Friday, August 18, 2006

Are you a manager?

Are you a manager? If yes then this is something you might want to read. If not then you definitely have to read, to assimilate the idea and maybe comprehend on it as soon as you become one…So continue reading!!! :)

The other day I was having a conversation on management and managerial skills, and there were certain aspects, which made me, think about the significance of “geography” in management. The below theory may not be immaculate but certainly gives food for thought!!!

Just imagine you are the CEO of a company, what kind of policies do you want to implement to motivate your employees? What kind of salary structure, insurance, retirement benefits or for that matter even “JOB SECURITY” do you want to provide?

Do you think these policies will change depending on the location of your company? If you feel you have come up with the best policies and it really doesn’t matter where the company is located then think again!!!

Each one of are brought up under a certain environment…after some time the culture gets imbibed in us so much that it’s very difficult for us to change. YES “CULTURE” is a very important word here. If you look deep into it you might realize the prosperity or the demise of your company might actually depend on this!!!

Lets take the example of certain well-known economies before we come to the Indian context. If we consider US of A they always have had the “Hire and Fire” policy. It works well for the company. When the markets are good and its smooth sailing, they hire. As soon as the going gets tough or they hit upon rough weather, they fire. But the bottom line is the people there are brought up in a nuclear family environment and they get used to such insecurities and are tougher to face such situations. Actually the people there are more motivated to perform and show their strength when the environment has been set up like this. They feel more at home and hence it’s a win-win situation for the employer.

In contrast lets consider Japan.
A country where joint family / strong family ties have the highest prominence. These people are brought up in a more secured environment. If we use the “Hire and Fire” policy then it would be a complete disaster. So companies here go for lifetime employment. The employees are by default motivated to improve theirs and in turn the company’s performance. Thus the inherent nature of the Japanese people makes their company (and hence the policy) tick.

Now lets consider our great INDIA.

As far as our culture goes there is not much of a difference between the Japanese and us. But adapting their strategy would definitely result in our downfall. The performance of our public sector (PSUs) or any government owned organizations is enough proof of this fact. We Indians are by default torpid or lazy and that marks the difference between the Japanese and us resulting in the failure of their strategy on us. Neither can we adapt the US strategy because by nature we ascribe for “Job Security” and we are not adept enough to handle such high insecurities leading to performance degradation and eventually the demise of the company. The fact that more than 80% of Indians in US are said to be very insecure and unhappy (stat taken from a survey made by a well known magazine) about their jobs, proves this point.

So what’s the solution if you are heading a company where most of the employees are Indians? The best method for us is to traverse the middle ground i.e we should have a policy where the employment is almost guaranteed (unless you screw up very badly in the company) but the salary structure should be totally performance oriented. It should be such that say only 10% of your total income should be basic and the rest should be dependent on the company’s performance and your contribution to it. In this way the employees will be motivated enough to work, prevents them from being lethargic and provides some kind of protection too.

What I just talked about is a prima facie view of things but somehow I feel this suits our culture the best, with our “health” indirectly connected to the health of the company :).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Month That Flew Away….

Oh My GOD!!! It’s been more than a month since I wrote anything…I didn’t even realize how fast it went. There was no dearth of activities, they were just disparate. It was one of those satisfying couple of weeks where nothing went wrong (No make it almost nothing went wrong, considering the mishap that I had with my car ;)). I hope these salad days of my life will last forever…:)

A month full of parties, a bon voyage and how can I forget WORK!!!

Having so many friends in the same company makes you a good candidate for all the parties that are thrown. It started with a marriage party (@ Nandhana Grand, Koramangala) and ended with my buddy’s birthday party @ Pizza hut. I hadn’t eaten so much food any time…

We also had a team outing, for which we went to Amoeba (a bowling alley) and then to 3 Quarter Chinese (a restaurant just below the Amoeba). With work stacked for the next couple of weeks and deadlines to constantly push us for more in less time, the outing was something that I was not looking forward to. But it was something that couldn’t be eschewed and to be honest I had the most amazing time. We were four of us in one lane and we could finish 3 rounds in one hour. Never had so much fun with my mates. You can have hours of technical / non-technical discussions with your team but nothing comes anywhere near to such outings when it’s a question of team building. It brings the entire team together and we had the most amazing time trying to compete against each other.(If my manager is reading this, I hope he takes the hint ;)).

Another amazing thing that happened was the reunion with my college buddies. The very fact that we managed to achieve this should be worthy of applause, considering the number of earlier failed attempts. After about 35 mail exchanges we managed to hit upon a date, time and a place convenient for all of us. It would be an understatement if I say I enjoyed it. Even though my fingers were in pain bowling for the second consecutive day, it was something that I really enjoyed in the company of my college gang. All of us enjoyed it so much that we were already making plans for a one-day trip at the end of the day (which actually might take some years to materialize:)).

As I said for a change there were quite a few parties and another worthy of mention was the birthday party of my colleague and a friend. We went to Pizza Hut for lunch and had a very good time there. We had requested the Pizza Hut boys to sing the Birthday song for him and to my horror they made him stand up on a chair in the middle of the room and asked him to introduce himself to everybody. They later sang the good old birthday song with him standing on the chair all along. It was one of those embarrassing things that can happen on your birthday. But he took it so sportingly that all of had a good laugh over it.

It was also a month where I had to bid farewell to one of my best friend. Having known him for almost a decade now, it was a “senti” farewell. Went to the airport for sending him off. With his family also being there, everyone was trying to keep their emotions under control…

The last few weeks have been so hectic with so many things happening that I have lost track of most of them. Its been very hectic as far as work goes, but when you are enjoying what you are doing it can no longer be classified as “work” isn't it? :)…I just hope it lasts and there will be no paucity of such feelings..…