“A” players…..

A discussion on the topic of career progression with friends is an experience in discovery. Just last night Sandeep shared how his boss gave him a pass "you are not an A Player and unless you become one, it is career limiting forever!" One has often heard such hazy subjective explanations that have been responsible for plateauing the career graphs of many a committed and proven performer. In matters of people, being objective, transparent and clear in communication is such a virtue. If employees begin to believe that decisions are largely subjective or perception based, it causes immense damage to morale and performance which has the potential of destroying the very fabric of the organisation over time. That is a great leadership failure and the situation has been accentuated in recent times because of the short term contractual and outcome based recruitments at the top.   I

appraising performance…..

Managers usually consider performance appraisal as the formal way of measuring how well an employee has handled responsibilities and assignments during a given period of time. The significance is immense and the output can be used for a variety of purposes like compensation administration, career progression, disciplinary actions, assessing training needs etc. Clearly appraising and judging is one of the tougher parts of managing. Even though organisations profess merit as the sole criteria for rewarding, most systems do not work that straight and there is always a huge amount of subjectivity that inevitably creeps in. Given its mega potential to motivate or tick-off people, I have always considered this as one of the most crucial aspects of my job responsibility. A lot can be said and done when you sit across

“U” make a difference…..

At a time when change is the only constant, we expect CEO's to transform the way the company does business. Mid managers make process improvements and other innovations that help boost efficiencies. Front line members shoulder the responsibility to contribute ideas to better  the way employees work with customers. So the point is not to question if everyone makes a difference at work. Great leaders ensure they compliment the people around themselves and make them feel really really nice. A small comment conveying your appreciation, that you notice and care for them and are genuinely interested in what they do does wonders to the morale. It has an such an uplifting impact for the entire team. The work becomes music and the workplace environment very congenial and tension free. A recent story I read conveys

talent development…..

Ekta walked into my room looking totally disoriented and confused. As if someone had shaken her up. "All well?" I enquired politely and was taken aback by the intensity of response the innocuous question elicited "What does my manager think of himself? I don't have what it takes to scale to the next level.....I work so hard to produce such wonderful results only to listen to stuff when it is time for my increment and promotion? This place just isn't worth it!" Familiar I am sure, these and many similar statements - and feelings - at review time.    Let me capture 2 trends that have emerged over the last few - 2/3 - years : - organisations have become far more demanding of employees. Boards expect more and senior leaders are under a constant microscope to create

manage work pressures…..

During my college days of engineering and management, I realised that my mind was most sharp and absorbent closest to the examination day. Almost as if the pressure of exam deadline inspired a great sense of what was important and what could be ignored and stimulated the brain to function at a far higher capacity than otherwise. I cultivated this syndrome carefully and relied on its immense power to see me through those tough study years, as I am sure a lot of you would have done too! Even at work a certain amount of pressure equips you with that unique creative edge to get you through trying and difficult times. Just that going beyond a limit can have consequences at personal and professional levels. Unfortunately in the recent times this pressure situation has extended in time period and deepened in intensity manifolds. Organisations are

ordinary good wishes…..

Life is not characterised by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away! Elders in the family have always impressed upon us to do at least one kind deed a day. I read a story recently that I am compelled to share. How we can help to transform people - colleagues, strangers, children, rich, poor - whoever they may be. A little bit of kindness and understanding is all the magic that it takes!       Buying some early potatoes at the corner grocery store, I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas, am a real pushover for

gift for your child…..

Ruchi and Samarth are away to Mumbai. Guess I am feeling a little lonely, obviously missing them. Usually weekends are time for togetherness and even if you do not do too much, the act of the entire family being around is so soothing and a great stress buster.  Free time permits one the luxury to reflect upon things that you really care for but may not have been able to give enough attention for a variety of reasons. Your hobbies - or the apparent lack of them, old friendships, relationships you really want to preserve and enrich. The thought of parent - child relationship crossed my mind, have been thinking about it for a while and seems like a good moment to shape it further.   Children grow up very fast. Each

play to your strength…..

This is a zen story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master (Sensei). The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move. "Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I be learning more moves?"  "This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the Sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the Sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself,

i care…..

One of my earlier posts has been dedicated to the concept of appreciating people around yourself - for what they are and what they do - as a great means of enhancing bonding, improving emotional connect and thereby leading to improved all round environment and performance. Human beings by their very nature tend to be critical. They look for areas of improvement in others, for things that are not done well enough and provide suggestions on how to correct those. While this is helpful, it has the implication of overlooking the inherent goodness in each one of us. We have to understand that people become great by playing to their strengths and thus our appreciation of such virtues, no matter how small they may appear to be, goes a long way in

managing in a matrix…..

Over dinner last night my friend spoke of having to deal with the complications of  reporting to multiple managers almost daily. Interesting topic to draw in the larger community of people for their views I thought!  It is a fact of modern day structures where quite often we find ourselves accountable to more than one manager in organisations. Working in cross functional teams, reporting to them, interacting with them on a regular basis, more frequently than perhaps even our own line bosses. Call it the necessity of a matrix structure. Not sure if anyone is untouched by this - across levels and role types.  Continuing with the series of thought provoking posts, I am going to discuss another topical issue that is often less debated - but so relevant to the new organisation structures of