Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Take a bow Sachin Tendulkar- Tribute from an unabashed fan

For those of you who have not read “Jonathan Livingston the Sea Gull” by Richard Bach, its a story of a Sea Gull who always wanted excellence in what he does best- “ flying” , always wanting to scale a new peak when rest of the flock thought it cannot be done, always at competition with himself to achieve the greatness ,ever so obedient student of flying and always at hand to teach a protégé a thing or two. As I saw Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar bat today against Sri Lanka on a marble floor of pitch at Colombo, I felt if Richard Bach were to witness his remarkable career would rename the book as “Sachin Tendulkar the Sea Gull”. What a player, what a maverick. 94 hundreds (48 Test and 46 ODIs) in an International Cricket, 21yrs of play and he still carries the charm of 20yr old out of an academy side.

What’s more striking was the fact that he made Suresh Raina, playing his 1st test match concentrate hard and score runs at the same time. I am sure Suresh would be thanking his stars tonight when he goes to bed that he has an University of Cricket with him at the other end of the crease. Sachin today wasn’t battling the bowlers, he wasn’t bothered by the scores, he had another battle to be won that of saving the match for the country and a small matter of fact record to be set right (hasn’t scored a test 100 in Sri Lanka for 11yrs, that’s quite an absurd stat). The relief was all to be seen when he scored that 4 behind the square of Suraj Randhiv (another debutant, probably thinking what makes him so special when the shot was completed)

For all the joy you have given to millions and millions of fans and connoisseurs of the game of cricket and making us feel proud Indian, Take a bow Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, perhaps the greatest batsman and a true sportsman of this century…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Conversation on Managerial Effectiveness

One of my friend recently sent me a mail asking my thoughts on "how to calcuate Managerial Effectiveness", I have tried summerising my conversation with him thru this post.

Hi Madhu
Needed your help in one of the initiatives that we intend to launch - basically a mechanism to measure people orientation of managers. While it is a very subjective area, we are trying to create some tangible measures to create an Index that can be measured and tracked. Easiest would have been a 360 degree feedback, but that is not feasible given the culture right now.

A few measures that come up immediately could cover

- Number of training programs nominated / attended by team members
- Attrition (but how to discount factors beyond manager's control)
- Emp Satisfaction Index
- Succession planning for key positions
- Performance evaluation as per plan - Completion % of KRA setting, Perf Evalaution compliance etc
- Number of suggestions by team into Employee Suggestion Scheme

But the trouble is that these are all "input" measures and the initiative could just end up driving compliance.

What I am looking for are some "output" measure like say Team Feedback Score for a Manager etc.

My Reply to him:

Dear Nandish

Good to hear from you.. it’s not always dirty out there in Behavioral Science, its more than challenging and fun to be in this quandary than applied science

a. As you rightly said, most of the below mentioned measurements (if I may call so) are inputs measurements and can be used as a compliance measurements, however if you go beyond the normal, you can look at the bottom line additions thru them. For example: you can see the obvious as “how many ideas a “A” manager’s team has given”, the abnormal stuff is to see “how many of these ideas have contributed to real time impact on the team or the organisation” (Engagement, Innovation Culture, Out of the box thinking, Team Work are the measurable competencies)

b. Since it’s a knowledge driven industry, I guess having ES Survey, with specific questions around Output from the Managers, will help in measuring, this is the most sought after and easiest way to do it.

c. Also look at TEAM TRUST INDEX, this not only measures Trust Levels in the team, but also helps in knowing what is the kind of trust reposed in the managers by team.

d. You can also look at BELBIN TEAM EFFECTIVENESS (you need to be certified to conduct this)

e. You will also have to decide on the focus of your Index, will it be “Team Centric”, “Individual Centric” or “Organizational Centric”, based on which you can use different tools like (a) Team Trust Index or Belbin for Team (b) 360* Feedback or simple NMA (if people are ok to give feedback) or (c) Employee Satisfaction Survey with specific thrust on Output

Summary of my work around the same I am giving you, it might help you…

If you are measuring “Team Leadership” then look at

a. Measurement of Change in Team Effectiveness

b. Measurement of Change in Team Outputs- if you can correlate these two and measure the effectiveness it will be a good Team Measurement

If you are measuring “Individual Leadership" then look at

a. Measurement of Change in Competencies thru 360*

b. Measurement of Change in Individual Results- If you can correlate these two and measure the effectiveness it will be a good “Individual Measurement” as well as “Program Effectiveness Measurement”

If you are measuring “Organizational Leadership” then look at

a. Measurement of Change in Team Outputs

b. Measurement of Change in Individual Results- these can give organizational level measurement.

Topographical Model

Freud believed that the majority of what we experience in our lives, the underlying emotions, beliefs, feelings, and impulses are not available to us at a conscious level. He believed that most of what drives us is buried in our unconscious. While buried there, however, they continue to impact us dramatically according to Freud.

The role of the unconscious is only one part of the model. Freud also believed that everything we are aware of is stored in our conscious. Our conscious makes up a very small part of who we are. In other words, at any given time, we are only aware of a very small part of what makes up our personality; most of what we are is buried and inaccessible.

The final part is the preconscious or subconscious. This is the part of us that we can access if prompted, but is not in our active conscious. Its right below the surface, but still buried somewhat unless we search for it. Information such as our telephone number, some childhood memories, or the name of your best childhood friend is stored in the preconscious.

Because the unconscious is so large, and because we are only aware of the very small conscious at any given time, this theory has been likened to an iceberg, where the vast majority is buried beneath the water's surface. The water, by the way, would represent everything that we are not aware of, have not experienced, and that has not been integrated into our personalities, referred to as the nonconscious.

My Take on the Model:

The above description of Human Psyche according to Segmud Freud opens up a Pandora Box of doubts in my mind with respect to psychoanalysis or use of psychometric tools in knowing one’s personality, if the Conscious is so little and lot remains in Preconscious or Nonconscious minds, how and what is the best way to increase the Conscious self of human beings. I assume if one were to know even 20% more about ‘self’ than what he or she already knows, it will not only help in self development but also help the organisations in many aspects of human development.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Leadership Dissecting……???

Anyone given the task of dissecting leadership is at a serious disadvantage before they even start. The word itself defies any attempt at accurate or precise definition. It also comes with other complications - it is not a constant; can only really be judged within a unique, historical context; and this usually means we have to judge leadership with the benefit of hindsight. Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership being one of the most obvious examples. His potential only really found its outlet during the Train Journey in South Africa and even then he had plenty of critics and detractors. Nevertheless, we all still tend to believe we can recognise true leadership when we see it even if we realise that, as with beauty, any assessment of leadership remains firmly in the eye of the beholder. Yet the fact that there is no universal measure of leadership does not stop us trying to search out, nurture and develop leadership. The potential rewards for getting it right and the risk of getting it wrong are both just too huge to ignore.

So if we do manage to put leadership under the ‘microscope’ would even the most powerful magnification be able to identify the defining and distinguishing features and characteristics behind the leadership abilities of a Lal Bahadhur Shastri (Freedom Fighter from India) or a Nelson Mandela? More worryingly, would a detailed look at their DNA only conclude that there is not much difference between the famous and the infamous? Perhaps there is only an infinitesimal, biological quirk that distinguishes them from a Hitler or a Stalin. Leaders come in all shapes, sizes and hues so do we just hope that we get the ones who share our own views? Do we ever know what value they might bring to society or can we actually do something to make that happen? Maybe this whole subject needs a really different perspective if we are to gain any fresh insights.

The value of leadership

The purpose of leadership is to realise the maximum value of human potential

This is quite a handy definition. It rules out Hitler and Stalin straight away and fits very nicely with Swami Vivekananda’s call “Arise, Awake and Stop Not till the Goal is Reached”. It is a very tough standard. Why would we want anything less from our leaders? It is also a ‘societal value’ view of leadership. It subscribes to the game theory concept of win-win.

‘Leadership’ that can only produce gains for some at the expense of others is of no interest to society as a whole. The only problem with this definition is that the key word in it, ‘value’, is itself notoriously difficult to define. So what exactly does value mean?
As the Leadership Trust version refers to “business performance” let us start by asking what value means in a business context. Should we look at market value as a gauge of leadership? On that measure Jack Welch would score very highly on the leadership scale because GE has a huge market value ($382 billion in April 2005) although he earned his nickname of ‘neutron Jack’ because of his obsession of getting rid of people and leaving the buildings standing. Bill Gates could be another candidate, not only in view of the enormous market value of Microsoft ($272 billion) but also because of his philanthropic foundation which gives billions of dollars to good causes and his clear aim of trying to eradicate diseases such as malaria.

The other perspective that might aid our thinking is the world of sport. What better environment to discuss leadership and human endeavor: pushing people to the absolute limit of their potential in the pursuit of excellence? So who is a better leader Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain- Chennai Super Kings), Adam Gilchrist (Deccan Chargers) or Anil Kumble (Bangalore Royal Challengers)? Or is that just another trick question played on us by this elusive thing we call leadership? Are Cricket Captains just that - managers? Surely leaders have to unite people who may have interests that are not that easy to reconcile. Cricket boards do not seem to involve any real debate anymore about what its board, its players and its supporters’ value. No one seems to be too interested in cricketers becoming role models of teamsmanship or sportsmanship. Their goal is as clear as a goal is ever going to be - to win the Championships. The supporters of these teams must be willing ‘followers’ and self-selecting. There is no sense here of the real, fundamental challenge of leadership, which is actually to try and get maximum value out of people when some of them do not really want to play ball.

It looks like every attempt to answer a leadership question results in just another more complicated question being posed. So, in a determined effort to produce a better way forward let us take a step back and begin right back at the beginning. What is the purpose of leadership and, more importantly from a practical perspective, what is the basic proposition that drives our interest in leadership development? Then we can ask how better definition and measurement might help.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Changing world order in Talent Management- 2010

Kaizen, Six Sigma, PCMM, CMMi, COPC, LEAN Management what next? Post the recession, what will be the value differentiator in the new world order? Will it be the same old certificates in quality which will differentiate the good companies to not so good ones, or will there be new Economic Monopolies be defined. I feel the new world order will be more on who has the best talent and who has the maximum return customers will be the leader.

To substantiate this further, I think if we look at the recession history, the companies with more robust people processes, development and continued patronage from customers are the ones who thrived and survived.

Jim Clifton’s (CEO and Chairman of Gallup Organisation) recently at a MBA Degree Ceremony in my company said, “The world post economic downturn will be ruled by the country with maximum return customers or Economic Monopolies” I think this is true even to the corporate world.

What one has to do to keep the house in order for any further eventualities will be governed by the TALENT MANAGEMENT principles of the organization as well as retaining the CUSTOMER BASE which has been created. We will see war for Customers intensify more than war for religion, land or water in years to come.

What HR Can Do

The forces of the war for talent add up to a fundamental shift in the business environment, requiring companies to radically adjust the way they manage people.

1. HR can be in the forefront of instilling a talent mindset at all levels of the organization beginning with senior management – A talent mindset is the deeply held belief that building a strong management talent pool is critical to achieving the aspirations of the company. Leaders with a talent mindset roll up their sleeves and make talent their job; they continuously create, champion, and drive new ways to bolster talent. They ensure that the link between business strategy and talent requirements is forged.

2. Create a winning Value Proposition that brings scarce talent through the doors, and keeps them there – Just as a company carefully shapes its value proposition to customers, it should also deliberately craft the value proposition to its people. They should ask questions like, “Why would a talented person want to work here?” (Perhaps for a Great Company, Wealth and Individual Value Creation and Growth and Development).

3. Grow great leaders – Most companies leave a tremendous amount of human potential unrealized because their people are inadequately developed. Talented people crave the opportunity to grow, and without it they’ll leave. Growing great leaders means deliberately giving them job challenges that push the bounds of what they thought themselves capable of. At the same time, it means providing the life preservers for succeeding at “stretch” opportunities. It means giving people the candid feedback they need to grow, without the sweaty palms that often characterize these infrequent exchanges. It means weaving mentoring into the fabric of the organization – so that it is in the institution, not an appendage.

4. Differentiate and affirm – HR too often give in to the temptation to treat all their people the same. The leading companies conduct clear-eyed assessments of their talent; they differentiate in how they invest in their top performers and low performers. They shower top performers with job opportunities that excite and challenge them, and pay them for the value they create.

Finally, HR can build employer brand and reputation by embodying the identity of the company as an employer of choice. Communicate overarching goals, connect people and share expertise. In essence, the HR function now must have the ability to make a company spin in a new direction quicker.