Category Archives: change management

Why villains are important

A villain is generally accepted to be the antagonist in any story or scenario.

Can one define light without darkness? or Good without evil?

I know this is not a new argument and neither am I trying to invent one at this stage.

However, we evaluate most things around us in relative terms. And such aspects as goodness and greatness are no exception.

(Before I go any further, do note that I expect exceptions in all and every category, however I am only focusing on a general and common trend) 🙂

Is a Hero really a hero without an adversary? Would we really accept political messages from one party if they were not opposed to another? “Comparison” ?

Absolute’s are relative. Debatable indeed, however go along with this thought.

I will not get in to the religious sentiment and rather on purpose stick to HR.

While we used to interview a batch of candidates, we would mostly end up hiring the best out of the batch, who may often not be out first choice if the person was placed in a different batch.

Overall the quality of our heroes enhances or deteriorates in direct proportion to the adversary 🙂

Enough for now. Would love to read your thoughts.

 

ONE STEP AT A TIME – HOW TO BE HAPPY PART 2

Letting go has never been easy. But often letting go is the only option to survive.

Normally when we do let go, we feel an acute sense of guilt – For no reason. However believe me it is only temporary and time will heal it.

Why would you want to let go ?

Every day you will come across people and issues that will give you only stress and nothing more. If you stop to think about them you will realise that there is no “solving” them. There is no recourse that will lead to happiness in these people or issues. These are the ones to let go.

There will be useless “problems” , illogical issues, fake and selfish friends, backstabbing colleagues / classmates etc where we find ourselves involved due to the simple sincerity of thought and honorable purpose. But really ? Is it worth it?

Be happy my friends and let go of your individual poison that is leaching onto you and draining your positive energy.

Let’s be clear on this. Life is not easy and it’s not a fairytale. One rarely gets a choice in the issues we get to tackle. So, in the challenges you do get, reconsider the importance of that challenge in your life or the life of your loved ones… then maybe its worth it. The issues or people may be a mix of fortune and misfortune and you can decide which one is more important based on logical arguments.

Then, there are others which we choose to keep in order to torture our own selves 🙂 Yes, I would say it’s our choice when we do this.

So there are 2 options:

  1. Let go and carry on with the positive life
  2. Try to handle it while keeping your own sanity and happiness intact.

My next post will be on how we can accomplish number 2 🙂

Till then – Be Happy !

Top tips on adjusting to your new job

Finally it has happened. The moment you were nervous about, the moment you even dreaded. You took the offer from the new company and are starting at your New Job !

The excitement, anticipation and naturally fears start to set in. What if’s, start to roll on like the fire work on the 4th of July.

Here are a few tips that I came across in my career which might make the transition more successful and palpable.

1- Prioritize !

You are expected to learn a lot of things from the culture to the actual tasks very quickly. That is a lot of information in a very short span of time.

The best way to deal with it is to prioritize the most important things first.

2- Find a Buddy.

While many organizations have a orientation or on boarding process where a buddy is allocated. Many still don’t have a formal process for this. Find someone ( preferably not your new manager 😉 ) who can give you a quick “to do”.

RULE: Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

3- Understand what is expected of you.

You cannot deliver – if you do not know what is expected of you.

Priority should be identify expectation and take up short term quickly deliverables first and make you mark !

4- Cut your losses !

If something is not working out, ditch it !

Of course I am not asking you to quit. Remember you are new, however if you think you have taken on more than you can handle – discuss with you boss and take on something more do able.

5- Get to know the new company ( Culture and coworkers)

You are at a new place – Accept it.

Acclimatize and adjust by understanding that things will be different here and so will the people.

6- Do not forget your former colleagues.

Remember they know you and at a time when motivation can be at a premium – they will come in handy to remind you of you strengths to give you the extra boost you need to succeed !

New Job

7- Rest

All work and no play – remember this?

You are in a higher stress zone than normal and you need your full strength. Rest and give yourself time a space to relax.

 

I hope I have been able to suggest some ways to make your transition more hospitable.

Best of luck and wishes for your new role !

The anatomy of a Mistake

What is a mistake?

The Oxford online advanced learners dictionary defines the noun “Mistake” as “an action or an opinion that is not correct, or that produces a result that you did not want

Male hand holding wooden pencil and delete word "MISTAKE" on the white paper

So does making a mistake – intentionally or unintentionally make me a bad person?

Why do we spend so much time beating ourselves up for action(s) that were simply put – a result of a temporary lapse or lack of better judgment? I decline to use the phrase good judgment in favor of better judgment because I do strongly believe that we all are subject to our perception of our surrounding and our decisions are similarly subject to the holistic result of numerous factors that directly and indirectly influence our perception and thus the interpretation of facts which culminates in our decisions at any given time.

I have a rule about mistakes. Its ok to make many unique mistakes as they are simply a learning opportunity but it is not acceptable to make the same mistake repeatedly.

No mistake should be big enough to stop us from travelling the path toward our objective. I keep this rather generic to accommodate a variety of personal and professional objectives.

What is really important is to remember to get back up from a mistake and reassess and reload to jump back in action. Beating oneself up over a mistake is only unnecessary burden which will create lag in the future of our journey.

Learn to forgive yourself as the worst thing you can do is to keep blaming ourselves.

Mistakes
Learning

So go ahead and make mistakes, learn from them and make NEW ones.

Keep learning 🙂

Ethical dilemma – To do or not

As one grows in any profession the level of responsibility and in turn accountability only tends to increase.  While the new world of management sciences tends to churn out objective and criteria based grids to resolve most business concerns one the most often used deciding criteria for more experienced managers is their Gut feeling.

I am very sure that I am not the only one out there who feels this way. With this assumption in mind I shall carry on.

Ethics
Ethics

Let’s take interviews for example, for any two candidates with everything else the same ultimately I and some other managers I know more than often rely on their gut feeling about the candidate or their perception on how he / she will tend to perform in the future etc.

This might be simple in cases where two or more candidates are more or less at parity in all respects however it becomes more difficult to justify when the difference is very clear between the candidates and yet my gut tells me to go for the one who is perhaps weaker on the score card and flying high on my gut instinct.

Other decisions include for me, as an HR professional such concerns as conflict management, dispute resolution and sometimes in inquiries where at times all “evidence” points in one direction but my instinct tells me to look in a different direction.

More often than not I have found my and most of my professional colleagues instinct to be right ( do factor in that all colleagues I am considering have over 13 years of experience in  diversified environments). However there is the occasional wrong call too.

Now, let’s take a wrong call in consideration where the judgment call made by me for instance fired back. Now … what?

How do I quantify the logic in my decision? How do I prove that my “intention” was in the right place?

Now i do understand that it is very qualitative to justify intentions and gut more so.

Let’s take this further  …. During an inquiry there have been times when my inside screamed fraud and i could not prove it does that mean i get biased about the person hence forth?

Once i get under the microscope —  how do i defend my intention? Have i just wasted my entire professional career?

In matters of team management i find a simmer dilemma. I tend to be stricter and more demanding from team members who i have a positive gut feeling about and often my only defense has been time. Does everyone understand?

I for one really would like to quantify this feeling. One can minute such things make footnotes yet when put to question i doubt these can stand their ground.

But but but i am willing to put my career, my life on the line for someone i believe in. Period

Who is with me in this ?

The subtle human element that I have been able to comprehend so far in my limited exposure is that we are a very forgetful race and yet we are often quick to forgive. Something in this equation doesn’t make sense to me. Let go….  What can go wrong besides what will anyhow.

Yet we decide about paradigms as per our own perception. Internally we are idealists. How can i Say that?

Feel like re-reading history……the gloomy history of man. All in all when we come to HR its all about people and unlike machinery that comes with a manual …. We don’t 😉

 

We tend to generalize in order to be specific yet we claim that we don’t stereotype … How convenient.

 

To conclude in retrospect I live by my principles and experienced perception and if it takes me to the gallows …. Then so be it.

Till later shall look forward to your comments.

Life is simple

Life is really worth living, if one decides to live it. The choice is yours and yours alone.

We choose to allow others to decide for us. When we allow others to choose for us – we become our very own victims.

Now this does not mean that no one is worth listening to. Intelligence is to listen to the experience of others and then decide on what suits you. So in management terms you would choose the best-fit.

I believe that we choose to complicate life. Here are a few things I have learnt so far that I feel are good guidelines to maneuver decisions in life:

·        Live and Let Live
·        Put yourself in the others shoes
·        Be sympathetic to others
·        Listen then analyze and then react
·        You will live this life and everyone else is an accessory with their own unique value
·        Either don’t do it, and if you do : then live up to it
·        Stop complaining and do something about it
·        Think of the worst that can impossibly happen and then whatever happens will be better
·        Be Objective
·        Equitable standards

I invite you to share your feelings and experiences on this and encourage a healthy open discussion.

In the lines

The other day I was looking at my 2.5year old daughter use crayons on a coloring book. I noted that she was not paying any attention to the borders of the Dora cartoon outlines. She was simply “spreading” color everywhere.

It makes me wonder… We are were once like that. We didnt care for any lines or boundaries to restrain our thoughts. First came the single rule note books and then the multi-rule English note books and so on. When we learnt to write we learnt to remain within boundaries. To live lives within limits to restrict ourselves.

Soon what may have started as a definition for our language letters writing becomes a defining moment in our subconscious where we automatically accept limitations to our thoughts.

We inadvertently accept limitations as givens and begin to think within the proverbial BOX.

Thou, it appears to be a great learning tool and leads to become a great disciplinary tool, I feel that we should encourage our children to color and paint as they feel and appreciate their ” Picaso’s” instead of discouraging them.

Only when their thoughts are left to grow and wonder and taste the air of freedom can they really “learn” to control themselves instead of becoming slaves to their own minds. Replicating, reproducing and not creating.

I know that many may differ from my point of view and that is fine and encouraging. Just wanted to share my 2 cents worth.

Office Show Down

Now that I am working for the 7th company in my professional experience spread over a dozen years and multiple countries and a few continents I feel that I have finally (rather obvious) concluded that office politics is not a local or regional phenomenon. It is a universal reality. 

The sooner we acknowledge its existence, the better prepared we will be to handle and cope with it. Mostly I feel it’s about how WE react to such situation and less about accepting it. 
But as the saying goes, acceptance is half the battle won.
First, always remember that amongst all the variables that you cannot control … there is one very important factor that you can control. That factor is YOUR RESPONSE to any situation. How you choose to react decides the tangent the situation will take. Always evaluate and respond in a manner that is above petty personal differences and ultimately good for the business.
Second, Always remember that if your reaction supports the bottom line then sooner or later your boss and management will see it. This is a good thing J
Third, instead of being upset about the things you cannot change its better to be happy about the things you can change. Very often we are too busy feeling victimized by some policy that we cannot change to notice the positive influence we can bring within our own area of influence.
Fourth, Its always better not to take sides. Being opinionated is one thing however taking sides is another. Learn better and effective conflict resolution techniques in order to resolves positively the disagreements.
Fifth, Always remember to understand before your seek to be understood. This helps in creating a deeper understanding of the others point of view and also creates a better possibility of a Win-Win situation.
Last, Never …Never get personal. It is an office and you will come across many people from different places and different insight and opinions and objectives. You must remain focused on the company objectives and stay aloof from making it personal.
Have a nice weekend!

Its all about how process things

So there is an old story I heard from someone last weekend and thought to share it with you all.
There was a small town and it had a sweet old lady who was the most popular sweet seller ( Mithai Seller ). Every day you could see lines outside her shop. 
Interestingly, she didn’t make the sweets her self. Rather she only sold them and had them outsourced to a sweet maker.
Now, one fine day a gorgeous young lady opens a sweet shop right across from her shop and goes in to business. Fact to be noted is that even this gorgeous young lady did not make the sweets herself but rather outsourced it to the same sweet maker the old lady was purchasing from.
On the very first day there was a huge line outside the new shop… yes, indeed many had come to get a glimpse of this gorgeous girl and customarily buy some sweets too 🙂
For the next few days the line out side the young lady’s store kept increasing while the line outside the old ladies store kept dramatically decreasing.
However, about a week and half down the time line … the reverse started happening. The line outside the old lady’s shop started to increase while the line outside her neighbors started to decrease … until the old ladies clientage was back to what it used to be.
Since everything seemed to have been same in both shops one bystander remarked that it doesn’t make sense that the beautiful young lady’s shop is empty … there was confusion.
So, one person decided to figure out this little puzzle. After a lot of investigation and eventual failure he decided to go and ask the old lady her secret to such success.
This is what the old lady said:
“ Dear Sir, I don’t do anything special to my mithai (sweet) but I think that it has something to do with how I weight the mitahis. You see, when someone orders 1 KG of Mitai , the young lady put 1.25 or 1.5 kg on the scale and removes the extra to measure the full 1 kg….. While I always put 600 to 800 grams and then add mitahis to complete the 1 KG.”
Scale
Scale
Surprising… don’t you think?
I believe it is the truth.
Regardless of the fact that both measure exact weight the perception that people leave with is that they are getting something with the old ladies style while they are loosing something with the younge ladies style.
The same I believe applies when one makes out policies at any organization. If you were to include all the exceptions in the policy … in no time will people start to view the exceptions as rules and rights. Rather if policies were straightforward and exceptions were reviewed on a case to case basis thou the decision may be the same in either case… the perception the employees leave with is that they have been heard and given special attention and treatment… perceived value addition means better motivation and improved word of mouth.
That’s my thought for today 🙂

Some top reasons WHY HR is often misunderstood

Some top reasons WHY HR is often misunderstood –Take 1 J
Readers, I absolutely don’t pretend to speak for every HR department worldwide, but the HR professionals that I know are committed to both their employees and their company. They avoid causing employees pain intentionally. Here are some top reasons why employees might perceive the situation differently. These are the reasons why I feel I have observed non-Human Resource professionals having a list of depressing and so to say “HR horror stories”.
·         The HR staff person is caught daily in a balancing act between the role of employee advocate and the role of company business partner and advocate. And, no, the employee doesn’t often see or understand that the HR person is playing two roles. They gauge the HR person by their affect on the employee’s need.
    • As an example, the employee wants HR to make an exception for him; the employee doesn’t realize that an exception for him begins to set a precedent for how the company must treat other employees – employees who may be less deserving of an exception.


·         All information about employees is confidential. Even when the HR staff person handles an issue, whether the issue involved disciplinary measures or just a conversation, the steps taken and the outcomes are confidential. An HR employee can tell the complaining employee that the issue was addressed. Because of employee confidentiality, they cannot reveal more. This can leave the complaining employee believing their issue was not addressed. (The outcome of a formal, written complaint, as in sexual harassment charges, is generally disclosed.)
Blame it all


·         HR staff members need documented evidence that a problem exists. Witnesses are helpful, too, as is more than one employee experiencing the same problem. It is difficult to take action based on one employee’s word, especially if the other party denies the problem.


·         What an employee may see as unreasonable behavior on the part of a manager or another employee, HR may find within acceptable bounds of organizational behavior and expectations. The employees may have a personality or work style conflict. The boss may supervise an independent employee more closely than desired. HR can talk with all parties, but often, no one is wrong.


·         When an employee doesn’t like her job or work goals or experiences a conflict with her supervisor’s management style, HR can’t always find the employee a new job. Additionally, because of the cost of employee on boarding and training, the organization is likely to have policies about how often an employee can change positions. Indeed, proving yourself in the current job is the fastest path to a coveted new job.


·         HR doesn’t know about the promises you say your manager made to you about a raise, a promotion, special time off, or a rewarding assignment, unless the promise was documented in your performance development plan. You are welcome to complain to HR if you have addressed the issue with your manager. But, the end story is likely your word against the manager’s word. Is it possible you misunderstood your manager? If not be wary about promises made – when he has demonstrated he doesn’t keep his promises. Work with HR on an internal transfer.


·         HR is not always in charge of making the decision. In fact, the decision you don’t like may have been made by their boss or the company president. Good, company-oriented HR people won’t blame other managers publicly for decisions with which they may disagree. And, they won’t bad-mouth the decisions of their boss or other company managers, so you may never know where the decision was made.
So, an unresponsive, unhelpful HR office that avoids helping employees with their problems is not always the case. (Though I know from my experience that such organizations do exist, let’s hope they are on the path to change- Inshallah). There are legitimate reasons why HR cannot fulfill every employee’s wishes.
If the HR staff listens, communicates actively, and informs the employee why a decision is made or an action not taken, employees are much less likely to write asking how to solve their HR horror stories.
This information may help our fellow HR professionals better address the “misunderstanding” by employees.