August 30, 2015

Impact of Top Leaders on Culture

In general, various factors go into shaping the culture of an organization. However, the way the various factors play out eventually depends on the leader at the top owing to the trickle-down effect.

The manner in which people at a certain level behave is primarily influenced by what people at the next level above expect, going all the way right to the top.

This is very much true in case of formal organizations like companies; institutions etc. where formal authority at various levels is defined to a large extent. Top leaders at renowned organizations aptly illustrate the impact of this factor on the culture of an organization.

Facilitating Settling Down of a New Employee

While trying to settle down in  a new position in a new organization it is important for a new employee be aware of certain pointers. However, leaving "how to establish credibility in a new job" entirely to the new employee is not very helpful.

The role of the organization, the manager who hired the new employee and the team the new employee becomes a part of in facilitating this is equally important or perhaps more. The care exercised and effort invested by an organization and the hiring manager in getting a new employee should extend till the time the new employee settles down in the "new environment" and starts contributing.

The first 90-100 days are important for a new employee to settle down and start finding comfort in the new environment and satisfaction in the new job. After all, well begun is half done.

Managing Changes

The thought that "most of that change is self-driven, not externally imposed" - is perhaps true, to a certain extent, for the physical changes to human body but not entirely for the non-physical changes (intellectual, spiritual, etc.)

Changes are constant and inevitable and since they cannot be avoided they need to be managed for smooth transition to the changed state. In that sense change management is a very positive and powerful management tool.

Changes that are forced by difficult circumstances on an organization ("the boat is leaking, we are going to drown") are accepted more easily as there's no choice but to change the status quo. However, changes that are for the betterment of an organization ("can we make the boat go faster?") are generally not accepted easily as people have a choice to continue with the status quo.

It is very true that no one likes to be changed however the very nature of human existence is about change and more change. Human beings change constantly from the time of taking birth to growing up, then aging till the time of finally departing from this world.

Don't Hold Back Long

The suggestion to say or do a thing that is holding a person back is a wonderful idea. It is also true that saying or doing a thing is helpful in flushing out the blockage in a person's thought process so that he/she can then start thinking beyond and move on.

This happens in both cases - whether the outcome of saying or doing a thing is positive or not so positive. Not saying or doing a thing for a very long time can lower self confidence and create mental stress as well. So in that sense this is a good psychological method for a person to keep mentally relaxed and charged up.

On the other hand, it is important and helpful to take a lot of care while using this method. Overuse of this method by a person can result in him/her appearing overconfident and brash, or even rude, and others may look for ways to avoid such a person.

In this respect, Aristotle's saying regarding anger ("Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry...") is applicable to a great extent. It is easy to say or do a thing but to say or do a thing at the right time, in the right way and to the right degree is very important.

August 26, 2015

3 Stooges and Their Great King

Replace 3 with any number of your choice - 4, 5, 6 or whatever you would like.

This is the story of very many organizations especially small business enterprises.

The king in such organizations walks across the premises like a lion in the jungle. And for her to feel great, she would have loyal stooges always in the tow.

The stooges are part of the inner circle, the elitist core team.

Others are outsiders and of no real consequence.

And how do you know who the stooges are?

A simple observation is what it takes to know who belongs to the inner circle and who doesn't. The stooges go for lunch with their king and they have bigger rooms as compared to the outsiders.

The stooges have generally inflated egos even bigger than the big rooms they get from the king.

August 22, 2015

The 10 Million Dollar Gage for Employee Engagement

How much money is more than adequate for any general employee working in an organization? This is a seemingly simple yet a very hard question to answer. Money is supposed to be an important element influencing employee engagement. So what happens when money is kept out of consideration while determining the drivers for employee engagement.

With the above as the backdrop, the 10 million dollar gage for employee engagement is a useful construct to understand the level of employee engagement in an organization.

Let us assume 10 million dollar is more than adequate for any general employee working in an organization. What than means is that if a general employee gets 10 million dollars he rises above the need to work for purely economic or financial reasons.

So what would be the factors that would influence the engagement of such a general worker with the organization supposing he is given 10 million dollars. Following scenarios could be thought of as the possibilities that will emerge.
  • Employee wants to continue working in the same field and in the same organization. This is the case of an employee who is passionate about the work she is performing. It also shows the strength of the culture and working environment in the organization.
  • Employee wants to work in a different field but in the same organization. This is the case of an employee who has lost passion about the work she is performing and wants to get into another area she is interested in. It, however, shows the strength of the culture and working environment in the organization.
  • Employee wants to continue working in the same field but in a different organization. This is the case of an employee who is passionate about the work she is performing. But it shows the culture and working environment in the organization has room to improve.
  • Employee wants to work in a different field and in a different  organization. This is the case of an employee who has lost passion about the work she is performing and wants to get into another area she is interested in. It also shows the culture and working environment in the organization has room to improve.
  • Employee does not want to work at all and wishes to quit the rat race. This would mean the employee was not enjoying the work she was performing and also not enjoying working in the corporate world. She was working due to lack of any other choice. And probably the only motive was to have some means to pay the bills.
The table below captures the above in a summarized form. It is clear from the table that there exists the case where someone may be wanting to quit the rat race altogether. This in some sense speaks about the prevalent culture in the corporate world, in general.



For any organization knowing the number of cases where the general employee would want to work in a different organization is a highly pertinent information. Higher employee engagement would mean working towards a situation where such cases are minimized.

HR folks in many companies run employee engagement/satisfaction surveys with lot of fanfare and drum-beating. These exercises become yearly rituals and provide good sound-bites to the top guys in management and HR. However, they generally fail to delivery anything concrete. The 10 million dollar gage can perhaps serve the purpose in a better manner and more efficiently.

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