Monthly Archives: May 2004

The people principle

Dr. Wayne Brockbank spoke to the Tata Group on The people principle and the new role for Human Resources. Some excerpts are:

“The question now is how to cultivate a culture that supports and creates new innovations that will keep you ahead of the competition. You can’t rely on the past; you have to bet on creating the future. The mandate this development delivers for HR professionals is to manage organisational capability much better in the future than they have in the past.
The world’s best-managed companies understand what the organisational context needs to be for their business to survive and prosper. They know the key capabilities that success demands. That’s what we call organisational capabilities.

Gearing the company for fast change

Lets assume for a moment that fast change – which means the ability to change quickly, to be adaptable and flexible, to move quickly – is the chief capability you need to be successful at the Tatas. Then the questions that rise are:
– To what extent are we hiring people with the proven ability of working in a fast-change environment?
– Do we promote people who are able to manage a fast-change company?
– Do we transfer people to give them the opportunity to practise fast change?
– Do we fire people who do not change quickly?
– Do we have a way of measuring the ability of a company to change quickly?
– Do we reward people who change quickly?
– Do we have training and development programmes that help and encourage fast change?
– Do we use the voice of customers and shareholders while communicating a fast-change environment across the company?
– Do we have a communication mechanism in place to help people throughout the company understand that fast change is critical?
– Do we have an infrastructure that helps people manage change quickly?
– Do we structure the organisation so that it is flexible, adaptable and able to move quickly?
– Are work processes designed to move quickly and facilitate fast change?
– Does the arrangement of the physical space around us encourage fast change?
– Finally, are leaders regular and consistent role models of fast change?

The best-managed companies, such as Unilever, Marico, Citicorp, Hewlett Packard, AT&T and others, use this basic framework to make sure their HR practices are fully and exactly aligned to create the organisational capabilities required to execute strategy in the most powerful way possible.

Linking competency model to results
I think competencies, too, have a crucial role to play, but the problem here is that most competency models are so generic its hard to see how they add much value. The best companies make sure that competencies are customised and tailored to the specific, strategic requirements of their business. Linking a competency model to results can produce a powerful package than can drive measurement in compensation systems.

Measuring HR outcome is very, very easy, and its a simple process. The most difficult part in measuring HR is knowing what to measure, not doing the measurement itself. Once we know what to measure, measurement can occur very quickly. Most HR measurement systems start by measuring HR in everyday practices. Thats not a very good idea. What you should be doing, instead, is try to measure what HR does.

In a complete HR measurement system, you have to measure what HR does, what it delivers and what it impacts. Once you understand this, you can show the relationship between what HR does, what it delivers and what it impacts.”

Career Coaching- The new business

Career coaching is a comparatively new field compared to traditional coaching that concentrated on personal and individual development.

As the name suggests career coaches help individuals to think through their career aspirations and decide on their correct (or rather, more suitable) career options.

Most career coaches come from the job search industry and try to help job searchers with their job search. However there also exist in this space people like Harvard academics Timothy Butler and James Waldroop who are partners in the firm Peregrine Partners.

Some other folks are Patti Wilson of Career Company, Ian Christie of Bold Career

Some more detailed articles are here and here.

I think the options for Career Coaches is bright in India. Lots of people jumping into jobs only to find themselves disillusioned later is a common phenomenon. Most people currently turn to people who ‘prescribe’ things to do (the neighbourhood ‘good boy’, the cousin who got a MNC job etc.) without taking into account the person’s interests and dreams. The focus of our careers are so much about money and status, but never happiness. That has got to change !

CEO compensation keeps rising

David Batstone writes in the Worthwhile Mag:

“A new report reveals that CEO total compensation in the S&P 500 rose by a median of 27.16 percent in 2003, nearly three times the rise seen for 2002, when total compensation rose a healthy 11.48 percent. Every element of pay tracked (base salary, annual compensation, restricted stock and other long-term incentives) rose in value over the last year save one: the value realized from the exercise of stock options actually fell, by a median of 1.01 percent.
What is worse than mockery? Disdain. That’s exactly how many rank-and-file workers feel they are being treated. Over the past several years, most workers have seen their pay packages hold steady, if not decline. “

My comment:
In India we’ve had discussions triggered by certain leaders that there have got to be some ratio beyond which CEO salary should not rise. And figures like 1:25 of lowest pay in the organization and CEO pay have been bandied about. But in India at least (and I suspect, other countries too) there are a lot of CEO perks that never get valued in the annual report of the organization. And further complicating the scenario is the salaries of promoter-CEOs who take home pays like $ 1.8 m !

The Weekend – Main Hoon Na , Yuva !

Last weekend was a very relaxing one. We caught up on some interesting movies, Main Hoon Na and Yuva.

Sorry about the pun on the title of the post 🙂 Just couldn’t help it. It’s an old habit that gets more and more difficult to kick ;-))

Let’s start with Main Hoon Na. It’s to the Manmohan Desai school of film-making that Farah Khan pays her heartfelt tribute ! It’s a total ‘time-pass’ and ‘paisa-vasool’ kind of film. Shah Rukh Khan and Zayed Khan are good. Though Boman Irani seems to be getting trapped in his Munnabhai MBBS image of the Mr. Weatherbee of Mumbai. He’s gotta be careful. In this post I shall confine my comments to Ms. Sushmita Sen ! Sigh ! She’s a dream and is a total take-off on the stereotype of the Yash Chopra heroine ! And she is even called Chandni ! Yes, boy, she does take to the caricature so smoothly that you see a different kind of Sush ! As an aside , even Ekta was a Chemistry teacher before her MBA and her students used to say that she was a duplicate of Sushmita Sen ! That made the movie a little more personal for both of us !

Now coming to Yuva …

This movie is a pretty different movie. (i) It’s based in Calcutta..oops…Kolkata (ii) It’s lead characters are named Lallan, Michael and Arjun (iii) it’s dark and brooding but ends with hope

And if this movie does not define the persona and make Abhishek’s career, I don’t know what will ! It gives him an author-backed role that he’s able to pull off so well that it takes your breath away. Ajay Devgan is the smouldering optimist and delivers a great performance too. Vivek Oberoi in my opinion is the guy who got the raw deal.

The interesting fact is that the three leading ladies choose to make their own future by rejecting and confronting the patriarchial system. Echoes of the 1980s?

Learning to Drive

I’m feeling very tickled these days. That’s because over the last four days I’ve finally managed to learn to drive !

Sure it’s not great driving right now. I stutter and start and difficult roads and heavy traffic make me go clammy and increase my heart rates, but I am getting there!

It makes eminent sense when Ekta is expecting and Saachi is such a little monkey ! 🙂

Sunday was actually a quantum leap. I drove more than 30 km as we went to Nandhini’s in Koramangala for lunch ! Phew !

As is my wont I’ll touch a little bit of theory here. I observed myself go through the typical learning cycle and even thought I am a learning consultant, it wasn’t easy to learn.

In fact, Dr. Edgar Schein labelled it the “learning anxiety” that every person faces when he/she wants to learn something new.

In fact another model of learning talks about the four stages of learning when one moves sequentially from (i) unconcious incompetence (“I don’t know what I don’t know”) to (ii) conscious incompetence (“I know what it is that I don’t know”) to (iii) conscious competence (“I am learning it, but I haven’t internalised it”) and finally moving to (iv) unconscious competence (“I know it so well that I don’t have to remember it”)

In fact my driving is still in phase (iii) and I need to remember things to do. Phase (iv) is actually the time when it becomes more Zen-like !