Monday, 26 December 2016

Gardening Leadership

The gardener knows
each of his flowers
knows how much water
sunlight,manure each requires,
some flowers wither away
if too much sunlight
while others cannot survive
without the sunlight....

As leader of a work team
do you know each team member?
what makes each one tick?
whether they work best in the morning
or in the late afternoon?
or do you insist that they work
by your time preferences instead?

Do you give them space
to work at their pace
to do things differently
if goals met effectively?
or do you insist they always work
the way you think is best?

Oh how boring team gardens can be
when they are mere clones
of the leader himself
its only when there's variety in the garden
it is appealing to the eye, fragrant to the nose
such teams emit an energy, enthusiasm
that propels other teams in vicinity as well!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Being a Role Model

What are you telling young boys & girls
during induction, in the initial days
expectations on integrity?
that customer is king?

Are you telling them to be polite always
to be passionate about goals
and do what it takes, no matter what?
to focus on quality each time, every time?
to teamwork, see the big picture always?

Beware! tell them the bare minimum
that you yourself believe and  abide by
as they are watching you 24x7
to check whether you practice what you preach....

Consistently meeting and surpassing own standards
can enthuse juniors to follow leader with passion
conversely,  if huge deviance between talk and action
it is  disillusionment. and a big
erosion of credibility ....

Instead of adulation towards a  role model
it is just contempt- higher
the hype and falsehood
higher the level of contempt!
and you end up leaving in your trail
a bunch of cynics, cynics
in the garb of employees for life!

Friday, 2 December 2016


Leaders who are reluctant
to share credit for success,
or assignments well done
will be resented by team & peers...
and in the long run they lose
all support and cooperation

Such leaders behave the way they do
more out of a poor self esteem
 they compensate for the
"I am not good enough" feeling
with  projection of self as a 'star'
around whom everything revolves!

The better way for long term gains
for both leader and organization
is to share credit with all contributors
real achievement after all
is when many own, give a hand
celebrate success together!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

HR Analytics and the Four Abilities

HR and data analytics today, is hot
HR had been one of the pioneers
anyway of the analytic path
having had at its disposal
Plenty of employee life cycle data

The challenge is to make sense
of humongous data, by thinking, asking
probing multiple aspects
having an eye for details
having an open mind…

With persistence, patience, deeper probing
some HR goals would be within reach
that of work force planning
comp & benefits, succession planning
learning & leadership, engagement & assessment....

Analytics for sales revenue, productivity
Arresting accident errors, fraud
down time losses…
for customer retention, product mix
for quality, IT and business consulting expertise….

Real success of the analytic journey
is in moving from the level 1 reactive,
 operational reporting to
 level 4, predictive analytics -
development of predictive models…

It’s here that the 4 abilities matter
Ability to collect high quality data
Ability to analyse, make sense of
the data and relationships
Ability to connect to IT, sales,
Operation and finance…
Ability to consult, visualise,
tell stories and drive change!

Note: This poem was inspired by an evening meeting that I attended on the subject organised by NIPM, Karnataka Chapter.The speaker Mr Neeraj Kumar, VP (HR) Wipro spoke exhaustively. This is just a tip of the iceberg.... 

Thursday, 25 August 2016


Frequent criticism
in the garb of "Feedback"
with an aim to control
seemingly to  ensure
change and improvement
backfires most of the time...

Rather than changes for the better
employees  withdraw, turn numb
become reluctant to innovate
volunteer or take risks

Instead it  results in
diverting precious energy for
blame avoidance
and self preservation!

Sad, the same energy
could and should
have been spent
for the benefit of the organization!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Typical Character

Organizations have a typical character
not withstanding the buzz words of
lean, flat, humane, open door
and what not.....

It's all about the span of control
the power to exercise over others
not allowing  them to use their heads
getting  them to  follow instructions
simply do your bidding!

The other day I watched on 'you tube'
a Swami explain the reason, the need
to leave parent spiritual organization
and start one of his own..

It was all about hurting ego
of the head of the organization
when the swami did not
blindly follow orders from top
but did what he thought was right...

Yes, all  organizations have a typical character
whether spiritual, social  or commercial...

Wednesday, 3 August 2016


An employee wants to leave
for better prospects
company offers more money
in order to retain him/her

Similarly, someone else
wants to leave, weeks later
reason could be different this time
cultural mismatch or an overbearing boss...

Once again HR intervenes
with counselling or promises
of  a change in posting
the aim being retention
any which way...

At times, you find characters
who have discovered your weakness
and so periodically dangle
offer letters from rival companies
for ensuring raises...

A better approach perhaps
is to delve deep in to reasons
and respond or make corrections
to arrest attritions in future

As for the one who
has put in his papers
the dissatisfaction lurks
deep within somewhere
and all your efforts

It's a matter of time
that he notices the chasm yet again
and puts in his papers
refusing this time to reconsider...

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Best Practices

Attending a professional body meeting
for sharing 'Best Practices' is fun
you learn quite a bit
even more fun though is watching
reaction & response of the audience

Some among the young
are all ears to the speaker
trying to absorb the maximum possible
like a blotting paper

Others have an expression of
"So what's new? "
just tall claims, all these
balloons filled with gas
nothing really makes a difference....

Yet others exhibit
a tinge of envy
"Why did I not think of all this
in my times- when active and kicking?
now its the fag end of career
or career days are long  over
and I feel a little left out
listening to all this..."

"well, let me cross examine this guy
during our time, the question time
poke holes in his claims
divert attention from the core
perhaps this will take away
atleast some of the sheen
from the claims of his achievement
and that of his organization...." 

Monday, 11 July 2016


Casual discussion with a young man
revealed work motivators
and expectations today's generation
has from the employer.

"It's important for me
to feel that I matter
to the main purpose
aims of the company

I need reassuring
that I am not another
cog in the wheel
like to know
what plans the company has
for utilising my full
potential in the future

what upgrades, training, 
growth assignments are
in store for me
if I get  the answers, I stay
or it is time
to move on...."

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sad Story of 'Training'

'Training' or 'Learning & development'
whatever you may like to call it
is still not understood
or valued by most corporates

It's yet to be seen
as an intervention
that can make a difference

Some still see it
as a distraction, a reward
to employees for hard work
at an exquisite  resort...

While others see it
as something to be picked up
and doled out
as from the menu of a cafeteria...

"Last time we had Dosa
do you have Pizza
or something new & exotic
on the menu?"

Learning is not seen as it should
from the perspective of a felt need
"I have a stomach upset
and it's Idli that I want
if you don't have it
or can't deliver me that
I'm going elsewhere!"

In the absence of
a true understanding & awareness
the benefits of a great discipline
is lost, under valued
or under utilised...

This then is the sad story of 'Training'....

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Back to the Basics

An amusing story
shared on Linked in pulse
set me thinking...
it related instance of a company's HR
winning "Best HR practices" award

But when a newspaper report
was brought to his notice
a senior executive of company
feigned ignorance

"In our company" he stated
"HR is invisible."

How do people win awards
when their presence not felt
in their own company?
isn't time long overdue
for HR to go back to the basics?

Start relating to the employees
and other internal customers
meet their real  needs by simply
acknowledging & addressing
instead of hankering after awards
that mean nothing
on the ground... 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Physically present- Mentally Absent

It happened to me, just  yesterday
happens every other day
on almost all occasions
even during serious professional discussions...

Yesterday, as is my wont
I was taking notes at a professional meeting
on an interesting topic of transforming
an ancient, process oriented  huge company
to be more flexible, agile and responsive
to the changed times and business scenario

In short the challenges of teaching
an elephant to dance...

The guy seated next to me
 was glued to his mobile
continuously typing messages
his indifference and the frequent hand movements
distracting me from my main purpose

Giving vent to my annoyance, talking to him
could result in my missing
key points in the discussion
so I continued focused on my basic purpose
 desperately trying to ignore his antics

Had I spoken  to him though
I would have asked
"Hey why drive down this far
to fiddle with your mobile
you could have saved petrol
and driving time
accomplishing task at home!"

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Campus to Corporate

One of my happiest moments
is when I am in a class room
facilitating training sessions....
The cup gets full and overflowing
when the participants are young
active, full of zest and enthusiasm!

Such an occasion it was
on the first of March, doing a program

for the graduate engineering trainees
of a Brazilian multi national
moving from the college campus
to the corporate world!

We discussed the cultural shock
that youngster's face
with changes in expectations
the challenges and priorities
in the real world out there!

Building rapport with everyone
the boss, peers and the juniors
who in fact, could be in age seniors!

Tips on communication
managing stress
keeping self esteem levels high
positive thinking at all times
and finally, rounding it off with mind programming!

Facilitation of such lively programs
are its own reward
yet positive, enthusing feedback during the breaks
soon after the program
and over the telephone from HR
days after the program....
is simply exhilarating, memorable

 It's like the icing on the cake!

Ps: The 'Çup' referred to in the first stanza is to the 'cup of joy'

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


We all know
there is no parallel
for employees who interact
and work as if they are the owners

Managements therefore underscore
during speeches and in corporate communications
the importance of ownership

 Yet treat them as 'mere'employees
in day to day situations
on the little  occasions
that matter a lot...

not trusting, ignoring suggestions
closely monitoring the  'unreliable' employees
and generally putting them in their place
reminding often as to who the real boss is!

As action speaks louder than words
the overriding message  being very clear
it's no wonder that 
people stick to doing
this mucn and no more!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Business Reality

At a HR conference that I attended
the practitioners spoke like professors
the professor on the other hand
was down to earth
and summed up the
business reality simply and  beautifully

In the initial years, during infancy
the sole purpose of business was seen as
to make money, save money. reduce risks
to protect the interests of the owner or share holder

Later the focus turned
to customer and customer delight
he was held 'King'
for if he doesn't buy
there's no business!

In the next phase focus
was on the employees
for if employees aren't happy
they wouldn't produce
the best they can

Now the focus has shifted
to the society around your industry
with the buzz word being 'Sustainability'
protecting the interests of society
and the environment

It's not one over the other
all the four along with the suppliers
are equally important

concluded the professor

Wise words, simple yet profound words
that corporates would do well
to imbibe and follow
for a long time growth
a balanced growth!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Right Vs Right Dilemma

HR conclave at a premium institution
Speakers from prominent corporates
One of them spoke
about the dilemma of choosing
between Right and Right….

She then gave an example
of a real life situation
an incident from her own company

The hero was highly accomplished
an IIT pass out
with proven track record
An epitome of success
he was poised to sign
on behalf of company
a multi-million deal

Then, in a weak moment
he casually remarked
that he had got in to IIT
attending coaching classes
and that in fact
he hadn’t passed SSLC.

Walls they say, have ears
someone made a formal complaint
and then the dilemma began for HR & the management

That the hero hadn’t passed SSLC
and concealed the fact to move ahead, wasn’t right
Yet, he was good enough to pass from IIT
and contributing effectively thus far
now, after so many years going after him
Wasn’t right either?
This was the dilemma, concluded the speaker

To my mind it was not about Right Vs Right
It was clearly between right and wrong
“It all depend on your core values!”
Shouted I from the audience
the words had escaped my lips
Involuntarily, beyond my control….

The story made clear one thing
that there are no dilemmas
many of them so called are created
by admin themselves from their own
Inconsistencies and lack of clarity!

PS:     IIT refers to the Indian institute of technology, a premier institute in India.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Dressing up not Enough

Dressing up the performance
and profitabilty figures
in time for the annual general body meeting
may seem very clever and shrewd achievement

But what about the sagging
body language of employees
getting it upwards and soaring
with  confidence and enthusiasm
is perhaps the real and bigger  challenge
often overlooked...

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Two sides of the Same Coin

Union or management
the ultimate aim of both
is and should be the same...

After all both aspire
for helping people
Management,its employees
Union,its members
to contribute and recognize their greatness

In turn, this results in
the well being of the mother
the  organization that feeds us
Yes, together union and management are invincible
they are simply two sides of the same coin!