Recently I was asked by UNICEF to address their HR Network in Emergencies on the Business Partner Model.  Naturally the work one should talk about in this is the work of Dave Ulrich and his team. Dave has done a marvellous job in the last two decades in championing HR cause and gives it the dignity it deserves. He lifted up the status of HR Function to very high levels by stating in his Business Partner model HR as a strategic partner, HR as an employee champion, change manager, leader and administrative efficiency holder and so on.
In one of his recent writings Dave has suggested that, “.the aim of the business partner model is to help HR professionals integrate more thoroughly into business processes and to align their day-today work with business outcomes”.  Dave further observed that “Business success today depends more than ever on softer agendas such as talent and organisation capabilities. HR professionals are centrally involved in providing the right people with the right skills in the right job at the right time. The 'war' for talent rages and will likely continue in an increasingly global knowledge economy. HR professionals also partner with line managers to identify and create capabilities such as speed to market, innovation, leadership, collaboration, fast change and culture management. These less tangible business activities increasingly have an impact on shareholder value and are top of mind among CEOs and general managers” (http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hr/features/1014777/the-business-partner-model-lessons-learned).

Dave further goes on to say that...” Effective HR professionals not only work with business leaders to draft strategies, they also focus and collaborate on how to make strategies happen. Talent and organisational issues become the mechanisms to best deliver a strategy. Business leaders are increasingly attuned to the importance of talent and organisation as a way to turn aspirations into actions and strategic intent into business results as they co-ordinate closely with their HR professionals”.

Dave shares a concern that some HR professionals cannot perform the work of a business partner and cannot link their day-to-day work to business results. He presents evidence from research that some successful HR professionals have moved fast into these roles and have demonstrated their success by enhancing their business knowledge and performing strategic roles. He further observes that...” it is undoubtedly the case that some HR professionals may never become business partners. They are mired in the past administrative HR roles where conceptually or practically they cannot connect their work to business results”.

“Being a business partner requires HR professionals to have new knowledge and skills. Traditionally, HR professionals have tended to focus on negotiating and managing terms and conditions of work and administrative transactions. The required HR skills focused on admin issues such as policy setting and administration, union negotiation and managing employee transactions. Today, the business partner model requires HR professionals also to connect their work directly to the business. Some HR practitioners lack these skills. If they fail to acquire them, their ability to function as business partners is diminished. This strongly supports the business partner model.”

Whatever Dave states seem to be very true with India. If any the percentage of HR business Partners in my view is far below the 20 he assumes as a part of 20-60-20 principle. I assume in India the principle perhaps is 10-20-70. For any 100 HR Professionals you will find 90% doing very traditional HR roles and ensuing administrative efficiency and totally unable to rise to the Business partner level.  It will be interesting to pick up the BT 500 companies and see the number of them who have HR Leaders that are business partners. In fact we may find less than 10%.  NHRDN or some of the Institutions that teach HR may undertake this research. Unfortunately this may not happen as it has not happened for 40 years since the time the first HR Department was introduced and the role of HR function formulated.

When Udai Pareek formulated the principles in designing HR Function he clearly outlines in the year 1977 most of the roles talked about by Dave in the last decade and a half. For example in 1977 itself in the L&T consulting report (available from AHRD, Ahmedabad) the following roles of HR function were envisaged:
1.      The main function of HR is to help the company increase its “enabling capabilities”  
2.      Integrate development of people with organization development (similar to strategic partner)
3.      Balance adaptation to change and changing organizational culture (akin to change manager of Dave)
4.      Ensuring responsibility for the function (Udai talked about the credibility of the function)
5.      Balancing differentiation and integration, specialisation and diffusion etc.
6.      Maximise individual autonomy through increased responsibility
7.      Promote participative decision making
8.      And many more...

Almost 40 years ago when the first dedicated HRD department was conceptualised and separated from the personnel function, the assumption was that in India combining administrative role with development roles does not work. Hence those who are to perform development roles should be given a separate mandate to do so. Otherwise administrative roles interfere with developmental roles and what suffers is development. In India Development waits and gives way to administrative efficiencies. The current scenario in the country where there is a decision paralysis is a good indicator. HR has suffered in most companies as they have not followed the wisdom given several years ago by academics like Udai Pareek. In fact in many organizations Udai Pareek recommended that Performance appraisal ratings be delinked from rewards to give a development role to appraisals. L&T itself found it difficult to follow as people in HR changed and administrative convenience took over development for several years. Many organizations went in the reverse direction and even started applying forced distribution to ratings- a totally opposite of the spirit of HRD. Udai’s principles and thought were far ahead of many others. Udai was not an aggressive person. He never promoted his thought and research aggressively. Unfortunately India also is not an aggressive country in promoting its thought and philosophy. We leave it for others to learn and take it at their pace.

In spite of having such wonderful conceptualisation why has it not worked? The reasons are not difficult to find. It is only after getting disappointed with the slow movement of HRD we started the Centre for HRD at XLRI. When we found that a centre in an academic Institute can only do some things and HRD needs to be spread at faster speed we founded the National HRD Network. When the Network is only doing conferences and not being able to generate enough research and disseminate the same the Academy got started.

An examination of all these bodies (CHRD, NHRDN, and AHRD) and their success and failure are symbolic of the success or failure of HRD and the HR Function and the HR Professionals as Business Partners. I would have no opinion but to say that In spite of Dave Ulrich, Udai Pareek and many other stalwarts in HR in this part of the world we perhaps have less that 10% Business partners and a significantly high percentage of administrative efficiency handlers and routine HR managers.

The way forward is National-wide soul searching by all HR professionals and Professional bodies why we failed to move as fast as we should shave when the research based wisdom being given from the University of Michigan has been available at the IIMA from mid seven ties and at XLRI and NHRDN from mid-eighties and AHRD from early nineties?  

I hope the forthcoming NHRDN conference gives some time and space for introspection and painting a way ahead. Such introspection needs to be designed thoughtfully and we should not depend on a few leaders to lead but a genuine introspection promoted by good research. It should not end up with a few speeches by those whom we have repeatedly heard or not heard but through a well planned effort and thought provoking papers. Such papers should be written not by consultants who have vested interests but by academics with unbiased background and practitioners who are more committed to the profession than to themselves

T. V. Rao

The reason why most people in HR don’t make it to the top is because they have been playing lower level roles and have not groomed themselves as “HR Driven Business Managers”. I classify the HR Managers in to five categories based on the work they do. These are five levels described. After reading this article you can decide which level you belong. 

Level one at the bottom is”HR Administration” in which documentation, data gathering, record keeping, and MIS is the main focus. This work is largely clerical and outsource able. Anyone can do it with some instruction.  
Purpose: smooth running of HR department or section through flawless administration.
Activities: Data recording and maintenance. Recruitment records, performance records, attendance reports, salary details, leave details, infrastructure and facility details, training programs attended, workshops arranged, training programs conducted, induction reports etc. Fixing deadlines, getting formats printed or put into the software, circulating formats, getting the forms filled, feeding into the computer, preparing reports periodically, preparing reports for senior HR managers etc.  Any graduate or PG is HR will do the job well.
Output: Records, information availability and flawless administration.

Level  two is “Monitoring and Execution” in which the focus is collecting information, reminding people, getting forms filled and statutory obligations fulfilled etc. This may include sometimes data analysis and feedback to the top management.  The measures are quantified in terms of appraisal forms filed in time, Capacity utilization of training centers, recruitment and  retention rates of employees, recruitment time reduced, projects completed, costs saved  etc.
Purpose: To ensure the smooth running and completion of all HR activities on time and according to standards.
Activities: Designing and getting recruitment records completed and ensuring that recruitment process is followed according to manpower plans and departmental requirements; ensuring that appointments letters are issued as per the norms and offerings and joining reports are filed and legal formalities are taken care of; issuing instructions of performance appraisals and ensuring completion and filing of PAS on time and of quality, reverting back to HODs and other managers for incomplete data and other indications of low quality PMS, documenting and analyzing data and computing eligibility criteria and ensuring normality in assessments; organizing meeting with HoDs and performance review committees to decide and allocate PRPs or other incentives: analyzing training needs and tabulating them and informing the HODs of the trends, liaising with training department and ensuring training calendar is prepared as per the needs expressed, sponsoring candidates for training, calculating training man-hours completed, preparing training budget if required and ensuring that the budget spending is in limits and as per norms; collecting training evaluation reports and ensuring that training programs are held on time and as per quality or design, ensuring ISO requirements are met; taking up exit interviews, analyzing data and passing it on to HOD or the CEO periodically, arranging in-house training, contacting training agencies and getting training calendars, consolidating training calendar and sending it to line managers, analyzing attrition details and bench marking with other industries, locating recruiters and recruitment agencies and arranging recruitment interviews to ensure that best candidates are selected, getting employee engagement surveys are conducted and results obtained for use by the HR department etc.
Output:   Smooth functioning of all HR systems and subsystems. On time completion of all system requirements for recruitment, appointments, induction, training, appraisal, surveys etc. and systematic recording and analyzing of data and initiating corrective action where required with the help of HR Chief or HODs or top management. Cost effective management of all HR subsystems.

Level three is “Designing and Implementing”  in which the focus is reviewing the existing systems, redesigning and starting new practices in performance appraisals, incentives & performance linked pay,  learning and development,  employee engagement, or great place to work etc surveys and practices. These also can be outsourced now a days using consultants.
Purpose: To ensure that all HR systems (recruitment, induction, competency mapping, training, performance appraisal and management, career planning, succession planning, employee engagement surveys etc.) are modernized and remain contemporary, innovative and relevant to the needs of the company.
Activities: Commissioning studies or consultancies on competency mapping, performance appraisal, performance linked incentive schemes,  retention, assessment and development centers and launch leadership  programs; attending and personally supervising the programs, collecting information from line managers about the functioning of various systems, reviewing implementation of various systems, bench-marking systems and their implementation with other organizations, attending conferences and seminars to search for innovative HR practices of other organizations,  generating various reports including HR audit, employee engagement, PMS, training etc and presenting to the top management, ensuring internal communications are made on various systems, orienting and reorienting various employees and line managers on new or revised systems, redesigning HR systems and practices, communicating to all employees, training internal change agents etc.
Output:  How much and how many systems and subsystems have been reviewed, rejuvenated and new standards implemented; how many line managers have been reoriented and the consequent benefits to the company, reduction in attrition rates, bench marking of training involvement and attributable performance improvements, number of leaders covered and leadership programs etc. conducted. The extent to which HR systems stay relevant and bench marked.

The fourth level is “Strategic, Innovating, Integrating and Leading”. In this level HR has to be aligned with business and the concerns shift from having good HR to having Business driven HR, strategic HR. The HR person at this level is constantly looking for what C K Prahalad called as “Next Practice” and “Business driven HR practice”. This level HR people focus on building leadership cross the organization; use multiple tools including 360 Degree feedback, Development Centers, top management team building and OD exercises etc.  Here HR becomes talent focused and the concern is on acquiring, retaining, nurturing and multiplying talent.
Purpose: To provide HR leadership in all areas by making HR strategic, participate, innovative and integrating of all functions and business. To ensure that all HR systems and practices are aligned to business strategies and priorities; to initiate and mange HR leadership activities in tune with the aligned HR strategies. To make innovative HR practices and remain ahead of others.
Activities:  Active participation in strategic meets and business discussion, continuous liaison with all business Heads and ensuring that their needs and plans are understood, orienting and reorienting HR systems and practices to business needs, conducting strategic HR meets for HR staff and line managers, attending seminars and conferences to learn about others and present one’s own thoughts and studying practices of other corporations. Preparing HR strategies, HR plans and presenting to top management and getting them reviewed. Reviewing HR systems and getting them audited and initiating redesigned systems and practices. Preparing vision, mission values workshops and examining organizational structures through competency mapping and such other studies. Getting competency models prepared for the company and its various business units and designing Business leadership Development programs using the competency models and assessment based on 360 Degree Feedback, ADCs and other interventions for top management. Participation on brand building activities. Internal leadership development of HR team and other line managers. Initiating innovative HR practices. Getting HR discussions and talent management issues discussed in Board meetings and through special seminars and activities. Getting top management time, attention and participation in various HR systems initiated. 
 Output: Strategic and business aligned HR. Perception of HR as a leader in managing the corporations’ affairs. More top management roles for HR people and increased consultation of HR managers by business heads. Hr joins the top position. High respect for HR and talent Management interventions.

The fifth level HR is focused on making “HR as Business”.  This level managers realize that there can be no business without talented people at all levels and particularly at the top. This is based on the philosophy that people make business and therefore business driven talent management is essential. The focus shifts from tangibles to intangibles and immediate and short term performance goals to building long term capabilities and from quarterly results to intellectual capital building and shareholder value enhancement and stake holder management including customer service and growth, expansion, new opportunities etc. Dave Ulrich calls this Outside –in HR. I call this Business Focused HR.
Purpose: To become a part of business and drive business through talent and various stake holder management. Continuous contribution to Intellectual capital of the company by balancing HR activities needed for company’s business and meet expectations of all stake holders (investors, customers, Board, government, community and environment).
Activities: Here the activities can be classified according to various take holders. In relation to the company the activities of HR include constantly in touch with customers, technology, finances, products and internal processes and ensure that the top line and bottom line are managed continuously. Focusing on talent as a means of achieving such balance and therefore aligning and using talent for the same. Active involvement all business activities and even driving some of them. Ensuring that organizational structures and systems going beyond HR are evolved and utilized to take the business ahead and using talent as driver for the same. Building internal capabilities and lifting up the talent in the company to make this happen. Vis –a-Vis the customer understanding the customer constantly and aligning his needs and expectations with products, processes and services. Strengthening linkages between the customer and company through appropriate talent utilizing and managing interventions. Understand the community requirements and initiating and managing activities that service the community and the environment through CSR, SHE and such other activities. Liaising with Government and participating in its activities and informing them of the service to the surroundings and the community. Continuous contribution to the Intellectual capital of the company through building customer capital, human capital, structural capital,  relationship capital and other forms to ensure share holder value.
Output: High share holder value attributable to Intellectual Capital built through Talent Management and HR interventions. Some of these are explained in my book on HR Score Card 2500.
Mature HR people reach this level faster in their career ladder and can become CEOs fast. The trouble with most HR people today is that they are stuck at the lower levels. A large number of them fail to grow beyond the first three levels. Many of them get habituated to hire consultants and outsource their work rather than themselves doing significant HR work. How can you grow to be a CEO when you outsourced  recruitment , training, competency mapping, ADCs, employee engagement surveys and everything  and acted like “Materials Manager” getting tender documents and finding out least expensive consultants than understanding your customers and other stake holders and directing your talent to be business focused? Such HR people can’t grow to be CEOs. Our B-Schools in HR are not preparing HR for CEOs and are aiming at preparing them the first two or three levels of HR.
All CEOs are required to be good HR people and past leaders have demonstrated this. It is high time HR recognizes the potential they are sitting on and change their ways.

First I like to differentiate Human Resources Development from Human Resources department. I mean when I say HRD Human Resources Development and not Human Resources Department.

Human Resources Departments are doing important things and meet immediate requirements to conduct business. Hunan resource Development Departments (HRDDs) work for competency building, commitment building and culture building. In mid seventies when we conceptualised the HR Function we conceptualised to include worker affairs, Organization development, coaching, feedback, employee engagement, work redesign, potential identification and development, assessment centres and many more. It is heartening to see the same things are said by both Ed. Lawler and Dave Ulrich in the 15th National HRD Network Conference. What was being talked about in "Why we hate HR" which has been referred to both by Lawler and Ulrich in their talks has been envisaged in my book "HRD Missionary" released in the National HRD Network conferences in 1990. 
A lot has changed since then. I have in recent times repeatedly argued in many of my presentations to NHRDN Chennai Chapter, Delhi Chapter, Bangalore Chapter and Madras School of Social work etc. between 2002 and 2008 that HRDD should work for building long term intellectual capital and not merely for the top and bottom line requirements was appreciated but not picked up. The same thing has been repeated by Mr. Gopalakrishan on his concept of Q to Q. The concept of Intellectual capital has been stressed by Dave Ulrich. I am happy that I have started new course called Intellectual capital and HRD Score Card in IIMA and is running successfully for the last two years.

I would like to repeat what I said on 17th both at the CHRO round table and in my address to the NHRDN 15th National Conference.Human resource development Facilitators or HR leaders or HRDD should work for making HR Development a Lead function. They have the following five missions to work for:
1. Build Leaders and leadership capabilities in the organization
2. Work for invisible intellectual capital than for the visible bottom line (for long term sustainability and growth and for quarter to quarter results treating people as investments and capabilities as resources)
3. Lead by example
4. Work with the CEOs and Influence the Board and top management to do things right and also to do right things, and
5.Work with communities outside to line managers (include workmen as I consider   worker also a manager- the distinction is vanishing in fast changing world) (It is high time that HRD as a Department should work towards self liquidation and should take on advisory or facilitator or lead roles).

HRD Facilitator (HRD-F) should be the term used or HRD Leader (HRD-L) or HRD Advisor (HRD-A) should be the term used. We may discover new terms.
India is in a leadership position. As many speakers said Indians think in English and act Indian. They still depend on neighbours to tell them what they should do. They need Dave Ulrich and Ed Lawler to tell them what they should be doing and do not care to read the Indian Research studies. I have the highest respect for both these scholars who have done marvellous work and feel Indian academics should use them as role models for research and thinking). It is high time that Indian scholars show their scholarship to put Indian HR into Leadership roles by doing right researches and Indian Managers and CEOs to work out a HRD that works and makes India a country in Leader. We have along way to go and the senior HR folk should guide and mentor the juniors properly and not sue them merely for administrative convenience and reduce them to a support role. Juniors entering should look for appropriate learning opportunities.

Advice for New Recruits in Corporations

A Director of one of the management schools once approached me to recruit some of their candidates for our consulting firm. We have generally decided not to take fresh recruits as corporations have been asking for experienced candidates to advice them. They don’t mind “fresher” from the big Five consulting firms, but not from the lesser known companies. Nothing short of the Chairman or the CEO or Directors and Partners will satisfy them. However one of our interests is also to develop young people, if not for our company, but for others. We finally decided to take the two of them. We did not want to visit the Institute as it is far away from our place and the airfares will give at least a couple of months salary of the candidates. I have agreed to take them and we interviewed them telephonically. They were very impressive on telephone. They seem to have read most of my books- so they stated. I was quite happy to know that this institute is following the books written by me and therefore we are getting candidates prepared in HRD Audit, 360 Degree Feedback and so on. In fact they said that they all did a 360 Degree Feedback practical project. I was even more impressed.

A few weeks after they joined I was very disappointed to know many things from them which were totally opposite to my expectations. Foe example:
1. They did not really know anything about HRD audit. They stated that they had only one copy of the book in the library which was shown to them by the instructor and all their preparation was on the basis of the notes given by the Instructor.
2. They said that the practical they did on 360 is a group assignment and for this purpose all the class was treated as one group and they just had to conduct a 360 feedbacks session of their professor and write up the experience. They merely collected the feedback on the professor and had not even shared it with the professor.

 My assessment of their knowledge on various things indicated that what they have leant in HR is very superficial and they have to start all over again. I had to put them on 6 months of learning HRD by getting them to read all my books. We could not use them and the six months ended up as an extended preparation of their two year MBA in HR.

I found their attitudes also to be short of my expectations. They were neither learning oriented nor career driven. They were merely looking for a better and more permanent job and used it as a pass time or a stepping stone for their next job. Both of them are doing well in their HR profession today. But they could have done far better had they used the six months with TVRLS productively by preparing themselves for the same.

In another case we created a similar position for a candidate to work with us for a couple of years. This candidate was not happy with the salaries we offered. We gave him the option of taking up another job but he preferred to work with us as the job situation that year was tight.

I mentioned to this person about the new Journal my team was starting. Now it is named “Perfect Professional” but at that time the name was not decided and the format was decided. The candidate agreed to join and help us in the magazine. However he preferred to join only a couple of months later as he had to visit his home somewhere in the east. He wanted to be with his family. We agreed for it and suggested that he should use the time to be familiar with our company and its products. We gave him a list of ten books and also said that he will give an examination after he joins. We said that until he passes, he will keep reading the books and we will not give him any assignment. We also wanted the person to be in touch with us and prepare himself for the job.

In the subsequent two months what we experienced was pathetic. The candidate never contacted us and my team felt very hesitant to disturb his time with the family. When he finally joined two months later, we found that he did not visit our web site and also did not read the books. He stated that he did not have access to the internet. Though he had his lap top, he did not have an internet connection. We knew for sure that he lives in a city where internet connections are available for Rs 20 an hour and perhaps not too far off from his home. He also did not read any of the books we suggested to him. He said that he could procure only one of them and the rest were not available in the market. As a result he had to spend the next two months to read all the basic books we gave him and finally pass the exam we gave.

From these experiences I have come to the conclusion the desire for learning, drive to take initiative and be entrepreneurial, respect for gaining in-depth knowledge is missing among the new joiners in many cases. I don’t want to conclude all are like that but I do feel that the new generation of recruits have a long way to go in preparing themselves to be employment ready when they join corporations. While some of the corporations like Infosys started initiatives like the finishing school or stating school, small companies can ill afford to start such things. Banks for example are recruiting a larger number of employees now days and cannot even give more than a week’s induction courses. Most of such induction programs are focus on teaching IT skills.

In such circumstances how much should the organization invest on preparing people or new employees to be productive? Is it not also the responsibility of the new joiners and employment seekers to learn and make themselves “job ready”? Is it not a good way to build career?

I would like to argue that it is in the interests of the new employee to join a company fully prepared with enthusiasm to make a difference, rather than to wait for the organization to give them all the agenda on platter and also help them to acquire the skills only after they join.

The new joiners will do well if they can prepare themselves to be contributors to their employers rather than posing themselves as a challenge to the employer to get them to be “job ready”. I consider any employee as job ready if he/she starts contributing to the corporation from Day One! It is possible and only such people build their career and become future leaders. Those who expect the corporations to prepare them to be job ready are carrying their “ordinary student mind set” and saying indirectly that they will study only according to the syllabus and lean only when the school begins and teachers teach.  These employees will remain ordinary employees all through and at best be good Doers as I characterised them in my book, “Managers who Make a Difference” (IIMA Books: Random House).

My Advice to the New Joiners from Colleges, and MBA Institutions:
When you join as a new comer in a company please remember the following:
You are happy that you got the job for a short time or long time. Do you now want the company to make effort to “get the work from you”? You may be doing this by posing yourself as a challenge to the employer- You may be unconsciously saying to the company “You got me at a low cost or high cost. But now try your best to get the best out of me. I will give my best only when you deserve it. First show me all the incentives you can give if I do a good job. Give me first the job descriptions etc. and prove that you have not done any injustice to me in my recruitment by paying others any better than me?”

Such type of employees wastes their time and talent and that of their seniors. Don’t pose yourself as a challenge to the organization but make yourself as a valuable asset.
 How to do that? The following are some things you may practice:
1.       Understand the organization, its business, structure, products, services, customers, reputation in the market, problems, issues, opportunities it has etc.
2.       Visit their web site, search Google and other sources and learn as much as you can and be prepared to join them as a family member and not merely as an employee.
3.       Get in touch with your boss or seniors with whom you will be working or reporting and get as much details as possible about your job, their expectations from you and the way you need to prepare yourself for the job. Don’t get disappointed if the HR department says that they are yet to decide your location, department, boss etc. Your initiative may get them to think of taking such decision in future well in advance.
4.       Ask for a competency check list or competency profile of the department to prepare yourself to acquire the competencies. Read books and acquire competencies needed to be ready to serve. Interact with current or former employees of the company and get to learn as much about the culture, values and other things.
5.       Start visualising your working patters and the way you are going to spend your time, and the way you are going to learn, and the way you are going to deal with difficult situations if any when you join.
6.       Get the personnel policies manual and try to understand the same. Use it to bring down your expectations and not to enhance them. Experience says you will find many things missing from what you have positively imagined. If things surpass your expectations it will be good for you. Don’t worry about petty things. You are not joining to get small allowances (Travel and other allowances) but you are joining to build your career. Career can be built how so ever long or short is your stay, by your contributions and not by the evaluation of the way company has treated you. The way you treat the company is in your hands and the way they treat is not in your hands. You will remember what you did and you should work to remember that, than the way they treated you or did not treat you. In my first job I worked only for six months at Andhra University. But hat has been the most memorable job. Every student and every faculty member and the Professor who took me there remember it even today 44 years after my first job. I used to keep in touch with the students even after I left and kept sending my notes to them, thought he University did not finally give me the job they promised. I worked for six months on a stipend given by the Professor in charge.
7.       Young joiners must remember that everything they do is being evaluated. Impressions get formed in the initial interactions. You may say that you don’t care. That is ego and that is what slows down your learning and progress. You should care to learn and also show your eagerness to learn. It matters. However if you only show and not really mean to learn it gets demonstrated soon in one way or the other. You must develop genuine desire to learn.
8.       Respect those who may be less qualified than you but have experience in building the company or the organization. Organizations have been built by hard working people with experience and they may not have had all the good education you had. Some of them may not even be familiar with internet, Google Face Book Linked in and the many modern technologies. But they have contributed. Appreciate how much they have worked and how much they have done to build the organization when they did not have all the technology and infrastructure we are having now days. Learn to respect every one and every function.
9.       The best way to build yourself in the modern world is to take initiative. Initiative only can help you discover the talent in you. Organizations are platforms offered for you to constantly discover and multiply your talent. It can be done mainly through initiative, communication and action. Share your thoughts. Listen to others and learn. Treat everyone as a source of learning, seniors, juniors, books, magazines, lectures, meetings, visitors, strangers, documents, successes, failures, mistakes and so on.    
10.   Life is beautiful if you treat it so. Before someone asks you to do a thing do it and show it. If you don’t know what to do and if someone asked you to do it, do it faster or do it better or do it wholeheartedly to win the hearts. You will create your own freedom and your own career.

Best of Luck

Recently I met a faculty member of a reputed Engineering and Technology Institute in the country. This faculty member was recruited from abroad and has been at the Institute for the last two years. He said that he is having a miserable time though he gets good ratings from students and is able to pursue his research activities well.  However he is unhappy because he felt that all his encounters with the Head of the Institution (HOI) ended up with unhappiness, dissatisfaction and sleepless nights. When I went into the details I found the encounters he had with the HOI were on small things dealing with his small needs like house repairs, performance appraisal and technical assistance. What seems to have made a lot of difference is the way his performance feedback was handled though there is no scope for promotion or any incentives allowed in the system.   He said it is not the decisions but the manner of talking and lack of respect shown to his talent and making him feel that he is nothing that made him have sleepless nights. Then he went on to narrate how many other young lecturers who joined the Institute are unhappy as there is no personal touch and they are left in the dark to find their way.  I have some personal knowledge of this HOI and know him as a successful HOI. He is a well accomplished Technology expert himself and is well sought by the Government. When I opened the topic with him, he began by explaining in a defensive way how the younger lecturers whom he recruited with high expectations are constantly making demands on the College rather than solving their own problems. He was so irritated with them I found it difficult to given any further unwanted advice.
Years ago when I was working with David McClelland at Harvard, I carried a lot of TAT stories written by Indian Managers. Their analysis using a psychoanalytic framework developed by McClelland and his team particularly Abigail Stewart (nor at the Psychology Department of the University of Michigan) revealed that Indian Managers exhibited essentially four leadership styles: Benevolent, Critical, Assertive, and Self –dispensing. In later researches we dropped the third style as it was mixed with the second style (or criticality) and renamed the fourth style as Developmental. Benevolent leaders are accomplished leaders who believe that they are the giving end and all the others are at the receiving end. They believe that it is their duty to take care of the needs of others as they are in an advantageous position. They believe that they should treat others like their own children and adopt a paternalistic (or maternalistic) style. To some extent this has streaks of what JBP Sinha called as Nurturant Task leader and maintained that this style works in India. Most business houses like the Birlas, Tatas, Murugappa Group, TVS, DCM and many others are built on this style in early India. The critical leadership style is one where the manager or leader tends to be coercive as he believes more in theory X than theory and believes that unless supervised and directed continuously the employees don’t work. This style resorts to more hoarding of information or restricted communication to others, reprimanding, over talking of achievements. A critical leader has such a negative view of others and talent across he rarely give himself an opportunity to examine the impact of his style. Particularly in managing mistakes and conflicts this style becomes evident where the leader loses his cool and resorts to reprimanding and expressions of anger. The impact is disaster.  Developmental style or self-dispensing style is an empowering style and believes more in long term gains and is a self controlled style.
 Daniel Goleman who closely worked with McClelland wrote on Emotional Intelligence elaborated this style as a most functional style and used his own terms. The essential part of this style is an emotional self control and thoughtful development of others.
Researches by Udai Pareek and me in early seventies with school teachers also have indicated that about a third of the teachers are actually aware of their classroom styles (directive or non-directive) and another third have no clue while the remaining one third had a perception of their styles as Directive while in reality they are non-directive or vice-versa. Like the teachers most managers from our 360 Degree Feedback of last thirty years indicate lack of awareness of the style and its impact across a large percentage of managers. Particularly some of the most successful managers are not aware of their style and how it has motivating or demotivating effect on others. This is perhaps also true with parents. Parents may unconsciously and un-knowingly kill the motivation and talent of their children with their style.  Talent prospers under encouragement. Discipline requires some amount of coercion and criticality some times. However it has to be used in small doses when required and quickly switched over to empowering style. Catch them do something good and praise them so that they cultivate talent and continue to do good things.
I have observed that many successful top level managers of firms, Institutions as well as even political parties may not have a clue of their style. They may think that they are empowering and developmental while in reality their juniors may not always perceive it that way. It is the perceptions that influence motivation and work. It is not possible to change perceptions always.
HOIs and top level managers need to create opportunities for themselves to become sensitive to theirs styles and their impact. Otherwise they may lose their people and restrict the talent. Some Indian CEOs even of professionally managed companies who have been rated as successful unfortunately have miserable employees who are waiting for change of their leader. Make sure you are not one of them!!

T. V. Rao
In a seminar I was attending a few years ago a pharmaceutical company presented their competency model in the morning. After the session leader who presented it left, the same day afternoon an IT company presented its model. Observing the stark similarity and near sameness of the list of competencies presented in the two models by the Pharma and It presenters, the participants became curious how can IT and Pharma company require nearly the same competencies. The presenters themselves were surprised until we all discovered that both these organizations had the same consultant. It appeared that what they had is a standard model of a consulting company than a research based tailor made competencies needed for the two different organizations!
Now a days it has become quite fashionable to commission the making of competency models for organizations. A competency model describes the particular combination of knowledge, skills, and characteristics needed to effectively perform a role in an Organization and is used as a human resource tool for selection, training and development, appraisal, and succession planning. (p5, Lucia and Lepsinger, 1999). Competency models represent the most critical knowledge, skills and behaviors that drive successful performance with respect to a particular type of job or occupation.  They describe competencies in behavioral terms, using behavioral indicators, so employees can recognize the competencies when demonstrated. There can be competency models for a role, for a department, for a function or for an organization. Competency models often contain some sort of overall graphic depiction of the relationships between competencies or show them clustered into related groups.
Organizational competency models present a list of eight to ten most critical competencies required to perform various jobs in the organization. As they are derived after studying most successful incumbents at various levels (Executives, Deputy Managers, Managers, Senior Managers, Vice Presidents, Deputy General Managers, General Managers and Vice Presidents, Presidents etc.)Performing various roles across various departments in an organization they are considered comprehensive models of competencies required to be successful in the organization.  The competency models normally describe the competency, present illustrations of how the competency is exhibited at various levels and functions in the organization. They also present indicators of behavior which are classified normally into three or four levels like the beginner, practitioner, expert, leader, etc. or simply by naming them as proficiency levels like level 1, level 2, level 3, and level 4 and so on. The levels are sometimes associated with the job levels or designations in the organization. Most MNCs used to have competency models in the past and used them in induction, training, performance appraisals, career planning, potential appraisal etc. (TVRLS, 2006).
Indian organizations have also resorted to develop their own competency models in recent years. In the last one decade many organizations have developed their own competency models. For example Infosys, Wipro, Philips, HUL, Wockhardt, HDFC Life, Tatas, Cummins, Dr. Reddy's etc. have their own competency models. Inspired by these many more organizations are commissioning the development of their own competency models.  Once developed these competency models are used as a part of recruitment, induction, performance management, leadership development, career planning and development etc. Assessment centers or Development centers are being designed around these competencies.
While this is a welcome trend I like to point out that an overdependence on competency models can be misleading and might even amount to playing mischief with organizational effectiveness and productivity.
Limitations of a Competency Model:
   A competency model is arrived at for the organization after considerable research and study of various effective role holders at various levels. They are interviewed competency experts and asked questions like what Knowledge, attitudes, skills, qualities, traits etc, are required to be successful in the role you performed so successfully etc. Or alternately his superiors are interviewed. In the RSBCM model of TVRLS all role set members are interviewed and notes taken. After all the interviews are completed a list of competencies are culled out from the successful performers at different levels.
Over the years it has been found that most companies have same or very similar competency models. All of them list competencies like Vision, Strategic thinking, Systems orientation, Entrepreneurial attitude, Team work, Interpersonal sensitivity, Customer centricity, Technology savvy etc. In fact if we survey all the competency models we can list around 30 to 40 competencies and can be compressed into dozen across all companies. It looks as though if you possess these competencies you can be successful in any company and anywhere in the world. So why not our B-schools start only develops these score of competencies? In fact recent studies by Harvard Professors like Srikant Datar have outlined a list of competencies that top B-Schools should develop: Leadership skills, Creative and critical thinking, Change management, Soft skills etc.  Dave Ulrich and his team at Michigan have developed a list of competencies and Skills for the HR profession.

What is wrong with Competency Models?
Nothing. The only trouble is competencies are contextual. As contexts change the competencies required to do a job well may change. For example the competencies required y a finance head may change from initial stages of a company to alter stages and also depending on the economic situation and supply of money situation. Or the competencies of a HR head who during industrial unrest and union militancy may change to a different list when the organization needs global talent and is free of unionism.   A CEO or an R&D head competency profiles may change as the organization matures. Dave Ulrich and W Brockbank have presented different lists of competencies in the last one decade for HR managers as their context is getting changed. Hence the competency models cannot be considered as valid for all time and need periodic revisit and revision.
The second issue is organizational competency models cannot ensure success of all role holders merely on the basis of the possession of these competencies at a higher levels. The performance equation which is well accepted by now says that successful performance one given job is a function of abilities or competencies, motivation or work effort and organizational support. The definition of high performance varies from time to time and hence the need for defining the Key Performance areas, activities and performance indicators annually. By reasoning if the KPAs vary from year o year the competencies also vary. Hence no one time competency list for an individual can be considered valid across all times. Fortunately for us the KPAs normally don’t change from year to year but may change across a few years.  To the extent they change the competencies change and at organizational such cumulative changes of KPAs for all roles and the consequent change in competencies need to be reflected in the competency model.
No competency model can be exhaustive. It cannot take into consideration the innumerable competences required to perform each and every role. Hence an active use of competency lists should include the role related competencies.
Most organizations commissioning competency studies are happy when the consultant gives a short report and presents a graphic model of competencies. Unfortunately this is misleading and is inadequate for any purpose other than a standard package of induction, and periodic appraisal. Even for induction it is not the competency model that matters as much s the competency profile required by that job. Most organizations donor even asks consultants to give them the competency profiles of the jobs they surveyed. They are quite happy with the model.
It is high time that organizations realize the limitations of competency models and stat suing competency profiles of each of the roles mapped by the consultant or the internal teams. By ignoring this while we are preparing universal managers and not organization or role specific managers that bring success to the role.

I don’t wish to convey through these arguments that competency models are not useful. On the contrary they are good tools to communicate in one stroke the critical competencies needed to be successful in the organization and valued by the organization at senior levels. They are good tools to inform the job aspirants and also good tools to develop critical leadership competencies through a variety of interventions. However their utility should not be overstressed and overstretched.  They cannot become panacea for all talent management needs and interventions. They cannot be the only criteria for promotions and succession planning. They can be treated as necessary conditions but not sufficient conditions for success. They may be useful for Development Centres but not for promotion decisions as promotion decisions should be based on contextual competencies besides and job specific competencies rather than organizational competency models. Organizations should take pains to ask, get and retain the job specific competency profiles when they commission competency mapping studies. Job specific competency maps or profiles can serve better purpose of talent management than mere competency models.

  1.  Lucia, Antionette; and Lepsinger, Richard. (1999)  The Art and Science of Competency Models: pinpointing critical success factors in organizations, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Pfeiffer.
  2. T V Rao Learning Systems: Competency Mapping Education Kit: Ahmedabad: TVRLS, 2006

Smart Train: Creative Training Techniques

Participant-Centered Training: is a supportive environment provided for participant exploration, struggle, and discovery, so the insights they gain will truly be theirs, along with the self-confidence that comes from those discoveries. This is the core of participant centered training. The key results of this training approach are:

  • Enthusiastic Participants
  • Dramatic increase in the training transfer to the job
  • Improved learner retention
  • More information in less time
  • Creation of an accelerated learning environment
  • Exceptionally well-trained and effective workforce
  • Achieves participant buy-in even from difficult participants
In this training the learning shifts to the participant instead of the trainer feeling totally responsible for the learning taking place, the shift is to the participants taking responsibility, not just for their creativity and experience, but to create action plans for using any new skills or contents.

Bob Pike  has devised what is well known in training circles in USA as " Pikes Laws of Adult Learning", they are foundation principles underlying " Creative Training Techniques "   

Law 1. Adults are babies with big bodies.
Law 2. People don't agree with their own data.
Law 3. Learning is directly -proportional to fun.

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management (SCM) also known as Finite Planning Software, helps companies figure out better ways to manufacture and distribute products by tightly connecting the various links of the supply chain. SCM software is also helping some companies reduce inventory as much as forty percent and decrease customer lead time, which leads to better profitability, enhanced reputation, and higher stock prices.

Emotional Quotient of the Organization

There has been a lot of hype around concepts like Emotional Quotient and people skills, and how in the long run the so called good EQ in a person translates into a greater success levels and subsequently higher productivity in the workplace. Key phrases like empathy, good interpersonal skills are becoming determining factors in the selection, retention and promotion of employees.

Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) points out that though the term EQ may not have been used explicitly, the concept has been with Cognizant ever since the company was formed. CTS conducts a behavioral event interview, which focuses more on the actual behavior of an individual than a conceptual answer of what he says he will do. At the end of this they are able to determine to a large extent, the leadership style an individual demonstrates, his ability to look beyond himself and his immediate team, strategic thinking - all factors which play a major role in the selection process. The company also conducts in-depth psychological tests, whereby, besides doing a thorough appraisal of their competencies, twice a year.

Donated Leave

Donated leaves allow individuals to give specified amount of personal or Major Medical Leave to other employees if an employee was out of leave and had a catastrophic illness or injury.

Determining corporate health using hypothermia test

Organization's effectiveness and vitality, its regular tasks and managerial strategy, risk taking and openness to change, flexible leadership styles and adaptability, helpful or harmful climate can be measured by hypothermia test.

  • Shivering - Do employees demonstrate suspicion of each other and poor quality of co-operation? Are they digging trenches in departmental and other grounds of " turf”?
  • Slurred speech - Has destructive competition intensified? Is communication a problem with too many downward messages and memos and not enough lateral communication? Are goals and purpose becoming blurred?
  • Dulled mental activity - Do people have trouble in identifying problems? Are symptoms treated and short-run temporary relief sought rather than durable solutions? Are workers treated impersonally ?
  • Muscular rigidity - Do you stick to old ways and avoid problem solving problem ? Are creative thinkers viewed anxiously as malcontents  who only make waves and question authority ? Are customers and clients also objectified and treated impersonally / Is there an exodus of your most energetic and imaginative workers ?
  • Falling pulse - Is there a demonstrable decline in worker morale and performance ? A general lack of caring ? Little involvement ? And when cuts in budgets are requested are they across the board cuts accompanied by statements such as "Gotta cut somewhere"?
  • Death - If you get this far your organization dies a slow, painful death, You should be looking for work.


Employee Referral 

For  recruitment organizations have started doing something which was not seen few days back. Unlike the traditional recruitment system no formal announcement  is made, through papers or magazines, but  the employees working in the same organization are asked to look for employees, what is most commonly seen, is that in such cases people refer their family members or close friends. When these people join a bond is created among the employees, which does not allow the employee to leave the job, this eventually helps the organization to retain their employees. Infosys was one of the first company to start a reward scheme attached to every stage of this scheme.

New Millenium Retention

Six-Step plan to help move the retention practices into the new millenium.

  • Understand your organization's core purpose.-
           Every organization relies upon one of the following four core purposes as their primary driver to competitive advantage. 
1.      Customer service - creating customer solutions to exceed expectations ?
2.      Innovation - creating the future via technology and leading - edge thinking ?
3.      Operational  excellence - creating the processes and efficiencies to minimize costs, waste, and errors ?
4.      Spirit - creating the environment that inspires employee  excellence ?
           Every organization have elements of all four, but one should clearly by your company's core driver to competitive advantage

  • Focus retention on connecting employees to core purpose - not money
           Employees today need to connect to something more powerful than a paycheck, something more lasting than the company name or logo….it's culture that should drive our recruitment and retention efforts.

  • Follow the 50/50 rule
            Full fifty percent of your compensation, benefits, rewards, recognition, and performance appraisal systems should  clearly reinforce and clearly align to your core culture

  • Measure the right turnover.
            Too often we measure the wrong turnover - overall employee turnover. Is it necessary to measure the turnover of the bottom 20% of our workers ? No, because they  probably do not connect to your core culture. What is most important is to measure is to measure your top 20 % turnover, those stars that drive your company and your culture. They are the ones you can ill afford to lose. If you measure turnover at all, begin with measure your top 20 % turnover.


  • If  you are not sure, survey
            Not sure what your core culture is ? Not sure if you employees connect to it ? Not sure what your top 20% performers look like ? Not sure how your current retention practices benchmark against leading companies ? Survey it. Ask your executives, your employees, even your vendor partners what they see as your core culture and how well great employees "connect" to it

  • Remember, your best recruiting strategy is a great retention strategy.
            Your best retention strategy is a great recruiting strategy. You must align both your recruiting and retention practices to core culture to win in tomorrow's workplace.

Teach Me, Don’t Punish Me
                 Discipline without punishment is the most innovative HR tool and the best kept HR secret of the 20th century. The concept has two basic goals. First it is designed to create an opportunity for the employees to solve the problem, second it is intended to do everything reasonably possibly to maintain an effective relationship between the employee, the manager and the organization .Rarely does the employee walk away believing or feeling that the manager is trying to create an opportunity for his success.  Whether intended or not, the employee usually walks away feeling that the purpose of the discipline was to make sure he/she knew that he/she had made a mistake and that that he/she was in big trouble because of it.

The discipline without punishment manager must understand that his/her role  is to coach. A coach is patient. A coach teaches. A coach encourages. A coach focuses the employee on success, not on failure. Most importantly, a coach defines what success is.

Oral reminder is the first formal coaching step of discipline without discipline. The manager’s goal in this session is to help the employee agree to solve the problem. The manager takes on the role of a supportive coach who is working to help the employee understand what  the problem is, why it is a problem and what the employee needs  to do to correct it.

The written reminder takes the coaching process to the next level, it is a serious step. The supervisor is focussed on defining the expected performance and soliciting the employee’s agreement to perform at that level.

A decision making consists of one day with pay. (Yes, it says with pay!) In developing the system, Grote found that the employee views suspension without pay as punishment.

Leave with pay comes with a price to pay. The employee is instructed to consider the wealth of coaching that came with the oral and written reminders.

Discipline without punishment is not a cure-at all. It will not solve all problems. It cannot be implemented overnight. It requires planning, training and careful implementation. It is not recommended in the worst situations.

Simply the best 
the new reward policy emphasis on rewarding “ Simply  the best “ employee. Its objective is to provide a sense of recognition and achievement motivation for the significant contribution.

There are six categories under “ simply the best ”

1.      Out Perform – Outstanding performer of the year i.e performance “always exceeds expectations”.

2.      Innovation Helps – An innovative idea given by  an employee. Which has helped in the cost reduction / improve efficiency.

3.      The Triumph – Employee ( in team / individually ) has come out with an in-house publication or has been involved in an event management without help of external agency

4.       BIP Countdown – Best BIP project that has achieved the target

5.      3e- Connect – Appreciates an employee’s participation ( inside or outside the company ) under the banner of ‘ E ’ Champion

6.      HS & E Rewards -  Recognize outstanding commitment and significant contribution of individual employee / group in achieving HS & E target for the year to improve HS & E performance 


A Virtual Library

Bharti is one of the  first Indian companies to have setup an e-library, or a library on the net, exclusively for Air Tel employees  where they not only access material but also take tests and get on- line certification from the company. Bharti’s e-learning initiative is a step in the direction of Knowledge Management. Bharti has 200 modules that employees can access through net and each module has 5 to 10 chapters. The modules are largely technical and deal with switching and networking issues, programming languages, e-commerce and its various concepts. The library has a full time facilitator who, along with an e-learning manager, reports to the employee development manager.

One of the biggest advantage that Bharti expects from this venture is skill mapping, using the examination and certification process of the module system, Bharti's HR department can track the consistent and brilliant performers without much effort and design a separate fast-track program for them, similarly, the organisation can facilitate further learning where skill gaps are noticed

Best HR Practices at the software companies.

  • Flexi Time In The Office Hours : This is being followed by a large number of companies in the IT sector. Companies like infosys, SAS, Oracle, etc. Have beef following this practice for some time now. The companies that do not follow  this system   also allow their employees to work at any hour provided he works during the prescribed time.
  • ESOP : The employees stock option plan was pioneered in the Indian software context by Infosys. Under this scheme the employees are given company stock and the criteria is the length of service and performance rating.
  • Organizational holidays : Here the whole company is closed for a specific period. SAS is closed for Christmas week from the 25th December to the 1st of January.
  • Sabbaticals : Here the employee can proceed on study leave and continue getting a part of  his pay. SAS gives Sabbaticals for one year to the employees who have completed four years of service at the company. During this period the employees draw half of their regular salary.
  • Reimbursement of fee for the course : Some companies reimburse the tuition fee of part time courses relevant to the employees up to certain limits. Infosys , SAS and some other companies have been doing this.
  • Recruitment of software professionals from non IT background : Companies like Satyam and Infosys have recruited non IT professionals and trained them to full fledged IT experts.
  • Training Centers : Most software companies have decent training infrastructure. The Wipro Center of software excellence, Satyam Learning Center, E & R of Infosys are renowned for the quality of their training programs. The basic training at Infosys has been compared to BS degree in computer science from any US University.
  • Training the kin of employees : The satyam Learning Center trains the kin of employees in various areas.
  • Career Progression Paths : A few companies have detailed career progression paths laid for their employees. All IT has a very compressive progression path for its employees.
  • 360 degree appraisal : Infosys has a provision for a 460 appraisal system where an individual is appraised by his role set.
  • Succession Planning : Infosys is about to implement a succession planning mechanism where the successor of the employee at the high level would be identified.
  • Mentoring System : Infosys has introduced a mentoring system at its Pune center where a few employees would be placed under a person who would be preferably from his own college. The mentor would be responsible for the development of the fresh recruit.
  • Employee need survey : Many companies have embarked on satisfaction and need surveys to ascertain the sentiments and priorities of the employees. The result of these surveys have been incorporated into the HR system.
  • Interest free Loans : Infosys provides interest free loans to its employees for building or purchasing houses. It also gives soft loans for the purchase of cars and PCs
  • Recruitment through  the Internet : Companies are using the internet for the purpose of recruitment its employees.
  • Campus environment : Infosys maintains a campus environment in its premises. There are facilities for sports and a Gym. The electronics city office has baseball, volleyball and lawn tennis courts and the employees are regular users of these facilities.
  • Open Office : The software companies mostly have open office with no cabins for even very senior persons, this improves the communication levels of the employees and reduce the visibility of hierarchy. Infosys  maintains an open with open door policy. Even the CMDs door is open and everyone can see him work and everyone can approach him.
  • Parties and Movies : In some companies like SAS, Micro land and a few more practice this.
  • Benefits : All the software companies give a host of benefits to its employees. Some of the benefits like marriage loans ( Infosys ), Dating allowance ( NIIT ), parent’s anniversary allowance ( NIIT ), are quite unique in themselves. Apart from  this paid  vacations for the family, children’s education loans, crèches ( Infosys ), etc are some of the benefits that company provides.
  • Concern for the family : The companies have greatly increased their concern for the families of the employees. Infosys allows its employees to take their spouses on overseas trips if it lasts for over three months.
  • Birthday Celebration : The practice of celebrating the birthdays of its employees has become very common with almost all companies doing it.
  • Leaves : Companies give a variety of leaves. Paternity leave, social leave to attend children’s school functions, etc are given by some companies ( Oracle, NIIT )
  • Burnout Leave : To prevent career burnout of its employees SAS has a provision of six week fully paid leave for the employees who have completed four years of service. This in SAS  jargon is called Hibernation leave
  • Assessment Centers : Some companies are on the path of setting up of assessment centers for the potential appraisal of its employees ( Micro land ). ALIT has a compressive potential appraisal apparatus;.
  • Quality : The software industry is quality conscious and hence has adopted many concepts. Six stigma process at Wipro improves the quality process by reducing defects and cycle time. This has also been implemented in improving the HR system. This system has been  adopted from Motorola who  pioneered it. The companies have got their processes ISO certified. Companies have also gone in for the SEI-CMM certification and Infosys has got the distinction of being the 21st company in the world to reach level 4 of this model.
  • Links with education institutes : Many companies have tie-up with educational institutes like IITs, IIMs, and IISc for training programs. Companies like Infosys, SAS, etc. have a working   relation with such institutes. They also have tie ups with other institutes for the distance learning programmes for their employees.
  • Intangible asset accounting : Infosys pioneered the recording of the intangible  assets -  human resource in its financial statements. Satyam has followed this system.
  • Recruitment through employee reference schemes : The majority  of the companies recruit also through this scheme where the employee is instrumental in bringing new employees.
  • Transfer of training : Some companies have initiated the process of sharing the training attained by its employees. Philips Software Development Center has begun this system for some training programs .
  • Exit Interviews : Almost  all the software companies conduct exit interviews for those who are leaving the company. The reason behind the  exits are analyzed and steps are taken to rectify the shortcomings of the company.
  • Communication through electronic means :  In most of the companies the regular mode of communication is through the electronic mail. In addition they have their exclusive intranets where all company and work related information is put up.
  • Long service award : Most of the companies have long service awards for its employees. Wipro has the club 5 and club 10 for those employees who have served the company for as many years.



T. V. Rao  
Chairman, TVRLS


Indian corporations have become more aware of the need for competency mapping in recent times. This need arose due to the following reasons:

  • Increased opportunities to become global and the need for talented managers to make this happen
  • Increased costs of manpower to build and manage globally competitive business
  • Need for ensuring that competent people are available for performing various critical roles
  • Downsizing and the consequent need to get a lot of things done with fewer people and thus reduce manpower costs and pass on the advantage to the customer
  • Recognition that technology, finances, customers and markets, systems and processes can all be set right or managed effectively if we have the right kind of human resources
  • The need for focus in performing roles- need for time management, nurturing of competence, increased emphasis on performance management systems
  • And recognition of the strategic advantage given by employee competencies in building the core competencies of the organization
In good organisations competency mapping existed already. Traditionally HR Directors and their top management have always paid attention to competencies and incorporated them mostly in their appraisal systems. For example when L&T introduced their open appraisal system in mid seventies they have debated and identified a few competencies needed to be exhibited by everyone and incorporated in their appraisal form. When L&T ECC have revisited this format in late eighties, they felt that competencies need to be defined for every role separately and even every year jointly by the appraiser and appraisee and incorporated it in their Performance Analysis and Development System (PADS). They have treated the tasks with the same weight age as the competencies. They assigned 50% points to task accomplishments and 50% points to competencies demonstrated and focussed the annual coaching around both the competencies and task accomplishments. When LIC or NDDB, NOCIL, HLL (HUL), Bharat Petroleum etc. revised their Performance appraisal systems they focussed on the assessment of competencies after a lot of debate. Role analysis was done and role directories prepared by the Indian Oil Corporation in mid eighties a comprehensive attribute mapping was also done.

  • Some  firms have not done this exercise in the past or where they have done it the top management have not taken it seriously as it was done with low cost and as a part of the role of the HRD Manager. As cost incurred was low the firm never too cognizance of it and history forgotten. L&T is one such case where an elaborate exercise was done by the then HRD Chief Dr. Pereira and a list of 43 competencies were generated. They were called as attributes instead of competencies which is the new management language.
  • In some of the other firms there have been changes in HRD Managers, changes in roles with new organisational structures etc and there is a need to do it all over again.
  • MNCs in order to promote a standardised and internationally known competence culture, for better controls and centralised administration and systems driven approach undertake competency mapping worldwide. Such competency mapping for firms having income in billions of dollars is affordable and they supply the competency profiles to those in other countries. For example when Unilever undertake such competency mapping worldwide they may supply the list to HLL (HUL) and HLL needs to adapt it to Indian conditions.
  • Corporation increasingly realised due to talent crunch the need for competency matched performers, the need to get ready to perform employees, and the need to develop competencies on a continuing basis to keep up a competitive edge through on-line learning, and the need to manage attrition  through enhanced satisfaction and competency utilisation, succession planning etc.
Competency mapping is important and is an essential exercise.  Every well managed firm should:

  • Have a clear organisational structure
  • Well defined roles in terms of the KPAs or tasks and activities associated with each role
  • Should have mapped the competencies required for each role
  • Where appropriate or needed should have identified the generic competencies for each set of roles or levels of management
  • And should use them for recruitment, performance management, promotion decisions, placement and training needs identification.
When the first HRD Department in the country was set up in Larsen & Toubro in 1975 with the help of IIMA, this was the first and primary task assigned to the new HRD department. Competency mapping is the first of the significant activities to be undertaken by the HR Department. Twenty five years after the HRD Departments were established in the country and two decades after specialised courses in HRD have been started it is disappointing to note that Indian corporations and their HRD Departments still need consultants to do competency mapping for them.  A number of them do not realise that competency mapping is essentially an in-house job. Consultants can at best give them the methodology and train up their line managers and HR staff. Consultants cannot do competency mapping all by themselves because no consultant can ever have all the knowledge required to identify the technological, managerial, human relations and other conceptual knowledge, attitudes and skills required for all jobs in a firm. Where consultants are excessively relied upon the data generated are likely to enrich the consultants and consulting forms much more than the commissioning form itself. The lower the consultant’s involvement more the work needs to be done internally and higher the intellectual capital generation and retention within the organisation.

What is Competency?

Any underlying characteristic required performing a given task, activity, or role successfully can be considered as competency. Competency may take the following forms:

  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Skill
  • Other characteristics of an individual
  • Motives
  • Values
  • Self concept
  • etc.
Competencies may be grouped in to various areas. In classic article published a few decades ago in Harvard Business Review Daniel Katz grouped them under three areas which were later expanded by Indian Management professors in to the following four:

  • Technical  dealing with the technology or know how associated with the function, role, task (Also now referred by some as Functional)
  • Managerial/Organizational dealing with the managerial aspects, organizing, planning, mobilizing resources, monitoring, systems use etc.
  • Human/Behavioral including personal, interpersonal, team related and
  • Conceptual/Theoretical including visualizations, model building etc.
This is a convenience classification and a given competency may fall into one or more areas and may include more than one from. It is this combination that are made and promoted as competency dictionaries. A competency dictionary of a firm gives detailed descriptions of the competency language used by that firm. It contains detailed explanations of the combinations of competencies (technical, managerial, human and conceptual knowledge, attitudes and skills) using their own language. For example Team work or Team Management competency can be defined in terms of organization specific and level specific behaviors for a given origination. At top levels it might mean in the case of one organization ability identify utilize and synergize the contributions of a project team and at another level it might mean ability to inspire and carry along the top management team including diversity management. It is put here in much more simplistic way while in competency mapping all details of the behaviors (observable, specific, measurable etc.) to be shown by the person occupying that role are specified.

History of Competencies

A team of Educationists lead by Benjamin Bloom in the USA in mid fifties laid the foundation for identifying educational objectives and there by defining the knowledge attitudes and skills needed to be developed in education. The task force lead by Bloom took several years to make an exhaustive classification of the educational objectives that were grouped under the cognitive domain.

David McClelland the famous Harvard Psychologist has pioneered the competency movement across the world. His classic books on “Talent and Society”, “Achievement Motive”, “The Achieving Society”, “Motivating Economic Achievement” and “Power the Inner Experience” brought out several new dimensions of the competencies. These competencies exposed by McClelland dealt with the affective domain in Bloom’s terminology. The turning point for competency movement is the article published in American Psychologist in 1973 by McClelland titled wherein he presented data that traditional achievement and intelligence score may not be able to predict job success and what is required is to profile the exact competencies required to perform a given job effectively and measure them using a variety of tests. This article combined with the work done by Douglas Bray and his associates at AT&T in the US where in they presented evidence that competencies can be assessed through assessment centers and on the job success can be predicted to some extent by the same has laid foundation for popularization of the competency movement.

Later McBer a Consulting Firm founded by David McClelland and his associate David Berlew have specialized in mapping the competencies of entrepreneurs and managers across the world. They even developed a new and yet simple methodology called the Behavior Event Interviewing (BEI) to map the competencies.

Thus AT&T Studies of Formative Years in Business indicated the predictability of future success. McClelland's studies in early seventies indicated the limitations of Intelligence and Academic Performance data. With increased recognition of the limitations performance appraisal in predicting future performance potential appraisal got focused

And Assessment centers became popular in seventies. The setting up an Assessment center was in integral part of the HRD plan given to L&T by the IIMA professors as early as in 1975. L&T did identify critical attributes for performing higher level jobs (a form of competency mapping) but did not start assessment centers until much later as it was not perceived as a priority area.

Competency mapping is the process of identification of the competencies required to perform successfully a given job or role or a set of tasks at a given point of time. It consists of breaking a given role or job into its constituent tasks or activities and identifying the competencies (technical, managerial, behavioral, conceptual knowledge, an attitudes, skills, etc.) needed to perform the same successfully.


Competency assessment is the assessment of the extent to which a given individual or a set of individuals possess these competencies required by a given role or set of roles or levels of roles.

Assessment centers use multiple methods and multiple assessors to assess the competencies of a given individual or a group of individuals. In order to enhance objectivity they use trained assessors and multiple methods including psychometric tests, simulation exercise, presentations, in-basket exercises, interviews, role-plays, group discussions etc. The methods to be used depend on the nature of competencies.

Who Identifies competencies?

Competencies can be identified by one of more of the following category of people: Experts, HR Specialists, Job analysts, Psychologists, Industrial Engineers etc. in consultation with: Line Managers, Current & Past Role holders, Supervising Seniors, Reporting and Reviewing Managers, Internal Customers, Subordinates of the role holders and other role set members of the role (those who have expectations from the role holder and who interact with h him/her). TVRLS, have developed a methodology called as Role Set Based Competency Mapping (RSBCM ©) (see Competency Mapping Education kit by TVRLS).

What Methodology is used?

  • The following methods are used in combination for competency mapping:
  • Interviews
  • Group work
  • Task Forces
  • Task Analysis workshops
  • Questionnaire
  • Use of Job descriptions
  • Performance Appraisal Formats
  • KRAs and Attributes

How are they Identified?

The process of identification is not very complex. Some of the methods are given below:

  1.  Simply ask each person who is currently performing the role to list the tasks to be performed by him one by one, and identify the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Skills required to perform each of these
  2. Consolidate the list
  3. Present it to a role set group or a special task force  constituted for that role
  4. Edit and Finalize
Alternately appoint a task force for each role. The task force should consist of some current incumbents of that role who are performing it well, the reporting and reviewing officers of that role, some of the past role incumbents who have successfully performed that role. Make sure that the task force consists of at least one or more members who have some understanding of the competencies and the nature of competencies. Most professional managers with M B A degrees should have this competence. If they do not it is easy to acquire by reading a few books. When the author worked with the Ministry of Health in Indonesia along with Dr. Udai Pareek and Rolf Lynton, a three day workshop was found to be sufficient to train the local Health Province staff in competency mapping. This in spite of the author having to work with groups of Indonesians who spoke only Bhasa Indonesia.

What Language to Use?

  • Use Technical language for technical competencies. For example: knowledge of hydraulics.
  • Use business language for business competencies. Example: Knowledge of markets for watch business or Strategic thinking.
  • Use your own language or standard terms for Behavior competencies. Example: Ability to Negotiate, Interpersonal sensitivity, Sales techniques. Too technical and conceptual knowledge align to the organization and people may create more problems than help 

Who can do it?

Competency mapping is a task which can be done by many people. Now days all Management schools and definitely those specializing in HR train the students in competency mapping. Recently when the author taught a course on Management of Talent at the Indian School of Business with two hours or introduction to the process of competency mapping the students (all with experience of more than two years) have done a great job of competency mapping for a set of roles.

The person who facilitates competency mapping should have the following competencies:

  • Should have some familiarity with competencies and the nature of competencies. This includes knowledge of the terms used commonly in competency identifications (sociability, activity level, monitoring ability, resource mobilization, vision, communication skills, analytical skills, planning, organizing, team building, imitative, strategic thinker etc.) and meaning of most common terms.
  • Should know the meaning of knowledge (awareness, information), Attitude (predisposition) and skill (demonstrable ability to perform a particular task or activity with a pre-designated level of proficiency- speed, accuracy, quality etc)
  • Should be able to differentiate knowledge, attitude, and skills. Additional ability to differentiate  motives, values, self concept  and traits is an additional competence
  • Should be able to differentiate a task from an activity
  • Should be able to list a set of activities and tasks for a given role with the help of a role holder (a person who is currently doing a the given job)
  • Should able to classify a given competence (knowledge, attitude and skill) into technological arena, managerial arena, behavioral arena and a conceptual arena. This is a very simple competency. And useful but not essential.
  • Should have interviewing and probing skills
  • Should be able to document and communicate to others through documentation (ability to communicate suing precise language and provide explanations wherever necessary)
  • Should be familiar with the nature of business done by the firm, its products, and markets, processes etc. or at least would be able to understand and grasp the basics of technology and processes used by the firm. This can be developed through a quick induction program by the firm.
Any Masters in Management or Social Sciences or an Employee with Equivalent Experience and Training can develop these competencies. Conceptual Background and Understanding of the business is important. Familiarity with Business, Organizations, Management and Behavioral Sciences is useful. HR Managers, Management Graduates, Applied Psychologists are quite qualified to do this. Most institutions specializing in HR train the candidates to do this.

Some Tips on How to do it?

The following are some of tips to do competency mapping at low cost:

  • Pick up a job or a role that is relatively well understood by all individuals in the company. Work out for this role and give it as an illustration. For example Sales Executive, Production Supervisor, Assistant HR Manager, Receptionist, Transport Manager, PR Manager, etc. are known to all and easy to profile.
  • Work out competencies for this role if necessary with the help of job analysis specialist or an internal member who has knowledge of competency mapping. Prepare this as an illustration.
  • Circulate these others and ask various departments to do it on their won.
  • Circulate samples of competencies done by others
  • Illustrate knowledge, attitudes, skills, values etc.
  • Choose a sample that does not use jargons
  • Explain the purpose
  • Interview of past successful job holders helps
  • Current incumbent who are doing a good job along with their Reporting officers is a good enough team in most cases.
  • Once prepared even on the basis of one or two individuals inputs circulate to other role set members
For an illustration of the competencies see Designing and Managing Human Resource Systems by Udai Pareek and T. V. Rao, Oxford & IBH publication and Competency mapping Education kit by T V Rao Learning Systems Pvt. Ltd (www.tvrls.com).



What uses can it be put to?

Once competency mapping is done for each role or job, it can be used for a variety of purposes. This includes:
  • Recruitment & Placement
  • Induction, Integration and assimilation
  • Competency based compensation 
  • Performance Management
  •  Competency Development through Learning and Development Interventions,
  • Career coaching and other career Development Intervention
  • Succession Management and Leadership Development
  • Building a competency culture and ensure a competitive advantage

Competency mapping is an essential Talent Management Tool. In the days of talent shortage and the need for talent acquisition, retention, development and utilization there is no alternative to knowing, procuring, using and developing competent people and ensuring a competence culture in the organization.

It is about thirty three years ago Larsen and Toubro asked two of us from IIMA (Dr. Udai Pareek and T. V. Rao) to examine their performance appraisal system. We interviewed several managers at different level. Mr. A. M. Naik Current Chairman of L&T was one of those days whom we interviewed to ask their suggestions for improvements in their system. L&T managers gave us a number of suggestions which latter turned out to be the base for our designing an Integrated HRD System for L&T . A few years after that we were associated with the State Bank of India, BEML, Crompton Greaves and a number of other organizations reviewed and redesigned their systems on similar lines with a development focus. 

When I look back from my experiences of the last thirty years I realize that we are still struggling in our country with the implementation of appraisal systems. I have realized that one of the most significant mistakes we have made is in naming the performance appraisal system. We continued to use the term “Performance Appraisal”. After s serious reflection of this issue I have come to the conclusion that it is high time we abandon the term “Performance Appraisals”.

One may ask what is there in the name? This is what I kept asking and did not push for change for several years. I now realize that there is a lot in the name. The title stresses that the purpose of the system is “ appraisal”. The term appraisal indicates that the main purpose of the system is ‘Appraisal”, which means evaluation. It is n form  for reducing the entire year’s or six months work of an individual in to a number. Numbers have some great properties. They are intended to render the so called objectivity and comparability. Unfortunately it this comparability and objectivity that has played havoc in the lives of many employees. It caused a few people to get promoted and some of them undeservingly, a few others to leave their jobs, and yet a few others to walk into office every day with low interest and satisfaction and carry on with their jobs.

No two numbers are comparable in appraisals. We cannot say with confidence a rating of  four assigned on a five point scale by a Production Chief is indicative of the same performance level as a rating of four assigned by the Marketing Chief. Or for that matter two marketing Chiefs operating in two regions for their juniors. The ratings depend on so many factors: the supervisor or rater, his previous background, his personality, expectations, the performer (assessee) and  his own background, the way the goals are set, the level of the goals, expectations of the assessor from the performer, the chemistry with which they started setting goals, the culture of the organization, etc. No two numbers are comparable. We cannot say the a person who gets a 68 rating on a 100 point system is definitely superior to another who gets a rating of 64 and specially the 64 is from a setting where the performer had a lot of odds to face (including that of his supervisor himself perhaps?). Yet we treat them as sacred and use them to fit into normal probability, add, subtract, multiply and calculate incentives etc. I think this is a fundamentally wrong attempt to fit qualities in to quantities and use them for anything beyond a discussion or analysis.

From a reflection on this and various other experiences in the last thirty three years of my work on  performance appraisals I like to suggest the following:

  1. Ratings in appraisals are notional and at best should be used for discussion to integrate performance on a number of non-additive parameters (like adding for a regional sales executive his achievement of sales targets, and the percentage increase in customer base, with how well he has developed his juniors, and how much he followed the various systems). They can’t and should not be used to force fit into normal curve blindly or determine incentives mathematically. At best they could be used for discussion and review of performance. Ratings are poison but they may be inevitable side products of the performance process. They should not become the primary pre-occupation of appraisals.
  2. Performance should be assessed against expectations and expectations could be changed during the course of performance with the availability of new information, data and challenges. Expectation sharing and reviewing is the most important part of performance management.
  3. It is high time we drop the term appraisal and use the terms “Management”. Management is broader and encompasses many things for a system. It includes planning, development, improvements, recognitions etc. Those who prefer to be even more focused can use terms like: PMS - Performance Management Systems, PDS- Performance Development System,  PIP- Performance Improvement Program etc.
  4. Merely changing he title does not help but the spirit needs to be promoted. It can be promoted by having a new look at the potential of PMS and by using PMS for objectives other than appraisals and generating numbers in percentages etc..
  5. Good performance should be rewarded. But what is good performance should be understood from the beginning by each individual and there should be a shared understanding of what is reward able performance and what is not by the performer and his superiors alike. This understanding should be there at the beginning of the performance period and not at the time of deciding the rewards.
  6. Small rewards and recognitions should be encouraged to be followed and each supervisor should have a good degree of autonomy to recognize and reward the performance of his or her performing employees and this may constitute a significant part of the CTC  (say 5% to 10%) of juniors. Recognition should take place all through the performance period and should not be limited to the annual stock taking or performance reviews.
  7. Annual reviews of performance should be conducted using innovative methods and should become a part of life. Such reviews need not necessarily result in assigning numbers to individuals.
This is not a complete list of thoughts but a mere glimpse of the way we need to think.

I like to illustrate the basis of this thinking by a simple illustration of how we have been promoting a new way of looking at performance planning. I give below  a new way of looking at performance planning and goal setting.

Invest Twenty and Direct 2000 to 20,000 Program


Recently I was working on their PMS for company outside India. I was asked to help them implement a new system they have just designed. It is a infrastructure company with many  General Managers and Senior GMs at the helm. I asked 25 of them attending the workshop to answer the following four questions:

·         To what extent did you have clearly set work plan for the last six months?

·         To what extent did your seniors with whom you work shared the same understanding of your work plan and priorities in the last six months?

·         To what extent are you able to put to use most of your capabilities in the last six months?

·         To what extent are you clear about the work plan and priorities for the next six months?

They were asked to use the following scale:

100% = fully, 75% = Mostly, 50% = somewhat, 25% = A Little, 0% = Not at all

I am giving below their responses


To what extent did you have clearly set work plan for the last six months?

•100% = 3

•75%= 18

•50% = 4

•25%= 0

•0% = 0

Average percentage of extent to which there is clearly set work plan = 74% . If we consider unplanned work as a wastage it is about 26% in this company. If the CTC of all the 25 top level managers is about Rs. 10 crores (with an average CTC of  Rs 40 Lakhs per GM their total CTC is Rs. 10 crores), there is a waste of Rs. 2.6 crores of cost to the company due to unplanned work and the opportunity cost may be much more. Such unplanned work gets passed down the hierarchy and multiplies. Hence the solution is to reduce this wastage by planning work. PMS can therefore be a good tool to reduce wastage through planning. 


To what extent did your seniors with whom you work shared the same understanding of your work plan and priorities in the last six months?

•100% = 7

•75%= 10

•50% = 5

•25% = 3

•0% = 0

Average of the extent to which shared understanding exists = 71% . If PMS is effective this shared understanding can be improved.


To what extent are you able to put to use most of your capabilities in the last six months?

•100% = 2

•75%   = 9

•50%   = 7

•25%   = 1

•0%     = 0

Average of the extent to which capabilities are being used in the last six months = 68%. This indicates that there is a 32% of talent wastage.


To what extent are you clear about the work plan and priorities for the next six months?

•100% = 9

•75%   = 13

•50%   = 3

•25%   = 0

•0%      = 0

Average of the extent to which clarity exists about work plans and priorities = 80%. This indicates the future potential wastage of top management Time.  

Simple questions and analysis like this have brought to focus the need for better utilization of talent though planning work, having a shared understanding of the work. A good PMS can reduce the wastage of time, talent and ensure better utilization of human resources.

The scope for the same is indicated by the answers provided by a number of managers from MNCs, Family owned businesses and professionally managed companies in India and outside.

Appendix 1 gives data from three organizations an MNC in India (N= 28), a family owned business company in India (N= 41) and a professionally managed  company ( from another country ( N = 85). The results indicate the similarity in the situation. All these organizations sought improvements in their PMS. 

These results clearly indicate the potential use of PMS for performance enhancements. The results also indicate the similarity in the implementation of PPMS in MNCs, Family owned businesses and professionally run companies in India and abroad.

It is these insights that have given rise to the a program we have designed at TVRLS which is now called as “Invest Twenty and Direct 2,000  to 20,000 ™”.  I have been propagating this by communicating to line managers and top management that their managers can learn to direct 2000 hours of their performance time to 20,000 hours of their junior’s performance time by merely investing 20 hours of their time for planning their and their juniors work. So  Invest 20 and Direct 2,000 to 20,000. We have helped many senior managers to cost the value of their time and showed benefits of such planning. Executives can be demonstrated to affect savings in their own time and get a better ROI on their time investments. In other words organizational performance, resource utilization including talent utilization which is becoming expensive day by day  goes up and cost reductions take place with better planning.

Similarly we have demonstrated that by viewing Performance Review Discussions as learning opportunties for seniors to learn from their juniors we have changed the meaning of Coaching and mentoring to a different degree. PRD and coaching sessions are meant to develop coaches as much as the performers. In fact I now take the view that PMS is a learning opportunity.

Appendix1: Performance management data from three industries from India and outside


MNC in India

To what extent did you have clearly set work plan for the last six months? (N= 28)

•100% =  Managers- 4

•75%   =  Managers- 14

•50%   =  Managers- 10

•25%   =   Managers - 0

•0%     =    None - 0

Extent to which seniors shared same understanding of work plan and priorities in last 6 months


•100% = 3 Managers

•75%   = 12 managers

•50%   = 9 Managers

•25%   = 4 Managers

•0%     =  0  Manager

Extent to which clear about their Priorities for the Next six months

•100% = 5 Managers

•75%   = 16 Managers

•50%   = 6  Managers

•25%   =  0  Managers

•0%     =  1

Extent to which managers were able to put to use their capabilities in last 6 Months

•100% =  1 Managers

•75%   =  18 Managers

•50%   =  9 Managers

•25%   =  0 Managers

•0%     =  0 Managers

Professionally managed Company from another country ( n= 85)


To what extent did you have clearly set work plan for the last six months?

  • 100% =  11 Managers
  • 75%   =  59 Managers
  • 50%   =  10 Managers
  • 25%   =   5  Managers
  • 0%     =    None
28% Unplanned work or time wasted due to lack of clarity. i.e. Nearly twenty four persons time wasted in last six months due to unplanned work or 12 person-years of unplanned work

Extent seniors shared same understanding of work plan and priorities in last 6 months


·         100% = 20 Managers

·         75%   = 32 managers

·         50%   = 20 Managers

·         25%   =  9 managers

·         0%     =  1 Manager

If a manager’s boss does not share the same work plan and priorities as the manager,  think of  the consequences to the individual, his boss and the organization. In this case 31% non congruence.

Extent to which managers were able to put to use their capabilities in last 6 Months


·         100% =  11 Managers

·         75%   =  39 Managers

·         50%   =  28 Managers

·         25%   =  5 Managers

·         0%     =  0 Managers

Percentage of Unutilized competencies = 33

Extent to which clear about their Priorities for the Next six months


•100% = 26 Managers

•75%   = 38 Managers

•50%   = 16 Managers

•25%   =  3  Managers

•0%     =  None

Level of Plan Congruence = 76%

Family Business  Company( N = 41)


To what extent did you have clearly set work plan for the last six months?

•100% =  Managers- 7

•75%   =  Managers- 20

•50%   =  Managers- 14

•25%   =   Managers - 0

•0%     =    None - 0

Extent seniors shared same understanding of work plan and priorities in last 6 months


•100% = 7 Managers

•75%   = 18 managers

•50%   = 12 Managers

•25%   = 3 Managers

•0%     =  1  Manager

Extent to which clear about their Priorities for the Next six months


•100% =  6 Managers

•75%   = 19 Managers

•50%   =  13Managers

•25%   =  3  Managers

•0%     =  0

Extent to which managers were able to put to use their capabilities in last 6 Months

•100% =  11 Managers

•75%   =  18 Managers

•50%   =  10 Managers

•25%   =  2 Managers

•0%     =  0 Managers

Recently I attended a meeting to plan the “World Conference on Ancient Wisdom in Management”. The conference was to be organized by a person who has lot of media connections and connections at high places. He appropriately chose a CEO of a large company to be the Chairman for the conference. The CEO also has a lot of contacts and at high places.  He seems to have been quite excited by this conference and has even donated a good sum of money to make it happen. He strongly believed in the need for and use of such a conference. He believed that we have a lot to learn from our own ancient wisdom and the modern management Gurus should know that all that they have been talking is already there in Vedas and Upanishads. The larger world must know. He thought very genuinely that this conference would help Indian managers to save a lot of their investments on foreign consultants and also bring to the notice of world wide management experts would get to know about Indian values.

Finally on the meeting day there were about 40 persons whoa attended the meeting. All luminaries in the field of ancient wisdom came. Some of them CEOs, some other management Gurus, and most of who is who in management were there. The meeting was in Mumbai and about 50% of them were from Mumbai. The meeting lasted for a full three hours (180 minutes) and closed with lunch. Of the 180 minutes I found the Chairman speaking for nearly 40% of the time. He had to respond to each comment made by the committee members. This is what normally all chairman of committees and task forces do. They think that the main responsibility of the coordinator or chairman is to initiate the meeting, explain the agenda, raise or sort out controversies etc. So our chairman spoke for nearly 40 to 50 minutes (you may wonder how 40 to 50 minutes of the time constitute 40% of 180 minutes. The rest of the time is for pleasantries, tea break and introductions of members. I have deducted this time in my calculations). It looked as though the Chairman called all the select luminaries to listen to him and his ideas than to get ideas. I barely got three minutes to speak. And so were most of my other fellow invitees for that meeting. If you simply divide the effective time of about 120 minutes out of these 180 minutes by 40 it would work out to be about 3 minutes. If you are a demanding speaker you may get about 9 three to four transactions and about seven to eight minutes. Otherwise about four to five minutes on an average. Some members never get an opportunity to speak. Special invitees like me are invited to speak and get drawn in even if we don’t speak.

I spent my own money to attend this meeting s this CEO is good friend of mine and I did not want to offend him as his office called me repeatedly to attend the meeting. I have paid nearly Rs. 6,000 for my air travel and  a conservative estimate my time is valued at Rs. 10,000 at least per day. I spent Rs 7,000 directly including the taxi fares and  another Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 30,000 (at a conservative estimate of my per day salary costs to my company to Consultancy fee a normal IIM professor is  charging at that time) and all to make a three minute speech and to listen to my CEO friend. The conclusion of the discussion was to appoint another Conference Committee which will work out the agenda and speakers for the conference. I was asked to be the advisor for this conference which I politely refused.

Now calculate that on an average each person who attended this meeting for half a day would have cost to their respective companies collectively; On very conservative estimate every single individual in the group drew more salary than me and would have cost to his company the time of Rs. 10,000 and if half of them paid their airfare at again a conservative cost of Rs. 5,000 per head and only 20 of them traveled to reach Mumbai it is another Rs 1, 00,000.

Thus my estimate of this large meeting cost is:

Salary costs: 40 x Rs. 10,000 = 400,000 (opportunity cost of the time for these people will be at least three to four times = 16 Lakhs of rupees.)

Travel costs of 20 persons X 5,000= 1, 00,000

So the meeting cost at lest Rs 5 lakhs to 15 lakhs. Who paid for this? If all of us in the team donated half a day to a day of ours and offered an Executive development program we could have offered twenty one day programs in Mumbai on Ancient wisdom and taught in each program five lakhs of rupees if appropriately priced and earned a crore of rupees with a capable organizer like Mr. K. K. Nair of Ahmedabad management association. If not a crore at least forty lakhs of rupees. That is the opportunity cost of planning a conference with large participation.

Not the conference not the person who invited the people. All this to listen 40% of the time to chairman and share five minute wisdom with each other. The Chairman is proud and happy at his capacity to mobilize 40 people at a short notice. The organizer is happy that he ahs a support of 40 luminaries for his conference and in the end there is a task force to take the conference forward. My way of looking at this is that there is many other ways o doing the same. With this money at lest hundred adults could have become literate or at least twenty students could have had their school fee paid for the entire five year term or five MBAs could have been produced and or a five hundred patients could have got their treatment in the hospitals free of cost or a thousand hungry men could have been fed for a day or lakh of test books could have been distributed to poor students.

But we are not going to do that> who says India is a poor country. Poor people don’t waste their time like this?

I don’t believe any more in attending meetings as I have seen in the very body I founded and nurtured every quarter the top team of twenty to thirty meets to review the progress of the society. They spend a day, have bonhomie’s. Their companies meet their costs and at the end every one returns home feeling that they had a great meeting and the local host did a great job of hosting the meeting. Who pay for it? Their respective companies.

I only wish our fellow citizens become more aware of how they are spending other people’s money.

Every time you attend a meeting next you should ask the following questions?

How much am I spending?

Whose money?

For what purpose?

Who is the beneficiary?

Can the same thing be done with low cost and with the same or even better effects?

Be honest to your self!!!