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Posts Tagged ‘People’

There are indeed times when we run into CEOs whose heads are screwed on just right. They are passionate about what they do. Their heart is in the right place, beating at a rhythm which matches that of the people and the environment. Their sense of ethics is in harmony with their value system which is governed by respect for the society at large. In terms of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, they can be spotted in the vicinity of the slot at 9,9,9.X Y Z upgraded

When it comes to achieving results, they do not pull their punches. Their bosses never cease to be amazed by their effectiveness and efficiency. The competition is in awe of many of them and cannot really be blamed for making repeated attempts to poach them. They do not live from one quarter to the next quarter. Their thinking is strategic. Their vision is far-sighted.

This is not to say that they do not fail. In fact, they are quick to learn from their failures and are good at using those as stepping-stones to future successes. They also refuse to become complacent after achieving a spectacular success. They realize which elements contributed to a particular success and know what could not be replicated in future. Setting new goal posts for themselves and for their team comes naturally to them.

They go out of their way to help a person in distress. They would defend their people much like a tigress would protect her cubs. When down-sizing is the target, key players could get supported by out-placement initiatives.

The real workers in their team simply adore them. The shirkers, if they manage to stick around, despise them. High achievers look up to them for inspiration and direction. Mediocre ones respect and obey them. The good-for-nothing fellows have no place in their teams.

They are invariably fair and transparent in their dealings with not only their own people but also with other stakeholders in business. Customers find their product costs to be open and agree on realistic prices. Suppliers are expected to do the same, thereby ensuring margins which are fair and sustainable. Financiers and auditors find it delightful to deal with them. Investors repose their faith in the organizations they happen to be associated with.

With CEOs like them around, corporate governance never takes a back seat. Exceeding the boundaries set by rules and regulations comes naturally to their teams. Organizations headed by them do not wait for a legal imposition in the realm of Corporate Social Responsibility. They seize the initiative of their own, so the community gets benefited. With no scams in sight, and with open and fair dealings with customers, the brand equity of their organizations inevitably soars.

They happen to be people who practice equanimity. They are at peace with themselves. They enjoy inner harmony and tranquility and radiate it to those who happen to be in their circle of influence. A team member who enters their office with suicidal thoughts could often be seen returning with a chuckle on her face, batteries all charged up.

Succession planning comes naturally to them. Their teams comprise several members who would be following in their footsteps and aping their style of functioning. These are the Incumbent Chiefs, who would fit in at such spots as 5,5,5 and 7,7,7. When CEOs of this genre decide to move on to greener pastures, one of them is ready to fit into their shoes and run the enterprise based on a culture which is not easy to replicate.SQ

Such CEOs rank high in terms of not only their Intelligence Quotient and Emotional Quotient but also their Spiritual Quotient.

Managements of all hues are always on the lookout for CEOs of this kind. Head hunters specialize in ferreting out such CEOs and nudging them into the employment market. Hefty pay packets might not attract them; a corporate value system steeped in equality, fairness and openness just might.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/ceos-who-happen-to-be-charmless-charlies

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/ceos-who-end-up-becoming-road-rollers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/the-sponge-comforter-ceos

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/ceos-who-are-arsonist-achievers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/the-missionary-zealot-ceos

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/ceos-who-happen-to-be-crazy-conformists

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-armchair-revolutionary-ceos)

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Amongst the kinds of CEOs we have reviewed so far elsewhere, this kind happens to belong to a very rare species in the private sector. However, many public sector outfits, government departments and political outfits owing allegiance to some outdated doctrines could boast of a significant number of CEOs of this genre.

Concern for Output or for results is not their priority. Concern for People is their primary concern. Concern for Ethics is also uppermost in their minds. In terms of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, they rank at 1,9,9.X Y Z upgraded

Trade unions of all hues simply love them. Managements dread and despise them. To face an ardent believer who pounds his fists onto teak wood tables of conference rooms and demands strict compliance with labour and industrial laws of all kinds is a prospect which owners bestowed with nerves of chilled steel wish to avoid.

Those who happen to have an uncompromising attitude could willy-nilly end up damaging the very cause they wish to champion. Their vision about welfare of people is always myopic.

Few enlightened ones amongst this tribe care about norms of welfare in a more pragmatic fashion. They understand the need to move along with the times and have a healthy regard for the norms of productivity as well. They collaborate with managements in adopting newer technologies. They hammer out detailed re-skilling plans so their people can embrace change for the overall good of the organization.

Managements which are conscious of the disruptive change being brought about by Artificial Intelligence and Robotics could use such CEOs with great alacrity. Their utility lies in their pro-people attitude and their incorruptibility.

Note: Inputs from Ms Somali K Chakrabarti are gratefully acknowledged. She can be found at Scribble and Scrawl (https://prepforum.wordpress.com)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/ceos-who-happen-to-be-charmless-charlies

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/ceos-who-end-up-becoming-road-rollers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/the-sponge-comforter-ceos

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/ceos-who-are-arsonist-achievers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/the-missionary-zealot-ceos

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/ceos-who-happen-to-be-crazy-conformists)

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CEOs who happen to rank very high in terms of their Concern for Production and Concern for Ethics but rank poorly in terms of Concern for People fall in this category. They are crazy about getting results. They strive to conform to high values, ethics and systems and procedures.

In terms of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, they rank at 9,1,9.X Y Z upgraded

Driven by ideals, these CEOs happen to be perfectionists. They are passionate about their work. They are technically proficient. In their value system, goals are as important as the means to achieve them.

In the hearts of their team members, they strike terror. Anyone who is deemed to be either ineffective or inefficient is ruthlessly ticked off. Much like Napoleon, they have no use for losers. They are extremely reluctant to buy excuses. They reprimand in public and may never shower praise even in private.

Under them, attrition rates are invariably high. Those who are good at their jobs and have a shared sense of ethics and values do well in their teams. Those who are either sloppy or believe themselves to be more pragmatic in life seek greener pastures – either in other business units or in other organizations. Many would struggle, perhaps in vain, not to land up in a lunatic asylum.

Those who have worked for such CEOs for some time appreciate the relevance of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in their careers. Four years of slogging under them sounds like ten years!

Those in Finance and Audit simply love them. But those who handle HR, public relations and liaison hate them. If an Industrial Relations dispute has to be resolved by means which may not be entirely ethical, or if speed money needs to be dished out to secure a government contract or approval, hierarchy has to be ignored and someone senior has to be kept in the loop. Dubious acts and expenses get covered up subtly.

There are times when this creates a bipolar culture in the organization – islands of excellence separated by vast lakes of mediocrity. Overall efficiency of the organization takes a hit. Employees often spend more time twiddling their thumbs trying to figure out as to what information needs to be successfully kept hidden from the boss.

This is the breed which takes a proprietary interest in the affairs of business. They roam around the remotest corners of a business empire, much like a lion would supervise its territory. They are the lords and masters of all that they survey. Ticking off peers comes easy to them.Lion_King_CEOs

Managements are often clueless about handling them. Despite strong undercurrents of revolt, they get tolerated and survive. The reason is not far to seek: they deliver. Moreover, they are incorruptible and have a great sense of values and ethics. They are blue blooded intra-preneurs and make great project managers.

They happen to be great assets especially when a new project is being set up. Once the project becomes operational, though, managements would be inclined to move them to another one. Or, find them a suitably elevated silo, where they could work with a smaller team on a different set of Key Result Areas.

Note: Inputs from Ms Somali K Chakrabarti are gratefully acknowledged. She can be found at Scribble and Scrawl (https://prepforum.wordpress.com)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/ceos-who-happen-to-be-charmless-charlies

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/ceos-who-end-up-becoming-road-rollers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/the-sponge-comforter-ceos

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/ceos-who-are-arsonist-achievers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/the-missionary-zealot-ceos)

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This breed of CEOs is not as rare as one would believe it to be, provided the canvas is not restricted to the private sector alone. Consider some non-government organizations working in the social sector. Or, look at some government-owned companies or research outfits. In many such cases, one is apt to run into CEOs whose Concern for Production is not inspiring. Nor is their Concern for People. They are primarily driven by their Concern for Ethics. Their work ethics are drawn from a value system which places a high premium on discipline and procedural compliance. A feudal approach comes naturally to them. Their passion for perfection could easily drive others around them crazy.

In terms of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, they rank closest to 1,1,9.X Y Z upgraded

CEOs of this kind thrive in environments where the control over resources provided is not very strict, where excuses and justifications for lapses are readily accepted and where norms of accountability are poor. Situations which involve results which are not easily measurable, say, in the realm of social change, attract and retain such talent readily.

Some of these could be brainy coves who are brimming over with ideas. Often, they rank high in terms of their IQ levels, but pretty low in their EQ levels. They lack the ability to compromise. For their team members, it is either their way or the highway. Publically dressing down those who under-perform – in their view – is a habit with them.

What makes them handicapped in realizing their true potential is their inability to organize things and to handle people.

If they decide to become stand-alone entrepreneurs, they take off well. But after the business has grown to a certain level, they are neither able to delegate tasks, nor able to build up teams to support them. The business continues to chug along with high attrition rates, sans any major growth.

The private sector views them with the healthy contempt they deserve. They never quite make it to the much-coveted corner office. Once they hit the proverbial glass ceiling and prove the veracity of the Peter’s Principle, managements find ways to either get rid of them or park them in a relatively harmless spot of the organization.Peters_principle.svg

They could be stand-alone zealots equipped with technical knowledge of a superior kind. They could be great leaders in such areas as Product Engineering, Research and Development, Innovation and the like. They could also make great Executive Assistants – loyal, sincere and devoted. Some could even get to head such functions as Internal Audit and Finance and prove to be a perennial pain-in-the-neck to all and sundry.

Such CEOs are saint-like souls who have to willy-nilly manage to keep their body and souls together. Driven by altruistic motives, their conduct is often an object of ridicule. Often, they happen to be known as GFN – Good for Nothing fellows.

Note: Inputs from Ms Somali K Chakrabarti are gratefully acknowledged. She can be found at Scribble and Scrawl (https://prepforum.wordpress.com)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/ceos-who-happen-to-be-charmless-charlies

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/ceos-who-end-up-becoming-road-rollers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/the-sponge-comforter-ceos

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/ceos-who-are-arsonist-achievers)

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This is the most commonly found breed of CEOs. They are crazy about getting results. They plan well. They execute even better. People rank high amongst their priorities. They protect them much like a tigress would shield her cubs. But when it comes to ethics, values and systems, they could not care less. Auditors cannot be faulted for labelling them as arsonists.

Managements love them. The efficient ones amongst their team members adore them. The sloppy ones dread them. Their Concern for Production is invariably high. They are often sharp when it comes to adapting newer technologies in the organization’s processes. Their Concern for People is also high. They can be found praising their people in public while ruthlessly ticking them off in private.

However, when it comes to Concern for Ethics, they rank very poorly. Their value systems are driven by commercial goals alone. Systems and procedures are merely the dust beneath their chariot wheels, leaving Finance honchos as well as auditors aghast and exasperated.

In terms of the modified Blake Mouton Grid, they rank at 9,9,1.X Y Z upgraded

Under them, short-term and medium-term goals get achieved. In their heydays, the Goddess of Success courts them. But harsh arrows and slings of an unforgiving commercial world bring about a day when their Guardian Angels are no longer in a benevolent mood. Regulatory agencies catch up with them and demand their pound of flesh. They get trapped in the intricate web of deceit, evasion and non-compliance they have woven around themselves. Brand image of the organization takes a hit. Competitors swiftly move in to occupy the mind-space of customers. Market valuations drop. Stakeholders and employees start seeking greener pastures.

Gradually, they start getting transformed into CEOs whom we could classify as Charmless Charlies.

A deeper malaise

A charitable way of looking at Arsonist Achiever CEOs would be to say that they happen to be the product of a system which thrives on greed and avarice. When they get results by using unfair means, managements feign to be in a state of blissful ignorance.

In general, the business world does suffer from this omnipresent affliction. When it comes to perpetrating a fraud on unsuspecting stakeholders, human ingenuity has never been found wanting.

If America had Enron, Lehman Brothers and Tyco, UK had Barclays. If Norway had Nortel, Portugal had Banco Espirito Santo. If Switzerland had UBS, India had Satyam and Kingfisher Airlines. Germany has just had Volkswagen.

No specific industry could lay an exclusive claim on such man-made disasters. Be it banking, insurance, mining, automobiles, energy, commodities, IT or real estate, all have set examples of devious plans to deceive the gullible stakeholders.

Human greed and avarice are obviously the root cause. The sheer pleasure derived by a minority in making some extra gains at the cost of a silent majority apparently has a sense of gratification which surpasses all else.

CEOs of the kind discussed here symbolize this deeper malaise. However, this does not mean that their acts of omission are worthy of being condoned. Apparently, there is a flaw in their innate character – they accept cheating as a way of life.

Correcting the myopic vision

What is it that makes a business owner or a CEO to put his conscience to sleep and take a decision which could impact the whole organization a few years down the road?

There could be several factors at work here. A trade-off between extraordinary gains in sight and the risks involved. A hope and a prayer that a deviation would never get caught. A major investment that cannot be written off merely to make a process legally compliant. A gut feel that the regulatory agencies are invariably open to manipulation. The need for a tight squeeze on costs which makes them shift a part of their operations to distant but cheaper pastures, at times ignoring the interests of the local community. The option of using speed money to get the necessary approvals from concerned government agencies.

More often than not, continued success in meeting business goals proves to be their undoing. Arrogance creeps in. Self-confidence brims over. Few Yes-men around them add fuel to the fire. In their relentless pursuit of business results, they develop a myopic vision. Everything else becomes the last priority.

Smarter ones, however, would take a longer view of things. They would have a 6/6 vision. Their decision-making models would invariably take into consideration the moral and the ethical aspects of a situation at hand.

Yet another solution could be to support them with a Conscience Keeper!

Note: Inputs from Ms Somali K Chakrabarti are gratefully acknowledged. She can be found at Scribble and Scrawl (https://prepforum.wordpress.com)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/ceos-who-happen-to-be-charmless-charlies

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/ceos-who-end-up-becoming-road-rollers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/the-sponge-comforter-ceos)

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One of the professional hazards CEOs face is that of giving in to relentless pressure and becoming Road Rollers. Quarterly targets have to be necessarily met. Stakeholders have to be kept happy. Auditors have to be kept in good humour. Regulatory agencies have to be held at an arm’s length. Star performers have to be kept excited.

Amidst all this razzmatazz, CEOs run the risk of caring about results alone. They would achieve targets by ruthlessly crushing anything that comes in their way. Concern for Production gets the top priority. Concern for People takes a back seat. Concern for Ethics gets dumped. In terms of the modified Blake Mouton Grid, they end up being slotted at 9,1,1.X Y Z upgraded

Such heartless hard task masters end up neglecting even the genuine needs of their team members. Employees have to be dealt with in a stern manner. Shorter working hours are held to be injurious to employee’s health. Trade unions have to be manipulated. Signs of a white-collar mutiny, if any, are to be handled severely. People are like spare parts in a machine, simply to be replaced at the first signs of trouble.

In their jaundiced view, someone asking for some time off to ensure her kid makes a successful bid to enter a prestigious academic institution simply lacks commitment to organizational goals. A person wanting to leave office one hour early so as to be able to celebrate her marriage anniversary is merely offering an excuse to shirk her responsibility.

In the pursuit of excellence on the bourses, accounting norms evolve to loftier levels. Window dressing of financial information becomes the norm. Customer billings get preponed and get squeezed into the last few days of each month. Hapless auditors are kept busy highlighting Receivables and Customer Returns which get deftly swept under the carpet. Auditors keen on not losing a prestigious client easily get persuaded to fall in line.

Since the entire focus is on quarterly guidelines being exceeded, the organization suffers from Corporate Myopia. Vision Statements remain a set of pious intentions and can be seen only where these belong – on office walls and on display shelves.

When it comes to complying with a plethora of rules and regulations, the regulatory agencies have to be simply ‘managed’. Records need to be fudged, wherever necessary. Testing software and instrumentation has to be rigged, so as to show results within the legal parameters. Liaison officers need to be appointed so the inspectors could be kept in good humour. Government seniors have to be molly cuddled, so that they look the other way when violations are brought to their attention. Lobbying for suitable changes in government policy invariably assumes top priority.

When Road Rollers rule the roost for a long time, organizations often end up sitting on a dormant volcano which could erupt any time. Attrition rates gallop. Key performers get burnt out. People lack focus and work merely to show off. A sense of lethargy pervades. The percentage of employees of the Y-kind plummets. Managements concerned about lack of employee morale and motivation keep calling in experts to cheer up team members, with minimal results. MICROMANAGING

Often, micro-managing skills are applauded. Thus, grooming of future leaders assumes a lower priority. This leads to an absence of succession planning.

When faced with smarter government agencies who either sense a loss of public revenue or a scandal which might sully the image of the political party in power, such CEOs often invite greater trouble for their organizations. In one stroke, financial gains made over several years get wiped out. The organization’s brand image gets sullied.

Most of the times, such CEOs behave like pilots about to press the eject button in their cockpits. However, their reputation precedes them. Parachuting down to greener pastures becomes a challenge.

Have you ever had the good fortune of working with a Road Roller CEO? If so, and if you survived for a long duration, sincere appreciation is in order. You have already developed nerves of chilled steel, a trait so very essential to success in business. What you need now perhaps is a crash course to boost your Emotional and Spiritual Quotients, so your organization and your team members can breathe easy!

Note: Inputs from Ms Somali K Chakrabarti are gratefully acknowledged. She can be found here.

{Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/ceos-who-happen-to-be-charmless-charlies}

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Here are some key ideas which emerged at a National Seminar on Industrial Safety, Health and Environment organized by the Regional Labour Institute, Chennai and the Madras Management Association recently at Pondicherry in India.  

  • Businesses today face three kinds of challenges:
  1. Increasing digitization and the spread of internet which is fundamentally changing the way a    business interacts with its customers and suppliers.
  2.  As the world’s economic power and consumption of goods and services gradually shifts from the developed world to Asia, a host of new business opportunities present themselves.
  3. A value-based culture which takes into account socio-economic realities is becoming increasingly necessary to succeed in business. Businesses have the choice of being proactive while shaping future policies and goals. In the long run, this would avoid their facing pressure from either the community, or the government or the society at large. DSC_4999
  • Growth in business has to be consistent, competitive and profitable. A business also has to be socially relevant. A renewed emphasis on S-H-E alone can achieve this.
  • Following the tenets of S-H-E is not only about companies creating a separate Department to drive these goals. It is also about better regulatory compliance. It is also about calculating the carbon foot print. It is also about a change of attitude. It is about putting people and planet alongside the drive for profits. DSC_5025
  • Unless companies imbibe a culture which encourages all managers and executives to work together to achieve their goals by adopting sustainable methods, continuous growth may be difficult to achieve. Ensuring safety of all concerned is an important responsibility of the business. Many business leaders realize that a healthy employee contributes better. Work-life balance needs to be taken care in such a way that the employees are always happy as well as healthy. Businesses also need to ensure that they give back to Mother Earth more than what they draw from it. taking care of environment is an important issue which facilitates sustained growth.DSC_5109
  • All over the world, businesses are gearing up to ensure that their operations take place on a sustainable basis. There are already companies which have started reporting Environmental P&L Accounts.
  • In India, the government is now talking of shifting subsidies from chemical fertilizers to organic fertilizers. MNCs like BASF are talking about Product Stewardship, meaning compliance right through the entire supply chain to its end-use customers. DSC_5124
  • According to a recent study done by KPMG, India has emerged as a leader in the field of sustainability reporting. In the Asia-Pacific region, India has recorded the highest growth in sustainability reporting since 2011 – 53%. Chile is the next, with 46% increase, followed by Singapore (+37%), Australia (+25%), Taiwan (+19%) and China (+16%).
  • The safety of an employee should also cover the duration he or she is not on duty. The concept needs to be extended to the life outside, at home, on the road – practically in all spheres of life. DSC_5158
  • When companies think of a SHE culture, they should not ignore the safety and health of their women employees in a much wider context. They need to feel empowered to report misbehavior of any kind. At the work place, the need is to treat them with dignity and respect. As part of a progressive society, males need to examine their attitudes towards women at home and in public spaces.

The day-long seminar was attended by over 200 participants who benefited from the expertise of several subject experts and thought leaders from the field. It was inaugurated by the Lt Governor of Pondicherry.  

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