Tag Archives: culture

Leadership Insights Primer


Employees are looking for more effective patterns that can drive

  • More Communication
  • Greater Flexibility
  • Broader Representation
  • Stronger Vision articulation

As leaders, it will become imperative to address the above points for us to have a successful workforce that can rally toward stronger business outcomes.


All of us have been feeling, observing & reading about great resignation, frantic conversations on crazy salaries, increased #attrition, and covid, but I believe these problems are cyclic in nature and if we try to solve at a point in time we are going to burn the candle too fast. Consider the following points whilst finding yourself a fitment

  • Problems you are going to solve
  • Relationships you will be able to build
  • Fundamentals the company has
  • The value you will be able to add
  • The influence you will be able to create

Help build stronger foundations that can help create a balance, we tend to swing the pendulum too hard always!


“Illusion is the first of all pleasures” !

Voltaire

Be realistic about what you are trying to achieve!


As a leader within an organization you’ll need to work with many constraints and limitations of resources but still need to complete the task well within time. One should dig deep within themselves through the network effect of strong peers and management teams that can help one to get comfortable with uncomfortable questions.

Our ability to demonstrate true leadership will rely on :
1. Identification of true scarce resources
2. Prevent underappreciation of the complexity of managing scarcity and the benefits that come from doing it just a little bit better


As leaders, we talk a lot about being focused and remain careful not to use this as a force function because it can hamper lateral thinking & our ability to develop a systems approach within the organization.


As leaders, we never have enough time. It also is true that as we grow in a given role we play, we tend to become busier, we are providing less attention to every aspect being thrown at us. Our ability to absorb has to be of higher order to process a well-informed decision. It is important therefore that we group things in a manner that we become more effective. Context switching is ineffective and as leaders, we should minimize its impact.


Uncertainty is the name of the game. a year back we talked about 5-year plans and a couple of years back did strategic offsite huddles to frame our strategy but now planomics can only be as good as long it survives the next moment! From Developed to Developing .. nobody is prepared enough to handle the current COVID crisis. We are all reacting in the moment to take us farther than what we are today!



Systems Thinking is an evermore important skill to have in order to create better viewport of the solution we may have in mind! Events like COVID require systems-level thinking to see through challenges that create better feedback loops and broad-spectrum solution design!



A Year In Making…

As we start the count down timer for the year to turn new leaf , there is always this feeling of nostalgia on how farther along we have come in our life journey.  Several evcoffee-in-plants_373x_2xents would have happened which our powerful brain would have tried to process and react to.  The myriad nature of these events in itself can put anybody in  awe of what a human body is capable of handling with resilience over a period of time!

We generally tend to keep pushing our limits to commit more & do more , but I guess the biggest gift we can give ourselves in coming year is to take a resolution of not making any resolutions! Life has come a long way and I am sure each one of us has some incomplete resolutions of past which need attention if they are still important and relevant to us , so looking through that would be a better idea than piling more on self.

Do things:

  • Take time out to say thank you to everybody
  • Spend time with your elders ( they are more valuable and relevant than what google can teach us and whatsapp can make us aware of ).  Elders help you slow down a bit and breathe !

Act responsibly and stay calm ! Happy New Year to everybody who reads this short post !

Always remember “people make people” , value each other and respect for what they stand for !

 

Good Better Best – Quality of Decision

You might heard following phrases several times :

 “This is a wrong decision , we should not made this call”

“Why did you not inform us , otherwise we would have made right decision”

“I think if we would have collaborated , we could have made a right call on this issue”

Being a programmer at core , made me see these statements coming out with binary response : “Right” or “Wrong” , but as I travelled through the journey of being a manager and executing more responsibility with years gone by , it has started to make me feel that decisions in itself cannot be so binary in their outcome!

Quality of decision is always known post-facto unless we follow some mystical science of crystal ball gazing! You would have seen that I highlighted a particular term “Quality“. There is a reason to it , because I strongly feel post my experiences that we put lot of pressure on self and others by classifying decision in binary manner.

Man-thinking-by-Creative-Ignition-Creative-Commons

 Photo Credit : Creative Ignition ( Creative Commons )

 

We want to remain quick on decision making and at the same time we expect them to be always right , but that is not the case. According to me the spirit and context in which a decision is made , it starts with always being “good” . The intent with which we make decisions is always good , it can only be the case that we evaluate whether our decisions could have “better” and could we make it “best call every taken !

 

It is important that we constantly review out decision outcomes and rank them against this strategy to improve our decision quality.

Happy Decision Making!!

Startup Culture or something else …

We have & continue to observe numerous articles as well inspirational content on how one should have start-up culture , mindset or spirit. All in different dimension & context.

Irrespective of maturity business model & age of enterprise , it has become a fad to call oneself having a start-up mindset or calling the enterprise itself a startup. You might have seen in lot of interviews we do talk about this to prospective candidates  & as well the candidate would ask ” Are you a successful startup ”  ! Well if in first place it was successful then would it now be an enterprise that carries different set of goal & vision ? images

Bunch of like minded people come together , they put an idea into action and try to solve a problem. That is start-up. Passion drives them to solve the problem whilst they figure out other aspects that drive stability & security. For them to guarantee anything beyond themselves is very hard and in fact even for self , it is a challenged science. Over  a period of time they may be successful or may pivot to do something else.

The journey changes on being successful , problem statements change and there are other things to worry about but not the the core business model as such. They would have figured out how to make money , it is like a child growing and going through phases of life. Startups upon success grow to be enterprise and diversify in the way they operate finding niche in successful business model.

So how does then one address the question of passion in enterprise..according to me that has to do with three things ..Autonomous way of thinking creatively and executing in agile manner to discover edge in your business. 

Start-up to enterprise is a journey from survival to sustainability. Therefore it is only a stage in a journey taken up by individuals or bunch of passionate people.Subtle but important difference that can change your approach on how you tackle business problems.

Indecision Or Flexibility?

In my earlier post : Control & Freedom : Managing Relationships , I talked about how exercising control to maintain right hypothesis can cause undue tension and sometimes it is necessary to walk away with right attitude coupled with mindset. If we take a balcony view , we would also get to know that control usually allows for consistent decision making process. You would find a predictable pattern in every move made and the thought that drives it. When you create freedom , then it can lead to frequent changes in decision.. or in traditional world a sense of indecisive behaviour…

Well that paradigm might not hold true in current operating environment , where agile is name of the new game and Holacracy is helping fostering system of self-organisation. One would have to change to see changes as flexibility and be pragmatic about it.. but everything needs to make some sense & hence decision making would need to have a some guard rails that allow for +ve flexibility as opposed to u-turn twice a day !

Couple of guards rails suggestions:

  • Consider views from everybody: Adopt paradigm from software engineering of distributed software development , where people can have pull on decision making process.
  • Look at incremental hypothesis development: Seek some parallelism from the world of iterative software development and apply that to decision making process.
  • Balance against extreme autonomy: Ensure that some level of control is exercised , because remember decisions always have cascading effect so acting responsibly is very important.

Ant And Start-ups

I am sure many of us would have come across this saying ; “Man must go back to nature for information.” – Thomas Paine . If not , then today , you would :)…

On my lazy vacation last week , I was observing an ant carry past a load more than what it could. We all know by our basic teachings that ant do have that ability. Read more here for details…

When I casually read through some of the details in the article , i caught following points as striking and emulative…

  • The real strength of an ant, or any insect for that matter, lies in its diminutive size. Generally speaking, the smaller the critter, the stronger it will be. It’s physics, plain and simple.
  • Larger animals have a greater disparity between mass and strength. When a large animal needs to lift an object, its muscles must also move a greater volume, or mass, of its own body.
  • An ant need only lift a small measure of its own weight relative to the strength of its muscles.

If you focus on points which I have mentioned above , you would realize that a visual skeleton starts to sketch in your mind of how large organizations behave today and try to remain nimble every day as compared to start-ups that enjoy characteristics of ant. Organizations traverse through a life-cycle of business and transform themselves from being ants to equivalent of animals that try to manage their own strength against the volume of mass ( equate to business ) they want to move.Being nimble is easier said than done.

What If organizations tried to behave like a community with different tribes(business units) and let the tribes behave more closely as nature manages that relationships…the anthropology would may be more in favor of running many start-ups ( goal oriented units ) within a large corporate structure…?

Window To The World…Ideas On Communications….

So I am back again…although , I am still infrequent..but making improvements. Currently I am passing by quite a few cultures on my trip and it makes me super happy to learn new things beyond just the realms of my job. As I do this , it sounds funny but human communication is highly perceptive and has great self-context.

What is there for me in this , outcome , mode of reaching to that outcome…lot of things pop when you engage across boundaries , businesses and most importantly the people who make it. There is no defined prescription to manage communication and yes there might be great books around this but it all depends on the individual / team on how they approach it.

“Dank u”!! … “Danke”!!… all are about saying “thank you”.. but how you present it makes the difference. Getting people excited about your objective , listening to them and considering what is important all are important part of being effective and we should try to be as much as possible in that mode.

If the window has layers of dust , the world will not be the same place , when it does not…have dust. Dust comes from constant ignore of ability to clean it on regular basis…which means communicate and do that frequently in small bursts..Everybody prescribes to eat small meals several times a day ( I guess 8 … although I am not a dietician ).. I also recommend that we should communicate often to a point that people are not paralyzed with information but also don’t suffer from exclusion syndrome or feel anemic of not having information!!!

Leadership Lessons

Yesterday at office we had a wonderful session on leadership , where mid-managers were invited along with the senior management. A full day discussion on how to effect a change and other aspects of leadership were discussed as part of this session. There was one particular activity which caught my attention more than others. It was related to making changes to self in bunches of 3 , 6 , 12 while standing in pairs. How people react to such activities is very interesting.

The first reaction was to start remembering the change we were doing in anticipation that we may be asked to entail that in the end. Second was about how to make a new change. Funny ideas popped around the place and third was “what are we trying to do , just end it!!!” This exercise was a reflection of the fact that how important it is to prepare people for a change. Readiness levels for each individual remains different and yet we still continue to effect changes without preparing our workforce to embrace it.

I consider that it is important to give an objective to people and give time / space between changes for it to take effect or show results. I know that there may be circumstances when we would not have a choice but to effect the change and that to frequently but as senior management we should allow a change to get absorbed and help people prepare better for the next set of challenges. Compare this with a common-life situation where if you a have problem in neighborhood you see people getting together to solve it or help out but on any other day they would be busy doing their work. What that means is that the “problem” comes out as an objective whilst on other days you keep doing your own things. That is not what you would an office culture to adopt because , business is like a simulated war game where you have to fight the known and unknowns at all times , therefore give objective to people for why you would like to effect a change and be part of it!!!