Performance is punishing !!! Non-performance is rewarding.

Performance is punishing.pngBerty is called by her CEO early in the morning asking her to draft a quick response to the organizers of some high-level business delegates nominated to visit Italy from her country, where her boss is also an invitee. Berty is Head of HR and has enough on her plate functionally, being head of a corporate HR team.

Berty has been a consistent performer and is excellent when it comes to communication, especially business communications. Well, it is quite nice to have someone like Berty in the team who could be the “go-to” person for any such important business communications, but what does that do to Berty?

Berty enjoys the work and is seen as a committed and involved executive who ensures an assignment is given its due importance and merit. Anything that is given to Berty will see the light of the day quickly and wouldn’t be shunted away nor hidden under the piles of work. Any new assignment whether it is to do with her function or not, it would still be passed through Berty for some reason and Berty would never say “No” to these as it interests her and she does enjoy doing that.

We see many Berty like characters in our work life. They are the performers and on the other hand, organizations do carry some baggage of non-performers or under performers. CEOs and business leaders, especially when they are weak, run to the best performers of the team when they need something to be done quickly and qualitatively and won’t even bother to say a “Thank You” at times when things are done and achieved. This mainly emanates from the comfort of having these performers around to whatever they want them to do and the confidence in leaders of not receiving a “No” for an answer. This is quite an interesting phenomenon to be pondered about as there are a number of committed performers who have been punished constantly by a downpour of tons of work for satiating someone else’s selfish needs.

Most often due to a high level of self-motivation and repeat success Berty like people get selected by superiors to do more work than her colleagues because she does a good job and is very good at it. This frequently entails extra hours of work, multitasking, etc. the punishment is that Berty gets to see the non-performers who are not doing their own job well, get rewarded by means of time off at work, higher perquisites like a higher category of car, business class travels, time off from work, leave work on time and so on. This is very common in government organizations where due to bureaucracy, it is difficult to get rid of underperformers. However, the scene is not different in some single owner run private companies.

Performers like Berty gets more and more demands pushed onto their table , just because of the confidence that the CEO has on completion of the work as per the quality expected, leaving her to stay late night at work, or carry work home whereas on the other hand you have people who don’t carry any image of performers but smooth talkers.

You might often see these non-performers coming to work at 9.15 am and spends some time on tea and coffee chat then goes missing. Perhaps must have gone to drop lunch box at their kids school etc.. And before it’s 6 pm in the evening, they have already planned the evening with family or imaginary families or have planned a golf. Off they go and still get paid and paid more at times than people like Berty.

Berty was called on another day to draft a letter to one of the business associates for financial adjustments on a lease model that the company is working on with the premises of the associate. Berty needs only an explanation of what the content should be and there she goes with a frame of mind and thoughts to put the matter in good perspective and also making it practical and diplomatic. Well, it ideally would be under the Finance function to handle matters like this where it relates to lease and lease renewal etc.

Not much said the matter is resolved by Berty and life moves on and Berty gets another set of things to do which is entirely different from her functions. A week later, Berty gets a call again asking to issue a letter of salary increment to Finance head, out of the cycle. Berty has her own objection to it as it’s not in line with the policy, however, Berty has to do it eventually as the final decision is on the CEO. Such scenes are common in any organization and here it tells me that performance is punishing and non-performance is rewarding.

Also, often we at senior levels like Berty gets to do things which we are unwilling to do and this is what I term as “being raped”.

Performers are seen as meek by some of the CEOs or leaders and it’s only a matter of time that organization would lose such performers as they see how weak their leaders are and find that there is no room for growth or learning under their leadership.

It’s important for the organization’s to reward performers timely, especially those performers who are driven by excitement at work or those who score very high on career development on tests like RSI.

Piling works for performers without being sensitive to them or without even showing a simple courtesy gesture, would be like punishing them, especially when it comes to rewards, that goes to non-performers. It is a shame that some CEOs and leaders do not take care of performers and do not keep a balance on rewarding people. The health of an organization is in danger when performers are punished and is suicidal when non-performers are rewarded.

Berty like performers does not promulgate their innate skills or abilities or their immense involvement in delivering a quality work. But there, of course, are those gas- bags who doesn’t leave a chance to advertise a small achievement and do not hesitate to even plant a loudspeaker just below the ears of their leaders. Unfortunately, CEOs who are logically diagnostic to these characters in the organization are rare.

On the other hand, you get to see performers like Berty beaming with positive energy as their motives are performance and not reward. But with time, they would move on where they get to develop their abilities and skills. They wouldn’t mind being used but they look for rewards that enable them to do well time and again. Their meekness sometimes is taken for granted by the CEOs and leaders.

Similarly, we all have our favorite team member to go to for anything that comes up as urgent or immediate to do work. Often we have a tendency to lean on them for quality, consistency and expected results. We keep developing this reliability factor on some of our direct reports and often it comes to the limelight and it sometimes takes the shape of obvious.

As a leader one needs to be careful about it, especially when we have a team. Managing the talents that are performing and non-performing is an art in itself. It sometimes is a good tool to make the reliability on someone public as long as communication is clear and transparent that performance is not seen as punishing. At the same time, a leader must encourage the nonperformers to handle responsibilities thus making it perceived as an opportunity to excel is given to them. A differentiation in rewards is imperative for a team to be successful and also for a leader to be perceived as fair, else the leader will be left with nonperformers who wouldn’t mind staying on. While performers are pressured with more and more, rewards if not delivered whether it is in financial form or in the form of word of appreciation or in the form of meeting learning and development needs, you are bound to lose your performers in time.

If an organization does not open their eyes to recognizing performers over non-performers and get into the mode of taking performers for granted, just because the motive and driver for performers are mere performance, the work culture would suck. Real performers are those who do not hanker for rewards but a silent result producers and, of course, they do have their times of agony on organization’s unfair recognitions, but the inner drive of being a performer and also the quest for doing better keeps them galloping to an extent that organization or company or brand they are in for the moment do not matter. Before you realize the importance of rewarding them, they would be gone. You cannot keep punishing performers with more and more work demands for long, neglecting the need for appreciation.

There exist organizations and CEOs who values performers and who acknowledges the punishing of performers by loads of work and the beauty of such talent masters reside in the very fact of recognizing that he is punishing the performer with more work demands and knowing when and what to do to keep them with the organization.  The performers do not see it as punishment when they are timely recognized and not subjected to witness rewarding of non-performers.

Performance punishment is an easy way to burn out your good employees!

Binu Prasad

Image: courtesy google.

Blame games feast on culture!

Chris manages a restaurant chain of 40 restaurants in her country. One of her restaurants was scBlame games eat culture for breakfastheduled to go for usual refurbishment works and quite obviously she needs to allocate h
er staff to other restaurants which are already running with low staffing. She shifted some staff to a few other restaurants and kept some home delivery drivers to a nearby low revenue earning restaurant hoping to serve the customers of the shutdown restaurant by home deliveries. Perhaps a decision was taken by her and her immediate team down the line. The idea could only be to avoid disappointing the existing customer base seeking home deliveries. Not a bad idea from the thought perspective but could ruin the satisfaction quotient because of time delay that it could take to deliver since it is now from another restaurant which is few miles away from the shutdown restaurant.

This perhaps a wise thing to do from her point of view, and may not be appreciated by someone else in the organization and they would find it a chance to blame Chris spreading the virus gossip saying she has put all her team in one place where there are less business and what’s the point in doing home deliveries to catchment areas of closed restaurant when your orders are going to take time and delay, resulting in customer complaints. Well, it’s a personal view but it can damage the morale and health of an organization.

Have you not come across such spleens in the organization? They exist in every organization. Their point of views could be very valid but is not manifested maturely, causing cancer in the organization. They are people who derive pleasure from blaming. No doubt, their views have a business sense and logical, but the method of expressing the same wounds the health of the organization. One cannot avoid the existence of such elements in an organization but the beauty is in handling their critical creativity. These type of people come with an attitude to blame others or just to create unrest and animosity in the organization. They are but talented being with tremendous inner potential left unguided.

On another day, one of Chris’s restaurants had a breakdown of the fryer. It went unattended for more than 15 days and it’s not that she didn’t do anything about it. It’s just that the maintenance team had to get a part changed and the finance wouldn’t release cash for a direct purchase and, of course, Chris is stuck, maintenance head is stuck and it’s usual for Chris to get stuck like this in between the organizational bureaucracies. Yes, one would argue that Chris as a business head must bring the sky down if the business is affected by the internal process bureaucracy. Well, that comes out only when the passion for business is strongly rooted. Maybe Chris is on top of the matter, also, the maintenance head is biting his teeth on getting this fixed. But someone is playing behind them on this given opportunity. Our virus friend is at work… Usual rituals of blaming Chris for not taking ownership of the situation, blaming maintenance head for no seriousness etc.  Such issues are common in any organization and it happens when empowerment is in short supply and decision making is criticized. This is a huge leadership concern and such matters left unaddressed would peril an organization. Leaders have to calmly observe such scenarios and fix the processes, systems and the management practices for knitting the organization’s DNA.

While the leader should ideally focus on the issue from a broad perspective, it is very natural for one to get swayed by the super active viruses who is on a public platform with a hidden loudspeaker propagating the incapability’s of Chris and Maintenance head, leading to an organizational chaos. It is often said the blame is a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos.

When you watch closely at these influential elements in an organization, it makes us realize that they are brilliant talents but misused. They have a negative approach in contributing the right stuff to the organization. They also think logically and they are talented, they are guardians of organization’s business interests but, unfortunately, screws up their method of efforts in a blame culture. If you observe them closely, you can sense a deep passion for business, operations, growth, righteousness etc. in them, unfortunately, personified wrongly in the organizational structure. They are someone who would not straight talk but would love to sit next to the ear of leader and bite it hard with all their intellectual critics, messing up the leadership’s perception of people similar to Chris and our maintenance head in this example.

While such elements are an important aspect of an organization like the good and bad bacteria that a human body has, a mismanagement of its balance would topple life.

A leader is actually a doctor who diagnoses the growth of such bacterial infection in the organization and manages it with the right medication. But if the doctor cannot diagnose this nor recognize the existence of such viruses, the doctor could get infected as well, leave alone the organization. A doctor has to be a learned man and a lone thinker for perceiving these with a sense of maturity and balanced thinking.

On the other hand, if the leader gets carried away with these blame games, then do you know what it does to the whole organization? It just feasts the culture of blame.

Can you imagine an organization where the leader himself finds it easier to blame his business leaders or functional leaders? If the leader of the organization has a good ear to listen to these blame games of an influential member of his team, and if those ears don’t filter stuff but straight away takes to the reptilian brain and vomits it out as another corporate blame, the structure of blame culture is established. A leader who takes ownership doesn’t resort to blaming his people for failures.

A great leader comes in the front when things go wrong and stands behind when victories are experienced.

When blame games eat culture for breakfast, the organization’s focus turns to destroying talents. The sense of ownership flies out the window.

Where does the organization go in such a scenario? It is a misnomer to think that a culture is shaped by the HR of an organization. It’s the manifestation of a top leader’s thought process and HR becomes an enabler in the game plan.  In an organization, if the string is pulled by a single leader which is normally a case when it comes to single owner businesses, the accountability of a culture lies with him.

I am sure there exist the viruses like the above in any organization. The savior in all such organization lies at the intellect of the leader. Believe it or not, the leader at the steering holds the control of cultivation of blame culture. If your organization is infested with blame games all across the lines, then look at where it is originating from, where it is nurtured, where it is fostered, where it is multiplied, where it gets propagated? And God bless the organization if the answer lies at the CEO of the organization. And God bless the organization if that CEO is irreplaceable or is the founder himself.

I write this for those CEOs who dream of corporate culture but lives in the reality of narrow dubious culture. It is easy to blame your colleagues or your subordinates, it takes courage and commitment to guide them. It takes wisdom to lead a team to a positive work culture. Watch out for those words like ” he didn’t do it” , ” no progress after you took over the responsibilities”, ” ever since you joined, things turned worse”, ” I do not have good people” , ” our people are not performing” , ” everything happens only when I tell”, ” nobody in this organization takes responsibilities”, ” everything is slow in this place”, ” I retained your people” , ” everyone signs the resignation of people as approved and no one bothers to retain and it’s me who took initiative to retain people”, and many more … Can you see the “I” in this? Can you see the “No” factor in these? , it just emanates from the deep rooted passion for blaming others and if it’s in the blood, it never sees the purity. Perhaps a dialysis could save the life of the organization.

In a scenario like this, the one who serves breakfast to CEO is our blame game boy. In such an organization, everyone works towards doing what pleases the boss and care less for system or process or product or business. And the sincere performers goes unnoticed. The concentration of top leadership goes in earning that brownie point from the CEO by filling his or her ears. And the unfortunate CEO gets derailed by his ear keepers, not knowing he is nurturing a wrong plant in his garden. It is a pity that in such organization, these blame game boys and those who kisses the ears of the praise hungry CEOs get their banks filled with constant wealth.

It just goes to tell me that leadership is something that one needs to attain by listening to one’s inner self, devoid of the external voices. 

It is important for CEOs to learn that blame doesn’t move the game on! A learning culture enhances team performance.

Binu Prasad

Image courtesy: Google

Listen to the Inner Calling

Inner CallingMat and Mel were engaged in an intense conversation. They are in a world of their own with no one around. The world is just full of water and they are floating in it, occasionally holding each other’s hands. There is a connection between them and they believe that that’s how the life in the world they live in is. Each is individuals on their own and have a mind of their own and hence, a conversation always strikes well between them. They feel that there is someone holding their world.

The scene is a mother’s womb and Mat and Mel are twins about to come to reality. Mat and Mel were discussing of future life after delivery….

Mat asked Mel, “Do you believe in life after delivery?”  Mel replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” Mel is more optimistic and holds great hopes in her mind and believe positively always. Mel sees the light at the end of tunnel always and has practiced silence and search of herself well in the placenta.

“Nonsense,” said Mat. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

Mat has been a man who doesn’t see hope in life and sees nothing bright ahead. Mat is like anyone who has been in an organization for years and believes that beyond that place where he is currently, life doesn’t exist.

To Mat’s question, Mel said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” Mel is full of hopes for the best and imagines a beautiful future.

Mat couldn’t resist replying to Mel’s persistent hope for life after delivery… He replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

For Mat, logic is more pertinent than hope and imagination for a better future. Mat doesn’t believe in making uncertainty into reality and does not see him taking any risk. He is more comfortable with where he is and does not want to see a change positively.

Mel insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

Mat replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said Mel, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” Mat replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is she now?”

Mel said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of her. It is in her that we live. Without her, this world would not and could not exist.”

Mat said to Mel: “Well I don’t see her, so it is only logical that she doesn’t exist.” Mel replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive her presence, and you can hear her loving voice, calling down from above.”

There is this inner calling we have to listen to and move on in life, hoping for the best to come. We forget to listen to that and we are often doomed by that stuff going around us and driven by that transactional life.

Learn to listen in silence, you will find the calling from above!!!! , no matter who you are with or who you are surrounded with, the belief in yourself and your strong perceptions of life will make you find yourself.

A mother is what the baby inside a womb can imagine and believe that she exists. That’s the inner calling that the baby listens to as a future reality. While in darkness, it is the inner calling that we must listen to, no matter how troublesome the others around can get to.

An organization is like a mother’s womb and we float inside that with a variety of people around us pulling us down with their logical and negative thoughts. A self-awareness and a strong belief in the inner calling are what would keep you going undisturbed.

Learning to listen to your inner guidance is the hardest lessons in the world. Our inner guidance is more often tailored by the external guidance that we hear and see.

A silent listening would uncover the real inner call.

 Binu Prasad

Image courtesy: Google.

Look – Your subordinate has a better decision!!!

Your subordinates may have better answers than you.

Most of the time managers assume that they have all the soluDecision Makingtions and the decisions are always at their end. Most discussions of decision making assume that only leaders and managers make decisions. This is a dangerous mistake as once written by Peter Drucker.

As a manager or leader, it is insane to think that you hold all the answers and you have all the information for a decision. It is quite common in managers to assume that their subordinates do not get the right answers or they do not have a right decision at their end for any given situation. This just goes to prove the old adage that “to assume” is making an ass out of you and me!! When you make an assumption of having a better information than the people at the ground reality, you just end up making an ass of yourself. Accepting the fact that your team on the ground has a better grip on the situation than you and hence can contribute to decision making or can make better decisions is humility that every leader / manager must embrace.

It takes an effort for a leader to capitalize on his subordinate’s decision-making skills. Often I find myself as a creator of a system or process at work, and then bringing the team inside it to accept the same and then allow them to start living the system. While they breathe work as per the process that I set in, they come across numerous terrain that I never thought of or encountered while building it. And the beauty is they not only find those lacunae but have answers to resolve them as well. In a way, I end up creating a creator. This is a beautiful feeling. I get excited when my team come up with answers and alternative options as I see that the brain is at work and they are not tied to their desks doing mundane work but are embracing their share of responsibilities wholeheartedly.

It is interesting to navigate your team member’s mind and see how they open up with better decisions at work. Many managers fail in finding this distinctive potential in some of their team members. The only way to get your team members come forward with the decisions for an issue is by being with them when resolving an issue. These days’ youngsters come with a world view and have been exposed to many situations in their life making them capable of making their own decisions. Situations could be complex and a manager would most often think and feel that only his experience can find a practical solution, forgetting the fact that his immediate subordinate or some of the other team members in the team could bring in a better decision at times.

As a leader with experience, it is quite natural for anyone to disregard the talent of his immediate subordinate or his team down the line when faced with complex decision-making situations, but to have that conscious mind to listen to them, expecting a logical decision is a skill that every manager or leader should work on.

As a leader, one must respect his team’s potential and, however, silly it may sound, listen to their ideas, thoughts and nurture them. For all you know they are also talented and have a God given brain to think and act. They have better solutions to issues and situations often. However, in the world outside where some managers or leaders wear a robe of “I know more than you” attitude fails to see the bright light near them.

The best thing that a manager can do is to involve his team whenever a situation needs to be resolved. While you may have an answer you think is right for a situation in front of you, ask probing questions, give them time and you will see how engagement and sense of ownership take birth.

Often I have practiced throwing challenges to my team and it could be just simply asking them to design a new format. I enjoy seeing them besetting their brain, driving their thoughts and then beautifully crafting one. No matter how inaccurate the result is, it’s still a brain’s work and it opens up an opportunity for you to work further on their development. However, their work could make you think of a scenario which you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. Here comes the learning from your own team. Here is realizing that they have better solutions than you here is knowing that they too make better decisions.

Everyone at your team is making decisions at their work and shaping them to make better decisions as you would have otherwise made or building a curiosity to invite their decisions on issues is a skill that a leader must cultivate.

Shifting your team mindset from a bunch of talents following instructions to talents contributing for a shared objective is what would unleash their potential to be decision makers.

Lastly, the decisions emanating from your team has a better buy in and success of a leader is certain in such cases.

Binu Prasad

Image Courtsey: Google

Are you an enlightened leader?

We all have come across different types of leaders and CEOs in our lives. Some stay alive in our minds than others. SEnlightenome have touched our lives powerfully. Some had a high impact on what we are today and some interestingly told us what a leader/CEO should not be.

For the purpose of this article, I shall take CEOs of the organization as leaders connoted here who shape or disintegrate the leadership talents in their organizations. However the principles where my thought had gone into applies to all those who are in leadership roles.

There are many around us claiming themselves as CEO or Managing Director or Chairman or Founder etc. But how many of them are really enlightened? What makes an enlightened CEO different from the ordinary one?

An enlightened CEO shapes the talents in his organization by recognizing and nurturing them for a brighter future organization. An ordinary CEO spends his time blaming his leadership team for business situations or in trying to see who didn’t perform well or in finding someone as a scapegoat for a failed business situation. In an environment, where a CEO is in search of victims of incidents, the organization could turn out to be a bunch of underutilized talents working in isolation.

An ordinary CEO capitalizes his time in creating and building operational and financial strategies for a perceived success. He expends time in seeing possibilities of cutting corners to save that extra penny. He looks at business from a perspective of money and in many cases, money drives the leadership culture. He focuses more on how to make bottom lines healthier. He uses people and feels that people are paid to deliver what he or company wants irrespective of what they are capable of or what future potential they have. An ordinary CEO lacks foresight into identifying talents that would help achieve these healthy bottom lines consistently otherwise. That’s where the thin line between an ordinary CEO and enlightened CEO lies.

In an organization led by ordinary CEO, meritocracy is flung off the window. Performance appraisals become a routine HR exercise and when it comes to remuneration increase or rewards, it becomes a decision based on who happened to score more on being a “Yes man”. The leaders who contributed silently or sincerely or those who called a spade a spade goes to the bottom line of the annual remuneration increment list.

An enlightened CEO, on the other hand, values meritocracy over mediocrity. One should never forget the fact that differentiation breeds meritocracy and the sameness or failure to notice differentiation breeds mediocrity in an organization. Most organization falls into the latter type. CEOs of some organizations tend to easily recognize those who achieve or exceed budgeted financial results of their respective business and fails to even look at the fact that the talents need to be recognized and rewarded based on leader’s behaviors, values and potential not just the business results. Financial results are important, but for a sustained growth and also to take the Organization forward, the creation of talented leaders is of prime importance as far as a CEO is concerned. This even applies to any leaders at any function as the success of any function in an organization depends on how the leaders shape the talents in his team and how he nurtures them to take higher roles and how he drives them to learn skills.

An enlightened CEO usually spends 75% of their time in identifying and cultivating the talents in their organization which would direct the future of the company to growth. Meritocracy is often mistaken by ordinary CEOs as moments where a quick result or a quick incidental impression brought in by some of the business’s leadership team is seen and recognized as the best for the Organization. Most often CEOs fail to observe consistent character, manifestation of genuine values and the visibility of real DNA of leaders that would bring an everlasting success to the organization.

The biggest mistake that an ordinary CEO does is to derecognize current leaders of the organization over a newly joined leader. If a CEO fails to fairly treat his leaders based on talents, values, and character and gets swayed by a sweet talker in his leadership team, he is bound to create a chaotic social system in his team and organization. Enlightenment is a farfetched state of mind for such CEOs. I have come across CEOs reward those business leaders who achieve financial results by a personal paycheque or a handsome cash envelope discretely with an aim of getting more and such CEOs are nothing but below ordinary CEOs who have no focus or passion for bringing meritocracy of talents in the organization by executing a broader and fair assessment of identification of talents and potential.

An enlightened CEO devotes qualitative time in observing, challenging and developing talents thus shaping the social system in the organization to one of meritocracy where differentiation of talents exists. Such CEOs are committed to talent development as they understand and believe that it is a crucial benchmark in business success than just mere financial or operational success.

It is not easy for a CEO to identify the developmental needs of their leadership team and then express it to them to accept and make them feel the need to work on as against appreciating the strengths of their leaders. If it’s easy to tell someone about their strengths, it is very edgy to tell someone what they need to change.

It takes courage for a CEO to be explicit in expressing or addressing the development needs of his leadership team and he needs to be adroit in encouraging his leaders to accept his assessment and take the challenges. This is a tough skill that an enlightened CEO will have in him which ordinary CEOs shy away from.

It is difficult to get the culture where leadership team feel welcome to being corrected and guided by a top leader. This culture creation is an easy task as far as an enlightened CEO is concerned as he sets the place for such free flow of communication. An environment of trust and openness is what an enlightened CEO would create for building talents. CEOs can only develop talents if they get to know about them well and such information is like a black box, especially when it comes to leadership talents. One need to delve inside this and scrutinize the elements inside the leadership talents to bring out the potential for further development.

If the atmosphere in an organization is built of honesty and openness, free flow of communication with no reluctance occur. Many CEOs fail in building this trust in their leaders. A typical example that come to my mind is that a CEO asking a senior leader over phone on whether a line manager in the organization is aware of a crucial matter that he has heard that the senior leader is aware of, hiding the fact that it is told to him by the line manager sitting in front of him. This kind of acts build mistrust in the top leadership and the leadership team would not reveal much of their information to such leaders, resulting in the CEO failing to gather information on talents for shaping them for the good of the organization. Another example where CEOs build mistrust is when he questions a senior leader while some junior team members are in his office and the interrogation is on speaker phone without revealing the fact that the conversation is put on speaker phone and there are other team members around in CEOs office. Such organizations are very common and such CEOs as well.

Ordinary CEOs are mediocre by themselves and has insecurity issues that prevent them from facing talented leaders and thus opt to allow the power of position take over their actions.

Ordinary CEOs do not walk the talk. They focus more on the outside world that bring fame to them and neglects the inside where leadership talents feel wanted and noticed. Ordinary CEOs know little of their leadership talents and in an organization like this “Yes Man” principle wins CEO’s heart and the Organization gets led mostly by such “Yes Man” followers of CEO.

In such a place, trust is a dream and maybe not even a dream. In an environment like no trust and openness, CEO will not be able to get all information about leadership talents, leave alone nurturing it. Candor gets the truth out. Leaders of the organization or even the team members of the organization or departments can talk openly only if they trust the system to respect honesty and confidentiality. And only when a CEO gets all information of their talents, there is room for talent development. And only when talents are developed, the organization develops.

An enlightened CEO knows this and works strenuously to ensure that trust and candor is a strongly stated value in the organization which he walks with. An enlightened CEO ensures that the value of trust and candor is emphasized in all his dialogues, meetings, addresses and any other communication forums or in the daily transactional matters as he understands that getting all his leaders of the team together on board is crucial for his organization.

Ordinary CEOs do not inspire leadership team or for that matter anyone and one need to start assessing themselves and work on it for them to be seen as enlightened CEOs.

Talents follow enlightened leaders and would stick with them for enlightening themselves whereas talents avoid and move away from ordinary  leaders.


Binu Prasad

Image courtesy: google


Business Process Vs Social Process

Last evening at the Church, father John was narrating a story and allow me to reproduce it here to understand the knowing of people well.

Bus Process Vs Social Process 2

The story goes like this. Little Tony was asked by his teacher, hey Tony, if your father has given you a dollar and I give you one, how many dollars you will have? Tony, without a blink of eyes, said one dollar ma’am. The teacher obviously got annoyed at this answer and repeated the question. Tony again answered the same. Now that the teacher got furious and snapped at him and said. You silly moron, you don’t know your math well and how come you make mistakes like this? Tony smiled and answered back. Ma’am, it’s not that I don’t know my math well, it’s just that you don’t know my father. It’s just not possible for him to give me a dollar.

It just goes to say one thing that knowing a person well determines the results. It is important to know the person well and then relation become better, results become achievable.

Know your boss, know your subordinates, know your colleagues well and you see how the business activities progress with no much hindrances. It’s the relationship that sets the mood of the transactions, it’s the connection of minds that moves the business activities.

Business processes vs social processes, that’s what I want to talk here about.

A business process is imperative for any businesses success, but the element that sustains the success is the social process. When you see a business model, a systematic approach in tackling that action to perceived results, you see only success ahead of you. But one thing which many leaders miss looking at is the social process involved in the arterial blood vessels of the business process strategy meetings.

Anytime when we interact with anyone else, there is this process called social process. A subconscious dialogue of our traits and behaviors which the other party perceives from the lower cortex of brain stems and filters in the background, pacing ways to make the business process easy or difficult. Social processes lead to results and for it to work, you need to know your team well. You need to start observing your team’s nuances of behaviors.

In a social process, that relation factor is important and leaders need to have a high level of what I call Relationship Quotient (RQ) to make sure their directives are leading to successful results. Most often the team or the leader is not aware how these social process plays a great role in results.

How meticulously leaders focus on business process and results, how focused some leaders are in getting works done? In driving the team to results? In analyzing that balance sheets? In counting that money? In putting an action plan for making more profits? , Well, how many such leaders do spend that much time and effort in improving the relationship quotient, a social process which helps them achieve all that they want materialistically?

As a leader, one need to be aware of this social process, if results are desired. Imagine a social process where the place is infected with negative energy, dialogues take the form of fault finding, everyone thinks of blaming each other, why things cannot be done  is what everyone thinks instinctively and in an environment like this, social processes go for a kill. You need not even talk of business results or success in such a place. It is bound to die a natural one by itself.

 “Creating a social enterprise brightens a glaring spotlight on broken business processes.”

The beauty is that you can nurture or manage the social process and how many leaders do that? I have seen many CEOs focus their future on financial strategies rather than building a robust social process within the organization. Many CEOs spend time unnecessarily chafing their senior executive leaders or team down the line, murdering the social process over and again, building that brick wall against them, resulting in creating a work culture where some team spends time in scheming things to make CEOs happy and some honest ones, do their work and avoid interactions with CEO as much as possible to avoid confrontations. Such relationship chaos extinguishes the possibility of building a great business delivery and a progressive work culture. It’s a shame that some of this kind of CEOs do not realize the importance of social process in their business and all that they do is murder talents every second and embrace that cheap thrill.

Focus on relationship, connect with people, they will engage themselves for an enhanced business delivery”

 An enlightened CEO should spend 80% of his time in identifying the talents in his team, identifying the potential of his team, knowing what motivates each of his team, and above all how he should knit the different talents together in achieving to make them move towards what he wants to achieve.

A CEO who spends time in blaming his team for non-performance or keeps pulling down his senior leaders would be putting his social process at the workplace to jeopardy. A leader, be it a CEO or anyone for that matter who values effective social process is bound to achieve bright results. Everyone has a social process around them to manage and if every leader in the organization starts looking at managing his own social process within his area of influence, an organizational development is a result.

 “Your pain of unsuccessful business deliveries can only be cured by social process revitalization.”

 While building that social process, relationships have to be valued, respected. Killing the fundamentals of work relationship will curtail development. A leader has to be sensitive to the relationships that he builds in his team. Every leader has an opportunity to build relationships and nurture the social process. Once you have the right equations and right platform of social process, then the leader must focus on building talents that would make the future of the company a reality. The world is not a perfect place, so do, your own organization, your own department etc. you are bound to have talents that differ and having differentiation in talents is a good indication so that mediocrity doesn’t creep into your team. No one than the CEO or the leader is responsible for these that’s why we keep hearing that a leader must have a clear vision.

If you ever want to be in the paths of leadership, you ought to be thinking away from the crowd about the crowd and for the crowd.

 By Binu Prasad

Image courtesy: google.

Searching discontinuities

Searching DiscontinuitiesWhat is searching for discontinuities? Perhaps the title of my write up here would stir curiosity. I know it may sound vague but coming to think of it, do we face discontinuity every day in life? Isn’t there something that we get used to and we keep wanting different things in life every time? I guess it’s natural for us to be comfortable with something which we craved for and then the living with it takes us to wanting more.

Hey, I am not driving your mind to anything else here, come back and let’s start looking at it from the perspective of an organization and leadership of talents. Just start comprehending the challenges that leaders have in managing the discontinuities of the team’s desires of growth. Then start reading on.

 A leader makes himself valuable the moment he keeps searching for the discontinuities of opportunities that his people experiences.

The world outside is where your team is at work, they keep doing the job that you assign them. And they execute your directives. They make things happen for you and they hold your work process intact. What a wonderful place it would be if the team holds everything that you want them to in full spirit. But what do you do to them? Do you provide more opportunities of learning for them or do you close the opportunity of learning once you have put the system, processes and workflow in place?

You would be killing talents if you keep yourself in a comfort zone of your team’s adroitness. 

You must find trajectories of new opportunities for learning for your team. You need to keep conceiving and executing different opportunities for your team. The work that your team do for you is not just a job but it’s an experience and one needs to value it as an experience than a mere job or task. A leader must visualise how new opportunities of learning can be developed, how new processes can be incorporated, how one existing process can be reengineered.

The team at a leader’s arms would be diamonds if they are constantly challenged to nearing perfection. In HR (that being my subject of interest), for example, a leader needs to find out how best he can make his team or himself connect to his employees, how well he can make the  experience of HR in the minds of employees valuable. Here, I see the needs of people, I mean the employees of your organization discontinuing, leading to a new one constantly. An opportunity that you spot to satisfy the employees discontinues at some point after it has been tapped and another one or extension of what you did emerges soon. Similarly, there is always a discontinuity of learning experience that your team will reach, expressing a new one to you.

Searching for the discontinuities of opportunities in that outer landscape is essential for a leader to keep his team talent on the sharp edge. As a leader you need to have an innate ability to find new ways of doing the routine stuff, better way of nourishing the talents in your team, yielding to the healthier organisation.

Searching the intrinsic talents in your team is another quality that a leader must have and a leader should be challenged with. If you discontinue the search for discontinuities in the world around you, you could soon be an extinction.

The world around you, especially the talents around you keep discontinuing what they needed and keep hoping for new. A leader must keep searching that discontinuities and foresee the next that the talents look out to keep managing them to perfection. 

The need to look for best talent and  also to look for that talent which thrives for sharpness must be an innate quality in a leader who desires success. One need to visualise the need of business, need of a specific function’s objective and must work towards searching for the talent to tackle that consistently.

I have a tendency to keep falling into HR domain. In HR, for example, the search that a leader should be pursuing is to build the trust in the employees of organization on HR team and he must strive to see all discontinuities in them so that a new opportunity can be created or formed or visualised.

Similarly, you should not leave the talents around you uncared. One need to be intimate with the talents, must know the essence of each individual and then start looking at what is needed for them next to make more experience in their life resulting in betterment of your business, function etc. While you search for the relentless nature of talents, you may come across talents that do not go beyond certain limitations of capabilities and that’s when one need to shed that talent or perhaps direct that talent to somewhere else for better suitability. A tough decision, though, but is essential for a true leader. The moment one’s hunger for more discontinues which rarely happens, and it shouldn’t happen when a leader holds the buzzer button on performance always, the time has reached for searching for new talents.

As leaders look for what the market needs and what market stop needing and what’s going to be their need and drive the business models to meeting the perceived need of a customer much before competition dreams of it, it is essential for a leader to identify the discontinuities of the need in talents around and be close in observing the changes in these talents and drive them to steer new business models to success, else one will face a struggle of having lack of talents to meet the new dream of business.

To put things in simple perspective, all of us have desires to perform and grow so do our team down the line. And the beauty is that the desires discontinue once achieved and experienced to its entirety, giving birth to new desires and wants for more growth. This obviously means a leader has a tough job in observing the discontinuities of career desires of the talents that he has to manage. Thus, he needs to steer his actions towards anticipating the new desires and wants that the talents in his team have so that talent drains do not sabotage the organization.

By Binu Prasad

Excellence is a way of life.

The word excellence has a profound meaning in it and it invites pride enormously.

I often find myself reading and re-reading all my notes and emails just to ensure that the same is presented well. Even a simple format that I make for my team goes for several corrections and filter for perfection within myself. I used to wonder whether I am Excellence.jpgsuffering from the ostensible OCD.  For those who haven’t come across this abbreviation, it is an obsessive compulsory disorder, a compulsive obsession for certain things in day to day life. For example, one having OCD for reading would not stop reading the same stuff a number of times. I soon realized that it’s a lot to do with the word – Excellence. I realized that we have to keep excelling in our daily tasks every day, every hour, every second and the small steps that we take daily to bring that change for better at our work is nothing but an act of excellence.

Then I realized that it doesn’t occur to all. It comes to those who are restless for betterment in their daily life.

Have you anytime felt uncomfortable with a project that you did or that presentation that you made overnight or that process note that you created, where you felt like going back to it again and tie the loose ends again and again? If you have ever felt that way anytime in your life, you are certainly in a progressive track in your career life. You are nothing but a living soul of excellence.

I walked into the office of Dubai Service Excellence last week and the littlest things that one notice there would surprise you and it’s the smallest things in our daily life that show our excellence and our thirst for excellence. It’s a way of life.

I walked into a library for reading some of the good practices that companies in Dubai do and I could see a number of companies’ report neatly arranged on a table for me to read, each report were kept one after the other on the table, in the same line, not one above or below the line… I guess someone has practiced this in their daily chores. Someone who kept them there knew how to do it. Someone put their heart to it while doing it. Excellence comes when one engages himself/herself to what one is doing. It’s a habit.

Here I recollect what Aristotle said– we are what we repeatedly do, excellence, then is not an act but a habit.

Excellence is not a single act, it is a repeated action that stands out, hence it is a habit. I am always noted as a fanatic for cleanliness and my team, unfortunately, keep hearing from me for not keeping their workstations clean and neat. Not everyone has it in them, but a habit of making sure that your desk is clean, neat, papers are neatly kept in the right folder, your pen holder is in the right place, your notice board hangs papers in an order, your chairs in the office are in right place, the files behind your desk has labels that are uniform and many more.. It’s excellence and excellence in action, in habits, in life.

And excellence is not doing things repeatedly but doing that one excellent thing repeatedly, that one act of yours that comes naturally to you over a period of others.

I was honored to have an excellent leader in my career life, not mentioning his name here as I haven’t sought his permission for the same. However, he as an epitome of excellence is worth mentioning here. It was a board meeting and many were sitting around a table, tea was served to all by pantry team, one of the director’s tea spilled over to the saucer. To my surprise, this great leader of my life, chairman stature person got from his chair pulled a tissue, and lifted the cup and wiped off the spill of tea and placed it correctly for his director friend. One would think why would one do this, many would let it go unnoticed, but if you care to see perfection, a need to be perfect, a need to correct things to perfection, excellence becomes a way of life.

Today we keep hearing about service excellence, customer service excellence, business excellence etc.. In my view everything starts with the leader. Do you ever ask what is that one thing that differentiates you from others? Do you care for that missing dot in your email? Do you care for the salutation that you leave on your emails? Do you care for the emotions of the reader? Do you address issues one by one with clarity? An organization’s excellence depends on the leader’s habits. If you are one who would want excellence in everything that you and your team do, your organization would be living a life of excellence.

Excellence is not just in the surge in bottom lines or in the way your finance cuts corners, or in the way you squeeze the maximum out of your team, or in the way you put pressure on your team to perform. Excellence is by being an example to your team, by being there for them, by handholding your team to perfection, by setting standards in your organization and following it to the tee by yourself. It’s a pity that many leaders fail to practice excellence at work and at themselves but happily wear the mask of excellence in public.

Excellence requires genuine inner drive and is not a fictitious expression. One need to be sincere and real to be excellent. You cannot fake excellence. It has a life and spirit. It is a demonstration of your true values and beliefs. Just to give an example, I have come across leaders who says that this year is a year for employee happiness and they announce this proudly in meetings and when it comes to doing things for making that reality, they do nothing about it, they take no initiative for making that happen. Excellence is doing what you believe in, doing what you propagate. In an organization, people respect their leaders who do what they say, who walks their talks. Excellence is contagious. You need to practice it and you would see how it voyages to the team and then to the organization.

You don’t need to plan for excellence. You don’t need to devise strategies for excellence. It’s here… It’s in the now! It’s in the present. Do it now. Do that littlest thing right in front of you. Walk into your office greeting all your team every day and you will create that aura in the office. Brief your team on keeping things in place and see the difference that it can bring to your office. Create a nice label form, presentable for those box files that you have on the rack and name them right, code them right .. See the difference in your office. That large notice board in your office, make it look presentable and have it updated. That’s excellence. Create work processes, document it and review it, check it frequently and make your team own it and embrace it as their own work, that’s excellence. Keep changing and updating your work processes and that’s excellence.

If you are managing a department or function, define responsibilities, create forms and formats, communicate workflow and keep improving the work processes for better delivery of results and you will see excellence falling in place. As a leader of a team, if you come across one issue at work, focus on the process and not just on the issue in hand. Work on improvising the process to avoid future occurrence of issues and that’s excellence.

Be an example in the way you communicate, the way you address a meeting, the way you walk, the way you open a conversation. Your excellence is exhibited in all these. One need to critically assess every step that they take in their daily life if excellence is what one desires. Excellence is in your leadership style and as a leader one need to know that their habits, their style, their words, their actions etc rise excellence in their team, organizations.

Organizational excellence comes into light when there is a sustainable improvement in performance using a variety of principles, systems, processes and tools at work. Everything depends on the action that leaders take not just in what they preach. Excellence hence is a realistic, consistent action. 

Excellence is a discipline as well. You cannot expect your team to be disciplined if you are not!!. If you are a leader who practices punctuality, promptness and quickness in response, it’s excellence and the team down the line just fall into the process of excellence. Do you answer your emails timely? Do you respond to your team’s text messages timely? And above all are you consistent in your actions? Then mark it, You are practicing excellence.

Excellence is also the way you guide your team, the way you teach your team, the way you treat your team, the way you lead, the mannerism you spell at work, the clarity of communication you practice, the care you impart, the respect you deliver and the direction that you give consistently. Leaders should be an embodiment of excellence.

Continuous improvements that you make at work life is what determines the excellence. For that, one need to feel the need for change, need for improvements, need for betterment. If one sits in a comfort zone, breeding complacency, excellence will fly off the window.

As the leader, so the team. If you are a leader who constantly looks for doing things differently, who wants to keep improving practices, who believes in delivering quick service, who believe in owning every situation, you will see your team carrying the same on their shoulders and excellence is a byproduct then.

Excellence is not what you display outside, it has to be a result of quality works behind the scene, a demonstration of inner values. Awards and recognitions of excellence come on your way more often if you practice excellence, but how genuine and consistent you are in excellence is what matters more than the short term recognitions that one receives for excellence. Excellence is not an end in itself, it’s a process. Excellence is a journey and not a destination.

Finally, I believe that excellence is a personal choice. Companies and leaderships set certain standards of excellence in organizations and impose them onto people in the journey of excellence and often it’s not a sustainable one as excellence are a mindset and one need to have it self-imposed than being imposed onto by someone else. It is an act of setting standards for oneself  and assuming a sense of responsibility to achieve them consistently. A leader with an attitude to excel will transfer that attitude to his team by way of setting standards at his workplace and the littlest standards make a mountain of excellence and hence Excellence is an Attitude!!

By Binu Prasad

Image: courtesy google.

Manage People as you Manage Business

IManaging Talentsn a recent reading, I happen to come across a phrase: “Manage people as you manage business”.

It’s quite interesting to contemplate on why many leaders fail in managing their people with the same passion that they have in managing their business results.

It’s a fact that, if one manages their money as carelessly as they manage their people, they would soon be extinct. All those businessmen out there knows this very well. However, the world has changed now and soon those businesses would be extinct if they manage their talents carelessly disrespectfully.

Having worked with many businessmen, owners and having seen many different types of those leaders in my career, each one had something to offer as a learning. Those who kept people as their backbone of their business excelled beyond boundaries and those who treated people as ancillary to their financial results kept losing valuable talents while harvesting money.

“Talent management” is an art by itself and in a world full of intelligence, managing them effectively is an art many business owners and entrepreneurs have failed to value.

Gone are those days where talent stays with your business for a lifetime. When we look back at our parents or grandparents, I am sure you will notice that they have lived their life with one organization and in today’s scenario, the talents change jobs in pursuit of better challenges, growth, pride, money etc.

In a word of social media and information surfeit, today’s talents do not have time to wait for advancement and they look for quick success as aspirin curing their quench for triumph quickly. All the more reasons, today’s business need to recognize the importance of managing this high potential, highly volatile, highly restless and highly ambitious talents effectively, sensibly and above all mindfully.

If you keep counting your coins at the end of the day and keep feeling happy looking at the bottom lines going up while smacking your senior managers, your employees, it’s about time that such a business would be history.

Every employee today looks at what’s in it for him like how a business man looks at as what’s in it for him. In business, the focus tends to be more on reaping profits and filling one’s pockets. In the race of making more, some of these entrepreneurs who happen to occupy the chair of leaders by virtue of their money tend to disregard the value of human beings, the value of people relations, the value of educated talents.

“Talents are hungry for Value recognition”

Often we see businessmen, who grew from nothing finding difficult to get out of the greed of money and, however, they try to dream to be a corporate, unfortunately, what is in their DNA resist them from changing. They continue to hold on to the relentless passion for making more money, forgetting the fact that the means of earning more emanate from the best of talents that he has.

In an era of competition, survival is the challenge that any business face and the victory of any organization is on the adroitness in nurturing its talent.

Talents today need recognition, it needs loyalty from leaders, business owners and those days of being loyal to one company or devoting the entire life to one company is all gone.

It’s an exciting phenomenon to look at that if you need people to be loyal to you, extend loyalty to them as well.

“Loyalty breeds loyalty”. 

How would you be loyal to your people? How do you make your employees feel the loyalty you extent? Companies like 3M are known for sharing their profits with their employees and there, of course, there is no need to worry on the lack of sense of belonging. Making your talents feel owners is the only way to make your business grow. The art of sharing is something which today’s business owners need to learn and accept for a continuous success. It’s a pity sometimes CEOs and business owners keep harping about the sense of belonging and commitment and loyalty etc. without even having the willingness to think about what they have done to ask for the belongingness from the talents.

“You reward your talent timely, belongingness will arrive naturally”

Today’s businessmen/ CEOs need to devote time to creating ideas to manage talent, in the same way, they create ideas for making more money. The love that you feel towards the business growth has to have its share shown towards managing talents. How the world would be if business giants look at Talents as their money, if they take care of talents as they do for their money and wealth?

“Love your talents, the way you love your profits”

Keeping your talents focused at results is the prime KRA of a CEO. CEOs must be assessed on how they manage their talents to performance. CEOs should be accountable to keep their leadership team together, their employees’ motivated every second.

Business failures must be considered as a shared responsibility even though people accountable must feel the heat of it. Any business downfall could be a reflection of the leader’s performance, but a CEO must take the ownership and handhold the leader of the business, must work together as a team, must understand the realities of business situations, and must be able to encourage people at a time of downward trend in business. One important aspect of talent management is to own the failures of your team and recognize successes as your team’s own achievement.

Often some businessmen, CEOs and other leaders of business tend to be emotional and their quench for more money and the fact of losing money getting to their nerves numbs them of people relationship tactics, resulting in sabotaging high-value talents, ridiculing the talents, degenerating the energies in team to pick up the loose strings and trudge forward.

“You kill talent if you mistreat them”

Sometimes I keep thinking that why these CEOs do not have the same appetite and drive that they have towards their financial results when it comes to keeping their team together, in recognizing their team, in supporting their leadership team, in handholding their team, in reenergizing their team to success. All that a CEO or a managing director require at times of slow business and at times of tough challenges is composure, self-assurance, the confidence and courage that should get conducted to the team to get their shoes on running track.

“Talents need to be inspired”

Managing talents are no easy task and it require people skills. It needs a heart and not just head alone.

Talents are a fluid commodity nowadays and easily tradeable in the market and losing one is easy which today’s leaders of business must understand and accept their existence in this competitive market.

Sometimes you lose a talent even when the talent is with you and hardly any leaders realize that. The dreadful thing to happen in a business is a talent living on your books of account but mismanaged. Talents can occupy both sides of your balance sheet and it’s high time one realizes the same for mending one’s way of managing them. Tactfulness is the key in managing talents. Respecting the talents around you is a great value that one can add to keep their talents together in business.

“A talent mismanaged can be lost even if it exists in Organizations”

By Binu Prasad

Source of Image: Google

Winning over “Scarcity of Generosity”!!!

Last week I sprawled over this beautiful phrase- “scarcity of generosity”. I have been thinking of this for a while now and it does have a deep meaning entwined in it.

Is generosity a scarce gesture that we see around always?

We see there is a huge vacuum of this every day, in the people around us. At the workplace, at the personal front, at the social circle and what more to say, even on the street that you walk around or even in a supermarket, we see the scarcity of generosity.

You don’t need to be rich to be generous and generosity is not often to do with money.

When was the last time you have seen someone very generous in imparting his knowledge to you? Or have seen the spontaneous time and effort that one has laid on your feet to be of service to you? Or the patient listening ear that one extended to you when you really had to talk your heart out?

We can think of various examples of the generosity being seen as a scarce gesture. I am not penning the same in the context of various situations in life but of the leadership stuff that we see around every day in our work life. Have you ever seen a leader who is generous and what fun you would have had in working with a boss like him or her? I am sure all of us would have had someone whom we worked for who had shown us that generosity is not scarce if one needs to make use of it consciously and genuinely.

It’s not a rocket science to practice generosity. Well, it’s not something that one can tailor make or fabricate in self-structure easily. Having said that there, of course, are that self-image conscious leaders around us who project themselves as generous for their own selfish means. There are these award and fame hungry leaders, well, they are not leaders but happen to be there by sheer luck or by god’s grace on to their business domain who gets into heaving money around public and misuse the sanctity of true generosity for prestige and power. God bless those.

As a manager or leader, one has plenty of opportunities to be generous and hence exterminate the scarcity of generosity!!!

  • Smile generously  

Imagine you have to work for someone who just can’t smile genuinely or you have to work for someone who you know it for a fact wears a permanent artificial smile. There is nothing that is so simple and priceless than a genuine smile. It speaks loud when you smile at your colleagues and when you exchange that twinkle in your eyes. It would light up the days for your team down the line. Rarely one would think this is a gesture of generosity. One would understand the value of this when you have a boss who just can’t bother to smile.

  • Greet your team and people around

It actually takes no effort to wish your team daily. I had a chance to be associated with a student of mine in 1995, where she would take that extra mile to come and wish people. It used to wake me up from my flood of thoughts. It just breaks the pressure inside you on hearing the same. If you can add the name of the person to it, it’s a  cherry on that sweet cake. The more you do the same, the merrier it would be. Be generous in wishing people and let that ego burst. Your team would be rich with that serving of yours.

  • Take that extra time to speak to your team personally

Stop by your team and ask them how their health is if they were unwell a few days back. Or if they had told you about their ailing mother, take a moment to ask about that. A few such genuine feelings shared would certainly go a long way and would put you on that pedestal of the generosity of courtesy.

  • Share a coffee with your team once in a while

Get out of your cabin, take that coffee and sit next to your team and sip that over a chat even if it’s of work. Simply talk about that extra shot espresso that you had at Costa. Break the monotony and make your team feel that you are a no boundary man. Once in a while pick that piece of cookies from their table or just drop a nice almond cookie on their table for them. Get that best choco donuts your team member likes on his birthday and places it on his table even before he comes to work. Many more such simple acts of genuine mindful gestures are nothing but munificence in some way.

  • Spend time to teach your team

I don’t believe in having a daily meeting with my team. I have never practiced the same. I meet them often on something called Capsule Meeting. They are incident based meeting. That’s a quick 5-10 minutes meeting where it’s mostly a standup meeting that has a message to convey and a learning to absorb. Praise people at this time, support some, express your annoyance at some’s nonperformance. Make that meeting a high impact short capsule. Call that needy team member for a long meeting with you, sit beside them and work on their file and make them do the work in front of you and when needed take over and make them see how you do it and take the time to teach them the why and how of every step at work. Come to the level of your team member, speak slowly, look at their eyes and engage them at work. Carry their thought process along with yours while explaining and throw the balance work on them and leave them to do it by themselves saying you will check it once they are done. A true leader is a generous teacher. Never give them a fish but teach them how to fish is a great generosity that a leader can show to his team.

  • Turn mistakes into learning opportunity

Mistakes are natural. Criticizing mistakes and not doing anything about it nor providing a solution is the worst thing a manager or leader does. Focus of a leader must be to show the anger towards mistakes and not the person. The art is to make the team understand that the anger is not on him or her but on the mistake that had taken place. An anger is natural and at times in managing people or work. You would need to practice it and one who can practice that as an emotional tool for managing instead of an emotion by itself is a true leader.

One must accept mistakes and then see the what, why and how of that. Getting your team together to see the solution is the best thing to do and one’s mistake should be turned to a learning opportunity for all in the team. Like I said earlier, a capsule meeting on the error can be very positive if the leader presents it across as a learning opportunity. If one can pull the self out of the situation and see the issue from a distance and bring the team to participate in the solution building, the leader wins. There is nothing that is so generous that a leader can do in digging the mines of mistakes to discover golden opportunities for learning.

  • Ask questions to your team and awaken their brains.

Imagine a workplace, you are doing the routine mundane tasks every day and the manager who handles the department or function eats all the cake of your hard work. Even machines would wear off if it’s left to run on its own without any interventions periodically. If you are a true leader, you must understand that the brains should not be left to rust. Every job has a mundane part of it and is inexorable. It’s the leader who must keep asking questions to the team, just to ensure that the brain muscles are put to exercise. The neurons must shake and blood must flow rapidly to all sides of the brain. There is nothing more generous than awakening the minds of your team.

  • Care your team 

You overheard that one of your team couldn’t access her bank account due to some issue and she has been struggling to get that sorted out… Call her aside and ask her whether she is in need of any financial need immediately. Your team member wants to attend to that quick medical check up on Monday morning before coming to work, Don’t think twice before saying yes to her. One of your team members was shifting his flat, give him a day’s off if he needs to settle down recognizing the long hours that he had spent at work without being asked for. There is this driving license class that one needs to attend and, unfortunately, the time slot she got is in between the work hours, give it off to her and you surely know that she would be there when you have an extra load of work. Make that quick one minute call to your ailing team member in between your work hours. Surprise them on their birthday. Care is a form of generosity and is meaningful when it’s genuine.

  • Stand up for your team

Your team are in their learning path, they are there because of their limited knowledge, skill and looks up to you for that icing on their knowledge. They make mistakes. Cover them up and do not let anyone else holler on them, hold them under your wings and face the brunt of the situation and take it on you. And don’t forget to give them a piece of your mind in private as they need to learn out of the situation and they must also understand that no one else have the right to shake them except you. The best benevolence is when your team know that there is someone behind them as they face challenges at work.

  • Reward your team non-monetarily

Take the time to write them a personal note when they do an extraordinary work. Take that extra care and give your team few days off when they have done long hours of work during the crucial time at work. Have a capsule meeting to express your gratitude for that excellent performance by any of your team. Take pride in appreciating your team. Get the words of appreciation packaged in mindful emotions.

  • Love your team

Be genuinely interested in your team’s well-being and care. Be mindful of their upbringing, culture, capability and behavioral patterns. Make them comfortable with you where they can even show the courage to challenge you when you slip on any of the work commitments.

After a tough day at work where you have really made your team member feel devastated about his or her work or performance, make that last call before you sleep or a quick nice text so that they can sleep peacefully. Make sure you are a dinner table talk at their home and sparkle the eyes of their spouse and parents.

Generosity– it’s just there around you in abundance. It’s just that the leaders or those managers are blind to it.

It’s a scarce stuff for those who doesn’t wake up to its calling.

By Binu Prasad