Friday, May 29, 2009

The Whole Picture

Impressions are formed over a mug of beer, in PG accommodations and in malls. At any given time your employees know what benefits the other companies provide to their employees. Selective memories help. Only the benefits that the others give (and you do not) is retained. SO much for your coherent and directed employees benefit policy.

You know that other companies have some policies that are better and other that are worse that your own. You try your best to ensure that your employees are given the best facilities - within constraints. You have always hoped that your employees realize what you try and give them and they, in turn, would deliver so that both the company and they grow together.

But your employees always seem to be dis-satisfied. They want more. How do you formulate a employee-friendly policy that makes them happy? How do you make the all-knowing employees that grass always seem greener on the other side.? How do you make them see the whole picture?

What do you do?
What do you do?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Entering Sideways

By policy your company inducts only freshers. Lateral induction is discouraged. Loyalty is rewarded and all higher posts are filled from within. Till now that is.

Things are about to change. You think your company is on the verge of a rapid growth and to take-off you will have to resort to lateral induction.

You are now faced with a dilemma. If you resort to lateral induction, will it discourage the employees who have worked so hard all these years to grow within the company? The promotions that they were looking forward to is now suddenly filled up by 'outsiders'. You are afraid that the logic that growth will create more opportunities within the company may not cut ice.

There is another issue that is troubling you. The company has a culture that is maintained largely due to the fact that freshers can be molded and made to fit. With positions at senior levels filled by 'outsiders' who are not indoctrinated with the current company culture, you may land up with more human issues.

What is your take on lateral induction?

What do you do?
What do you do?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maintaining pecking order

This post discusses the case study Respect Is Commanded Not Demanded

Your need to maintain a pecking order comes from your desire for control. Which may or may not be such a bad thing. Depends on the context. But before you decide what you need to do about your direct reports jumping over your head to talk to your boss is to think through your own behavior.

The questions you need to ask is as follows:

a) Do the people who report to your direct report jump over their heads to talk to you? What happens when such a thing does happen? Do you ask them to first talk to their boss before coming to you? Or do you have double standards?

b) Why are your direct reports jumping over your head? Don't you generate enough confidence in them that they could talk to you without fear? How open are you to their suggestions?

c) Why did you go to your boss to discuss this problem? Shouldn't you be talking to your direct reports instead? Could you not open up with them to tell then what you feel about it?

d) What is wrong with open door policy that your boss follows? How is it harming you? Other than your hurt ego? Does it actually help the company? Perhaps your subordinates can let out steam and your boss is actually acting as a safety valve. Is this culture actually detrimental to the growth of your company?

Only after you have introspected on the above set of questions can you build up a case for or against the prevalent culture. And why is that you do not have the relevant information? If your ears are to the ground you should know exactly what is going on.

By the way, your boss is right: Respect is indeed commanded; not demanded.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Daughter's Birthday or Project Telecon?

This post discusses the case study: Two World Theory.

The flavor of the season is the work-home balance. However, at times it is a compromise. You would feel absolutely guilty when you see your daughter's sad eyes when you go back home. On the other hand you will kick yourself for not able to get that next project.  And 'money is not everything' is easier said than done. It might not just be your money on line. It is the only chance you have to realize a prized dream of yours. Tough!

The easiest solution to this is of course have a three-way telecon linking your house, office and customer. That is so cool! You get the best of both worlds then. Need to plan for it.

But there are other important issues. Why is that your deputy cannot handle it? Are you not confident enough? I am sure you both would have discussed this project -as important as it is - umpteen number of times, weighing in options, chalking out strategies. Why can't she handle it? Besides, she is sure to understand the importance of this telecon. Haven't you tried out her communication skills in other less-than-critical telecons? If not, why not? When will your deputy take over so that you can move onto to more important aspects of business?

Confidence does not come by emulating. It comes by actually rolling up your sleeves and dirtying your hands. If you had trained your deputy to handle sensitive telecons in your presence, today she could have filled your place in the telecon. Customers are humans too. They understand what daughter's birthday means. Having a deputy who can handle the situation as well as you do also improves the ccustomer's confidence level for you. If you had to skip your daughter's birthday to attend this telecon, does it mean you have no one else to handle the project? How deep is the team's strength in that case? These questions will come up in the customer's mind.

What? Your deputy is capable. Congratulations! You can enjoy the best of both worlds. In any case, do not forget to install a telecon facility at home. You never know when it would prove handy.

Solutions to Problem: Having a Selection Criteria

This post discusses the case study, Choose Between Two Corrects.

Actually this was a trick question. The solution lies before and not after the fact. If you expect more than one solution to a problem - and it is very likely that you will have more than one solution, even if only one person is assigned the task - you never decide on the criteria after the solution is presented. Rather you must - must - always decide on the selection criteria before. In fact, whenever possible you should also make the selection criteria open. This helps in getting better solution. Always.

What if all the solutions presented meet the selection criteria laid down? Congratulations! You have a great team.