Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolution of following the resolution

Do you make the list of resolutions to be followed in New Year? The question is how to follow the same. I remember, when I was in college, I use to make the big list of resolutions.

From 1st Jan,
I will wake up early in the morning
I will start daily exercise
I will study at least one subject after the exercise
I will enroll for additional diploma
I will spend at least one Sunday with underprivileged children and so on….

When I look back and review why resolutions are not followed, I get simple answer and it is we do not commit to ourselves. We recognize the importance of resolutions. That’s why we make it. But it does not come from our heart as they are not priorities for us. You just check the list of resolutions people do. If you do not follow these resolutions, you do not suffer so much immediately. Unless we do not make them the priority we would not be able to follow them.

Second reason is we do not convert them into objectives and goals. And when you convert them into the goals, you are forced to put the timeline. Most of the times, it is wish list we make and label them resolutions.  

We have lot of excuses to break these resolutions. We do not plan them properly. Sometimes we do it for 15 days and then we forget…

So on the eve of last day of this year, at least make one resolution...

“Whatsoever, I make any resolution; I make it to happen.”

Wish you all Happy New year! May this New Year 2011 bring for you happiness, success, health, prosperity and wonderful surprises in your life!”


Friday, December 24, 2010

Do you expand your work to fill the time?

“People first” is the first requirement of any business, project, and initiative. This “people first” pressurizes the recruitment section. People are hired, they are trained, they do the work, and sometimes they are kept on bench. Most of the times, managers expect some initiatives from these benched employees.

In most of manufacturing industries, you can observe that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Thus the additional person hired for the production planning can make excel files, speaks with different people, mails these files, reminds to others on the feedback, after getting excel files, he punches the data in ERP system. In this way, he finds out the work to fill his eight hours.

It is applicable to all levels. Management sometime decides to accommodate the old nut in current set up. Now he is re-designated Director – special development or operations or corporate development or anything which does not exist in the organization. After declaration, the person puts the proposal of hiring secretary, then manager for managing the function and then his team. This newly declared director creates the job for him. He calls meetings, he calls others to understand their concerns, he checks reports (off course manager is hired for preparing this for him), He attends meetings, finally when he goes at home, he feels that he has done a wonderful job for the organization.

The normal tendency is to multiply subordinates and creating work for each other. Sometimes the manager feels that he and his team is overburdened. Weather this overwork is imaginary or real is different issue. Accordingly the team is expanded and work is distributed. When you discuss with the person on his time spending in the organization, you will get subjective answers like co-ordination, communication, feedback and follow up. In one organization, one manager proposed to hire one subordinate for taking follow ups! Now a days people write these all factors in their JDs!

To take an example of above so called director sir, what he does next? He creates so many work for others that other people come with the proposal of hiring additional headcount. He then uses the concept of conflicts and creates two teams corporate and operations, staff function and line function. He does not allow to do the job of corporate to line and vice versa. Lot of reports and documents are created. Organization goes towards bureaucratic way of functioning.

People do not want hire people who are smarter than them. Instead of hiring rivalry, they hire subordinate for doing the same job. The process goes on and on until the recession comes. You know the result then. 

(This write up is based on Parkinson’ law explained by Northcote Parkinson in 1955)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Inspirational leader! How you inspire your team?

Do you want to be the boss, manager or leader? You can be anything but at the end of the day you are expected inspirational to your team. The leader who does not inspire is river without the water. Position can not inspire, person can and hence leadership is not related to the position.

In past I have written about the qualities of bad boss Today I would like to throw some light on qualities of good boss. I do not wish to refer any leadership theory here. As a common man you just imagine what you expect from your bosses. Please treat the people in same way what you expect.

Leadership is a skill that can be acquired with the implementation of carefully thought of steps!
Following are some areas people see in leaders:
          Good boss guide others either by doing something himself or by directing a specific course of action.
          Believes on performance rather than experience.
          Focus on what went wrong & why.
          Evaluate each & every action that he performs.
          Accept the responsibility for consequence of his action.
          Never does something that goes against his conscience.
          Begins & takes a task to its completion.
          He is able to create a image of role model
          He does not let his subordinates feel their inferiority.
          The subordinates should be aware of what are the positive qualities of the leader & which, in fact, had led to the position that he is in.
To understand people concerns and exhibit the commitment towards resolving the issues, you can start following practices to inspire your team:
          Take frequent shop floor or cafeteria rounds.  This will help you to connect with all level people.
          Organize listening lunches – where the leader has a monthly lunch with staff at all levels.
          Just have a talk around. Management by walking about, just asking questions and listening.
          Organize fortnightly department meetings.
          Have a detail monthly talk with line manager.
          Monthly employee meeting bringing all people together.
          Communicate with them through department newsletters.
          Create the chat room or knowledge forum on website where anyone can post a question.
But be aware, if you heard issues, you need to change the situation also.
Besides this your main thrust should be on trust. Leadership is nothing but trusting your capable people. You can exhibit your trust by transferring you power in following way.
  • Allow your team to sign the documents like invoice, documents etc.
  • Nominate and allow the representation of your team members in at seminars, public speaking. Encourage them to participate in public events on behalf of the company.
  • Create no-blame culture.
  • Create right-first-time culture.
  • You have to allow the decision making process as low as possible onto the shop floor and trust employees enough to try and take those decisions for themselves. In Toyota, operators at the shop floor can stop the line if he see any quality problem.
  • Constant verbal appreciation and an appreciative attitude from your manager build a culture of appreciation, which has a longer-term effect.
  • Internal departmental or employee awards for excellence.
There are so many others factors which we will discuss later on. You know afterall, leadership development is dear to me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Are you culturally intelligent?

You all are aware about IQ and EQ. Right? What’s about CQ? I am not sure, because we do not bother much about the CQ or cultural intelligence. Off course, companies use this term frequently and use as catchy phrase in trainings and development programmes. Not so much old, it is a new approach to work in globalised world. Cultural intelligence is defined as the capability of an individual to work effectively across different national, ethnic and organizational cultures.   

If you are working in multinational dynamic work culture, you need to develop the CQ. In past this factor was not much considered, perhaps due to the limited interactions with diverse people. However now a days organizations function in matrix environment and have multiple reporting structures. If you are in a leadership role, then you do not have the option without being culturally intelligent.   

And if you are culturally intelligent, you may not get the opportunity to get the leading roles in such companies and this is applicable in Indian MNCs also. You may have training programmes on this. You may read books or column in some theoretical magazine. These all may give you the perspective on customs like food, greetings, gifts and sometimes language and behaviour. The main question behind cultural intelligence is, why do some people easily and effectively adapt their views and behaviors cross-culturally and others don’t? Your honest engagement with that question can determine whether or not you work successfully in our rapidly globalizing world.

What is right in Indian context may not necessarily right in other cultures. As even, in India, we have different cultures at different states and we struggle to meet the expectations of these people due to their cultural differences. You can consider challenges to be culturally intelligence.    

To go ahead, you need to assess where you are right now. You can check your CQ level and decide the strategy to be culturally intelligent. Second question is how you are keen to understand the CQ perspective. Do you believe and acknowledge the different cultures and diversity? If you believe in so, you need to show the interest in different cultures. There are different issues involved in diversity. CQ knowledge is your knowledge about the culture and its role in doing the business, performing your role.
You have to find out your ways to understand the culture, your strategy to adapt and act on the diverse issues in culture. 

Friday, December 03, 2010

Oh, change? Not again….

“We don’t know what actually happening in the organization!”
“It’s ok but how to do this? I have no clue?”
“What’s about me? Should I look for another job?”
“Oh, again new management fad!”
“This organization is so dynamic, that before we get comfortable to the change, another change comes!”
“Our MD/chairman/CEO must have met another company MD/chairman/CEO in party/flight and must have got this idea.”

Have you encountered with similar reactions? It happens in every organization. The change is vital. We all know and discussed a lot on change. Every qualified person has accepted the fact that nothing is constant. However when I see the implementation of such changes, the human factor is ignored. Sometimes, the main reason for high attrition is such changes. In fact if changes are not managed well, it may lead to the fear and this fear may lead to the job change.

After all, change matters more to the people rather than technology, machines and projects. Organizations which are going through the change due to economic boom, or recession, or technology can not ignore the Human factor associated with the change. Every change effort resolves around people. Every quality system, including TPM, TQM or six -sigma speaks about motivation and people development. This key factor categorically is not given due importance.  People’s involvement is MUST for implementing the new systems and technologies. People are initiator, catalysts and carriers of new initiatives.

The challenge is how to handle this involvement? Whenever I work on any project, I precisely try to work on following factors.
1)      Direction and Instructions: People need direction. I agree that they are self motivated, but you need to tell them what to do. You may have the discussion on how to do, but at large level, if not working you need to tell them how to do also. Choosing right people and giving clear directions through vision, mission statements, balanced scorecards help a lot to align them towards the organizational goals. People prefer to work with a clear direction in mind; and, when people are aligned, decisions are faster, easier and effective. You should find out your ways to keep people well directed.
2)      Communication and Branding: Communication and branding are vital issues. These factors help to parlay the scope of initiative. Lot of scope is there to improve on when we speak about communication. It involves spreading information across the organization.  While implementing balanced scorecard, I used the teaser campaign. Creating, Spreading, Sharing (the information) and branding the initiative will keep people engaged and motivated. People will be more interested to understand ‘what is in it for me (WIIIFM)”.  You need to show them “what is in it for them”. 
3)      Delegation & Authority: Each system pushes authority or power downward for better decision making. Pushing power- downwards to the grass root level greatly increases innovation, motivation, quality, and productivity. If not possible, sharing the authority in limited way may make some sense. But you should ensure that you push the power along with responsibilities.   
4)      Organizational Life: We call it culture also. Create the life vibrant and energetic in the organization. The belief and way of working can be changed and created.  

These all factors are interlinked to each other. If you work on this you will lead towards your desired goals. After all, a person who walks with his legs reaches his destination; but a person who walks with his brain reaches his destiny.

(Change: I refer here change as implementation of anything from large technical up-gradation, rationalization, quality programmes to small initiatives which has effect, positive or negative, on people in the organization.)           

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