Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Manager's Problems


A different point of view.



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It’s one of those weird coincidences, you’ll have to trust me, if he resembles your manager!

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unfortunately, remains unwritten. If only Lt Gen Krishnaswami Balaram (1927 – 2010) had put his pen to paper in his life time. Then as an army officer given to action and a practitioner, perhaps writing a book was not appealing to him.

BALARAM Report My Signal PVSM

I heard about him only a few days ago in my evening gup-shup session – an hour-long chit chat about this and that – in the park with a small group of seniors presently in US like me spending a couple of months with their sons and daughters. My source among them is S, a gentleman long retired from employment in the estate maintenance department at Kurukshetra University in Haryana. The anecdotes he shared with us about KB who was then the vice-chancellor of the university piqued my interest I decided to look him up on the net.  What I got was quite scanty. Not unusual – after…

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At least to me, it’s new. Never thought the joke could be on us, not about someone from south-of-boondocks as I had imagined.

A policeman sees a drunk staring at the ground beneath a streetlight. “What are you doing?” the cop asks.

“Looking for my keys.” says the drunk. “I dropped them in the dark alley over there.”

“Then why are you over here?” asks the policeman, confused.

“Because the light’s so much better over here.”

The streetlights are our controlled environments where we look for answers —labs, classrooms, fixed timetables, and clear metrics. But things are more fluid in the real world. For that we need to rely more on tacit knowledge from our experience




Source: conversationagent.com/2016/07/striving-for-conciseness-and-clarity.html while talking about ‘Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making’, a book by research psychologist Gary Klein, a pioneer in naturalistic decision making.



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Source: Internet

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Are you looking for a simple clear answer to the question? I cant find one better than what Dan has to say in his blog on the subject. As always, it is short to the point, no bull-bowel-voiding and very readable. Here we go:

The State Trooper And I

A State Trooper pulled me over for speeding. It feels like yesterday. It was several years ago.

I was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. My speed was between 25 and 30 mph over the limit. I sounded awesome singing along with John Mellencamp blaring on the radio.

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I remember seeing the Police Officer pulling his arm in the window of his car, a black radar gun attached to his hand. I just pulled over and waited. Mellencamp couldn’t help me.

The toughest looking trooper I have ever seen walked up to the passenger window and asked if I was in a hurry to get back to the office. Obviously he saw the company logo on the passenger door.

Without waiting, he asked if I knew how fast I was going.

I replied that I wasn’t sure, but that I knew it was fast. He didn’t ask for the car registration or my licence. He simply said, “You better slow down.” Without another word, he turned his intimidating frame and walked away.

Fear turned to jubilation!

After my heart rate slowed, I became teflon™ Dan. “I can’t get a ticket,” I thought. This wasn’t the first time I’d been let off with a verbal warning.

In the next three months, I earned three speeding tickets!

In order to protect my licence, I was “invited” by the Pennsylvania State Police to attend driving school.

5 Lessons from speeding tickets:

  1. Consequences say decisions matter. Life without consequences – either good or bad –  is meaningless.
  2. Consequences express compassion, when delivered with a person’s best interest in mind.
  3. Don’t feel responsible to help irresponsibility. Too much help doesn’t help.
  4. Deal quickly with issues. It’s irresponsible to neglect holding people responsible.
  5. Create an environment where performance is expected, enjoyed, and honored.

Motivation: Hold people to their decisions, because it’s best for them.

How might leaders hold people accountable in ways that serve them and organizations?

A simple prescription for effective leadership, yet profound, I thought. Not for winning popularity contests.

You may enjoy reading Dan’s posts at: leadershipfreak.wordpress.com.


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Project-Management premium.wpmudev.org

There was a news item recently in the press about Tata Consultancy Organization (TCS) planning to lay off 30,000 professionals accompanied by words on the ‘big corporate for-profit exploiter’ from some of those impacted or to-be guys for the human element in the story. The guys, it seems, are largely managers with 8 to 10 plus years of experience.

The company has denied it saying the annual weeding out exercise would be only to the extent of 2% to 3% of total strength as it has done in preceding years.

Let us assume for a moment the company is true to its word and there are no compelling reasons of business downturn warranting a bigger-than-usual axing.

While the development is certainly unfortunate especially for the affected, it is hardly surprising. And I’m sure it is neither sudden.

Why does this happen?

When it comes to weeding out, the organization looks at the value an employee brings to the operations in a series of assessments. This is even more significant at senior levels as these guys are pricier and hence most vulnerable.

The avenues available to a senior (a project lead or a manager) to enhance his contribution are essentially in two directions: a) He contributes to the project he is managing/involved or b) He contributes to some corporate objectives not linked to his project. In many organizations seniors are mandated to wear both the hats to get more out of their strengths and maturity.

As far as direct contribution to the project goes, opportunities are many:

1. Of direct and high impact for the organization of curse is to mine the project/account to increase the billing incrementally/strategically. Or, to wow the customer on scope,cost, time, performance or quality parameters of the project.

There are a number of other ways to step up the value (not in any order):

2. Reduce income leakage by handling the lost hours.

3. Increase productivity by using tools, cutting waste, streamlining processes, etc.

4. Flatten the cost pyramid by substituting more junior resources in place of seniors

5. Get the customer to sponsor an incentive plan and other recognition schemes for the team. While the costs incurred in these schemes are low the returns are manifold.

6. Develop it as a reference account/project by putting together, solution stories, application/technical notes, and other marketing/sales assets.

7. Get the customer to agree to site visits by prospects.

8. Get the customer to speak in the organization’s promotional events.

9. Generate newer views of the project by formulating imaginatively metrics to address his pain areas. For example, mapping the change-requests to physical pieces of code would be useful in pointing out which modules are hit by poor articulation of requirements, lack of coding skills or sheer business volatility.

10. Reduce the hassles of dealing with the team in some perceptible manner. For example, cut back on the communication load.

11. Alter some service parameter to customer’s advantage like coverage/turnaround times.

12. Engage the customer to gain a business perspective and his plans, to support mining efforts.

13. Harvest reusable/training assets.

14. Validate and refine quality assurance/productivity/staffing/estimation/methodology models/norms.

15. Groom junior resources in technical and soft skills. In one project, juniors took turns to be present when the lead reviews with the customer to improve their reviewing, communicating and objection handling skills.

16. Stand by him by going beyond the letter during his crisis time.

I’m sure you have a few other ideas too. The opportunities are many limited only by imagination.

So what is holding you back, friend?

If the project is a dead-end kind offering no scope for any initiative at all over an extended period of time, it’s time to move on to another project or even organization.


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