May 27, 2008

Don't let them steal your dream...

Look after your dream, or a thief will!

There's a lot of 'Dream Stealers' out there! After a week long training session, I'm high on its theme: Change, Success & Leadership... and most of all... I'm tipsy and Crazy so that I DON'T LET THEM STEAL MY DREAM!

There come times in our lives when we feel that we're loosing control of the direction of our lives, when someone's influencing our jobs, relationships or any other key aspects of our lives. I've written about it earlier also in --
Well, only a few could know what that feeling's like, and definitely, any person who's
on a job led by a 'Boss', one who's limited by resources, control-freak parents or dominating partners among other categories...

But, you see, it's not just that they control, but even those negative energies they release over our determination to achieve by displaying disturbing attitudes, negative words and strong actions as well. However, to overcome all this, one needs to actually KNOW what their DREAM is! Do you know what your Dream is?

Where Dreams Fail...
Many peoples dreams fail! Not knowing what ones dream is will only make them so accommodating that every other influence or a negative word will be accepted whining, or sometimes even without the slightest whimper. A few have such feeble dreams which can easily be replaced by another one. For a few more, the dream fades away with the passing of time, and for few others dreams not achieved will not matter at all.

Folks, get serious, cos we get a life only once. Wake up, realize your dream, and Go get it!

Get a little Tipsy and a lot Crazy!
Realizing your dream is just the beginning. You may want to get over with any hangover, but never get over the hangover of your dream. Get Tipsy (rather drunk) with your dream... and a Lot Crazy, so that no one would even dare to approach to steal your dream away! Even if someone does, you'll be so well guarding it, that you'll not allow it.

Realized your Dream? Look after your dream, or a thief will rob you off it!

May 15, 2008

Coward Strategists

Since more than half-a-year, I've been thinking about 'Strategy, Strategists and Manipulation, for which I'm finally getting a few words from other works to further put them up here...

Re-Viewing 'Cold Mountain' last night, one of my very favourite movies, I came across a good example of Coward Strategists...

The movie is set in a time of war. Talking of the country's rulers, here's a dialogue that talks of coward strategists: "They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shit, it's raining!'

May 5, 2008

Corporate Mafia & Human Resource Management

HR (and Administration) Departments are being pursued by owners and top management to operate as a Mafia. Well, this mafia is to specialize in a very niche area--
  • To spy around the office so as to keep a watch on undercurrents
  • Threaten and/or Create problems to retain employees who quit
  • Tamper / Tarnish the careers of quitters by bad-mouthing
  • To network with companies to find which quitter is joining where
It is very typical in a business segment where attrition is soaring that people run pillar to post trying to retain employees. Gone are the days when contracts/agreements/bonds used to create that block in employees' minds before they separated from their employers. The employees is literate (not quite enough) of their rights and responsibilities to tackle the agreement issues.

I would not generalize these practices to all companies, but I certainly opine that this may be a common practice in small organizations, organizations with closely-knit cultures and companies operating in niche markets. It's a real sorry state is how companies are trying to retain people. Instead of resorting to best practices and retaining people by offering a 'package of interest' (including a good combo of hygiene and motivators) to them, they're trying to retain by fear.

The impact of the whole exercise nevertheless does not result in retention, but it results in--
  • Tension in the organization
  • A hostile organizational climate & culture
  • Tragic Impressions left on existing employees
  • A chain reaction over existing employees to follow a cautious and hostile exit
  • Poor (read pathetic) branding of the organization
Yet, many follow these practices knowing the results. It's somewhere a drive of the top management to 'TEACH A LESSON' to the people who quit and implant FEAR even in the minds of existing employees so they may think twice before they think of quitting.

Well, though the HR is empathetic towards the employees and can argue a case, HR management has limitations set by the CEO/Director, which then, fall out of the domain. In fact, if HR doesn't cooperate, then people definitely have their ways to pursue their causes...

A few companies I believe do not relieve such employees, and wait to know the name of company the candidate is joining and then call them up to threaten that they may be sued for dual employment of candidate. Even more pathetic is when companies use their influence with local authorities (police) and file and FIR against the employee possessing company assets, and Bingo! who's gonna look for physical evidence of intellectual assets... Phew!!!

These practices are quite disheartening, and all the more stressful to employees as 'COMPANIES ARE FOLLOWING THEM'.

The topic is open for your criticism / additions / suggestions...

May 2, 2008

History remembers Kings, not soldiers!

One strong belief among others I've learned through life experiences is that 'Each of us has a need to feel important'. This need to feel important drives us to find as many opportunities, small and big do many acts, activities, and sometimes even defy people and principles to reinforce to oneself the feeling of  importance.

Examples are when you see individuals defying their bosses, people taking a stand for a cause, daring feats and take risks to achieve some greatness among others. Times when we get involved in someone else's lives to guide (influence), go out of the way to help them... all of these are our little and big opportunities to make ourselves feel important.

Let's look at the constant power-play and influences at workplaces, where everyone struggles to clear the clutter to rise above the rest to feel their importance in the workplace... there's another cry out there... Nobody wants to be a pawn in someone else's game. They too, want to lead...

My point here... I's just an observation! History remembers Kings, not Soldiers. So, we all try to find small and big opportunities to win those little battles, and reassure ourselves of us, being important in the web of life connecting all of us... Are you a soldier... or a King?

Friends at Workplace? Not Done!

I always thought working with a good friend would be quite ideal, only till I actually landed on such a job! Then, I thought making friends at work is a very good way to strengthen professional relations at work till I actually tried it, and failed to do some work with a friend!

What remains at the end of it, is a hurt relationship, and a bad job! It could be a Lose-Lose or Win-Lose situation... or anything but Win-Win. I know that's debatable, but leaving all the exceptions aside, here I'm talking about being on two jobs in the same company and not partners in business like Larry Page & Sergey Brin, though I know even that equation has many screw-ups.

The building blocks for friendship and a professional relationship are almost the same, like good attitude, mutual trust and understanding and blah blah blah. In friendship there are times when one friend may even risk personal loss to help another, but in a professional relationship it may turn otherwise. What's the reason?

"Survival of the fittest" operates strongly in the corporate jungle. Well, when it comes to survival, any friend comes after 'ME'. It is not the fault of friendship which fails to work in the cut-throat corporate war. One may surely try to make it happen, but given the many other variables affecting individual performance like the bosses, peers, rumor mill, individual work-orientation, roles among others, it's a complex equation to manage. And yes, the moment you try to 'manage' a friend, YOU HAD IT! Moreover, the patterns of behavior displayed are so very new, different and perhaps even 'unexpected'. And change always gets us, right?

Of course, when you're at work, you can't afford to, and better not keep your focus on friendship, but keep it fixed on work delivery. So, get it clear - if you're engaged in a Talent War in the corporate arena, there's only win or lose, and there are performing teams. No Friendship. No Friends. That's actually not done!

Impressions we leave...

Who was your first love? Who was your first best friend? Who was your favorite school teacher? Which senior first ragged you at your college? Who was your first boss?

Do I hear you say: “Wait, I remember that!?”

We all do remember most of the answers to the above questions. It’s primarily because of the ‘fine’ lasting impressions they’ve left on our minds.

That’s how important the ‘first’ impressions are. Biology has it that all our body cells wear out regularly, including skins cells, muscle and even bone cells. They regenerate almost every 16 years (max time), but there are the Mind Cells, which live the longest. About a hundred years. They contain all our memories; and you’ll know when your mind cells wear out when you start losing your memories ;-)

Impressions have become so important these days, that ‘Impression Management has become a part of curricula at few important B-schools. For a few, it’s a course to attend for giving successful interviews.

Impression management gains more importance when we talk of its impact in the corporate circles and professionalism. Each individual has an important role to play in creating the right impression for an organization. As an employee, employer, corporate ambassador, organizational citizen, vendor, or even as a customer each individual leaves impression.

So, to make sure you’re giving the right strokes for the best impression:
  • Educate yourself of the business etiquettes. Being ignorant about the same may even cost you dearly.
  • Make this impression management an inherent part of your way of living. It’s quite important, cos you can’t make lasting impressions if you don’t believe and live it.

May 1, 2008

Presenteeism: Clear and Present Danger!

‘Body-present, mind-absent?’ – remember that school-day reprimand from that strict class teacher? Well, even if you don’t, you could probably look around your workplace to understand what exactly that means. In most offices, you will invariably find someone or the other who is “feeling down” with either a headache, a stomach disorder, grogginess or just feeling out of sync with the rest of the world. Outwardly, everything seems fine, but give them a chance to speak to them, and you’ll hear it all. Welcome to the world of a growing breed of professionals – the sort of who are present in office, but not at work! Of course, there is the other type, who’d rather not see the workplace (that could worsen their present condition!), and take a day off at the drop of a hat ;-). The trend of presenteeism is sweeping over India Inc.

Well, nothing to be surprised a great deal about, ‘cos it’s a global phenomenon, and it’s plaguing countries all over Europe and other western countries. But, what’s concerning is that while absenteeism can be easily identified from attendance records, “presenteeism” is not easily discernible. Keeping the differences aside awhile, the point to be driven home is that: In both cases, productivity at the work-places gets drained – visibly in case of absenteeism, invisibly otherwise. Traditionally, absenteeism and such related behaviours are seen as indicators for reduced employee morale and low motivation.

While absenteeism may be dealt with by placing an attendance policy in place, the solution for presenteeism ain’t that simple a formula. A greater problem on that front yet unaddressed is that managers are not ready to probe into the details, and just dismiss them. One of my friends from HR fraternity, Sanjeev Sharma, Zonal Manager, i-Process Services (India) Limited, feels that the reasons for presenteeism can be “stress at work, relationship with the boss, relationship with colleagues, noisy workplace, family problems... and sometimes there are genuine reasons like accidents, sickness etc.”

However, organizations need to become sensitive to employees’ work-life balance and deal with stress and health issues at the workplace.