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From Harmony to Cacophony

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A hundred musicians played together
Until an idea struck the bandleader
“What’s loud must be good, so let’s
Drop all except the trumpets”
And then the music was noise altogether

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The Passage of Leadership

Six ships came upon a canal on a trip
“I ought to go first,” at once figured each ship
They shot like a crude arrow
But the canal was narrow
The wreckage was found soon, but no leader ship!

What are we ‘Managing’?

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To manage is to keep under control. Traffic signals, for instance, are good ‘Managers’. They keep the traffic flow under control. Organisations of today need much more than traffic signals. They need ‘Valuablers’–people who make ideas, actions, things and human beings more valuable. It’s time for ‘Managers’ to change. And everybody’s watching!

Corporate Daddy stumped

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“Controlling unruly people must be hard?”
Asked little Jigyasa, looking at her dad
The question baffled Daddy
Me? Control anybody?
“Why, it says ‘Manager’ on your business card”

The clever Chief Marketing Officer

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“Get new customers, give them a special price
Your old base won’t churn,” the CMO was wise
He got the shock of his life
When a note came from his wife–
“Sorry dear, I’ve found someone else–he’s so nice”

Organisations around people

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In the factory economy, each worker had a tightly-defined task: punch a hole every few seconds, pour coolant into the reservoir when it gets empty or feed coal to the boiler. When one worker left, the other filled his shoes and continued to punch holes or fill bins or feed coal to the boiler.

This is the ‘task view’ of organisations. It assumes (quite aptly for the factory economy) that an organisation needs to do repetitive tasks with reasonable efficiency in order to exist.

Things are obviously quite different in the knowledge economy. However, it is surprising that we often continue to act in the factory mode.

Take, for instance, the way we look for a ‘replacement’ when somebody vacates a position. We float the job description and a list of requisite skills (often mirroring the skills of the outgoing employee) to the recruitment team. The good folks at HR try to find candidates who fit our defined bill. And block out those who don’t.

There are many problems with this approach. While trying to find a replacement, we ensure that we do not stretch the boundaries. By trying to look for a replacement replica, we pass up the opportunity to explore new horizons.

The other way to look at an organisation is the ‘people view’. The view that an organisation is made up of unique individuals (including their skills, competencies, personality and potential) opens up myriad possibilities. When a building block falls away, you are not looking at replacing a brick with a brick. You are looking at exploring new possibilities. You are trying to unleash undiscovered potential. You are trying to go much beyond filling a gap. You are looking for a better way of doing things. Maybe you are looking at crossing over.

Measured Joy

The Ministry of Joy came under pressure
To spread, among people, delight and pleasure
It said, “The width of each smile
Must be ranked by percentile
Because you can’t manage what you don’t measure”