September 29, 2008

10 i of Leadership....

Mr B Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd was the Chief Guest for the 7th MMA All India Management Student's Convention.

During his inaugural address; he mentioned the 10 i's of leadership which are as follows:

1) Intelligence- Analytical Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence.

2) Information- Knowledge, Framwwork, Linkages.

3) Insight- Market, Customers, Industry, Trends.

4) Imagination- Scenerios, Fold in the future, Unconstrained by resources.

5) Intensity- Passion, Drive, Invovement.

6) Inspiration- Vision, Role Model, Get others to commit.

7) Influence- Persuasion, Consensus, Team Work, Collaboration.

8) Impact- Clarity, Communication, Personality, Connect with people.

9) Independence- Autonomy, Self Motivation, Edge

10) Integrity- Ethical, Conceptual, Principles.

Better luck next time....

Hi readers!!!

I tried my level best in the Debate Finals of 7th MMA All India Management Student's Convention 2008 but could not win any of the three prizes.

I really hope I win it next time.

But there is a reason to smile. Mr Pramodh T & Ms Swathy T from my college won the third prize in the Paper Presentation competition.Their topic was 'Strategies to Build India as a Human Capital Brand'.

September 25, 2008

ISTD Southern Regional Conference

Dear Readers,

For all those people who could not attend the ISTD Southern Regional Conference held in Chennai on 19-20 Sept. 08; the following summary of the conference written by Mr GD Sharma, Vice President & Head – Human Resources, L&T-ECC Division, Chennai would give a very interesting insight about the entire conference.

The Future of HR – ‘Transformational or Transactional?
(A summary of the ISTD Southern Regional Conference held in Chennai on 19-20 Sept. 08, by G.D. Sharma, Vice President & Head – Human Resources, L&T-ECC Division, Chennai, and Member-Conference Steering Committee, ISTD)
The theme for ISTD’s recently concluded Southern Regional Conference in Chennai was ‘Future of HR – Transactional or Transformational?’ The galaxy of eminent practitioners and academicians who spoke at the conference seemed unanimous in their verdict that for HR to be transformational, it had to get its transactional part right, in the first place.
Transformational Agenda
HR today, more than ever in the past, is everybody’s business. Every Business Manager is an HR Manager. To quote Mr. Vinod Dasari, CEO of Ashok Leyland, “HR is too important to be left to the HR people alone”. HR is an all-pervading function and it is the individual manager whose primary responsibility it is to manage his people resources, blend them into an effective team, manage their performance and address their needs and aspirations, such that together they achieve more. In this process, as an Organisation, there has to be in place a body of collective People practices governed by a particular philosophy; a set of abiding principles of human respect & dignity; and well demonstrated values and ethical norms.
This translates to an agenda which has to be transformational in its outlook, while being grounded on transactional realities. It has been well accepted that while some of the transactional and non-core activities can be outsourced, HR’s main agenda is to focus on the following:
· designing HR systems and practices around warp and weft of the business model of the Organisation,
· helping structure the Organisation in alignment with its strategy;
· building capability and creating a pipeline for talent and leadership
· nurturing a culture -
o that will bring together a set of empowered people desiring to achieve corporate goals
o that is relational and fosters bonding
· enabling a climate of openness, continuous communication and for employees to have a say in all that affects their work and their relationship with then Organisation
· Linking strategy to human performance by setting clear expectations and facilitating performance recognition and reward mechanisms
· Instituting a set of clear ‘measurables’ by which HR can establish credibility by staying close to the expectations from it.
There was also a plea from Mr. P. Rama Babu, ex-Managing Director of EID Parry (India) Ltd. that HR also needs to be ‘aspirational’, in that, it has also to think big and create a visualization of the growth for the Organsiation. This will help us to dream big and generate a force that will inspire the employees to look beyond the ‘here and now’ – a subtle tool for engaging the employee of today.

Transactional Realities
Mr. Ashok Reddy, CEO – TeamLease emphasized that in today’s business and employment scene, each employee has to work on ‘employability’, what with the ‘taxi cab’ syndrome appearing to be the way of life. Values of loyalty, stability and tenure are all becoming obsolescent, and hence, the extent to which the employee of today is handling a variety of assignments, learning continuously, and playing the team game will largely determine his employability. This aspect was well borne out in an interesting study by Prof. Premarajan of XLRI, where he surveyed about 200 MBA students aspiring to be HR Managers. They were asked to rank their expectations from the job as future HR Managers. In the order of importance, they seem to value –
· Independence
· Variety, challenge and sense of achievement
· Recognition and Advancement
· Money, Status and Prestige
· Ethics & Discipline
From the perspective of Talent Transformation, similar views were expressed by Ms. Monica Doshi of LMI when she stated that the Role, the Person and the Capabilities were to be addressed in order to complete the cycle.
It is also very essential that we employ a set of metrics which will help HR to measure itself, not in isolation, but in a rather integrated manner. The Balanced Score Card (BSC) as applied in the Taj Group of Hotels was elaborated upon as a case-study by Mr. H.N. Shrinivas, Sr. VP-HR to demonstrate that the srategies, measures & deliverables, as well as future direction can all be measured and monitored integrally.
Zero to Hero
In the session titled ‘Zero to Hero’, there were some poignant moments when Mr. Sarath Babu of Food King narrated his life story of sacrifice and dedication by his mother, who made it possible for this boy from the slums to successfully walk through the portals of BITS-Pilani and IIM-Ahmedabad. Sheer determination, grit, focus and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude have been the secrets of success for this young enterpreneur. He believes that by providing employment to as many as he can, he is “helping them pursue their dreams”.
Mr. K. Pandia Rajan of Mafoi described his transformation into an entrepreneur as a “process of discovering oneself”. According to him, one has to see opportunities, and that it all ‘starts with an idea’ - perhaps a pun on the word, since the transition happened to him when he was with the firm IDEA, then an engineering design and services firm in Chennai.
Lessons from T20
T20 has many lessons for Management through the several similarities with the real business world.

Business, like Cricket, has moved from a 5-day match to a 50-over game and now to a 20-over format - Expectations of efficient execution and ever-improving results from the Company or Business; unlimited excitement and hunger for growth-oriented happenings and developments in the Business from the investing community; and a sense of unabated competition among the corporates, both local & global. Cricket is not very different, and therefore the likeness has generated interest in learning from one another. Popular cricketers, Krishnamachari Srikkant and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan engaged in a lively conversation to drive home the point that at a personal level, as HR Managers, we have to be extremely confident, carry conviction, and bet on team work for making things happen in Organisations.
Back to Basics
The Managing Editor of India Today, Mr. Raj Chengappa took the audience through a set of personal examples of Industry Leaders and Business Barons whom he had the privilege of speaking to, for compiling a story for India Today Aspire. He demonstrated that without an exception, CEOs and Industry Captains were guided by time-tested and abiding principles for guiding their lives – both on and off-work. Hard Work, Honesty, Integrity, Respect for the Human Being, Fairness, Failures as stepping stones for success, listening to your instinct, being courageous, moderation in everything we do, importance of Time Management, and unlocking the potential of people around us - were all emphasized by these successful role models that make India what it is and will be.
The ABCD of HR
In his Valedictory address, Mr. B. Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India pitched very differently when he said that HR, by being Transactional, is being governed by the Head - logic, aggression, rationality, strategy and delivery. And by being Transformational, HR is governed by the Heart – passion, abiding values, emotional connect, transparency and fairness.
According to him, HR must work from a simple and clutter-free approach. Our HR Models must be based on our understanding that the human being is governed by the following 4 primal needs:
A – Acquisition: We yearn for recognition, status, and position. Work must help us fulfill these higher order needs. We are constantly wanting to acquire these intangibles.
B – Bond: We all need to emotionally connect with one another as well as with the goals of the Organisation of which we are a part. Today the key is to provide this psychological connect.
C – Comprehension: Every employee wants to figure out and understand what the organization is doing, and what part he/she has in it. There is a need for the employees to come together and understand in unison, the values and ethics of the organization, the policies and strategies of the business, as well as what is expected of him/her and how it will be measured and rewarded. There is need for us to constantly communicate and clarify for improved comprehension.

D – Defend: Every employee seeks fairness and justice, both for himself/herself and for the Organisation. Every employee expects a set of policies, systems, rules and procedures to be put in place and administered well, and in a fair manner.
To meet these expectations, HR must ensure that the following 4’S principles are borne in mind always:
1. Simplicity – keep models and systems simple to understand and also to administer
2. Structuring – HR must constinuously organize and align structure as well as work systems and work-flows in keeping with the changing business requirements.
3. Standardise – Processes must ensure ’get it right the first time’. The luxury of time and cost do not allow procrastination or laxity, and when response-time is a key success factor.
4. Scaling-up – Business is marked by growth metrics and therefore, are we scaling up to meet the requirements and expectations of Business? Scaling-up is possible only if we keep the design and structure simple.
At the end of the day, the Role of HR can be likened to that of a Gardener, where he does the following on a continuous basis –
PICKING – picking the right seeds and the soil mix for ensuring a healthy crop. The HR Manager’s role in picking talent – sensing, judging and gauging the right attributes is a very critical skill.
PRUNING – the Gardener has a certain view of the garden. The design of the work organization, the right combination of Competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) for a task or job, values and principles to govern the organization, the sense of balance required in policies and practices – all of these and more will have to be ensured by the HR manager.
PEST CONTROL – The Gardener has a key role in keeping the garden free of unwanted weeds and pests which will damage the health of the plants and therefore life of the garden. Bringing-in the right set of checks and balances, Recruitment policies, norms and principles that will govern talent acquisition, good governance to ensure effective talent management, and introducing the right interventions for nurturing growth and development of talent make up the rest of HR Management.
On the whole, a resounding success for ISTD, Chennai Chapter, with over 750 delegates attending from Corporates representing almost all the sectors, Consulting Organisations, as well as Engineering & Management Schools from near and far. Let us look forward to more such well conceived congregations where a healthy and professional discussion and debate is made possible. For, learning best takes place when we share, exchange and transfer our knowledge, experience, and perspectives in a free and reciprocal basis.

September 24, 2008


Hi Dear Readers!!!!!

Let me provide a few quick updates....The good news is that I have been selected as one of the Six 'National Finalists' for the Debate Competition in the 7th MMA All India Management Student's Convention 2008 after a very competitive preliminary round of Debate at the MMA House on 18th September 2008. The Debate Finals is going to take place on 27th September 2008 at University Centenary Auditorium, Chepauk, Chennai-5.

My topic is 'Traditional Values more than modernity should be at the core in Building Brand India'. I am speaking for the topic.

Secondly, me and my class mate, Upasika Maithreya presented a paper on 'Paradigm shift in the Arena of Human Resources' at a National Conference on the theme 'Transformation of Organisation in the Global Era' organised by Department of Management Studies, Valliammai Engineering College.

Last Saturday[20.9.2008]; I attended a Personnel and Employee Relations Forum, 'PERFORM 2008' based on the theme 'Development of Human Capital towards Enterprise Value Addition' organized by DG Vaishnav College, Department of Social Work at Taj Corommandal.

So the last few days have been a good learning experience.

September 14, 2008

Duck Theory

Me and my classmate Lijo Jacob were having a keen discussion on our HR Symphony theme ' Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy' after the event.

This discussion helped us to come out with the 'Duck Theory'.

A Duck is a creature which voraciously paddles it's feet under the water but has the perfect 3 C's exterior [Calm, composed and collected].

During the turbulent times; one should behave like the 'Duck'. It should have that inner turbulence to do well [in a positive context] and maintain a 3 C's [Calm,composed,collected] exterior.

I guess this thought came to our mind because we could listen to Mr GD Sharma's key note address during the event.

HR Symphony- A Grand Success

It gives me immense pleasure to let my readers know that 'HR Symphony' on 12th September [at Ambassador Pallava] created the perfect symphony in terms of key insights on the theme 'Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy',intensively studied Research Presentation, thought provoking discussion on 'Retaining the Top Talent', HURECANE [Department Newsletter] release which was extensively appreciated and the very impressive Placement Brochure release to just name a few.

The dignitaries present were:
Mr Irai Anbu,
Secretrary, Tourism and Culture
Govt of Tamil Nadu

Dr Fatima Vasanth- Principal
Madras School of Social Work

Mr CD Jose
Hon Secretary, SSER

Prof Jayanthi Peter,
Head of the Dept

Mr G D Sharma,
Vice President,Human Resources
Larsen & Toubro [ECC Division]

Mr Rakesh Gupta
General Manager, Human Resources
Ashok Leyland

Mr GD Sharma[whom I also consider as one of my HR Guru] was the Key Note speaker and he created a great impact in the audience's mind through his quintessential passionate presentation on 'Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy'.

According to him turbulence is good[in a positive context] as it helps us to recognize our true potential. He encouraged us to embrace these turbulent times and learn from it.

Mr Irai Anbu released our Placement Brochure and spoke on various HR issues. His special focus on non verbal communication was very well liked by the audience.

Mr Rakesh Gupta discussed various cases related to reasons for attrition among 'Top Talents'.It was a good platform where students [ including me] could ideate on various issues pertaining to attrition among Top Talents.

I am sure I could not do the justice in describing the events of 'HR Symphony' here as it's tough to post the vast learnings and observations
here through a single post.

But my future writings shall reflect the learning I recieved from 'HR Symphony'.

I wholeheartedly thank each and everyone associated with the success of 'HR Symphony'.

*By the way your's truly was the Vice President of the HR Symphony team. It felt nice to wear the Vice President batch during the event.

September 9, 2008

Best Practices V/S Micro Practices

The posters in XYZ company speaks volumes about their new HR best practices. It's branded in a spunky way which makes it genuinely attractive.

It has got extensive media coverage and most likely; XYZ company will grab the place of 'Best Employer' in the next nation wide 'Best Employer' survey. The Chief People Officer is recieving appreciation from all corners.

However; Mr X , an associate who has joined the company 15 days back is slightly amused with the 'Best Practices'. He is one of the many victims of poor canteen facility, poor transportation, delay in getting bills sanctioned etc.......

The glossy and attractive packaging of 'Best Practices' which ultimately boils down to a performance bonus, 360 degree appraisal, assesment centres etc does not really mean much to him. He doesnot have faith in the HR team to deliver the so called 'Best HR practices' as it is incapable of delivering the basic/micro practices.

It's important that the 'Best HR practices' are directed towards the employee causes and not nation wide surveys.

The employees must endorse and have firm faith in the 'Best HR practices'.

Finally; there should be proper delivery of core/micro practices even before thinking about the idea of implementing the 'Best HR practices'.

HR Symphony!!!!!

The Student Forum of MA-HRM, The Madras School of Social Work


'HR Symphony', A seminar on 'Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy'

Friday, 12th September 2008 15:30-20:00

Hotel Ambassador Pallava Egmore, Chennai

* Only for Corporates [Registration-Rs 100]


9790717784 [Cell]

September 4, 2008


My experience in Great Lakes Institute of Management HR conclave was thought stimulating and extremely informative. The theme of the conclave was ‘Managing Human Capital in the Globalized Business Environment’. It served as a perfect platform for educational institutions and corporate fraternity to ideate on various new age HR issues.

The list of dignitaries included:

Shri Prem Chand Gupta Honorable Union Minister for Corporate Affairs

Dr T.V Rao Chairman, T.V Rao Learning Systems Pvt Ltd

Mr Muthuraman Managing Director, Tata Steel

Mr Chandrasekaran President & Managing Director, Cognizant

Dr Chandrasekhar Sripada President HR, Capgemini Consulting India Pvt Ltd

Mr Allen Sequeira Sr VP HR, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd

Mr B Venkatramana Sr VP HR, Reliance Retail Ltd

Mr Lancelot Cutinha VP HR, Big FM

Mr Steve D Rich Shared Services Manager India & ASEAN HR, Caterpillar

Mr Anuj Kumar Associate Director HR, CSC

Dr K Prabhakar V P Corporate HR, Apollo Hospitals

Mr C Mahalingam Executive VP & Chief People Officer, Symphony SVCS

Mr Boddapati Balaji Director, ADP Private Ltd

With that esteemed list of dignitaries; a great conclave was assured even before the start of it.

It did meet my expectation and felt blessed to invest my time in such an occasion.

Some key learning and observations were as follows:

*It’s money value of time which concerns rather than vice versa.
*Sensible product differentiation has brought product branding.
*Most important investments are time and emotional commitment.
*India’s success is based on LSP [Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati] quotient.
*Human mind is still classificatory even today.
*HR is the new strategic variable for Corporate India.
*Competent people are increasingly scarce to find.
*The way in which 360 degree or assessment devt centre are applied is very important
*HR professionals are increasingly Internet savvy, communicative, well networked and energetic.
*HR professionals lack:

1.Thorough understanding of talent mgmt and devt process.
2.Comprehensive professional knowledge and skills.
3.Patience to stay long enough in a job to make a difference.
4.Long term thinking and holistic orientation.
5.Respect for local talent.

A few qualities for global leadership are as follows:
1. High degree of self awareness and focus on self renewal.
2. Result oriented and they deliver result.
3. Ability to empower, reward and recognize others continuously.
4. They have a sense of priority and purpose.
5. Integrating ability.
6. Know when to leave.
7. Bounce back from mistakes.
8. Cultural sensitivity.
9. Ability to seek and manage diversity.

*Globalization is a compulsion and not choice.
*Have common performance standards across the globe.
*Integration of cultures during M&A is very important.
*There should be a well defined purpose behind any M& A
* Integration does not mean uniformity.
*All processes of the acquirer may not be right.
* The combined entity may need new processes and approaches.
* Agreeing to disagree is important.
* Insist on pre merger due diligence.
* Tolerate and respect differences.
*Set aside turf.
*Renew focus.
*Adapt to new culture.
The two key mantras of a successful M&A are :
1. Be humble
2. Learn along the way.

*Value identification depends on financial, operational distribution synergies, managing emotions and alignment of structural process.

Three challenges identified to manage workforce diversity are:

1. Inclusion
2. Alignment
3. Communication

*Creating teams inclusive of both [M&A] companies is very important.
*In order to out compete; out innovate.
*There is huge scope for HR in un-organized sector.
*In order to make a strong employer’s brand; one has to really listen to employees on attraction and retention; don’t believe there will be no one simple answer; watch it evolve over time; set key metrics to manage the issue.

*Foster creativity at workplace by:
1.Being stress free
2.Seek new experience.
3.Ensure you are in an environment that nurtures creativity.

*Making BPO jobs an aspiring career is the biggest HR challenge in the BPO sector.

*Customer satisfaction to customer delight to customer astonishment.
*Leadership has two dimensions: Visionary and Architectural.

*Creating a shared vision through vision workshop is the key in having the perfect vision statement.