Friday, November 13, 2015

Joined New Organization? Some Dos and Don’ts

The dynamic corporate world reduced the average staying period of an employee in any organization. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years that an employee had been with their current employer was 4.7 years in 2014. People need to switch companies, industries, profiles due to a number of reasons. Dissatisfaction in current role (due to “NOT GOOD” manager or politics in the team etc.), lesser growth opportunities in present organization, better available profiles and compensation are most common professional reasons.

For a period of a month or two, the time is very crucial for every new joiner in the organization. It can be very stressful if not properly managed. You saw all ‘the greens’ in this organization while accepting the offer letter but now you may see it’s not that green. You can learn to adapt to an unfamiliar work culture. Every action or move you make has a consequence, especially when you are new. You can follow some dos and don’ts to make a smooth transitioning.

Do: Create support system

Initial few days are very important to lay the foundation of getting the things done you need. You need to understand how to get help from HR, IT, Operation, transport and see how it works. How much time they usually take to resolve any issue. May be, your previous company’s HR or IT are more responsive than the current one. You need to observe and understand rather than to frustrate and making a lot of escalation. If you don’t understand the support system of the company, it will take a lot of energy to struggle with them all.

Do: Accept change and try to understand the culture

You expect a lot of good things in the new organization, in fact all the good things, but you may get many surprises. People are usually averse to change. Some don’t even want to change their desk. Each company has its own culture; some are conservative while others may be open. You can approach senior leaders directly in some organizations whereas other may follow strict hierarchical structure to approach leaders. You need to modulate your current working style as per the new requirements. Accept change and understand the values and culture by ‘Observation’ and avoiding reactions.

Don’t: Haste in understanding the business

Never haste in understanding the business, especially with the big organization. Take time to understand the flow of business. Concentrate on your specific deliverables first, later relate it with the business. People join, try to swallow everything all of a sudden, fail and quit, and finally satisfied with their due tasks. It’s most important to understand thoroughly the business, the model of operations, your department connection with overall model and how your process connects with the departmental goals. More importantly, how products, services, projects and programs are translated into data. And this does take time.  Due to the complexities of the processes, everything is not documented in most of the organization. You should not surprise when you find things are much unorganized as this is the nature of the dynamic business. One high level movement can change the whole strategy. I do remember when it happened in one of my organizations. Consequently, everything has to change. Keeping the track and documentation of everything is the greatest challenge of every manager. Old SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) documents hardly serve the purpose for the new comer. So, BE PATIENT AND CONSISTENT in the process of understanding working model.

Do: Networking

Create rich and wide network within and outside your department. Go and meet the people, don’t wait for the people to come and greet you. Have casual conversations with them. In time, you’ll see who’s trustworthy enough for you to share more about yourself, your strategies and your future plans. Be friendly and polite to everyone. People inside the company can tell you a lot about the company that you will not find on your intranet portals. People are living SOP’s, they know better than you do, they can guide you how things work here, how to approach leaders if require. Join at least one company’s social group that will help you in embracing the culture.

Don’t: Go with the perception of the people

Though networking is very important, you have to be very cautious while listening to the people about the company. On the second day of my joining in one of the big multinational, a highly dissatisfied person asked me why I joined this company. He saw no growth but poor working environment around, which was incorrect. Refrain from joining the rumour-monger crew before you become a victim yourself. They try to teach you what they believe about the leaders, departments, culture and growth opportunities. You have no option but to listen everything during your initial days, though you can filter out the good advises later on.

Don’t: Brag about your old company.

One of my old colleague used to say “… you know, this never happened in my 5.4 years of experience in last company”. Grass is always greener on other side.  Avoid unfair comparisons. That may be a big obstruction while networking with the people.

You can manage if you plan. Keep an open mind and avoid being judgmental. When you are new to the job, people have the tendency to judge you based on the kind of behaviors you show at the initial stage. Reflect what you are, what you like and what you dislike. Few initial proactive steps can ensure the smooth ride where you can avoid a lot of energy-loss that is most important to bring the innovation and creativity into the work.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Micro-Management Kills

Micro-Management is the signal saying 'you are incapable of holding the responsibilities so we kept you held accountable for what you do'. It kills innovation. Innovation, which is the key to creep-out from competition. Control-obsessed managers ruin their colleagues' confidence, hurt their performance, and frustrate them to the point where they quit. Respecting individual’s thoughts are pre-requisite of inclusion and independence.

When companies proudly says their professional are extremely talented, it’s better to believe in their talent. Professionals need to know what to do, NOT how to do. Under micro management, often professional become diffident, mechanical, unmotivated and possibly ever paralysed. Let the people do what they are hired for. Effective managers don’t hire people who are cloned to themselves. They hire people who are supplement to their skills to enhance the quality of deliverables.

Varied numbers of situations where micro management is preferred ranges from managers’ controlling mindset to employer’s inefficiency. The gap need to be filled between the managers of high experience and resources with relatively low experience. Trust your employees and provide them resources required to do their jobs quickly and efficiently.

A new manager received a challenging task from the top management where deliverables needed to be sent to leadership. This task was once failed from one of the professional who worked independently on this project. So providing freedom to another professional was a matter of great risk. This manager analysed the causes of failure. Though, the professional was skilful and motivated there were lack of clear goals, improper communication with management and ineffective interaction with the other stakeholders of the deliverable. Had it been micro managed the project would be successful? No! If it had been controlled by the delivery manager, who is incapable of understanding the technicalities of the project, the professional won’t be able to stretch his skills. So controlled environment was not the answer however focus was required.

With a handful of key notes and few results, the manager decided run the project through a professional who is capable of delivering the project with required quality. The goals were set clearly with the feasible timelines after open discussion with the professional. The project was started and it was the time to encourage the employee. How this can be done? Open talk? Visiting his/her desk often? NO. Listen and encourage opinions. Opinions may not be correct but direct rejection may obstruct the flow of creativity of the employee. Employees are closest to a lot of the work being done, so carefully consider their suggestions about how to run things. Ask question positively. This will ensure the feeling of trust which is the best way to build healthier relationship.

Second step the manager applied was to provide the necessary Resources required for the completion of the project. Third and last tool was Transparency and Inclusion, NOT just communication. Transparency is required to understand the big picture of the department or organization at large. Help the employee to understand this big picture. The idea is, there should not be more than one versions of requirements from the stakeholders and what is shared with employee. It’s only inspire inclusion but also it will induce the sense of responsibility in the employees. Pushing employees to the activities in which they are not good at, is not a good strategy of inclusion. But empower them in something they are good at, is true inclusion.

Motivated employee and visionary manager can deliver any project on time with superior quality, so did the above duo. When micro-management is the answer to any question better rephrase the question.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review: PROFILE OF THE PERFECT PERSON: Based on The Bhagavad Gita Chapter II

Author: JAYA ROW
Publisher: JAICO

In an attempt to achieve excellence in all spheres of life we rely on religious or spiritual scriptures which are based on undeniable natural truths. The Bhagavad Gita is more about the proven guidelines to live successfully and happily in modern world than a religious text. “PROFILE OF THE PERFECT PERSON” explores verses 56 to verses 72 of Chapter II which outlines the basis of a perfect person.  Smt. Jaya Row, a commentator of Vedic philosophy, demystifies the versus in common language with perfect analogy and examples.

The Author asks why we are so bored with everything around us. It is because the essential ingredient is missing from our life. Bhagavad Gita is the most important ingredient of life, SALT OF LIFE. Trying to live without Gita teachings is like eating food without salt. The world today is like an enormous ocean with daunting waves. If we wait for the waves to subside we will be waiting forever. Instead we learn to surf them, the experience become enjoyable. In fact the more formidable the waves, the greater the thrill! We need to master the technique of riding the challenges, the world throws at us instead of buckling under pressure. And the first step is knowing ourselves.

Our personality is composed of four entities. The body is our outer layer which receives stimuli from the world and responds to them by way of actions. The mind is the home of emotions and feelings it generates love and hate, creates whims and fancies and function on impulses. Third parts is intellect, which differentiates between pairs of opposites (good or bad, correct or incorrect), it is the abode of rationality, analysis and judgement. Spirit is the fourth entity, referred to as Atman – is your true self. It breathes life into lifeless body, mind and intellect.

The mind is just a flow of thoughts that grabs at instant joy. It is incapable of discerning what is in our long-term interest and what is not. It is the intellect that can set aside the lure of immediate joys and guide us to deferred gratification.

Bhagavad Gita is about tapping the full potential of human being and the source of unlimited happiness. This book elaborates the happiness at 4 levels. Physical level or body level happiness can be achieved by sense-gratification. Our senses (eye, ear, tongue, nose and touch) are attached with their desires and we spend our whole life in satisfying our senses. Are we happy by the satisfying our senses? It is momentary, it is a trap and lowest level of existence. Second level of happiness, which is above the physical level, is emotional level. We have no worth of physical pleasure when we pursue emotional happiness. Strong emotional reasons overpowers the physical conditions. Many sportsmen have proven this in different arenas where emotions played a vital role. Intellectual level drive is the one level above emotional level. If you are driven by an intellectual idea you have access to far greater reserve of energy and vitality than you ever imagined.

The last and highest level of satisfaction is spirit level, the state of realization. When you can touch or access the innermost source then there is no desire left, everything is infinite at this stage.  This is the highest goal of every human being. Moving above the level is the gradual and systematic process which is governed by Yoga.

Chapter II of Bhagavad Gita explains the highest level of perfection in human being. The perfect person is said to be ‘sthitaprajana’ means ‘one established in wisdom’. In Verses 56-59, Lord Krishna expounds on the definition with greater descriptive clarity. Verse 60 is about how the powerful senses attack the mind and lead it astray. In verses 61 to 66 Krishna gives the pivotal role of the intellect. In 67 it says that the mind which has been misled by the senses drags the intellect away. Verse 68 says only the person who has controlled the senses qualifies be a ‘sthitaprajana’.

Second part of the book enlightens the path to be sthitaprajana. A person of steady wisdom is one who totally abandons all desires from the mind which sounds frightening to us. Desire is the function of mind. One can achieve the state of no desire when one has access to his own infinite status, everything else pales into insignificance. When you are captivated by a higher interest your previous desires fade away. Spiritual evolution must be gradual. When you are full of desires you cannot suddenly drop them. In fact you cannot drop desires at all. What you can do is learn to appreciate something of greater values. Something more fulfilling then you are engaged right now. Fear and anger are aberrations of desire. When you are free from desire you are automatically free from fear and anger. The Gita gives us the formula of happiness.

Happiness = Number of Desires Actualized/Number of Desires Harboured

The happiness quotient can be increased either by increasing the number of achievements or decrease in the number of unfulfilled desires.

The language is very simple, precise and honest. It is meant to be thought-provoking and inspiring. The whole book is sprinkled with particle ideas and is exhaustive on the subject.