stone. Firstly, people feel wanted and therefore work harder/smarter, secondly it motivates others when they witness the effort your organisation takes for one individual. Maybe it’s not possible to give equal attention to all employees at all levels. There are two methods of handling this, first it becomes the responsibility of HR partners all the way down to departments or sub-groups. Or creation of two /three circles in order of priority. Frankly however hard it is, I prefer the first option.

Why should the employee move out when you should be meeting his/her reasonable needs?  If you pay closer attention to the gap between expectations of employer and employee, you will achieve a sustainable balance in retention and attrition. It’s a cost to pay, let’s not beat around the bush about that. You do the math, CTC of retention vis-a-vis recruiting and induction.  The story’s been out on that one a long time ago.

03 Aug 2017
Keep your soul ajar ready to engage the best

Keep your soul ajar ready to engage the best

From toys to cosmetics, the world of Indian consumers is changing so fast that often the brands are left gasping for breath, in their effort to keep pace. No question, brands are struggling to stay ahead of the Indian consumer, though in some cases they may be keeping pace – just about. This leaves researchers and market watchers annoyed and marketing teams overworked.

The new age middle class is growing in leaps and bounds and also is their knowledge of what is what. Thanks mostly largely to International travel, which is available in affordable packaging. The gap between what is introduced in mature markets and the time it comes to India, is closing relatively quickly. But we Indians have not been able to shake of what’s in our DNA – expectation that we will get international products at a cheaper or budget prices. So while we want good stuff, maybe not the Rolls Royce level, we don’t want to foot the international price tag.

Its turning out to be a very competitive market for products and services, no great revelation that, I suppose. But while the marketing teams are kept on their toes, the past 5 to 7 years has seen a new breed of folk evolving, coming to the rescue of these pressured individuals. Sleep deprived and constantly under some form of stress, marketing guys and girls now at last have some qualified help, people who can share the thinking exercise with them. I know it’s not simple to outsource thinking or ideation, especially because of the whole confidentiality aspect. But Ad agencies have found ways to work around it and am sure that Brands can do the same with these newer agencies.

Who are these agencies?  On the one hand not advertising agencies and neither those specialising in gifting; I am referring to agencies who can sit down with you and help during the ideation process to craft quality doable ideas. And once an approach has been zeroed in on, they actually execute. That means managing the entire process, fulfilling the exercise and reporting in on various facets of the outcome or ROI. This will allow you, the marketing team, to focus on providing that value add. Such agencies actually help lift the quality of the marketing team’s contribution and assists them stay close to market trends.

These entities have still to be classified some call them loyalty program managers, others product promotion agencies, we prefer to call ourselves performance improvement agency. We help you develop ideas and programs for a host of issues from product launches, promotions and customer loyalty programs; Channel Partner incentive and engagement programs, Employee peer to peer recognition, R&R, incentive and other employee development programs.

It’s worth calling us in once to get an understanding of the extent of assistance we can provide. There are specialists for each subject matter, so you get the best – the very best.

03 Aug 2017
Is your organisation afraid of transparency

Is your Organisation afraid of transparency?

Good people give up too easily so do those who are brash while attempting to gain recognition in the work place. Both eventually fail and become part of attrition statistics.

Some people feel there is nothing whatsoever wrong with bragging as long as it hurts no one. A performer who doesn’t is less likely to be noticed in the flurry of everyday work pressure. If the company resorts to deploying a social recognition platform this could radically change. Firstly by creating a level playing field for ugly braggers and silent performers. I’m afraid this is not a frail and insipid side show, it is reality; especially in this age with more than three generations working alongside.

There are a few companies who’ve had the courage to create a social recognition platform allowing peer to peer and hierarchal recognition open to viewing, likes and comments by a large section of the organisation. A program integrated with HR functions, rewards and instant recognition that allows cross communication and visibility across departments. Sure there is budgeting, approval hierarchy and many such handles to monitor and ensure conformity to house rules, etc.

Outside of tech companies there is still a reluctancy to allow social media interaction in the work place. Social media integrated with HR doesn’t need to be feared. Certainly there is potential for problems to arise, but they can be very skillfully maneuvered towards positive outcomes. At the end of the day it will increase employee engagement to remarkable levels and tear down divisive walls across departments and functions.  You will find that more and more people who feels appreciated will go that extra mile, more than what is expected of him/her.

I think it’s important to outline a few outstanding effects of Social recognition:

Nobody really listens to me! Yes that’s a common one. The social recognition platform will create a sense that everyone’s voice is heard and that the top guns are tuning in to what is happening across the organisation. You’ll be surprised at who speaks up and what kind of topics and issues are taken up. It becomes a mass collaboration and a mechanism that sells to itself and almost completely eradicates the compartmentalisation and vastly increases engagement.

You shouldn’t be surprised how this results in higher levels of productivity. Remember the incidents of shared knowledge and information leads to upping of soft skills and augments talent further resulting in greater retention.

Imagine through a single window analytics, one can view trends, seek out leaders or potential leaders whom otherwise would not have been identified/visible, even evaluate skill sets to some. HR and other leadership could actually tailor make internal programs to meet specific company objectives.

Such software can create walls against hackers and others intent on committing online fraud. In any case one needs to give employees guidelines by which to follow. There will be some out of bound areas for which special guards can be constructed within the software i.e. against offensive material.   The beauty of such a program is that it can operation online and vide smart phone and even ordinary handsets.

Networked with Plasma or LCD displays that are located at receptions and other location across the organisation, news and important information suddenly become instant.

Most of all recognition for good work also become instantly and universally seen, in some cases can even be viewed by outsiders/visitors to the various company locations.

ShareShare Is your Organisation afraid of transparency?

 

03 Aug 2017
Are your people biased against action

Are your people biased toward action?

I’ll probably receive brick bats for this one but I’m going ahead anyway. Non-HR folk view the HR department/people as fault finders and persistent worriers, maybe not in all organisations but a majority, for sure. Who’s come late, taken too much leave, talking too much on the phone, not always where they should be, I can go on and on.

Don’t believe me? Take a quick but blind survey of the people in your immediate office… HR in most cases are defined by peers as the “informer”. The truth is that in this day and age HR is a “thankless” job. Brick bats are assured, bouquets not so. But my years of people watching and HR interaction, have shown that this is not always an HR sin. We are too caught up in the technicalities of managing people, reporting, analyzing, correcting, controlling, implementing, that the last drop of our energy and money (if any) is devoted to employee engagement. When in real terms that should be the most important agenda.

Leaders must, and I know that everyone will claim they do but they don’t, leave some elbow room for HR to give serious attention to engagement. Just like you would expect materials or procurement to get the best material at the best prices; HR must make the best from what they’ve got. That can only happen when HR is empowered to build powerful and responsive individuals and teams who can contribute to the company’s overall objective. HR cannot continue to play the class monitor.

The best contribution to the bottom line will come from a team that is biased toward action. This or these teams can be built by an empowered HR leadership. A certain country’s Special Forces have adopted the practice to enable line commanders do just this. These field commanders act as the “HR” of the SF army. Just like any organisation people who join are from all parts of the country,and social backgrounds, but it’s their job to knit the motley crew into a brotherhood of committed doers, all working toward the betterment and success of the Special Forces given objectives.  While there are set standards for recruits just like qualifications for people in the commercial world, the SF get just 11 weeks to build a cohesive interdependent team. Through trust building, team building, dependability exercises, hard work and above all honing risk taking ability while accepting the consequences for outcomes – success or failure.

Over the centuries the necessity to create a Special Forces, highly trained soldiers with sharper and more specific objectives have led to the development of newer training techniques aimed at building a unified thinking platform. Individuals cannot second guess a peer’s motives or course of action. Don’t for one moment think that any of these techniques are meant to create robots. Each individual is developed to be a thinking person capable of risk taking and very decisive under extreme pressure. After all the life and death of peers depends on their individual abilities.

The future of an organisation rests on the shoulders of HR teams.  No company can afford to ignore this vital condition.  A serious shift in stance is required from the head honchos. An 80 /20 approach to the HR activity is the need of the hour; 80 % of time dedicated to creation of better individuals and teams on 20% to the business of paper work. Warning signs are everywhere; watch the percentage of people leaving jobs because they don’t “excite” or are boring or simply that there is not enough ‘freedom or opportunity’; the list of excuses is lengthening by the day. Strangely “money” doesn’t appear in the top three!

People want to know what your organisation is like. What kind of a culture you have? Brands who sweep students off their feet on campus interviews, do so either by offering big packages or project a funky culture… students accept because it serves the main objective …getting a break. All one needs to do is check attrition rates across the board to know the truth; look at the large talent acquisition teams set up by companies… selling hard to get good people on board.  It isn’t a secret that it’s far less expensive to retain than employ new folk.

So why don’t we engage more, recognise more and allow people to engage across the organisation? So that motivated individuals with a bias for action can be developed. WHY?

03 Aug 2017
Are blue sky managers really transformational leaders

Are blue sky managers’ really Transformational leaders?

Blue Sky managers groom their underlings, with the aim to help them spread their wings. But in the process underlings age faster, weaken, fall sick often and lose out on life’s vast array of happiness.

Blue sky management styles challenge the status quo of standard practices; their intent is to liberate underlings from the clutches of structure and allow them reach “full” potential. Such managers are known to be top performers, taking care to be great mentors so that the next in line grow to be the same stature and even replace them. But very few such leaders have actually delivered on their vision. New research has revealed that blue sky managers are really destroying lives in the medium run.

I have worked with one such driven manager. He possessed mind bending vision about the future of enterprise and people management. People around him were highly motivated and excruciatingly dedicated to the cause. However early he called them or however late they sat in office; nothing deterred them. Even weekends were rarely free. Phone calls or ‘home work’ kept the work clock ticking constantly. Such aspirants have paid with the best years of their lives, being crucified at the altar of “perfection” and “dedication”. The working hours were long and arduous, family life or unwinding time-out meant a drink with the boss, his family or other office colleagues and sometimes that included my family as well. It was an incestuous relationship that bred abject adoration or an underlying abject hatred. But afraid to acknowledge anything negative lest they appear to be failures to peers, his underlings developed inward grown feelings that festered.

The core team remains intact after 20 years of being together but their roles hardly changed since the first year on the job. Yes the organisation has grown but the core team hasn’t. Yes the designations are bombastic and the cabins less than in your face, but they’re essentially in the same role for 20 years. A number of ladies, shot way past marriageable age, some mercifully found partners but others sadly didn’t. And I must add they regretted not being hitched when they could have.

In a world that worships success, everyone and his brother are trying everything in the book and elsewhere to succeed. However true growth and development is achieved only when a balance is struck between hard work and the leisure of personal space. Tough ask? Sure. The well-being of corporate employees must therefore be carefully mapped and embedded in highly engaging employee programs. There can be nothing more catastrophic than an over worked individual, who isn’t aware of the fact that he/she is overworked.

The newest research reveals that blue sky managers are actually detrimental to the health and wellness of people within organisations. Especially the newbies, they are easier to fool. Most at risk are the freshers, management interns, first timers, junior and line managers. In their enthusiasm to conform and win brownie points they are all over themselves to show commitment, working late and coming early, neglecting health and family time.

Any manager that places work priorities over scheduled, quality down time is dangerous, however good he/she is at delivering results. Burn outs are a reality, just as real as the young folk who feel they need to learn new skills and move when they are fed up. It’s the blue sky managers’ ability to motivate and convince people to hang on that is appreciated by the company but at what cost?  It is both for the HR and individuals to remain alert against the moves of such managers.

I am not for a moment propagating slackening work deadlines and urgency of the task. I am simply asking people to qualify and evaluate; then draw lines. There is no success without smart hard work and there should be no doubts about that. But young lives can’t take a back seat.  Else the only option they have is work hard & party hard – the classic burn out recipe.

 

03 Aug 2017
Addiction to your affliction

“Addiction to your Affliction”?

Tongue twister that. Reread to get the full impact. Some people feel comfortable onlywhen surrounded by and immersed in problems. It’s a disease that often infects those in the position of key managers. It’s been confused with OCD, it’s not and neither can ‘trouble shooter’ be the right description.

This is a very oppressive ailment, one that can infect entire departments and teams. The nit picking trouble seeking bug keeps everyone’s mood in a perpetual pickle. There is constant worry about something going wrong making even the smallest issue flare up. This state of hyper tension destroys the organisation’s ability to build a cohesive, motivated team and an enjoyable work environment.

Alert leadership should look out for such behaviour, especially at nodal points in the organisation, and deal with it ASAP. Either pulling individuals out of the system or migrating them till the frenzy calms down or they are reformed. It is essential to find the right people management techniques to respond to an employees’ level of capability and competence (self-drive & skill sets). Firstly understanding exactly what their levels are and then applying the right principles.

There is no easy way of handling this situation. It needs to be taken head on. People suffering this syndrome can have a devastating effect on the overall organisation. I have said this a number of times in my blogs and other writings, whatever other observations maybe, at the end of the day cold hard systems DON’T work. It’s people we are dealing with, not inanimate objects. People need to be culturally and emotionally aligned with the organisation. To achieve this state, HR and team leads must have a ear to the ground and an understanding of possible solutions.

I’ve often heard from HR folk that the organisation or even team leads can’t afford to “waste” time and energy for such individuals. My answer remains the same; that’s the investment an organisation has to make if they hope for long term success and stability. Measuring success merely on the basis of the bottom line is passé. Today its people who drive business not “Human Capital”.  Fail to recognise and there’s a heavy price to pay.

Nothing matters more than your people; it’s your people who will produce that quality product, will service that satisfied customer, and will be that ambassador for the company both internally and externally. So much is spent on brand building internally and externally. If more is channeled toward building a happy motivated set of people the logic am sure is clear for all to see.

Everyone knows and understands the reasoning but few actually take a step in that direction. Because somehow that still doesn’t appear to be an important area of priority. Some who say they have, actually mean annual awards, the occasional cricket match, or a party or some vouchers for a great job done. You’re scratching the surface, right intent but simply insufficient.

These are not learnable or teachable skill sets you’re looking to inculcate but attitudinal changes you’re attempting to make. A different mindset is required. Recently I was discussing employee engagement with a HR head, here’s the answer “Nahi, these people don’t participate in anything , we’re fed up… often we have really gone out of our way …we’ve given team leads budgets to spend on rewarding jobs well done…  we have to actually chase them to finish the budgets before expiry dates !”

And believe me there are many such frustrated HR teams. There are solutions, they cost money, effort and a lot of foresight. If you have the time I have the inclination to tell you all about it.

 

02 Aug 2017
soul1

Don’t sell your soul to the Company.

But it works both ways.

Neither you nor your company should be selling your souls. Any extremes in a relationship can be disastrous and it holds true for employee and manager anywhere up or down the management chain.

It seems my last post on CARING for employees raised a few questions with readers – HOW MUCH care is correct. I must start by saying that treating all employees as family members may work for a small organisation; but in larger organisations overdoing this could result in the gesture being taken advantage of. The art of caring, and that’s perhaps the right term, needs to be taught. It’s great if you can identify one department or team with which to kick start the process. Then replicate the model gradually. However a big CAUTION & WARNING – understand this cannot be a mechanical process, CARE must be genuine and demonstrable. So it is important that right candidates are chosen to build upon.  The act/s of caring should not appear construed or an unnatural “learnt” leadership skill set, truth and genuine-ness will come into question.

Problems crop up when there is a mismatch of expectations.  A manager who mollycoddles his/her juniors with the expectation of getting the employee back on with his/her job – the employee on the other hand expects that the manager will resolve his/her issue, no questions asked. And there lies the problem. Genuine care is heartfelt and truthful. Which means the leader does what he can honestly do (without going over board) with a clear understanding that the employee delivers on his/her earnestness as well.  And yet it can’t be a barter or bargain, soft skills are oh so important.

Keep financial issues out of relationships, especially loans. Financial needs must be evaluated based on merits of the case. Hence there should be no confusion in understanding, within and across the organisation, with regard to the interpretation of such policies.  Strangely employers who have a loan policy and managed it efficiently have actually recorded higher retention.  The reason why it works in those cases is that both sides were clear of the expectations. However I wouldn’t openly advocate loan giving. Relationships can sour; especially in the case of a habitual borrower who rarely, if ever, meets commitments. On merit, I repeat.

Like I’ve said earlier true leadership is when one genuinely cares for the growth of the company, team and individuals. Care enough to delve into team needs, resources, skill sets, supports development of poor performers and clears the way for top performers to do even better. When seemingly good leaders fail, it’s usually because they don’t prioritise. This is an oft sounded refrain, still people don’t actually practice what is preached.

Leaders are thick skinned animals who must be aware that all the people don’t “love” them all the time. And it is here that their greatest strengths can be demonstrated. While on the one hand they must get on with the task of running departments or SBUs  and contributing to the bottom line; on the other hand they have to deal with people and there is no way to escape emotional issues arising from human interface.

Managers, if you want to know how long this situation will last – here’s your answer : for the foreseeable future. Welcome to the new world of tough dealing, hard headed people and the specter of sinking bottom lines. Is it tough ? Oh you can count on it, and it’s going to get even tougher. Managers will have to evolve into more rounded personalities. Specialisation  may be only one component of the JD.  It could one reason why the younger lot are more apt at picking up the mantle so effortlessly and running the rat race more effectively.

Managers on the wrong side of 40 shouldn’t be too perturbed. They  need to keep ‘down time’ on their priority lists, always. I’m not just referring to physical strength, but mental and emotional as well. The life of the successful modern manager comes with stress filled hours whether one likes it or not. The winners are those who walk in with their eyes wide open, those who know where to build cushions, who are ready to do battle at a moment’s notice… the heart of a professional equipped with ‘force multiplier’ weapons and nerves of steel  like a soldier.

And that is not being dramatic. Just think.

 

02 Aug 2017
web

Why can’t I ever succeed?

Over the last 30 years or more, I have enjoyed the process of observing people at various stages in their career. I realized over time that there existed a clear distinction in the attitude and demeanor of those who could succeed and those who would remain mediocre or turn failures. A closer look helped identify early markers; as anyone would suspect and you don’t need a degree in clinical psychology to make this observation. For most observers, it’s the feeling of “negativity” emanating from the subject that foretells failure or mediocre existence. On the flip side it’s commonly believed that a positive infectious personality spells success. Actually both could be woefully inaccurate. Positive and infectious persons can be (become) personifications of failures and negative folk can actually turn ou#t fairly successful.

We devised a simple exercise to identify, in the early stages or for that matter at any stage, what a person is or could turn out to be? Eventually we came up with a set of 10 statements, to help identify whether the Failure Genome (FG) exists in a person. The basic assumption is, that the person undertaking the exercise, is either at the start of a career or has a career that’s plateaued.

Consider the following set of statements and (you can’t afford to lie to yourself) rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 as to how closely each reflects your personality. 1 being far from the truth and 5 being the truth or at least very close to the truth.

  1. I don’t plan enough, if I do, I don’t review progress consistently
  2. Procrastination, yes guilty as charged
  3. I’ve little patience for much detail, when I do it’s in bit sized time capsules
  4. I dislike – confrontation, and avoid them if I can
  5. My answers are never precise, I resort to extended explanations
  6. As a result Itend to over state the situation, even when things are going well
  7. My plans somehow consider only positive results & don’t account for

things going awry

  1. Believe what I think should happen will happen and confuse it for

conviction. This significantly diminishes my efforts to actualize it

  1. Shy away from a hard bargain; tend to walk away or beg on my knees
  2. Difficult to visualize what I as a successful person would look like

The questions are designed to be as simple as possible… nothing complicated or hypothetical. Hence you will find that there are just two possible outcomes from this exercise; Either you or your subject possess the FG element or not. Then comes the realisation. If you do, now could be the best time to explore ways to turn the FG switch off. But to get the best results brutal honesty is demanded of the subject.

Results are based on total score:

  1. 0  to 10  = Doesn’t appear to be any need to worry about your future
  2. 11 –  20  = Average motivation, much room for improvement
  3. 21 to 30  = Severe lack of Focus and commitment
  4. Above 30 = Need for introspection and even adopting a mentor

The exercise in itself does nothing more than establish a fact. Course corrective remedies must be deployed rigorously starting immediately, especially in the event that the score is in the C or D categories. While one could undertake this task alone, it can also be implemented by HR. The evaluation should be done over a period of time,so as to not make the questioning obvious. There needs to be adequate observation and interactions with the employee; the purpose is to decipher the under currents of his/her personality before grading each statement accurately. This is an excellent tool for Entrepreneurs as well, to use, especially in the early days of their hiring for the project.

While no such exercise can be 100% accurate, I’ve learnt that this method is a great pointer and well over 85 % on target. What do you do with the results? That’s another serious discussion, so for another time in the near future.

02 Aug 2017
Most managers are cowards

Most Managers are Cowards

Yes I know I’m likely to be the target of brickbats or worse. But I’ll still say most managers are cowards. The sad part is that they could actually be “Path Breakers”. But either they are too afraid of upsetting the apple cart, simply too lazy to go that extra mile or just plain incompetent. Mediocrity seems to be the new comfort zone. Stay a yes man and keep out of controversy.  Outwardly energetic inwardly paralyzed. The perfect camouflage. Following the leader is the best ‘stay-alive’ practice after all why re-upset the flow?

Otaku, is an interesting Japanese word. It implies an interest that’s pursued with intensity; a little less than obsession but more than just a hobby, it’s probably closer to the English term “dogged-passion”. Do managers in India possess the Otaku spirit? They certainly do. But we are also possessed by that other spirit –“vassalage”. And often we possess Otaku for vassalage. Scrambled egg or bheja fry? Both unfortunately. This is most prevalent in the marketing departments, but not limited to such.

Rule number one, the boss is always right. Rule number two, in the likely event she isn’t, rule number one prevails. The crushing personality or stubbornness of leadership terrify into submission everyone else’s otaku. So it’s especially difficult for great ideas and initiatives to blossom or even surface. Oh yes I’ve heard of the umpteen brainstorming sessions, led by the boss herself. I’ve heard and witnessed how she’s directed ideas or acquired some. Collective ownership is sometime mouthed but it’s really the opposite that’s true. She owns you: you’re the atma, that extension of the paramatma.

There’s the option of continuing as a “mute – doer” from year to year, till it becomes unbearable.  Then you simply jump ship and into another organisation, before long you encounter the same wretched environment. When you’re interviewed you firmly state you want freedom to grow and ideate to perform unfettered, guess what? You really mean it. And you’re assured that’s exactly what the kind of person the company is looking for… hahaha everyone is happy, you get the package you want and the company knows they’ve got the flunky they’re looking for.

Stand and fight. If you are convinced a plan will work, fight for it. Become unpopular, that stigma will remain only for a while. You will eventually be known as the action person, to be relied on. Is it difficult? Dangerous? Will your job be on the line?  Believe you me, it is all of that! But that is what separates the boys from the men, the grownups from the young ‘uns. If you simply want a job and go home or to a party every day; Don’t bother to do any of the above, don’t waste your time. Sit back flash the great designation on your impressive business card, enjoy the proceeds of your pay cheque (or direct deposit) and chill.

But if you want to be a cut above the rest…take the risk. However, be very sure that your plan is workable and that you have 100% faith in what you are recommending. Then and only then stick your neck out.