Thursday, 30 May 2013

In Search of Roots & Stars: Re-Discovering Lost Treasures of Work

Off late, I am doing some hands on studies (book reading, discussions with experts, interpreting psychometric profiles etc.) on Leadership Personalities, Leadership Behaviors and their impact on People and Performance. And this quite a fascinating area to explore!

Thoughts, Behaviors and Actions of a leader are akin to origin of a river. It starts like a small stream. But gains momentum and power while flowing downstream. Authenticity, High degree of self- awareness, Balance of mutually complementing strengths and commitment to build a competent, value oriented apex leadership team are so very vital for sustainable Organizational progress.

There are interesting accounts of how once successful or charismatic CEOs failed miserably, when they became slaves of their own selfish ego-drivers. When a CEO uses his key strength blindly, without realizing its impact on people, things star cracking down and later they become interesting case studies of a failed hero.

 It is fair to give some benefit of doubt to CEOs/Apex leaders as they constantly reel under unrealistic expectations of board members, investors, media amidst volatile market trends and competition.

It is important to address fundamental issues of how much need, ambition and greed should we place as a driving force in the business organizations.

I was fortunate to get exposure to high level discussions on operating budgets, mid-term planning and strategic planning from very early stages of my career. I can vividly recollect those matured discussions, whose focus primarily remained on new products, re-defining customer service, process innovations and meaningful HR programs. And I also was part of discussions which did not go beyond financial numbers and sales growth targets. Former were stimulating and engaging. In later, everybody went through motions without any real connect. 

Let the focus be back on serving customer needs, creating value through innovations. Let sales and growth targets reflect intent of ambition, but not the end in all.

Let us reclaim the joy of work from slavery of stress. Let there be matured work ethos flourishing on strong roots of cherished values Respect, Integrity and Employee/Customer Centricity.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Beyond Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a key contemporary topic in organizations. It often features as one of the high level performance metric. There are credible research articles on how organizations with more engaged employees outperform lesser counterparts on hard performance indicators. In my view, Employee Engagement is a manifestation. It is a lag indicator of something deeper.
When powerful majority investors and/or board puts ambitious expectations- bordering on greed on its operating management, then the challenge is – can employee engagement be driven as a philosophy or it degenrates into a mere set of fancy buzzwords and initiatives? Explosion of knowledge/information and global connectedness- thanks to technology- has made a profound impact on employee demographics and behaviors. They cannot be convinced by empty rhetoric. It’s the time for authentic leadership- stating and standing for what ones believes in.
I see a silent but definite shift in behavior of the workforce today. Noticeably, it is a pleasure watching  Gen-Y workforce traits at work. They are unafraid to speak their mind out, want work-life balance and want to do something meaningful in and through their work.
Leadership with dual standards will be increasingly tested and challenged in years to come. There may be expressed disapproval or passive resistance or even turnover- but contemporary workforce is not going to accept substandard or two faced leadership.
Time for new paradigms, fresh perspectives and deeper search of leadership ethics…fascinating indeed!