Monday, February 23, 2015

Life comes at HR - FAST. Learning could be Insurance for it

I recently participated in a MOOC on Learning to Learn. I was told the instructor was not attractive, and her impressions would defeat my enthusiasm for the course. Wrong. I was not to be motivated by her looks as much as the habit of learning. My enthusiasm trumped my optimism for sure. Let me connect a few dots, as you will, so that concrete benefits are within our grasp. In the process, reconsolidation of chunks in my memory, help me reframe my learning.
Before I jot three dots as below, time to raise the principal questions of this post:
  1. Does HR focus on image more than it should stay on overcoming its impostor syndromes?
  2. Is adaptation a ruse in whose packaging, HR takes the easy way out of its purpose?
  3. What does HR now need to ask of business to uphold its people champion role?
What is the cue on which you fall back into the rut of comfort? Is there a untested belief somewhere that needs your conscious attention? Now to the dots that I connect with of late.
  1. Data driven HR , Big Data and Data Analytics in HR : Well, as you will recognize, these terms are not the same thing. Although they may hang together in a family of related constructs, these could stump many a professional who’ve no immersive experience in either Big Data modelling, data driven HR (read HRIS or Human Resource Information Systems) or Data Analytics. In terms of learning therefore, without deliberate practice in either, it would be major effort at mastering the context of the future. Remember – context is the place in which preparation and application of new learning meet! Rewarding oneself too early in advance of an outcome is a cop out. New learning chances on new habit formation and relates to consolidating between deliberate practice of new behavior and previous long-term memory. .
  2. Requisite Organisation, Organization design and the average of transactions in HR : While the debate between which comes first – strategy or culture – has not abated, the role of dynamic design capability is contingent on organisation effectiveness. One of the consequences of digitization of HR data, has been the reliance on transaction sufficiency in HR deliverables. A related fallout has been the detachment from human interactions and the poverty of emotional and social intelligence to situate deliberate action. Plainly put, what use data, if the experience of using it results in organisation designsthat are not fulfilling, meaningful or sustainable?
  3. Strategy , Feature and the language of Benefits : Recently a businessleader of IT services from India said “Once you build for speed, you have to lower head count and be quick in terms of response and the ability to integrate and understand the customer’s problems”. While that may aid his management’s decision to decrease the denominator and the per employee costs, it does not service a distinctly discriminant business strategy. It is easy for us to confuse a feature of business as business strategy per se. Speed is a feature, not the strategy. Speed may enable execution, but execution is not strategy per se. Speed is a benefit, if designed as such for value, but that’s only one reason why customers are willing to pay. There are enough stakeholders in business to see through information bytes which mediate your organisation’s image. And they may not need speed to know feature from strategy in a jiffy. It is probably subliminal!
Archana Arcot – thanks, for asking me useful questions yesterday. My intent here is to signify what HR leaders in large organisations and top teams of smaller organizations may collectively be numb to. To be in flow, is of course when challenge and acquired skill meet in one’s context. Is HR up to a challenge if it has not immersed itself in strategy, organization design and the method of science in data treatment? This is because in learning we cannot have focus in new learning and diffused interests at the same time.
Indeed, would organizations less attractive in visual talismans or artefacts hold immense promise in actualizing one’s professional aspirations? Let’s be on the lookout!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beneath CXO vigils - insights from developmental expereinces

CEOs and Entrepreneurs in whose vigil enterprises run, have been a special focus of my services in the recent years. I noted a few of their personal tendencies that you may label as salient behaviors. Lasting impressions are made from stand-out behaviors that are consistent.
While there’s so much that can be dissected from these insights, I am merely skimming the surface of what may be a faint reflection of the deep structures of beliefs and assumptions these entities hold. When financial success is achieved in spite of competence and not because of it, the blind-spots I’ve inferred of CEOs and entrepreneurs are as below
  1. When financial success is achieved in spite of competence and not because of it, the blind-spots I’ve inferred of CEOs and entrepreneurs are as below
    1. Overlearning is the bane of these beings. Repeating an over-learnt and tried and tested process is insensitivity to emergent context. This afflicts leaders most in growth phases, when new forms of talent are difficult to engage with this attitude of overlearning. The certitude in their opinions outdoes the self-improvement ethic .
    2. Courage of Presence Courage to be mindfully present in situations diminishes when impulsiveness exceeds the watchfulness required to attend to detail. While organizations were small, errors of risk-assessment did not prove as costly. This is in my experience, true of interpersonal situations as much as in situational variables that have no interpersonal impact on the leader.
  2. Surprisingly, leaders from larger conglomerates make life hell for smaller organizations they join as business heads because of a few related tendencies. Let me recount a few of them.
    1. Optimism is not the same as Enthusiasm When in a larger organization, these leaders were under the wings of a taller leader. In reflected glory, they join smaller outfits only to discover that the magic ebbs faster than can be recreated. Reason? Their optimism exceeds their enthusiasm by a huge distance. That is to say that their sense of challenge in the moment is muted, and they feel they may see a better day in the future without requisite analysis of their new situations. Their poor self-esteem gets ticked by trivial incidents in the business environment and even mild criticisms.
    2. Paralysis by Analysis is not a new term. However, when the impact is on low innovation and a conservative embrace of the business challenge, there is a clear syndrome that I observe. Risk assessment or the critical thinking required to tease pros and cons of a situation is treated as the same as risking itself. Risking is a behavior of emotional investment. Risk assessment is relatively an analytical process, with emotions detached from the conclusions of such analyses. Leaders stay stuck in this syndrome too long.
So do I see more successful patterns too? Of course I do.
  1. Such leaders are both open and yet certain of their opinions.
  2. They do not lose empathetic connect with their team members evenas they set expectations or discover directions with them.The marvelous aspect here is that they know their interpersonal boundaries in this regard very well, lest they risk the loss of the relationship itself.
  3. Their self-esteem is a gorgeous balance of receptivity to feedback and self-acceptance. Their vulnerability is a dignity that no accolades can certify, but an internal knowing that needs no branding.
  4. Their strategic acumen that comes from analytical prowess is balanced by a mindful presence that reaps from the courage of being present to others. They have a fine awareness of whom else they impact and how!
What have you experienced of late in this regard? Let me know, will you?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Towards a Complete Nation - not merely an united one

In 1988-89, one of the zeals of my time in youth was the emergence of a wedge between the Indian Express and The Times of India. L’Espirit d’Indian Post was an embodiment of that zeal. The third voice was to say, neither the anti-establishment nor the pro-establishment voices caught the pulse of the Indian newspaper reader in English. 

Wish Vijaypat Singhania were alive today. He would have seen the emergence of the Aam Admi Party

Perhaps he would have influenced his brand Raymonds to say – the complete nation as his newest zeal.