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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

To think outside the box…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 23, 2013

stepout

…step outside the box.

I have seen several senior executives repeatedly urge their employees to think outside the box. A million minutes each year are spent in meeting rooms to cultivate this thinking in a company and its approach. Sadly, the outcome in most instances is limited to a few momentary flashes of brilliance and then a return to routine.

Most members of leadership teams fail to realize that simply urging their employees to stretch their imagination is just not enough. It is equally important to reveal to them what the ideal state looks like. I cannot expect the manager of a production line in India to meet the expectations of a customer in France unless I have established a channel of communication between the two.

The Innovation Circle at one of the companies I worked with was immensely fruitful. The key to their success was the exposure that the company provided to its employees. Every month, trips were arranged for the line operators. While some of the visits were to other factories in the district, others were fun excursions to neighboring tourist hotspots. The idea was to step outside the factory and expose our senses to something other than the sight and sound of our factory. There was something to be learnt from everything outside. And that learning reflected in the cost reduction and innovation projects that the workers implemented back at work.

The same applies to senior executives. They cannot evolve and innovate until they keep themselves informed about the changes occurring in the business eco-system around them.

No radical change in thought or approach inside is possible without witnessing an equally radical change outside.

To think outside the box, step outside the box.

Posted in Management Consulting | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Don’t Wait For Annual Appraisal For Conferring Benefits.Reward Now!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on July 17, 2012

“Neither a Republic nor a Prince should put off conferring Benefits on People until danger is at hand.….Let no one, however, put off making sure of the populace until the time of danger arrives, because he may not, as the Romans did, succeed in this. For the people as a whole will not consider that they owe this benefit to you, but rather to your enemies, and, since they cannot but fear that, when the need has passed, you may deprive them of what you have been compelled to give, will in no way feel obliged to you.” –  Niccolo Machiavelli, The Discourses

Corporate Illustration: John walks up to his reporting manager with a resignation letter and states that he has an offer from another company. The reporting manager realizing John’s importance in the organization immediately offers to increase his salary and benefits by up to 20%. John negotiates a hike of 35% and stays back

Now that’s an all too common scenario in organizations around the world and calls into question the performance of existing Appraisal and Reward programs in a majority of companies. While organizations have increased the frequency of Performance Appraisals from annually to quarterly, the process of rewarding still remain annual in all but a few.

Delay in rewarding a deserving effort creates a window of opportunity for competitors to acquire performing assets from your talent pool. And even if you manage to retain the talent by giving into their demands, the payout ends up being several times more than had the rewarding been more frequent. This is evident in the above illustration where the cost of quarterly increments in John’s benefits would have added up to far less than the 35% hike that he eventually sealed.

Also, when the organization rewards John regularly upon the execution of good work, it adds to not only his motivation but also his loyalty to the company. In the illustration above, John walks out of the meeting, not with a sense of gratitude and motivation but with a sense of pride in his ability to squeeze the company’s arm as and when he wishes. Now that is not desirable at all!

Organizations need to re-assess their appraisal programs and stress rewarding good work when it is accomplished and not wait for the end of the financial year. There is a lesson to be learnt from the 15th century strategist.

 

 

 

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