Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wish you and your family a joyful, successful and wonderful new year!!!

In my college days I use to make the big list of resolution to be followed in New Year. I achieved few of them; however most of them remained on paper only. The most broken resolution was to take the morning walk every day and do some exercise. I never achieved this.

Then I realized that the resolution will remain on paper only. So why not call them personal objectives. Resolution has some funny connotation. Everybody will laugh if you say that I did some resolutions.

Now I do not call them resolutions. I call them goals and try to achieve these goals. Most of them are achieved. Sense of achievement gives you a great satisfaction. Just try this.

We should be grateful to year 2009, which taught is how to be touch during recessions, how to be successful during pressures. 2009 also show us the path towards solutions.

2010 will be a great year. I wish you and your family a joyful, successful and happy new year!!!

Best luck and take care……..

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Performance Rating or Quota System

That was first Monday of May. I just finalized the list of officers and engineers who were selected for 2-year Executive Management Development Programme (EMDP) which was suppose to commence from Jun end. EMDP was sponsored by the company and was affiliated with renowned management institute.

Let me tell about the course.

Criteria for selection were as under:

1) Employee must complete minimum five years with the company.
2) He should be rated minimum “Meets Expectations (ME)” during last three years Performance Appraisal.
3) He should complete other training programmes related to the managerial and executive effectiveness. (These programmes are residential programmes from 3-8 days)

Methodology for selection was as under

a) Every year the list of the officers who fulfils above criteria is declared,
b) Management Institutes carries Entrance Test (Written, GD, Presentations and Interview)
c) The participants are assessed thoroughly.
d) Final list of successful employees is declared for the course

Employees who are selected for the course have to sign three years Bond with the company. During the course every participant has to give the presentation on the progress and he has to take one developmental project in a month. This course has to be done after officer hours. Management Institute has designed the programme, which suits the requirement of the company and its business.

30 Employees were selected for the course and I sent the list to my VP for his final approval.
I relaxed as I completed one task. The whole process was smooth. VP called me on phone and told that the list is fine with him. I just made a circular with details plan for communication. I save the file and was suppose to fire the print.

I saw Mr. Pradeep Jani coming towards me. Pradeep is a Sr. Manager and a very good Automobile Engineer who was handling the team of 10 engineers and around 150 blue-collar workmen on assembly line. He was known for his short temperament and for his reactive personality among all the employees.

“Come on Pradeep. How are you?” I asked
“You people are not making me fine” he responded
“What’s happened yaar, we are here for you, tell me what’s happened?
“Tell me what the criteria for the selection for EMDP?” he asked. I explained him whole process.
“If your process is so through why I was not called for the entrance test? I am an old employee, competed almost 11 years in the company, I am good engineer. My performance is good. Then why I was not called. Raman who is junior to me, new in the company got the opportunity?” He blasted on me.
“Cool down Pradeep. Let me check the case, will you take a coffee?” I got two cups from vending machine.
Pradeep was furious on me and was holding me responsible for not calling him for appearing for the test.
I check the personal history of Pradeep and told “Pradeep, I am sorry, but you are not consistent during last three appraisals”
“How? How you can say this?
I explained him about that data which was available on HRIS. Data shows that Pradeep was rated ME two times and one time RME, i.e. “Reasonably meets expectations”. It means he meets expectations, but need more consistent in his work. He agreed with the data available.
“Oh, Vinod, I was not knowing this fact that my rating will be linked everywhere. Otherwise I had not agreed with…..” He left the sentence in between.
“Yaa, tell me” I asked him
He was reluctant to tell. I decided to go in detail.


“When last time, our Performance Appraisal was done, I had a long discussion with Mr. Ramchandran (Pradeep’s immediate boss). He was fully agreed with the achievements I had done. However he told me that he had to rate the employees in different tiers (i.e. Performance classification). I was rated “ME’’ for last two years. He told that there would no effect on payouts (i.e. Performance Bonus) though the overall rating is “RME” This year he will rate me “RME” because he had decided to rate other and everybody should get the opportunity.”

Every department head has to follow the performance bell and during every appraisal, the employees would be classified in different tiers. The department head decided to classify the employees not on Performance but just on quota system. The purpose of the performance appraisal and classification is not at all achieved.

This may happened in most of the organizations. The line managers are responsible to break the system. Managers are for planning, organizing, assessing, for everything. It is a democratic way to rate the people in different performance tiers.

But then if something goes wrong the employees and even his line managers will first blame HR. I don’t know when the line managers will be responsible and accountable for the performance of their team?

(This story is reproduced. I had already published this story 2-1/2 years back on different forums.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let me check your horoscope.....

I was negotiating the package with the candidate. After discussion, I agreed on specific amount. He did some calculations, and finally requested me to add Rs. 98 in the gross salary. I asked him the reason, “My lucky number is 9 and with this addition, I will get the same number.” He replied.

Every human being is superstitious, level varies. Few years back, few companies started to check horoscopes during recruitment process. Once we were seating in the board room. Top boss of the company was explaining his expectations from HR. He mentioned that “We should have the system of checking horoscope of candidates.” Somebody asked, “How authentic it is? If any bright candidate’s horoscope does not match, will you reject him on that ground?”
“No, if there are two candidates, both are bright and fit in the role and you have to shortlist only one, then you can use the horoscope to match with the company.” He replied, “After all your psychometric tests do the same job.”

Once my colleague came to me and told, the candidate is asking her to arrange an interview on Friday after 11.30 am sharp. He was insisting on this specially. We called this candidate and I took him in my office at sharp 11.30 am. During the interview, I asked him the reason. “Sir, my father is amateur astrologer, he insisted me to give this interview after 11.30 am. I have to respect him.” The candidate could not get shortlisted not due to this reasons.

Once we decided to perform the Pooja in office. I got the reference of one Guruji, who performs the Pooja. He came to see me in my office. I was not surprised when he presented his visiting card, but I surprised when I saw the details on the card. He was working as “Chief Poojari” for one organization. I asked him more about this. “The Managing Director of the company is very religious person. He believed vastu shatra and all other rituals. He introduces new product on the dates recommended by the Guruji. They had the members on panel like Guruji, Vastu shatra expert and they get monthly remuneration from the company.

I think most of us believe some small rituals like Pooja and following certain customs. But above examples can be the height of belief in itself.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You will kill us....

I was discussing with union committee members about unnecessary breaks, workers were taking for tea and breakfast. It was a practice for last 20 years in the company. If it is a long practice, then it is a custom and you can not break the customs.

It was affecting the productivity. The breaks would last almost 15-25 minutes. They were taking their breakfast and snacks in canteen. The newly formed joint venture management was very concern about the cost and productivity. They gave the mandate to stop the breaks and continue the operations during breaks also. But as usual union was not ready for this. What’s about our hunger? Million dollar question!

“You want to kill us by not allowing to take breaks.” One of the committee members blasted on me. “Cool, we don’t want to kill you. You take your breakfast and snacks, but not in canteen. I will arrange to supply it on shop floor.” Have you seen in the world, where union members easily agreed on the proposal of management? They also didn’t. The discussion went on and on.

I again called them for the discussion. They also recognized that they can’t pull it long time. “Ok, agreed, then, give us this all free.”

I reported it to my CEO. He was very good human being and humble man. He told,”Ok, we will supply it free of cost. How much they will eat?”

“Sir, don’t do it, we will face another issue. Let’s not give anything free.” I explained why we should not give it free. At last I suggested, “Sir at least we will supply limited snacks and tea”. “Don’t worry, how much the person can eat? They will be bored with unlimited food.”

Next day, as per the agreement with union, I put the notice of stopping breaks for snacks and tea. “Workmen will not go to the canteen for their snacks; the same will be supplied to the shop floor. The operations of the machine should not be affected and production should continue uninterrupted.”

Next morning, Shetty, our canteen contractor was waiting for me. He was worried. “Sir, they are not human beings.”
“What’s happened?” I asked.
“They are neither ghost, ghosts don’t eat so much”. Shetty replied.
I understood the problem.

“One missal with four Paav, 2 Idalis, 4 eggs, one plate Farsan, 4 biscuits, 2 teas, sir all this per workman.”

From that day workmen stopped taking lunch or their regular meal. We all were worried not only due to the additional cost of snacks, but for their health.

After six months we concluded it will not work, no it should not work. Again one round of discussion with union members started. This time the discussion was for supplying limited snacks on shop floor.

"Nothing comes free in this world. Before taking any decision, understand your workforce better."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

More about Vision and Mission

Lot of readers responded through comments, mails and phone that they would like to know more about vision and mission and the difference between two. I am putting some explanation for the benefits of readers.

Mission: A mission is a general expression of the overall purpose of the organization. It is in line with the values and expectations of major stakeholders and concerned with the scope and boundaries of the organization. It is sometimes refereed to in terms of the apparently simple, but challenging question: What business are we in?

Vision: Vision is the desired future state of the organization. It is aspiration around which a strategist (may be MD or CEO) might seek to focus the attention and energies of employees and other stakeholders and even shareholders.

Goal: It usually means a general target in line with the mission. It should be quantitative in nature.

Objective: It is more likely to be quantified, or at least more precise target, aim in line with the goal.

It is the director and scope of an organization over the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its alignment of resources and competences with the aim of fulfilling the expectations of stakeholders

Strategic thinking is nothing but the differential thinking in the market. It should be different than others and it should be original.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Vision and Mission - Do I need it?

Fresh graduates from good management institutes have good understanding about concepts. I had one management trainee in my team. She was good in concept and was vocal about the issues. Once she met one senior person of the management team and asked him the question, “What is our vision and mission?” He replied, “I don’t know the vision and mission of the company, but I am working with this company for last 20 years, and we are making good profit. Company is running for last 75 years and doing well without so called vision and mission. So making profit can be our mission. Your concepts are just jargons. Do we need it?” The person de-motivated my girl by such unprofessional answer.

She came to me and briefed me about the incident, “How the company can run for 75 years without any concrete vision and mission statement?” She asked me, “The Company is running, but then what’s about the growth? We should know our destination and the way to destination” She asked.

This is a unique example. There are lot many people in Industries who do not work on vision and mission statement. They say that this is a new fashion came from the consultants. I am not a consultant and still believe on Vision and Mission statement. Especially a leader has to be very careful while discussing the growth of an organization. Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. It shows where we want to be. Every organization and thereby the people working in the organization has the right to know what is the destination of the organization and their career. By giving the vision to the people you motivate them to be more energized. People don’t dislike work; help them to understand mutual objectives and they will drive themselves to unbelievable excellence. You will do this by giving the vision. You show them the larger picture.

Our parents expected from us to be a successful person by being doctor, engineer, or manager. Our expectations from our kids are same. They have shown us the vision. We show the vision to our kids. The same is applicable in the organization. Mission is the purpose. It is what you will be in the competition. If you clearly communicate the vision i.e. “destination” and mission i.e. “being what you will achieve the vision.”

Both are derived from values. In personal life we have values. Values shape and give significance to our lives. They are reflected in the priorities that we choose, the decisions we make and the actions we take. Values describe what the organization is about and give meaning to stake holders.

Just imagine this all in your personal life. You have your vision of becoming Vice President by 2012. You have your mission statement in place. And you have your values in place. Here you know you have to be Vice-President by 2010. Vision is log term goal and you will decide your short term goals. The same thing is applicable in the organizations. People who decided this all are successful.

One senior person in management team once told me, “Vinod, I never planned my career, still I am on this position.” I replied, “If you had planned your career, you would have different person.” He did not like my statement. But life is not simple. You can not be lucky always. If you are an employee, ask management what is their vision and mission. Asked them what are the values they would like to place before employees. Ask them, what they expect from the employees.

If you would like to make change in your life, make & work on your vision and mission. Work on your values for that. ‘Success is yours'’.

You may also like these.. please read